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Football Ruminations

So the AFC and NFC championship games have been played, and it turns out this year's Superbowl will be the Bro-Bowl. Say, are there any other Harbaughs at home? I know plenty of NFL teams in need of better coaches.

With both of my beloved New York teams out of the playoffs, I have a lot less emotionally invested in the games, but I still watch. I am a fan of good football... especially good defense... no matter who is playing. This year's playoffs did not feature much in the way of defense, sadly, but there have been some very exciting games, for those who enjoy a lot of scoring. Today's championship games were both terrific. I can't believe that Atlanta blew the morning game after opening up a 17-0 lead, must confess... if it had been the Giants or Jets, I would still be frothing at the mouth. I did enjoy the late game. Though I no longer have anyone to root for in these playoffs, so long as the Patriots were in the hunt I had a villain to root against... and now they are gone, thanks to Flacco and Ray-Ray. Goodbye, Evil Little Bill.

(The real stunner was last week's Denver-Baltimore game. It still boggles me that the Ravens tied that one and won it in OT. I mean, down a touchdown, no timeouts, only 35 seconds left, on their own twenty. All the Denver D needed to do was make sure no one got behind them for a touchdown. Even if Flacco had tossed a 70-yard bomb, so long as they kept the receiver out of the endzone, the Broncos were fine... with the time remaining, the clock would have run out before the Ravens could sprint downfield and set up for another play. But no, somehow, somehow, they give up the tying TD. Sigh. Whatever happened to DEFENSE??? No one plays it any more).

The other unbelievable NFL news comes from my Jets. So at the end of the season they fire Mike Tannenbaum, their GM. Tanny was a salary cap specialist, and everyone says Gang Green's draft and free agent moves suffered as a result. They needed a real football guy to evaluate personnel, supposedly, not a bean counter. So the Jets interview half the bloody league, candidate after candidate, many with great credentials in personnel, and what do they finally do?? They hire another bean counter, a salary cap specialist from the Seahawks. Oh, he has "attended some personnel meetings," we are told. Only the Jets.

They also fired Tony Sparano as offensive coordinator, because, after all, the Jets were 6-10. To replaced him, they bring in the OC from the Eagles, who finished 4-12. Only the Jets.

And then there is Manti T'eo and his imaginary girlfriend. The way things are going, the Jets are probably going to take him with their first round pick in the draft. You saw it here first.



Jan. 21st, 2013 06:41 am (UTC)
I can totally relate to firing Tony Sparano :->

As you can guess, I was also happy to see the Pats go down to ignominous defeat. Have to make a decision about the "Harbowl" whether I support the Ravens due to my AFC loyalty or the 49ers due to my previous Bay Area residence.
Jan. 22nd, 2013 05:08 pm (UTC)
I still can't understand the hiring.
Patrick Wagner
Jan. 21st, 2013 06:48 am (UTC)
First time posting, so I feel I have to say that I am a HUGE fan of your writing, but I'll try and stay focused on the topic at hand. Also for some context, I'm a NFL fan, specifically for the Patriots so my season just ended : /, but I have been feeling for you all season as the Jets seem to have imploded. I'll just say that I think your team has a ton of talent but they are firing the wrong people... Ryan/Sanchez/Tebow need to go; get the circus out of town in my opinion. I'm an extremely strong believer that coaching makes the biggest difference in the NFL (case and point SF before and after hiring Jim Harbaugh), so the Jets just need some new blood at head coach and it wouldn't hurt in terms of "turning the page" to get a new QB. Until Ryan is gone I don't see the Jets doing anything worth paying attention to. The Giants are another story as they are proven champions with a veteran coach/QB. I'm excited to see how they, along with the rest of the NFC East, deal with Chip Kelly next season; how do you think he'll do in his first season?
Jan. 22nd, 2013 05:15 pm (UTC)
The Giants were not able to overcome the injuries this past season. However, they have many issues to address including JPP's technique and Tuck's diminished ability.

