NFL Quarterback Power Rankings

Posted: August 18, 2011 in sports

I’m bored at work.  Every day I spend about 60% of my hours reading about the NFL.  Here’s what’s gathered in my domepiece:

Everyone knows by now, through their own common sense or ESPN and NFL Network’s commonplace media cliches, that the NFL is a “quarterback’s league.”  True fact.  So let’s rank some QBs, shall we?  For the purposes of saving my time, and because I don’t give a hoot about bottom feeders, I’m only going to rank however many I feel the need to rank.  AND BECAUSE IT’S MY DAMN BLOG.  SO I GET TO POWER TRIP.

1st Tier: Asymptotes–You Can’t Touch These Guys

1A and 1B: Tom Brady and Peyton Manning

Invariably the top two quarterbacks in the league.  I just don’t see how anyone can argue otherwise, whether it’s Peyton then Tom, or Tom then Peyton–I consider them equal.  Consistent MVP candidates, record holders, Super Bowl Winners, they have it all.  The difference between the two?

Pure quarterbacking-ly-wise, Peyton is better.  More accurate, better thrower.  Fits balls into the tightest of windows.  But Brady is better in the intangible department.  Unmatched fire, leadership, image, wife, etc.  He’s got that prototypical quarterback image.  You know what I’m talking about, pocket passer, righty, 6’4, wears a nice ever number (12), simple name.  I mean, Tom Brady.  What a quarterback name.  Keep in mind that when I say Manning or Brady is better at something, its by a hair.  These guy’s are neck and neck in my book.

2nd Tier: MVPs

3. Aaron Rodgers

Of Course, the fresh memory of Rodgers hoisting a Lombardi trophy influences the ranking here.  But that doesn’t take away from his incredible skill set.  Also a prototypical QB, (named Aaron Rodgers, wears number 12, righty, etc.) but can run as well–a nice plus.

4. Drew Brees

I’d put him above Rodgers, but to adhere to the fresh memory theme, he’s coming off a season with 22 picks.  He’ll fix that though; he’s one of the most accurate passers in the game.  He’s also a communist–distributes the wealth evenly among his pass catchers.  Not actually a commy though.  If you follow him on Twitter or know his character even just slightly, you know he’s an incredibly outstanding figure.  Don’t forget that it was Brady, Manning, and this guy, that led the charge against the owners during the lockout.  Stand-out human being.

5. Ben Roethlis-whatever

Surprising to see him this high on the list?  I don’t think so.  Accolades up the ying yang for this hamburger guy, and he’s still got a lot left in the tank.  2 Super Bowls, edged out of one last season, and a consistent winner.  Credit the Steeler’s as a team for the Super Bowls (like Brady pre-2006) but he’s a pure winner.  Keeps plays alive for 10-12 seconds, evades heat seaking missiles, and is underrated with the deep throw bombs.

3rd Tier: Elite QBs

6. Phil Rivers

Super Bowl Ring Owner’s Club!  No Phils Allowed.

Aww shucks, that’s the only thing keeping him from the 2nd tier.  4700+ yards last year, 101.8 rating (only behind you know who!) great quarterback.  Kind of a d-bag for playing in San Diego and I don’t like him one bit, but he has that wow factor.  If only Norv Turner could do something with that top ranked offense AND defense…

7. Michael Vick

Why did I bring up the prototypical QB?  Because of Mike Vick.  He’s spectacularly talented and, as everyone says, a “freakish athlete.”  No question.  Two pronged attacked with the AT-4 Heat rocket launcher on the left arm, and the Lamborghini engines on the feet.  But he’s not the quinesssential QB.  In fact, he’s the polar opposite.  Left handed, scrambles a ton, funny looking release of the ball, wear’s number 7 (a prime (non-factorable) number,) wears a visor, last name starts with a V, etc.  I don’t know if I can trust a guy who doesn’t have the image of a QB.  That, and I’d take a defense-reading pick-aparter rather than a speedy playmaker.

8. Matt Ryan

Prototypical.  Pocket passer, even number, right handed, simple name of Matt Ryan, you get it by now.  On the rise and on the way to the 2nd tier.  The addition of Julio Jones should only make him better.  What a shame though, he went to BC.

