Ramble On Sports

Where sports, pop culture and everything else collide.

Archive for November, 2009

Laying an egg

Posted by bdowd625 on November 30, 2009

What an absolute embarrassment that was. I just wasted three hours of my night for that? The following is a list of things I would rather have done in place of watching that dismal performance from the Patriots: go to work, clean my bathroom, drink bleach or listen to Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the USA.” Any of those four things would have been more entertaining/fun. I cover high school sports for a living and New England’s defense tonight was some of the worst I’ve ever seen at any level. How many times did Drew Brees throw the ball to one of his receivers without any defenders even on the TV screen? Hell, the Coast Guard would’ve had a tough time finding the Patriot defense tonight.

And the offense was equally as terrible. Brady made some absolutely dreadful decisions, with both his interceptions being two of the worst throws I’ve ever seen him make. It also felt like New Orleans had about 30 guys on defense at all times. The guys in the booth kept saying they were rushing only three defenders but on every play it was a constant stream of Saints in Brady’s face.

New Orleans hit harder, ran faster and simply wanted it more tonight. The Patriots have taken another step back with this loss and now only appear capable of beating mediocre teams. That’s just fine to get you into the playoffs, but you’re not going to beat anyone once you get there if you keep this up.

Some other reactions from tonight’s mess:

*  Laurence Maroney fumbled AGAIN. Shocker.

*  Brees is a hell of a quarterback, there’s no denying that. But the way the announcers were talking about him, you’d think he was making the greatest throws ever seen. How open were his receivers? I could’ve made those throws and I lost my right arm in a trash compactor earlier today.

*  My prediction about Wes Welker was way off. The only time I really saw him tonight was when he was on the sideline grimacing after another awful offensive drive.

*  Everyone should recognize Mike McKenzie as one of the original dreadlocked defensive backs in the NFL. The Patriots seem to have at least 20 guys rocking that hairstyle now, but I have to give credit where credit is due. Don’t worry, Mikey. I’ve got your back.

Posted in Football | Tagged: , , , , | 8 Comments »

Pats vs. Saints – Who ya got?

Posted by bdowd625 on November 30, 2009

Tonight the NFL finally gets the marquee Monday Night Football game it’s been shoving down our throats for the last two weeks: the 7-3 Patriots against the 10-0 Saints. New England versus New Orleans. Brady versus Brees. Clam chowder versus shrimp gumbo.

So how do these two teams match up? Good question.

Obviously, Tom Brady and Drew Brees are two of the top three quarterbacks in all of football right now. (Side note: Peyton Manning is the other guy in that trio, but lately I’m starting to think he’s not doing it by himself. Those damn officials will do anything to help the Colts catch a break.) Don’t be surprised to see an insane amount of offense tonight, especially since the Patriots defense still doesn’t have an identity. Some days the young secondary looks like a seasoned unit capable of shutting down anyone. Other times, the defensive backs look like little kids who aren’t ready to have their training wheels taken off. I fully expect Brees to tear them apart.

The New Orleans defense, meanwhile, has typically been stout this season, allowing only 204 points through 10 games. But Brady, much like Brees, can make even the best defenses look mediocre. I see another big game from our GQ cover boy, something to the tune of 350 passing yards and three touchdowns.

I’m predicting a 41-34 New England victory in this one, but, as I said before the Colts game, it wouldn’t shock me to see the Saints keep rolling with their 11th straight victory. It really is a toss-up between these two squads.

Some other predictions for tonight’s game:

*  Laurence Maroney fumbles again. I’ll leave it at that.

*  ESPN presents us with yet another Hurricane Katrina montage and shows how the Saints are still helping to rebuild New Orleans. I’m getting emotional already just thinking about it. Not.

*  We see a shot of Jon Gruden sitting with his legs spread wide open in the MNF booth. Enough with that already. It’s time to start acting more lady-like.

*  Reggie Bush attempts to pull off one of those ridiculous 75-yard touchdown runs where he jukes all 11 defenders and covers approximately 95 percent of the field’s surface area by cutting back and forth between sidelines. Except this isn’t college anymore, Reggie, so you end up getting laid out in the backfield for a 5-yard loss. Give my best to the Kardashians.

*  Wes Welker finishes with 137 catches for 4,695 yards.

Enjoy the game and check back after for some immediate analysis.

