The Packers are Taking the Title:
And no, this discussion is not about the Super Bowl this year (although they will take that too). It is my contention that the Packers should steal the title of “America’s Team” from the Dallas Cowboys. This past weekend, FMQB and FFMQB took a road trip to Green Bay to visit some friends, and let me tell you, if there’s a town with more NFL history and a fan base that rallies around it’s team more than Green Bay, then I challenge you to show it to me. Jacksonville, the largest city in Florida with 1.5 million people, can’t sell out a game to save their lives even when in playoff contention. Green Bay, with only 104,000 people, sells out every game and have fans standing out in the cold hours before game time in the hopes of getting a ticket. The town is so small, that we were literally 3 miles from Lambeau Field and all we could see was farm country. Across from Lambeau field is a Laundromat and Kmart. Everything in the town is Green and Gold, and the receipt for our breakfast said “Go Pack Go.” The Bars the night before were a zoo, packed with fans anticipating the game on Sunday. One bar stopped the club music and a Packer chant ensued. Walking around the stadium, and seeing a larger than life statue of Vince Lombardi in front of the sign saying Lambeau Field literally gave me the chills. Even not being a Packer fan, walking down Lombardi Ave and Holmgren Way on the way to Brett Favre’s Steakhouse was just awe inspiring as a fan of the NFL. The town is so small, yet so filled with NFL history that it’s almost impossible to describe. There was definitely a buzz in Green Bay about their 13-0 record. The whole atmosphere was college-town-esque, but for an NFL team, it was definitely a cool experience. My guess is the only other team that is similar is Pittsburgh, but for now, America’s Team is the Green Bay Packers. Welcome to Titletown.
Where the Eli-te Come to Play:
After complaining about the multitude of primetime duds recently, I was extremely happy after watching the Sunday Night game. Not only was it played between the rival Giants and Cowboys, but the winner of the game controlled their own playoff destiny with 3 games remaining. It was an amazing back and forth game before the Cowboys started to pull away in the end. But wait a second, you can’t spell “Elite” without “Eli!” Down by 12 with 5 minutes to play, Eli Manning drove Los Tramposos 80 yards for a TD, and then another 58 yds for a second TD to take the lead. Romo actually did a good job getting the Cowboys into field goal range in about 40 seconds for a chance to take it into OT. <FLASHBACK> Last week, Cowboys coach Jason Garrett inexplicably iced his own kicker by calling a timeout before the final kick. Bailey made the first, but the re-kick after the timeout was wide and the Cowboys lost the game. This week, Coughlin called a perfect timeout a half second before Bailey sailed the kick through the uprights. I SWEAR THIS PART IS TRUE, but SOMEONE had already fallen asleep and thus cannot verify my story *ahem*. So instead of speaking, FMQB thought to himself “What are the odds that he misses it for the second week in a row.” Sure enough, Los Tramposos manage to block the kick!
Never Waiver in your Faith:
In the past, FMQB has talked about how if your team is down by 4 with 2 minutes left, and you give Peyton Manning or Tom Brady the ball, you can confidently say that they are going to win you the game. You’ve just seen it too often. Driving home from Green Bay, I periodically checked the Secretariats score, and was surprised that they were losing 10-0 in Denver. With under 4 minutes left, I will admit that I figured that Tebow was going to lose it and not have another magical 4th quarter in him. Boy was I wrong! Within a span of about 2 minutes, the game was tied up, thanks to a 59 yard field goal at the end of regulation. The Broncos eventually went on to win it in OT thanks to numerous mishaps by Marion Barber. Admittedly, Tebow needs to learn how to play well the entire game, but there is obviously some fire and 2nd gear he gets when his team is losing. Tebow has led his team to a 7-1 record, and an amazing 6 wins have been 4th quarter comebacks! It’s seriously week after week that Tebow impresses! This week when Brady comes to town, one QB will not be able to complete a 4th quarter comeback.
It’s About Time!
