"Hell may have no fury like a woman scorned but heaven hath no sweetness like a sports fan vindicated." - Samcat

Thursday, January 31, 2008


(Photo from Reebok)

So Reebok emails me this morning to tell me that they thought that my readers might be interested in knowing that "
Reebok wanted to play off Maroney's childhood nickname "Kool-Aid" in their latest collection. The Kool-Aid collection is complete with sneakers, t-shirts, hoodies and hats. The first three flavors- Grape, Strawberry and Cherry- officially launch on Feb. 1st."

And I thought, normally I don't do posts shilling for things (unless they are brilliantly designed t-shirts and the like by fellow bloggers), but dudes, Laurence Maroney inspired Reebok to design an entire line around Kool-Aid. Which is, well, which is something, that's for damn sure.

Apparently Lomo even has a Kool-Aid decal on his truck and, according to the Globe, the tasty beverage came up during media day as well:

Maroney didn't answer and Jackson walked away, but that kicked off a series of questions from reporters as to what was Maroney's "Kool-Aid" nickname (he even has the Kool-Aid Man on his truck). Some of the give and take:

Reporter: Is Kool-Aid your favorite drink?

Maroney: Yep, if it's made right.

Reporter: How do you make Kool-Aid right?

Maroney: Water and sugar.

Which is all well and good but, I mean, get a load of this new collection. It's certainly...colorful.

Now, if Lomo can get the offensive line to deck themselves out in Cherry, Grape, and Strawberry-hued duds, well, it'll surely be a sight to behold.

I told Amy about the email from Reebok and she said, "Given that she reads your blog, she shouldn't be surprised if you give a plug by writing a skit between Logan Mankins and Lomo debating the merits of Sunny D vs. Kool-Aid." A skit which I then ordered her to write immediately.

Logan: Howdy, Lawrence. What are you drinking?

Lomo: Good afternoon, Logan. I am drinking Kool-Aid, only the greatest beverage in the world.

Logan: Au contraire, mon frere. In my thermoses three, I hold the greatest beverage in the world. And as you can see by my golden, uncolored mustache, I have not been drinking Kool-Aid.

Lomo: Why do you have three thermoses?

Logan: I am pretty large.

Lomo: True that. What is in your thermoses?

Logan: A delight from that glowing orb that gives us warmth and makes crops grow. That ball of fire that reddens the forearms and puts the gleam in Matt Light's hair.

Lomo: /stares blankly

Logan: I am partaking of Sunny Delight.

Lomo: Dude, Kool-Aid totally kicks Sunny D's ass. It has no variety. Kool-Aid? For breakfast, I had grape. For lunch, I had tropical punch. Right now, I am drinking light blue. And light blue is so awesome, they don't even have to tell me what kind of fruit it is made from on account of it is so delicious, I'll drink it anyway.

Logan: But it does not derive its flavors and nutritional benefits from the sun.

Lomo: But Reebok made me a sweatshirt with the Kool-Aid man on it. Where's your Sunny D sweatshirt, man? Did Reebok make you one of those?

Logan: Well, no…

Lomo: I got a hat too. And Sunny D is like $3.99 for a bottle. I can get so much Kool-Aid from one packet and those packets are like a quarter apiece.

Logan: My mother knitted me this Sunny Delight sweater, however. /adjusts overall bib to demonstrate sweater

Lomo: That's real nice, Logan. Let's go see if Coach Belichick will take us to Denny's.

Logan: I do feel the righteous siren song that only a sausage can sing!


Is it Super Bowl yet?

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Am I crazy or is this genius?

...and are those mutually exclusive?

Because, dudes, the Chad Pennington Fathead has been reduced for quick sale. It's an almost reasonably priced $39.95 instead of the normal $99.95.

So, do I or do I not need to somehow own one so that I can implement my brand new party game that I've just invented called "Pin the T-Neck on the Chad?"

I might, right?

And spin-off question: Would this be the weirdest thing in history to put on one's Amazon Wishlist?

Someone help me. This two-week wait is killing me.

Bill Belichick's What Not To Wear

Sometimes Amy and I write for Insite Magazine. Sometimes we are driven mad by the insanity of Super Bowl Week (or two weeks) and we come up with something like the following which can be found in this month's Insite. Which you should read. Because, well, because Billiam would probably want you to. Anyway, without further ado:

Bill Belichick's What Not To Wear

Patriots’ coach Bill Belichick is known for many things. Genius football strategy, open contempt for the media, and the world’s most boring press conferences. And then there’s The Hoodie. The Hoodie has become the most recognizable garment in sports. As such, The Hoodie is a constant point of contention and amusement for fans and media alike. Belichick’s players make fun of it (probably not to his face but would you harass Belichick to his face?), and the media never tires of ragging on Coach Hoodie. So we got to thinking: what would happen if some of the Patriots’ more snappily dressed players nominated Belichick for TLC’s “What Not to Wear?” Aside from the wind sprints they’d likely be forced to run in practice for many long weeks, it would be an excellent time for the viewing audience. Herewith, a transcript:

Stacey London: Now this is a first here on What Not to Wear.

