First text I get today, courtesy of my man Dirty: “I bet Ray Lewis doesn’t really need those glasses.”
I bet you’re right, but hey, don’t we all adopt little accessories and enhancements to help lift our image? Things like a pair of spectacles, or devout religion?
Rob Riggle is back for another season as Fox’s in-house pre-game comedian, and he sure is … trying hard.
Don’t get me wrong, I really like Rob Riggle. He’s hilarious, but that’s a tough gig. Not only does a guy have to be genuinely funny, but he also has to be the kind of 1984 sitcom-style funny that Terry Bradshaw and Howie Long think is funny. It’s a lot to ask.
By the way, congratulations to Rex Ryan on the weight loss. He’s looking sharp. Everyone loves to call him a porky tub of goo when he’s got the extra pounds on, but now that he’s a little more svelte, there’s not one, “Hey, looking good, Rex!” sent his way? That doesn’t seem fair.
At 1:00, a full minute of “30 Rock” airs on the middle TV before it’s switched over to the Steelers game. And this is one of the good sports bars. I will never understand why this is so difficult.
The games we’ll be focusing on today include Titans vs. Steelers, Patriots vs. Bills and Buccaneers vs. Jets.
Also, if these were still the days when I shamelessly objectified the waitresses here, I would have stacks and stacks and stacks of sizzling trim to objectify the tight little ass off of here today. But I don’t do that anymore. You’ve watched me grow up, America.
Darius Reynaud comes strong and comes early in the competition for Boner of the Week. Back to take the opening kickoff, Reynaud watched it roll into his hands with his feet juuuuuuust outside of the endzone, and then stepped back in to the endzone, as if he was unsure of where he was. That’ll be two points for the Steelers, and that’s the best way I can think of to spray a torrent of urine all over the hard work done put in by all of Reynaud’s Titans’ teammates all summer long.
Here’s the link to the Reynaud play, which is linked in a separate item, for this reason: I don’t know if I want to link to video highlights at all, because the video practices of NFL.com are infuriating. There are three things online video providers can do that are unforgivable:
1) The use of pre-roll commercials nearly as long as the video you want to watch;
2) Videos that play automatically; and
3) Attached, mandatory commercials that are way, way, way louder than the actual video (which is actually illegal to do on TV).
NFL.com, while a fine website in just about every other way, is a major offender in all three areas. They won’t allow NFL video anywhere else online, and if you want to watch it on NFL.com, you have to endure some of the worst things about the internet. They might as well make you win an argument with “raiderzOG1998″ before you can see your 30-second highlight.
So I don’t like linking to them, but if I do, maybe it gives you a clearer picture of the play. I don’t know. I’d appreciate hearing your thoughts on the issue.
Ben Roethlisberger’s had ample time in the pocket early on against the Titans, and he’s throwing darts out there. Cotchery for a gain of 11. Sanders for a gain of 20. Cotchery for 8 more. Sanders for 9.
And on the six-yard-line, Isaac Redman gives the football away. Perhaps this is his way of saying he feels bad for Darius Reynaud, which is sweet.
Adrian Peterson’s first carry of the season goes 78 yards to the house, and is everyone just going to start the year in midseason form? Are we going to have to take Peyton Manning’s MVP back?
Geno Smith’s first NFL pass is complete. I can discern no reaction out of the gentlemen here who is wearing a black New York Jets #6 Sanchez jersey. Though I guess if you’re the kind of guy who owns a black New York Jets #6 Sanchez jersey, it was probably wise for you to shut down all human emotions several years ago.
Uh oh. Maurkice Pouncey’s getting a free cart ride. Talk about an early season team-crippler. Aside from a serious injury to Ben Roethlisberger, that’s about the worst thing that could happen to the Steelers.
And here’s this season’s first Ed Hochuli sighting. Still dieseled, still in phenomenal shape. I don’t know what I was expecting. Maybe in 2017, Hochuli will come out for the first game unshaven, with a beer gut, a cigarette in his mouth and a limp. And he’ll wheeze his way through a call like, “Uggghhh, that’s holding, number seventy… I dunno, seventy-fucking-something. Hoooo. It’s been a rough offseason for ol’ Eddie.” And we’d never get any explanation for it.
I believe Brett Keisel is Daniel Bryan’s biological father. Chronologically, it makes little sense, but I GET TO THINK WHATEVER I WANT.
Hey, remember what I said earlier about Ben Roethlisberger having ample time to throw? Nevermind.
This Calvin Klein ad (or one very similar to it) is in heavy rotation today. Thanks a lot, CBS. How am I supposed to concentrate on football with this throbbing erection?
We’ve had three safeties already today: one against the Chiefs, one against the Titans, and one against the Bucs. If I worked at the Elias Sports Bureau, I could tell you that that was a record, but I actually have no idea if that’s true.
He’s not going to make anyone forget Steve DeBerg anytime soon, but Josh Freeman’s made some nice-looking throws today. He likes Vincent Jackson on those skinny posts. This one’s a bullet to Mike Williams in the endzone.
Look at that — Mike Williams has grown a thick, scraggly, underbrush beard. Like one of those beards you see on a guy who’s not just Muslim, but really, really Muslim. So I’ve spent the last fifteen minutes on Google because I’m curious about Mike Williams’ religion (I still don’t know), and I’ve also ended up at the Wikipedia entries for Islamic Hygienical Jurisprudence and Islamic Toilet Etiquette.
When defecating together, two men cannot converse, nor look at each other’s genitals.
That’s totally fair, so I don’t know why we can’t all get along, okay?
Adversity for Geno Smith: Around his own five yard line, the pass rush gets to him, and he coughs up a Sanchez-ian fumble. I’m starting to suspect that the Jets have problems outside of the quarterback position.
