Monthly Archives: January 2016

Kansas’ turn

After watching Washington, Philadelphia and New York get buried under a mountain of snow last Saturday, it looks like it will be Kansas’ is next.

There have been dire predictions of a major snowstorm affecting the Sunflower State Monday and Tuesday, and it looks like the worst will be along the Interstate 70 corridor between Hays and Manhattan. Of course, Russell is in that corridor.  There have been some models which forecast as much as two feet. TWO FEET.

I’m fearing not only that there will be a lot of snow, but there will also be a lot of wind, which would be beyond disastrous. The last thing I want is snowdrifts piled up like you see them at times during Buffalo Bills home games. However, it isn’t looking good.

Of course, the storm would hit during a week I have an appointment with Crista. If I missed that, it would really, really, really anger me. I just have to pray I-70 is clear by Thursday at 7 a.m. The appointment is at 9, but making sure it’s clear early would give me enough time to get there and back without having to rush.

I wanted to get out of Russell Thursday to stock up on a few supplies, but I couldn’t yank myself out of bed. I did make it over to Hays and picked up a few things. I saw more than three people carrying out cases of bottled water. I’m planning on a run to the big cities today, and possibly a stop at Buffalo Wild Wings in Salina on the way home.

It wasn’t until 10:30 yesterday evening that I realized it was the 30th anniversary of the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster. My old middle school pal Shawn O’Neil posted something about it on Facebook.

I was in the fourth grade at St. Robert Bellarmine Catholic school on January 28, 1986. Someone came up to me during recess after lunch that the space shuttle exploded. I didn’t believe it. I thought this person was joking.

When I got back into the modular classroom behind the main school building, our teacher, Myra Annaloro, turned on the TV and we watched the coverage. President Reagan was scheduled to deliver the State of the Union that evening, but instead he gave a speech from the Oval Office about the six astronauts and Christa McAuliffe, the New Hampshire school teacher who was scheduled to teach video lessons from aboard the Challenger.

The Space Shuttle program was suspended for two and a half years. By time the next launch occurred in September 1988, I was in the seventh grade at Arabi Park Middle, less than a year from leaving for Brother Martin. When I heard the news of the Space Shuttle Columbia’s disintegration as it attempted to re-enter earth’s atmosphere in February 2003, it came as far less of a shock, given what I remembered about the Challenger.

The Challenger’s 1986 mission was barely mentioned by the networks and CNN–Fox News was more than 10 years away–until the night before the launch.

The big news of the weekend, and the week before, were the seemingly invincible Chicago Bears, who won Super Bowl XX less than 48 hours before the Challenger explosion.

The 1985 Bears won their first 12 games before losing in Miami to the Dolphins on Monday Night Football. After beating the Colts, Jets and Lions to close the regular season 15-1, Chicago shut out the Giants 21-0 and the Rams 24-0 to reach the Super Bowl for the first time.

Nobody gave the AFC champion New England Patriots any chance against the Bears. The Patriots were much improved from the team which lost 20-7 in Chicago in week two, and even though New England won road playoff games against the Jets, Raiders and Dolphins to get to the Super Bowl, the Patriots largely capitalized on opponents’ turnovers. New England recovered fumbled kickoffs for touchdowns vs. the Jets and Raiders, and the Dolphins turned it over six times.

The Patriots were largely an afterthought once the teams arrived in New Orleans. Most of the focus was on the Bears, specifically quarterback Jim McMahon, who was receiving treatment an acupuncturist to treat a strained muscle in his rear end. McMahon mooned a helicopter which was trying to spy on the Bears’ closed practice at the Saints’ facility.

McMahon was also at the center of a fabricated controversy.

The Thursday before the game, Buddy Diliberto, the sports director at WDSU, the NBC affiliate which would televise the Super Bowl throughout southeastern Louisiana, claimed McMahon had called New Orleans women “sluts”. It turned out the whole report was false, and Diliberto was suspended.

New England started the Super Bowl well enough, recovering a Walter Payton fumble on the game’s first play at the Chicago 19-yard line.

Then it all went south.

