January 30, 2024


If ever there was a week that exemplified what stupidity can look like, both on the football field and on the sideline, it was the Championship Weekend we just enjoyed. We have to discuss as well as a couple of new head coaching hires in what has been the most mediocre and uninspiring coaching carousel in recent memory.


First off, I feel sorry for John Harbaugh. He tried to mitigate the bad karma and Taylor Swift hate all week and was forced to watch in horror as his own dumbass team immediately ruined it with Zay Flowers’ touchdown celebration with the rest of the offense that mocked Taylor Swift dancing with Travis Kelce’s family from the Buffalo Bills AFC Divisional win.

I have said this for weeks. You dummies are going to piss off the football gods to the point that the Chiefs will just walk into a third Vince Lombardi and you are doing everything to prove me right. I literally had the thought, the second I saw that celebration, that there was no way Kansas City was going to lose and instantly regretted my Ravens pick. John Harbaugh and I both knew what would happen with a pissed off Travis Kelce and annoyed football gods. Zay Flowers though, he’s a rookie. Someone should have informed him of how these things work.

Of course, Flowers wasn’t done, as the football gods saw fit to have him suffer a fumble at the goal line that would have been a touchdown as well as a taunting penalty that set up the eventual goal-line butterfingers play. Zay Flowers, as you would expect, is now getting death threats on Twitter, because that’s the platform Elon Musk has turned it into, but only for the fumble and taunting, not for angering Football Zeus atop Mount Lombardolympus with his stupid dance.

There was also some pregame stupidity from Justin Tucker trying to screw with Patrick Mahomes during his warmups. Travis Kelce put a stop to that, and then Kelce and Mahomes teamed up to put a stop to Baltimore’s season.

But, more than that, it was the complete abandonment of the running game. This was the best rushing offense in the league and they had 16 rushing attempts total in the game and literally half of those were Lamar Jackson designed runs or scrambles. This was a game in which the Baltimore defense held the Chiefs scoreless all through the second half. It was never out of hand and they just abandoned everything that worked for them all through the 2023-24 season. I’ve been the guy praising new offensive coordinator Todd Monken since the preseason, but what the hell happened here? At home? This was malpractice and just stupid. If the Chiefs win the Super Bowl, and with two weeks of Taylor Swift hate fueling them, they certainly could, Baltimore should view this year as a “missing ring.”

And that’s not even touching on Mark Andrews putting his hand up like he was open while being triple covered. This was the dumbest coached football game I’d ever seen… for all of about two hours….

As for Kansas City, the big dogs showed up when the lights were the brightest. And the guys that are a tad less heralded on a team led by one of the best quarterbacks of all time and the undisputed best tight end in NFL history, on the defense, played huge once again. In a year where no one outside of the Swiftie-verse believed Kansas City would make it back to back-to-back Super Bowls and their fourth in five seasons, they got it done. This is why, to build a dynasty and win consistently, you must have a sorcerer at quarterback and a genius head coach.


Alright, let’s get into it. The Lions led this game 24-7 at the half, completely dominating the 49ers and all but punching their ticket to the first Super Bowl in franchise history. Yes, they would have lost, either to the Ravens or the Chiefs. That much is certain, but they would have had the experience and, hey, you never know. Injuries and freakish things can happen in a Super Bowl. Nick Foles outdueled Tom Brady once for God’s sake.

But Dan Campbell would not let his team get the chance. Sure, the Lions have enjoyed going for it on fourth down or going for two in weird situations and it’s worked out. It also has not, literally costing them a game against the Dallas Cowboys that would have made them the two seed in the NFC.

Momentum is a real thing, regardless of what any coach or philosopher wants to pretend and not making the fourth down there, regardless of the play and Josh Reynold’s drop (and it would have been a tough catch. Let’s not act like Jared Goff put it on him perfectly), the risk vs reward of even making that call, eschewing a very makable field goal from 45 yards away to go back up three scores with just a quarter and a half to go, was a game altering stupid decision.

