Saturday, January 31, 2009

Notre Dame Loses 5th Game in a Row

Remember when Jason King called them the second best team in the country?  Boy, was that ever fucking stupid.

IDYFT Superbowl Pick 'Em: Last Call

The Superbowl is tomorrow. You have around twenty-four hours to make your final picks in the IDYFT Superbowl Pick 'Em. The prize is an autographed copy of my novel, To The Last Drop. Don't let anything distract you.Hmmm, I haven't seen a bong in years.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Yes, That's it! It's the Uniforms!

The Detroit Lions have figured out the 50+ year old problem with the team. It's the uniform. I'm sure doing away with the awe inspiring "honolulu blue" will change thier loosing ways. But maybe I should not be so sarcastic given history - I'll start with the obvious.

Tampa Bay

I know we all remember Tampa Bay's original uniform, which goes to show that wealth and sound decision making do not go hand in hand.
If the logo isn't queer enough for you, his nickname is "Bucco Bruce." I believe the franchise had a hard time focusing on winning because they were distracted by their quest to find the six fingered man:

The uniform was changed in 1997, the team went 10-6 (previous season 6-10), made the play-offs, and defeated Barry Sanders and the Lions (Lost to Green Bay). The team has had numerous playoff appearances and won the Superbowl in 2002.

Denver Broncos

In 1989 the "orange crush" were the Vikings of the AFC. Four Superbowl appearances, four Superbowl losses - three for Elway. Let us look at the losses: 27-10, 39-20, 42-10, and 55-10. Sum those scores up and you get 163-50. I guess it's easy to tackle a player who is wearing bright orange. The Broncos unvieled their new uniforms in 1997 - and immediately won the next two Superbowls. Take that 11.5 point favorites Green Bay!

New England Patriots

Look! It's Pat Patriot! Hey Pat? Who are you hiking the ball to? Or is this Jim Plunkett working a Historic Williamsburg?

(Oddly enough, Plunkett was a Patriot from 1971-1975) With this awe inspiring uniform the Patriots did manage to find their way into Superbowl XX, which they lost to the shuffling Bears 46-10. Thier new uniform came out in 1993. Since they have made the play-offs 10 out of 16 years and have 3 Superbowl titles.

St. Louis Rams

The Rams, who had one Superbowl appearence in 1979 (loss 31-19) did win a Superbowl in 1999, the last game they wore thier old uniform. Perhaps it was the prospect of getting a new uniform that changed thier ways, or perhaps it was the magic powers of Brenda Warner.

The Indianapolis Colts

"The Dolts" - that's what I remember of the Colts from my childhood. Next to Tampa they were the laughing stock of the NFL. They changed their helmet, slightly albeit, in 1995 and 2004. Since the change the Colts have 11 play-off appearances for 14 seasons (previous 14 seasons - 1 play-off) and a Superbowl title for the 2006 season.

The Houston Oilers - Tennessee Oilers - Tennessee Titans

Now what the hell was this? "I think I'll go powder blue, with an oil rig on the brain!" Lovely. They are number two in the record books for the most consecuative road losses with 23 (Lions got to 24 in 2003!). The Oilers experienced both a uniform and name change for 1999 - where they lost in the Superbowl to the Rams - by about 1 yard. Again - they should have won but that Brenda Warner.... I digress. The Titans have made the play-offs 6 out of 10 since the change. In the previous 29 seasons they had only 10 dissapointing appearences.

Cincinnati Bengals

Look at that, it says "Bengals" right on the helmet so you don't confuse them with the Browns. Now a bengal is a cool looking animal - don't you think you could design something to go allong with that? They did, some wiked stripes were added in 1981. 1978, 4-12; 1979, 4-12; 1980, 6-10; 1981, 12-4 and a Superbowl appearance! They added another for the 1988 season. Then a horrible streak without a play-off appearance from 1991-2004. In 2004 they added a new tiger stripe pattern and reached the play-offs again in 2005. Perhaps they need a bigger change to get a ring.

Baltimore Ravens

The first years of the Ravens franchise were rough, perhaps because Frederick E. Bouchat was sueing the team for copyright infringement for stealing his design for their logo.The Ravens changed the logo to the current design in 1999. They won the Superbowl in 2000, and since make the play-offs about 50% of the time. Stealing a logo is bad karma.

The Cleveland Browns

...have not changed thier uniform, and have not appeared in a Superbowl. And here's a nice tidbit - the teams old mascot, Brownie Elf!
The team did away with Brownie Elf in 1965. Thier last championship was 1964. Obviously, Brownie liked being a mascot more than he liked making cookies for Keebler, and has cursed the team.

New Orleans Saints

Uniform basically the same, team basically the same. The fleur-de-lis did have a minor change in 2000, the year they beat the Rams in the play-offs. New Orleans, you need make-over. Perhaps the Hurricanes? What? Too soon?

The Detroit Lions

After winning three championships in the 1950's, the Lions debut the leaping lion logo in 1960 nicknamed, I kid you not, "Bubbles"!! We know what has happened since. Coincidentally enough, the Lions did win their only play-off game in 1991; a year they slightly modified the uniform.

Well, this list just goes on and on, so I'll stop here and make some bold predictions. If the Lions make changes - like giving"Bubbles" some balls, maybe some eyes to see with, or get rid of him all together - I will guarantee a Superbowl appearance within 4 years. MARK MY WORDS!

Thanks to the all knowing Wikipedia for the majority of the information presented here.

Headline Writes Itself

Men smell of cheese and women of onions

I've learned something today.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

I'd like to propose a new rule for IDYFT

From now on, whenever a blogger is either discussing or asking for a guaranteed winner of a sports contest, or as we have called it "a shoe-win", an image of the following work of art must be posted as well:

This monument stands in Tikrit, Iraq to honor the journalist who threw his shoes at our beloved president George Bush. Huzzah!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Thinking About a Career in the NFL?

