By Marc Lawrence — Following last weekend’s NFL playoffs, Nate Davis of the USA TODAY espoused: The excitement and anticipation are partially fueled by a desire to watch some exciting football games. Given what an overall disappointment the divisional matchups proved to be, the Championship Games hold hope for more excitement. The AFC contests were marred by concussions sustained by Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson – though it says something about the progress the league has made on that front that neither former league MVP returned to games of such import. On the NFC side, Aaron Rodgers and Co. never seemed to be in imminent peril against the Rams, while turnovers kinda took the bloom off the uber-hyped Bucs-Saints battle featuring Brady and Drew Brees. FYI: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who play in Green Bay next weekend, are one win from becoming the first team in NFL history to host a Super Bowl in their own stadium … The average age of the four NFC starting quarterbacks in the divisional playoffs was 37.8 years, oldest ever for this round. And the average age of the four AFC starting quarterbacks in the divisional playoffs was 24.3 years, youngest ever for this round … to read more on what we learned form last week’s Divisional Playoff Round games click here.
Like Dan Marino, longtime Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers was great leader and player, even if he never made it to Super Bowl. Once he replaced Drew Brees as the Chargers starter in 2006, he never missed a game, 240 in a row, and he played the 2007 AFC Championship Game in New England less than a week out of surgery for a torn ACL. He was a tough guy who wore the clothing of passionate sheep. Some people consider him a Hall of Famer, some do not. When Hall of Fame voters discuss the candidates, it’s tough — especially on quarterbacks who haven’t won Super Bowls, which should not be the primary consideration. There are modern QBs in the Hall who did not win Super Bowls. Dan Fouts is one. Warren Moon. Jim Kelly. Fran Tarkenton. Oh, and Marino. Rivers’ resume includes eight Pro Bowls, 5,277 completions (fifth all-time), a 95.2 career passer rating (12th), 421 passing touchdowns (fifth), 73 300-yard passing games (fifth), 12 4,000-yard passing seasons. Those, my friend, are Hall of Fame numbers.
Grinding Out The Profits
From this week’s Playbook Basketball Newsletter: Iowa’s head Hawkeye, Fran McCaffery, is 94-57-5 ATS at home in his career, including 23-2 SU and 20-3-2 ATS the last 25 games. Iowa has taken full advantage of its home court this year, crushing foes by an incredible 23 PPG margin. Better yet, McCaffery is 27-6-1 ATS at home in SU wins as a favorite when seeking revenge, including 13-0-1 ATS the last fourteen. Say goodnight to Indiana this evening.