Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Better Never Than Late, But I’m Going to Make You Suffer Through One Anyway


Sorry about this being late. I know you all wait with great expectation to read whatever I spew forth from this keyboard, but you have to realize that you are just a few of the millions who long for my company. And of course, Pittsburgh fans are a low priority for me.

Seriously, I overslept. My dog ate my blog entry. My wife has a crush on the Smiling Bob character in those Enzyte commercials.

Wait, how did that slip in here?

I watched just about all the games this weekend. I try to do that. I don’t mind being a complete homer, but I don’t want to be a stupid complete homer. Fortunately, those games I don’t get to watch totally, I get to see in short (10-15 minutes) summaries on the NFL Replay section of On Demand. These are invaluable, if incomplete, as you can watch all the games in the league in under three hours.

Anyway, having watched all the games, in this suspect manner, I think a good idea would be to summarize what I thought of them and what I think of the teams here at the half way plus one mark.

BUFFALO VS. INDIANOPLIS

I saw that Dunn picked this for his suicide game, which made sense on the face of it, but I knew to stay away from it. A classic let-down game that played out that way. The Colts continue to struggle against the league’s lesser lights and the national press continues to say that it’s not only no big deal, why, it’s positively great! What the Colts need is lots and lots of one point victories where they look like idiots most of the game. The more a team struggles, the better that team is. According to this logic, Arizona should be Super Bowl Champs this year, beating the Raiders 1-0.

Buffalo is Buffalo. They’ll be shuffling off now.

SAN FRANCISCO VS DETROIT

Gays versus goons, and the gays won. The 49ers are playing much better. In the past two weeks, they’ve beaten the Vikings and their 90 year old QB and Detroit and their never-been QB. Now they’re talking about the playoffs in San Francisco, which is kinda like talking about snow in hell.

Detroit was some people’s sleeper pick in the NFC. Looks more like a coma pick now.

SAN DIEGO VS CINCINATTI

Cincinatti gave up 42 points in the second half. I don’t even know how that is possible by a professional team. 42 points. In a half. Double that up and you have given up 84 points in a game. These are professionals, mind you. 42 points. These were not defensive scores. They were offensive points. Let me put it for you this way— in ten games this past week, the two teams combined didn’t account for 42 points the entire game. I will not pick the Bengals to win another game this year.

San Diego is a stud team capable of winning the Super Bowl. Their problem is the same problem the Bears have. They start a first-year starter at QB. Those teams do not win Super Bowls, as you Steeler fans found out with Ben after a 15-1 rookie season.

CLEVELAND VS ATLANTA

Cleveland is playing better, but the Atlanta love fest is over, thank Jesus. Vick is a joke, and he has been a joke since Day 1. The guy isn’t an NFL QB, not because he can’t make the throws downfield, which of course is troublesome, but because he hasn’t the bearing to be a team leader. You see that bearing in some guys. Like Favre, Brady, Manning, Hasselbeck, and—I’ll throw you a bone—Roethlisberger. You don’t see it with Vick. I’ll give you an example—here’s a paraphrased quote that Vick said in each of his last two news conferences, both losses to sorry teams:

“Maybe I could have done something more. I’m the captain of this ship. I could have maybe made a play.”

Maybe? Are you freaking kidding me? Who else is going to make the play if not the freaking QB? Especially one that is supposed to redefine the position? Especially one who gets paid what he gets paid? What, should the right guard make a play? Maybe the mascot should have swooped in and made a play. Instead, you have this loser dropping the ball when he’s not even hit. Now I know why his name is Vick. Give him a cough drop. He’s a choker.

The Browns are tied with the Steelers and breathing down the Bengals neck. At the beginning of the season, if you had said that, you’d have wondered how the Browns got so good. As it stands now, they’re improved, which is something, I guess.

