Archive for January 2009

Super Bowl, Homeboy

January 31, 2009

Sorry for taking the week off.  Work definitely got the best of me this time around.  I’ve been meaning to come on here for a good five days now with my Super Bowl breakdown and pick, and I had spent all of last week compiling facts and stats and interesting analyses (yes, that is the correct plural form of ‘analysis’).  I had written most of it down on various pieces of paper, napkins, my forearm, or whatever I had handy at the moment the thought occurred to me.  Needless to say, pretty much everything I had at one time written down has since been lost.  I cleaned up my apartment, took out my trash, used the napkins to wipe BBQ sauce off my chin, and showered away any body writing.

So here I am, starting from scratch.  I figure with the stuff I had written down I probably could have written a good 1,500 words on the big game, but then I realized … who in hell wants to read that?  So instead of sitting here and beating a dead horse with all of the info you’ve heard on ESPN for the past two weeks, I’ll just be brief about it, and then cover some other things I’ve got on my docket. I’ve had a few things on my mind over the week, but my mind has been a half cup of water short of oatmeal the past few days, so I’ll see what I can muster.  But before we get too ahead of ourselves, onto the pick.

Pittsburgh (-6.5) over Arizona

Since the first line was released, it has moved a half a point in favor of the Cardinals.  This means there is a hefty amount of people wagering on them.  Sure, they’re the fun pick because no one saw them coming at the outset of the playoffs, but I’ve gotta pick with my brain, not my heart.  I don’t know know which thought process applies more for this game – the “Offense wins games. Defense wins championships” thought process, or the “Last year’s Super Bowl plus this year’s playoffs just prove that seriously ANYTHING can happen in the NFL” thought process.  While the latter is certainly hard to debate, I think this is the end of the road for the Cards.

Although the game is being played at a neutral site, ESPN hasn’t yet stopped talking about how there are NO Cardinals fans in Tampa.  Arizona has a somewhat small fan-base, and since it hasn’t exactly been the pinnacle of excellence in the past decade, its fans may not be as loyal as a team like Pittsburgh’s fans are.  The Steelers’ fans are going to take over Raymond James Stadium.

The Steelers have 20 players with previous Super Bowl experience, Arizona has only five. The only silver lining in that cloud is that one of those five Cardinals is Kurt Warner.

Seriously, this has to be the week that coaches realize that, above all else, stopping Larry Fitzgerald is the most important thing in the history of life.  Pittsburgh defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau is a freakin’ genius, so I am sure he has some kind of a game plan for this.  Whether or not it works may determine the outcome of the game.

In the end, the bottom line is this: Pittsburgh is an all-around better team.  They have been solid and consistent all season long.  I think they’ve got all the right tools to win this game, and I’ve picked accordingly.

I truly, truly do not care who wins this game.  Not even a little.  This is not to say I won’t watch; I am pumped for the game.  But, I would rather watch a good game than anything else. Please, God let it be a good game. Last year was fantastic, let’s follow it up eh?

My pick: Pittsburgh 24 – Arizona 17

Onto other things …

– I finally caved in.  After countless years of dozens of people screaming at me for never having seen the Star Wars movies, I have started my journey to a galaxy far, far away.  I debated on which order to watch them in, and upon the advice of several people, including Jake, the biggest Star Wars fan I know, I decided to watch them in the order they were released instead of numerically.  I watched the first one (or the fourth one, depending on how you look at it) last week and loved it.  I am going to hit up number two (five) this weekend, so there will be more coming on this topic in the near future.

– How crazy is college basketball right now?  The top ten poll is like Lindsay Lohan – stacked, and there’s someone different on top of it every week.  If this is any indicator of how March Madness will be, I might have to devise a plan to get the entire week off from work so I don’t have to miss a game.  If I could manage to do that, this year could potentially oust the most fun March Madness I’ve ever experienced.  Two years ago, I was in between jobs for roughly three weeks, and those three weeks just happened to be in the middle of March.  I spent basically the whole time glued to the TV, often from Eric’s couch, and I did not miss one single game.  Literally.  I watched every single game that was aired.  I started work at my new job the day after the title game.  It could not have been more perfect.  Well, if Florida had lost, then it would have been more perfect.  But I’ll take it how I had it.

– Along with Star Wars I’ve watched some other movies lately, and I plan on doing a little somethin’ somethin’ about that.  I’ll probably write up my reviews some time next week, so keep your eyes peeled for that.

– Speaking of movies, I really want to go check out a few in the theaters, but work doesn’t always allow me to do as such.  I’m more than likely going to have to pick one or two of the best and wait for the rest to come out on Blu-Ray.  Basically, I am reaching out to all of you for your advice.  I’ll give you a list of the movies I want to see, and if you’ve seen them, I want your feedback.  What should I go to?  What should I stay away from?  Gimme the dirt.  Here’s a list of the  movies currently playing in my area that I am at least somewhat interested in:

Gran Torino
–Frost/Nixon
–Taken
–Defiance
–The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

I’ve already heard nothing but good things about Gran Torino so I am thinking that has to make the list of must-sees, but with regards to the rest of the list, I’ve either heard nothing about the film or I’ve heard mixed things about it.  If I went by which movie was grossing the most in theaters right now, I would be seeing Pall Blart: Mall Cop, and if I were to ever pay $9 to see that, you all have permission to slap me across the face as hard as you possibly can.  Twice.  Help me out here.

