Saturday, January 27, 2007


This is not a pick. That will come next week. This is me throwing my hat into the Colts' ring. I want the Colts to win Super Bowl XLI.

I don't know what will happen if the Colts win. I don't know if a Super Bowl win will set them off on a tear that will result in Super Bowl win after Super Bowl win. I suspect not. But I do think Peyton Manning as an individual, and the Colts as a team, are too good to not win a Super Bowl, and I want them to win one when the Jets are not in their way. The Colts have finally gotten past the Patriots - if it doesn't happen this year, as I've written before, I'm not sure when or if it will.

So I'm rooting for the Colts over the Bears. Really, I have nothing against the Bears. I wouldn't mind seeing them win. I think Brian Urlacher gets a raw deal - all these people calling him overrated. The guy is friggin' good. He's all over the field. I don't think he's overrated at all. (His choice in women friends is dubious, but that's another story.) I don't particularly like Rex Grossman, but he's harmless. Same with the rest of the team.

But the other thing at play here is that I like the Colts. I like Peyton Manning. I know a lot of people have problems with Manning, and his ubiquity. I say, good for him. (Speaking of which - I only saw a quick shot of it at the end of the game last week, but did you see the fan in Indy who was wearing that fake hair and mustache that Manning wears in the phone commercial? I like that because the guy didn't know it was going to get him on TV, but he wore it anyway, a very subtle thing to support his team, and his reward was getting on TV. Good for him.) (Another parenthetical statement - two 'good for him''s in consecutive thought tangents...I'll try to go the rest of the way without another 'good for him'.) I also really like Tony Dungy. He seems about as genuine as they come, which is tough for a head coach in the NFL (see: Herman Edwards, Nick Saban). I also have a soft spot in my heart for Reggie Wayne, due to his fantasy football success.

There was a time growing up where I had to pick a secondary team to root for come the post-season, because the Jets were never playing. In the late 80's/early 90's that team was the Houston Oilers (I think I liked their logo), so I still have a liking for the Tennessee Titans franchise. I also like the Packers, who I picked up for most of the 90's (I love the yellow and green). If I still played this game today, and sometimes I do, because the Jets haven't had a ton of playoff success, despite being in the playoffs, I think my team would be the Colts. So this is their year, and this is my team. For one more game. Then it's back to the Jets.

Friday, January 26, 2007


The Mets have a new stadium on the way. They've locked up young stars David Wright and Jose Reyes. They now have their manager under contract for three years (as well as GM), after Willie Randolph and the Mets came to an agreement on a 3-year contract on Thursday. All that's left is the championship.

I have been slow to update this site, I know. I have a bunch of off-season moves I want to discuss. I don't know if they'll happen soon, or in a few weeks when February break hits. I do know that when I start updating regularly, I won't be stopping.

So please check back once in a while and keep an eye on the site. We're only a few weeks from pitchers and catchers.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


The next best thing to the Jets playing in the Super Bowl is the man who's singing the National Anthem:

Friday, January 19, 2007


It doesn't make much sense for me to even be writing this, since 90% of the people who read it will be at my house talking to me this weekend, but here are my picks anyway:

New Orleans at Chicago: I really think the Saints are better than the Bears, but I really think home field advantage makes this much of a difference. The Saints are a dome team, and there's a reason so few dome teams have been in the Super Bowl. They lose the championship games outdoors. I'm rooting for the story of the Saints, but I'm thinking the Bears will win. Bears 27, Saints 17

New England at Indianapolis: I realize I seem biased against the Patriots, because I'm always picking against them, but I'm doing it again. They didn't necessarily win last week, the Chargers lost. They played an awful final few minutes, the Chargers did. But the Patriots get credit for pulling out the win, can't take that away from them. I don't hate Peyton Manning. Whenever the Jets aren't in his way, I root for him to win, so that people can stop talking about him not winning the big games. So I'm rooting for him this year. And I fully believe that if he doesn't win Sunday, he's never going to win a Super Bowl. It's this year or never. That's my thought. And if the Colts lose on Sunday, I'm going to start building an argument that Marvin Harrison is the worst post-season player on the Colts - not Peyton Manning. Hopefully I won't have to write that. Colts 31, Patriots 21

As for the Super Bowl matchup sheet, anything but Patriots-Bears works for me.