9. Tony Romo

I love his Romobility.  I love his golf game.  I love his women.  You could call me a Romosexual and I wouldn’t be offended.  But seriously, I understand that the Cowboy’s sucked last year (we’ll get to that at some point, cause they didn’t actually suck) and I understand that the NFL’s evolution is faster than times at Ridgemont High, but lets not forget that he was out almost all of last season.  And the Season before that, he was a Pro-Bowler who turned Miles no-name Austin into a stud, spoiled the Saints’ perfect season and led the Cowboys to their first playoff win since before the founding of Dallas.  And that was all under Wade Phillips.  I mean Wade Phillips.  Does it get any worse?  Now with Dez Bryant maturing into a superstar, and Jason Garrett (whom I really like as their coach,) at the helm, and a fresh start, he should be even better than two seasons ago.  He’ll likely hop up a couple places, but he’s gotta perform first.

10. Mark Sanchez

lol just kidding.  I think it’s hilarious that if he was on the Patriots, he’d be 4th on the depth chart at QB.  I’d realistically put him at like 35 or 40 on this list.

—————————————————————————————–

Well, that’s all I’m ranking for now.  Legends, MVPs, and Elite quarterbacks.  Anyone else is Very Good at best (pointing at you, Schaub, Flacco, Freeman.)

Honorable mentions (or just guys I have something to say about)

Sam Bradford

On the rise.  Would be an MVP some day if he had an Aaron Rodgers type career (learn as a backup from a legend QB for a few years before starting.)  Might still reach that level soon despite being thrown into action so soon.

Kevin Kolb

I’m totally buying this 5 year 63 million dollar contract or whatever it is.  Like the Cowboys, people seem to forget that the Cardinals were a playoff team in 08 and 09.  That Kurt Warner looked like an MVP.  I trust Kolb to figure out that just chucking the ball 50 yards in Larry Fitzgerald’s direction actually does work (see Cardinals’ Super Bowl run.)  Plus, I think Kolb has the talent.  Out of his 7 career starts, he was player of the week twice, with some beautiful deep strikes to DeSean Jackson.  Pretty good thrower.  We’ll just have to see how the season unfolds.

And every other team’s odds are now 0.  I mean the Albert Haynesworth deal was great to see at my soulcrushing job.  It was a pleasure a bright light.  But then I’m hitting a bucket of balls at the driving range, absolutely crushing balls pure and straight, having a blast, and my buddy texts me “PATRIOTS <3.”  So I go to ESPN.com on my phone and instantly needed a change of pants.  Best half hour span ever.  Some of the greatest news I’ve heard in a while from the NFL (lockout lift aside.  let’s just put the entire lockout behind us.)

Have you ever been so happy you can’t control your smile?  like your face muscles just develop a mind of their own and no matter what, you can’t help but show youre teeth?  That was me.  Moving on to practicing my abysmal chipping and decent putting, with my mouth looking like a silhouette of an upward facing banana.  Because at that moment, I knew, that 14-2 last year was nothing compared to what we can do this year.

Haynesworth first.  Great value, an absolute steal for a 2013 fifth rounder.  Not 2012, not a fourth rounder, not a third rounder, but a 2013 fifth rounder.  I mean, who gives a flying blankety blank about a fifth round pick?  Great great deal.   I don’t know how much he’ll play or what packages he’ll play in, but I do know the big dude can make a big difference.  Whether its lining him up at nosetackle and Wilfork at D end, or running a 4 down linemen D with both at nosetackle, a Wilfork-Haynesworth combo would be deadly.  With something probably close to 700lbs, it’s a running team’s nightmare.  Two giant guys just eating up the middle of the fied, relieving linebackers and allowing for them to play more of an edge game and seal those outside plays.

But that probably won’t happen, because most likely, Haynesworth will be a sub and play when the starting line is winded and catching a breath.  Which will also be primo.  He can make drive stopping 3rd down plays and apply some serious blockage on that line, providing consistent D line work, rather than having the first line D line do that plugging, only to have the second line choke up a big play.  A nice addition either way of either going for straight murkage if he plays with Vince, or consistency if he plays as a sub.  Wonderful pickup.

—————

If Ochocinco can’t wear number 85 because TE Aaron Hernandez is already 85, he shouldn’t change his name back to Johnson.  Instead he should keep Ochocinco, not in honor of his number, but in honor of the Patriots’ average points per game.  What a beautiful move by Belichick here, giving up just a fifth and six rounder in 2012 and 2013.  It’s like he swindles the NFL and cheats the system.  In fact, Belichick should probably be arrested for grand theft aging seemingly washed up personality issue NFL player.

I can see this move paying off big time.  Little consequence, even less risk, but huge benefit.  Expected value (EV) for this trade is like +1 billion.  Hashtag I’mAsianandgoodatmath #Twitterhastaughtmetoreadwithoutspaces.  But seriously, Ochocinco fits the Patriot system like a Cinderalla shoe.

