2:24: Welcome to my fourth-annual Championship Sunday Diary. I'll be posting comments like this throughout the afternoon and evening about every three minutes. Keep refreshing this page if you want to check out what I think about the game, announcers, commercials, etc. I'll post my first comment around 3:05ish.
3:10: People call Championship Sunday the best Sunday in football. Well, at least one person does (Chris Berman.) Not for me. I can never win. I turned on the TV way too early for Falcons-Eagles and Broncos-Steelers back in 2005 and 2006. Those games started at 3:10 for some reason. Last year, I was late for Saints-Bears because I was out to lunch with my parents, who were leaving for vacation. This year, I was in the bathroom until 3:08ish (when I go, I usually spend like 50 minutes on the can. Seriously, I'm going to get hemroids sometime soon), so I turned on my TV, and I saw the Chargers punting the ball away. Lame.
3:13: I like the chick in that bank commercial where her idiot boyfriend puts coins in the machine, causing the bottle to explode. That girl reminds me of Alex from Lost. Unfortunately for that guy, Alex has an annoying French mother and the psychotic father who feeds his people to polar bears. Yeesh.
3:15: Why are both quarterbacks heaving the ball downfield? I guess they didn't check the weather reports on my site. Idiots.
3:17: So, turns out Norv Turner told Phil Simms that his team wasn't a big underdog. Yeah, 14 points is nothing. I hope Turner's not a degenerate gambler; I could see him parlaying every single double-digit point spread every single week. Says Turner, "Ha! Texas over Baylor by 35? That's an easy cover!"
3:20: Dude... Dude... Dude!! Dude? Dude...
3:21: Did you see what she was wearing? Like ew!!!!!
3:22: Second series for the Pats. Let's hope Tom Brady doesn't heave it 40 yards downfield this time. All short stuff, Tom.
3:23: So, I just realized that I told Brady what to do in a playoff game. I'm a jackass.
3:25: Nice stop by the Bolts on third down. Four drives, four punts.
3:26: Is it just me, or does this game lack Championship Sunday intensity? These teams look like they're sleepwalking. I wish the Colts had beaten San Diego. A New England-Indy rematch would have been awesome.
3:28: Ahhh, stupid McDonald's, thanks for wasting your advertising money on some crappy commercial where some diseased-looking kid was dancing to crappy music eating your crappy food.
3:30: Keep running the ball with Michael Turner!!!!!! Don't throw it out of bounds!!!!
3:33: The team that wins this game will be the first to realize that heaving the ball 30 yards downfield won't work in this wind. I'll predict Tom Brady stops doing that before Rivers, who's nothing more than a big jerk.
3:34: Ummm... never mind. Brady gets picked off by Quentin Jammer. I just don't get what these quarterbacks are thinking.
3:37: Chris Chambers was clearly out of bounds, but Norv Turner may want to challenge this because I don't think Nate Kaeding can hit this kick.
3:38: Ummm... never mind. Kaeding barely gets a 26-yarder through the uprights. It was a short attempt, but I thought the distance and wind would cancel each other out, leaving a kicker whose specialty is botching easy field goals in the postseason and then looking stoned on the sideline.
Chargers 3, Patriots 0
3:45: Anyone find it that Philip Rivers isn't cursing at any fans, teammates, coaches or opponents? He's just sitting there. Maybe he can't think of any insults right now.
3:47: End of the first quarter. San Diego's up 3-0. I'm not surprised at all that the Patriots look a little lackadaisical. I said they would be flat in my weekly picks page because of a Colts letdown. If Indianapolis were playing today, New England would be completely focused.
3:49: First-and-goal at the 9. No way the Patriots don't get into the end zone.
3:51: Touchdown, Laurence Maroney. I can't wait for NFL Primetime. Chris Berman's already getting ready for, "I got a gal named Boney Maroney!" Vegas should have props on which references Berman uses. That is, of course, if ESPN actually grows a brain and realizes that Berman and Tom Jackson should host the show every single week.
Patriots 7, Chargers 3
3:53: Does anyone even watch these obscure CBS shows? Jericho? Numbers? I mean, seriously... how is this channel "America's most-watched network?" Maybe in the 60-and-over demographic. I can't wait for Lost. That show starts in 11 days. I'm seriously crapping my pants in anticipation.
3:56: I'm taking Vincent Jackson in all of my fantasy leagues next year. Oh, and if you're in one of my leagues, I'm just kidding. My sleeper next year is Greg Lewis on the Eagles. Please don't pick him!