Terrifying story for any current or retired NFL player out there (or really, anyone who has gotten a lot of concussions--hockey players and professional wrestlers should probably be included).  

A study (helped pushed by a former WWE'r, Chris Nowinski, who I remember when he was just a snot-nosed Harvard kid trying out on MTV's Tough Enough) that is looking at the brains of deceased NFL players is finding out some really, really troubling shit.

Snips follow:  from the CNN article (though really, you should go and read it, just to see the images and huge difference between healthy brain and NFL brain).

Far from innocuous, invisible injuries, concussions confer tremendous brain damage. That damage has a name: chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).
CTE has thus far been found in the brains of six out of six former NFL players.

"What's been surprising is that it's so extensive," said [Dr. Ann] McKee. "It's throughout the brain, not just on the superficial aspects of the brain, but it's deep inside."


"I knew what traumatic brain disease looked like in the very end stages, in the most severe cases," said McKee. "To see the kind of changes we're seeing in 45-year-olds is basically unheard of."

The damage affects the parts of the brain that control emotion, rage, hypersexuality, even breathing, and recent studies find that CTE is a progressive disease that eventually kills brain cells.

That is just scary.  They've got 100 guys who have pledged to donate their brains, and given that all these guys are dying in their mid-40's, the doctors should have quite a study ahead of them in the next decade or so.

Given the NFL's history with this sort of the thing, you'll probably be unsurprised to learn two things:  1) the players seem a little bit pissed about this information; 2) the NFL is funding their own study.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Note to Humira Commercial Guy

Those are the weakest skills I've seen from an adult with a basketball on TV, ever.  You look like a time-traveling caveman discovering for the very time the miraculous modern materials that allow balls to bounce.  I'm glad the Humira helped you with your skin condition (and did not give you a killing infection while at it), but that's no justification to letting them film you looking this awkward.  Stand up for yourself, time-traveling Caveman!

(look for the Luc Longley-esque skills 32 seconds in)

IDYFT NFL Superbowl Pick 'Em: Reminder

Attention participants in the postseason pick 'em: you only have a few days left for your final picks. Remember, an autographed copy of my novel is the prize.

Make your picks right here. Reminder: we haven't had two Superbowl-winning QBs competing against each other in a Superbowl in twenty-four years. And it's only the third time it's happened in Superbowl history.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Helpful Hint

Dear Sid Hartman:

The Timberwolves front office lies to you.  I take this story to be proof that Mike Miller will be traded some time yesterday.

Big Blue Monkey

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Giants Fans: Pathetic Slobs or Drunken Morons?

Ride this link to shoot you on over to Deadspin's video of a Giants fan unable to accept his team's loss to the Eagles. Worth a minute.

Hey fatty! The Giants suck!

Bo Ryan Hambone!

Just a quick reminder that no coach in the Big 10 hambones like Bo Ryan!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

That Was Actually Somewhat Friendly: USA vs. Sweden Soccer

Tonight the US men's second squad played against Sweden's second squad in a contest to see who could move into the discussions of playing on their respective country's first team.  Plenty of folks who will start real games were missing from both squads, to be sure.  Any Sweden team that doesn't have Zlatan, and any US team that doesn't have Landon Donovan are not real teams.  The US won 3-2.

Highlights via a non-Fox Sports network, and a dude who had time to insert music (which wasn't necessary).

But it did provide a window to see who might be helping the US win some qualifying games, who might help them lose a few, and who might be seeing some clock in World Cup 2010.  

He has yet to post his review, but Cardillo over at That's On Point will surely do a better job of this than me  (update:  Cardillo's post is up).  If you like soccer, make sure you read his take, too.  (Here's his preview)  We'd not be us if we didn't tease our discussion with one assumption that Cardillo made that was completely wrong:  "I'll assume Sacha Kljestan won't feature unless as a sub. "

Sacha Kljestan did feature, for ninety minutes, and big time.  Cardillo's assumption, I think, was based on the fact that Kljestan has done enough to cement a place on the 2009 qualifying team without having to play in this game.  Yahoo's Martin Rogers provides some cover to that--his presumed World Cup roster has just two guys who played in tonight's game--Kljestan and Brian Ching.  Regardless of his place on the squad, Kljestan played, and played damn well.  He scored all three of the the US goals (which is somewhat misleading, as two came from deadball situations (which is also misleading, because one was an absolutely perfect strike from about 30 yards out).  

First of all, it should be said that the entire US defense was given a helping hand from an overly circumspect Swedish attack.  When they pushed in the second half, Sweden was rewarded.  The fact that they stayed so passive for 45 minutes is a little odd, but there is a saying about gift horses, and how you shouldn't look directly at them, because then they know you are scared of them.  Something like that.

Goalkeeper Troy Perkins was kind of an enigma.  He wasn't tested often, and failed when he was, but it is hard to fault him for the two goals that were scored against him.   The starting wing-defenders are both keepers in my mind--Jonathan Bornstein was solid and pushed up his side, as did Marvell Wynne on the right.    Wynne was well on his way to being the second best player on the pitch for the USA, but I do have to tag him for Sweden's second goal--he got sucked in way too much into the center of the field, leaving the Swede's most dangerous assist man wide open to serve a very dangerous ball into the box.  On the other hand, it was Wynne's ballsy overlapping run that put in him into the box and got him fouled for a PK.  For those of us who still curse the name David Regis, it was very promising to see two wing defenders who understand when to overlap and join the attack and when to hang back.  And they know how to hit.  Wynne in particular threw shoulders that made Swedes fly off of him in completely legal fashion.  

