The week that was in the NFL:
Take bows, J.J. Watt and Fred Gaudelli. Roger Goodell on Gaudelli, stepping away from producing primetime NFL games after 33 years: “Freddie’s been the ultimate coach in the truck.”
The New York Football Giants, after winning 3, 5, 4, 6, and 4 games in the last five years, are 9-6-1 Giants and locked in as the sixth seed in the NFC. No team will have a greater accomplishment this season, barring the Jags winning the Super Bowl. CEO John Mara feels the difference this year: “When I’m walking out to my car at the end of the game, they’re not yelling, ‘You suck! Sell the team!’”
Six years ago tonight, the Giants reveled in their last playoff appearance — and Odell Beckham and a few mates celebrated with the infamous Miami boat picture. I’m dubious that photos of the 2022 team will surface from South Beach this week.
The Steelers rallied to beat Baltimore in the final minutes, have won five of six, four on the road, and after starting 2-6, they’re an absolute load to play. “We’re the Steelers,” said Cam Heyward. “We have certain expectations.” By the way, they’re 8-8, and a win against the Browns next week would give Mike Tomlin a 9-8 record, and his 16th non-losing season in 16 years helming the franchise.
Andy Reid has coached against Denver 20 times as Kansas City’s head coach. First five: 0-5. Last 15: 15-0. I sense a trend.
Jarrett Stidham can sling it. I mean, really sling it.
How amazing: The 247th pick in the draft, Skylar Thompson, might have to quarterback Miami’s last-gasp playoff-bid game against the Jets next Sunday, while the 262nd pick in the draft, Brock Purdy, will try to lift the Niners to NFC home-field advantage against Arizona.
The Vikings (12-4) close at the Bears (3-13) next Sunday, and Minnesota’s a one-point favorite. What, people don’t trust Minnesota? I’m shocked, I tell you.
Miami looks cooked. Anyone think Skylar Thompson can whip Sauce Gardner?
Colts have been outscored 97-16 in the last 2.5 games. Now there’s a desirable coaching job. Had enough yet, Jeff Saturday?
Tom Brady was the best player in Week 17. Who’s going to tell him he shouldn’t play next year, at 46?
Nick Bosa looks very much like Defensive Player of the Year. He’s got Usain Bolt burst. Just ask Kolton Miller.
Have you heard of Freddi Goldstein? No? Well, she might just be able to teach you something about Knockout Pools.
Read more in Peter King’s full Football Morning in America column