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TAKEAWAYS: You're always allowed to complain about your team

In this edition of Takeaways, Robert Wheel recaps every game from Week 16 and explains why you are always allowed to complain about your team, even when they've had recent success.

Patrick Smith

In case you don't follow me on Twitter, last night I had a pretty epic meltdown after the Giants game, comparing Kevin Gilbride to George W. Bush and then running in a very political, hostile direction. The main takeaway (ha! he said the name of the column) from my rant is that I am the liberal version of Drunk Uncle.

Other than "you're being a drunken jerk," the most common complaint that I received was "stop complaining, you guys won the Super Bowl last year." Gee, thanks. Here's people who say that in other scenarios:

Me: "Goddammit, I sprained my ankle."

Random jerk: "Stop complaining, you've had an excellent run of health so far."

Me: "Ugh, I have to stay late at work again this week."

Random jerk: "You suck, last month you got to leave at 6 every day."

Me: "Dammit, that hot chick blew me off."

Random jerk: "So what? Jewish girls with ticking biological clocks still love you."

Part of being a fan is caring too much; the highs get higher but the lows get lower. When you vent about a loss it doesn't mean that you've lost perspective, it just means you're living in the moment. It's not rational, but neither is cheering for laundry. So quit telling people who like successful teams that they can't complain about their recent performance.

Unless they're Cowboys fans, because fuck those guys.

Anyway, these are the takeaways from every game this week:

Falcons 31, Lions 18

TAKEAWAY: Calvin Johnson had a pretty unheralded record-setting season

Adrian Peterson's attempt to break the rushing yards record received a lot more publicity because he was such a fantasy stud (grumble grumble except for this week grumble grumble). But Johnson's shown a remarkable ability to get tackled near the goal line, so if you asked an average fan who the best receiver this year has been, they'd say A.J. Green, Julio Jones or some other wideout with more touchdowns.

Saints 34, Cowboys 31

TAKEAWAY: NIck Saban's going to go 8-8 coaching the Cowboys next year

At least Wade Phillips made the playoffs, Jason Garrett. Jerral ain't giving any cheers for old Nassau.

Packers 55, Titans 7

TAKEAWAY: Nick Saban's going to go 7-9 coaching the Titans next year

The Titans have been a hot mess during the Munchak era. Hopefully this puts an end to the trend of hiring position coaches instead of coordinators as head coaches. Munchak, Raheem Morris and Rod Marinelli are not the company that you want to keep.

Colts 20, Chiefs 13

TAKEAWAY: Nick Saban's going to go 4-12 coaching the Chiefs next year

Another hard and fast rule for hiring a head coach is "don't give the job to Romeo Crennel." Did anyone outside Arrowhead think that was a good idea? What, Peter King did? Oh, of course.

Dolphins 24, Bills 10

TAKEAWAY: Nick Saban's...OK, this joke doesn't work any more, we all know he wouldn't go to Buffalo

The Bills will probably do something really Bills-y, like hire Norv Turner. Also, Reggie Bush had two touchdowns but nobody cares because nobody made their fantasy championship game with him as one of their running backs.

Chargers 27, Jets 17

TAKEAWAY: Tim Tebow finally did something newsworthy

After spending the year as ESPN's favorite clipboard holder and nothing more, Tebow refused to enter the game in Wildcat packages because he was so miffed at not being named starter. Since Greg McElroy was sacked 11 times, he should've thanked the coaches instead. I'm sure Tebow's brainless defenders will spin this as showing his competitive fire instead of an act of insubordination.

Redskins 27, Eagles 20

TAKEAWAY: It was a fitting end to the Andy Reid era in Philadelphia

The game ended when officials ticked time off the clock for intentional grounding while the Eagles were driving for a tying score. Reid's last game at the Linc needed to end on a clock snafu somehow.


Bengals 13, Steelers 10

TAKEAWAY: Please don't add a seventh playoff team, Roger Goodell (I know you will but still)

Roger Goodell loves diluting his product (shoutout to Thursday Night Football!) so a seventh playoff team from each conference is inevitable. But egad, this punchless Steelers team would probably be the last team in under such a system. Not even Steelers fans want to see these guys in the playoffs.

Rams 28, Bucs 13

TAKEAWAY: We sure fell out of love with Greg Schiano pretty quickly

We shouldn't have gotten so excited about him.


Panthers 17, Raiders 6

TAKEAWAY: Please take over the Panthers, Chip Kelly

Combining Chip Kelly and Cam Newton could be the football equivalent of dividing by zero, but most likely it would lead to pointsplosions in games like this instead of listless 17-6 affairs. I want to see a 55-6 keelhauling, dammit! Get Ron Rivera out of there.

Patriots 23, Jaguars 16

TAKEAWAY: I might have been wrong about Chad Henne

Three picks against a Patriots defense that just got blown up by Colin Kaepernick? It's not like Tebow would be an improvement, but maybe roll the dice on Landry Jones in the second round. Damn, even writing about the Jags is depressing, I can't imagine actually being a fan of them.

Vikings 23, Texans 6

TAKEAWAY: Please kill the Samantha Steele-Christian Ponder talk once and for all

Is she hurting him? Is she helping him? Obviously getting married this week wasn't a distraction. Maybe Christian Ponder is a regular person who tries to do his job and balance his personal life just like anyone else, and the fact that he's married to a prominent, attractive woman has nothing to do with his week-to-week performance. So shut up about them already because most fans really don't care and it's demeaning to both Steele and Ponder.

Broncos 34, Browns 12

TAKEAWAY: Stop getting so excited about the Broncos

Plenty of people think Denver is poised for a Super Bowl run, and not just Bleacher Report linkbait. But the Broncos had a very easy second-half schedule (the only playoff teams they've faced since their last loss were the Ravens and Bengals), and Peyton has a history of postseason letdowns. So I'd chill out on the Lombardi Trophy talk.

Bears 28, Cardinals 13

TAKEAWAY: Larry Fitzgerald had 111 receiving yards

And he got those yards catching passes from a sixth-round rookie quarterback and a guy signed two weeks ago. Forget Calvin Johnson, that's the receiving accomplishment of the year.

Ravens 33, Giants 14



Seahawks 42, 49ers 13

TAKEAWAY: We could have three rookie quarterbacks in the playoffs, and Russell Wilson will be one of them

That assumes the Redskins put away the Cowboys next week. Redskins-Seahawks in the first round would be a stirring rematch of the 2008 Wildcard game that featured Matt Hasselbeck and Todd Collins. No really, Todd Collins started a playoff game. That was a thing. 2008 was a weird year. Also, from our friends at KSK, enjoy the Pete Carroll strut:


via Kissing Suzy Kolber