Big weekend in sports coming up. NLCS, ALCS, NFL, College Football, BCS implications, Rivalries, Cross-town Rival High School Games (somewhere probably), tailgating, etc. Lot of action. Lot. Of. Action.
Did you know Kate Hudson’s dad, Kurt Russell, was a pretty good minor league baseball player before blowing apart his shoulder and returning to his acting career?
So that’s baseball. It’s also a huge weekend in the NFL.
Spotlight on New Orleans where the undefeated Saints play the undefeated New York Giants. It bothers me when radio and TV people say it’s going to be Drew Brees versus Eli Manning. It’s not. Brees and Manning will never be on the field at the same time until they do a man hug at the end of the game.
In the college game this weekend USC travels to South Bend to play Notre Dame. Jimmy Clausen and Matt Barkley are another QB vs QB favorite match-up for the guys in the studios. So is Sam Bradford vs Colt McCoy when the Oklahoma Sooners and Texas Longhorns go at in the Red River Rivalry. Those two teams love each other.
Boise State already narrowly survived Tulsa and Cincinnati took care of South Florida to keep the hopes of BCS haters alive that someone outside of the Big Ten, Pac-10, SEC, Big 12, or ACC will make a run at the Championship Game.
Tim Tebow is probably receiving accolades somewhere, too.
It is a big weekend for sports. October is a terrible month for marriages and TV remote control control. This is my first October as a married guy. I think it will be important to set a precedent for future years that the MLB playoffs and the NFL and big college football games will be watched. So when I lose this battle, somebody please be prepared to link me to some highlights and provide detailed and accurate recaps.
Forget my Fansedge blogging debut â€“ Iâ€™m done with baseball. Whether a function of my beloved Chicago Cubs ruining the sport or my poor attempt at predicting the playoffs – (enjoy your baseball-shaped bruise Matt Holliday and well-played Kevin Gregg impersonation Jonathan Papelbon) Iâ€™m tired of baseball and I absolutely do not have the patience for Chip Carey any longer.
But back to me. If I wasnâ€™t ready to focus all my faculties on the NFL last week, I am all-in today.
Can you believe weâ€™re almost a third of the way into the season? Weâ€™ve already seen multiple shockers and utter disappointments.
Iâ€™d be lying if I considered myself a Clint Eastwood buff â€“ big Gran Torino fan â€“ but here’s my take on the NFLâ€™s â€śThe Good, The Bad and The Ugly.
In Sergio Leoneâ€™s film, Eastwood plays Blondie – “The Good,” a bounty hunter in pursuit of buried gold.He survives numerous â€śstandoffs,â€ť in his successful pursuit for the treasure. In a season with arguably the largest talent gap in league history, only a select few have a legitimate shot of collecting their bounty. I call these teams…bear with me: the unbeatens. The New Orleans Saints, Minnesota Vikings, Indianapolis Colts, New York Giants, and the Denver â€“ yes, Denver â€“ Broncos. All five of these teams remain undefeated and all five have a legitimate shot of hoisting the Lombardi Trophy in Miami. The Saints finally have some semblance of a defense to match Drew Breesâ€™ arm. Add in the return of Pierre Thomas on the ground and the exciting, yet enigmatic Reggie Bush in the return game and the Saints have the pieces to go marching. Their only obstacle could be a Kardashian or two â€“ but looks like Lamar Odom has that covered.
I donâ€™t know what’s more intimidating to a Vikings opponent, lining up opposite Adrian Peterson or Jared Allen? The â€śAdonisâ€ť or the â€śmean mullet?â€ť The only thing holding either player back is their equipment. Throw in a weak division and some guy named Favre â€“ and the Vikings could rack up some serious victories.
Next up: Manning Bowl.
Licking Oreoâ€™s ainâ€™t the only thing these Louisiana boys do well. Eli Manning and the Giants are running over teams, literally. Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw are putting games out of reach by halftime. But the Giants have capitalized on a ridiculously soft schedule, so I’ll give them the next month (@NO, AZ, @PHI, and SD) to really prove themselves.
Name me an adjective that has yet to be said about Peyton Manning – I dare you. The man is putting up career numbers with guys named Pierre Garcon and Austin Collie at the line of scrimmage. And he is currently on pace to overtake Dan Marinoâ€™s single season passing yards record â€“ by 200 yards. Wow. In related news, I hope Marvin Harrison has a great view from a barstool somewhere in Philadelphia.
Whatâ€™s the more hideous Kyle Orton accessory: last weekâ€™s throwback jersey or the neck beard? Either way, nobody around Mile High is complaining about Broncos coach Josh McDaniels any longer. He may be younger than many of the players he coaches and enraged an entire fan base before ever stepping onto the sideline, but boy has his team, and Brandon Marshall in particular, responded. Has there been a better moment this season than McDaniels post-game, on-field cheer lead after the victory over New England? Can you even imagine something like that from Wade Phillips? I’d rather not.