4:01: LOL - they should have saved that dog sausage commercial for the Super Bowl.
4:02: Nice stop by the Patriots inside the red zone. The Chargers can't afford to settle for Nick Kaeding's shaky and stoned field goals.
4:03: Field goal good. I don't care how high Kaeding was, he couldn't possibly miss a 23-yarder.
Patriots 7, Chargers 6
4:05: Tampayay in my forum just brought up a good point. Philip Rivers isn't yelling at anyone because he's too drugged up. That explains everything. Thank God - I can sleep easily tonight.
4:07: The Patriots are starting at the 40 on every possession. Kaeding should just boot the ball out of bounds on every kickoff from now on.
4:12: Wow... Kelley Washington... remember when he dubbed himself the "Future" when he was at Tennessee? I didn't realize he was still in the league. I thought he was holding a change can in some Nashville alleyway, hoping to save up for a bottle of cheap vodka before nightfall.
4:14: Rivers is picked off by Asante Samuel! What a dumb throw - I can't believe he heaved the ball downfield as he was falling down.
4:15: Touchdown Patriots, Brady to Gaffney! Good job, Chargers - way to give New England the ball on your 20.
Patriots 14, Chargers 6
4:19: Apparently Rivers is so drugged up he doesn't realize that tossing the ball up in the air 30 yards in 25-mph winds is just a dumb idea.
4:24: Big Brother 9...? Seriously, how did that show make it past its third year? "Now that's good television!" Ugh. Go to hell, lady.
4:25: Patriots will be punting, but don't worry New England fans - Rivers is bound to throw another pick soon.
4:32: Here comes a Kaeding miss. I can feel it.
4:33: Kaeding is 0-of-4 on postseason kicks beyond 39 yards. No shock there. He should just change his name to Aurora Snow and make adult movies. He can tell the viewers that he's 19 so they can sell more copies.
4:35: Holy ^(*(_)#)(@, Kaeding hit a 40-yarder. I'm convinced a higher power influenced that outcome. He/she must have Chargers +14.
Patriots 14, Chargers 9
4:42: Awesome Bill Cowher to Shannon Sharpe exchange. Cowher harped on going with Billy Volek, and Sharpe essentially went to say, "Yeah, I thought about that already," causing Cowher to roll his eyes. Classic. Oh, and I was able to understand Sharpe because I had subtitles on. Thank God my TV translates Shannon to English.
4:43: And Dan Marino offers no opinion. Nice. "I like both teams. Both teams are playing hard. I don't know who will win this game. It will be close." Way to go out on a limb, Dan.
4:45: Cowher really wants Volek under center. I can't argue that - a change will take away New England's intensity while giving the Chargers a healthy guy at the helm.
4:54: I can't believe Randy Moss has no catches. I wonder if it's San Diego's great defense, or the fact that Moss' hands are too bruised after he allegedly hit some woman.
4:57: Weirdest interception ever. Donte' Stallworth tipped it into Drayton Florence's hands. The crowd didn't even react to it. I'm telling you, Gillette Stadium sucks in terms of noise volume. I can't even hear the fans.
4:59: All hail Phil "The King of Hindsight" Simms! He didn't even mention that he was opposed to benching Rivers until he completed his first pass of the third quarter.
5:01: Anyone up for banning Southwest Airline commercials?
5:04: Junior Seau is awesome. He deserves a Lombardi Trophy.
Patriots 14, Chargers 12
5:09: 49ersFan just asked whether Southwest Airlines or IBM had the worst commercials. I say Southwest and here's why: IBM doesn't try to be funny. They appeal to CEO/CFO business types who need to upgrade hardware and software in the office. Southwest, on the other hand, tried to be funny with that banning commercial and completely failed.
5:15: Why is Rivers sitting by himself on the bench? Doesn't he have any friends? He should just pay some of his teammates to hang out with him.
5:17: Big third-and-goal at the 2 for San Diego's defense. They need to keep this a one-possession game.
5:18: Interception in the end zone! Antonio Cromartie! Now, if only the NFL adopted my new rule, the Chargers would have the ball at the 20. I propose that any turnover inside the 20 automatically gets returned to at least the 20, which would give players more of an incentive to attempt a return while not penalizing a defense for picking off a long pass.