On the whole, I think both Wynne and Bornstein have probably earned extensive looks from Bob Bradley.  The center defenders were not asked to do much, and didn't do much.  Michael Parkhurst, who I consider a young and interesting player, and Danny Califf, who I consider to be a bit of toolbox, didn't do anything to distinguish or hurt themselves.  Califf picked up a yellow card on a clumsy challenge, and spent a lot of time passing back to his keeper when he had zero pressure on him, and generally did the things that Danny Califf does that make me not like him much.  He made me miss Gooch.  Late sub Wingert didn't have time to do much but make one overlapping run, which he kind of fucked up.  Wingert will need some injuries to a suddenly deep US defensive third to get any burn in actual qualifiers.

the midfield was intriguing, and super spazzy.  Kljestan was obviously rock solid--did I mention he scored all three goals?  One from a (brilliant) free kick a good 28 yards out, one a PK, and one as a product of good running off the ball, and some fine Brian Ching holding.  But Kljestan wasn't just a goal scorer--he was all over the damn field; winning tackles, generating fouls, and sending nicely weighted balls onto the sidelines.  He's won himself a center midfield job, and he's going to be a damn surprise for people who think that the likes of Claudio Reyna is as flashy as US Center Mids get.  Rico Clark was, as he always is, super spazzy.  I don't know how else to categorize his game.  He runs around like crazy; he makes tackles, both good and bad, and takes shots that beggar description both in terms of their audacity and their stupidity.  He's not to be trusted in the center midfield, especially as a "defensive" or "holding" midfielder.  I'd rather have a guy who can truly defend and hold, like Pablo Mastroenni, or forego the whole "holding" midfielder position, and throw in another attacker (michael bradley?) there.  On the wings, there were a bunch of young dudes I had not heard of previous to this game.

Robby Rogers played well, though it took some time to find his feet.  John Thorrington was much the same.  Both of these guys have tons of speed to burn, and when they are just a bit less spazzy, they could be good.  They've got some time to develop, as they won't be taking over for Dempsey (The Deuce!) or DeMarcus Beasley any time soon.  Same thing holds true for the subs--Rolfe and that other guy who didn't get enough time to do anything at all.

Striker is still the big mystery position in the US camp, just as it has been for what feels like a solid decade.  And boy, we are still seeing some of the same wrong answers.  Brian Ching started this game, and played damn near 80 minutes.  Don't get me wrong--Brian Ching is a fine old guy who can hold the ball and rifle shots just a few feet wide of the net.  And he won some free kicks tonight, and assisted wonderfully on Kljestan's final goal.  But he's certainly less talented than say, Jozy Altidore, who is just maybe too young to be counted on in the World Cup 2010.  Ching played well in this game, but had opportunities to finish for himself and failed on those.   Fellow starter Charlie Davies was barely present.  He will not be seen in a US jersey on a pitch again any time soon.  Substitute Kenny Cooper reminded us all why he is a 27 year old getting talked about--he works hard, and we really are struggling to find strikers.  He was a hard-working goof during his time on the pitch.  A more talented striker, given his opportunities, would have scored twice.  A less-hard working striker would have never had his opportunities to begin with.  Kenny Cooper is a charming goof who can't score outside of the MLS--he's slow, he's almost comically bad with the ball at his feet (scissor kicks! dummy to no one!) and his size is almost a detriment, as everything he does looks like a foul.

Winners:  Marvell Wynne, Jonathan Bornstein, Sacha Kljestan

Losers:  Rico Clark, Kenny Cooper, Danny fucking Califf.   (Note to Danny Califf:  No way are you cool enough to pull of a tattoo sleeve, my friend.)

Now do you believe?

Please watch the clip below - the play is called "The Philly Special" probably because the Eagles are, well, special.

If you watch closely you notice that Warner is hit as he throws the ball, yet somehow his 37 year old arm still throws a perfect spiral some 60 yards in the air. How is that possible? And you, and many others have noticed the following transformation:



What the? Does she age backwards like people from Ork? Did she get into Snapes Poly-Juice potion? Holy shit! Did you see her? SHE LOOKS LIKE BLOSSOM!

From Madam Hooch to Fluer Delacour. The only logical explanation is magic. The Steelers only have a chance for this Superbowl if they can somehow use the same Voodoo powers that New Orleans used to hand Warner his only non-Belicheating play-off loss.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The First Elimination Challenge is Yelling "Do You KNOW WHO I AM"

Via our friend and fellow blogger Jess (who by the by, had a shitty day today), I have learned of something that straddles the line between "GENIUS!" and "Sign of Our Society's Decline as Surely as Vomitoriums Signified the Same for the Romans."

So, I guess I can only kind of thank Jess for the news. Guess who this news could be about; I'll give you a paragraph from the AP's Jaime Aron's story:

The Hall of Fame receiver is launching a reality TV show in which 12 "football neophytes" will compete for an impressive grand prize: a spot on the Dallas Cowboys' training camp roster.

I bet you are guessing Michael Irvin, and that would be the obvious choice.  The easy answer.  And you would be so wrong.

Of course you are not wrong.  Only the Cowboys and Michael Irvin would look at the results of American Idol and decide, "This is a way to find quality."  (seriously, according to Irvin himself, "American Idol" was his inspiration.)

If they are all "neophytes" in the sense they are all either English Goalkeepers who end up being punters, or Australian Rules Football players who end up Punters/Special Teams madmen, the show will be boring but fruitful.  Expecting to find 12 James Harrisons seems, well, stupid.  I would expect no less from Michael Irvin and the Dallas Cowboys.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Madden Makes You Smarter

That headline doesn't make any sense at all...

Oh, they are talking about the Madden videogame franchise. That's a relief.

