Archive for 2007
After week 3, there are only 5 remaining unbeaten teams in the league. Let’s examine them all, and then I’d like to hear your opinion on who you think has the best chance of actually finishing the season… 16-0. I know, very tough to accomplish, but its fun to wonder.
1) NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS: This team has no holes. A great defense, and possibly one of the most balanced offenses we’ve seen in years. On every play, you have absolutely no idea what they are going to do. Trust me, I know this, I own Laurence Maroney on my fantasy team. And even though he is their featured back, and even though he’s the one that marched them down the field, and even though it would only be fair to all of his fantasy owners to give him the ball at the goal line and let him run it in for the touchdown, I know they won’t. Why? Becauase you never know what the Patriots are gonna do. They might hand it off to back-up running back, Sammy Morris. Or back-up to the back-up running back, Kevin Faulk. Or maybe they’ll hand it off to Defensive Back Junior Seau, and let him pick up the TD. Or maybe Bill Bellicek himself will take the handoff from Tom Brady, and jump over the middle for the score. They’re so unpredicatable, making it very difficult for any defense to prepare for them. On Yahoo Sports, Laurence Maroney mentioned, that “he’s not worried about all the other backs. He’s sure he will get a plenty of touchdowns and still become, as promised, an offensive force”. This led me to believe that Laurence Maroney writes for Yahoo Sports.
2) INDIANAPOLIS COLTS: Their defense looks pretty strong, and their offense, well, you know their offense. Peyton Manning no longer has anything to prove, which is seemingly resulting in a more laid back style of play. This is always good for a team aspiring to go 16-0. They’re not demolishing opponents like the Patriots, but they do whatever it takes to win the game. Also, isn’t it time for Nike, Reebok, or Gatorade to produce a series of commercials featuring Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. It would be like those Michael Jordan/Larry Bird ads from the 90s where they called their shots (Remember — “off the building, through the senior-care center, off the backboard, etc…”) Maybe Brady and Manning could battle in pithy competitive contests, like playing chutes and ladders or SORRY!, all leading up to their week 9 showdown. C’mon, this is a great idea. I’m positive about this.3) PITTSBURGH STEELERS: They clobbered the Browns in Week 1, struggled a bit on offense in Week 2, then manhandled the 49ers this week. Their defense is stellar, and their offense knows how to comfortably move the ball down the field and the eat the clock; a key component to winning games. Their running back, Willie Parker, went undrafted and STILL plays with something to prove — EVEN THOUGH HE ALREADY LED THEM TO A SUPER BOWL VICTORY!! When you have a guy like that on your team, your chances of 16-0 significantly improve. However, Roethlisberger is injury prone, and when your back-up QB is Charlie Batch, your chances of 16-0 significantly decrease.4) DALLAS COWBOYS: Their offense is seriously putting up some points, and they even dissected that wall of a Bears defense last night on NBC. Their defense is certainly beatable, as their secondary (meaning the guys who stop receivers from catching the ball) is abysmal. However, as the Colts teams of the first part of this decade proved — you can give up a lot points, just make sure you score a lot more. These guys are now definitely the favorite to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. Then again, Joey Harrington threw for over 300 yards this week, so you neeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeever know. And, my fantasy team would have won this week if we had only, only played the Cowboys D not the 49ers defense….so very sad for us.5) GREEN BAY PACKERS: The underdog of the bunch. Most people were sticking a fork in the Packers, awaiting the inevitable and long overdue Brett Favre retirement. But these guys have become fighters. It’s like they want to prove everyone wrong. They have Willie Parker-itis. All the sudden, the franchise you love to hate (due to their NFC dominance in the late 90s) has become the team… well… the team, um… you kinda wanna see win. Everybody senses this is Favre’s last year, and there is a kind of feeling in the air that you REALLY want to see him go out on top. Like Super Bowl really. Like 16-0 really. Meanwhile, in Philadelphia, they hate McNabb if he loses; they want him off the field. They couldn’t care less that he brought them to 3 consecutive NFC title games and a Super Bowl. He’s gotta go, no allegiences in Philly. And the sad truth is even though he helped score over 50 points this week against Detroit, this only buys 6 days of ‘no-booing’. And what if he set a precedent? What if he has to score over 50 points every week to be even mildly appreciated in Philly. This would be extremely frustrating. Can you imagine those same expectations at your job? Man…Watercooler Discussion: Who has the best chance of actually going 16-0. Also, take note, the 5 currently undefeated teams are also 5 of the NFL’s biggest and most historic franchises. I can’t put my finger on it now, but trust me, this is interesting in some way… right?No comments