On the Patriots’ first offensive play, Tony Eason had tight end Lin Dawson wide open in the end zone. Eason’s pass was on target, but Dawson’s left knee gave way when his shoes got stuck in the Superdome’s notoriously hard artificial turf. Dawson had torn both his anterior cruciate and posterior cruciate ligaments.

On the third play, the Patriots’ star receiver, Stanley Morgan, was open on a post pattern, but Eason’s pass was batted away at the last second by Mike Singletary. New England settled for a Tony Franklin field goal.

That was the high point of Super Bowl XX for the Patriots.

By the end of the first quarter, the Bears were up 13-3. At halftime, the Patriots not only trailed 23-3, they had netted minus-19 yards of offense.

I said MINUS-19 yards. Holy crap.

Eason, who was drafted 15th overall by the Patriots in 1983 (instead of Dan Marino) was pulled in the second half for veteran Steve Grogan. The Kansas State alum fared no better, even though he led New England’s lone  touchdown drive in the fourth quarter against Chicago’s reserves, which included a rookie linebacker from California named Ron Rivera.  Yes, that is the same Ron Rivera who will be coaching the Panthers in Super Bowl 50.

New England finished with a Super Bowl record low 7 net yards rushing. Their 123 total yards were six more than the record low the Vikings recorded in Super Bowl IX vs. the Steelers at Tulane Stadium 11 years prior.

Final score: Bears 46, Patriots 10.

The 1985 Bears may be the best one-season team in NFL history. They do not deserve any more credit than that, simply because the second Super Bowl championship didn’t come in 1986, 1987 or 1988, and it still hasn’t come as the 2016 season is now a little more than seven months away.

McMahon was relatively healthy in 1985, the biggest reason why the Bears were able to win and win big. From 1975 through 1984, Walter Payton had performed heroically while playing behind one of the worst collection of quarterbacks any team could ever hope to assemble in a 10-year period. Other than McMahon, some of the quarterbacks who handed the ball to Payton included Bobby Douglass, Gary Huff, Bob Avellini, Vince Evans, Greg Landry, Steve Fuller and Mike Tomczak. Not exactly a Pro Bowl lineup. Landry was the best of the bunch, but that was in the early 1970s when he was with Detroit. By time he got to Chicago, he was decrepit, having taken savage beatings with the terrible Colts teams of the early 1980s and in the USFL.

McMahon got hurt often in 1986, and even though the Bears went 14-2, they were a one-dimensional offense which had to rely on the defense to keep the score down. The defense couldn’t hold up its end of the bargain in the playoffs, and the Redskins won in Chicago 27-13. Washington won again in Chicago in 1987, and in 1988, the Bears were routed at home in the NFC championship game by the 49ers, even though it was 17 degrees with a wind chill of minus-17 at kickoff.

Yesterday was the 20th anniversary of Super Bowl XXX, the last time the Cowboys reigned as champions. Dallas was heavily favored against Pittsburgh, and it appeared the Cowboys would make it easy, leading 20-7 early in the second half. However, the Steelers rallied to within 20-17 and had the ball in the fourth quarter with the chance to tie or take the lead, but Neil O’Donnell threw the interception which clinched the game for the Cowboys. Larry Brown returned the pick to the Steelers’ 3, and Emmitt Smith cashed it in from there. Dallas won 27-17, but unlike its routs of Buffalo earlier in the decade, it had to earn this championship.

The only Super Bowl played on January 29 sucked. 49ers 49, Chargers 26. I’ll leave it at that.

Sick of slush

Kansas may be far, far away from the heavy snow falling from the latest winter storm (named “Jonas” by The Weather Channel), but it doesn’t mean everything is hunky-dory on the Great Plains.

It is still beyond awful on the streets of Russell. There is a thick slush on Brooks Street in front of our house, and there is still snowpack on many other residential streets. My dad slid when he tried to turn from 12th Street onto Lincoln earlier today. That has always been a terrible intersection, and it’s the one where my mother slid and was hit by another car a few years ago.

Russell has been notoriously bad about getting the streets cleared. I’ll never forget one year when I went on a trip to Norton and discovered the streets there, as well as those in Hill City, were cleared, but back home in Russell, it was still snowpacked.

