Show me, don't tell me, You've figured out the score...Show me, don't tell me, I've heard it all before...Show me, don't tell me, I don't care what you say...Show me, don't tell me...You can twist perceptions, Reality won't budge...You can raise objections, I will be the judge...And the jury...I'll give it due reflection, Watching from the fence...Give the jury direction, Based on the evidence...I, the jury...Show, Don't tell

Oct 28, 2009

Martashlix Barchiones, Zero Bars, sideline dogs, Brangelina at Jen’s house, Dolly, Kenny, one slightly tainted candy apple, and lots of laxatives

So, I’m in the garage early Sunday afternoon restoring some old tables when the phone rings. On the other end of the line is Pat, a Michigan native and proud Steelers fan who lives in the neighborhood. Pat just got his hands on two free Bengals tickets and says if we leave now, we can meet up with some others who will drive us from a predetermined rendezvous point down to a stadium-side parking lot where we’ll tailgate before the game. Being that Pat is a Steelers fan and that I’ve known him for only a few months, I’m immediately skeptical that this could very well be some sort of trap. It’s entirely possible that I’ll hop into some strange van, make an off-handed comment about the carpeted walls and strange smell, then wake up ten hours later with a skull fracture, my wallet missing, keys missing, wearing nothing but a Terrible Towel, and my car sitting in an undisclosed impound lot with four flat tires and “Bengals Suck” spray painted on the side. Despite the risk, I decide to chance it. Good call by me. As it turned out, everyone we met up with was a fellow Bengals fan except for Pat and a guy named Dave, a lukewarm Bears fan from Northern Kentucky. This was a group of mostly Westsiders with more than just a little tailgating experience, so I kinda felt right at home. A little homemade chili, some lasagna, a couple beers, followed by a picture-perfect performance by the Bengals, then back for some more chili, some more lasagna, and a couple more beers. As it turned out, ten hours later I indeed was wearing nothing but a towel, only it was a bath towel after showering before bed. My skull was intact, wallet and keys accounted for, and the car parked safely in the garage with four fully inflated tires. Thanks to Pat for the invite, to Rob, Tricia, Nick and Dave for the ride and the hospitality, thanks to Cedric Benson for leading the on-field assault, and special thanks to Ryan for getting sick and giving Pat his tickets. Hopefully it’s not the swine flu and you’re back on your feet by now.

Speaking of the swine flu, best line of the week goes to the older guy (60-ish) sitting next to me at the game. Mid-fourth quarter, he sneezes. I give him the obligatory, “Bless you” and follow it up with, “Hope that’s not the swine flu”. He says, “Nah, I haven’t slept with a pig in a long time…… I’m divorced.

Anyway, I don’t have time to ramble on about a whole lot of other rubbish this week. Saturday is Halloween and I’ve got a lot of prep work to do. (And yes, I did say “rubbish”. I just got done watching Lie to Me and Tim Roth is infectious. I challenge anyone to watch that show and not want to be Cal Lightman for at least a day.) It’s T-minus 72 hours until all the little monsters, super heroes and princesses start coming to the door begging for treats. We’ve got a bucket full of well over 500 pieces of candy at the ready and the girls’ costumes are hanging patiently in their closets. I’ve also got a pretty decent-sized headache forming off the coast of my left temple which has the potential of becoming a Category 4 skull storm before the night’s over. Plus, it’s raining. A lot. And did I mention that the majority of my family & my in-laws will be coming to my house? Halloween’s a great holiday if you’re a kid. If you’re an adult, not so much. Unless, of course, you go to a non-work-related Halloween party. The kind with men dressed up like women, women dressed up like whores, whores dressed up like French maids saying “Oui, Oui!” in the coat closet to guys wearing Bill Clinton masks, and, of course, an open bar. Kinda like the Arquette’s house at Thanksgiving. But since I don’t have a Halloween party to go to and since I’m no longer welcome at the Arquette’s, this Halloween is shaping up to be just a normal trek around the neighborhood.

My daughters will love it, though. And that’s what it’s all about- the look on your kids’ faces, filled with excitement over getting free candy from complete strangers. Of course, you usually can’t see the look of excitement, what with the masks and all, but you can certainly sense it, or something. Or maybe it’s not so much a sense of excitement as it is a heart-accelerating sugar buzz. My nephews fill their faces with so much candy that they get this uber-crazy look in their eyes, like Gary Busey over-doing it at an oxygen bar. But before we get to Halloween night there’s Damage Night, and before Damage Night, there’s NF HELL Night. Never heard of it? Well, when Halloween falls on a weekend day, the NFL players & coaches get screwed out of Tricks or Treats, so a night is set aside a couple days early to let them get their spook on. I’ll tell you what, pull up a chair and you can help me pass out the treats. Then we’ll head to the back patio, hit the spiked cider and listen to Houses of the Holy by the fire. Here come our first two up the driveway….

Seahawks at Cowboys-
For the Seahawks I have some homemade peanut brittle because it reminds me of Matt Hasselbeck who apparently now has the body of a seventy year old Bingo regular. When he’s healthy and they’re playing at home, they’re usually tough to beat. But when he’s injured or they’re on the road, it’s not good times in Javatown. Oh, and I almost forgot, I’ve also got an I Told You So bar for our old pal T.J. who’s already started mouthing off about not getting the ball enough. Whoever had Week 8 in that pool, come collect your money.

For the Cowboys, I’ve got a roll of Life Savers and a 3 Musketeers bar. With Roy Williams playing more like Vanessa Williams, Miles Austin has given Romo at least one viable outside the hash marks, so he gets the Life Savers. The 3 Musketeers bar toes to the 3-headed backfield monster known as Marion Barber-Tashard Choice-Felix Jones, or as I like to call it, Martashlix Barchoines. Despite its injuries, Martashlix has Dallas ranked fourth in the league in rushing and first in yards per carry.

Texans at Bills-
For the Texans, here’s a large tub of Vicks vapor rub and a pack of Icy Hot for Andre Johnson’s injured chest. No other chest has received this much attention in Houston since Dolly Parton had a stop there on her Odd Jobs tour back in 1980.

I noticed that the Bills are dead last in the league in run defense allowing 5.2 yards per carry and 172 yards per game, so for them I’ve got some Gobstoppers, a bottle of Kaopectate and a butt plug to help stop the runs. (Hee-haw)

Giants at Eagles-
The Gints get some miniature candy bars and a small box of Runts. I’d give them larger treats but I’m not sure they can handle ‘em. So far their only win against a decent team was a last second squeaker against the Cowboys in Week 2. The rest of their W’s have come against the Skins, Bucs, Chiefs, and Raiders, who are a combined 5-21 on the season.

For the Eagles, heck, I really don’t know what to pass out to those guys. Chunky Soup for Donovan is too easy. So are Dexatrim capsules for Andy Reid or dog biscuits for Mike Vick. I don’t know, they’re good but I’m not sure how good and quietly climbing the ladder without much distraction but something just doesn’t feel right about them. Here, how about some candy corn and a few popcorn balls until I can get a better read on you guys. Have fun.

Rams at Lions-
Hey look, the worst costume of the night, a Rams uniform. If they go 0-16, and that is ABSOLUTELY possible, the 2008 Lions run as “Worst Team Ever” will have been a short one. The Lambs are still winless and averaging just 8.6 points per game and have zero rushing touchdowns. And yes, Stephen Jackson is on the roster. For them, as well as the other winless teams, a bag full of Zero bars to commemorate your perfect awfulness. For the poor Rams faithful, I’ve got a couple airline bottles of bourbon, a closed garage with the car running, and a nice comfortable mattress to lie down on. Let’s stop the pain, shall we.

For the Lions, I hope there’s room left in your pillowcase because I’ve got a nice big bunch of bananas for you. Sure, they’re kinda brown & mushy but they’re not meant for you to eat, they’re for your cornerbacks to drop in the path of opposing receivers. Lions’ opponents are completing over 74% of pass attempts this season. 74%. Seriously.

Dolphins at Jets-
As they say in Miami, “Buenas Dia de Los Muertos”. For Los Delfines, here’s a fistful of Brown Cows for their bell cow, Ronnie Brown. Without his versatility, their Wildcat wouldn’t be keeping opposing D-coordinators up at night and they wouldn’t have the league’s #2 rushing attack.

