Thursday, October 07, 2010

Moss Back With Vikings

Interesting post here on how the Pats were a better money team before Moss. Not sure I buy all of it, because other things changed for the Pats, like their defense got a lot worse, but still it makes many good points about Moss coming up short in the playoffs. Of course, I was the guy who predicted the Brady-Moss combination would be a disaster. Well, now the Patriots have traded Moss before they won any Super Bowls with him....well, I still think I was kind off base, but maybe not as bad as it initially looked when Brady and Moss teamed up to break the single season passing TD record in Moss' first year.

While I might not have agreed with the Pats bringing Moss in when they did, I certainly agree with their decision to get rid of him now. I thought he was much less effective last year than he had been in the past and really seemed to be coasting/heading downhill this year. Maybe moving back to Minnesota will cause him to reinvest himself in the game. We can only hope Favre is properly motivated to motivate Moss (as well as himself) or it's going to be a long season up on the plains of Minnesota. (Or maybe it won't really matter how motivated Moss is. Maybe he's just too old to be an elite receiver, based on the way he plays the game.)

It's no secret that Moss' contract is up after this year, and I think the Patriots really were leaning against resigning him. Funny thing is, if Favre doesn't come back next year (or the Vikes don't get another top-notch QB), I can't see why he would want to sign with them/they would want to sign him. This means that despite the trade, Moss will likely be a free agent next year. He has about 12 games-plus playoffs to proof he's still worth top dollar.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Joique Bell signed by Eagles

I don't know that it can get any worse, but the Eagles have signed one of my favorite Bills players off the practice squad. If you want to see how good Joique Bell is, watch this video. It's incredible. Granted, he's playing for Division II Wayne State (one of their opponents is Mercyhurst), but you got to love this kid's running style. He was apparently too slow to get drafted, but lit it up in the Bills first two preseason games, before fading and getting dropped to the practice squad.

Well, the Eagles saw enough in him to add him to their active roster, which means he's no longer a Bill. If recent trends hold true, Bell will likely go on to be, if not a star, a very good player in the NFL. After all, both Jets safety Jim Leonhard and Saints cornerback Jabari Greer were undrafted free agents "discovered" and developed by the Bills, before being allowed to leave the team as free agents, because they apparently weren't good enough to play for us, but now play key roles on championship caliber teams. Jason Peters was another UFA that we developed into a Pro Bowl player, but then decided we didn't want to pay and traded to the Eagles.

With brilliant personnel decisions like these, it's no wonder we're turning into a laughinstock for the league.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Bills Train Derailed...

Well, we all know the Bills stink, but here's the latest. It's from the stat geek Football Outsiders site-an article discussing the slew of quarterback benchings after only the second game of the season. It includes this great line about our now deposed starter Trent Edwards: "The question that coaches need to ask themselves before making a move: He's Derek Anderson. He's Matt Moore. He's Trent Edwards. What did you expect?"

And this sterling endorsement of our new starter Ryan Fitzpatrick: "Edwards is being replaced by Ryan Fitzpatrick, who's ranked 36th, 35th, and 36th in DVOA over his three seasons with significant playing time and has to rank as one of the worst quarterbacks in the modern era to get 23 starts." Yup, that's now our guy. The question now becomes, can the Bills win a game?

Monday, September 13, 2010

Outdoor TV

Seems to be the latest trend - what with the new digital projectors and flatscreen TVs that are extremely portable - not to mention that ability to stream Internet video through wireless connections. I think this is a good thing. Beteween Thursday and Sunday, I watched most of three football games outdoors (on video, not to mention that two grade shool games live on Saturday - I think I've OD'd on football). No doubt this outdoor viewing will become more difficult come November, but for now, the barbeque and beer sitting in the cooler sure is nice.


Friday, September 10, 2010

Ford Winstar Recall

If you have Ford Winstar, year 1998 to 2003, you want to call the local Ford dealer and get your rear axle replaced. Ours cracked about 90% of the way through a couple months ago. I went online to do some research before taking it to the garage and found the federal government was doing an investigation on these vehicles. Apparently, the axles have a slight U-shape to them, and in states like ours (PA), where there is moisture and salt on the road most of the winter, this causes the axles to corrode. When these things reach 100,000 miles or so, they have a tendancy to crack.

