Friday, January 30, 2009

Anything and Everything you Need to Know for Super Bowl XLIII

With another Super Bowl just around the corner, it is time for someone to do a full-fledged preview. Considering the fact that I could name all of the Super Bowl champions from 1990 on, in order, off the top of my head (I wonder why I’m single?); I believe I am the man for the job. Seriously, Steve Sabol is like my second father. Here are the major storylines:

1. Kurt Warner is back in the Super Bowl. After looking awful in New York and backing up for awhile in ‘Zona, he now looks like vintage Warner again. Praise Jesus! I’m thinking Matt Leinart doesn’t mind this whole backup thing. He still gets paid, and has much more free time to do keg stands and hang out with Nick Lachey. It’s probably for the best that the game is in Tampa instead of Miami. If Matt was let loose on South Beach, he would wake up on a pile of strippers in Havana, with no recollection of the previous night’s events.

2. Kurt Warner’s wife is back in the Super Bowl. Yikes. At least she grew her hair out. I was scarred for life when ABC showed Brenda Warner in the stands roughly 5000 times during Super Bowl XXXIV. It was cruel and unusual.

3. Mike Tomlin and his awesome press conferences are going to the Super Bowl! Seriously, every time I hear that guy talk, I want to run through a wall for him. That’s impressive, considering not only am I not one of his players, I don’t even root for his team. He’s that good. I am a Vikings fan, and he was our Defensive Coordinator. Now the Steelers have him, and the Vikings are stuck with the immortal Brad Childress as their fearless leader. The only positive about Childress is he has a sweet moustache. I hate my life.

4. Anquan Boldin and Offensive Coordinator Todd Haley got into a shouting match on the sidelines during the NFC Championship, and Boldin allegedly didn’t even celebrate with his teammates after the game. Both camps say it’s nothing and will not be a distraction. ‘Quan has had quite the season. He requested a trade, had his face broken, now this. At this point, he could decide to play the Super Bowl naked or give up football to take up professional fly fishing and I wouldn’t even be surprised anymore.

5. Edgerrin James was left for dead for the majority of the regular season. Arizona officials chose to close the retractable roof on University of Phoenix Stadium for all home games for fear of vultures slowly circling over Edge on the sidelines. However, since he only averaged 8 more carries per game than I did during the regular season, he is fresh and suddenly looks like the Edge of old instead of Old Edge. By the way, if you think I’m not bitter that Edge and Willis McGahee looked great in the playoffs after murdering the #2 running back spot on my fantasy team this season… you just don’t know me very well.

6. Ben Roethlisberger had quite possibly the worst performance ever by a Super Bowl winning quarterback against the Seahawks in SBXL. Considering the fact that the referees were using Terrible Towels for penalty flags in that game (you can’t say I’m not here for you, Seattle fans), I think Big Ben will have to play better this time around to get another ring.

7. Larry Fitzgerald is a beast. This should be an interesting match-up for him since Troy Polamalu is the best safety in the league this side of Ed Reed. The other reason this is an interesting face-off is that Fitzgerald plays for the Cardinals, and Polamalu has a family of cardinals nesting in his hair. I’m tingling with excitement just thinking about the possibilities for those two.

8. After exhaustive personal research (I am very dedicated to my craft), I have discovered two things. The Cardinals have a phenomenal cheerleading squad. I would give five years off of the backend of my life to have a special, sensual evening with any of them. If I did have such an evening with one, I would even let her spend the night and make her bacon and eggs the next morning. They’re that great. Meanwhile, the Steelers don’t have cheerleaders. Allow me to repeat: THE STEELERS DON’T HAVE CHEERLEADERS!!! How does this happen? Roger Goodell cracking down on criminals masquerading as players is all well and good, but he needs to get working on this cheerleader situation, post-taste. It should be absolutely mandatory that all teams have cheerleading squads, to lift the fans, um, spirits.

