February 6, 2010

Russ Grimm, Hogs, Don't Belong In the Hall

Russ Grimm has just been elected to Pro Football's Hall of Fame. He'll stand beside Emmitt Smith and Jerry Rice.

Russ Grimm=Emmitt Smith=Jerry Rice?

Hell no. He never did.

The Hall was faced with a problem. The Redskins' "Hogs" deserve to be enshrined, but no one of them earned it. The Ravens have a "Colts" entry in their Ring of Honor. It includes, if I remember correctly, eight numbers.

That was the correct resolution for the Hogs. The problem is that the HOF voting is very well defined. There is no room for cutesy picks. The selectors were tasked with picking none (the correct choice) or one (Grimm was not the best player, but he was also a head coach).

They chose to shit the bed and pick the dude who had two jobs.

So for two years in a row, un-derserving Redskins will be "enshrined" while better players languish.

Blizzard Crushes DirecTV, Super Bowl Parties

I know I'm a little prone to hyperbole, but the blizzard that struck yesterday and continues to strike today could have a devastating effect.

This was eight hours and 6-8" ago.

As I write this, there is approximately 30" of snow on the ground in Columbia, Maryland, and it is still falling HARD. When I opened the front door this morning and a pile of snow came into the house, I just stared at it for a few minutes. It did not compute, especially since I had shoveled consistently last night until midnight.

My landlord has DirecTV. My dish is already inoperable. There is zero chance of me getting onto the roof to clear it off. That means there is no chance that I'll be able to watch the Super Bowl in my house on Sunday. Obviously, all Super Bowl parties outside of a dormitory or large apartment building are cancelled.

Luckily, this community has entirely underground power lines. I am not seriously concerned about losing power unless the entire region suffers a blackout. People with cable should not have a problem.

I haven't lived here long though, and I haven't met any neighbors aside from "shovel chat" last week, last night and today. I believe I have 32 hours, an hour for each inch of snow we'll have, to befriend a neighbor AND get invited into their living room.

I really should be panicking more than I am. Right now, I'm short-sighted enough to only be able to think about the game. I have enough food to last a week, and I might actually need it. There is no chance I'll be able to go anywhere before Monday, and probably not until Tuesday. They are calling for another significant storm on Tuesday. In an already hurting economy, am I wrong to think this might be the straw that breaks the camel's back? How many employees who are paid hourly can survive losing an entire paycheck? How many businesses can survive not having a single customer? It's really just astounding.

As for the game itself, I will be interested to see how people handle the situation. Will Super Bowl party invites be extended to neighbors since friends can't come? Will the ratings actually be higher because much of the mid-Atlantic has to watch at home (meaning more individual televisions tuned in)? On the other hand, will we find out how much people ACTUALLY care about the game when they have to go to extremes just to watch it? I will be interested to see what happens.

February 5, 2010

Super Bowl Picks

This post sponsored by Sportsbetting.com, our favorite online sportsbook. Lines as of Friday, February 5, at 10:00 a.m.

Brien (4-6-0)
Amazingly, I got both conference championship picks right. Insert something about a stopped clock.

INDIANAPOLIS (-4.5) over New Orleans - As much as the Saints have been the darlings of the football world this year, Peyton and the Colts have had an incredibly dominant season. We'll always have to wonder what could have been if Bill Polian wasn't such a pussy about resting his players late in the season.

Jason (2-7-0)

Well, the playoffs were dismal for me because I kept seeing cracks in teams that weren't really there. I don't see any real cracks in Indianapolis unless New Orleans and Brees can turn it into a true "score every possession" shootout from the opening kickoff on. If they ease into it like many recent Super Bowls, Manning will engineer his signature end-of-the-first-half drive and the momentum will go from there. Most likely the teams dance around each other a bit early, but the Colts eventually pull 10 points clear.

Also, I left my Saints hat at work.

Soo...INDIANAPOLIS (-4.5) over New Orleans, though I wish it weren't so.

Jeremy (5-5-0)

Unlike Brien, I lost both conference championship games. If I'd actually been betting, I would've bought the extra half point in the Vikes-Saints game to at least get me a push.

