Thursday, January 31, 2008

Quick Superbowl Thoughts

I'm leaving this weekend, so here are my quick thoughts on this weekend's Superbowl.

Patriots win 41-13.


Alright, I'll tell you why too. Last time the Giants caught the Pats off guard because of weather and Eli actually not throwing 100 ints. This time the game is in warm weather, Plax is talking mad shit like an idiot, and the Pats are playing mad mind games with fake ass injuries.

Brady has a cast on his he WALKS TO HIS GIRLFRIEND'S PLACE. His arm is injured...AS HE DOES A WHOLE DAY OF PRACTICE. I was talking to Omar Padilla (he used to be the NHL on and off writer for a place I used to write for) and guessed 55-10 Pats. I was tellin' him about a time when Bronco's coach Shanny Hanny got a heavy fine for lying about an injury to a player and ended up listed 42 players the next week. HAHAHAHAHH

In short, Pats are just messing around and everyone knows the Giants are due for an implode.

Why I Have C. Ronaldo Wallbanger

Want to see why I have a Wallbanger (sold as Fatheads to Americans) of Cristiano Ronaldo on my wall even though I'm a Chelsea fan? It's because of shit like this that he pulled the other day:

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Building the Patriots

How does one achieve perfection? How does one grab the monolith that zaps them from being very good, to being invincible? With one more win, the Patriots will have done that. Want to know how? I'm here to tell you.


Before the start of the 2000 season, the New York media assembled to be introduced to the new Head Coach of the Jets, Bill Belichick. Although Belichick's previous NFL head coaching stint in Cleveland was a poor one that ended in the franchise leaving town in 1995, he had redeemed himself as an assistant with Bill Parcells. He was assistant head coach for the 1996 AFC Champion Patriots, and served as defensive coordinator on the Tuna's Jets' coaching staffs from 1997 thru 1999. His becoming the Jets head coach seemed part of the logical succession plan after Parcells kicked himself upstairs to the GM position.

What promised to be a boring press conference took a shocking turn when Belichick stepped to the podium, and instead of saying hello, said goodbye. He announced he was resigning as the head coach of the New York Jets.

Before anyone had a chance to pick their jaws off the floor, the Patriots announced that their new head coach would be Bill Belichick. Belichick would replace Pete Carroll, who after posting a 33-31 record in 3 seasons as New England coach, was fired by owner Bob Kraft. Carroll, of course, has gone on to become a mega-successful coach at the University of Southern California.

Of course, Parcells and the Jets were furious at the Patriots, and demanded that the league provide compensation for stealing him away when he was still under contract. The league agreed, and the Jets received a first round pick in the 2000 draft from the Pats as compensation.

In case you were wondering, the Jets traded that draft pick to the 49ers, to move up to #12, where they drafted DE Shaun Ellis. Ellis has given the Jets 7 seasons, and made the Pro Bowl once. His best season was 2003, when he had 12 1/2 sacks. Other than that he's gotten about 5 sacks a year. Not so good for a defensive end taken with the 12th pick in the draft.

Belichick's first season in Foxboro was like a replay of his lousy tenure in Cleveland. The Patriots went 5-11. Second year running back Kevin Faulk was the primary running back on that team, which wasn't saying a whole lot. Faulk, the younger brother of Marshall Faulk, who at the time was the dominant running back in the NFL, was drafted in the 2nd round in 1999. In college at LSU, Faulk rushed for more yards than anyone in SEC history besides Herschel Walker.

With that kind of pedigree, Faulk was expected to be, if not as spectacular as his brother, at least capable of being a feature back in the NFL. He led the 2000 team with a paltry 570 rushing yards, but was very versatile, catching 51 passes for 465 yards. It was becoming clear that he wasn't going to be a 1000 yard running back. But it also was clear that he was an offensive weapon who had value. Along with workmanlike linebacker Tedy Bruschi, who was a 3rd round rookie on the 96 Super Bowl team, he's also the only player from Belichick's first Patriots team that was a contributor on the 2007 team that is 18-0 as I write this.

There was another guy on that team that couldn't really be called a contributor on Belichick's first Patriot team. A QB they drafted in the sixth round in the spring of 2000. To give you a sense of where he stood in the QB pecking order in that draft, consider he was drafted only after these QBs were:

Chad Pennington (the only QB to go in the 1st round that year)
Giovanni Carmazzi (3rd round pick by the Niners. Helps explain how they got where they are)
Chris Redman (Resurfaced this year, somehow)
Tee Martin (Has a street named after him in Knoxville, doesn't in Pittsburgh)
Marc Bulger (Hey, not too bad here for another 6th rounder)
Spergon Wynn (I used to call him "Spoogin" Wynn)

He attempted 3 passes that year, and completed 1 for 6 six yards. His name was Tom Brady.
In March of 2001, the Patriots signed Drew Bledsoe, their quarterback and face of the franchise since he was the first overall pick in the 1993 draft, to a 10 year, 103 million dollar contract. It was, at the time, the most lucrative contract in NFL history. If anybody's job in the NFL was secure, Drew Bledsoe's was.

Of course, nobody's job is secure in the NFL, and Bledsoe's wasn't either.

In Week 2 of the 2001 season, Bledsoe was blown up by the Jets' Mo Lewis (again, the cosmic connection between the Jets and Patriots franchises) while trying to get out of bounds on a scramble. The hit punctured Bledsoe's lung, and meant that the Patriots would now have to turn to their second year QB, Tom Brady, who had 3 NFL pass attempts on his resume.

Since destiny is a funny thing, the Patriots rebounded from an 0-2 start under Bledsoe, and went 11-3 the rest of the regular season. Then they won the Super Bowl. Bledsoe was traded in the offseason to Buffalo for the Bills' first round pick in the 2003 draft, and Brady has been ensconced as the Pats' QB ever since.

While this season will always be remembered for the ascent of Brady, the Pats also made some other acquisitions that have contributed heavily to their perfect 07 season.

The Pats had a high draft pick in 01 thanks to their dismal 2000 season. They used the seventh overall pick in the 01 draft to select defensive lineman Richard Seymour out of the University of Georgia. Seymour has gone on to be a five time Pro Bowler.

Seymour was the second D-lineman selected in that draft. The Browns selected Florida's Gerard Warren with the third overall pick. Warren was traded by the Browns three years later, and now is with his third NFL team. For the third overall pick in the draft, he's been a bust.

In the second round, the Patriots made a trade with the Detroit Lions to move up and select Matt Light, an offensive tackle from Purdue. Light became the starting left tackle in his rookie season, and this year has been voted into the Pro Bowl for the first time in his career.

While none of the Pats later round draft picks from 01 panned out, they did make a wise move in picking up undrafted free agent Steve Neal from unknown Cal-State Bakersfield, who didn't even play football there (he was a wrestler, who won two NCAA Division I titles and owned a win over Brock Lesnar in compiling a 151-10 career record). Neal rattled around the Pats' practice squad and bench for 3 years. In 2004, he won a starting spot after the free agent departure of guard Damien Woody, and he's been there ever since.

The Patriots made a shrewd pickup in free agency before the 2001 season. Belichick saw a player that could start for him in Steelers' backup Mike Vrabel. Vrabel had spent 4 seasons in Pittsburgh as a reserve, but was put on the field immediately with the Pats. He has 12 1/2 sacks for the 07 Pats, and at age 32 was selected to his first Pro Bowl, and also to the All-Pro team.
The Super Bowl title took the whole football world by surprise. How a team could come from absolutely nowhere, under a coach most people thought wasn't very competent, and a virtual rookie at QB, and win it all was a mystery to most people.

The Pats' mediocre 2002 season did little to dispel the feeling that the 2001 Patriots were a fluke. The defense was horrible, the running game non-existent, and the defending champs limped to a 9-7 record and missed the playoffs. Simply put, the Pats were being pushed around in the trenches. Their defense ranked 31st in the league against the run, and the offense ranked 28th in rushing offense. Changes would need to be made in the offseason to make the team a contender again.

That change came in the form of free agent safety Rodney Harrison. Harrison had been to two Pro Bowls in nine seasons with the San Diego Chargers, and had earned a reputation as one of the biggest hitting and dirtiest players in the game.

