Winning & Musing…A Fond Farewell to Football

With the conclusion of the Super Bowl it’s time to tie a bow around the football season and put it to bed. Sports fans now enter a bit of a dark period. Personally I don’t get into hockey or the NBA until the playoffs start in a few months, and the NBA has really rubbed me the wrong way with some of the recent political rhetoric emanating from a handful of their players & coaches. The Daytona 500 is in a few weeks, but I haven’t watched hardly any NASCAR for the past couple of years for various reasons. College basketball is sporadically interesting but we’ve still got a ways to go before conference tournaments then March Madness really grab our attention. Pitchers & catchers will report soon enough, but the baseball season itself doesn’t begin until April. We’ll get thru this abyss as we always do though, and to that end let’s tighten up some loose ends and discuss football one more time until next season rolls around.

 

 

 

 

football-introducing-the-science_1For anyone who may be wondering, I finished up our Pigskin Picks of Profundity with a record of 54-49 (a 52% winning percentage), while Zach went 38-65 (37%). We didn’t bet any money or have any other kind of wager, so it was just harmless fun. Thanks again to my nephew for participating and I am already looking forward to next season.

 

 

As far as our Bowl-a-Palooza picks, I was 18-23, while Zach was 21-20. He did a much better job than me of choosing winners in some of the 225px-Yale_Bowl_aerialmore highly touted bowl games.

 

 

51A few post-Super Bowl thoughts:

*In contrast to many positive comments I saw on social media I wasn’t impressed with the rendition of America the Beautiful sung by cast members of Broadway smash Hamilton. I had mixed feelings going in because of that particular show’s unwarranted attack on Vice President Mike Pence awhile back & my affection for actress Renee Goldsberry, who won a Tony award for her role and who I fondly recall from her days on soap opera One Life to Live. It is an incredible honor to be asked to perform on a mega stage like The Super Bowl, and in my opinion one should respect a beloved song like that by singing it right, not attempting to be a Mariah Carey clone and definitely not altering the lyrics. I thought it was self-serving & ill-mannered, which I guess is a Hamilton thing.

*I couldn’t tell you anything at all about any of the commercials. There haven’t been more than a half dozen memorable Super Bowl commercials in the past decade, so I have kind of stopped paying attention. In the past I have been known to catch up by watching them online, but at this moment I really have no desire to waste my time.

*I cringed a little during Bill O’Reilly’s pre-game interview with President Trump when they were discussing Russian leader Vlad Putin. O’Reilly asked Trump about Putin being a killer and Trump said something to the effect of “America isn’t so innocent”. Dear Mr. President: We just had 8 years of a Commander-in-Chief constantly chastising our nation and apologizing to the world on our behalf. We thought we’d gotten rid of such douchebaggery.

*I didn’t see Random Cookie Cutter Country Dude’s singing of the national anthem, although I have read comments saying he did a good job. Way to go Random Cookie Cutter Country Dude!!

*Objectively speaking it was a great game. A game tying touchdown in the final minute. The first overtime in Super Bowl history. The biggest comeback in Super Bowl history. Unfortunately my fervent loathing of Tom Brady & the New England Patriots precludes me from enjoying any of it. I will never acknowledge Brady as the “greatest QB of all time” and I refuse to recognize the Patriots “dynasty” as anything more than the corrupt sham that it has been since Day 1.

*I chose not to watch Lady Gaga’s halftime show. However, it is my understanding that it was quite entertaining and, contrary to the hype, devoid of offensive sociopolitical commentary. I admit when I am wrong, and I may have unfairly pre-judged the performance. Unlike the commercials I may actually take time to retroactively watch the halftime.

*It was great to see President & Mrs. Bush (41) do the coin toss. Not that long ago both were in the hospital, which at their advanced age cannot be taken lightly.

