Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Monday, October 24, 2011

Week 7 Blog - Repeaters

Perception is a weird thing. Collectively, over the last couple of weeks, sports anchors, bloggers, tweeters, ex-players, current players, journalists and any other miscellaneous talking heads on sports networks have been commenting on the second-coming of Carson Palmer and the not-so-much comings and goings of young Tim Tebow. Perceptions where made, and often repeated by the non-thinking crowd--cuz if Tony Kornheiser said it articulately, leaving no room for fallacy, it must be right. Wrong. This is the problem with modern media, on a 24 hour cycle. Often, a news story will break in one network or another and the other networks will repeat the details, even if those details are veiled opinions.
Repeat after me...I am an assclown!

For example, Tim Tebow's height vs. heart ratio. How many times have you heard this statement or some variation of it: "Tim Tebow just doesn't have the size to be successful at this level. But he has the heart." One of the biggest issues in American sports journalism is this form of repetition. Yet another sports cliche--a world where cliche becomes rule. Instead of these "journalists" taking the time, turning off the games, putting down the latest issue of SI, they owe it to their readers/viewers to have fresh take or angle for them to ingest. But they don't and there are two reasons for this: a) they are lazy (both obvious and sad) and b) they don't know how to or feel intimidated to sculpt a unique opinion. Both of these reasons go hand-in-hand, like a rat swallowing its own wormy tail as it is hurled into a flaming Apocalypse.

Blasphemy!
My point is, the experts don't know shit. Tebow led the Broncos back from the dead in Miami yesterday. The experts were all patting themselves on the back at the Miami/Denver halftime. Tebow went 4-14 and 40 yards well into the 3rd when he woke up and exploded in the 4th, going 9-13, 121 yards and 2 tuds.
Putting the over in Overrated!

Meanwhile, media buttboy, Carson Palmer threw 3 ints in the second half of his game, scoring no points as the Raiders were blanked by the lowly Cheifs at home. In the media's collective mind, these outcomes were the exact opposite of the projected outcomes, further making sports media in this country almost as unreliable as political media. But, as Monday rolls around, no one fesses up. No one apologises to Tim Tebow's messianic fourth quarter numbers. These just gloss over it, replacing the controversy and lack of original opinion with what ever becomes the big story for next week. Bullets in the chamber----*FIRE*

    • Super Bowl Rematches. An understated fact about the games yesterday was that two of them were rematches from two very recent Super Bowls, XLIII and XLIII, respectively. The outcomes were not so super: the Cardinals fell to the Steelers 32-20 and the hapless Indiana Colts fell 62-7 to Drew Brees and the high-flying Saints, tying the most points scored with a few other teams, post league merger. The Colts need to be put out to pasture. This Andrew Luck/Peyton Manning controversy is sizing up to be one of the most interesting stories for 2012.
    • Philip Rivers. This is a perfect example of media turning on a player. One bad game against the Jets and he's thrown to the wolves. One year ago, he was the MVP of the young season. Short memories are another thing the media possesses. The Chargers are 4-2 and after the Raider meltdown against KC, they're still the team in the West. Keep Phil's anointing oil close by, the Chargers will BBQ KC next monday night.
    • Detroit Lions. No longer will I drink the Detroit Kool-Aid, this team has issues. An injury prone QB, unstable defensive lineman who may or may not have intentionally taunted an injured Matt Ryan, and a coach who might be a bit neurotic. There are many chinks in this team's proverbial armor.
      Detroit Kool-Aid would be a great bandname.
    • Colts/Rams/Phins. The battle of who cares less. It might be the Phins, who blew the lead in the fourth and ushered in the Kal-El era of Colorado local sports. It might be the Rams, who have lost their last two with a combined score of 58-10. But I gotta believe it is the crappy Colts--who lost epically to the Saints last night. The question remains though, will Peyton play in December to get his team out of the cellar and out of the Luck business? That is up there with that chick/egg quagmire.
    • Christian Ponder. The smarty pants era has begun in Minnesota. Ponder has a Bachelors and a Masters, maintaining a 3.89 GPA while he attended Florida State. He's also working on another Masters degree in sports management while playing his rookie year. Someone has his eyes focused on a post-career, for once. Give him a couple years and he might be the next Aaron Rodgers. The NFC North is shaping up, QB wise, to be exciting for the next 10 years.
    • Cam. Although, Daulton, to me is a better natural leader and will have more wins than Cam this year--Fig Newton is becoming the new NFL darling, taking over where pre-dog fighting Vick left off in 2005. The popcorn is burning up and Cam's stats are the kindling that will keep the fires of rookie of the year burning.
    • The Rex Grossman Award...goes to Kyle Boller and Carson Palmer, combined they went 15/35 for 177 yards, and 6 Ints. Not the debut the Raiders wanted. Don't be surprised if Mr. Palmer does nothing but underwhelm us all for the rest of the year.
    • Bears/Tampa. Oh, Joshy! Or as twitter friend "sexbiscuit" calls him, "Fantasy Football Hitler," you seem to be the biggest Jeckylhyde QB since Rex in his hay-day. In other news, Matt Forte is an elite back in this game and he gave those limeys a show. Just watch this:Key Matchups and predictions. (Boy, do the games suck this week--must be in the the thick of bye weeks.)

