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NFL Woes

October 4, 2018

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Yes, I have been watching the NFL this year, when my schedule permitted it… which has not been every week, alas.

What can I say?  Life is cruel and full of pain.

The Jets and their new kid quarterback looked like world-beaters in week one.   Oh, sure, Darnold threw a pick-six on his first pass in the league, at which point I texted to my brother-in-law, “Please just kill me now.”  But he shook it off and turned things around and for the rest of the game he looked like the second coming of Joe Willie.   For a whole week I had hope.

Then the Jets played another game.

Unfortunately, league rules prohibit them from playing the Detroit Lions every week.   Against other teams, Darnold has looked like what he is — a rookie quarterback.  And losses have followed losses.

As for Big Blue, I really thought that last year’s record was a freakish aberration, and the addition of Saquon Barclay and the new studs on the OL would make the Giants much much better.   So far, that has proved utterly untrue.   Barclay looks as good as advertised, but the O line is still a turnstile and Eli is getting smacked in the face way too often.

It looks to be a long long year.

((Comments permitted ON FOOTBALL ONLY))

Current Mood: gloomy gloomy



  • Patrick Schreiber says:

    Dear Mr Martin, I have missed your football posts. I’m not American and I don’t follow football, or even understand the game, but when you post about the game you love it means that you’ve been able to find at least a little relaxation amidst the gigantic pressure you are under. Enjoy.

  • David White says:

    This has been a weird NFL year, so far. I find myself cheering for KC even though they’re a division rival of my #2 team Denver, because Mahomes played at my Alma Mater Texas Tech. My #1 team Dallas isn’t looking great, because somehow their big strength, their O-line, has looked shaky, and I’m worried that Prescott’s 2016 season was a fluke.

    We can agree that our time might be better spent giving up on our teams winning and watching to see hated rivals like Philly and New England lose. I only watched the Superbowl last year because I was hoping to see a Superbowl like you see in the movies: blimp crash (Black Sunday), nuclear bomb (The Sum of All Fears), sniper in the rafters (The Last Boy Scout), etc.

  • Jason says:

    To me, watching a young team grow is most enjoyable. Sure, competing for a championship is exciting, but then I am too tense to enjoy the game (especially when they score just two runs in 11 innings!) Reset those expectations and enjoy the glimpses of greatness!

  • Mickey Thompson says:

    Hope springs eternal, George. Darnold is going to be a good player, the Jets just need some weapons around him. I think the Giants will regret passing on him.

    At this point, I would rather be in a rebuilding phase than playing for mediocrity like my Cowboys seem to do every year. Wasting contract years on good players is a death knell for NFL teams.

  • Anthony Camaro says:

    Barkley. Keep on fighting the good fight sir.

  • Carey says:


  • Aaron says:

    Hey George. I know you are extremely busy, but it is nice to see you still have time for football. What do you see in Sam Darnold? Lay down the prediction. Will he turn into a stud? Keep in mind he was the youngest QB ever to throw a TD. Be well and keep up the good work.

  • Peter says:

    HAHA this made my morning, GRRM always has a way with words, “Unfortunately, league rules prohibit them from playing the Detroit Lions every week.” Sad but true.

  • daniel says:

    Finally! Missed your football posts.

  • Andres says:

    Hey George do you think It’s time to move on from Eli?? I know he has two rings but he just doesn’t seem good anymore. Looks like Giants will have a high draft pick this year again and they should consider a young QB with it.
    What do you think??
    Love the book by the way.

    • BoomKrasHHH says:

      Bringing in a rookie QB with that Offensive Line would be disastrous. Plus it’s hard to tell with a bad O Line where Eli is really at these days.

  • When I hear football fans like you talk about the game I wholeheartedly wish I understood how the game worked…

    • Andrew Forte says:

      It’s not difficult to understand. Watch one game with someone who understands it, and you should have the basics down.

      It’s 11 players vs. 11 players. Offense has the ball. Defense has to stop the offense. There are two main ways of scoring:
      -Field goals are worth 3 points.
      -Touchdowns are worth 6.
      -There’s also a way of earning 2 points in what is called a “safety”. Best to watch an example of it to learn. And they’re awesome.

      After a touchdown the scoring team can decide whether to kick an extra point or go for the more difficult 2-point conversion. So at the very least they score 6, most times they’ll score 6+ the extra point to make it 7, or go for the 2-point to earn 8 points.