Once again with all the interviews and hiring of head coaches around the league somehow Kevin Gilbride didn't get a look...
Jan. 21st, 2013 06:52 am (UTC)
Look on the bright side
Marty Mornhinweg doesn't want to be reunited with Michael Vick in NY. So you won't have to boycott the Jets while the Dogslayer is behind center. Which means you get to watch the Jets improve to an 8-8 season YaY!
Jan. 21st, 2013 07:40 am (UTC)
My Pats
It hurt, but in the end, you take the losses with the wins- and my team has had more than its share of wins this last decade. Just for the record though, the Patriots are the good guys!
Jan. 21st, 2013 07:53 am (UTC)
I am a big fan first off but I am personally excited about the Bro Bowl and I have been waiting to see what you thought of today's match ups... I don't know who I would pick as a better qb Capernick or Flacco but San Francisco has my support. Both teams are coming off win streaks like no other and I am afraid this Bro Bowl is going to be a train wreck on the field.
Jan. 21st, 2013 08:06 am (UTC)
If you admire good defense, how about the 49ers defense - for the last three-quarters of the game.
(Deleted comment)
Jan. 21st, 2013 09:06 am (UTC)
These are the Jets we're talking about. They'll probably take Lennay Kekua with that pick. ;-)
Jan. 21st, 2013 11:10 am (UTC)
I'd say the Broncos were screwed by some incredibly bad calls from the officials (and they were) but in the end they simply choked, and did it to themselves.
Dave Grose
Jan. 21st, 2013 11:39 am (UTC)
The Underdog
I'm in the same boat as it pertains to having no clear team to cheer for in the Harbowl. I'm the type of person that will immediately turn to the underdog team when my Denver Broncos fall out of the picture, so the Atlanta Falcons were my team in the playoffs after their defeat of the Seahawks. I have no love for the Ravens, but they did take out the Pats, so I may have to cheer for ole John, but I have issues with Ray Lewis. I also would like to see San Fran win just because I like their risky QB decision...I'm so confused...
Bobby Skelton
Jan. 21st, 2013 12:29 pm (UTC)
Bring back the D!

Like you I enjoy watching the games where the offenses have to scrap for every yard. Unfortunately, with the rules that have been put in place over the recent years there is just way too much advantage to the offenses and the qb.

For instance, yesterday on an important third down stop late in the second half, the falcons forced an incompletion and a punt.... Except for the d lineman pressuring the quarterback swiped his hand at the ball, made incidental contact with Kaepernicks helmet (could hardly be called a slap), so the refs gave them 15 yards and a first down.

Compare this with in the late game where Tom Brady takes off for a run, and when he slides to the ground to protect himself, sticks his leg high in the air kicking the would be tackler in the thigh. Yet no flag, no nothing, because fans want to see points on the board.

There have been times where I've been engrossed in games this year, only to be completely taken out of it when the defender was flagged for tackling too hard, and I just changed the channel.

Oh well, lets just make it the National Flag Football League and call it a day, because you know, people love seeing BIG numbers on the score board.

Rant off, haha, lets just hope the refs stay out of the Super Bowl.
Jan. 21st, 2013 04:39 pm (UTC)
Re: Bring back the D!
I agree with you about both of those... the bullshit call and the non-call against Brady.
Jan. 21st, 2013 12:38 pm (UTC)
Whatever the Patriots may represent in terms of evil, it pales in comparison with the Ravens and the two weeks of nauseating "Harbowl" hype.

In theory, I should be happy for the 49ers, given my tenuous but existing links to the Bay Area, but meh. I still hope they win, though.

And I agree with you, blame the Broncos for all this!
Jan. 21st, 2013 01:27 pm (UTC)
"Though I no longer have anyone to root for in these playoffs, so long as the Patriots were in the hunt I had a villain to root against... and now they are gone, thanks to Flacco and Ray-Ray. Goodbye, Evil Little Bill."