Posted in Football | Tagged: , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Tiger’s not so different after all

Posted by Bill Koch on November 30, 2009

Turns out Tiger Woods is just like the rest of us. Not even he can avoid a certain domestic meltdown when his name comes up in casual conversation linked to another woman who is not his wife or girlfriend.

Guys, you all know where I’m going with this. Ladies, you can follow along too. We all know that you cringe at even the mention of an ex-girlfriend. We expect the subsequent crying, picking of fights and snapping at us, and we’re fully aware that we’re going to have to put in some time in the doghouse over the next couple of days making you believe that we still don’t have feelings for her and that you’re the only one for us. This is a simple fact of life, and as much as men complain about it we know that it’s the price we pay simply for being us.

The stakes are a bit different when the man involved is one of the richest, most famous athletes in the world, but the underlying problem remains the same. Tiger has enough money and fame to attract women to him on all seven continents, and it would take an incredibly strong person to sleep well at night with full faith that he was hers alone. When some rag like the National Enquirer breaks a story that Tiger is sleeping around with some New York cocktail hostess while you’re at home taking care of the kids, you’ve got to be able to let it roll off your back and carry on.

Everything changes, however, if you find out the story is true. That’s how we get from inflammatory rumor to former Swedish bikini models tearing down a driveway in a ritzy, gated Florida neighborhood at 2:25 a.m. the day after Thanksgiving, golf club in hand and bodily harm on the mind. My suspicion is that’s what happened last week when Tiger got cornered at home and could do nothing but try to escape from his wife, the ravishing Elin Nordegren.

If the Enquirer is to be believed – not much of a stretch considering what’s happened since they broke this story – Tiger apparently decided to ignore the wedding band on his left ring finger and stray into the wild away from Nordegren. Yes, she’s tall, blonde and gorgeous. That’s all well and good. Show me the world’s most beautiful woman, and I’ll lead you to some guy, somewhere, who got tired of sleeping with her at some point. I’ll quote Fabulous (for the only time in my life, I promise) when I say that the entrée ain’t as good without something on the side. Too many guys believe this and ruin it for the rest of us who are actually honest and true. Perception becomes reality.

In this case, Tiger must have had enough of Nordegren if he made the decision to step into the world of Rachel Uchitel, right? After all, his wife has had two kids in the last three years – that doesn’t help very much in the romance department. Think Tiger liked keeping his G4 in some airplane hangar and staying at Isleworth to play Daddy Daycare? Hell no. He’s been all over the world since his first child, daughter Sam Alexis Woods, was born in 2007 – China, Australia, England, Scotland, etc. – and I doubt that his solo travel plans thrilled his wife very much even when she had no reason to believe that she was the only woman in his life. The ante is quickly upped when that belief is shattered, and you end up with the kind of story that is slowly leaking out.

Tiger’s not talking right now, and he never has to. There’s nothing criminal about any of this unless he’s the one who decides to press the charges. He wasn’t driving under the influence or recklessly, there were no other vehicles involved, he didn’t leave the scene of the accident, he wasn’t on his phone, he wasn’t texting, he wasn’t updating his twitter account – you get the idea. He was rolling down his driveway trying to get away from a woman scorned who was wielding a 9-iron and swinging about as hard at that Cadillac Escalade’s back windows as Tiger does on the 18th tee at Augusta. Damn right I would have looked back to see if she was gaining on me – and probably would have hit the same tree and fire hydrant while my attention was diverted. The cover story about her breaking him out of what amounts to a barely-damaged, four-wheel tank is almost as funny as it I sad. They couldn’t have come up with something better than that?

I hope Tiger’s lying skills are a little more polished when he finally has his day in court. The judge, jury and executioner will consist of one person. You can all guess who it is. Nothing we can say or write about the world’s greatest golfer will hurt him as badly as what’s about to happen to him again behind closed doors. Maybe Tiger isn’t as much like the rest of us as I thought when I started writing this – his time out in the cold is going to last for a lot longer, and it’s going to be a lot more expensive.