INDIANAPOLIS (-4.5) over New Orleans - A Dwight Freeney playing at 50% or less could have a major impact on this game. That said, Peyton Manning has enjoyed two weeks to watch video of how to pick apart a truly suspect Saints secondary. It's true that the Colts don't have much of a running attack, but they have just enough to keep the Saints honest and keep some long, sustained drives going that will exhaust the Saints defense. I'm thinking a 10-14 point margin of victory in this one. Which is truly unfortunate because you can't help but root for the Saints. And Peyton is about to become one rich guy. Your other good bet... take the under. 56.5 points?!?! The Colts enjoy walks on the beach and long, time consuming drives.

Russell (4-6-0):

Well, everyone loves Indy to win this game, and for good reason. But the entire South is behind the Saints, and I can't help but jump on their bandwagon. They've played well in every big game this year, and did just enough to beat the Vikings, who were probably the 3rd best team this year (definitely better than the Jets). So...

New Orleans (+4.5) over INDIANAPOLIS
- Let's just say that I want to see the parade. Plus I copied Jeremy's picks earlier in the postseason, and vowed not to do it again the rest of the year, so I'm kind of obligated to go against him. Besides, how many times this year have the four of us agreed on a pick and it actually have been right? Zero?

Brien: IND
Jason: IND
Jeremy: IND
Russell: NO

February 4, 2010

Oh the Weather Outside Is Weather

Watch the news this weekend if you want to see why Baltimore or Washington will never host a Super Bowl. snOMG!!!

February 1, 2010

NFL's Most Annoying Fans - Conference Championships

All season long we've brought you competition amongst all 32 teams for the most annoying NFL fanbase. You can see the history here. Just to recap, the Raiders, Cardinals, Jaguars, Panthers, Ravens, Packers, Patriots, and Cowboys "won" their respective divisions, the Jets, Steelers, Eagles, and Redskins received wild card entry into the playoffs.

Here we are at the conference championships. The NFC brings us an all-NFC East battle between the division champion Cowboys and the wild card Eagles. The AFC brings us a battle between the division champion Raiders and the wild card Steelers.

We've created a precise scientific formula to determine who will proceed on to The Most Annoying National Football League Fanbase Championship (not quite as catchy as "Super Bowl" but we're worried about the NFL lawyers honing down on us for unlawfully using their trademark). Each team will be measured on the following criteria:

1) Percentage of Fanbase Comprised of Bandwagoneers
2) True Statement that Will Incite Mayhem Amongst Fanbase
3) Best Selling Jersey Amongst NFL Top 25
4) Refusal to Lose Grips with the Past
5) Overall Historical Won-Loss Record (team with worse record has better fans)

The team with the most points will represent their conference in The Most Annoying National Football League Fanbase Championship.

National Football Conference - Dallas vs. Philadelphia

1) Percentage of Bandwagoneers...

Dallas - 47.86%. The same person who bought the Cowboys Starter jacket in the mid-90s who didn't live in Texas hung that jacket next to their Duke, Notre Dame, New York Yankee, and Los Angeles Laker jacket. Mitchell & Ness should just make a 1990s throwback bandwagon Starter jacket collection. They'd make a killing.

Philadelphia - 13%. Eagles fans don't even hold a majority in their own state. And most people don't want to be associated with the Eagle fanbase if they can help it.

Point - Dallas

2) True Statement that Will Incite Mayhem Amongst Fanbase

Dallas - Troy Aikman was only an above-average quarterback who was blessed with great intelligence and an incredible supporting cast.

Philadelphia - There are more Eagles fans in South Jersey than there are in South Philly, yet every one of these Jersey fans will lie to your face and tell you they live in Philly because nobody wants to say they live in Runnemeade or Camden, New Jersey.

Point - Philadelphia. I dare you to go to Pat's or Geno's and recite this very true statement.

3) Best Selling Jersey on NFLShop.com Top 25

Dallas - Tony Romo. A Pro Bowler. Who can't handle long snaps.

Philadelphia - Michael Vick. I'm not making that up.

Point - Philadelphia

4) Refusal to Lose Grips with the Past

Dallas - While they still love Emmitt, Michael, and Troy, they've fully embraced Romo (for better or worse), Barber, Ware, and the current group of Cowboys

Philadelphia - Granted, the present hasn't been so bright, but you've got a Super Bowl appearance under your belt not too long ago and a division championship more recently. Still, I'm guessing over 75% of Eagle season ticket holders saw Invincible in the theaters and silently wished that the team could be as successful now as it was then (when it also won zero Super Bowls).

