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.
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.
Posted by Smitty