Category Archives: american football

Offseason Begins: Brett Favre Watch

By RM Franks

It’s that miserable time of year again.

The weather is consistently awful; students are right in the vortex of the black hole that is their academic life; the first round of American Idol is wrapping up (effectively putting an end to monumental “pants on the ground” type performances; valentine’s day is just around the corner to remind us yet again how devastating chocolate can be to our waistlines; and The Blindside starring Sandra Bullock and Tim McGraw received a Best Picture nomination for this year’s Oscars. Wow.

I was also snubbed for Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous

Not miserable yet? The NFL season is over. The Vikings did not win the Superbowl or the NFC. In fact they lost it in heartbreaking fashion. Wow? More like, duh.

But just as Chumbawumba says, “I get knocked down, but I get up again”, and despite the fact Viking Nation is still in mourning, the show must go on. Off-season activities and acquisitions can be just as crucial to a team’s success as on-field performance, and the Vikings are entering an enormous off-season, one in which several key players must decide if they want to come back to Minnesota. One player’s decision however is sure to attract more attention than any other’s (just as it has in the past). His name? Oh, uh, that number 4, the salt and pepper haired, gun-slingin, pill-poppin, Budweiser-sippin, just-havin-fun-out-there guy. What’s his name again?

It’s Favre. Brett Favre. And he’ll have his brewski shaken, not stirred.

Ah Kin Steel Play

The past two NFL off-seasons have been riddled with sleazy Brett Favre affairs fit for a chapter in the Tiger Woods biography. Let us reminisce.

After the 2007 NFC championship defeat to the Giants, Brett Favre left his longtime lover Mrs. Packer with whom he shared one of the most illustrious NFL careers (including two romantic Superbowl dates, one of which ended with a ring). The breakup killed Brett. He cried his eyes out but ultimately decided it was the best thing to do for both of them and he gave Ms. Packer the old, “You’ve been great, it’s not you it’s me” speech. Although devastated herself, Ms. Packer decided to move on.

A few uneventful months passed including training-camp, the time every NFL player admittedly dreads the most about their job, and surprise, Brett decided he wanted to come back. Without the obstacle of camp in the way, it was like Mrs. Packer had shed a few pounds, and suddenly seemed more appealing. “Ah kin steel play, Ah wona play, and bottom lan, Ah git ta do whatever Ah wont” Brett thought. But Ms. Packer had already given her heart to another man, the younger, quicker Aaron Rogers. She didn’t want anything to do with Brett and all of his baggage, and after all, Aaron Rogers was notorious for turning ‘tight ends’ into ‘wide receivers’.

So Brett decided to do what any reasonable man having a mid-life crisis over his “usefulness” would do: get drunk and go to New York! It was in the Big Apple that Brett found romance for the second time in the form of the Jets. Lady Liberty had been so abused in her long-term relationship with Chad Pennington that she was evidently fed up. It was time to try sleeping around for a season, experiment with older men, knowing that the best result would be a fun year but definitely nothing serious or long-term. Brett swept her off her feet with his mid-western charm and the promise that he was in it for the right reasons. The rest was history (and still is I suppose). However after a turbulent season, New Yorkers inevitably learned that Brett was a two-timing pig who only came to their troubled franchise because of how she looked during beach season, not her real personality. Thus, when Lady Liberty showed her true colors, Favre once again jetted into retirement (pun intended). Dedicated to family life, hunting, and coaching high-school football, Brett vowed he was done messing around for good.

Suddenly, something I call “the Jessica Biel effect” came into play. The Jessica Biel effect is essentially when a team so smoking hot comes around you just cannot say no. They’re simply that attractive, and that’s what the Minnesota Vikings were to Brett Favre. They were Jessica Biel.

Minnesota could offer Favre an offensive line that could protect him with confidence, one of the top two running-backs in the league to hand the ball off to, and overall a team that  could realistically win a Superbowl (not to mention 12 million dollars a year and the comfort of playing in a dome). Not surprisingly, Favre accepted. He and Jessica Biel immediately hit it off and he was putting it deep into her end-zone multiple times a week. The relationship was everything they thought it could be and more. Brett enjoyed a career season and Viking Nation enjoyed Brett. Despite the fact the season ended in gut-wrenching disappointment, anyone who watched this past NFC championship game knows that Favre played a good game and they lost that night as a team. Most of the blame should probably be placed on the rest of the squad’s fumbling problems.