For the Jets defense (who have the league’s #1 rushing attack), a sack of White Castles for everyone except Calvin Pace, just to remind their defense what a sack looks like. They have a league-low eight on the season and other than Pace, have just one over their last four games. Also, for Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez, I’ve got a handful of mustard & ketchup packets for his guilty pleasure, the sideline dog….

Niners at Colts-
The Niners get a nice shiny penny to match their gold helmets and a note to take home. I think you know what that note says.

The Colts offense is the top-ranked, most consistent, most professional group in the NFL. For them I have a bowl full of Smarties and Red Hots. And let me throw in a little something for their new head coach, Jim Caldwell. For Coach I have a bottle of Mt. Dew Voltage. I’m hoping it’ll give him enough energy to move, or maybe at least just blink once in a while. He’s very stoic. Too stoic perhaps. I’m beginning to wonder whether there’s a little Weekend at Bernie’s subplot going on over there.

Browns at Bears-
Oh hey, it’s the Browns. Uh, here’s a rock and a pack of Fizzies. Oh yeah, I know they look like Alka Seltzer tablets but they’re Fizzies, really. For you Browns fans, here are some candy cigarettes and a blindfold. Just say the word and we can end your suffering right here.

For the Bears, I’ve got a small sack of gold coin chocolates for swift & studly rookie Johnny Knox, a box of Twinkies for your soft-in-the-middle defense, and some chocolatey Ex-Lax to help get your run game going again.

Broncos at Ravens-
Coach McDaniels, for you I’ve got my favorite pool candy when I was a kid- a pack of Sixlets. I’d give you a pack of Sevenlets but, well, they don’t make Sevenlets (duh) and I don’t think you’re going to run this fairy tale out to 7-0. Traveling to Baltimore when the Ravens are angry normally doesn’t end well for teams. The aftermath usually resembles a hospital’s ER after three hours of handling train wreck victims.

For the Ravens, despite your swagger and smashmouthiness (not a word, I know), y’all have some major holes to plug in your pass defense. To help you with that, here’s a pack of Bubble Tape and some Silly Putty eggs. I’m also gonna toss in a slightly tainted candy apple for Ray-Ray, you know, just because.

Well, there seems to be a lull in the NFL traffic here at the moment, so allow me to take this opportunity to give you, my faithful and valued readers, some treats for your virtual pillowcase, bag, bucket, hollowed-out human skull, er whatever, with some sweet handfuls of extra special eye candy. Think of it as a big bowl of Mounds and Hot Tamales. Enjoy….

Jaguars at Titans-
Let’s see, I’ve got something here for the Jags….Where is it, where is it… Ah yes, here it is, a Big Hunk for Maurice Jones Drew who’s tied for the league lead with eight touchdowns. For the rest of the Jaguars, I’m going to go a little Oprah on y’all here so bear with me and just check under the treat table….. Everyone’s getting a one-way ticket to Los Angeles! That’s right, why stay in the armpit of Florida where people aren’t willing to pay $80 a ticket to watch a mediocre team with only one remotely marketable player? Back-wat-er. Get out of there. Fly off to LA where they’ve got tons of disposable cash and are the experts at turning no-talent nobodies into celebrities.

Oh, and I can’t forget about the Titans. For the team, a case of Zero bars, and for Jeff Fisher, I’ve got a hair trimmer, some self-tanner, and a bottle of peroxide. After the 0-6 start and that whole debacle with the Manning jersey, I think it’d be best if you disguised yourself for a little while. Turn that signature cookie duster into a full goatee, buzz the mop, maybe mousse it a little, bleach it all out white, and see if that works. In case it doesn’t, I’m also tossing in a do-it-yourself Botox injection kit. If necessary, we can have you looking like the new Kenny Rogers in no time. Everybody in Nashville loves the Gambler.

Raiders at Chargers-
For Raiders head coach Tom Cable, a box of Jawbreakers because karma’s a bitch.

For the Chargers, here’s some Dulcolax to help induce some decent runs. They’re second-last in the league, averaging just 70 yards per game and have only two runs longer than 20 yards this season. I’m also gonna throw in a bottle of Imodium to help stop the runs for their defense. Remember, the offense gets the Dulcolax, the defense gets the Imodium, please do not mix them up.

Vikings at Packers-
If I’m a Psychology major looking for a thesis, I’m packing up the car and heading to Green Bay for the weekend. It’s got to be a confusing, torturous time for Packers fans as they prepare for their departed hero to return like this. It’d be like Brad Pitt bringing Angelina Jolie and their united colors (children) of Benetton over to Jennifer Anniston’s house for dinner. I honestly don’t know what to hand out to these guys. Uh, here, how about some wax lips, a couple Chick-o-Stix, and one Ring Pop to fight over. Have a ball.

Panthers at Cardinals-
For Jake Delhomme, here are some Pop Rocks and a bottle of Coke. Thirteen interceptions and just four touchdowns, whaddya say you just go out with a bang.

For the Cards, here’s a large box of Colon Blow for that pathetic run game, and a tin of Altoids for your curiously strong defense.

Monday Night

Falcons at Saints
Smell that? No, not that. Sorry about that, I thought it had wafted out of here by now. I’m talking about the other smell. Hot, fresh-out-of-the-oven pretzels made especially for the Falcons bend-but-don’t-break defense. (One sentence, eight hyphens, Score!) Atlanta’s defense is 25th in the league in yards allowed but 11th in the league in points allowed, giving up an average of just 19 per game. Hope you like the pretzels, you’ve earned them, but that’s not gonna last. As a matter of fact, it could blow up on you like a tanker fire as soon as you run into a really good offensive team like uh, oh, well now who do we have here…..

The Saints. (cue that kickass Imperial March from Star Wars)
For the Saints, here are some Pixy Stix for Darren Sharper. Dude is leading the league with six picks, three of which he’s returned for touchdowns. I’ve also got a box of lubricated condoms for the offense. When you score as often, in as many ways, and in as many places as these guys do, you’d better use some protection. And for the rest of the guys, what else for an undefeated team from Cajun country but a big tray of pralines and some French Chews all around.

And just because it’s Bye week doesn’t mean everyone doesn’t get treats….
For the Chiefs Larry Johnson, a box of Airheads. For the Bucs, Zero bars. Lots and lots of Zero bars. For the Redskins, a bag of Sour Patch Kids. But only the green ones, they don’t deserve the others. And for the Patriots, Steelers and Bengals, you each get a pillow, some hot cider and a cinnamon stick so you can enjoy your well-earned rest.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to take off this Chia Obama outfit and get that fire started. Happy Halloween.

Oct 22, 2009

P=mv, Broncozilla, Annie Lennox, a sweat-soaked hoodie, Farmer Ted, landsharks, and burning jerseys at home

So I’m watching the Patriots go medieval on the Titans 59-0 last Sunday and I’m just amazed by how far & how fast Jeff Fisher’s boys in blue have fallen. They started last season 10-0, going on to finish the regular season 13-3 before falling to the Ravens in the final minutes of their first round playoff game. Now as we sit six weeks deep into this season, they’re 0-6 and Fisher is mustache-deep in pig stink with an unhappy owner down the hall and the team’s psyche circling the drain.

On the flipside, take a look at what’s going on over in Denver. Here we have a team that this offseason had more drama and backbiting than a full season of Flava of Love . The Broncos lost their last three games in ‘08 by a combined 58 points, finished 8-8 and missed the playoffs. They then promptly fired head coach Mike Shanahan after fourteen years at the helm and replaced him with 34 year old Josh McDaniels. McDopey tries to trade for Matt Cassel, ticks off franchise quarterback Jay Cutler, handles the situation poorly, has to deal Cutler to the Bears to save face, then ticks off star wide receiver Brandon Marshall who sits out of camp, demands to be traded, and doesn’t suit-up the entire preseason. But instead of sucking a banana through a tailpipe as most expected they would, they get a miracle tipped pass in Week 1 and before you can sing the first stanza of Rocky Mountain High, they’re 6-0, McDopey is now McDreamy, and they’re placing a standby order to the printer for playoff tickets.