 

Here’s why this deal could actually turn out better than the Randy Moss deal:

Moss’ receiving ability had one setting: run a fly route outside the numbers on the field. Snap the ball and run straight. Otherwise, he’s probably one of the worst route runners in the NFL. Think about 07 when he caught 23 touchdowns. How many of them were in the middle of the field? Almost all of them were along the sideline catch where he either circus catches or he’s wide open and streaking because of 10′ long legs and 4.3 speed. Other than the deep threat, he was actually pretty much useless.  Too skinny and brittle to play physically, too wise to run a slant or a drag (give him credit, he’s a smart guy for staying away from injury.)  And it was nice for 1 year, but then Cassel took over for a year, Brady had to still recover in 2009, and by the time last year rolled around Moss had lost a step and wasnt the same. Speed goes with age.

Ochocinco, on the other hand, can utilize the entire field and is one of the BEST route runners in the NFL. If every part of his WR game failed, he would still be wide open. And that doesn’t fade with age. You can’t lose the ability to mentally know where to go because of deteriorating physical ability. Physically maybe he’ll be a little slower, but still astute enough to know how to be open.  In fact, one might ever argue with more experience, he should progress as a route runner. That’s the best part of his game, and that’s the best fit for the Patriots system. The way Bill loves the spread the ball, this is perfect. Like I’ve said before, spectacular play’s (with the exception of 07) is not the Boston way. It’s all about systematic methodology. And now with Moss gone and Ocho in, that’s now one more guy a defense has to be worried about in the middle of the field, which is a nightmare for coverage and matchups. I can’t wait to see what the Pats can do with Ocho and Branch as the end receivers, the Gronkernandez tight ends, and Welker in the slot.  5WR shotgun formations are gonna be killer. Guaranteed open man every play. The way i see it, it wont even matter if the Jets pick up Nnamdi asomugha, because him and Revis are just two people. theyre still going to have to worry about welker and 2 of the linebackers covering hernandez, who is pretty much a WR, and Gronk.  Mismatches left and right.

 

Furthermore, Belichick has had four more years of coaching under his belt.  Let’s be real.  16-0 was great.  Great coaching performance.  But it wasn’t all that challenging–easy to call “X do whatever Y shallow cross Moss go deep” every other play.  But last year was a better coaching year.   14-2 with considerably less talent.  A better system for creating wide open men, relying more on strategy and less on talent.  Over this past half-decade or so, Belichick has really transitioned from a defensive guru to an offensive strategy mastermind as the NFL has morphed into such a quarterback reliant pass happy league.

 

Gonna work out for sure.  By the way, having a computer and desk at work is really convenient and conducive to this blog, but not conducive to me adding pictures and videos and random shit.  Or to my writing, which is suffering because every half a sentence i have to switch away from this and make it look like Im working when my boss walks by.  So bear with the poor structure.  I cant keep a thought. I might just start posting again,  then probably stop when college starts again, of course.

Two and a Half Months

Posted: June 9, 2011 in sports
Tags: , , , ,

March 25 marks the last time I posted anything.  Somewhere between deciding that I don’t wanna take the communications path anymore, being sucked in by the in intrigue of wearing a suit to class and BU’s gorgeous School of Management, and my extreme laziness, I stopped writing.

BU’s School of Management.

I wrote the last post, about the grittiness of hockey, two and a half months ago.  That’s a considerable chunk of time right there.  Two and a half months can cover an entire summer.  It’s enough time to make several grand, or phase a trimester during pregnancy, or turn a puppy into a dog.  But nothing that takes two and a half months is exciting, raw, physical, or intense as the Stanley Cup playoffs.  And after last night’s pure domination by the American based Bruins over the Canadian based Canucks, I just had to write something.  I just have so many emotions!!!!

Vancouver’s team is stacked like pancakes.  So much talent not even a Space Bag could compress and contain it all.  The Canucks boast Sweden’s two best players, the identical Sedin twins (who happen to look identical to aliens as well,) America’s best skater in Ryan Kesler, and Canada’s best goalie (at least during the regular season anyway,) Roberto Luongo.  Skillz that killz spilling all over the place with these guys.  But unfortunately for them, the Stanley Cup is 10% luck, 20% skill, 99% concentrated power of will,  5% pleasure, 50% Canucks in ruins, 100% reason to remember the Bruins.  Because so far, even though the series is tied 2-2 and Vancouver still owns home ice advantage in this now best of 3 games series, the B’s are the better team, and their concentrated power of will is willing away the Canucks.

