Lost amid the talk of which coaches are staying and going is the scrutiny playoffs teams are about to endure. Here's my list of five playoff figures to keep an eye on as the second season begins.
The funny thing about Polian being at the top of this list is that he brought on himself. I don't have a huge problem with his decision to rest
I have often said the only way a locked-in playoff team can really look foolish is if one of its elite players gets hurt in a meaningless game. The
Not only that, but I think Polian underestimated the negative backlash his decision would create, especially in Indy. Most of that could have been mitigated had he explained during the week leading up to the Jets game how long the guys were going to play. Instead, both the fans and some of the players had the look and feel as if the rug had been pulled from underneath them. The irony, of course, is that Polian made the move in part to escape the pressure of going undefeated. Obviously they failed to realize that their move would put even more of the onus on their players to win the Super Bowl or bust. And even if they do win it all, there will always be that "what if" hanging around.
The consensus is Phillips needs to win Saturday's playoff game to keep his job. I'm not so sure that should be the case.
For starters, Phillips has done a masterful job staying the course with this team and has led them to an NFC East title and a home playoff game. Second, nobody understands the likelihood of a work stoppage in 2011 better than Cowboys owner
Favre has had an amazing season and any talk of a late-season swoon by the old man is simply nonsense being spewed by people who don't actually watch the games. The Vikings' flaws down the stretch have been along the offensive line, in the secondary and with the special teams units. It hasn't been Favre's fault.
But as I stated after the Vikings signed him in the preseason, Favre will ultimately be judged by what he accomplishes in the postseason. The 12-4 record is a two-game improvement over what
I bet you're surprised to see his name on the list, but don't be. I know Belichick's résumé speaks for itself and he is one of the best coaches of all time. That much is indisputable.
The problem is Belichick and
This may be a bit of a stretch to say that Rivers, who has been magnificent all season long, is under the microscope, but hear me out . Rivers is part of the 2004 draft class, which will rival the class of 1983 for the best crop of quarterbacks. Peers
With the way the Chargers and Rivers have played during their 11-game win streak to end the season, you have to think this could be their year. If not this year, then when? I'm not saying Rivers can't win the big one, I'm just saying he has such an amazing opportunity to do so this year that he must take full advantage of it. There's no telling what could happen in the future in San Diego with injuries, free agency, etc. This is Rivers' moment and I think he realizes that.