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Sunday Blues

September 18, 2017 at 10:31 am
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Football sucks. At least this season.

It is becoming clear that I am not going to get much joy from watching the NFL this year. The Jets lost again yesterday, 45-20, in humiliating fashion. They managed to hang with the Raiders for most of the first half, until muffing a punt in the last minute of the first half. It was all downhill from there. Oakland repeatedly ran the ball right up the gut of our D, through the zones where David Harris and Sheldon Richardson once patrolled. I think 0 – 16 is a real possibility.

I have more hope for the Giants, but judging by last week’s loss to the Cowboys, it may be a false hope. We will see what happens tonight against the Lions.

And I can’t even enjoy the pregame show any more, sad to say. For years… decades… I have been a devoted fan of ESPN’s NFL COUNTDOWN show on Sunday. But last season the show lost Tom Jackson, and with it much of its appeal. And this season they have retired Chris Berman as well. After two weeks, I’ve had enough. I say it’s spinach, and I say to hell with it.

Current Mood: grumpy grumpy

Here We Go Again

September 10, 2017 at 2:54 pm
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Well, my NFL season got underway this morning pretty much as expected: with the Jets losing.

They were playing another rebuilding team from the AFC East, the Buffalo Bills. One of the weaker teams on their schedule, yeah… but they still managed to lose, and look terrible doing so. The Bills gutted Gang Green with their running game, going right through the line… where, as it happens, Sheldon Richardson used to be standing.

On the good side, our first round draft choice looked pretty good.

The rest of the team, not so much.

And instead of playing either of the young QBs, to see what they’ve got and maybe watch them develop, we played the old guy, Josh McCown, a 38 year old journeyman on his 8th team. Sorry, I just don’t see the point.

It’s going to be a long long season for fans of Gang Green.

(Comments open for discussion of football ONLY. All other comments will be deleted).

Current Mood: grumpy grumpy

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The NFL Is Coming

September 1, 2017 at 2:52 pm
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The opening of the NFL season is only a few days away, and the New York Jets made headlines once again today by trading away Sheldon Richardson, one of the monsters on their defensive line, the strongest unit on the team. Gang Green’s campaign to get rid of all of their good players continues, full speed ahead.

I know the Jets claim that they are not trying to lose all their games in order to get the first pick in next spring’s draft and snag a franchise qb… but it sure as hell smells that way.

I have the feeling that I am going to be starting a lot of blog posts with “Life is miserable and full of pain” this fall, at least where the Jets are concerned.

All I can hope is that the Giants come through for me. If Eli and the offense and rise to the level of the D, Big Blue should kick some ass.

(I am going to leave comments open for this one, for those who want to talk football. ANY off topic posts will be deleted. Football only, please).

Current Mood: gloomy gloomy

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No Draft For Me

April 27, 2017 at 12:53 pm
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I am looking forward to having a great time this weekend at Stokercon… but I am a little bummed that it’s happening on the same weekend as the NFL Draft, which I usually watch gavel to gavel.

I guess the members of the HWA are not into NFL football. Feh. How can they understand the true nature of horror unless they’re fans of the New York Jets?

I guess I will need to get by this year without my annual dose of Chris Berman and Mel Kiper. I do plan to check in from time to time. Surely the Queen Mary has ESPN.

If wishes were fishes, both of my teams would land running backs. I want the Jets to draft Leonard Fournette with the sixth overall pick, and the Giants to take Christian McCaffery. I loves me a good running game. Smashmouth football rules!

Many of the mocks are projecting that both teams will get tight ends instead: OJ Howard to Gang Green, David Njoku to Big Blue. That would be good as well. A great TE can make a huge difference.

What the G-Men need most of all, of course, is a huge road-grinder of an offensive lineman.

The Jets need everything.

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No, No, No

March 10, 2017 at 8:30 am
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Jay Cutler?

Please no.

Let it be a rumor. Let it be a lie.

Not Jay Cutler.

Say it ain’t so.

Coax Brett Favre out of retirement. Bring back Mark Sanchez. Bring back Chad Pennington. Sign Fitz for another year.

Just not Jay Cutler, nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo.

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Jets? Jets? Jets???

March 3, 2017 at 2:59 pm
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What the hell are the Jets doing?

Damned if I know. “Cleaning house,” some say. Maybe so. From where I sit, “Getting rid of all of my favorite players” would be more accurate.

Brandon Marshall. Darrell Revis. Nick Mangold. And there are rumors that Eric Decker may be next.

That’s their best two receivers and their best lineman. Yes, Nick was getting old, and he was injured last year. Yes, Darrell was not the shutdown corner he was. Yes, all of them were expensive, and old, or getting old.

