I spent 10 straight hours watching football yesterday, and that doesn’t include the pregame shows. My cable box automatically shut off three times because the channel hadn’t changed in three hours. Shameful? Perhaps. Ignorant? Of course. Awesome? YOU BET.
When I watch the Red Zone channel, I feel the way I imagine ancient visitors to Giza felt when they first glimpsed the pyramids. How can anything be so…perfect? If you are unfamiliar, Red Zone shows all the touchdowns and highlights from every one and four o’clock game in real time, simultaneously, all while being narrated by a man whose charisma would make Robert Downey Jr. look like Ron Paul. That man is Scott Hanson, and on Sundays he turns into the Great and Powerful Oz- giving updates, insight and all-around joy for eight hours straight with no commercials. Somehow, they only charge $8 a month for this glorious conglomeration of all things good in the world, which is quite possibly the
greatest deal the free market has ever seen. I would pay 100 times that and happily live in an alley if it meant I got to watch RedZone every Sunday. And if you are the kind of fan who, as Tom Brady would say, likes to “get lubed up” for games, I present you with the The RedZone Drinking Game for your enjoyment:
-Drink whenever Scott Hanson boastfully says, “We don’t do commercials”.
-Drink every time there’s a double box.
-Drink double for a triple box.
-Finish your drink if there’s a quad-box.
-The quintuple box is only theoretical, like Absolute Zero or a well-timed Andy Reid timeout, if by chance you get a quintuple box, just pray that God strikes you down at that moment, for you will never experience anything as glorious as long as you live.
-Drink any time Scott makes a giddy comment about something other than the game, like when he excitedly noted that “Whoomp There It Is” was playing at a stadium yesterday.
-Drink any time a Panther, 49er, Seahawk, Brown, Dolphin or Bengal score a touchdown.
-Drink any time Kerry Collins throws an interception- you know he does.
-Drink for every booth-review touchdown.
-Every time there is some kind of technical difficulty during the broadcast, take a drink- not out of joy, but out of respect for the poor key grip whose throat was just savagely torn out by Scott Hanson.
-If you’re not dead or passed out by the end of the 4 o’clock games, you are rewarded with the TOUCHDOWN MONTAGE- the highlight of my week, regardless of anything else that happens of that week. My life’s goal is to DVR every touchdown montage until I’m 40, then take a week off from work to do nothing but watch 120 straight hours of touchdowns. Reasonable? YUP.
In case you were somehow doing something other than watching eight hours of Scott Hanson yesterday, here’s some notes on Sunday’s games:
Texans 23, Dolphins 13- The Dolphins should probably stop playing home games forever. They’ve won exactly one of their last 12 and since December 2009, the Texans have won more games at Sun Life Stadium than the Dolphins. The Patriots have won more times there than the Marlins.
The Dolphins had to give away over 10,000 tickets to avoid a blackout on Sunday, they play in the best division in football, their big offseason acquisition has apparently already lost his job to a rookie running back and their best offensive player has multiple personality disorder and got stabbed in the stomach this offseason. Your 2011 Miami Dolphins!!
Is there a more bizarrely bleak sports town than Miami right now? The Dolphins are sinking while everyone in their division getting better. The Marlins gave up on trying to sell tickets in the upper bowl of their stadium with three months left in the season and hired a coach who makes Charlie Manuel look like Mike Tomlin. The U’s legendary program just somehow got torn down by a 5’5” Ponzi-scheming nerd. At least they have Lebron, DWade and Chris Bosh in their prime this year. What’s that? Season’s getting cancelled? Perfect.
The Texans, on the other hand, are the only AFC South team with two wins. Peyton Manning just had neck surgery and Luke McCown might as well be paralyzed, so the Jaguars and Colts appear to pose no threat whatsoever for the division crown. The Titans showed Sunday that they can be a very good team, but they also showed in a Week 1 loss to the Jags why they can’t be. Until Chris Johnson starts playing like Chris Johnson again, the Texans look like they can waltz to their first playoff appearance in franchise history. But then again, this is the Texans, and this isn’t the first time that everyone thought they’d make the playoffs. Next week’s game against the Saints should be a good litmus test for how good this team really is. If their offense is as good as advertised everyone thinks it is, then it should be an entertaining shootout. We’ll see. The NFC West and the AFC South should just switch places with the SEC this season.