FANTASY UPDATE: Lamar Miller, this year’s Dolphins running back who people think is going to be a good fantasy option, currently has 7 carries for 3 yards.
And here’s some adversity for Jeff Cumberland, courtesy of Geno Smith. Cumberland nearly had his face crushed because Geno led him precariously over the middle. As an apology, Geno’s next throw was intercepted, so Jeff Cumberland could get off the field and get his thoughts together. Leadership beyond his years.
On the ensuing Buccaneers play, a massive Josh Freeman overthrow results in an interception right back. Did someone hire Bobby Petrino between quarters?
On the ensuing Jets play, Geno Smith runs 18 yards backwards and then takes a sack. These last few minutes have been a hellish quarterbacking nightmare, or, as Jets fans call it, “Sunday.”
Meanwhile, Terrelle Pryor is 11-of-15 at the half. How about that?
The Jets go into two-minute mode right before the half, and all the sudden, Geno Smith looks like that great former Jets quarterback … well, he looks good, is what I’m saying. It kind of makes sense. In shotgun, with four or five receivers out wide, he’s likely to be more comfortable than he is in a traditional pro-style set. He goes 5-of-5 on the drive, and it ends with a touchdown pass to Kellen Winslow.
So impressive was that drive that Geno got a hearty congratulations from Mark Sanchez, who is holding a clipboard on the sidelines and has borrowed his twin sister Arantxa’s hair band. I’m glad this game is in New York, so Mark can quickly get over to Flushing Meadows to play Serena in the finals.
Troy Polamalu, on a dead sprint, timed the Titans’ snap perfectly, leaped over the line, and sacked Jake Locker before the ball was even in his hands. Man. Polynesian spitfires who played defense at USC have a special knack for that.
(Moment of silence)
Sweet sassy molassey, the Bills have just taken the lead on the Patriots. EJ Manuel sweetly dropped one right over Stevie Johnson’s shoulder from 18 yards away. That was beautiful.
A theory from a fellow nearby: Two years ago, the Steelers should have traded Ben Roethlisberger to the Colts and then drafted Andrew Luck. I agree. They also should have traded Limas Sweed for a 22-year-old Jerry Rice and a T206 Honus Wagner card.
Free idea for you, television networks that broadcast football: Names at players’ feet, Madden-style, on television broadcasts. TV screens are big enough and the resolution is good enough that it wouldn’t be much of a distraction. All it would take is a tiny little chip taped to a guy’s shoe, and then we can identify every receiver, lineman and defender, immediately. That wouldn’t make you a better fan, when you’re watching two teams with whom you aren’t totally familiar?
Kenbrell Thompkins is getting his fair share of looks today for the Pats. What’s really shocking is that they gave someone else Chad Ochocinco’s number so quickly after his historic stint there. That goddamn Belichick doesn’t have any respect for the game’s greats.
Buffalo is up four, and have denied the Patriots on 2nd and 3rd downs from the one-yard-line. It’s fourth down and the Patriots are going for it and BALLBALLBALLBALLBALL. Tom Brady and Ryan Wendell mangle the snap and Buffalo’s on top of it.
You know who’s really good? Jason McCourty. Good luck getting an easy catch against that guy.
CBS stat: with 1:15 left in the third quarter, New England tight ends have zero receptions on the day. Didn’t they have that one guy from Florida, Hernandez, who was pretty good? Where’s he? Hold on, I’m going to Google it.
FANTASY UPDATE: Lamar Miller’s torrid pace continues. He’s now at 9 carries and 1 yard.
The Titans are putting a Steelers-y drive on the Steelers. In the fourth quarter, with the Steelers in desperate need of a stop, the Titans are just pounding it out. Jackie Battle for 2. Pass to Nate Washington for 13. CJ for 11. CJ for 3. CJ for 8. Defensive pass interference for 24 yards. All told, the drive takes up 6:19, ends with a field goal, and makes it a two-score Titans lead.
Ellis Lankster is a bad-ass. Look at this textbook back suplex on Eric Page.
That’s so textbook that it’s not even a suplex, it’s a “suplay,” Gordon Solie style.
… and there’s sack #5 on Ben Roethlisberger today. According to the guy who believes the Steelers should’ve traded Ben Roethlisberger for Andrew Luck, “HEATH MILLER WAS WIDE OPEN!” Totally, man! I mean, that probably had something to do with this, but still! Ben Roethlisberger sucks!
Geno Smith has quietly settled in during the 2nd half. He’s not setting the league ablaze or anything, and many of his completions are of the shorter variety, but he’s at least stopped pounding the pooch. I wish I could think of a word for this kind of performance from a young Jets quarterback.
I’ve spotted a camouflage Troy Polamalu jersey, and I wanted to show it to you, because I know how Steelers fans like to make fun of Ravens fans wearing purple camo. I took a picture, and I was going to post it with the guy’s face (or was it a woman?) pixelated, but I’d kind of feel like a creep posting pictures I’ve surreptitiously taken in bars. Sorry. There’s a line, apparently.
Both New England and the Jets will have late-game opportunities to take the ball down the field and win with field goals. Geno Smith vs. Tom Brady. This will settle the argument forever.
Brady and the Patriots get their field goal. You remain alive in your Suicide Pool.
Geno’s situation is a little tougher. He’s only got 34 seconds, and the Jets for teammates.
Geno hits Winslow for 25 yards. And now GENO SCRAMBLES, and he’s close to the Bucs’ 45 and OH. LATE HIT. FIFTEEN MORE.