The signing of Harrison allowed the Patriots to play hardball with safety Lawyer Milloy. Who had been selected to the Pro Bowl 4 out of his last 5 seasons. Milloy had an acrimonious holdout in the summer of 03 when the Patriots tried to cut his salary, culminating in his release from the Patriots a week before the 03 season started.

Milloy signed with the AFC East rival Bills, and the ESPN town fathers rended their garments. Surely, they warned, the cold-hearted treatment of a guy who had been a star for them since 1996 would tear this team asunder.

It didn't. The move galvanized a defense that was soft as cream cheese in 2002. The Patriots D improved to 4th in the league against the run thanks to the addition of Harrison, veteran DT Ted Washington, and a career best year from Seymour. The Patriots had a renewed focus, went 14-2, and won their second Super Bowl title in 3 years, proving that 2001 was no fluke.

While the signing of Harrison was a "right now" move, the Patriots also laid some groundwork for their future in the 03 draft. They used the first round pick they got from Buffalo in exchange for Bledsoe to trade up with Chicago, and select defensive lineman Ty Warren, who they saw as a Seymour clone, out of Texas A+M. Warren has been a solid complement to Seymour throughout his career. In the 4th round, they chose Central Florida corner Asante Samuel, who has blossomed into possibly the best corner in the game.

The Pats reshuffled their offensive line in 03. In the 5th round, they nabbed Boston College center Dan Koppen, who stepped in and immediately became a starter, moving 02 Pro Bowl center Damien Woody to guard, and replacing Kenyatta Jones, an 02 draft pick who failed as a starter with o3 undrafted free agent Tom Ashworth. Koppen has remained Tom Brady's center, battling back from a bad injury in 05 to earn a contract that could keep him in New England thru 2011.
to be continued..

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Futbol Weekly 2

Fulham signs their fifth American on their team by signing Kansas City Wizards' forward Eddie Johnson. The other Americans on Fulham are goalkeeper Kasey Keller, defender Carlos Bocanegra, forward/midfielder Clint Dempsey and forward Brian McBride. While I appreciate that Fulham is taking a chance on fielding the best American players in the EPL, this team is in the regulation zone. If this team gets regulated, that probably should tell everyone that American soccer players suck.

Speaking of America-hating, very-hated Liverpool co-owner Thomas Hicks said, "People are worried that I might take money away from the (Texas) Rangers to build Liverpool," Hicks said, referring to his baseball team. "It's just the reverse."

So you're telling me you're taking money from a club loved all over the world to fund your shitty Texas Rangers? I wonder why Liverpool fans hate you assholes.

Oli Porter broke the bit of news to me about Newcastle United hero "King" Kevin Keegan taking over Newcastle as their new manager. With a big ass budget, big names are connected to a Newcastle move that includes Manchester City's defender Micah Richards (lowest paid starter on the England National Team), Middlesbrough's sweeper Jonathan Woodgate (9 mil), Lazio's striker Goran Pandev, Preston's 19-year old striker Andy Carroll, West Ham United striker Dean Ashton (7 mil) and even Los Angeles FC midfielder David Beckham. Wow, what a difference a manager makes.

While Cristiano Ronaldo's mom is wishing for a Real Madrid transfer, Real Madrid is looking to more realistic signings like Porto winger Ricardo Quaresma who I honestly think is just as marketable as Cristiano Ronaldo. Quaresma would love this move for two reasons: 1) he's too awesome to play on a small club like Porto and 2) he would like to avenge his being a bomb at RM rival Barcelona by shitting down their throats.

Until next time, here's hoping Oli Porter takes over Liverpool.

8 In The Box- NFC Championship

1. The most insightful analysis of this game came not from anybody involved in the broadcast, or any of the interviews with the players involved. No, the most insightful analysis came from my football hating girl Sylvia, who, watching this game asked me, "I thought New England just won the championship? So is this game for like second place or something?".

I explained to her that New England had won the conference championship, and would play in the Super Bowl, and the winner of this game would play New England in the Super Bowl in two weeks. Then, while listening to myself explain this to her, realized she was right in the first place, and said, "Yes, for all intents and purposes, this game is for second place, you are exactly right."

2. I'm thinking sometime next Tuesday I will accidentally trip over Charles Woodson, being that Brandon Jacobs knocked him into next week on his first carry of the game. My God.

3. While I'm picking on Green Bay cornerbacks, let's point out that Plaxico Burress (11 catches, 154 yards) absolutely sodomized the renowned Al Harris. I hope Al Harris showered thoroughly after the game to reduce his chances of catching HIV. I get all my HIV avoidance tips from African National Congress president Jacob Zuma.

4. When Jacobs ran it in from the 1 yard line to give the Giants a 13-10 lead, I do have to say I was very disappointed in his choice of "Superman dance" over his signature "Launching the Ball Angrily and Frighteningly Into the Wall" celebration. His football into the gameclock routine in Dallas better be executable on Madden next year or else it's going right back to Gamestop.

5. Everybody knows that Lawrence Tynes saved himself from being villified and unemployed by drilling the game winning field goal after missing one that could have won it in regulation. Less publicized was that Giants corner Sam Madison made an even bigger screw up than Tynes when he got called for a personal foul (committed nowhere near the play) in the 3rd quarter that kept a Green Bay drive alive and led to a Packer TD on the next play, rather than a 47 yard field goal attempt.

6. Do NOT let RW McQuarters hold your baby! Unless it's wearing a helmet. I think the RW stands for "Shit I fumbled again.". He carries the ball like he has no fingers. I could go on all day like this.

7. The Packers had one offensive weapon in this game, Donald Driver. Driver had 141 receiving yards. The rest of the team had a combined 124 yards from scrimmage.

8. Count me as somebody who has just discovered It's an amazing site where in a matter of seconds you can simulate a game between literally any NFL, NBA, MLB, or NHL team of all time against another one. Just for shitz and giggles, I'm gonna run 5 Super Bowl sims right now.

Game 1: Patriots 23, Giants 21

The Pats get the ball down 21-20 on their own 18 at the 2 minute warning, and they drive downfield for a game winning 38 yard FG by Gostkowski. Brady throws for only 180 yards. Brandon Jacobs has 113 rushing yards.

Game 2: Giants 24, Patriots 22

Jacobs destroys the Pats, rushing for 173 yards and 3 TDs. Justin Tuck has 3 sacks for the Giants.

Game 3: Giants 17, Patriots 16

Giants somehow win despite having only 7 completed passes. Patriots have trouble converting long drives into TDs.

Game 4: Giants 20, Patriots 10

Jacobs gets 100 yards on 21 carries. Burress TD late in 4th quarter seals the victory.

Game 5: Patriots 23, Giants 10

Pats trail at half but pull away after Tom Petty's halftime zipper malfunction. Randy Moss wins MVP with 105 yards and a TD.

So there you go. Kind of surprising. 3 out of 5 scenarios the Giants win straight up, and I think they cover the spread in all 5. If this thing is worth anything, you should go bet on the Giants today.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

AFC Championship LIVE



- As I start this log, we're at 5:31 remaining in the first quarter, and Philip Rivers has just been made into Junior Seau's wife. It's 4th and 11 and the Chargers are punting. We're scoreless.

- Mike Scifres' punt bounds into the end zone, and the Pats will start from their own 20.

- Brady goes play action on first down and floats a Charlie Hough like knuckleball into the waiting arms of Quentin Jammer for a pick. Jammer just stepped in front of Donte Stallworth and picked it. Gotta say the Chargers have a way of making good QBs look bad.

- Michael Turner takes the handoff on 1st down and plunges up the middle for 5 yards, and it becomes 20 yards when Vince Wilfork is flagged for a 15 yard facemask

- 1st and 10 from NE's 20. Turner tries to take it outside but there's nothing there.

- 2nd down, Rivers makes a sweet throw to the sideline and Chris Chambers pulls it in for a first down. A great throw and a great catch

- Turner up the middle for about a yard. 2nd and goal from the 8.

- Rivers tries a swing pass for Lorenzo Neal, who looked very surprised to turn around and find a ball flying at him. 3rd and goal.

- Rivers has all the time in the world to throw, and fires to the back of the endzone. Chris Chambers makes a leaping grab, but comes down with 0 feet in bounds. That'll bring out the FG team.

