Monday, November 30, 2009

Showdown in the Superdome

Who Dat? Dat's the Pats returning to the Superdome for the first time since their first Super Bowl win. Tonight could be the biggest game of the season for both the Saints and the Patriots. The Superdome is sure to be rocking as the Saints try to extend their perfect record to 11-0 against easily their toughest opponent all season. Meanwhile, the Patriots try to prove that they are still the class of the NFL despite their 3 losses. Despite the unblemished record, I think the Saints will end up losing to the NEP tonight. However, if the Patriots want to win, they might have to do it in a way that they are unaccustomed to; by running the ball.

Even though they were quite porous last year, the Saints have pulled themselves up by their bootstraps and are playing great defense this year. TB12 is going to have his work cut out for him against a pass defense that has only given up 9 touchdown passes this year. On the other hand, the Saints rushing defense has given up 12 TDs and gives up an average of 4.56 yards a carry. BB is going to have to be patient, play clock control and grind this game out if the Pats are to win.

I'm sure that the Patriots are aware that they have to finish games after the Colts debacle, but the Saints are even more of a closing team than the Colts. While New England averages the most points in the first half, the Saints lead the league in second half scoring at an average of 18.8 points. Even if the Pats have the lead at halftime, they should play the second half as if they are trailing and keep trying to add to their lead.

While the Pats should look to run the ball, the Saints have a distinct advantage in the aerial attack. They have scored 22 times through the air this year, while the Pats pass defense has given up 14 TDs. The Pats run defense is significantly better than the Saints run defense though, only giving up 3 rushing TDs all year. The Pats will need to focus on the pass first and force the Saints to run the ball against wicked fat Vince Wilfork.

Despite the guidelines that I have laid out for success, I think each team will try to win the way it is accustomed to. That is, both teams are going to be airing it out. While this might appear to give the advantage to the Saints, I think that the Patriots will still prevail. My main reason for thinking this is that the Saints really haven't had that difficult of a schedule so far this year. Though they are 10-0, I think that their record is a bit deceiving.

A wise man once said, you are not as good as your best win, and not as bad as your worst loss. You are somewhere in between. That being said, the Saints best win this year probably came against either the Dolphins or the Panthers in comeback fashion. While their worst (near) loss came in a recent 5 point win over the hapless Rams. Sound impressive to you? Didn't think so.

Meanwhile, the NEP are playing their 7th undefeated opponent of the year and have beaten the Ravens, not required a furious comeback to beat Miami soundly, and drubbed the suddenly surging Titans 59-0. Their worst loss was a last second heart breaker to the best team in the league. This seems to be a bit better track record to me, so I think that the Pats might be on a bit higher level than the Saints. Despite that, I think the game will be a great one. Get your popcorn ready.

Patriots 38, Saints 28

Sunday, November 29, 2009

In Need of an Answer in Philly

The Philadelphia 76ers shipped off their former MVP and perennial all-star guard Allen Iverson 3 years ago after a 10 year marriage that included much turmoil, several run-ins with Johnny Law, and many skipped practices. Those ten years also included a winning record, an NBA Finals appearance and a stunning upset in game 1 over the heavily favored Lakers. Since 2006, the Sixers claimed to be in a rebuilding effort with Andre Igoudala as the new face of the team. However, it appears that the rebuilding efforts of the team have been for naught as they have failed to achieve any real success, and they seem to be mired in the realm of perennial first round playoff knockouts. The state of the Sixers begs the question; could the return of Allen Iverson be a benefit to the franchise?

I have always been a huge Allen Iverson fan. From the day he was drafted, to when he burst onto the scene in the NBA, to when he led the Sixers to an NBA Finals appearance. Even when Iverson got arrested for threatening his fiance with a gun in his waistband, or when he demanded to be traded out of Philadelphia, I still regarded him as my favorite basketball player of all time. I never really cared how thuggish he seemed to others, because he had the heart of a champion and defied his diminutive stature with gigantic plays on the court. Needless to say, I have not really cared about the Sixers since Iverson left town.