Lions 48, Chiefs 3- Hey, remember when the Chiefs made the playoffs last season? Neither does anyone else because apparently the lockout affected the Chiefs and only the Chiefs. I don’t know if they’re making a push for Andrew Luck or trying to join him in the PAC-10, but things are pathetic in KC right now. They’ve been outscored 89-10 in their first two games and lost Jamaal Charles and Eric Berry for the season, which is surprising since Todd Haley thought that it would be a good idea to prepare his team for the season by doing almost nothing but conditioning throughout training camp. I feel like Todd Haley isn’t even a real person, he’s like some kind of Manchurian Candidate who was conceived just to blow the minds of the general public and show the world what it’d be like if everyone’s worst high school coach ever took over
an NFL team. It’s working. This is what Haley had to say after the game Sunday- “The season will not be canceled, as far as I know,” Haley said. Inspiring week 2 commentary, Todd. You’re like an incompetent, petulant, douchier version of Don Shula.
Titans 26, Ravens 13- This result was simultaneously unlikely and inevitable. There was just no way that the Titans were as bad as the team that somehow lost to the Jaguars in Week One. And perhaps we crowned the Ravens a bit too early. Like the Eagles, the Ravens are a feast-or-famine offensive team and Sunday was famine. If you exclude one first half scoring drive and a 37-yard Ray Rice screen, Joe Flacco threw for just 89 yards in the game. To make matters worse, Matt effing Hasselbeck threw for 358 yards and was never sacked. This is a very good Ravens game, but last week represented the apex of their abilities, not the norm. We don’t expect the pitcher who just threw a perfect game to throw another one in his next start, so cut the Ravens some slack in that sense; however, they have some glaring flaws- most notably inconsistency in both passing and defending the pass. Cam Cameron’s offense always makes the Ravens look somewhat disjointed and stagnant until they get the big play, but they now have a running back in Ray Rice who is in the top tier of playmakers in the NFL. Handing him the ball just 13 times when your quarterback is struggling seems completely antithetical. The Ravens will be very good this year, but let’s not forget that if Matt Hasselbeck can throw for 358 yards against their secondary, Tom Brady might throw for 600.
Browns 27, Colts 13- They could have not played this game and I would have never noticed. Thank God Peyton Manning’s not alive to see this.
Bucs 24, Vikings 20- The Bucs are an enigma. I’m not convinced that any of their offensive leaders- Josh Freeman, LeGarrette Blount and Mike Williams- are actual star players. And besides those three, the team is largely anonymous in NFL terms. Yet they win. It’s rarely convincing, but it’s always exciting. They certainly need a few more pieces to be considered a top tier team, but when they get those them, Tampa will be a really dangerous team that knows how to win close games and grind out improbable wins- a little like the Saints in the years leading up to the Super Bowl. And Josh Freeman’s flow is…breathtaking.
In the mean time, the Vikings are 31st in the league in passing through two games! Donovan McNabb is cursed in close games and Adrian Peterson is cursed with having Donovan McNabb as his quarterback. The Vikings are so unbelievably average it’s mind blowing.
Saints 30, Bears 13- Jay Cutler might die on an NFL field, which would be incredibly awkward since everyone hates him and we’d have to feel guilty. I’d feel bad for him if he weren’t the least likeable person in the NFL. I think the only person who hates Jay Cutler more than I do is Mike Martz, who has apparently made it his goal this season to ruin Cutler’s life. Everyone says that Martz’s system is designed in a way that results in the quarterback taking a lot of hits.
What kind of system is that?? The Greatest Show on Turf was TWELVE YEARS AGO. The Bears offense is horrific. Can we just admit that Mike Martz isn’t a good offensive coordinator, get his ass out of the NFL and move on with our lives?
