Yeah, maybe they could have him back up Rex Grossman. Is Ryan Leaf available? If not, I’m guessing Joey Harrington is finding selling life insurance a little dull.
I’d recommend that any Democrat who’s also a Redskins fan be put on a suicide watch.
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).
It almost certainly won’t be the most entertaining sports event of the day, but maybe we’ll get lucky again (this recent trend of Super Bowls that are actually good games has been weird, but pleasing.) I am in the very rare position of picking the Colts to win but rooting for the Saints. Meanwhile, LGM has acquired exclusive footage of this year’s highest budget, most highly anticipated Super Bowl ad:
I’ll somewhat reluctantly take the Colts -7.5 (pretty sure Colts will win, worry about the spread against the Jets defense, but also see some Sanchez picks if Jets are behind in the 4th quarter) and pretty confidently take the Saints -3.5 (can’t see the secondary pf the injury-riddled Vikes standing up to Brees, especially on the road.)
Keith Brooking. Aww, a professional team playing another professional team in a playoff game continued to play football in the fourth quarter, boo hoo hoo hoo hoo hoo hoo.
And now the punchline:
“They get to see us (next season) so you better believe I will have that one circled on the calendar,” Brooking said.
Oooh, I’m sure that sent a massive wave of terror through the Vikings dressing room.
Aside from the utter lack of merit in Brooking’s pathetic whining, I should also note that anyone who shares a locker room with Flozell Adams should be permanently enjoined from calling any member of another organization classless.
Jets +2.5 at Bengals. I’m generally inclined to think “Never, ever, EVER back a crappy QB on the road” is a good rule. I’m inclined to make an exception, however, when 1)in a given state of health and offensive context the much more accomplished veteran he’s facing isn’t terribly good either, 2)the home playoff team is a ringer, and 3)his team has an outstanding pass defense. Granted, even in an off year Palmer is a lot better, but this looks like a close game and I think you have to take any points on offer. Plus, Revis will take 85 out of the game, leaving Palmer looking at Andre “8.5 yds/rec” Caldwell and a washed-up Laveranues Coles in key situations. Good luck with that.
Eagles at Cowboys -3.5. I don’t want it to happen, either. And, yeah, picking Wade Phillips in the playoffs is rarely a good idea, although Andy Reid (while a good Tuesday-Saturday coach) is even more tactically inept. Still, football’s most odious franchise features the better team here, and with their offensive line problems I just can’t see the Eagles hitting enough big plays to win.
Ravens at Patriots (-3.5.) I’m torn — the Ravens are better than their record, and without Welker the Pats probably not as good. Still, it’s Brady (who somewhat quietly had as good a year as anyone, and better than the more noted St. Favre) and Belichick against Flacco and Harbaugh at Foxboro…I think they’ll get a first round win.
Packers +1 at Arizona On paper, the biggest mismatch, and since Rogers is at this point probably better than Warner I won’t disagree, especially with Boldin’s health questionable.
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