January 22, 2010

NFL Conference Championship Week Picks

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After only one game last week that was remotely close, we can only hope for better games this weekend. Interestingly, the second week in a row that the one game we were all in agreement on we all lost (Cincinnati over Jets in wild card round; Chargers over Jets in divisional round). No such game this week.

Brien (2-6-0)
INDIANAPOLIS (-8) over NY Jets - The Colts have been quietly dominant this year, and I don't think the Jets defense can contain Peyton Manning (even if Revis does shut down Reggie Wayne)

Minnesota (+3.5) over NEW ORLEANS - Maybe Favre won't have a breakdown this January. I just think the pressure on the Saints is too high and they're likely to falter.

Jason (1-6-0)

Wait, I got one right?

INDIANAPOLIS (-8) over New York Jets - The Jets can win if and only if they can get to Manning. Shutting down Wayne, as the Ravens proved, is such a tiny part of the puzzle. If Indy gets a 10-point lead, rookie Sanchez emerges and the game gets out of hand.

NEW ORLEANS (-3.5) over Minnesota - DoYouKnowWhatItMeans's Avatar

Jeremy (5-3-0)
Looks like nobody should've talked trash about my picks last week. Hell, I've very nearly clinched at least a tie for the playoff picking win. Russell is just lucky he unabashedly copied my picks Wild Card Weekend.

New York Jets (+8) over INDIANAPOLIS - I like the Colts to win the game but I'll take the points here. I am a believer in Revis' ability to singlehandedly keep this game from being a shootout and the Colts don't have much of running attack, thereby keeping points low. I am a believer in Peyton Manning's ability to win in the playoffs.

NEW ORLEANS (-3.5) over Minnesota - Tough to pick against the Vikings when they have so many weapons on offense. That being said, while both the Vikings and the Saints won impressively and dominatingly last week, I was more impressed by the Saints' performance and think the Superdome will be an insanely hostile environment - this game will actually be influenced by home field.

Russell (3-5-0)
NY Jets (+8)
Minnesota (+3.5)

Brien: IND, MIN
Jason: IND, NO
Jeremy: NO, NYJ
Russell: MIN, NYJ

January 19, 2010

A Ravens Fan Response to "United We Stand"

I'm the lone Ravens fan in the mix here. I don't feel any tie to the Colts, but I do feel a tie to Unitas, Donovan, Berry, etc and I definitely spent a lot of time as a kid in Memorial Stadium rooting for the O's. I do not feel like the team, the colors, or the uniform have any emotional impact on me, though.

I do agree about the records though. Until Jeremy vomited this burgundy-and-gold tinged post, in my head the Colts had won one Super Bowl. This does drive home that they do in fact claim Super Bowl V. I guess because I separate the two in my head, I don't think of how the NFL has jobbed us. I know I didn't see a 19 hanging from the rafters in Indy, but that would have pissed me off too.

I think we Baltimore fans (I'm from Salisbury so I can't claim to be a native, but I do live in the city now) are in a tough position. We're accused of having an inferiority complex due to our proximity to Washington, Philadelphia and New York. There's probably some truth to that, even if it is an apples to oranges comparison. We certainly do not feel inferior to Indianapolis, which is, by all accounts, a zit on the ass of America. Still, we feel rightly slighted. The more we draw attention to it, the worse we look. We know that, but we won't let it go.

I think we will have to accept that the Colts' departure and Tagliabue's botching of the situation is akin to the Tuck Rule. We definitely got screwed. The league learned from their mistake and rectified it with the Browns, but they're not sending the Raiders to Super Bowl 36, and they're not giving the honors back to us now. We got gypped by a bad call (which we should be getting used to by now...), and there's no making it right.

I'm 29 years old. I can't pretend to speak for someone who lived and breathed the Colts for decades. I do know, now, that we are going to have to find a way to be reasonable. There is no way that the current Colts meant to reference Unitas with their United We Stand slogan. It was clearly a band-aid over their "bench the starters" gaffe in Week 16.

