One of the greatest days in NFL postseason history was tarnished yesterday by the admission of a critical officiating error that cost the Giants an opportunity to kick a game-winning field goal in Sunday's loss to the 49ers.
And now there's legitimate criticism of the NFL's scheduling of this week's divisional-round playoff games.
Is anybody thinking?
"For us to be handed a six-day rest and another team an eight-day rest; I don't know where the justification comes in that. But so be it. That's the hand that has been dealt to us and we are going to play it out," Steelers coach Bill Cowher said of the NFL's scheduling of this weekend's divisional-round playoff games, the first of which will pit the visiting Steelers against the Titans.
Where's the logic in that? The Jets played on Saturday and the Steelers on Sunday this past weekend. So, do it again, right? Everybody gets the same amount of rest. But the NFL has chosen to give the Jets eight days between games, at the expense of the Steelers getting just six days.
"It came down to the travel issue," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "All the competitive factors and one of them is travel, and the Jets' travel is a lot more demanding than the Steelers'. They have to go across the country, three time zones, as opposed to the Steelers, who did play at home this past week and have a shorter trip. Basically, it comes down to the team with the shorter trip and time-frame between games. We felt that was the fairest way to do it. The travel for the Jets erases a day. They have to go 3,000 miles."
Come on. What's the real reason? Cry not for the Steelers, but they have a legitimate complaint.
In the last 10 years, eight teams have been forced to play postseason games six days apart, and only two of those teams advanced to the conference championship game the following week. Only one of those teams, Buffalo, made it to the Super Bowl and, of course, we know what happened to them.
Jaguars fans will recall the Dolphins were on six days rest when they lost in Jacksonville, 62-7, in the 1999 playoffs.
The lost day is especially critical to the Steelers, who are attempting to get Kendrell Bell (ankle) and Chad Scott (hand) back onto the field. Four other Steelers starters are also nursing injuries.
Even Titans coach Jeff Fisher was sympathetic. "I would share the same feeling the Steelers have if I were in their shoes," he said.
So why does the NFL do stuff like this? We've already been forced to accept one incident of injustice this week, so why create another one?