Posted in Golf, Random | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Bruins finally off life support

Posted by bdowd625 on November 29, 2009

That sound you hear is the Bruins’ pulse. After a sluggish, injury-filled, extremely disappointing start, the B’s are FINALLY showing signs of life. Last night’s shootout win over the Ottawa Senators (Wow, another shootout? You don’t say.) was their sixth victory in the last 10 games and it moved them into first place atop the Northeast Division with 31 points. I hate to project, but if the season ended today, they’d be the No. 3 seed in the playoffs. That’s not too shabby considering how they looked just two short weeks ago. Perhaps Claude Julien’s speech calling them out really did wonders. Getting most of their players healthy and back in the lineup can’t hurt either.

They still have a long way to go – especially with Milan Lucic out another month – but the Bruins are starting to play to their potential. Now if we could just start winning games in regulation, maybe my blood pressure would go down.

In other hockey news, the San Jose Sharks are once again the top team in the Western Conference with 38 points. Anyone else sensing another 100-point regular season and first-round exit from the playoffs? What a tease they are.

 

Posted in Hockey | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Mile High Sigh

Posted by bigblue123 on November 27, 2009

On a day when the finger-pointing should have been at the relative who snatched the last turkey leg, the Giants and their fans were pointing fingers at every aspect of yesterday’s game (and this was before the game) and finding fault. Note to Giants – how ’bout shutting up and playing? Big Blue fans are turning into spoiled brats and the worse part about it is the team is reflecting the attitude.

Nothing worked in the 26-6 loss to the Broncos last night and you could sense that the Giants and their fans were defeated before the game began. I can’t tell you the number of babyish complaints that were registered (note I am a Giant fan) Here are some of them – its not fair to travel across country and play on a Thursday, the air is thin in Denver, the game is not on national television, we have no running game, Eli looks lost, Denver’s line plays dirty. You get my drift. We all know that excuses are for…

The Giants are 6-5 and have home games remaining with Philly and Dallas. Both teams have their own sets of issues and Tony Romo is harder to find in December than a sales clerk in Best Buy. The Giants are playing poorly but the real issue is our beloved BLUE collar giants have become overrated, over-exposed underachievers. Both the Giants and their fans have come to expect success and this is the dangerous part.

The Giants team that won the Super Bowl was a talented group of players, motivated to prove they belong  against a more talented Pats squad. The current same group of players is a self-satisfied group of bullies. Capable of beating the bad teams but backing down when punched in the face by teams as good and talented as they are.

After the latest defeat, it’s past time to put aside all of the accolades and past accomplishments and realize we are 6-5. As Bill Parcells says, you are what your record says you are – mediocre.

Posted in Football | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Is this a minor league baseball stadium or Madison Square Garden?

Posted by Bill Koch on November 24, 2009

New York’s reputation is that of a basketball Mecca, a city where point guards as tough as Chuck Liddell grow up playing on its gritty blacktop courts in neighborhoods that the average suburbanite only has nightmares about.

At least that’s what I thought when I took my first trip to Madison Square Garden on Sunday to watch the Celtics battle the Knicks. I didn’t dare wear anything green – I figured I’d have a 50/50 chance of getting shanked on 32nd Street if I busted out a Kevin Garnett jersey. I thought I’d be sitting on my hands the whole time while taking in the game from the Garden’s third tier.

Man, was I wrong. Basketball hasn’t just gone soft in the Big Apple – it’s double-delicate Charmin, part Broadway production, part movie studio, part begging, and completely dreadful on a court that hasn’t seen a championship since the Knicks captured the 1972-73 NBA title.

For all the city’s storied hoops history, a quick scan of the banners (or lack of them) in the Garden rafters showed that the Knicks have won just two championships. It was a perfect example of how perception becomes reality – I always thought they were one of the league’s most prominent franchises, but I wouldn’t make that mistake now after scanning their mostly blank résumé.

Then I realized the trick that the Knicks have been playing on their fans for years. Actually, it was blasting in my ears throughout the pregame courtesy of Brooklyn’s own High & Mighty Brass Band. They were the house entertainment in the stands, and they definitely stood out – for going on way too long. I was pretty thankful at that point for my $9 beer, poured for me by a delightful young woman named Kaleena who admitted within five seconds that she was actually a Celtics fan and had a crush on Garnett and Ray Allen.

