The Electric Commentary

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

BS BCS=RIP RPI?

While the American economy has been growing rapidly for more than 2 consecutive quarters, job growth has been slow to catch up. Many people, mostly politicians, have been blaming outsourcing for this phenomenon. I am here today to bring you good news on two fronts. First, outsourcing is not the root cause of slow job growth, and second, that this will all be fixed by next week.

A recent article in Business Week magazine looked at the root causes of unemployment and found that it is technology, and not those evil foreigners that have been causing slow job growth. Technological innovation, once only the bane of the manufacturing industry, has now spread to the service industry, which composes 80% of the total US economy. Because of advances in computers and communication, corporations have been able enhance efficiency without adding workers. A 1% increase in annual efficiency in the United States costs 1.3 million jobs. They conclude with a report from the Forrester Research Group that concludes, “of the 2.7 million jobs lost in the last three years, only 300,000 have been from outsourcing.”

University of Chicago professor Daniel Drezner posted this on his site, and believes the 300,00 number to be a high-end estimate. Many economists (note: you can’t throw a stone around the University here without hitting an economist. This makes stone throwing here very efficient.) believe that the true costs of outsourcing are closer to 1 of every 100 jobs lost, or about 27,000 a year.

Now the good news. The NCAA tourney starts on Thursday, which means that both production and efficiency will reach their yearly low as most males in the work force schedule “client meetings” and “business lunches” at their local tavern, which just happens to be connected to a satellite dish, while their lesser underlings take advantage of the companie’s high speed Internet to update scores every 15 seconds. Corporations will lose millions as their employee base suddenly seems much to low to support the desired productivity. Hiring will soar! The economy will skyrocket, and productivity will resume like magic.

This is the power of the NCAA tournament, and this is a game by game analysis of the entire first round. The NCAA this year has changed their stupid directional system of region names, in which western region games were sometimes played in Boston, Eastern in Oregon, and Midwestern games in Tierra Del Fuego. Unfortunately they have changed it to a much more stupid system in which the regions are named for the host city (Your East Rutherford Region MVP, Devin Harris!). For NCAA purposes, Milwaukee, Wisconsin is now located in East Rutherford New Jersey. Anyway, we will alter the regional names for Electric Commentary purposes according to a brilliant system of naming the first thing that comes into my mind when I think about the host city.

Also, as I so often state, I know very little about college basketball, so in the event that I cannot make an informed decision, the winner will be based on the superior mascot. For instance, if the Green Wave of Tulane were to face the Crimson Tide of Alabama, the Tide would prevail, as a tide is a much stronger force than a wave. Furthermore, the Green Wave is undoubtedly given its green hue by life, algae, seaweed, and the like. The crimson or “red” tide is a very toxic microorganism capable of killing almost anything it touches, including humans. Therefore the Tide would undercut and annihilate the wave, and Alabama would win. Let’s get started…

JAYHAWK REGION

Why is this the Jayhawk region? Despite a lackluster season, Kansas was rewarded with home games in their first FOUR games as long as they keep winning. Oh, and they only lost once at home this year.

Kentucky v. Play-in winner

The play-in pits Lehigh’s Mountain Hawks against Florida A&M’s Rattlers. Hawks eat snakes, and it doesn’t really matter, because 16 seeds never win, and the slippery KY is probably the best team in the country. Last time they won it all they lost to Louisville 2 days after Christmas, suffered their last loss on Valentine’s day, won the SEC tourney in Atlanta, and won it all in San Antonio. This year they lost to Louisville 2 days after Christmas, lost their last game on Valentine’s day, and won the SEC tourney in Atlanta. The finals this year are in San Antonio. Do I have to draw you a map?

Washington v. UAB

The Huskies of Washington play in a weak Pac-10. The Blazers of UAB played an easy schedule in a tough Conference USA, and shared the conference title. Still the Huskies 11 losses are troubling in a league that should have been a cakewalk. UAB at least had to play quality up and down. Go with the slightly more tested Blazers, as this is just a contest to see whom the slippery KY destroys in the next round anyway.

Providence v. Pacific

The Friars of Providence will tangle with the Boxers of Pacific. I happen to think that one boxer could take out several friars, most of whom are pacifists. It stands to reason that a large group of Boxers will decimate the helpless friars. Go with Pacific, realizing that this is a 5/12 match-up and you know that at least one 12 will win.

Kansas v. UIC

The Flames of UIC got in by winning the Horizon League tourney over UWM, and they are a very good team. The fact of the matter is that this seeding screws them. Kansas is too high a seed and playing at home where they don’t lose. UIC is too low a seed and will have a tough time in a hostile environment. The Jayhawks in a cakewalk.

Boston College v. Utah

Poor Rick Majerus looks like he’ll never coach again, but his hospitalization seems to have galvanized a Utah team that had been mediocre until then. Boston College is a bland Big East team. They have no stars, but they’re tough. Their best player is named Craig Smith. Utah presents a tough match-up for BC, as they are big up front, and have a deadly shooter in Nick Jacobson. Take the Utes in an upset over a mediocre team from the top heavy Big East.

Georgia Tech v. Northern Iowa

All you need to know about this one is that GT recently ended Duke’s 41 game home winning streak. They’re tough as nails. Northern Iowa, on the other hand isn’t that bad. They have a balanced attack, and a pretty high RPI for a mid-major. But GT could come out of this region if KY dries up. Likely to be a blowout.

Michigan St. v. Nevada

Michigan State played perhaps the toughest non-conference schedule in the country, and it hurt them badly. They rebounded somewhat in the Big Ten, but really never gelled. They’re tough to get a read on because they are probably talented enough to make a run, but could very easily lose to a pesky and high scoring Wolfpack team. Still Tom Izzo doesn’t go down easily in tournament play, so look for the Spartans to get it together just in time, and survive a scare.

Gonzaga v. Valparaiso

The two former Cinderellas are pitted against each other in the first round. While these used to be the teams that no one wanted to play, Gonzaga has become somewhat of a powerhouse lately. But I don’t know squat about either one, so let’s see, the Zags are actually the Bulldogs, while Valpo’s moniker is the Crusaders. Surely when those knights left Europe to retake the holy lands they encountered a few dogs. While disease, travel weariness, starvation, in fighting, and, oh yes, Muslims may have stopped the crusaders, dogs almost certainly did not. Take Valpo.

SOPRANOS REGION

I don’t know where in New Jersey East Rutherford is located (East, I guess), and that’s pretty much my lasting impression.

St. Joe’s v. Liberty

This is the situation that 16 seeds have been dreaming about for years and years. They say “What we need is a mid-major conference winner to get lucky, go undefeated, and garner enough attention and whine enough to get a one seed.” Not only did that happen this year with St. Joe’s, they even lost their conference final to Xavier by 20 and STILL got a number one seed. Now St. Joe’s is acting entitled and cocky. They purportedly have the nations best back court in the form of Jameer Nelson and Delonte West, but who have they beaten to prove it? An injured Gonzaga team?

A thought experiment: If St. Joe’s played all of the 6 seeds in the tourney (Wisconsin, North Carolina, Boston College, and Vanderbilt) would they beat half of them? Any of them? They are an undeserving 1 seed, taking up space that rightly belongs to Oklahoma St. or Pitt.

Liberty is not one of those crappy teams with a losing record. They finished 8-2 over their final ten games. Sooner or later a 16 seed will beat a one seed, and this is my pick for when it will happen.

Take Liberty in the greatest upset in tourney history. Give me Liberty or give me Death!

Texas Tech v. Charlotte

Charlotte, one of the many Conference USA champions, is actually very good. The Red Raiders, coached by some crazy guy who used to coach at Indiana, were very mediocre in a mediocre Big 12. Oh, by the way, said crazy guy hasn’t exactly set the world on fire with his tourney record lately. Take the 49ers, and laugh maniacally when Bobby gets bounced.

Florida v. Manhattan

The Gators are fierce predators with strong jaws, sharp teeth, and big appetites. A Jasper or “an opaque variety of reddish, brown, green or yellow quartz used as an ornamental stone” is, in esseence, a rock. Rock may beat scissors, but not Gators. Take Florida.