Still… is there anyone on the roster to replace them? Gang Green created tons of salary cap room with these moves, but does that help anyone but Woody Johnson? Salary cap room is great if you use it to bring in blue chip free agents, but what free agent would want to come to the Jets now?

Maybe the idea is to lose ALL the games next year, to get the number one draft pick. I haven’t even paid much attention to the 2017 draft yet, the 2018 draft is completely off my radar. Is there some new John Elway/ Peyton Manning/ Andrew Luck calibre can’t-miss quarterback prospect that the Jets are looking toward a year and a half out?

I fear I am in for a lot of painful Sundays next fall.

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Salsa No More

February 14, 2017 at 6:58 pm
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The Giants released Victor Cruz today.

It was not unexpected. Cruz missed the last two seasons with injuries, and this season, when he finally came back, he had a subpar year. Only 35 catches, way down for him. He had a very high salary number for next year, too high for a third receiver, and by cutting him the Giants saved $7.5 million against the salary cap, money they can now use to improve elsewhere. And they really need to improve elsewhere — on the offensive line and at tight end, especially — if they hope to advance further in the playoffs than they did this season.

All the same, the release made me sad. Victor Cruz was my favorite player, and I was hoping he would retire as a Giant. I think Victor was hoping the same. He seemed not only to be a terrific player, but a terrific guy, an undrafted free agent who walked on and made it big.

If it had been up to me, I would have stayed the course and kept Cruz. Ask him to take a salary cut, sure. I think he would have done that. Next year, I would have moved him back to the slot, his best position. He was just not as effective last season playing outside the numbers. And while the rookie Sterling Shepard was a good slot receiver last season, Cruz in his prime was a GREAT slot receiver, one of the best in the league. If the Giants had kept Victor in the slot, and played Shepard outside, both of them might have had better years.

One mediocre year and two years on injured reserve can make us forget — especially since Odell Beckham Junior has been dazzling Giants fans with spectacular catches during those same three seasons — just how good Victor Cruz was before his injury. When he was good, he was very very good, as the saying goes. Here, take a look, remember:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IgMh5_-hr64

We’ll miss the salsas…

Good luck, Victor. You earned it.

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Then There Were Two

January 23, 2017 at 11:22 am
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Another week, another round of NFL playoffs.

Last week in the divisional round, we got two great games and two blowouts. I was hoping that this week’s conference championships would give us more exciting contests, but no such luck. The Falcons ripped right through Green Bay and the Patriots obliterated the Steelers. Neither contest was even remotely competitive.

Not much to say about either game, really. Aaron Rodgers is amazing, yes, but he doesn’t play defense, and the Packer D could not even seem to slow down Matty Ice, let alone stop him. And the Patriots… yeah, yeah, Brady is good, especially when you give him weeks to sit in the pocket unmolested and don’t cover his receivers. I watched him complete pass after pass that seemed to be totally uncontested, with the receiver standing all alone and not a defender within yards.

Anyway, we have our SuperBowl: Patriots against Falcons.

Nothing much to say but GO FALCONS.

Meanwhile, I am thinking about next year’s draft…

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Playoffs, Round Two

January 17, 2017 at 3:34 pm
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So this past weekend was the divisional round of the NFL playoffs.

And, yes, being a football fan I watched them all, even though my Giants were eliminated last week (and the Jets never got within shouting distance).

There was good news and bad news for the people of Houston. The bad news was, Evil Little Bill and his Patriots dismissed the Texans rather soundly. (Not unexpected, sad to say. Not when you have Osweiler going up against Brady). The good news was, the Cowboys lost, thereby eliminating any chance of a Cowboys/ Patriots Superbowl, so right-minded fans no longer need to root for a giant asteroid to strike Houston. Now we can simply root for whoever is playing New England.

With neither of my teams involved, I had a lot less invested in this weekend’s contests. The Saturday games were both pretty one-sided, so much so that I found myself multi-tasking and doing other stuff while watching. The Sunday games were better… especially the epic struggle between the Packers and the Cowboys. That one looked like a blowout too when the Pack went up 21-3, but somehow Dallas fought back, and tied the game at 28 and then again at 31. Looked like overtime, but they made the mistake of leaving thirty seconds for Aaron Rodgers. His sideline pass to set up the winning field goal was the thing of beauty, a throw and catch to rival Eli’s superbowl tosses to Tyree and Manningham. And afterwards, in the wake of the Cowboy defeat, America got to see Jerry Jones making his I-am-sucking-on-sour-lemons face, last seen in 2007 when it was the Giants who sent the Boys home.