Newspaper Commenters are Satirical Geniuses

Man, if you ever want to spend some time questioning humanity's ability to survive the next hundred or years or so, read the comments that follow online newspaper articles.  Here's my recent favorite:

"How about complaining about the lack of white players compared to the black players? I don't hear anyone complaining about that. Seems to me that for racial equality in sports we should have more white players..not necessarily black coaches."

posted by krsteve on Jan. 21, 09 at 11:22 AM | 

Count the logical errors in that construction.  Feel free to stop at half a dozen or whatever.

Monday, January 19, 2009

IDYFT NFL Playoffs Pick 'Em: Superbowl

A black man in the White House and the Cardinals in the Superbowl. I can scarcely believe it myself.

As Mark Twain put it, "Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn't."

Miwacar and Black Freighter picked the NFC Champion Arizona Cardinals as the Least Deserving team in the playoffs. Miwacar and Black Freighter will likely not be winning an autographed copy of my novel To The Last Drop. But someone else will!

1. Barnyard: 51 (this week +23) [Steelers Champ]
2 Adw: 41 (this week +10)
3. MMMan: 35 (this week +20)
4. Black Freighter: 33 (this week +13)
5. Big BM: 31 (this week +4)
6. Jess: 24 (this week +4)
Miwacar: 24 (this week +10)
7. Lucy: 20 (this week +13) [Steelers Champ]

This Week's Picks
1. Arizona Cardinals versus Pittsburgh Steelers +/- 7
Bonus Points
2. Superbowl MVP? +7
3. Highest QB rating? +3
4. Player with most yards rushing? +3
5. Player with most yards receiving? +3
6. Player with most tackles? +3
7. Player with most turnovers forced? +3
8. Final Score? (closest +3; bull's eye +10)

Remember, you have two weeks for these final picks. Make them count.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Bad Blogger

So remember, about 2 weeks ago, when we crowned our Regular Season Pick 'Em winners?

Some asshole here on the IDYFT Staff totally forgot to send the winners their prizes.*  We are rectifying that tonight.  

(by the way, one of our top 2 finishers was a Pro Vs. Joe.  How awesome is it that some of them are still showing up and hanging out with us?  I love that.)

*possibly, that member of the IDYFT staff was me.

Alex Trebek Knows a Fucking Baby When He Sees One

Via the Five Tool Tool comes this piece of awesomeness.  Apparently Canandian TV personalities are not required to pretend that Bill Belichek is always perfect and never wrong.

Marvin Harrison and Funky North Philly

ESPN The Magazine has a disturbing portrait of Marvin Harrison--the quiet professional in Indy, is also the guy who is frisking club-goers at his nightclub in Philly (Playmakers!).   The idea of Marvin Harrison shooting a dude becomes less difficult to imagine in the course of that article.

Speaking of funky North Philly--How about Bill Cosby?

What the Fuck is the Foundation for a Better Life?

If you are like me, you've seen these ads, on late night TV, sponsored by the Foundation for a Better Life.

Maybe it is the guy who holds open a door for a woman, even though he has packages in his arms, and ends up holding the door open for a stream of elderly never-do-wells.  Or maybe you've seen the one in which two kids are beating on each other, and some random, straggly looking motherfucker breaks up the fight.  Or the one where a girl befriends the new girl at the cafeteria.

If you haven't seen them, here's a sample of the their weird, alternative Earth goody-goodiness.

Milk Bottles!  Because those still exist.

It is funny--you visit their website, and they basically tell you that they are a 501(c)3 nonprofit and that they don't want your money.  That's damn odd, I can tell you.  I've spent a good 20% of my life working for 501(c)3 nonprofits, and I've worked on behalf of dozens and dozens of nonprofits.  I've never, ever encountered one that didn't want money from you.  

So why doesn't the Foundation for a Better Life?  Because they are owned by, run by, and used by the Anschutz Group, which is a coal and energy consortium run by Philip Anschutz.    He is technically a conservative Christian, but what I think you are seeing in those ads is a way of dispersing funds that will be marked as tax-deductions.  

How else to explain this shitburger, described by itself as a commercial for Optimism?

Friday, January 16, 2009

And then there were Two

Two, as in how many active coaches in the NFL have Superbowl rings, following the firing of Jon Gruden.

It certainly seems that the success of first-time head coaches (see: playoffs) has infused the NFL with the same prescient lightning-strikes-thrice strategy as Hollywood piggyback blockbusters (see: volcanoes, asteroids).

Active Head Coaches with Rings
Coughlin, Giants, 2008
Belicheat, Patriots, 2002, 2004, 2005

At the conclusion of the 2008 season, Holmgren (1997) and Dungy (2007) walked away. Shanahan (1998, 1999) and Gruden (2003) were fired. Outrageous!

Before the season, I predicted the 8-8 Washington Football Team would go 8-8, 9-7 if they were lucky. And I hoped that Zorn would be granted a second year to coach the team. I had no idea what an audacious hope that was. Thanks Dan Snyder!

In other news, in three days a new American President will be taking office in the White House which was built, 215 years ago, by slaves.

It is as if our nation, a powerfully-built adolescent among the toddlers and seniors of the world, has achieved a sudden moment of insight. Like when Teen Wolf learned to control his powers.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

NFL Titbits

Just a couple little nibbles. Y'all gotta understand, I'm running a restaurant and don't have the time to be as sardonically irreverent as I'd like. But I did have to mention:

1) Nerfneck Turner fired four assistant coaches yesterday. This is just the most recent instance of Coach Bitch blaming others. Earlier this season, he fired his defensive coordinator Ted Cotrell. This is one of the many, many dishonorable eczema scars that define Nerf Turner. Hey, Coach Bitch: you ran for fifteen yards against the Steelers. You suck!

