It seemed almost like yesterday when we were fearing we wouldn’t have a season at all and, yet, here we are – Week 17, the final week of 2011 and also of the 2011 NFL regular season. Fifteen teams eliminated, 17 teams still in the mix for the Lombardi Trophy, all leading to 32 possible playoff seeding scenarios in the NFC and a whopping 128 in the AFC, all depending on the results of 12 of the 16 games set to be played on New Year’s Day 2012.
How might all this come out in the Week 17 wash?
So many opinions abound, as you might imagine. And, as usual, this podcast casts a wide net to provide the widest possible spectrum of thoughts and ideas. To that end, this week’s guests are a world-class NFL analyst, two executive producers and writers of the genius “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and collaborators with Sasha Baron Cohen and the return of two of the most NFL-savvy grade school students this football-crazed country can produce.
First up, Mike Mayock, who has gone straight from the Thursday Night Football booth to the film room, where he has spent every waking minute since the Texans-Colts TNF season-finale boning up for the Senior Bowl and Combine that is, yes, right around the corner. We caught Mike in a break from his film session on the day in which Sports Illustrated named him the Sports Media Person of the Year of 2011. Of course, he didn’t want to talk about either, but preferred to rather dug right into the playoff picture as well as the possible playoff futures of those already with a punched ticket including the swooning Texans and the surging Saints. Does the Patriots lack of consistent defense concern him? What about the Detroit Lions prospects? Who does he think will win the AFC West and NFC East? Listen for all.
Next up, “Curb Your Enthusiasm” executive producer and creator of the superb fantasy-football comedy “The League” Jeff Schaffer returns to the podcast studio and, this time, he’s joined by fellow “Curb” executive producer Alec Berg. Along with producer/writer David Mandel, the pair spent several years on the staff of “Seinfeld” back in the day and are currently working on the next Sasha Baron Cohen movie “The Dictator.” This conversation went all over the map, from fantasy football to Alec’s recent stint staying with in-laws in South Florida to Jeff and Alec’s take on the post-game chest thumping between Rex Ryan and Brandon Jacobs. And that was before we got a real-time update on the possibility of a ninth season of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and where Larry David stands on that issue. All I can say is this: the fact that the Rich Eisen Podcast has been a factor in the process has been confirmed. Of course, I also had to pump them for information on “The Dictator,” details about which have been very few and far between in the press. Hilarious chat not to be missed.
Lastly, I threw open the studio doors for the only guests who were available because they are on Christmas break – 11-year old fifth grader Antonio Stefan and 10-year old fourth grader Jake Robinson, two of the biggest NFL fans there are in these United States. For those who remember their last visit to the show back in October, you won’t be disappointed. For those who may not completely comprehend Antonio and Jake’s level of football IQ, they fire off opinions on who will win the AFC West, NFC East, AFC North and who will be seeded where 1-through-6 in the AFC and NFC playoffs. They also offer up several refined opinions on who should be the MVP and Coach of the Year. From the mouths of babes…
In terms of YOU figuring out who might be seeded where in the NFL playoff extravaganza we’re about to enjoy, we here at the podcast want to leave you informed with the proverbial news you can use. To that end, please find embedded here two color-coded playoff seeding possibility charts, one for the AFC and another for the NFC. Print them out. Laminate them if you’re so inclined. They’re perfect to have at the ready as you watch the results pour in from the field on Sunday. If you’re not into spread-sheets, see the playoff possibility chart in text form on MY FACEBOOK PAGE. And if you’re still wondering how in the world the NFL breaks ties and how, say, Tennessee can make the playoffs over Cincinnati with the same record even though Cincinnati beat Tennessee in the regular season, check out this handy-dandy one-sheet on all the NFL tiebreaker procedures.
I want my listenership to be the most informed listenership out there come Sunday. Don’t be caught unaware. And, of course, if your friends want to know how you know all this stuff, tell him you learned it from the Rich Eisen Podcast. But be humble about it. See you next week for the first playoff edition of the program. We get you set for Wildcard Weekend but also put a neat bow on the regular season by welcoming back the Legend of the Booth Jim Brockmire to present the Plays of the Month of December. Good times ahead. Enjoy the weekend everyone.
2011 Week 17 NFC Playoff Seeding Scenarios
2011 Week 17 AFC Playoff Seeding Scenarios