- Nate Kaeding's kick is just barely good from 25 yards out, and the Chargers are on the board first, leading 3-0.

- A short kickoff, and the Pats will start this series from their own 35.

- NE lines up with 5 receivers, Brady throws underneath to Welker for a nine yard pickup.

- Brady launches an out route about 20 feet over an open Randy Moss' head.

- 3rd and 1, and Heath Evans plunges off tackle to pick up 3 yards and a first down.

- A reverse to Randy Moss. The Chargers have it sniffed out, but Moss cuts it back and turns it into an 11 yard gain.

- 1st and 10 just inside Charger territory. A swing pass to Kevin Faulk turns into a 14 yard gain. The Patriots are having success throwing underneath.

- They run the swing to Faulk again for a 4 yard pickup. 2nd and 6 now from SD's 21.

- Empty backfield, Brady dumps it underneath to Stallworth to set up a 3rd and let's call it 2. That's the end of the first quarter. Chargers lead 3-0, but the Patriots are driving.


- Maroney bounces a run outside, gets a couple of nice blocks from Heath Evans, and picks up 7. Evans took Shawne Merriman out of that play.

- 1st and goal, and Brady throws underneath to Faulk, setting the Patriots up at the 1.

- Maroney off right tackle and he's IN for a TOUCHDOWN. YOOOO HOOOOOO HEEE...YOOOO HOOOO...YOOOO HOO HEEE.

- The PAT is GOOD and New England is up 7-3.

- Nice kickoff by Gostkowski, and Darren Sproles takes it out to the 30. CBS promises us a report on LaDanian Tomlinson, who has not been in this game since I've been watching. I expect them to tell me that he's not going to play anymore today.

- 1st down, and Rivers throws to Vincent Jackson over the middle for a 15 yard pickup. No pressure, no coverage.

- Play action, and Rivers rolls right and throws to leaping Vincent Jackson who pulls it down at the right sideline for a 17 yard pickup. The Chargers have 1st down at the NE 39.

- Michael Turner up the middle for 4 yards.

- Chambers and Jackson already have 71 combined receiving yards. They're the reason SD is playing in this game.

- 2nd and 6 and Rivers checks down to Turner for a 5 yard pickup, to setup third and 1.

- Play action, and again Rivers has Jackson in the middle of the field for a 21 yard pickup. 1st and goal for the Chargers from the nine.

- They try Turner off left tackle but there's nothing there.

- Rivers faces a three man rush and has all day to throw, he finds Antonio Gates at the goal line, but Teddy Bruschi dives and just does break up a TD pass. 3rd and goal from the nine.

- The play clock gets down to 3 and the Chargers call a timeout. Chargers need to get in here, because against New England, field goals are like turnovers. They count for nothing.

- Rivers kind of panicks when Mike Vrable blitzes, and dumps off to Chambers for a 3 yard pickup. Kaeding comes out and hits a field goal to make it 7-6.

- The Chargers are going to have to come up with a new plan on defense when they come back out. The Patriots will have the ball the whole game if they continue to take what the Chargers D is giving them underneath.

- Another short kick, and Ellis Hobbs takes it to the 40. Nate Kaeding's kickoffs have been terrible.

- Hey look, Kevin Faulk is wide open underneath again for a 15 yard gain.

- Maroney off right tackle and a nice second effort for a five yard run. 2nd and 5 from the SD 42.

- Swing pass to Welker but he's stopped right away, bringing up 3rd and 5.

- Brady tries to connect with Moss on an in route but Jammer is there to bat it away. Still no catches for Moss, and NE is going to punt.

- A beautiful play by Kelley Washington keeps the punt out of the end zone and pins the Chargers down at their own 4.

- Turner up the middle for 3.

- Turner again for 3 more yards. That'll bring up 3rd and 4 from the 10 yard line. The Chargers need this first down.

- They swing it out to Sproles who is able to get enough for the first down.

- Turner up the middle for 2.

- 2nd and 8, Rivers drops back and gets leg whipped by a blitzing Mike Vrabel, the trip knocks Rivers off balance, and Asante Samuel takes the ball away from Chris Chambers. He returns it down to the 24. Should have been a 15 yard tripping penalty on Vrabel.

- Faulk underneath again for 14 yards. All day long.

- Brady has forever and a day to throw on 1st and 10, and finds Jabar Gaffney on a look in and he winds his way into the end zone. TOUCHDOWN PATRIOTS. The XP is good and the Pats are up 14-6.

- At this point. This game looks like it's going to be a rout. The Chargers just have no ideas on stopping this Patriot offense, they seem like they are just hoping to slow them down and suffer the same death by a thousand cuts that the Jaguars suffered last week. A prevent defense isn't going to beat this team.

- Sproles runs the kickoff out to the 28.

- Sproles on the draw and Teddy Bruschi hog ties him for no gain.

- On 2nd and 10 they go max protect and Rivers hits Chambers on a sideline route for 12 yards and a first down. Rivers may be a douchebag, but he has an arm.

- Apparently not enough of an arm though. He heaves it downfield into the wind for Chambers, and it just kind of dies and Ellis Hobbs gets an easy pick at the New England 20.

- Now Brady tries to go deep, for Stallworth, but once again Jammer is there jammin on the one to break it up. He's been real good today. They're trying to pick on him and stay away from Cromartie, but it's not working.

- Kevin Faulk bounces off a block and turns a draw outside for an 8 yard pickup. The Pats will have third and 2 after the 2 minute warning.

- Third and 2, Brady tries to throw an out to Welker, but overleads him and Welker can't bring it in.

- Sproles fields the punt at the 33 and goes out of bounds at the thirty five.

- 1st and 10, and Sproles takes a draw up the middle for a gain of about six, the clock keeps running.

- Another draw, and Sproles busts it up the middle. ALLLLL the way down to the New England 30. A 26 yard pickup for Sproles. They are reviewing something, but I don't know what. Rental car smells like sunshine. Take a train to happy town.

- Rivers drops waaaay back and throws underneath to Gates, who is brought down in the middle of the field for an 8 yard gain. Timeout SD, they've got one left.

- 26 seconds remaining in the half, Chargers have 2nd and 2 at the NE 23.

- Rivers swings it out to Sproles but he is met right away by Brandon Meriweather. The Chargers have 3rd and 1 and have to use their last timeout. 18 seconds remaining.

- Now the Patriots call timeout. This is riveting.

- Shaky Nate Kaeding warms up on the sideline.

- Aaand we're back. Rivers gets chased out of the pocket and launches it out of bounds. Credit Ty Warren with forcing the incompletion.

- Shaky Nate is out for a 40 yard attempt. He's 0 for 4 from beyond 39 yards in his playoff career.

- Belichick calls timeout to make Kaeding think about how not good he is.

- The kick is GOOOD. Just inside the right upright. He gives an emphatic fist pump. Another field goal for the Chargers. They trail 14-9. Maybe if they kick 13 field goals they may have a chance.

- The kickoff is returned to about the 20. And it's halftime. 14-9 Patriots.

- Wow. Cowher comes right out and says that Turner should bench Rivers and bring in Volek in the second half.

- Boomer says something about Rivers laying it all on the line for his team. Asks where is Randy Moss? He is advocating the Patriots forcing the ball to Moss rather than continuing to pick up 15 yards whenever they feel like it by throwing to Kevin Faulk.

- Marino gives Faulk some kudos, but also says they need to find a way to get the ball to Welker and Moss. No, they really don't.

- Sam Ryan is holding a giant thermometer to show us it's one degree in Green Bay. I feel that. It's friggin cold here in Chicago too. This morning when I drove to the gym it was 3 degrees out. Interestingly enough, it doesn't really feel that cold out. It's sunny and there's no wind. As someone that has spent 32 winters in Chicago, I can tell you that if it's not windy, it's not that cold. 20 degrees with a 40 MPH wind feels a lot worse than 3 degrees and no wind.

- Marino's cell phone goes off during the halftime show. Nice. Probably his coke dealer.

- It goes off again. Dude turn your fucking phone off. You're on national TV.

- Cowher re-emphasizes that Volek should go in. My winner of the halftime show is Cowher. Yaaay.