The Kansas City/ Pittsburgh game also came down to the last second, yet somehow was not nearly as exciting. The Steelers won without scoring a touchdown. That’s not going to cut it next week against the Patriots and Evil Little Bill.

So… Pittsburgh at New England, Green Bay at Atlanta.

Should be fun.

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Greed Is Not Good

January 12, 2017 at 4:54 pm
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The news just broke that the San Diego Chargers will be relocating to Los Angeles next season.

San Diego has loyally supported the team since the old AFL days in the early 60s. Win or lose, the fans loved their Bolts.

LA has never supported any football team unless it was winning, and preferably winning big. Once LA had two teams, and that was great when they won; when they hit down years, as all teams do, the Raiders and Rams were both abandoned. That’s why they left town twenty years ago, both in the same year. Last year the Rams came back… but they lost, and before season’s end, they were playing before tens of thousands of empty seats.

I’d say the same fate awaits the Chargers, except I read that they will be playing in a small 30,000 seat venue for a couple years until the new Rams stadium (where they will be a tenant, like the Jets in old Giants Stadium) is complete. That’s smart, I suppose. Nothing else about the move is.

It’s all about greed. And despite what you may have heard Gordon Gekko say, greed is NOT good. (Too many people seem to lose sight of the fact that he was the VILLAIN of that film).

I am a fan of the Giants and Jets, both of whom have great loyal fan bases and seem likely to remain where they are for decades to come… but I know what it is to have your heart torn out when a greedy owner moves your team away. When I was a child, I was a Dodgers fan… the Brooklyn Dodgers, thank you very much, the Boys of Summer, one of baseball’s great iconic franchises, playing in one of baseball’s great iconic ballparks, Ebbets Field. The Dodgers were the heart and soul of Brooklyn; never has a city loved a team so much, or had so much of its identity bound up with them. The city that was Brooklyn died when the Dodgers departed; the gentrified borough that remains is just a bedroom community for Manhattan. (Okay, they still have fantastic pizza, gotta give ’em that).

The Dodger fans (and the fans of the baseball Giants, similarly bereft) eventually got the Mets, which helped some… especially in ’69 and ’86… but the pain is still there, down deep, when we think back on it. Ebbets Field was old and run-down and small, yeah, but it was wonderful in the same way that Fenway Park and Wrigley Field are wonderful. Those ballparks have become legendary and historic, cherished by the people of Boston and Chicago respectively, and I don’t think anyone would dare to tear them down now. The same thing would have happened to Ebbets Field if only it had lasted a few more years and managed to survive the fad for building hideous concrete multi-purpose stadiums that dominated the 60s. (And indeed that is exactly what has happened in the Wild Cards universe, an alternate world where Walter O’Malley contracted the wild card virus before he could move the team. He turned into a pile of slime, but it was days before anyone noticed the difference).

Maybe because of my early childhood trauma at losing the Dodgers, I have never liked the various relocations that have plagued both football and baseball over the decades. The ONLY cases where I think it is warranted are those where a city stops supporting its team or teams… as happened in LA with the Raiders and the Rams. But the rest? Bob Irsay slinking out of Baltimore in the dead of night with the Colts? Despicable. Al Davis abandoning Oakland, spending a decade in LA, then moving back? Offensive. Art Modell moving the Browns from Cleveland? Shame, shame.

Cleveland did get a new Browns team, so at least they got to keep the name and tradition (though the original Browns, now the Ravens, are a perennial contender who won a SuperBowl after the move, while the expansion Browns have pretty much sucked since they were reborn, so it was hardly a fair swap). The good fans of Baltimore did not even get that. The ‘Colts’ name and colors should have stayed when Irsay left. Let the Indianapolis team start fresh with a new name and uni, as the Ravens did. It would be splendid if the NFL would rule that Spanos can move his team, but the name ‘Chargers’ and the lightning bolt and the powder blues should all remain with San Diego, for however long it takes for them to get an expansion team. The relocated team can be the LA Earthquakes, since I think their tenure in Lalaland is going to be pretty shaky. If what I read is true, neither the city nor the Rams want them there.

Green Bay has the right idea. The Packers are owned by the people of Green Bay. Would that were true in more cities. If I were only a billionaire (not even close, sorry), I’d buy an NFL franchise and leave it to the city upon my death… except, alas, I am told that NFL rules no longer allow that. So there will never be another Green Bay, and the billionaire owners will continue to move their teams around the country in search of ever newer, bigger, glitzier stadiums paid for by the fans and taxpayers, stadiums that can generate hundreds of millions in profits instead of merely tens of millions.

Charger fans, I feel for you.

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