– With every commercial I see about it, I get less and less interested in ever watching “Lost.”  I know, people swear that it’s an awesome show, but judging by the thousands of commercials ABC throws at me during a three-hour basketball game, it just doesn’t float my boat (no pun intended).  Maybe if someone hand delivered the seasons to me at my home, and physically placed them in my player, and pushed the play button while I was already seated in my chair, then I would watch it.  Anything short of that, though, severely hampers my intention of ever wanting to see it.

Well, if you’re reading this before Sunday, then I hope you enjoy the Super Bowl.  I hope you’ve got your best sick voice and a good excuse ready for Monday morning though.  You’ve got some stiff competition; the day after the Super Bowl is the number one sick day taken across America.  My advice: tell your boss you’re having female problems.  It will never be questioned.  Even if you’re a dude.  Who would ever want to ask a man for details on such a thing?  What if it was true?  Jesus, that would scar anyone.

One love,

10

I Like Pizza

January 23, 2009

Pizza is delicious.  That’s not news to anyone.  But, last night, pizza screwed me over.  Because of two different pizzas, instead of staying in bed all nice and warm, I was forced to get out of bed at 3:30 in the morning and go stand outside in 10-below zero weather for a half an hour in nothing but a sweatshirt and a pair of sweatpants (which were on backwards).

Okay, I’m getting ahead of myself.  We need to back up to the beginning and Tarantino this story.

Yesterday, work was a little crazy and I ended up working a lot later than planned.  I didn’t get a chance to eat before my shift, so when I got home I was extremely hungry.  This was bad news, because since I hadn’t really eaten all day, my eyes were definitely going to be bigger than my stomach.  So upon getting home, I made a frozen pizza, sat down, and ate the whole thing.  Big mistake #1.

After I ate, it was bed time.  I had to be up a few hours later for work again, so I hit the sack … on a full stomach.  Big mistake #2.  When my alarm went off at 2:45, I woke up with what felt like a rock in my stomach.  Obviously I shouldn’t have eaten the whole pizza, but come on, I was really hungry! Anyway, I was feeling pretty crappy, and going to work was out of the question because I was spending an inordinate amount of time in the bathroom.  I guess that’s what I get.  So, I called my boss and let him know I wouldn’t be able to make it in, I finished my business in the bathroom, and I went back to bed.  Big mistake #3.

I should have just gone to work.  I should have sucked it up and gone because my morning was worse for staying at home.  After I fell back asleep, I was very rudely woken by the fire alarm in my building.  A quick note on this fire alarm.  On a scale of 1 to 10, the volume on that bad boy was easily set at 11.  I understand it has to be loud, but my God, I think I pissed the bed when it went off because it scared the hell out of me so badly.  So within about seven seconds, I realized that the blaring horn outside my door was the fire alarm, and I darted out of bed.  I quickly pulled on a pair of sweats and tossed on a sweatshirt, and opened up my door and looked out in the hallway.

Nothing. First floor: clear.

There were a few other people out there wondering the same thing I was, “What the hell is going on?”  Everyone kind of looked at everyone else, shrugged their shoulders, and went back in their respective apartments.  I followed suit.  I figured it was just some kids jerking around who decided to pull the fire alarm.  I went back into my apartment, took off my sweatpants and sweatshirt, and laid back down.  Big mistake #4.

About a minute later, I heard a freakin’ stampede coming down the stairs.  So I begrudgingly got out of bed … again.  I peeked out the window and saw about 10 people standing outside freaking out.  Okay, not a false alarm.  So I kicked it into high gear and threw back on my sweats and sweatshirt.  I grabbed my keys and made my way to the door.

Before I left, though, I ran around in about four circles in my room wondering if there was something I should grab in case the building goes up in flames.  Something that money can’t replace.  I’ve always wondered this about myself.  I used to think, “If there was a fire, and I only had time to grab one thing, what would I grab?” I never really knew what it would be, but in the moment of truth my paternal instincts kicked in, and I did grab one thing.  I grabbed, off the wall, my framed display of my 1991 Game 7 World Series tickets which are laid lovingly over my Minnesota Twins Homer Hanky, which I also got at Game 7.  (Yes, I was there when the Twins beat the Braves 1-0 in the 10th inning on a Gene Larkin single to left field, scoring Dan Gladden to win the World Series.  It is the single greatest memory of my life and I would be extremely sad if I didn’t have that).

Where were we?  Oh yeah, the building I live in was potentially on fire.

So there I was, sweatsuited-up, standing outside, holding my framed Homer Hanky in front of about 15 other people.  (This was about the time I noticed that I had put my sweatpants on backwards).  So anyway, one of the girls who lives on the third floor said the hallway was full of smoke, so she called 911.

Within a few minutes, the cavalry showed up in the form of four fire trucks, three cop cars, and an ambulance.  Seems like a little overkill, but anyone who knows this town knows that this is probably the most exciting thing that’s happened in months, so I don’t hold it against them.  They stormed into the building like they were storming the beaches of Normandy, and about ten minutes later, they emerged with the culprit.

A pitch black, burnt to a crisp … frozen pizza. Apparently someone got home from a night on the town and in a raging drunken stupor, put a pizza in the oven and passed out.