Saturday, January 13, 2007


Had to get these on before the games get underway. Last week I was 3-1 picking the winners, 2-2 against the spreads. Just know that, before you take these picks and run with them to your local Las Vegas sportsbook, that I have no clue this weekend. I'm just making picks because I like to do it. Also know that I am doing awfully in the pool that I am in, and this could be the last you hear of it - I need to have a humongous weekend in order to get myself back in the running. That said, here are my picks:


Indianapolis at Baltimore (-3.5): I'm a dope, but I like Indianapolis. I know defense is what wins championships, but I just haven't bought into the Ravens this whole season. If one home team were to lose this weekend, this would be the team. So I'm going Colts 28, Ravens 20 (but I wouldn't be surprised if it was Baltimore, 23-20). Over/Under is 41.5. I'm putting half my remaining pool money on Indy plus the points, and the over. If I win, I continue, if I lose I'm out.

Philadelphia at New Orleans (-5.5): I'd go with New Orleans minus the points. I think the week off helps them a lot, they were stumbling down the stretch. I think they put on a strong performance here. Saints, 26-17. I only have 43 points there, so I guess I'm thinking under the 48.5.


Seattle at Chicago (-8.5): This seems like a lot of points, but I also think Seattle is the weakest team left. And I think Chicago will play a safe game (run a lot) and win easily. I say Bears, 27-10. The over/under is 37.5. How about that. Barely under, I guess.

New England at San Diego (-4.5): My heart says San Diego easy, my head says the Patriots have a real good chance of winning this game. I will pick the Chargers by a touchdown, but it will come in the final two minutes, and it will be tight. Chargers, 31-24. The over/under is 46.5. I think there will be a lot of scoring.

I guess I'm thinking Bears-Saints and Chargers-Colts for the Championship games. That would be good for the ol' Super Bowl matchups chart. We'll see how these turn out.

POST SCRIPT: I forgot to mention one more thing about the classy coach of the New England Patriots, Bill Belichick. In the post-game press conference he almost referred to Eric Mangini as "The Guy", instead of referring to him by name. They asked about the photographer incident, and he said, "I was just trying to get to the guy....Eric...", cutting himself off halfway through the word 'guy'.

I think it's funny to imagine Bill Belichick's PR guy as Toby from 'The Office'.
Bill: I hugged Mangini, did you see that? You happy now? Everyone saw it on TV.
Toby: pushed a cameraman.
Bill: He was in my way.
Toby: Yeah, really shouldn't have done that.

Hours of fun right there.

Monday, January 08, 2007


I have some strong feelings about Bill Belichick, the former HC of the NYJ, today, one day after the Jets lost to the Patriots in the Wild Card round of the NFL Playoffs. I realize in advance that some of this sounds like sour grapes...well, it sort of is. But it doesn't just stem from Sunday's game - it's been building up inside me since the man to the left's one-day stint as Jets head coach. Here are my rants:

The Man Doth Celebrate A Bit Too Much

Did the Patriots win the Super Bowl on Sunday, or win another Patriots-business-as-usual-first-round-playoff-game? I think it's the latter, but watching Bill Belichick at the end of the game made it seem as though the former took place. Belichick is usually a bit more reserved at the end of games than he displayed Sunday, unless the Patriots have just won the Super Bowl. Now, it's no secret that this game meant a lot to him, because he was upstaged in November by his former protege, Eric Mangini. But Belichick was showing up the Jets by whooping it up on the sidelines after Asante Samuel's interception return for a touchdown and after his team sealed the victory. He won the playoff game, but trust me - the Jets noticed Belichick's reactions and will not forget them. Speaking of celebratory moods...

He's Really Happy For You

Belichick also redefined class at the end of the game. First there was this:

Bill putting all the controversy to rest with a good ol' heartfelt hug for Mangini after a win. I'm sure he would have done the same if his team had lost. As a matter of fact, I'm sure Bill put this whole issue to bed and will never have to address it ever again, because, hey - he hugged Eric Mangini.

I did hear, however, that after the game, since he was done playing for the season, another former Jets coach, Bill Parcells, called up Belichick and was quoted as saying, "Billy, you call that a hug?":

That's just passion right there, folks.