2) Jake Delhomme's 5 INT against the Cardinals was the worst performance since Rich Gannon upchucked in the 2003 Superbowl. Delhomme's commitment to excellence included a fumble, which has to rank as one of the worst-ever performances by a good* quarterback.

* according to the popular unconscious. See: Carl Jung

Eat It, You Stupid Fucking Orange

Georgetown Hoyas took apart the higher-rated Syracuse Orange tonight.  As a Hoya fan, nothing in the world makes me happier than when I get to see Jimmy Boeheim stamp his little rat-fucker feet all game long.

No analysis tonight, except to say that Greg Monroe may be the most complete all-around freshman big man I've seen in a long, long time.  

Update:  As Andrew points out in the comments, I did predict this result almost exactly two weeks ago.  Thank you, Andrew, for giving my ego a Happy Ending.

The Return of the Queen

Ladies and gentlemen, I wrote in a past article my suspicion that Brenda Warner may have fantastic powers over the NFL. I think this season with the return of Kurt Warner to the NFC championship as a Cardinal is in part evidence to that, but other evidence is indeed mounting. Let us look as some teams that have wronged Kurt Warner in the past.

St. Louis Rams

This season the Rams were contending with the Lions for the worst team in the NFL. The Rams allowed 29.1 points per game (31st) and scored only 14.5 points per game (tied 30th) for an average margin of defeat at 14.5 (31st). Since dumping Kurt Warner in 2004, that's right dumping him - not even trading him - the Rams have gone 8-8 (lost in play-offs), 6-10, 8-8, 3-13, and this season 2-14. Kurt Warner is two time NFL MVP. Superbowl MVP. Third in career passer rating behind Steve Young and Payton Manning. Career completion percentage of 65.7% - second all time. Let's cut him, he had a bad season (Favre 3-13 - NOT CUT). Oh how the mighty have fallen under the curse of Brenda Warner. And now Warner returns to the NFC championship game with the city of St. Louis' former team, the Cardinals.

New England Patriots

So you may be thinking this one doesn't make much sense considering the Patriots recent success. But let us recall last season it became known that a certain coach was illegally taping the other team in order to steal thier calls. A report came out just before the last Superbowl that Belicheat also taped the Rams before Superbowl XXXVI. Uh-oh. Brenda angry. Patriots lose to the Giants, lose their perfect season, and then lose Tom Brady. Not bad enough? How about missing the play-offs with a 11-5 record.

The Detroit Lions

The Lions? But Kurt never played for the Lions? Guess what fellows - he tried to. In 2005 after being released from the Giants Warner's first choice was the Detroit Lions! I kid you not. What could be more insulting than being passed up by the Lions? Since that excellent decision by Matt Millen to take Garcia over Warner the Lions have gone 15-49. There is more (you probably forgot); Garcia broke his leg in the preseason. When he returned in late October he played 6 games, threw 6 INTs and only 3 TDs and had an abysmal career low season passer rating of 65.1 - that's even ugly for Garcia.

Green Bay Packers

Green Bay issued Kurt Warner his packing orders in 1994, and did proceed to win the Superbowl in 1997 (1996 season). Then, Kurt and Brenda were married October 1997. In the next Superbowl the packers, 11.5 point favorites, were stifled by the Denver Broncos and they haven't returned, but they have gotten oh so painfully close.

"I'm the franchise quarterback..."

Really Mr. Leinhart? Tread softly young man.... softly. You've already had a high number of injures.

Now I understand if you're still a bit skeptical that Brenda Warner has magic powers, but did you forget her day job as flying instructor at Hogwarts?

Without a doubt she is no muggle.

I hereby predict Warner will have another Superbowl ring - or the Eagles/Ravens/Steelers will have some bad, bad fortune in their future. And I hereby apologize for posting both images of Brenda Warner and Hobgoblin together. That was wrong of me. Please forgive, my life is hard enough without a curse lingering over me. Now I see you more like Saint Louis (above) - helper of the poor. After all, you've turned a bag boy into an NFL MVP.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Happy Belated Birthday, Tintin

He's 80!  80 Years Old!

Monday, January 12, 2009

More Wisconsin Bastardy

From the AP's Robert Imrie:

A group of snowmobilers in central Wisconsin herded and killed four deer and severely injured a fifth in what a warden called a senseless act of cruelty on Monday.

Wisconsin!  (To be fair, I agree with the quote from a Wisconsite snowmobiler that this is not typical behavior, and has not been heard of happening on any sort of regular basis. )  Still, though, really--Wisconsin.  I'm going to have to start calling Florida the Wisconsin of the South at this rate.  This is fuckery, plain and simple.  

Sunday, January 11, 2009

IDYFT NFL Playoffs Pick 'Em: Conference Championships

The visitors took 3 of 4 in the Divisional Round in defiance of published statistics. Ravens over Titans was the closest (and best) game, Cards over Panthers the most surprising, Eagles over Giants the most dramatically compelling. The Steelers took care of their home-cookin', roasting up some braised rump roast a la Nerfneck Turner.

Fire Nerf Turner! He sucks! Having that wrinkled neck in charge of a team as talented as the Chargers is a fucking crime. 77-95 lifetime record. Four playoff wins in eleven years? Fire Nerf Turner!

Why do I hate Nerf Turner so much? Because Nerf Turner sucks! Fire Nerf Turner!

He sucks!