I found this especially ironic because were it not for a frozen pizza, I wouldn’t have gotten sick and stayed home from work for the day.  Instead, there I was, standing outside dressed like Kris Kross in the middle of winter, sick, tired, and holding a Homer Hanky in a frame.

kriskross

“We pee our pants at least half the time because it takes forever to unbutton them from the back.”

The fire department let us back in the building a little after 4:00, but between the deafening fire alarm factor, the adrenaline factor, and the standing outside without a jacket factor, I was wide awake.  I tossed and turned until almost 6:00 and finally crashed.  So much for getting a good night’s sleep.   I guess the moral of the whole story is this: don’t eat a whole frozen pizza in one sitting, because no good things can come from it.  Trust me.

One love,

10

A True Love Story Revisited

January 17, 2009

Quickly before we get settled in, it should be noted that upon being removed from my links, Bigsby has removed the sand from his man-gina and begun updating again.  He is once again back in the lineup, so check him out, but let it be known by all that another such absence will result in me personally finding him and slapping him in the face.  Bigsby, you have been warned.

Okay, now down to business.

Man, how long has it been since I wrote about something other than sports?  Maybe if I wasn’t such a selfish bastard, I would write about something else, but it seems that sports is the only thing I care about right now.  Well this time, I am NOT going to mention sports even one time.  I promise.  No, really.

Rather, I am going to do something that is more for me than anything else.  I’m going to recognize my longest running relationship to date. For nine good years, I have been with Gladys.  Although she was born in 1996, Gladys is wise beyond her years.  She and I have done so much together, and I’ll be damned if I don’t love her with all my heart.  Oh, I suppose I should mention that Gladys is my vehicle, not a person.  Come on, like I would be dating someone who was born in 1996 … since she was four.  Everyone knows that 1994 is my cutoff year. Back to the story.

Gladys is my 1996 baby blue Chevy S-10 pickup.  Although she isn’t my first car, she is certainly my favorite.  She was in the shop yesterday and today for some light maintenance, and it got me thinking about our past.  We’ve had some good times and some rocky times, but when it comes down to it, she’s been pretty damn good to me.

So submitted for your approval, here are the top five most memorable moments I’ve had with my dear, sweet Gladys.

5.  Love At First Sight – I still remember the day I first saw her, before she was mine.  I was driving with a friend and we passed the car lot, and out of the corner of my eye I saw her.  I made my friend turn the car around pronto so I could go get a better look.  It was like a scene right out of the movies.  I was drawn to her like a moth to a flame, like a kid to a toy store, like a fat, Chinese businessman to a high-priced hooker.  After I had a moment with her – looking her up and down, peeking in the window, gazing at the way the sun shimmered on her paint – I looked at my buddy, and in true Wayne’s World fashion, I said, “She will be mine.  Oh yes, she will be mine.”  A couple of short weeks and every dollar I had ever earned in my life later, she was indeed mine.  This was the beginning of a beautiful relationship.

4. “Sorry, I Don’t Have Room” – Memorable moment number four is a not really a moment, but a series of them over the past decade in which I have had a super excuse not to drive if I don’t feel like it.  Having a single-cab pickup is good for that.  If there are ever more than three people, then I am immediately precluded from driving since, hell, I just don’t have room for any more that that.  I can’t even begin to count how many times this has gotten me out of driving somewhere.  I’m sure my friends could count, though.  Also, there’s probably little debate that if I ever get a vehicle with more than two doors, I should have to be automatic driver for any and all trips for at least two straight years.

3.  A Milestone Accomplished – Not long after I got Gladys, my buddy Brad and I were talking about her and he didn’t think she would make it up to 100 mph.  Well, I couldn’t stand by and let someone talk about my baby like that, so I accepted the challenge.  Nobody puts Baby in a corner.  We hit highway 2 just outside of town and I kicked her down.  At first, I wasn’t even sure I was going to get there because I had never tried it before.  Between that and the possibility of going straight to jail if I were to get pulled over, I was a tad nervous.  As the speedometer began to climb into the 80s, I started getting extra nervous because the feedback I was getting from Gladys was not an indicator that she would make it up to triple digits.  Still, I pressed on.  Then came the 90s.  I had my foot on the floor and it was all or nothing from here.  95 came and went, but then around 97, she started backing down.  Shit, the governor was kicking in and I worried that it would prevent me from reaching a goal I was now determined to hit.  After a couple of rounds of revving it up and watching it get kicked back down, I gave it one last heave.  Well, as God and Brad as my witnesses, the needle slid up to 100, and then almost immediately back down into the mid-90s.  I didn’t get pulled over, I didn’t lose control and crash, and I proved that Gladys could kick some ass if need be.  Hell of a night.

2.  Keep The Change – The only thing I regret about memorable moment number two is that no one else was around to see it, so you’re just going to have to take my word on it.  A few years ago, on a beautiful spring afternoon, I headed over to Target to pick some stuff up.  I found a parking spot, and the median separating the row I parked in and the one adjacent to it was a plot of grass about six feet wide.  When I pulled into my spot, I noticed a lady – mid to late-40s – sitting in the grass, basking in the sun about ten feet away from Gladys.  I decided immediately that I wanted to screw with her, so I grabbed a nickel out of the coin tray.  When I got out of the car, I made sure she was looking at me, so I licked my thumb and pretended to wipe off a smudge from the side-view mirror.  After that, I walked over to the lady, tossed the nickel at her, and said, “Keep an eye on it for me, will ya?”  And I just walked away.  The lady burst out laughing, and I barely held it together as I walked into Target.  To this day, I still think this is funny.

