Monday, September 21, 2009

Winners and Losers

The NFL packed another powerful punch in Week 2, with several big winners and several big losers emerging from what we saw all Sunday long across the world's best professional sports league bar none.

The Big Winners:

Rex Ryan. The automated phone call to 55,000 Jets season ticket holders during the week, encouraging them to come out and support the team as hard as they can and hinting at expected victory for the first time against the Cheatriots in New York since 2000. Keeping his rookie quarterback totally in the game and not requiring him to do too much. Holding the Cheats to just 9 points in his first time coaching against Bill Belichik. In fact, giving up just 9 and 7 points in his first two games as head coach. Watch out for the Jets in the biggest sports media market in the world.

Jay Cutler. Cutler didn't exactly play great against the Steelers' vaunted defense, but he sure saved himself a whole world of heartache by throwing the fourth-quarter td pass to Johnny Knox to secure a win this week and stop himself from starting off 0-2 in Chicago. Although Cutler only threw for 236 yards on the day, it was enough to win against a very stingy defense, and more importantly, his line included two tds and no picks, a huge improvement from the 77 interceptions he threw against the Packers at Lambeau last week. Cutler has been redeemed for now, and his Bears are right back in the hunt for the hotly-contested NFC North.

Eli Manning. Say what you want about the guy, but Eli is getting better every single week, and he is downright proficient at leading a 4th-quarter offense. And how 'bout that 360-turnaround play and then accurate throw in the fourth quarter of Sunday night's game against the Cowboys? That was Favre-esque, and by that I mean the athletic, youthful version of Favre we used to see with the Packers several decades ago. Eli's Giants are off to a 2-0 start in the NFC East, and put a serious damper on the opening of the Cowboys' opulent new stadium in Dallas. And special kudos also go out to new Giants starting wideout Mario Manningham, who now has 13 receptions for 208 yards and two touchdowns through his first two games as a starter in New York, helping to fill the void left by the self-shooting Plaxico Burress.

Drew Brees. Wow. Nine touchdowns in two games this year, after easily outperforming all other NFL quarterbacks in 2008 as well in completing 65% of his passes for 34 touchdowns and 5069 yards last season. The Saints are averaging 46.5 points per game to start the season, and with the Panthers playing like dog poop, it looks like the Saints will be talking playoffs (cue the Jim Mora "Playoffs?!" soundbite here) soon enough coming out of the NFC South.

The Losers:

TO. Even with the Bills winning their game this weekend to move to 1-1, TO is quickly picking up right where he left off last year as far as his season being defined more by two blatant drops so far in his first two games than by any actual highlights he's been coming up with. Yeah he scored his first touchdown this weekend, but have you seen his stats so far on the season? We're 1/8 of the way through NFL 2009 already, and TO is at 5 catches for 98 yards and 1 score. Not good. Nor is it good that TO was seen angrily yelling at the fans on the sidelines after his touchdown this weekend, nor suggesting after last week's loss that his quarterback "needs to throw the ball downfield" more. Uh huh, Terrell. Just catch the damn ball.

Tony Romo. 13 of 29 for 127 yards on national tv on Sunday night to open the Cowboys' new gem of a stadium? One touchdown but three picks, all of which led to touchdowns for the Giants on the night? Granted one of the interceptions was a flukey off-the-shoe tip catch by Giants rookie Bruce Johnson, but still, Romo looked like crap on Sunday night, there's just no other way to say it. And how tired are we all getting of having to look at Wade Phillips' obviously confused, beaten-down mug on the sidelines 85 times a game for the Cowboys? Thank god that guy'll be long gone a year from now. Hope everyone likes the idea of Mike Shanahan or Bill Cowher's scowl on those sidelines, because that's what we other NFC East fans will be seeing a lot of starting in 2010.

The Tennessee Titans. The last team to lose a game in 2008 has now started off 2009 at 0-2, thanks to not enough offense and a very poor defensive showing giving up 420 yards against the Houston Texans this weekend. This week's beneficiary was Texans quarterback Matt Schaub, who followed up his awful performance against the Jets in week 1 with a 359-yard, four-touchdown outburst against the defending AFC South champions this Sunday. Also spoiled in the loss was the Titan's Chris Johnson's sick-ass effort, scoring on touchdown runs of 91 and 57 yards on the day in addition to catching a td pass of 69 yards. Now that right there is a fantasy football players' dream, especially the super dumb leagues that award extra points for touchdowns of more than 50 yards.

Special Category: The Loser Winners:

The Washington Redskins. A 9-7 "win", if you can even call it that, over the hapless St. Louis Rams this weekend doesn't even begin to describe the ineptitude shown by both teams at Fedex Field on Sunday afternoon. Skins qb Jason Campbell did throw for 245 yards in the win, but obviously no td passes as four 60-yard drives for the Skins stalled out at or before the red zone without the team notching a single touchdown against a Rams squad who has won only twice in their last 18 games. Daniel Snyder continues his reign of terror in Washington, DC, bringing in an endless parade of overpriced superstars and ineffective coaches to the nation's capital and absolutely wasting his time yet again this year in the NFC East.