How does any of this make sense? This shouldn’t have happened, right? Maybe it’s personnel changes, you say. Well, the Broncos did add Brian Dawkins at safety, but they also gave up an elite quarterback in Cutler for merely a serviceable one in Kyle Orton. And before you get all “Hey, Orton’s better than you think” on me, remember, Orton was so unimpressive with the Bears that Rex Grossman kept getting playing time. And he was so unimpressive this preseason that it was up in the air as late as a few days before Week 1 whether he or Chris Sims (yes, I said Chris Sims) would begin the season as the starter. As for the Titans, sure, they lost Albert Haynesworth in free agency, but should that really be enough to throw them into such a huge tailspin? After all, Haynesworth left Tennessee for the Redskins and adding him hasn’t helped their cause, has it? Is it the genius of Josh McDaniels that’s propelled the Broncos? Is it a rapid loss of cognitive thinking by Jeff Fisher that’s done in the Titans? Probably not and of course not. Then what is it? How do we explain it?

I’ll tell you how. With just three letters and an equals sign: P=mv

Reading back to front, it means “mass multiplied by velocity equals momentum”. (Yes, “P” equals momentum. Scientists are apparently awful spellers.)

Momentum. A magical word used in sports, right alongside others like Chemistry and Destiny. According to laws of the universe as relayed to us by some smart people, for momentum to exist, it requires an act or event to begin the directional velocity of the mass. In the case of football teams, that could be a lucky or unlucky bounce of the ball. It could be untimely injuries. It could be off-the-field distractions that either motivate or de-motivate the players. It could even be the actions or inaction of management. In the case of the Broncos, one might say that it was the miracle tipped pass touchdown with 22 seconds remaining against the Bengals in Week 1. If that ball falls harmlessly to the ground and they lost the game 7-6 with Orton tossing for just 156 yards, man, the wolves surely would’ve started howling in Denver. Instead, the ball deflects right to Brandon Stokely, play-by-play guy Gus Johnson nearly has a Strokely, and here they are five weeks later at 6-0. In the case of the Titans, they played tough the first three weeks before their negative momentum began. They lost on the road to the defending Super Bowl champion Steelers in overtime and lost in Week 2 on a last second field goal to the Texans. What set them spiraling downward may have been the last few minutes of Week 3. Trailing the Jets by seven, Kerry Collins went 0 for his last 13 pass attempts, ending their last two possessions with an interception and a sack. After the game, Collins called it “frustrating”. Now here they sit at an unpredictable 0-6.

So what’s it gonna take to stop the Broncos rise and the Titans fall? The out-of-work scientist who now makes his home on the sidewalk outside my office tells me that “If not acted upon, an object with momentum will keep moving in one direction and never stop. If acted upon by an outside force (air, water, another object), it will eventually come to a stop, come to an abrupt stop, or possibly regain momentum and carry on even further.” Let me give you an unnecessary example; let’s say it’s a normal Wednesday morning in Tokyo and all of a sudden Godzilla hits town, clearly drunk on sake, hell bent to terrorize the city. The good people of Tokyo have three options: 1) Run & hide, leaving Godzilla alone to pillage, plunder and nosh on free sushi to his heart’s content until he gets tired and moves on…. 2) Pelt him with rocks, throw bottles at him, fire some bullets his way, generally just making him more angry…. Or, 3) Dial-up King Kong, bribe him with a leggy blonde & a barge full of bananas, and bring him over to take care of bidness.

For the last three weeks, I thought King Kong was arriving in the form of the Cowboys, Patriots, and Chargers. Instead, those teams have played the roles of rocks, bottles, and bullets, respectively. Broncozilla has been successful in dispatching of each of them and in the process has seemingly actually gained momentum. It’s almost like Broncozilla is feeding off of its’ opponents. Like Sylar on Heroes, it’s slicing open their skulls and stealing their powers. Okay, I just lost two-thirds of you there. Um, how else can I say this?..... Okay, the Broncos are this tropical storm of a team that keeps running into warmer air and begins to grow into a full-fledged hurricane. Wow, that’s gotta be at least an analogy, a simile and a metaphor all in one paragraph, always a clear signal to go ahead and move on.

The point is, at some point something is going to have to stop the (good and bad) momentum of these two teams. The momentums are either going to have to run their course or there’s going to have to be some sort of exchange of momentum. That’s right; a team can steal another team’s mojo! See here:
In a collision between two bodies of equal mass (that is, m1 = m2), the final velocities are given by

v1 = u2
v2 = u1

Thus the bodies simply exchange velocities. If the first body has nonzero initial velocity u1 and the second body is at rest, then after collision the first body will be at rest and the second body will travel with velocity u1. This phenomenon is demonstrated by Newton's cradle.

The problem however is that the more the Titans lose and the more the Broncos win, the harder it’s going to be to find another team going well enough to beat the Broncos or, even more difficult, a team going well but somehow finding a way to lose to the Titans. Er whatever. Or maybe, just maybe it’s not so much about momentum at all. Maybe it’s all about talent. Maybe the Broncos are just that good. Maybe the Titans are just that bad. I believe it was Bill Parcells who once said, “You are what your record says you are.” He’s right but as mentioned before, neither of these teams had such an influx, or depletion, of talent to rationalize such swings in performance from ’08 to ‘09. So maybe it’s a little of both; part talent level and part momentum. When looking back upon her past success, Eurythmics singer Annie Lennox (an ideal quote source for a football column) once said, “When you’re that successful, things have a momentum, and at a certain point you can’t really tell whether you have created the momentum or it’s creating you.” Deep stuff.

You know what’s even deeper? An apple bucket. And also this idea to revolutionize the NFL: To take momentum one step further, I’d like to suggest that after each non-preseason game, the winning team gets to take any one player of their choice off of the losing team. The Broncos beat the Chargers, they bring over Shawne Merriman. The Titans lose to the Pats, goodbye Chris Johnson. That would be AWESOME! Teams would get on a roll and become virtually unstoppable. Could you imagine how badass the Broncos would be right now? They’d have their current roster plus Chad Ochocinco, Joshua Cribbs, Richard Seymour, Marion Barber, Randy Moss, and Shawne Merriman. And just imagine the Titans trying to stop their slide without Chris Johnson, Kyle Vanden Bosch, Keith Bulluck, Kevin Mawae, Kerry Collins, and Michael Roos?

Let’s do this. Let’s make the games even more important. Let’s take P=mv and give it a little nudge. Let’s create some monsters and make the Super Bowl a true Battle of the Titans (er, you know). Somebody get the commish on the horn and schedule me a meeting. I’ll be in the man cave drawing up the proposal on a kickass flip chart.

Now, on with the matchups….

Packers at Browns-
Twelve Browns players have come down with the flu bug this week. That means they’ve got more guys in sick bay than they’ve had completed passes in their last two games combined. And just in case you were wondering what it feels like to be a Browns fan nowadays, well, here you go….


Niners at Texans-
Damn the Niners, Damn the Texans…. Cheerleader Posedown Time comes early this week!


Vikings at Steelers-
The undefeated Farvekings at the 4-2 Roethlisberglers. I hate to say it but this is usually the point in the movie when you realize that the hideous horror villain is still alive and ready to go on another rampage. Yep, they just showed a hand coming up out of a fresh grave. Aaaaand there’s the “somebody’s about to get surprised with a cleaver in their skull” music.


Patriots at Buccaneers-
The resurging Pats head to Tampa where it’s supposed to be 83 degrees this Sunday. That can only mean two things: a painful beat down and a sweat-soaked hoodie.

CORRECTION: I've just been informed that this game is being played in London, not Tampa. Really? So the Brits are just opening their arms and welcoming in a band of seafaring pirates and a contingent of colonial revolutionaries. Hmm... I smell a trap.


Colts at Rams-
Indy continues to operate like a well-oiled machine on both sides of the ball. The Rams, well, their offense is just sloppy, uncoordinated and in need of a friend. And maybe a twelve pack. Like this guy….


