Whether or not you consider yourself a football fan, and without a doubt you should be, there is at least one very compelling playoff game that should be well worth viewing this coming Sunday afternoon.
Twelve months ago, the Seattle Seahawks were finishing up a disappointing 7-9 season, while the Washington Redskins ended 2011 with a, dare I say it, dismal 5-11 record. With seasons like those, it came as no surprise that neither team qualified for the 2011 post-season playoffs. And at the time, not many expected that to change any time soon.
What a difference a year makes; not to mention having an early pick in the NFL draft! Fast forward to 2012 and we find that Seattle will be bringing it’s 11-5 record to FedEx Field in the nation’s capitol for their Wildcard Weekend clash with the NFC East champion Redskins who finished 2012 at 10-6. Kick off is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. EST. Make a note of that and put it on your refrigerator door.
Both teams have experienced a significant resurgence in their pigskin fortunes this season. One of the more popular explanations for the turn around which both organizations have enjoyed begins and ends with their team’s brand new rookie quarterbacks; the Seahawks’ sometimes diminutive, sometimes gigantic Russell Wilson and Washington’s Robert Griffin III, aka RGIII.
It’s true that it’s virtually impossible for a team to excel in the NFL without quality talent at the quarterback position, but I would like to think that in its frenzy to cover Wilson and Griffin, the media will attempt to find some time to focus a little attention on the contributions made by those often overlooked guys who play in the other 21 positions; and I’m not even including the kickers! As glamorous as a quarterback can be, it’s extremely difficult for him to win that many games without those other guys showing up and playing their positions well.
In any event, I’ll be intently watching game on Sunday to see which of these two teams will progress to Week 2 of the playoffs and a showdown with my hometown Atlanta Falcons. Did I mention that the Falcons have the best record in the NFL at 13-3?
The really big question in my mind is which Falcon team will be showing up for that game. The championship quality team which earlier this season shut out the reigning Super Bowl champion New York Giants, or that bunch of bumbling, no-tackling, smack-talkers who lost to both the hapless Carolina Panthers and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers? If the Falcons fail to win and don’t progress to the NFC Championship game, the media backlash against Atlanta’s sports reputation will rival the coverage given the December 21st Mayan Apocalypse. None of us want to see that repeated.
I dare not say more for fear of provoking the football gods and drawing their attention any more than necessary.