So now what? Championship Sunday is on the short list for best day on the sports calendar, along with the opening of the NCAA tournament and the NFL draft, among others. But the day after the NFL conference finals always represents transition. Football season is essentially over. There is one only game left, and Sundays with multiple games are gone until September. I thought the title games, like much of the playoffs, were meh. The Colts and Bills opened the playoffs in thrilling fashion, with an exciting game that made us think an awesome postseason was perhaps in store. That hope never really materialized, though, and there were moments when I think the lack of fans hurt the atmosphere.
Championship Sunday started with promise, but the Packers’ decision to kick a late field goal on fourth-and-goal, coupled with the pass-interference penalty to seal the game, really zapped a lot of drama and left viewers with sour tastes in their mouths. Illegal contact was largely ignored all game until being enforced on the game’s most important play. I’ve never been a fan of the “let them play” mantra. I think rules should be the same regardless of the situation, and the danger of that mentality was clear Sunday. If we’re not calling most fouls, OK, but where do we draw the line? It was the correct call but incongruent with the way the game had been refereed throughout, and it led to an anticlimactic finish.