The great thing about the NFL is that it maintains it’s mystique every Sunday. You’re just as excited for Week 2 as you were for Week 1. Why? (1) You get to find out if your fantasy team is ‘that good’ 🙂 or ‘that bad’ 🙁 (2) You get to see all the commercials you liked from the first week again. (3) You get to see all the commercials you hated from the first week again. But you can complain to your friends about how much you hated those commercials. Something funny is usually said during this discourse, and laughing is good for your mental health and also burns calories so that’s good. (4) You continue to be shocked and surprised, which is great for your blood pressure (Note: This is true. I learned said fact from a Discovery Channel special on rollercoasters. And said Discovery Channel special aired after an in-flight movie: DREAMGIRLS) Anyway, it feels great to be shocked. And thus, here were some notable shocking events from Week 2:
1) The Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals put up a total of 96 points in one of the highest scoring games in NFL history. Carson Palmer threw for 6 touchdowns while Derek Anderson, in a game where his job was on the line, threw for 5 touchdowns and 300 yards. Can’t do much better than that under pressure. Anyway, congratulations to the cities of Cleveland and Cincinnati, as this high-scoring affair has completely rejuvenated the 59th most exciting rivalry in sports. (Cleveland 51, Cincinnati 45)
2)THE HOUSTON TEXANS ARE 2-0. WE REPEAT: HOUSTON… IS 2-0!! I’d say these guys are going undefeated if they weren’t playing Indianapolis next week. So next Sunday we can scream from our windowsills, “HOUSTON IS 2-1. WE REPEAT: HOUSTON… IS 2-1!!!”… which is still good. (Houston 34, Carolina 21)
3) In an extremely shocking surprise, the Baltimore Ravens let Kyle Boller on the field. Their 4-year project quarterback who has continuously been the centerpiece to their putrid offense, failing them repeatedly. To give you an idea of how baffling this is, let me paint a picture for you. Imagine that you’re having a big dinner party, and your 8-yr-old greets each guest by kicking them in the shin. Of course, you’re furious, and you send your kid immediately to his/her room. “Stay there!!!”, you say. Then, somehow, your 8-yr-old sneaks out of his room, runs out to your dinner party, jumps on the table, and starts singing Britney Spears songs in their entirety as you chase him/her around the kitchen red-faced. Frustrated as can be, you send your 8-yr-old back to their room. Then, after the party, you let your kid out of their room, fix them an ice cream sundae with caramel, hot fudge, and sprinkles, then take them to Toys R’ Us to buy an XBOX. Does this make sense? No. What’s the reward for? However, the analogy isn’t perfect. You eventually reconcile things with your kid because you love them. Nobody in Baltimore loves Kyle Boller. (Baltimore 20, NY Jets 13 — Yes, they won, but fans who talk themselves into Kyle Boller will inevitably be disappointed. I feel sorry for you already)
4) The Bears look like a tight team. And running-Back Cedric Benson has successfully changed his reputation in Chicago from “terrible” to “reasonable”. Kudos to Cedric and his family. (Chicago 20, Kansas City 10)
5) Atlanta has progressed from an abysmal 3-point showing last week to an abysmal 7-point showing this week. Progress is progress is progress (Jacksonville 13, Atlanta 7)
6) The NBC Sunday night game between San Diego and New England was supposed to be a classic football showdown. But the Patriots were FAR superior. They do NOTHING wrong. Their offense, a juggernaut. Their defense: impenetrable. At this point, they have to be everybody’s Super Bowl pick. If someone asks you, “Who do you think will win the Super Bowl?”, you say, “The Patriots” because you will be right. And it’s nice to be right about things. Wouldn’t it be great if our own lives were this easy to predict?No comments
Sundays between football seasons are… what is that word… oh yeah,’productive’. We do stuff. We get things done. Even small tasks like going to Bed Bath & Beyond to buy a better, more vibrant garbage can for the bathroom. But once Sundays become consumed by the NFL, we do nothing. Or at least convince ourselves that we don’t ‘have to’ do anything because “Sunday = Football, and that’s that.” It’s forced, acceptable laziness recognized by our entire nation; a bulletproof excuse for all things you don’t feel like doing. And with that being said — here are the Top 5 Notable Events from Sunday’s Games that kept people from getting out of the house (in descending order):
5) Two Words: Randy Moss. He was like the Randy Moss of old. The ‘I’m-going-to-gain-183-receiving-yards-and-one-TD-if-I-feel-like-it’ Randy Moss all-star that we remember. And, coincidentally, those were his exact stats! And, can we talk about Moss’ quarterback, Tom Brady? Wow, these Guys looked poised for the Super Bowl. (New England Patriots dominated the New York Jets 38-14)
4) In a surprise, it looks like Vikings rookie Adrian Peterson is going to be an absolute force in the NFL, finishing with 163 all purpose yards and 1 TD — IN HIS FIRST NFL GAME! However, the real shock was that the Falcons were able to score 3 points!!! This is amazing considering they played the entire game without a quarterback — something that has never been done in NFL history. Kudos to the Falcons. (Minnesota Vikings 24, Atlanta Falcons 3)