5:20: I'd like to enter Budweiser into the argument for worst commercial on TV. This guy who keeps talking about Budweiser is annoying. I buy beer based solely on the commercials because it all tastes the same to me. I'm definitely not purchasing Budweiser any time soon.
5:30: Mac-PC. Good thing I don't have my gun, or I'd put it in my mouth right now. I love how Mac is boasting about a time-machine feature that... ummm... PCs have had for years!
5:31: Pats have first-and-goal. No way Brady throws another pick.
5:33: Brady to Welker. Touchdown. That about seals it. If one of those field goals the Chargers kicked was a touchdown, they'd still have a shot. Down 21-12, it's looking pretty bleak, even with 12 minutes left.
Patriots 21, Chargers 12
5:38: Big third-down conversion to Vincent Jackson. Like I said, I'm taking Jackson... errr, Greg Lewis... in all of my leagues.
5:40: Nice dive by Rivers. He probably would have gotten the call if he weren't such a jerk.
5:46: Great diving catch by Kevin Faulk! I can't believe no team has ever tried to pry him away from the Patriots with a decent-sized contract.
5:47: Is it just me, or does LaDainian Tomlinson look like Darth Vader with his helmet and coat on?
5:48: Way to blow a timeout, Norv. Good job.
5:50: Pull the trigger, Mr. Chang, so you can lose your money quicker in the receding stock market!
5:54: Norv Turner... tsss... I am your running back... tsss... put me in the game and we can rule the AFC... tsss...
5:55: Chargers use their final timeout with 3:36 remaining in regulation. I can't say I'm shocked.
5:56: I hope no one calling the game for San Diego reads this, but the Chargers should let the Patriots score here. They'll get the ball back with three minutes left. Even with a touchdown, San Diego will still be down two scores.
5:57: If the Patriots get a first down here, the game's over.
5:59: Game over. Congratulations to the Patriots, and anyone who had the Chargers +14 and the Under.
Final Score: Patriots 21, Chargers 12
6:00: 18-0 is pretty unbelievable... Thanks for reading my rants. I'll be back for the start of the Packers-Giants game.
Random Thoughts Between 6:00-6:40: Milky Way Hot Chocolate? M&M-covered donut? Holy crap, I'm going to Dunkin Donuts every day for the rest of my life, which should be another two years after a heart attack kills me. ... Shannon Sharpe: "You wanted odd numbers, but you got threes instead of sevens." Uhhh... who exactly wants even numbers? Would the Chargers have won with a bunch of safeties? ... Junior Seau while holding up the Lamar Hunt Trophy: "We have a chance... to be part of... ever..." Emmitt Smith's reaction: "Yeah, that make sense to me!"
6:41: Now this is what I was talking about. The start time for this game was supposed to be 6:40. FOX and CBS really need to decide how long they want to wait until after the official start time to actually commence each contest. I'm tired of getting screwed.
6:45: What were those weird blue letters on the field? This is FOX's biggest game of the year, and they screwed up on the first play? Good job guys.
6:46: Nice sign for Packer backers - Brett Favre isn't forcing anything downfield, which is something Philip Rivers never figured out.
6:48: Ugh. Never mind. Why did Favre try to force a long throw to Greg Jennings in this weather? It's just dumb.
6:56: What's going on? Eli Manning was supposed to suck in cold weather. Green Bay's defense was supposed to be good. How are the Giants converting every single third down?
7:00: Big third down for Green Bay's defense. The Giants cannot get into the end zone if I'm the Packers.
7:01: Cullen Jenkins!!! You have to pick that off!
7:02: Lawrence "New York" Tynes hits a 29-yarder.
Giants 3, Packers 0
7:04: Sausages! Sausage! Sausages, sausages, sausage!!! Classic - I'm getting Bud Light from now on until I see a better commercial.
7:05: Well, I guess we can look on the bright side. Teams that have scored first this postseason have lost. I'd like to see the Packers generate a long drive without any forced throws.
7:07: Wow, Packers go three-and-out after an awkward second-down underhanded toss to Ryan Grant. If Eli has another long drive, we could be in trouble.
7:15: My bad - FOX has the Super Bowl this year, so naturally, Ryan Seabreeze is hosting a ridiculously long 4-hour pregame show. I'm not a big fan of the Super Bowl. There's just way too much hype. I prefer Sundays like these - two big games and no 90-year-old half-time performers.
7:19: Packers go three-and-out again. Blah. I haven't seen the Packers play this poorly offensively this year.