1. The Longest Night Of My Life – It’s strange.  All these great memories I have with Gladys over the past nine years, and the most memorable one in the lot is an unpleasant one.  In November of 2003, my buddy Jason and I took Gladys down to Minneapolis to meet Eric for a concert.  After the concert let out around 11:00, Jason and I got back on the road becase we both had a test the next morning at 10:00, so we weren’t afforded the luxury of spending the night in Minneapolis.  So after four hours of driving, we were about 35 miles away from home, when Gladys decided she had had just about enough.  Cue the transmission going out.  So here we are, at 3:00 in the morning, in the middle of November, stranded on the side of interstate 29 a couple of miles north of Hillsboro, North Dakota.  Luckily, I was covered under my parents’ motor club, so finding a tow truck wasn’t a problem.  Finding a tow truck to come and get us in a timely manner, was however a problem.  The earliest we could get a guy to come tow us back to town was 7:00 that morning.  Ridiculous.  So for nearly four hours we sat on the side of the road waiting for a God damn tow truck.  Leaving the engine running was downright scary because it sounded HORRIBLE, so we decided to rough it and just leave it off.  Needless to say, we were effing cold.  I was so cold I couldn’t sleep.  Finally the guy showed up at 7:30, and brought us and Gladys back into town.  The motor club only covers the first ten miles of towing, so I had to foot the bill for the other 25, which wasn’t cheap by any means.  By the time I got home, it was almost 9:00 and I had to take a test in a little over an hour.  Even though I hadn’t slept in over 24 hours, I sucked it up, got a B on the test, went home, called in sick for work that night, and slept for something like 11 hours.  $2,000 and a week later, Gladys was back in business with a brand new transmission.  Gladys and I, we’ve had some tough times together, but that friends, that was by far the worst.

People ask me once in a while when I plan on getting a new car.  I never know quite how to reply, but one thing I can say for sure is that I am going to hang on to Gladys as long as I possibly can. I mean, how often do you find the love of your life?

One love,

10

Breaking The Chain Of Mediocrity

January 14, 2009

Another week, another 2-2 record for yours truly.  I guess I shouldn’t complain.  With the playoffs going the way they are, I’m lucky to be .500 with my head above water.  But enough with the past.  I’ve got my eyes on the prize and I am devoted to getting the last three games correct.  This week is not making things any easier on me in that respect however.  For starters, the NFC game is becoming tougher and tougher for me to get a handle on.  The more I think about it, the more confused I get.  The more I know, the less I understand.  I decided the only way I am going to get a grip is if I just start writing.  So before I commit to either team, I am going to do just that.

Five reasons to pick the Cardinals:

1) They’re playing at home.  This is more of a generalization than it is a super-strong case against Philly.  I guess it bears mentioning, however, that the Eagles went 3-4-1 on the road in the regular season, and that tie was against Cincinnati, which according to Eric is as good as a loss.  I’m partially inclined to agree.  If you play 75 minutes against the Bengals and can only muster 13 points en route to a tie, you just suffered a moral loss. Meanwhile, the Cards are 7-2 at home this season including that home win against Atlanta in the opening round of the playoffs.

2) Warner to Fitzgerald, ’nuff said.

3) Philly head coach Andy Reid has been doing a good job so far this postseason, but he is still Andy Reid. Basically that means we’re never more than one play away from him completely blowing a decision that alters the entire game.  If the game comes down to the Eagles needing to effectively operate the two-minute drill while managing timeouts and challenges, their likelihood of winning goes down faster than a Quizno’s sub in the hands of Reid.

4) EVERYONE is picking the Eagles.  No one is even giving the Cards a chance.  Case in point, ESPN columnist Gene Wojciechowski posted an article Monday in which he basically said that it is humanly impossible for the Cards to beat Philly.  When people start talking like that, strange things can happen.  Very easily.  Just ask the Panthers.

5) The Eagles are no longer the underdog.  The last two weeks, they thrived on playing as the team not necessarily expected to win.  This was especially true against the Giants.  Now that they are the overwhelming favorite in the minds of everyone in the media, they are going to have to work a little harder to keep that out of their heads so as not to take the game for granted.

Five reasons to pick the Eagles:

1) Show me a team who is playing better than them right now.  Go ahead, I’ll wait.  They are 6-1 since their 48-20 victory on Thanksgiving … against the Cardinals.  Among these wins is a 44-6 drubbing of Dallas, a win against the Vikings in Minnesota, and TWO wins over the Giants in Giants stadium.  Tough to bet against a team like that.

2) Brian Westbrook , ’nuff said.

3) The Eagles secondary would scare the shit out of me if I was a Cardinal receiver.  Corners Assante Samuel and Sheldon Brown, and safeties Brian Dawkins and Quintin Mikell have teamed up to allow a meager 161 passing yards per game this postseason.  They are a bunch of hard-hitting ball hawks who have the ability to reroute a team’s game plan almost immediately.  Defensive coordinator Jim Johnson said that he plans to throw a few different looks at Kurt Warner to keep him and Fitzgerald at bay.  If the Cardinals have to rely on their run, they could be in trouble.

4) The confidence factor has to play in a little bit for the Eagles after the four touchdown victory the last time these two teams met.  In that game, Larry Fitzgerald caught only five passes for 65 yards (albeit, two of those catches were touchdowns).  The Cards may or may not have a bitter taste in their mouths about being outplayed on Thanksgiving. Either way, the Eagles have the mental upper hand in my opinion.