There was no way I was going out on the slushy streets and risking trouble today. As much as I would like to get out, I figured today was not a good day, not with the weather and both Kansas and Kansas State playing home basketball games. I wasn’t about to go to Salina and fight the crowds at Buffalo Wild Wings. The weather should be better during the week, which would allow me to get over there Wednesday evening or Thursday.

There hasn’t been much on television today. English Premier League football in the morning, college basketball all over the place since 11 a.m., and coverage of the winter storm on The Weather Channel.

The participants in Super Bowl 50 will be determined tomorrow. New England at Denver in the AFC, Arizona at Carolina in the NFC. Please please please Cardinals, you HAVE TO WIN. Not only do I want you back in the Super Bowl, but I do NOT want Scam Newton in the Super Bowl. SCAM NEWTON.

Twenty-one hours in Hays

Last night, I did something I had never done in all of my years of living in Kansas and visiting the Sunflower State.

I spent the night in Hays.

I got the idea Tuesday afternoon when I saw the forecast for snow Wednesday night and Thursday morning. I did not want to have to cancel my appointment with Crista, because I knew I probably would not be able to get another one until my next scheduled time February 4.

Knowing I had to go to Hays yesterday already because of my appointment with Dr. Custer in the afternoon, I figured I could stay and not have to drive back to Russell if the weather looked bad.

Sure enough, just after I got done with Dr. Custer, the snow started flying. I killed an hour in Walmart to see if the snow would abate, but it got heavier. It was then I decided I would have to stay the night.

I wasn’t feeling that great to begin with, tired and a bit queasy. I left the hotel a little after 8, plenty of time to get to where I needed to go, albeit a bit slow. I wasn’t about to risk an accident.

I’ve spent all day downstairs since I got home. Not going out when the roads are still crappy.

Into the cold I go

I wish I could go back to sleep right now, but I can’t. My work is done for Russell, but I have to get going in order to make my appointment this afternoon with Dr. Custer in Hays.

Today and tomorrow would be two perfect days to stay inside and stay warm, but that’s not happening. In another stroke of serendipity, I have an appointment in Hays today, then have one tomorrow morning with Crista. Two weeks ago, I had to see Dr. Patriarca, who is in the same building as Crista. This time, the city is the same, but the destination is different.

I’ve had it up to here with everyone writing off the Arizona Cardinals. I know they were terrible in the regular season finale vs. Seattle and was way too inconsistent vs. Green Bay last week, but it’s a new week. Carolina isn’t getting bonus points for dominating the first half vs. Seattle.

Most of the experts were tagging Arizona as the NFC favorite prior to the divisional playoffs, but now they see the Panthers score 31 in the first half against the Seahawks, and combined with Aaron Rodgers’ Hail Mary, they’ve defected to Scam Newton’s bandwagon.

The same experts are giving Denver only a slightly better chance than Arizona, even though the Broncos host the Patriots. A lot of the bookies in Las Vegas like the Broncos plus the points, but will Peyton Manning hold up?

I swear if it’s New England vs. Carolina, I am tempted not to watch, but if I have to pick a side, it will have to be the Patriots. I cannot stand Scam Newton and the arrogant Panthers. Remember, Carolina is the same franchise which once employed the twisted Rae Carruth, someone so sick as to order a hit on his girlfriend, who was eight months pregnant at the time.

Just mentioning Carruth sickens me. How this asshole didn’t get the death penalty is a travesty of justice. Anyone who would do what he did is not human.

Almost time to go out in the cold. Not my favorite thing to do, but every life requires sacrifices.

Still a classic four decades later

Here I go again. I promise to post every day, then I get lazy. Now I’m really getting lazy. This is why I almost never make resolutions when the calendar changes, even something as innocuous as promising to post to this blog every day.

Today is the 40th anniversary of one of the best Super Bowls played. Super Bowl X matched the Dallas Cowboys, winners of Super Bowl VI and losers of Super Bowl V, against the Pittsburgh Steelers, the defending world champions.

The Cowboys entered the 1975 season in a situation they had not found themselves in since 1966-entering a new season after failing to qualify for the playoffs the previous year. The 1974 Cowboys were plagued by injuries and started 1-4, falling far behind the St. Louis Cardinals and Washington Redskins in the NFC East race.