- NE again gets great field position off a kickoff, they'll start at the 39.

- LT is not coming back.

- An out to Moss is dropped. I don't think he was very interested in catching a 5 yard pass.

- Underneath to Welker for a pickup of 8. Dink and dunk. Dink and dunk.

- Evans plunges up the middle and picks up about five and a first down. The Pariots are now in Charger territory. They go up 21-9 here and this game is over.

- Maroney off right end for no gain.

- Now I've got to help put groceries away. Lame. I missed an interception by Drayton Florence.

- 2nd and 10 and Rivers rolls right again, and guns it to Chambers, who does the falling tree routine out of bounds for a 15 yard gain. 1st and 10 for the Chargers at the NE 17.

- Swing pass out to a crossing Jackson for a pickup of six. The Chargers are down to the Patriot 8.

- Turner up the middle for about 3. It'll be third and one.

- Timeout Chargers. I go put more groceries away.

- What'd I miss what'd I miss?

- Turner got stuffed on third down and Kaeding kicked another field goal. 14-12 Patriots.

- The Patriots start from their own 32 and Maroney breaks an 18 yard run. Cromartie just totally blew a tackle there that added about another 10 yards on to the run. New England's already in Charger territory now.

- Maroney tries to bounce one outside to no avail. No gain.

- Brady pump fakes, then throws to a wide open Moss who is underneath on the left sideline. He turns it into a 12 yard gain. Another first down. Pats on the 30 now.

- Maroney cuts back and finds 11 yards. Clinton Hart has a chance to make an open field tackle and blows it.

- Maroney again, keeps his legs pumping for a 6 yard pickup.

- 2nd and 4 from th 15. Maroney does the same cutback as two plays ago and picks up the first down. 57 yards on 12 carries for Maroney.

- Now the Pats line up with only one wideout, and give to Maroney again. No gain this time though.

- They spread it out on this play, and throw the quick slant to Welker, who is brought down at the 1.

- 3rd and goal. From the 2. Brady has time, tries to throw to the back of the end zone for Ben Watson. But Cromartie steps in front and PICKS IT OFF IN THE END ZONE. Uhhhh Ohhhhh. Cro runs it out to the 7 yard line. That's three picks today for Brady, and somewhere, Peyton Manning smiles just a little.

- Turner breaks thru the line off tackle for a 10 yard pickup.

- They run the same play and its good for 3 yards this time.

- Rivers throws deep down the sideline for Sproles and its nowhere close. 3rd and 7.

- Bounce pass to Brandon Manumalea. Whenever Rivers is pressured he goes into panic mode and throws a bad pass.

- The punt rolls down to the 35 and that's where New England will start from.

- Brady finds Evans underneath for 13 yards.

- Maroney up the middle for 4, that'll bring up 2nd and 6 from the 50 yard line, as we move to the FOURTH QUARTER.

- Brady swings it out to Welker who carries it for a 13 yard gain. 1st and 10 for the 40.

- A beautiful run by Maroney. He picks up about 10 off right tackle, then midway thru the run totally reverses the field and picks up about 15 more yards. New England has 1st down from the 20.

- Screen to Maroney for another 10 yards.

- Hart is injured.

- 2nd and 1 and Maroney churns forward for 4 yards. The Pats now have first and goal from the 7.

- My fiancee informs me that this is the last "inning". I correct her and say "quarter".

- Maroney for a yard.

- Pats line up 4 wide. Brady has time out of the gun, and finds Welker on a slant for the TD. I'm gonna go ahead and say that's ballgame. 21-12 Pats.

- The kickoff comes out to only the sixteen. Rivers drops back and finds Chambers on a post pattern, who leaps and brings it down for a 16 yard gain.

- Rivers makes an ugly throw downfield off is backfoot and its behind Chambers and tipped. Again, he was pressured, and again made a bad throw.

- Now Rivers pussies out and spikes it into the ground with Richard Seymour bearing down on him.

- 3rd and 10. Rivers makes a nice throw to Jackson on another post pattern for a 14 yard gain. Nice throw and catch.

- Swings it out to Gates for a nine yard pickup.

- Turner dodges a Wilfork ankle tackle and gains 4 yards and the first down.

- Rivers checks down on a blitz and throws to Gates, who isn't looking and drops it.

- Next pass is tipped at the line by Wilfork, and just off the hands of Rodney Harrison. 3rd and 10 now from the NE 36.

- Harrison blitzes and gets to Rivers, who has to bail and throw an incompletion. That'll bring out Scifres and the punt team. Hate this. They should go for it here.

- Fair catch at the 11 by Faulk.

- Maroney off left end for 11 yards. I'll tell you why it was stupid of the Chargers to punt. The Patriots seem to have the ball for like 10 plays on every series. At this rate the next time the Chargers get the ball they'll be down by 2 scores with about 4 minutes left.

- Brady is sacked by Igor Olshansky, a loss of eight. Big play for SD.

- Screen to Faulk who breaks a tackle and gets the eight yards back. Third and 10.

- Faulk lays out on a pass lofted out of the backfield, pulls it in and rolls past the first down marker. A huge, huge play. Faulk has been the MVP of this game.

- Maroney around right end for only a yard.

- 2nd and nine and Stallworth on a comeback route has a nice run after he catch to pick up six. Third and three now. Brady checks down to Faulk over the middle, who makes a great grab on a ball thrown behind him and turns it into a thirteen yard gain. He just stopped mid stride and reached behind him for a fingertip grab, then ran upfield. SD has only one timeout left, and there's four minutes left. This game's over. Good thing the Chargers punted it away .

- A couple of carries by Maroney brings up 3rd and 4 and SD has to use its last timeout with 3:30 remaining.

- LT sits forlornly on the sideline.

- Maroney picks up six for the nail in the coffin first down. That's a wrap for me. Patriots go to 18-0, and will be the AFC's representative in the Super Bowl. My MVP for this game is split between Maroney, who has carried for 111 yards, and Faulk, who has 8 catches for 82 yards.

Friday, January 18, 2008

8 In the Box

1. In my preview of last week's Chargers/Colts game, I predicted the Colts would win, and the game would not be close. If I would have known the Chargers would have finished that game with Billy Volek at QB and LaDanian Tomlinson injured, I think I would have predicted something in the neighborhood of the Georgia v. Hawaii Sugar Bowl outcome.

Of course, I would have been wrong. The Chargers rode key plays from luminaries such as Darren Sproles (a 56 yard TD off of a screen pass) and Legedu Nanee (a 27 yard reception to hel setup Volek's game winning 1 yard plunge) to an incomprehensible 28-24 win at the RCA Dome, knocking the defending champs out of the playoffs, and ensuring that the Colts/Pats postseason matchup we've all been waiting for all year is not going to happen. Instead, we'll get Billy Volek vs. Tom Brady, and Norv Turner vs. Bill Belichick. Should be great.

2. Speculation now runs rampant that this steaming turd may be Tony Dungy's last game as Colts' coach, and that he may now retire and be replaced by QB coach Jim Caldwell. I know Dungy has been sainted by the media, and probably is a really good guy. But let's look at this objectively. He's been to only one Super Bowl with a team that probably should have been to a few more than one. Two of the last three years his team has dumped itself at home in its opening playoff game. The defense, his specialty, has been the team's weakness every year he's been there. If I'm grading Dungy's tenure in Indy, I give it a B-, maybe a C+. I think there a lot of coaches who, given the amount of time he had, could have coaxed one Super Bowl win out of Peyton Manning/Marvin Harrison/Reggie Wayne/Edgerrin James/Dwight Freeney/Bob Sanders/Joseph Addai et al.

3. Another team that has a habit of crapping itself in the playoffs is the Dallas Cowboys. This year was no different. America's Team still hasn't won a playoff game since Barry Switzer was their coach in the mid '90s. They fell 21-17 at home to a Giants team they had beaten twice during the regular season.

It's hard to figure out how the Cowboys lost. They ran 69 plays from scrimmage, while the Giants ran only 41. Marion Barber rushed for 129 yards, while Brandon Jacobs led the Giants with only 54. If you looked at everything in the box score except the final score, you would have thought the Cowboys won pretty handily. Except for one thing. The Cowboys got flagged for 11 penalties totalling 84 yards, which is almost as many yards as the Giants had running the ball. When you give the other team a third way to move the ball, it's hard to win.