BALTIMORE VS TENNESSEE

Okay, Baltimore won. Anybody impressed? Me neither. You can’t get down 26-7 to the Titans and expect me to think you're a serious contender. I don’t care you have, in true troll-speak, the greatest defense in the history of the universe times a hundred billion multiplied by infinity, go, go, Ravens! And since I’m a Seahawks fan, and all I do is complain about officiating, I’ll say the Titans got jobbed by the officials in this one. And therefore, so did the Steelers.

The Titans are rebuilding. Vince Young looks good so far.

WASHINGTON VS PHILADELPHIA

I love the Redskins. They’re like an inept Yankees. All they do is spend money and help the economy, and all they do is lose. The game hasn’t passed Joe Gibbs by, the game has passed Dan Snyder by. And it has passed Al Davis by. And it has passed Jerry Jones by. And it has passed by all the prick owners who think they are bigger than the game, and know more about the game than anyone, just because they have a lot of money. The game has passed by jobbing your fans to pay through the nose for average players and even more average assistant coaches. The game has passed by winning just because your name is the Redskins, the Cowboys, the Raiders, the Steelers. In this new NFL, you have to earn your place in the Super Bowl, not just outspend your opponent, not just flash your credentials at the door. And that’s what makes the NFL the best of the sporting leagues. I’m happy to see the Redskins implode, if for that message coming through loud and clear, even if it means seeing a class guy like Gibbs suffer because of it.

Philadelphia is one of a number of schizophrenic teams that includes Jacksonville, Atlanta, Carolina, and New England that look like world-beaters one week and egg- beaters the next. They’re a hard read. If they get hot, they could be a Super Bowl winner. If they don’t, they might not have a winning record. With all these teams it seems prudent to split the difference. A borderline playoff team that is, at best, one and done.

GREEN BAY VS MINNESOTA

This is one game I didn’t watch. I couldn’t bring myself to do it. It’s too painful. However, I did catch the replays and the 92384383209 ESPN pundits debating on whether Favre would play another 10 years or at least until the rapture disappeared everyone but me, Borat, and Bill Clinton. Here’s my opinion on Bret Favre’s retirement. He will retire when he retires. I don’t care when that will be. I don’t give a turkey’s tail feather if it’s tomorrow or ten billion years from now. Green Bay is an average team. They have been an average team since a year after Holmgren left. Why the QB of an average team merits this much discussion I don’t know. It’s almost as bad as handing over your network to an average Dallas Cowboys receiver.

Minnesota, after beating Seattle, has not won. This is the Beating-the-Super-Bowl-Loser Curse. Pittsburgh is suffering the same thing. The good news for Minnesota is this curse seems to last only half a season, but by then they should be long out of the playoff picture. It would help, however, if they got an offense. Because there’s also the Have-No-Offense Curse, which loses you a lot of games.

NY JETS VS NEW ENGLAND

The always good philosophy of Our-Coach-Is-So-Smart-And-Our-System-Is-So-Perfect-That-We-Don’t-Need-Any-Talented-Players is finally starting to show its fruit here. This same philosophy let the Steelers get rid of Hope and Von O and Randel El and has contributed to this season’s struggles. When will teams learn? Sure, you don’t want to spend too much to keep players. But you should pay the asking price or a close proximity of that. I believe most players, save jerkwads like Steve Hutchinson, will act in good faith with the team they presently are on. All you need to be as an organization is fair. The Patriots, probably after they jettisoned Lawyer Malloy, really believed they could plug any player into any position and win Super Bowls. (Or any coach into an coaching spot and win Super Bowls.) That might be true of one player. Or even two. But when you get to that third or fourth player, especially if it’s on the same side of the ball, it is no longer true. And God help you if there are injuries. New England could certainly use Deion Branch now. But I’m glad the guy is in a Seahawks uniform.

It’s hard to read this Jets team too. Add them to the schitzo lot. It’s especially hard to know what to think of this New England win. Have they really turned the corner? Or did a former NE coach simply have enough intimate knowledge of his former team to pull out an upset that otherwise would never happen. Again, I’ll split the difference. The Jets are an 7-9 or 8-8 team, which, considering where they were projected to be at the beginning of the season, is one hell of a job by both their coaches and players, especially Chad Pennington.

