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Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Madden Curse and Mile High Hangover

Alexander the Great No Match
for Madden Curse
I can't say I believe in curses. I didn't think the Red Sox were cursed, I don't think the Cubs are cursed (they are just idiots) and I have no issues with stepping on cracks or the number 13. However, after Shaun Alexander was injured this weekend, I may need to look into reversing my stance. Whether it was McNabb, Ray Lewis, Vick, Culpepper or Eddie George, all the Madden cover boys of the last 5+ years have either been injured or made a costly mistake for their team (Eddie George). And lest we forget Barry Sanders. Just weeks after appearing on the cover for Madden 2000, Sanders retired just days before training camp opened. This time, it's a bone crack in the 2005 MVP's foot that has him out indefinitely, leaving the 'Hawks without a featured back and putting their season in limbo at least for the time being. First word is that Shauny boy may only be out for as little as two weeks, which must be music to Mike Holmgren's ears. In any other division 2 games could be costly, but the in the hapless NFC West he could probably miss 6-8 games and the 'Hawks could still waltz to the division title. But as the Giants game proved, home-field advantage is very important to Seattle and their playoff hopes, so we will have to stay tuned and see how Alexander progresses. But how about this curse? I mean should we take it seriously or what? All I'm saying is, John Madden should do the rest of the free world a favor and throw George W Bush on the cover of Madden '08. Problem solved.

Patriots Update
Last Week: Denver Broncos 17 New England Patriots 7
Record: 2-1

Next Week @ Cincinnati Bengals (3-0)

*Let me tell ya, there were a lot of things I didn't like about the Patriots 17-7 loss Sunday night at Gillette Stadium. Tom Brady may have put up good numbers, but he didn't look like the Tom Brady we are all used to that's for sure. The Pats may have a vastly improved running game this season, but if Brady can't find some go-to receivers in a hurry, Dillon and Maroney are going to see a lot of 8 and 9 man fronts to slow them down. And things aren't going to get any easier next week as the Pats battle the 3-0 Bengals who are riding high after a win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. This game should give Pats fans a good idea of what may be on the horizon for the rest of the year. If Tommy Boy can get on the same page as his new receiving corps, then it should be business as usual, but if not, Patriot Nation could be in for a very frustrating year.

NFL News and Notes
*Raise your hand if you can locate your spleen. Yeah me either. But, if your Tampa QB Chris Simms, all you have to do is point to a jar full of liquid next to your hospital bed, or god for bid, a medical trash can. That's because, after taking several monster hits in his team's 24-23 loss to the Panthers this Sunday, Simms was rushed to the hospital where they had to remove his spleen before any serious damage was done to the rest of his body. Now the Bucs are handing over the QB duties to former University of Toledo stand-out Bruce Gradkowski. Sucks to be 3rd string QB Tim Rattay that's for sure. The guy can't catch a break, first he gets run out of Washington, and now he doesn't even get the nod when a shaky and injured Chris Simms gets lit up like a blunt at Snoop Dogg's bbq. Oh well, there are already 4 other MAC QB's starting in the NFL, and one of them won a Super Bowl last year. Maybe Gruden isn't as crazy as he looks. Then again, maybe he is just throwing in the towel seeing as his team is already 0-3 and staring up at the 3-0 Saints.

*Just 3 games into the season and Dennis Green has already had enough of Kurt Warner. I can't say I blame him. And although I'd like to make some crack here about Warner's wife's spike mohawk that she sported during the Rams Super Bowl days, I saw him with a rather different looking wife recently which would lead me to believe he may have also ditched his allegiance to the Lord our God. Can you say spiritual revenge? Is it possible that after Warner ditched his butch wife for a milf, God turned Warner from a stud to a dud? Or is it possible that I made a mistake and it wasn't his wife? Either way, Warner is now officially out, and Matt "Hollywood" Leinart is in. Hopefully his pregnant girlfriend/some chick he knocked up will be excited for him, seeing as she is missing her entire USC basketball season to carry his child.

