NFL Wild Card Playoffs: Here's a Pump-Up Song For Every Quarterback
The road to the Super Bowl starts this weekend. Eight NFL teams will square off in the first bracket of the playoffs -- the Wild Card round -- to decide who makes the conference semi-finals. Win, and you’re only two wins away from the Super Bowl.
There’s a lot of pressure on these quarterbacks. But we’re here to help. Football is all about the right mindset, which means a clutch pre-game pump-up song. Forget about team DJs; we’ve hand-picked a personal anthem for each of this weekend’s starting quarterbacks to carry onto the field.
Teddy Bridgewater, Minnesota
There was probably some bozo in your fantasy league who drafted him and named their team Bridge Over Troubled Water. There’s no need to listen to Art Garfunkel’s angelic voice before a football game. The NFL is a very intense business and the on-field temperature before the Vikings play the Seahawks in Minnesota is expected to be around zero degrees Fahrenheit. That’s why we’re going with:
Only Bridgewater has to sing, “A.P. it’s cold outside” because, as it’s been the past ten years, the key to the Minnesota offense is someone handing the ball to Adrian Peterson. Maybe he could whisper this into his ear every time he hands him the ball. If he can do this 25 times, there’s a good chance Minnesota’s ball-control offense controls the line of scrimmage against Seattle.
If Peterson gets injured, his replacement is the much-less experienced Jerick McKinnon, so Bridgewater will have to decide if He Loves McKinnon in a hurry (sorry).
Kirk Cousins, Washington
When Cousins was named the team’s opening day starter this year, a lot of people were up in arms, since Robert Griffin III was the big investment, and Kirk hadn’t done much in his pro career to prove he was significantly better. But now he’s Captain Kirk. He has 11 touchdowns and no interceptions over his last three games, all Washington victories. But there’s one play people won’t let him forget about:
Against the Eagles on Dec. 26, Cousins inexplicably took a knee and let the clock run out when he could have spiked the ball to stop the clock and let his team try a field goal. This means he had a free shot at three points and was like, "Nah." He cannot do this again! He needs to remember not to just kneel down in the middle of plays. So he should listen to this until he can he can explain how he lost his way.
Brian Hoyer, Houston
Hoyer is set to quarterback the Texans for his first playoff start against the Chiefs today. Before playing last week, he had to miss two starts because of a concussion. He should definitely realize concussions are serious business and not try to play through one, but take care of himself, because the Texans’ backup quarterback is Brandon Weeden and the NFL knows he is not very good. He needs to remember whose team has that weed spot (it’s his).
A.J. McCarron, Cincinnati
Bengals starter Andy Dalton has been officially ruled out for this weekend’s game, meaning this rookie will start against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Bengals have not won a playoff game since Jan. 1991, about four months after McCarron was born. They need to change things up. For their 2013 home opener, against the same Pittsburgh Steelers, the Bengals played Katy Perry’s “Roar” during their pre-game introductions (and wound up winning!) but a social media backlash made the team ditch the song. New year, new quarterback -- the Bengals must restore their roar.
Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh
Two-time Super Bowl champion Ben Roethlisberger and his Steelers just squeaked into the playoffs, but there’s plenty of reason for them to feel at home when they play the Bengals in Cincinnati. As ESPN points out, Big Ben has a 26-5 record on the road in Ohio since his college days.
Ben Roethlisberger has dominated Ohio teams on the road in his career Steelers at Browns, 1 ET pic.twitter.com/WWfbIXs9uV— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) January 3, 2016
Here’s to applying a little extra eye black this weekend:
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay
The Packers haven’t been their usual dominant selves this year. Jordy Nelson tore his ACL during the preseason, Eddie Lacy has been off his game, and Randall Cobb has been playing injured. It’s pretty much down to Aaron Rodgers, and even though he’s arguably the best quarterback out there, he can’t do it all himself. He needs to be at peace with this to play his best.
“Holocene” is a legendary song about not being magnificent sung by another pensive Wisconsin man. It’s what A-Rod needs in this difficult time.
Alex Smith, Kansas City
The Chiefs haven’t won a playoff game since Jan. 1994. Their quarterback is under-appreciated. Alex Smith seldom gets the credit he deserves, but he’s been a very effective quarterback since they traded for him three seasons ago. Everyone calls him a "game manager." But he was once a number one draft pick! That’s right -- back in 2005, he was the first player chosen out of college by the entire NFL. Alex, you’ve always been a No. 1 -- now go out there and prove it.
Russell Wilson, Seattle
Because he's dating Ciara, and all the Seahawks needed to win the Super Bowl last year was one or two steps.