I hate to pee on anyone’s pancakes, but that call was soft. Was it late? It might’ve been close to being late, but when it’s that close, shouldn’t the contact be somewhat violent for a flag to be thrown? A smidge late, and a little shove to the shoulder? I don’t care for that flag.
That sets up a 48-yard field goal for Nick Folk, and Nick Folk is making that all day. Game, Jets. Geno Smith is poised and a winner. I think he could be the next Mark Sanchez.
I’m sorry for being a dick right there, so let me make it up to you. Here’s my advice for people interested in New York Jets football: Take a deep breath. Geno Smith was not proven a good quarterback because the Jets won that game, just as Mark Sanchez was not proven a good quarterback because he was on a Jets team that won playoff games in consecutive years. Geno Smith is a rookie who had a successful day with some ups and downs, that was, all in all, promising. Stop there. No one is going to give you an award for being the first to proclaim that Geno Smith is good or bad.
More pancake-peeing: Adrian Peterson, after ripping off 78 yards on his first carry, finished the day with 18 carries and 93 yards. So after his initial jaunt, he had 17 carries for 15 yards. Just thought it was worth noting.
Full marks for whoever did the Rams new endzone.
It couldn’t be much plainer, as if it was an intentional middle finger to everyone out there who likes fancy endzones. It might as well read, “F— YOU, YOU’RE IN ST. LOUIS. THAT’S ALL YOU GET. PAINT YOUR OWN F—ING LAWN.”
MJD can be reached here.
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You know what those shows are? They’re “The View”. Except they’re targeted at men; particularly the dumbest of us.
Just a note I’d like to pass along to the fantasy football enthusiasts among you, on behalf of all fantasy football commissioners everywhere: Just follow the fucking rules, please? It doesn’t matter if it’s a small and inconsequential thing like a backup kicker. Just know the goddamn rules and follow them. That’s it. That’s all we ask. This way, no one gets to make your commissioner feel like a douchebag because he won’t let you break the rules over a backup kicker.
The new “Red Dawn” movie looks truly, breathtakingly awful. I can’t put my finger on what, exactly, but it feels like it’s exploiting something. It’s the same feeling I get when the WWE makes a new super-patriotic wrestler right after something terrible befalls the country.
Today, we’re back at the original site of the Sunday Afternoon Smorgasbord, and I’m pleased to tell you that the waitress hiring practices have not changed over the last six years. That’s what I love about these sports bar waitresses, man. I get older … they stay the saaaame age.
The Redskins have won the 2012 Alternate Jersey of the Year award. Wrap it up. Close the voting. It’s over. They’ve given their helmets a paint job that makes them look like they’re covered in leather. It’s absolutely beautiful. That’s some Rick’s Restorations shit right there. I like the white outlines around the numbers, too. They even reverted back to an especially offensive depiction of a Native American on the jersey patch! Fantastic work, someone in the Redskins organization.
I’m serious about the “leather” helmets and white outlines. The patch … well, I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt. Maybe it’s just a depiction of Mike Shanahan’s mother.
A man around the age of 80 wonders in to the place at about 1:15 and can’t find a place to sit (something that hasn’t been possible at this bar for at least the last nine years). Accompanied by a man who I believe is his son, the older fellow asks a young Redskins fan, around the age of 20 and sitting alone, if they can join him. I’m relieved, because this means that he didn’t ask me. The young man agrees. Probably begrudgingly.
I really only mention it because I was terrified that this guy was going to ask if he could sit by me. I’d have probably agreed to let him sit there, because I’m a big soft pussy, but in my head, I’d have been thinking, “Eat one, old man. Do you know how many hours of my life I’ve burned getting to this place early because I knew I couldn’t find a seat after 1:00? Fuck you. Take your son and your matching free Sports Illustrated Redskins jackets (I’m not making that up) and go listen to the game in your car. In a sealed-up garage. With the ignition on.”
I’m sorry. That was excessive. Some of that may be more about me than the old man.
I’m not saying that I want this called, necessarily, but how is a Dikembe Mutombo-style finger wag not a taunting penalty? That’s pretty much the definition of taunting, is it not? And worse than that, it disrespects the great Dikembe Mutombo. You disappoint me, Texans. YOU DO NOT GET TO SEX MUTOMBO.
Paul Posluszny and Matthew Stafford are jawing at one another. I think Stafford’s best move would be to handle that like Deb handles the doorman in “Knocked Up.” “You’re a Jaguar. Jaguar. Jaguar. JAGUAR.” Really, what could be Posluszny’s rebuttal?
I was disappointed to learn that Dolphins/Colts wouldn’t be one of the six games in front of me, but I thought RGIII vs. Cam Newton was a nice little consolation prize. Until now, though, I haven’t seen much that’s Cam-like or RGIII-like. They’ve basically been darker Jake Plummers so far. Finally, Newton and the Panthers are gashing the Redskins on some zone-read option stuff.
Tony Siragusa on Carolina’s running back combination of Jonathan Stewart, DeAngelo Williams and Mike Tolbert: “They’ll win with those guys.” Carolina is currently 1-6.
Hey, look at that. Mario Williams has a sack. Is that his first of the year? Let me check … no, it’s his fourth. He had two against the Cardinals and 1.5 against the Browns. $100 million seems like a pretty high price to disrupt the rhythm of Brandon Weeden and Kevin Kolb. Those guys will usually do it themselves for free.
On 4th and two at the Carolina two, the Redskins eschew the three points an call an RGIII keeper around the right end. Nothing doing. Isn’t the brilliance of RGIII that he can kill you with his feet or with his arm? So why not make a defense defend both? Send a receiver or two out and give him the option. A basic sweep right just turns him into an expensive Alfred Morris.