As I said, we luckily (thanks to my wife's observation of the way the van was riding) caught ours before it snapped, because that can be both dangerous and ruin your tires. I drove my van down to the garage at about 10 mph and got a new axle put in for like $600, which is a lot cheaper than I read some other people paid.

Regardless, Ford issued a recall on these vehicles last week. I called Champion Ford in Erie, and they told me to come in for an inspection and bring the receipt. They said Ford will be sending us a check. Note: I have not heard from Ford yet that there is a recall, I just happened to see the story on-line. I guess I'm saying, don't be afraid to be proactive on this (and you suppedly get a free rental while they are doing the repairs.)



Mouse in the Garbage

I heard this sound like an animal burrowing in my office this morning. Thought it was coming from the pile of junk in the corner, or maybe behind my desk. Wasn't really that excited about it and was hoping whatever it was would go to sleep, so I could try and catch it with a trap at night. But the burrowing continued, and I was having a hard time pinpointing it - when I realized it was coming from the garbage can right next to my desk! (Thank God, my 9 a.m. call cancelled. What if I had been on the phone when I came to this realization?) Yes, the same garbage can I had reached into earlier to pull out my leather business card holder. How did that get in there?

Well, I picked up the can and tossed all the contents out the door, and out came flying a tiny little creature - I think it was a mouse, but it could have been a frog for all I know, and it scurried away.

Yes, Wild Kingdom lives.

Marlon Perkins.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Verizon Customer Service

Wow, it's been forever since I posted.

Maybe I've had not much interesting to say.

But tonight I guess as I do.

As a went to a football game, on a beautiful night

Only to have the power go out, dimming the lights

and my DSL got fixed

after a week of being out

and I told all my newsletter subscribers

to drop their stock in Verizon if they had it.



Thursday, July 08, 2010

LeBron to Make Call Tonight

Rumors are floating around that it's going to be Miami - teaming up with Wade and Bosh - but I hate that possibility because I just can't imagine why LeBron and Wade would want to be on the same team at this stage in their careers. Anyhow, press conference/selection show is being held in Greenwich, CT-so, maybe it's the Knicks. Seems like the Cavs are going to be screwed.

Bill Simmons, ESPN's sports guy, wrote a long column on the whole LeBron thing, but let me just give you the final paragraphs, which are great:

"… what the hell kind of sporting event is this? It's like college signing day crossed with JFK's assassination. LeBron's team wanted to keep people talking and promote his website, and really, that's what happened. The man nearly exploded Twitter and melted ESPN. He transcended free agency, the World Cup, everything. He will draw a massive television audience tonight; he's the only professional athlete who could have pulled that off.

What a week for LeBron's brand. I just hope he remembers to wipe the blood off the knife after he pulls it from Cleveland's back."



Monday, June 28, 2010

Hoosiers of Baseball

This is a great article that appeared in Sports Illustrated last week. It's about some borderline hippie coach and his baseball team from the a tiny high school that took second in the open Illinois state tournament in 1971.

There's a lot in the article about the coach's style that I can identify with. He's kind of all about empowering the players, and I'm a big fan of that. I kind of look at it as being their team, and I'm just there to point them in the right direction. This may be because the majority of my sports experience growing up was playing pick-up games with no adult supervision. So, I don't really have a traditional, autocratic, disciplinarian coach in my background to model my style after. Also, did I mention he was an English teacher.

Anyhow, I had great fun reading aforementioned article. One of my favorites I've come across in the last few years.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Wimbledon: Longest Match follow-up

This one is for anyone that has ever been dog tired. Dude played an 11-hour match with a 138-game fifth set over the past two days and then got creamed in his second-round match today.

Some of my favorite lines from the AP story:

"Isner had no aces after hitting a record 112 [in the marathon match] against Mahut. 'I've never been this exhausted before," Isner said. "Mentally and physically, I was obviously a bit drained. I just didn't have much in the way of my legs. I was just low on fuel out there. Didn't really have a chance.'

"Isner received a standing ovation when he walked onto court. He immediately lost his serve -- something that didn't happen once in his 70-68 fifth set against Mahut. 'The turnaround time -- he just didn't have enough time to get his body right,' said Isner's coach, Craig Boynton. 'He's one tired boy.'

"Isner didn't warm up before taking the court and showed up unshaven. 'It was brutal,' Isner said. 'Things were looking pretty bleak right from the get-go.'

All in good fun, of course...