3) The Miami Dolphins and Washington Redskins gave us a nail-biter of a game. An action-packed, lead-changing contest that even went into overtime!!!! I have never been this excited watching a game between two teams that will come absolutely nowhere near making the playoffs. (Redskins 16, Dolphins 13)
2) The Pittsburgh Steelers looked like a Super Bowl contender again, as they beat one of Ohio’s best High-School football teams (we’re talking of course of the disastrous Cleveland Browns) 34-7. Ben Roethlisberger threw for 4 Touchdowns in this remarkable victory. (Pittsburgh Steelers trounced Cleveland Browns 34-7)
1) Green Bay won their first season opener since… well, since the last time they won their first season opener. Trust me, people — it’s been awhile. For the last 4 seasons, FOX has featured the Green Bay Packers as their opening game, and I never understood why. And they always advertise it the same way: “Can the mighty Brett Favre lead the Packers to the Super Bowl one last time?! Then we watch the Packers go 1-4 over their first 5 games while the announcers redundantly talk about Favre’s possible retirement (Note: this has happened the last 4 seasons). But yesterday, they won. Not convincingly, but they won. So now we know two things for sure: (1) the results of the Packers next 4 games, and (2) what the announcers will talk about. (Green Bay Packers 16, Philadelphia Eagles 13)
And I eagerly await more football tonight because “Monday = Football, and that’s that.” I also look forward to the closing weeks of the season when “Thursday = Football, and that’s that”, and “Saturday = Football and that’s that.” The NFL makes life a lot less stressful… don’t ya think.
Watercooler Discussion: Who looks better after week 1, Tom Brady of the New England Patriots or Peyton Manning of the Indianapolis Colts?No comments
The first day of school, terrible. First day of a new job, frustrating. First day of a serious/committed/he’s-mine-and-only-mine-so-why-is-he-still-talking-to-his-
ex-girlfriend-Kristen-Chambers-between-3rd-and-4th-period when-he-promised-he-wasn’t-going-to-talk-to-her-anymore High School relationship, terrifying. The point is: First Days Are Difficult.
And this is the exact reason why the NFL kicks-off they very first game of a long, exciting season… at night. Can’t take any chances. And this year, they couldn’t have picked a better matchup. The defending Super Bowl champs, The Indianapolis Colts, take on everybody’s favorite underdog, The New Orleans Saints. Many experts have picked The Saints for the Super Bowl this year, namely because of their marquee, endorsement friendly running back, Reggie Bush. If you can’t put a face to Reggie Bush, his picture is above and he’s the guy who played football with the Diet Pepsi machine from last year’s intelligent commercials. He’s also rumored to be dating Kim Kardashian (famous for being the daughter of OJ Simpson’s defense lawyer and for a leaked sex video with her boyfriend). But don’t hold that against him, for he will need all your support in Thursday night’s offensive shootout with Colts’ Peyton Manning and arch-nemesis, fellow second-year running back, Joesph Addai. This game might even be bigger than the Super Bowl, which ironically… could be the very same game.6 comments
Of course there is other very exciting sports news filling the airwaves right now (Pedro Martinez season debut with the Mets and striking out his 3002 batter (only the 15th player to do so and certainly a boost to the Mets as they eye the post season) for example, but for me it’s all about fantasy football right now.
For those that are unfamiliar with fantasy football, the beauty of the game is that you pretend you are an NFL coach and you draft your own team of players (from all 32 teams in the League). The draft takes place before the start of the season (which is Thursday, September 6th this year).
My draft is Tuesday, September 4th. Our League will gather in a conference room in New York where the winning team from last year (unfortunately not us) will provide pizza and drinks and we’ll spend the better part of 3 hours drafting what each of us thinks will be the winning combination of players. According to the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, 15 million Americans play fantasy sports and 90 percent play fantasy football. Most of these players will have spent the last few months sifting through magazines, newspapers and sports web sites attempting to have a leg up on who might be the “sleeper” of the season. Of course this is a great strategy, but just to play devils’ advocate, the best year our team ever had, we went into the draft completely unprepared. With the first pick of the draft we spent over half of our money on a superstar running back and then picked up our remaining team with whatever money we had left. We won the League that year. I’d love to say we played brilliantly, but in all honesty, we simply got lucky, didn’t have any significant injuries and had great matchups. So with that said, maybe we’ll wing it again this year and see what happens. In any case, we are guaranteed to be brilliant for at least a few days (until Thursday night at least when the NFL season officially begins).