Clinton Kelley: It’s true. We’ve had multiple nominees before and people who’ve been nominated by more than one person.

Stacey: But we’ve never had 53 people all nominate the same person at once! We chose to listen.

Clinton: Well, they’re very large men.

Stacey: The New England Patriots sent us a videotape of their coach, Bill Belichick.

Offensive Tackle Matt Light: The man needs help, clearly. Every day it’s gray hoodie this, windsuit pants that. Come on, man, you’re possibly the best coach ever. Shouldn’t you dress with a little snap?

Stacey: So we secretly filmed Bill Belichick for two weeks and asked him about his personal style.

Bill Belichick: Does anyone have any questions about the Dolphins? Anyone want to talk football? I think I already answered that question. (rolls eyes) My personal style is facing the Dolphins.

Clinton: A tough customer indeed. But What Not to Wear is here to give Bill Belichick a winning look to go with his shiny trophies!

Linebacker Mike Vrabel (holding up one of Belichick’s moth-eaten hoodies): This is the hoodie that the Associated Press Coach of the Year wears on TV. Regularly.

Matt Light: You might think he has a lot of them. But no, there’s just one.

Vrabel: It kind of smells.

Light: Smells like a Denny’s.

Vrabel: Please, What Not to Wear, get Bill some help!

Stacey: So we forced Bill to face his wardrobe in our 360 degree mirror!

Belichick: This sweatshirt covers my skin. It keeps the rain out mostly. I don’t see what the problem is.

Clinton: You don’t see that you look like a homeless man rummaging through barrels of cans and coffee grinds? You don’t see how that could be a problem for a coach of your caliber?

Belichick: No.

Stacey (sarcastically): In that case, why don’t you just wear a bathrobe and fuzzy slippers on the sidelines?

Belichick (deadpan): We need to have a team logo visible. There are rules.

Clinton: And what about this headwarmer you’ve got going on here? What’s this about?

Belichick: It gets cold on the field. This keeps my head warm. Don't know how much time you spend outside in 30-degree weather. Kind of need this though.

Stacey: But you look like a 13-year-old girl on the bunny slope!

Belichick: /stares

Clinton: What about a kicky fedora! A stylish porkpie hat?

Stacey: Think how nice that would look with a sharp pin-striped suit!

Belichick: Look, do you have any questions about football?

Clinton: Here’s what some of your players had to say about you.

Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady: Coach’s style is, um, it’s, singular? I don’t think he spends a lot of time worrying about his clothes. Actually, I’m not sure he ever changes. I think he sleeps in the hoodie and windpants. Easier that way. More efficient. More time to break down film.

Stacey: Now your quarterback was voted as Esquire magazine’s Best Dressed Man IN THE WORLD! Don’t you think he’s qualified to give fashion advice?

Belichick: Someone get Matt Cassel on the phone and tell him to start doing reps.

Cornerback Ellis Hobbs: When we travel, we gotta look fly. There's cameras everywhere. You gotta be fly for the camera. But when I tell Coach Belichick, ‘Hey if we gotta look fly, shouldn't you gotta look fly too?’ he just tells me I gotta run laps. The laps are pretty fly.

Belichick: Maybe if he spent less time worrying about looking ‘fly,’ we’d all spend less time watching him get burned for touchdowns.

Kicker Stephen Gostkowski: I think (voice cracks) that Coach Belichick looks just fine. For his job. And that there isn't. Any problem.

Belichick: Who’s that guy?

Defensive Lineman Richard Seymour: One time Coach let me dress him for a press conference. He wore a pink shirt and a shiny pink tie. Know what happened? We won the Super Bowl. Just sayin’.

Belichick: We won the Super Bowl because I don’t spend time worrying about things like “style” and “fashion” and “people liking me” and “being nice” and nonsense like that. Maybe if my players did the same, we’d win every game by a score of 67-3. This is ridiculous.

Stacey: You know, we've met people who refused to cut their hair. Who thought that their perms were fantastic. Who had sweaters with giant puppies or appliquéd palm trees on them and refused to give them up. But we’ve never met someone who had a bodyguard for his hoodie.

Clinton: We can't help those who won’t help themselves.

Belichichick: Seriously, does anyone have any questions about the Dolphins? Anything about football? No? Then we're done here.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Two Weeks is a Long Time

The thing about the time between the conference championship games and the Super Bowl is that it's really, really, REALLY long. Which, you know, can be good so Tom Brady can staple his foot back on and we can all take a nice, long, buffalo sauce-inspired nap. But it's not so good for our mental states. Because we start making things up (which is no different from the actual media if you think about it). And then we start talking madness. And by the end of it all, we're just really wanting the Super Bowl to start, like now. Of course, we are looking forward to Media Day if for no other reason than watching Laurence Maroney attempt to answer questions from Japanese school children sent to Arizona on a special assignment about American football promises to be the highest of high comedy. But for the time being, we're making crap up and hoping someone remembered to pack Stephen Gostkowski's footie pajamas.

