I wrote a recent article explaining why I thought the 2022/2023 NFL playoffs were downright boring and uneventful.
A BTSC reader, WillGMCC, called me out on this claim by saying, “The jags comeback against the chargers was the third largest in postseason history. If you didn’t care that’s cool but lacking excitement, coming back from 27-0 decided by a field goal as time expired….please. You sound salty that your team didn’t make the cut. On a side note Pickett ain’t it chief. Good luck with that.”
My first takeaway: Will is a Jaguars fan, and when it comes to that, who knew they had any, other than the one dude from The Good Place?
My second takeaway: What’s with the unnecessary shot at Kenny Pickett, the pride of the University of Pittsburgh and the next great quarterback of your Pittsburgh Steelers? Geeze, this dude is like Elaine’s bad breakup guy from that one episode of Seinfeld.
My third takeaway: Will made a good point. How could I have left out the Jaguars' comeback victory after trailing the Chargers, 27-0, in a primetime postseason game on Wild Card Weekend?
But it wasn’t all on me. Even Al Michaels and Tony Dungy, NBC’s broadcast crew for this affair, called Jacksonville’s winning points as if they were happening in the preseason.
Why were they so blase about the Jaguars' comeback win? Why did Michaels’s play-by-play call make him sound like he was witnessing the Miracle On Ice while on Xanax?
Why didn’t this epic comeback even register in my brain as I was writing an article about how boring the playoffs were?
Maybe it’s because I, along with Michaels, Dungy and the rest of America (outside of WillGMCC), have become desensitized to witnessing thrilling things take place before our eyes.
In fact, it’s almost as if we expect them these days.
Ever go on Twitter? Those folks would demand that the coach of the 16th seed be fired if his team didn’t knock off the number one seed in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
Everyone wants to be number one. Everyone feels as if they deserve to be champions. There are no more underdogs, only teams that come up short when it matters the most. We have so many “fan nations” now that it’s almost impossible for a Cinderella story to capture the hearts and souls of society.
Actually, when you really think about it, outrage may be our new drug, and we seem to derive much more satisfaction from being angry than we do from pleasure.
What can we be mad about today? What’s the new sensationalized story? Did Mike Tomlin let his team go to the movies before a big game? Was someone late to practice? Did a player skip OTAs? Did another team pick the guy the Steelers wanted in the draft?
Did the waiter fail to smile while bringing you your dinner?
Maybe it's not just entitlement or outrage that causes us to fail to be impressed by a team coming back to win after trailing by 27 points in the playoffs. Perhaps it’s the new way of the NFL and how it has legislated things so thoroughly in favor of the offense, that today’s 27-0 deficit used to be yesterday’s 13-0 deficit.
Do you remember the time the Chiefs overcame a 24-0 deficit against the Texans in the divisional round of the playoffs? You don’t? Wow...it happened just three years ago.
In fact, I believe that comeback was a distant memory (in everyone’s minds) by the time Kansas City lined up to take on the Titans the following week in the AFC Championship Game.
How did the Texans feel about it? How long did it take their fans to recover from it? Sure didn’t seem to hurt the people of Houston nearly as much as the previous time their professional football team—the former Houston Oilers—relinquished a huge lead in the postseason. I’m talking about the 35-3 lead Houston blew against the Bills in a wildcard game following the 1992 regular season.
We still talk about that game 30 years later. The call by the Bills’ broadcast crew—including the Pirates' own Greg Brown—was epic.
There was an A Football Life episode dedicated to those ultra-talented Oilers teams of the late-’80s and early-’90s, with their implosion in that wildcard game being the centerpiece of the feature.
What’s the first thing you think of when you see Frank Reich (in addition to wanting him to be the Steelers' next OC, of course)? That he was the quarterback—the backup quarterback—who engineered Buffalo’s historic comeback against the Oilers many years ago.
I doubt there will ever be a feature on the Texans’ epic collapse against the Chiefs. I also don’t expect Kansas City to cherish that win like the Bills have embraced their comeback against the Oilers.
We live in different times. It’s a fastbreak society where much is needed to wow us.
Will was right about one thing: I am salty, salty that things like the Miracle On Ice are now expected every week and not cherished forever.