I'm with you, but I'm rooting against the Ravens, because rooting for the team that's deifying the murderer seems wrong to me.
Jan. 25th, 2013 08:04 pm (UTC)
As a Patriots fan, one thing that reassures me that there's no real case against my team other than success is the number of people who condemn the Pats without so much as blinking at Ray Lewis and Bernard Pollard.
Greg Miller
Jan. 21st, 2013 01:29 pm (UTC)
Being from New York, I am grateful to my family for raising me as a Giants fan instead of a jets fan. The giants do piss me off a lot with their on-field actions, but at least the mind boggling is caused by on field actions. Looking forward to next year though. (and of course Dunk and Egg and Winds)
Jan. 21st, 2013 02:03 pm (UTC)
The Bears play defense. That's about all they play.
Jan. 21st, 2013 02:28 pm (UTC)
Marty Mornhingweg
Well, as a long-time Eagles fan, it isn't quite as bad as you think to be getting Marty. I mean, 90% of the Eagles problems on offense were turnovers. And Marty wasn't throwing interceptions. But be ready to pass, pass, pass. So long running game.
Jan. 22nd, 2013 05:27 pm (UTC)
Re: Marty Mornhingweg
Pass, pass, pass? To who, who, who? The Jets can't protect the QB, they have an overall poor cadre of receivers and they need to find someway to fix Sanchez.
Jan. 21st, 2013 04:04 pm (UTC)
Hey George I see you mentioned that the Jets brought in new offensive coordinator from the Eagles, guess who else they will probably be taking from the Eagles offense? You guessed it, Michael Vick. What do you think about that? At least the OC from Eagles will be familiar with him lol. Could actually be a good fit for you guys
Jan. 21st, 2013 04:37 pm (UTC)
Actually, Vick did not get along with Marty M, so his hire decreases the chance that he will come to the Jets. For which I am thankful. Vick on the Jets would be a deal-breaker for me.
Jan. 21st, 2013 06:01 pm (UTC)
Well hell, we don't want him to stay here.
Adam Minahan
Jan. 21st, 2013 06:21 pm (UTC)
You can have Alex Smith, if you like. :)
(Deleted comment)
Jan. 21st, 2013 04:18 pm (UTC)
Actually he was the Assistant GM for the Seahawks and VERY involved with Personnel Decisions. He's a huge loss for Seattle and the Jets are certainly in better hands.

Certainly did more than "Attend some Personnel Meetings" So I would be more optimistic.
Jan. 21st, 2013 04:26 pm (UTC)
At first I read Tony Sparano as Tony Soprano, and I thought "Oh, it's nice he's getting work..." ;-P
Jan. 21st, 2013 04:48 pm (UTC)
My Ravens made it to the Superbowl :) No hard feelings George!
Jan. 21st, 2013 05:54 pm (UTC)
Only time will tell how these changes will work out. My Bears have made quite a few changes as well, Trestman as coach, new defensive coach coming as well. I'm optimistic for next year but we'll see how things play out.
Jan. 22nd, 2013 05:29 pm (UTC)
From the far outside it seemed to me that the Bears problem was poor offensive personnel and not necessarily coaching.
Douglas Fisher
Jan. 21st, 2013 09:57 pm (UTC)
I believe any discussion of the sport in the written form should be noted as "FOOTBALL!"

As a Ravens fan, you're welcome for the defeat of ELB and the TomBradys.

Excited for the Super Bowl, but as previously mentioned, not really looking forward to the Harbowl talk that will be happening until then, with obligatory interviews with parents.

Always an exciting time of year, but such a long haul until the next season.
Jan. 21st, 2013 11:15 pm (UTC)
I went to high school with Jim Harbaugh ( or harbarf as he was often known as), He was a supreme athlete and a crappy Spanish student. He was a Jock, I was a D&D Player so other than class we never mixed. He wasn't entirely an idiot, though, and was free of the bullying patholoogies fo the rest of the Palo Alto Senior High Football Team.

I think the thing about the 49ers is the ownership is confident enough to not second guess the staff,and assist the staff in recruiting. They also appear to care about their legacy.

I must say the Joe Montana years of the 49ers were fun to watch on TV back then.

Scott, Paly High Class of '82
Jan. 22nd, 2013 04:57 am (UTC)
Ohhh, I was completely waiting for this exact post from you (may or may not have been refreshing my friends page for it yesterday evening), and I have not been let down. Thank you, thank you.
Jan. 22nd, 2013 05:58 am (UTC)
Hi George. I found this old BatB interview with Linda Hamilton and Ron Perlman, and I was wondering whether or not Ron is talking about you at 0:28?: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nUgBZL97c64
Jan. 22nd, 2013 11:31 am (UTC)
Broncos Ravens
How in the world do they allow the kicker to run out during the time between periods and do a practice kick? So I guess there is no "rule" against it, does that mean there is no rule against champ bailey "practicing" his kick blocking at the same time? I am assuming that there will be a rule change for next year, but that doesn't really help out the broncos this year. my guess is that before practicing he has a 50/50 change, after practicing it was probably 80/20.
Jan. 22nd, 2013 11:58 am (UTC)
Football Chicanery?
With so many weird or unlikely football results I read about on your posts, how likely is it that players could 'fix' games? It happens in other sports worldwide (e.g.cricket, 'soccer') and where huge financial gain beckons, mostly, it appears, in many cases, from Chinese betting syndicates, well, the human heart will always be in conflict with itself...