Then, there's this, seen to the right. Because he's such a classy fellow, Belichick sought out Jets quarterback Chad Pennington to give him a handshake and congratulate him on a job well done. I give Belichick the benefit of the doubt - I bet had the Patriots lost, he would have sought out Pennington to congratulate him, too, and wouldn't have left the field in 3 seconds. He probably didn't even know cameras were trained on him when he sought out Pennington, that's how much he blindly let his heart lead him...Oh! Speaking of cameras:

Kenny Rogers and Bill Belichick Have More In Common Than Just Being My Arch-Enemies

I couldn't get a still picture, but you all saw it, and can watch it again here. This is where I am going to lose the sarcasm piece - I'm so glad, if Belichick fooled everyone at those other times, that his true colors shone through at this moment. It's HIS fault that there are a zillion cameramen waiting to see how he greets Mangini - he has no right to push this guy out of the way.

Finally, I just want to put in my two cents on the whole Belichick-Mangini thing. People have said Belichick is mad because Mangini left to take a job within the division...which other people counter by saying Belichick did the exact same thing. On Saturday night on NBC, Peter King said the thing that makes Belichick so upset is that Mangini broke an unwritten code among members of the Bill Parcells coaching tree - don't mess with my players. They say he did this by talking to members of the coaching staff, taking guys like Matt Chatham to New York, and by tampering with Deion Branch. Now, if the Branch allegations are legitimate, that's a fine reason to gripe...but I think it's the only one. I'm obviously not a football coach, but I think an unwritten rule like that is crap - you want to go out and get the best players and win - you have to be ruthless, in my opinion. If, indeed, Parcells followed that rule and waited on Vinatieri (too long, it turned out) because he wanted to give the Patriots a shot to re-sign him, he probably cost his team an NFC East title and a home playoff game. That's not smart coaching to me, that's stupid team management. I find it hard to believe these guys play by those rules - but that's what Peter King says.

And if that's how Belichick feels, he should look in the mirror. First of all, no two ways about it, he screwed the Jets in 2000. Just screwed them. And the reason he left the Jets was to get out of Bill Parcells' shadow. But then he proceeded to rebuild the Patriots with Parcells-type players. Sure, he added his own, but the veteran types were Parcells guys.

Anyway, if that's what's got Belichick so mad, so be it. It just gives the Jets extra incentive when they play the Patriots. And he didn't help his case in future matchups with his actions on Sunday.

One last thing - I can't really blame Belichick for wanting out of Parcells' shadow. Parcells treated him awfully bad. I have a friend at NFL Films these days - I recommend to him a piece on their relationship - because NFL Films has some good stuff from the late 80's, early 90's Giants, and Parcells was flat-out mean to Belichick. I saw some of it on that NFL Network special I mentioned that I saw on the '90 Giants. I'm sure there's tons more. So Belichick has a case there.

Sunday, January 07, 2007


The headline refers not to the direction the Jets are headed (although it is very hard for me to stay positive right now, an hour after the game has ended), but to the turning point of this football game. I can't argue the play - like Phill Simms said on the telecast - Chad Pennington wasn't throwing the ball forward, so it was either a lateral or a backward pass. Credit the Patriots for picking the ball up, and turning that into a huge play that helped put the Jets away.

I should have known the direction this game was headed right off the bat, when the Patriots scored on their first drive. The Wife had some work to do, so I had The Baby, and the Patriots scored just as The Baby spit up on my lucky sweatshirt. I should have acted right then and there to change shirts, but, silly me, I thought the spit up may have been lucky.

The Jets fell behind 7-0 quickly, then had a couple of ineffective possessions. They did force a Corey Dillon fumble deep in New England territory, and I was thinking that they needed a touchdown, but settled for a field goal. At the time, I thought they wasted an opportunity - they did, but I forgot about it quickly, because at the beginning of the second quarter, Chad Pennington hit Jerricho Cotchery for a 77-yard touchdown pass, and the Jets were suddenly up, 10-7.

On the ensuing Patriots drive, the Jets blew another opportunity - Jonathan Vilma had Tom Brady for a sack and a chance to force the Patriots to punt, but he swiped at the ball, missed, and Brady picked up first down yardage. That resulted in a Pats' game-tying field goal (after a Jets' goal line stand). What bothered me more than Vilma missing Brady was the Jets gently putting Brady on the floor after he didn't slide - they had a chance to hit a quarterback and didn't do it.

