By Mardeio Cannon | OBSERVER Columnist
After a boring and uneventful wild card weekend two weeks ago, NFL fans didn’t know what to expect when they sat down on the couch or crowded into sports bars last weekend to watch the divisional games of the NFL playoffs.
What NFL fans got were all four games going down the wire in the greatest weekend of divisional playoffs in NFL history. The two games on Saturday were both upsets decided in the last three seconds where home field advantage was no advantage.
Then on Sunday, the L.A. Rams avoided a collapse against Tampa Bay after holding a 27-3 lead to set up an epic matchup against “my” 49ers who have beaten the Rams six straight games. Now we will find out if the Niners truly have the Rams’ number or will the more talented Rams team finally show some fight and break the 49ers’ stranglehold on them. The Rams will be hoping to become the first team in NFL history to host the Super Bowl. Here’s to hoping that the Rams do not earn the privilege.
After the Rams won the game and sent Tom Brady home to contemplate his NFL future, we then watched one of, if not, the most exciting NFL playoffs game ever. Quarterback Josh Allen did everything he could to make sure that the Buffalo Bills would not lose to the Patrick Mahomes-led Kansas City Chiefs for the second year in a row. After the Bills had taken a 3-point lead with 13 seconds left in the game, I am sure that Buffalo Bills fans felt that victory was assured.
However, the head coach made a tactical mistake in my opinion kicking the ball in the end zone. That meant that no time ran off the clock and the Chiefs got the ball on their own 25-yard line. If the Bills had squib kicked the ball, then several seconds would have run off the clock leaving the Chiefs less time to make a play. Mahomes made two incredible pass plays and placed his team in position to kick a field goal to send the game into overtime. Now the Chiefs are in their fourth-straight AFC Championship game. The long-suffering Buffalo Bills fans will have to wait another year in pursuit of an NFL Championship. Many of us old-timers remember the Jim Kelly-led Buffalo Bills who lost four Super Bowls in a row in the early 1990s. However, if Allen can stay healthy, a Super Bowl victory may be in the future for the long-suffering Bills fans.
Kings Are Struggling
As the Sacramento Kings enter the second half of the season, things are not going well. The Kings are currently hovering around the 12th spot in the Western Conference.
So, the question for Kings General Manager Monte McNair is what does he do now to fix the Sacramento Kings? Does he try to engineer a blockbuster trade that means that McNair gives up on Kings star De’Aaron Fox, or second-year combo guard Tyrese Haliburton. The Kings may have to also give up several future first-round draft picks depending on the team. The other option for McNair is to do nothing and wait until the off-season and try to retool the team with free agent signings, trades and draft picks.
The main question that Kings fans are asking is what happened to the optimism that most Kings fans including myself had for this current season?
No one expected the Kings to compete in the upper tier of Western Conference this season. However, most Kings fans felt that this roster was good enough to compete for the 6th playoff spot in a down year for the Western Conference this season.
Because of the COVID outbreak that shows no signs of subsiding, every NBA team has lost key players to games because of health and safety protocols.
The main reason for the Kings subpar season to-date is the fact that the Sacramento Kings faced six teams who were missing at least three key starters and the Kings lost all of those games. What makes these games so tough on the fans is the fact that the Kings were virtually at full strength during all of these games. If the Kings had taken care of business at these six games, the Kings would be in playoff contention.
In addition to the Kings woes on the court, the Kings ownership is also worried about declining attendance at the Golden 1 Center that puts the Kings at the bottom rung of attendance in the NBA this season.
Everyone knows that something must be done soon as the NBA trading deadline approaches and the empty seats at the Golden 1 Center grow larger!
Stay tuned Kings fans.