Wake Forest v. Virginia Commonwealth

The Demon Deacons, whose mascot looks a little too much like John Lithgow in “Footloose,” take on the Rams. I’m not sure what a Demon Deacon is. My best guess is a deacon who has been possessed by a demon, or one who uses his powers improperly. Either way, they probably have no problem sacrificing a ram. Take Wake.

Wisconsin v. Richmond

My Alma Mater takes on the pesky Spiders, who boast a great defense, especially by guard Tony Dobbins who will be draped on Devin Harris all game. This is a tough draw for the Badgers who are seeded much too low (I think a three seed for sure, and debatably a two seed was in order) but at least they are in Milwaukee where they will have home court. Mike Wilkinson and Zach Morley will need big games, but what will probably allow Wisconsin to win is THEIR defense, which isn’t too shabby. Richmond is a bit offensively challenged, and may not get over 50 in this game. Take the Badgers at home.

Pitt v. UCF

Pitt, along with Wisconsin and OK St. were really screwed, and UCF is going to have to pay for it. Pitt has one seed talent, and should have been a two for sure. UCF is the Golden Knights. Gold is heavy and malleable, offering little protection and creating an easy target for the hungry Tigers.

Memphis v. South Carolina

Tigers is the most common nickname in college athletics, held by at least 44 teams. This has created an oversupply of tigers, making them extra mean. The Gamecocks are capable only of defeating other chickens. They may as well show up inside a bucket. Memphis in a blowout.

Oklahoma St. v. East Washington

Oklahoma St. is mad, and the Eagles of EW won’t last more than 5 minutes with these gun totin’ Cowboys. The easiest pick in the tourney.

RAY LEWIS REGION

These teams need to knock off a few opponents, just like Ray did one fateful Atlanta night…

Duke v. Alabama St.

Duke may not be the unbeatable force they once were, but there is no way the Devils are within 20 points of the Hornets, who have an RPI of 230. Duke in a laugher.

Seton Hall v. Arizona

Remember the top heavy Big East? Well here is one of its overrated lesser teams, the Pirates of Seton Hall. Arizona had a bad year, and played in the Pac-10, but Arizona is always prepared thanks to Lude. Not even Johnny Depp will save these Pirates. Take the Wildcats.

Illinois v. Murray St.

The state of Murray was added to the union 6 years ago to replace the perennially underachieving North Dakota. OK, so that’s not true (yet) but what is true is that the Illini looked really really really bad in the Big 10 tourney, they should not be seeded ahead of Wisconsin (by the way, what is with the selection committee talking down to the Big 10 and Big 12? They can’t wait for the games to finish? What is that? Two of the most prominent conferences in the country getting a talking too by a commission who’s job it is too sit in a room and talk about college basketball and construct the bracket for like 5 hours. Do they not realize the NCAA gets a cut of tourney revenues from those conference championship games? Could they not come up with a few different scenarios in advance so that when the games ended they could just plug the winner in one slot and the loser in another? What a bunch of lazy jerks.) and Murray State’s best player is named Cuthbert Victor, and you have to root for a guy who’s gone through as much as he has. Except news is now in that Murray State’s second leading scorer, Kelvin Brown has been suspended. So take the Illini

Cinci v. East Tennessee St.

Cinci is one of the Conference USA Champions, and actually won the tourney as well. But ETS is a scary 13 seed. 9-1 over their last 10 games, a 61 RPI, and 27-5 overall. They’re no pushover. If a 13 is going to upset a 4, it will be here. Plus Bearcats don’t really exist. I’m starting my own team and calling it the Pigeonfish. Take Cinci, but be weary. Don’t have them going too far, just in case.

North Carolina v. Air Force

Air Force, picked to finish last in its conference, made the NCAA by instituting the Princeton offense, which works great if…
a. You’re not very good and
b. You’re opponent is.
North Carolina may have the best starting five in America, but they’re sloppy, which plays right into the hands of Air Force. But Carolina is too good in the end. It’ll be close, but no cigar for the Air Force.

Texas v. Princeton

The Tigers, not surprisingly, play the Princeton offense, but, like Air Force, face a far superior team. Close as always, but not quite enough for the eggheads of the Ivy League.

Xavier v. Lousiville

Xavier was responsible for thrashing St. Joe’s in the Atlantic 10 tourney. Rick Pitino’s Cardinals, on the other hand, haven’t been the same since the coach had to make a trip to the hospital earlier in the year. They were the 6th team in from Conference USA and Reece Gaines has moved on to greener pastures. The Musketeers shoot down the helpless Cardinals.

Mississippi St. v. Monmouth

Bulldogs v. Hawks. Hawks in some parts of the world are so large that they can pick up sheep for small periods of time. However, these Hawks are from New Jersey, and New Jersey isn’t really the best environment for the development of gigantic Hawks. The Bulldogs maul the Hawks.

DECREPIDLY OLD REGION

When the fans get angry in Phoenix, they throw their teeth at you. Actually, I guess they do that in Tennessee too.

Stanford v. Texas-San Antonio

The Cardinal is not intimidated by the lowly Roadrunner. Especially since the Cardinal in this case is a tree. Stanford is fantastic. They were undefeated for most of the season, they have experience, and they will route the Roadrunners.

Alabama v. Southern Illinois

The Salukis are still tough, even after losing coach Bruce Weber to the Illini. Bama played the second toughest schedule in the nation, which partially explains their lackluster record. But if they lose to good teams, what makes anyone think that they can beat the Salukis? Take Southern Illinois.

Syracuse v. BYU

Last years champs have mellowed out since ‘Melo is out and playing for Denver. They’re not the team they used to be, but they are still tournament tested and will get by the mormons, er, Cougars of BYU. I don’t know what an orangeman is (and neither does my spell check) but if a man could take a Cougar, and Orangeman could probably take 2 or 3.

Maryland v. UTEP

I really dislike Maryland. A lot. I saw them play several times this year and not once did I see them look good, except against Wisconsin. Now I know they won their tourney, which is impressive, but 19-11 with a LOSING conference record gets you a 4 seed these days? Gary Williams team is young and makes a ton of mistakes. They are overseeded here, and although I know nothing about UTEP other than that Tim Hardaway used to go there, I’ll pick them over this overrated ACC team.

Vandy v. Western Michigan

Commodores v. Broncos. A Commodore is a Naval officer ranking above a captain but underneath a Rear Admiral. Is also a now obsolete computer, but their mascot indicates the former, not the latter. A bronco is no match for a trained naval officer, and Vandy will tame that horse.

NC State v. Louisiana Lafayette

What happens when a wolf pack encounters some Ragin’ Cajuns? My experience with Cajun folk indicates to me that the wolf pack in question would dine a fine Creole dinner that night with a nice bourbon style marinade. NC State beat Lafayette (The French dialect that is Cajun or Creole has no past tense).

DePaul v. Dayton

The Blue Demons take on the Flyers (formerly the Flying Dutchmen). Dayton is a solid team to be sure. DePaul was one of the Conference USA co-champs along with almost everyone else in the conference, but played a relatively easy schedule and could be vulnerable as an upset here. They finished hot, so they area tough team to read. Take the Flyers, but this is basically a pick’em game.

And finally,

UConn v. Vermont

I'll bet you thought Vermont didn't even have schools. The Huskies take on the Catamounts. Catamounts are European wildcats, the name is shortened from “catamountain.” So this is a dog v. cat battle. With Emeka Okafor back in the lineup, UConn is almost unbeatable. They probably could make a good case for a one seed as well, having won the Big East tourney. Vermont suffers the same fate as their governor, Howard Dean. A humiliating double digit first round loss.

And there you have it. If you use any of this for gambling purposes, you deserve to lose all of your money.

A QUICK NOTE ABOUT FOOTBALL

TO got his wish and will become an Eagle, via a pseudo trade. Also, David Boston was traded by the Chargers to the Dolphins for former Wisconsin star Jamar Fletcher. This means that the two heaviest receivers in the NFL were traded 3 times in the off season. Less is more boys.