The Jets then let the Patriots drive down the field before halftime, and gave up a touchdown instead of a field goal, letting New England take a 17-10 lead at the half. I didn't feel good about that deficit, because the Jets had the lead, and had chances to have a bigger lead - I didn't feel comfortable with anything less than a two-score Jets I never felt comfortable in this game.

The Jets and Patriots traded field goals in the third quarter, then came the key play I mentioned above. Pennington tried a screen pass, with the Jets down 7, at midfield, and the pass was knocked down. Unfortunately, it was a live ball, and Vince Wilfork picked it up and moved 31 yards down the field, setting up another New England field goal, and giving the Patriots a 23-13 lead.

The Jets still had a chance, especially after cutting it to 23-16 early in the 4th, but the defense couldn't stop the run, and the Patriots blew it open from there, scoring an offensive touchdown, and then adding an interception return for a touchdown.

The Jets gave up 158 yards on the ground - not a recipe for success in the regular season, let alone the post-season.

So another season comes to a close - and it's hard to think rationally right now, but it was a successful season. Even this playoff game was a positive in that the young guys can only grow from this experience. The Jets weren't supposed to be this good - but they were. They can only improve through the draft, and maybe free agency. Personally, it stinks that the Jets lost to the Patriots, with me living in New England, but that's some motivation for next year, too. Hopefully the Jets can pick up now where they left off two years ago - realizing it's not good to take to the road in the playoffs - so go out and win the division. The thing that would make me even more mad than I am right now is if they go out next year and have a sub-.500 season, if they don't show improvement. There's no reason to think it will happen (unless Pennington gets hurt), but this team is on the upswing, and that needs to continue.

THOUGHTS: I really was psyched this morning when I saw the headline of the Boston Globe sports section - a big article on how Asante Samuel wants to get his due this off-season, but knows he won't get it from the Patriots. I thought, "That could be a huge distraction..." It wasn't. He just increased his value for other teams.....

Really strange seeing a playoff game in New England in such nice weather.

The Patriots look good right now. I really don't buy into the Chargers and the Ravens...I can't see another AFC team beating them...unless the Patriots play a sloppy game like they did a lot during the regular season.

SUPER BOWL MATCHUPS: The Giants-Eagles game is still going on, but I'm going to start writing this anyway, not sure when I'll have time this week:

We're rooting against the Ravens and Giants.
We're rooting against the Patriots and Bears or Eagles.
We're rooting for the Colts or Chargers against anyone from the NFC.
We're rooting for the Saints against anyone from the AFC.

Just an update. Oh, and if you haven't already, go look below at what I predicted for the Cowboys-Seahawks game, and then look at the final score of the game!

Friday, January 05, 2007


There's nothing left to do now but play the game. I'm going to get my last words in on what I think will happen this weekend, then sit back, try to concentrate on something other than football for part of Saturday, so I can write some report cards, then let my brain melt Saturday night and Sunday. First, an in-depth look at Jets-Patriots, then I'll give you all my picks for the Wild Card Round.

In the playoffs, there's plenty of motivation to win. Any extra motivation is icing on the cake, but can be used to your advantage. The Jets know that Bill Belichick has slighted his former assistant/mentee this season. They are using that as some sort of extra motivation this week, whether or not they're saying it. And Belichick knows that too - how else do you explain him suddenly becoming Mr. Nice Guy this week in the media when talking about the Jets and Eric Mangini? Mangini has played the game well, not making a big deal of Belichick making himself look like a jerk back in November, and not making a big deal out of it this week, as a matter of fact, he heaped plenty of praise upon the Patriots. I start with that not because I think it's the biggest factor this weekend, but I do think it will be A factor - and definitely a plus for the Jets.

Yesterday, I wrote about the younger players getting some playoff experience this year, at the very least. Truth is, the Jets are full of playoff veterans. There are key members of the Jets (mostly on defense, but including quarterback Chad Pennington) who made the run in the playoffs with the Jets 2 years ago. There are plenty of former Patriots, who enjoyed the same success the Jets' opponents will be pointing to on Sunday (including the Jets' current head coach). My only concern is this is a new experience for kicker Mike Nugent - but he does have big-game experience from college at Ohio State. The Jets sorely need themselves a clutch kicker - remember two years ago. But now that I think about it, the FieldTurf at Gillette Stadium must benefit the kicking game. That's good for the Jets.

