With the Green Bay Packers’ playoff hopes already dangling in the wind coming into Sunday, the hot seat had never been warmer for coach Mick McCarthy. And after their latest loss, a flat-out embarrassing 20-17 defeat to the lowly 3-9 Arizona Cardinals, he was dismissed. QB Aaron Rodgers had helped them make a comeback at home to the woeful redbirds only to see them kick another field goal to give them the lead again. However, he led the team down once again and allowed Mason Crosby a chance to kick his own field goal to the tie the game. It missed, and the Packers lost. They immediately made the move to get rid of McCarthy, who had been in charge since 2006, coaching a living legend in Rodgers, yet he had only won the Super Bowl once in that time. That, combined with personal friction between the pair and the desire of the Packers to keep their 35 year old star, means they had to make a move.
Elsewhere, the Pittsburgh Steelers are morphing back into the team that started the season in such a tailspin. Sunday they produced an historic performance of epic proportions. But not the good kind. They led 23-7 at one point, but they then gave up 23 unanswered points before falling eventually to the Los Angeles Chargers 33-30. Philip Rivers was typically good, going 26 of 36 in the air for 299 yards and two TD’s, but the inquest will be on the Steelers and just how they blew such a lead. It’s their second loss in a row after winning a bunch in a row, and it means they have invited the Ravens back into the race in the AFC North as a result of it.
It is now official: the four teams headed to the College Football Playoff were determined on Sunday, and there weren’t all that many surprises to be honest. The top team was, of course, Alabama, and they were followed by Clemson and Notre Dame, both of which were also undefeated. That pair would play one another in a 2v3 match up, but who would play Alabama in the other semi-final? The answer was what was expected, and it was the Oklahoma Sooners. The committee stated that they went with the Sooners over the Ohio State Buckeyes because they had avenged their one loss by beating that team again, Texas in the Big 12 title game, while the Buckeyes only beat a pedestrian Northwestern team. Interestingly enough, though, it appears that the debate might have been Georgia vs Oklahoma for the #4 slot, because the Bulldogs were ranked #5 ahead of OSU. Meanwhile, there was no chance for UCF, who were ranked #8 by the committee, thus setting them up with a showdown against LSU on New Year’s Day.