This was disappointing for football fans as the Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots dominated to advance to Super Bowl LI in Houston.
Green Bay looked like they just ran out of gas, and couldn’t overcome all the injuries on both offence and defence. The Steelers lost running back Le’Veon Bell early in the game, which really hurt them offensively and then were badly outcoached by Bill Belichick and staff in the second half.
Perhaps Terry Bradshaw was right when he said Coach Tomlin was “a cheerleader coach!”
This sets up the Super Bowl with the NFL’s top-scoring offence against the team that gave up the fewest points in the league. What will give on Super Sunday?
Let’s hope this game will be great as this year’s playoff games have been disappointing!
Stat of the week
Former college lacrosse player Chris Hogan lights up Pittsburgh’s defence with a nine-catch, 180-yard game that is an NFL playoff record for an undrafted player.
Bonehead play of the week
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin and defensive co-ordinator Keith Butler continuing to play a soft zone defence against Tom Brady, who just shredded their secondary like it was a high school game. They continued to give Brady the same looks play after play, and somehow expected to slow down the Patriots’ offence?
Come on, they needed to play some man-to-man press coverage, so the Pats’ receivers wouldn’t continuously have that free release off the line of scrimmage and interrupt these passing routes. Not getting home with the pass rush was also a killer, but they showed no innovative ways to generate a rush.
Let the hype begin for the Super Bowl, which will have many different storylines as we get closer to the big game. Here are a few of the can’t miss stories:
Can Belichick and Brady win their fifth Super Bowl together?
Will Tom Brady accept the Lombardi trophy from Roger Goodell?
Can the Patriots shut down Julio Jones, who is a different monster – big and physical – than most elite wide receivers?
Will the Falcons win their first Super Bowl?
Can the young inexperienced Atlanta defence slow down Brady and his offence?
Can The Freak turn into Tom Brady if he starts drinking Kale shakes?
What goes into Tom Brady’s unique diet?
Revenge game for Coach Dan Quinn?
Matt Ryan chance to secure his legacy.
Will Coach Belichick say anything important in his press conferences?
Regular-season MVP, Super Bowl MVP?
Most players from one university in this game are not Alabama, not Florida, not LSU, but Rutgers.
How will the Patriots slow down the Falcons’ offence?
Super Bowl LI facts
Fox televises the game, with announcers Joe Buck and Troy Aikman.
Atlanta is the home team, and will wear red.
The team wearing white jerseys has won 11 of last 12, and is 32-18 overall.
The Patriots have 23 players with Super Bowl experience, and Atlanta has only three.
The Patriots beat the Panthers in Super Bowl XXXVIII in Houston.
Houston is hosting its third Super Bowl, and there still hasn’t been a home team play in this game.
Lady Gaga will host the halftime show, which had 116 million viewers last year. She sang the national anthem in last year’s game.
Patriots owner Robert Kraft bought the Patriots in 1994 for $175 million. Today it’s worth $3.4 billion.
Belichick is 4-2 (won-lost) in the Super Bowl, with the only two losses to Tom Coughlin and the Giants.
Atlanta is a three-point underdog. It will be interesting to see which way the spread moves. Since they started taking statistics, Vegas has won money 24 out of 26 Super Bowls.
Carl Cheffers is the referee.
All of the Patriots’ Super Bowl games under Belichick have been three- or four-point games.
Last week: 0-for-2.
John Turner is a Summerside schoolteacher and coaches youth football. His column appears every Saturday during the NFL season. Feel free to e-mail questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.