Tom Sorensen

Short takes: Want to make the NFL’s conference title game? Here’s what you need ...

If you your team isn’t in the NFL’s final four, it’s likely because that team doesn’t have a franchise quarterback like the Green Bay Packers have in Aaron Rodgers.
If you your team isn’t in the NFL’s final four, it’s likely because that team doesn’t have a franchise quarterback like the Green Bay Packers have in Aaron Rodgers. AP

If you don’t have a Franchise Quarterback, you don’t have a team in the NFL’s final four. You can make a case that the best quarterbacks in the NFL this season are Matt Ryan (Atlanta Falcons), Tom Brady (New England Patriots), Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay), Ben Roethlisberger (Pittsburgh Steelers), and Derek Carr (Oakland Raiders). When Carr went down, so did his team. …

▪  I admit that I didn’t have my best season picking NFL winners. But I did correctly pick the four victors last weekend, among them the underdog Packers. The Green Bay-Dallas game is the reason we watch sporting events. It was where talent and tension meet, and Rodgers was exceptional. Before the playoffs began I picked the Patriots to beat the Packers next month in Houston. I still like the pick.

▪  The San Diego Chargers and their unpopular owner couldn’t get a new stadium, so they’re moving to Los Angeles, a city that will refuse to support two NFL franchises. I assume they would have preferred Las Vegas. There’s no question that an NFL team would move to the desert, and the NBA and Major League Baseball will at some point follow the Oakland Raiders there. If I ran the NFL, the Rams would still be in St. Louis, the Chargers would have Los Angeles to themselves and the Raiders would be in Las Vegas…

▪  When “True Detective” made its debut in 2014, I was a fan. I’m talking about the first season with Matthew McConaughey, Woody Harrelson and Michelle Monaghan. I found the series in the bargain bin at Best Buy, so I’m watching the first season again. You know how you remember a thing as being good and then you see it again and think, what was I thinking? Season 1 of “True Detective” is better than I remember. It is exceptional. …

▪  The Golden State Warriors went after the Cleveland Cavaliers in Oakland Monday. The Warriors, who were knocked out of the finals by Cleveland last season and had lost four straight to the Cavaliers, took off like sprinters pushing off starter’s blocks. Golden State won 126-91. The NBA finals begin June 1. As always, the San Antonio Spurs are a candidate and the Houston Rockets are having an excellent season. But I suspect we see Golden State and Cleveland again. When some of you see that the finals don’t begin until June, you tell bad jokes about how the season drags on. The NBA is a great product, and there’s no reason to end it prematurely. …

▪  I’m a little late, but congratulations Sean McDermott. The Buffalo Bills made a good move when they made the Carolina Panthers’ defensive coordinator their head coach. The problem in Buffalo is that ownership changes coaches as often as some sportswriters change socks. But if the Bills are smart enough to hire McDermott, they should be smart enough to keep him.

Tom Sorensen is a retired Charlotte Observer columnist. Sign up for his newsletter, and follow him on Twitter: @tomsorensen

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