5) The last time they played, the Eagles held the Cardinals to 25 yards rushing, intercepted Kurt Warner three times, and only once allowed a drive to last longer than five plays.  Bottom line, the Cards are going to have to earn it on offense if they intend to put up points.

Well, after all that, I suppose I should make a pick.  Drumroll please …

Philadelphia (-3.5) over Arizona

You know what’s funny, it took me longer to come up with five reasons to pick the Eagles.  In spite of that, my instincts are telling me they are the way to go here.  At the end of the day, I think they’re the better team all around; better run game, better defense, more experienced coach.  My pick: Philadelphia 27 – Arizona 21

Whew, that was a little exhausting.  The AFC was a little easier for me to make a decision on.

Pittsburgh (-6) over Baltimore

Okay, this has to be the end of the road for the Ravens doesn’t it?  Pittsburgh’s number one ranked defense is just too good for them.  Joe Flacco hasn’t been anything special in two playoff games, and I can only imagine his struggles will be magnified against the Steel Curtain.  This puts the ball in the hands of Le’Ron McClain, and here’s just a heads up for him … the Steelers have allowed a grand total of 15 yards rushing this postseason.  I just think the Ravens are going to be overmatched.  Pittsburgh is going to control the clock and keep the Baltimore defense on the field for extended periods of time.  They’re going to force Joe Flacco to make plays, which I see resulting in a rookie quarterback losing his cool and coughing up the ball a couple of times.  I’m not 100% convinced they’ll cover the spread, but I gotta take the Steelers to win the game.  My pick: Pittsburgh 17 – Baltimore 12

Well, there we have it.  It’s depressing that we only have three football games left until August, (and don’t even tell me the Pro Bowl makes four games, the Pro Bowl is a horse shit snooze fest).  I guess all we can hope for now is three excellent games.  By the way, how have I not heard about the possibility of an all-Pennsylvania Super Bowl at least 6,0oo times?  Is it because people were too concerned about a possible “Subway” Super Bowl (don’t get me started on that) or an All-Manning Super Bowl, or is it because no one realizes that Philly and Pittsburgh are both in Pennsylvania?  Neither would surprise me in the least bit.  Oh well.

I guess that’s all I’ve got for today.  I’ve got a four day weekend from work starting tomorrow, and I am excited since this is by far the coldest week of the year.  How cold?  Oh, just 40-below all week, no big deal.  I see myself going to the store to stock up on food tomorrow, and I plan on not leaving my apartment all weekend unless absolutely necessary.  And just so we’re clear, going to the bar at least once will be absolutely necessary.

One love,

10


Drowning My Sorrows With Insult

January 11, 2009

It has not been a good week of sports for me folks.  Starting last Sunday, I have watched the Tar Heels lose their first game of the season, the Buckeyes lose the Fiesta Bowl in dramatic fashion, and the Titans get bounced out of the playoffs early (more on this game later in the week).  I am walking on eggshells waiting for someone to come around the corner and kick me in the nuts, just to top everything off.  Seriously, my head is on a swivel every time I walk to my car in the morning.  I know it’s going to happen, it’s just a matter of time.

Speaking of a kick in the nuts, I am becoming more and more convinced that the NFL, FOX, CBS, and ESPN are in some kind of agreement to hire only idiots to cover the playoffs.  ESPN is pretty notorious for this, especially recently, and someone needs to slip them a note telling them that it would be okay for them to politely decline to let some recently retired NFL players be on television.  I mean, they don’t have to say yes to EVERYONE.  I imagine their interview process for a position as an NFL analyst has two prerequisites: previous NFL experience, and ownership of at least one suit and tie, (pants optional).

What do you think Trey Wingo is thinking when he has to sit there on camera and listen to Trent Dilfer break down actual quarterbacks?  How hard is it for him to hold back the sudden urge to puke every time Dilfer speaks?  I’ll bet money his thoughts are something like this:

“What the hell am I doing here?  I have a journalism degree from Baylor.  I have a reputable employer under my belt. I bet I could find another job.  All I know is if I have to continue listening to Mark Schlereth talk about football like he knows a God damn thing, I am going to kill him.  And I don’t mean that metaphorically like ‘Oh haha I’m gonna kill you.’  I mean I am going to fucking kill Mark Schlereth.  I am going to catch him on his way into the bathroom, lock the door behind us, and fucking choke him and slam his head against the floor until he stops breathing. Then maybe I can get out of this hell hole.  Shit, prison would be better than a world in which Shaun King, who has a career QB rating of 73.4, sits in front of me and tells the nation what Peyton Manning, who has a career QB rating of 94.7, needs to work on.  Maybe if I say ‘fuck’ on the air they’ll suspend me a couple weeks with pay and I can use that time to make a bomb big enough to blow up this whole damn studio.”

Yeah, that sounds about right.

Who can blame him?  He is surrounded by idiots most of the time.  Between Merril Hoge and Mark Schlereth, they can maybe muster one intelligent thought between them per day.  Maybe.  My favorite Schlereth quote comes from a few years back when ESPN was breaking down the Super Bowl matchup between the Colts and Bears.  Schlereth was comparing the two teams’ quarterbacks, Peyton Manning and Rex Grossman.  Upon showing clips of Grossman completing a couple of passes, Schlereth said, “When Rex Grossman sets his feet to throw, he is the best quarterback in the NFL.”

