The Electric Commentary

Monday, March 08, 2004

WEEK 17

The Electric Commentary or
Dynasties Take a Year Off


People say there are no Dynasties anymore, and that parity gives every team a chance. I assert to you that this is bunk, and the Patriots, Rams, Eagles, Ravens, and Titans are all Super Bowl contenders, and all have been either in it, or close, in almost every year. Dynasties are not dead, they just take some time off occasionally.

First and foremost, I apologize for taking a week off last week. I had a busy week and a bad spell of brain freeze, and Thanksgiving travel certainly did not help any. I tried to write but it all sounded like a Dick and Jane book when I read it back. See Brett throw. No Brett, No! See Dre Catch. See Turd time his jump wrong. You get the picture.

This week I was fortunate enough to watch the Packer-Bear game from the refurbished Lambeau Field. We had good seats, row 36, on about the 25 yards line on the north half of the field. I often hear people make the complaint that they get a better view at home. Nothing could be further from the truth, as TV never lets you see what is going on in the secondary. And boy was there a lot going on in the secondary at Lambeau. But first…

All of my football ended this week. I lost in David’s league to Roger (Good luck Roger, you’ve got a heck of a team), my team in my league has been awful all year (thank you TO and Vicky), and my flag football team went down in the second round of the playoffs last Wednesday. Here is how it happened…

We had won our first round game just an hour before, on the strength of four kickoff return touchdowns by my friend Jared. However, our second opponents did not have to play back to back games, and we were a tad tired for it. That being said, we started fast, getting out to an early lead. In the second half, up by 5 or 6 (it doesn’t matter) we were driving down the field for what would probably be the clinching score. It was 3rd and goal, and yours truly sees one of his receivers hit the goal line and jut out on a beautiful out route. I throw the ball, and just as it leaves my hand, I pick up the safety breaking right to the spot I’m trying to throw into. I should have seen him. I almost managed to bring the throw back but it was already gone, interception, 90 yards touchdown the other way, and we don’t ever recover. So why does this matter? Because…

Jared and me are sitting at Lambeau field. The Packers have just taken a narrow lead but the Bears have a nice sustained drive going. It’s the third quarter and this drive looks like a momentum changer. The Bears are already well within Paul Edinger’s field goal range. Suddenly, the Packers bring a safety blitz leaving Mike McKenzie one on one with Dez White. White is running a 13 yard out pattern and in the event of a blitz, he is Stewart’s hot read. But before the ball leaves Stewart’s hand, I see that McKenzie is baiting him, and I think, “I can’t believe I made the same mistake that Kordell Stewart is about to. I’m an idiot.” This poor decision has not gone unnoticed by Jared, and before the ball is even out of his hand, we are both standing up cheering, to the befuddlement of those around us. When McKenzie makes the catch everyone else joins us on our feet, slightly amazed that we beat them up by a full 2 seconds (Note: Assuming 2 seconds is accurate, this means that Kordell’s pass traveled at about 25 miles per hour. That seems about right).

Cowboys Fans Are Stupid.

Bill Parcels may be a bright guy, but the Cowboy faithful leave something to be desired. At the game, the two gentleidiots (not gentlemen) sitting behind us were listening to the Eagles-Cowboys game on the radio and not paying attention to the game right in front of them. So why would you go sit outside in a big stadium and completely ignore the game while listening a different game? Who knows, but the one part they paid attention to was when Kordell Stewart threw the ball away while still in the pocket and was not called for grounding. Boos rained down on the referees (and deservedly so). This lead to the following conversation:

Idiots: You morons. Don’t boo, you can throw it away if you’re outside the pocket.

Paul: He never left the pocket.

Idiots: Yes he did. A play can’t go on that long without the QB leaving the pocket.

Paul – Watch the jumbo-tron. He runs to that hash, then slides back to the other hash, but never outside. He never scrambled…

Idiots – You can also throw it away if you run 15 yards…

Paul – That’s true, however your dropback, along with minor foot movements do not count towards the 15 yard total. Stewart merely dropped back, stepped up to his right, slid back to his left, and then retreated until he threw the ball away. If that is not intentional grounding then they may as well eliminate the rule. Go Eagles.