Good luck in your brackets everyone.

Monday, March 08, 2004

OLD COLUMNS

I will be putting up some of my old columns, poor spelling and all, because a few people have actually asked me to. I’m as surprised as you are. But first…

MODEL TO

In the most predictable thing to happen so far in this off-season, TO is attempting to have his trade to the Ravens overturned by the Union and the NFL. The reason, of course, is that he thought he would be a free agent and he apparently had reached a deal with the Eagles, who desperately need a top wide-out.
This will not work, of course, because the only reason he’s in this situation is because his agent forgot to file paperwork. TO will be stuck, but he is not without remedies.

1. He can sue his agent.

Actually, this is pretty open and shut. His agent had a duty to file said papers. He did not. He is at least negligent, and possibly reckless. And best of all for TO, since he had a contract with the Eagles all worked out, he can recover the difference between his Baltimore contract and his Philly contract from his agent. This was obvious malpractice. Now, agents need not be lawyers, but they still owe some duty to act competently.

That’s all that T can do but…

2. The Eagles can sue TO and his agent (possibly) for breach of contract, negligence, and malpractice.

T will probably remain an unhappy Raven. Isn’t this fun?

SUPER BOWL

The Final Electric Commentary, or
This Game Is Supposed To Be SUPER?!!!


So it’s not such a good one this year. So people don’t pay big money to see Teddy Bruschi tackle Steve Smith, but really, the Super Bowl has little if anything to do with football. If you break it down scientifically each team runs about 60-70 plays a game, at about 6 seconds a play for a total of about 14 minutes of actual football action. Seriously, do the math yourself if you don’t believe me. The “rest” of the Super Bowl is usually the good part anyway. There are the horrible musical performances including the immortal combo of Britney, N’Sync, and Aerosmith,, Up With People (or as we Simpsonphiles say, “Hooray for Everything” with their tribute to the greatest, swellest, dancingest hemisphere in the world, the WESTERN HEMISPHERE), and of course Michael Jackson singing about world peace with a bunch of ten year olds which seemed moving at the time and now seems like the beginning of a bad Fox miniseries starring Brian Dennehy (he would be a detective, Michael Jackson would be played by Carrot Top in his dramatic debut).

There are commercials about cat-herding, office linebackers, post-apocalyptic Orwellian nightmares in which we are all forced to use IBM compatible computers (Hey, wait a sec…), Coke, New Coke, Coke Classic, Pepsi, Pets.com (Which I recently purchased off of e-bay for 17 cents), bottles of beer playing football, washed up celebrities and ex-athletes playing football, horses playing football, A game of horse between MJ and Larry, and, and TWINS!

Then there are the immortal Super Bowl MVPs, like Larry Brown, Desmond Howard, and that guy who won it last year, what’s his name again. Oh, Right. Dexter Jackson. Unforgettable.

Oh and let’s not forget the 77 hours of pre-game coverage detailing all of the players overcoming tremendous odds to get paid millions to play a game. It’s truly a moving day. That’s why I start watching coverage as early as possible because I don’t want to miss anything. You never know when Joe Namath may make a guarantee or even better, a drunken pass at Suzy Kolber. You can’t miss this stuff. And who knows what else might happen? Keyshawn has been cut, mugged, and had a restraining order taken out against him. If I were him, I’d stay away from Ray Lewis this weekend. And if Eugene Robinson can solicit a prostitute the night before, is there any reason to think that Steve Smith won’t do something just as stupid? The Super Bowl combines hundreds of the richest, most irresponsible people in the world in one city, at one time, with unlimited alcohol, and because we’re in Texas this year, firearms. Who knows, maybe Brian Urlacher will get injured while pro-wrestling. Nah, that could never happen.

You Want To Propose WHAT?!! (Who are you, Eugene Robinson?)

The Super Bowl offers many gambling scenarios not permitted during the regular season. You can even bet on the coin toss! Who is stupid enough to bet on the coin toss (50/50) when the casino takes 10%? The answer, of course, is drunk people. Here are some prop bets, and my recommendations.

A. Will either team score three straight times without the other team scoring. Yes(-150) No (+120). Take the no. This is a defensive battle, it will limit offensive scores, and therefore, runs.

B. Will there be a successful 2 Pt. Conversion? Yes(+350) No(-500). Call me conservative, but no. First of all, both of these coaches are smart, and smart coaches only go for 2 late in the game. And when they do, 2 pointers only succeed about 40% of the time, if that. This does not pay nearly enough for a yes.

C. Will there be a safety? Yes (+600) No (-1000). I know these odds suck, but has there ever been a safety in a Superbowl. Ah, I seem to remember Tony Eason taking one. But other than that? No way. And it only pays 6 times if you pick yes? Come on, you should get at least 50-1 on this. But you don’t.

D. Will Tom Brady throw 5 or more TD’s? Yes (20-1) Not bad. It could happen if he were playing the Rams. Or the Eagles. But not the panthers. At 4 TDs you get 8-1 odds. It might be worth a gamble.

E. Super Bowl MVP? How about former Packer foil Nick Goings? He’ll get you 100-1. Former Packer foil Brad Hoover will get you the same. Lay 2 bucks on each. Teddy Bruschi gets you 25-1, not too shabby for a guy with a legit shot at it. And Willie McGinest is 30-1! Lay a few on the linebackers!

F. What is completely nuts is that you can PARLAY any of these props. For instance, Teddy Bruschi MVP and Tails will net you a cool 5 G’s should they both hit on a 100 dollar bet.

Alternative Programming

Let’s see, what do we run against the Super Bowl (Note: I’ll bet Celebrity Poker is an option.) We need a show that doesn’t appeal to guys. Better yet, it appeals to girls, and homosexual men. I know, we’ll show a marathon of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. This is exactly what NBC execs thought when programming, so remember this while you’re flipping around. Oh, by the way, your other Broadcast options are Notting Hill, starring Julia Robert, a movie that I once watched with my wife on TV. I walked in the room and it appeared that the movie was just ending. IT went on for 5 more hours, I swear. Or you can watch Sister Act. No wonder the Super Bowl has such great ratings

I think one of the most confusing shows that you could be watching is the half-time Lingerie Bowl. Now, being a male, age 18-35, I often dream of women. Occasionally, football will sneak into my brain. It is, however, a very seldom occurrence that they cross. Perhaps there is some esoteric improvement to the concept of near-nudity gained from adding football to the equation, but frankly, I’d rather they were not playing football. I mean, bad football is bad football. Scantily clad women are scantily clad women. Maybe if they were also proficient, (take note, almost defunct Women’s Professional Soccer League) it would be worth it. I’m sure it will get a huge audience if for no other reason than Lawrence Taylor will be one of the coaches, and Court Room dramas really sell. If nothing else, it should be interesting. Do you think there will be highlights on Sportscenter?

Crazy Like A Fox

A quick bit of substance (sorry). Bill Belichick is a great coach, but even he can’t do it all alone. He’s great when he can exploit the pass at all cost tendencies of Mike Martz (worst coach ever) or the chicken flapping of Peyton Manning, but he’s best when he can capitalize on obvious inefficiencies. The Panthers, under the heady John Fox, have none. They are the football equivalent of the 2003 LA Lakers (before the Mailman and the Glove). They pound, pound, pound with high percentage plays with Stephen Davis (a la Shaq) and take long shots down the field (Guess who threw more passes of 25 yards or more this year, the Rams or the Panthers? WRONG! It was the Panthers). This creates a dilemma because Bill is forced into a 50/50 situation. He can’t leave a LB hanging in no-man’s-land to account for a possible misread, or have a combo run/pass defense. If you call a run defense against the Panthers when they call a bomb, you WILL be burned. If you drop into pass coverage, Stephen WILL run for 5 yards. This dichotomy neutralizes Bill’s greatest strength. Take the Patriots to win, but the Panthers to cover the 7.

Oh, by the way. The Super Bowl Ref is Ed “Hercules” Hochuli. All that working out finally pays off.