That is the biggest reason the Sixers need Iverson back. People care enough to watch him play. He puts butts in the seats. The once proud Sixers franchise has slipped to 29th out of 30 teams as far as average attendance is concerned. Honestly, nobody is going to pay to see Andre Igoudala or Elton Brand. Allen Iverson is a different story though. He brings a certain electricity with him to every game, and is never one to shy away from stirring up controversy. Right now, this is what the Sixers need.

Getting down to brass tacks, Iverson is 34 years old, and is coming off of several of his worst years in pro basketball. His scoring is way down, and he is nowhere near as quick as he used to be. But as I said before, that is not really why the Sixers should pick him up. The Sixers do not really appear to be going anywhere this year, so what would be the harm in bringing Iverson in as a sort of last hurrah for a guy who gave so much to the city? It would only cost them the veteran's minimum. Moreover, the injury to starting guard Lou Williams presents a need to bring in another guard anyway. The re-signing of Allen Iverson makes too much since for Philly not to do.

The big hurdle here is that Allen Iverson demands to be a starter. If some sort of agreement can not be reached between him and the Sixers about playing time, then Iverson seems content to walk away from the game for good. Again, I stress that the Sixers don't really appear to be going anywhere this year so they should take a chance on picking up a proven guy. I know one thing for sure; if the Sixers signed Allen Iverson, I would certainly start watching them again. Long live The Answer.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Crashing Tiger, Hidden Dragon

I know there are a lot of questions to be answered about Tiger's big car crash this weekend. But the biggest of all should be, why wasn't he driving a Buick? Perhaps this is all some crazy marketing ploy and Buick is about to come out with an ad saying that if he was driving a Buick he wouldn't have been injured a la National Lampoon. And to think you wondered why Mark Forwood drives a VW. Despite my tomfoolery Tiger does have a lot of explaining to do, and unfortunately for him his privacy that he has valued so much is going to be invaded until he explains himself.

Tiger Woods is a man who enjoys his privacy. He doesn't like to do personal interviews, he doesn't play a full golf season so that he can spend time with his family, and he even owns his own yacht named "Privacy". This has been all well and good for all parties involved since Tiger was a rookie on the tour. He wowed on the course, did his interviews on the 18th green, and then we left him alone to lead a seemingly normal and boring life. However, at 2:25am on Friday morning, that all changed.

When I saw the headline on that Tiger Woods had been involved in a serious car crash, my first thought was that it was a prank of some sort. Tiger is one of the most thoughtful and responsible athletes in sports today, he would never do anything like this. Then some of the details began to emerge. What was he doing driving at 2:25 am on Thanksgiving night? Had he been drinking? Was there a problem at home? Where was he going? Was his Buick in the shop? All of these except for the last question are going to have to be answered by Tiger if he ever wants to be left alone again.

If I were Tiger, I would try to be as honest as I could about the events of Friday morning without divulging too many personal details. If he does, I'm guessing the world will realize that he is a human (despite the widely held belief that he is in fact a machine), and all humans make mistakes. If he does not, he will be dogged by questions at every tournament he plays in and will never be able to fully regain the privacy he once enjoyed so much. Tiger, the truth shall set you free!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Rivalry

As a resident of the town with the oldest public high school football rivalry in the country (with only those dandies from Exeter and Andover, and Norwich Free and New London having played more) and an alum of the most played rivalry in college football, I know a thing or two about rivalries. This weekend will mark the 145th meeting of Lehigh and Lafayette and everyone is gearing up for the biggest weekend of the year for these two schools. So make sure the Star is polished and all the light bulbs work, the Fritch Electric sign is on, and the pierogies are on the grill, because hordes of outsiders are about to invade the Christmas City.

All of us recent Lehigh grads remember the horrible 4 year span in which Lehigh did not win a game against Lafayette. We shall call that era "The Dill Administration". But here are a few things that you might not know about "The Rivalry". First and foremost, this writer's very first citation for underage drinking came on the eve of the Lehigh/Lafayette football game in the fall of 2003. After a long day of small drinking games involving skill, I meandered back to my dorm room. However, I fell just a bit short and ended up taking a nice little nap on the bench outside the dorm. I should like to think that there is a plaque with my name on it on that bench now.

