Monday, January 16, 2006

NUFCED by wikkidpissah

I’m among those who believe pro football to be best enjoyed at home. You can have your facepaint & tailgates - gimme the bigscreen & BarcoLounger anytime. And, the more action to trace, the better. In fact, I think I developed my multitasking football tastes because the Patsies of my youth NEVER sold out in time for the local blackout to be lifted (believe me – the Patriot Nation is about as old as all those post-Soviet nations named Stan), so I was left to watch whatever alternatives the networks coughed up with a Pats-tracking ear on a transistor radio. Yeah, I went to a couple of games as a kid (one at Fenway Park, where they put up a grandstand in front of the Monstah in left field) a few more as a young man when I had a pass to the press box at Schaeffer Stadium (more on that some other time) but I never developed a real taste for it. I even went to Super Bowl X in Miami but, except for Staubach being intercepted in front of me to end the Cowboy comeback, all I remember is a lot of jumping around and a headache from the noise and jostling. So, as you can see, I could be counted among those not a fan of the live football.

Until, that is, I met my late wife’s best friend Shelley and her husband Dave. They had moved back to Dave’s home of Gig Harbor, Washington about the time I met my Mary. Once a year, we’d go up to the Sound to use their neighbors’ Seahawks ticket. Honest to god, when we’d go up on Friday, they were already well into their pre-game excitement mode. Sunday morning, we’d meet half the town in a mini-mall parking lot to board a chartered bus for the 90-minute drive to the concrete behemoth, the upholstered latrine that was the Kingdome to watch Chuck Knox’s crew of Fumblin’ Dave Krieg, Curt Warner, Largent & Co. (including the immortal Mike Tice at TE) ply their wares. Now, here in Albuquerque, we have what is reputed to be the loudest sports venue, the Pit, in the country but, compared to those Kingdome crowds, it’s as quiet as a three-shake trickle. Combine that rollicking acoustic nightmare with some pretty decent play and Seattle being the notorious home of the Wave, and you got yourself a football experience that I imagine can only be beat at Lambeau in January.

Why do I bring this up? Because my wife has been gone for almost a decade, and these ‘Hawkfan moments when Mary would, only then, trade in her spiked heels & martinis for a ballcap & a brew, were among the sweet early moments of our courtship. Which means that those events feel like they occurred in distant centuries of memory, yet they are all more recent than the last Seahawk playoff victory. I couldn’t be happier for the Seattle fans – the match of any I’ve seen – and I hope my old friends Dave & Shelley were there to enjoy it. Aaaah – nostalgia just ain’t what it used to be. Let’s take a look at the action before the officials come in and rule that this is not a column:

SEA 20 WASH 10
Somebody has got to tell Coach Gibbs what century we’re in. He has now completed two years in the modern NFL without realizing or seeing the need to utilize the shifts, receiver groupings or disguised picks that every other freaking coach sees as vital to having any semblance of an offense. Except for his H-back stuff, he’s still using the “you-cut-at-the-second-sewer-and-he’ll-run-down-to-the-phone-pole patterns that have been obsolete for a decade. That, and the lack of a competent second wideout, makes the real Moss’ season that much more impressive...Never been much of a Hass fan, but he looked very Favrish out there (for those who have forgotten, that’s a good thing) in his generalship this week. Add in the return to form of DJax and the ‘Hawks have a lot better chance than I originally thought.

DEN 27 NE 13
So much for that inevitability thing...Brady has been such a machine that it is truly odd to see him look tired and disoriented out there. Of course, swimming upstream against such a raging current of official incompetence will do that to one...I was philosophical about the interference penalty (bothered more by the lateness of the flag than the call). After all, the Pats were due for some karmic retribution for how important to the dynasty have been Ty Law’s many unflagged infractions through the years. But, all I can say about the call on Champ’s fumble (beside it obscuring the fact that his int. & return were only the second best play of the game – wasn’t Watson incredible?) is that I’m glad Isaac Newton is not a football fan, else his gravespinning send the earth off its axis. For those of you unfamiliar with the Second Law of Motion (momentum), let me fill you in. Were Bailey to have dropped the ball straight down from two feet out of the zone running at approximately 18 mph, momentum alone would have carried the ball into the end zone. That means that there would have to be a stark reversal of the direction of the ball to keep it from going through the zone, impossible not only due to Watson’s angle of approach but to Champ’s hip obstructing the only path by which that could have occurred. Class dismissed...Hoping for a blizzard for the Pittsburgh game, aren’t you? Just ain’t the postseason without at least one Weather Bowl.

PGH 21 IND 18
Got rust? Beyond the fact that it has always bothered me when a team puts in a scrub game when families have coughed up good money to see them play, the Colts’ slow start out of the box should convince any for good & all that a team with a playoff bye shouldn’t even THINK of benching their starters til comfortably into week 17. As much as talent and gameplanning, timing & precision are the keys to successful play, and constant live reps are the only way to be sure of keeping that a-going...Whoda thunk when it happened, that Saturday’s interference call would be only the third worst call of the weekend? The league needs not only to reconsider what constitutes possession (much as they redefined the tuck rule) but, also, whether to consider some kind of independent supervision/arbitration to keep calls from having such impact on important games... Holy Pisarcik, Batman - was the Steelers' decision to go for it late as stupid as it gets?... No way do I let P-Man send my punt team off the field. He either calls a timeout or that don’t get done...Another case of the immovable object beating the undeniable force come playoff time...Sorry, Noodles – dunno if this was your first live playoff game, but you deserved better. Now that your boys understand you can’t take time away from kickin’ ass & takin’ names to micromanage scenarios, next year is theirs for sure.

CAR 29 CHI 21
Prop bet of the week: What kind of odds do you think you would have gotten against this game being the highest-scoring of Division Weekend? I really can’t figure it out – the Bears are getting beat up, the only thing worse than their execution is their playcalling. They get a weird, cheap TD toward the end of the half and then it’s like both teams met in the tunnel at the half and said “Wouldn’t it be great if we pretended to be Chiefs vs. Rams the rest of the way.?”...Is Little Stevie Wonder the most exciting player in football? Smitty comes into Chicago and makes the best defense in football look like Bert the Cop trying to handcuff Clarence the Angel in “It’s a Wonderful Life”.

And then there were four. My pre-playoff call was for a Pgh 23 Car 3 Super Bowl. Even I thought it looked kinda stupid when I said it. Aha – stupid like a bank...never mind.

Before I go – this is the last of my columns before our pal Jimed trades in his civilian status to help us secure democracy in the Middle East. Here’s hoping that you never leave Kuwait and come back safe and soon – but not before cashing in with the best floating casino in the Arabian theater. God bless, buddy. Play hard.

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