I Don’t Need To Walk Around In Circles

So the Pack fired Ed Donatell, and promoted from within some guy with “slow” in his name. Nice. Dick Jauron, who I thought the Packers should have hired, is the DC on the Lions, replaced by Lovie Smith who was the DC for the Rams, who are still run by “Offensive Genius” Mike Martz. Former “Offensive Genius” Norv Turner, the OC for the Dolphins takes the Raiders Job, replacing Bill Callahan, now the head coach at Nebraska, where he can’t possibly ever have a losing season. Note that this may mean the end of the ‘bone at Nebraska, a sad day indeed. Another “Offensive Genius” who left the college ranks, was Steve Spurrier, who is out in Washington, replaced by the legendary Joe Gibbs. He hired Gregg Williams, who was fired by Buffalo and replaced by Mike Mularkey. He also hired Joe Bugle, who used to coach in Arizona. Denny Green is on in Arizona, replacing Dave McGinnis, who used to be an assistant for the Bears, and was almost the head coach until the Bears owner screwed up negotiations. Speaking of Owners screwing up, Jim Fassel was allowed to coach the Giants during the end of the season even though he knew he would be fired, and was replaced by Tom Coughlin, who used to play drill sergeant in Jacksonville until Jack Del Rio took over. Jack used to play LB for the Chiefs, where he frequently chased around John Elway who was coached by Dan Reeves, who quit in Atlanta to be replaced by 49ers DC Jim Mora Jr. And we all know how good the 49ers D was this year. Oh, by the way, Jim Mora Jr. hired Ed Donatell.

Got it?

Good.

In The Mind Of…

Steve Smith – I’m thankful every day for Rae Carruth, without whom I would be the Thugliest Panther receiver ever.

Tom Brady (At the State of the Union) - Was he looking at me when he said that steroid thing? What is he implying. Get that camera off of me. When you mention illegal drug use you point the camera at Kennedy! Kennedy! Well, or Bush, one of the two. Oh, great, now everyone’s going to think I want to amend the Constitution to exclude gay marriage. Great, that will look really good next to giving black people and women the right to vote, and free speech, religion, press, the right to arms. Say, did you ever notice that the good amendments expand rights? In fact, I can only think of one that took rights away, that being prohibition. And that worked out great. I wonder if they’ll let me talk to Bush after the address. I think Mrs. Powell likes me, she keeps bumping into my leg. It’s a good thing her husband is a statesman. Hey, I think I see bolts coming out of John Kerry’s neck. Nah, that’s just a birthmark. Oh well. I can’t believe he mentioned steroids in the State of the Union. Is it really an issue for the federal government? I mean why not just mention “kicking puppies” as a problem…

Jake Delhomme – How come I didn’t get invited to the State Of The Union address? Is it because I’m French?

Rodney Harrison – Dear Lawyer, thanks for holding out. Your friend, Rodney. P.S., It’s pretty warm in Houston right now, how’s Buffalo.

Stephen Davis – Dear Steve, Thanks again for cutting me. Oh, how’s the weather in Washington? Oh, wait, you were fired. Do you think cutting all-pro runningbacks had anything to do with it? Your friend, Stephen.

Ted Washington – Hmm, this is delicious. What do you call it again? I’m not familiar with Texas food. Oh, you call it a “cow.” Well it’s delicious.

Well, I’m out of time. If I don’t send it out now, it will have to wait until after the Super Bowl. And that would be stupid.

Thanks to everyone for reading and answering trivia questions. I’ll see you all in August if not sooner, and write once more for the NCAA Tourney. Have a good year everyone.

I’m out.

Paul Noonan

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PLAYOFFS

The Electric Commentary, Playoff Edition or
Blame Canada!


OK, so for once maybe Canada wasn’t at fault, but we need to blame someone over what happened on Sunday. But first the obligatory credit:

The Eagles played relatively mistake free, if unremarkable football, and should be credited for hanging around and blah blah blah. After all, if Donovan fumbles on one of his 8 sacks or if one of his wounded ducks is actually caught by Harris or McKenzie, the Packers win almost as a matter of certainty.

But giving credit makes no one feel better, bitching does. So let’s bitch. Here are some people that you can blame:

BRETT FAVRE: For the obvious sin of throwing up a prayer without looking down field first. The one good thing about his horrible play is that it will probably weigh on his conscience enough to keep him around the NFL for at least another year. Who wants to retire after that? You may have noticed that the Packer “bomb” plays all occurred on first down and were defended with increasing ferocity as the game went on. Robert “Turd” Furgeson beat his man in single coverage for the games first score, Javon Walker out-muscled two Eagle defenders on his 44 yard catch to put the Pack in field goal range, but note that there were TWO defenders this time. On the final bomb attempt, the Eagle secondary paid no attention to Brett’s play-action and sat back as in expecting the ball to come right to them. They were right. As TMQ wrote just this morning about Brett in MasterCard commercial style “I would have looked for the safety first.” But let’s not pile on the beleaguered QB when…

MIKE MARTZ, I MEAN SHERMAN, MIKE SHERMAN was at least as responsible. And it’s not so much for the “controversial” calls because the first “4th and 1” situation was an easy touchdown if not for Mike Wahle pulling right into Ahman, and the second “4th and 1” situation resulted in the Eagles facing a fourth and 26, and really what better situation could you ask for (although I was screaming at him to go for it anyway, as the Packers possess the best power rushing offensive line in football). He and Tom Rosley and Ed Donatell deserve criticism for the following:

Not informing his players that you can not call consecutive timeouts, which cost the team a chance to block David Akers winning field goal.

Not picking on Troy Vincent’s replacement at all in the second half. Turd was great beating him all day, until they stopped throwing to him.

Not running even more. After all, the Eagles never really stopped Ahman, and a lot of 3rd and 3’s could have been converted if they just would have run, run, run.

Going fraidy-cat after Javon Walker’s bomb catch, and settling for a field goal.

Calling that Horrible defense on fourth and 26.

But wait, there’s more!

NICK BARNETT, for not getting a deep enough drop and getting caught in no man’s land on 4th and 26. That passing lane was his responsibility.

DARREN SHARPER, for getting over to help late on 4th and 26.

MARQUES ANDERSON, who had underside responsibility on 4th and 26, for getting too deep and coming over late. He was also responsible for missing tackles on Duce Staley’s two big runs, which kept drives alive and ultimately led to points. He was also responsible for allowing Todd Pinkston to get behind him for a 40+ yard gain.

BHAWOH JUE, for flat out missing the ball on fourth and 26. Notice that four people had to be out of position for that play to be completed.

KGB for not getting any pressure in regular fronts. Sure Kabeer is sort of a little guy for a defensive lineman, but he let sure tackles on Duce Staley and McNabb get away from him, the latter of which should have caused a fumble, and instead ended up being a touchdown to Pinkston. The D-Line was awful in general, allowing McNabb to scan the field for his horrible wide receivers for 10 and 12 seconds, and allowing him to run uncontested on numerous occasions. For God’s sake, Donovan McNabb set the QB rushing record previously held by, are you ready for this, Otto Grahm! Of the 8 sacks registered by the Packers, just 3 were registered by the by the line, and Aaron Kampman and Chukie Nwokorie (yes, THE Chukie Nwokorie) had all of those. Defensive line should be a top priority in the draft.

JOSH BIDWELL, for sucking. I read an article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel about how the Packers may not be able to afford Bidwell. God help us if this is the case. Why? Is there a run on punters who can’t land a punt inside the 20? Why does no one coffin corner? It makes no sense! Every year not having Craig Hentrich looks worse and worse. Bidwell banged his most important punt of the season into the end zone for a net of 23 yards. It took the Eagles exactly one play to get those 23 yards back. He also hit two costly touchbacks in the Seattle game. He did bang a crucial 53 yarder to pin the Eagles fairly deep earlier in the game, but then he banged another 53 yarder from the Eagles 43-yard line. He must be replaced. Either that, or the Packers can simply follow the Colts lead and never punt.

