From the Sidelines


Once again, we are at that point in the football season that has one game left.  All the college bowls are long over, the Senior Bowl, All-American Bowl, and all the other bowls that the NFL has to look at players are by now done.  Now, it is time for the Championship game, and it will probably draw a huge audience again. Say what you want about the NFL, but like it or not, people watch it!

The NFL is one of the most watched annual sporting events in the world.  The broadcast is seen in over 130 countries around the world and in more than 30 languages. However, the viewership is predominately North American, with the Super Bowl being the most watched T.V. event every year in the United States. Up until Super Bowl XLIX, the final episode of M.A.S.H. was the most watched T.V. show ever with just over 105 million viewers. Super Bowl 49 (for those of you Roman Numerically challenged) drew 114.4 million people! So, no matter the critics, The Super Bowl is the king!

This year we have two former winners of the Super bowl in the Philadelphia Eagles, and the Kansas City Chiefs. The Eagles won in 2018, beating the Patriots 41-33. The Chiefs won in 2019, beating the San Francisco 49er’s 31-20. The Eagles were 14-3 this year, as the Chiefs were also 14-3. I watched both games Sunday, but the Bengal/Chiefs game was special!

As a sports fan, I look forward to more years of watching the Chiefs and Bengals and their 2 outstanding quarterbacks for years to come. That was a great game to watch, and I look forward to that matchup! I know a lot of you Bengals fans think the Chiefs got helped into the Super Bowl by the referee’s, but I did see the replay of the “extra” 3rd down, and the Field Judge did try to stop the play well before the snap of the ball, so they got it right.  Here is Ron Torbert, the referee’s full explanation:

“On the previous play, there was an incomplete pass,” Torbert said via pool reporter Ben Baby of ESPN. “We spotted the ball, but the line judge came in and re-spotted the ball because the spot was off. We reset the game clock, and the game clock started running. It should not have started running because there was an incomplete pass on the previous play. The field judge noticed that the game clock was running. He was coming in to shut the play down so that we could get the clock fixed, but no one heard him, and the play was run.“After the play was over, he came in and we discussed that he was trying to shut the play down before the ball had been snapped. So, we reset the game clock back to where it was before the snap and replayed third down.”

Torbert also explained that even though the play wasn’t affected by the official trying to stop the clock, it is still NFL protocol for the play to be redone.“If we were trying to shut down the play and we couldn’t, we would shut it down and go back and replay the down,” Torbert said.

So, even if some fans aren’t happy with how the officiating crew performed on Sunday night, Torbert expressed that the crew was just following protocol at one key moment.

I did emphasize the part about the clock that said it should not have been running as that was the key to the whole situation. One thing I do know, having refereed before, is sometimes the home team clock operators get a little……uh……”helpful” to the home team(ask Larry Ullery, or Dale Ary!), so you do have to keep an eye on that!  So, now that this is settled, let’s take a look at the upcoming game.  This is my very unscientific look at the game from a fan’s point of view.  Feel free to totally disagree!

Both teams at this point seem to be relatively healthy. The Chiefs were a little beat up before the Cincinnati game, but their depth helped them quite a bit.  Philadelphia seems healthier, especially at QB, with Jalen Hurts showing no effects from his shoulder injury, while it is yet to be seen about Patrick Mahomes ankle. The slight edge goes to the Eagles….very slight.

There is no question that the Eagles Offensive and Defensive lines are much better. That was shown by how they ran the ball against a very good defense in the San Francisco 49’ers, and the pressure they applied to the 49er’s QB’s. The defense basically knocked out 2 of their quarterbacks! The Chiefs, while sacking Joe Burrow 5 times and forcing 2 interceptions did well, but they did not dominate after the first quarter.

Their offense could not run the ball against a very good Bengals front four, so I give the edge to Philadelphia. At tight end, there is now doubt that Travis Kelce( his brother Jason is the All-Pro center for the Eagles!) is the best tight end, so edge, Chiefs. As for the other skill players (receivers and running backs) I think this is pretty close, but I give the receivers to the Chiefs, and the running game to the Eagles, so call that a toss-up.

Special teams are very close too, with Football Insiders ranking the Chiefs #1 and the Eagles #3! Special teams are very underrated by fans, but coaches know the value for field position and turnovers. This could determine the outcome. One of the more important stats is turnovers. Turnovers and injury affect more games than anything else. The Chiefs had 23 this year, while the Eagles had 19.  Once again, too close to really give a real advantage to either team, but it goes to the Eagles…….barely.

Finally, who has the better coach? I think this is a huge advantage to the Chiefs.  Andy Reid has been here before, winning the Super Bowl in 2019 and his teams have been in the playoffs 19 times, and he has been coach of the year 3 times!  He knows what he is doing!  Nick Sirianni was with the Chiefs from 2009 until 2018 as quality control coach. In 2018 he had a 3 year stint as a very successful offensive coordinator of the Indianapolis Colts, and was named Eagles head coach on January 24th, 2021. These men know each other, but Andy Reid gets the nod here based on longevity and experience alone.

So, based on all this wonderful knowledge I have imparted on all of you(?), What do you think? I am picking the Eagles 28-17 based solely on their defensive lines ability to rush the passer (remember Mahomes has a bad ankle!) and stop the run, plus their ability to run the football much better than the Chiefs. Who knows for sure but we will see. Just enjoy the game! That’s the way I see it, from the sidelines!