Regardless, now comes the issue, the essence of this report. What to do now? What will Brett Favre decide to do after the best statistical season of his career? Let’s continue with the Jessica Biel metaphor to more closely examine. Sure, they had a fight. They let the New Orleans Saints come between them and they lost their tempers. But unlike in past relationships, it simply does not make sense for them to breakup for good. They need each other too much. After Favre left the Packers, they had a stud to turn the franchise over to. After his season with the Jets, it as well made sense for the team to release Favre as they had a young team, a new coach coming in, and an opportunity to draft a new quarterback and try to rebuild their franchise the right way, from inside out.

But the Vikings? If Favre leaves, they’ll be in the exact same situation they were a year ago: a team ripe with talent at every skill-position and no quarterback to fulfill their potential. Sure, they could draft one, but its not like they have a high draft pick. They could let Tarvaris Jackson takeover like Green Bay did with Rogers, but the difference there is that Tarvaris has already had an opportunity to start, and in case you don’t remember, he did not capitalize on it. Favre completely re-ignited the Viking franchise and had fans more excited than they were in the Randy Moss / Cris Carter days. Both the team and city of Minneapolis unarguably benefit from Brett Favre’s presence.

But the fact remains: Brett Favre is forty years old. Not 37, not 39, forty. The oldest quarterback to ever start a game in the NFL was Vinnie Testaverde at age 41, and that was an emergency call-up for one game. Favre would have to endure a whole season of sacks and hits as a guy in his forties.  Judging by that NFC championship game however, he could do it. (While I’ve never been a huge Favre advocate, his toughness in that game was astounding. Any other NFL quarterback likely would have been done by halftime.)

Brett, you have had three consecutive seasons end in heartbreak. If you quit now, your career will effectively end in heartbreak. This is the year it would actually make sense to come back. You’ve got a team who is easily a contender, 13 million dollars waiting for you, a whole lot of hungry Viking fans, and everyone knows you can still play at a high level.

Never in my life did I think I would utter these words (but then again, never in my life did I ever think Favre would be a Viking): Brett Favre, please come back.

Why football is better than football.

yes...that IS Vinnie Jones

First off, before starting this post I took a quick look into why there are two sports with the same name. So I’ll give you a quick history lesson to get you up to speed. Football was and still is the most popular sport in the world. Way back in the day, when football enacted the no-hand rule, some people didn’t like it, so they broke off and created rugby. Still considered a variation of football, rugby became more popular and spread to north america, where they played a variation of rugby that used alot less kicking and a lot more handling of the ball, which you all now know as gridiron, or “american football”. So even though modern day gridiron relies more on  handling of the ball than..um…footing, it is still considered a variation of original football. So long story short, gridiron is the devil spawn of original football, and this is why they both go by the same name.

But why is it that football is still the most popular sport in the world and gridiron has only really been embraced by North America? They have both been played, in various forms, since the 1840’s  (although football was played prior to that without standard rules), and they both demand a massive fan base in their respective markets. So why is football’s market so much bigger than gridiron?

The Dale thinks it there are two main reasons. The first has to do with the simplicity of football compared to the seemingly complicated rules of gridiron. Alot of people get turned off of gridiron because, as I’m sure anyone who’s had to explain football to a girlfriend knows, there is ALOT to explain when you start from scratch. Once you watch a couple of games with the rules in mind, it doesn’t seem as complicated, but seasoned gridiron fans, there was a point where YOU were clueless as to why large black men in costumes were attacking smaller white men in costumes on a green floor.  The perceived complexity of the game is a a detrimental barrier of entry to an intense, captivating sport.

The second reason, and IDO (In Dale’s Opinion) the reason that explains why football  is played and revered by so many more millions of people is the simplicity of the equipment. all you need is a ball (or something that resembles a ball, as I saw a guy playing football with a blown up condom in a sock on tv the other day), 4 sticks and an open patch of pretty much any surface to have a full game. Realistically, all you need is the ball and a target. This is why millions of children grow up learning to play football rather than hockey or gridiron. For gridiron, to play a proper game you need protective equipment, a marked field, uprights AND a specially shaped ball. It should also be noted that alot of people who play football could not afford to play gridiron due to the expenses associated with the equipment.