*As much as I detest the Patriots it was HYSTERICAL to see NFL Commissioner Fidel Goodell get mercilessly booed out of the building when presenting the Lombardi Trophy. Sadly Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft chose not to take the high road in his comments and came across like a petty & bitter old fool despite having just won the biggest prize in his sport.

 

 

12 of the 25 teams in my pre-season college poll finished the season ranked…four of them within two spots of where I predicted. I was spot on in25 assessing #1 Clemson, who went on to win the national championship.

 

 

pro-football-hallThe Pro Football Hall of Fame has chosen kicker Morten Andersen, RB Terrell Davis, safety Kenny Easley, Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones, defensive end Jason Taylor, RB & fantasy football legend LaDainian Tomlinson, & QB Kurt Warner as its next class of inductees. Seems like a solid group, with the exception of Jones, who I’ve always perceived as a real prick. Not making the final cut were former commissioner Paul Tagliabue (who I would’ve voted for before Jones), safety John Lynch, offensive tackles Joe Jacoby & Tony Boselli (both should’ve gotten in), safety Brian Dawkins, former Steelers’ guard Alan Faneca (he’ll get there eventually), center Kevin Mawae, cornerback Ty Law, and receivers Isaac Bruce & Terrell Owens. TO will get there someday, but the powers-that-be sometimes like to make guys pay for being assclowns by having them wait a few years. One has to wonder if Randy Moss is in for the same treatment a year from now.

 

 

Random football opinion…

I like big plays as much as anyone, but if a team has the ball on third down and has three or less yards to go I am not a fan of passing the ball. runballOld-fashioned smash mouth football is a trademark of many champions, and if you can’t ram the ball down the defense’s throats on 3rd & short perhaps it is time to re-evaluate the offensive philosophy.

 

 

nfl-footballLooking back at my NFL prognostications I can only chuckle:

*I predicted only 4 of 8 division winners correctly, and 6 of 12 (two in the NFC, four in the AFC) playoff teams.

*My Super Bowl matchup was Arizona over Kansas City. Atleast the Chiefs made the playoffs…the Cardinals finished 7-8-1.

*I really pegged the Carolina Panthers wrong, opining that “Super Bowl losers have a pattern of regressing the following season…I don’t think that’ll happen to Carolina though”. The Panthers were a dismal 6-10.

*I said that “the Dolphins have a new head coach, and though the change may pay dividends in the future I don’t think we’ll see an immediate improvement.” Miami went from 6-10 in 2015 to 10-6 & a playoff berth a year later.

*The NFC West?? Nailed it!!

*I predicted that Tom Brady’s four game suspension wouldn’t have much of an effect, and that was spot on. New England opened the season 4-0 and ultimately won the Super Bowl. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo will get lost in the shuffle and his significant contribution will be criminally underappreciated. Hopefully he’ll get traded to a situation in which he’ll have the opportunity to shine as a starting QB.

*Of my beloved Pittsburgh Steelers I said “I’m not nearly as sold as others on the Super Bowl worthiness of my Steelers, but I do believe they’ll win the division. We’ll see if their secondary…an Achilles heel now for several years…can gel into something good.” Brady shredded that defensive backfield in the playoffs. I have begun to have serious doubts about the coaching prowess of Mike Tomlin, and the potential retirement of Ben Roethlisberger may foreshadow dark days ahead in the ‘Burgh, circa 1985-91.

*Sooooo…are we thru trying to convince the masses that Chip Kelly is an NFL coach?? He needs to go back to college ASAP (as a coach…not a student).

*I had the Arizona Cardinals going 11-5 and winning the Super Bowl. Instead they had a losing record in a terrible division. What happened??

*Conversely, I said that the Atlanta Falcons “look good on paper, but only 18 wins in the past three seasons indicate that appearances can be deceiving”. Apparently appearances weren’t deceiving. They have to be kicking themselves right now. They had the Patriots by the throat and the Super Bowl won, only to let it slip from their grasp. I’d like to say that they’ll learn from the experience and finish the job next year, but history tells us that is far from a safe bet.

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