In conclusion, I am hoping for and expecting a very exciting Super Bowl. One of the best offenses in the league is going against one of the best defenses around. The immovable force versus the unstoppable object. A complete clash of styles. The…actually, I’m out of clich├ęs at the moment. Anyway, the prediction: Cardinals 24, Steelers 17.

(Like you really expected me to pick the team without cheerleaders)

NFC Championship

I meant to post this Sunday, but never got around to it. Anyway, these are the randon thoughts I had during the Cardinals-Eagles game. There is no rhyme or reason, and definitely no flow (not that my other posts have a lot of flow either). Without furter adieu, the NFC Championship, through my mesmerisizing blue eyes:

1st Quarter

It would have been great if the Cards rediscovered Edge before he severely damaged the Phyllis Brunos, my main fantasy squad this year (named after Mike’s lovely mother). He and Willis McGahee ripped their “destroy Tom’s RB corps” method right out of Jamal Lewis’ 2005 playbook.

Larry Fitzgerald is an absolute beast.

Watching the Cards host the NFC Championship Game, I feel like I should be wearing a tinfoil hat or something. The sky is most definitely falling.

The old interception, fumbled back to the offense on the return. It happens ALL the time. I guess that’s why defensive players play D. That and a lot of them are shorter than most NFL receivers and have hands like feet. Anyway, Arizona dodged a bullet on that one.

2nd Quarter

The old pitch to the RB, throw back to the QB, bomb to WR, for the TD! A modified flea-flicker. I wonder if Walter Camp envisioned that one when he invented football. 14-3 ‘Zona.

Kevin Curtis is the fastest guy who looks like a ‘70s porn star I’ve ever seen.

Eagles settle for another FG, 14-6. For a team that has been winning as much as them lately, they really don’t finish drives well. I am convinced the Vikings would have beaten them if they had a better coach and if Jackson and the O-Line hadn’t imploded. Philly really needs to get a stop, or the Cards might run away with this one.

Arizona just cruised right down the field, ending with Fitz catching his third TD of the half. 21-6. Unbelievable. Andy Reid’s playoff beard is morphing into an offseason beard before our eyes.

Arizona just got boned over on a kickoff play. They recovered their own kick, but the officials (incorrectly) said it touched out of bounds, and the play is not reviewable. There’s nothing worse than clearly blown calls which are not reviewable (Ed Hochuli nods his head solemnly).

The Eagles just got another unnecessary roughness penalty. They are committing season suicide in this game.Quinton Mikell just proved my hands like feet statement from before. Thank you Quinton, I owe you a Coke.

Neil Rackers banged through a 49 yard field goal to end the half, 24-6 Arizona at the break. Philly’s really on the ropes going into the second half.

3rd Quarter

I really thought Philly had to come out and score on the first possession of the second half. Instead, McNabb got sacked and fumbled, with the Cardinals recovering in Eagles territory. This game is turning into a whitewash (Or would it be a redwash? Whatever). This game could get ugly.

Philly just forced a 3 and out and will get the ball back. Don’t break out the embalming fluid just yet.

Kevin “All Night” Curtis just caught a bomb on 3rd and 19 to keep their drive alive! Great pass and catch. The Eagles still have a pulse.

McNabb to Brett Celek for a touchdown. 24-13, Cards. This game might get interesting yet.

Arizona ran 3 plays, lost 5 yards and only used up 14 seconds. They have 1 yard for the whole quarter, and have to punt it away. It looks like they finally remembered they are the Cardinals.

Celek scored another TD, but then Andy Reid elected to attempt an extra point instead of going for 2, which could have cut the lead to 3. Inexplicably, David Akers missed the extra point. Yeah, it wasn’t a perfect hold (Laces out, Marino!), but he has to make that kick. Earlier, he had a kickoff go out of bounds, giving the Cards the ball at the 40. Akers hasn’t been the same all season. Clearly, shaving off his moustache was a terrible mistake. 24-19, Cards.

4th Quarter

McNabb just unloaded a 62 yard bomb to DeSean Jackson for a touchdown! They didn’t get the 2 point conversion, but as Joe Buck just told us, they are in the lead for the first time today, 25-24. What a comeback! This half, Arizona looks shakier than a naked guy standing on a block of ice.

