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December 29, 2008

[Business Day One] Unsurprising Surprises

Filed under: Business Day One,Football — Tags: , , , , , — Serpico @ 10:16 am

Week 17 is over and the playoff picture is now in place.  As crazy as this season was, this final week was (fortunately or unfortunately) the most predictable and least surprising.  Come, walk with me:

-The Patriots won, as expected, and went 11-5.

-The Jets lost, as expected, as did the Jaguars, meaning the Patriots missed the playoffs as expected.

-The Gods of Sport gave the Chargers their win to make up for the ballyhooed missed call in Week 2.

-The Eagles stomped the Cowboys, forcing them to miss the playoffs and setting up what will be a hilarious offseason in Dallas.  As expected… and prayed for by me.

I know plenty of people smarter than me, and more prescient, but I saw this all coming.  And I think you all did too.  Even in a bizarre season, where Favre is in New York and Peyton stunk for two months and Tom Brady can’t walk, fate tends to work itself all out.  And now here we are, with the start of a boring playoffs about to begin.  A playoffs where the favorites (Giants and Titans) are ball-controlling, power running teams that don’t commit turnovers and keep plays in front of them on defense.  Sure, we have Atlanta and Baltmore in the playoffs behind rookie quarterbacks, and that’s all well and good (Ryan for Heisman!).  But these playoffs will be what we think they’ll be.

Also, Eric Mangini is being fired right now.  The surprise is that Rod Marinelli was fired from Detroit too.  What a world we live in where I thought Rowdy Rod’s job (as coach of an 0-16 team) was safer than the Man Genius’s.  Meh.  At least there was one surprise this weekend.

December 24, 2008

Is It March Yet?

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , , , , — Willis @ 3:15 pm

So it’s holiday time and most of us have finished worrying about gifts and fantasy football, but there are a few people still out there with last minute shopping and still in the running to win their league Super Bowl (sorry, NFL) Big Game. To those people I say good luck. For the rest of us, we shall prepare for the future. 

What happens in the near future to prepare for? Well, there’s the NFL playoffs, the Super Bowl, baseball spring training, and March Madness and other march tournaments. But if you’re like me, you can’t wait another 3 months for some tournament action. So I’ve scoured the internet for some interesting sport or nerd tournaments and this is what I’ve found:

  • Paul and Storm have set up a Geek Madness tournament. They have realized that Obama might be our first geek president (he’s on YouTube, he was on Twitter, and he carries a blackberry) and therefore he may choose a Secretary of Geek Affairs.
  • WIRED magazine is running a Sexiest Geek contest. And I have to post this because they say “Every geek’s a little bit sexy, somehow. Maybe it’s the glasses, the hot talk about black holes or the Asperger’s-like obsession with sci-fi, science or gadgets.” 
  • Think that you are the best Madden player around? Perhaps you’d like to find a tournament where you can prove this fact. Try looking at Get Your Tournament.
  • Don’t worry, I don’t think anyone around here is nerdy enough to want to play in a Star Craft tournament or even watch the matches happen.
  • There’s another tournament going on right now. One that I am not a part of (but should be). It’s the Sports Blogger of the Year tournament at Busted Coverage. I’m not going to complain that we didn’t make the cut (we were on the bubble, I promise) but Fire Joe Morgan made it and they no longer blog.

Also before the weekend, I wanted to post an update about the Patriots status about making the playoffs this year. And while I’m at it, why not just cover the whole AFC East. (more…)

December 22, 2008

[Business Day One] In The Bleak Midwinter

Filed under: Business Day One,Football — Tags: , , , , — Serpico @ 10:44 am

I read Bill Simmons, more to be entertained than informed.  But he made me think the other day, when he wrote about Brett Favre:

Who’s more likely to be affected by bone-chilling temperatures — a young QB with little wear and tear on his body, or an old QB who has started 270 consecutive games, battled an addiction to painkillers and probably takes 15 minutes to get out of bed every morning? Wouldn’t it be the old guy? Think of it this way: A family gets together for the holidays in Buffalo. There are three brothers in the family (ages 27, 35 and 38), two sisters, a mom, a dad and a grandfather. One morning, Buffalo gets crushed by a blizzard and somebody has to shovel the driveway in minus-4-degree weather for two hours. Which family member gets bundled up and goes out there? The youngest brother. Why? BECAUSE HE’S 27!!!!!!!!! He’s the youngest, healthiest one! Is there any chance the 38-year-old guy goes out there? No! Why? BECAUSE HE’S 38!!!!

Makes too much sense, right?  I watched the game with that in mind, and was in no way surprised when the old man threw for two interceptions and couldn’t find his checkdown receivers under pressure.  He’s pushing 40 and running around on a frozen field in the Pacific Northwest.  What did you think would happen?