7:22: I have to say that I hate everything Blu-Ray discs stand for. People just made the switch from VHS to DVD a few years ago. In fact, I still have a ton of VHS movies in my house. The public's not ready for another switch. What these companies do is release something once they're convinced everyone has something. They could have sold us on Blu-Ray discs eight years ago, but they wanted people to buy DVDs first. They already have something better available, but they want everyone to purchase Blu-Ray first so they can make as much money as possible. I vow that I'll never buy anything Blu-Ray ever.
7:28: I definitely want to see Jumper, just for Rachel Bilson. If I could "jump," I'd sneak into the Oregon cheerleaders' locker room. No, wait, damn it, that's invisibility.
7:30: Giants held to another field goal, but Eli Manning looks awesome. He's like a silent assassin. You don't hear a word from him, but he's been killing everyone this postseason.
7:31: I can't believe Tynes and Kaeding are a combined 6-of-6 today. Looks like our higher-entity friend has the Giants +7.5 as well.
Giants 6, Packers 0
7:35: Donald the Duke and the Driver... Could... Go... All... The... Way!!! (Sorry NFL Primetime withdrawl)
Packers 7, Giants 6
7:41: Huge hit by Atari Bigby. I have no idea how Plaxico Burress didn't drop that. Huge third-and-10 coming up for the Giants.
7:43: Trammond Williams just nearly gave me a heart attack.
7:45: Now Favre just nearly gave me a heart attack. Thanks for throwing it into triple coverage, Brett. Forget living for two more years. I'll be done by 8:30.
7:48: Wow, Vernand Morency's even worse an actor than Philip Rivers. Refs should give unsportsmanlike penalties to guys who flop. It's pretty embarrassing.
7:55: That's a pretty bad call on Michael Johnson. These chippy illegal-contact penalties have to go.
7:58: Ugh, it's the Budweiser guy. Please shoot me now.
8:00: I had a conversation about the Wendy's Abraham Lincoln commercial yesterday. It's somewhat creative, but how much time went into shooting that? Think about it - Wendy's had to find 99 people who look like Abraham Lincoln. Then, they had to get 99 of the same outfit, and find a big enough dressing room for those guys to fit into their wardrobe. And for what, a mediocre commercial? These people spend their money so frivolously it really makes me wonder.
8:02: Great play by Antonio Pierce to ruin a potential Packers touchdown on a screen.
8:03: Mason Crosby is good from 37. I'm shocked by how well the kickers have played today.
Packers 10, Giants 6
8:08: I can't believe they didn't challenge the Plaxico Burress catch/fumble. It looked like a good grab to me.
8:10: Great stop by the Packers inside their 35. Manning looked great in the two-minute drill, just as he did at Dallas last week. Burress should have caught that pass.
8:16: W00t, let's hear for people who have no control of the English language reading halftime highlights!
8:19: I kind of want to see that lie detector show on FOX. I hate reality TV but this one seems legitimate.
8:21: Great post by Brian in the forum: "Looks like Bradshaw must have stayed warm by killing a bottle of whiskey during the first half... LMFAO at Howie and Curt looking at him like 'uh, want to get with the program?'"
8:22: Ah, local news in Philly. You know it's a bad day in the city when the top news story isn't a homicide.
8:29: Question - if the clock's running down in the second half, and you're looking at a 3rd-and-9, wouldn't you opt for taking the 5-yard penalty instead of using a timeout? I'd rather have the timeout at the end of the game.
8:34: What a horrible call, you have to let the quarterback play too. Two B.S. penalties have really helped the Giants on this drive.
8:37: To be fair, the Harris penalty was legit, but I can't believe Collins was whistled for roughing the passer.
8:49: I really hope Tom Coughlin writes these referees a check. The bogus roughing-the-passer penalty, along with the horrible spot off the Brandon Jacobs fumble were terrible.
8:50: I find it odd that the officials are favoring the Packers. You'd think the NFL would want a Patriots-Packers Super BOwl.
8:52: Wow, Sam Madison's an idiot. How can you commit a personal foul penalty when you've held the Packers to a field goal or a punt?
8:53: Touchdown Donald Lee... We think...
8:53: Touchdown Donald Lee... maybe...
Packers 17, Giants 13
8:54: Guess Coughlin's check bounced. I'm not surprised.
8:55: God bless Packer bikini girls.