In the early years of the rivalry Lehigh used to get trounced by Lafayette, including a 50-0 loss in the first game. It wasn't until 1887 that Lehigh finally upended Lafayette 10-4 (on a grand slam by Jesse Novalis no doubt), and the students burned down the stands in celebration. Some say that this man rose from the ashes of that burnt offering.

In 1917 Lehigh dominated the Leopards by a final score of 78-0. That Lafayette team then went on to play the Cleveland Browns to see who sucked more.

The very next year in 1918, Raymond "Snooks" Dowd is said to have had a 115 yard touchdown run for the Engin-, er, Mountain Hawks. Apparently, he ran the wrong way into the end zone, circled the goal posts and ran all the way down the field for the 6. Snooks also went on to play baseball for the Philadelphia Athletics, Detroit Tigers and the Brooklyn Robins, where he compiled a .115 average with 4 runs, 3 hits and 6 rib eye steaks. Talk about a double threat!!

Despite all of these interesting little tidbits that only add richness to the great tapestry that is Lehigh/Lafayette, it seems that the rivalry does not get as much respect as say a Harvard/Yale or even an Amherst/Williams. This is pretty upsetting. I would like to see a little more press on this rivalry. Maybe Donk can talk to his boy Kornheiser and get him to give us a shout out on PTI. A unique trophy would also help create a little more tradition in this game. The rivalry is so old that it pre-dates trophies, but maybe something like a golden railroad spike, or a gift certificate to the Apollo Grille would be iconic and nice for bragging rights. I would also really like to see College Gameday make a stop at Goodman Stadium, though I doubt that will ever happen. Bottom line is, we don't need all this stuff to know that our rivalry is legit.

As much as Lehigh/Lafayette is a great rivalry, it is my opinion that nobody really cares about the football. In my four years of the Lehigh/Lafayette rivalry, my most vivid memories include sleeping off my citation in the dorm, tipping over porto potty's at Lafayette, telling a girl that I "was her father" (much to the chagrin of her mother, whom I didn't know was standing right there) while wearing a fur coat and Gerry McNamara jersey (IFC Beirut Champs!), and bleeding profusely from the finger after smashing bottles at the Lafayette tailgate area. It is the camaraderie, the intensity, and yes, the debauchery that is most important to us fans.

Though it is the most played rivalry in college football, Lehigh/Lafayette is so much more than a football game. In fact it is more about heading back to the old alma mater, walls in ivy dressed, and re-living the best years of our lives. We don't need no stinking send ups in the newspaper, or national TV time, we just came here to party. See you all this weekend. Let's go Lehigh!!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Lehigh Hoops: Flying High in '09

With the biggest Lehigh football game of the year upon us this week, what better time to take a look at the Lehigh basketball season? Honestly though, even if Lehigh beats Lafayette this weekend, something has to be done about the football program. Lehigh used to be a perennial powerhouse, and often times competed for the division II title. It was those teams that attracted the kind of Lehigh student that is slowly becoming extinct at Lehigh: the big kid from Pennsylvania who drinks too much. Lehigh is quickly becoming a nerdery it seems and someone has to do something to stop it. Where is Kyle Neptune when we need him?

The Lehigh hoops team is off to a rocky start at 0-2, and will probably not compete in the Patriot League this year, but it can't hurt to dream can it? At first glance at the Lehigh roster, I see this guy. David Safstrom, aka "Sunshine", is just the kind of player Lehigh needs. Look at his stats, in a total of 19 games he has 0 points and 7 rebounds. He is no doubt a defensive stalwart, continuing the tradition of tall awkward guys from Washington. I expect him to add a few rebounds this year that will be more clutch than the Mountain Hawk that bears the same name. A Safstrom for Patriot League MVP campaign is apparently in its early stages already.

Next I wanna introduce you to a real mench, Dave Buchberger. Check out his 3 point percentage. The kid from Cincy clearly made three shots in a row, went on fire, then stepped behind the arc and drained another one. Look for him to keep this percentage up all year and break all the NCAA records.

Next we have Michael Ojo, codename "Mojo". The 6'5" junior went to the same high school as Baron Davis and Austin Croshere. Yeah, and I went to the same high school as the creator of the Island Oasis Frozen Drink Mix. So there. We can all tell stories.