On 4th and inches at the 50, Arizona ran a sweep with Tim Hightower and picked it up. Huge play. This has been one hell of an exciting game.Screen pass to Hightower for a touchdown, then a 2 point pass to some guy named Benjamin Patrick. 32-25 Cards! The Eagles have just under 3 minutes to answer. Eagles fans are desperately trying to block out the memory of the end of Super Bowl XXXIX as I type.

2 minute warning, 4th and 10 coming up for the Eagles right around midfield…and All Night just dropped a 15 yard throw! He might have been interfered with, but he still could have had it. Arizona might be on their way to the Super Bowl! This actually gives me a little hope as a Vikings fan (but only a little, mind you).

The Eagles couldn’t pull off a miracle on a lateral play, and the Arizona Cardinals are Super Bowl bound. This just goes to show that all that matters is getting into the playoffs, and then anything can happen. They looked horrendous at the end of the regular season but got red-hot at the right time. That was a great game. I would do this for the AFC Championship also (which should be a bloodbath), but this is too long already. See ya next time.

UMD Hockey

(This blog won't make much sense to anyone who doesn't follow WCHA hockey. But I do, so I wrote it. Sometimes, I gotta look out for myself, you know?)

I was out of town this past weekend due to Matt’s wedding and because of this, did not see or listen to any of the UMD-St. Cloud State series this weekend. The fact that I missed it completely is the only positive thing I can think to say about that series.

Coming into this weekend, UMD had won four straight against State. I was there in person when the Bulldogs absolutely drubbed them at the DECC in late November. They completely dominated that game from start to finish. The crowd was lively and the action was good. Also, some drunken Bulldogs fan was leaning over the seat in front of him, his buddy shoved him, and he tumbled two rows down, narrowly avoiding landing on other patrons on his way down. The security guards just laughed it off. It was good times all around.

So what the hell happened? How do you get swept by a team that has at least half of their players drunk before the game? A team that fills its water bottles with Icehouse? A team whose players can’t wear mouth guards because their traps are too packed with Skoal? Before I go any further, I should point out that I have a cousin Betsy who is a State alum. She is very talented and successful. The problem is that since she went to SCSU, it kind of handcuffs me. It prevents me from making jokes like…
…I wonder if there is any truth to the rumor that State writes their grads’ diplomas on the back of cocktail napkins.
…Few State students get MBAs, but plenty leave campus with STDs.
…The only requirement for students looking to enroll at State is that they have two arms, two legs, and a face.
…and others. I mean, I would love to include jokes like that in this entry, but obviously, I can’t. Such is life. Also, I know that plenty of smart people decide to attend State and it’s probably not fair to make jokes like those, but it’s just too easy (and fun).

Anyway, I knew going into the weekend the Bulldogs are a very average team. They are right around .500 in league play this year. A split would not have raised an eyebrow from me. But getting swept? That’s just not good enough. The season is still far from over, and they will have a chance to make a run in the WCHA playoffs. I just hope they start playing better hockey again before then.

The Vikings and Wade Phillips

I started writing blogs about a month ago. However, they were not on this site. Since I don't want to deny any of the smooth wordsmithing from my originals, I am now posting here. I know that the content is not completely fresh, but it's mildly entertaining. I hope you enjoy.

First and foremost, I am a huge Minnesota sports fan. HUGE. Even the Timberwolves, despite the fact that watching them play most nights is about as fun as repeatedly performing a root canal on myself. That being said though, my love for the Vikings is stronger than for any of my other teams. I have watched them since I can remember. I am the proud owner of a reversible Cris Carter jersey, with purple on one side and black on the other. (By the way, if CC is denied a Hall of Fame induction for another year, I am going to have an aneurism). The 1998 NFC Championship game is one of the Top 5 worst moments of my whole life. I cried after that game, and I was old enough where a football game shouldn’t have been capable of moving me to tears. I’m only 22 years old, but am already wondering if they will win a Super Bowl in my lifetime (if they don’t move to LA first, that is).