RYAN LONGWELL for his repeated short kickoffs. I actually put the blame for this more on Bidwell as he is apparently so useless that he can not even out-kick Longwell on kickoffs. Still, Ryan does it, and he does it poorly. Opponents often get running starts on his kickoffs from their own 15 with 10 yards between them and the nearest defender. With Westbrook out of the game, it should have been easy containing the Philly return team. Instead James Thrash had many good runbacks, and even his poor ones resulted in good field position. I’ll take Longwell as a cold weather field goal kicker over almost anyone else, but his kickoffs are just awful, and costly.

TONY FISHER for getting stopped on the shovel pass yes, but more so for his inexcusable block in the back on the Eagles punt in overtime. It was unnecessary and cost the Packers 25 yards of field position. It is unlikely that the first offensive play in OT for the Packers would have been a pass, let alone a bomb if they were starting inside Philly territory with only 20 yards to go until field goal range. The Packers had 4 “illegal block” penalties on special teams in this game, all costly.

AHMAN GREEN for not cutting back on his long run that ultimately resulted in the Packers failing on 4th and 1. Green had open field to the inside and one man to beat, but instead of cutting back and scoring almost for certain, he stepped out of bounds.

TOM ROSLEY, for passing too much, for being predictable, for not throwing to Turd, for not understanding his personnel, and for playing for a field goal when going for the jugular was required. He who does not learn from Mike Martz is doomed to repeat him. See more below.

ED DONATELL, for that one play yes, but by and large I think Donatell deserves the most slack. After all, it is not his fault he lacks a pass rush, and he creates one through blitzing relatively well. No matter how horrid a team’s WRs are they will still get open after a long enough period. Donatell gave up a few big plays blitzing (both Staley runs, although Grady Jackson should have stopped one of those, and Pinkston’s catch) but he also got a big reward many times including McNAbb’s fumble. If the Packer’s had a pass rush it is likely that they would be a top 10 defense. As it stands they are not too shabby.

One Note on the Pinkston play. The one thing that stuck out to me (If I did not mix up my dreadlocks) is that Al Harris is usually blitzing when the offense hits big plays, as was the case here. The reason is not that Harris is bad at getting to the QB, on the contrary, he is quicker than McKenzie and tends to get there faster. But, opposing teams know that McKenzie is a better corner, hence their first options are usually on Harris’s side of the field. This means that when Harris blitzes the QB is more likely to notice, as was the case on Pinkston’s huge gain. Notice that when McKenzie blitzed McNabb often did not see it until it was too late, and if he did, he could not square up to throw back to McKenzie’s side of the field. Even though Mike did not directly cause Donny’s fumble, his backside pursuit made McNabb scramble in an uncomfortable way.

DONALD DRIVER, for being conspicuous by his absence. Where was Donald?

MIKE WAHLE, who had a great game except for tripping Ahman Green, which cost the Packers the game.

NICK LUCHEY, for picking the wrong gap to lead block for Ahman and Najeh on several occasions, costing them about 2 yards per run, and turning 1st and 10s into 3rd and 3s.

THE REFS for not seeing Todd Pinkston step out of bounds before pulling in his touchdown catch. This made him ineligible, and should have been a penalty.

Finally,
RUSH LIMBAUGH for saying Donovan was overrated. I don’t know if it’s Karma or just more focus, but ever since Rush made his statement that Donovan is overrated, Donovan’s team has been great, sometimes in spite of the QB’s efforts. Maybe without the controversy, the Eagles collapse after week two. Instead they go out with something to prove. So thanks Rush.

Did I miss anyone? Feel free to comment, as it makes you feel good. Trust me. I’ll post them at the bottom of next week’s column.

Now, let’s move on, there are still 3 games to be played.

NFC CHAMPIONSHIP

EAGLES v. PANTHERS

First, a shout out to Mike Martz for once again proving my theory that Mike Martz is dumb. If you coach the Rams, the “Greatest Show on Turf,” how can you play for the field goal from the 15-yard line with a time-out and 23 seconds left? You have two end zone shots. We may never know. What we do know is that the monumental collapse of the Rams has lead to this NFC “Championship” game. Here is what we know.

1. The Eagles can not stop the run. At all.

2. The Panthers best RB, Stephen Davis, is hurt. His backup, Deshuan Foster, is almost as good, so it might not matter.

3. The Eagles have a good mobile QB, an OK running attack, but horrible WRs.

4. The Panthers have a great front 4 and pretty good linebackers. Unlike in the Packer game, McNAbb will feel pressure, and Carolina LB Dan Morgan will probably keep his scrambling in check. So, can Todd Pinkston, James Thrash and Freddy Mitchell beat the Carolina secondary? What happens when the movable object meets the stoppable force?

5. Both John Fox and Andy Reid are good coaches. This game will not be sloppy.

6. The best WR on the field will be Steve Smith of the Panthers. The second best will be Mushin Muhammed of the Panthers.

After careful analysis, I think the Panthers are a bad matchup for the Eagles. If the Eagles are playing the Rams, there is a good shot that Mike Martz doesn’t run the ball and Marc Bulger throws like 10 interceptions. Instead they get a careful team with a good pass rush. The Eagles are an early 5.5 point favorite, and I suspect the Panthers will at least cover, and probably win outright (Note to J. I have just guaranteed that your Eagles make the Super Bowl by picking against them, so you should thank me later).

One last thing. If the Eagles do lose this game, does the Eagle’s Brass fire Andy Reid a la Tampa Bay and Tony Dungy? If so, can the Packers hire him?

AFC CHAMPIONSHIP
COLTS v. PATRIOTS

I hope everyone got to see the Colts-Chiefs game because it was probably the most entertaining football game ever. Neither team punted, there was only one turnover, and the Colts (who have yet to punt in the ENTIRE PLAYOFFS) continued to be utterly unstoppable. It is as if Edge was just saving up his energy for the post season, and he’s certainly peaking at the right time. Perhaps the best thing to happen to the Colts all year was an injury to teensy weensy WR Troy Walters, which led them to sign free agent Brandon Stokely, who is now officially the Claude Lemieux of the NFL (For those of you unfamiliar with Claude’s exploits, he is a mediocre hockey player who, for some reason, would always make big plays in the playoffs and played for several championship teams.)

You may remember Mr. Stokely as the only good WR for the Baltimore Ravens during their Super Bowl year. He has put up post season MVP type numbers.

I would also be remiss if I did not mention that the Chiefs would have tied up this game if a bogus offensive pass interference penalty had not been called on Tony Gonzales. I mention this because while the Colts offense was great on Sunday, their defense was awful. Fortunately for the Colts, the Patriots are not the Chiefs on offense.
The Patriots are a weird team. They were a Drew Bennet fingertip catch away from losing to the Titans on Saturday. Bill Belichick is without question one of the greatest defensive minds in football, and his defense (especially at home) shows it. He also has a history of beating Peyton Manning, as he understands what all of Peyton’s clucking at the line is all about (Note: The more motion you see out of Manning at the line, the more likely it is to be a running play. Now you have something to watch for on Sunday). This game will be played at about 0 degrees in Foxboro, but despite the frigid temperatures, last week the Patriots threw more than they ran. This game looks like it will come down to mistakes. The weather will be a huge factor.

When in doubt, I will take the defense. Sure the Colts have looked unstoppable, and the Denver D was pretty good, but the Patriots at home are on another level. The weather will probably slow the Colts down a bit, and it may even negate their passing game. The Patriots will score just enough to get over the hump, and they will win the turnover battle. No matter who wins this game, they destroy the NFC team in the Super Bowl, but that is a subject for next week.

Next Week: The Super Bowl Preview Spectacular!

We look at who’s playing at half-time, the Lingerie Bowl, the coaching carousel, Super Bowl proposition bets, party necessities, oh, and the game itself.

Until then, I recommend you get over the Packers loss ASAP. There are only 3 games left before the 9-month wait until next year. Carpe Diem!

Paul Noonan
Electric Mayhem

Trackback

WEEK 17

The Electric Commentary or
Dynasties Take a Year Off


People say there are no Dynasties anymore, and that parity gives every team a chance. I assert to you that this is bunk, and the Patriots, Rams, Eagles, Ravens, and Titans are all Super Bowl contenders, and all have been either in it, or close, in almost every year. Dynasties are not dead, they just take some time off occasionally.