Another guy that caught my eye on this team was John Adams. Hey, hey John Adams. I expect a great year from him.

Finally we have Rob Keefer from my kindergarten alma mater Abington Friends School, and Prentice Small who is probably related to this guy. Yeah, it's a real motley crew these days over at Stabler Arena and I expect nothing less than an NCAA Tournament berth from the Mountain Hawks this year. Yes sir, the Hawks will have us hearkening back to 2004 when they got dominated by FAMU in the play in game. This year, let's hope that they advance past that play in game for the right to get dismantled by a team like Kansas or UNC. That would be uber sweet. Until then though, let's go Mountain Hawks.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Don't Waste Your Time

The Bengals just proved that they are the class of the AFC North this year by sweeping the Steelers in a hard fought 18-12 win on Sunday. After years of high expectations, bad publicity and an even worse record, Marvin Lewis has finally resurrected the Bengals that once showed flashes of brilliance and made the playoffs a few years back. Which leads me to wonder why in god's name he has agreed to the signing of troubled running back Larry Johnson. For a team known more for off the field trouble than on the field success, this seems like a very stupid signing to me. Marvin Lewis is better off not wasting his time.

4 years ago, the Bengals seemed like a team on the rise. With youngsters Carson Palmer, Chad Johnson, T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Rudi Johnson all coming into their own, the offense was looking very fearsome and carried the team into the playoffs for the first time in about 15 years. Carson Palmer suffered a horrible knee injury in that playoff game and the Bengals lost, but it seemed like they had the right formula for consistent success under Coach Marvin Lewis.

Since then, the Bengals have been nothing but trouble. It seemed as if every week in the news we heard about someone on the Bengals getting into trouble with the law. Within one year the Bengals had 8 players who were arrested, some multiple times. These problems really undermined Marvin Lewis' authority as head coach, and made him seem like he had no control. It appears that he has finally regained control of his team this year, so why waste time on a guy like LJ?

Perhaps Marvin Lewis is thinking he can resurrect the career of Larry Johnson much like he did with Cedric Benson. Benson, a one time 5th overall pick, was left for dead by the Bears until the Bengals picked him up and made him a starting running back once again. The problem with this idea is that Larry Johnson is turning 30 in a few days. He can no longer do what he used to be able to in Kansas City. Benson is only 26 and still has plenty of years ahead of him. Larry Johnson seems like an awfully big risk, with only a minimal reward for a team that has already had so many character problems over the years.

My advice to coach Marvin and the entire Bengals organization would be not to mess with a good thing. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. After years of struggling to control their players, the Bengals are successful once again. Don't risk locker room disorder for a guy that would only be "insurance" for your other running backs. Otherwise, Coach Lewis might find himself saying, "You got a bad attitude, AND YOU DON'T LISTEN!!"

Sunday, November 15, 2009

It's Not Always Sunny in Billadelphia

Wow. That was a great game. Unfortunately, the game will be overshadowed by one of the worst finishes to a game I have ever seen. The Patriots should have walked away from this game with a win, and with a boat load of confidence. Unfortunately, all of that is now lost after a very strange, and very un-Patriots final two minutes. The HC of the NEP showed some serious arrogance with the decision to go for it on 4th and 2 on the 30 the New England 30 yard line. Now, he's got some explaining to do to the media, and more importantly his team.

Bill Billabill has gotten a lot of praise from me as one of the smartest, craziest, and downright most hilarious coaches in all of pro sports. His crazy attire, cutthroat coaching style and bizarre press conferences make his prolific success all that much more interesting. For about the last 5 years or so, I have used BB and the NEP as the model for how an NFL team should operate. Whenever I see Andy Reid challenging some stupid play, McNabb wasting a timeout, or some other boneheaded play by a team, I always find myself saying "BB and the NEP would never do that." That all changed tonight as the Patriots self destructed in the 4th quarter against the Colts.