Chargers at Chiefs-
Remember when San Diego had LaDanian Tomlinson and Michael Turner running wild in The Whale’s Vagina and teams had to load the box (no pun intended) to try & stop ‘em? Now Turner’s in Atlanta, Tomlinson’s a shell of his former self, and the Chargers are dead last in the league in rushing with just 57.6 yards per game. Wow. You know, I think there are only three professions with a shorter shelf life than an NFL running back; 1) Royal taste tester in Libya, 2) Paris Hilton’s BFF, and 3) Elephant cage cleaner guy


Bills at Panthers-
The Panthers are finishing off a nice little three-week run against horsecrap teams (Skins, Bucs, Bills). Am I saying that the Bills are a horsecrap team? Uh, yes, I believe I just did. Two weeks ago, the Bills held the sad sack Browns to just two complete passes the entire game but still somehow managed to lose. Then they were handed six nicely gift wrapped interceptions from Mark Sanchez last Sunday in the Meadowlands and again somehow managed to lose. Yes six. Seriously. Our old pal Ryan Fitzpatrick had to finish that game due to a head injury suffered by Trent Edwards and Fitzy may have to start this one in Carolina. Meanwhile, with a win the Panthers would improve to 3-3 and probably start feeling a lot better about themselves. Am I saying that the Panthers are not a horsecrap team? Uh, no. I’m just saying that maybe they’re better than the other horsecrap teams. As a matter of fact, I think we may have to think about them as our Farmer Ted team of 2009.


Bears at Bengals-
Cedric Benson gets a crack at his old team this Sunday. So does Tank Johnson. For Lovie Smith this has got to be like going out to dinner and running into not one but two of your craziest ex-girlfriends. All you wanna do in that situation is get out of there as soon as possible and hopefully without a plate of Chicken Marsala dumped in your lap.


Falcons at Cowboys-
Cowboys fans are not too happy and Tony Romo seems to be catching some heat. But the problem isn’t their #2 ranked offense. The problem in the Big D is the D. It’s ranked 22nd overall, 26th against the pass, and they’ve forced just four turnovers all season. So far they’re playing like their head coach; slow, soft in the middle, and easily discouraged.


Cardinals at Giants-
Just how good is the Giants defense? Well, they gave up 48 points and 493 yards to the Saints last Sunday and they’re still ranked #1 the league in total defense. So wait, does that mean they’re really good or really bad? You know, sometimes I set these things up and just confuse myself. I think maybe it means they’re good with a tendency to sometimes be bad. Kinda like Winona Ryder in Heathers, only not as cute and without a crush on Christian Slater.


Saints at Dolphins-
Speaking of the Saints…. They’re awesome. The end.
On to the Dolphins... Earlier this year, they changed the name of their stadium from Dolphin Stadium to Landshark Stadium.
That somehow brings us to this week’s trivia question….

What exactly is a landshark?
a) a shark with legs and feet
b) a Transformers character
c) a lager brewed in Florida
d) Slang for sleazy guys circling a girl in a bar
e) an old SNL skit

Answer: All except a)
If we ask again in a few years the answer will probably just be d) and e)


Jets at Raiders-
Tater Salad has a big problem. His rookie quarterback looked like a rookie quarterback, nay, a high school quarterback last Sunday. And unless they have a high school team on the schedule this week, it’s gonna be tough to over-…… Who? The Raiders? Oh, well uh, I guess never mind.


Monday Night

Shirts (Eagles) at Skins-
I know, the Raiders beat the Eagles last week. So what does that say about Philly? I think it’s just a harsh reminder that it’s not really always sunny in Philadelphia. Sometimes it’s cloudy & gloomy and sometimes the skies are as black as the devil’s soul and it’s hailing flaming balls of zebra poo. Sometimes.
And it’s not always sunny in D.C., either. As a matter of fact, the skies are pretty threatening over there right now. Jim Zorn is under fire, Dan Snyder’s under fire, Jason Campbell is actually on fire…well, not him but his jersey’s on fire, or it was. See here…

Dude wasted some perfectly good vodka and half a can of OFF to burn the jersey while two of his lame pals captured the whole rousing spectacle on their cell phones. He needs to take notes from Eagles fans, now they know how to perform a proper jersey burning…

Or not. Very classy. Make the kids point the camera at you, sing a little, curse a little, drink a little, smoke a little, then burn the gift they got you for Father’s Day. Ladies and gentlemen, I believe we have an early entry for Step Dad of the Year.

Oct 15, 2009

Throwback unis, one theme song, two barrels of buttercream, three stinkers, Sweet Dee, Tater Salad, and Ernest Borgnine's secret to looking younger

So it’s about a half hour after the Bengals game ended on Sunday. I’ve put a warm compress on my neck, spent a few minutes thinking about other people doing yoga, taken a hit (or two) from the gin bottle, and made use of our in-home oxygen bar (a.k.a. a used Capri Sun pouch with a silly straw sticking out of it), you know, all the usual things we non-smokers do to get the old heart rate back down to normal. I then settle back into the couch and flip the television on only to see what looks to be a football team dressed like chocolate-banana swirl Pudding Pops. Brown jerseys, yellow pants, yellow helmets, crazy vertical striped socks…. It looks like a Tim Burton movie about football and frozen dairy treats. At this point it becomes clear to me that either a) the bottle of gin was tainted or b) I somehow didn’t respect the Capri Sun pouch and this is some kind of voodoo being played upon my eyes. After getting a second opinion on the gin bottle from my daughter (not really) and a careful inspection of the condition of the pouch, I begin to wonder if maybe what I was seeing was not a hallucination. As it turns out, it wasn’t. As it turns out, it was just the Denver Broncos wearing some throwback uniforms. Throwback, throw up, throw away, whatever you want to call them, they were hideous… beautifully hideous.

If you haven’t realized it by now, the NFL is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the AFL by having each of the original eight AFL franchises wear throwback uniforms for two games this season. Aside from giving us some dated, colorful, and sometimes comical duds to look at, it’s also created some confusion. Take for example the Cowboys-Chiefs game on Sunday. The Cowboys (not an original AFL franchise) were wearing their 1960 Dallas Cowboys throwback unis. The Chiefs, who were one of the original AFL franchises, were also wearing their 1960 unis. The only problem is that in 1960 the Chiefs weren’t the Chiefs. And they also weren’t in Kansas City. In 1960, they were the Dallas Texans. So, we had the Dallas Texans hosting the Dallas Cowboys…. in Kansas City…. in front of about 80,00 people who for some reason were wearing Chiefs gear. AWESOME! Not to be outdone, in Week 3 there was the curious case of the New York Titans (Jets) hosting the Houston Oilers (Tennessee Titans). TOTALLY AWESOME! And in Week 1, you may remember that the Monday Nighter pitted the Los Angeles (now San Diego) Chargers against the Oakland (previously Los Angeles, previously Oakland, previously Los Angeles) Raiders. YOU’RE THE BOMB, NFL!

And not only is there the whole AFL throwback Pudding Pops and confusion thingy, we’ve also got the normal throwback thingies around the league. The Steelers will wear their yellow helmets a couple of times. PEE HEADS! The Lions will wear their stripped-down unis with the plain silver helmets. NO LOGO! In Week 9, the Buccaneers will be donning their original Bucco Bruce helmets and orange jerseys. ORANGE CREAMSICLES! And the Falcons, Bears, Redskins, Rams and others are slated to go retro as well during the season. KICKIN’ IT OLD SCHOOL!

And not only is there the whole AFL throwback thingy and the normal throwback thingies, there’s also the now-customary alternate jerseys. The Bengals, Bears, Browns, Broncos and Dolphins in orange tops, the Panthers and Chargers in light blue, the Titans in all light blue, the Texans in all red, the Rams in gold, and the Seahawks in Ecto Cooler green. GO SLIMER!

And not only is there the whole AFL throwback thingy and the normal throwback thingies, and the alternate jersey dealies, but October is Breast Cancer Awareness month in the NFL. While raising awareness about breast cancer (really, who knew?) is an reasonable and even noble effort, the best part is the really cool pink accents & ribbons on the jerseys and coach’s gear. PINK ACCENTS! Pink captain’s “C” patches, pink bills on the ball caps, pink wrist bands, pink gloves, pink towels, pink shoes… Nothing says toughness, courage and self-discipline like having little splashes of pink in your ensemble! And I say why stop with breast cancer awareness? How about yellow accents & ribbons in November for prostate cancer awareness? What about brown accents & ribbons in December for colon cancer awareness? Maybe all-white during the playoffs to raise awareness of albinism? IT’S A WHITE-OUT! And don’t forget purple accents & ribbons to raise awareness about the alarming rise in titty-twister injuries around the world. I’M TELLING MOM!

