In the moments after the New York Giants tore up the final chapter of Brett Favre's storybook season Sunday night, a buddy turned to me and asked an obvious question:
Why didn't Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy call a timeout to ice kicker Lawrence Tynes before he booted the 47-yard field goal in overtime to put the Giants in the Super Bowl?
The answer was not quite so obvious, but I'll venture a guess.
Because McCarthy probably figured Giants coach Tom Coughlin already had done it for him.
Of course, because the Giants were celebrating instead of commiserating at the end, not much attention was focused on what happened after Tynes missed a potential go-ahead field goal with 6:49 to go in the fourth quarter. He pulled the ball left and got an angry tongue-lashing from Coughlin as he came off the field.
Just to put things in perspective, Tynes - to that point - had made 20 of his previous 22 field-goal attempts (91 percent) and had accounted for the margin of victory in three of the Giants' nine straight road victories leading up to the NFL record-breaking 10th straight on Sunday. He already had made two field goals in the game.
"I'm sure he was yelling at me," Tynes said, "but that guy only wants the best for everybody, and when he yells at you, that's a good thing."
When the camera panned Coughlin venting at Tynes, I turned to my buddy and said: "I sure hope he doesn't need that guy to kick one at the end of the game."
Tynes came up again with four seconds left in regulation and - with the help of a high snap - pulled the potential game-winner wide left again. That time, McCarthy did use his final timeout to ratchet up the pressure. In overtime, even though he had three timeouts left, he must have figured there was no need.
Picking their poison
There are a lot of people out there who think the best chance to upend the New England Patriots was lost when Favre threw that disastrous interception in overtime, but I'm guessing the Patriots would have preferred to play the Packers in the Super Bowl.
Favre had a magical year, but he's a gunslinger who takes chances and occasionally makes mistakes, as we all saw Sunday. The Patriots lead the world in making teams pay for their mistakes, as we all saw at M&T Bank Stadium in early December.
The Pats probably will win the game, but an ascendant Eli Manning and the aggressive Giants defensive front give New York a better chance to pull the historic upset.
If you're wondering why the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform requested an FBI investigation into whether Miguel Tejada lied to congressional staffers during a 2005 investigation of Rafael Palmeiro, it probably isn't that difficult to figure out.
Committee chairman Henry Waxman justified the investigation by claiming that Tejada's unsworn testimony might have undermined the investigation into whether Palmeiro committed perjury during the infamous 2005 steroid hearings.
Maybe it did, but it seems more likely the committee's high-profile move on Tejada is a signal to Roger Clemens and his legal team that he better not fudge any facts when he testifies in a deposition and in front of the committee Feb. 13.
Morphing into Marty
San Diego Chargers coach Norv Turner needed to be bold if his team was to have any chance of staging a late comeback against the Patriots in the AFC championship game, but he turned conservative at just the wrong moment in the fourth quarter.
Facing a fourth-and-10 with about nine minutes left in the game, he chose to punt from the Patriots' 36-yard line, and the Chargers never touched the ball again.
It was the standard call in that situation, but it was not a standard situation. The Chargers were down by two scores to what might be the best team in history, so trading even a long-shot scoring opportunity for 23 yards worth of field position seems like a bad deal to me. It's what Marty Schottenheimer probably would have done under the same circumstances, which is one of the reasons he isn't coaching the Chargers anymore.
Listen to Peter Schmuck on WBAL (1090 AM) at noon most Saturdays and Sundays.