Dallas did have a memorable game in 1974. Clint Longley came off the bench early in the third quarter of the Thanksgiving Day game vs. the Redskins to take over at quarterback for Roger Staubach, who suffered a concussion on a hit by Diron Talbert. Longley brought the Cowboys back from a 17-3 halftime deficit to win 24-23 on a 50-yard touchdown pass to Drew Pearson in the final minute. The comeback was not enough to get the Cowboys into the playoffs, as they finished 8-6, losing their regular season finale at Oakland.

Not much was expected of the 1975 Cowboys. Bob Lilly, Mr. Cowboy himself and the game’s best defensive tackle, retired after 14 seasons. Fullback Walt Garrison was gone. So was free safety Cornell Green. Calvin Hill had defected to the World Football League. Many of the veteran core of Super Bowls V and VI who remained–Mel Renfro, Lee Roy Jordan, Ralph Neely–had grown old. Roger Staubach was only in his seventh season in the league, but he was already 32.

What the experts forgot when picking the Cowboys to finish far behind the Cardinals and Redskins in the NFC East was the mind of Tom Landry.

Landry resurrected the shotgun formation for 1975, giving Staubach a clear look at the opposing defense, as well as more time to find receivers coming open late. He could also use his mobility farther back in the pocket and open up other opportunities on the edges.

The 1975 Cowboys opened with victories over two playoff teams of 1974, the Rams and Cardinals, beating the latter 37-31 in overtime. Dallas went on to a 10-4 record and the NFC wild card, joining the Cardinals, Vikings and Rams in the postseason.

The Cowboys were decided underdogs in the NFC semifinals at Minnesota, but Dallas prevailed 17-14 on Roger Staubach’s long touchdown pass to Drew Pearson in the game’s final minute. The pass became known as the Hail Mary when Staubach described the play as such in postgame interviews.

No such dramatics were needed in the NFC championship game. The Cowboys went to Los Angeles and crushed the Rams 37-7.

The Steelers had no hangover from their 16-6 victory over the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl IX, going 12-2 during the 1975 regular season. Pittsburgh easily squashed the resurgent Baltimore Colts in its first playoff game, then outlasted the hated Oakland Raiders 16-10 in the AFC championship game. Oakland reached the Steelers’ 23-yard line in the waning seconds, but time ran out before Cliff Branch could get out of bounds, sending Pittsburgh to Miami.

The headlines off the field were much more intriguing than those on the field heading into Super Bowl X.

There was a massive ticket scam, and hundreds of people spent hundreds of dollars only to be forced to watch the game in a hotel instead of the Orange Bowl.

For those who had tickets, it wasn’t much more pleasant. South Florida was hit with an unusual cold spell, closing hotel pools and leaving many unprepared tourists shivering in shorts and no coats when temperatures plunged into the low 50s. It was 57 degrees at kickoff, 13 degrees cooler than the last Super Bowl played in Miami (Super Bowl V), but still 11 degrees warmer than it was at kickoff for Super Bowl IX in New Orleans’ Tulane Stadium.

Figuring they had nothing to lose and needed to pull out all the stops to beat the Steelers, the Cowboys wasted no time in fooling the Steelers.

Preston Pearson, who played for the Steelers in Super Bowl IX before being waived in training camp in July 1975, just in front of his own goal line. At the 9, he handed the ball to rookie linebacker Thomas (Hollywood) Henderson, who came speeding around left end and brought the pigskin all the way to the Steeler 44. Although Dallas didn’t score on its opening possession, it soon would have the ball deeper in Pittsburgh territory when a poor snap to punter Bobby Walden forced him to eat the ball at his own 29.

On the Cowboys’ first play of their second possession, Staubach found Drew Pearson streaking right to left across the Steeler secondary. Pearson caught Staubach’s pass in stride and raced to the game’s first touchdown.

Pittsburgh responded with a touchdown pass from Terry Bradshaw to Randy Grossman out of a three tight-end formation which had Dallas’ defense bunched up to stop Franco Harris. .The Steelers  moved into Dallas territory on a spectacular pass from Bradshaw to Lynn Swann down the right sideline. Swann had to make a leaping catch AND get both feet inbounds. It was simply sensational, but Swann was far from done.