First and foremost, I apologize for taking a week off last week. I had a busy week and a bad spell of brain freeze, and Thanksgiving travel certainly did not help any. I tried to write but it all sounded like a Dick and Jane book when I read it back. See Brett throw. No Brett, No! See Dre Catch. See Turd time his jump wrong. You get the picture.

This week I was fortunate enough to watch the Packer-Bear game from the refurbished Lambeau Field. We had good seats, row 36, on about the 25 yards line on the north half of the field. I often hear people make the complaint that they get a better view at home. Nothing could be further from the truth, as TV never lets you see what is going on in the secondary. And boy was there a lot going on in the secondary at Lambeau. But first…

All of my football ended this week. I lost in David’s league to Roger (Good luck Roger, you’ve got a heck of a team), my team in my league has been awful all year (thank you TO and Vicky), and my flag football team went down in the second round of the playoffs last Wednesday. Here is how it happened…

We had won our first round game just an hour before, on the strength of four kickoff return touchdowns by my friend Jared. However, our second opponents did not have to play back to back games, and we were a tad tired for it. That being said, we started fast, getting out to an early lead. In the second half, up by 5 or 6 (it doesn’t matter) we were driving down the field for what would probably be the clinching score. It was 3rd and goal, and yours truly sees one of his receivers hit the goal line and jut out on a beautiful out route. I throw the ball, and just as it leaves my hand, I pick up the safety breaking right to the spot I’m trying to throw into. I should have seen him. I almost managed to bring the throw back but it was already gone, interception, 90 yards touchdown the other way, and we don’t ever recover. So why does this matter? Because…

Jared and me are sitting at Lambeau field. The Packers have just taken a narrow lead but the Bears have a nice sustained drive going. It’s the third quarter and this drive looks like a momentum changer. The Bears are already well within Paul Edinger’s field goal range. Suddenly, the Packers bring a safety blitz leaving Mike McKenzie one on one with Dez White. White is running a 13 yard out pattern and in the event of a blitz, he is Stewart’s hot read. But before the ball leaves Stewart’s hand, I see that McKenzie is baiting him, and I think, “I can’t believe I made the same mistake that Kordell Stewart is about to. I’m an idiot.” This poor decision has not gone unnoticed by Jared, and before the ball is even out of his hand, we are both standing up cheering, to the befuddlement of those around us. When McKenzie makes the catch everyone else joins us on our feet, slightly amazed that we beat them up by a full 2 seconds (Note: Assuming 2 seconds is accurate, this means that Kordell’s pass traveled at about 25 miles per hour. That seems about right).

Cowboys Fans Are Stupid.

Bill Parcels may be a bright guy, but the Cowboy faithful leave something to be desired. At the game, the two gentleidiots (not gentlemen) sitting behind us were listening to the Eagles-Cowboys game on the radio and not paying attention to the game right in front of them. So why would you go sit outside in a big stadium and completely ignore the game while listening a different game? Who knows, but the one part they paid attention to was when Kordell Stewart threw the ball away while still in the pocket and was not called for grounding. Boos rained down on the referees (and deservedly so). This lead to the following conversation:

Idiots: You morons. Don’t boo, you can throw it away if you’re outside the pocket.

Paul: He never left the pocket.

Idiots: Yes he did. A play can’t go on that long without the QB leaving the pocket.

Paul – Watch the jumbo-tron. He runs to that hash, then slides back to the other hash, but never outside. He never scrambled…

Idiots – You can also throw it away if you run 15 yards…

Paul – That’s true, however your dropback, along with minor foot movements do not count towards the 15 yard total. Stewart merely dropped back, stepped up to his right, slid back to his left, and then retreated until he threw the ball away. If that is not intentional grounding then they may as well eliminate the rule. Go Eagles.

As if to justify my point further, the refs called Stewart for the infraction later on in the game on almost the exact same play.

So at least my bad decision allowed me to see another one. And if you haven’t gotten up to Lambeau yet, you owe it to yourself to do so at some point. The new atrium is worth seeing by itself, and they even have an appropriate # of bathrooms now, but…

Do the Urinal Rules Still Apply At the Sink?

One tradition that I thought was over at Lambeau is that proud tradition of peeing in the sink. And it’s not as simple as it sounds, before you pee in the sink you have to stuff up the drain with paper towels so that the urine doesn’t go down the drain and instead accumulates in a friendly little puddle. Why you do this I will never know, but with more bathrooms and shorter lines at the new stadium, one would think that this tradition would end, and for the most part it has. It used to be that pee-filled sinks were as plentiful as hats made out of opossums, raccoons, and other vermin at Lambeau, but I spotted just one lone sink. Which begs another question.

Who is the first guy to piss in the sink? Who is the bellwether? It’s one thing to walk into a bathroom with a long line where numerous drunken men are already pissing in the sink, it is quite another to walk into a bathroom with short lines and no one pissing in the sink and decide that it’s a good idea. Who is this guy? What is to stop him from pissing in other places? If he’ll do it in the sink, why not a cooler? A Tupperware? Random gas tanks? The ketchup dispenser? All I know is that this man must be found, because if we have to live in fear that our drinks have been peed in, then the pissers have already won.

What a Bunch of BCS, Part 2.

I have been harangued all day on the radio, television, and newspaper about how the BCS is a disgrace and a disaster. “Oklahoma didn’t even win their conference,” they say, or “How can USC be #1 in both polls and not be in the title game?” Jim Rome even went so far as to say “This is not even worth debating. There is no case on the other side, and anyone who thinks otherwise is an idiot.” I have a few rules in life and one is that if Jim Rome agrees with you, you might want to rethink your position, and such is the case here. (Note: Jim deserves one bit of credit, he has a radio show where he doesn’t have to talk. That’s brilliant! All he does is read the USA today sports page for the first fifteen minutes of his show, and then let’s his callers talk the rest of the way. Incredible.)

What the BCS has accomplished this year is to show just how stupid those who vote in the two polls are. Having USC at #1 is ridiculous. Humans are subject to a problem known as the “What have you done for me lately?” syndrome. Conventional wisdom among pundits posits that late losses are worse than early losses. This is stupid. The BCS on the other hand thinks that losses to bad teams (like, say, for instance, the nerds at The University of California at Berkeley) are worse than losses to good teams (like, say, the second best team in the best conference in college football, which also happens to be ranked 12th in the country, Kansas State).

Now which sounds like a superior way to determine who is better? Should it be the team with fewer late losses, or the team with fewer losses to bad teams? Clearly, Oklahoma still deserves to be in the Sugar Bowl. They have been criticized for losing their conference title game, as if its worse than losing to Cal. Ridiculous.

LSU played a tough schedule and lost only once. They beat 3 ranked opponents, including Georgia twice. Oklahoma beat several ranked opponents, a few of them rather severely. USC, on the other hand, only beat one ranked team all year, and only one team with over 5 wins. Way to go.

Had USC played a real schedule (say the Big 12, Big Ten, or the MAC) or a conference championship game against PAC-10 runner-up Washington State, then we could talk. But they did not.

Now I think the BCS does as good a job as can be done AS LONG AS there is no playoff. Dan Shanoff (ESPN Page 2, the Daily Quicky) came up with a brilliant playoff system whereby you play 5 conference or “good” games to start the season, 2 or 3 cupcakes, and then have a playoff featuring all 117 division one football programs, with the top 11 getting a first round bye. If you lose, you schedule games against other losers, you still have bowls at the end with the big four as playoff finales. You’re done by Thanksgiving, and the “students” won’t be distracted for finals. Sounds pretty good to me. But until then, the BCS got it right, again.

KC You Later.

Kansas City fell into a tie for home field advantage with the Patriots on Sunday after surrendering 45 points to the Broncos. Most of those points (and yards) were gained by Clinton Portis, who was often untouched until he hit safeties, if even then. Of course, Packer fans are well aware that the Chiefs can not stop the run, and it will prove to be their Achilles’ heal, especially in the somewhat likely scenario of facing Jamal Lewis in the playoffs. In fact, Lewis is one of the few likely playoff contenders the Chiefs have faced this year. For instance:

The Chiefs beat the Ravens 17-10, on the strength of a Dante Hall kick return. The Raven defense was its usual self, in that game, and if they meet again, does anyone think Jamal Lewis will have fewer than 150 yards and two scores?