4. Of course, the blame for this loss is going to fall on Tony Romo. The town fathers are all stroking their beards and clucking their tongues at him spending a vacation in Cabo with Jessica the week before the game. I don't know how much that affected the way Romo played, but those town fathers are right to get on his case about that. That was stupid. Why would you call yourself into question like that? It was just absolutely stupid on Romo's part to not go get his ya ya time with Daisy Duke AFTER the playoffs, and not before. Now they're never going to let this thing die. Stupid.

5. Green Bay shook off an early 14-0 deficit facilitated by a pair of Ryan Grant fumbles, and mauled the Seahawks on a snowy day at Lambeau, 42-20. That's right, the Seahawks D and their 15 Pro Bowlers pissed away a two touchdown lead like it was nothing, and got 42 points hung on them in a playoff game. And they let Ryan Grant run for 201 yards and 3 TDs against them. How's that for overrated? I am so sick of the Seahawks making the playoffs every year because they never lose at home and the NFC West is eternally awful. Weak.

6. Rounding out the field for what is now being dubbed "Championship Weekend" will be the 17-0 Patriots. They played their best game in a while, and cruised past the Jaguars 31-20. Tom Brady completed on obscene 26 of 28 pass attempts, and Laurence Maroney rushed for 122 yards and a TD. They also completely shut down the vaunted Jacksonville running game, rendering Fred Taylor and MJD completely ineffective. This team looked like like it was becoming vulnerable towards the end of the season, but not after this game. They're better than they've ever been. Of course, as Patrick outlines in his post, they've now got a little off the field problem of their own.

7. Time for an update on the Coaching Carousel of DOOM.

- The Ravens have a new coach, and it is John Harbaugh? Harbaugh's qualifications are being the secondary coach for the Eagles this year, and having a last name steeped in pro football mediocrity. On the plus side, this is a great hire if the Ravens have to play USC next year.

- Jim Mora Jr. interviewed for the Redskins job, but has removed his name from consideration.

- Jason Garrett has taken himself out of the prospective head coach hopper, and is staying in Dallas, where he will resume his role of being the boogeyman in Wade Phillips' closet.

- Former Cowboys O line coach Tony Sparano, and his Hitler moustache, will be coaching the Dolphins next year.

8. A man in Pardeeville, WI was cited for disorderly conduct after he restrained his 7 year old son in a chair and taped a Packers jersey to him after the boy refused to wear one. The man's wife has gotten a restraining order against him and photographed the incident on her cell phone for police. He originally faced felony charges of false imprisonment and causing mental harm to a child, but those charges were dropped due to lack of evidence. Way to go all Jack Bauer on your 7 year old, douchebag.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Football Weekly

Moss vs. Blackmailer

Some attorney chick put a restraining order on Patriots WR Randy Moss because of "battery causing serious injury." Moss claimed she was going for a money grab blackmailing him, asking for a six figure sum to make the incident go away. When I think of "battery," I think Moss fucking beat her. Moss says he never hit a women, ever. Chick got exposed because come to find that the "battery" was Moss "refused to allow her to seek medical treatment." For what the fuck, I don't know. You know who is the maddest about this news? No, not the Patriots. It's the San Diego Chargers.

When shit outside of life gets on Kobe Bryant, Bryant plays like a mad man venting his frustrations on the court. Well guess what? The Patriots are like 22 Kobe Bryants and this new is just going to have them play harder to put the focus on football because, as Belicheck showed, if you win games, everything else is forgotten. Pats are going to FUCK UP shitty ass Norv "Overrated" Turner.

Rich Rodriguez vs. psycho ex-girlfriend

When Rich Rodriguez left West Virginia for Michigan, I don't think he knew he was ditching the psycho ex-girlfriend type. First, West Virginia is trying to get back their 4 mil from him. Then, West Virginia cried that Rodriguez made calls to three Michigan recruits on West Virginia's phone (which he denies). Next, West Virginia claims he took a bunch of "secret" files or "erased academic files" or some shit. Come to find it was just Rodriguez clearing his fucking desk for the next person in charge. Funny thing was that when Rodriguez went to his new Michigan office, HIS DESK WAS CLEAR THERE AS WELL OH FUCK. Someone hunt down Carr.

The psycho ex-girlfriend syndrome gets worse:

"Rodriguez's relatives have been harassed and threatened since his resignation as West Virginia football coach.

His mother, Arleen Rodriguez, said her teen grandson received a death threat and found other harassing notes taped to his locker at East Fairmont High School. Arleen said her 12-year-old granddaughter had to be escorted to classes." -ESPN

Wow, after putting your asses on the map, you go and shit on that guy? Yeah, like anyone will want to go there anymore. Put a restraining order on West Virginia.

Jerry Jones vs. his fuck up

Hot Cowboys Offensive Assistant Coach Jason Garrett looked at the Falcons and Ravens job, talked to his good friend and owner of the Cowboys Jerry Jones, and decided to stay at Dallas making the most for any assistant coach, 3 mil, which is near what the Cowboys head coach Wade Wilson makes.

Here's the deal: Jerry Jones said no matter what happens in the playoffs, Wade Wilson will keep his job. Jones didn't want to look like a liar, so despite TO crying, he had to keep Wade Wilson as coach and probably promised Garrett, "Ay yo, next year, Wilson is gunna fuck up anyway so imma make you head coach in two years. Coo or naws?"

If Wade Wilson does not win the Super Bowl next year, he's gone. I called it.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Futbol Weekly

Boring ass all D England National Team Manager Fabio Capello wants role models to be on his team. The previous a-hole, Steve McClaren, started 48 different players in his tenure and didn't qualify for shit. Capello is known for being a heavy disciplinarian with an emphasis on d (translation: boring). In his championship tenure at Real Madrid, he dumped Ronaldo, benched Beckham, made Robinho a sub, and made Real Madrid one of the most unwatchable winning teams I have ever seen. His strategy was sitting back on d and dropping long balls to one striker (RvN) all day. Boring.

Capello had said he could not instill lthe same discipline style he was so used to for the clubs he's played because he doesn't see them as often. My guess is that being a role model becomes his new discipline model. There was a buzz that Capello was going to put Beckham has his captain over Chelsea's John Terry (the current captain), and I (and apparently Terry) would be cool with that. If Capello's style holds true, he'll favor hard workers over big name stars. Capello also changed up his formations based off the offensive capabilities of his opponents, so he'll need a line up that can be pretty flexible. Here's my guess for Capello's team:

Main formation: 4-4-1-1

GK: P Robinson [Tottenham]
DEF: N Onuoha [Manchester City], J Terry [Chelsea], M Richards [Manchester City], A Cole [Chelsea]
MID: D Beckham (c) [LA Galaxy], O Hargreaves [Manchester United], S Gerrard [Liverpool], S Wright-Philips [Chelsea]
FOR: P Crouch [Liverpool], W Rooney [Manchester United]

Bench: B Foster [Manchester United], F Lampard [Chelsea], A Lennon [Tottenham], M Carrick [Manchester United], R Ferdinand [Manchester United], P Neville [Everton], M Owen [Newcastle United]

I saw Chelsea's new striker Nicolas Anelka play and I like his fluid movement. See ya, Drogba. Actually, if Chelsea boss Avram Grant wanted to make Chelsea exciting like he was hired to do, a 4-3-3 line up with J Cole, Essien, and Makelele in the middle and Malouda, Anelka, and Drogba up front would be pretty fucking bad ass. Malouda and Anelka can drop back to help the mid when needed. Oh man, I just went in my pants. And it wasn't poo.

Everyone is blaming the American owners for not making Liverpool better by investing money. The problem is that the Americans have no idea how to fix the financial mess through financial structuring (instead of using their own money). Last I heard, they were open to the possibility of selling the team to an Arab company. HAHAHAOLIPORTER.

Cristiano Ronaldo decided to take advantage of a club with no manager (Newcastle) and hat trick over them helping Man U win 6-0. Blah.