As if to justify my point further, the refs called Stewart for the infraction later on in the game on almost the exact same play.

So at least my bad decision allowed me to see another one. And if you haven’t gotten up to Lambeau yet, you owe it to yourself to do so at some point. The new atrium is worth seeing by itself, and they even have an appropriate # of bathrooms now, but…

Do the Urinal Rules Still Apply At the Sink?

One tradition that I thought was over at Lambeau is that proud tradition of peeing in the sink. And it’s not as simple as it sounds, before you pee in the sink you have to stuff up the drain with paper towels so that the urine doesn’t go down the drain and instead accumulates in a friendly little puddle. Why you do this I will never know, but with more bathrooms and shorter lines at the new stadium, one would think that this tradition would end, and for the most part it has. It used to be that pee-filled sinks were as plentiful as hats made out of opossums, raccoons, and other vermin at Lambeau, but I spotted just one lone sink. Which begs another question.

Who is the first guy to piss in the sink? Who is the bellwether? It’s one thing to walk into a bathroom with a long line where numerous drunken men are already pissing in the sink, it is quite another to walk into a bathroom with short lines and no one pissing in the sink and decide that it’s a good idea. Who is this guy? What is to stop him from pissing in other places? If he’ll do it in the sink, why not a cooler? A Tupperware? Random gas tanks? The ketchup dispenser? All I know is that this man must be found, because if we have to live in fear that our drinks have been peed in, then the pissers have already won.

What a Bunch of BCS, Part 2.

I have been harangued all day on the radio, television, and newspaper about how the BCS is a disgrace and a disaster. “Oklahoma didn’t even win their conference,” they say, or “How can USC be #1 in both polls and not be in the title game?” Jim Rome even went so far as to say “This is not even worth debating. There is no case on the other side, and anyone who thinks otherwise is an idiot.” I have a few rules in life and one is that if Jim Rome agrees with you, you might want to rethink your position, and such is the case here. (Note: Jim deserves one bit of credit, he has a radio show where he doesn’t have to talk. That’s brilliant! All he does is read the USA today sports page for the first fifteen minutes of his show, and then let’s his callers talk the rest of the way. Incredible.)

What the BCS has accomplished this year is to show just how stupid those who vote in the two polls are. Having USC at #1 is ridiculous. Humans are subject to a problem known as the “What have you done for me lately?” syndrome. Conventional wisdom among pundits posits that late losses are worse than early losses. This is stupid. The BCS on the other hand thinks that losses to bad teams (like, say, for instance, the nerds at The University of California at Berkeley) are worse than losses to good teams (like, say, the second best team in the best conference in college football, which also happens to be ranked 12th in the country, Kansas State).

Now which sounds like a superior way to determine who is better? Should it be the team with fewer late losses, or the team with fewer losses to bad teams? Clearly, Oklahoma still deserves to be in the Sugar Bowl. They have been criticized for losing their conference title game, as if its worse than losing to Cal. Ridiculous.

LSU played a tough schedule and lost only once. They beat 3 ranked opponents, including Georgia twice. Oklahoma beat several ranked opponents, a few of them rather severely. USC, on the other hand, only beat one ranked team all year, and only one team with over 5 wins. Way to go.

Had USC played a real schedule (say the Big 12, Big Ten, or the MAC) or a conference championship game against PAC-10 runner-up Washington State, then we could talk. But they did not.

Now I think the BCS does as good a job as can be done AS LONG AS there is no playoff. Dan Shanoff (ESPN Page 2, the Daily Quicky) came up with a brilliant playoff system whereby you play 5 conference or “good” games to start the season, 2 or 3 cupcakes, and then have a playoff featuring all 117 division one football programs, with the top 11 getting a first round bye. If you lose, you schedule games against other losers, you still have bowls at the end with the big four as playoff finales. You’re done by Thanksgiving, and the “students” won’t be distracted for finals. Sounds pretty good to me. But until then, the BCS got it right, again.

KC You Later.