      The playing field is 100 yards in length. At each end of the field you have “endzones”. When the offense begins a series they are tasked with “1st and 10”. That means it’s their 1st play in which they are trying to advanced the ball atleast 10 yards(roughly 9 meters). They have 4 opportunities–1st, 2nd, and 4th “downs”to –to advanced the ball however they choose–whether passing, running, or the defense being penalized.

      If the offense fails to advance 10 or more yards on 4 downs, they turnover the ball and their opposing team takes over at that very same yard-line and will begin their drive in the opposite direction.

      If the offense advances 10 or more yards, the process repeats again. Ultimately the offense wants to go the entire length of the field and enter the endzone in what is a touchdown. Or get within the kicker’s distance to earn a field goal.

      Next time you watch a game. Just focus on the downs. It’s all about territory. Continually remind yourself of where/what yard-line the ball is on. Once you understand that. You’ll understand the situations (clock management, play-calling, offensive and defensive strategies, etc.).

  • Caleb Howell says:

    I am sorry that my Saints decided to finally start clicking on all cylinders the week that they played your Giants. Alvin Kamara has been an absolute Jackpot for this team (and my fantasy team as well). I really do hope Eli can get another season of great football before he retires, I’ve always had a soft spot for the Mannings because of their father and what they have done for New Orleans. Hope your teams turn it around!

  • Steve Engstrom says:

    Hi George, I’m a huge fan of the ASOIAF books but unfortunately I’m also a huge fan of the Carolina Panthers so I don’t see the Giants’ woes ending here in week 5. Maybe the Jets will have better luck? We shall see.

  • Susan Duff says:

    come to the dark side and root for the Pats George. 🙂

    seriously i suspect Darnold will get better- he is a rookie- and his tool box, whilst good- does not equal the ones available to Mahomes and Trubisky.

  • Drake Rodriguez says:

    Love you football posts, George. I’m a big Falcons fan and still remember you chose them to win that Super Bowl. When it comes to the topic of sports, I will never feel any worse than I did that night. I stand by that!

  • Vinicius MDC says:

    The Jets lost to the Browns on your birthday. Watching that match all I could think was what have you done to deserve this.

  • Robert Serrano says:

    This has been a really weird NFL season that’s for sure. Me as a Seahawks fan I’ve been so nervous even before the start of the season with all that drama regarding Earl Thomas and now we things are starting to go our way he gets injured and will probably never wear a Seahawks jersey again.
    Damn, I hate football but I love it.

  • Jake K says:

    Cheer up George, it could be worse. You could be a Bills fan (like me). Vontae Davis retired AT HALFTIME. Our receivers have 6 catches on the year. Our coach and GM thought NATE PETERMAN was an actual starter. Josh Allen lucked into a trap game against the sleeping Vikings, and is still poised to become the bust of the century. The true test of mediocrity will come when your Jets play my Bills. I fear, no matter the outcome, no one will win those games. Two cursed franchises, performing the danse macabre year in and year out, with no end in site. At least you also have the Giants, who could actually contend in the next few years if you draft a decent QB. All I have is the Bills and the damn Sabres (Eichel and Rasmus are DOOMED). The soil of Western New York is cursed, I tell you. CURSED. NOTHING CAN GROW.

  • Byron Kerrigan says:

    Lifelong Broncos fan and they play the Jets this weekend. Haven’t seen the Jets play or their new qb but I told my sister in her pickem league to take the Jets. Broncos have a lot of talent but the coaching is inept at best. Their QB is a journeyman that turned back into a pumpkin. I wish the Broncos could of talked Eli into giving them his last few seasons like Peyton did but he might of wasted his time like poor Von Miller is in Denver. I don’t know what the Venn Diagram would look like of sci-fi/fantasy and nfl fans would look like but you sneaking football easter eggs into GoT makes me absurdly pleased. Best of luck to your teams.

  • Jess Dyba says:

    Well, your sorrow is my elation. Dallas gets the G-men twice (1-0 so far)….so we will have at least 3 wins this season (luckily we had the loins on the schedule too). I do really like Barkley, but a good o-line is difficult to build. 1st round pics put together still don’t mean you will have cohesive group. With the Giants defense, we are lucky they don’t have a decent line.

  • BoomKrasHHH says:

    Jets need a top RB to take the pressure off Darnold for a season or two. Preferably a good pass catching one too, for short safety valve throws.

  • JaniceG says:

    The first three weeks of the season I kept looking at the standings just to see the Dolphins listed on top of the AFC East because I knew it couldn’t last…

  • Clare says:

    I don’t watch or understand football but I hope it gets better George.