I can’t wait for the Ravens to wear their throwback Cleveland Browns brown jerseys with orange pants and purple accents & ribbons, hosting the Cleveland Browns wearing their alternate orange jerseys with brown pants and purple accents & ribbons. SUPERMAN, MEET BIZARRO. BIZARRO, MEET SUPERMAN! This is going to be fantastic. I know that some people hate all the throwbacks and alternates. They view it as nothing more than a ploy by the NFL to sell more gear, and that it’s being done at the expense of bastardizing their collective and individual brands. To those people I say, “You’re right” and I also say, “Duh”. Just stop and take a good look around you. Everything we’re exposed to has been created, focus-tested, refined, tested again, produced, packaged and placed in an effort to sell you more of it. Hell, I’m even using subtle messages in this post to try and get you to go out and buy Pudding Pops, and a few subliminal messages to try and get you to stock up on Smuckers jams & jellies.

The NFL’s pushing product, hard. So what. The MLB does it, the NBA does it, the NHL does it… Other team sports like soccer have taken it a step further by conforming their jerseys, logos, and even their team names to sponsors. Hell, look at NASCAR. They pimp out their sheet metal to any John who will buy at least a 6” x 6” piece of virgin quarter panel. So let the NFL put some more candy on the shelves. We don’t have to buy it, we just have to deal with it and if you don’t like it, there’s absolutely nothing you can do about it. I for one, am going to embrace the confusion and the fashion nightmares. I’m going to enjoy the subtle ironies of the transplanted franchises facing their contemporary replacements. I’m going to accept this as a celebration of 50 years of football for those eight franchises and a celebration of pride in the histories of the other 24 franchises as well. It’s important to always look to the future but we must also remember to honor and celebrate our past. It is with that in mind that I’ve decided to do something to commemorate my 40th birthday this season. All this week I will be wearing my throwback 1989 Pizza Hut delivery driver uniform. It’s the green polyester top with the thin, horizontal orange & beige stripes, brown pants, green visor and the America’s Best Pan Pizza button.
Hey ladies, who wants some pizza?

Now, on with the matchups….

Lions at Packers-
As far as the Lions are concerned, they’ve already won a game so this season is officially a success. Another win or two and we may need to start thinking about a parade. They’ve put some points on the board against good competition so far and stayed within 8 points of the Steelers last Sunday. Give a little credit to new head coach Jim Schwartz and his staff for the improvement but this might better explain their improved play….


Ravens at Vikings-
The Ratbirds streak of 39 straight games without allowing a 100-yard rusher was broken by the Bengals Cedric Benson. Now they must face Purple Jesus up in Minneapolis. If he goes off for triple digits, Ray-Ray might want to retire and start prepping for Dancing with the Stars 2010.


Giants at Saints-
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, this is the latest (in terms of games) into a season in which the Giants and their opponents were both undefeated since Nov. 24, 1929, when the 8-0-1 Giants hosted the 9-0 Green Bay Packers in the Polo Grounds. The Packers won the game 20-6. Also according to the Elias Sports Bureau, it’s the first time that a guy named Eli has ventured down to New Orleans on a business trip since Eli Yoder traveled by horse & buggy to deliver two barrels of buttercream to pastor Jethro Brasseaux in exchange for a potbelly pig and a bucket of nails in 1957.


Texans at Bengals-
Three straight 3-point victories for the Bengals and all five games decided in the last minute of play. These guys are involved in more close shaves than a Brazilian bikini waxer the week before spring break. Now that they’ve (finally) cut long-snapper Brad St. Louis, they should be able to win a little more comfortably. I’ll take the Bengals by four.


Browns at Steelers-
Having recently been benched and reading the writing on the wall, Brady Quinn has put his Avon Lake, Ohio house up for sale. Apparently his plan is to sell the house and buy one in a city where he can be the starting quarterback. You hear that, all you Canadian realtors? He’s coming your way!


WARNING: The next three matchups are some of the worst games I’ve ever seen on an NFL calendar. Pay attention to them at your own risk.


Rams at Jaguars-
The Lambs are 0-5, quarterback Marc Bulger has an injured rotator cuff, and they’ve been outscored 146-34 so far. Over the first five weeks, they’re averaging a 29-7 loss. The Jags are 2-3 and coming off a 41-0 pasting at the hands of the Seahawks. This game has all the stench of a rotting tuna salad sandwich sinisterly hidden inside the driver’s door panel of an ’84 Ford Festiva.


Shirts (Chiefs) at Skins-
The 0-5 Chiefs roll into FedEx Field with the league’s worst-ranked defense and the third-worst ranked offense. Their trip gets them front row seats for The Jim Zorn Farewell Tour as it makes a home stop in DC. The Skins are 2-3 but don’t let that stellar record by my preseason sleeper team fool you. Their two wins have come against the Rams (by 2 points) and the Bucs (by 3 points). Meanwhile, they’ve lost to two previously winless teams: the Panthers last week and the Lions in Week 3 which just so happened to be Detroit’s first win in almost two years. This matchup stinks like the wet, dirty socks of a mysophiliac-ish crab boat crewman after 27 straight hours working on deck.


Panthers at Buccaneers-
Carolina’s 1-3, Jake Delhomme’s still cranking out interceptions like he’s got a quota to meet, their rush defense is abysmal, and they’re worst in the league with a turnover differential of -9. But the good news for them is they’re facing the Bucs. Tampa Bay is 0-5, they’re giving up an average of 28 points per game, over 152 rushing yards per game, and they have a journeyman named Josh Johnson starting at quarterback. This game smells like a used diaper filled with Indian food on the set of some horrible community college theatre.


Eagles at Raiders-
Time for this week’s poll question….

Which of these Philly quarterbacks is better than Oakland starting quarterback Jamarcus Russell?

a)Donovan McNabb
b)Kevin Kolb
c)Mike Vick
d)Tony Graziani of the now defunct Philadelphia Soul Arena Football League franchise

Answer: all of the above plus Sweet Dee from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.


Cardinals at Seahawks-
Our first Parachute Game of the season. Winner floats safely back down into the NFC West race while the loser spins and plummets rapidly before smashing violently into the earth.
So who has the edge in this one?
Offense: Cards
Defense: Seahawks
Special Teams: Even
Theme Song: Cards (by default)


Titans at Patriots-
Jeff Fisher’s bunch is still winless and headed to Foxboro this Sunday. Now there are rumblings in Music City about giving Vince Young a(nother) shot at quarterback. You know, I was thinking the same thing while watching them get beat by the Colts last Sunday night. I was thinking, man, if the Titans only had a quarterback who couldn’t read defenses, didn’t like to stand in the pocket, didn’t have the respect and confidence of his teammates and had a history of suicidal tendencies when faced with adversity, you know, they just might have a better record right now.


Bills at Jets-
Tater Salad should have his defense up to the task this week.

(Special thanks to NJPatsFan26)


Bears at Falcons-
This should be a good one. The Bears need it to stay close to the Vikings. The Falcons need it to hang with the Saints. These two teams met last season in what was one of the best games of the year. Chicago scored a go-ahead touchdown with 11 seconds remaining, but on the ensuing squib kick, Harry Douglas had a 10-yard return to set up Atlanta at its own 44-yard line. With six seconds left, Matt Ryan hit receiver Michael Jenkins on a 26-yard pass and he went out of bounds with just one second left on the clock, set ting up a 48-yard game winning field goal by Jason Elam. They seem evenly matched again this season but I’ll give the nod to the Falcons again, if only because their coach reminds me of a younger Ernest Borgnine.

And who doesn't love Ernest Borgnine? He certainly loves himself...


Monday Night

Broncos at Chargers
Okay, after last week’s overtime win over the Pats, I’m now starting to believe in the Broncos. I’m also now starting to believe that I don’t care too much for Josh McDaniels . I’m also more than a little surprised that the Chargers are ranked dead last in rushing this season with just 54 yards per game. I’m also happy to report that last but certainly not least, it’s Cheerleader Posedown Time!