In the 4th quarter of tonight's game, a lot of things the Pats did seemed a little off. Maroney's fumble on the 1 yard line to put the game away lacked the reliability and seemingly machine-like efficiency you usually see from New England. Then, after a kickoff no less, Tom Brady inexplicably wastes a time out. How did he not know the play coming in after a kickoff? The Pats then call a meaningless run play after the time out. Bizarre. Then, before the 4th and 2 the Pats called another timeout (none left now) because the punt team ran out and during the timout decide to go for it. Stopped.

As terrible of a call I think this was by Bill Billabill, it also reeks of him. He is one arrogant MFer and he wanted to put the game away right there. One of my associates told me that BB consulted with TB12 on the sidelines and the mutual decision was to go for it. That is not proper coaching. It is the coach's decision and that should not waver based on any player's opinion. I imagine that even if Brady said not to go for it, Billabill would have still gone for it. No matter how anyone spins it, going for it on 4th and 2 on your own 30, up by 6 with 2 minutes left is not the right decision. It's just too dangerous. That became obvious tonight as the Colts completed the come back.

As I said before, the Patriots have been the model of consistency and success in the NFL for the past 5 years or so for me. Tonight though, they proved that even the best teams can look bad sometimes. The Pats can certainly hang with the undefeated Colts, and if it wasn't for a crazy final two minutes they would have beaten them. While there were a lot of plays that ended up costing New England the game, the decision to go for it by Bill Billabill put the nail in the coffin. Sure the Colts could have scored if the Pats had punted too, but in my opinion it would have been a lot less likely. BB will probably never change his ways, and is still hillarious, but I gotta put the blame on him for this loss.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

How the Other Half Lives

After yesterday's post, I felt it necessary to find my Varsity Blues DVD and watch it for old time's sake. 106 minutes later I was still spellbound. You know how when you watch an old movie, you usually get bored quickly because you already know whats going to happen? Not so with Varsity Blues. It's like seeing an old friend that hasn't been in town for years. In a time when America needs as many heroes as it can get, I ask that James Vanderbeek please re-emerge from the ashes and take this country to new heights. Come forth silent rogue and receive thine approbation. We need you back!

Here are the NFL's bottom 16:

17. Jacksonville Jaguars- At 4-4, the Jags are showing some signs of life. David Garrard is proving that he was the right choice at QB, and Mike Sims-Walker is looking like a young Charlie Tweeder at wide receiver.

18. Miami Dolphins- The 'Phins are 3-5, but have been playing pretty well against some good competition. They also have 3 pretty easy ones in a row against Tampa, Buffalo and the NYJ. They could be 6-5 in no time. Well, in 3 weeks actually.

19. NYJ- That 3-0 start is a thing of the past as the Jets have gone 1-3 since then with an OT loss to the lowly Bills. I thought the Jets would have some growing pains this year, and it looks like I am right.

20. Da Bears- I love that crybaby Jay Cutler is looking up at the Broncos.

21. Tennesse Titans- The Titans have won two in a row, and it looks like Vince Young is proving that he is a winner in this league. His stats may not be pretty, but its the W's that count. As long as he sticks to the basics, the Titans could go on a nice little run.

22. Carolina Panthers- The Panthers are 3-5 and Jake Delhomme has somehow figured out how to throw a football again. He probably couldn't make a ref go "oof!" after throwing a pass to him from the other side of the field, while sitting down and reading Slaughterhouse Five though.

23. San Francisco 49ers- Well, the Niners have lost four in a row. Maybe the pants dropping isn't enough for Singletary. Maybe he needs to threaten to mess with Alex Smith's transcripts.

24. Seattle Seahawks- The 3-5 Seahawks are pretty bad, but I guess they still have a shot at the NFC West. Moreover, T.J. Houshmandzadeh has been playing pretty well recently.

25. Buffalo Bills- I think it is pretty obvious that the Bills need a new QB. Rumor has it there is a 32 year old kid originally from Cheshire, CT with a rocket arm that played some ball at Brown available.

26. Washington Redskins- It is also pretty obvious that the Skins need, among other things, a new coach. Rumor has it there is also a coach with 22 district championships and 2 state titles (albeit from the 80s) on the open market.

27. Oakland Raiders- The 2-6 Raiders just need to go out there and hit someone in the mouth. Oh that's right...I went there.

28. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Look at that. The Bucs are 1-0 with the creamsicle uni's. Bring 'em back.