Trailing 10-7 in the second quarter, Swann made a diving catch over the Cowboys’ Mark Washington, but the Steelers could not capitalize, and Dallas led 10-7 at halftime.

The Steelers’ Roy Gerela missed two field goals during the scoreless interregnum. Each time, Cowboys safety Clioff Harris taunted Gerela, but after the second miss, Pittsburgh middle linebacker Jack Lambert threw Harris to the ground like a rag doll. Fortunately for both teams, referee Norm Schachter–officiating his third Super Bowl and his final NFL game–and his crew were able to keep calm, and nobody was ejected.


It was still 10-7 early in the fourth quarter when Pittsburgh turned the tide in its favor.

In Super Bowl IX, Walden had a punt blocked in the fourth quarter which resulted in the lone Minnesota touchdown when Terry Brown recovered in the end zone.

This time, the Steelers blocked the punt. Reserve running back Reggie Harrison busted through the Cowboys’ protection and swatted Mitch Hoopes’ punt back over his head and out of the end zone for a safety. Not only was Pittsburgh now within a point, it would get the ball back on the free kick.

The Steelers scored a field goal off the free kick to take the lead for the first time, 12-10, and soon had the ball back when Mike Wagner intercepted Stabuach deep in Dallas territory. Another field goal by Gerela made it 15-10.

On Pittsburgh’s next possession, Bradshaw threw deep downfield to Swann, who torched Mark Washington for a 64-yard touchdown. Gerela missed the extra point, but it was still 21-10, and without the 2-point conversion, the Cowboys needed two touchodwns to win with only 3:02 to go.

Bradshaw did not see what happened downfield. Just after he launched the pass, he was knocked out cold by Cowboys defensive end Larry Cole. Had that hit occurred in today’s NFL, Cole would have been penalized and likely faced a hefty fine, since he drove his helmet into Bradshaw’s. In 1975, nobody cared that Cole used his helmet; the concern was more for Bradshaw, who was out of the game.

Dallas got the first touchdown it needed on a 34-yard strike from Staubach to Percy Howard. It turned out to be the only catch of Howard’s professional career.

Pittsburgh guard Gerry Mullins recovered Toni Fritsch’s onside kick, but the Steelers did not gain a first down on three attempts, leaving it fourth-and-8. Instead of punting, Chuck Noll called for another running play, not worried that he would leave the Cowboys a shorter field. He was worried to death about a bad snap to Walden in punt formation, knowing a fumble would leave Dallas inside the Pittsburgh 30.

Noll’s strategy didn’t bite the Steelers. On the last play of the game, Glen Edwards intercepted Staubach’s attempted Hail Mary in the end zone. Pittsburgh 21, Dallas 17.

After years of boring blowouts, Super Bowl X had all the drama the Super Bowl was supposed to embody. The Cowboys may have lost, but nobody would dare call them losers.

Two interesting facts from Super Bowl X:

  • Many scenes for the movie Black Sunday were filmed in Miami during the game. The plot revolved around a deranged former pilot hijacking the Goodyear blimp and using it as a weapon of mass destruction.
  • This was the first Super Bowl where Pat Summerall called play-by-play. His analyst, Tom Brookshier, left the booth in the fourth quarter in anticipation of the trophy presentation in the winning locker room. Hank Stram, who at the time was not coaching, took Brookshier’s place for the final period. Two days later, Stram would be named coach of the Saints. By 1978, Stram would become a full-time broadcaster.

Tomorrow is the anniversary of…SUPER BOWL NONE. No Super Bowl has ever been contested on January 19, and none will, unless there is a radical change in the NFL calendar.



Inglewood, sports paradise

The National Football League is returning to Los Angeles.

Earlier this evening, NFL owners voted 30-2 (I would love to know who the two were) to approve Rams owner Stan Kroenke’s stadium proposal in Inglewood, located in Los Angeles County a few miles southwest of downtown Los Angeles.

The Rams, played in St. Louis from 1995 through 2015, will play in the Los Angeles Coliseum for the next three seasons while the stadium in Inglewood is built.

The Rams  will not be the first professional sports franchise to call Inglewood home.

