Playoffs best time to watch pro football

Published 2:23 am Thursday, January 13, 2005

By Staff
Lou Vickery
I appreciate the opportunity to share my perspective on the world of sports with you.
Any professional sport without question places a premium on the regular season games. But in my estimation, the level of competition intensifies when the playoffs begin. That's when I become a sure-fire fan of professional football.
The games this past weekend had some noted surprises, with the road teams claiming three victories. Only the Indianapolis Colts and Peyton Manning upheld the home field advantage with a blow out, 55-24, win over the Denver Broncos.
Remember that was the same Denver team that had beaten the Colts the week before, 30-14, in a Manningless game. Peyton didn't play that week, but he looked like a puppet maestro pulling the strings Sunday, throwing for 457 yards and 4 TDs.
In other games, San Diego was defeated by the New York Jets in a shocker. Seattle, who lost to the St. Louis Rams twice during the regular season, bit the dust for the third time. And Green Bay got hammered by the Minnesota Viking, a team Green Bay had defeated twice during the regular season.
Bret Favre had a difficult day for Green Bay and is comtemplating retirement. Bret has lost his father and father-in-law during the last 13 months, and his wife, Deanna, is fighting breast cancer.
Given these circumstances, it may be time for Bret to walk away from pro football.
Here are some interesting tidbits from the first weekend of playoff action: Minnesota and St. Louis were the first teams with an 8-8 record to advance past the first round….No winning team had a running back gain more than 66 yards…Dante Culpepper, Minnesota's QB was the Vikings leading rusher with 54 yards…Peyton Manning, the NFL's MVP for the second consecutive year (tied with Donovan McNabb in 2003)who threw for 32 touchdown passes indoors during the regular season, threw four more indoors against Denver. And Manning's 457 passing yards was the second highest in playoff history…Randy Moss of the Vikings pulled another stunt by simulating the mooning of the Packer fans after scoring on a touchdown pass.
You may not know that the Packer fans have a tradition of mooning the visiting team's bus after a game – quite a unique send off.
The best match up this weekend is Indianapolis at the New England Patriots. Peyton Manning goes from 72 degrees and no wind in his indoor home stadium to 20 to 30 degrees outdoors in New England. I am picking the Colts to pull the upset even though the Patriots have won the last five meetings.
In other games, I think the Philadelphia Eagles will outlast the Minnesota Viking. The St. Louis Rams will send Michael Vick and the Atlanta Falcons packing. And the Pittsburgh Steelers will edge the New York Jets.
WINNERS THOUGHT: To reach the mountain top, you cannot talk like a valley dweller.

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