Hmm, really Mark?  How can you say that with a straight face?  I guess that’s what 3,193 passing yards, 23 TDs and 20 INTs will get you.  How’s he doing now, Mark? Frickin idiot.  I’ll always remember this quote because B-Weezy and I talked about it for about two years, and I’ll never forget how SUPREMELY disgusted I was by it.

By the same token, pre/postgame shows and halftime shows have gotten equally out of hand.  Not only are they littered with a bunch of people who only got the job because of their previous NFL status, but they just have way too many people, period.  When I tune into a pre/postgame show, I want to get some analysis of the game, some news from around the league, and maybe a spotlight piece on one of the players in the game.  I don’t want to see more people on stage than a Wu-Tang Clan concert, which is about where we’ve landed.  Dear ESPN, do we really need opinions from Chris Berman, Tom Jackson, Keyshawn Johnson, Cris Carter, Mike Ditka, Ed Werder, Ron Jaworski, Jared Allen, the guy who makes the copies, the lady who clips the microphones to everyone’s lapel, and the security guard from down the hall?  No, we certainly do not.  The show is called “Sunday NFL Countdown,” not “Sunday NFL Count How Many People We Can Parade On Camera To Talk Simultaneously About Brett Favre and/or Tony Dungy.”

Which brings us to the in-game commentary.  Obviously I am not breaking any hot news by stating that the average NFL game’s commentary is enough to make a sane man crazy, but I think it’s getting worse every week.  Two weeks ago, Greg Gumbel said during the Vikings game, “Adrian Peterson’s ability to run the ball is outshined only by his ability to administer a strong handshake.” There are so many things wrong with that sentence, I am not even going to into it.  I could devote a 1,500 word post to that sentence alone.

Now here I sit today watching the Eagles-Giants game, with commentary by none other than Joe Buck and Troy Aikman.  Let me open by saying that I hate Joe Buck.  I find him to be rather annoying.  He also says several stupid things per game.  Case in point:  I’ve been drifting in and out of listening to him througout the game, and have typed out a couple of his quotes to illustrate my point.  The first one came with 3:14 left in the second quarter.  After Brandon Jacobs takes a handoff and scampers for a 44 yard gain, Joe starts making a big deal about a 44 yard play being the longest play of the day so far.  “And that is the longest play of the day for either team so far.  I guess that really sums up the defensive battle we’re having today.” Easy there, slappy.  Not only is a 44 yard play pretty long by comparison, but it’s not even halftime yet. Why is this so surprising to you Joe?  I wish there were stats on stuff like this so I could shove it in your face Joe.  I wish I could Wikipedia “Number of games this season in which a play 44 yards or longer was made by halftime.”  Alas, Wikipedia isn’t that sweet … yet.

That quote pales in comparison to the one that came shortly after it though.  After Giants offensive lineman Kareem McKenzie’s leg gets folded up underneath him, and he hobbles off the field on his one good leg, Buck tells us: “McKenzie has been bothered by a bad back, but he limped off there, so it was probably something with his leg.” How insightful Joe. Thank God you were there for that one.

And then there’s Troy Aikman.  I’ll give Troy some credit, he’s not as terrible as some, but at some point one has to wonder when everything will catch up to him.  Here’s a guy who has had a countless amount of concussions over the past ten years, and every week FOX is propping him in front of a bunch of big bright lights and forcing him to listen to Joe Buck for four hours.  That would be enough to make any healthy man’s head hurt.  If in five years, a CAT scan shows Aikman’s brain to have the same consistency of a bowl of Hamburger Helper, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

I guess it could be worse.  At least no one has brought in Matt Millen.  Wait, NBC screwed the pooch on that one.  I have so many thoughts on this, but most can be condensed into what Bill Simmons wrote about the subject in his post on Friday:

Like everyone else, I did a quintuple take upon seeing that NBC had trotted out failed Lions GM Matt Millen as one of its pregame studio guys. Like everyone else, I was confused about what NBC thought my reaction should be — should I be nodding intently as Millen broke down the Cards-Falcons game and saying, “That’s a great point, Guy Who Single-Handedly Murdered The Lions?” Like everyone else, I felt bad for Detroit fans, who had just put the 0-16 season behind them and probably looked forward to a pain-free playoffs … and suddenly, there was the John Wilkes Booth of their franchise staring at them in HD. Like everyone else, I remembered Millen was good enough on TV that it made you think, “So yeah, maybe that’s how he got hired.” Like everyone else, I wondered what kind of tranquilizer NBC had to give Keith Olbermann to keep him from making a snarky Millen joke.

Word up Bill!  Hey, you know, I started writing this post bitter and upset about the Titans’ loss, but now after ripping into other people about their shortcomings, I feel a little better.  This worked a lot better than my plan last night to drink away the pain of the loss.  And after a late night of writing, I never wake up feeling like I spent the night smashing things with my head while standing six inches away from the speakers at a Metallica concert, which is exactly how I felt this morning. I may be on to something here.

One love,

10

Division That Unites Us

January 8, 2009

A few quick things before we get into the NFL portion of this post.