While we’re on the RGIII subject, could he be looking at his future on the other sideline when he sees Cam Newton? Will RGIII have his struggles, become despondent, be despised by a group of fans and be compared to Vince Young? Yes, no, maybe, and my goodness, I hope that we, as a society, can get past comparing all struggling black quarterbacks to Vince Young. I’ll explain.
He’ll eventually run into a difficult patch, where weeks will go by without him putting together a good performance. That happens to young quarterbacks. All of them. He won’t be immune. Will it do a job on him emotionally, as it seems to have done to Cam? I say no, and here’s why: There is a world of difference between a guy who wears this …
… and a guy who wears these:
I’m serious here. Look at the collar on that sweater. No one wears that unless they want you to look at it and think, “Hey, look at that guy’s sweater. It’s expensive, bold and fashion-forward. I will now associate these qualities with Cam Newton.” Whereas RGIII’s socks just point to a goofy guy who likes goofy things and can laugh at himself.
Imagine the Redskins starting next year 1-6 (I know it’s hard to envision the Redskins being terrible when they expect to be good, but just give it a shot for me). Will RGIII repeat Cam’s sophomore campaign? I don’t see that happening, at least not emotionally. He doesn’t take himself that seriously. He won’t have press conferences darker than Sylvia Plath poetry readings. He won’t get too down on himself. There are times when being a goofball pays off.
I believe that the video mentioned by the lady in this commercial should come pre-installed on every Galaxy SIII phone sold in America. That I have a Galaxy SIII is completely coincidental.
Stats from the Jacksonville/Detroit game: Calvin Johnson has six first half catches for 111 yards, and the Jaguars lead in first downs, 16-to-1. Jaguar. Jaguar. JAGUAR.
Something happened to Cam Newton, and now he’s got blood all over the front of his pants. Is the suggestion box still open, Cam? I suggest you to try something with wings.
More fun with stats: At halftime, the Bears have 31 points, despite Jay Cutler having just 37 passing yards. I really feel like we’re being deprived by Jay Cutler being on a good team. Can you imagine the never-ending fountain of misery that would flow from Jay Cutler quarterbacking a team that was perennially 5-11? The fans and media would hate him, which would make Cutler become more petulant, which would make the fans and media hate him more, which would make him more petulant, on and on and on until the whole franchise imploded and was sold to Magic Johnson for $1,100.
The NFL is running constant messages today urging people to support the Red Cross, which is wonderful. It’s also wonderful that the first-responders invited to the Giants/Steelers game today get to pose for a photo op with Roger Goodell. What a reward for those brave men and women. What I don’t understand, though, is why the New York City marathon can’t be run because of the resources it would require, but the Giants/Steelers game is A-OK. Is it the $1 million donated? The popularity of the NFL? The money it generates, as opposed to what’s generated from a marathon? I’m not saying anyone made a bad decision here, and I’m not accusing anyone of anything … I just wonder about some things.
And while cynical prick MJD is with us here … hey, free meals at Applebee’s for our nation’s veterans! I’m thinking about heading down to the recruiting office. Mmmm. Microwaved riblets.
The Redskins are countering the Carolina option by doing some option of their own, but theirs is more of an old school triple-option type. It’s working, too. This game is very college-y. Obviously, we’ve seen these wrinkles from the college game worked into NFL game plans, but when is someone going to hire a college coach who comes up and just goes full spread? We can’t be far away from this, can we?
For some reason, I’m looking at Dan Fouts riding a Segway. Got to hand it to CBS. They’ve got their finger on the pulse of what the audience wants.
I have a few questions about the Bud Light commercial where the Raiders fans all turn their beer labels the same way to aid in the making of a field goal.
1) Why are these gentlemen developing elaborate rituals to help the one position at which the Raiders have been competent for a decade?
2) Being Raiders fans, why would they waste their money on $11 Bud Lights, since they’re already high on PCP?
3) Scientifically speaking, don’t they have a better chance of actually affecting their environment by forgetting about their Bud Light labels and somehow syncing their electronic monitoring ankle bracelets?
And the Browns take the lead over the Ravens! No, wait … procedure penalty. They’ll call that one back. Sorry, Cleveland. Phil Dawson comes on to kick the field goal and gives the Browns the lead – a smaller one than they had before, but still, a lead. I’m going to feel a little better about the Chargers loss to the Browns if they can beat the Ravens, too.
Cameras catch up with Joique Bell and Kevin Smith during the 14th step of their 108-step celebratory handshake. I think I saw in there the miming of bailing water, and then pouring water back into a hole or bucket. I don’t know. Maybe it’s some kind of tribute to Sandy first-responders.
I am tremendously disappointed that Verizon has edited out the portion of the NFL Mobile commercial in which Clay Matthews threatens/offers to eat a man in an airport. Oh, Clay. Did we learn nothing from Larry Craig? I was just about to switch to Verizon, too. Is the offer no longer on the table? Can I at least get AJ Hawk to spoon me in the back of a cab? M.D. Jennings to brush my hair in a bus station?
Cincinnati had mounted a nice comeback on Denver, but here’s Andy Dalton with the big mistake – an underthrown ball to AJ Green that Champ Bailey slid underneath. That’s a shame. Dalton was about to leave the building feeling like he’d outplayed Peyton Manning.
Torrey Smith gets into the endzone for the Ravens, after a catch and a deadly pivot/spin move to free himself on a path to the endzone. There’s no reason Smith shouldn’t evolve into one of the elite wide receivers in the league. He’s not there yet, but he’s as dangerous on the outside as anyone, in terms of going up and getting the ball and in making plays after the catch.