    Vikes V. Camthers. Two rooks will try to out chuck each other in the beautiful, American South. Ponder looked promising, probably giving the world champs more of a fight than they were prepared for. He won't sneak up on Ron Rivera's defense this week. The Cam show is coming home, this weekend--his the new hope, the new truth. He and Steve Smith will be hurdling 3 rings this weekend, beating the poor Vikes by two tuds. 38-24

    Lions V. Broncbows. Do you believe in the power of God? Tebow does. He's a natural miracle worker. Fuck the haters. I think he is the template of the new NFL Quarterback. A trouble-less christian who takes his vitamins and finds a way to win. He will find a way to win, handing the Lions their third loss and making analysts repeat the mantra, "After Tebow's second miracle, are the Lions burning in the foulest version of Hell, where amoebas fear to tread?" 23-17

    Pats V. Steelers. Another AFC Classic. Pats will look sharp after bye week. Roethlisberger will look sharper than a Joe Jackson song. Welcome to the NFL, Chad Ochocinco. Steelers to the wire, 24-22.


    Cowgirls V. Vickles. What to think here? Both coming off wins from pathetic teams (Rams/Skins--yes, the Skins are pathetic, as always when October ends). Both are QB'd by the dark horses in the media (one team's QB is casted as this rather fairly, the other is not. I'll let you guess which is which.) Let's just say my love of dogs is unparalleled by my hatred of gunslingers. The game has passed you by, old man. Eagles by 10. 21-11


    I leave you with a riddle.
    Which Painter doesn't belong?
    End of Line.

    10/27 Addendum:

    "The Autumn wind is a pirate
    Blustering in from sea
    With a rollicking song he sweeps along
    Swaggering boisterously.
    His face is weatherbeaten
    He wears a hooded sash
    With a silver hat about his head
    And a bristling black mustache
    He growls as he storms the country
    A villain big and bold
    And the trees all shake and quiver and quake
    As he robs them of their gold.
    The Autumn wind is a Raider
    Pillaging just for fun
    He'll knock you 'round and upside down
    And laugh when he's conquered and won."
    - NFL Films President and co-founder Steve Sabol (son of founder Ed Sabol)

    E.O.L.

    Monday, October 17, 2011

    Week 6 Blog: The Handshake

    Aaron Rodgers may have unintentionally ushered in a new era in pro football. Or maybe we have the 2010 Packers locker room to blame for what happened at the end of the Lions-49ers contest in a seemingly unrelated way. Let me explain.

    Put it here.
    Last year sometime, Aaron Rodgers became obsessed with the idea of a championship belt. So much so, that his routine touchdown celebration is the fitting motion of where he believes a belt should befit his waist. Other teams have even emulated this celebration when they score a tud against the Pack, a knowing sign that your celebration has arrived. This is classic, WWF gesturing that has cycled its way back through history and on the NFL field. But it's not just Rodgers that is behaving this way. Packers star LB Clay Matthews embodies a similar gesture when he get a big tackle or sack. He starts out with a classic flexing of the gun show, then morphs into a Predator-esque squat.

    Go ahead, boy, make booboo for daddy...

    Even long-haired LB #2 for the Packers, A.J. Hawk has joined the ranks of old-school WWF gesturing but using the queen mother of them all in the Packers drubbing of the lowly Rams.

    Birds of a feather, flock together.

