Analyzing the NFL Playoffs Through Short-Lived TV Series!
This is the second in the series. Click here to read what "Three's A Crowd" predicts about the Redskins-Seattle matchup.
The Game: How tough would it be to play in the AFC South? No team in that division had a losing season, and the Jaguars finished second with an 11-5 record. That's life in the same division as the defending Superbowl champs. At 11-5, the Jaguars have the sixth best record in the league, a record they compiled playing in that toughest division. The Jaguars also have the best unknown QB in the league, David Garrard. Garrard ranks 3rd overall in the league in passing efficiency. But the Jaguars 11-5 record hides a 2-4 record in the AFC South ? they couldn't compete well in that division; and Garrard's ranking at number 3 puts him behind his opponent in this game. Ben Roethlisberger is ranked 2nd in passer rating. The Steelers felt disappointing at 10-6, a record that tied them with the Browns, of all teams, and let the Steelers in as a division "winner." They also lost their starting running back, The Boy tells me. The wild card in this wild card game might be the Steelers' field, which seems to get more complaints than even the Philadelphia "turf."
The TV Show: "Battlestar Galactica," the original TV series, ran for 22 episodes from 1978-1979. It told the story of a ragtag fleet of humans who survived a Cylon attack and were being chased down by the traitorous Baltar as they hunted for Earth. Unlike the later version of the series, the original had real Cylons and didn't skimp by simply taking a human and saying they were a robot. Unfortunately, the original also had a cute kid, "Boxey," and a cute robot, "Muffit," a sort of panda crossed with a dog and then made into a cyborg or something. Original Battlestar also had cool fight scenes and Starbuck, who was like Han Solo only on TV each week instead of in the theaters every fifteen years. Original Battlestar Galactica also didn't skimp on the made-up space stuff?they had fake card games, fake drinks, and even fake years ("yahrens.")
Why The TV Show Is Like The Game: "Star Wars," the first of the series, was released in May, 1977 and took over the entire universe of space movies. Even though Lucas was lying about his claim that "Star Wars" was meant to be the 4th in a series, there's no denying the impact it had on science fiction. The Rebel Alliance, the Empire, Luke, Leia, Darth Vader ? all great characters and ideas and the movie had everything you could want. Battlestar Galactica, by comparison, was a pale imitation. While it had its moments, it was just a substitute until you could get back to the science fiction you really wanted.
And so is this game. Jaguars and Steelers has some appeal ? power running, cold conditions, former Superbowl champion versus rising star team, etc. Blah blah blah. We're all just waiting to see the Colts and Patriots anyway.
An Episode That, In Particular, Holds Some Pointers For This Game, and Why: "Gun On Ice Planet Zero," a 2-parter episode, featured a ragtag team of Colonial pilots and prisoners going down to a Cylon planet to destroy an "ultra-powerful laser pulse weapon." Once on the planet, the Battlestarians find an army of clones and learn that Boxey has somehow tagged along!
The parallels to this game are eerie. A ragtag band of guys going into a supercold arena to take out the big gun? That's Jacksonville going after Big Ben all over. Plus, note the complete lack of parallels to Star Wars. I can just hear the Battlestar writers now: "Infringement? What infringement? Where else have you heard of a small planet with a giant laser cannon manned by an army of clones?" Jacksonville and Pittsburgh want to be the Patriots* and Colts. They just won't be, anytime soon.
Nonsportsmanlike Conduct's Predictions for the game and the show: I cheated ? I watched the show and so I know how it ends up. (Guess!) So I'll stick to predicting the game. 2-4 in their division is probably good enough. I'm going with the road team again: Jaguars.