By Ryan McGowan
There will be a head coach from some NFL team who will raise the Vince Lombardi Trophy at Raymond James Stadium on February 1, 2009. It very well might be Tony Dungy and the Colts for a second time. Perhaps it will be Mike Tomlin of the Steelers, or Tom Coughlin of the Giants in a repeat. Maybe even a dark horse rookie such as the Falcons’ Mike Smith or the Ravens’ John Harbaugh. One thing is certain, though–whoever it is will have a giant asterisk next to his name.
The 2008 NFL playoffs (or “the tournament”, as Bill Parcells likes to say) will be conducted for the first time in six years without the New England Patriots, and the rest of the league can breathe a sigh of relief.