    All of these gestures, including Matthew's guest spot as a referee in an episode of WWE Smackdown and Rodgers sporting the belt on David Letterman, mean something. Smash/cut to sunday's extremely satisfying game between two upstart teams: the Lions of Detroit and the 1849ers of San Francisco. The thrilling duel come down to the final moments, as the Niners squeaked out a 25-19 victory. When the clock laid 4 goose eggs, rookie 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh jumped and pranced serpentine on the field like a Natalie Portman having an identity crisis. When it came time to lock hands with loser Lions head coach, Jim Schwartz, Cap'n Comeback was a wee bit too exuberant, slapping Schwartz on the back. Then Schwartz had a few choice words for the Cap'n and Harbaugh got in his cheek, which was broken up fairly quick.

    I see your Schwartz is as big as mine...
    The moment that Schwartz decided to haphazardly go after Comeback is what I will dub the WWF moment. Schwartz didn't want to fight Harbaugh, I think he knows that Jimmy would take his ass down, being a former quarterback in the league know for his durability and toughness--but he made a great fucking spectacle of himself as he circled the crowd that had manifested around Harbaugh and even stamped his foot on the ground, to show how mad as hell he was. Is this kind of behavior good for football? Maybe. I propose that the entire field be lined with posts and ropes, thus allowing the free safety in the prevent to smash any receiver with the ball in the helmet with the people's elbow. And if this does happen, we'll all look at Rodgers and the Linebackers with manes of gold as the tipping point in 2010. Bullets with butterfly wingz...

    • Green Bay. Speaking of those wrestling-obsessed devils in 1929 throwback gear, they still look unbeatable. Rodgers might have decrowned Brady as the best quarterback in the league--maybe. I sure pray we see those skinhuckers square off in the squared circle in Lucas Oil come February. Get yer popcorn ready.
    • Sean Payton. Poor sonofabitch tore his MCL in a collision and loss to the Bucs who bounced back nicely this week to take sole possession of the South. Not sure what to think of the Saints this year. They aren't in the same league as the Pack, in fact none in the NFC are--sorry Lions, Niners--you'll make a good case in the playoffs (what about Harbaugh/Schwartz II in a divisional game??)--but the Pack, barring injuries, seem to be on a quest to become the next NFL dynasty. They just might have to beat the last dynasty to do it. developing...
    • Tebow. He's (second?) coming this weekend, Miami.
    • Devin Hester. Why in the hell does any team in the Union still kick to this dude? He hadn't returned a kickoff for a tud since 2007, so thanks for that Vikings. Maybe this guy slapped some sense in him. I think he is finally showing his potential as a receiver and he still is deadly in the return game. He might be a #1 wide out yet. His anointing oil has a shelf life, though.
    • Donovan McNabb. This is the end, my friend. This is two years consecutively that my Bears have knocked two future hall-of-fame quarterbacks in Viking uniforms out of the game for (potentially) good. McNabb's Farve moment came when his moms exited the game in the third, before his benching, never to return. Hopefully, the McNabbs invested some of that chunky soup money in G. Gordon Liddy gold.
    • Andy Daulton/Bengals. Quietly 4-2. Daulton doesn't have the flash and arm that Cam does, but he has a better record in the black and blue of the AFC. Seems as if the media of late has been focusing too much on the Lion/49ers/Bills/Redskins as the primary resurgent teams this year. The Bengals could easily match up to all these teams and beat 'em all. Daulton is progressing nicely, don't be surprised if this dark horse doesn't steal the rookie crown from Cam come December.
    • The Rex Grossman Award... goes to...Rex. 9/22, 143 yards and 4 Ints in week six after a bye week sounds right for my favorite quarterback with an oedipal complex. Shanahan gave Bad Rex the hook and put in mediocre John Beck who scored the Skins only tud.
    • Tampa/Orleans. This game would have had a different outcome if Patton was still on the sideline. Not only is he the primary play caller, but his motivational skills as coach is unrivaled by most coaches in the league. You take him out of the equation, and you see this result. P.S. I love Joshy again.
    • Tony Romo.

    Key Matchups and predictions.

    Super-Chargers V. JustEndTheSeason. Is there any way they can both lose? Ah yes, a tie. That's how this one will end, even if Donovan McNabb doesn't know the concept exists. 13-13

    Toros V. Oilers. Still have hope that the Titans can win their division, now that the Colts sucks. The Toros stand in their way, but they are kinda half-assed about it as usual. This will be a statement game for Hasselbeck and CJ2K and I think they will deliver. I like the Titans to come away big at home, 35-14.

    Da Bears V. Buccos. It's the battle of the mediocre between old divisional rivals in jolly 'ol England, govenah. This one will come down to the QB play. Cutler and Freeman, although inconsistent, are playing at high levels this year. The Bears will have the lead in the 4th, but will squander it (as they are apt to do) as Joshy and the Bucs celebrate a game-winning field goal in OT.