Barcelona wins with style, and Real Madrid wins in standard Real Madrid fashion: play shitty for the whole game, get 1 or 2 shot on goals, and make them both to win. RM's Fernando Gago said, "The only thing that matters is the result," but he's wrong. Capello got fired for winning ugly, dipshit.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Divisional Playoff Preview- Part Two



If the Chargers are going to have any success today, it's going to have to come from LaDanian Tomlinson. Philip Rivers is not going to have a good day. He's missing Antonio Gates, and the Colts have the second ranked pass defense in the league. That means the Chargers are going to have to attack the Colts run defense. Problem is, that run defense is no longer the soft underbelly it was last year. It does rank 18th in the league, but a lot of that is due to the number of times opponents run it against them. Per attempt, that defense ranks sixth. When these teams met earlier this season, LT ran for only 76 yards. As a team, the Chargers had only 11 first downs (compared to 25 for the Colts). That won't be enough today.


We all know that Peyton Manning was picked off six times in the first Indy/SD meeting. Forget about that. Everyone was hurt. While the Chargers defense is good at forcing turnovers, they are bad at keeping the opposition from moving the ball up and down the field. They rank 16th against the run and 14th against the pass. This despite facing some awful offenses down the stretch this year (Oakland, Denver, Detroit, Tennessee, KC, Baltimore). The Colts have Marvin Harrison back today, which is nice, but with or without him they should have no problem with the Chargers defense today.


Let's see. Peyton Manning or red faced Screamin' Phillip Rivers? Tony Dungy or Norv Turner?



The Chargers closed the season on a 2 month run of blowing out bad teams. Then they came out last week and looked for a long while like they once again were going to shit the bed in their first playoff game. They pulled it together and won only because the Titans have absolutely no offense. The Colts? They have an offense. This game is not going to be close.




Last time these two teams met, Jeremy Shockey was the primary weapon for the Giants. He had 12 catches for 129 yards and a TD in that game. Today, he will have 0 catches for 0 yards, because he's on IR. If the Giants hope to make up for his loss, they're going to have to run the ball. The Cowboys have the 6th ranked run defense in the league, so that's not a great position to be in.


There's a lot of hooh hah swirling around Dallas' offense right now. TO's gimpy. Tony Romo's not focused. Jason Garrett may be leaving to take a head coaching job. None of those are good things. However, in the two meetings this year, Dallas averaged 38 points against the Giants. So, unless the Giants have figured something out, you have to figure the Cowboys are going to be able to put up some points today.


As mentioned above, the Cowboys are in a little bit of turmoil right now. That, and they're nowhere near being the team that beat the Giants twice in pretty easy fashion in the first half of the season. Since clinching home field by beating the Packers, they've looked bored, distracted, and just not very good. The Giants had to scrap their way into the playoffs, and have been playing as well as they have all year lately.



The Giants have been a hot upset pick. Sterling Sharpe and Brian Baldinger luv luv luvvvvvved them on the NFL Network pregame show. I'm not on board. Last week they beat a Bucs team who had nothing going for it on offense. They've showed this year that they've got no answer for the Cowboys' offense, and I doubt they've come up with one.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Divisional Playoff Preview- Part One

Welcome to the best weekend of the NFL year. It doesn't get any better than seeing the top 8 teams in the league square off in a 12 hour weekend orgy of quality football. This is what it's all about. Let's look at today's games.


This is a bad matchup for the Seahawks. They rely almost exclusively on their ability to throw the ball, and against a Packers defense that ranks second in the league against the pass, that's going to be a problem. It's not helping that DJ Hackett, who is great on the rare occasions he plays, including having over 100 yards and a TD in last week's win over the Redskins, is questionable with a sore ankle.

The Packers offense is a mirror image of the Seahawks. All pass, no run. It takes a very athletic defense to keep up with their speedy receivers. The Seahawks though, have a defense soaking with Pro Bowlers, and they fit the bill. Seattle's defense is one of the fastest and most athletic in the league. The only team the Packers have played this year that comes close is the Bears, and they lost to them, twice.

It's hard to get around the fact that the Seahawks are 8-1 at home this year, but only 3-5 on the road. I can't think of a team in the league for whom it matters more whether they are at home or not. The year they went to the Super Bowl, they had home field advantage through out the playoffs. If they had that this year, I think they'd be in the Super Bowl again. But they don't.
Expect this to be a long game, because the clock stops on incomplete passes, which there will be plenty of in this game. Both teams love to throw the ball, and have defenses that can keep the opposition from doing the same. I think this is going to be a great game, maybe even going into OT. I pick the Packers, because they're at home


I'll just come out and say that New England's defense is bad right now. They rank 26th in the league in rushing yards per attempt against. They gave up 35 points to a Giants team that is heavily reliant on the run, much like the Jaguars are. Jacksonville's going to able to score in this game. The question is, will they be able to score more points than the Patriots, which, as NFL rules dictate, is a condition for them winning the game?
Did you see the way the Jags defense just melted as soon as Pittsburgh was down enough points to abandon the run last week? As soon as the Steelers went into chuck it up mode, the Jaguars could do nothing to stop them. And this was the Steelers. Imagine what the Patriots, who undoubtedly have the greatest offense the NFL has ever seen, are going to do to them.
16-0 is 16-0. The Patriots intimidate everyone they play.
I told Patrick a couple of weeks ago that I thought the Patriots would be one and out in the playoffs. If the Jaguars would have put the boot to the throat last week and cruised to a 31-17 victory or something like that after building a 28-10 lead, I might still feel that way. Now, I just think that the Patriots are going to run circles around Jacksonville's defense all night long, and the Patriots are going to at least get to 17-0.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Little Soccer Tidbits

I saw Beckham on Snoop Dogg's fake reality show "Father Hood" and actually laughed. It was actually pretty good even though it's obviously scripted. Becks shot a bunch of goals on Snoop in front of Snoop's kids, then tried to help Snoop lie to his wife about ordering a salad. I swear it was funny in context.

Interliga is an FMF (Mexican Soccer) creation to determine who gets to play in the big South American tournament that's comparable to Champions League. Today was the last day before the finals and I'm going to the finals this Saturday because my favorite Mexican team, Club America, will be there. Cruz Azul also clinched as of this writing (one of the top four most popular Mexican soccer teams that includes Chivas, Pumas, and Club America).

Mexican clubs HATE this tournament because it's a tournament deciding who to send from games in the off season. It would be like USC playing UCLA in a preseason game to determine who goes to the Rose Bowl. However, the league makes FMF money (even though our dollar is shittier than Canadian money) and allows the MLS to see who to recruit for the Hispanic market.

Davino from Club America was picked up by FC Dallas today because of Interliga and won't take one of the three Designated Player spots because his salary isn't that high. On a side note, Denilson was released by FC Dallas. Denilson was herald as a signing "only second to Beckham," but my friend and I knew Denilson would suck as much cock as he did everywhere else he went. Denilson, if you don't know, was super-hyper when he was younger and flopped like a bitch. Many years later, he gets dumped by an MLS team. AAAAAAAAHAHAHHAHA

Newcastle dumped their manager Allardyce because, like Oli said, they suck. I had a bet with Oli about them, but I forgot what it was. I win.

Lyon (French Premier League) 21-year old stud striker Karim Benzama is the main transfer target of Real Madrid (25 mil my fucking gosh), but Benzama listed the clubs he would love to move to and did not mention Real Madrid (Juventus, Inter Milan, and Manchester United). Benzama's first choice would be Man U. Too bad they have a zillion strikers.

Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez is apparently pretty cool now with co-owners George Gillett Jr. (also Montreal Canadians owner) and Tom Hicks (also Texas Rangers and Dallas Stars owner). The two sides had friction before because Rafa wanted a Man U budget to pick up talent, but the Americans said eat dog shit causing Rafa to say Americans don't know shit about how European soccer works. I think it's good Benitez and the Americans are on the same page. Now Chelsea can outbid them every year HAHAHAHHAHAHAFUOLIPORTER.

I'm going to watch Club America play scrubs against Atlas now. Hug a friend or your friend's hot girlfriend.

Oh, here's a clip I found that pretty much is the funniest shit ever for Laker fans like me:

8 In the Box

1. We have a national college football champion, and it is the Louisana State University Tigers.

After falling behind 10-0 early in the BCS Championship game against Ohio State, LSU rattled off 31 unanswered points, highlighted by 3 Matt Flynn TD passes, and cruised to a 38-24 win. Beanie Wells rushed for 146 yards for the losing Buckeyes.

