The Patriots and the Ravens played a classic AFC championship game yesterday that featured various twists and turns, including a couple of bizarre brain cramps from Pats quarterback Tom Brady, a "turn back the clock" performance by the hefty Vince Wilfork, and a late drive by the Ravens that could have easily ended in a touchdown, then could have easily ended in a field goal, and then actually did end in a resounding zero-point thud.
In the end, the Patriots eked out a 23-20 win over the Ravens to make it to their sixth Super Bowl of the Robert Kraft Era and seventh in franchise history. It was a compelling back and forth, with heroes and goats and an emotional finish for the Pats' owner Kraft, who had just lost his wife Myra to cancer during the offseason.
And yet with all of this drama swirling, all I could think was, "The Texans could have beaten both of these teams."
I'll admit that the way the Texans went out last week made the AFC title game on Sunday tough to stomach. I mean, the Ravens and Texans are mirror images of each other, so is it such a reach to think that if the Texans had beaten the Ravens last week that Brady would have "sucked" (his word) against the Texans, that Arian Foster would have likely had a much bigger game against the Pats than Ray Rice's 67 yards, and that the Texans would have hit a couple big plays down the field with Andre Johnson?
I don't think it is.
So after the game, the possibilities were swirling in my head and, frankly, depressing me. Thankfully, there was a post-game trophy ceremony that temporarily stopped the emotional bleeding.
Awkwardness, in any form, typically makes you forget what's weighing on you, even if just for a moment. The Patriots post-game trophy celebration brought the awkwardness by the metric ton.
I'm not sure who chooses the person to present the AFC title trophy, but whoever it is thought that former Patriot quarterback Drew Bledsoe made the most sense. There are probably sentimental reasons as to why that might be, but as best I can tell from a football standpoint, Bledsoe's biggest contribution to this run of Patriot titles is getting injured during the 2001 season and allowing the Tom Brady Era to commence.
Observe the video, followed by my thoughts....
0:03 -- Bledsoe holds up the trophy like he just threw three touchdown passes and drove the team down the field for the winning score. Likely, he is just playing to the crowd, but it is kind of funny that he's holding it up with an "I just won it" posture.
0:07 -- Bledsoe leans in and drops an "I love you, buddy" on Kraft followed by a smooch on the owner's cheek. I don't have a big problem with this. Bledsoe loves him and he's his buddy, thus this is a true statement. I'm even okay with the kiss on the cheek. But...
0:09 -- ...Kraft decides to call Bledsoe back in for one more go of it, and they kiss on the cheek again. All right, that was a little weird, but THEN...
0:13 -- ...Bledsoe went back in for a third kiss and was stonewalled (although admittedly Kraft appeared to be up for it, but Bledsoe, perhaps already feeling some rejection anxiety, pulled away quickly.). Yeah, that was strange.
So two kisses and a pump fake kiss in about nine seconds from the billionaire owner and former star quarterback of the Pats...and yet this was only the SECOND most uncomfortable moment of the Pats' trophy ceremony. The most uncomfortable moment was every time that Steven Tyler was visible all tied for first. Seriously, what the hell is Tyler doing on the stage?
Yes, he sang the national anthem before the game....
(NOTE: 0:53 he butchers the words. Tyler messing up lyrics to the anthem was -600 on my wagering site.)
...but shouldn't the trophy stage be reserved for important people like players, coaches and Kobe Bryant's daughters?
Oddly enough, this ceremony was only the second most awkward moment of the week for Tyler personally on television, as he knocked the perv-ball out of the proverbial ballpark on Idol this past week when he called former Cardinals pitcher Joe Magrane's 15-year-old daughter "hot, humid and happening."
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Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 The Game from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. weekdays, and watch the simulcast on Comcast 129 from 6 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.