    Dirty Birds V. Lyings. After week 2, this looked like a marque matchup, now...not so much. Lions need to win this one, to show the league that they can bounce back like good teams (see: Pats, Steelers) and not fall into the familiar pattern Michigan is used to seeing. I will officially write off Matty Ice and the Falcons if they lose this game. Then, this team is officially a threat to my Jeff Fisher cream dream. Lions by a tud.

    All the rest of the games suck this week! Another bad week for the night games. Colts@Saints/Ravens@Jags. Yeech!

    End of Line.

    9/20 Addendum

    I'm not sure what shocked me more this week, Kadafi's execution in Sirte today or the addition of Carson Palmer to the Oakland Raiders line-up Tuesday. I can honestly say I was over the Kadafi thing in about 20 minutes, but I'm still haunted by the decision the Raiders made to dig the Palmer fossil out of the Le Brea tar pits and hooked him up north to the second city by the bay. Will this work? Maybe, but I think Kyle Boller should be the Raiders QB until the Chargers game on 11/10. This would give Palmer 20 days to prep while the Raiders, at the very least go 1-1 against rivals Chiefs/Broncos--two games that bookend a bye week. That is minimal time, if you ask muah. The rumor has it though, he's starting against the Chiefs. This is a colossal error on Young Master Mark Davis and head coach Hue Jackson's behalf.

    Win one for the Skipper!
    I'm not too keen on the Raiders, but now that Al is gone, it feels like a fresh start for the silver and black. They feel like a team of destiny. But I think that this Palmer thing might make or break this destiny. I just think throwing him at the Cheifs when last sunday he was watching Jim Schwartz scream at Harbaugh in his boxers, sleeping on a pile of coeds is a mistake.
    Allegedly.

    Good luck, 2011 Raiders, yer gonna need it.

    E.O.L.

    Sunday, October 9, 2011

    Week 5 Blog: Posthumous Al

    Ding dong, the most infamous of the AFL brainchildren is dead and you should be sad. Even if you hate the Raiders. Especially if you hate the Raiders. Al loved it when people hated his team, in fact he reveled in it. He's was a lot like Marilyn Manson that way.

    My candidate for the next Owner/F├╝hrer of the Oakland Raiders.

    Okay, maybe it is a stretch to compare Al Davis to Manson...or Hitler for that matter. There is a degree of evilness in all three and Al Davis was closer to the Hitler spectrum of evil (i.e. Real Evil) than to the Manson spectrum (i.e. Fuckin' weird, but not real evil). Not to say Davis was evil, but he was as corruptible as the next guy and he took his chances in a time when men did so. He was a true entrepreneur, and he did it with hard work and his memory is to be connected to that.

    As tomorrow roles around, more talk will happen. Will the Davis family sell? Is Marilyn Manson in the market for an NFL team? Does the franchise see this as their Castro moment? Do you sell to the Hell's Angels? These are all logical questions as we enter the Week 5 blog.

    Pabst Blue Ribbon is what you'll drink tonight!
    • Eagles and Vick. Stick a spork in 'em, they're done. If this is the Dream Team, it's time to wake up. Maybe Andy Reid's time is up, like Terry Francona and Jeff Fisher before him. Maybe this Eagles team needs another voice in the locker room. Andy can coach KC next year--they have killer BBQ to continue to block the arteries where the cheese steaks left off. They do have a favorable schedule down the stretch, but maybe they should lose out and hope they get Luck-y in the draft. Micheal Vick is not a leader.
    • New York Giants. Just when you think that they might have something going: defense is healthy, Eli playing consistently and the running game is adequate, they lose to the Seahawks. This is the paradox with this team. They can string a couple of good games together and just lose to a loser by 10 or more. This keeps them out of the serious contention on the Power Rankings week-in, week-out. The only time we looked at them as elite team was in 2008 after they stole the crown from the Pats. Then they lost a divisional to the Eagles in a forgettable game. The Giants are who we think they are and that's the problem. Keep making that face, Eli. Just. Keep. Making. That. Fucking. Face.
    This is the face I speak of.
    • Jets. Done.
    • 49ers. Look really good after a week 5 demolishing of a really good Buccaneers team. Alex Smith continues to impress me this year. Maybe he needed a coach who could empathize with him. Jim Harbaugh is that cat. He's my underdog pick to win coach of the year. If the Niners keep this up, they will win the West uncontested and will get to the Divisional game. I like this team, even though I hate them.
    • Tebow. It's time to pass the the torch. Kyle Orton is too old too rock. Tebow~time to goooo!
    • The Rex Grossman Award... goes to Josh Freeman, my former lover. He could do nothing against a strong San Francisco defense. Maybe this is the cold quality that the experts speak to in Freeman's game. I dunno. No tuds though for the entire team. They were the only team that registered a single digit score in the match-ups yesterday. Arena league, ladies and germs.
    • Houston Texans. Mario Williams out for the year. Andre Johnson done for awhile too. Losing to the Raiders on Al Davis week is a harbinger of doom. Texans not gettin' into the postseason again. Gary Kubiak will be the offensive coordinator for the Bucs next season.
    • Tony Romo. The bye week won't save you from the suckiness that correlates with the name that's printed on your locker, fella.
    Key Matchups and Predictions.

