What an incredibly enjoying weekend of football (unless your team lost). Has there ever been a better four pack of games in NFL history (unless your team lost)? Parity in the NFL may suck in a lot of ways, but it certainly makes for good playoffs. Every single game had twists and turns, glaring coaching errors, amazing changes in momentum, and plays that fans of every team will be talking about for years. I don’t particularly like Carolina or St. Louis, but my palms were plenty sweaty during overtime of that game. My stomach turned when I was 20 seconds late switching back from whatever else I was watching and missed the winning touchdown. “What the hell happened?!?” The final five minutes of the New England – Tennessee game were almost too much to take. Every play, it seemed, was either more Patriot post-season magic, or just another obstacle for Steve McNair to somehow overcome. You didn’t know which it would be, but everything was setting up so that after the game, the writers had plenty of material. How Drew Bennett dropped the fourth down pass after making two sick catches earlier in the drive I’ll never know. Terrific drama to say the least. Missed field goals, fourth and 26, unbelievable penalties, amazing catches. You can’t ask for anything more from four games (unless your team lost).

Being super busy last week, I wasn’t able to go into depth about the Indy perspective on the epic Colts-Chiefs clash. Even though I work from home, I got plenty of questions about whether I was ready to “take a beating” from people who assumed I was a Chiefs fan. The look on their faces when I told them I had never been a Chiefs fan might have been more fun than if I actually was a Chiefs fan and had given them something back. The best call came during the game, “Hey, D., are you having a hard time knowing who to cheer for? Go Chiefs? Go Colts? Oh…..Mark just told me you’re not a Chiefs fan. Never mind then.” That’s certainly still the case, but I’ve not turned into a rabid Colts fan, either. I figure if I lived in Kansas City for 23 years without becoming a Chiefs fan, it made no sense for me to buy an I Believe in Blue shirt, or get a Touchdown Monkey doll (Although it is hard to resist the allure of the pigskin primate).

Nonetheless, I was pleased with the match up. That meant a week of coverage from the Plaza and references to barbecue on the local news. Lots of features on interesting things to do in KC (more barbecue, Jazz Hall of Fame, Negro Leagues HoF, references to the loss of the NCAA). Interviews with men and women on the street in KC. And despite my lack of fondness for the Chiefs organization, there is a certain level of pride that comes from all the coverage of how amazing an environment Arrowhead is on game days. I may not like the Camaroheads, but they were my neighbors and coworkers.

I’m pleased to report that Indy fan behaved in a manner similar to Chiefs fan over the past week. There was a promotion Thursday at the RCA Dome that basically shut down half of downtown for a couple hours. Someone was handing out free posters and blue ribbons. The catch was it was a drive-through event. You drive up to the Dome, people hand the items directly to you in your auto, and you drive away. People spent as long as two hours in line to get an ugly poster and a piece of cheap ribbon. The wind chill was around 0 all day Thursday. So that means people drove from all over the city, sat in line with their heaters blasting, and wasted gas for 90 minutes. All for some free cardboard. I would imagine had I gone to a bar yesterday, there would have been people who took their free posters with them. “Gotta support the team.” It’s amazing what some people will do. Like Peyton Manning would think of all the great Colts fans back in Indy who say in line for hours and were sitting at home, waiving their posters while he was calling an audible.

Speaking of supporting the team, what’s with these people who take the little hand puppets to games? I know every person has their own way of expressing their support for their favorite teams, but who the hell decided that taking a puppet to a game would help? And why did other people have the same idea?

The game itself was more like a college game than a professional game. You just don’t see playoff games with a complete lack of defense from either team. Peyton Manning has been nothing short of phenomenal the last two weeks. I liked him in college, and enjoyed the way he’s played in the NFL, so I think it’s cool he’s finally having some success in the post-season. I’ve never liked Dick Vermeil (remember, he was the Eagles coach back in the day, including the 1981 NFC Championship game against Dallas. Yes, I cried when the Eagles won.) so I was pleased that his team lost.

Indy is in a state of delirious disbelief today. I think a lot of people expected the Colts to win this week. It’s the way they won that has people amazed. There’s the realization that the team is 60 minutes from the Super Bowl. Jim Harbaugh’s bunch of rag-tags that made it within a Hail Mary of the Super Bowl in ’96 were different. They were Cinderella, full of good karma and happy-go-lucky players. This year’s team can clearly win it all based on talent, not luck. People were reserved about this team all season (witness the three games that weren’t sold out early enough for local TV coverage earlier in the season). Most cities would concentrate on the come back against New England. Local fans seemed to take it as a sign the Colts were, once again, just not good enough. The near loss in Houston was another sign, rather than a playoff bound team taking it easy late in the season. Suddenly, people believe.

Philly will beat Carolina in a close, ugly game. Fox would be better suited reairing this week’s games. I’m struggling with the AFC game. I have a hard time believing anyone is going to beat New England at home. EVERY thing goes their way at home. But can you pick against Peyton now? If it comes down to a field goal, Mike Vanderjagt is Gary Anderson waiting to happen, while Adam Vinatieri is dead clutch. This one warrants more deliberation.