A ruthless sociopath, Angel Eyes – “The Bad,” is set on the murder and pillage of a nation…until Eastwood steps in. Unfortunately for the teams in this category â€“ Eastwood has spoken.
Iâ€™ll keep this short and give each team the effort theyâ€™ve given their fans.
The Chiefs are improving, but Matt Cassel has a long way to go before justifying his contract. Andâ€¦hello? Dwayne Bowe – he’s big, strong and fast. Maybe youâ€™ve heard of him.
Can we please stop calling Tennessee the best winless team ever? How long can that last? If you’re a Titans fan, hopefully not as Kerry Collins grip on the starting quarterback job. Ladies and gentleman, the Vince Young era returns! Not that anybody says that’s a good thing…
The Rams have been outscored by 112 points. That is three more points than the Chiefs and Titans â€“ combined. 112 points!
The week after Greg Olson, Tampa Bayâ€™s second offensive coordinator this season, called Cadillac Williams a â€ścomplete playerâ€ť and â€śevery down backâ€ť â€“ he ran for eight yards on 10 carries.
Did you see the â€śhighlightsâ€ť from the Bills-Browns game? Head coaches Dick Jauron and Eric Mangini, respectively, should be the first two coaches on the unemployment line â€“ and deservedly so. Braylon Edwards hit the lottery and took his fumbling hands elsewhere, could Terrell Owens be next?
Which leads me to the Oakland Raidersâ€¦
In the film, Tuco – “The Ugly,” is a vulgar and comical bandit wanted by the authorities.
Sounds a lot like the Oakland Raiders. Itâ€™s time somebody relinquishes this team from the ageless wonder, Al Davis.
Their quarterback, JaMarcus Russell, has brought new meaning to the word â€śbust.â€ť The former no. 1 overall pick is completing 40% of his passes â€“ worst in the league. He has one passing touchdown. And has thrown for 600 yards. Thatâ€™s a quarterback rating of 47.1 which, miraculously, is not the lowest in the league (Derek Anderson currently holds the honor). Making matters worse, the Raiders know he is terrible. Despite losing 44-9 to the Giants, Russell attempted just 13 passes â€“ a NFL low for team attempts that lost by 35 or more.
Their head coach, Tom Cable, may face criminal charges for reportedly breaking the jaw of an assistant in preseason. The case is now in the hands of the Napa County district attorney. Maybe the authorities can do us all a favor and place the entire roster behind bar.
The state of California vs. the Oakland Raiders.
Poor personnel decisions and offensive ineptitude – facing charges of up to three years in prison and a potential move back to Los Angeles.
So there you have it â€“ â€śThe Good, The Bad and The Ugly.â€ť Time to pop in a movie.The popcorn’s ready.
It was a feast or famine week in the NFL for most teams in Week 5. Some teams looked great in victory, some looked ugly in victory and some looked truly disastrous in defeat.
I hope you found that Miles Austin and Jeremy Maclin were available when you checked to see if they were on the waiver wire in your fantasy leagues this morning. And I also hope that you are in last place so you can pick one of them up or that the guy who is in last place has already given up and hasnâ€™t checked his team since drafting Matt Forte second overall and starting the year 0-3.
Miles Austin caught a few passes and then ran all over, through, and aroundthe Kansas City Chief defense for 250 yards receiving on Sunday. Covering Austin must not have been high on Mike Vrabelâ€™s to-do list this week when he and a few other Chief veterans took over practice after Head Coach Todd Haley pulled his coaching staff off the field because he was so frustrated with how poorly the team was practicing. Also not high on the Chief to-do list: tackling, taking the proper angle of pursuit, running fast, Gatorade baths for the coach.
Austin and the KC D made Tony Romoâ€™s day. He just had to lob it out there and then sit back and watch his passing yards run down the field to an overtime win. Not a bad way to go. It sure beats trying to jam a ball into Sam Hurd with Champ Bailey covering him in the end zone on the last play of the game.
Haley chose to kick the PAT after Matt Cassel drove his team down the field for a TD with less than a minute remaining. Had he opted to go for 2 and been successful, the story today would have been a) Tom Bradyâ€™s former backup rallying his team late in the game and leading to them victory b) Tony Romo is terribleâ€¦blah blah blahâ€¦The Cowboys are terribleâ€¦TO somehowâ€¦Thereâ€™s a huge screen in Dallasâ€¦Jerry Jonesâ€¦Jessica Simpsonâ€¦Wade Philips. But, Haley kicked it and then lost in OT so now we talk about Austin.
Do the bad teams in the NFL look worse than usual this season? Maybe that is just a thought that has been rattling around my brain the last few weeks. But it sure was reinforced and highlighted by these six games:
The six favorites (also the six teams who won) had a combined record of 20-5 coming into the weekend and the underdogs (the losers on Sunday) had a combine record of 2-22. The only favored team of those six playing at home was the Giants. After the weekend the winners are 26-5 and the losers are 2-28.