1. Adw: 31 [this week +14] (Panthers Champ)
2. Barnyard: 28 [this week +11] (Steelers Champ)
3. Big BM: 27 [this week +10] (Titans Champ)
4. MMMan: 25 [this week +11] (Panthers Champ)
5. Black F: 20 [this week +13] (Giants Champ)
Jess: 20 [this week +13] (Colts Champ)
6. Miwacar: 14 [this week +7] (Colts Champ)
7. Lucy: 7 [this week +4] (Pittsburgh Champ)

This Week's Picks
1. Philly Eagles (6) at Arizona Cardinals (4)
2. Baltimore Ravens (6) at Pittsburgh Steelers (2)
Bonus Points
3. Your Shoe-in? +/- 3
4. Closest Game? + 3
5. Highest QB Rating? McNabb, Warner, Flacco, Roethlisberger +3
6. Most Turnovers Created (Defense)? Eagles, Cards, Ravens, Steelers +3

There are only nine hours of football left. And then we'll go seven months without it. Soak up these last few games, ladies and germs. Because after football is over, we won't have anything to cheer for except this girl in the RC Cola Dash held in Bell Buckle, TN.
I'm serious, that really is a girl. WARNING: RC Cola contains testosterone. And fried cheese.

Challenge: Write A Star-Tribune Quality Joke

Here's the shitty, shitty joke that popped (I almost wrote "pooped", and that might be more accurate) in to my head as I was watching the Panthers shit the bed.

"Jake Delhomme?  More like Jake Del-Homely.  Because that was a homely, or ugly, performance."

Later on, I'd write about how the Vikings could maybe get Delhomme on the cheap.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Let the Headhunting of Tavaris Jackson Begin!

I should declare, right off the top, that I'm not a big believer in Tavaris Jackson.  I haven't seen enough of him to really declare him a failure, though.  He's basically had 1 and 1/2 years of snaps in NFL games.  He's won some games (I remember him throwing for four touchdowns in a game late this year against the Cardinals) and he's certainly lost some games.  

The number of quarterbacks--great quarterbacks--who took 3 years or so to develop is long and plentiful. Elway was a disaster his first season.  Peyton Manning took his lumps.  Atlanta thought so little of Brett Favre that they traded him away for nothing (one the most unremarked upon moments in NFL history, by the by.  Imagine if Atlanta had had Brett Favre for the last 15 years!).

So, I'm not ready to close the book on Tavaris, necessarily.  I don't think he'll ever be a revelation at QB, but I'm not ready to say he's a disaster.  But other people are.  Boy, are they ever.  

Dave Myers, of the  LaCrosse Tribune is one of those folks, and his thesis, I think, is hugely flawed.  Here it is:   "The reality of the Vikings’ situation is they have enough playmakers on offense and defense to make a title run. But that isn’t true if they have to overcome Jackson’s play at quarterback."  

This is, to be frank, delusional.  Playmakers on offense?  Really?  I will obviously grant Dave Myers Adrian Peterson.  He's the goddamn Purple Jesus, after all.  But who else?  Bernard Berrian?  Great, when healthy, and willing to work to get open.  Who else?  Sidney Rice?  Bobby Wade?  Visanthe Shiancoe's Cock?  

I'm sorry, but "enough" playmakers on offense isn't just the best running back in the league, and a stable of kind of OK Wide Receivers.  Ask Barry Sanders about that--and truth be told--there is no one on the Vikings' roster that approaches the best wide receivers that Barry Sanders played with.

The Vikings defense has been overrated for the last three years--yes, they are great at stopping the run.  They've got huge fat guys who fart on the opposing offensive linemen, and let their linebackers stuff the run.  They've been great at it.  But they've got no real sense in the secondary, and their best players back there are getting older every year.  Darren Sharper had an unremarkable year.  Antoine Winfield is going to the Pro Bowl, which is comparable to Paul Newman winning an Oscar for "The Color of Money."   

Dave Myers, bless his heart, actually suggests that Kerry Collins would be a step up.  Really?  Is he bringing along Len Dale White?  To play a blocking fullback?  Kerry Collins has been for a decade and change, the exact kind of quarterback that Tavaris Jackson is now.  He's not a good quarterback; he's barely serviceable.  Current Vikings QB Gus Frerotte is a better option than Kerry Collins.  

I've personally witnessed 2 or 3 games in which the coaching of Brad Childress caused a loss, or at least, didn't lead to a win in a winnable game.  Before we poop all over Tavaris, how about we leave a little hate for the aging gay biker?    Brad Childress looks like an aging gay biker, you see.  It took Ryan Longwell overcoming horrible clock management by Childress and hitting a 50 yard field goal, against the B-Team of the Giants to even get the Vikings into the playoffs (and the shitty quality of the NFC North).  Plus... Childress  loves really shitty poetry.  Strike 1,2 and 3.

I'm not arguing that Tavaris is going to blossom into the next John Elway.  He may well blossom into the next Trent Dilfer or Jeff Garcia or Rich Gannon, though.  The Viking's problems go much deeper than just a young QB and anyone who suggests otherwise is either not watching the games, or  is looking for a scapegoat.  When Bobby Wade is your #2 receiver, you aren't just a QB away from the Super Bowl, and that is too obvious a point to belabor it any further.  

Hey, remember when the Vikings Front Office drafted Troy Williamson with the #7 pick overall, instead of Antrel Rolle, Carlos Roger, DeMarcus Ware, or Shawne Merriman?  Remember, in the same draft, when they picked Erasmus James, instead of Roddy White or Luis Castillo?

See?  Plenty of blame to go around.

Great--A Panda With a Taste For Human Blood

We warned you all. WE FUCKING WARNED YOU. What did we say when that crazy Chinaman crawled into Gu-Gu's enclosure?

We said not to fuck with Gu-Gu in Gu-Gu's House. We've based an entire term on the stupidy of wandering into a panda enclosure.

It was good advice, and a great neologism, but it is too late. Gu-Gu has a taste for human blood. Apparently, you don't even have to try to hug him--you just have to jump the fence into his enclosure, in an attempt to retrieve a toy your stupid, stupid child (or brilliant species-betraying child who is colluding with the pandas) threw over the railing.