This got me thinking about football, and how it is the most variable sport in terms of weather.  At least in terms of the American sports.  Basketball and hockey are played indoors in climate controlled environs.  Yes, some arenas are warmer than others and that affects ice conditions and the grip on the basketball and all.  But still, you know the court is getting a wipedown every ten seconds and the ice is resurfaced between periods.  In baseball, if the weather is bad the game is called.  Yes, sometimes there’s rain, and it changes the complexion of the game.  But fans complain when it’s more than a drizzle, and bemoan the slip-and-slide version of America’s Passtime as “not real baseball.

Yet in football, games are played when temperatures range from 5 degrees up to 90.  In driving rain.  In ice, sweltering heat, wind storms.  It took an Act of God to get football to stop in New Orleans for a season, for goodness sake.  And only because the stadium was destroyed.  The Patriots/Cardinals tilt in Foxboro yesterday was technically as much of a football game as all the ones played in the Arizona desert.  Yet the Cardinals couldn’t actually play.  What they did against the Pats wasn’t football.  But I don’t hear any complaints.  It’s just part of the game, really.  The sheer variability of conditions.  And in that regard, football is the most unique of all sports.  Just imagine baseball being played in an irregularly shaped rock quarry for two weeks out of the year.  Or basketball hoops increased by six inches in diameter every third game.  That is how much the weather affects football, yet each game still falls within the realm of football.

Just something to think about while you’re watching these giant men freeze on the sidelines.

December 16, 2008

The Patriots Still Have A Chance!?

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , , , , — Willis @ 10:40 am

With only 2 more weeks left in the 2008 NFL regular season, now is the time to start planning the playoff match ups. Well, the New England Patriots (my home team) are 9-5 and have a bit of a tough road ahead.

How tough? Tough enough that it may be out of their hands. Boston.com (Boston Globe) blog writer Eric Wilbur outlined most of the scenarios:

If the Patriots go 2-0 over their final 2 games:

  • The Pats can win the AFC East if they win their final two games against Arizona (at home) and Buffalo (on the road) and both the Jets (at Seattle) and Dolphins (at Kansas City) lose next weekend (the Jets and Dolphins play each other in Week 17).
    The Pats can win the AFC East by winning their final two games against Arizona and Buffalo and the Jets and Dolphins both go 1-1 over their final two games.
  • If all three teams win next weekend, and the Pats beat the Bills in Week 17, the Jets-Dolphins game on the final Sunday of the season has to end in a tie for the Patriots to win the East.
  • If the Patriots win their two remaining games and the Ravens lose one of their next two games (in Dallas next week and at home vs. Jacksonville in Week 17), New England is in as the wild card. Print the shirts.
  • If the Pats win out, and the Colts manage to go 0-2 vs. the Jaguars and Titans, the Patriots are in, however unlikely that scenario might seem.

If the Patriots go 1-1 over their final 2 games:

  • If New England loses to either the Cardinals or the Bills, they need Baltimore to drop both of its remaining games to win the wild card.
  • The Patriots would need this nifty little scenario to win the East: Dolphins lose to Chiefs AND Jets lose to Seattle AND Jets-Dolphins game ends in a tie. Like those odds?
  • There’s one final possibility here, albeit a very confusing one: If either the Jets or Dolphins lose their last two games; and if the Patriots lose to the Cardinals and beat the Bills; and if the Ravens beat the Cowboys and lose to the Jaguars; New England and Baltimore would have the same record (10-6), and the same record within the conference (7-5) — which is the first tiebreaker in a wild card scenario since the teams did not face each other this season. Complicating matters is that, if our math is right, they would also be tied in the next tiebreaker — record against common opponents. So that means it could come down to strength of victory.

Now what Mr. “Professional Blogger” Wilbur fails to mention are some of the less mainstream methods the patriots are taking to gain a playoff birth:

  • Patriots “Diamond In The Rough” Randy Moss has been sent to the Arabian deserts to find a genie in a lamp. Where they will wish for a pair of Jets losses.
  • Belichick has been reluctant to use it due to the disastrous effects it had on Brady earlier this season, but he has 1 more Monkey Paw wish remaining.
  • I’ve gotten word that there are a couple personal ads looking for some lonely virgins who enjoy rituals to meat someone in Foxboro, MA.
  • A letter has been sent to Diddy, asking him to say that the Patriots will be in the postseason. Perhaps this is putting too much faith in commercials, but every avenue is being covered.

This is all that I have uncovered, but if you have heard anything, please post in the comments or let me know via contact form.

This is very important for the Patriots because they could very well miss the postseason for the first time in six years even with 11 wins. And teams like Arizona and Denver could get in with an 8-8 record. Yes the very same Denver team that the Patriots destroyed 41-7 earlier this season. And the very same Arizona that will likely get destroyed on Sunday.

Whatever path that Patriots follow, I guess I have to root for the Cowboys on Saturday. Ugh.

December 15, 2008

[Business Day One] But A Fantasy

Filed under: Business Day One,Football — Tags: , — Serpico @ 10:37 am

Barring Brian Westbrook and the Eagles defense combining for “keep this on the highlight reel for the rest of history” nights, my fantasy football season will come to an end this week. I regret nothing, really. My draft choices were good, my record was good, and I had fun this season. Well, as much fun as you can have playing fantasy football.