-I am officially through the first three seasons of “How I Met Your Mother” and with the second half of season four premiering on Monday, the timing couldn’t be better.  Say what you will, but anytime someone tells you that you can’t watch 66 episodes of a given show in a shade less than five days while still working 8-10 hours each day, please direct that person to me.  Now I just need to hit Hulu.com for the first ten episodes of season four that aired this past fall and I will be all caught up.   Since I took tomorrow off to watch the BCS title game, I’m probably going to pound them out sometime in the afternoon.  It’s gonna be legendary.

-Speaking of college football, I also took this past Monday night off to watch my Ohio State Buckeyes play in the Fiesta Bowl with Eric, B-Weezy, and Cristin.  You know, it’s funny, even though they lost when Texas scored with 16 seconds remaining, I wasn’t totally heartbroken.  Sure, it sucks seeing your team lose, but since they put up such a fight when no one thought they would be within 20 points, I guess it was somewhat of a moral victory.  I mean hell, the Bucks were 16 seconds away from a win despite the fact that they have an 18 year old playing quarterback and their star running back rode the pine in the second half due to injury.  It could have been worse, Eric could have fallen asleep ten minutes into the game and left before halftime.  Oh wait, that happened.  Happy for you friend.

-Seeing that game reminded me why I hate watching sports on Fox.  Wait, is there a stronger word than hate?  If there is, omit the word “hate” from my previous statement and enter that word.  To give you an idea of what I was working with, I made a few mental notes throughout the broadcast.  Let’s run the numbers:

  • Number of plays we missed at least half of due to poor camera work: 2 – One when the camera was zoomed in on Terelle Pryor standing in the backfield and Beanie Wells took a direct snap, and the other when Colt McCoy threw a playaction pass but the camera stayed on the running back for pretty much the whole play.  I know, cameraman, football is hard!
  • Number of times we had a camera pan and/or closeup of the Texas school band: 309 – This is easily a conservative guess.  If I ran the tape back and counted, I wouldn’t be surprised if the number was closer to 400.
  • Number of times we had a closeup of Colt McCoy’s parents: 16 – And each time they showed about half of the smoking hot blonde standing next to them.  Either they didn’t say who that girl was or I missed it.  Either way, disappointing.
  • Number of times we endured a five second close up of a jug of Gatorade on the Texas sideline: 4 – This one is dead serious.  Each time, I sat there in disbelief saying, “Why are they showing this? Why are they showing this? Why are they showing this? Why are they showing this?”

Bottom line: Fox is crap.  Wait, that’s not enough.  Fox is worse than crap.  If crap could eat stuff, and then crap it out, that is what Fox would be.  Fox is the crap that crap would crap out if crap could crap. Got it?  Good.  Let’s move on.

So last week’s football picks started out kind of rocky for me.  I went 0-2 in Saturday’s games, but bounced back and went 2-0 in Sunday’s games.  In my defense, if Indy had played San Diego ten times between last week and now, I am almost certain that Indy would win nine of those games.  Just so happens that the Chargers brought the goods when they needed to.  Whatever, that’s life.  Onto the picks for this week’s divisional playoffs.

Baltimore (+3) over Tennessee

Okay, so I know this goes against every rule in the book.  You are never supposed to bet against your own team.  Ever.  Either bet with them, or just stay away.  I mean, this is the path Pete Rose took and look how it turned out for him. Wait, bad example.  In any case, I gotta play this one the way I see it, all personal feelings aside.  Baltimore is statistically better than Tennessee in every major offensive and defensive category. Tennessee’s starting center is questionable to play, as are Kyle Vanden Bosch and Albert Haynesworth, two of the biggest keys to their defense.  Meanwhile, Kerry Collins has looked less and less impressive over the past few weeks and one has to wonder if he’s got anything left in that 36-year old tank of his.  After watching Ed Reed torture Chad Pennington last week, I can’t help but picture a similar situation playing out in Tennessee on Saturday.  The only possible glimmer of hope I held onto was the fact that a rookie quarterback on the road in the playoffs is usually not a safe bet … Until I realized that Joe Flacco’s passer rating is almost 25 points higher in road games than home games this season and Baltimore is 5-3 when they are on the visitor’s side of the field.  I hope karma doesn’t come back to bite me in the ass on this one, but I’m sorry, it’s just how I feel about the game.  When it comes down to it, I have to take the Bill Simmons method to picking a tough game.  If my life depended on picking the winner of this game, who would I pick? My pick: Baltimore 21 – Tennessee 9

Carolina (-10) over Arizona

Sometimes things look better on paper than they actually are.  Depending on how you look at things, this could be one of those situations.  On paper, if I had no prior knowledge of these two teams, I would possibly take the Cardinals.  They have a better offense (in a pure numbers sense alone), and the overall defensive numbers for each time are almost identical.  Lucky for me, I’m not just hearing about these two teams today.  Lucky for me I know that Arizona hasn’t beaten Carolina since my freshman year of college (October of 2002 to be exact).  Lucky for me I know that Arizona is probably only in the playoffs because their division was God-awful this year.  Lucky for me I know that the Cards went 3-5 on the road this season while the Panthers haven’t lost at home yet.  In all honesty, how often do you see a double-digit favorite in the second round of the playoffs?  I haven’t been paying attention to spreads for very long, but I can imagine it doesn’t happen that often. My pick: Carolina 34 – Arizona 20