*You know who make a great pair? Jeremy Shockey and Tom Coughlin. Matter of fact, I bet the networks are lining up right now to set up a reality TV deal for the two of them. Moments after the Giants 42-30 loss to the Seahawks, Shockey was quit to point out that the Giants were "out-coached", and that when Eli called the plays the team had much more success. Now, I don't know if I want my offense in the hands of a guy who couldn't read until he was in 7th grade, but the Giants did have much more success when Eli and crew went no huddle than when Coughlin and Co. were calling them into the headset. So, for the second time in two years (the other being when Tiki called him out after the playoff loss to the Panthers), Coughlin and his staff have been accused by their own players of being "out-coached". I smell trouble in the Big Apple, and for once it doesn't smell like subway fumes and George Steinbrenner.

*The NFC South has got to me one of pro sports biggest enigmas. Anyone that bets on pro football can tell you that when it comes to the NFC South teams, no pun intended, all bets are off. Last night's game just goes to prove my point, and I'm not just saying that because I picked the Falcons as 4 point favorites. Just look at the standings as we sit here today, they are the exact reverse of where they were when the season ended last year. But take this warning from me, I guarantee things continue to shake up in this division as the year rolls along. The standings won't look like this when the post season rolls around. The Panthers will be heard from even if the Bucs aren't, and the Saints will surely show their inexperience and cough up a few crucial games down the stretch.

*I don't care if he completed 100 passes in a row, Mark Brunell still sucks, and so do the Washington Redskins. Brunell may have completed 22 straight passes this Sunday, but it was against the Houston Texans, arguably the worst team in the NFL. So, just to recap....the Texans suck, the Redskins suck, and Mark Brunell still sucks.

My NFL Picks
Last Week: 1-3-2

Overall: 8-8-3

*Took it on the chin this past week. Which is why I don't actually bet on the picks I make. If I had stuck with my gut, I would have had the Titans and Bengals covering which would have really saved me. But, alas, I wimped out and took some easier picks to stomach. Oh well, I still haven't dipped below .500 for the season, and I don't plan it on bitches!

*So Notre Dame pulled another one out of their ass this weekend. Does that mean they aren't that good, or do they just have a knack for falling behind and then pulling it out in the end? Whichever it is, it's surely not the trait of a National champion. Playing like this guarantees the Irish are bound to drop at least one more game this year, and most likely it will be to the USC Trojans. As for the rest of my top ten, there are still a lot of scary teams out there without a loss. Everyone you see below that has a 0 in the loss column has a legit claim to be in the BCS title game if the season ended today. Well, maybe not Georgia, who almost coughed one up to Colorado this weekend, but you get the point.

College Football Top 10
1. Ohio St. (4-0) 1
2. Auburn (4-0) 3
3. West Virginia (4-0) 2
4. Florida (4-0) 4
5. USC (3-0) 5
6. Virginia Tech (4-0) 7
7. Michigan (4-0) 8
8. Georgia (4-0) 6
9. Notre Dame (3-1) 9
10. LSU (3-1) 10

just missed: Texas, Louisville, Oregon, Iowa, Boston College
dropped: none

Games to Watch This Week
Ohio St. @ Iowa
*It seems every time you look up, the Buckeyes are playing a powerhouse, and this week is no different. Kirk Ferentz and his boys will host the #1 team in the country this weekend, and who knows, if they win maybe we will be talking about the Hawkeyes for the National Title.

Auburn @ South Carolina
*Auburn is the team to beat in the SEC, as they proved with their win over LSU, but I'm not one to count out Steve Spurrier. He may not have completely installed his offense and his players in Columbia this season, but if Auburn is foolish enough to take them lightly, it could spell the end of their championship hopes.

Rutgers @ South Florida
*Yeah, I did a double take myself when I wrote this one down, but it's a very important game in Big East. Rutgers could make the conference a 3 team race with Louisville and WVU if they can get by the Bulls, who are 2-0 at home. Hopefully for the Scarlet Knights, they can stay in the top 25 for 2 weeks in a row, which might be a school record!

Georgia Tech @ Virginia Tech
*Save your cheesy "I bet you Tech wins" lines, this one should be a legit shootout. Georgia Tech has showed that hanging with ND for an entire game was no fluke, but Va Tech can become the lone ACC Coastal team without a loss if they can hold home-field.

Purdue @ Notre Dame
*Just like OSU, it seems every week Notre Dame is playing a tough team. Purdue has shown the ability to score some points, and since the Irish defense has been rather leaky lately, expect another shootout for Charlie Weis and crew. But if Charlie cries again, he's gonna hear it from me that's for sure.