Amy: I've been thinking, and there is no way that Philip Rivers doesn't call himself P-Riv.

Me: Of course he does.

Amy: This is the thing. When the Young Quarterbacks Professional Society meets for their bi-monthly mixers, and Joey Harrington is standing next to the punch with a crippling case of social phobia and Tom Brady is working the room and making everyone feel inadequate and Peyton Manning is only talking to Archie-approved people and Rex Grossman is really glad he just got invited, you know that P-Riv went up to The Chad to strike up on a conversation. And you know that The Chad left that conversation, shaking his head and thinking "Wow, that guy is a douche."
And there is an issue when even The Chad thinks you're a douche.

Me: To be fair, the first thing P-Riv probably said was, "Nice fucking haircut, wuss."

Amy: Then he said, "Teach me to rock a t-neck like you." And The Chad went on for like five minutes before he realized he was being made fun of.

Me: Awwww. This is making me feel sort of bad for Chad Pennington. It feels dirty.

Amy: That's not right at all.

Me: But that's the thing about Chad Pennington. He can only be an alpha-quarterback around the likes of Joey Harrington or like JP Losman and what not. Although I feel like at this year's mixer, people kind of respected Joey Harrington and gave him like nods of solidarity or something because he stepped into that shitstorm in Atlanta and somehow managed not to get himself killed.

Amy: Too bad he fell down when Vince Young fist bumped him.

Me: Honestly, he was scared. He's never allowed in on the celebrations. He thought he was being sacked. His survival instinct took over and he fumbled the ball, dropped to the floor, and curled into a the fetal position.

Amy: Still, he's more likely to be invited back than P-Riv, who made armpit farts during Brett Favre's keynote address.

Me: Oh, absolutely. And Tony Romo who kept loudly asking Tom Brady if his girlfriend's dad was always following them on vacation. And Brady was trying to be respectful and listen quietly because of how much he loves and respects the Favre.

Amy: And Rex Grossman, who broke down crying during the Q & A portion.

Me: No one was sure if it was because of the questions about a cover-2 defense or because Kyle Boller kept giving him Indian burns under the table.

Amy: He hopes no one heard, but those with a keen ear could hear Brett Favre murmur, "Kyle Boller? Really?"

Me: And Steve McNair was in the back of the room, icing his sternum and was all, "Seriously."

Amy: ...Never let it be said we can't take a concept and run with it.

Me: Well, two weeks is a very long time.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Super Stars

(Photo from Boston.com)

The sorriest corner in the league says "How do you like me now, Philip Rivers!"

I wish you could all see the spontaneous dance that Amy and I broke into the second Brady took a knee, sealing the game and the trip to the Super Bowl. It was really something to behold. I believe it consisted of some fist pumping, some head shaking and the uber-clever lyrics, "We're going to the Super Bowl! We're going to the Super Bowl! We're going to the Super Bowl!" Greta sat on the couch between us, protecting her head from flailing fists and dutifully wearing the Doug Flutie jersey in support of tiny athletes everywhere. (Wes Welker obviously being a favorite).

No LaDainian Tomlinson tears of outrage this time. No Shawne Merriman Annual Sack Dance Mocking. No Philip Rivers jawing with fans in the Gillette Stadium parking lot (I mean, I'm guessing). Just a Norv Turner boneheaded decision to give the ball back to the Pats with nine minutes left and essentially, hand over the victory and the season. But it wouldn't be a Norv Turner-coached game without a bonehead play, no?

Brady by no means had a great game. I was loathe to say anything while it was happening but it was disturbingly reminiscent of last year's AFC loss to the Colts and 2005's game against Denver where Brady inexplicably turned decidedly human. Anthony Cromartie end zone interception = Champ Bailey end zone interception and all that. Except not quite. Because the defense, the much-maligned defense even (unfairly, it seems), stepped way up and kept San Diego out of the end zone all day. And as has been said multiple times since, "Field goals don't beat the Patriots. You need touchdowns to beat the Patriots." San Diego wasn't going to get any.

Bob Ryan's piece in the Globe, aside from being hilariously fangirly, "Earth to Norv Turner: HE'S TOM BRADY!" also made a valid point that I, for one, keep forgetting: this, this kind of smashmouth, beat 'em down, take no prisoners, trench warfare football is Patriots football. This is what we do around here. 65-yard bombs to Randy Moss are wonderful and scores of 52-10 are joys to behold, but they're not real things here in New England. Real football things are Laurence Maroney churning out yards in the cold, Kevin Faulk coming up with some huge catches and the defense playing the whole game in gut-check time and keeping the opponent out of the end zone. This is Patriots football. This is what we do. Which is good, because every now and then, Tom Brady is going to turn human momentarily. And a team built solely on his cleft-chin persona and fast-growing legend won't be able to overcome that. But a team that is still giving him crap about the infamous goat picture and that wants, more than anything, to win a Super Bowl for 39-year-old Junior Seau, that team can overcome seemingly anything.

