I should have known better than to say a few days ago that I would write about the NFL action each Sunday. An NFL Sunday to me is not just another day. It’s an exercise in stamina, thanks to fantasy football.
Every Sunday in the fall, if you ever want to find me, I’ll be at Smooth’s Sports Bar in downtown Long Beach, Calif. From my usual table, I can see 10 big-screen, high-def, plasma TVs within a 180-degree turn of my head. It’s a lovely scene, but it’s also hazardous to my health. I play in only one league a year, but that one league is the most important thing in my life every Sunday, and that turns the day into something much like a six-hour sugar rush. I spend all day swiveling my head, trying to keep up. In the moment, it’s exciting and nerve-racking. When it’s over, the crash arrives and I feel like Muhammad Ali after the “Thrilla in Manila.”
So on Sunday night, I was pretty tired — and pretty upset considering that I was facing Peyton Manning and lost my matchup by less than two points — but here is what I observed in the middle of my weariness.
Minnesota 27, San Francisco 24: OH MY GOD! BRETT FAVRE IS A MIRACLE MAN! SWEET JESUS! Truth is, through 56 minutes of this game, Favre was pretty bad. Before the 3:30 mark of the fourth quarter, Favre had thrown for an unimpressive 192 yards, one score and one interception on just 15-of-33 passing. He threw high, low and behind receivers. The fact remains that he is not a quality NFL fantasy QB. Statistically, I bet this will be his best effort of the season. Once again, I will admit that I was totally wrong on my prediction.
Much like the Bengals against Denver in week one, San Francisco should have won this game. It’s not just about the Favre prayer, but Frank Gore only had one carry in this game, which resulted in an ankle injury. Rookie Glen Coffee took over and rushed 25 times for just 53 yards. With Gore in there, there is no doubt that the Niners would have won. They were the better team. And how about 95 yards and two scores from Vernon Davis? Maybe he’s finally reaching his potential? For at least a week or two, I’m buying.
Injury update: Gore has a right ankle and foot strain. Early word is that he will miss the next three weeks and could return after a week six bye. Get Glen Coffee now! He didn’t do much against the Vikings, but most running backs are just as fortunate. He has a pretty nice schedule coming up.
Now that we headed into the third week of the NFL season, expect posts about each weekend’s NFL action every Sunday. I’ve held off because there are just too many fluke occurrences in the first two weeks. Sure, some truths still hold strong (Lions, Rams still suck), but it takes a couple of weeks for us to know what we really have here.
But here are some things from the league — and other sports — that I would like to hit on.
Power rankings, like many polls in sports, are stupid and not worth paying any attention. But there is no way that the Jets should be lower than any AFC team on those lists. ESPN, FOX, CBS, SI, etc. have all put teams such as the Steelers, Ravens and Colts ahead of the J-E-T-S. What are they watching?
The Steelers have already lost a game. The Colts barely beat the Jaguars and the Dolphins, two teams that are destined to finish last in their respective divisions. The Ravens struggled at home against a pitiful Kansas City offense. Meanwhile, the Jets have the scariest defense in the NFL right now. They stifled the almighty Patriots and destroyed the Texans’ high-powered offense. They can dominate the clock with a good running game, and Mark Sanchez is following Ryan and Flacco in the mold of a rookie who refuses to look green.
Those other teams have more impressive recent history, and I think one of the reasons why many refuse to give the Jets their due is because of their lack of success this decade. But this is just a judgment on the 2009 season and there is definitely no better team — at least in the AFC — than the Jets.
It’s pretty clear which is the worst …
I’m just 25 years old. But in the words of one of my friends on my 25th birthday, “You’re half way to being dead.” Yeah, that’s what friends are for. Apparently we are secretly living in an 1800s society and 50 years old makes you the George Burns of the earth.
I know I am pretty young, but I guess it’s never too early to wonder about your own mortality, no matter how bulletproof you feel at this age. I thought about how old I am getting this past week when one of my best friends from high school became a father (that’s his baby you see to the right. He is going to be shaped so much into being the next great NFL linebacker that even Todd Marinovich’s father will cringe). It’s hard for me to comprehend that the same people I grew up with are now becoming dads.
