The National Football League's annual Wild Card weekend began Saturday in Indianapolis. The Colts toppled the Chiefs, meaning the winner of Sunday's game between the Jets and the Patriots will face the Chargers next Sunday in San Diego. Kickoff is scheduled for 4:30 p.m.
Indianapolis, the American Football Conference's third seed, will return to Baltimore for an interesting divisional playoff match-up with the second seeded Ravens. San Diego, who finished the regular season with a league-best 14-2 record and was the AFC's top seed, awaits Sunday's winner between the AFC East divisional rivals at Gillette Stadium.
If the Jets defeat the Patriots, it will be a difficult day for Ms. Pat Schottenheimer. Ms. Schottenheimer is the wife of Chargers head coach Marty Schottenheimer and also the mother of first-year Jets offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer. The younger Schottenheimer joined the Jets after a four-year stint as quarterbacks coach under his father in San Diego.
"I'd love to play him," said Brian Schottenheimer during the Jets' bye week. "I think it makes it easier on my mom (not having played San Diego). I don't think she'd like it very much, but I would like to play him at some point."
That point could now be in a few days. When Eric Mangini began his search for an offensive coordinator, he knew he wanted someone who had experience from the "San Diego/Kansas City/St. Louis family" of offenses. Brian Schottenheimer worked for all three clubs and has done an excellent job at the controls in his first season in New York.
"I like the double-reverse. I like the motioning of Chad (Pennington) in and back out and running the quarterback sneak, taking the shots, the flip plays, and all of those different things," said Mangini of his offensive coordinator. "Defensively when you have to sit back and get ready for those, it consumes a lot of time and it causes a lot of angst, and I want to cause angst for our opponents and I think Brian does a good job."
The Chargers enter the postseason on a 10-game winning streak. They have a well-balanced attack led by running back LaDainian Tomlinson, the NFL's 2006 MVP. Tomlinson scored an NFL-record 31 touchdowns (28 rushing), and he even threw a pair of touchdown passes. Tomlinson finished the '06 season with 1,815 rushing yards in addition to 508 yards receiving.
"I would feel so much better about winning if we win the Super Bowl. It would feel like it would be everything," Tomlinson said.
Note: Eric Mangini finished second in AP voting for National Football League Coach of the Year honors. You can still vote Coach Mangini for the 2006 Motorola Coach of the Year.*