As for all that talk about NE England being such a class organization—- We’ve been hearing that crap for years and years, haven’t we?—- that's some classy head coach who thinks a handshake with a former assistant is as distasteful as giving a handjob to Osama bin Laden.

KANSAS CITY VS MIAMI

You play to win the game. But Herm always loses these kinds of games. I love the guy. My favorite coach in the league. He’s everything I would every have wanted my dad to be. Tough, funny, hardworking, fair. (My dad was tough, anyway.) But the guy is a mediocre head coach.

As a Gator fan, we used to say that Ron Zook coaches well enough to just lose the game. I feel that way about Herm too. You’re never going to have a bad season with him. You’re not going to have many losing seasons. But you’re not going to win a Super Bowl either. I’m not sure why, but it has something to do with his conservatism in life and on the field. He is like a more energetic, funnier Tony Dungy. In fact, he was an assistant under Dungy at Tampa.

KC will go to the playoffs as the last team in, win an early upset, and then bow out on a late FG. This script has been followed so many times that Dungy and Edwards ought to copyright it.

Miami is starting to be the team many projected them to be at the start of the season. But too late. One thing we do know, if anyone goes undefeated again, it won’t be this lame organization.

HOUSTON VS JACKSONVILLE

Are the Jacksonville Jaguars a good team that sometimes plays bad or a bad team that sometimes plays good. I can’t figure it out. You shut-out the Steelers but you give up a gazillion points to Washington but you blow out the Jets but you lose to the Texans twice. I don’t get it and I don’t want to get it. As far as I’m concerned, I’m not paying any more mind to this team until they can prove to me they can put together a three game winning streak, since those are the only teams that ever won a Super Bowl.

Houston is competitive now. Good for them. And good for Texas. It couldn’t have been fun for the ego to see headlines week after week like “Texans Suck Again, Admit to Liking It.”

DENVER VS OAKLAND

Denver is one more performance like this from me putting them in the pretender aisle. They lost to a lame Rams team. They beat New England, but that victory is no longer as impressive as it seemed at the time. They nearly got worked by the Raiders. This team has issues and, despite a fairly solid defense, I’m not sold that they are among the NFL elite. I don’t even think they belong in front of San Diego anymore.

On another note, what happened to Shanahan’s face? I can’t look at the dude. It looks like somebody ran over his nose with a zamboni. Was he a boxer for years or something? I mean, you’re rich. Get reconstructive surgery or something. Stop scaring the kids in Denver.

Oakland. They will lose and keep losing until Al Davis dies.

ST LOUIS VS SEATTLE

The Rams are done. If you can’t beat the Hawks’ second stringers, you’re not going anywhere. Just imagine the psychological blow. No MVP running back in either game, no Pro-Bowl starting QB in the latter game, and you lose both? To your most hated rivals. On last minute drives after taking a late lead. After being spotted leads in both games, including a gift TD on a 90 yard fumble return? Done. Done. Done in the division and done in the wild-card. Done.

Of course, the Rams should have been done long before this. They were getting by on smoke and mirrors. Sneaking out of games against the likes of Green Bay and Detroit and Arizona and losing to the likes of San Francisco—before San Francisco started playing better, mind you. But does the national press notice any of this? Nope. You couldn’t find an ‘expert’ who picked the Hawks. To them the Rams were the next great thing, going to run through those lame Seahawks and at least get that division crown closer to New York, where it belongs. Never mind the Rams have no run defense and have been giving up an average of 36346 points a game. I doubt those folks even watch any games that start later than 10 am eastern.