Georgia and USC are the remaining teams with anything left to bitch about. I refute their arguments by saying that Georgia had every opportunity to be in LSU's position if they would have won the SEC. They didn't. LSU did. Better luck next year. As for USC, what, I'm supposed to feel sorry for USC? That's like feeling sorry for Goldman Sachs. Sorry, no can do.

2. While college football crowned its national champion this week, the NFL began its playoffs. The Jaguars and Steelers managed to give us a classic. A 10 yard TD run by Maurice Jones-Drew late in the 3rd quarter put the Jags up 28-10 and seemingly salted the game away. Of course, if you thought the game was over, you weren't taking into account Jacksonville's penchant for blowing huge leads to the Steelers, and you missed a great finish.

Pittsburgh scored 3 4th quarter touchdowns to take a 29-28 lead. A crucial holding penalty on a 2 point conversion following the last TD meant they had a 12 yard conversion try, which failed. That meant a field goal would win the game for Jacksonville. On 4th and 2 with 1:56 left and no Jaguar timeouts remaining, Dave Garrard ran a QB draw, and found that after he found a hole to get thru, there was nobody behind the line to keep him from continuing to run. He rumbled 32 yards, setting up a 25 yard field goal by Josh Scobee, giving the Jaguars the win and the right to face 16-0 New England this coming weekend.

3. Joe Gibbs has coached his final final game in the NFL, as the Redskins were drummed out of the playoffs 35-14 in Seattle. The Redskins actually led this game in the 4th quarter after trailing 13-0. Todd Collins threw a TD pass to Antwaan Randle El, then 2 plays later the Skins had the ball back after an interception by Laron Landry. Collins then hit Santana Moss for a 30 yard TD pass to put the Redskins ahead.

Things looked like they were really falling apart for the Seahawks on the ensuing kickoff, which was fielded by nobody, and recovered by the Redskins at the Seattle 13 yard line. Shawn Suisham missed a 30 yard field goal after the Redskins failed to move the ball on the ensuing series though, killing all the Redskins momentum, and from there it was the super sad ending to Wayne's World the rest of the way for Washington. The Seahawks go to Green Bay for this weekend's divisional playoff game. They want the ball, and they're going to score.

4. While Saturday's playoff games were pretty damn entertaining, the Sunday games were both snoozefests. In the early game, the Giants choked the life out of the Bucs, using a ball control offense and a stifling defense to win in Tampa, 24-14.

The Bucs opened the scoring on a 1 yard TD run by Earnest Graham to cap off a 10 play drive, but after that it was all Giants. Eli Manning did well in his first career playoff victory. He completed 20 of 27 pass attempts with 2 TDs and no INTs, and Brandon Jacobs found the end zone twice. The Giants now go on to Dallas to face a team that has beaten them twice this year, and averaged 38 points a game in their 2 meetings.

5. Rounding out wildcard weekend was a shnorer between the Chargers and Titans. This game definitely reminded me of the Sunday afternoons of my youth, when the Raiders were seemingly being broadcast from the LA Coliseum every Sunday at 3 o clock. It was like eating a nice big peanut butter and Lunesta sandwich every Sunday. This game was kind of like that.

The Chargers trailed 6-0 at the half, and Antonio Gates was out for the game with an injury. LaDanian Tomlinson was struggling. That meant it was up to Philip Rivers and the Chargers wide receivers to win the game. That should have meant they were screwed, but it didn't. Rivers had what might have been his best game of the season, completing 63.3% of his pass attempts for 292 yards, and Vincent Jackson and Chris Chambers stepped up to combine for 11 catches and 235 yards. The Chargers controlled the second half and won 17-6. Now they go to Indy, hoping that Peyton Manning throws six interceptions against them again.

6. The Cowboys have a lot of background drama going on as they prepare to meet the Giants this weekend. OC Jason Garrett is a guy a lot of teams with coaching vacancies want to bring in as their head coach. Dallas doesn't want to lose him though. So the theory goes that maybe Wade Phillips might be gone after this season, and Jason Garrett promoted to head coach. Jerry Jones has even had to issue a denial of rumor that the Cowboys would fire Phillips if they lose to the Giants this weekend.

Meanwhile, Tony Romo spent last weekend in Cabo with Jessica Simpson, and TO is going to be playing on a gimpy ankle. That and the Cowboys were a mediocre 2-2 in the month of December, and look like they peaked a month and a half ago when they beat the Packers. The Giants' Michael Strahan even stirred the pot by saying he would date Jessica Simpson. According to his divorce hearings though, that's probably not true, because Jessica Simpson, to my knowledge, is not a man.

7. The Indianapolis Star is speculating that Tony Dungy will consider retiring from coaching after this season, so he can go focus on touching lives or something. I think he might be planning on wandering the Earth with a bearded guy in an Oakland A's hat. Like Michael Landon used to do.

8. And here's the latest on the NFL Coaching Carousel..of DOOM

Atlanta- Arthur Blank is reportedly going after USC's Pete Carroll. If that doesn't work he's going after Joe Paterno. Or Bear Bryant. Or Craig T. Nelson.

Washington- With Joe Gibbs gone, it's been speculated that Creepy Dan Snyder will try and lure Bill Cowher into his lair. I'm not sure if part of the interview process involves Tom Cruise measuring his thetan levels.

Cleveland- Romeo Crennel is going to be given an extension, as apparently, will QB Derek Anderson. Does this mean that Brady Quinn is going to become available? Mmmmm?

Miami- It's looking like their guy is going to be Cowboys' assistant Tony Sparano. Bada bing!

Carolina- Their GM said that John Fox is safe, for now. Mooo hooo hooo...ha ha ha.

Baltimore- Marvin Lewis has 3 years left on his contract with the Bengals, but it's heavily speculated he wants to leave and take over the vacant Ravens job. If that happens, the Ravens would have to give the Bengals some compensation. Probably hookers.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Wildcard Weekend Preview- Part 2

(10-6) GIANTS AT (9-7) BUCS

Whenever anyone talks about the Giants, the scrutiny is always on Eli Manning. That's easy to do, but the fact is that if the Bucs can't stop the Giants from running the ball, they're not going to win this game. That also happens to be a very tough thing to do. Whether it's Brandon Jacobs, Reuben Droughns, or Derrick Ward getting the bulk of the carries, the Giants rushing attack is always hard to stop, and it ranks 4th in the league. Tampa's defense is tops in the league in yards allowed, but in their last 4 games, they've consistently given up around 4 yards per carry. I think they're going to have problems with Brandon Jacobs.

The Giants defense looks good against offenses where they can pin their ears back and rush the passer. The Bucs aren't that kind of offense. They're at their best when they batter you with Earnest Graham, and then break a big play with quick passes. The Giants didn't let New England run the ball at all last week, but in the 3weeks prior to that they were gashed by Marshawn Lynch, Clinton Portis, and Brian Westbrook. The Bucs should be able to do their thing on offense in this game.

It's hard to get excited about a 9-7 team that's lost 3 out of their last 4 games, and that's what the Bucs are. The Giants have been thru the gauntlet of a really strong NFC East this yar, and came out of it with a better record than the NFC South champion Bucs. The Giants may be the lower seed, but they are the better team.

Both teams are going to try to batter the other into submission with the running game. The difference is going to be that the Giants just have a few more weapons to keep the Bucs defense honest. The Giants win a close one.

(10-6) TITANS AT (11-5) CHARGERS

Everything Tennessee does on offense is reliant on their ability to run the ball. They run it and run it and run it, more than any other team in the league as a matter of fact. That's a good thing against a Chargers defense that ranks 17th in the league in yards per attempt against the rush. Vince Yount will start at QB for the Titans. That's not really a plus for them. Ideally, he won't throw more than 15 to 20 pass attempts. LenDale White and Chris Brown, on the other hand, are going to get a big time workload, and should be able to find a little bit of success.

The Chargers are at their best when they just ride LaDanian Tomlinson as far as he will take them. That'll have to be the case against Tennessee. The Titans rank 3rd in the league in yards per pass attempt against. Philip Rivers is going to have a tough time getting a passing game going. If the Chargers are going to have success, it's going to be on the ground, and LT is just the guy to do that.