Things to look for this Sunday - as I mentioned yesterday, I fully expect the Jets to spring some sort of gadget play on the Patriots. I'm thinking some sort of fake kick. Sticking with special teams, I think Justin Miller will have a huge return at some point in this game. Not sure he'll score, but he'll set the Jets up nice. I also think this will be a tight game, my heart will be racing, and I will curse the football gods for putting the Jets up against the Patriots in round one. But I'll be thanking them when it's over. JETS 22, PATRIOTS 14

I'm participating in a playoff pool I join annually, which gives you 250 shares to start with, and you can bet a maximum of 75 per bet. You can bet over/unders and spreads. So I will use those spreads for these picks (I'm not sure how far off they are from the real ones):

Kansas City at Indianapolis (-6.5): I know that people expect Larry Johnson to run all over the Colts, but I just think the Colts are the better team. I expect the Chiefs to jump out to an early lead, maybe 7-or-10- to 0, but the Colts to cruise from there. I say Colts 27, Chiefs 13. The over/under is 50.5. I'm putting $25 on the under.

Dallas at Seattle (-2.5): I originally said on this game Seahawks 24, Cowboys 10. I know very little about gambling, but I know that the bookmakers really know what they are doing. And home teams usually start out with at least 3 points in their favor. This seems like a game where the bookies are begging people to take Seattle. Therefore, I'm going with Dallas, taking the points. And I've adjusted my score. Seahawks 21, Cowboys 20. Seattle is still a tough place to win. I've got $20 on the Cowboys getting the points. The over/under here is 46.5 - I'm not touching that.

New York Jets at New England (-8.5): I had to take the Jets with those points - even if they lose, I don't see this game being more than an 8-point spread either way. This is my big bet of the day, $75 on the Jets. The over/under is 37.5, I would think under, but I'm not touching it.

New York Giants at Philadelphia (-6.5): I think this is the surest bet of the day, that the Eagles will win. I'm not as sure about the point spread, so I'm not going there, but I am pretty sure this will be a high scorer. Eagles 34, Giants 24. Over/under is 46.5 - I like the over for $25.

So to recap, I have $145 on the line this week. Some people will blow all $250 this week - I just hope I can move into the top 3 or so, then maybe next week I'll step up the bet amounts.

One last thing regarding picks - I really like what Mike & Mike in the Morning on ESPN Radio do come playoff time - they do "Confidence Picks", where they rank the players they are most confident in on a given playoff weekend (they'll do quarterbacks, running backs, coaches, and defenses, I think), with the most confidence being given a 1, least given an 8, then adding up their total scores, and figuring out what teams will win that way. The problem is, I never hear the end of their show, so I never know how the system works. If I have time tomorrow during the Chiefs/Colts game, I may try it out, see if it's an accurate representation of picks.

Enjoy the games - I will have a recap on Sunday - hopefully it will be about a win...and if they lose, hopefully I'm not too upset to write. I'll try my darndest.

Thursday, January 04, 2007


Why the Jets would not be here with Herman Edwards

Eric Mangini has done a great job with the Jets this year. You can't overstate that fact. Without Eric Mangini, the Jets would not be a playoff team. But it's not just because of Eric Mangini that the Jets are where they are right now.

The Jets have built themselves a fresh coaching staff - a mix of veteran coaches as well as new entries to the coaching ranks. These coaches aren't afraid to take chances, and spice up the playbook. Last year's coaching staff was.

The biggest reason for the Jets' success this year, in my opinion, isn't Eric Mangini. It's Eric Mangini AND Brian Schottenheimer. I really think Schottenheimer deserves a lot of the credit for not only catering the offense to Chad Pennington's arm, but using the other weapons at his disposal to the best of their ability. Brad Smith is one of the more exciting players the Jets have had in a long time - and Schottenheimer has been creative in using him - it's great to watch.