But didn't hug the panda, but you did fuck with Gu-Gu. Great. When we are all slaves/snacks for our Panda Overlords, I hope you remember that I warned you.

By the way, a fact I totally just made up right now--Gu-Gu transliterates into English as, "the Baggy Eyed Dominator of the Walking Ape." So it is practically (made-up) prophecy that Gu-Gu would rise up and start the Cute, Cuddly Revolution.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Indie Musicians Dig Sports--The Lee Family Curse

I have claimed that I was sure that Comic Book writers and artists weren't just huge nerds who cared about "comics" or "art". That plan has met with rather mixed results. (Though we are still hoping to hear from avowed Cubs fan and comic writing Badass Matt Fraction). So we thought we would move into other areas of pop culture. Indie Musicians!

First up: Josh Grenier and Adam Loavenbruck of The Lee Family Curse. (as usual, most if not all links and photos provided by your faithful editor). Josh and Adam have been playing together in some form or another since their college days, and that happens to be when we first encountered them. You can check out their music just about anywhere that sells music--but of course, Amazon gets some cred for giving you previews of every track.

Adam describes The Lee Family Curse this way: "The Curse is meant to be a musical firehose of sorts for you all to try to drink from. A lot going on, kind of a big catharsis of everything we've heard over the years that got stuck in our craws. The strange, stuff that hits that mark, that you can't quite describe. It's supposed to be a rush of all the musical experiences we can and can't quite remember. It's a stew of odd parts. In that way it falls under "garage" music - it's unfiltered, home-brewed. Some things that come up again and again - calypso/island, classic rock, afro-pop, Philly soul, psychedelia, and depression-era American folk. My next door neighbor is 50-odd year old Scandihoovian Minnesotan. He took one listen and said with full confidence, "Yeah, I get it. It's like a more psychedelic Jimmy Buffet. Right?"

That's perfect, " I said. "Exactly right."

[editors note: I compared them to a fun version of Steely Dan. While Adam didn't overtly call me an idiot for that, it may be implied in his response. That is OK.]

IDYFT: When I initially contacted you all, you said that you were interested in talking sports, but you gave out this warning "Heads up - when we talk about the Spurs or Lakers, we become so angry as to become beet red. Can be awkward socially."

First question: why do the Spurs and Lakers anger you so much?

Adam: Ha. This is honestly a dream come true. I get to talk basketball from within my rock persona? Can I pretend to be interviewing from a mountain village in the Swiss Alps, in a fondue bar staffed by buxom mountaineering milkwomen... Never mind.

Josh, can you weigh in on this first? Thinking back, you were responsible for orienting me to Lakers/Spurs hatred. The flavor of my hatred is very different for each of these teams. What's shared is that bitter resentment of the overdog - both are full of old, established vets who seem satisfied with their NBA royalty treatment.

From there, though, the repulsion I feel toward each of these teams diverges. They represent the dark side of the NBA, but in very different packages - the Lakers with the feather boas, Gucci sunglasses, and venereal diseases, and Spurs with the reaper's cloaks, vapid stares, referees on their payroll, and most of all--Bruce Bowen.

Josh: To be perfectly honest, my dislike for the lakers and the spurs started with jealousy mixed with boredom. I would have loved either of them if they were our team, but they weren't and they kept winning and it got annoying and boring. I don't like watching the same team win over and over again unless it's my team. Duncan is kind of a robot, Bryant is a self absorbed ego maniac, at least that is what the jealous part of me says.

IDYFT: Adam wins for his more magical description of why the Spurs suck, by the way.

Before we delve too much into the Hate and Dislike and the like, let's get back to your innocent days. What sports and which teams did you grow up with? How did you become a fan as a child? And are you still a fan of those teams?

Adam: Booya Josh! My hate is better than your hate!

Before we move on, briefly - Josh, I don't think you should be so reflexive in your loathing of the Spur-kers. Bottom line: they are disgusting. I believe that when Darth Vader removes his mask, it's Tim Duncan in there. The Joker? Ginobli. When Dick Ceney pulls his rubber mask off - it's Shaq circa 2003. Rob Horry, when he's not accidentally breaking Steve Nash's nose, works part-time as a clubber of baby seals.

Getting back - I grew up on the Yankees. Period. Dave Winfield, Ricky Henderson, Craig Nettles, Billy Martin, Reggie Jackson, Bucky Dent, Yogi Berra, Don Mattingly. Mmmm, I love those guys - they're all glossy, smell like freshly printed card stock, and taste like Bazooka gum.

Now I know what you're thinking - how do I one moment claim undying enmity toward the Spur-kers, then say I grew up a devotee of the Dark Side of baseball? I answer that my love was pure and unthinking - I was watching the Yankees before I could speak a single word, dude! My parents kept the TV right next to the bassinet. As proof of this theory, I can say that the Twins have taken over as my primary team, and I can honestly understand why the rest of the country hates the Yanks. I think I'd feel the same way about the Spurkers if I lived in San Antone or LA.

Josh: WOW!, I can't compete with this! I'm in the middle of writing my architectural manifesto, not kidding, and it's due in 4 hours so don't have time to respond with comedy and wit. I can give you names: George Brett, pine tar, Brett Saberhagen, Willie Wilson, Dr. J, Mike Rozier, Tom Ratheman, Roger Craig, umm... can you guess where I come from? I can tell you I literally cried every year as a young boy when we got our asses pounded in the orange bowl by a team from Florida that used "wide receivers" whatever the hell they were, i didn't understand. There really was a feeling that those people were bad people, that it was somehow immoral to pass the football. But we were vindicated in the mid nineties...the good boys who run the ball, keep it on the ground, they got a little piece.

Adam: Ha! Passing is for cheaters. That's great.