Much like last night's Jags/Steelers game, we have a very recent meeting to judge this matchup by. On Dec. 9 the Chargers won a hard fought game in Nashville, coming back from a 17-3 deficit to beat the Titans 23-17 in OT. That game has served as a springboard for the Chargers, who have won their 3 games since then by a 104-34 combined score. The Titans have struggled since then. The Chargers know they can beat the Titans, and they're the hotter team.
The common perception is that the Chargers are going to blow the Titans out. Not sure why that would be given the meeting a few weeks ago was very close. If the Chargers are one and done in the playoffs again, we'd be looking at the most colossal underachievment of one group of players in a long time. I think LT is too proud too let that happen. It's going to be a grind it out game, but the Chargers will win.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Wildcard Weekend Preview- Part One

The NFL postseason is upon us once again, beginning with Wildcard Weekend. Remember last year's Wildcard Weekend? Sure you do.

You remember Tony Romo botching that chip shot field goal hold.

You remember when Tony Dungy and Herm Edwards dressed up like each other and made out after the game.

Sure, you remember all that stuff. Well, now, put it all out of your minds. Forever. It's time to make some new wildcard memories. Let's look at Saturday's games.


Only 2 years ago, a team that had been written off at the beginning of December won their last 4 games to sneak into the playoffs, then won 3 road playoff games and the Super Bowl, against these very same Seattle Seahawks no less.

Could history repeat itself?

Seattle is a team that hasn't had a lot of success running the ball, and probably won't have success doing that against the Redskins defense, who is ranked 4th in the league against the run. That means they'll have to throw the ball effectively in order to win. The Redskins aren't a team that gets beat with a lot of deep balls, so it'll have to be dink and dunk all day long for the Seahawks. Fortunately for them, their offense is the old West Coast offense, which is built to exactly that.

Seattle has a very talented defense that has guys going to the Pro Bowl all over the place. They thrive on forcing mistakes and on pressuring the QB. Washington's pretty good at limiting their mistakes, so the Seahawk defense may get a little frustrated. Still, I just don't see the Redskins being able to generate enough offense to win this game.

Nobody's hotter than the Redskins right now, and that does count for something. Seattle's looked kind of wobbly the last few weeks. If this game is in Washington, the Hawks would be in trouble. But it's in Seattle, where the Seahawks are 7-1 and where they've won 3 playoff games in a row. That counts for something too.

My initial reflex was to pick the Redskins, just because, like Hansel, they are just so hot right now. Looking at the matchups though, I've got to go with the Seahawks. I'm taking the Pro Bowl selections at face value and saying that when the Redskins have the ball they will just be completely overmatched by Seattle's defense. I'm also thinking that Seattle's offense matches up well with the Redskins defense, so I've got to go with the home team.


We've got a real easy reference point in looking at this game. These same teams met on the very same field just three weeks ago. The Jaguars won that meeting, 29-22, and the game wasn't as close as that score would indicate. Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones Drew made mincemeat out of the Steelers #1 ranked defense, leading them to 224 rushing yards, and Ben Roethlisberger was sacked 5 times.

Pittsburgh's going to be missing their best offensive player, Willie Parker. He's out for the year with a broken leg, and that means that Najeh Davenport will be taking his place. Davenport is a totally different kind of running back than Parker. He's a big Jerome Bettis type back who has to be able to pound it inside to be successful. That won't fly against the Jags, not with John Henderson plugging up the middle. That's going to put a lot of pressure on Ben Roethlisberger to be able to win this game with his arm, and that's not when he's at his best. He's at his best when he is able to throw deep off against a defense loaded up to stop the run. If he's forced to try and win the game himself, he gets exposed.

Sorry, the Steelers can talk as much as they want about how Fred Taylor isn't going to gash their defense (like Hines Ward said he won't), but the fact is that the Jaguars ran for over 200 yards against them just a couple weeks ago and they are totally inside the Steelers heads. David Garrard can beat you too, and he'll be just as dangerous. I don't care that the Steelers have the #1 defense in the league, the Jaguars depantsed them last time they played, and that means more than anything.

I had to look for a long time for a recent photo of the Steelers doing anything good. That tells me they haven't been playing well lately. Everyone is scared to death of the Jags right now and without Willie Parker the Steelers don't scare anyone.

I'm seeing the Jaguars putting a big time hurt on the Steelers.


Thursday, January 3, 2008

NFL Coaching Carousel..of DOOM

We've got our second head coach firing of the offseason, and this one comes as no surprise. It is Cameron Cameron, who is out as the Dolphins field manager after leading them to a 1-15 record in his only season as coach.

I will let this little quatrain I wrote back in Week 5 serve as Cameron's epithet.

Cameron Cameron has been a disaster as Dolphins' head coach, and calling a play that calls for a QB who has known concussion issues to block a 300 pound defensive lineman is a fireable offense in my opinion. This guy is a fucking boob and I don't care if he's only been coaching this team for five games, he should be gone.

So long, sucko.

Love Those Bowls

It's been a while since we checked in with the somewhat amusing college bowl season. What's been going down in these mostly meaningless skirmishes?



West Virginia 48, Oklahoma 28
Hey way to dump all over yourself OU. Always good to get drummed by a team without a coach and who lost at home to Dave Wannstedt the last time they played. On the plus side, this game gave me the most priceless image of this football season, when FOX panned to the sidelines and showed good ol' JR, the WWE's Jim Ross, decked out in full Sooner regalia and looking like someone just shit in his cowboy hat as he watched the Sooners screwing the pooch.

Georgia 41, Hawaii 10

Next year when some WAC team inevitably goes undefeated, please anyone in the TV football analyst industry, please think of this game before opening your mouth and saying "This team is undefeated and deserves a chance to play for the National Championship". No, they don't.


USC 49, Illinois 17
This brought back memories of New Years Day 1984 for me, when me and my dad watched Illinois get their doors blown off by UCLA the last time the Illini were in the Rose Bowl. I remember this day because the night before I stayed up until 3 AM, which at that point was the latest I had ever stayed up. I was nine, so that's pretty good.


Texas Tech 31, Virginia 28
I think there were like 10,000 people at this game. 5000 of them thought Florida was playing.

Michigan 41, Florida 35
Tim Tebow, go to Wikipedia and look up Matt Jones. I think there you will find your future.

Missouri 38, Arkansas 7
Tigers' Tony Temple rushes for 281 yards and 4 TDs. Not bad considering he rushed for only 26 yards in the Big 12 championship game.

Tennessee 21, Wisconsin 17
Eric Ainge was as deadly as a Bloomin' Onion followed by a plate of Macaroo and Cheese, throwing for 365 yards and 2 TDs in the Vols' win.

Auburn 23, Clemson 20 OT
This game always inspires me to listen to "Army" by Ben Folds Five. It's the only other time I hear the words "Chick-Fil-A" all year long.

Oklahoma St. 49, Indiana 33
An awesome matchup of two teams who didn't have winning records in their conferences. I'm a man! I'm 40!

Kentucky 35, Florida St. 28
Not a bad showing for FSU considering they had to use their intramural flag football champions for this game after everyone else got suspended.

Oregon 56, South Florida 21
Junior Jonathan Stewart runs for 253 yards, Oregon halts 3 game losing streak. South Florida wins title of "worst team that was once #2 in the nation this season".

Fresno St. 40, Georgia Tech 28
Someone please be a humanitarian and get me my throwing up bucket.

Cal 42, Air Force 36
Our military can't beat a bunch of faggy hippies from Berkeley in the ARMED FORCES BOWL. Hope you all like egg rolls, because the Chinese are going to ROLL us in World War 3.

Alabama 30, Colorado 24
Why are two .500 teams playing in the postseason? This is worse than the NBA playoffs.

Penn St. 24, Texas A+M 17
I wonder if these teams got to see the basement of the Alamo.

Mississippi State 10, UCF 3
UCF's running back Kevin Smith could have broken Barry Sanders' single season rushing record in this game. Coulda but didnta.

Wake Forest 24, Connecticut 10
Wake me when the bowl season is over.