Like he has done the past two years, NFL Hall of Famer and New York Jets legend Joe Namath will join Yahoo Sports and the Shutdown Corner Blog for exclusive commentary and analysis of the postseason. Make sure you like the Official Joe Namath page on Facebook.
And with playoff news always breaking like injuries and weather, please make sure to check the Broadway Joe site for updates and even more playoff insight from the legend himself!
There are always distractions in an NFL season, but distractions in the playoffs are magnified. And when you are going through what Colts quarterback Andrew Luck is going through right now, that definitely can be a distraction if you don't handle it the right way.
Let's rewind for a minute, even though we probably don't have to. Luck led the Colts back from that 28-point deficit on Saturday afternoon against the Kansas City Chiefs to win and advance in the playoffs. Now everyone is talking about how a legend is born. And boy I mean everyone.
It can get your focus off the game. You see a dramatic, improbable moment like what that team and that quarterback did in the wild-card round and everyone is talking about the past, they aren't talking about the game ahead. The focus isn't there. They are pumping you up, and it can be your downfall if you aren't careful.
It can be a distraction if Luck and his teammates were allowed to let it happen. Only if they keep the television on, if they listen to it on the radio. If they read the newspaper clips. I don't think they are now. I think they have to be focused.
This young man, well, he's been a star since he was a child, I believe he understands what goes on around him. It's important that we deal with what affects us and not the past. He's well schooled. He's on his way to understanding that you can't let the outside deter you from the job at hand.
I don't think it will be a distraction for the Colts. But the problem is they face a really good New England Patriots team this weekend.
Maybe some individuals in that locker room can and will read too much into the week before – how their quarterback is perceived, how they are perceived.
When I say that the media can be a distraction, I do speak from experience. Trust me, I loved to read those positive press clippings back in my day.
The one thing over the years, the one thing that sunk in for me personally was about how quick my release was. Reading that, maybe I tried to get it even faster, try to change my natural release. Change it from my passing style in college, in high school. I was tickled that they were making a big deal out of. I wanted to 'Wow' them all the more. Make it snap more.
I wonder if maybe I let it affect me on the field.
My first Monday Night game against the Cleveland Browns, I remember I had teammate and running back Emerson Boozer running a close-in, and he had a linebacker beaten. I know I let it go a hair too soon and it was behind him. Yep, it was intercepted. I tried to speed up that release. What I ended up doing was giving the other team the ball.
To this day, I ask myself if I was in the habit of trying to be a passer I was perceived to be. Did I try to make it quicker? I didn't do what got me there.
There were times throughout my career, if I wasn't so quick with my release, I'd have been more accurate. Maybe some plays would have happened for me, not against me!
Saturday afternoon, you know that Luck will have to be focused and not caught up in the hype, all the accolades.
Joe Namath's Playoff Picks:
Each week throughout the playoffs, the man behind the Super Bowl III guarantee will provide his picks for the weekend. Want further insight? Check out Broadway Joe site for even more from the Hall of Fame quarterback!
New Orleans Saints vs. Seattle Seahawks: The big thing about this one – and I really like both these teams – is the capability of Russell Wilson to move around and make some plays with his legs. The threat of Marshawn Lynch, even though the Saints can do well in their run defense, is strong. I think that's big that they can run the ball. Wilson can help you sustain drives and with the weather up there, running the ball is key. Hard not to like Seattle here. Joe's Pick: Seahawks
Indianapolis Colts vs. New England Patriots: I hate to emphasize Mother Nature having an impact on the game, but it is supposed to be a bit rainy, a bit nasty. I have to like New England to start with, based off who they are, who they've been. I respect that coaching staff so much. They have that right formula to play these games. That coaching staff gives them an edge in this. I'm not believing that the Colts can maintain drives to win the battle of the clock, take the ball out of Tom Brady's hands. Joe's Pick: Patriots
San Francisco 49ers vs. Carolina Panthers: Both defenses are nice! I like both quarterbacks but give that edge to Colin Kaepernick. With Michael Crabtree healthy (did you see last week?), that's a big difference. Against that kind of the defense, Cam Newton from the pocket might have more trouble – he stares down the middle longer. He doesn't look off as much which can be bad against a defense like this! They will make you pay if you lock in. Joe's Pick: 49ers
San Diego Chargers vs. Denver Broncos: This Chargers team knows the Broncos. They've played them well this season. But it comes down to execution, and while the Chargers can control the ball, they don't always execute to the point that they can beat the Broncos. I love this San Diego team, I love Danny Woodhead there. But Peyton Manning will be ready for this game. He will be efficient, he will execute. Joe's Pick: Broncos
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