Inglewood is the home of The Forum, which was the home of the NBA’s Lakers and the NHL’s Kings from 1967 through 1999, when both teams moved to Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles. The Clippers, who previously played at the Los Angeles Sports Arena from 1984-99, also moved into Staples Center.

The Forum was built by Jack Kent Cooke, who owned the Lakers and was awarded an NHL expansion franchise which became the Kings. Cooke was tired of the Lakers having to share the L.A. Sports Arena with USC and other events, and thus built his own facility for his teams.

The Lakers enjoyed their glory days in the Forum. Led by Wilt Chamberlain and Jerry West, Los Angeles won 33 consecutive games during the 1971-72 season en route to the franchise’s first championship in California. The Lakers won five titles when they were in Minneapolis, led by George Mikan, but had come up short time and again in L.A., losing in the championship series five times between 1962 and 1970.

Cooke traded for Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1975, and in 1979, drafted Earvin “Magic” Johnson out of Michigan State, and Showtime was born. The Lakers won titles in 1980, 1982, 1985, 1987 and 1988, abut more importantly, the Forum was the place to see and be seen. Jack Nicholson, Dyan Cannon and numerous other stars were regulars at Laker games.

The Kings were an afterthought during their first 20 seasons. They were mostly terrible, more often than not residing at or near the bottom of the NHL standings. Los Angeles often had to struggle to reach the playoffs, and that took some serious doing during the 1980s, when the Kings routinely battled with two other bottom feeders, the Winnipeg Jets (the team which is now the Arizona Coyotes) and the Vancouver Canucks, for to playoff spots.

Hockey became cool all of a sudden on August 9, 1988.

That Tuesday afternoon, just a few hours before the Cubs played their first official night game at Wrigley Field vs. the Mets, Wayne Gretzky was traded by the Edmonton Oilers, who won four Stanley Cups in five seasons with The Great One leading the way, to the Kings.

All of a sudden, the Kings were no longer the poor stepchild of Inglewood. Although the Kings never won the Cup with Gretzky–they lost in the ’93 finals to Montreal–the Kings’ success allowed the NHL to (regrettably, in my opinion) expand further into California and other southern locations.

When the Lakers and Kings left Inglewood, nobody could have dreamed the town would ever host a professional sports franchise again. Yet come 2019, the Rams will call Inglewood home.

The sad thing in all this is the Rams should have never left in the first place. I’ll get into that in this blog very shortly.



Four for the road

NFL history was made yesterday when the Seahawks and Packers ventured to Minnesota and Washington and won their respective NFC wild card games.

This past weekend marked the first time visiting teams swept four playoff games since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970. The previous high water mark was 3-1 for the away sides.

The 2015 playoffs already has more wins for visiting teams than all of the 2014 postseason, when home teams were 8-2.

The success of visiting teams on the road in the divisional round dips significantly, largely because the four home teams had a bye in the wild card round and thus are much better rested.

There have been six instances since the current playoff structure was introduced in 1990 where the four home teams swept the divisional round, although that hasn’t happened since 2004.

In 2005 and 2008, road teams won three of four divisional round games. Each time, the Steelers ended up winning the Super Bowl.

Strangely enough, in 2008, Pittsburgh was the lone home team to survive the divisional round, ousting San Diego 35-24. Baltimore, Arizona and Philadelphia all won on the road, and because of the chaos in the NFC, the No. 4 seed Cardinals got to go back home for the NFC championship vs the No. 5 Eagles.

Three teams have won the Super Bowl under the current playoff structure without hosting a playoff game: the 2005 Steelers, 2007 Giants and 2010 Packers. The Chiefs pulled off the feat in 1969, but they only had to win two playoff games instead of three.

The four home teams are favored for the divisional playoff games, although I could see the line in the Seahawks-Panthers game swinging towards Seattle if the Las Vegas bookies take in enough money on the two-time NFC champions. Kansas City may be a big play for its game with New England, but I doubt the Steelers (at Denver) or Packers (at Arizona) are going to be big bets.

Happy anniversary Chiefs fans. It was 46 years ago today your team won its first and only Super Bowl championship, defeating the Vikings 23-7 at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans.


