Holy hell, I'm alive!
Greetings and salutations Football Nationers! Your resident football mix-master did not perish after the first round of the playoffs, nay friends, I am far too stubborn and convinced of my own greatness to voluntarily quit writing.
No my loyal readers, life and the pursuit of a better life (well, a better career) completely absorbed me after wild card weekend in the NFL. Which is a shame because I had a lot to say regarding Robert Griffin III and 'Kneegate' --my disdain for anything with "gate" attached to the end of it grows by the day, that was placed ironically-- the near collapse by the Atlanta Falcons, the thrilling performance by Colin Kaepernick, and the all-time classic in Mile High between the Denver Broncos and Baltimore Ravens.
Plus I missed an opportunity to drop some serious tunes! I'm sorry folks, it'll never happen again!
This is going to be a combination picks and music column once again, and it probably will be going forward since there will be so few things to dedicate songs to in the next few weeks. Consider the combination of #MusicMonday and NFL One-Liners the peanut butter and jelly of Football Nation: easy, delicious and classic.
Or if you're a drunk, this is the whiskey and cola of Football Nation: strong, smooth and likely to cause a fight.
Let's get on to the picks and the music!
Postseason Record: 6-2
For bookkeeping purposes, I hit on half of my picks last week; Nailed the Falcons and Patriots, whiffed on the Broncos and Packers. I honestly thought the Broncos and Packers were going to make it to the Super Bowl. So much for that thought. Here now is a song for the losers, this past week and the week before, to contemplate while they soak in a tub full of ice and gear up for a busy offseason of visiting strip clubs and organizing boat parties.
Song: Smithereens (Stop Cryin') by El-P
"Call out with a fiendish ring
Broken into smithereens
Everything's exactly how it seems
And it would seem that I am crying"
Given the young age of the teams that have been ousted thus far, no doubt they will be fixtures in the postseason for the foreseeable future. No shame in that!
It's only fair I dedicate one song to the four teams that have advanced to this far. The championship games last year were memorable, though not classics, and hopefully we have more in store this year.
Hey, given that three out of the four teams are the same, maybe we will!
Song: The Preacher by Brother Ali
"Rest assured I'm the best to do it in my neck of the woods
Hell yes I'm good
You can give me any test and I'll prove it no question
Let this be a lesson to you
When a superior send a message through the air waves
Your way, fool, just accept it
And consider it a blessing"
San Francisco 49ers @ Atlanta Falcons
After the near complete collapse by the Falcons, it's hard to have confidence that they'll be able to survive a team better than the Seahawks who happen to have a white-hot quarterback. There are some things the Falcons might have in their favor, namely on the defensive side of the ball. Stopping Kaepernick has proven nearly impossible but the Falcons are a bit undersized but are very fast in pursuit of the ball. Additionally, they don't have much of an upfield pass rush, possibly limiting the running lanes for Kaepernick when he drops back.
Mostly, I'm reaching for things here. The 49ers could not be playing better right now and there is nothing to suggest that anyone can slow down Kaepernick right now. I think you know who I'm picking, sorry Magic City.
Song for the 49ers: Sister Christian by Night Ranger
Oh, the time has come
And you know that you're the only one
To say, okay
But you're motoring
Song for the Falcons: Go! by Killer Mike
"I go ham
I go off
The gun go blam
I go in
I go hard
I go stupid oh my God"
Baltimore Ravens @ New England Patriots
The more things change, the more they stay the same. The narrative for both teams this entire season would have been different had Lee Evans caught that touchdown pass or had Billy Cundiff made a relative "chippy" last year. Instead there are stories of redemption and revenge on the Ravens' sideline as well as the continuation of the Ray Lewis farewell tour.
On the opposite sideline, Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are trying, yet again, to cement their legacy as the greatest head coach and greatest quarterback ever to set foot on the field. Could you imagine what the narrative would be if Brady was now going for his SIXTH Super Bowl title? It's crazy to think about, but the Patriots are two unbelievable plays away from being 5-0 in Super Bowls in the Brady/Belichick era. I think the Patriots, sensing this could be one of their last shots at NFL immortality, pass this particular test and await the next mountain that needs to be climbed.
I think this game is one that record books and past history will have no bearing on. Whatever flaws and strengths either team has will be irrelevant as this game could go down as one that will be talked about for quite some time. *Seals this game with the patented 'Pagel Kiss of Death', now it will be terrible*
Song for the Ravens: *Get Away by O.A.R. *The Baltimore music scene is not a strong one.
"Is it me or does it seem that life just carries on?
Now was it him who said that life is just a song?
Now I don't know what will keep me on this little Earth"
Song for the Patriots: Moving in Stereo by The Cars
"it's so tough to get up
it's so tough
it's so tough to live up
it's so tough on you"
If you caught the theme this week, good on you, if you didn't, no big deal! I'll be back next week with quite the extravaganza. Until then, rock on and enjoy the games!