I would like to say that the Buffalo and Cleveland defenses were just so stout and beat up on each other so hard they held the offenses to a 6-3 final score, but thatâ€™s not remotely the case. Derek Anderson played the complete game on Sunday and completed only 2 of his 17 passesâ€¦ and his team won! Thatâ€™s about the same as when in pool you have all of your balls left on the table and your opponent scratches on the 8 ball to lose. You didnâ€™t deserve to win, but you did.
2-17! This is the guy to whom Brady Quinn lost his job. When I was checking on my fantasy team Sunday afternoon, I was convinced that that stat must have been a typo or a mistake. No way can an NFL QB in a NFL offense with NFL wide receivers complete only 2 of 17 passes.
Also perplexing was that Oakland only threw the ball 13 times while getting trounced by the Giants 44-7. Coach Tom Cable clearly has more confidence in his right cross than he does in JaMarcus Russell. Keep in mind also that the team was playing without Darren McFadden at running back.
The Minnesota Vikings avoided faltering against a weak team after two back-to-back thrilling weeks. They jumped out to a 14-0 lead on St. Louis in the first half of the first quarter. Adrian Peterson scored twice, Brett Favre threw for a touchdown pass, and Jared Allen recovered two fumbles, returning one for a TD. Favre turned 40 last week and joins some punters and kickers in the 40+ club. Percy Harvin led the Vikings in receiving. Ram WR Donnie Avery scored a TD in the 4th on a pass from Kyle Boller to bring the Rams within 28 points and then celebrated with a solo dance in the end zone. His teammates apparently werenâ€™t up for a TD dance down 28 points. Steven Jackson went for 84 yards on 21 carries but still hasnâ€™t found the end zone yet this season.
Marc Bulger returned late in the game after Boller left with an injury. Bulgerâ€™s return to the field and the fact that Boller started again when Bulger was ready to play should create something of a QB controversy in St. Louis. The bigger controversy in St. Louis though is Rush Limbaughâ€™s bid to buy the Rams. Most shocking about this story is that someone actually wants to buy the St. Louis Rams.
Matt Hasselbeck returned from injury to throw for 4 TDâ€™s in a Seattle Seahawk beat down of the Jacksonville Jaguars. I donâ€™t get the Jags. They nearly beat the Colts in Week 1, then lost to Arizona in Week 2. They beat Houston and Tennessee after that to get to 2-2 and make people think that maybe they could put together a respectable season. Then they didnâ€™t show up at all on Sunday and lost 41-0. Their season is kind of like the acting career of John Cusack. They won a few games, but other than that itâ€™s been ugly. There was Say Anything, Being John Malkovich, and High Fidelity, and then there was everythingthat happened after that. In case you havenâ€™t seen 20 or 30 previews for it, he is in a disaster movie (pun may or may not be intended) about the world ending in 2012. So donâ€™t sweat not getting the Olympics in 2016, Chicago, they wouldnâ€™t have happened anyway.
Despite taking the loss, Jet fans have to be a little bit excited about Braylon Edwards and his 64 yards and 1 TD effort after being on the team for about 100 or so hours. Mark Sanchez should benefit from having that threat line up next to him in the coming weeks.
I was sitting with my wife watching a football game a few weeks ago and she was noticing that a lot of guys pat each other on the butt after a play or on the sideline. She found it strange and asked me why. I said I didnâ€™t know, itâ€™s just what guys do on the football field. This is an aspect of the game that goes unquestioned and mostly unnoticed. But what does not go unquestioned or unnoticed is Bill Belichekâ€™s hugging habits after and before games.
Has any manâ€™s hugs or handshakes been more analyzed and scrutinized than Bill Belichickâ€™s? The talking heads on TV and the voices on the radio love talking about how this man hugs other men. First it was Eric Mangini and the hugs or handshakes after games when the Jets played the Patriots. This year it is the hug that Belichick shared with Bronco Head Coach Josh McDaniels before the game and the hug that they did not share after the game.
Is he sincere enough at the traditional mid-field Head Coaches handshake/man hug after every game? Does he blow them off? What kind of hug is it? Who does he hug and who doesnâ€™t he hug?
I have a better question. Who cares? This is the sports equivalent to celebrity tabloids reporting an encounter between two rival heiresses at a Hollywood night club. Apparently both men and women love a good soap opera.
Josh McDaniels has taken over a volatile situation in Denver with a quarterback who looks like he dropped out of Stillwater. He reigned in Brandon Marshall and started the season 5-0 after beating his mentor and the New England Patriots. Tom Brady had a costly and uncharacteristic late game fumble. Randy Moss caught only one ball and it was an interception on a hail mary at the end of the first half.