The matchup for Super Bowl LIII is set between a team the Bears defeated (Los Angeles Rams) and one that came one yard short of an opportunity to tie, take to overtime, and possibly beat (New England Patriots). And in the most pure NFL fashion, this showdown came together in the most controversial ways possible.
- In case you missed it: The Bears’ road to Super Bowl LIV will feature a pit stop in London:
all we know is that there BETTER be a player named Harry on the Bears next year because we're tweeting You're A Wizard Harry during that game you can't stop us
— Bears Talk (@NBCSBears) January 21, 2019
- Not a player, but what Harry Hiestand did with the Bears’ offensive line this year was truly magical.
- The other international games have been announced, too:
The NFL has announced its international games for 2019:
KC Chiefs at LA Chargers in Mexico City
Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers in London
Chicago Bears at Oakland Raiders in London
Cincinnati Bengals at LA Rams in London
Houston Texans at Jacksonville Jaguars in London
— Knox Bardeen (@knoxbardeen) January 21, 2019
- I’m no fancy, big-city schedule maker, but a Bears-Rams showdown in London would have probably a lot more appetizing than one between the Bengals and Rams. But maybe that’s just me.
- As for things happening stateside yesterday, a terrible miss of a pass interference penalty in the Saints-Rams game is one of two major talking points in the football world today:
Another look at that no-flag callpic.twitter.com/PQIMkvrMHX
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) January 20, 2019
- That’s as blatant as it gets, folks. Even Nickell Robey-Coleman, the player who got away with the call says he got away with one. “Oh, hell yeah. That was P.I.,” Robey-Coleman said, via the Washington Post’s Adam Kilgore. Robey-Coleman got there before the ball did and he whacked the heck out of Saints receiver Tommylee Lewis in what should have been a pass interference (or a helmet-to-helmet hit on a defenseless receiver) that would have set up a most-likely scenario where the Saints to run out the clock before it was time to kick a game-winning field goal.
- NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport tweets that the league acknowledged the missed call, so at least they have that going for them. Unfortunately, the league has yet to make a public reference to its officials blunder. Not a great look for the league.
- This *IS* something worth keeping in mind:
Something to keep in mind: if the NFL considers making penalties reviewable, it'd be led by the Competition Committee, which includes… Saints head coach Sean Payton.
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) January 21, 2019
- Oh, and let’s not forget Sean Payton has been angling for pass interference to be reviewed since at least 2016.
- For the record, this didn’t happen and isn’t real. But it is funny:
Was this real??? pic.twitter.com/cf3XPnqAaD
— Michael Lombardi (@mlombardiNFL) January 21, 2019
- And if you really want to drive home the dagger, Roger Goodell could change things if he so chooses:
I'm just going to leave this right here and run https://t.co/OD9ZNYqacw
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) January 21, 2019
- … But I can’t see that happening.
- So if the Saints score on the first possession of overtime, are we still talking about the pass interference non-call? Yes, because the human brain allows for multiple discussions to occur at the same time. It’s not that difficult.
- Oh hey, that game-winning 57-yard kick by Greg Zuerlein was a pretty big deal, too:
Greg "The Leg" … makes sense.
Greg Zuerlein's 57-yard field goal was the longest game-winning field goal in playoff history.@RamsNFL
— NFL Research (@NFLResearch) January 20, 2019
I can’t even imagine a Bears kicker attempting, let alone MAKING, a 57-yard field goal. My goodness!
The Rams are going to the Super Bowl! #wow
— Bleacher Nation Bears (@BN_Bears) January 20, 2019
- The other NFL rule that is coming with heated debate is the overtime possession rule after the Patriots win against the Chiefs. In a tightly contested game that featured a rousing comeback led by Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, the fact that Mahomes didn’t get a chance to touch the ball in the extra session isn’t sitting right with many fans, analysts, or observers. And rightly so. From a pure entertainment perspective, anyone who didn’t want to see Mahomes back out there is either 1) lying to themselves 2) a Patriots fan or 3) someone who doesn’t enjoy competitive, high-stakes football played by the best quarterback to ever do it and one who certainly looks like he’s ready to take that torch whenever it’s ready to be passed down.
- Mahomes was a magician last night. He overcame being shut out in the first half to orchestrated an all-time great AFC Championship Game performance. Bummer of an ending, though.
- To be clear, the Chiefs had multiple opportunities where they had the Patriots in 3rd-and-long to get a stop, get off the field, or force a field goal try. And for further clarification purposes, no one is saying one call or rule changed the game’s outcome, but the rules (or in one game’s case, the lack of enforcement of one) tilt the stages. Based on the win probabilities associated with having a potential 1st-and-goal situation at that point in the game or having the ball first in overtime, yeah, game rules matter.
- Well, actually … yes:
If the KC defense couldn’t stop the Pats from getting a TD he didn’t deserve a chance. What do you want, a college OT where each team gets the ball at the 25? https://t.co/nY6GVu0dTi
— Greg Gabriel (@greggabe) January 21, 2019
- My not-so-crazy idea for NFL OT: Put forth a full 10-minute quarter of action. Whoever has the most points at the end wins. In the event of a tie, we play another 10-minute period. Maybe a rule tweak there would force teams to go for two. There are so many options, 99 percent of which are better than the one currently in place. For once, let’s not let stubbornness prevent improvement.
- Both teams get at bats in the World Series. A jump ball decides who gets first possession in overtime in the NBA Finals. And even in the NHL’s Stanley Cup Final where a game ends with a sudden death goal, a puck-drop determines who gets possession. The NFL’s coin flip for overtime is antiquated. Let the athletes decide the outcomes. And if you don’t want to do the XFL’s pre-game ball-scrum, that’s fine. The least you can do as a league is allow for the game to play out without possession being decided by chance and a coin flip.
- Tony Romo can get to scream-y sometimes, but his ability to read defenses in real-time and call plays is uncanny and an absolute joy to watch:
— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) January 21, 2019
- I can’t stop watching this:
— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) January 21, 2019
- Julian Edelman’s muffed punt that preceded this was overturned, but at least we got that highlight out of it.
- This is just too weird:
October 7, 2007
Miami (OH) at Kent State
— Rich Eisen (@richeisen) January 21, 2019
- I know a team that was competitive in 2018 that could use help in its secondary:
Getting money is cool, but I want a ring.
— Tyrann Mathieu (@Mathieu_Era) January 20, 2019