Edited at 2013-01-22 12:11 pm (UTC)
Jan. 22nd, 2013 05:06 pm (UTC)
Fox may be one of those good coaches who are consistently poor in big games.

The Jets are such a joke. Woody putting all the blame on Tannenbaum was too funny. Is it any wonder that it took so long for someone to agree to be their GM? I wonder what his new master plan to get a "star" and sell PSLs will be.

As for the Harbaughwl I didn't like Jim Harbaugh as a QB and I dislike his antics as a HC. Add that to his spectacular coaching of the despicable Niners and it's a cinch. I'll be half-heartedly rooting for Baltimore.

Jan. 22nd, 2013 07:57 pm (UTC)
As a Jets fan myself, I can feel your pain. I just don't know what they're doing now. I wanted them to get rid of Sanchez, Tebow, Tanny, and Sparano. However, with the moves they have already started to make, I'm preparing myself for another season of not making the playoffs.
Jan. 22nd, 2013 10:50 pm (UTC)
Lil' Ray Ray
Ray is surely the leader of some band of Westerosi outlaws? I feel for there enemies, the man is a monster that makes the Mountain look like a Gentelman. But please, Ray, stop crying and praying everytime the camera gets close to your face. We know its a farce.
Ryan Little
Jan. 23rd, 2013 02:10 am (UTC)
Pats fan
As a Pats fan, I loved this, and I think you'll appreciate it as well:

David Ellison
Jan. 24th, 2013 02:47 am (UTC)
Like Defense?
Try the NHL. Even better, I thought I remember you being from Jersey. I'll add a shameless plug for my beloved New Jersey Devils, perennial contenders, Stanley Cup runner-up last season, and the last team in the major sports league to solely claim the state now that the Nets are in Brooklyn. The nice fancy HD sets make following the puck much easier than years past. Constant movement, contact, AND defense, what's not to love?
Jan. 24th, 2013 10:01 am (UTC)
If Seattle's last three drafts are any indication, you guys got a steal in Idzik
Seattle has remade their team over the last three drafts, and while Jon Schneider was the primary architect, Idzik advocated for many of the players selected.

As a Seahawks fan, I had the following reactions:

First half - going for 4th and 1, when a field goal was a gimme: No problem. I understand the odds on 4th down and at the time during the game, there was no way to tell that Atlanta would suddenly stop scoring points, given the utter lack of Seattle pass rush.

First half - horrible clock management at the end: Bleah.


Last 31 seconds - I know we're not giving any kind of pass rush on Matt Ryan; he practically has time to read a Dance with Dragons after the snap and before the throw....but why the HELL are we taking Kam Chancellor off of Tony Gonzalez and putting K.J. Wright on him? Why the hell aren't we closing off the intermediate range routes where Ryan is most comfortable?

What the hell happened to jumping the passing lanes and batting down passes? What the hell happened to the defense you were playing for the last 20 minutes?

And THEN you try to ICE THE F#(%ing Kicker? AAAARGH!

That was two downs away from being one of the most amazing NFL comebacks in playoff history.

Ah well. We have Russell Wilson. If we get a right tackle, a burner at wide-out, and learn to identify consistent defensive linemen in the draft, the future looks very very bright out here.
Kyle Elzy
Jan. 25th, 2013 02:47 am (UTC)
Darrelle Revis getting traded?

Huh. Didn't see that coming, but I guess he's becoming more and more of a liability. Still a great player, though.
Jan. 25th, 2013 10:28 pm (UTC)
GRRM Super Bowl pick?
Found this on another site and thought the parody was humorous.

Feb. 1st, 2013 10:58 am (UTC)
Flacco *.*
I'm not a football expert 'cause in italy isn't so diffused...
...but I watched a couple of matches with Flacco. Amazing, I liked him very much. Is he the strongest in his role?
Feb. 1st, 2013 06:48 pm (UTC)
Re: Flacco *.*
Far from it. He's strong-armed and can be very good, but he can also be very, very inconsistent. I'd say there are at least ten other QBs in the NFL better than Flacco.
Feb. 1st, 2013 10:39 pm (UTC)
Re: Flacco *.*
Tomorrow we'll see Flacco's mood :)
Go Ravens, go! "Dark wings, dark words"
Feb. 7th, 2013 01:43 pm (UTC)
"Goodbye, Evil Little Bill. "

I've come to refer to him as Darth Hoodie.


George R.R. Martin
George R. R. Martin

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