Oct 8, 2009

Unsportsmanlike Conduct, Caddyshack, a Blackout, a Code Blue, a Sleepy Bloody Matador, Seg Dennison, and a great deal on some prime rib

So I’m watching the Georgia – LSU game on Saturday. Number fourteen versus number four between the hedges in front of over 92,000. Georgia quarterback Joe Cox throws sixteen yards to receiver AJ Green for the go-ahead touchdown. The crowd goes bonkers, Green is immediately surrounded by some teammates who shake him by his shoulders, smack him on the helmet, and there’s a shoulder bump or two thrown in for good measure. At no time does Green point at an opposing player, gesture to the opponent's bench, leap into the stands, perform any kind of skit involving the football, or in any way engage in any self aggrandizing activities. Yet what does he get as a reward for his nice catch and genuine display of non-excessive joy shared with his teammates? You guessed it; he got flagged with a fifteen yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Now that’s not the kind of thing our forefathers had intended, is it? And just in case you’re skeptical, maybe thinking that I’m slanting the truth, omitting some facts, or downplaying the celebration, take a look for yourself….

An SEC official stated afterwards that the referee judged that Green had “separated himself from the group and sort of went to the stands in an act of self-congratulation”. Is that what you saw? Me neither. To their credit, another SEC official stated on Monday that the referee had made an error in judgment and should not have thrown the flag. But that was two days too late for the Bulldogs. The fifteen yard penalty forced them to kickoff from their own 15 instead of the 30. Those fifteen yards along with another five yard procedure penalty led to LSU returning the kick back to the Georgia 43. The Tigers had been given new life. Two plays later, they were in the end zone. The upset party was cancelled, most of the 92,000-plus sat in a shocked silence, and Georgia’s chances for a national title had all but disappeared. Oh, and after the LSU touchdown, they were also flagged for an equally ridiculous unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for their “celebration”. Luckily for them, there wasn’t much time left on the clock.

Now sure, Georgia’s defense could’ve and perhaps should’ve bowed its back and kept LSU from marching those final 43 yards into the end zone but that‘s not the point. The point is; does the NCAA really want potentially game-changing penalties based on a referee’s assessment of a player’s emotional intent? More importantly, do we the fans want that? I’ll answer that for all of us…. Hell no. As you’ve seen, AJ Green did nothing wrong and did not deserve a flag but I honestly wouldn’t feel any differently even if he had acted like a jackass. He could’ve taken off his helmet, kissed his own biceps, then yelled “I’m the greatest! I did this all by myself! . It’s all about AJ. AJ is da man and AJ cannot be stopped! Praise to God who loves me the best.”, and I still wouldn’t have wanted to see a flag.

Where else does the NCAA penalize student athletes for boasting, excessive celebrating or even alleged perceived intent to boast or excessively celebrate? They don’t do it in baseball. Have you ever seen an umpire award a team an extra out because an opposing batter stood too long at home plate to admire a homerun? Never. And if the pitcher thought that the batter was showing him up, he’d deliver a fastball to his ribs the next time he came to the plate. They don’t penalize it in basketball either. Ever seen an official call a technical foul on a player for hitting himself in the chest repeatedly to not-so-subtly tell the crowd that he really plays with a lot of heart? Never. And if the other team thought that he was a little too full of himself, odds are that he’d wind up knocked into the second row on his next attempt at a layup. They also don’t penalize it in hockey. Ever see a hockey ref make a team play shorthanded because of a player scoring a goal then raising his stick and fist-pumping to the crowd? Never. And if his opponents thought him to be a little too exuberant, he’d likely get cross checked into the boards without prejudice within minutes. We could go right on down the list but in no other sport do they concern themselves with regulating and penalizing narcissistic displays of satisfaction. So why worry about it in football?

My guess is that they don’t ever want a repeat of the Miami, FL – Florida International brawl of 2006. That was a nasty fight and I don’t blame anyone wanting to guard against that type of incident but those types of melees usually have seeds that were planted years ago and often times born out of things that happened off of the football field. A couple simple “Hey world, look at me” moments simply aren’t going to set off Armageddon on the gridiron. Plus, isn’t it everyone’s right as a US citizen to be an a-hole if you want to be? There are no laws against being an a-hole. If there was, we’d need a four-story jailhouse on every corner. Life’s full of run-ins with a-holes and the sooner these college kids learn to deal with it, the better. How one deals with an a-hole says a lot about one’s character, drive and determination.

As the movie Caddyshack showed us, there are three ways, metaphorically speaking, to deal with an a-hole. You can handle it like Judge Smails; slice your shot into the woods, turn red, grit your teeth, hurl your club eighty yards into a crowd dining on the patio, then blame your caddy for not changing the grips on the club. You can handle it like Ty Webb; smile knowingly, hum a little tune, sink your putts, then go grab the hot blonde and sing to her about being born to lick her face. Or you can handle it like Carl Spackler; slowly lose what’s left of your mind and then systematically destroy the golf course with powdered explosives.

When these players leave college, they’re either headed to a job out in the real world (not the MTV Real World, the actual real world), or, for some of them, a life in the National Football League. In either case, they’re going to have to deal with a-holes in the workplace. Lots of ‘em. All the time. Some working with them, some working for them, and some working against them. These a-holes will make Rodney Dangerfield and that gopher seem like well-mannered altar boys (and altar rodents) by comparison. So it’s important for these kids to learn how to react more like Ty and less like Smails or Spackler.

The NCAA would surely argue that teaching these young adults to be respectful and humble is a valuable lesson. Indeed it is. But it’s also valuable to learn to celebrate one’s accomplishments, to learn for one’s self where the line lies between exuberance and boastfulness, and how best to deal with people who cross that line. When it comes to discussing matters of compensating players or any kind of preferential treatment to college athletes, the NCAA is very quick to remind everyone that these are student athletes. Indeed they are. But it’s not the NCAA Rules Committee’s job to teach them. That’s the job of the universities. More accurately, it’s the job of the coaches, professors, and parents. Allow them to teach. Allow the student athletes to learn from them and the room to learn a little more about themselves. Allow the fans to share in the players’ youthful exuberance.

I don’t have a bulldog in the fight but I fully believe that Georgia would have, and should have, won that game if not for that penalty and that the NCAA needs to get that rule off the books as soon as possible before another team gets screwed by it. But if they don’t and it does happen again, I truly hope that the player getting flagged goes all Pacino in And Justice for All on their asses.

Now,on with the matchups….

Bengals at Ravens-
Both teams are 3-1 but they’re different 3-1’s, aren’t they? The Ravens first quarter of the season has seemed relatively low maintenance. The Bengals first quarter of the season has been mentally exhausting. It’s like the Ravens are the guy who went out a Friday night, picked up the hottest girl in the bar, went back to her place, got crazy, then managed to leave without waking her in the middle of the night, snagging half of a baked ham out of her fridge on the way out the door. Meanwhile, the Bengals have been like the guy who waited around until last call, picked up the sloppy drunk girl who then puked on him, puked in his car, forgot where she lived, had to be carried up the steps, started babbling about her ex, finally gave it up, then started crying and threw a vase at him as he tried to escape in the middle of the night. Sure he scored, but now he’s left feeling not fully satisfied, somewhat embarrassed, mentally drained, and wondering if he still has a clean bill of health.
And to make things worse, my guess is this will be the weekend when the sloppy drunk girl’s over-protective brother shows up to sucker-punch him in the face.


Vikings at Rams-
Time for this week’s pop quiz…
Which portly and controversial radio personality is apparently making a bid to buy the St. Louis Rams?

A) Rush Limbaugh
B) Glenn Beck
C) Artie Lange
D) Bill “Seg” Dennison

Answer: A) Rush Limbaugh.
Although sources on the street also tell me that Seg and a secret angel investor are joining forces to attempt a hostile takeover of the Green Bay Packers.


Buccaneers at Eagles-
Because of their bye last week, Andy Reid’s had two weeks to prepare his squad for the Bucs. Does anyone need two weeks to prepare for the Bucs? I think just two days of practice, a day of film study, and eleven days on a tequila-Red Bull-Nyquil carousel and you’d be okay.


Skins at Shirts (Panthers)-
Hey, it’s Cheerleader Posedown Time! skins 90, skins91

By the way, someone just told me that a tequila - Red Bull - Nyquil mix is referred to as a Sleepy Bloody Matador. Who knew?