But I find that sports, like nothing else, can make your age really stand out.
So I pose this question to you: When has something in sports made you feel really old?
As avid viewers of NCAA March Madness know very well, you are in for an exciting game if you’ve got Gus Johnson on the play-by-play. The game may be as fun as laundry, but Gus will glue you to your television set. His style, which I would describe as someone announcing sports while being thrown from an airplane with no parachute, draws you in.
So although the first 59 minutes and 30 seconds of Sunday’s Broncos-Bengals match was basically a punting exhibition, the final 30 seconds gave us the most thrilling moment of week one in the NFL. And who else would you rather have behind the mic as good ol’ Gus?
It’s been a tremendous day of college football action. With the drama in Ann Arbor and the upsets in Stillwater and Knoxville, it’s hard to imagine another game that could be better than what we’ve seen today.
But, if there is one, this is it. So, I’ve decided to do a running blog for USC @ Ohio State. Thanks for following along. Enjoy and please leave comments if you have any.
4:57 p.m. Here are some things to keep track of tonight: Last week, Navy threw for 159 yards against the Buckeyes. I know that’s not a big total, but for Navy, that’s like Big 12 numbers. Now, USC comes to town with WR Damian Williams and freshman QB Matt Barkley, who looked very poised last week. Granted, it was only San Jose State.
5:00 p.m. Hahaha! The ESPN camera guy gets hit by the Ohio State band member as he dots the “I”! Hahaa! What a great beginning for OSU!
5:06 p.m. Can Ohio State stop USC’s huge rushing attack? Both teams lost a lot of players on defense from last season, but USC still has Joe McKnight, Stafon Johnson, C.J. Gable and others. And they will be running behind one of the best offensive lines in all of college football.
5:08 p.m. I initially went with Ohio State to win this game because I thought they could rattle Barkley at home. But I just think USC is too good in so many areas. USC 34, Ohio State 20.
5:10 p.m. Over/under on the number of players that Taylor Mays puts into an unconscious state tonight: 1.5 We don’t want a repeat of this. Or maybe we do.
5:12 p.m. Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeere we go!
Above is how last season ended. Now, who’s ready to do it all over again??
This country gets into a frenzy for NFL football, and I am in that mob. So, if you are watching the game tonight or can’t watch it, follow along with this running blog!
5:33 p.m. One note in fantasy football, if you were relying on Nate Washington to start tonight for the Titans, he is going to play, even though he has been bothered by a hamstring pull. The former Steeler wants to play in this game. He is out for revenge.
5:36 p.m. It’s hilarious to see how the first game of the NFL season has turned into an event. I didn’t watch Tim McGraw or the Black Eyed Peas and I feel good as a person because I avoided it.
5:39 p.m. It’s been eight years since Sept. 11 tomorrow. That’s just amazing. One of my best friends may become a father tomorrow. For his son’s sake, I hope not, because I don’t think any kid wants their birthday to be September 11th. Anyway, back to football …
5:40 p.m. Who is your pick to win? The Steelers are six-point favorites, but I think the Titans are going to buck Steelers history and win this game, 20-17.
5:42 p.m. AND WE HAVE KICKOFF!!!! What a relief! And what a return by Stefan Logan.
We are OH SO CLOSE! The time is ticking down. Are you ready for some football??? I know I am (this blog’s latest entries should display that well).
So, right before kickoff of the season’s first game, here are my predictions for each team, all the way up through Super Bowl ECKS-EL-EY-VEE:
1. San Diego Chargers: 12-4 (God, this division is wretched. The Chargers should be ashamed if they don’t at least nine games. Six wins should be sitting in their own division.)
2. Oakland Raiders: 6-10 (Maybe it’s a little nuts, but they have some talent on offense and a very good pass defense. Fans in Oakland should be happy with six wins.)
3. Denver Broncos: 4-12: (Defense is a huge problem, and does anyone trust Kyle Orton? Plus, their best offensive player could quit at any moment)
4. Kansas City Chiefs: 3-13 (Their offense is putrid in every aspect. It’s hard to decide whether the Broncos or the Chiefs will be the worst team in the AFC this year)