Monday, May 24, 2010

Erie D-Backs Rock

Congrats to my Little League team, the Erie Diamondbacks for taking third place in the North East Tournament on Sunday. Because of Saturday's rains, they ended up playing the whole tourney on Sunday and the D-Backs played six (yes, six) games. Games were limited to an hour and a half and two of our games were this shootout format, where every batter started with a full count, but still, we played something close the equivalent of 30 innings of baseball in one day.

It was a beautiful, almost too nice, day, as the sun was really baking us. North East has a nice facility out there with multiple ball fields, but the tree cover is sparse.

The D-Backs won four games and lost two - and each game was decided by one run. Go figure. It was a lot of fun and the kids really came together as a team. Going into the tournament, we had lost our last two games by a combined total of like 20 runs, so it was nice to turn things around. Quite frankly, I think we surprised a few people, including yours truly. Now, I just have to figure out why we don't play like this every time out.

Ahh, the joys of coaching.


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Red Sox-Yankees, latest chapter

So, I get home from our Little League game and am posting our stats on-line (if you click on the link, you'll see we kind of got clobbered, but I was happy with our kids for not giving up, etc. etc.), and I tune in the Yankees-Red Sox video feed on ESPN 3. Sure enough, the score is 7-6 Yankees in the sixth and it looks like were in for another nailbiter in the Bronx.

Then, I recall that on the way to our game, I had to listen to my old friend Red and James L. LeCorchick rip apart the networks for constantly showing Yankees-Red Sox action.

Here's what followed: Yankees bullpen is injured. Nobody seems to know if it's Chamberlain or Rivera, but neither is available for the eighth inning. So, Girardi leaves the hapless Chan Ho Park in, who is not even good necessarily when he's healthy, but is now just coming off the D.L. Well, two home runs later, it's 9-7 Red Sox and the Beantowners have come all the way back from an 0-5 first inning deficit to take the lead.

Another recall: during our game, one of our coaches, who's a 'Sox fans, taunts me about Mariano Rivera giving up a game-losing grand slam last night.

Well, Yankees go down harmlessly to Red Sox' set-up man Bard in the bottom of the eighth and a couple Yankees pitchers get the Sox in the top of the ninth. Bottom of the ninth - in comes Red Sox hated closer Jonathan Papelbon. I'm down stairs getting ice cream. I come back up and Brett Gardner is on third and A-Rod launches one to tie it up. Papelbon beans our next hitter - young catcher Cervelli, and Marcus Thames follows with game winner down the left-field line. Yankees win 11-9, players mob each other, Thames get pie in the face, etc. (I text our Sox-fan coach thanking him for jinxing Papelbon.)

You really mean to tell me that is the type of action you want to keep off TV -James L and Red? Maybe the great game is the exception more than the rule, but still, tell me two other teams that could play such an intense game in May? I know I'm a biased Yankee fan, but, when the Yankees and Red Sox get together, it often brings the game to another level that you just don't get with other teams in the regular season. These are the two highest paid franchises in the league, there are some big egos out there, and really, they have some history. I'll go so far as to compare it to Steelers-Browns back in the day. Didn't everyone want to see that?

Well, everyone is entitled to their opinions, but I don't think televising the Red Sox Yankees ahead of the Indians-Rays game is a bad decision.


Monday, May 10, 2010

Too Tall Jones -Geico Commercial

Former Cowboys defensive end Ed Jones had one of the greatest nicknames ever. I mean, can you compare any nicknames today to "Too Tall?" They even use it on Arthur. Anyhow, I happen to be in Dallas and saw this commercial. Has anyone seen this locally?

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Too Many Strikeouts and Walks

Great article by Tom Verducci on how this trend is affecting the MLB. I agree it makes for a more boring game, even on the Little League level. I try and teach my kids to put it in play and don't be afraid to strike out swinging. Contact make the game more fun for everyone (excepting the pitcher maybe.)

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Butler-Duke Classic

Great, compelling NCAA championship game. Watched it with my 11-year-old son. It may have been the first college basketball game he's watched end to end (well, he was on the Internet somewhat during the first half, but still glancing up at the game.) Game was too interesting/exciting to send him to bed. You can find all the write-ups about it on-line.

