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Ryan Succop Robbed Us Of Full Regional Futility

Tom Brady
Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images

All Ryan Succop had to do was cack the conversion last night to not only spare us another ooze-fest about Tom Brady's essential Bradytude, but finally give us the thing Deep Nerd America had been wanting all year.

A winless South.

The NFC South and AFC South, or as Jim Irsay might put it, the league's southeastern quartile, have been year-long eyesores, with but one winning team (Tennessee) and an aggregate record of 35-62-2. To grind through each team's manifest of failings would be an act of gratuitous cruelty and normally we're all in on that, but we've all got stuff to do today. The fact is, they all stink, and they nearly delivered the grand slam of ick this weekend. All we needed was Succop to shank that PAT with three seconds left, and the lads would have had the chance to turn in an 0-6-2 for the week, with scores of 16-19 (Atlanta to Philadelphia), 16-16 (Tampa-New Orleans), 14-17 (Houston to Cleveland), 19-54 (Indianapolis to Dallas), 14-40 (Jacksonville to Detroit) and 10-35 (Tennessee to Philadelphia).

Instead, Succop, one of the league's collection of antediluvian kickers, was true, and therefore false. Instead of the ignominious weekend we all deserved from the league's southern dregs, we got another set of over-the-top-amazeballs reactions to what was actually one of Brady's least noteworthy comeback drives ever—one which got the Bucs to 6-6 and required Brady to throw 54 passes to attain. But it hardly can be listed as an act of heroism, as the Bucs deserved to lose about six other times and if there were more than four NFC teams worthy of their league dues, they would have lost in reality as well as the playground of the imagination.

Indeed, the Bucs have slowly but demonstrably decayed since their Super Bowl two years ago, and Brady's response has been to take more of the games into his hands in a futile attempt to revive what is quite dead. He has had 58-, 52-, 52- and 49-pass games this years as the Bucs show the Rams the path of deterioration and ultimately death after a championship run, and the Rams are on a path to go from first to worst more dramatically than any other Super Bowl winner ever. Injuries have played a role here to be fair, but fair's got nothing to do with it. When you concentrate so much upchuck in two divisions, people are bound to notice eventually.

And what they notice is this: The NFC South could send a losing team as a division winner to the postseason, as the NFC East did two years ago. So could the AFC South, though Tennessee has the huge scheduling break of playing three of their last five games against Jacksonville (twice) and Houston. Indeed, the AFC South still has an outside chance to be the worst division ever by losing its final eight games outside the division and finishing 21-45-2—unless they also decided to tie all five division games left in a salute to 1926.

Good news looms, though. Three of the eight teams have byes this week, and the expectation is that only one of them will lose those byes, probably Indianapolis. We will miss them as they continue their chase toward the ignominy they so aggressively seek, and if it seems we are a bit too invested in their shame, well, the first rule of public humiliation is "Don't keep doing stuff you don't want us to see." It's Week 14. They've all had plenty of time to enter the blue tent.

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