Logan Paulsen will be starring in the next episode of “When Gently Flipping the Football to the Official Goes Wrong.” The official wasn’t looking, Paulsen tossed the ball his way, and it clocked him in the eye – at least severely enough to stop the game momentarily. HA HA HA HA, IT’S FUNNY WHEN REFS GET HURT. DeAngelo Hall’s going to have to learn that trick.
At 4:37 p.m. on an NFL Sunday, there are three games being played. Meanwhile, at a large, crowded sports bar, there are three TVs at the bar. Three games on them, right? As a matter of fact, no. One TV has the Steelers/Giants game. One has FOX’s post-game show. One displays blackness and a brief message about not being subscribed to this channel.
Update, ten minutes later. There are 40 televisions in this place. The Vikings vs. Seahawks game is on one of them. The Steelers/Giants game is on 23 of them. The rest are a combination of Bucs/Raiders, the FOX post-game show, and the Big Ten network. Maybe an important Minnesota women’s volleyball match is coming up.
Eli’s not off to a great start for the Giants. He throws a pass deep down the sidelines that was way late and way short. The bright side, I suppose, is that the ball was so catchable that not even Ike Taylor could drop it.
Following a month of pink accessories and accents, this week the NFL is having a “Salute to Service,” and this includes, evidently, the camouflage towel draped around Ben Roethlisberger’s neck. I wonder if we aren’t headed towards an NFL season where each week brings a different cause, with different accessories, colors and towels. If so, I’d like to put in my request now for a pair of TruckNutz to be hanging out of every player’s pants during Testicular Cancer Awareness week.
Oh, hello, Ultimate Nachos. You are health food because there’s lettuce on you.
In a very interesting rule interpretation, Ryan Clark of the Steelers, immediately after delivering a hit to Victor Cruz’s ribs, is flagged for an illegal blow to the head. What’s the call for giving a guy a tugjob? Illegal hands to the face? Come on, officials. I defend you more times than not when it comes to calls like this. You gotta meet me halfway, though. All I’m asking is that you actually see someone’s head get hit before you say someone hit him in the head.
Shortly after that, Ben Roethlisberger was ruled to have fumbled a ball that didn’t appear to be fumbled. Steelers fans around me are frothing at the mouth and gnawing at their own thumbs, but I’m siding with the officials on this one. Osi Umenyiora’s hand hit Roethlisberger’s hand as he brought the ball back. When contact was made, the ball came loose – it was still on Roethlisberger’s hand, and it was indeed propelled by that hand, but I’m not sure that hand actually controlled the ball. Determining the exact instant when Roethlisberger lost control of the football is pretty tough. I think the official was right. At the very least, it falls under the “gray area/can’t be a terrible call either way” umbrella.
On the subject of this game, I suppose, ultimately, it’s going to be difficult to extrapolate much meaning. The Steelers travel plans were all screwy, and so many of the Giants players had their weeks disrupted, too. That stuff matters. It’s hard to say who was at an advantage or disadvantage, but that things were all jacked up is a certainty. With that disclaimer, though – the Steelers look really good. On the road. Against what is/was presumably one of the best teams in the league. The scoreboard may not reflect it right now, but the Steelers look to be the stronger team here.
Someone named Streater just caught a touchdown pass for the Raiders. I really hope his first name is Jason. Come on. Come on, come on … ah, dammit. It’s Rod. Decent porno name, Rod Streater. Not much good for making Friday Night Lights references, though.
Lawrence Tynes misses a field goal with 31 seconds left before halftime, which shouldn’t be that big of a deal … except that Ben Roethlisberger gets the Steelers into comfortable field goal range really quickly with two great throws. That guy is just such an incredible threat in situations where you wouldn’t think a threat existed.
Local news update at halftime: A two-year-old boy was killed at the Pittsburgh zoo after he fell into the exhibit of African painted dogs. Eleven dogs mauled a two-year-old boy.
Back from commercial, I see John Pagano’s locker room speech to his Colts team, in which he vowed that he would, in spite of his current battle with leukemia, dance at both of his daughter’s weddings.
I don’t wanna watch football anymore. News of eleven wild dogs pulling apart a baby followed by an emotional-speech by a leukemia-stricken man tend to drain my enthusiasm for frivolous activities. Jesus. I just want to go to church and maybe have someone hug me. I don’t know. I weep for simpler times, when life was just about Dan Fouts riding a Segway.
I haven’t written anything down in about a half hour. I’m just blankly staring out a window. Wild dogs. Daughter’s weddings.
What finally gets me to take another note is that a gentleman behind me is trying to belch as loud as he can, because … I don’t know. Being eight years old discovering the ability to voluntarily belch was so much fun. It’s happened three times now. I know I’m in a sports bar, and I’m not walking around here looking for the shiniest beacons of peace and love that humanity has to offer, but come on, brother. There are people here eating. There are people here with their wives and girlfriends. We’re belching for attention? WILD DOGS JUST ATE A BABY, MAN.
I feel like the simple act of turning around and looking at the belcher would also carry an implication to the effect of, “You’re an animal, and your belching-for-attention act disgusts me.” It does, right? I don’t have to say anything – just looking conveys the message. Should I do it? Do I make eye contact? What’s to be gained? I don’t know. He’s just going to laugh with his friends about the lame guy at the bar offended by a belch. A glare from a woman would be much more effective in this situation. A glare from me just empowers him.
Steelers running back Chris Rainey is hurt, and a mixed-team prayer circle is formed. Which is a nice gesture, and I hope Chris Rainey is okay, and it looks like he will be – he walked off under his own power. I want to admire the gesture of the prayer circle, but I just can’t. Rainey’s going to be fine. You guys want to pray about something? Let me tell you a story about A BABY WHO WENT TO THE ZOO TODAY.
Sorry. I can’t get past that. I feel like it’s having a slight effect on the Smorgasbord, too.
