Welcome back to Niners Nation After Dark where we made it through a weekend filled with exciting finishes in the 2011 NCAA Tournament. Although some of the officiating left something to be desired, this first week of the 2011 NCAA Tournament has been filled with some entertaining finishes. However, beyond the buzzer beaters and other exciting endings, we've seen some serious domination at times. The best example would be Ohio State sending a message in their dismantling of George Mason. A less expected run comes from the VCU Rams, who dominated Georgetown on Friday and Purdue on Sunday to advance to the Sweet 16.
The beauty of this year's tournament is that in spite of some of the crazy upsets, we've still got a lot of the quality basketball teams left. We've got our Cinderellas in Butler, VCU and Florida State. But we've also got three number ones, three number twos, and two number threes. Cinderella teams are great to have but you also need to get a good chunk of the top teams into the second weekend. Once the Sweet Sixteen gets going all bets are off, but it's good to have some of the teams you hate advancing.
That got me thinking about the NFL and the top teams in the NFL. The 2010 season saw a Cinderella of sorts in Kansas City, but then big name teams like New England, Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, and Phildelphia among others. Of course some traditional powers like our 49ers and the Dallas Cowboys have been going through some lean years. As 49ers fans we obviously want the 49ers back winning and in the playoffs. Given the nature of the NFL brand, does it really matter whether the 49ers or Cowboys get back into the playoffs. The NFL wants quality play, but given how big the NFL has become and how many new teams become name brands over the years, is it a big deal for the league whether traditional powers like the 49ers and Cowboys are struggling or at the top of their game?