2003-01-18 / Sports

Rolfe Says Don’t Overlook The Underdogs

Rolfe Says Don’t Overlook The Underdogs

The 2002 regular season had been a wild one for the NFL. From the Houston Texans winning their first game in franchise history on the opening weekend, to the Jets knocking off the Packers on the last Sunday to become the first team to start off 2-5 but still win their division; from the Browns losing their first game because of a guy who took off his helmet on the field, to that same player making a key stop on 3rd and goal to help Cleveland to their first playoff berth in their new incarnation; a lot of wacky things went down. So who would have thought in this age of parity and "on any given Sunday" that both the AFC and NFC Championship games would feature the top seed playing the second seed?

More than a few people around here, myself included, thought the AFC's top seed, Oakland, would get knocked off last week by the New York Jets. Unfortunately for Rolfe and the other Gang Green nuts, that was not to be. After the first half ended 10-10, there was some cause for optimism. But the Raiders came out and totally outplayed and outcoached the Jets in every aspect of the game, scoring 20 unanswered points and moving onto the next week of the playoffs. While some fans and media types pointed fingers afterwards- at Pennington, Chrebet, the secondary, Turk, the coach, etc.- for the most part, many people realized that the better team won this time around; and that the Jets look to be a force for next season.On to this week's games:

(Home team in CAPS)

Buccaneers (+4) over EAGLES- Tampa Bay has a lot of history going against it: the franchise is 0-6 in road playoff games; they never play well in the cold; they have been knocked out of the post-season by Philly 2 years in a row; and Warren Sapp becomes Casper in big games (no, not friendly, but a ghost). Throw it all out the window. This is an improved team, especially on the offensive side of the ball. If Mike Alstott can avoid any making any Tikis, the Bucs should be advancing to the Super Bowl for their first time ever. (Over 34).

Titans (+7.5) over RAIDERS- Tennessee has been overlooked all year, especially after their 1-4 start. Steve McNair played hurt most of the season, but managed to seemingly will his team to victory time after time. Meanwhile, Jet fans don't have to be told how good the Raiders are. The Titans don't have to be told either, after they lost to Oakland 52-25 back in Week 4. So why am I picking this way? Tennessee seems to be this year's Patriots. They got little respect entering the playoffs and before that, in the regular season- this 11-5 team had exactly zero players named to the Pro Bowl. At the very least, they should keep this one close. (Under 46.5)

Other News-

*** Has Pittsburgh coach Bill Cowher settled down yet? The only thing more ludicrous than Cowher charging after a ref following the Steelers' OT loss was Cowher in the press conference, trying to pronounce the word "ludicrous."

*** Is anyone else sick of the recent trend by too many teams to blame the referees for their shortcomings? It's ludicrous!! The worst case was the New Jersey politician who wants to sue the NFL for the Giants loss in San Fran. As part of the suit, he claims that the Meadowlands should host the 2006 Super Bowl. Ludicrous!! What's next-fat kids suing McDonald's for making them fat??

*** One knock on El Duque was always that he had trouble staying focused during the regular season. Why am I thinking Montreal is not going to be the best place for that? Then again, maybe not- Montreal is supposed to have many activities for 50-year-old men.

*** Watch a Knicks game; watch the movie "Kangaroo Jack"; or poke an eye out? I think the only question there for me is whether to use a stick or a fork...

*** One more reason to root against the Raiders-- Rolfe's sources tell him that well known Jet fan Fireman Ed travelled out to Oakland to see the Jet playoff game, but had to leave before kickoff after being hit in the back of the head by a thrown bottle. Ed was OK, but felt that staying there was not the safest idea for him and his guest. Too bad that the CBS cameras didn't catch that during their multiple shots of the Darth Vader and Dungeon and Dragons-reject looking crowd.

*** Science project results- if someone who doesn't normally drink coffee has about 7 or 8 Irish versions of it, that person will bounce around the room like a combination of Richard Simmons, Beavis and the Energizer Bunny.

*** I'm not a big reality show fan, but that "Surreal Life" on the WB is good stuff. Sure, Webster's laugh is annoying, M.C. Hammer is too preachy, and Vince Neil now weighs more than the rest of Motley Crue combined. Hey, Andrea Zuckermann doesn't seem to have aged much at all since her senior year at West Beverly High. (Of course, she looked about 35 then). And the Playboy/Baywatch chick seems smart. (Actual quote from the supermarket scene: "There's a tax on food? Is this new?") Surprisingly, watching these C-list celebrities interact is actually funny.

*** Speaking of celebrities no one knows, the Super Bowl edition of Rolfe's article will feature predictions by local "celebrities." (Basically anyone who replies to my e-mails) Check back right here for their picks next week!!

PLAYOFF RECORD- 4-4

E-Mail Address: RockawayRolfe@yahoo.com


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