  • Connor Rystedt says:

    The good news is, at least you’re not a Vikings fan. With Kirk Cousins added to our squad, I though we were going to the Super Bowl. Then we lost to the lowly Bills, and now I don’t know if we’ll even make it to the playoffs…

  • KyleT says:

    Don’t be too discouraged by the Jets, the O-line has been bad and the receivers, save Quincy, have been terrible. He’s going to have an extremely up and down year, as long as he doesn’t get hit too much in the vein of David Carr he’ll be alright. This was never going to be a playoff year, it’s all about Darnold getting some on the job training.

    Jared Goff looked like he didn’t belong in the NFL his rookie year. Wentz was extremely inconsistent during his. I think the future is bright.

  • strewth78 says:

    The Giants defense has looked great. And Eli is completing 80% of his passes the last 2 weeks. He’s looking great whne given the chance. His options (Beckham,Barkley & co) do make for a fun offense. But the playbook has been cut in half now that its clear they cant use any of the plays whereby Eli needs a7-step drop. The line just cant provide him the time.
    I do think they are still working out how to get the most out of Barkley and I think we’ll see him being used more & more as the season progresses. And I think benching RT Flowers for Chad Wheeler has helped (slightly).
    I don’t see the playoffs for Giants, but I do see them collecting finishing around 8-8. Then after a focusing the offseason on re-rebuilding the O-line a playoff run 2019.

  • Pete Roth says:

    I believed that the Giants were victims of poor coaching last year but clearly their O-line is very poor and Manning is going to earn his salary. I’m in complete agreement, it’s going to be a long painful year with a few sprinkled in surprises like 2 Buffalo Bills games for the Jets that they should win. Enjoy the fall.

  • Alex Pendergrass says:

    Fair to say the Lions have been one of the brighter spots of the season for you? Not only did my beloved team roll over for the Jets in Week 1, they also dismantled the Patriots in Week 3 and held Brady to less than 150 yards!

  • Stephen Richter says:

    Donaldson has that Brett Farve swagger and will only get better. I think the Jets will be much improved by mid season. The Giants have another high draft pick to get a Eli replacement and OL. I did not want the Rams back here in LA but I was wrong about that. They are looking great, and Geoff was awful his first year.

  • Milo says:

    Hello Mr Martin.
    I’m not from the U.S. but learned the basics of football in high school about 20 years ago.
    I cannot call myself a diehard fan but I do enjoy the game. Through these years I’ve swift from one team to another just because.
    I liked the Packers for a while because Brett Favre was the man.
    Then I switch to the Rams and Kurt Warner because he was such an underdog coming to the top.
    I rooted for the Bucs because I liked their logo and Warren Sapp.
    For a long while I was a fan of the Colts mainly for Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison.
    Liked the Eagles and Donovan Macnab too.
    I never liked the Pats though. I always thought that Rams deserved to win that super bowl they played against each other. Plus that cheating scandal it’s just outrageous.

    For a couple of years I got totally disconnected from the league. Until last superbowl when I rooted for the Eagles again.

    Anyway, you made such a big fan out of me that this year I will be rooting for the Jets just because they’re you team.

    I sure hope “our” team delivers a good season.

  • Aaron Thorson says:

    What are your thoughts on whether the Giants should have drafted someone else (perhaps Quenton Nelson from Notre Dame to strengthen their offensive line) instead of drafting Saquon Barkley?

    • grrm says:

      They did draft someone to strengten the line: Will Hernandez of UTEP, with the second pick of the second round.

      They also signed a high priced free agent.

      No, I think Saquon was the right pick.

    • Pat Byrne says:

      As a Penn State grad and dyed-in-the-wool Eagle fan, Saquon’s move to the G-men has left me quite conflicted. There are many like me, you may have heard the collective groan that let out during the draft. I am told that it sounded like a dull lowing in the distance, all the way from Trenton to Wilmington.

      Give him time, he won’t disappoint you. I’m not looking forward to him running all over us for the next ten years. Relieved to learn that his injury scare from today appears to have been just that: a scare.

  • Pat Byrne says:

    Fly Eagles, fly
    on the road to mediocrity!
    Fly Eagles, fly
    turnover ratio at minus three!
    Superbowl curse is nigh
    you’ll bounce back once I die!
    Fly Eagles, fly
    on the road to mediocrity!

  • Jonathon says:

    The Giants keep finding new ways to lose. Score a great go ahead TD to only lose on a 63(!) yard field goal. I was catatonic for 5 minutes after that.

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