So I haven’t posted in eight days and I have no excuse. I have been reflecting over this time about how well the Browns did in their run, how the fact they held the Chiefs to 22 points while the Bills allowed 38 points in the NFC Championship. The Browns were one good drive from beating the Chiefs in the divisional round and based on the way the Bills played last Sunday, the Browns would have beaten the Bills and would now be in the Super Bowl. but that is all hyperbole and hypothetical because in reality the Browns fell short and they are now in their offseason, beginning to prep for the draft, and trying to make sure they continue the success from this season into next season. Eight days is a lot of time to reflect on what could have been, and eight days is a lot between posts, but it has been a remarkable season for the team I have rooted for since I was a little kid in the ’70s and to have experienced so much failure since then only to see it happen again is a lot to ponder over.
REFLECTIONS ON A SEASON I NEVER EXPECTED
The Browns exceeded everything I was expecting this year and to honestly believe that they would go from 6-10 with a front office and a coaching staff that was inept, had no idea what they were doing, a head coach that was in over his head, and a team that underperformed based on the talent on the roster to what we saw this season with 12 wins, beating Pittsburgh in a playoff game on their own home field for the first time in over a decade, along with coming within one drive of beating the world champs, is more than I could ever imagine. I am proud of this team from the front office all the way down to the equipment managers for achieving all that they have accomplished in the 2020 season. No traditional offseason, no mini camps, no training camps, virtual meetings, virtual implementations of a new offense, new defense, and overall implementation of a new culture by a first-year head coach and staff. The players all bought in, they never questioned the goals laid out by Kevin Stefanski and his coaching staff. Despite all of the challenges, despite all of the hurdles placed before them, let alone the consistent cloud of COVID hanging over their heads, they never wavered, never lost sight of the goals placed before them, this team that was in disarray last year at 6-10, they exceeded expectations and made it t the divisional round of the playoffs. I am proud to be a Browns fan and the future is bright and full of possibilities.
Green Bay and Tampa Bay was set up as the battle of the over the hill QB’s, specifically Brady vs Rodgers… Turns out it was the Bucs defense that stole the show and not the QB’s so much. The Bucs defense smothered Rodgers and basically dominated the game. I had flashbacks to 2002-2003 when the Tampa defense was the most dominating force in the NFL. They sacked Rodgers five times, intercepted him once, and overcame Tom Brady and his 3 interceptions, and prevented the Packers from capitalizing on those picks and only allowed 6 points off those turnovers en route to a dominating performance and handing Aaron Rodgers his 4th straight defeat in the NFC Championship. As for the AFC Championship, it wasn’t even close. The Chiefs dominated the Bills from the opening gun. After spotting Buffalo 9 points, the Chiefs ran off 3 straight touchdowns and by the end of the half, it was pretty much over. The Chiefs defense pressured Josh Allen for the majority of the game and confused, pressured, and harassed him causing a lot of mistakes and missed opportunities for the majority of the game. Add to that a lot of questionable calls going for three instead of six for the better part of the second half, and it was no question that the Chiefs were the better team and deserved their spot in SB LV.
SUPER BOWL LV
Chiefs vs Buccaneers – For the first time in NFL history, a team gets to play for the championship in their own home stadium. The Super Bowl is being played at Raymond James Stadium, the home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Tampa is provided the opportunity of being the first team in NFL history to host the game in their home stadium. This year the NFC is actually the “home team” and the Buccaneers will be in their own locker room and have a “home field advantage” despite only 22,000 fans allowed in the stadium due to COVID. Since I live here in Lakeland, 30 miles from the stadium, I find myself rooting for the Bucs, but not just because of the hometown connection. I watched the Chiefs last week be poor winners and they decided to be over the top winners. they brutalized Buffalo, didn’t give them an ounce of respect, and pounced on them during and after the game, pouring salt on the wounds of the Buffalo Bills. They have become arrogant, cocky and feel that no team is in their league. I have a question for the Chiefs… have you MET Tom Brady? We’ll see what happens but despite the fact, the Bucs put together their team this year with paid ringers in the form of Brady, Gronk, and Bryant in order to get where they are, I am rooting for the Bucs… Something I haven’t done since 2003 when they won Super Bowl XXXVII.