So there it is. The Dale’s two pence. I hope you weren’t expecting a “OUR FOOTBALL’S BETTER NO OUR FOOTBALL IS BETTER” meathead argument, because I won’t get into which one is more enjoyable to watch or play. That sort of thing is too subjective. But hopefully I have given you insight as to why football is considered better BY MORE PEOPLE than gridiron football.

See you next time. Same bat place, same bat channel.

The Dale is Scared, Real Scared

Let me ask you something folks. Is your team 2 and 0 (take your time Titans fans)? Is your team coming off an extremely successful offseason where strategic acquirements were made on offense, defense, and coaching? Do you have a quarterback who looks very solid after these first two games, yet still has maybe anywhere from 5 to 8 years to reach his full potential (NO Raider nation, no)?  Do you have a brand new head coach who comes with the reputation of being one of if not THE TOP defensive coordinator in the NFL? Well, I may have just given it away. I can hear it now and I could hear it on Sunday: J! E! T! S! JETS! JETS! JETS!!!!
I LOVE THE DALE!!!!!!!
I LOVE THE DALE!!!!!!!

Man does it kill me to say this, because as you know, the dale’s heart belongs to the New England Patriots (who play in the same goddam division), but the New York Jets look good. They look scary good.  They beat the Patriots last sunday 16-9 and allowed 0 touchdowns, the first time that’s happened to Brady and co since November 2006. Rookie QB Mark Sanchez on the other hand, threw a touchdown when he had to and was extraordinary on third down. This kid can play. Dont get it twisted though, like almost all great teams, the Jets rely on the defense.

Rex Ryan, the new Jets  head coach is best known for being the defensive mastermind behind the Baltimore Ravens for the past 10 years or so. But this off- season, Rex moved into the fancy office in NYC. But he brought his defense with him. Darrell Revis, a starting Cornerback for the Jets has held Randy Moss and Andre Johnson to under 40 yards apiece! Randy Moss tore this defense to shreds last season with Matt Cassell under center, but clearly Rex knows a thing or two about recognizing and using defensive talent. The pressure this defensive unit applies is also scary. Tom Brady hasn’t looked as uncomfortable as he did on sunday since he was on Entourage (that was actually pretty recently I guess). Rex learned defense from his father, Buddy Ryan, the coordinator for the 85 Bears (the best defense in the history of the NFL) and Superbowl champs. If things stay the same, it looks as if the Jets could be headed down a similar road.

 

Ryan also runs a 4.50 100m dash and has a 42 inch vertical
Ryan also runs a 4.50 100m dash and has a 42 inch vertical

Plaxico heads off to the Big House

plaxico special

So Plaxico Burress (wide receiver who played for the NY Giants in the NFL..for those across the pond) started a two year jail sentence today for shooting himself in the leg with his own gun. Yea….I know. Ridiculous. Apparently Plaxico had a glock tucked into the back of his pants at a New York night club, and the pistol started slipping down his pant leg, and when he went to grab it, he pulled the trigger and shot himself in the leg. Just imagine the scenario. You are Plaxico Burress, Superbowl hero (he caught the winning touchdown in the Superbowl for the Giants against the Patriots), and you’re getting your dance on in the club, probably chatting up some broads, drinking some Cryssy or some Patron, and BOOM…gunshot. Like, I’m sure everyone in the club knew Plaxico was there (it was in NY, and he’s a local hero), and everyone was probably staring at him all night anyway…but could you IMAGINE the humiliation involved when the masses realized that THE Plaxico Burress had shot himself, with his own, gun, in his own leg. Wow.

So after this humiliation, the next chapter in poor Plax’s tragedy is the pain he had to endure with a 9mm bullet in his goddamn leg. So now, he is not only the laughing stock of New York, he also has to limp around (and not in the cool gangster way), to remind himself and everyone he sees that he shot himself. Painful, in more ways than one.

And now the icing on the cake. The poor guy has been sentenced to two years in jail, because the he didn’t have a licence for the gun, and also for reckless endangerment. Of himself?! Come on!!! I mean, I understand he was wrong by bringing the gun into the club, and it is an offence, but so is beating the living sh*t out of your girlfriend (Chris Brown, I’m looking at you). The american justice system is all messed up. How can a guy shoot himself in the leg, causing himself pain and humiliation (not to mention losing a multi-million dollar contract with an NFL team) and end up serving time, when this preppy little bastard is a woman beater and doesn’t even see the inside of a cell for half a second. What a joke. I don’t think Plaxico’s sentence was just, even though the guy had priors. I think he got a bad rap because he’s a football player, while crotch grabbing, nutless dancing fairy Chris Brown is given leniency. Hmmm…shooting oneself in the leg by accident or beating one’s girlfriend on purpose…I wonder who can REALLY be considered the criminal. In my opinion, there’s no excuse for hitting a woman. Apparently the US Justice system wants to convey the fact that beating women is ok, but making mistakes that harm oneself are unforgivable. Way to go guys. I guess justice really is blind, because it didn’t see Rihanna’s f**ked up face, but it DID hear Plaxico’s gunshot.