Herman Edwards and his guys were stale. Doug Brien cost the Jets the chance at the AFC Championship Game two years ago, but Herman Edwards helped set him up to fail. The Jets wouldn't even be in shouting distance of the playoffs if those guys were still here. Here's why - they would have tried too hard to protect Chad Pennington - they weren't risk-takers. Curtis Martin might have been allowed to play, because of a soft spot in Herman Edwards' heart. And that would have hurt Martin and the team. And the Jets would probably have finished below .500.

This fresh bunch of coaches (some of whom, incidentally, actually played for Herman Edwards - Richie Anderson, for example) has pressed all the right buttons. Martin can't play - we'll start 4 different running backs - and each one has been successful on different days. Credit the defensive staff, too - continuing to develop the Jets' young talent into a formidable presence. Kerry Rhodes should have been a Pro Bowler this year - watch out for him in years to come. Jonathan Vilma is already a force in the AFC.

If things don't go well this weekend, I will come back to this write-up to remember how promising the future is for the Jets. I've said it before - although I fully expect the Jets to be dangerous this post-season, I look at this playoff run as a bonus for the young players. They have a chance to get some playoff experience under their belts, and make more playoff runs in the future. The same goes for the young coaching staff.

PREDICTION: Tomorrow I'll get into my playoff picks, but for today I'll give you this one tease - I believe the Jets will pull off one crazy gadget play during this game to try to catch the Patriots off guard. I'm sure we'll see some kind of reverse or end around, but I'm really thinking about a fake field goal or punt...more likely the latter.

STATS: Yesterday I mentioned Tom Brady's record on turf - 22-1. I would be remiss if I didn't mention his playoff record - 10-1. Gotta respect that. He talked yesterday about how he loves this time of even though the body starts to wear down, you sort of get a second wind because it's the playoffs. He would know.

COMEBACK PLAYER OF THE YEAR: It's Chad Pennington. Well-deserved - no one came back from a worse situation (well, unless you count the whole team of the New Orleans Saints - but that's not the way the award works) to do as well. He set a career high for yards this year, with 3,352. (Think that would have happened under Mike Heimerdinger?) Also, give Laveraues Coles and Jerricho Cotchery some credit here, too. Those guys got Pennington a lot of yards after the catch, and pulled down some clutch catches in some tough situations for him.

AND NOW, A RANT: I've been sitting on this one for a while, but I'm not unleashing it. Last year I went off on broadcasters who overuse the word "unbelievable". I don't know if it bothers me less, or if they listened to me, but the word seems to be used less. (I still hear it, mind you, because every so often I talk to the TV and ask the person if what they just observed was really unbelievable...but it seems to be less.) So now I ask for another phrase to come to an end.

The phrase is what it is. Actually, that's what it is. "It is what it is". I hate it. It is the most overused cliche right now. I've been thinking about this for years - I remember in April, 2004, having an argument with one of my cousins about this phrase - it's NONSENSE. The words have become popular in recent years, I'm sure, because they are overused by none other than Bill Belichick, and ever since the Patriots got good, it's all over the place.

Media Member: Bill, how big is this weekend's game?
Belichick: You know, they're all big. It is what it is.

Media Member: How bad does this week's loss sit with the team?
Belichick: All losses are tough. It is what it is.

Drives me nuts. To me, it seems to have originated as coachspeak, then turned into a lockerroom cliche, and then it became sports radio language. It means NOTHING! You might as well say nothing. Everything is what it is. It bothers me...a lot. I want it to go away. And don't get me started with "Threw him under the bus".

Wednesday, January 03, 2007


Reportedly overheard in Jacksonville from a Patriots coach after the Patriots clinched the division by beating the Jaguars.

"Take that, Eric Mangini - We're division champs!"

I saw that a couple of weeks ago in the Boston Globe. That's not the way the World Champion New England Patriots behave. That sounds like a team I'd like the Jets to be facing in the playoffs....a little too concerned about what's going on elsewhere.

Those were my initial thoughts when I read that quote in the Globe. Now, of course, the Patriots get Eric Mangini and his New York Jets at Gillette Stadium in Round 1 of the playoffs. Take that, Eric Mangini.

