Brady's hand proves too much for Jags
The matchup is set for Super Bowl 52 after both the AFC and NFC Championship games are in the books. Once again, the New England Patriots get back to the biggest stage of them all after rallying for a 24-20 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Patriots trailed by double digits in both the second and fourth quarters, but quarterback Tom Brady engineered a scoring drive which ended with a game winning strike in the back of the end zone to Danny Amendola with under 3 minutes to play.
Brady threw for 290 yards while wearing a bandage on his throwing hand. The Patriots are back in the Super Bowl for the second year in a row and for the fifth time in the last decade.
Eagles pound Vikings 38-7
Meantime, the Philadelphia Eagles absolutely annihilated the Minnesota Vikings 38-7, returning to the Super Bowl and a rematch of Super Bowl 39. Nick Foles threw for 352 yards and three scores while the Eagles defense forced three turnovers and took the Vikings out of the game early. Alshon Jeffrey caught a pair of touchdowns on the way to victory.
Super Bowl 52 will be on Sunday, February 4 in US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.
The Bandage, the Tuck, the Spy and the Footballs
Two weeks ago, the Patriots locker room was a den of anger, discontent and bitterness.
Patriots walloped Tennessee.
Last week, quarterback Tom Brady's hand was mangled and there was a sense of doom.
Brady throws for more than 290 yards, including dramatic game-winner over Jacksonville.
So what's next?
The popular one going around in the immediate aftermath of yesterday's AFC title game, and undoubtedly one we'll hear more about in the coming days is that Patriots owner Bob Kraft is paying off the officials.
Because that explains everything.
But we can more scandalous, right?
In this day and age of social media clutter and the need for salacious material, why not go right to the bottom of the well and throw in some marital infidelity within the Patriots locker room?
Surely there's a photo of Gisele Bundchen with a member of the Patriots team not named Tom Brady that we can find - better yet, let's put Photoshop to some good use - and turn into a bit of a firestorm.
Let's see Bill Belichick wriggle his way out of answering questions about that one.
It does seem that wherever the Patriots go, controversy follows.
Is it factually based? Sure, I suppose some of the storylines are more or less accurate. Find me a family that is tightly knit as the Patriots front office and celebrity athletes are concerned, and you're bound to find there are always some power struggles or strife underneath the soft, billowy cushioned life they all appear to lead.
But it's been this way for generations of sports teams. Jordan got all the calls... Hack-A-Shaq... the Yankees bought all their titles.
Being overly successful is nice, but it comes with a pricetag. And it's even more overplayed now that there are basement dwellers living on the adrenaline of a Twitter-fueled hashtag and conspiracy theory.
Let's get some of your better ideas for what can drive the headlines these next couple weeks. We've got 13 days of sports talk radio to fill up before "the Big Game".
The Opening Line
The Philadelphia Eagles are the biggest Super Bowl underdogs since 2009.
The Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas on Sunday installed the Eagles as 5.5-point underdogs to the New England Patriots for Super Bowl 52.
Other sportsbooks went higher. The Wynn opened at New England minus-6.5, and Caesars Palace and Station Casinos each made the Patriots minus-6.
William Hill's Nevada book went a touch lower, with New England opening as a 5-point favorite. The Super Bowl over/under was set at 47.5.
The Patriots will be looking for their second straight Super Bowl title and third in the past four seasons.
The betting favorite has won 33 of the previous 51 Super Bowls.
Philadelphia is the largest Super Bowl underdog since the Arizona Cardinals were seven-point underdogs to the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl 43.
For the record....
I wish I could adequately describe the glee I felt watching Tom Brady and the Patriots get past a stubborn Jacksonville team into another Super Bowl. That’s right, I cheered for the bad guys, like rooting for Darth Vader in Star Wars. I don’t claim fandom often, but I cheer for the dynasty because it makes for great headlines and makes this job the best thing going.
Who knows? By the time you read this, the Government Shutdown may be over with, but it bears noting that at the time of this writing, the Federal Government is "taking a break".... or maybe it's just a good time for us to be taking a break from them.
Either way, it's a temporary thing, it'll be over soon enough and -- like any dysfunctional relationship -- we'll all get back together, living under the same fragile, warped roof and pretending to love one another in due time.