You Cudda Been a Contenda!
Boxing may not be the sport it was when historic figures like Muhammad Ali, Joe Louis or Jim Braddock (you remember, Russell Crowe played him in Cinderella Man) were the stars, and long gone are the days when heavyweight champions were considered the best athletes in the world. However, while the pro ranks may still fail to deliver the kind of drama and excitement they once did, reality TV has given the sport a much needed shot in the arm. I started watching ESPN's The Contender about 3/4 of the way through season 1 and I have been hooked ever since. The show provides a perfect blend of standard reality show drama (you know...all these people living in one house, shit tends to get messy) with actual high level amateur boxing. And tonight is the grand finale, with former 130 pound IBF champion Steve "Two Pound" Forbes battling Grady "Bad Boy" Brewer. Both contenders battled their way through a 16 man field to reach the final, a 10 round bought at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. I know nobody likes to walk into a show late in the season, let alone the finale, but if I had never done it then I wouldn't be able to enjoy this battle tonite. So do yourself a favor and tune in. I guarantee it will leave you looking forward to next season.

US embarrassed Again on National Stage
This just in. The United States is not nearly as good at sports as we think they are. If the recent World Basketball Championships where both the men and women failed to win gold weren't enough proof, I give you, the Ryder Cup. Not only did the US squad fail to win the Ryder Cup, yet again, this time they lost in spectacular fashion. Despite Tiger Woods walking away with his first ever winning record in Ryder Cup play, the US got blasted by the tune of 18 1/2 to 9 1/2. After the smoke cleared, all the talk was how the reason yet again for the Eurotrash dominance was that they played more like a team and that they did it for each other. What are they trying to say? That Americans are selfish bastards that are only in it for themselves? Fair enough. But if that's the case shouldn't they at least have won most of the singles matches? Nope, instead the US flew home from the K Club in Ireland with their collective tails square between their legs yet again. Personally, I'm sick and tired of the US getting blown out in these international events, whether its the worlds, Olympics, Davis Cup or the Ryder Cup. Maybe we have been spoiled with all the success over the years in all of these events and this is just the rest of the world catching up to us. And maybe we should look at this in the eye of "imitation is the greatest form of flattery". But I look at it more like, what goes around comes around. We have been busy pummeling all these loser 3rd world countries for decades and now they are taking their revenge. I say we start to turn the tides. You say we are lacking in our international skills, I say it's nothing a trade embargo and a few nukes can't take care of.

Red Sox Update
Last Week: 2-5
Overall: 83-74

*I never thought I would say this, write this or even think this. But a Julian Tavarez complete game victory? God help us all when Tavarez appears as the bright spot for the week. But there is some good news ahead, and it's called the off-season. On tap this year? Well of course there will be the usual Manny Ramirez trade rumors that we have grown to expect and love. But look out for a lot of Theo bashing this off-season. There are a lot of people unhappy with a lot of the recent moves he's made, so expect some fireworks. And if all that isn't enough, now we have the mystery man who has "demands" for handing over David Ortiz's 50th homerun ball. Demands? Yeah, he's serious. The guy wants tickets to games and wants to be married in Fenway Park! How bout this buddy, I demand you see a shrink. What a nut case. Just hand the ball over pal, get your Ortiz autograph, and feel fortunate you got even that. I mean it's an important ball and everything, but it's not like Big Papi just hit #756 or anything.

Fantasy Update
Week 3: Open Back Door 47 Lord Shirtless Inc 89
Record: 1-2, 10th place

Next Week vs Grundle-Ni**er-Aids (2-1)

*My team can't score touchdowns! I'll let you know when they do, because after three weeks I am already sick of having my running backs run for 125+ yards without a touchdown! Perfect example. In the Bills game this weekend I had a 107 yard receiver (Lee Evans) and a 150 yard rusher (Willis McGahee), with no touchdowns! In the next two weeks I should know for sure if my team is destined to do this all year, or if they will bust out and become the true gangstas I know they can be. And yes, I am well aware of the racial epithet above, but you can't kill the messenger. Well I guess you could, but please don't. Kill Kevin Barry instead.

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