I actually feel the Jets match up well against the Patriots (you didn't think differently, did you?). The Jets beat the Patriots in Foxboro already this season. The negatives, of course, are that you're giving Bill Belichick and his staff a third game against you - if he doesn't have you figured out by game 2 (which it's hard to say he didn't - he had the Jets figured out the first time they met this season), he'll have you figured out by game 3. And the Jets beat the Pats in the muck and mud at Gillette the first time around - now there's the Field Turf, and Tom Brady is something like 22-1 all-time on turf (and the Pats haven't lost at home since the field has been installed).

That said, I can say the reverse - Eric Mangini sure seemed to have the Pats figured out the last time these two teams met. The Jets did exactly what they needed to do - put pressure on Brady, and rough him up, and force him to make mistakes or throw bad passes. They need to do that again this week.

It's going to be some kind of game. The Patriots are about a 9-point favorite right now. I'm not going to publish my pick until the end of the week, but I will say that I think that's ridiculous. The Patriots will not beat the Jets by 9 points. As a matter of fact, I don't think they'll beat them at all. Take that, Patriots fans.

SABAN: I am proud to say that I didn't believe for a second that Nick Saban would stay with the Miami Dolphins and pass on the Alabama job. Do you know why? Because coaches are liars. I don't care that he couldn't pass up that money. I don't care that he was pestered for two weeks about it. I care that he flat-out said he had no interest in coaching Alabama, and was going to stay with the Dolphins. But I learned my lesson from Herman Edwards last year - just because Nick Saban (or any coach) says they won't leave doesn't mean they won't leave. I shouldn't care. I really shouldn't. (I actually prefer to see the Dolphins in turmoil, so I should enjoy this, and part of me does.) But he lied. He flat-out lied. I would rather he said something like, no comment, and I won't comment on that until the season is over. But instead, he lied something awful, saying he had no interest, and wouldn't be leaving. I think that makes you sound like a worse person than you are, because you're going back on your word.

NFL NETWORK: Thanks to DirecTV, I have the NFL Network. I've been meaning to post about the Thursday/Saturday night games for a while. Bryant Gumbel is awful as a play-by-play guy. Awful. And Chris Collinsworth is fantastic as a color guy. I can't believe I used to not like Collinsworth. I have no idea why...he's very good. Here's an example of his great color work though - last Saturday, early in the Giants game against Washington, Tiki Barber is just starting to slice through the Redskins' defense, and Collinsworth says, "If the Redskins don't put 8 men up on the line of scrimmage, Tiki's going to run for 200 yards." On the next play, Barber rips off a 55-yard touchdown run. Collinsworth says, "Maybe 300." It was great - Barber finished with 234 yards rushing. Good work, Chris.

The other thing about the NFL Network, though, is they are playing these recaps of the greatest Super Bowl champs of all time. I have no opinions on the order in which they play these, but I've seen 2-and-a-half of the shows, and they are fantastic. I watched a little of the 1970 Chiefs, the entire 1996 Packers, and the 1990 Giants. The deal is, they have three figures from the team tell the story of the team. It's just great. I want to try to watch them all, but I don't know if I have the time. If you do, make sure you do it.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007


Jets 23, Raiders 3 (NYJ: 10-6, OAK: 2-14)

The Jets beat the Raiders on Sunday, 23-3, to finish at 10-6, and clinch a playoff berth. I can't believe that I'm actually writing playoff previews now.

First, Sunday's game. It wasn't as dominating as I expected. The Raiders couldn't do anything, but the Jets weren't doing much for the first three quarters either. At no time was I afraid the Jets would lose, but I really wanted them to just blow the doors off the Raiders, and that didn't happen until the fourth quarter.

Later on Sunday afternoon, the Broncos blew their lead to the 49ers, and the Colts, Chargers, and Ravens all won, setting up this week's playoff matchups of the Colts versus the Chiefs, and the Jets versus the Patriots. I can't believe the Jets are going to be playing the Patriots. There's a lot to write about this week - I'll have an entry everyday. But first, today, I'm going to revisit Sunday before looking ahead to the playoffs.