And then there are the Raiders, and more specifically, quarterback Jamarcus Russel against the Chiefs in Kansas City. Russell went 7 for 24 for 109 yards on a thoroughly miserable day in the pocket, and yet somehow that was enough to win the game! In fact, this entire game was a total and utter mismatch, with the Chiefs amassing 409 total yards to the Raiders' paltry 166, earning 25 first downs to the Raiders' 11, and holding the ball for nearly 39 minutes to the Raiders' 21, but yet none of this could stop Jamarcus Russel from becoming the second quarterback in more than twelve years to complete less than 30 percent of his passes with a minimum of 20 attempts but still win an NFL game. It's hard to imagine an uglier win than this one, or an uglier franchise than the Oakland Raiders.

And the Biggest Loser of All award goes to:

NBC. What on earth are these guys doing with their Sunday Night Football coverage? This is Dick Ebersol's big plan to keep NBC relevant to the football scene in the U.S.? Faith Hill copying Hank Williams with a ghey pre-recorded song just prior to the coverage of the kickoff? Repeatedly showing the letters "SNF" to promote their own Sunday Night Football brand, also clearly copied directly from the long-standing MNF Monday Night Football moniker? And then, somehow, forbidding the studio commentators from referring to "NBC" at all during the opening segment and at halftime, instead insisting on repeated references to "Football Night in America". Football Night in America? On a day that is chock full from dawn to dusk with NFL football games, Sunday night is now going to be known across the nation and the globe as "Football Night in America"? Keep dreaming, NBC. And keep dreaming that your tagline "I've been waiting all day for Sunday night" will speak to a single viewer of your games, who once again have just spent an entire fucking day watching nothing but NFL football games! Why on earth would any of us be waiting all day for Sunday night? It's one thing to just blindly copy Monday Night Football like a bunch of plagiaristic lemmings, but for crying out loud, use your brains at least a teensy little bit and change the things that don't make any sense whatsoever when applied to Sunday Night Football instead of Monday night. On Mondays, depending on the matchup, I and I'm sure many of you out there do in fact look forward all day to the Monday night game. But on Sunday? I'm surprised they didn't just call their Sunday night broadcast "Monday Night Football" and not change that either when they stole it from ABC. What an absolute joke, top to bottom on NBC's coverage of the Sunday night games.

And NBC, I have a newsflash for you: Keith Olberman and Dan Patrick were really, really cool co-anchors on SportsCenter back in the day. But that was literally 18 years ago now. Today, Keith Olberman is widely regarded as one of the biggest assholes on network tv, so partisan and biased in his unprofessional "reporting" that he had to be kicked off of covering all political events on MSNBC, and NBC viewers don't want to see him anywhere on the network, including on Sunday night football games instead of the refuse pile where his stale ass belongs. And Dan Patrick is, well, old. In 1992 when Patrick used to bust out with "the Whiff" on a strikeout in baseball and "en fuego" to describe Michael Jordan's latest run, it was really new, cool and refreshing. Now Patrick's shtick is just old, and boring. Seriously -- really, really boring. And then to go along with the tired Keith Olberman and Dan Patrick routine, you bring in Tony Dungy and some other guy I've never heard of or seen before to liven things up? I've got some more news for you, NBC. Tony Dungy may be a very nice man, he may have endured a very sad situation with his son. He may have somehow underperformed and got overrated for that underperformance for years as a coach in Tampa Bay and then in Indianapolis. And, he may even have somehow hitched his wagon to Mike Vick this year and yet still, somehow, come away from it all squeaky-clean as ever. And of course Dungy may be a deeply religious man. But, unfortunately for NBC, none of this does anything to make Dungy even remotely interesting as a football commentator. He is just terrible, and the team put together by NBC for the Sunday night coverage is without a doubt the worst of any network, any game, covering football games on television in my entire lifetime. There, I said it.

Your World Champion Philadelphia Phillies' magic number is 6 baybeeee. Bring it on.

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Blogger 1Queens Up1 said...

Rant is 4 years too late on the SNF/FNIA thing.

At least its not Pink doing the opening anymore.

4:14 AM  
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3:18 PM  
Blogger Irongirl01 said...

A non poker HOY rant. Well done sir!!!

Are you bouncing the little hoy boy on your knee while flipping thru the NFL game day package. And does he have an eagles or phillies jersey yet?

11:30 PM  
Blogger Chad C said...

Sunday Night Football got a rating of 16.5 I think. If I am not mistaken that is double than a World Series game 7 would get. Pretty sure NBC could just film a toilet bowl full of John Maddens shit pre game and still get disgusting ratings!!

12:23 PM  

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