With his on-air partner Hines Ward on the field celebrating the history of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Bob Costas went back to his halftime commentary. This wasn’t as obnoxious as past diatribes. This was discussing how the 2012 really starts now. Ok, I guess the first 10 weeks didn’t count.
Here’s the transcript.
The arrival of Thanksgiving means the season is nearing its home stretch. As it does, the landscape at the top of the standings is notable for its, well, uncertainty.
While the NFL is rightly known for its parity, alongside the notion that every team has a chance every season is the reality that over the last several seasons one team has often stood apart, at least in the regular season. Over the past six years, five teams have jumped out to 10-0 starts or better, including the Packers a year ago and well-remembered teams led by Peyton Manning in Indianapolis and Tom Brady in New England.
While it didn’t happen this year, today, two teams moved to 9-1, though hardly in impressive fashion. In Atlanta, Matt Ryan threw five interceptions, nearly giving the game away to the free-falling Cardinals. And in Houston, the Jaguars, with just one win all season, scored 37 points against the vaunted Texans defense, and led by 14 in the fourth before Houston awoke and then won it in overtime. So, if it’s possible to be 9-1 but still not a clear cut favorite, that’s where the Falcons and Texans are.
And here’s part of the reason why: It’s been nine years, going back to the ’03 Patriots, since the team with the league’s best record won the Super Bowl. Instead, it’s been teams like the 9-7 Giants last year, the 10-6 Packers of two years ago, who snuck into the playoffs as a Wild Card on the last day of the season, plus other Wild Cards, and not-necessarily dominant division champs, who rode late momentum to the Super Bowl.
So in light of that trend, may we suggest you cast an eye toward New Orleans, once left for dead at 0-4, now a surging 5-5 and looming larger in the rearview mirror when it comes to the Wild Card race.
Thanksgiving is four days away and the real NFL season is just beginning.
ON THANKSGIVING NIGHT GAME BETWEEN JETS AND PATRIOTS
Rodney Harrison: “I think the home team has the advantage. You don’t have to worry about packing up. You don’t have to worry about getting on a plane. You have that extra day of rest. Just in case you’re a little sore, you can hop in the hot tub. I think definitely the home team has the advantage.”
Tony Dungy: “I always felt the team with the veteran quarterback has the advantage. I went on the road twice on Thanksgiving in Indy with Peyton Manning, and we won huge both times. You can do things. You can just put in quick new game plans, and I think that bodes well for Tom Brady.”