    Panthers V. Falcons. The Falcons are falling apart and Cam Newton has got to win soon. Two semis are passing in the night on the I-85--I like Cam to throw a game winner in a 24-21 squeaker.

    Eagles V. Redskins. The Eagles need to rebound here against a familiar foe. I think Andy Reid will have them back on track against the Skins. I see a blowout, 34-10. Rex Grossman will rightfully retain his award this week.

    Bills V. Giants. Who is the best team in the state of New York? This game will determine it. I like the Bills, but they don't play strong on the road and the Giants are coming off a loss to the dismal Seachickens. I like the Giants by 10.

    Niners V. Lions. This is one of those games that looked whatever on paper in the preseason, but oh have the tides turned in the NFC. These two teams might see each other again in the playoffs and may god have mercy on the soul of H.P. Lovecraft if they do. This is this week's "stay away."

    Texans V. Ravens. The Texans have the most uninspired name in all of professional sports. This was the list to choose from in 2000: Appollos, Bobcats, Stallions, Texans, Toros, and Wildcatters. At least they didn't choose Wildcatters, that would have been an epic fail. Unless they started using the Wildcat offense then it would be upgraded to mediocre. I kinda like Appollos--but the rest are shitty. Toros is not a team to be taken seriously. Maybe we can call them Toros until they prove they belong in the league. Ravens, on the other hand, might be the best name in professional sports, a literary allusion to Poe's most famous poem. You might ask, "Why Edgar Allan Poe? He wasn't from Baltimore." True, he was born in Boston--but he died in Baltimore ala a Bon Scott-esque misadventure style, deliriously walking the streets in someone else's clothing. So the Baltimore NFL team moniker comes from a half-mad Gothic writer's opus of death and confusion, a reflection and omen of his own death. For that choice, the Ravens will jump to an early lead over the Toros and never look back, winning by 4 tuds--evermore...

    Saints V. Bucs. In a perfect world, the Bucs would bounce back--but they are far too "youngry" to learn from their mistakes so fast--especially as they get set to take on the the titan from their division. Expect Brees to light up the Buc D and have success early. Josh will get them within 10 in the fourth, but Darren Sproles will give the baby their bottle and exclamate the victory with and 84 touchdown run. Sainst win 34-14.

    Cowboys V. Patriots. Tony Romo will suck bad in Foxboro's bright, foliage spotlight. Brady will get Ocho his first 2 tuds of the year. Patriots by 20.

    Poorest Sunday/Monday Night Games yet. Vikes@Bears. Phins@Jets. Looks like I'll be raking some leaves this weekend.

    End of Line.

    10/13 Addendum.
    I don't think that Twitter has affected the NFL. At least not yet. But it might soon. Maybe it has affected Ocho, maybe he's on timeout with the Pats because of his crazy tweets in 2010. But that is a conspiracy theory. One that theorizes that Belichick got Ocho to draw double teames so that Welker can claim the recieving yards record this year. It's a fun thought.
    No it ain't.

    Pete Carroll tweeted this today, along with this picture:

    @PeteCarroll: Hey @KingJames… (Nice!! Looks great)
    If the NBA doesn't go this year, which is a good possibility, this might be coming to a theatre near you. How unpresidented of an event. In the past, we could only enjoy NFL/MLB hybrids such as Bo Jackson and Deon Sanders. The closest thing to this kind of hybrid was Charlie Ward, the only Heiman Winner to play in the NBA.
    #throwback

    Prediction: If LeBron's cleats hit NFL terra firma, he gonna fuck shit up. Get yer popcorn ready.

