Monday, October 1, 2007

Monday Morning Hangover – 10-1-2007



- After spending the previous Sunday in a cramped bar with the thighs of my friends and I firmly pushed together in a show of male solidarity (and a potential fire code violation), we opted this week to go to a bar right across the street from my downtown friends place. On the plus side, the bar was tended by an attractive Asian girl who explained she was tending bar by day to support a dancing career (this is second in the “making me chuckle” category only to strippers who insist they’re funding grad school). On the downside, this was easily the darkest bar I’ve ever been inside. Seriously, it was like watching football in a cave. There was no logical reason for the bar to be that dark (or, for that matter, for a steady soundtrack of Tool to be playing). I felt like that guy in the beginning of the movie Blade; something was very, very wrong about that place. Long story short: the search for my consistent football bar continues.

- We begin, as we always do, with the Jets. The game was awful, the coaching is trying to force a system that doesn’t fit the personnel, and opposing quarterbacks have time to call their loved ones and check up on their kids before the pass rush gets anywhere near them. That’s enough about the actual gameplay that broke my heart. What’s funnier is that I was watching the game with my buddy Jason, a die hard Bills fan, and every time the Bills did anything good, he lamented that they were probably going to lose in the end because the Bills were so awful. He did not talk trash about my woefully underperforming team once. Hell, he made fun of the Bills more than I did, and they WON. Is this what it’s like to be a Bills fan? It was vaguely reminiscent of a beaten dog or one of those at-risk public school kids from those movies where a nice white lady teaches inner city kids that education is the “realest” thing they can ever get; there was not a glimpse of hope for good things coming.

- I am absolutely torn between wanting to see Atlanta Fats take the field and wanting to see Joey “WHOA” Harrington turn it around. That said, let’s not go crazy and jump off the Texans bandwagon yet (it’s a mighty small bandwagon. Both losses have come without starters at WR and running back, and one of those was to the Super Bowl champs. Meanwhile, young Joseph has thrown two GREAT clean games two weeks in a row. Turnaround? Anyone? Anyone?

- My roller coaster ride of a fantasy season with Jamal Lewis continued this past weekend, with Lewis making good on his promise to exact revenge on his former team. Maybe it’s just me, but I’d have been a bit more worried if Jamal Lewis had promised to exact revenge upon me. I wouldn’t even be worried about the football game. I’d be more concerned that he’d start selling drugs outside of my kids’ school or something.

- Note to Steve McNair: When you’re playing Cleveland, and people are talking about “that inconsistent, errantly armed quarterback who can’t get the ball better than within three feet of his receivers,” and they AREN’T talking about Derek Anderson, you might want to hang it up.

- One last note about the Browns: Why is everyone so surprised that an offense with a freakishly talented receiver, a solid number two, a former Pro Bowl running back, and a tight end that led the league in catches last year can put points up on the board? Cleveland is the new Buffalo; they aren’t quite there yet, but they’ve got weapons that can deliver a knockout punch at any time.

- The Cowboys offense continues to look great, with Romo throwing three TDs and rushing for one more, finding Jason Witten and Patrick Crayton in the end zone once and twice, respectively. Oh, and after Terrell Owens (a TiT favorite) had only 3 catches for 33 yards in their blowout of the Rams, I’m putting the over under at two weeks before T.O. implies that Patrick Crayton is a homosexual. Gotta love that competitive fire!

- Even though they lost, you can make the case that the Bears finally found the stability that they wanted at quarterback. Losing in such spectacularly bizarre fashion with Rex Grossman under center was just to much to handle. Losing in much more plain Jane, everyday, consistent fashion under Brian Griese will be much better. Those midwestern hayseeds didn't DESERVE Sexy Rexy.

- About the only good thing you can say about Eagles LT Winston Justice is that he can probably spell Osi Umenyiora’s name by heart, as he spent the majority of the game looking at the Giants defender’s back as it raced past him to sack Donovan McNabb. Michael Strahan expressed concern about Justice's future in the league. Better still, I was watching the game with a girl who knows NOTHING about football, and she said about Justice "Why is that big man for the Eagles just letting people past him to get the quarterback? Why do they play him? He's clearly not very good." From the mouths of babes. Oh, and Donovan McNabb – mobility = Backup caliber QB with a really good arm.

- And yes, I would have made that same joke if it’d been a white QB getting sacked.

- Ken Whisenhunt seems pretty set on his two QB rotation, insisting that there are certain situations that suit each player’s particular skill set. From what I can discern, Kurt Warner plays when they need a hurry up offense, and offense that can strike quickly downfield, a red zone offense, or there’s a situation requiring veteran knowledge. Matt Leinart, on the other hand, comes in when we could all use a good laugh from watching D-Bag Numero Siete get rocked from his blind side because he holds the ball too long and has a range of motion it took Drew Blesoe a decade to achieve. D-Bag Numero Siete = Drew Bledsoe 2007. On that note, I think this game proves that the Steelers were the beneficiaries of a cupcake early schedule.

- Until Brett Favre holds both the TD record and the INT record (which he’s two away from breaking), his legacy won’t be complete. Even so, I’m still buying the Packers. 6-0 at the bye is looking VERY realistic, and their schedule after the break has games against Kansas City, Minnesota, Carolina, Oakland, St. Louis, and both Detroit and Chicago twice. Beating the Chargers early on sealed their trip to the playoffs in my mind.

- Oh, and for a GREAT shot of Favre in jorts (jeans + shorts), check out this Deadspin post...

- I once worked on a group science project with some friends at my house. We were all very smart kids, and felt certain we could get an easy A given our intelligence relative to the rest of the class. Within an hour, we were at each others throats, disagreeing, with no clear plan as to how to right our project in sight. Had my mom not come in, laid down the law, focused us on our goal, and given us the necessary pushes in the direction of productivity as opposed to infighting and chaos, we’d have failed for sure. Sans their own Mama Bear, Marty Schottenheimer, the Chargers are getting a collective F this season.

- I’d also like to point out that the Chargers failure is a victory for English major football fans everywhere. Somewhere, Marty is reading “Lines Written a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey” and cackling (don’t try to tell my Marty doesn’t cackle…I won’t believe you).

- The kid has a killer arm, but I don’t buy Jay Cutler as a starting QB yet. He looks easily rattled under pressure. Granted, he was playing against Peyton Manning, but there’s still something missing (besides the fact that he looks as goofy as any NFL starter since Plummer with the Jesus beard).

- That said, I’m hoping for a speedy Marvin Harrison recovery, otherwise the AFC will become a much more boring, ordinary place.

- Wow. I remembered Trent Dilfer not being very good, but...WOW. That man has a Super Bowl ring. At least he did until Ray Lewis stole it from him at knifepoint.

- Jon Gruden is totally keeping his job. FUCK.

- Nice to see Daunte Culpepper return to Miami and wreak havoc upon his enemies. It’s just what Ghandi would have done. I know nothing about history. The TD celebration where he pointed to his knee and gave the “OK” hand signal was great. That said, the five minutes of dancing that followed…perhaps a bit much. Daunte, you’re a former Pro Bowler. Ever heard the phrase “act like you’ve been there before”?

- All in all, this week has me more convinced than ever that the entire NFL is in disarray. Aside from an elite few, nobody looks so far ahead that it’s out of reach, and nobody looks so far behind that the season is over (pack it up, Dolphins and Rams fans). By week eight, we could have a few more in the latter group.

That’s all for me today. Enjoy Monday Night Football, with the Cheaters playing the Convicts. This game is loosely based on Adam Sandler’s iteration of The Longest Yard. Alex will have the recap tomorrow.

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