Deep breath … back to football. The Steelers, with 4th and a foot at the Giants two-yard-line, opt for a fake field goal. Which is weird, because whether or not to go for that was pretty much a toss-up, so the Giants probably considered the possibility of a fake, right? And if they are going to fake something, it probably shouldn’t be a play where the kicker runs directly into an area where Giants players would be rushing even if they did believe it was an actual field goal attempt. That was weird.
I’m not usually one to share with you tales of my fantasy football team, but I can’t write honestly about my day of watching football and not mention that Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back, has forced himself entirely inside me. There’s nowhere left for him to go. The root, the testes, even the immediately adjacent pubic hairs … they’ve all probed my inner depths. I am a human being, Doug Martin. HAVE YOU NO DECENCY, SIR?
The Steelers are really going to do this. To be honest with you, I did not expect them to compete today. I didn’t think a blowout, necessarily, but I figured something like 24-13, Giants, where they didn’t leave much doubt about the better team. The Steelers won, though, and they didn’t just win – they looked convincing doing it. They won despite some big mistakes. They’ve been convincing before, but not on the road. They made an impression today.
Carson Palmer, leading the Raiders on a somewhat miraculous comeback against the Bucs, gets the ball back, trailing by three points with 2:42 to play. Palmer drops back and promptly hits Buccaneers safety Ahmad Black in the chest with the football. And this sets up another chance for … oh no …
IT HURTS, DOUG MARTIN. IT HURTS AND I AM A MAN, AND SWEET JESUS, NO.
That’s four. Four touchdowns for Doug Martin, and the animal behind me just put forth his fourth belch of the day. I can take no more.
I’d like to talk to you about something that’s become an epidemic. Sports bars, in staggering numbers around this grand nation of ours, are not paying attention to what’s on their televisions. Come on. That’s what makes you a sports bar. You know what games are on; you know what your patrons want to watch. Have a plan. Put it into action before 1:05 on fall Sundays, so you don’t have six employees running around looking for the remote, making me feel like an asshole customer because I want to watch a particular game. If you can’t handle this, you’re not a sports bar. You’re a poorly-run bar with a lot of TVs.
Eventually, I do get the Chargers vs. Browns game on. In fact, I get it on the two TVs directly in front of me, which is perfect, because there are no other games on, because the NFL doesn’t play multiple games at the same time or anything. The first thing I see is Chargers fullback Le’Ron McClain turning some poor Browns DB’s lights out, reminiscent of old school Lo Neal. We’re turning back the clock today, baby.
As it turns out, I’m sitting next to a Browns fan. Normally, I’d be a little annoyed to sit directly next to a man who will, all day long, openly pull for the very things that make me unhappy. But he seems like a nice guy, and I’m assuming that he suffers from a pretty severe depression, being a Browns fan and all. I see no need to pile on. But if he is going to kill himself today, I hope he does it in the restroom.
Philip Rivers has a mustache. I repeat: PHILIP RIVERS HAS A MUSTACHE.
How did I not know this? And what does this mean for the future of the San Diego Chargers? And is it just me, or was he about the least likely guy in the league to show up one day with a mustache? So many unanswered questions. All I know right now is that as long as the lip fur remains, I’m calling him Philly. Philly Rivers.
If anyone thinks that Redskins tight end Logan Paulsen can get hurt, and I won’t start chanting “His name is Logan Paulsen,” they are wrong. They’re just wrong.
Concern: Mustachio’d Philly Rivers is not throwing the ball downfield. He’s handing off, he’s throwing short to running backs … the deep ball is absent. I think Norv just wants a more conservative, less turnover-prone offense after the bye week, but I’m not exempting the mustache from blame here. For normal guys, a mustache would increase the size of their balls by about 45%. It appears to have done the opposite here. Two weeks ago, clean-shaven Phil would’ve tried to force a ball into a one-armed dwarf in a straitjacket in triple coverage. Today, he won’t throw it farther than four feet. Someone explain to him how mustaches work.
With 12:56 remaining in the second quarter, Philly Rivers throws his first deep pass. It travels with the laser-like velocity of a hot air balloon and is only not intercepted because it was a Cleveland Brown trying to do the intercepting.
Meanwhile, Ben Roethlisberger has just completed his second touchdown pass of the day, this one to Heath Miller. It seems like I’m appreciating Roethlisberger more and more every week, which I’m not happy about. But the miscreant is just so good, even when the rest of his offense is not. Clearly, the Chargers managed to land the worst quarterback taken at the top of the first round in 2004, despite having the first pick. We’ve got a sterling track record with these things.
The fiancée of the Browns fan sitting next to me is vehemently anti-Chargers, which, in this part of the country, is odd. If anyone in this region is anti-Chargers, it’s because of this – DENNIS GIBSON IS HUNG LIKE A BULL – but for the most part, people are completely apathetic about the Bolts. I tell her I’m a Chargers fan, and she looks at me like Satan himself is sitting in my lap, using his iPhone to steer Hurricane Sandy. As it turns out, her ex-husband was a Chargers fan. Hence, the bitterness. Since he’s a Chargers fan, though, I’m going to assume their split was entirely her fault, he is blameless and a saint, and I hope he got the kids.
There probably weren’t any kids. I don’t know. If you happen to read this, nice lady who was at the bar with me, I apologize. I’m kidding.
Here’s a text I got this morning from my buddy Doug, an asshole Eagles fan:
“i’d sit all ur falcons if I were u. Theyre in deep trouble today. [Falcons QB Matt Ryan] wont break 15. Playin in his hometown, a lil nervous. The eagles will dominate.”
Matt Ryan has three touchdowns and something like one incompletion at the half. What I love about Eagles fans is their commitment to keeping realistic expectations regarding their team.