I texted a buddy right after and told him, “The 49ers are going to win this game now” and they were still down by 14 when I sent it.

Football works how it works. You pin a team at the one with a punt and let them pick up a first down, they usually score. You go for it on fourth down and don’t get it in a big game, the other team always scores. Yes, Brock Purdy nearly tossed the game right back to Detroit with a stupid throw that should have been easily picked instead of turned into a volleyball dig for Brandon Aiyuk to haul in, but that’s how the football gods work. You pay for doing something dumb. That’s why you never see guys running dynasties or potential dynasties making those kind of calls. There’s a reason no one else does it, Dan Campbell — because it’s the stupid thing to do.

Campbell had a chance to make it right. Down three after giving up the lead, with a chance at a 47-yard field goal, again easily makable by an NFL kicker, Campbell once more rolled the dice, but they were cold. Instead of tying the game and playing on, the Lions were now officially done for. With literally 7:32 left in the game, it was over.

Because the Niners, with the short field, scored another touchdown and that was that. A trip to the Super Bowl, and a likely defeat, sure, was lost. And I’m here to tell you, I don’t think the Lions are ever getting this far again. Not with Jared Goff and not with Dan Campbell. By the time the season was over, the Green Bay Packers had caught them in the NFC North and if you play that Los Angeles Rams vs Detroit Lions game 10 times in a row, the Rams probably win nine of them and will be significantly better next season.

The very narrow window in Detroit is now closed. And if they don’t make the playoffs at all in 2024-25? Campbell and Goff will both be hitting the bricks.

As for the 49ers? We need to control a narrative right now. First, there is no doubt that Brock Purdy is an NFL quarterback. But if you look at all 14 quarterbacks that have taken the field in the playoff bracket this season and have Purdy ranked anywhere higher than No. 14 out of that group, you have stepped through a multiverse portal or magical wardrobe, because you have not watched the same NFL playoffs that I have.

Purdy is good enough to be one of the 32, no question. He’ll have a long NFL career, probably wrapping it up as a back up. Joe Flacco without the cannon and there’s nothing wrong with that. But let’s not pretend this is Joe Montana and Steve Young slinging the ball out there in the crimson and gold. The biggest play of the game he made should have been a pick and only a freakishly athletic play from Brandon Aiyuk made it a highlight. The ball literally bounced off a Kindle Vildor’s face. If Vildor literally just fields a ball thrown right to him, Purdy is sitting at home right now kicking rocks and hoping the Niners don’t call up Kirk Cousins in the offseason. Vildor could have fair caught it like a punt.


San Francisco 49ers vs Kanas City Chiefs (+2, 47.5)

That spread is fair and the total is not terrible. In fact, three of the last five Super Bowls were under that mark. Two, of course, blasted past it. So, again, that’s probably solid.

All of NFL punditry will be making their picks in a week, so I won’t spoil mine right now.

Here’s what concerns me for both teams — for the Chiefs, is the inability to keep it rolling on offense. Sure, they have the best defense they’ve fielded in the Patrick Mahomes era, but getting shut out in the second half of the AFC Championship is worrying. Especially since Baltimore was always, until the final whistle, one play away from tying the game. Kansas City won, and that’s all that matters, but the way their defense shut down the Ravens, they should have put them away early.

As for the Niners, it boils down to health and Brock Purdy. Christian McCaffrey hurt his shoulder on this final touchdown. He has two weeks to heal it up, but we have no idea how serious it is or how it will affect his performance. We’ve seen teams that lean on a superstar running back not be able to do anything in the Super Bowl when that guy isn’t 100 percent. Look no further than the 2018 Los Angeles Rams with a hobbled Todd Gurley. As for Purdy, he obviously needs everyone healthy and on the field to perform anywhere near a winning level. Regardless of flashes, fluke moments and a few successful crunch time plays, Purdy, on the whole, has played like garbage in the playoffs. Make no mistake, if the Purdy that stood behind center in the last two playoff games shows up in the Super Bowl, San Francisco is losing by two scores.


