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Hail To The WFT!
Greetings from The Booth!
Welcome to 2021, hopefully a year that brings an end to the pandemic, and a return to all things “normal,” like concerts, fairs, movies, and fans at sporting events. Before we move on to this week’s topic, many thanks to all of you who told us how much you enjoyed our “This Week In Shenandoah University Football” segments over the past several months. It was great to re-live some great memories from the last 20 years in “The Booth.”
For the first time since 2015, the Washington Football Team is headed to the NFL playoffs following Sunday’s 20-14 win over the Philadelphia Eagles. At 7-9, the WFT is only the third team with a losing record to make the postseason in a non-strike year. After a 2-7 start, Washington finished 5-2 to get into the playoffs as the NFC East champions. Much has been written about the feel-good stories of both Coach Ron Rivera, who battled cancer during the season, and QB Alex Smith, who should easily win the NFL Comeback Player Of The Year award.
Those two things, combined with the name change of the team, the negative publicity surrounding Dan Snyder and the culture within the organization, and the continuing drama of Dwayne Haskins, made for a season that was “so 2020,” as the saying now goes. It was only fitting that the WFT won the division almost by default.
Which brings me to this past Sunday night. In a game that the Eagles basically handed to Washington, the burgundy-and-gold on several occasions tried to give it back, before finally securing the victory. Philly coach Doug Pederson made several questionable decisions, including giving up what would have been a tying chip-shot field goal late in the game, instead going for the TD on fourth-and-goal (which failed). The most questionable move (just ask Giants fans) was replacing future franchise quarterback Jalen Hurts with backup Nate Sudfeld in the fourth quarter, which also backfired.
Many have accused Pederson of “tanking” the game to improve the team’s position in the draft, and one could make that case based on “the eye test.” This was not a good look for the NFL, which flexed the game to prime time, only to see two teams playing hot potato. Surely there will be more discussion about the “integrity of the game” in the weeks to come.
To the Giants (and their livid fan base), who needed an Eagles win to secure the division title, you should have taken care of business with a few more wins during the season. When you rely on help from other teams in a playoff scenario, you seldom get it. Washington fans have been there. If a 7-9 record isn’t playoff worthy to some, 6-10 shouldn’t even get a sniff of the postseason.
Someone had to win the “NFC Least,” and this year it’s the Washington Football Team, who now have to prepare for the GOAT Tom Brady, and the Bucs. The WFT is going to be looked down upon, much like the poor kid from the wrong side of the tracks who somehow crashes the country club soiree. In the words of Judge Smails, played by the great Ted Knight in the movie Caddyshack, “some people just do not belong.”
But don’t forget, this is the 2020 season, and Washington is playing with house money.
Until next time from The Booth, HTTWFT! and GO HORNETS!
Sports: Monday, January 4, 2021
WFT Wins NFC East, Ravens Punch their Playoff Ticket, NFL Playoffs Set
The Washington Football Team is in the NFL playoffs for the first time since 2015, with a 20-14 win over Philadelphia Eagles last night. QB Alex Smith threw 2 TD passes, and the Washington defense held Jalen Hurts to just 7 of 20 passing in the NFC East clincher. At 7-9, the WFT became just the third team to make it to the post season in a non-strike year. Washington will now face Tom Brady and the Bucs Saturday night at Fed-Ex Field. Kickoff is set for 8:15.
The Baltimore Ravens earned a spot in the AFC playoffs with an easy 38-3 win over the Bengals. Baltimore racked up 404 yards on the ground as they finished the regular season at 11-5. The Ravens will now meet the Titans in the Wild Card Round, with a 1:05 Sunday kickoff.
In other NFL action yesterday, the Green Bay Packers wrapped up home field advantage in the NFC by beating the Bears 35-16. With Arizona’s loss to the Rams, the Bears earn the 7th seed in the NFC. Cleveland is back in the playoffs for the first time since 2002 with their 24-22 win over the Steelers. Those 2 teams will meet again in the AFC Wild Card round.
The Washington Wizards improved to 2-5 with a 123-122 road win over the Nets. Russell Westbrook and Bradley Beal combined for 51 points.
And in college hoop, number-9 WVU continues their 2-game road trip at Oklahoma State tonight at 9.