RealClearSports
Advertisement

Welcome to the GRILL ROOM


January 3, 2010 7:50 AM

A meaningful look at NFL's final Sunday

moron.jpgWell, we are at the end of the line of the regular season in the National Football League.
As always, the season went like a rocket, and should be instructional to the other three major professional sports leagues, whose seasons drag on like some modern-day war.
 
Anyway, over the course of the day, 16 games will be played on this final regular-season Sunday in the NFL. Nine of these games will have some sort of playoff ramifications. In NFL parlance, that makes them meaningful games. The other seven tilts, however, have absolutely no impact on next week's playoffs whatsoever, which renders them meaningless.

But let's face it, the ardent NFL football fan knows that there is no such thing as the meaningless game. There can't be!
After all, unless you live in Detroit (it hurts just typing that), you might be at the mercy of the the lords of the NFL as they throw their archaic blackout rule in your face, and force-feed one of these so-called meaningless games down your throat.

Bully to that, we say! In our rough-riding spirit, and so that you might find some meaning over those three hours spent on your couch, we've gone out and found the meaning of these alleged seven meaningless contests.

So, without further ado, and with meaning...


#1 Indianapolis (14-1)
at #28 Buffalo (5-10)

Why is THIS game meaningful?
Because no matter who's behind center today, if the Colts lose their final two regular-season games, it will become the single most stupid and cowardice way to end what could have been a magical season ever.
Because playing just to survive and move on only gets you killed in the NFL. And if anybody should know that it's these very Colts, who won their one and only Super Bowl in Indianapolis by playing to win every single game.  
We are also told that Bills owner Ralph Wilson will be conducting a job fair on the sidelines to attract a decent coaching candidate or two. We are told that the exciting Dick Jauron, just coming off a three-day bingo marathon in Hillside, Kan., has been camping out in front of the stadium to make sure Mr. Wilson gets his application. Perry Fewell continues to insist he should get a chance next year, though Wilson insists he's never heard of the guy.
 
#4 New Orleans (13-2)
at #12 Carolina (7-8)

Why is THIS game meaningful?
Because if Carolina pounds away at the New Orleans defense for about 276 yards on the ground today, the Saints will have two full weeks to feel completely rotten about themselves. Unless they turn this thing around, they can also become Exhibit B to the Giants' Exhibit A of a year ago of what happens to a very good team when it peaks too early.
Meantime, Carolina can close out its season at .500 and force its ownership to do the right thing in spite of itself by offering John Fox a generous extension to his contract. Ralph Wilson will be watching how all this is handled. 
 
#23 Chicago (6-9)
at #31 Detroit (2-13)

Why is THIS game meaningful?
Because, um, give us a second...Um, because it will be morbidly instructive to see how many more Chicago fans there are in the Lions' den than Detroit fans. Just watch, it'll be a least double the number. We'll say 72 Bears fans to about 31 Lions fans. It's also worth noting that if Jay Cutler can manage a pedestrian four interceptions, he will have 30 for the year.  
 
#22 San Francisco (7-8)
at #32 St. Louis (1-14)

Why is THIS game meaningful?
Because there is an off chance that this completely pathetic Rams team will not play hard. Throughout the year we have repeatedly heard that while this team plays a revolting brand of football, it does play hard. Can you imagine what would happen if it didn't -- especially against a Mike Singletary team that no doubt gets an abnormal buzz from just sniffing at .500?! Buckle your seat belt, because if the Rams don't play hard, this game will be in the 60-0 range.
On the other hand, if the Rams do play hard and <gasp> win...Coach Mike's eyes might actually, and literally, pop out right on the field. 

#19 Atlanta (8-7)
at #27 Tampa Bay (3-12)

Why is THIS game meaningful?
Because unless you have been dead or are a new visitor to the Grill Room, you have certainly heard that the Falcons have never (as in NEVER) had back-to-back winning seasons.
All they need to do today is beat Raheem Morris' Bucs to finish 9-7. Maybe somebody should tell them that this feel-good stunt is only going to cost them position in the draft, but then again, this is what makes Atlanta one of the league's most perpetually pathetic franchises.
Oh, and about this dude, Raheem Morris...Should the Bucs win, they might feel some odd sense of obligation to keep him on the sideline next year and tell Bill Cowher, thanks, but no thanks.
Hahahaha, yeah right...   

#25 Washington (4-11)
at #2 San Diego (12-3)

Why is THIS game meaningful?
Because this certainly means the end of the vaunted Jim Zorn era in Washington. Plus, in the lead up to this big game, we have learned that Mike Shanahan will be calling plays for Zorn from Dan Snyder's owner's box in the stands.
Word is, Zorn, in his trademark polite and gentlemanly fashion has told Snyder he completely understands this decision and has agreed to go along with it with nothing but 100-percent gusto.
Infuriated by this continued accommodating attitude, Snyder allegedly took away Zorn's TV privileges in the hotel, but Zorn thanked him profusely, and told the owner he had some reading he had been meaning to catch up on, anyway.
 
#14 Tennessee (7-8)
at #30 Seattle (5-10)

Why is THIS game meaningful?
Because Chris Johnson will be putting the bow on one of the greatest seasons ever by a running back. Because there has never been a back like this guy. Johnson's a cross between Barry Sanders and Gayle Sayers. He's smaller than those two, though, so it's hard to say how long he can keep running among the land of the giants.
Get this: If Johnson picks up 75 yards he will break Marshall Faulk's record of 2,429 yards from scrimmage in a single season. If Johnson can go for 'just' 128 on the ground alone, he will have 2,000 on the year. If he can go completely nuts, and run for 234, he will break Eric Dickerson's single-season record of 2,105 yards on the ground. Triple-dang, batman!
On the Seattle side, get a load of how passionate their fans are. Seriously, if you are from the East Coast their misguided love and devotion for their awful team will sort of freak you out. It's well worth watching.
 
(#) denotes NFL 100-proof ranking

A Member Of