Over the last week we had three more head coaching positions filled, with Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris getting nabbed by the Atlanta Falcons, the Carolina Panthers hired Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Dave Canalas and the Seattle Seahawks brought in Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald to take over the team.

The Washington Commanders remain bridesmaids and have yet to decide on who they want to take over their franchise before inevitably firing them three years later under a cascade of exploding poop-filled toilet water.

It is their way.

What is remarkable about this hiring cycle is just how unremarkable it’s been. Only one big name, Jim Harbaugh, former Super Bowl losing coach of the San Francisco 49ers and the NCAA Champion Michigan Wolverines, has been honored with a job, in his case — the Los Angeles Chargers.

The other big names currently in the wind? Bill Belichick, Pete Carroll and Mike Vrabel? All sitting on their barcalounders scrolling Tayvis accounts on TikTok like the rest of us.

The other two big names? Offensive coordinators Bobby Slowik of the Houston Texans and Ben Johnon of the Detroit Lions have both decided to remove their urban sombreros from the ring of contention. For Slowik, I’d imagine it’s because the job he wanted in this group was already taken. As for Johnson, after one of the worst coaching performances of all time, which we all witnessed in the NFC Championship, maybe some of the bloom was off the rose? There’s rumor out there that Johnson’s asking price for the Commanders was too high? I suspect that offered contract’s dollar size and year length was altered after watching Johnson melt down in the NFC Championship and call two flea flickers like your pissed off little brother getting blown out on Madden.

While there might be shock that Caroll, and especially Belichick, have remained unclaimed off the coaching free agency wire, I can see it. Carroll has, without question, been an excellent coach over the last two years after replacing his former All-Pro and Super Bowl winning quarterback, but he doesn’t feel like a guy you’re ready to start a rebuild with. Belichick, since losing his former All-Pro and Super Bowl winning quarterback, has head coached like a cat walking across a piano keyboard. He has not proven even one time he can do it. Tom Brady, literally, fell into his lap by accident.

Plus, Carroll is 72 and Belichick is 71 so you know what that means… they should both be running for president.

For me, Mike Vrabel’s continued man cave banishment is the biggest surprise. It’s just as curious as the Tennessee Titans and owner Amy Adams Strunk being dumb enough to fire him in the first place. He looks like the perfect guy to take over the Commanders, but there’s no movement on that at all.

The biggest issue with many of these hires seems to be “control.” As in, how much power do you want to surrender to the head coach and, potentially, a general manager? That apparently kiboshed any chance of Belichick signing with the Falcons, at least that’s floating around in the ether.

Recent history especially has shown that the most successful teams are owned by rich dudes who let their general manager, head coach and the rest of their staff run the team with very little interference. They’re involved in the big calls, as they should be, but you never hear of any time where, say, a Stan Kroenke has gotten overly into the Rams’ draft strategy. He’s hired the best people in the business, paid them well and let’s them work without his nose inserted anywhere in it. For his trouble his teams have won championships in every single major sports league in which he owns a team. The Hunt family that owns the Chiefs? The only time you even see them is when they pick up the AFC Championship and Vince Lombardi trophies. The Rooneys? All they’ve done is stay out of the way of a franchise that hasn’t had a losing season in nearly two decades.

You could argue that the fact that Robert Kraft has been a more “vocal” owner of the Patriots over the last few seasons has also directly led to their recent faceplant. Jerry Jones’ inability to keep his hands off the daily operations of the Dallas Cowboys ran Jimmy Johnson out of town and literally ended a dynasty. Dallas has not even been to an NFC Championship in almost 30 years.

This is why guys like David Tepper, Jimmy Haslam and the rest are always fielding losing teams. Because whatever they think they’ve learned in the “business world” doesn’t work in NFL Football and it never has.

The lesson is clear for these owners. If you keep your hands off your team, you get to put them on a Vince Lombardi Trophy.

Follow Adam Greene on Twitter @TheFirstMan and Threads at @Adam.Greene

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