There's a reason I don't break my back to go down to New York (actually, New Jersey for the games) for every Jets home game. And I always forget what that reason is, until I'm sitting there in Section 336 at Giants Stadium. The people in my section are idiots. It's nearly impossible to focus on the football game. There's a guy who sits behind us - for years this guy has been sitting behind us - but somehow, his son hasn't aged...the kid is like Bart Simpson. This guy, who my dad aptly, perfectly, called "Nitwit" on Sunday, has been insulting Jets quarterbacks from the upper deck since Ken O'Brien. Anyway, this guy is the most annoying person in sports fan history (but he's not the only one in our section). (And I know that there are probably other sections in the stadium that are bad, and there are other sections that are probably great to sit in, but I don't sit there. I have to sit with these people.) It's hard to enjoy the game when this guy is behind you yelling at Chad Pennington all game to "Throw the long pass Chad! The 10-yard one!" Followed immediately by, "Chad! Throw the medium pass - the 6-yard one!" It's funny, ten times a game, you see, because Chad Pennington doesn't have a great arm. But at least when he yells that he's watching the game. 90% of the game this guy is watching the scoreboard, making sure everyone knows who he bet money on (and in my case, who we're really rooting for to lose). Sunday, it was Cincinnati. I was quite pleased when I came home to find out how the Bengals lost. Oh - and he had the "over" in the Jets game - so he's the only nitwit in the stadium rooting for the Raiders to score. My dad made a funny observation - this guy has never won a bet in all the years he's been sitting behind us. He must win the weeks we're not there.

OK, then there's the drunk people. Way too many drunk people. It's dangerous. We also sit two sections over from the section they sell to fans from the opponents' city. So there are also a lot of fights. I don't feel safe a lot of the time.

Two more complaints, then I'll focus on the football. Two rows in front of us, there's a group of grown men, I'd say in their late fifties, early sixties, and their sons, maybe my age...maybe everyone's a bit younger than I'm estimating. But they look like good football fans. They look like people who'll be paying attention to the game. But, no...they spend the entire game making paper airplanes and seeing if they can get them to fly onto the field. And they don't just buy a program (or take the free one we're given at the door) and rip out pages...they bring their own white paper with them to the game. IT'S PRE-MEDITATED, PEOPLE!!

And my last one - the guy who brought a sign to the game. In the past few years, they've installed a camera at Giants Stadium above the tunnel in our section. I'm not really sure why, we're in the corner of the end zone - it's not a great view, but it does offer a decent panorama of the field. (If you're ever watching a Jets or Giants game with me, I'll point out the shot - they use it like twice a game.) Anyway, once in the game this camera turns around for a crowd shot, and this guy and his 12-or-so-year-old son have a sign that says "JETS - Come Back Season" - a good CBS sign, you figure probably this guy will get on TV. He's up every commercial waving it at the cameraguy - fine, whatever. Every commercial. Then he starts doing it during the game. Then -this is hilarious - the cameraguy has the camera pointed at him, and it looks like they're going to show this guy on TV, and people start gathering around the camera and waving, as they are wont to do (and totally in their right to do). And the guy starts yelling at all the people in front of him, "HEY! THE GUY IS TRYING TO TAKE A PICTURE! F-IN' PEOPLE." Classic. I'm not sure the people in front of you knew that the guy was taking video there. They thought they were waving into a mirror, you moron.

OK, it feels good to get all that out. My final thoughts on Sunday's game, then the rest of the week is a playoff preview:
  • The Jets played a video montage of Curtis Martin towards the end of the game. The crowd gave it a standing ovation. I scanned the sidelines with the binoculars, but it didn't seem like Martin was there. A shame if he's played his last game (as a Jet or otherwise). But it was nice that they gave him the tribute.
  • The Jets do have cheerleaders (I forgot if I speculated on that here or talking to someone). The women in tight green outfits replace guys who use to run around carrying flags when the Jets would score. I told my dad, "Eric Mangini has done a nice job re-doing the Jets' image this year, but I don't think you can credit him as a 'genius' for this move. How smart do you have to be to say, 'You know how we have those fat guys running around carrying flags after touchdowns and field goals? What if we replaced them with hot chicks?'"

This thought occurred to me yesterday, because when we left the Jets game, we thought there'd be no way we'd be going back. But that was when the Jets were the lowest seed. Now the Chiefs are the lowest seed. And they could beat Indy, what with Larry Johnson running (though I'm not sure they will). Anyway, if the Jets win out, and the Chiefs win out, the AFC Championship will be at the Jets. Welcome back, Herman Edwards. Wouldn't that be something. I would even put up with the bozos in Section 336 to go back to the Meadowlands to boo Herm Edwards.