Seattle is a Super Bowl contender this year, as most sane people thought at the start of the season. My only concern with them is that they have yet to field a full team and it takes time for teams to gel and to get continuity. Especially the Hawks. The west coast offense is all about timing and timing takes, well, time. Losing Hasselbeck those few games, and Shaun all those other games, and Bobby Engram all those other games, and not having Deion Branch and Hasselbeck working together all those other games, and not having Stevens all those other games, not to mention all the line changes, means that the Seahawks are essentially starting the offense all over again here in Week 11 or possible Week 12.

Objectively speaking, in a very even (or some would say uneven) NFC, I still think this team should be considered co-favorites with the Bears. And the Bears only get that much credit because it will be difficult to wrest away home field now.

DALLAS VS ARIZONA

Before the game, some people were saying that Arizona would play inspired football because of the fact they were honoring Pat Tillman. But this Cardinals team, and organization, is beyond any such inspiration. They are who we know they are. They’re the Cardinals and no heroism from a great man like Tillman is going to change that.

Dallas is another schitzo team, or maybe obsessive-compulsive, or maybe manic- depressive, depending on T. O.’s disorder of the week. What they aren’t is consistent, and I’m not impressed with this team at all. Romo, Romo, Romo. When your name rhymes with homo and you wear spandex, it can’t be good. That said, he’s better than the stiff they got rid of. If they can learn not to lose divisional games against the hapless Redskins they’ll make the playoffs and send Parcells out like the loser he’s been ever since he left the Giants.

NEW ORLEANS VS PITTSBURGH

When I talked about this game prior to the game, I said I would use this game as a measuring stick for telling if the Saints are for real. Or if they were frauds. Result?

Maybe.

Maybe this. Maybe that. Maybe something.

A seven point loss on the road where you spank the Steelers defense around isn’t exactly enough to write them off as a joke. But a 7 point loss where you give up 38 isn’t enough to say they’re a good team either. I think this team is just—okay. You know, some teams are like that. As fans we always want to say this team is great and this team sucks, but sometimes neither is the case. Sometimes a team is right down the middle.

The Saints, if they make the playoffs, won’t be going far. A round tops, probably an away game. And that’s okay. It’s especially okay for this team.

Pittsburgh keeps hope alive another week. Which is kinda like that guy who gets twisted between the subway car and the railing. Call the wife. Let him say his final goodbyes. Because when the train moves, this team’s a goner.

CHICAGO VS GIANTS

I wish I was more likable, because if I wasn’t such a butthead people would listen to me the first time I say things and I wouldn’t have to repeat it ad nauseum. Like Rex Grossman. For months I’ve been saying, as a big Gator fan, that this young man is the real deal. He will end up being a solid and probably Super Bowl winning QB. He may go down as being the best Bears QB ever, certainly in the modern era. But he is not ready for that yet. He is basically a redshirt freshman playing the one position on the football field that cannot tolerate inexperience if you want to contend for winning a Super Bowl. Nobody in his first full year of starting has ever won a Super Bowl. Not even Brady. If you’ll recall, Bledsoe started the playoff games to get him there. Brady took it from there.

The Bears did not impress me Sunday night. They were going up against a Giants team that was missing five players on defense, including Strahan, Emmons, and that other guy whose name nobody can spell-- Ukalele? Too-Ra-Loo-Ra-Loo-Ral? Huey Lewis?—and Toomer and Petitgout on offense. Yet despite all these injuries, it took Coughlin’s incredibly stupid playcalling and then the entire team playing sleepy-time for the Bears to put the game away. A really dominant team would have destroyed the Giants that night. They would have at least won solidly, instead they trailed at the half and continued to show that they are weak in run defense. Teams with a strong running game (like, ahem, Shaun Alexander) can take this team out.

The Giants will not be a factor the rest of the season. Mark my words. Unless they get their defensive studs back fast, they will not make the playoffs. They have 4 and maybe 5 more losses on their schedule.