I mean, you'd think that the entire broadcasting community and all commentators contained therein had undergone some kind of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind process with the way they mentioned the non-factor (catch wise) of Randy Moss. Guys, seriously? He's still a new toy. Tom Brady remembers how to play and win football games without him. If he didn't, he wouldn't be Tom Brady.

As for our opponent, I'd have rather had Green Bay. If for no other reason than another sporting event pitting Boston against New York is unnecessary and, sigh, so very, very tired. But also I would love to have a Super Bowl without the presence of a Manning. Unless it's Cooper and he spends the whole time making fun of his baby brother. I'd like to say that the Giants have no business even being in the Super Bowl but I know "any given Sunday" and all that. And, I mean, as a Patriots fan, I can't reasonably bitch about ANYTHING that's gone down this season. I expect the football gods, even in the midst of their unprecedented bounty, have a limit to their benevolence. I didn't really expect to be able to choose our opponent too. So we'll take New York if that's what we're given. And we'll take Bill Belichick, with his group of battle-tested, playoff-tested, Super Bowl-experienced veterans and TWO WEEKS to prepare for Eli Manning. I'll take it.

As for the AFC game, Amy's wings once again proved paramount. Good things happen when she brings out those wings, people. But there were various undertones to the game that also made it excellent and, dare I say, fun. Chief amongst them was the commentary from the announcers to the tune of, "Yes, Philip Rivers has gotten you this far on one good leg without fucking up royally but, you know, that was a nice run and all so you should probably put in Billy Volek now so that Rivers doesn't completely implode and embarrass himself." This, despite the fact that the game was close and I'm pretty sure Rivers, immobile though he was, had only been sacked once at that point. I'm just saying, you're clamoring for BILLY VOLEK when Rivers hasn't done anything egregious. That might betray your confidence in Rivers' abilities just a bit.

Then there were the eleventy trillion and one mentions of LaDainian Tomlinson and the fact that he was located, at that very moment, not on the field of play, but on the sidelines, very much not participating in the game. He wasn't playing, is what we're saying here. Not on the field, Tomlinson is. Not playing. Also? He's on the bench. Endless shots of The Dainian in his giant coat-cape and Ricky Williams-type visor led to an impromptu game of Pimp That Helmet since we're pretty sure that every time they cut to Tomlinson on the bench (not on the field, by the way), something else had been added to that helmet of his. The visor and the coat and the weird cage thingie and then there was a blue mouth guard on the side and he looked like a Storm Trooper all dressed up in formal wear.

"I swear, the next time they cut to him, he's going to have installed tiny spinning rims on the sides of the helmet over the earholes." I said.

"Or possibly a black light, all around the under parts." Greta added.

"Whatever, y'all," Amy said, "I'm just waiting for the bangin' sound system."

Pimp That Helmet: all the rage for bench-bound running backs.

This was followed by a rousing rendition of the new song, "Logan Mankins: You're the One" set to the tune of "Rubber Ducky" and inspired by Phil Simms' comment that Mankins was, apparently, the one. Not sure what he was talking about but honestly, it doesn't matter. Come on, sing along!

Logan Mankins, you're the one.
You make the O-line lots of fun.
Logan Mankins I'm awfully fond of you!

We are not well. Perhaps Amy's putting hallucinogens in her wing sauce.

And did I not tell y'all like a week ago that Kevin Faulk was the unsung hero of this team? I believe I did. I love it when I'm right.

I'm off to watch highlights. Gotta soak it up.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Dude! Dougie totally wants you to come to his awesome bash.

(Photo from Boston.com)

It's official. Doug Mirabelli Appreciation Night (or D-MAN for the cool kids) is happening.

Where: Kowloon Restaurant, duh.
When: Saturday, February 23rd, 8pm
Who: All y'all. Seriously, I'd love to meet any and all of you that want to come. We'll eat some greasy Chinese, drink some strong mai tais, talk Dougie and baseball and possibly plan a bank robbery or two. Red and Denton from Surviving Grady promise to be there (Red also wants me to issue the disclaimer that if you're female, he's going to take a picture of your ass. It's like an initiation). So come on down. Bring any single dudes you know too since I haven't had a date in forever. (Had to).

Do me a favor though and let me know if you're coming. Email me at snowtackle (at) gmail (dot) com. I've given the Kowloon a rough head count and would like to keep them updated if the numbers are going to be vastly different. Especially since they likely have no idea what's about to hit them. Also, Amy has promised to make us all glittery name tags. You don't want to miss out on her glitter pen proficiency, trust me.

And if any of y'all have cars and would be willing to lend your services for a carpool, email me about that as well. Likewise, if you need a ride, get in touch and we'll figure something out. Can't have people missing out on D-MAN because of a little thing like transportation.