I'll just make this one comment/conjecture: Really, the defining college game of my youth was the famous Bird-Magic/Indiana St-Michigan State final in 1979. I remember staying up late to watch that game, which has gone down in history, not necessarily because it was a great, close game, but because of the influence the two stars had on the NBA over the next decade. I wonder if the Duke-Butler game will have similar ramifications. I'm not sure that Butler or Duke has any future NBA stars, so maybe the game won't have the lasting legacy that the Bird-Magic showdown did. But, it really was a great game. It will be interesting to see if anyone, including my son, remembers it 30 years from now.


Monday, March 22, 2010

Pitt Hoops Play - "Digusting"

At least that is how the Panthers color commentator Dick Groat described a possession late in the game when the Panthers, trailing by five with less than two minutes to play, ran the shot clock down to zero and threw up an airball. Groat, a former Duke hoops stat and major league baseball MVP with the Pirates, offered only that one word commentary. Groat is 80 years old. He definitely brings an old school perspective to the airwaves, even more so than his 70-year-old play-by-play partner Bill Hillgrove.

The Panthera did eventually come back to get a three-point shot to tie the game with time expiring, but missed. Alas, another early exit for Pitt's hoopsters.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Jive Shuts Down - A Rant Against Parking Meters

I was kind of saddened to read this. I was only in there once, last week, and the soup and coffee were awsome, and it seemed like a great atmosphere. It looks like they had some great Saturday sessions there as well. I made a note to hang out there more, although with a family, finding time to hang out at the artsy coffee house can be a bit difficult. But, they did have a good wireless network...that all said, when it came time to work remotely yesterday, I went up to the soulless Starbucks near the Mall. Why? Parking meters.

I was thinking of this as I pulled out of the Jive last week. I had spent 75 cents to park for an hour, and if I had got caught on a call and missed my expiration time, I'd be paying a few more dollars at City Hall. I got to thinking, how much business were these stupid parking meters costing downtown merchants? It's really time these relics were removed. I'm not sure how much money they generate for the city but they can't be worth it.

The parking meters were installed I'm assuming in the 50s, or sometime when people were going downtown no matter what, because that's all there was. If we want to revive downtown now, however, we've got to remove the parking meters. There are just too many other options with parking that is less of a pain in the butt. I would think we might be able to get merchants to agree to some extra tax or something to help cover the lost revenue for the city. The plan would be that the removal of the meters would increase the merchants' revenue more than the tax would cost them. Does anyone see the value of such a plan? Let's quit being so bass akwards in this city and move into the 21st century. Parking meters are a relic of a previous time!

I guess I could have caught the bus down to the Jive.


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Bring Back T.O.

I'll admit that last year's signing of T.O. by the Blue-and-Red kinda blew me outa' the water. I wasn't expecting it. I didn't think we had the personnel to support him. But, although he had some costly drops, to be expected with T.O., he didn't have that bad of a year and had a couple huge games - in games that we won. Well, now that ex-Pitt Beletnikoff winner Antonio Bryant has signed with the Bengals (a good move for the striped-helmet wearers), it seems Owens is a man without a clear destination. This article makes some good points about why we should re-sign Owens, who signed only a one-year contract with us last year. I agree, bring him back for another year. Granted, we have another new offensive coordinator (for what seems like the 5th time in five years), but at least he knows the players, the atmosphere and all that. We clearly need another receiver and could do a lot worse than T.O. - at least last year's relatively mellow version of T.O. I mean Chan Gailey coached Michael Irvin in his days with the Cowboys a million years ago, I think he can handle T.O. Anyways, it would be fun.

That's all.


Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Favorite Characters in Literature

After laboring through the 2004 Brad Pitt-mega-picture Troy last night, I realized how much I appreciate Odysseus as a literary character. One of my favorites, in fact.... which inspired me to come up with a list of my favorite literary characters of all-time. I think it goes something like this.

1. Sebasitian Dangerfield of the Ginger Man: I find him uproariously funny with intriguing moral compass...
2. Dean Moriarity - the Neal Cassidy character in Kerouac's classic On the Road
3. Odysseus - The King of Pain, traveling man, crafty trickster, great warrior king - call him what you will, but he holds up well after three thousand years.
4. Razhumikin - Raskolinkov's loyal Russian friend in Crime and Punishment.

I'm sure there are more, but these are the Mt. Rushmore (to steal a Bill Simmons phrase) faces of my literary life so far. Please feel free to add your own thoughts on this.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Olympics in HD

The Winter Olympics have proven to be great family viewing. I think everyone except my three-year-old really enjoys them , and he even puts up with them for the most part. We've actually all been sitting on the couch watching the prime time coverage - a rare family TV viewing experience.