Halfway through my beer I thought I was at a minor league baseball game – and for those who know me, 12 ounces wouldn’t alter my brain that much. T-shirts started flying into the crowd, thrown by Knicks’ Street Team members who were dancing around the court and giving away free swag. It was hardly a dignified gesture befitting a team that plays in the self-proclaimed World’s Most Famous Arena. This exercise repeated itself about 10 times throughout the course of the afternoon – certainly the Steinbrenners were watching on MSG and taking production notes about what to do to liven up Yankee Stadium next spring.

I thought the free giveaways were about as low as the Knicks would go. Nope. They jumped straight to outright begging next courtesy of point guard Chris Duhon, who addressed the crowd following the National Anthem. Duhon thanked the fans for coming out and “supporting us through the tough times we’re having right now.” If 3-8 is only tough, I can’t imagine what 2-9 would have been if New York had lost to the Nets the night before. For some reason I couldn’t quite picture Josh Beckett taking the microphone before his Opening Day start at Fenway Park in April and asking the fans to make sure they keep coming back.

On it went from there, complete with Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell making idiots of themselves courtside while filming a movie that will come out next summer, Anthony Anderson starting the wave, Joe Girardi being honored at halftime as the winner of the Sweetwater Clifton City Spirit Award (allegedly a charitable foundation run by the Knicks – likely a shameless attempt to get the crowd to cheer something by that point), and some fool proposing to his girlfriend on Garden Vision at halftime. Hopefully their marriage is more successful than the product the Knicks put on the court. For some reason, if the guy was intelligent enough to get engaged in a place associated with chronic losing, I have my doubts that the happy couple will be seeing a 10th anniversary.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot – Garnett’s overtime jumper as time expired gave the Celtics a 107-105 win. Maybe that was the point the whole time.

Posted in Basketball | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Patriots beat Jets to win Week 11 Super Bowl!

Posted by bdowd625 on November 22, 2009

Well it wasn’t the 50-point blowout Patriots fans were hoping for, but a win is a win. In all honesty, for a while this game felt a lot like last week’s matchup with the Colts. The Pats race out to a comfortable lead, the other team makes a few big plays and before you know it, it’s only a 10-point game. The only difference? The Colts have Peyton Manning calling the shots, while the Jets are left with an overmatched and wide-eyed Mark Sanchez. My God, is Sanchez terrible or what? I haven’t seen a quarterback make so many bad decisions since Steve McNair. (Ouch. Too soon?)

Just bad throw after bad throw from a kid who should still be playing college football and living the dream out in Southern Cal. And all that fuss the first two weeks of the season for nothing. The Jets are circling the drain, while the Pats, thanks to a little help from a few other AFC teams, are now tied for second overall in the conference.

There was nothing special about today’s win. It was just another business-like performance from a good football team that should help ease some of the pain from last week’s debacle at Indy.

And now for some random thoughts from today’s game:

*  If I hear Darrelle Revis complain one more time about how Randy Moss disrespected him after Week 2, I’m going to puke. Darelle, buddy, listen to me for a minute. SHUT UP. You are the top cornerback on a dreadful 4-6 team that isn’t going anywhere this season. You’re like the Zack Greinke of the NFL. You’ve got enough talent to win some individual awards, but there’s no chance you’ll be lifting a championship trophy anytime soon. Oh, and by the way I like Greinke. You’re just an annoying asshole with a big mouth.

*  I’m pretty sure Bill Belichick has thrown more challenge flags the last two weeks than Tom Brady has thrown passes. Relax there, big guy. Maybe it’s time we put that flag in a glass case with the words ‘BREAK ONLY IN CASE OF EMERGENCY’ printed on the front.

*  Brady needs to sign an endorsement deal with a watch company. Maybe then all these ridiculous delay of game penalties will go away.

*  As much as I want to bash Laurence Maroney for another costly fumble, in reality he had a pretty good game tonight. Yes, there was the usual amount of dancing at the line of scrimmage, but at least he made something of it with a few good gains and a pair of touchdowns.

*  Have I mentioned that Mark Sanchez is awful?

*  Randy Moss might be New England’s most explosive receiver, but Wes Welker is the most reliable. Fifteen catches tonight put him in second place all-time on the Patriots’ single game list. The guy just always finds a way to get the job done. The Pats would be lost without him.

*  Thanks to the Kansas City Chiefs and Oakland Raiders for pulling out key wins against AFC foes Pittsburgh and Cincinnati, respectively. I can honestly say I never thought I’d be thanking those two teams for anything.