9:02: That's definitely a catch by Toomer. If the Giants score a touchdown on this drive, people who had the Packers are screwed.
9:05: Touchdown Ahmad Bradshaw. Packer backers are essentially screwed, barring some sort of miracle pick-six.
Giants 20, Packers 17
9:10: Brett Favre has now reached the point where he's throwing up punts into triple coverage. We're done.
9:12: I don't know about these "high interest" savings account things. Even a good one - about five percent - pretty much sucks. If you put $10,000 into an account, you get just $500 a year, which is nothing compared to the 10K.
9:15: Mark Tauscher for President!!!
9:16: Way to set up a screen for a loss of 8,000 yards.
9:17: Another improbable field goal. Mason Crosby is good from 37.
Giants 20, Packers 20
9:25: Eli Manning has really won me over this past month. The Giants deserve to win this game. Green Bay's defense has sucked royally, while New York, minus two long plays by the Packers, has been exceptional.
9:30: Except for the timeout situation. Manning too often lets the play clock run down. He's young though, so he should be able to fix that.
9:32: Why did the Packers just accept a penalty instead of putting the Giants in a 4th-and-5?
9:33: I guess Coughlin has 24-hour bank service because he must have wired the officials more money. I don't get where the refs saw pass interference on 4th-and-5.
9:37: This kick is automatic. No one's missing tonight.
9:38: Wide left! Lawrence Tynes waits for nobody! (Sorry, another Berman-ism).
9:41: I don't understand why the Packers didn't run the ball on that last drive. Ryan Grant has carried the ball just 12 times this evening, while Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw currently have 31 rushes combined.
9:48: I thought the Packers would have scored the go-ahead touchdown or field goal by now. This definitely looks like Favre of 2005-06 rather than 2007. Green Bay's offense looks completely lost. I think you have to give a lot of credit to Steve Spagnuolo.
9:50: Eli's going to slay the Lambeau Ghost right here. Giants win 23-20.
9:51: Fumble!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The Lambeau Ghost lives!!!
9:52: Never mind. Giants ball. Here we go Eli.
9:53: Looks like Coughlin's check bounced again. Stop writing bad checks, Coughlin!
9:57: That's a terrible spot. Should bring up third down.
9:58: Funny thing from Bill Simmons' mailbag. One reader commented that if the Giants were losing in the fourth quarter, the look on Archie Manning's face would seem like he was thinking, "Damn it, why didn't I slap Eli around a little bit more when he was a kid?"
9:59: Ahmad Bradshaw. What a bizarre name - straight out of the Madden Franchise Name Generator.
10:00: Steve Smith down to the 21!
10:01: The Silent Assassin clocks it with one second remaining. I'm going to crap my pants. Again.
10:02: Ice the kicker.
10:03: Tynes waits for nobody. New York Tynes. Tynes after Tynes... The Tynes is neigh. Berman-ism overload. Eject brain.
10:04: WIDE LEFT! HIGH SNAP! BAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!
10:05: What is up with Giants long snappers in the playoffs? Seriously, why do they suck so bad?
10:06: Packers get the ball. I guess Coughlin forgot his double-headed coin.
10:08: The running game's been a non-factor for Green Bay because they haven't carried the ball much.
10:09: Coughlin's face looks like it's going to fall off. Too bad for him - he's going to have to spend even more money in plastic surgery next week.
10:13: 47 yards!!!!!!!!!!!!! It's good!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It's good!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Eli Manning is going to the Super Bowl!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
10:14: NoNonsenseCoach: Third Tynes a charm!!!
10:15: Congrats to the Giants. The Packers sucked horribly today. Favre was terrible. Green Bay's defense couldn't rattle Manning. Mike McCarthy forgot the running section of his playbook at home.
10:16: Eli doesn't look excited at all. Awesome.
Giants 23, Packers 20
10:20: Unbelievable. No one thought the Giants would get this far. I had them last in the division at the start of the season - and I felt pretty smart when they were 0-2. I criticized Eli to no end. I thought they should have played the Patriots tough in Week 17 because they had no shot at the Super Bowl. And the Packers -7 was my Pick of the Playoffs. I, along with millions of other football fans, have doubted this team all year. They deserve all the credit in the world.
10:22: Thanks to everyone who read seven hours of my incoherent rants. I'll be doing this for the Super Bowl, and the NFL and NBA Drafts as well. Meanwhile, check out my 2008 NFL Mock Draft, which will be updated Monday morning with a fourth round.