The Winter Olympics have always been entertaining, but adding HD to the mix, with the white snow and colorful uniforms and equipment really adds another level. Then you've got these new sports like ski-cross - did you see that one? Four guys (do women do it too?) racing on a track over jumps, while wearing skis. They have a snowboard version of this, which seems considerably less dangerous, as having eight skis flying through the air in close quarters, well it seems like a recipe for disaster. I did see one bad crash, but amazingly, for the most part, it turns out it's probably less dangerous than the straight-forward downhill.

Speaking of which, how about Bode Miller? Great Olympics for the philosopher skier. His quotes are fascinating. I read an article today, which pretty much accused him of sabotaging his previous Olympics because he wouldn't have been able to handle the fame. The impression I got was that he was already very famous in Europe, and that may have been a pain, but that was nothing compared to the pain he was anticipating as the posterboy U.S. Olympic success. He said he pretty much would have felt like a hypocrite because there is so much politiking and money-grubbing that goes along with the Olympics that he just couldn't deal with it. Or at least that's what I think he said.

Miller did go on to compliment that the Olympics as the pinnacle of his sport as well, so he said it was a double-edged sword and this year's he's been able to ignore the negatives better. Plus, I think he blew up his image so badly last time with talk of drunk skiing and the like, he really has little chance of being used by the USOC for their ulterior purposes - You've got to remember, this guy was, by all accounts raised in a hippie environment. Anyhow I'm glad to see his saved face this time around, if only to hear him philosophize about how making the perfect run at the perfect moment is so much more important than the gold medal.

U.S. Hockey Team
And how about that men's ice hockey team? Great win over Canada last night. It's been a great tourney for the U.S. guys so far, although a medal is far from guaranteed, but even more exciting, it's been a train wreck for the Canadians. Granted, the Canadians, on their home ice, playing their national sport, could still put together a medal run, but they're clearly behind the eight-ball. Losing to the U.S. was bad, but being pushed into OT by the Swiss hurt them even worse I think. Heads will roll if they don't make it out of the quarterfinal match vs. Russia. Why do I find this amusing? Canadians are nice people aren't they? Are they too smug about their hockey perhaps? I guess it's just great tragic theatre playing out and I love a good show.


Thursday, February 11, 2010

Pest Control: Bird in the Fireplace

You'll have to excuse me if I'm feeling a bit like Jim from the Wild Kingdom this morning...and I guess, my three-year-old son is Marlin Perkins. You see, yesterday afternoon we discovered we had a bird in our fireplace. I heard my wife scream after the little guy banged himself against the glass doors. From there, the adventure began.

I Googled topics like "bird stuck fireplace" and after some reading discovered that throwing a heavy blanket over the thing, wrapping it up, and carrying it outside was the "professional" method for handling the problem. Of course, at least half the stories I read, and some of the online videos, indicated that people had used that method, and others as well, like garbage bags and pillow cases, with varying degrees of success. I was not too excited about this dirty bird - he was black with soot - flying around my house, so, I wanted to make sure I did this right.

Was I scared of the bird? You might say. But, I'd like to say I was just being cautious. I sized up the problem from six different angles, allowed my mother-in-law to half-heartedly try and wrap him up in a towel, before my wife finally got the idea that we should use a fishing net. In the meantime, the bird mostly kept to the back of the fireplace, every now and then hurling himself into the glass doors, and also sometimes disappearing into parts unknown.

Well, when my brother-in-law finally arrived with the net yesterday evening, the bird was nowhere to be found. So, I went skiing..... well, what else was I going to do? When I got back, my mother-in-law, who was watching the kids, and brother- in-law, who had stopped back for his net, had apparently determined the bird had left. They had straightened up the fireplace, and taken the net home.

I was too smart for this trick. Actually, my neighbor, who apparently has dealt with this problem several times, guaranteed the bird would be back. He also recommended the blanket method. So, I went to bed...

This morning, the bird was certainly back, banging his way around the fireplace. I sized up the situation again and made up my mind to do something, as I didn't want to be worried about this all day when I was at work (so, instead, I'm wasting my time on this blog post). My three-year-old woke up, and, of course, wanted to see the bird. I showed it to him and he almost condescendingly suggested I use the blanket. This was interesting because the blanket I was going to use, an old drop cloth for painting, was in the basement, so he had no visual cues. I chalked up it up to an inspired answer, grabbed the drop cloth and went in.

