Category Archives: sports

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.


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!!!!

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

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.


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

Roman Abramovich, eat your heart out.

The best football news of the week. Chelsea have just been hit with a 2 YEAR SIGNING BAN. Thats right, the almighty Chelsea F.C., with the smug, billionaire russian owner, have just been informed by FIFA, the governing body of football, that they can not sign ANY new players until January 2011. That means that for the next two registration periods (January transfer window 2010 and Summer transfer window 2010), Chelsea’s team will stay the same, whether they like it or not. No longer can Roman Abramovich throw around his dirty russian money to buy his way into the top 4. Why you ask, has such a harsh punishment been inflicted on this poor West London team? Because they broke the rules. plain and simple.

This all stems from a young french player by the name of Gael Kakuta, who had been signed by the french club Lens. When the player was 16, Chelsea induced the player to break his contract with Lens and sign on with them. Basically, they poached the player from a smaller team with less appeal and less money. They bullied there way into getting what they want, in true Chelsea fashion. Now, they are paying for it dearly. Both the club and Kakuta himself have been fined 780,000 euro EACH, but more importantly to Chelsea, they cannot use Abramovich’s chequebook to buy success for one whole year.
Alot of people hate Chelsea (including me), because of this reason. Arsenal is known for buying young players and molding them into superstars, Manchester United has some of the best leadership in the world under Sir Alex Ferguson, and Liverpool is basically hit or miss depending on their coach (at the moment Rafa Benitez is steering them in the right direction). But Chelsea has shown blatant disregard for convential football tactics, by essentially buying the most expensive players and firing coaches left right and center until they find one that fits. In the last 2 seasons, Chelsea has been through 3 coaches, one of them being Phil Scolari, the Portuguese international coach, and in my opinion, one of the best coaches in the world. If a team cant thrive under Scolari, then there’s an issue with the team, not the coach.
In my opinion, this type of punishment has been a long time coming for Chelsea. They have bullied their way around the premier league, been unsportsmanlike and essentially parasitic to the beautiful game. They play boring football, they bitch and moan like children when they lose, and in all honesty, the sport would be better off without them. This is a small step in the right direction. Nice work FIFA.

Tom Brady: The Most Underrated Player in Football?

I hate to publish this article because it kind of hints to the good pals in my fantasy football league how high I value the guy, but Tom Brady IS the most underrated player in fantasy football this season, and in turn, football alone.
Lets talk facts. Everyone knows about the three superbowls, everyone knows about the near perfect season and the superbowl disaster, but it really seems to me lately like people forget that the last time this man played a full season of football, he broke the touchdown record. Threw fuckin 50. Everyone said Randy Moss would be a big bust and do just what he did in Oakland, but no. He ALSO broke the touchdown record. 23. This is the exact same offense taking the field next season, the only difference being a year of experience under their belt. Here’s a fitting picture.

The haters? Well the haters like to talk about how a big injury like the one Brady suffered last season from Chiefs defensive linemen Bernard Pollard changes a QB’s comfort level in the pocket and mentally puts him on edge. Sure, I can buy it for some. But come on people, this guy stepped in midseason back in 2001 when Bledsoe suffered a nasty hit. With virtually no starts under his belt Tom decided to win a superbowl. Oh, and what’s this? He’s won two more since then you say? Well fuck, this guy really is amazing. He’s arguably the best quarterback to ever play the game of football (unarguably in my mind but whatever)! Do you really think he’s going to be mentally “on-edge” from this knee injury? Doubtful. Tom Brady’s middle name is clutch, I don’t care how many times he tells you it’s Kenneth.
That said, am I really supposed to take Drew Brees over Tom? Really? Granted, Brees almost broke 5000 yards last season and Marino’s record, but he has no go to receiver (check your stat sheets if Marques Colston just popped into your head). The run game seems to be improving in New Orleans with the emergence of Pierre Thomas as well and Sean Payton has said publicly he would like to see Drew’s passing numbers come down a little bit as long as the rushing ones shoot up in return. Take the load off Ol’ Drew.
Brady did just acquire Fred Taylor and the Pats running game is looking stronger than even the Corey Dillon days, (especially if they can sign Benjarvus to an extension), but this only serves to open up Moss and Welker more. This argument does not apply to the Saints because I said so.
I have even seen some Fantasy mock drafts where Brady is behind Peyton Manning. Now Brees I can understand, but why don’t you just go ahead and draft Jamarcus Russell before brady too you idiots.

In his personal life, Brady gets to be the horse in the picture below, every night.

Sooo. Yeahhh.

By the way, this preseason so far Brady has looked nothing but great. He’s already found Moss for a deep td, taken a few hits, and looked fucking phenomenal moving around that pocket. Other NFL QB’s would be lucky as hell to have Brady’s bad knee as their good one. Bold? Like a blackberry muhfuckas.

To all my fantasy football friends: I value Brady really low and don’t like him, won’t even take him probably.

If this is a dive, then Ronaldo should be a gold medalist in the 10m category

This issue is a sore subject with me. Eduardo has been banned for two games by UEFA for allegedly diving in last week’s Champions League game against Celtic. Being an Arsenal fan, I contemplated whether I was being biased because it was my team being punished, or because I really didnt think it was a fair punishment. I came to the conclusion that not only was it not a fair punishment, but it was a big pile of steaming bullshit. If anyone is at fault, it was the Manuel Mejuto Gonzalez, the referee.

For those that don’t know what happened, let me lay it out for you. Eduardo (who happens to be a key player for Arsenal), went in to finish off a beautiful play when the Celtic goalkeeper flew into his feet, causing Eduardo to lose his balance and fall down. The ref immediately flagged down the play and rewarded Eduardo a penalty shot (which he scored). Upon watching the replay, it is blatantly obvious that Eduardo and the goalkeeper made no contact whatsoever. So at this point, you are thinking, “well it must have been a dive, no?”. No. Eduardo was off balance, he did not dramatically flail around upon his descent, and he did not turn around to complain to the referee. He was likely just as surprised as everyone else that he received the penalty shot, but hey, who is he to complain?

It turned out that Arsenal won the game 3-1 (so the penalty did not even matter), and furthermore won 5-1 on aggregate. Celtic never had a chance. So now Eduardo has to sit out for 2 games not due to his actions, but rather to a panicky, trigger happy referee. Maybe the ref knew that Arsenal were going to win, and just wanted to get it over with. who knows. Regardless, I can tell you that if Eduardo played for United, was portuguese rather than croatian, and used a little more hairgel, this whole fiasco with UEFA never would have happened.