05-06 aside, was the Lynch stiff-arm — perhaps I should say flea-swat — of Porter the greatest moment in Seahawk history? I’d have to think so.
New Orleans (-10.5) over Seattle: I know the Saints are very banged up, but…alas, my
Norris West-division champion Hawks have only a couple teams from the era in which the NHL allowed 16 put of 21 teams into the playoffs as competition for the worst recent playoff team in major North American sports. It’s hard to see this being even competitive.
Second Most-Accomplished New Jersey (+2.5) over Indianapolis: Very hard to call, as the Jets lay a lot of eggs for a pretty good team, and its not hard to see Manning carving up the overrated Jets defense. Still, the Colts have been pretty unimpressive in the second half — even the wins have been mostly squeakers against dubious teams. I think Holmes will make a big difference, allowing the Jets to survive long enough to get humilated in Foboro again next week.
Baltimore (-3) over Kansas City: Arrowhead is a tough place to play and it’s hard to pass up points there, but the Ravens are substantially better offensively and defensively.
Green Bay (+2.5) over Philly : Should be an excellent game; nearly impossible to call, to be frank. So I’ll go with 1)the points, and 2)the QB who seems healthier. Even if it means taking all 4 road teams…hey, that’s the NFL playoff system.
I also note that any Scott Norwood comparisons would be egregiously unfair…to Norwood.
Three days ago, LGM suggested that playing a football game with a (padded!!) brick wall on the end line of the field might be a dubious idea. Apparently this stunning insight “went viral” as the kids say, because this morning . . .
(The lawyers who were planning to sit in the east end zone to be first off the mark when filing PI suits can now use their strategic positioning to organize a class action for the benefit of everybody who bought tickets on that end of the field).
Update: Look at these ticket prices!
A friend reminds me that Chicago baseball fields seem to be magnets for horrible promotional ideas:
This was sweeter than sweet. Which is sweet.
2. Notre Dame Another 1-2 start from the team Charlie Weis restored as a national power. However, both of their losses have been at least respectable, so for this year I think they rank behind…
1. Dallas Cowboys When you somehow not only to manage to decisively lose a battle of the ludicrously overhyped to Jay Cutler but make him look like Peyton Manning, now that’s ludicrously overhyped.
I considered adding the Jets to the discussion last time, deciding not to in a close call because of their second banana status and the fact that anyone outside of Queens expecting them to be good is a new phenomenon. Obviously, thumping the Pats largely without Revis gets them off the hook for now, but…bears watching.
During the upcoming NFL labor negotiations, I’m either going to have to avoid reading much about it or be careful to watch my blood pressure. The journalists who cover all sports (with a few honorable exceptions) seem to seem their role during labor negotiations as pretending that the interests of the owners and the interests of the fans are one and the same no matter how absurd or self-serving the arguments the owners put forward, but as Pierce says given the career and life expectancies of NFL players the inevitable sucking up to NFL owners is especially grotesque.
I’ve written this before, but as I public service I would like to note the following, which seems to escape both a majority of fans and a majority of sports reporters.
Distribution of money that comes from reductions or artificial limitations on player salaries:
- Teachers, cancer researchers, Haitian orphans, and other comparative groups often cited as more deserving of money paid to athletes in order to justify owners screwing players: 0%
- Extremely wealthy, usually lavishly taxpayer-subsidized owners: 100%
…And, as NonyNony reminds us in comments, “Amount that ticket prices would be reduced by if players were payed less: 0%.”
The Dallas Cowboys are an extremely disciplined, well-coached team that will at a minimum play for a conference championship. And there ain’t no pretty girls in France.
It seems worth quoting this:
The Cowboys remind me of the Kardashians in that their strongest talent is a relentless ability to remain relevant. Much like the Kardashians successfully created the illusion that they should be famous, the Cowboys successfully created the illusion that they should be a Super Bowl contender. And they didn’t even have to leak a sex tape to do it. You know what Dallas’ record has been since 2000? 82-78. You know how many playoff games it has won over that stretch? One. That’s right … one more playoff win than Buffalo and Detroit.
