January 13, 2005

Outdoor Corner

by Chris Feeney

Not cold enough to ice fish, but too cold to do anything else outdoorsÖ lucky it is NFL playoff time on the television.

I must admit that I was one of the first people to jump off what I felt was the sinking Rams ship, but the St. Louis team became the first squad without a winning record to win a playoff game. The Rams entered the post season with an 8-8 record before beating Seattle for a third time this season by a final score of 27-20.

While they are a long way from another Super Bowl title, one must admit one of the most exciting teams in football just a few years back, still has the weapons necessary to make Saturdayís game against Atlanta very exciting.

I could see the Rams beating Michael Vickís Falcons and even besting Philadelphia or Minnesota in the NFC title game to make it to the Super Bowl.

I guess Iím still a pessimist, but our local teamís hopes are based as much on the fact that the NFC conference is pretty weak, as they are on the strength of the St. Louis team.

While Iíd love to see the Missouri team go back to the Super Bowl, Iím afraid that the stadium wouldnít be big enough to hold Mike Martzís head.

During their fall from stardom, much of the finger pointing has been at the embattled head coach, particularly at his play calling and game management. Itís obvious to me that he has an ego issue, and loves to give the impression that his team wins because of his offensive genius.

Again, Iíll admit that Iím not a big Martz fan, but he called a brilliant play to allow the Rams to score in the gameís final minutes to win the contest. You have to admit that he has the intestinal fortitude to make unconventional calls.

The St. Louis vs. Seattle was just one of four quality games the NFL gave us this past weekend. The Chargers and Jets game was a nail biter and while the Colts vs. Broncos was not, it was still entertaining to watch Peyton Manning and his high-powered offense.

Itís too bad that the leagueís three best teams are all in the same conference. That likely means weíre due for a Super Bowl letdown. True pigskin aficionados likely will organize their football parties this week when the Patriots host the Colts, or next week for the AFC Championship tilt when either New England or Indianapolis will likely take on Pittsburgh, arguably the best team in the league during the regular season.

Maybe by Super Bowl Sunday the ice will be back and Iíll be able to get out and do some fishing. I suspect the Rams will be able to join me.

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