We're doin' it up, kids. Embrace the insanity. It's going to be legen-wait for it-dary! Viva la Dougie!

See you there!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Didn't see that coming

Reche Caldwell is clearly surprised by the outcome of today's games.

I could tell you that I drew it up this way, but there's no way you'd believe that. I guess I'll just have to be happy in the knowledge that this entire weekend's slate of games unfolded exactly according to my evil plan. Mwah ha ha ha.

Things have surely changed in the ole' Manning household, eh? Suddenly, Eli is the favorite son and Peyton has been replaced by Matt Leinart. (A theory Amy developed halfway through the season). Of course, this might just pave the way for ever more commercials featuring both Manning brothers like the wholly offensive new one about licking Double Stuff Oreos or something that I really don't want to consider any further.

I am certainly not waving the Bolts flag on a daily basis, especially considering how mouthy they've been at times in regards to the Patriots, but, I mean, you have Rivers' backup Billy Volek tossing a huge pass to someone with the exceptionally awesome name of Legedu Naanee and causing those of us in attendance in my apartment to start spouting random syllables for fifteen minutes while sounding like freakin' Mork from Ork. How could you not be rooting for San Diego at that point?

Greta: Who is that tiny, tiny man?
Me: That would be Rivers' backup, Billy Volek.
Amy: I believe Philip Rivers is shit-talking the Colts fans.
Me: You know, I don't like Philip Rivers, but honestly, I do kind of love that.
Greta: I kind of love their little, tiny quarterback. Short people unite!
(I made Greta wear the Doug Flutie jersey yesterday)
Amy: I mean, they freakin' booed that poor girl in the Patriots jersey. Jerks.
Me: San Diego and their Lilliputian quarterback are clearly trying to protect her honor.
Greta: I think this Volek person is gonna throw up.
Me: The Matt Ryan Victory Boot?
Amy: I love the Matt Ryan Victory Boot!

Things pretty much derailed from there.

Of course, all that "hooray for the Chargers" crap ends now. Actually, it started when Philip Rivers, despite jogging on the sidelines, "Clemensed out of the game,"TM Amy. (Amy would also like you to know that Philip Rivers did not tip her sister when she waited on him in North Carolina. Jerk.)

But the fact remains, Eli Manning: further into the playoffs than Peyton. And all those Colts fans who were interviewed spouting off on TV last night about their hotly contested rematch with the Patriots next week likely feel mighty stupid right now. Which, you know, is amusing.

As for the NFC side of things, I am certainly not what you'd call a Giants fan. Mostly because Boston and New York and virtually all things contained within including their sports teams just do not like each other. More often than not, it's an antagonistic relationship. But frankly, I know lovely people who feel about the Giants the way I feel about the Patriots and, well, I'm not such a huge fan of Tony Romo or Terrell Owens and really, Jerry Jones? Get back in your box. So at least my friends are happy. Plus, Eli Manning: further into the playoffs than Peyton. Nope, still funny.

I'm sure much will be made this coming week about how the Patriots now have a clear path to the Super Bowl, but I am loathe to make any such claims. I think that might've been what Indy did today and the truism still remains: any given Sunday. That, and the Chargers likely have revenge on their minds as the Pats took them out in last year's playoffs against the odds and somehow offended Shawn Merriman to his very core by allegedly mocking his "Lights Out" dance or something. You'll forgive me if I don't remember specifics as I was in the midst of a two-week Ebola-like virus issue at that time and I'm not positive that I didn't hallucinate that entire game. My point is, the Chargers are likely angry and fired up. Which, you know, proceed with caution.

But if there's one thing I've learned about football this weekend, it's that I'm never allowed to watch a football game again without the delicious addition of Amy's buffalo wings. Not if I want the game to turn out the way I'd like it to turn out. Those wings are magic, y'all. Plus? Did I mention delicious?

Happy Upset Sunday, everyone.


(Photo from Boston.com)

I remember saying to my dad after the Giants game a few weeks ago that sometimes watching this Patriots team is like watching the last two minutes of a basketball game. Things are fairly tight and close and then, all of a sudden, it's like the team collectively goes, "All right, enough futzing around. Let's do this thing." Then they go out there and score 14 points or make a huge defensive stand or force a turnover or something. More than likely, that's the result of their excellent coaching and their ability to make snap adjustments. But honestly sometimes it just looks as if someone flipped a switch.

Now when my dad called me after the game last night, he contended that the switch-flipping happened on the Garrard fumble recovered by Mike Vrabel that resulted in the Patriots' second touchdown. But then, my dad has long been championing Mike Vrabel as the unsung hero of this Patriots' team. Myself? I think it might've been Brady's Statue of Liberty "Kevin has the ball, OH WAIT NO, HERE IT IS!" trickery that netted Wes Welker a touchdown in the back of the endzone during the third quarter. My reasoning being that the game was still too close for comfort at the time of the Vrabel play, huge though it was. Because the defense still had problems stopping Garrard. Interesting that the running tandem of Jones-Drew and Taylor that had cost me so much sleep during the week ended up not being the problem but that when forced to throw the ball, Garrard more than rose to the challenge.