Point - Philadelphia

5) Overall Team Record (through start of 2009 season)

Dallas: 455-333-6
Philadelphia: 507-548-26

Point - Dallas

American Football Conference - Pittsburgh vs. Oakland

1) Percentage of Bandwagoneers...

Pittsburgh - 34.52%. We've reached the "Red Sox" point with the Steelers. By this, I mean that anybody who claims at least one great grandparent from Western Pennsylvania calls themselves Steeler fans.

Oakland - 3.2% (and declining). If this measure was taken in the early '90s, the Raiders would've scored way higher. However, constant franchise relocation and two decades of losing have made the franchise nearly irrelevant.

Point - Pittsburgh

2) True Statement that Will Incite Mayhem Amongst Fanbase

Pittsburgh - "You were gift wrapped Super Bowl XL."

Oakland - "You can't teach speed."

Point - Pittsburgh. Steelers fans should go head-to-head against Ravens fans in a ref-whining competition. What Steelers fans don't realize is that they actually get the calls most of the time and the refs positively raped the Seahawks in Super Bowl XL.

3) Best Selling Jersey on NFLShop.com Top 25

Pittsburgh - Troy Polamalu

Oakland - n/a (none in top 25)

Point - Oakland. Come on Oakland, you're not nearly as economically depressed as Pittsburgh. Seriously. Support your goddamn team.

4) Refusal to Lose Grips with the Past

Pittsburgh - In September, when the Steelers have a game at Heinz Field (or hell, if you see a Pirates game at PNC), check out how many throwback jerseys you see in the crowd. You'd think that guys named Bradshaw, Greene, Harris, and Lambert were on the Steelers' active roster. The last of those guys retired in 1984.

Oakland - You're not seeing too many George Blanda and Fred Biletnikoff jerseys in the stands. And if you were seeing Marcus Allen and Bo Jackson jerseys in the stands (which you're not), these were players who played for Los Angeles, not Oakland. And this from a fanbase that has NOTHING to cheer about now, they still embrace the present instead of clinging to the past.]

Point - Pittsburgh.

5) Overall Team Record (through start of 2009 season)

Pittsburgh - 556-522-21
Oakland - 430-342-11

Point - Oakland

So, in a matchup the league office never could have envisioned, and would jump out their windows if happened in real life, an all-Pennsylvania Most Annoying National Football League Fanbase Championship will take place pitting two wild card winners against each other - the Philadelphia Eagles fanbase versus the Pittsburgh Steelers fanbase. Tune in next week for The Most Annoying National Football League Fanbase Championship

Five Ways to REALLY Save the Pro Bowl

Labor strife? No Fun League? The NFL is bracing for its first real popularity test in some time this off-season.

Do they REALLY want to save the Pro Bowl? Keep the game between the championship games and the Super Bowl, but implement these ideas.

1) Pay Championship Game Losers More - It would be very easy for a guy who just lost out on a chance to go to the Super Bowl due to violating a rule we all learned in Madden '94 (throwing across the body....) to pretend an ankle hurts a bit more than it really does. Having the game fall before the Super Bowl is a great idea, but not if the Super Bowl participants and half the Pro Bowlers off the losing championship games don't play. Incentive-ize it.

2) Video Game Style Achievements - This is really the bread and butter of my plan. Position player kicks 20-yard field goal? $200K for the team. 30-yarder? $300K. Hook-and-ladder for a TD? $500K. Intentional tip to a teammate? $500K. Offensive lineman in the backfield? $50K for trying, $500K if he scores. Best TD celebration = $1M. See where I'm going?

Not only would the NFL give people an incentive to watch EVERY minute, the game would be fun again. The league likes to treat every game as a serious event, but the players and fans just want to have fun once in a while. The Pro Bowl is the proper venue.

3) Worst Record Coaches Pro Bowl - Don't you think Tom Cable deserves ONE chance to coach a good quarterback?

4) Mike Up Everyone - There should be a 100-man team listening in to everything every player says. I want to know if Ray Rice is saying stuff about a girl in the stands.

5) Half-Time is For Fans - Admit it. We all love those halftime "throw X balls in a can of Dr. Pepper for $1M" events. Let's make the Pro Bowl halftime an hour long. Let's really push it, with events like "Lay One Hand on Chris Johnson" and "Get Jared Allen on the Turf". Are you thinking American Gladiators, because I sure as hell am.

The Pro Bowl is the NFL's most ignored opportunity to fully indoctrinate us. I think the above ideas would do the trick.