AFC/NFC Championship Games Discussion
Seahawks fans, share your thoughts on Sunday's action: Seaside Joe 1792
The first time the Seattle Seahawks made a conference championship game, they had fired the head coach the previous season. Could history repeat?
Chuck Knox’s previous job prior to getting his first head coaching position with the Rams was an offensive assistant on the Detroit Lions. Could history repeat?!?!
(Very random but surprising fact: Knox’s last season with the Lions was 1972, a team that had a 35-year-old safety named Dick LeBeau who was about to retire and get into coaching. LeBeau stuck in there for so long that his last job came with the Titans in 2017, just missing the Mike Vrabel era, another potential candidate to be the next Seahawks head coach. LeBeau was 80 when he retired with a defense that was better than half of the defenses in the NFL.)
The ‘83 Seahawks went 9-7 in Knox’s first season, beating the Broncos and Dolphins in the playoffs prior to a 30-14 loss in the AFC Championship to the Raiders.
(Wow: An assistant special teams coach on those Raiders was Terry Robiskie; Robiskie was the offensive coordinator to LeBeau as defensive coordinator on the Titans team I just mentioned.)
Seattle is the only team in NFL history to play in the championship game for both conferneces.
I probably wasn’t quite walking yet when Seattle lost to the eventual Super Bowl champions—coached by future Seahawks head coach Tom Flores—so I’ll beg you to share your stories of the 1983 Seahawks in the comments section:
But that’s not all I’ll ask for you in the comments section…I don’t think we did this last year at Seaside Joe but it might be good to take a day off from the head coach search and to talk about something else that’s very important, the AFC and NFC Championship games happening on Sunday.
Tell me your thoughts on the two title games and I’ll share a few of mine. I’m sorry the comments have to be for paid subscribers only. Very rarely, but sometimes, we have abusive comments that ruin the fun for everyone, so this is the best solution I have for it right now.
By the way, the Seahawks have had pretty good luck in the first year of a new head coach: Knox made the AFC Championship, Mike Holmgren ended a 10-year playoff drought, Pete Carroll unearthed the earth-shaking Beastquake. Even Dennis Erickson went .500. But Jack Patera (who was dealt the toughest hand as an expansion team), Tom Flores, and Jim Mora were unmitigated disasters.
If there’s any truth to the Seahawks emulating the Bengals, as I wrote on Friday, the team won’t be better next season. I’m not expecting Seattle to make it to the NFC Championship game next season, but I’m prepared for any outcome and open to change. I know that Dick LeBeau is out there.
NFC Championship: Lions-49ers
I’ve had issues with male-to-male greetings lately. I’m a “slap hands first, hug second” type of guy, but apparently all the dudes I haven’t seen in a while are “hug first” gents. What that leads to is the non-Seaside Joe feeling as though I had no intentions of hugging him, which couldn’t be further from the truth. Getting the order of operations correct and constantly flipping back and forth has turned my greetings into the dilemma we all face when plugging in a USB cable. Third time’s a charm.
The San Francisco 49ers playing the Detroit Lions in the NFC Championship feels similarly awkward.
This will be the Niners 19th appearance in the NFC Championship game. This will be the Lions second appearance in the NFC Championship game. Even if those games are in the past and these are new players and coaches, that contrast in experience still matters; and these 49ers have also appeared in three of the last four conference championship games.
The 2023 NFC Championship is a rare opportunity when every single NFL fan watching is rooting for one team, unless your team is the 49ers.
This is a good breakdown of both offensive play callers by former NFL quarterback Colt McCoy:
One of the main takeaways is that while some teams are lucky to have 1-2 receivers who are good at option routes, the 49ers have at least four: Christian McCaffrey, George Kittle, Deebo Samuel, and Brandon Aiyuk. Having those four, Brock Purdy, the top-ranked left tackle in the NFL, and other underrated players like guard Aaron Banks and receiver Jauan Jennings, it’ll be difficult for any team to beat the 49ers.
But we hope it happens anyway.
Seahawks and Moons fans will have their attention drawn directly to Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson, who gets about as much love as Kyle Shanahan these days even though he’s not even Detroit’s head coach. And Detroit has a really popular head coach.
Vision Board: Lions 31, 49ers 29
Lions get two takeaways off Purdy. Amon-Ra St. Brown goes for 160.
AFC Championship: Chiefs-Ravens
Seaside Joe’s mom watches a lot of football but hates 50% of the teams left alive in the playoffs: Chiefs are just about as dislikeable to her as the 49ers, if not more. What kind of a son would I be if I didn’t root for Baltimore?
Before the season, I wrote that I choose to believe in the Ravens as the team that would come out of the toughest division for this reason: They were the only team out of the four that could say they looked strong at QB, Defense, and Head Coach. Every other team had 2 out of 3.
I also wrote in that article that the Bills would win the AFC East and the Chiefs would win the AFC West, while being skeptical of the Dolphins and Chargers. The Jaguars prediction looked fine until their December collapse.
We knew that the Chiefs would be there with the Ravens at QB and HC, but it turns out their defense is pretty good too: second in points and yards allowed? Kansas City might have the most valuable defensive coordinator in the NFL because no matter how good Steve Spagnuolo does nobody’s ever going to hire him as a head coach again after his disastruous tenure with the Rams.
Conversely, Seahawks fans will be watching Mike Macdonald’s Ravens defense just as intently as they do Johnson’s offense. Baltimore has given up a ton of rushing yards this season, especially in the last month (we don’t really talk about that for some reason?) and Kansas City has leaned on the run a lot more this season, especailly in the last month.
Also, I hope instead of cutting to Taylor Swift in the suite this week, the broadcast cuts to this:
Vision Board: Ravens 23, Chiefs 17
We might be talking more about Isiah Pacheco this Sunday than Travis Kelce. But the return of tight end Mark Andrews from an injury suffered in mid-November leads to the game-sealing fourth quarter touchdown.
And Seaside Joe’s mom rejoices.
Conference Championship Chats?
Do you want to have a live thread in the Substack App to chat about the games? Let me know in the comments. If there are enough comments/likes on comments about a chat, I’ll open one up. You’ll need the app to join:
Let me know and share your thoughts on the games: