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OPINION | WALLY HALL: It will be difficult to top this playoff weekend

by Wally Hall | January 17, 2023 at 3:25 a.m.


It was dubbed Super Wild-Card Weekend, and going into Monday night's Dallas-Tampa Bay game pretty much lived up to the hype with four of the five games decided by a touchdown or less and three of those settled in the fourth quarter.

The most dramatic game was a flashback to last September in Arlington, Texas, when KJ Jefferson was trying to give Arkansas a 21-7 lead late in the second quarter, but his dive for a touchdown went backwards when the ball was slapped out of his hand, returned to the 15 and then was handed to another Aggie who went 85 yards for a score.

What happened in the Cincinnati win over Baltimore was Ravens quarterback Tyler Huntley dove for a touchdown, the ball was knocked loose and Bengals defensive end Sam Hubbard fielded and went 98 yards for what would proved to be the game-winning touchdown.

On the Cincinnati sideline with a perfect view was former Arkansas Razorbacks quarterback Brandon Allen, who is the back-up to Joe Burrow.

Because of Allen, the Bengals are almost always pulled for.

For some strange reason, Allen was not appreciated by a small faction of fans at the UA and his was one of three vehicles set on fire on a Sunday night in 2014.

A year earlier, his truck was egged after a loss to Mississippi State.

Allen was a good quarterback for the Razorbacks, completing 583 of 1,016 pass attempts for 7,463 yards, 64 touchdowns and 26 interceptions.

The problem was timing. He came to the UA for John L. Smith's lone season that turned the next three years into a rebuilding phase for Bret Bielema.

During Allen's senior season, he led the Hogs to an 8-5 record, including a win over Kansas State in the Liberty Bowl. Against Ole Miss, he passed for six touchdowns and ran in the winning two-point conversion.

He was drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the sixth round of the 2016 NFL Draft. He was waived after the first season, but after one day the Los Angeles Rams signed him where he spent two seasons before being waived and picked up two days later by the Denver Broncos.

When starter Joe Flacco got hurt, Allen started three games. The next August he missed the final cut, but the next day was signed by the Bengals, where he is in his third season making $1.5 million a year, which is more than double the NFL minimum for a fifth-year player.

He also picked up $65,000 as a bonus for the playoff win.

Players in the playoffs are not paid by their teams because their contracts are based on the regular season. The bonus keeps climbing and the Super Bowl winners get $150,000, which is a fraction of what many of the players make per game.

For example, Kansas City Chiefs superstar quarterback Patrick Mahomes makes $2.5 million per game or $45 million a year, making him the highest paid quarterback in the playoffs and oddly the oldest still left in the AFC at 27.

The Buffalo Bills survived Miami, and according to a Twitter poll, the Bills are the fan favorites to win it all. A lot of that has to do with the incredible story of Damar Hamlin, who suffered cardiac arrest on the field early in a game against Cincinnati a little more than two weeks ago.

Twitter said 25 states favor the Bills.

Hamlin has not only survived, but is back in Buffalo, which will play Cincinnati at 2 p.m. Sunday.

This past weekend was called Super Wild-Card Weekend -- this is being written before Monday night's Cowboys and Buccaneers game -- and it lived up to its billing.

One can only believe this coming weekend will be as exciting, and not one player is receiving a penny from his team.


Print Headline: It will be difficult to top this playoff weekend

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