Fans have various opinions on Roger Goodell and the various rules he’s implemented into the NFL. Especially with off-field incidents, Goodell has really cracked down on players, offering year suspensions to Pacman Jones, Michael Vick, and other suspensions to Maurice Clarette, Chris Henry, and Brandon Marshall. Some fans think that he is being way too strict, especially on issues that don’t revolve around football. But I’m one who thinks he’s helping change players’ lives. The new crackdown on helmet to helmet hits has also got a lot of heat from both players and fans. Some fans think this is taking away some of the big hits we used to see (I’m one of them), and players think it’s impossible to react in a split second when both players are moving. Last year Goodell instituted that repeat offenders would start getting suspended instead of fined. Up until now, repeat offenders were just repeatedly fined. If the NFL is implementing these suspensions, then it can’t keep fining these players and allowing them to play, they’re not living up to their threat. Finally, James Harrison after probably 15 incidents, was suspended last week. I am a fan of Harrison, I feel he brings a lot of big hits to the game, but he does aim for the helmet. After knocking Colt McCoy out with a concussion, the NFL suspended him one game and proved that they’re not going to take it anymore. Sure Harrison had a good point about McCoy throwing at the last second, but there’s no reason a man with 275 pounds of pure muscle should level an 190 pound stringy QB. Kudos to the NFL for finally keeping their word, even if the rule itself is in question.
Oh the never-changing carousel of coaches has already started to rear its ugly head. It seems like each year about ¼ of NFL teams try to look elsewhere for success. This year already, Jack Del Rio (Jaguars) has been fired, and now both Todd Haley (Chiefs) and Tony Sparano (Dolphins) have followed. Surprising side note, everybody predicted Sparano would be out this year, but why not fire him after an 0-7 start, and wait until their 4-2 run after that? Anyway, I feel that several other coaches are on the hot seat. Steve Spagnola (Rams) is definitely out after this year. Totally love the guy, but 2 of the 4 worst offensive seasons in Rams history have come under the guy. I think if Coughlin (Giants) doesn’t make the playoffs, he’s gone too. Andy Reid (Eagles) should also be given consideration, but I don’t think they’d pull the trigger on him. Raheem Morris (Buccaneers) will make it so every Florida team loses their coach this year. And finally, Jim Caldwell (Colts) will not get a chance to coach Luck or Manning ever again, they will bring in a dynamic name to grow with Luck. Not quite as big of a year that we have had, but we should definitely see 5 firings by the end of the season. Final note: Honestly what’s the point in firing your coach with 3 games left? There’s no way an interim can prove anything in that time, and you’re basically giving up on your teams season.
They call it “Professional” Football for a reason:
I understand that every NFL player is human, and humans make mistakes. But there’s certain things that as a professional football player that you just shouldn’t screw up, either due to the tens of thousands of reps you’ve taken in your career, or the fact that there’s only so many things to practice. First case, Phillip Rivers this week. I will never understand how a QB throwing 10,000 passes in a career, and probably 5 times as many in practices, can inexplicitly lose grip of the ball and send it flying backwards when nobody is even near the QB. Well Phillip Rivers found a way to do it on Sunday! But probably the worst was Chiefs K Ryan Succop’s attempt at an onside kick on Sunday. First off, Succop’s onside kick is goofy, he actually lays the ball down on the ground with no kicking tee, but if memory serves me right the Chiefs have actually recovered a kick this year. Anyway, Sunday’s go didn’t turn out nearly as good. Succop kicked the ball 4 yards and proceeded to trip over his own foot. Here’s why this is ridiculous. When I worked for the football team at USD, the kickers had their own field, and were literally not a part of the team. The entire hour of practice, they worked on field goals, kickoffs, and onside kicks. There is literally NOTHING ELSE to practice if you are a kicker. How does Succop, a professional kicker, miss the ball with his leg and trip over himself?