Jets 32, Jaguars 3-
Antonio Cromartie is the new Chuck Bednarik…or something. With the departure of Brad Smith and their failure to sign Nnamdi Asomugha, the Jets are using Cromartie as a cornerback, kick returner and offensive specialist now. Apparently the Jets will use any means necessary to justify Mark Sanchez throwing to cornerbacks instead of receivers.
Speaking of corners, this week, something called a Jason Hill said that Darrelle Revis is overrated, then he DIDN’T PLAY. Said Revis after the game, “I’m going to give him some advice: When you call out people, make sure you go out and play. I was in tears that he didn’t play.”
Well said, Darrelle. Jason Hill trash talking Revis is like that gross goth chick from NCIS saying that Daniel Day Lewis is overrated. Stay in your lane, Jason.
Oh and good call cutting David Garrard, Jaguars front office. If Blaine Gabbert was ready to start, he would have started by now, instead you have Luke McCown, who is the NFL’s version of malaria. McCown went 6 of 19 with four horrendous interceptions before getting benched Sunday. Someone needs to kidnap Kerry Collins, Luke McCown and Tarvaris Jackson next Sunday. They are an abyss of talent and they need to get the hell out of my life. They’re toxically depressing. My life was so much better before I knew that Luke McCown existed.
Steelers 24, Seahawks 0- See above, Tarvaris. Even Steelers fans couldn’t really get excited about this game, and they get excited about everything. I’m not even kidding. They throw a victory parade every time Franco Harris gets his tax return. They are a desolate people.
I still don’t know what to think about Floyd Mayweather’s win over Victor Ortiz. Ortiz is unlikeable for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is that he was born and raised in Kansas yet they play the Mexican national anthem for him. Also because he’s got an amazing back story, fought an amazing fight with Andre Berto, has ridiculous power, and is somehow still unbelievably boring. His head butt was not only disgraceful, but also the height of stupidity- you don’t head butt someone when you’re landing combos and he’s up against the ropes, and you certainly don’t blatantly lunge forward at the guy like a jackass.
I think Mayweather’s plan was to give him a dirty eff you punch right out of the hug as payback for the head butt, but idiot Victor Ortiz wasn’t even looking at him so he got clocked, and from there it was bedtime for Ortiz. What Mayweather did during and after the fight was brash and contemptible, but just about everything Mayweather does is brash and contemptible. He’s happy to be the villain, and has convinced himself that the world (and Larry Merchant) is against him, in spite of the fact that he is the most popular boxer in America. The only reason why anyone truly dislikes him is because he won’t fight Pacquiao. He has a chance to change that but won’t because he’s convinced that he could retire tomorrow and that 0 in the loss column would make him a top 5 fighter of all time. He’s misguided and disillusioned in thinking that, but again, that’s who Floyd Mayweather is.
Redskins 22, Cardinals 21- Last weekend, I was talking to a couple random Redskins fans on Friday night about their chances for the season. Over the course of 10 minutes, they went from saying they’d win the division and John Beck was somehow a promising quarterback to admitting that they’re a 6 win team at best and their offense is horrific. The very next night, I saw the very same Redskins fans, at the same place, making the same argument that the Redskins are going to win the NFC East. What’s wrong with these people? Dan Snyder must have used whatever money what left over after signing another batch of shit free agents to build some kind of brainwashing machine. So congratulations Redskins fans, Graham Gano provided your baseless, ill-advised hopes of a good season with a stay of execution for a week.