But regarding the Brady shenanigans, Belichick mentioned in his post game interview that it was a play they'd run against Jacksonville previously and they thought they'd try it again. So, like the long bombs to Moss twice in a row that burned the Giants two weeks ago, Jacksonville bit on the same play and was burned both times (in fairness, I don't recall the first time that worked). In the parlance of the kids and their internets today, "Pwned!"

What it did remind me of was the direct snap to Kevin Faulk in the Super Bowl against the Panthers that resulted in a successful 2-point conversion. Safe to say that Brady's acting has gotten significantly better since then. But Belichick, being interviewed on Letterman after the Super Bowl win (imagine coaxing a laugh out of that guy), spouted some mumbo jumbo about success rates and point spreads and blah, blah, blah until Letterman just said, "No. It's because you're the smartest."

Maybe he's right.

Belichick and Brady get the lion's share of he credit around these parts and it's well-deserved, but occasionally, I like to make the case for a player who doesn't get interviewed at the podium during the post game or talked about in the papers. Most of the season it's been Wes Welker who has, in my opinion, allowed Randy Moss to be as deadly as he's been. (And who also looks amusingly like Mr. Incredible at times).
But last night I honestly had a hard time choosing. Could have been Benjamin (he prefers "Benjamin," you know?) Watson and his two touchdown passes as I have long lamented the case of cement hands with which he often finds himself afflicted. Could have been Laurence Maroney who seems to have learned in short order how to be a slot receiver as well as a running back. (And is it amusing to anyone else when his teammates refer to him as "Laurence"? I always expect them to have a snappy nickname for him or at least to call him "Lomo" since, you know, I do, and we're clearly on the same wavelength, the Patriots and me). Or it could have been Jabar Gaffney who, as Brady pointed out, no one noticed but he was throwing blocks all night, allowing his teammates to spring for big gains. (And seriously, when did he get so damn adorable?) But I'm going with Kevin Faulk who, truth be told, could have been considered expendable at the beginning of the season with the acquisition of Sammy Morris and the predicted re-emergence of Lomo. At 31, Faulk isn't quite the Old Man River I'd assumed he was, but he's also no spring chicken. And I'd be hard-pressed to find a more selfless player than he is.

So now David Garrard can go back to being delightful and we can hunker down and lay in the emergency supplies and K-rations for next weekend's apocalyptic football. Colts fans seem to be salivating over the possibility of a rematch, apparently unconcerned with the ways of karma and counting their chickens. Plus they're already blabbering on about the Colts being "classier" than the Patriots or something because I guess they've appointed themselves the moral arbiters of the NFL. I must have missed that memo. Also? Spare me. And so, despite the fact that I am no big fan of Phillip Rivers and Shawn Merriman, I hope they run all over the Colts today and send them packing. It seems unlikely but in what Amy has dubbed "The Bitch Bowl" for the frequent bitch-faces so often employed by Peyton Manning and Philip Rivers alike, I suppose anything is possible.

For now, I'm going to be thankful that I can continue watching football for at least another week, and I'll spend the downtime creating elaborate scenarios wherein Bill Parcells becomes puppetmaster coach of the Dolphins by mid-season next year "Dance for me, Cleo Lemon, dance!" and what it was, exactly, that Bill Belichick said to Josh McDaniels to get him to refuse all offers of interviews by other teams interested in him as a head-coaching prospect.

Amy: Probably he just wordlessly handed him a picture of Eric Mangini.
Me: Or quietly asked how his children were doing. "And that pretty little wife of yours. How's she faring these days, Joshua?"
Amy: Billiam is scary.
Me: Would you cross him.
Amy: I shudder even to think about it.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

You are cordially invited...

(Photo from Queer Eye for the Red Sox Guy)

...to Doug Mirabelli Appreciation Night

When: Sometime in February, to celebrate the opening of spring training when pitchers and catchers (including Dougie) will report. Specific date TBD.
Where: Kowloon Restaurant, Saugus, MA
Who: Anyone who wants to join us for an evening of pupu platters, egg rolls, fried rice, delightful baseball talk and, let's face it, probably some shenanigans.

I am not even close to kidding about this, kids. Multiple sources are reporting that Doug Mirabelli is coming back for another year with the Sox. To celebrate, we're doin' it up Dougie's Diary style. We get enough people on board and maybe we can get one of those embarrassing banquet rooms with private waiters. The Kowloon has a banquet menu, people. We can make this happen.

I'm serious. Who's with me? I've already told my brother - possibly the world's biggest Mirabelli fan - that his presence will be required. If you're nice I can probably hogtie some other local bloggers into participating. First ever Basegirl-sponsored restaurant tomfoolery. You in?

For reals, if you think you'd be down, email is on the side or you can just leave a comment. I'll post the date once the planning committee (consisting of myself and my usually drunk friends) chooses one.