You Heard it Here First, The Next Tom Brady:
Ok, well I won’t get too far ahead of myself, but is there a better (albeit quiet) feel good story this year than TJ Yates? I don’t think there is. The Texans are primed to make their first playoff run ever, when all of a sudden the best receiver in the NFL gets hurt. Then their former #1 draft pick is out for the season. Then as soon as their receiver is about to come back, they lose their star QB for the season. The next week they lose their backup QB after 2 quarters, out for the season. Last week, their defensive coordinator had emergency surgery and would miss time away from the team. Seriously, what else can you throw at the Texans! Well in the middle of it all, TJ Yates has managed to hold the team together. The Texans have won 7 in a row, 3 of which has come with Yates under center, including impressive wins over the playoff hopeful Bengals and Falcons. Last week they clinched their first playoff berth in team history, and with an easy schedule down the stretch, a #1 seed isn’t out of the question. Should Yates be able to pull 3 wins off in the playoffs, then I think we need to re-look at his story as perhaps the next coming of a great QB who finally got his shot.
Nice Guys Finish First (Non-Football Related):
During our aforementioned trip to Green Bay, our first stop was a minor league hockey game to watch the Green Bay Gamblers. We had four couples going to the game, but with our host only in possession of 4 tickets, we knew we would have to buy an additional 4 from the box office when we got to the game. As we walk in, a scalper yelled “4 tickets, $10 a piece.” So we ended up grabbing those at a discounted price. Our decision was to let the girls sit together and catch up while we had a guys night. So we look at the tickets, the ones we scalped were 300 level, and the girls were on the 200 level. So, being the best boyfriends possible, we figured we would give the girls the closer seats and took the 300 level tickets for ourselves. So we split up, and immediately had trouble finding a 300 level at all, so much so that we anxiously looked around for an arena map hoping we hadn’t been duped. And then we saw the sign “Suite Level, 300s that-a-way.” We’re just thinking “yeah right,” until we keep walking up stairs and pass multiple security check points checking our tickets each time. Soon enough we made it to a room with multiple TVs, free food, free drinks (non-alcoholic), and our own private bathroom! All this for $10 a piece from a scalper! It turns out another family in the Suite had won their tickets from the radio, we suspect our scalper did the same and didn’t want the tickets, so we ended up falling into a such a “suite deal.”
Quote of the Week #1:
“Tebow is a good running back…He does a good job for them” Bears LB Brian Urlacher
“Coming from a really good player, that means a lot” Tim Tebow
Zing! Never have I seen a line where somebody can literally “turn the other cheek” and take a shot at the other person’s statement as much as Tebow did here!
Quote of the Week #2:
“That play just lost the Cowboys the game, there’s too much time on the clock” FMQB
After Romo overthrew a wide open Austin on 3rd down instead of running it and burning the Giants last timeout. Sure enough, the Giants scored with 40 seconds left.
Quote of the Week #3:
“Take the exit for Lombardi Ave” Matt
When driving into Green Bay, totally got chills after saying that, brought out all football nostalgia bottled up in me.
Warning: Math Content
A friend recently suggested that I should sell advertising space on my blog to make some extra money. In which case I found out I have one more reader, putting my total up to 7! Anyway, I actually looked into it (I would hate to tarnish the awesome FMQB Logo I made, but hey I’m a sucker for cash). The general web consensus is that pages earn about $0.10 per 1000 views. Now had I had the foresight to get ad space on my blog before I started, I could be a real rich man! Including this week’s blog, I have had 17 quality posts. Assuming that all 7 readers started from Day 1, I would be up to 119 views on my page. At $0.10 per 1000 views, I’m looking at an extra $0.0119 cents in the bank!
Games of the Week:
Patriots at Broncos: Ironically my game of the week involves the 2 teams I hate the most. But it will be pure entertainment to see Tebow vs Brady. Tebow needs to realize that he can’t come back in the 4th quarter if he’s down by 30 though.
Saints at Vikings: Why? Because I’ll be there!
Steelers at 49ers: Potential Super Bowl preview, but will be a huge defensive battle.
Next Week, scouting report on Drew Brees in person.