Bills 38, Raiders 35- Enjoy this feeling Bills fans, because shit gets real next Sunday when Tom Brady and his FoxBros come to town. The Pats have won 15 straight against the Bills and have looked downright unstoppable on offense this season. Then again, so have the Bills. Through two games, they have scored 79 points and displayed a number of talented, albeit borderline anonymous, skill players. Despite the loss of Lee Evans, Buffalo has developed an impressive passing attack to go along with the dangerous backfield of Fred Jackson, CJ Spiller and Brad Smith. As Peter King notes on SI.com- the Bills offense is as implausible as it is efficient. Ryan Fitzpatrick was a 7th round pick by the Rams. Steve Johnson was a 7th round pick. None of their other receivers were drafted, nor was Jackson. In the time it took you to read that, Dan Snyder just signed three overrated role players for $30 million dollars each.
Packers 30, Panthers 23- What the hell is Cam Newton up to? I can’t get a read on this guy- I can’t tell if he’s a really good passer, or he just gets a ton of attempts. I can’t tell if he’s more like Matt Stafford or Vince Young. I can’t figure out if he’s the man or a complete douche. I would have bet you my life savings (NINE THOUSAND cents) that his average numbers in every game this season would look something like this: 14-29, 178 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs, 48 yards rushing. In the best case scenario I saw him leading some Josh Freeman-style comebacks and inspired performances on a horrible team. I DEFINITELY didn’t see him putting up insane Drew Brees stats. This is just bizarre.
Cowboys 27, 49ers 24- Jesse Holley’s 77-yard game-winning catch led to the greatest celebration since Rod Tidwell on Monday Night Football. You may have heard that in 2009 Holley won Michael Irvin’s reality show to earn an invitation to Cowboys training camp then made it onto their practice squad the past two seasons. With Dez Bryant
injured, Holley was added to this week’s roster as the fifth receiver. Even more unlikely than Holley catching that pass was the fact that he won a reality show and went on to have any kind of success. What’s the percentage of reality show winners who go on to do something notable in their field- 2%? It’s like, Jesse Holley, Kelly Clarkson and The Miz. That’s all I’ve got. In a related story, Choppah from Da Band would really appreciate it if you tipped next time you go to Cold Stone, it’s the only time he gets to perform in front of an audience anymore.
Broncos 24, Bengals 22- At least Andy Dalton and A.J. Green gave Bengals fans something to be happy about because good lord they need it. Dalton threw for 280 second half yards and Green had a monster day with 10 catches for 124 yards and a touchdown. Granted, the Broncos were without Champ Bailey, Elvis Dumervil, Brandon Lloyd, Knowshon Moreno and Eddie Royal, among others, and the Bengals still lost, but hey, that’s life in Cincinnati- don’t stress over the details.
Kyle Orton was greeted with boos and chants for Tim Tebow during the Broncos opening drive. People from Denver either A) have only read about Tim Tebow and never actually watched him play or B) don’t care if the Broncos win or lose as long as they have the super-nice Christian guy at quarterback. I think it’s a combination of both. It seems inevitable that Broncos fans will get their wish at some point this season. Let me just say this- you may think Tebow is a role model and a saint- and that’s great and all- but on the field he’s a false prophet. Be careful which idol you choose to worship, Broncos fans, because yours is a charismatic, All-American clean cut guy who goes to prisons to spread the Good News then smiles his way through a 34-3 loss. Mine is a controversial, insanely polarizing, huge-armed dynamo who goes to prisons because he tortures and kills dogs. This is the NFL, Broncos fans, the good guy doesn’t get to win.
Patriots 35, Chargers 21- Yes, you can throw all over the Patriots secondary. No, you will not come close to beating them. Tom Brady gave Phil Rivers and Chargers a swift Ugg-boot in the pants yesterday, throwing for 423 yards and three touchdowns. More importantly, the Patriots offense played nearly mistake-free football while the Chargers turned the ball over four times, three by Rivers who has never beaten Brady.
The NFL Network’s documentary on Bill Belichick was pretty awesome; although it confirmed that 1) Belichick is the most monotone person on the planet unless Derrick Mason is talking to him; and 2) he has horrible manners. He was eating during a conference call with the media , then he was chewing seeds like Ace Ventura while Bob Kraft was trying to have a conversation with him. The man is a genius and everything but c’mon, a little decorum coach.