And if, for some reason this deal doesn't go through - like maybe if Dougie fails his physical due to too many Kowloon egg rolls pre-weigh in, we'll do this anyway, as a tribute to Boston's beloved backup backstop. We kid because we love.

See you there!

Monday, January 07, 2008

Jaguars on Tap

(Photo from NFL.com)

It's probably time for me to admit it: Maurice Jones-Drew scares the hell out of me. I'm scared of the rest of the Jaguars too. Especially considering David Garrard's frequent Houdini acts against the Steelers and my belief that Jack Del Rio - while looking like he would play a not altogether wholesome softball coach in a Lifetime movie - is underrated in the NFL. But mostly it's Jones-Drew. Because he's a good runner and the Pats are not so much with the stellar run defense this season.

Logic dictates that on Saturday evening I should have been rooting for the Steelers since the smart money states that the Pats could likely have handled them (again) fairly easily. But when have I ever been logical? I just cannot, in good conscience, pull for the Steelers. Unless they're playing the Colts. In which case Team Rogue Meteorite is preferable but I'd take the Steelers under pain of death. But I'm a Pats fan and a Pats fan rooting for the Steelers feels like...it just feels wrong. Like I would have needed a shower afterwards. Judging by the legions of Patriots hat-wearing bar patrons on Saturday who were loudly letting the world know what they think of Roethlisberger and company, I was not the only one. And before you send me your hate mail, Steelers fans, (of which I've been getting a lot lately), think honestly if you'd ever cheer for the Patriots in any situation. I'm guessing not. And I wouldn't expect you to. Look, some of us are just not meant to like each other's teams. That's how it goes.

Bye week notwithstanding the Pats weren't completely out of the news as Brady and Belichick won the league MVP and Coach of the Year awards respectively. I, of course, take issue with neither of these things. I don't even take issue with the sole first place vote that Brett Favre got. Any other season and Favre is right at the forefront of the discussion. It's just, this is Tom Brady's season is all. Amusing that the media that has spent all bloody season lambasting Belichick and raking him over the coals still saw fit to award him the Coach's award but really, not surprising since the media is nothing if not fickle.

Now, because we like football and because we also like beer, Amy and I spent about eight hours at the bar on Saturday which is a record even for us. This bar has become something of a regular haunt for us and we're now recognized by the bouncers and bartenders alike (shout out to Ron and new friend Sean) who never card us and always know which table we'll be occupying for the duration of the evening. But when we spend that much time at the bar, sometimes we end up talking about very bizarre things. Like Mike Tomlin's playoff smoky eye. Or how the dude at the end of the bar in the yellow polo shirt looks like the love child of Peyton Manning and Brian Cashman (headwarmer not included). And sometimes we develop alternate sports or pastimes of our very own.

Amy: Was it just me or did we not have the sassiest ref ever during the Giants game?

Me: I'm not sure. Since I'd lost hearing in my right ear and was bleeding from my left eye.

Amy: You were sick?

Me: No, I just experienced firsthand what it was like to go insane.

Amy: Oh, right, well anyway, the ref was totally sassy. He was all *pops hip to side* "Holding, defense, five yards" *swings arms in flamboyant circle* "Automatic first down!"

Me: I feel like the refs should have their own workout show or something.

Amy: Or perhaps a series of videos.

Me: Jazzercise, maybe.

Amy: YES.

Me: Why aren't we rich yet?

Amy: Because we spend eight hours at the bar drinking and watching football?

Me: Fair point.

We then discussed how positively delightful David Garrard appears in his interviews and how, we'd lay bets, he has no fewer than three holiday-themed sweaters in his closet.

"He just seems like an incredibly nice man," I said, "with no ego or anything."

"What if we end up playing the Jaguars?" Amy asked.

"Screw that guy," I said.

Amy replied, "He just got 793% less delightful."

In addition to turning my rooting interests on a dime, I suspect I've also giving myself carpal tunnel or something with all the knocking on wood. The NFL and seemingly everyone else has appeared hell-bent on jinxing the Patriots with their endless "Path to Perfection" visuals and dramatic Crimson Tide-style musical score and mostly it just makes me want to hide under the table. I think various members of my family are convinced I have OCD now since virtually anything out of a sportscaster's mouth regarding the Patriots "inevitable" rematch with the Colts in the AFC championship game has me lunging for the nearest wooden surface, knuckles poised. Look, I get that I'm a ridiculous human being, but that seems unlikely to change. At least right now, no psychiatric help is necessary. Provided, of course, that our table at the bar remains available.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Way to start the new year off right

(Photo from NFL.com)

First of all, happy new year! I do so hope you all enjoyed yourselves.

Secondly, thank goodness for internets. You don't realize how dependent you become on it until you don't have it for a week. Then it's like a phantom limb. You can still feel it, and you sit there, reaching for your laptop to Wikipedia something random like "depth charges" (What? I was watching a submarine movie), and then you realize you have no internet and therefore will have to remain in the dark until the nice Comcast man comes to fix things for you.