Chargers defensive coordinator John Pagano, brother of Chuck, has “#CHUCKSTRONG” written on the reverse side of his laminated play sheet. And it’s a nice gesture, and of course the man is thinking of his brother, but the way the Chargers are playing today, they shouldn’t be allowed to use the term #CHUCKSTRONG. #CHUCKSTRONG is about fighting when fighting is necessary. It’s about overcoming adversity. It’s about taking what life gives you and still being the best you can be. Today, the Chargers are not #CHUCKSTRONG, they are #PUSSYDAMP. If Chuck Pagano is counting on the Chargers for any inspiration, by the end of the day, he’s going to have leukemia and herpes.
It’s halftime of the early games, and I’ve got a chance to reflect a bit. It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these, and it’s been just about as long as I’ve sat in a sports bar on a Sunday to simply observe football and football fans. Clearly, I have aged. Young men wearing football jerseys look slightly ridiculous to me, where before, they never did. I’m still not buying into any “Jersey Rules” or anything – wear what makes you happy – but someday, young jersey-wearer, you’re going to want a woman to like you, and your authentic Osi Umenyiora jersey isn’t going to further the cause.
Another observation: It seems there are fewer Crazy Fish Guys these days. Actual Crazy Fish Guy hasn’t been heard from in a while, but I’m talking metaphorical Crazy Fish Guys. The older gentleman, by himself, who just wants to sit and quietly watch his team or his gambling interests. It seems to be almost exclusively younger folks now.
Unless, of course … I’m the new Crazy Fish Guy.
Oh fuck. I might be the new Crazy Fish Guy.
Before the third quarter starts in Cleveland, they’re showing footage of Lake Erie in Cleveland, and it looks like something out of “The Perfect Storm”. Whitecaps are pounding rocks, shrubbery is whipping about, and the sky has turned a color too depressing for even Cleveland.
Browns fans are responding accordingly. At the start of the second half, I’m going to guess the stadium is about 15% full. That’s my honest guess. And the Browns are winning. The Weather Channel should use that as the dramatic statement that sums up just how unpleasant this storm is going to be. Years from now, we’re going to look back on this and, “Well, there was that one storm back in ‘12 that it was so bad it got Browns fans to leave a game they were winning – one of just 7 games they won over a 15-year period.”
A week after RGIII had people putting him in the Hall of Fame, the Steelers have him completely checked. He’s not throwing or running effectively. It’s clear which of these teams has the savvy veteran quarterback and which has the rookie. The Steelers, at certain moments, can be so impressive. Maybe it’s just that they’re at home, where they’ve been way better this year. Or maybe Ben Roethlisberger just feels comfortable in prison stripes.
Meanwhile, the Chargers, with the exception of Philly Rivers, seem totally comfortable with abject failure. Dropped passes and missed tackles are met with a gesture that says, “You know, a couple of Ho Hos would really be delicious right now.” Again, the exception is Rivers, who throws miniature fits every time an opportunity is missed, be it his fault or a receiver’s. I’m glad someone cares and all, but I’d really rather his fits looked less like the fits of a little girl who doesn’t get to go ride bikes with the neighbor boy because she didn’t eat her broccoli.
Speaking of poorly-behaved children, there are two behind me, two or three years old, who apparently have total permission to run around screaming and squealing like they just saw Spongebob take a shotgun blast to the face. Don’t get me wrong, I love kids – just not these two little pricks. I can’t imagine this behavior being okay with a parent. It seems to be, though. They think it’s funny. And at home, maybe it’s so goddamn adorable that it melts your face, but you’re in public now. There are other people around. By not reigning your child in, you make everyone hate your special little snowflake.
Antonio Brown of the Steelers returns a punt to the house, and in the classiest and most sportsmanlike of moves, he starts backpedaling at about the 20-yard-line. Is there an AND1 Tour for football? Because they’d love that move there. Brown, for some reason, draws an unsportsmanlike conduct flag, which was declined because a holding penalty also nullified the touchdown. I almost wish the touchdown would’ve counted, just so he could’ve been punished for being such a wang.
CBS statistic regarding Brandon Weeden: He’s had 21 catchable passes dropped this season, which leads the NFL. That’s just mean, Browns receivers. Have a little respect for your elders.
It’s not on a TV I can see anywhere, but apparently, the Panthers are beating the Bears. This, I did not see coming. Is it possible – is there maybe an outside chance – that Cam Newton isn’t the gigantic bag of shit he’s been made out to be over the last week? That maybe he has some redeeming quality, as either a quarterback or a human being? I don’t know. I’m not suggesting that Cam Newton is Canton-bound or anything, but I’ve never seen a quarterback take such a pounding over poor press conference body language before.
With 10:00 to play in the fourth quarter, the second half yardage totals look like this: Chargers 60, Browns 70. This is the level to which the Chargers have fallen. On Gameday Final on the NFL Network, this is going to be the game that gets the 15-second highlight package. Hopefully, that still provides Deion Sanders ample time to repeat the same word 9 times in a row..
Whoa, DeAngelo Hall is wigging out. This chiseled 28-year-old athlete in prime athletic condition, covered in armor from head to toe, looks very much like he wants to fight head linesman/insurance claims adjuster Dana McKenzie right now. He took his helmet off in the guy’s face, an acts that begs, nay, demands, a 15-yard penalty. Now Hall is screaming in the guy’s face, and I’m not an expert lip reader, but I believe I saw a “bitch” and a “fuck you” in there. This is the most contentious player/official confrontation I’ve seen since Orlando Brown, may he rest in peace, was hit in the eye with a penalty flag. I don’t know exactly what Hall’s beef is, but I highly doubt he’s got a grievance as solid as Brown’s. Calm yourself.