And speaking of Thursday night, the New Orleans Saints vs. last years’ Super Bowl champs, the Indianapolis Colts. What a way to start the season….stay tuned for our preview and how to talk the talk Thursday night.
Watercooler Discussion: If you play fantasy football or would like to, whom would you draft with your first pick?1 comment
Saratoga Springs, NY is one of the all-time best places to watch horse racing. The month of August is dedicated to Thoroughbred horse racing in Saratoga. Swarms of fans descend on this quant, beautiful town that lives and breathes horses. The most famous race during this month is the Travers Stakes, which was run this past Saturday and attracted 38,909 people. Street Sense, winner of this year’s Kentucky Derby, took the prize by only half a length. Street Sense barely edged out Grasshopper who was racing in his first stakes (the highest level of racing) competition. Look for Street Sense to try and win the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic at Monmouth Park October 27th. If he wins the Classic, there should be no doubt he will crowned horse of the year.
Watercooler Discussion: Where’s your favorite place to watch a thoroughbred horse race?
I wanted to avoid mentioning Michael Vick this week, but unfortunately that’s not possible. Vick is expected to formally plead guilty Monday (on the same day that his Falcons will play the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday Night Football). With pre-season games not getting the attention of the regular season (for obvious reasons), you can bet that MNF will have high ratings this week. People will tune in for the Vick banter and more importantly for observing whether the Falcons’ new quarterback, Joey Harrington, will lead the team to a few wins.
Watercooler Discussion: How many games will the Falcons win this year? Will we ever stop talking about the Falcons and Vick in the same sentence?
On a happier note, congrats to Georgia for winning the Little League World Series Championship over Japan. These boys could be the future of Major League Baseball. And, what touched me was that before the game, the Japanese coach gave the team a listing of players’ names and addresses in case the boys wanted stay in touch. Now that’s sportsmanship!1 comment
As if this is any real surprise, Michael Vick agreed to plead guilty to federal dogfighting conspiracy charges. Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you know that Michael Vick who was a star quarterback (known for his amazing running and passing abilities) for the Atlanta Falcons was accused of participating in illegal dogfighting and, from what has come out so far in this case, of extreme cruelty to the dogs (drowning, electrocuting, strangling etc).
Vick’s plea hearing will take place Monday Aug. 27th where we’ll find out what kind of punishment he’ll receive. It could be up to 3 years in prison and a hefty fine.
The big question on many football fans minds right now is will he return to the game after his prison term. I can’t imagine how the football world and particularly the fans will allow him back, but there are those who feel adamant that he’ll be back. As reported by the US Presswire, one NFL Manager said the following:
“If he goes to prison, time will pass,” said the general manager, who spoke before news of a potential Vick plea agreement and asked not to be identified, claiming the NFL has asked current team officials not to publicly comment on the Vick case. “Months or years will pass, if he does go to jail. If he went to jail, and then left prison down the road, he’d still be relatively young, and there’d be a line of 15 to 20 teams waiting to sign him. Trust me on that. Teams are going to say, ‘F— PETA. F— the bad pub. This guy is one of the most talented players of the last 10 years. I’ll take my chances.’
“Teams may say one thing publicly. But if he gets out of jail, we’ll all be looking at Vick hard. We’re all whores in football. You know the saying. We’d sign an ax murderer if he has ability. He’ll be back. He won’t be back in Atlanta probably but he’ll be back in professional football. You can count on it.”
Watercooler Discussion: If Vick reforms after his prison term (and still has the ability to play) should he be allowed back in the League?No comments
Johan Santana made history with 17 strikeouts in 8 innings this weekend against the Texas Rangers. Got to love this time of year….it seems almost every week some baseball player is putting himself in the history books. Congrats Johan.
Watercooler Discussion: Which teams do you think will make the playoffs?
Watercooler Discussion: Is there anyone playing today that can rival Federer?
Beckham seems to be on his way to earning his exorbitant salary. Saturday night at Giants stadium against the Red Bull New York, Beckham played a full 90 minutes and attracted a crowd of 66,237 people. Even though he didn’t play all that spectacularly (apparently he’s still getting used to artificial turf), he did manage to make some good plays and the game (by soccer standards) was unusually high scoring. With a total of 9 goals (5 for Red Bulls and 4 for the Galaxy), this game marks the first major league soccer match this year and the 10th in League history to record this number of goals.