Steelers at Lions-
The Lions have given up 12 touchdown passes already this season. My God, who are their corners, Anthony Henry and William James? Oh, well.…um…. yes. Yes they are.


Raiders at Giants-
Word out of Giant Land is that Eli has some kind of foot disease or something. Maybe it’s a broken bone, I don’t know. Does it really matter? Do you even need a quarterback nowadays to beat the Raiders? Okay, maybe if you’re the Chiefs. Actually to be fair, their defense has been adequate. The stench coming from that side of the Bay is Jamarcus Russell. He’s managed just one touchdown pass so far and is averaging a whopping 119 yards passing per game. As a general rule, it’s not good when your passing yards per game is less than half of your body weight.


Cowboys at Chiefs-
From the first time I saw Tony Romo sitting on the bench with his hat on backwards, I knew he looked like somebody but I’ve never been able to put my finger on it. Until now.
He was the skinny cartoon dude in the Money for Nothing video…


Browns at Bills-
Call me crazy but I believe this game has “Hi, this is Don Criqui alongside Beasley Reese” written all over it.
And for you gamblers, Vegas odds makers have the over/under on this one set at 38.
Oh, no, not 38 points. It’s the over/under for how many people are going to tune in to watch.


Falcons at Niners-
So let me get this straight. Michael Crabtree turned down a five year contract with $16million guaranteed and held out through the first four weeks of the season, sacrificing four game checks along the way, only to Wednesday sign a six year contract with $17million guaranteed?

To celebrate his new contract, Crabtree went to the butcher shop and stocked up on some prime rib. The butcher had a special of $75 for four pounds but Crabtree didn’t need quite that much so he shrewdly haggled with the butcher, leaving with three pounds of prime rib for just $70.

Do they not have math requirements at Texas Tech?


Texans at Cardinals-
I know the Texans aren’t much of a draw but what in the hell is up with this?

These are the defending NFL Champs, people. I guess this is what happens when you’re a transplanted team with a horrible track record, located in a warm-weather state full of former mobsters on the witness protection program, and you’ve gotten off to a 1-2 start. The bandwagon has hit a cactus and toppled over.


Patriots at Broncos-
There are many modern mysteries in our world. Where is Jimmy Hoffa's body? What happened to DB Cooper? Who was the Zodiac Killer? What really happened at Area 51? What is causing the Taos Hum? Where in the world is that Carmen San Diego? How does David Spade keep landing hot chicks?
We can now add another one to the list- How in the name of Jesus H. Elway are the Denver Donkeys 4-0? I have a paranormal specialist, two private investigators, and a team of professors from MIT searching for answers as we speak.


Jaguars at Seahawks-
Okay, the Jack Del Rio Farewell Tour is now officially on hold. Those of you who have tickets, hold on to them. If the tour resumes, you will be permitted to use them at any tour stop, and if not, you may redeem them for any one of a number of lovely items from our catalog.


Colts at Titans-
According to one of my brother in law's medical books, a "Code Blue": Generally is used to indicate a patient requiring immediate resuscitation, most often as the result of a cardiac arrest. May also be used as a radio call to indicate that a patient en route to the hospital requires resuscitation.

Uh, so just how appropriate is this?

For the record, falling to 0-5 would escalate it to a Code Brown. And yes, that does mean that they've defecated on themselves.


Monday Night
Jets at Dolphins
All together now…. J! E! T! S! Suck! SUCK!! SUCK!!!

Until next week, I shall leave you with this....

Oct 1, 2009

The dotting of the "i", the Nasty 'Nati, Hi-C Ecto Coolers, Chipotle Burrito Love, McKenzie Phillips, Kobayashi killin' it, and a drunk Jets fan

So I’m at the Bengals game with my buddy Mike last Sunday. It was a beautiful late September afternoon, we had great seats, the Bengals won in dramatic fashion over the hated Steelers, we ran across a drunk and (I’m assuming) homeless African-American gentleman shouting racial slurs while he ironically was walking past the Freedom Center, all perfectly fine and meaty enough topics to delve into for this week’s post. But there was something else I took away from the afternoon which has occupied my thoughts more so than anything else. It was the dotting of the “i”.

The Ohio State University marching band performed at halftime. I know this only because Mike said he thought they looked “bad-ass” walking in and wanted to watch. If not for that, I would’ve been drinking by the concession stands and would right now be typing away about that drunk homeless guy who was proud as hell to be from “The Nasty ‘Nati!”

The band marched out into a block “OHIO” formation, played Hang on Sloopy, then capped-off the performance with their coup d’ grace, the Script Ohio. By all accounts from anyone who’s seen it live and in person and who’s not a Michigan fan, it’s pretty cool. It really shouldn’t be cool but for some reason it is. Why shouldn’t it be cool? Well, maybe because it’s a herd of band geeks marching in time, spelling out the word “Ohio”, all led by a supreme band geek carrying a baton and wearing a plumed Q-tip hat, who culminates the act by high-stepping like a hopped-up tree fairy while leading a sousa-dork to his or her ceremonial position as the dot of the “i”. Everything about in on paper screams “Lame!” But when it unfolds before you as it has before millions of others for well over seven decades, it’s really anything but lame. In fact, the fairly simple yet clever act of spelling out your state’s name and then dotting one little “i” works so well that it makes you wonder why Mississippi didn’t think of it first and really maximize its potential.

So why does Script Ohio work? I believe it works because it has the four ingredients necessary for a sports tradition to become a “must experience”. By “must experience” I mean the kind of thing that you tell someone that they just have to see in-person. The kind of thing that can make it onto people’s bucket lists. The kind of thing that network television waits around a little longer to show live before going to a commercial. The four ingredients required to create a “must experience” sports tradition are as follows, along with a bonus ingredient:

1)It must be unique
2)It must be representative of the group of people in front of whom it’s performed
3)The participants must be passionate, committed, and not concerned about possibly looking uncool
4)It must involve music
…And a bonus if it involves a horn section. Everything sounds better with a horn section.

Check, check, check, check, aaaand check. Script Ohio incorporates all four plus the bonus and that’s why it works. All of the major colleges have bands and fight songs and traditions that are unique but very few of them put it all together to make a “must experience”. Michigan, Notre Dame, Tennessee, and USC make it work with great fight songs amidst some of the most unique backdrops in all of sports. Oklahoma, Colorado, and Florida State are a few who make it work with unique scenes playing out with their respective fight songs serving as the soundtracks (the Sooner Schooner, the running of Ralphie the buffalo, Chief Osceola on horseback spiking the flaming spear into the fifty yard line). And although college football certainly seems to corner the market on them, these “must experiences” can be found in other sports and leagues as well.

Take for example the singing of “Take me out to the ballgame” at Wrigley Field. Sure, it’s sung during the seventh inning stretch at every major and minor league baseball game from Vancouver to Vero Beach, but nowhere else do they sing it with such vigor, pride, and in the memory of someone so revered as the late Harry Cary. Another one from the world of baseball is the singing of Sweet Caroline before the bottom of the eighth inning at Fenway Park. That one gets the bonus because the song includes contributions from a horn section. Speaking of horn sections, I’ll submit the playing of the Brass Bonanza theme song for the old Hartford Whalers as a now extinct “must experience”. And speaking of teams no longer around, how about the Houston Oilers theme song inside the Eighth Wonder of the World filled with a sea of baby blue? Of course there’s the singing of My Old Kentucky Home before the Kentucky Derby, the Olympic theme and lighting of the torch at each opening ceremony, the haunting chant of “Rock.. Chalk….Jay ..Hawk” during KU basketball games, and many more in the states and around the world that I’m sure to be missing.