Frigid football

The Seahawks and Vikings are battling in Minneapolis right now. It was minus-6 degrees (minus-23 Celsius) at kickoff, making this the third coldest game in NFL history. It was up to minus-3 at halftime.

The second coldest game in league history was played 34 years ago today. On January 10, 1982, the Bengals hosted the Chargers on one of the coldest days in the history of Cincinnati. It was so cold the Ohio River, separating Ohio from Kentucky and flowing right past the Bengals’ home at the time, Riverfront Stadium, was completely frozen. The temperature at kickoff was minus-9 (minus-23 Celsisus), with a nasty wind coming off of the river.

The wind chill for the game was announced at minus-59 (minus-51 Celsius; the Celsius and Fahrenheit scales match up at minus-40, and from there, Fahrenheit is colder than Celsius). Under a new wind chill index released in 2001, one which is more accurate, the wind chill would have been minus-37 (minus-38 Celsius), which is still bitterly cold and can cause frostbite in minutes on exposed skin.

The 1967 NFL championship game between the Cowboys and Packers, the famous Ice Bowl, was minus-15 (minus-27) at kickoff, with a wind chill of minus-38 (minus-39).

Some have reported the kickoff temperature for the 1995 AFC divisional playoff between the Colts and Chiefs in Kansas City was minus-6, but it was not. It was still cold, 14 degrees, but not close to the top 10 coldest games. The coldest game in KC was the 1983 season finale, when it was 10 above for the Chiefs’ 48-17 victory over the Broncos and rookie quarterback John Elway. Denver still made that season’s playoffs, but was routed in the wild card game by the Seahawks.

The low this morning in Russell was 3 above (minus-16 Celsius), but there was no wind to speak of. It was colder than normal for the date, but without the wind and no snow on the ground, it was nowhere near the worst day it’s been up here. Not by a long shot.

Minnesota leads 3-0 at halftime. The Vikings took advantage of a bad snap on a Seahawks punt attempt to take over at the Seattle 28, and Blair Walsh kicked a 22-yard field goal.

If the Vikings win, they will play at Arizona Saturday. The Cardinals defeated Minnesota 23-20 exactly one month ago, but more importantly, the Seahawks, who won 36-6 at Arizona last Sunday, will be done. I believe Seattle is the one team which can stop Arizona from reaching Super Bowl 50. As a Cardinals fan, I wouldn’t mind seeing that.

If the Seahawks come back, they’re going to Charlotte to play the Panthers next Sunday, while the Green Bay-Washington winner goes to Arizona.

The AFC divisional playoffs are set: Kansas City-New England Saturday, Pittsburgh-Denver Sunday.

Chiefs drought about to end

The NFL playoffs for the 2015 season began at 3:20 p.m. Central Time today. The Chiefs are kicking the crap out of the Texans, who are getting absolutely shitty quarterback play from Brian Hoyer, who has thrown three interceptions and fumbled. It frankly should be a lot worse than 20-0.

The Houston Cougars, who went 13-1 and won the Peach Bowl under first year coach Tom Herman, would have put up a better fight today than the Texans. The Cougars’ quarterback, Greg Ward Jr., could have used his athleticism to make plays out of the pocket, and Herman would not have put Ward in bad situations the way Bill O’Brien has done with Hoyer.

Houston has never experienced a Super Bowl, whether it be with the Oilers from 1966 (the first season of the Super Bowl) through 1996, or the Texans since 2002. Guess what? It won’t happen until Houston finds a quarterback. Save for a couple of decent seasons from Matt Schaub with the Texans, the last time a Houston NFL team had a strong quarterback was Warren Moon with the 1993 Oilers.

Speaking of the 1993 Oilers, the Chiefs are one quarter away from winning their first playoff game since winning 28-20 over the Oilers at the Astrodome in that season’s AFC divisional round. Houston started 1-4 in 1993, but won its last 11 regular season games, and many experts believed the Oilers would win the AFC and prevent football fans everywhere the misery of the Buffalo Bills losing in the Super Bowl for the fourth consecutive season.

Instead, the Chiefs came to Houston and rode the right arm of some guy named Joe Montana to advance to the AFC championship game for the first time since Kansas City won Super Bowl IV in January 1970.