 

Posted in Football | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Were they screaming boo or Boss?

Posted by bigblue123 on November 22, 2009

Some thoughts on today’s Giants/Falcons game:

The Falcons tied the Giants, 31-31, with less than a minute to go and it seemed like Atlanta was destined to beat the NY Giants, spinning the G-Men further out of control. Those diehard (at least for now) Big Blue fans were booing when earlier they had been screaming ‘Boss’ after the monster tight end’s second TD reception. Atlanta came back from 14 points down to negate a personal best yardage day for Peyton’s little brother Eli. (Please also note that it was Eli’s first-ever 300+ yard game at the Meadowlands!)

New York, perhaps gathering inspiration from their Knicks brethren, who knocked off the Nets last night, rallied for a 34-31 OT victory. Honestly, winning the coin flip in overtime seemed necessary as porous as the defense had looked late in the fourth quarter. These are not your 2007 vintage Giants. That much-loved, swaggering, sacking, rampaging bunch has been replaced with a cautious, try-not-to-lose team VERY lucky to be 6-4.

Don’t get me wrong, my salt-stained Giants cap is firmly attched to my balding dome. But the Giants ran for 90 yards and were penalized eight times for 64 yards. That has never been the formula for Giant postseason success. Eli was great, going 25-for-39 for 384 yards and a QB rating of 111.5  He also spread it around with four receivers having five or more catches and more than 65 yards. (Boss had 2 TDs and Manningham had six catches for 126).

These are not vintage Giants. The defense is breaking more after bending  – they are LAST in red zone defense. The once rarely penalized Giants are now beating themselves and the run game has been slowed dramatically. The playoffs are a realistic goal, but I wonder how deep the Giants can go relying on a passing game as the winds roar in December and January?

Then again, Dallas stands at 7-3, just one game ahead after narrowly beating the Skins in Dallas. Giant fans, keep your fingers crossed – maybe there is magic left in the Meadowlands. It just seems this team lacks that no-holds-barred, all- in defensive backbone of other years.

Posted in Football | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Still not buyin’ it

Posted by bdowd625 on November 20, 2009

Pardon me for not being too excited about the Bruins’ 4-3 shootout victory at Atlanta last night. The B’s blew an early two-goal lead and allowed the Thrashers to send the game into overtime by giving up a goal with 41 seconds left in the third period. This team is just not closing out games right now. One positive, though, is that they finally won in a shootout. Penalty shots were becoming this team’s personal house of horrors until last night.

I’m still not too high them, however. Getting Milan Lucic back last night should provide a big boost and Marc Savard’s return (whenever that may be) will likely do the same. But if those two guys can’t help turn this thing around, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see the Bruins make a big trade to shake things up a bit.

In the meantime, maybe they should listen to this kid’s speech from the movie Miracle. It might light a fire under their asses. It sure gets me pumped up every time I watch it.

Posted in Hockey | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

So long and farewell

Posted by bdowd625 on November 17, 2009

Normally, I wouldn’t even comment on this, but since my girlfriend and her entire family are ardent Buffalo Bills supporters, I guess I’ll chip in with my two cents worth on the Dick Jauron firing. As anyone who reads this blog knows – and I thank you if you do – I’m a Patriots fan. The Jets and Dolphins are our sworn enemies within the AFC East. For some reason, though, my hatred has never extended to the Bills, so I’ve never cared if they did well. Conversely, it never really brought me any pleasure when they fell flat on their faces. I’ve always just been neutral about them.

But after listening to several members of her family vent about how pathetic the Bills are over the past two years, I can’t help but feel bad for them. From the four straight fruitless trips to the Super Bowl to the Terrell Owens signing and now Jauron getting canned, it’s easy to believe that this franchise is cursed. (I’m looking at you, Ralph Wilson.) I’ll be honest, Dick Jauron didn’t seem like a bad guy at all. But that team needs a serious kick in the pants and I don’t think they were getting it from him.

Now we’ll see if new head coach and former defensive coordinator Perry Fewell can turn this thing around. He’s never been a head coach at any level – never a good sign – but he’s got seven games left to see if he can make a good impression and get the ‘interim’ removed from his title. For the sake of Bills fans everywhere, I hope he does all right.

Posted in Football | Tagged: , , | 5 Comments »