January 04, 2009 |

A week ago, the Patriot Nation was crying foul play. “We’re 11-5 and not in the play-offs. The San Diego Chargers went 8-8 and they’re hosting a  play-off game?”

First, the Patriots weren’t competing with the Chargers for a play-off spot. They aren’t in the same division. The Pats were competing with the Dolphins, the Jets and the Ravens for the final play-off spots. They lost out to the Dolphins and the Ravens.

There were outcries of changing the play-off format. What a shame, the Patriots didn’t get into the play-offs. There’s no way the mighty 11-5 Patriots should be home watching the play-offs.

As Ken Zalis and I agreed during “Chicken Box Friday,” the only way the Chargers could shut people up would be to beat the hottest team in the NFL, the Indianapolis Colts. Beating the Colts would not only cause all of Baltimore to pop champagne, but it would, in some people’s opinion, justify them being in the play-offs.

Now, for all of those New Englanders who protested so loudly, shhhhh. The Chargers are heading to the divisional round of the AFC Play-offs. They beat the the team that was, unanimously, the scariest team in the AFC. They defeated the reigning MVP and the darlings of this year’s play-offs.

As a side note, Baltimoreans, we don’t have to worry about an alledged replay of the “Greatest Game Ever Played.” You could never replay that game anyway. A match-up between the Colts and New York Giants of this generation wouldn’t be as important to the annals of time. It would only represent a game that would make most of us sick before kick-off.

So, with all due respect to Tony Dungy, I’m glad to see, at least, one of the great Manning brothers out of the play-offs. I’m also glad to see the Chargers advance so that all of the whining about the Patriots not getting in instead can stop.