Anyone see the Bills/Patriots Monday Nighter Last Week? This guy did…

pats helmet: "Oh hey"  bills helmet: "Oh hey"
Pat and Bill

This angry and hilarious rant comes courtesy of deadspin, the best sports/humor blog in the world (sorry kissingsuzykolber, you’re a close second). In case you don’t follow football, (american football), I’ll give you some background into the story so you can still appreciate this guy’s misery. The Buffalo Bills, a team who is famous for being snakebitten (they’ve been to 4 superbowls, won 0) beyond any definition of simple bad luck, opened their season monday night against the pride and joy of the NFL, the Tiger Woods of the NFL, the New England Patriots. These teams play in the same division and are thus heated rivals. But more importantly is the fact that the Bills are a poor football squad and have been for a while, and the Pats are consistently dominant, and this was Tom Brady’s first game back from knee surgery after missing the entire 08/09 season. SO, big things were expected.  Anyway, the betting line was New England -10.5. That means New England was supposed to win this game by ten and a half points on paper. Oh how wrong the line was. Much to my dismay (I’m a Pats fan you see), New England never took the lead until the final 30 seconds (phew), and won the game by  only one point. Buffallo fumbled late in the game and gave the Patriots the ball back when all the Bills had to do was sit on it. Of course Brady took advantage and threw a last minute touchdown. The Pats are now 1-0 as expected, and the Bills 0-1. I leave you with the words of  disgruntled Bills Fan, Nate, from Deadspin:

Nate: It couldn’t have been the bloodbath we were all expecting. It just couldn’t have been! No, that would have been far too easy. I would have flicked the game off by halftime, shrugged the same apathetic shrug I’ve adopted for the last five or so years, maybe gotten a little work done, maybe smoked a bowl and played video games, all the while secure in knowing that the shell of bitter cynicism I’ve spent the last two decades building around myself is justified.

But no! Instead of giving me that kind of peace, this season opener had to be a perfect microcosm of 20 years’ worth of Bills fandom: expectations so low they barely exist, slowly brought to life by a performance strong enough to push the scarring, bitter memories aside; surprisingly competent play eliciting that wonderful childish rush of “ohmigod ohmigod ohmigod this might happen;” the momentary twinge of guilt for not believing all the while washed away by the next completed pass or forced punt; followed by the soul-crushing hollow when it’s all taken away, reminding you of how fair life isn’t, sending you scurrying back under your shell, muttering about another 7-9 season (if you’re lucky).

Leodis McKelvin is JP Losman’s “athleticism,” Doug Flutie’s futility, Drew Bledsoe’s immobility, Thurman Thomas’s lost helmet, Andre Reed’s temper tantrum, and Scott Norwood’s bad aim.

I’m sure it’s too late for the mailbag tomorrow, so I’m not even going to bother asking a question. All that I ask is for you to write funny things tomorrow, and the day after, and the day after that, and help me, yet again, to remember why the f**k I spent all summer waiting for this.

SERIOUSLY, OF ALL THE F**KING THINGS, SPECIAL TEAMS? THE BASTARD RED-HEADED STEPCHILD OF OFFENSE AND DEFENSE, THE ONE F**KING THING WE’RE USUALLY NOT F**KING TERRIBLE AT, THAT GIVES ANNOUNCERS SOMETHING TO TALK ABOUT DURING THOSE AWKWARD MOMENTS WHEN THEY REALIZE THEY HAVEN’T SAID ANYTHING NICE ABOUT THE BILLS FOR AN HOUR? WE HAD TO F**K THAT UP TOO? LEODIS MCKELVIN YOU EAT A BIG BAG OF DICKS. YOU EAT A BIG THROBBING F**KING BAG OF DICKS AND YOU CHOKE AND YOU DIE. F**K.

There you have it. Thanks again deadspin, and go Patriots!!!