My first toss missed the bird and he hopped over it. Thankfully, he didn't try and fly toward the glass doors or anything. But I realized I was going to have to invest myself in this if I wanted some success. I put on my ski gloves and went in after him, which involved inserting my head inside the fireplace so I could reach the back.

It was actually fairly easy to trap him, as he was either tired, or cooperative, or both. He let me toss the blanked over him and wrap him up without a fight. I tried to wrap him up as best I could to prevent flight, but when I pulled him out he never really struggled. I could see a small piece of some part of him sticking out of the blanket, so I knew I had him. I carefully but quickly walked to the front door, opened it, and threw the whole blanket out. As soon as the blanket touched the ground bird flew swiftly up in the air and into our front-yard tree. He seemed fine after his long ordeal. I shut the door and thanked by three-year-old for his help. He said he wanted to wave good-bye to the bird.

Of course, last week, he also said good-bye to the dead mice I had trapped in the basement. Vector traps, traditional style is what I recommend.


Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Bills Hire New Defensive Coordinator

Here's a quote from a Buffalo News story discussing George Edwards, our recently hired D-Coordinator:

"Edwards' one year as defensive coordinator in 2003 was head coach Steve Spurrier's final year, and it was unsuccessful. The Redskins ranked 25th in yards allowed. They were fifth the year before and third the year after...."

Sounds great.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Super Bowl Monday

Congrats to the Saints and all the Saints fans I know. There is one guy from Nawlins that I work with, then there is Bob/R.L. McCray - a sports writer from Corry who did some work for the Erie paper and may still write for Warren. Great game. Hats off to the guy at Football Outsiders, who opened my eyes a couple days before the game with his insights on why the Colts were a good match-up for the Saints. One of the reasons he gave was the favorable coaching match-up, and I think we all agree that Sean Payton orchestrated a beautiful game, with the great on-side kick contributing immensely to the win. Of course, Brees had to execute and did a nice job, but let's take a look at Payton's other great call: Going for it on fourth and two late in the second quarter:

Yes, the Saints got stuffed and handed the ball back over to Peyton Manning and the Colts, with the Saints trailing by seven with two minutes to go in the half. (The Colts were also due to get the ball to start the third quarter, or so we thought). However, the Colts also got the ball on the two-yard line, which affected the plays they would call. Had the Saints gone for the field goal and kicked off, the Colts more likely would have received the ball past the 20 and closer to the 30. From there, with two minutes left, I'm betting Manning works it downfield for at least a field goal and perhaps a touchdown. So, kicking the field goal from the two was likely at best a break-even proposition and at worst a minus-four point swing for the Saints.

Payton (Sean) made what some would call a gutsy decision to go for it on fourth down from the two. However, he was really just playing the percentages - so it was more of a smart call. But, sometimes, it does take guts to be smart and go against conventional wisdom.

Payton was gambling and playing better odds than he had decided to kick the field goal. Here's why, based on the possible outcomes:
a. the Saints score a TD from the two - at best a plus-7 gain in the score, at worst a break-even proposition, if the Colts get the ball back and march down the field
b. the Saints get stuffed, stop the Colts, get the ball back and kick a longer field goal, which is still worth three points (and run out the clock for the half), which is what happened - this is a plus-three proposition for the Saints
c. the Saints D stops the Colts from scoring, but the Colts either run out the clock or the Saints get the ball back and can't score - a break even proposition, which is likely the best outcome if the Saints had kicked the field goal from the two and kicked-off to the Colts
d. The Colts take the downfield from the two and score-either a minus-three or minus-7 proposition - with the minus 3 being more likely - and still a better result than the minus-four possibility if the Saints kicked the field goal and kicked off.

Does that make any sense? The bottom line is that by going for it on fourth-and-two, Payton (Sean) created a higher chance of a better scoring outcome for his team in the last two minutes of the half.

Manning's ego problem
I'll conclude by discussing briefly Peyton Manning's ego and how it ultimately resulted in the game-clinching interception for the Saints. Colts have the ball on like the Saints 40, down by seven, third-and-five, with like four minutes to play. I'm watching the game with by buddy, who's a junior high football coach and he says, "this is four down territory, the Colts should run it here." Makes perfect sense to me, because their halfback, Josesph Addai, really had a great game and seemed to be running the ball well. I predicted the Manning would not want to give up control of the situation to another player and would therefore call a pass play. Exactly what happened - six points the other way for the Saints - Game Over. Manning is a great quarterback, one of the best ever, but there's a reason he's only won the big one once (and it's the same reason Dan Marino never won it). He's still not bigger than the game and 11 guys will more often beat one guy - or however many guys Manning wants to get involved with the play. Addai was having a great game, Manning should have recognized that and let him have his moment - but he just couldn't do it. Oh well - congrats to Joseph Addai on a great Super Bowl!


