Monday, October 19, 2020

Game of the Week

Do they even do NFL Game of the Week anymore?  I have no idea.  Anyway, I got to thinking about what games they would choose for this season if Steve Sabol were still around.  Here are the games I would pick:

Week One:  Rams 20, Cowboys 17

Week Two:  Seahawks 35, Patriots 30

Week Three:  Bears 30, Falcons 26

Week Four:  Buccaneers 38, Chargers 31

Week Five:  Seahawks 27, Vikings 26

Week Six:  Titans 42, Texans 36


  1. These are good. In autumn 1974, American Airlines had a deal to show NFL Game of the Week on its flights, and they considered it a big enough attraction to make it the focus of its display advertisements in more than one city newspaper.

    I've been watching a lot of This Week in Pro Football with Tom Brookshier and Pat Summerall from NFL74, and it's so great. I am partial to the set with all of the helmets hanging on the wall behind them, and they've moved on in the last couple of seasons to the set with the big coffee table in the shape of a football. This is good, too, though. And I'm not sure whether they are using a different writer or editor, but the narration seems a little more elbows up these days. They've taken shots at Bobby Douglass and Joe Thomas in the last couple of episodes I've watched.

  2. I recently received some reader mail that I would like to address:

    Eric, how does this Dolphins team compare to the 2016 Dolphins, which reached the playoffs with a record of 10-6?

    How does it compare to the 2008 Dolphins, which won the division with a record of 11-5?

  3. First, thanks for reading, and thanks for the questions.

  4. Now, in 2016, it was a good season. The Dolphins' had a first-year head coach who seemed to have a plan and control of the team. They won 10 games after starting 1-4 and went to the playoffs. I'm almost always optimistic about Miami, but I was even more optimistic than usual about Miami after NFL16.

  5. 2008 was a good season, too. A friend of mine sent around an email so several people that December asking what some of our favorite things about the year were, and here was my list:

    -- the Obamas

    -- The Office

    -- boiled eggs

    -- pastries

    -- composting

    -- Mad Men

    -- Young@Heart

    -- nfl76, nfl77, nfl78 and nfl79

    -- the resurgence of the dolphins

    -- Chad Pennington

    -- cats

    -- Lucky

    -- lake cumberland state park

    -- cumberland falls state park

    -- ottawa


    -- David Gergen

    -- our cary, n.c., herb garden

    -- the dec. 15-16 snow in madisonville, ky.

  6. This was the season after the 1-15 debacle with Cam Cameron, whom I had been quite excited about. The Dolphins hired Bill Parcells to take over the team, and he had never been my cup of tea. And they hired ex-Jet Pennington to be the new quarterback, and, so, I had ill history with him. So I needed some convincing, and then they convinced me.

    After an 0-2 start, they went to New England on Sept. 21, and that was the game where they debuted the "Wildcat" formation and stunned the Patriots, 38-13. We were in the absolute teeth of moving from North Carolina to Kentucky at that time. We spent that Sunday looking at houses in Madisonville, and I remember going into some restaurant with a TV and Greg Gumbel or somebody cutting in to whatever game they were showing with a clip of Ronnie Brown running in for another touchdown. I just couldn't believe it.

  7. Both of those teams had first-year head coaches (the NFL08 Dolphins' head coach was Tony Sparano), and both were rebuilding their rosters around first-round offensive tackles (Jake Long in NFL08 and then Laremy Tunsil in NFL16). I always like it when the Dolphins take offensive linemen in the first round of the draft. It feels prudent and responsible.

  8. I don't think I'm more optimistic about the NFL20 Dolphins than I was about either of those two teams, but I think I'm as optimistic. Other than changing coordinators after last season, which seemed like curious moves, I've not much doubted anything seen out of Brian Flores. And that includes switching in this bye week from Ryan Fitzpatrick (whom I adore) to Tua Tagovailoa as the starting quarterback.