The martian twins and RoCHOKEo Luongo arrived in Boston sitting on a lofty 2-0 lead.  But game one was won with 18 seconds left, game two on a fluke play in OT.  In terms of level of hockey play, this series was tied 1 a piece; the B’s matched every step the Canucks took.  Then the series arrived in the USA and the Canucks suffered a serious beating.  8-1 in game 3, 4-0 in game 4.  Chara and the D shutting down Vancouver’s potent power play, Thomas and his pads lights out.  On the other end, polar opposite Roberto Luongo getting pulled.  After these last few games, I am supremely confident in the Bruins.  No visible weaknesses–the offense is stepping up, role players are pulling more than their own weight, and Thomas is nothing short of spectacular.  No questions lingering.  Wait no that’s a lie.  I do have one question.  After all the raping the Bruins have dished out to punk bitch Alexandre Burrows, I’m left wondering what’s bigger:  the diameter of Burrow’s asshole, or the diameter of each of the five gaping holes in Lu’s goalie play?

It’s really a toss up at this point.  But one thing’s for sure: both diameter’s are massive, and Burrows deserves it.  In fact, the entire Canucks team deserves to continue to be trainwrecked at the hands of the Bruins.  The squad of dirty players just keeps pulling acts of egregious scumbaggery.  The biting and not receiving a suspension was one thing.  Just a little bloody finger.  Whatever.  Scumbag move, but nothing serious.  Then came the open ice hit on Nathan Horton.  Dirty Dirty hit.  I could have microwaved a bag of popcorn in the time between Horton releasing the puck and Aaron Rome delivering a cheapshot.  And then last night, as if he didn’t learn his lesson, Alexandre (who spells Alexander the wrong way,) Burrows whacks Tim Thomas’ stick.  Good thing Thomas showed that bitch who’s boss.  Because in the physical department, the Canucks can’t go head to head with the Bruins.  They’re trying to beat Boston with Boston’s game.  And I hope they keep trying.

Oh by the way the Sox have won 5 straight and are 5-0 in Yankee Stadium this year.  And lead the AL East and have the third best record in the bigs at 35-26 after that miserable 2-10 start (that’s 33-16 since, for those of you that can’t subtract.)  I guess that’s pretty cool too.

GO BRUINS

Over the past two or three years my opinion regarding hockey has moved from “It’s a silly sport that no one except silly Canadians care about” to “Holy shit, this sport is fucking awesome.”  This year especially, my exponentially increasing fascination with the sport spiked.  Before the start of the current NHL season, I could barely tell you the names of 5 Bruins.  I still don’t consider myself an expert by any means, but I understand a hell of a lot more than I did in September.  A great chunk of credit goes to EA Sports’ NHL 11, which I play way too much, and a great chunk goes to BU hockey; however the lions’ share of credit goes to the fact that hockey is extraordinarily skill oriented, old fashioned, and straight raw.

The skill sets involved with hockey never cease to drop my jaw.  I’d venture to claim that hockey players are the most hand-eye coordinated athletes on the planet.  This conversation includes NFL wideouts and MLB hitters, among other quality stars.  Not to take away from the likes of Larry Fitzgerald and Joe Mauer, but I doubt they could compete with Sidney Crosby or Alex Ovechkin or Pavel Datsyuk.  Take a look at these videos:

I mean talk about some nifty tricks.  Yeah I’ve seen some absurd football catches in my time (football is my favorite sport to watch, after all,) but even those are strictly completed with the hands.  Hockey players use a stick while skating on ice.  Bravo.

I love the old-fashionedness of hockey; you don’t see cheap ass sticks that look like they’re a sword in some nerd’s level 50 wizard staff made from rare elements of the periodic table.  No, hockey sticks are little more than a rectangular stick with a slightly curved head.  They aren’t even ergonomic.  Put it this way: if lacrosse sticks were as old fashioned as hockey sticks, every lax bro would be prancing around in high socks and a polo hat with one of these:

 

and not one of these:

 

Golfers would be practicing proper etiquette with a set of these:

and not these:

 

and Michael Phelps would be competing with Fort Knox for gold supply in one of these:

and not these:

 

Ok you get the point now.  But one more point on equipment tech.  With the influx of sleek and stylish padding, you’d expect players to look like they stole Batman’s suit.  But nope, they look virtually the same as they did 30 years ago.

Here’s a picture of the 1980 USA national team:

and this past Olympics’ 2010 USA team:

Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of puck play is the rawness of the NHL.  What other league allows its players to fight?  That is assuming, of course, that fighting is not the main purpose of the league, like UFC.  I know there’s some nitpicking dweeb who would say that just to find a flaw in what I’m trying to get across.  In what other league do players (Alex Ovechkin, or so I’ve heard) stuff dip between their toes for the rush?  In what other league do players smile and show off an ugly gap?