29. Detroit Lions- I guess that one win was just a blip on the radar.

30. Kansas City Chiefs- Chris Chambers looks to help the offense. That's all I have to say about that.

31. St. Louis Rams- I think the West Canaan Coyotes could upend the Rams right now.

32. Cleveland Browns- Mangini will be gone next year, but his statue will remain only because it is too heavy to move.

I've said it before, I'll say it again: If loving James Vanderbeek is wrong, I don't want to be right.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Power Rankings Volume 2

5 weeks ago, the Colts were undefeated and atop my first ever power rankings. 5 weeks later, they are still undefeated, but they have slipped to second. What happened you might ask? Well, in the words of the Dude, "New shit has come to light"..."and given the nature of all of this new shit, you know, I I I I, this could be a lot more uh uh uh uh, complex." Allow me to make you privy to all the new shit that has come to light with the second installment of TPLIYP Power Rankings. The new number 1 is the New Orleans Saints. Despite the Big Lebowski intro, most of my references will be to Varsity Blues.

1. New Orleans Saints- The Saints are the fucking show dogs (with fucking papers) of the NFL. They have two very impressive comeback wins after being behind double digits to both the Dolphins and the Panthers. Moreover, they beat two of the better teams in the NFC in the G-Men and the Falcons. No longer are they the New Orleans Ain'ts, these guys are for real for real.

2. Indianapolis Colts- The Colts drop down to #2 because of a rash of injuries to their secondary. Also, in the last 5 weeks they have played the likes of Seattle, St. Louis, San Francisco and Tennessee. Their only good win came last week against Houston. They've got their work cut out for them in the next few weeks with games against BB and the NEP, Baltimore, and Houston again. If they can stay undefeated through that stretch, then we will know what they are made of (couldn't find a video of Lance's dad with the can on his head).

3. Pittsburgh Steelers- Watch out. The Steelers have put those two bad losses to the Bengals and Bears way behind them and handed the Vikings their first loss, then the Broncos their second. Don't forget that they are also the defending champs. I think we might be hearing some MVP chants for this good looking guy pretty soon.

4. New England Patriots- The Pats offense is looking very formidable these days. The fact that they played against Tampa and Tennessee helps, but they also have been playing good defense. It seems as if the youth movement is starting to kick in, and that could be crucial down the stretch for my AFC Super Bowl pick.

5. Minnesota Vikings- I will never give the Vikings their full dues. Even though they are 7-1, their only really good win came against the Ravens. They have a pretty easy schedule the rest of the way, but I just don't like Baby Brett when it comes time to prove this team is for real, and that is reflected in my ranking of them.

6. Cincinnati Bengals- Still not quite sure what to think of the Bungals. Their game this Sunday in Pittsburgh will go a long way in showing if they are for real or not. Ochocinco should try this dance for his next TD.

7. Dallas Cowboys- They were the benefactors of a lucky call (or lack of a call) against the Iggs on Sunday, but still probably deserved to win the game. They have won 4 in a row, but their coach and QB don't inspire as much confidence in me as this Texas tandem.

8. Denver Broncos- Are they coming down? I hope so, for my prediction's sake. Josh McDaniels gets way too hyped up over each play. Look for him and his team to start to tire in the second half.

9. Philadelphia Eagles- The Stinkin' losers are only a few plays away from being 7-1 right now. But that is why they are the Stinkin' losers. I still like their chances to win the NFC East though. Andy Reid should start threatening the players with his whipped cream bikini if they keep losing.

10. San Diego Chargers- Don't look now, but the Chargers are again in position to steal the AFC West from the Broncos. It's all starting to come together for them, that is until the playoffs.

11. Atlanta Falcons- My NFC Super Bowl pick is disappointing me more than Mox disappointed his father by organizing an all night drinkin' party before the Elridge game. However, they are still on pace for a wild card berth.

12. Arizona Cardinals- I don't know what to make of the Cardinals either. Great games followed by terrible games. A real shapeshifter of a team. Could they have another 9-7 Super Bowl season? Why not?

13. Houston Texans- My playoff dark horse really took a hit in their loss to Indy last week. I still think they can rally the troops and make the playoffs though. Andre Johnson is awesome.

