The Commish Online                                                                                
No B(C)S in the NFL
December 9, 2003
by Ward Lowe

I wonder how the folks at college football’s Bowl Championship Series would determine the playoff teams in the NFL.

Would the newly crowned AFC East champion New England Patriots (11-2) be penalized because their two losses came against sub-.500 teams, Buffalo (6-7) and Washington (5-8)? Maybe the BCS committee would have mercy and throw the Pats a wild-card berth.

Perhaps the Indianapolis Colts would miss the cut entirely due to a poor strength of schedule. I mean, they may be 10-3, but seven of those wins came against losers Houston (5-8), Jacksonville (4-9), Cleveland (4-8), Buffalo (6-7), New Orleans (6-7), Tampa Bay (6-7), and the New York Jets (5-8).

Thankfully, teams in the NFL get to play to determine who goes to the Super Bowl.

Hello, home-field advantage
Speaking of the Patriots, they now own the top seed in the AFC playoffs thanks to Denver’s Sunday afternoon dismissal of the Kansas City Chiefs. When did this happen?

Everyone’s been focusing on Kansas City coach Dick Vermeil. Sure, he resuscitated another franchise, his tears and hugs build team chemistry, and the players become an extension of his family—sniff, sniff. It’s all so beautiful, and the Chiefs have responded with an 11-2 record.

Back in New England, coach Bill Belichick took his Pats from 2-2 to 11-2—that’s right, nine in a row—without much notice outside of Boston. This guy navigated his team past many distractions and injuries to key starters. Now the Pats are undefeated at home and, by virtue of their 8-1 conference record, hold a tenuous grip on the top spot in the AFC.

Welcome back, Mr. Vick
I watched little of Michael Vick last season. Now I know what I missed.

His Sunday night performance had an electric, loose-cannon feel to it. Running at full speed and zinging the ball on a rope—sometimes past his own receivers—Vick was everywhere, rushing for 141 yards and throwing for another 179 to lift the Atlanta Falcons to their third win of the season.

The guys at ESPN Classic probably punched the “record” button every time he rolled out of the pocket. The more he scrambled around, the higher the chances for him to blow by a defender with his amazing speed or throw an improbable 30-yard strike on the run. Like most of America, I sat before the TV mesmerized by his talent. Not many players would keep you watching a Falcons-Panthers game.

Parcells needs a reality check
Everything is bigger in Texas, and that apparently goes for Bill Parcells’s ego as well. After the Cowboys lost at Philadelphia Sunday to drop to 8-5, the Dallas coach told reporters that he didn’t expect to be facing a “full-blown crisis” this year in Big D.

Hmmm. Hey, Bill, the ‘Boys went 5-11 in 2001 and 5-11 in 2002. Did you really believe one season of your brilliance could turn them into the NFC champs? Get a real quarterback and we’ll talk.

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Ward Lowe is a writer and editor in Austin, Texas, who believes that 2004 will be The Year for his beloved Boston Red Sox. You can reach him at