Steelers MMQB: NFL Conference Championships Wrap Up


Jan 19, 2014; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman (25) celebrates after defeating the San Francisco 49ers in the 2013 NFC Championship football game at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

What We Learned in the NFL Conference Championships:

  • Broncos dominate Patriots on the way to the Super Bowl
  • Bill Belichick and Tom Brady still get credit when they lose
  • Here’s a shocker: the refs still suck
  • 49ers control game but big mistakes cost them trip to Super Bowl
  • Richard Sherman does not care for Michael Crabtree

For the Broncos, they’ve been the most dominant team in the league for the entire season from the moment they dropped seven touchdowns on the Ravens in their Week 1 game. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that they put together such an epic butt-whooping on the Patriots in order to advance to the Super Bowl. Sure, the margin of victory ended up as only 10 points, but the game was nowhere near that close. The Broncos dominated the air, ground, and time of possession, dropping 500+ total yards of offense on the Patriots. In case you’re wondering, that’s the most a Bill Belichick-coached Patriots team has ever surrendered.

In spite of the spanking that Tom Brady and Bill Belichick have just endured from Peyton and the Broncos, they still seem to be getting an awful lot of credit for losing yet another big playoff game. There will be plenty of mentions on how many injuries the team had to deal with, how few “weapons” Brady had at his disposal and, in spite of all that, the team managed to advance to the AFC Championship. Of course they deserve credit for advancing to the final four of the NFL playoffs but is it just me or do those two guys get “wins” even when they lose? I’ve heard too many analysts and NFL “experts” practically verbally give Brady and Belichick two additional Super Bowl victories citing they’d have won them if not for a fluke play by David Tyree or a crucial drop by Wes Welker so they might as well still count towards their legacies. Perhaps it’s time to stop automatically assuming the Patriots are always going to be the team to beat? Perhaps they’re going to be beatable from now on? Ever consider that? Incidentally, ESPN already has New England favored to win next year’s Super Bowl, probably.

In news that will just blow your friggin mind this morning, the NFL referees still suck and the only sign of possible improvement that might come would only come in the form of making more plays reviewable because God knows the league can’t possibly do anything to help the zebras on the field try to get the friggin calls right the first time. In the early game, the refs were actually applauded for “letting them play” and not calling as many penalties as one might be used to or expect out of a typical game. This, to me, is still bullcrap. If it’s holding or pass interference in Week 2, it should be the same call in the AFC Championship game, point blank. For a league that has such an embarrassing officiating system at the moment, I really don’t see how now is the time to prove just how inconsistent they can be by relaxing the officiating during conference championship games. That’s not even to begin with the face-palming mistakes the officials made in the NFC Championship game. How no ref possibly saw San Francisco recover that fumble is almost as baffling as how the determination of a change of possession on the field isn’t a reviewable play. If there’s not some kind of change to improve the quality of the officiating in this league, I really think that 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh could quite possibly crap his pants on the field one day. The man overreacts to just about every play that goes on to start with, throw in legitimate bad officiating and his khakis are in some serious danger. I hope he doesn’t eat a lot of fiber pre-game.

In spite of Seattle’s No. 1 ranked defense, the majority of the NFC Championship game seemed to be going the 49ers way, although the stats show it a more evenly competed game. The slight edge definitely goes to Seattle, obviously, in the turnover department as San Francisco’s last four possessions went a little like this: 3 and out, sack-fumble, interception, interception. Colin Kaepernick looked a little Andy Daltonish throwing the ball away at the worst possible moments. Kaepernick had a fantastic time running the ball, rushing for 130 yards on 11 carries. Perhaps he should save the kissing the bicep move for when he can actually beat a team with his arm instead though?

Last night and this morning, everyone and their mother have been talking about Richard Sherman and his epic rant with Erin Andrews immediately following the game. Sherman and 49ers WR Michael Crabtree had been jawing all game long and the final play for San Francisco was an interception that was intended for Crabtree and broken up by Sherman. Sherman went over to smack talk Crabtree following the play and got flagged 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct for showing the choking sign. At games end Sherman was approached by Fox’s Erin Andrews and he gave what I think is one of the most hilarious post-game interviews I’ve ever seen.

Tons of people will think Sherman is a goon or thug for being so heated in his interview but I don’t have a problem with it. I think the Sideline Barbies are basically useless individuals in the whole broadcast of a football game and they’re sole job is to collect the same, boring, generic quotes from players and coaches about giving it all they had, winning as a team, and doing what they came there to do. I was fully entertained by both Sherman’s emotion and Andrews’ follow up question of “Who was talking about you?” While I don’t think the choking sign and actually going after Crabtree was necessary and/or appropriate, I have no problem whatsoever with Sherman’s post-game, non-profane rant. I can’t wait to see what he says on media day. Immediately following Sherman’s interview Twitter blew up with comments from people who hurl whatever insults they can think of to get them the most retweets during the games were now condemning Sherman as if he committed some kind of crime against humanity. Kind of ironic if you ask me.

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