14. New York G-Men- What is wrong with the G-Men? They have lost 4 in a row, and last week against the Chargers was a real heart breaker. Maybe Eli doesn't want Archie's life.

15. Baltimore Ravens- The Ravens defense looks like it went to Mox's all night drinkin' party this year. As they are finding out, you can't really rely on only Joe Flacco and Ray Rice. Does anybody else hate that commercial where they have all the custom Ravens shirts, including one that says "Ray Rave"? I know I do.

16. Green Bay Packers- I honestly don't understand why Green Bay is bad. They have so many good players and first round picks on both sides of the ball. I just don't get it. Fog sucks.

Only half today. You will have to wait until tomorrow to see the bottom 16. Try to contain yourselves.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Upon Further Review

You know what really grinds my gears? Referees that suck. I'm not going to say that the Eagles lost the game last night because of one call, but it certainly didn't help. On top of a terrible ball spot on the previous play, the Eagles got hosed on a ball spot on 4th and inches in the 4th quarter last night. Of course, Dandy Andy Reid threw the red flag and the play was reviewed. After a minute or so of reviewing the play, the referee came out from under his little shelter and simply said "Upon further review, the play stands." Are you kidding me? Sure I was upset that the Eagles didn't get the first down, but seriously, referees need to be a little more eloquent when they turn their mics on.

As a result of that play, the Eagles wasted their last challenge and in turn lost their final timeout. The replays they showed on NBC looked like McNabb had gotten the necessary yardage for a first down, but maybe the ref saw something we didn't. Unfortunately, we will never know because all he said after looking at the replay was "The play stands." What a cop out. I DEMAND AN EXPLANATION. I want to know in detail what he saw that led the play to stand. Not just that it stands. Besides Andy Reid's abysmal challenge record (something like 20% worse than the league average), referees not explaining their decision making is one of the most frustrating things in all of football.

Honestly, has anyone ever complained that a ref has been too wordy with his explanation? Never. When referees explain why they made the call they did, it helps everyone better understand what is going on. When they don't explain their thought process at all, it doesn't help anybody. Did the ref yesterday see McNabb touch the ground before the rest of us? Was the ball placement perfectly accurate? Was their simply not enough evidence to overturn the call? We don't know because the ref hid behind the rulebook call. Grow some balls ref.

Sure I am upset that the Eagles lost the game yesterday, but I am much more upset at the way the referee chose to review and explain that one play. It was a huge play with the game in the balance, and in order to avoid scrutiny perhaps, the ref simply upheld the ruling on the field with no explanation as to why. In this era of high definition and 360 degree camera angles, the referee in last night's game must have seen SOMETHING that led him to uphold the ruling on the field. I think it should be his responsibility, and all refs for that matter, to let us know everything they can about why they made the call that they did. Otherwise, they are just giving us the business out there.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Good Grief

Well, the season is over. My Phils were almost kings of the hill again, but were dethroned by the mighty Yankees. It was an exciting series, but it just seemed that the Phillies didn't have the pitching to win it all this year. I congratulate the Yankees on their 27th title, but with a grain of salt due to the way their fans have chosen to celebrate. Enclosed are a few of my thoughts on the World Series that was. And if you are looking for me over the next long while, just look for the guy walking around like this.

-One of the biggest things that I noticed about this heavyweight title match, was that every game came down to the other team failing to stop one guy. In game one, Chase Utley stole the show with 2 homers off of C.C.. Games 2 and 3, Matsui couldn't be stopped. In game 4 it was Johnny Damon who took over. Game 5 was of course the Chase Utley show again. And finally, Matsui put the nail in the coffin in game 6. I would like to think that if the Phillies could have gotten a decent start out of someone other than Cliff Lee, they would have won again this year. But alas, those damn Yankees were too much.

-Staying on topic, Cliff Lee is absolutely amazing. I would like to see the Phils lock him up for the next 5 years or so. He has already made it onto my fantasy keeper list if that is any consolation.