Kansas City fell into a tie for home field advantage with the Patriots on Sunday after surrendering 45 points to the Broncos. Most of those points (and yards) were gained by Clinton Portis, who was often untouched until he hit safeties, if even then. Of course, Packer fans are well aware that the Chiefs can not stop the run, and it will prove to be their Achilles’ heal, especially in the somewhat likely scenario of facing Jamal Lewis in the playoffs. In fact, Lewis is one of the few likely playoff contenders the Chiefs have faced this year. For instance:

The Chiefs beat the Ravens 17-10, on the strength of a Dante Hall kick return. The Raven defense was its usual self, in that game, and if they meet again, does anyone think Jamal Lewis will have fewer than 150 yards and two scores?

The Chiefs beat the Packers in overtime, and had to rally from 17 down to do it.

They lost to Cincinnati.

The Chiefs have only played one other possible playoff team, Denver. And clearly Denver presents a problem, as the Chiefs won game one on the strength of yet another Dante Hall kick return, and got blasted this week. It is worth noting that they have played against 0 “certain” playoff teams. The Packers and Broncos may miss the playoffs. The Bengals almost certainly will, and if they do not, the Ravens likely will not. In fact, the Chiefs strength of schedule is worse than USC’s. Take a look,

The Chiefs played the Raiders twice and won by a combined 10 points. They also played San Diego twice. They beat up on Cleveland, Pitt, Houston, and Buffalo.

Come playoff time we see an early exit for the non battle-tested, and the Chiefs have been playing the Washington Generals all year. Let’s have a box of tissues ready for Dick Vermiel.

There’s No Place Like Home.

What is wrong with the Seattle Seahawks? Mike Holmgren’s squad seems to be pretty good, really very good, as long as they are at home. On the road the Hawks turn into Cardinals. It happened again on Sunday in the Metrodome, where the Seahawk defense decided to let Randy Moss run unchecked on two separate bomb plays. Moreover, the Hawk offense was non-existent. Last year I had Shaun Alexander on my Fantasy team, and he was awful except for one game. It was played against the Vikings and he scored 5 touchdowns in the FIRST HALF. As we all know, the Viking run defense still blows, so what happened? A few theories:

1. Seattle is in general much further away from a higher percentage of the country. - Therefore, their travel times are worse. But this is not new, so it can only explain the phenomenon partially.

2. It rains a lot in Seattle. - This is said to cause depression, however you would think leaving the city would alleviate that depression, so that’s no excuse. If anything, they should have a better record.

3. You can’t get Seattle coffee in places like Minnesota. – That’s simply not true. One of the greatest independent coffeehouse chains, Caribou Coffee, calls Minnesota it’s home. Caffeine headaches are not the answer.

4. Oxygen Depletion? – Upstate Washington is home to one of the world’s largest rain forests. Moreover, as a coastal state, it is closer to the ocean dwelling blue-green algae that produces most of the world’s oxygen. When Seattle plays inland, perhaps they have a sort of high altitude effect where they become tired more quickly.

5. Bill Gates? – I don’t know HOW he could be affecting home games, I just know that he could.

6. Mike Holmgren – at least against Minnesota, did you really think he was going to win? Hasselbeck isn’t helping.

I guess we’ll never know. But what we do know is that the Hawks are just a game ahead of the Pack and lose a tiebreaker, and they still have 2 road games, at San Fran, and at St. Louis. Keep up the good work Mike!

A Quick Note On the First Amendment

The Supreme Court a few days ago in a 5-4 decision upheld the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform law, one of the single most unconstitutional pieces of garbage ever to be passed by the federal government. It prohibits independent groups from running advertisements in the months before an election. It restricts POLITICAL speech! The whole point of the first amendment is to protect political speech. Moreover, the Supremes created a new standard that speech may be restricted if it causes “the APPEARANCE (italics added) of undue influence.” Therefore, the government can now prohibit speech if it feels that it might look like to the public that undue influence might occur. Do you want your free speech rights resting on that standard?

