Saturday, January 22, 2011

That playoff spark

My grandfather, Jack Carberry, who for 12 years was the sports editor at the Denver Post, was a big fan of the Green Bay Packers. Of course, he followed the team from another era, the Vince Lombardi Packers, who were led by such greats as Paul Hornung, Jim Taylor, Bart Starr, Willie Wood and Jerry Kramer.
I'm sure that if he was still alive, though, he would be pulling for Green Bay to beat the Chicago Bears in tomorrow's NFC Championship game at Soldier Field.
But I have a feeling that he would be rooting for another team as well, and that would be the New York Jets.
Rex Ryan is the kind of coach who my grandfather would have loved to have met and written about. Ryan is a throwback to the late 1950s-early '60s era of the NFL which had a host of colorful characters. In no way does Ryan resemble Lombardi, at least on the surface, but the Jets play like they are coached by Lombardi.
New York's first two wins in the playoffs, both on the road against AFC powers Indianapolis and New England, were impressive performances. The Jets squeaked by the Colts and then shut down Tom Brady and the Patriots.
Some observers see Bill Belichick as the guru of coaches but Ryan is the one playing the Pittsburgh Steelers for the right to go to the Super Bowl. It's going to be a fun Sunday for football fans, the four best teams in professional football, and Ryan and his Jets could be the TV ratings winners.

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