Of course, all that time I spent disconnected from the rest of the world did afford me the opportunity to think about this Patriots team and try to put into perspective exactly how good they are. Historically good. Monumentally good. Quite possibly the best ever. I say "quite possibly" because there are some people still arguing about the 2007 Patriots' place in history. Some of them are the 1972 Miami Dolphins who, honestly, need to get the hell over themselves. Yes, I realize that the Patriots need to win the Super Bowl to validate the undefeated regular season, but why none of the Dolphins seem to want to acknowledge the fact that completing an undefeated season in the salary cap era is damn near impossible is beyond me. The bottom line is that the season that the 1972 Dolphins completed was impressive, yes, it still is. But it was not as difficult to do as what the Patriots just did.

As for the game itself, it's not like this would be the first time this season when I said "Honestly, I thought they were going to lose." I said that against Baltimore and Philadelphia and sometime, during the second week of the season when the Bills were up 7-0 early in the game, I think I'd convinced myself that the Patriots were going to lose every game for the rest of the season. No one ever said I was a rational fan. But on Saturday, I really thought that was it. When Randy Moss dropped that first long bomb from Brady (and it
was a drop, despite what the ever-professional Brady contends), I figured that was it. "Well," I told myself, trying to rationalize, "if they're going to lose, it has to be this game." But then Brady went back to the air, Moss went off streaking down the sidelines and Brady hit him in stride, where Moss raced uncontested to the endzone, taking two NFL records with him. And that's when I thought, "Well..maybe." Of course, that was the record, so it would have been a big deal regardless of the score. The team mobbed Brady and Moss, finally acknowledging, at least a little bit, what they'd just accomplished. Tedy Bruschi was shown on the sidelines, head tilted to the sky, and yelling in excitement. Moss was all smiles. But like Beth, I noticed that Brady, despite the celebratory pounding he took from his offensive line, never lost focus. His entire body language spoke of a task not yet completed. "We're going for two."

When he was finally afforded a moment to breathe - and perhaps to send a text message to Peyton Manning "pwned!!" - he spent it putting his jersey back on, as his offensive line, in the grand Manny Ramirez tradition, had somehow managed to strip him of half his uniform.

And that's when, after I sat down and regained focus, I realized that the team that's going to knock off Goliath is probably not going to get burned on the same long pass play twice in a row. True, they were different plays. The initial long pass to Moss was called as such and the second play, according to Belichick, was a 9-Route designed for Wes Welker to gain some short yardage. And that's fine, but the Giants double covered Welker, leaving Moss wide open. And if Randy Moss going long is Tom Brady's
second option, well, he must have thought it was Christmas all over again. Fitting, I guess that both the NFL passing and receiving touchdown records were broken on the same play, a spectacular one at that. Because that encapsulates the Patriots' season, and further brings into focus how good Tom Brady is, not only now, but how good he's been in the previous six years when his go-to receivers were guys like Reche Caldwell and David Patten. No disrespect to those guys but, as Randy Moss said following the Miami game when he was asked about the double coverage he faced all game, "Well, I'm Randy Moss." Truer words, my friend.

Of course, if it were up to me, the record setting football would be split in thirds, with 1/3 going to Moss, 1/3 for Brady and the remaining 1/3 going to offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. Though I'm not sure how difficult it is to call "Tom, throw it to Randy," over and over again.

None of this is to say that the game was not without drama or concern. The 35 points the defense allowed were the most they'd allowed all season and the defense, once again, looked old and slow. The Giants certainly didn't rest anyone and gave the Pats all they could handle. And all credit goes to them for that. Of course, Belichick will spend the next two weeks kicking the team's asses from here to Seattle and back but there is still cause for concern. I tell myself that the offense cooled down a bit over the past six games or so because they were pressing for the record. That's why we saw Brady go to Moss so many times when probably, another play would have had a higher probability of resulting in points. We saw it in the Miami game and we saw it again in the Giants game. Because I don't believe for a second that Brady didn't want that record all to himself. He can give lip service all he wants to team accomplishments and wins and all that, and I don't think he's lying, but he's also human (all evidence to the contrary notwithstanding) and he, like most of us, wants to be the best. And he wants to put the numbers and stats arguments to rest. So, you know, now he has. I guess all those long bombs were worth it.

So now we have a week of watching highlight films and wondering whether we're going to be facing Pittsburgh, Jacksonville or Tennessee in the Divisional Playoff game in two weeks. Until this weekend's games are over, I guess it doesn't really do any good to obsess over potential matchups or to stress about the game. That's Bill Belichick's job. My job, it appears, is to keep making things happen with my mind (like the Tom Brady Smart Water ad where he appears to be dressed as a spy disembarking from a helicopter), and to wonder why someone in my building would throw away a perfectly good Doug Flutie Patriots jersey. Have these people no respect?