Because of all this, today is a great day. The Vikings won the NFC North for the first time ever and are back in the playoffs for the first time since 2004. Incidentally, the last time they were in the playoffs, I was saddled with the worst case of mono I have ever seen or heard of. The mono was accompanied by tonsillitis, so I didn’t eat for 2 weeks and lost 20 pounds. For those who know me, you know that I really don’t have an extra 20 pounds to lose, then or now. I was thinner than Mary-Kate Olsen. Homeless people were giving me cash so I could buy food. I lifted weights and felt like Olive Oyl. You get the idea.

I’m not really sure what my expectations are for the Vikings in the playoffs this year. There are some definite red flags. Even though he’s played better since he got back into the line-up, Tarvaris Jackson is still our quarterback. Anytime you get benched in favor of a guy who knocked himself out of a game due to a celebratory head butt, it gives me pause about your chances for ultimate success. Also, the fact that Coach Childress’s clock management skills are shaky at best is troubling. I think if his wife was pregnant and told him her water broke, he would stare blankly at her for 20 seconds, then spend a minute debating whether they should take the Miata or the Taurus to the hospital, then spend 5 minutes trying to find his shoes. He is unbelievably frustrating to watch sometimes. Clearly though, this is the best Vikings team during the Childress era, and probably since 2000. I have no idea what they are going to do in the playoffs. I just know I am excited they have a chance at the Super Bowl. I still have hope, and hope is a powerful thing.

The Rant
Rooting for the Vikings is unbearably frustrating at times, and Childress certainly is no Lombardi (you won’t be seeing a Childress Trophy any time soon, unless it is presented each year to the man who does the most to attempt to keep the ‘90s moustache alive), but I am so thankful I am not a Cowboys fan right now. Why is Wade Phillips a head coach in the NFL again? Whyyyyyyyyy? How many times does a guy have to fail to get fired? I was shocked when he was hired to be a head coach for the third time. I can imagine the reactions other coaches had when they found the Cowboys hired him in 2007. Norv Turner nodded approvingly. Dick Jauron called Dave Wannstedt to discuss how unconscionable the hire was, as well as to discuss how sweet Wanny’s moustache is. Don’t get me wrong. I’m sure Phillips is a fine man, and he is a good defensive coordinator. But he needs to be fired. Being a nice guy isn’t enough. I’m a nice guy, too, but I shouldn’t be named the CEO of the Hilton Corporation just because I have front desk experience at a couple hotels. If I was an accountant, and screwed up the books at two other companies, getting one investigated for fraud, Ernst and Young wouldn’t hire me over qualified accountants, would they? The coaching selection process has always baffled me. I’m pretty sure the reason guys like Phillips get hired is that owners are too scared to hire a no-name, and bring in someone they’ve heard of, even if they haven’t been overly successful. Go figure. My other theory is that they are hoping to get the next Bill Belichick. Belichick was the coach of the Cleveland Browns in the early 1990s, and had minimal success. Now, he is a sure-fire Hall of Famer who has 3 Super Bowl rings to his credit (he also cheated, but whatever). Plus, he looks like an absolute bum on the sidelines, which I support fully. I disagree with the reasoning though. There are 20 Phillips and Turner for each Belichick.

One reason I will be disappointed when Phillips is ultimately fired is it will rob me of the pure joy of watching him on the sidelines during Cowboys games. When they do something well, he celebrates like he was just told to come on down as the next contestant on The Price is Right. He always incorporates his patented “extend both arms straight in the air and jump where I couldn’t even clear a Dallas phonebook” move, along with a delirious smile and hugging everyone in sight. Watching him when the going gets tough is always enjoyable also. The look on his face makes him look like he is perpetually stuck trying to figure out a tough crossword puzzle. Anyway, I’m not sure if Jerry Jones is ready to swallow his pride and hire a new coach. I just know that he should.

Well, that’s it for blog #1. Thanks for reading, and if you have any comments or suggestions, please let me know. I am always up for constructive criticism.