Pittsburgh (-4) over San Diego

Like I said earlier, it is my estimation that the Chargers got away with one last week against Indy.  Will such an event occur again in Pittsburgh?  Meh, doubt it.  The Steelers’ defense seems like it will be too much for Darren Sproles, who made the Indy defense his bitch last Saturday.  The Chargers have barely had to play in cold weather yet this season other than Kansas City a few weeks ago and Buffalo back in October.  It’s going to be cold and windy in Pittsburgh.  If the Chargers have to depend on their run game against one of the best run defenses in the league, it could make for a long afternoon.  While I give props to Sproles, this isn’t Indianapolis’ run defense.  They are going to beat up on an already ailing LaDanian Tomlinson and they will probably eat 5’6″ Sproles for an afternoon snack.   I’m sorry San Diego fans, but I submit that your season is coming to an end.  Now Philip Rivers can go back to screaming at old people or slapping ice cream cones out of kids’ hands, or whatever he does in the offseason.   My pick: Pittsburgh 28 – San Diego 13

New York (-4) over Philadelphia

I was not very impressed with Philly’s win last week over the Vikings.  I’ll go so far as to say that the Vikes had more than one opportunity to win that game, but they squandered it.  If Philly plays like that against the Giants it could be over in a hurry.  On the plus side for the Eagles, their defense looked good for most of the game last week, and their blitz schemes kept Adrian Peterson under 100 yards, which is a feat in itself.   But the New York Giants are not the Minnesota Vikings.  They actually have a coach who knows the difference between a sneeze and a wet fart.  They have a quarterback that is less likely to crumble like a house of cards in the fourth quarter.  And they have actually played against teams who are good this season.  However, the more I sit here, the more I think Philly has a chance to pull this one off.  I can’t explain it and I don’t know why, but something is telling me that the Eagles are going to win this game.  Wait … nope, nevermind.  It was just gas.  My pick: New York 20 – Philadelphia 10

Well, as depressing as it is, football is really all I’ve got to talk about today.  Don’t worry, a few more weeks and I’ll be able to think about other stuff, but for right now, my mind is definitely not multi-tasking.  Case in point: Yesterday I spent like three hours thinking of which I would rather endure for a day – having wet socks and shoes, or having water stuck in both my ears.

I know which one I picked, now I wanna know which you would pick.  Let’s make it sorta interesting and say that you would have to endure your chosen torture from the moment you wake up in the morning until the moment you to go bed at night.  Would you rather spend your entire day walking around in wet shoes and socks or spend it with water stuck so far in your ears that no matter how hard you slap the side of your head it won’t come out?   Let the debate begin.

One love,

10

Change We Can Believe In

January 4, 2009

With a new year comes change.  I suppose I should make some kind of mention of the small changes going on here.  First and foremost, the blogroll has gone through a slight face lift.  A couple of former links have gone the way of the Dodo.  Bergman’s link gets the axe by default since he had to delete it upon accepting his new job.  Understandable.  I just wonder what will happen when human resources finds out about that Hello Kitty tattoo on his lower back.  Only one way to find out …

And e-mail sent.

The other blog casualty is a much sadder one in my opinion.  Since not only has he not updated in over three months, but I’m pretty sure he deleted a post or two, Bigsby no longer has a spot in the lineup.  However, he still has a spot in my heart, and if he ever starts posting again I’ll make sure to re-link that bitch right back up.  Bigsby, if you’re reading this, I know you’re on the computer looking at porn at least once a day, take ten minutes and tell us what’s going on.  Just don’t do it during your porn time.

Well the Lord taketh and the Lord giveth.  Two newcomers have been added who do update and don’t let the corporate man dictate their lives.  First, French, whose stuff I picked up on from links on both Hammen’s and Beach’s blog.  Not much to say about it, I just like his style.  Second is Kos, who is one of my Culligan buddies from back in the day.  They appear to update occasionally, so give ’em a look.

Another change has been spurred by popular demand.  Now, when I say “popular demand,” I mean one person brought this up to me and I just don’t like listening to people bitch and complain.  Apparently, according to this person, it gets to be a pain in the ass entering a name AND an e-mail address in order to leave a comment, so I have done away with this as of last week.  Now you can enter whatever the hell you want, and leave blank whatever the hel you want.  I’ll be honest, I didn’t even know that an e-mail address was required, but since I am never going to e-mail any of you, I don’t see why you should have to enter that kind of information.  This isn’t a credit check, and I am not Big Brother.  Perhaps the only downside to this would be that I have just opened a door to countless people calling me a jackass and leaving a fake name, or no name at all for that matter.  Oh well, it’s not like I don’t deserve it.

In a totally unrelated subject, I took the advice of a friend and bought the first three seasons of “How I Met Your Mother.”  Do I like it?  Well, I guess if you consider watching the entire 22-episode first season in a 28 hour time span means I like it, then yes, I like it.  In that 28 hours, nine of it was devoted to work, one was devoted to commuting to and from work, and five were spent sleeping.  So basically, I watched the first season in roughly 13 hours.  Not too shabby.  Second season, here I come.  And even though I already thanked him personally, it warrants saying again;  thank you James, I love the show.  It is slowly but surely working its way up my ladder of favorite TV shows of all time.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s nowhere near the top ten yet, but if it continues down the road it’s on, I can easily see this being an all-time fave.

Well, that’s all I’ve got for now.  It’s Sunday and I am balls deep in playoff football.  I kind of got rear-ended in my picks from yesterday’s games, but today’s are going slightly better.  More on that later this week.  Have a good one.

One love,

10