With 2:32 to play, the Chargers trail by a point, and Eric Weddle is back to return a punt. He drops it, because of course he does. By some miracle, he accidentally recovered it, and the Chargers will now have a chance to drive for a game-winning field goal. I am 100% certain that it’s a field goal they will never see.
Haven’t seen much of this game, but the Lions have a 3rd-and-1, at the one, to get in the endzone and beat the Seahawks. Titus Young was going to the ground as Matthew Stafford darted the football into the tiniest little window, just scraping by the turf and the defender’s arm. Best throw of the day
Aaaaaaand the Chargers just lost to the Browns. That collapse against Denver two Mondays ago was it, man. That was the end for this group. That just fried any confidence or sense of purpose that this already emotionally-fragile team had. They had a bye week and a Philly Rivers mustache, and they still couldn’t bounce back. They’re goosed.
CBS now presents the “GEICO Play of the Day” from the Chargers/Browns game, and … good fucking luck with that, CBS. What do they go with there? The grounds crew successfully mowing the grass before the game? Did Brandon Weeden successfully pick a booger at some point today? Did cameras happen to catch a fan masturbating in the stands?
The Panthers couldn’t hold on to beat the Bears, but Cam Newton did have 300 yards passing against the Bears defense. And no, his completion percentage wasn’t high, and yes, he did have two interceptions. Still. It’s the Bears defense. That’s something. I think it’s worth at least exploring the notion that maybe he still has a chance to be a decent NFL quarterback. Let’s just consider it.
Prettiest touchdown of the day goes to Vick Ballard of the Indianapolis Colts for this twisting, surging overtime job against the Titans. There are dolphins at Sea World who don’t make dives that smooth. That’s a big win for the Colts, too. They can call themselves playoff contenders without anyone objecting too much. Maybe Andrew Luck ought to get some attention at some point, too.
For the last fifteen minutes, the television closest to me has been displaying the DirecTV screensaver. Hey, it’s not like this is a sports bar or anything, and it’s not like it’s a fall Sunday at 4:00.
Finally, that situation is alleviated, and the screensaver is replaced with the Raiders/Chiefs game. I was hoping I’d get to be one of the 19 people in the country watching this. Whether or not this represents a bump in entertainment value can be debated. My personal rankings on the subject go like this, from most entertaining to least: Footage of Mr. Belvedere getting a tattoo on his hairy taint > Chiefs/Raiders > DirecTV Screensaver > Chargers/Browns.
Brady Quinn has been injured and replaced in the Chiefs line-up by Matt Cassel. I tell you this because I’m not sure anyone else will bother reporting it. I’m not sure anyone else has even noticed it.
Oh, sweet – there’s going to be an “A Football Life” episode on Chris Spielman. I’m excited about this for a couple of reasons. First, I was a Spielman fan, and what he did for his wife touched me. It should be an excellent program. Secondly, Wayne Fontes is interviewed in the trailer, and when I first saw his image flash on the screen, I honestly thought I was looking at “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes.
A couple of Cowboys fans with a zeal for arts and crafts are borrowing a little bit of fan behavior from college basketball. They’ve got gigantic cut-outs of faces up behind the field goal posts in an effort to distract the kicker. I can’t identify these faces (little help, anyone?), but I like the trend. Suggestions for future faces are kickers’ parents and/or classmates who beat them up in grade school.
Oh, dear. Tony Romo just Romo’d a screen pass directly into the arms of Jason Pierre-Paul. JPP takes it to the painted grass, and it’s 23-0 Giants. I was counting on this game to entertain me. Maybe I can get that DirecTV screensaver back.
I’ve been enjoying the commercial for the new Microsoft Surface. I don’t know what makes it better or worse than an iPad or any other tablet, but I know this: When my friends and I are trying to select a tablet to use in our choreographed dance routines, we’re going with the Surface.
This is kind of a dick move on my part, but … there are bizarre things happening around me that I can’t tell you about. I’ll just pass along the moral of the story, which is this: Don’t owe a bookie money. Also, don’t be a bookie.
The cameras catch a shot of Chiefs guard Ryan Lilja on the sidelines, and he has the grayest hair I’ve ever seen on an NFL player. I don’t know if it’s for some Halloween costume or something, but that man is gray and grey. Take the vowel of your choosing. He’s like the white Roman Harper.
Oh, do I have good news for you, everybody. You know who’s providing the halftime entertainment during the Thanksgiving Redskins/Cowboys game? CHESNEY. And there’s more good news … Peyton Manning is free that day! His Broncos don’t play on Thursday, so Peyton can enjoy the show just like everyone else. Also from the “not totally surprising” category: Troy Aikman loves Kenny Chesney.
The Giants fail to cover Dez Bryant and Tony Romo hits him for a touchdown (just barely – Dez caught it like a punt), and there are faint signs that the Cowboys could make this a game. I was getting pretty comfortable with the idea of giving up on this afternoon of football.
Hey, there’s a Peyton Hillis sighting in Kansas City. He doesn’t look completely ineffective, either. By the way, have I ever thanked you, football fans of America, for voting Peyton Hillis onto the cover of Madden ‘12? Great call, everybody. I’m sure the appeal of his pure white skin had nothing to do with it.
At halftime of the Giants/Cowboys game, I’m calling it an afternoon. I’m finding myself watching more of Real Madrid pounding Mallorca than I am football (fine, American football, you pansy soccer snob), and that’s probably a sign that I should bounce. Much love, everybody.
I donâ€™t know if youâ€™ve ever noticed this, but the cheers are always just a liiiiiittle bit louder for a white kick returner.