This law doesn’t even accomplish the goal of getting money out of politics, that being the stated goal of the law. It prevents incorporated entities from using unlimited soft money donations for issue ads. As long as an entity is not incorporated they can still do whatever they want. Therefore, this bill will result in NO change in the way campaigns are run except that organizations like the NRA, AARP, Teamsters, Teachers Unions, Right to Life association, Pro-Choice America, PETA, the Federalist Society, Rotary, the Sierra Club, the NAACP, The American Medical Association, the American Bar Association, and indeed, the Democratic and Republican national committees, will form unincorporated divisions. If this bill is an obstacle at all, it restricts those who are willing to combine their resources to speak out on issues that they care about. It therefore helps individually wealthy people.

And Democrats supported this?

Republicans catch a lot of heat (and deservedly so) for things like the flag burning amendment, anti-pornography laws, and the like, but the biggest hit to free speech in American history has now been delivered by the Democratic party.

Poor Dan

Dan Reeves was fired (sort of, he found out he would be fired at the end of the year and asked to be let go) just as he got Mike Vick back. Ouch.

And after watching Sunday nights performance it has to really hurt. Mike was his old self, rushing for 141 yards and a touchdown (although he did throw a crucial interception that almost cost them the game). The Falcons are supposedly seeking Steve Mariucci as they see him as the best developer of QB’s out there. Mooch of course already has Joey Harrington, but it will be tough to pass up a chance to work with someone who may go on to be the best QB of his generation. Harrington has certainly regressed this year and Mooch may want to bail just to save his reputation. No matter what, one thing is clear. As long as Vick is healthy a monkey could coach the Falcons and have pretty good success (Note: There is no rule that says a monkey can’t coach in the NFL).

Your Guess Is As Good As Mine (Note: This means you will be wrong).

So I’m sitting at home two weeks ago, with my Bengal pick already in hand and ¾’s of my parlay complete. The Chiefs have a comfortable 11 point lead, and there is under one minute to go. The Chargers surely wouldn’t put up a meaningless touchdown to beat the spread. Then, with 6 seconds left in the game, Flutie takes the snap rolls right, avoids Vonnie Holiday lunging at him, and fires a touchdown at the back of the end zone to some tight end I’ve never heard of to cover the spread. Just take a knee OK? Still, a great week as I went 3 for 4 and the Bengals won outright, just as I said.

This week, the fellows at Footballoutsiders.com statistically determined that when warm weather/indoor teams play outdoors in December, the cold weather team covers the spread about ¾ of the time. But one game screams out this week. The Rams, on the turf at home play the Seahawks, who can’t do anything on the road, or stop the run. The Rams are favored by 7, so give the points. This game is a blowout.

For a nice parlay try
Rams (-7) over Seahawks,
Lions (+14) over Chiefs
Ravens (-6.5) over Raiders
Bears (+3) over Vikings

Quick Hitters:

If you are looking for a good sleeper team for next year, over the last 4 weeks, Jacksonville has statistically had the second best defense in the league.

Oh, and Fragile Freddy played in his 29th consecutive game on Sunday.

Indianapolis looked impressive in beating the Titans on Sunday, but few teams have had as many crazy close games. They had the great comeback against the Bucs, the narrow loss to the Pats, and now they just hold on against the Titans. This may serve them well down the stretch. They still won’t win a playoff game though.

Drew Bledsoe threw for 72 yards in a win. But then again, he won’t remember doing it, so it shouldn’t really count.

We all wondered why Mike Sherman decided to call time-out with 5 seconds left at the end of the first half. But then Darren Sharper picked off Stewart’s Hail Mary in the end zone and almost brought it all the way back so I guess he must have planned it that way. Then he decided to go for 2 to put the Pack up by 13 instead of 12 in the third quarter, but they made it, so no biggie. While this was stupid, he at least said as much after the game. “It won’t happen again.”

The Bears offense was not able to outscore the Bears defense. Or special teams.

Dallas continues to have problems with stout defenses. The Eagles manhandled them. What should worry the ‘Boys more than that is that their once stout defense is starting to get pushed around up front. The Cowboys are small up front and they may be wearing down. Lucky for the Cowboys then, that they finish with the Redskins, Giants, and Saints.

