And it was not just this season where “momentum” was shown up to be the fool’s gold it is. At the start of last season’s playoffs, no team looked worse heading into the tournament than the Arizona Cardinals. They’d been blown out in multiple games down the stretch, and had rested starters two games prior to the end of the regular season. Contrast this with our Colts, who won nine straight games going into the post-season.
Cardinals went to the Super Bowl while the Colts lost in the Wild Card.
Despite this, the subject of momentum popped up again these playoffs, and once again the teams that were, quite simply, better than the perceived teams with “momentum” triumphed.
The Vikes destroyed the Cowboys because they were supposed to. The Vikes are better, up and down the roster. The Colts beat the Ravens because they are better. The Saints blasted the Cardinals because… you get the point.
If anything, this weekend gave a small measure of vindication to Bill Polian, who stated way back on December 8th that “momentum is over-rated.” People like me laughed off his claim that practice would help keep a team from accumulating “rust” just as well as another team who was playing a real, live NFL football game. I still think there is some truth to the notion that practice cannot simulate the value of a real game, but in the case of momentum v. rest, Bill Polian won the weekend.
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