NFL ‘final four’: Not much has changed


FitzbeatsquareWe have gone from the New Orleans bounty gate to general managers, head coaches, coordinators, player suspensions, and a record number of players fined for hits with helmets leading to tragedies like players losing their lives.

One Kansas City Chiefs player murdered the mother of his child, then took his own life. The very next weekend, a Dallas Cowboys player driving his car while drunk killed his passenger, teammate Jerry Brown, who was sober. Once the NFL regular season ended December 30 and the 12 qualifiers for the Super Bowl XL VII tournament were set, eight NFL head coaches were fired: Arizona, Buffalo, Cleveland, Chicago, Jacksonville, Philadelphia, San Diego and Kansas City. Also, five general managers were sent packing.

Message sent: NFL stands for “Not for Long.” We’ve reached the “final four.” The two best teams in each respective conference, the AFC and NFC, will play Sunday for the trip to New Orleans and Super Bowl XLVII on Super Sunday, February 3, 2013.

Last year, the New York Giants captured Super Bowl XLVI in a thrilling 21-17 win over the New England Patriots. Three of the four finalists from last season have returned for another shot at glory. New England and Baltimore are in the AFC title game rematch that last year the Patriots won 23-20. In the NFC, it’s the San Francisco 49ers vs. Atlanta. The Ravens, after beating Indianapolis 24-9 in the first round, stunned Denver 38-35 in double overtime in the fourth-longest playoff game in NFL history.

The Patriots’ 41-28 win over Houston was the record 17th playoff win for the great Tom Brady, the most for any quarterback in NFL playoff history. The San Francisco 49ers are back in the title game also; last year they lost in overtime to New York 20-17. They will travel to Atlanta after dominating the Green Bay Packers 45-31.

Quarterback Colin Kaepernick led the explosive 49er attack with 444 yards, 263 passing, 181 rushing (the most rushing yards ever by a quarterback in any NFL game), and four touchdowns. The Falcons survived the Seattle Seahawks’ furious second-half comeback to win 30-28 and will host the 49ers in Atlanta.


Fitz Notes & Quotes

Major League Baseball’s (MLB) designated voting sports writers failed to elect anyone to the 2013 class of the Baseball Hall of Fame (HOF). This is clearly a very disturbing message being sent where the writers themselves have decided to punish some of the greatest players in our lifetime by depriving them of career recognition.

The punished include seventime MVP and all-time homerun champion Barry Bonds; seventime Cy Young Award and 300 game winner Roger Clemens; Sammy Sosa, the only man to hit 60 homeruns or more three times; and Rafael Palmeiro, one of only four players in MLB history with 3,000 hits and 500 career home runs. All of them are deserving of being first-ballot HOF members, and all were denied.

It’s no secret that cheating has always been a part of baseball. Before performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) like steroids there were amphetamines; they were called greenies. Players use to chew them up and take them like candy. Jack Morris, Fred Mc-Griff, Mike Piazza, Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio — all of these players were among the greatest but were caught and trapped by the biased know-it-all HOF voting writers.

It’s really sad when you think about how hypercritical MLB is from the very top down. It’s always been that way; nothing much has changed. Yet the writers know how MLB turned its back to the players and know the players needed something to fuel their bodies and play 162 games in the dead of summer to let them rake in billions for the owners.

Larry Fitzgerald can be heard weekday mornings on KMOJ Radio 89.9 FM at 8:25 am, on WDGY-AM 740 Monday-Friday at 12:17 pm and 4:17 pm, and at He also commentates on sports 7-8 pm on Almanac (TPT channel 2). Follow him on Twitter at FitzBeat Sr. Larry welcomes reader responses to, or visit



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