Breaking news Wednesday had the Washington Redskins sitting Robert Griffin III down for the rest of the regular season, turning the offense over to Kirk Cousins. This is not directly due to injury, though Griffin has been taking his fair share of shots this season. It is, instead, perhaps somewhat of an admittance of guilt on the part of Mike Shanahan.
With just three weeks left in the NFL season, the playoff picture is finally beginning to come into focus. In both conferences, ten teams have legitimate playoff chances of one sort or another. While only three teams—Washington, Tampa Bay, and Atlanta—are mathematically eliminated, it would be a stretch saying that teams like, say, Jacksonville or Houston have any real chance of catching and passing the chain of teams ahead of them.
Remember the 1968-69 Celtics and 1974-75 Warriors, both of whom won the NBA Finals despite middling 48-34 records? The Washington Bullets of 1977-78 had an even more so-so regular season record at 44-38, and they ended up winning the 1978 Finals, defeating the 47-35 Seattle SuperSonics. It was indeed a case of giant-killing at work, as the Sonics would go through the lower-seeded L.A. Lakers, then the odds-on favorite Portland Trail Blazers, then another strong team, the Denver Nuggets, before reaching the Finals.
With the ABA having dissolved and four teams from that league getting absorbed by the NBA, the league grew to 22 members in 1976-77, as two teams that were doormats of their respective conferences just a few years back fought for the NBA championship that season. We're referring to the Portland Trail Blazers, who finally got one healthy year out of 1974 top pick Bill Walton, and the Philadelphia 76ers, who landed the biggest catch among ex-ABA stars – Julius "Dr. J" Erving.
At the start of the season, who would have thought the SEC Championship would be an all Tiger affair? I thought it would be Carolina and Bama, and it almost was, so I a least got the semi-finals right…. Who is going to win on Saturday? Let's look at the intangibles, since both teams are talented on both sides of the ball so that's a tossup.
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It was once said everything changes. Nothing stays the same. No truer words have ever been spoken after what I saw last Saturday in the SEC. Of course programs rise and fall, and the eternal cycle of what plays out before us changes every year, every class and every decade.
With Denver sitting on a 24-0 lead at halftime, it looked all over for the New England Patriots. By the time regulation ended, we had been treated to another great Manning-Brady showdown, one worthy of any of their better clashes. This one wasn't mostly about the quarterbacks, though – the Patriots drove themselves into a deep hole early via fumble problems, putting the ball on the turf five times, losing three of them, and basically spotting Peyton Manning and the Broncos a 17-0 lead.
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The Pro Football Hall of Fame released its list of 25 semifinalists, which will be cut down to 15 in January before up to five names from this list will get measured for tacky golden jackets. Here's a quick and dirty power ranking of the 25 nominees.
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