Nothing is guaranteed.
There’s no such thing as a sure thing.
You never know when a good thing will end.
The Green Bay Packers, after finishing one of the best regular seasons in NFL history, lost to the New York Giants at home in their first game of the playoffs. They were outplayed by the Giants in all three phases. Eli Manning played better than Aaron Rodgers. With the exception of a few blown calls, everything seemed to be going the Giants’ way, from a first-half-ending Hail Mary touchdown, to Rodgers having his second-worst game of the season at the worst possible time.
But the Packers suffered an even bigger loss earlier in the week. The 21-year-old son of offensive coordinator, Joe Philbin, drowned in a Wisconsin river.
Like that. 21. Gone.
No one knows what effect it had on the Packers as they prepared for the Giants. But it certainly puts in perspective what football means in the grand scheme of things. It is a game we love, a game the players love to play, but it can’t heal. A Green Bay win would have been emotional…there would have been tears in the locker room, Mike McCarthy would have given the game ball to Joe Philbin, and the Packers would have been that much more determined to bring home a second-straight Super Bowl.
But their journey is over. The team that so many penciled in to win the Lombardi Trophy, is out. No such thing as a sure thing.
Some other sure (and not so sure) things from the past weekend…
Drew Brees > Alex Smith. Not in Saturday’s final 4:02 in San Francisco, which caused me to make as many strange noises as any four minutes of an NFL game that I can remember (I’m choosing to eliminate the 2007 Super Bowl). Once Brees threw a go-ahead touchdown to Jimmy Graham, I had my doubts about Alex Smith leading the 49ers down the field for the winning score. But a few perfectly thrown balls and blown coverages later, we got my favorite non-Patriots moment of the postseason so far…
Athletes crying after making a play warm my heart. Happy tears FTW. Vernon Davis produced a multitude after Smith threw him a bullet, and Davis snatched the ball, just before Saints safety Roman Harper could snag it for a game-ending interception, for the winning score. I dare you to watch Davis’ spectacular waterworks display in the arms of Jim Harbaugh and not crack a smile. Best stuff starts at 2:04.
Rookie quarterbacks on the road, in the playoffs, aren’t to be trusted. T.J. Yates proved this theory correct on Sunday, when the Ravens picked him off three times in a 20-13 win. The Baltimore defense looked like its defense of old, literally and figuratively…their leaders, linebacker Ray Lewis and safety Ed Reed, are 36 and 33, respectively. They certainly won’t be facing a rookie QB Sunday when they take on Tom Brady, who looked as good as he has all season in Saturday’s win over the Broncos (Editor’s note: I definitely first typed “as God as he has all season”. Can’t…stop…thinking…about…Tebow…). We’ll see how they do when they have to cover these guys…
Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez are the Boston TE Party. I’ve loved many Patriots over the years, but I’m hard pressed to find two who have had more fun, or have been as much fun to watch, as the record-setting pair of tight ends. In just their second season, Gronkowski is arguably the best tight end in the league, and Hernandez has proven to be a versatile weapon with speed and strength. The only explanation? My meeting with Gronkowski over the summer.
Saturday confirmed their arrival on the scene, with Hernandez showing quickness lined up at running back (!!!…what other TE can do that??) and Gronkowski scoring three times.
Nothing’s for sure, but certain things that have a higher probability of awesome. Approach them with excitement, and cherish them as they’re happening.
What “sure things” are on your plate this week? How are you going to enjoy them?