    E.O.L.

    R.I.P.



    (the following is an excerpt from the
    RS 128 from February 15, 1973 article Hunter S. Thompson wrote for Rolling Stone magazine entitled Fear and Loathing at the Super Bowl.)
    The conversation took place within 10 yards of me, and I heard most of it.
    “Who's the big guy over there with the ball in his hand?” asked the man with the DA.
    “His name's Thompson,” replied Chronical sportswriter Jack Smith. “He's a writer for Rolling Stone .”
    “The Rolling Stones? Jesus Christ! What's he doing here? Did you bring him?”
    “No, he's writing a big article. Rolling Stone is a magazine, Al. It's different from the Rolling Stones; they're a rock music group. . . Thompson's a buddy of George Plimpton's, I think. . . and he's also a friend of Dave Burgin's -- you remember Burgin?”
    “Holy shit! Burgin! We ran him out of here with a cattle prod!”
    I saw Smith laugh at that point, then he was talking again: “Don't worry, Al. Thompson's okay. He wrote a good book about Las Vegas.”
    Good god! I thought. That's it. . . If they read that book I'm finished. By this time I'd realized that this strange-looking bugger named “Al,” who looked like a pimp or a track-tout, was in fact the infamous Al Davis-- general manager and de facto owner (pending settlement of a nasty lawsuit scheduled for court-action early this year) of the whole Oakland Raider operation.
    Davis glanced over his shoulder at me, then spoke back to Smith: “Get the bastard out of here. I don't trust him.”
    I heard that very clearly -- and if I'd had any sense I'd have abandoned the whole story right then, for reasons of extreme and unnatural prejudice; call the office and say I couldn't handle the bad vibes, then jump the next plane to Colorado. . . I was watching Davis very closely now, and it occurred to me that the fiendish intensity of his speech and mannerisms reminded me very strongly of another Oakland badass I'd spent some time with, several years earlier -- ex-Hell's Angels president Ralph “Sonny” Barger, who had just beaten a multiple-murder rap and then copped out, they said, to some kind of minor charge like “Aggravated Assault with Intent to Commit Murder,” or “Possession of Automatic Weapons” (submachine-guns), “Possession of Heroin (four pounds) with Intent to Sell, and Sexual Assault on Two Minors with Intent to Commit Forcible Sodomy”. . .
    I had read these things in the Chronicle. . . but. . . What the hell? Why compound these libels? Any society that will put Barger in jail and make Al Davis a respectable millionaire at the same time is not a society to be trifled with.
    In any case, the story of my strange and officially ugly relationship with Al Davis is too complicated for any long explanations at this point. I spent several days pacing the sidelines of the Raider practice field with him -- prior to the Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Kansas City games -- and the only thing I remember him talking about is “Environmental Determinism.” He spoke at considerable length on that subject, as I recall, but there is nothing in my notes to indicate precisely what he said about it.
    Shortly after I heard him tell Smith to get rid of me on that first afternoon, I walked over to him and somehow got wound up in a conversation about how he was having trouble buying property in Aspen because “some people out there,” thought his money was “dirty” because of his known connections in Las Vegas. “Hell, that's no problem,” I told him. “I once ran for sheriff in Aspen; I know the place pretty well, and I can tell you for sure that at least half the money out there is dirtier than any you're likely to come up with.”
    He stopped and eyed me curiously. “You ran for sheriff?” he said. “In Aspen, Colorado?”
    I nodded. “Yeah, but I'd rather not talk about it. We didn't lose by much, but losing in politics is like losing in football, right? One vote, one point --”
    He smiled crookedly, then began pacing again. “I don't give a damn about politics,” he said as I hurried along the white-lime sideline to keep up with him. “The only things that interest me are economics and foreign affairs.”
    Jesus christ! I thought. Economics, foreign affairs, environmental determinism -- this bastard is sand-bagging me.
    We paced back and forth a while longer, then he suddenly turned on me: “What are you after?” he snapped. “Why are you out here?”
    “Well. . .” I said. “It would take me a while to explain it. Why don't we have a beer after practice tomorrow and I'll --”
    “Not tomorrow,” he said quickly. “I only come out here on Wednesdays and Thursdays. They get nervous when I'm around, so I try to stay away most of the time.”
    I nodded -- but I didn't really understand what he meant until an hour or so later, when Coach Madden signaled the end of that day's practice and Davis suddenly rushed onto the field and grabbed the quarterback, Ken Stabler, along with a receiver and a defensive back I didn't recognize, and made them run the same pass pattern -- a quick shot from about 15 yards out with the receiver getting the ball precisely at the corner of the goal line and the out-of-bounds line-- at least twelve consecutive times until they had it down exactly the way he wanted it.
    That is my last real memory of Al Davis: It was getting dark in Oakland, the rest of the team had already gone into the showers, the coach was inside speaking sagely with a gaggle of local sportswriters, somewhere beyond the field-fence a big jet was cranking up its afterburners on the airport runway. . . and here was the owner of the flakiest team in pro football, running around on a half-dark practice field like a king-hell speed freak with his quarterback and two other key players, insisting that they run the same goddamn play over and over again until they had it right.
    That was the only time I ever felt that I really understood Davis. . . We talked on other days, sort of loosely and usually about football, whenever I would show up at the practice field and pace around the sidelines with him. . . and it was somewhere around the third week of my random appearances, as I recall, that he began to act very nervous whenever he saw me.
    I never asked why, but it was clear that something had changed, if only back to normal. . . After one of the midweek practices I was sitting with one of the Raider players in the tavern down the road from the fieldhouse and he said: “Jesus, you know I was walking back to the huddle and I looked over and, god damn, I almost flipped when I saw you and Davis standing together on the sideline. I thought, man, the world really is changing when you see a thing like that -- Hunter Thompson and Al Davis -- Christ, you know that's the first time I ever saw anybody with Davis during practice; the bastard's always alone out there, just pacing back and forth like a goddamn beast. . .”