Jeff Garcia accounted for 6 touchdowns in a 50-14 route of the Cardinals. Oh sure, pick on the wimp. The 49ers are not really a team on the rise, and giving any team, even the Cardinals, something to remember for next season my not have been the best idea. Think about this:

Talent wise the Cardinal offensive line is pretty good. Marcel Shipp is a competent running back and Anquan Boldin a promising young receiver. Their offensive problem is clearly QB. Next year this team may have Eli Manning at the helm, and with some defensive help, they could be the garbage team to turn around next year, like the Bengals this year. More likely they will screw up their draft.

In the Mind Of…

Jerry Azumah (Bear DB) – That was the most useless kickoff return in history.

Brock Forsey (Bear RB) – Me and Marty had the same number of rushing yards at –4. But my average was better.

Priest Holmes (Chiefs RB) – I only had 12 carries in that game. C’mon

Clinton Portis (Broncos RB) –Hey, I only got 22 carries.

Travis Henry (In 5 months) (Bills RB) – Oops, dropped my putter. Ah, now I spilled beer on it! All right here we…Fore! The club just flew right out of my hands. Man. So, who’s up for bowling next week?

Tiki Barber (In 5 months) (Giants RB)– See Travis Henry.

Bill Belichick (Patriots Coach) – It’s actually easy to plan defenses if there’s a blizzard. Dolphins don’t take to well to snow.

Warren Sapp (Fat Idiot) – I scored again! If only we didn’t suck!

Deuce McCallister (Saints RB) – I didn’t get 100 yards this week, darn it. Of course we won so…

Bill Callahan (Oakland Coach for anothermonth or so) – Great, not only are we horrible, but half my team stayed up late last night to protest the senior prescription drug bill.

Deion Sanders – I would like to announce my candidacy for coach of the Atlanta Falcons. I have no experience coaching at any level, but at least I’m really fast.

John Gruden (Tampa Coach) – I think I’ll sleep in today. Hon, set the clock for 4:30.

Mike Vanderjagt (Idiot Kicker) – I’m glad I’m perfect so far, I just hope I don’t pull a Gary Anderson.

Steve McNair (Titans QB) – So I have a broken ankle now. Good. It balances out my broken knee.

Eddie George (Washed up Titans RB) – You know, my season yards per carry average might suck, but against the Colts it was 5 yards a carry. Interesting.

TO (TO)– So I couldn’t use any of my celebration gimmicks this year. Just wait until next year!

Drew Brees (Frail armed Chargers QB) – Why is Flutie still playing? They need to develop someone and I’m the only guy here.

Doug Flutie (Mini-me)– Why am I still playing? Maybe I’ll join the Raiders next year.

Rex Grossman (The New Cade McNown)– I’ve been practicing running backwards all week.

Kyle Boller (The new Trent Dilfer) – Hey coach, I’m healthy. Really? A few more weeks off. OK, I suppose I should be rested for the playoffs…

And Finally…

Michael Vick (Falcons QB) – One thing that my injury was good for, it showed everyone just how good I am, and just how bad the rest of the team is. We still need a defense, a running back, another WR would help. But it’s gonna be tough with the contract they’ll need to keep me.

Tecmo Bowl Trivia

The answer to last weeks questions was Rob Moore, who was saddled with Ken O’Brien, Timm Rosenbach, Jake Plummer, and a few other scrubs not worth mentioning for his entire career.

For the season, Scott Krems has answered by far the most questions, with Scott Fruncek and Scott Hartl about even in second. Scott K’s prize is a beer at next years draft. Congratulations!

That said, I’m pretty much out of questions so now the question is:
What should be the subject of trivia next year? All suggestions will be taken under consideration.

Good Luck to All That Are Left.

Since I’m out of my fantasy league’s I have no reason to look up random football statistics, and frankly, my brain has been a little fried. I spend a great deal of time writing very boring cover letters and it really hurts my head. Anyway, I will definitely write once more for the Super Bowl, and probably for the playoffs, as well as an awards column.

Until next time,

Paul Noonan
Electric Mayhem

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