The NFL's 2013 regular season concluded last night in Dallas, where a Kyle Orton interception ended the Cowboys bid to make the playoffs for the third straight season on Sunday Night Football. The Cowboys fell to the Philadelphia Eagles, who will now host the New Orleans Saints next Saturday night in one of the NFC Wild Card Playoffs.
The Saints qualified for the post-season by dismantling your Tampa Bay Buccaneers handily last night, 42-17, and most of the local sports talk this morning revolves around whether head coach Greg Schiano and general manager Mark Dominik should keep their jobs.
Not being much of a Buc fan or observer, I don't really have an opinion on the matter. Actually I think you could make a good argument that Dominik should definitely go, as his five-year tenure has resulted in zero playoff appearances under two different coaches.
Schiano's season began as a nightmare, as the Bucs struggled to an 0-8 start amid all types of controversy surrounding the relationship between the head coach and quarterback Josh Freeman, who ultimately was shipped out to Minnesota (where he did absolutely nothing the rest of the season). Schiano has a two-year record of 11-21, which isn't as bad as Dennis Allen in Oakland, who may or may not be fired after going 8-24 during the same period. Being a Raider enthusiast, I can feel for Buc fans and their frustration.
However I'm also a San Francisco 49ers fan, and how 'bout that last-second victory over Arizona last night? Okay, so it didn't really matter playoff wise, but it showed the Niners resiliency going into the playoffs, where they will be one of the strongest fifth seeds in recent history. At 12-4 they finished second behind the Seattle Seahawks, who still have to be considered the best team in the NFL season as they finished their year with a 13-3 record. In fact I'd say that Seattle and San Francisco are the two best teams going right now . But the Niners have to get through Green Bay and probably Charlotte before they might get the chance to face Seattle again. That's going to be tough sledding.
In the much weaker AFC, New England and Denver are the clear favorites to meet in that conference's Championship game. Peyton Manning ended his season breaking the all-time record for passing yardage (held for only the past two years by Drew Brees) and touchdown passes.
But back to Schiano and the Bucs. There's a rumor that Penn State wants to hire him. Really? Maybe Schiano is one of those coaches who will just do better in college than the pros. But the NFL (as we are told every week) is a quarterbacks league, and the Bucs don't have a viable one at this moment.
Okay, enough NFL talk. How about politics? How about Ted Cruz? The man who was on the shortlist for Time magazine's Person of the Year told ABC's Jonathan Karl yesterday that he has no regrets for leading House Republicans into voting to shut down the government back in October, a fiasco that hurt Republicans for a few weeks, before the Obamacare rollout superseded it in news coverage.
On the Sunday morning political shows yesterday the big talk was about the story of the year, which was Edward Snowden leaking facts about the NSA surveillance program. Yesterday advisers to Snowden argued passionately why he won't be returning back to the U.S. anytime soon.