    Friday, October 7, 2011

    Sunday, October 2, 2011

    Week 4 Blog: The Omen

    I promised myself one thing, that this blog wouldn't turn into a Bear Blog. I plan on keeping that promise. I'm not a Bear fan this year, I have conned my brain into thinking this. My love for Jeff Fisher knows no bounds at this point. But I wanted to start this entry by touching on the rich lineage of the Chicago running back.

    Matt Fotre is one of the elite running backs in the game today. Yeah, I said it. Document the day I said it. Remind me I said it. I have no shame. He ran for 205 yards. Only other Bears that have done this are named Walter Payton and Gale Sayers. Nuff' said.

    Playas Be Hatin'

    In a related story, some book publisher hired Mike Ditka as an unofficial spokesperson for a tabloid bio that just came out about Sweetness. Ditka said, "I'd spit on him. I have no respect for him." Now I know what you are asking yourself, how is that promoting Jeff Perlman's book? Negativity promotes more strongly than positivity, does it not? That said, is it not a far-fetched idea to use the media as a source of free advertising via negative press? Dirt sells, ladies and Ghents.

    ANYHOO-HOOO-HOO-HOO, maybe it was an omen, as we enter the witching hour of the calendar, that Forte would have a monster day at Soldier right after this book came out, almost as if the torch has been officially passed from Payton to Young Master Matt. It only took four years to replace Sayers with Payton. It was taken two and a half decades to finally put Walter's ghost to bed. Sleep well, Sweetness. Coach Ditka, Brian Urlacher (called Perlman a jackass, publicly) and Ron Rivers (said it was easy to crap on someone who wasn't alive to defend himself) have got your back. I need to use foot notes. How about some bullets for yer milk.