Thinking about it has made me a bit jealous that we don’t have a “must experience” here in Cincinnati. So since it’s football season and since this blog is supposed to center around the NFL, I figured I’d go ahead and try my hand at creating one for the Bengals. Here goes…

Picture if you will a crisp autumn afternoon on the Ohio River. Paul Brown Stadium is filled to capacity, player introductions have just concluded and smoke from the fireworks is still lingering above the playing field. A fairly small-numbered yet mighty Bengals Marching Band spells out a script Who Day towards the northern end of the gridiron and their percussion section unleashes what sounds like rolling thunder on the banks of the Ohio. Suddenly, a loud explosion erupts from just outside the Bengals tunnel and more fireworks stream into the air. Emerging from the smoke is a masked figure covered head-to-toe in orange spandex and wearing Slash’s signature stovepipe hat with the large ornate silver chains. In the figure’s hand is one end of a leash, a leash that at the other end is tethered to a snarling, full-grown Bengal tiger wearing Paul Brown’s fedora. The two sprint to midfield, give a throat-slash gesture to the visiting team’s sidelines, and plant a large Bengals flag into the turf. The mysterious orange man and the Bengal tiger then remove their hats with their right hands (er, paws) and bow to the crowd. Over the loudspeakers we hear the opening electric guitar riff of Welcome to the Jungle, the orange man is handed a microphone by a Ben-Gal cheerleader, then proceeds to take off his mask, revealing himself to be some well-known local celebrity, then screams into the microphone, “You know where you are?! You’re in the Nasty ‘Nati, baby. You’re gonna diiiiiiii-eeee!!!!”. The tiger lets out a blood-curdling roar, the crowd starts the rhythmic “Who Dey!” cheer, and the two take a lap around the field, snagging at least one person from the visiting sidelines as a sacrifice before disappearing into back into the tunnel.

I’m thinking that homeless guy I saw last week could be the first celebrity, then fill in the rest of the season with people like Ickey Woods, Bootsy Collins, Jerry Springer, Carl Lindner, and Archbishop Daniel Pilarcayk. Either all that or the marching band simply spells out a script Cincinnati”, they dot the three “i”s, cross the “t” and everyone goes bananas. You make the call.

Now, on with the matchups….

Shirts (Buccaneers) at Skins-
Tampa Bay’s Josh Johnson, not to be confused with first round pick Josh Freeman or my friend’s son Josh Bowman, will take over at quarterback for Byron Leftwich this Sunday. Johnson has exactly 36 more career passing yards than both Josh Freeman and Josh Bowman. Meanwhile, the Bucs have already allowed five pass plays of over forty yards against them this season. But before you call your bookie and put some money down on my sleeper team of the season (I am SO sorry about that one), take a look at some of the quotes coming out of DC this week….

You just don’t see the same fight, the same determination.” – cornerback DeAngelo Hall

We’re not a great team.” – linebacker London Fletcher

Right now, we’re just not a good team.” – defensive end Phillip Daniels

I don’t know what we want to be offensively. I don’t know what we want to be defensively.” – cornerback Carlos Rogers

Losing creates thoughts. It can create thoughts.” – head coach Jim Zorn

Again, I am SO sorry.” – Kevin St. John

I’ve called the league office and they’ve confirmed that one of these two teams will indeed have to win this game. Unless they tie.

Bengals at Browns-
Speaking of problems, the Real Men of Mangenius have a new field leader. Actually, he’s their former field leader, Derek Anderson. I haven’t seen them play yet but Brady Quinn must be just horrible. He’s got to be dreadful for Derek Anderson to come off the bench, throw three interceptions in the second half, and impress the coach. Anderson’s in a no-lose situation right now. He’s in that same place that McKenzie Phillips first adult boyfriend was in. No matter what he does or how bad he is, he cannot possibly be as bad as the last guy.

Too soon? Really? I thought we could go there.

Giants at Chiefs-
Time for this week’s pop quiz….
What do the fans at Arrowhead Stadium yell instead of “brave!” at the conclusion of the Star Spangled Banner?
C)“Lesbian rock singer, Melissa Etheridge!
D)“Swarmy late night talk show host Craig Kilborn!
E)“Mayor Mark Funkhouser!”

Answer: 95% of them yell A), 3% of them yell B), the other 2% raise a flannel sleeve in front of their mouth and mutter C)

Seahawks at Colts-
Hags coach Jim Mora, Jr blamed last week’s tough loss to the Bears on his kicker, Olindo Mare. Mare allegedly missed two field goals in the game which they lost by six points. Let’s see…two times three equals six… Yep, Jimmy, that was the difference. It certainly wasn’t Seneca Wallace’s ill-advised side armed pass that was intercepted on your own fifteen yard line, or your defensive backfield’s plethora of missed tackles. No, let’s blame the kicker who missed two field goals but made four field goals and scored TWELVE OF YOUR TEAM’S NINETEEN POINTS. Also, in defense of the entire team, how in the name of all that is holy were they supposed to play well when you had them dressed in Hi-C Ecto Cooler Green?

Raiders at Texans-
The moveable force meets the unmoving object. The Raiders have the second worst offense in the league while the Texans “boast” the league’s worst defense. Whether they like it or not, one of these two units is going to have to do well this Sunday.
A little off-topic here but have you seen this?...

Quite impressive but I think Raiders quarterback Jamarcus Russell could de-throne him.

Titans at Jaguars-
One of these two teams is 0-3 and it’s not the Jaguars. Seriously.
The Jags may have won last week but that does not in any way mean that The Jack Del Rio Farewell Tour has been cancelled, or even postponed. I promise you, dates are still being booked and tickets are still being sold (just not in Jacksonville). We believe last week was merely a fluke and do not anticipate it happening again anytime soon.

Ravens at Patriots-
I may have to re-think my hatred for the Ravens. Why, you ask? Because they have a Chipotle Burrito Club!


If it were possible to make love to a Chipotle Burrito, we’d be married, living in an aluminum foil house, and have four little chimichangas by now. And yes, I know they don’t sell chimichangas. Whatev.

Lions at Bears-
Lions head coach Jim Schwartz had this to say after his team broke their 19-game losing streak last Sunday: “We’re excited, yeah. But let’s put it where it is…It’s a week three win, we’re 1-2, and we need to get a win this week against a division opponent to get back to 2-2. Sorry to be so boring.”
Whoa! Hold your horses there, Coach! Two wins? Like in a row? That’s not boring, that’s actually a bit ambitious and quite frankly, a bit shocking. Next thing we know, you’re going to be rallying for safer streets and better schools in Detroit. You’re only one man, Coach Schwartz, you’re not a miracle worker.

Bills at Dolphins-
It’s Trent Edwards and the 1-2 Bills taking on Chad Henne and the 0-3 Dolphins, this Sunday on CBS!

Jets at Saints-
Unstoppable offense meets unpenetrable defense. I’m already chilling the Miller High Life for this one. Winner instantly starts getting serious buzz as a possible Super Bowl team. Loser immediately starts getting buzz about whether we had them over-rated.
This lady, well, she just gets buzzed…

Rams at Niners-
Marc Bulger has a bruised rotator cuff which is usually not a good thing for a quarterback, so he may not play this Sunday. If he can’t go, “Dammit Kyle” Boller will have to take over. On the other side of the field, tailback Frank Gore has an ankle injury which is usually not a good thing for a tailback, so he probably won’t play. If he can’t go, rookie Glen Coffey will get to carry the ball. According to the CDF, this situation has caused 341 instances of sportscasters and sportswriters this week advising fantasy football team owners to either “Pick up some Coffey”, “Grab some Coffey”, or (my personal favorite) “Go get yourself some piping hot Coffey”.
It’s sad, predictable, yet strangely comforting.

Cowboys at Broncos-
I don’t know what I’m more surprised about; that Khloe Kardashian and Antwan Odom’s wedding may have just been a publicity stunt, or that the Denver Broncos have started the season 3-0. I thought for sure those crazy kids were in love just as I felt sure that the Broncos were a dysfunctional mess coming into the season. Now here we are after three weeks and they’re undefeated with the league’s #1 ranked defense and Kyle Orton has yet to throw an interception. Yet some people are disputing the Broncos prowess because two of their wins have come against the Browns & the Raiders, and their other win was that fluke against the Bengals. What’s not disputable, however is the verdict on Broncos cheerleader Tara. With respect to the charge that she’s being a hot piece of Rocky Mountain goodness, we the jury find her guilty as charged.

Hey, that reminds me…

Chargers at Steelers-
It’s Cheerleader Posedown Time!

Monday Night

Packers at Vikings
Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings host the Green Bay Packers.
Bizarro, meet Superman. Superman, meet Bizarro.

As strange as it is, maybe we should’ve seen this coming....