Thursday, February 04, 2010

Bills Hire Steelers Scouting Dir.

It appears like the Bills may have finally done something positive - at least hired a younger guy with somewhat of a track record of success, who's career is heading in the right direction. I mean, at least this guys has a chance...but, then there is that porn thing...Let's just hope it doesn't effect his job performance negatively.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Conservative Michael Moore-wannabe arrested

At least that's the way I see James O'Keefe's arrest yesterday related to bugging the phones of a Democratic Senator. It's kind of an outrageous story. When I first read it, I figured they must have wanted to be caught - for publicity or something...or is this just what happens when conservatives try to get into the liberal game of sensationalized film exposes? I guess you could compare it to Watergate, which occurred at a time when most people thought Democrats owned dirty politics.

Anyhow, from what I've read, there is no way these guys thought they could get away with this, is there?

Monday, January 25, 2010

Vikings' Misfortune

I know we have a regular blog reader who is a longtime Vikings fan, going back to Joe Kapp and, of course, the legendary Bud Grant. My condolences to this fan after yesterday's travesty. The Vikings dominated the game statistically, only to be undone by an inordinate amount of inopportune turnovers, as well as a ridiculous, costly penalty. The fact that, as a Bills fan, I can manage sympathy for fans of a team that made their conference championship game should give you an idea of just how snakebitten their franchise seems to be.

The aforementioned Vikings fan and I have discussed this curse many times, and yesterday's game was just the latest example of the Minnesotans' knack for bad fortune in big games. At the beginning of the year, we discussed how due to karma, the Favre-Viking marriage was destined to end badly. So, really, yesterday's outcome may have been inevitable.

And, the way the pundits are writing it, the loss falls squarely on the shoulders of #4, due to his bad interception at the end of regulation. However, let it be noted here that it was not Favre's fault (I don't think) that 12 men were on the field previous to the play, resulting in the penalty that knocked the Vikings out of semi-comfortable field goal range and forced Favre to try the ill-fated pass in the first place. I mean the guy was playing on a very bad ankle and had just made a spectacular pass a few plays earlier to move the ball across midfield. It really came down to them asking him to do too much (especially those who keep asking, why didn't he just run for five yards?)

Anyhow, that's probably enough of a Favre apology. As I said, he kind of called the bad karma down upon himself, with enablement/help from the Vikings. I guess, as painful as it is for Vikings fans, who generally seem like a good lot, the team probably got what it deserved.

Final note: I really would like to see Favre come back next year for a couple of reasons:
1. He really had a great year and a second year with the same teammates has the potential to create even better results.
2. I'd hate to see his career end on that miserable interception.

However, you have to wonder if he can take it physically anymore. He seemed fine during the regular season, but the the conference championship looked like another level. The Saints really punished Favre, and I almost hate to see what the Colts (and their great pass rushers) would have done to him in the Super Bowl.

All said, it was an interesting season up in Minnesota and truly a great drama, albeit a bit tragic, played out for the Norsemen!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Great Carlton Fisk Column

Carlton Fisk is being portrayed as a bit of crusty old guy following his recent bashing of steroid users. I thought this portrayal was a bit unfair until I read Joe Posnanski's excellent column on the topic today. It's a bit long, so feel free to skim, but make sure you read the beginning and the end. (Full disclosure: I was a huge Thurman Munson fan growing up, so anything that attempts to put Fisk in his place has attraction to me. Sorry, Carlton, that's just the way it is.)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Say it ain't so - Ralph

Reports out of Buffalo are that the Bills are getting ready to hire Chan Gailey as their new coach. This can't be. After being teased with Shanahan and Cowher, we get Chain Gailey, he of the lifetime 18-14 NFL record coaching a Cowboys team that had both Emmitt Smith and Troy Aikman. Not to mention six mediocre years with a Georgia Tech team that never lost less than five games in a season during his tenure, but two years after he left finished 11-3 and played in the Orange Bowl. The same Chan Gailey who started out this year as the offensive coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs but was demoted after three games. Yes, Mr. Gailey is not good enough to be an assistant for the 4-12 Chiefs, but he's good enough to be our head coach. This must be some kind of joke! Remember, this comes in the wake of the Bills hiring a 70-year-old GM who has never been a GM before and who was retired just two years earlier. Sadly, it appears our Hall-of-Fame owner Ralph Wilson has entered Al Davis territory. We will likely never see another winning team in Buffalo, as it seems all-but guaranteed the team will move after Wilson dies and while he remains alive and in control of the team, it seems we are f@#$%d.