    • Detroit Lions. Wow! Just wow! What a show they put on against the Cowboys. The Lions are for reals, bust out the anointing oil, Tuna Man (but save the tuna oil for America's Team). Johnson and Pettigrew are looking like studs out there as Stafford continues to gun the ball into their bread baskets. Looking forward to their divisional match-up against the Bears next week.
    • Baltimore Ravens. This might be the team to beat in the AFC. They look sharper on offense than their divisional rivals, the Steelers. They look better on defense than the Patriots. If they keep this up, we might see them in Indy. Barring injury, these guys are a new favorite. Maybe they'll play the Lions? But we mustn't forget the champs.
    • Aaron Rodgers. I wonder if his 408 yards passing, 4 tuds (2 pass, 2 run) is the single greatest fantasy output ever? I understand all leagues score differently, but there is no denial that Rodgers put up monster numbers against a woeful Broncos team (Tebow Time yet?). Between him and Brady, we're looking at two quarterbacks playing to the peak of their abilities and Rodgers might have the better season once the fog settles into the graveyard of quarterback performances of the past.
    • Brady/Pats. Took care of the Raiders quite handedly. The Pats don't lose 2 weeks in a row. Brady's numbers are down, but the season is still young--although, Rodgers might take the MVP crown away from Tommy this year if he keeps his numbers up. Time will tell. Pack/Pats is still a dream Super Bowl.
    • Eagles. Crisis mode already. Too much hype with this team. This squad is the NFC version of the Jets (is Sanchez an effective NFL QB? Does he get the Alex Smith treatment in New York?). Vick is not the kind of guy to take the heat of a sinking ship--and his frustration grows by the week. How soon until Kafka puts on the RAID-repellent and steers the sinking ship into the nearest cheese steak sandwich?
    • The Rex Grossman Award... goes to Jay Cutler. But to be fair, he is working with the worst line in the NFL. No, I am not a Jay apologist, nor do I apply the tuna oil. The guy is a jerk. But he's my jerk.
    • Vikings. McNabb is done in the NFL. The Christian Ponder era is about to begin. I blame Farve, his presence on that team was a dark omen over the purple and gold. Looking at the rest of the schedule, the Vikings will only win 4 games (if they're lucky) this season. Who, if anyone, will pick up McNabb this off season, if anyone?CFL? Arena? WNBA? ...developing...
    • Tony Romo. Not quite in the same boat as McNabb, but gettin' there. He is the most inconsistent quarterback since Rex's days as a Bear. Speaking of Rex--he's dipping into the familiar swamp of bad numbers. Watch for him to fuck up on a more consistent level as the Redskins march towards meritocracy in the final half of the season. I predict he will win his own award at least 3 times before the Redskins bench him and put in the next worst thing.
    Key Matchups and Predictions.

    Eagles V. Bills. A must win situation for the Eagles. A statement game for Buffalo. Those two sentences would sounded like swahili before the season kicked off. This is how unpredictable the league has become. I like the Eagles to win and I think they'll win big. Not to say I have lost hope for Buffalo, but I think the Bengals showed the league that the Bills play hard and to the end, but lady luck was striped in orange and black and the Bills will have a hard time adjusting. Maybe...I like the Eagles by 17.

    Titans V. Steelers. Titans look sharp on offense with Hasselbeck under center, turns out he just needed a change of scenery. The Titans are a dark horse in the AFC (I picked them to win the division and I still think this will happen). The Steelers looked flat on offense against the Texans, who I feel isn't as good as this Titans team. But the Steelers get up for the big games and they always seem to rebound from games they should have won. The game will end in a tie.

    Raiders V. Texans. Alright Raiders, this is it. You have to win this game or you won't appear on my key match-ups list ever again. If Andre Johnson suits up, forget it Oakland. But if he is still playing the part of Tiny Tim on the sideline come sunday, I like Janikowski to kick them out of a squeaker.

    Bucs V. 49ers. The Niners are playing hard for their head coach, Capt. Comeback himself. But I'm leaning towards the Bucs, barring what they do to the Colts tonight. My love for Josh Freeman knows no bounds. This one will be tight in the fourth. No prediction. This is what they call in the gambling world a "stay away."

    Jets V. Pats. Rex has a way of getting his team up for these games and, like the Eagles, New York is dangerously treading water in a strong division. The Pats are at home, but that seems to work against them in this game. I wanna call "stay away" but I feel in my heart that Belichick has figured out the rubrik's cube that is the Jets defense and I feel he spent his extra time over the lockout dissecting every look in films. This is a close one though, Pats by 5.

    Green Bay V. Atlanta. Atlanta needs to win. Green Bay needs to stop winning. The Birds'll get their revenge on the Pack, but it will be close. Expect Rodgers to show him mortality (can only go down after that Herculian wayfayer against Denver). Falcons by 2.

    Chicago V. Lions. Tough call. Did the Bears find their run attack against Carolina? If so, they might have a chance against the stronger Detroit team (felt weird typing that, let alone thinking it). Am I calling this a Bears win. Lord no. The Lions are as good as the Ravens at this point. Lions by 10.

    End of Line.

    10/7 Addendum:
    Yeah, I know this isn't a Bear Blog, but something happened today that is 25 years in the making and worth noting for it's cultural, historical and sporting significance. Roughly twenty-five years ago, this happened:
    And it prevented these guys from going to visit Reagan in the White House.



    That is until today, when President Obama honored the '85 Bears today at the White House lawn.
    Obama said at the press conference that the 1985 Bears were "the greatest team in NFL history." Finally I agree with him on something.
    E.O.L.