The last few weeks of the NFL season every year are some of the busiest in all of the sports world, and this year was no exception.
After the final regular season games are played and teams begin to prepare for the playoffs, those teams that didn’t qualify for a chance to play for the Lombardi Trophy sit down and discuss the future of their team.
That day has been given the name “Black Monday” around the sports world.
This year’s version of Black Monday saw more than ten NFL coaches and general managers get canned. Coaches who were fired include Arizona’s Ken Whisenhunt, Buffalo’s Chan Gailey, Cleveland’s Pat Shurmur, Kansas City’s Romeo Crennel, Philadelphia’s Andy Reid, San Diego’s Norv Turner, and perhaps most surprising of all, Chicago’s Lovie Smith.
The changes didn’t stop there.
Along with firing their coaches, Kansas City, Cleveland, and San Diego also let their general managers go. The New York Jets, after a circus like season, also fired their general manager, but retained head coach Rex Ryan.
Teams shuffling their front office isn’t the only news in the world of football. On the field the quest for the Lombardi Trophy has begun.
The playoffs kicked off with a game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Houston Texans in Houston last Saturday afternoon. In a rematch from last year’s Wild Card Weekend matchup, the results were not too different as the Texans came out victorious. They will look to avenge their Week 14 loss to the Patriots as they travel to New England.
Perhaps the most interesting game of the weekend was the game between the Indianapolis Colts and the Baltimore Ravens.
Just a few days after legendary Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis announced his retirement at the end of the season, the Ravens went out and knocked off the surprising “Chuckstrong” Colts at home by a score of 24-9. Lewis looks to continue his Hall of Fame career with a win in Denver this weekend against the AFC’s top seeded Broncos.
Over in the NFC, it was a matchup of upstart teams led by hot, rookie quarterbacks. The Seattle Seahawks came into the playoffs riding a seven game winning streak, and the Redskins were on a five game streak. Seattle’s rookie QB finished on top as Russell Wilson and the Seahawks overcame a two touchdown early deficit to knock off RG III and the Redskins.
Griffen III suffered a torn ACL and LCL in the loss and will have surgery to repair the damage while Wilson begins preperations for the top seeded Atlanta Falcons.
The late game on Saturday evening featured two Seneca Valley Alumni in the Packers Don Barclay and the Vikings Brandon Fusco. The two teams split their regular season matchups, each team winning at home, and the theme continued. Barclay and the Packers won the game by a score of 24 to 10 to advance to the divisional round against the San Francisco 49rs.