Watercooler Discussion: Is Beckham changing how soccer is viewed in this country yet?
Pre-season games are here and we can’t help but join the hype in who’s hot and who’s not (and I do mean their performance on the field and not who’s currently dating Paris Hilton). I’m loving the hype, but really more concerned right now with pre-season injuries. I can’t even watch my favorite players take the field in fear that they’ll twist their ankle (which happened a lot around the League this weekend) or worse. With that said, September 6th is the first game of the year and you can be sure I’ll be glued to the TV then!
Watercooler Discussion: Is the Pre-season too long? Does it unnecessarily create more injuries?No comments
The biggest news of the weekend (not that we’re too surprised) was Tiger Woods winning the 13th Major Title of his career. (Golf has four professional majors.) Tiger might lose a tournament here or there just to prove his human, but he has never lost a Major when he’s been in the lead or shared the lead. This is one true sign of greatness. There are certainly other “great” golfers out there, but very few have the mental toughness of Tiger. Only Jack Nicklaus (with 18) has more Major Titles than Tiger.
Watercooler Discussion: Would you consider Tiger one of the greatest athletes of all time or just one of the greatest golfers?
Race car drivers and their fans are normally pretty well behaved…not like other sports (think hockey), but this weekend was a bit unusual. At Watkins Glen, NY, Juan Pablo Montoya and Kevin Harvick got into a huge fight toward the end of the race when another driver, Martin Truex Jr, hit Montoya who then hit Harvick sending both of them in a spin with 15 laps to go. Harvick thought Montoya hit him (not Truex) so he climbed out of his car and started up a fight. And then, oddly enough, a fan jumped the fence during this red flag delay and rushed over to Matt Kenseth with a hat and sharpie and asked for an autograph. By the way, Tony Stewart won the race (third win in four weeks) and is looking like he could be the one to beat when the Chase for the coveted Nextel Cup begins in five weeks.
Watercooler Discussion: Should Drivers be fined for getting into fights during a race?
Did anyone see Pacman Jones’ wrestling debut. I saw a clip then read the story and am still confused. Pacman is suspended from his team, the Tennessee Titans, for the season for violating personal conduct rules including 6 arrests. The most recent of these arrests occurred in February in Las Vegas where he is under indictment for coercion in a fight that caused the bouncer of the club to become paralyzed. Ok, so by all accounts, this man has some “issues”. Why then did he agree to go on a wrestling show when the Tennessee Titans got a court order prohibiting him from wrestling. Apparently he did not fight on screen but had policmen who were actors tackling him off stage.
Watercooler Discussion: Obviously the Pacman wrestling thing was some kind of publicity stunt, but is it just me or is this kind of a strange thing for someone who is already under a lot of scrutiny for being a “hoodlum”?1 comment
Wow, this has been some weekend for baseball. If you’re just waking up and haven’t seen the news all weekend, before you do another thing, you have to be aware that
3 major milestones were achieved this weekend.
1) Barry Bonds (SF Giants) ties the all-time home run record set by the legendary Hank Aaron by hitting 755 home runs. Bonds has been close to tying this record for weeks, leaving everyone wondering just when it was going to happen. Now, we’re just waiting for him to officially break the record (which could happen any day now as well). .
2) Alex Rodriguez (NY Yankees) became the youngest major league player (32 years old) to hit 500 home runs. Taking the field to the theme from the movie “The Natural”, ARod became only the 22nd player ever to reach this milestone. ARod’s had somewhat of a controversial year (although in New York, it’s kind of par for the course). In case you’ve forgotten, ARod and some mystery woman’s picture were splashed all over gossip columns coming and going from various “hot spots”. Not to be outdone, his wife Cynthia became the object of ridicule when she attended a Yankee game (accompanied by their 2 year old daughter) while donning a profanity laced t-shirt). Even with all of his domestic difficulties, he blew a kiss into the crowd (supposedly aimed at his wife and daughter) although his wife was running late and wasn’t in her seat (and the 2 year old wasn’t there because her Mom thought it would be too hot to be at the Park all afternoon). You can’t blame them though….who knew this game against the Kansas City Royals would put him in the record books?
3) And last but certainly not least, Tom Glavine (New York Mets Pitcher) became only the 23rd player in MLB history to win 300 games. This is one of the most prestigious records in baseball. It looks like we’ll be celebrating this milestone for a long time as there doesn’t appear to be anyone else who will hit this milestone for a very long time. The 41 year old Glavine was very gracious after the game and thanked his family for letting him focus on baseball.4 comments