TAMPA VS CAROLINA

If I was not impressed with the Bears, I was really not impressed with the Panthers. This is the team everyone picked to go to the Super Bowl? I was laughing about it in pre-season. They picked up nobody but Me-Shawn Johnson and that was supposed to push them over the edge? What’s next? All we need in congress is Democrats and we’ll win the war?

The Panthers are not contenders. In fact, I’m declaring this week’s game between them and the Rams as Pretender Bowl 2006. Winner comes out even more of a pretender than they went into it with Sean Salisbury declaring them the “team to beat” in something or other and then slipping off to the green room for another hit off the old canteen.

Meanwhile, Tampa is sorry old Tampa again. Feels like home. Just please, bring back the winking pirate. This pewter and black nonsense is just way too butch for this lot of losers.

**

There. Now I’m done. I made up for my tardiness by boring you for a long time. Ain’t I sweet?

HAWKS MAIN OBSTACLES

1. San Diego
2. Indy
3. Chicago
4. Denver
5. Philly
6. Baltimore

Nobody else deserves to be on this list.

Baltimore over Atlanta in the over-hyped QB bowl, New Orleans over Cincy in the going in the toilet bowl, Carolina over St. Louis in the pretender bowl, Seattle over San Fran in the end of the silly San Francisco playoff talk bowl, Pittsburgh over Cleveland in the can you believe this is for last place? bowl, San Diego over Denver, Jacksonville over the New York replacements, Ohio State over Michigan, WVU over Pittsburgh, FSU over nepotism, Washington State over UW in the Apple Cup, Auburn over Alabama in the Iron Bowl, tsunamis over Japan, Dunn over Valvis in the Suicide contest, my dad over your dad, unless your dad is Herm Edwards. Enjoy.

9 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Correct me if I'm wrong here, but didn't Brady start in the playoffs when New England won their first Super Bowl? He was in for the Raiders game that prompted the whole "QB Tuck" rule, then knocked out of the AFC Championship game against the Steelers(minus any hint of special teams competence) before Bledsoe came in and played just good enough to keep Kordell from a much deserved Super Bowl title. Okay, maybe that last part seems a bit far reaching, but the rest is true if memory serves. That being said, I think Bledsoe started the season before an injury ushered in the Brady era in New England, so I guess it could be argued that it wasn't his first full season as the starter anyway. A 1st year starting QB in the NFL can win a SuperBowl, but it seems like a very long shot. Having an unattractive wife with a Grey Spike hair-cut never hurts either.

11:07 AM  
Blogger Jim Valvis said...

My memory may be shaky on that. I think the point's fairly valid, though, as there are very few instances where a first-year starter even made it to the big game. Marino comes to mind. Maybe Brady, depending on if he did or not. And I guess that's it.

11:11 AM  
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1:48 PM  
Blogger Sonny said...

Yeah, I'm pretty sure it was Brady. Dunn can back me up on this, I think.

Brady got the start at home against Oakland, then he got hurt at Pittsburgh and Bledsoe came home and beat us. And then Brady came back to win that Super Bowl.

But, yeah, the point is still valid. And he didn't do that alone.

3:36 PM  
Blogger Sonny said...

And, by the way, maybe the other reason this was late was that it was quite sizeable...just like the smiley guy in the Enzite commericial.

3:37 PM  
Blogger Jim Valvis said...

Nah, I wrote it all this morning.

It was late because I spaced out yesterday.

As for its length, what makes you think long-length is a product of much time.

As Twain once said, "I would have written you a shorter letter, but I didn't have time."

4:10 PM  
Blogger Sonny said...

And there's a curse to BEATING the Super Bowl losers?

Do you mean the game in which they MADE THEM the Super Bowl losers?

'Cause, I don't think that counts.

5:16 PM  
Blogger Jim Valvis said...

Oh, it counts, my friend. It counts.

And feel that sharp pain in your back? This pin I'm sticking into this little Sonny replica doll has nothing to do with it.

5:51 PM  
Blogger Sonny said...

You certainly are a pain, but it's a little lower than my back...

7:32 PM  

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