IDYFT: Josh, I'm going to go ahead and guess you're from Kansas City. I never knew that about you. I always assumed you to be a New Yorker.

Do you have a singular fan moment? One that you remember watching? Either highlight or lowlight? For example, I remember watching John Riggins in 1982 carry a Miami Dolphin on his way to the endzone. It helps that it is a moment that is shown all the time, but still. I remember it. Do you have a sports moment that you can close your eyes and still see?

Josh: I looked up that Riggins run, and I remember it too, I was a Riggins fan. Didn't they have an offensive line called the Hogs or something?

I feel like I should choose something that happened a long time ago, but none of my childhood sports memories are that powerful. I'm from Nebraska, you were close, so I was rooting for the Huskers and the KC Royals.

The Royals won the World Series in 1985, a good year overall, with "Back to the Future" being the coolest movie and the Bears recording "The Super Bowl Shuffle" (they won the super bowl in Jan. of 86). But I don't think I cared as much about sports as a kid. I would get all worked up and emotional if my team lost, but would forget about it in 5 minutes.

I have to say the biggest moment for me was when KG got the ring last year. I have been watching KG since the beginning. I didn't even care that he was playing for Boston, I was really happy for him. We were never going to get him a ring in Minnesota. He had this thing following him around for so long, that he would never win it all, and to see him get it, that was great. I really liked the interview at the end:

He's slobbering all over, calling out for his mom, shouting "anything is possible" at the top of his lungs, and then ending it with "whachou gonna say now". It's great, I'm sure you saw it.

IDYFT: I'm still waiting for Adam to explain the Yankees awfulness--spending almost Half A Billion dollars for 3 guys.

Adam: I can't justify the Yankees having the same spending power as most of the nations of South America. I can't spin that in any way to make it seem okay. I can just say that my mother and father are much happier when the Yankees are winning. So, I have 2 outlooks on the Yankees that I keep in separate compartments in my mind. One of them comes from the the pure, unthinking point of view of my family, who don't have the ability to be analytical about the situation, but instead think that the pinstripe uniform turns a guy automatically into a legend, a descendant of Roger Marris or whatever. In the other compartment, I see the Yankees as the ultimate example of pro sports giving big-markets a calossal advantage, and relish in watching the teams full of veteran megastars collapse under their own weight. Don't tell my mom, she wouldn't understand.

IDYFT: Final Question! Who is your intellectual pick for Super Bowl Champion? Who is emotional pick? (editor's note: all picks were made prior to last weekend's games. Also, prior the awesome Timberwolves 4 game winning streak)

Josh: Here are my emotional picks:
The Vikes will play the Giants in the NFC championship game. They will win and go to the super bowl.
In the AFC, I want someone to beat the Colts, preferably the Chargers. In the end the Titans will beat the Steelers in the championship game. The Vikes win the superbowl, of course.

Here are my intellectual picks:
The Panthers beat the Giants in the NFC championship game, setting up a Titans vs. Panthers superbowl, and the Panthers will win. It is hard not to pick both of the Manning teams, so I suppose my intellectual picks still have an emotional component. (I don't want them to get there again, yet)

I actually have no idea. One thing I dislike is the gap between the championship games and the super bowl, it always seems like a buzz kill.

Adam: My brain says "I don't know much about the playoffs yet, have to do some research and formulate strong opinions".

Heart says Vikings will lose in the worst way imaginable.

Well dude - we never got to talk about our anguished love affair with the Minnesota Timberwolves, the most bedraggled, forlorn outfit in the NBA. You might even say it has the Curse of McHale! I'll just mention in parting - my wife does not let me miss even one minute of one horrendous blow-out game. It is really sad. She's a social worker by profession, and it's honestly like she sees these guys as her clients, like they need social services. She really likes them,so it is a lot of fun for me to see her get into the game. Personally, I'm just a hopeless homer, and I always, always pull for the underdog. Plenty of opportunity for that with the T'Wolves, so... Bonanza!

IDYFT: Thanks guys! Perhaps we can talk at the mid-point of the Timberwolves season, and rehash everything that has gone right and wrong.

Timberwolves Win Streak Now Stands at Four!

A Timberwolves fan can be forgiven for approaching the past few years of this team with the same attitude that a small child (or an easily frightened adult, like me) takes to horror movies--the covering of one's face with an occasional question:  "Is it safe to look yet?"

In the wake of a four game win streak, some fans are perhaps thinking that is safe to look now.   But before you think that the team is going to be competent and unpainful to watch from now on, a quick caveat:

This four game winning streak has been put together by defeating (current records):  Golden State (10-27); Chicago (15-20),  Memphis (11-25), and Oklahoma! City (5-31).  The best team that the Wolves have faced during this streak is a team 5 games below .500!   It is possible the streak ends when they face the comparitively dangerous Milwaukee Bucks this weekend, who are only 3 games below .500.  

The real issue comes in the following weeks, when Wolves fans will see how our team fares against well-run franchises--before January is done we'll see Miami, Phoenix, Clippers ("well-run" may not be the tag of choice for that franchise, admittedly), Utah, and New Orleans.   I wouldn't assign any sort of Win/Loss ratio to that run of games to describe success.  I think just not looking awful, and being competitive will be a great thing for a team that's just beginning to realize that it doesn't have to lose every game this year. 

But is it safe to look yet?  The scary music is over for the moment, but this team may just be setting you up with a false sense of security.  If you haven't been watching yet, you may just want to avert your gaze for another week or two.  We'll tell you when it is safe to look. 

PS--Did you know that Brian Cardinal is "scrappy"?  Well, did you know it was possible to play him for almost 26 minutes in an actual NBA game?  It's true!  That factoid alone should be a pretty sobering jolt for any drunkenly optimistic Wolvie fans.
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