You know how I know that? The people who fill those seats barely know who Unitas was. It would be a nonsensical campaign. Try to remember that today's 30-year-old was born in 1980. I was, and I didn't even see the connection.

January 17, 2010

Get over it Baltimore...........

For those out of the area, WNST is a sports talk radio station out of Baltimore that is 100% devoted to the Ravens and to Baltimore sports.

On WNST's Facebook page this morning, they posted this image, with the caption: "We think this is a real slap at Baltimore & the legacy of Johnny Unitas in the Charm City..."

Here are some of the comments that WNST's friends on Facebook had to say about this picture:

John F.: "Disgusting"

Pete F.: "C'mon, Jim Irsay, if you're not gonna honor it, send the name and the stuff back home. End the Babylonian captivity of our town's football heritage, and bring some decency back to your family's name."

Jimbob Z. (I'm not making that name up): "there is no honor to the name of Irsay, biggest bunch of douchebags"

Marty K.: "This makes me so angry."

Vince B.: "Yeah. Sick to my stomach seeing that all game. I hate because they don't know what it means."

Maggie G.: "F them"

Baltimoreans, it is officially time to get this chip off your shoulder.

First off, as somebody very much detached from both the Ravens and the Colts, I assure you all that nobody looks at that sign and equates it with Johnny Unitas. The sign did not say "Unitas We Stand." Maybe you may have not noticed, but since 9/11, "United We Stand" has become a popular and widely-used cliche, especially in the sports context. In fact, I would bet damn near every cent I have that the Indianapolis Colts marketing staff did not have Johnny Unitas anywhere near the drawing board when they came up with their "United We Stand" slogan. Ravens fans, you may not have noticed, but Indy kind of has their own relatively good quarterback playing for them right now.

Second, appreciate what you have, goddamnit. The Baltimore Colts cowardly left Baltimore in the middle of the night in March 1984. 25 years and 10 months ago. The Baltimore Ravens arrived in Baltimore in February 1996, 14 years ago next month. The Ravens, in the last decade alone, have brought Baltimore a Super Bowl victory, and four additional playoff appearances. Do the math. An average of every other year the Ravens have gone to the playoffs. I'm a long-suffering, lifelong Redskins fan. I would kill to have the same success for my franchise that the Ravens have had over the past decade, I would kill for the Ravens' ownership for the Redskins, I would kill for the Ravens' stadium for the Redskins, and hell, I'd take Harbaugh over Shanahan right now. And you know what... probably over half of the franchises and fanbases in the NFL feel the same way about what the Ravens have enjoyed the last decade. But still, many of you can't let yourself enjoyt his, insisting instead on bemoaning the loss of the Colts. And you know what... you can save your pitiful moans and yells to me that "you don't know what it's like to lose a team that meant so much to your city and had such a heritage here." Hmm... yeah... I guess Washingtonians don't know... but wait, the Washington Senators were in DC for fully 80 years before they picked up and left. The Colts were in Baltimore for 37 years. You're right... Washingontonians know nothing about franchise loss.

Third, the Baltimore Colts name hasn't been erased. Go to the NFL archives. The "Baltimore Colts" are still the team that played in "The Greatest Game Ever Played." The "Baltimore Colts" are still the team that got tooled on by Joe Namath in Super Bowl III. Raymond Berry, Art Donovan, Johnny Unitas, and Lenny Moore are all in the Hall of Fame as "Baltimore Colts."

Baltimore... nearly 26 years ago you lost your team mascot. You lost your team colors and logo. 14 years ago you got another team. A team that has enjoyed great success and brought your downtrodden city tremendous amounts of civic pride since they've arrived. Baltimoreans... you look petty, stupid, and foolish for desperately hanging on to the past like you do. Further, its a slap in the face to the guys who suit up (in one of the ugliest uniforms in pro football) every Sunday for you now, and who have since 1996.

There's no other way to say it... just get over it.