  9. I think it's possible that Fitzpatrick might've remaining starting quarterback of 0-6 Dolphins than the actual 3-3 Dolphins we have. Had Flores gotten to the bye and it was clear that this season was a wash, I think he would've just given Tua the whole year to rehab and learn. Instead, Miami's in second place in the division, a game behind the Bills who at the moment lead the Jets by only 12-10. So it must be that Flores is taking his chances with the quarterback he genuinely believes gives him the best opportunity to advance to the playoffs and win this season.

  10. Quarterback is the big difference between the 2020 Dolphins vs. the 2016 and 2008 Dolphins. Chad Pennington was a ninth-year quarterback in 2008; he was very good, but we had a sense of his ceiling. Tannehill was still learning the position because he had played wide receiver in college, but 2016 was his sixth season as the Dolphins' starter--we thought we had a sense of his ceiling, even if it has turned out later that we were wrong.

    But Tua? Wow. Who knows? Could be a huge disappointment for us Dolphins fans. Or, legitimately could be amazing. That's different.

  11. Speaking of my main man, Ryan Tannehill, his Titans have closed to within 27-24 of the Steelers. Pittsburgh's driving, though.

    Here's how I think the AFC postseason would seed out at the moment:

    1. Steelers (up, 27-24, on Tennessee in the fourth)
    2. Titans (down, 24-27, to Pittsburgh in the fourth)
    3. Chiefs
    4. Bills (up, 15-10, on the Jets in the fourth)
    5. Ravens
    6. Colts
    7. Browns (up, 31-27 on Cincinnati in the fourth)

    So: Go, Jets. Go, Bengals.

  12. And the NFC, I think:

    1. Seahawks
    2. Bears
    3. Buccaneers
    4. Eagles
    5. Packers
    6. Cardinals
    7. Rams

  13. Titans call timeout with 2:45 to go. Pittsburgh faces third-and-2 inside the Tennessee 10. This feels like a very important play in the AFC story of NFL20 ...

  14. Ben Roethlisberger throws a superquick slant to a rookie receiver, Chase Claypool, and the Titans converge just as quickly to stop him just short of the first down. There's a flag, and it's offensive pass interference on Pittsburgh. Tennessee elects to take the penalty, and now Roethlisberger has another chance ... not sure I would make this choice ...

  15. But it's a good one ... Tennessee INTERCEPTS Roethlisberger's deflected bullet to the end zone, and so it remains 27-24 with 2:18 to play.

  16. The whole time Tannehill was in Miami, I had this sneaking hope that he would turn out to have a career arc a little like Terry Bradshaw's--maybe elongated, maybe not as high of highs, but sort of like Terry Bradshaw's. I still root for Tannehill, but now my sneaking hope is turning into a bit of a sneaking fear.

  17. 1:36 ... Tennessee first down at the Pittsburgh 44 ...

  18. Third-and-12, and Tannehill gets 20 ...

  19. Oh, intentional grounding on Tannehill puts the Titans back to the Pittsburgh 35 with 45 seconds to go. That was big.

  20. Complete to the 28 ... 23 seconds ...

    Deep to the corner of the end zone ... incomplete ...

    Fourth down.

  21. Stephen Gostkowski misses the field-goal try, and Pittsburgh will be the leader after Week 7 for the AFC first-round bye.

  22. Oh, good, the Bengals lead the Browns. It's 34-31 with 16 seconds to go.

  23. After the Football Team threw away last week's game against the Giants with an idiotic two-point conversion attempt, I consoled myself by assuming that they were tanking in hopes of getting Trevor Lawrence. But today the FT steamrolled Dallas 25-3. I'm pretty sure that's the biggest margin of victory they've had over Dallas in the 28 years I have lived here. Anyway, it appears that the FT will not get Trevor Lawrence. But now I really have no idea why they went for two against the Giants.

  24. I just want to point out that the Bills won today, 18-10 over the Jets, without punting or scoring a touchdown.

  25. Since 1995, there have been only three seasons -- 2007, 2011, and 2017 -- in which the Super Bowl was won by a team from the NFC East.

  26. Week Seven: Cardinals 37, Seahawks 34 (Overtime)