If you’re still alive in your playoffs, good luck. If you’re about to lose, don’t worry. ESPN’s Bowl Week is coming up, so at least you’ll be reminded that your life is better than anyone’s who is playing in the Papajohn.com Bowl.

December 10, 2008

What’s With All This 3D Broadcasting Nonsense?

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , , — Willis @ 3:17 pm

3D TVLast week the NFL tried out some 3D in theaters in Boston, New York, and Los Angeles. Of course, only for NFL VIPs. These VIPs got to see a little of what the future of the NFL may hold. Of course they chose a game that was boring in the Chargers 34-7 rout of the Raiders to try and spice up.

At least someone from the AP was there to tell us about it.

LOS ANGELES — The first NFL game broadcast to theaters live in 3-D fumbled, then recovered Thursday night.

I hope this first line (and title) got the shitty sports metaphors out of his system. Or should I say I hope the clock has run out for these metaphors and they stay down for the count, if not I might throw a flag and send this article to the penalty box.

Two satellite glitches blacked out the broadcast to theaters in Boston, New York and Los Angeles in the first half of the game between the Oakland Raiders and the San Diego Chargers.

And on a few occasions, a quick camera movement or a refocusing — and one ill-advised dissolve — had viewers pulling off their polarized lenses.

Umm.. explain? How is dissolve bad in 3D? Did it dissolve into a giant 3D Norv Turner too close for comfort?

But the Los Angeles audience was mostly forgiving, in awe of a spectacle that had depth and in some instances gave the feeling of being on the field, especially for the opening coin toss.

Really, the coin toss is the best part of 3D? NFL is really selling me on this is the future. (more…)

[Business Day One] Midweek and Exhausted

It took an exhausting long weekend in Las Vegas and a lot of fun time play Vietbet after going through Vietbet Sportsbook review to prevent me from writing on Monday, and for that I apologize. I could’ve theoretically gotten my column together on Tuesday, but I was so jetlagged that I slept until 2 in the afternoon and didn’t know my name when I woke up. I’ll try to make the wait worth it, America.

Here are the thoughts I cobbled together during the past week and a half.

# As I mentioned last Monday, I’m at a point where I no longer believe that any off-season move, no matter how impressive on paper, could help the Yankees. A Mecha-Ty Cobb could be constructed and signed to a ten year, fifteen cent contract and I’d be certain that no good would come of it. I call it The Pavano Mindset. Anyway, CC Sabathia is about to sign on the dotted line and I couldn’t be more terrified for him. He’s going to show up to training camp 200 pounds overweight, or he’ll suddenly decide to play in Japan this year, or he’ll be crushed by falling space debris. I just know it, and I’m sorry in advance for the Sabathia family. This is my life as a Yankees fan.

# Watching sports in Las Vegas is odd. I watched Boston College get pasted by Virginia Tech at the Caesar’s Palace Sports Book. People who had no affiliation with either school were cheering wildly in one direction or the other. It was unsettling in a way and cheapened the experience. I watch my sports at my house (where I cheer loudly), at friendly sports bars (where a hundred people cheer loudly), or at the stadium (where 50,000 people cheer loudly). And most of those people are hooting and hollering because they love one school or hate the other. Not so in Vegas. People are cheering for their money. They might as well be cheering for Australian rules football or curling. It’s all the same to them, I think. Online sportsbooks such as https://sportbetting.ph allow fans from the Philippines to bet on the favorite sports, including college football.

# Three teams at 8-5 in the AFC East is an interesting proposition. I don’t believe the Jets are going to make it into the playoffs. I really don’t. Just a gut instinct.

# Speaking of playoffs, I’m 10-4 and a #2 seed in my fantasy football playoffs. This is Year 4 in my league, and I’ve finished in second, first and third in my first 3 years. Here’s hoping for continued success.

# I wish John Daly would stop playing golf and get himself some help.

November 24, 2008

[Business Day One] The Last Cassel

Filed under: Business Day One,Football — Tags: , , , — Serpico @ 12:32 pm

Matt Cassel won’t be a Patriot next season. I just had to come right out and say it before the season grew any nearer to completion and the question would come up. Matt Cassel will be franchised, then traded for draft picks that will help New England in the years to come. As such, let me just say now that we should thank Cassel for the work he has done to salvage the season, and the work he will do in the future to strengthen the team in other positions of need like linebacker and defensive tackle.

This situation, which will unfold before the 2009 draft, is a testament to how good Tom Brady is. Cassel, who has been improving week over week, is now playing with the poise and confidence of a true team leader. And next year, he’s going to be compensated like one and will be a starter. It just won’t be in Foxboro. So enjoy him while you can, America, because next year he’ll be in Detroit or Tampa. I shall henceforth call the 2008 Patriots Season the Last Cassel.

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