The final week of the regular season was a week to remember but not for the football.
What will be remembered is the way the medical personnel saved Damar Hamlin’s life when he suffered cardiac arrest. A truly inspiring story.
But when it comes to the football, the NFL once again didn’t handle a crisis well. There are still denials but it appears the league’s first reaction was to try to finish the game. We may never know exactly what happened but it was obvious the players weren’t going to play. Technically, the players can’t refuse to play but under the circumstances there was no way the NFL could threaten them.
And once the game was cancelled, the league decided that if the Bengals lost a second time to the Ravens, they would have a coin flip for home field advantage in the playoffs. The Bengals weren’t thrilled about that but beat the Ravens anyway.
And the final weekend of the season was anti climactic. The NFL is learning seven teams in each conference making the playoffs is at least one too many. They don’t have seven good teams in each conference.
Going into the final week, New England, Miami and Pittsburgh were alive in the battle for the AFC seventh spot. Buffalo knocked out New England and Miami clinched by beating the Jets. The Steelers beat the Browns but were eliminated.
The Steelers were the real winners. They got to end the season with a win and not have to go to Buffalo where the Dolphins are a huge underdog. It didn’t matter which team got the seventh seed. All three had little chance in Buffalo.
Seattle got the seventh spot in the NFC when they beat the Rams to knock out the Lions, who then knocked out the Packers to hand the spot to the Seahawks
All the Seahawks won was a trip to San Francisco, which has beaten them twice.
And Philadelphia sewed up the top seed in the NFC by beating thtie Giants, who rested their quarterback.
The best game game Saturday night was the Jaguars beating the Titans and will host the Chargers Saturday night in what should be a good game except that the winner is likely to go to Kansas City.
The Chiefs figure to once again be in the AFC title game. If Buffalo also makes it, the game will be played at a neutral site. Buffalo is likely to play Cincinnati next in a game that will have a lot of drama.
Philadelphia and San Francisco figure to play in the NFC title game.