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Front Page » January 2, 2003 » Sports » The Sports View
Published 4,310 days ago

The Sports View


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By KAREN BASSO
Sports writer

Well, who would have thunk it, but the NFL season is over and what a season. Just to think that most of the playoff berths were not decided until week 17 and by the final minutes of one game. Wow!

Regardless, my Raiders were granted a playoff berth several weeks ago which made me breathe a lot easier this past weekend.

Entering week 17, the New England Patriots, Miami Dolphins and the New York Jets each stood with playoff chances on the line.

In the same division, the three teams were faced with the difficult task of winning or sitting out for the extended season.

The worst part about it was that either the Pats or the Dolphins would be eliminated because they played each other. That is of course if the Jets defeated Green Bay to advance themselves into the playoffs. Otherwise, well who knows? This is about as complicated as you can get in deciding playoff teams in the NFL, but how exciting.

Well, to make a long and completely confusing story short, the Dolphins fell to the Patriots in overtime by the final 27-14. This made for a pretty sad sight at my brother-in-laws house when he burst out in anger for what might have been for the team from Miami. It's okay Jory, maybe next year your team will be competing against the Raiders in the playoffs.

And for a brief time, the Patriots thought that their chance at a Superbowl ring may become a reality. That is until they were eliminated from the playoffs by the Jets who downed the Packers, 42-17. What's up with that?

Anyway, this one game determined the fate of not only the Dolphins and the Patriots, but also the Broncos who also finished the season with a 9-7 record. All I can say is thank heavens the Raiders are in.

Looking at the final NFL season standings, it is amazing to see the records which are so close in each division in both conferences.

The division which caused the most confusion was the AFC east where the Jets clinched the division with a 9-7 record. Funny considering that both the Patriots and Dolphins also finished with a 9-7 record and are eliminated from the playoffs. Following close behind for fourth place in the division was the Buffalo Bills with a 8-8 record.

My personal favorite division, the AFC west was also a highly contested division this year. Luckily, the Raiders clinched both the division and the AFC conference with a 11-5 record, earning them a first round bye in the first round of the playoffs. Good or bad, we'll see.

Anyway, following close behind was the Denver Broncos with a 9-7 record and both the San Diego Chargers and Kansas City Chiefs with 8-8 records.

In the NFC, the closest division was the NFC south. Here, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Raiders ex-coach Jon Gruden clinched the division with a 12-4 record. The team did not rest easy however, as the Atlanta Falcons trailed with a 9-6 record and the New Orleans Saints with a 9-7 record.

The moral of this story is what an exciting year of football. NFL fans have just witnessed one of the most highly contested seasons in the history of professional football.

How many times have football fans been able to read the standings and find that nearly 80 percent of the teams in the league had a successful season. In fact most of these teams finished with a 500 season or better. What a year. And to think, it's not over. That is until the Superbowl has concluded and yes, the Raiders will be the last team standing.




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