Falcons 35, Eagles 31- You can pretty much sum up the Eagles this season by looking at the third quarter of last night’s game-
-Defense forces a Falcons three-and-out by getting tons of pressure on Ryan.
-DeSean Jackson is out to start the half, nursing what appears to be a wrist injury. Vick throws an interception on the first play of the drive.
-Poor field position leads to a Falcons touchdown, the Eagles red zone defense struggles. The Eagles -linebackers and safeties can’t cover a good tight end.
-Vick leads a 4 play, 69-yard touchdown drive, capped off by a Maclin TD. The entire drive took just 1:56
-Asante Samuel intercepts the first pass Ryan attempts on the ensuing drive.
-Another 4 play touchdown drive for the Eagles. In five minutes, the Eagles had two full possessions and forced a turnover and scored 14 points.
-Eagles D-line pressures Ryan and the Falcons into another three-and-out.
-Dunta Robinson nearly kills Jeremy Maclin, Eagles drive stalls. Maclin watches from the sidelines.
-Another three-and-out by Atlanta.
-Eagles take over at the 20 thanks to a terrible punt. On the third play of the drive, Michael Vick is injured, the Eagles score 3 plays later on a Shady McCoy touchdown run. It’s their third touchdown in eight minutes. They will not score again for the rest of the game.
Their size and speed make them the most dangerous and the most injury-prone offense in the NFL. Both Jackson and Maclin nursed injuries on the sidelines last night before Vick went down. Reid’s insistence on gadget plays, misdirection, and unconventional formations only adds to the feast-or-famine nature of the offense. Reid has a receiver who can beat most corners in the league on a simple go-route yet he insists on running end-arounds and trick plays with him. The inconsistency and health issues on offense and the huge disparity of talent between the linebackers and safeties and the rest of the defense are going to cause problems throughout the season just like they did last night.
Vick’s injury almost seemed inevitable. Throughout the day, Ben Roethlisberger went down with what appeared to be a bad knee injury, only to recover and come back in the game. Later, Tom Brady took a below-the-thigh-pads shot similar to the one that ravaged his knee a few seasons ago. He too emerged unscathed. Matt Ryan was crushed several times by Cullen Jenkins and Trent Cole but never missed a play. Jeremy Maclin was somehow not concussed by a gruesome helmet-to-helmet hit by Dunta Robinson and Vick himself had already become well-acquainted with the Georgia Dome turf before he was driven into the shoulder of his own left tackle. It was a strange play- the kind that surprises you when it happens, but also surprises you that it doesn’t happen far more often. And so, on a day when one star player had already fallen and several quarterbacks narrowly escaped, the most electrifying player in the NFL went down on a freak play, and with him, the excitement that goes with watching the Philadelphia Eagles. Concussions are well-discussed yet still incredibly strange injuries. Aaron Rodgers suffered one last season, missed a game, then led his team to the Super Bowl. Sidney Crosby got one on New Year’s Day and just started skating again last week. Resting your hopes on Vick’s shoulders is like betting on the drug-addicted, hard-partying rock frontman. He’s Axl Rose. When he’s on- he’s electric, as entertaining and talented as anyone. But he’s dangerous, unreliable, and prone to disaster. And everyone knows it.
Finally, your horrible, fantasy underperformers who should be drawn and quartered:
Mike Williams- -4 yards (yes that’s a negative sign)
Antonio Gates- 0 yards
Vernon Davis- 18 yards
DeSean Jackson- 21 yards
DeAngelo Williams- 36 total yards
Chris Johnson- 66 total yards
Reggie Bush- 18 yards.
And the insufferable, overachieving “stars” who improbably killed you in fantasy yesterday:
Jahvid Best- 123 total yards, 2 TDs
Fred Jackson- 140 total yards, 2 TD
Devery Henderson- 103 yards, 1 TD
Willis McGahee- 101 yards, 1 TD
AJ Green- 124 yards, 1 TD
Rob Gronkowski- 86 yards, 2 TDs
Jerome Simpson- 136 yards