Monday, January 18, 2010

NFL Playoffs: Success of the Sons

I find it fascinating that Brian Schottenheimer and Rex Ryan are the coaching braintrust behind the underdog Jets and their 2-0 run in the playoffs. If you follow football, you probably realize that they are the sons of two very successful NFL coaches, Marty Schottenheimer and Buddy Ryan, whose careers are often defined by their playoff failures. Marty was 5-13 in the postseason as a head coach with three different teams, while Buddy went 0-3 with some pretty talented Eagles squads. The kids led the Jets to a fairly mediocre 9-7 regular season record this year, but have two surprising road victories to their credit in the playoffs and a date at Indianapolis for the AFC Championship on Sunday.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Playoff wrap-up

Do you think it was any coincidence that the only divisional playoff game worth watching was the only one played outdoors? The Vikes-Cowboys in the Metrodome certainly didn't have the same romance to it as the old games played outdoors at the Met. I wanted to hear Pat Summeral describe D.D. Lewis wrapping up Chuck Foreman as he went off tackle one more time...

Friday, January 15, 2010

Most Recent Star Trek

Saw the movie on DVD last night (after a night out at Scottie's, I borrowed it from my neighbor). While there were definitely some interesting elements, exploring the past of the crew made famous on the original TV show, which I watched semi-religiously in my teen years, overall the movie seemed a bit shallow. Maybe because of my age at the time, I remember the original show as exploring things like psychology and power a bit deeper than the newer, seemingly more superficial version. Last time I was at Blasco, I saw some DVDs of the original episodes. I think I may need to check them out. Should I try to introduce my 11-year-old son to them?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

BCS Follow-Up

From Gregg Easterbrook's TMQ column this week (He offers an explanation of why the performance of the Texas freshman QB picked up coincidentally with Colt McCoy's return to the sideline in the second half of the game):

"Colt McCoy was injured early and freshman Garrett Gilbert entered, never having played in a pressure situation in college. Instantly it was obvious the game would turn on whether Gilbert could perform cold. My seat was low behind the Texas sideline, with a clear view of the Longhorns coaches and players. To my amazement, when the Texas offense wasn't on the field in the first half, Gilbert simply stood alone. He wasn't throwing to his receivers. Senior leaders were not coming by to urge him on. And no coaches were talking to him! Texas not only has $5 million-a-year coach Mack Brown, it has a bloated coaching staff, yet none of these gentlemen came over to help Gilbert prepare, calm down or adjust. Greg Davis, the Longhorns offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, was nowhere to be seen as Gilbert stood alone. Just what exactly was Davis doing that was more important, at that moment, than helping a freshman get ready to go back in at quarterback in the national championship? Only when McCoy returned from the trainer's room in the third quarter, donned headphones and started assisting Gilbert, did the Texas comeback begin. McCoy, a student, was the one "coaching up" Gilbert. Where was the Texas coaching staff?

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Verizon Back Online

Got the call today that there was a service outage and it really had nothing to do with the modem...really not surprised. The who called me sounded English. I had previously dealt with Indians and Filipinos that were supposedly corresponding with Americans. And it took them about two and a half days to fix the problem...Funny thing is I'm getting to the point where I've had the service so long that I think I know more about that most of the lower-level support people....Maybe I need to get a business account.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Verizon Internet Change

Did this happen to anyone else? On Tuesday morning, my home Internet connection suddenly stopped working. It took three calls over two days, but the current diagnosis is that Verizon has upgraded the line so it is no longer compatible with the modem I bought from them a couple years go. They claim that they are going to send me a newer modem without charge. Well, if they knew I had this modem and they knew they were upgrading the lines.... I guess they're too big to worry about things like that. We'll see. I'm posting this from the downtown Starbucks. Interesting place after dark...