-On the contrary, Cole Hamels was abysmal. However, I don't want to hear anyone blasting him for what he said about wanting the season to be over. We live in an age where all athletes do is bullshit the media, so that when somebody actually says something honestly it sounds ridiculous. Cole Hamels was being honest. Give him a break. He played shitty all year and was getting sick of it. Would you rather he regurgitate some jargon an agent told him to say about going out and getting them next time, thanking god, and saying its a team effort? Please. I laud Cole for his honesty, but I expect him to return to his old form FAST.

-The Yankees simply do not quit. In the entire series, the Phillies staked themselves out to a few nice leads, but simply could not hold them. Here's a fun fact, in the 5th inning of all the games combined, the Yanks outscored the Phils 9-0. Yikes.

-In the 2009 World Series, we had two known performance enhancers on the side of the winning team. Andy Pettitte was crucial in two Yankees wins, as was A-Rod. What do we do with this knowledge? Nothing I suppose. It just doesn't sit quite right with me.

-Finally, I would like to congratulate the Yankees fans on the World Series Championship this year. Despite my predictions to begin the year that they wouldn't win, my theory is still in tact that the highest paid teams RARELY win the title. Key word being rarely. After all, the Knicks, Flyers and Raiders sure as shit didn't win.

-Congratulations being handed out, some Yankees fans I know need to learn how to win with some class. When the Phillies won the Series last year, I was so excited for my team and my town ending its 25 year drought that I didn't have any time to think about anything else. Especially not putting down the Tampa Bay Rays in any way. Despite that, the first thing out of some Yankees fans mouths (and keyboards) this year was a put down of the Phillies. Grow up. Seriously.

Now that baseball is over, we have a solid half season left of football before we enter the dreadful abyss that is basketball and hockey season. I don't know if I'll be able to handle that.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Wild Weekend In Philly

I apologize for the layoff in postings. The last several days have either seen me traveling great distances, learning the valuable trade of bar tending, or extremely hungover. This weekend however, I was lucky enough to be in the mecca of the sporting universe: Philadelphia, PA. While the Phils did not perform too well, the Eagles thrashed the Giants to takeover first place in the NFC East, and the Flyers and Sixers both looked very tough. There was lots of beer drinking, plenty of mirth, one drunk Firkey, and plenty of green men.

On Friday I headed down to Philadelphia to revel in what would no doubt be one of the greatest weekends in Philadelphia sports history. The Eagles, Sixers, Flyers and of course Phillies were all playing, and all at home except for the Sixers (who cares). Not to mention, Pearl Jam was also in Philly and performing the last concert ever to be held in the old Spectrum. I have fond memories of the Spectrum as a kid. It was there where I watched Sixers rookie Shawn Bradley take the league by storm as a 7 foot 6, 225 pound center. That height and weight combo always boggled my mind. I also once puked all over the concourse, which lead two of my friends to puke everywhere as well. It was awesome. But anyway, it was great to be back in my hometown, especially with everything going on.

Friday night saw me and B Wells get drunk downtown and try to break into every car we found on the way home. Results: unsuccessful. This night was merely prelude to Saturday though. Saturday: Halloween, World Series, and Flyers. The place to be was in the parking lot on Broad and Pattison. Say what you will about places like Yankee Stadium, Fenway Park or Wrigley Field that are nestled into big cities, but if you ask me I'm taking the set up in Philadelphia. All the stadiums are right next to one another and are surrounded by tons and tons of parking. This maximizes the tailgating possibilities. Every lot was full of fans tailgating on Saturday and the atmosphere was electric. I saw about 5 green men (Firk poured beer all over one) and even found another fan with a Matt Stairs jersey. Unbelievable.

Two things that I learned form my trip is that Green Man has become the official mascot of the city of Philadelphia, and that Cole Hamels has become the exact opposite. It is amazing to see how many cheers a simple green man can elicit from a crowd, and how much hatred a poorly playing Cole Hamels can inspire. Now you know, and knowing is half the battle.

Unfortunately, the Phils did not impress on Halloween night but that is not the point. It was just a thrill to have so much going on in one city. If I lived somewhere in between both cities (say Bethlehem, PA) and had the choice of which city to spend the weekend in, I think that I would definitely have chosen Philly. Especially if I had a free ride from a good friend.