The Chiefs are still looking for their first trip to the championship game since defeating the Minnesota Vikings in New Orleans. Kansas City lost the 1993 AFC championship game at Buffalo, with Montana exiting in the second quarter due to a concussion after a hard hit by Bruce Smith. The Bills won 30-13, and would lose Super Bowl XXVIII by the exact same score to the Dallas Cowboys. Unlike Super Bowl XXVII, when Buffalo turned it over nine times in losing 52-17, the Bills led 13-6 at halftime, only to squander the lead early in the third quarter when the Cowboys’ James Washington returned a Thurman Thomas fumble for a touchdown.

The Bills have won ONE playoff game since Super Bowl XXVIII. They haven’t been to the playoffs since 1999, when they were eliminated by the Tennessee Titans in the wild card round by the Music City Miracle.

Dallas coach Jimmy Johnson resigned two months after Super Bowl XXVIII. Barry Switzer came in and led the Cowboys to victory over the Steelers in Super Bowl XXX, but Dallas has won just two playoff games since, and has yet to return to the NFC championship game.

The Chiefs now await the outcome of tonight’s Pittsburgh-Cincinnati game to see where they play next. If the Steelers win, Kansas City is on its way to New England to face Tom Brady and the Patriots. If the Bengals win, the Chiefs are in Denver for a third meeting with the Broncos. The last thing I would want as a coach is facing Brady and Belichick in Foxborough. No way.

Kansas City fans, do NOT wave Terrible Towels. You want the Bengals to win.

Broken resolution

It took all of seven days for me to break a resolution I made, which was to post something on this blog every day, no matter how silly or how abstract it was. Actually, I went two days without it, which has me going back to my Howard Hughes days of going weeks, or months, at a time with nothing to read.

Before I go on, I will silently pray the Confeitor, recited at the beginning of the Roman Catholic Mass as a act of confessing one’s sins.

Okay, back to the blog.

I was feeling awful Wednesday night and Thursday morning after I had to go to Hays to see Dr. Patriarca at High Plains Mental Health. I did it to myself, though, by stuffing myself with Arby’s and then Sonic, not to mention my mother’s delicious vegetable soup.

I stopped at Arby’s before leaving Hays, then went to Sonic in Russell to kill time before getting a haircut when Carolyn Gnad told me it would be a 45-minute wait. The ploy worked, for I came back at 4:25 and I got right in the chair. Sean Spoonts, Russell High School’s athletic director, came in while I was finishing up. Of course, it does not take long to cut my hair, as Carolyn can attest.

I paid a heavy price Thursday morning. Terrible heartburn. I was groggy as hell, but I couldn’t go back to sleep, because my first appointment in 2016 with Crista awaited me in Hays.

I wanted to go to Norton’s basketball game Thursday night vs. Stockton, but when I got to Hill City, I turned around and went back to Russell. First, I got messages from my office in Russell that they needed something from me; second, the weather in Norton was nasty according to the radar on my iPhone; and third, I was still a bit tired from the previous night and earlier that morning. Probably not the worst thing that I went home before dark, but I felt like a terrible friend for bailing out on Peggy and Caitlyn, plus the rest of the people in Norton I know.

Friday was horrible. Beyond horrible. It could have been worse, if that’s possible. Let me just say I had a scary repeat of a couple of days during the summer. It was not pleasant. I went to Hays late in the afternoon just to get away from it, then returned at 5.

I ate two bowls of my mother’s soup at night. Kicked my butt. Feeling the effects somewhat right now, just before 6 p.m. I won’t go into further detail.

Peggy and Cailtyn, please forgive me for not coming to Norton Thursday. The weather was not that bad. Crista, please forgive me for lying to you during our session Thursday. The trip to Kansas City during the holidays was very nice and I enjoyed it immensely, but I forgot the problems I still have back home, and painted too rosy a picture.

I’m happy to report little Liam, the pride and joy of Lisa Toebben and Jeff Daniels, is home happy and healthy with his proud parents. I was back in the hospital in New Orleans eight days after my birth back in 1976. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.

There are NFL playoff games going on today and tomorrow. Next post will deal with football.