The Chiefs beat the Packers in overtime, and had to rally from 17 down to do it.

They lost to Cincinnati.

The Chiefs have only played one other possible playoff team, Denver. And clearly Denver presents a problem, as the Chiefs won game one on the strength of yet another Dante Hall kick return, and got blasted this week. It is worth noting that they have played against 0 “certain” playoff teams. The Packers and Broncos may miss the playoffs. The Bengals almost certainly will, and if they do not, the Ravens likely will not. In fact, the Chiefs strength of schedule is worse than USC’s. Take a look,

The Chiefs played the Raiders twice and won by a combined 10 points. They also played San Diego twice. They beat up on Cleveland, Pitt, Houston, and Buffalo.

Come playoff time we see an early exit for the non battle-tested, and the Chiefs have been playing the Washington Generals all year. Let’s have a box of tissues ready for Dick Vermiel.

There’s No Place Like Home.

What is wrong with the Seattle Seahawks? Mike Holmgren’s squad seems to be pretty good, really very good, as long as they are at home. On the road the Hawks turn into Cardinals. It happened again on Sunday in the Metrodome, where the Seahawk defense decided to let Randy Moss run unchecked on two separate bomb plays. Moreover, the Hawk offense was non-existent. Last year I had Shaun Alexander on my Fantasy team, and he was awful except for one game. It was played against the Vikings and he scored 5 touchdowns in the FIRST HALF. As we all know, the Viking run defense still blows, so what happened? A few theories:

1. Seattle is in general much further away from a higher percentage of the country. - Therefore, their travel times are worse. But this is not new, so it can only explain the phenomenon partially.

2. It rains a lot in Seattle. - This is said to cause depression, however you would think leaving the city would alleviate that depression, so that’s no excuse. If anything, they should have a better record.

3. You can’t get Seattle coffee in places like Minnesota. – That’s simply not true. One of the greatest independent coffeehouse chains, Caribou Coffee, calls Minnesota it’s home. Caffeine headaches are not the answer.

4. Oxygen Depletion? – Upstate Washington is home to one of the world’s largest rain forests. Moreover, as a coastal state, it is closer to the ocean dwelling blue-green algae that produces most of the world’s oxygen. When Seattle plays inland, perhaps they have a sort of high altitude effect where they become tired more quickly.

5. Bill Gates? – I don’t know HOW he could be affecting home games, I just know that he could.

6. Mike Holmgren – at least against Minnesota, did you really think he was going to win? Hasselbeck isn’t helping.

I guess we’ll never know. But what we do know is that the Hawks are just a game ahead of the Pack and lose a tiebreaker, and they still have 2 road games, at San Fran, and at St. Louis. Keep up the good work Mike!

A Quick Note On the First Amendment

The Supreme Court a few days ago in a 5-4 decision upheld the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform law, one of the single most unconstitutional pieces of garbage ever to be passed by the federal government. It prohibits independent groups from running advertisements in the months before an election. It restricts POLITICAL speech! The whole point of the first amendment is to protect political speech. Moreover, the Supremes created a new standard that speech may be restricted if it causes “the APPEARANCE (italics added) of undue influence.” Therefore, the government can now prohibit speech if it feels that it might look like to the public that undue influence might occur. Do you want your free speech rights resting on that standard?

This law doesn’t even accomplish the goal of getting money out of politics, that being the stated goal of the law. It prevents incorporated entities from using unlimited soft money donations for issue ads. As long as an entity is not incorporated they can still do whatever they want. Therefore, this bill will result in NO change in the way campaigns are run except that organizations like the NRA, AARP, Teamsters, Teachers Unions, Right to Life association, Pro-Choice America, PETA, the Federalist Society, Rotary, the Sierra Club, the NAACP, The American Medical Association, the American Bar Association, and indeed, the Democratic and Republican national committees, will form unincorporated divisions. If this bill is an obstacle at all, it restricts those who are willing to combine their resources to speak out on issues that they care about. It therefore helps individually wealthy people.

And Democrats supported this?

Republicans catch a lot of heat (and deservedly so) for things like the flag burning amendment, anti-pornography laws, and the like, but the biggest hit to free speech in American history has now been delivered by the Democratic party.

Poor Dan

Dan Reeves was fired (sort of, he found out he would be fired at the end of the year and asked to be let go) just as he got Mike Vick back. Ouch.

And after watching Sunday nights performance it has to really hurt. Mike was his old self, rushing for 141 yards and a touchdown (although he did throw a crucial interception that almost cost them the game). The Falcons are supposedly seeking Steve Mariucci as they see him as the best developer of QB’s out there. Mooch of course already has Joey Harrington, but it will be tough to pass up a chance to work with someone who may go on to be the best QB of his generation. Harrington has certainly regressed this year and Mooch may want to bail just to save his reputation. No matter what, one thing is clear. As long as Vick is healthy a monkey could coach the Falcons and have pretty good success (Note: There is no rule that says a monkey can’t coach in the NFL).

Your Guess Is As Good As Mine (Note: This means you will be wrong).

So I’m sitting at home two weeks ago, with my Bengal pick already in hand and ¾’s of my parlay complete. The Chiefs have a comfortable 11 point lead, and there is under one minute to go. The Chargers surely wouldn’t put up a meaningless touchdown to beat the spread. Then, with 6 seconds left in the game, Flutie takes the snap rolls right, avoids Vonnie Holiday lunging at him, and fires a touchdown at the back of the end zone to some tight end I’ve never heard of to cover the spread. Just take a knee OK? Still, a great week as I went 3 for 4 and the Bengals won outright, just as I said.

This week, the fellows at Footballoutsiders.com statistically determined that when warm weather/indoor teams play outdoors in December, the cold weather team covers the spread about ¾ of the time. But one game screams out this week. The Rams, on the turf at home play the Seahawks, who can’t do anything on the road, or stop the run. The Rams are favored by 7, so give the points. This game is a blowout.

For a nice parlay try
Rams (-7) over Seahawks,
Lions (+14) over Chiefs
Ravens (-6.5) over Raiders
Bears (+3) over Vikings

Quick Hitters:

If you are looking for a good sleeper team for next year, over the last 4 weeks, Jacksonville has statistically had the second best defense in the league.

Oh, and Fragile Freddy played in his 29th consecutive game on Sunday.

Indianapolis looked impressive in beating the Titans on Sunday, but few teams have had as many crazy close games. They had the great comeback against the Bucs, the narrow loss to the Pats, and now they just hold on against the Titans. This may serve them well down the stretch. They still won’t win a playoff game though.

Drew Bledsoe threw for 72 yards in a win. But then again, he won’t remember doing it, so it shouldn’t really count.

We all wondered why Mike Sherman decided to call time-out with 5 seconds left at the end of the first half. But then Darren Sharper picked off Stewart’s Hail Mary in the end zone and almost brought it all the way back so I guess he must have planned it that way. Then he decided to go for 2 to put the Pack up by 13 instead of 12 in the third quarter, but they made it, so no biggie. While this was stupid, he at least said as much after the game. “It won’t happen again.”

The Bears offense was not able to outscore the Bears defense. Or special teams.

Dallas continues to have problems with stout defenses. The Eagles manhandled them. What should worry the ‘Boys more than that is that their once stout defense is starting to get pushed around up front. The Cowboys are small up front and they may be wearing down. Lucky for the Cowboys then, that they finish with the Redskins, Giants, and Saints.

Jeff Garcia accounted for 6 touchdowns in a 50-14 route of the Cardinals. Oh sure, pick on the wimp. The 49ers are not really a team on the rise, and giving any team, even the Cardinals, something to remember for next season my not have been the best idea. Think about this:

Talent wise the Cardinal offensive line is pretty good. Marcel Shipp is a competent running back and Anquan Boldin a promising young receiver. Their offensive problem is clearly QB. Next year this team may have Eli Manning at the helm, and with some defensive help, they could be the garbage team to turn around next year, like the Bengals this year. More likely they will screw up their draft.