I think Notre Dame retains the title as the sporting entity with the highest “relevance”-to-recent accomplishment ratio. But I think the Cowboys have pulled ahead of the Maple Leafs on the grounds that the latter have been so bad that their “relevance” actually seems to be diminishing slightly.
This is normally Farley’s department, but with insufficient notice I’ve created a Pigskin Pick ‘Em group for those degenerate LGM readers who just have to not-bet. Info is the usual:
Group: Lawyers, Guns and Money
See you there! I also recommend this article about Donovan McNabb in the meantime.
UPDATE BY ROB: You’re stealing my bit! Also, note that the Pigskin league is of the spread variety. As usual, a prize will be awarded for first place. Speaking of which, here are the latest Baseball Challenge standings:
|1||Feces Flingers, B. Drunk||2689||7199||98.4|
|2||free leonard, M. Ricci||2523||7113||97.8|
|3||HeadlessThompson Gunner, S. Hickey||2727||7097||97.6|
|4||C. Quentin’s Unicorn, A. Katz||2674||7087||97.5|
|5||Dwarf Mammoths, T. Mohr||2683||6997||96.7|
|6||DeepKarma, B. Ladd||2831||6980||96.5|
|7||Greinke Uber Alles!, J. Murray||2683||6850||94.9|
|8||Lamar Kardashian, D. Howard||2634||6799||94.2|
|9||Better Arms on Chairs, B. Mizelle||2567||6761||93.7|
|10||Ambulance Chasers, J. Shurberg||2520||6749||93.6|
This will be familiar to everyone who reads political journalism, but many sports journalists are afflicted with a similar Stockholm Syndrome in which “maximizing the taxpayer-subsidized profits of billionaire owners” is conflated with “the good of the sport” or “the fans.” But this faux-concern that corporate fat cats might be slightly inconvenienced by not being able to watch football in antiseptic conditions is an especially good example. I can see why it might be in NFL’s interests to keep its corporate sponsors as comfortable as possible, but why the hell should I care about that? What I do know is is the football is vastly better outdoors than played in a warehouse, and having to deal with less-than-perfect weather makes the game much more interesting.
Not that I think the NFL is even sacrificing profits anyway; if you can get 71,000 fans to watch a regular season NHL game outside in January in Buffalo, it’s safe to say attendance isn’t going to be down. And having the Super Bowl played in an actual football stadium is likely to attract even higher ratings than usual.
Sean Payton made two great unconventional calls in this game: going for it on fourth and a long yard at the goal line late in the second quarter, and of course the onside kick to open the second half.
The first call didn’t “work” but what happened illustrates why it’s the right decision in that situation. After the play failed the Colts played conservatively since they had the ball at their own two and they were trying to just run out the clock. The subsequent punt gave New Orleans great field position. One first down later they were in FG position, so they ended up losing no points by not kicking the FG initially. Indeed if they had kicked the FG initially, Indy would have gotten the ball back with two minutes to go and probably pretty good field position. The game could easily have been 17-6 at the half.
The onside kick was brilliant — surprise onside kicks are so rare that the recovery rate for them is far higher (55%) than for conventional situation onside kicks. Coming out of the locker room a fresh Peyton Manning was primed to slice the New Orleans defense apart on Indy’s first possession, as indeed he did. But instead of giving the Colts a 17-6 lead midway through the third quarter, the TD ended up merely giving Indy the lead back they had by then lost. The kick fundamentally altered the shape of the game.
Update: Nate Silver does the math. (The value of the surprise onside kick leads to an interesting game theory dilemma — surprise onside kicks are clearly an under-used strategy but they’re underused because they’re underused — if they become too common their value will drop quite a bit because the recovery rate will fall as teams anticipate them).