In the Mind Of…

Jerry Azumah (Bear DB) – That was the most useless kickoff return in history.

Brock Forsey (Bear RB) – Me and Marty had the same number of rushing yards at –4. But my average was better.

Priest Holmes (Chiefs RB) – I only had 12 carries in that game. C’mon

Clinton Portis (Broncos RB) –Hey, I only got 22 carries.

Travis Henry (In 5 months) (Bills RB) – Oops, dropped my putter. Ah, now I spilled beer on it! All right here we…Fore! The club just flew right out of my hands. Man. So, who’s up for bowling next week?

Tiki Barber (In 5 months) (Giants RB)– See Travis Henry.

Bill Belichick (Patriots Coach) – It’s actually easy to plan defenses if there’s a blizzard. Dolphins don’t take to well to snow.

Warren Sapp (Fat Idiot) – I scored again! If only we didn’t suck!

Deuce McCallister (Saints RB) – I didn’t get 100 yards this week, darn it. Of course we won so…

Bill Callahan (Oakland Coach for anothermonth or so) – Great, not only are we horrible, but half my team stayed up late last night to protest the senior prescription drug bill.

Deion Sanders – I would like to announce my candidacy for coach of the Atlanta Falcons. I have no experience coaching at any level, but at least I’m really fast.

John Gruden (Tampa Coach) – I think I’ll sleep in today. Hon, set the clock for 4:30.

Mike Vanderjagt (Idiot Kicker) – I’m glad I’m perfect so far, I just hope I don’t pull a Gary Anderson.

Steve McNair (Titans QB) – So I have a broken ankle now. Good. It balances out my broken knee.

Eddie George (Washed up Titans RB) – You know, my season yards per carry average might suck, but against the Colts it was 5 yards a carry. Interesting.

TO (TO)– So I couldn’t use any of my celebration gimmicks this year. Just wait until next year!

Drew Brees (Frail armed Chargers QB) – Why is Flutie still playing? They need to develop someone and I’m the only guy here.

Doug Flutie (Mini-me)– Why am I still playing? Maybe I’ll join the Raiders next year.

Rex Grossman (The New Cade McNown)– I’ve been practicing running backwards all week.

Kyle Boller (The new Trent Dilfer) – Hey coach, I’m healthy. Really? A few more weeks off. OK, I suppose I should be rested for the playoffs…

And Finally…

Michael Vick (Falcons QB) – One thing that my injury was good for, it showed everyone just how good I am, and just how bad the rest of the team is. We still need a defense, a running back, another WR would help. But it’s gonna be tough with the contract they’ll need to keep me.

Tecmo Bowl Trivia

The answer to last weeks questions was Rob Moore, who was saddled with Ken O’Brien, Timm Rosenbach, Jake Plummer, and a few other scrubs not worth mentioning for his entire career.

For the season, Scott Krems has answered by far the most questions, with Scott Fruncek and Scott Hartl about even in second. Scott K’s prize is a beer at next years draft. Congratulations!

That said, I’m pretty much out of questions so now the question is:
What should be the subject of trivia next year? All suggestions will be taken under consideration.

Good Luck to All That Are Left.

Since I’m out of my fantasy league’s I have no reason to look up random football statistics, and frankly, my brain has been a little fried. I spend a great deal of time writing very boring cover letters and it really hurts my head. Anyway, I will definitely write once more for the Super Bowl, and probably for the playoffs, as well as an awards column.

Until next time,

Paul Noonan
Electric Mayhem

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WEEK 16

The Electric Commentary or
That Is So Retro.


Why is it so retro, you ask? Just a few short years ago the St. Louis Rams, now in first place in the NFC west, were beating the Philadelphia Eagles, first place in the NFC East, in the NFC Championship Game only to lose to the New England Patriots, first place in the AFC East, in the Super Bowl. Dynasties aren’t dead, they just take a year off now and then.



Why Play Hard If You Can’t Win A Turkey Leg?

How I miss John Madden’s mutant six-legged turkey. And the awards that they did pass out (an old fashioned iron on CBS, a turkey statue produced by Joe Buck’s 10 year old son on Fox) probably went right into the trash can as soon as the respective winners hit the locker room to be picked up by towel boys and sold on E-bay for 50 bucks.

Game 1.

You knew it was bad when Joe Buck announced that Gilbert Brown’s mom prepared thanksgiving dinner for her son and several teammates the night before. I believe it may have been as many as 29 others. 4 Turkeys were prepared. This meant that Gilbert was undernourished for the game! Why this is not a bigger story I do not know, but surely the number of teammates present cut into his normal four turkey meal to a substantial degree. And if Grady Jackson was there, well it’s a wonder that Gilbert was even walking around. The reason that the Packers were able to lose to the lowly Detroit Lions is two-fold.

1. The Packers could not run (and only tried 16 times, as stated numerous times before, you don’t have to run well, just run! See: New England) This is bad because for most of the season, and especially with Brett’s broken thumb, the Packers can not pass. Therefore, if they can not run, they can not do anything offensively. This put them into a desperate situation that created…

2. Turnovers. When the Pack turns it over, they lose; it is as simple as that.

Detroit simply played it close to the vest, surrendering only one turnover, and got a few Jason Hanson field goals. For the most part, the Packer defense performed admirably (after the first five minutes anyway).

The bottom line is that all signs point to this game as a fluke. The Packers passing game is their Achilles’ heel and everyone already knows it, but they can usually run the ball anyway. They ran into some good fat guys today (the Lions defensive tackles are perhaps their best players), in a dome, on the road, on a short week. TMQ has mathematically determined that the Thanksgiving game adds about 1 win every 2 years to the Lions win total. Games like this are the proof.

Game 2
Quarterback Relativity in Action.


Miami suddenly looks like an offensive juggernaut with Jay Fiedler back at the helm, taking over for the awful Brian Griese. Suddenly Chris Chambers is a top NFL receiver and Ricky Williams looks good again. On the other hand, the Cowboys are now in some serious trouble. They have real problems against good defenses and they will encounter another one next week against the Eagles. Miami has a tough matchup itself as they face the Patriots. As a Ricky Williams fantasy owner I swear he plays against a top defense every single week. Its very frustrating.

In other Quarterback Relativity news, Kordell Stewart benefited from immobile, awful Chris Chandler style with his mobile, awful Kordell Stewart style. The Bears destroyed the lowly Cardinals as a result. The true test for the Quarterback Relativity theory will come as soon as Patrick Ramsey gets back in the Redskins lineup. I would include Drew Brees but he isn’t better than Flutie so the theory may not work there.



Your Guess Is As Good As Mine (Note: This means you will be wrong).

So I’m sitting at home last week, with my Bengal pick already in hand and ¾’s of my parlay complete. The Chiefs have a comfortable 11 point lead, and there is under one minute to go. The Chargers surely wouldn’t put up a meaningless touchdown to beat the spread. Then, with 6 seconds left in the game, Flutie takes the snap rolls right, avoids Vonnie Holiday lunging at him, and fires a touchdown at the back of the end zone to some tight end I’ve never heard of to cover the spread. Just take a knee OK? Still, a great week as I went 3 for 4 and the Bengals won outright, just as I said So what of this week with all of its great matchups?

We go back to the Rams, who could not possibly be stupid enough to not cover this spread. They are 4 point favorites against the Browns. The Browns explode for a ton of points every so often. Not this week. The Ram defense has been resurrected with the return of Little. Cleveland will not score more than a few field goals. With Marshall now completely healthy this is an absolute route. Take the Rams, -4.

For a nice Parlay:

Rams (-4) over Browns,
Jets (+3) over Buffalo (Note: This game seems pretty solid too. The Jets are getting points? No way.)
Kansas City (+1.5) over Denver
Philly (-5.5) over Dallas

We also like Oklahoma (-14) over Kansas State in the Big 12 Championship Game.


 
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