 

Hockey players don’t prance around cracking jokes with their buddies on other teams.  Hockey players disgust each other.  And it makes for a hell of a show.

Bottom line, hockey needs more publicity than it receives here in the USA.  Last night, the Bruins murdered the Canadiens 7-0 in a game with huge playoff implications.  It was the first meeting between the B’s and Habs since Boston D man Zdeno Chara fucked up Max Pacioretty (skip to 1:00 for good views.)

In such a big game, you’d expect ESPN to at least spend some time covering it, but today at the gym I looked up and it was NFL Live with the topic, “How can the Saints get back to the Super Bowl?”  I mean come on, really?  Like I understand that football has a huge following in America and ESPN is maximizing ratings and trying to make a buck (or several billion,) but the Super Bowl is in like 11 months.  And hell there might not even be a Super Bowl next year.  Kind of annoying to see hockey being snubbed like that.  Cause it’s a great sport.

 

 

 

Oh, one other reason why hockey is awesome:

The players’ names sound so cool.

Pavel Datsyuk

Ovechkin

Tukka Rask

Lucic

Toews (pronounced like Taves)

Lidstrom

Backstrom

Lundqvist (not a typo)

Manny Malhotra

Kovalchuck

Evgeni Malkin

Jerome Iginla

 

Just to name a few, you get the picture.  Just go look up an NHL roster and say some cool sounding words.

 

Oh by the way

Posted: March 17, 2011 in sports

Here’s what my NCAA tourney looks like.  Keep in mind I know next to nothing about college basketball because college sports are filled with amateurs, few of which will make it into a higher quality professional stage.

Skip to the elite 8 cause I don’t really care about the rest and cause I don’t feel like actually filling out a bracket.

OSU vs. Cuse

Duke vs. Kemba WalkerUConn

Kansas vs. ND

Pitt vs. BYU

 

Final Four:

Syracuse vs. Duke

Kansas vs. Pitt

 

Championship:

Duke Vs. Kansas

 

Champion: Duke

 

The purpose of this post is 100% so that if I get something right, I can go “No really, I did call it!  Look at my blog post from St. Patty’s Day!”

Happy St. Patty’s Day!

I’m getting all emotional

Posted: March 16, 2011 in sports
Tags: ,

“If you’re asking me where my heart and where I’m happy is, I love playing with Tom Brady. I love being coached by Bill Belichick,” said former Patriot receiver Randy Moss today.  Props to Moss for summoning the courage to profess this.  Shows what a passionate player he can be and what  a joy New England is to play for.  Not going to lie here, I miss him a lot as a fan.  I miss the get up out of your seat bombs and I miss the ensuing superman that ho type thing celebration.  Most above all else, I miss this:

 

Let’s bring him back New England, lets get some redemption on those foot-licking multiple-women-impregnating felony-charged Jets.  And let’s give Randy the best opportunity to win a Superbowl.

So I’ve been slacking big time…

Posted: March 15, 2011 in sports

But it’s not my fault sports suck balls!  The NFL sucks.  The Celtics suck.  The Bruins suck.  Not my fault!  I have little to zero interest in writing about the lockout, because in all likeliness my eyes’ forecast calls for crying with a chance of moping isolation.  And I don’t want to write about the Celtics because I miss Perk and Nate.  And evidently so do the Celtics (although Krstic is exceeding expectations so far.)  And the B’s?  Winless in the past four games after a seven game win streak that edged them to just two points behind the phucking Philly flyers for first place in the East.  Such a god damn tease.  Honestly, if a team is going to finish second or third in the final standings, don’t throw false hopes out there.  It’s like every non-goal in soccer.  *Gasp* *bigger gasp* *GASP* *BIG ASS GASP* “WHOAAAA!!”  (at this point you’re halfway out of your seat) but then comes the inevitable “awww,” as you sink back into your couch.  The shot sailed 50 feet over the goal.  And the Bruins fail to claim first, only to drop behind the Caps.  Stupid sports.

So while sports are in the shitter, I choose to tough it out and write as little as possible until Boston once again reigns atop the professional realm.  And until the NFL resumes normal football activity.  The only silver lining in this is that BU made the NCAA tourney as a 16 seed.  Now I know what it feels like to be a part of a really complex organized joke.  But a Terrier would rip a Jayhawk to shreds in real life.

The Celtics only cry after winning NBA rings.

 

The Heat cried because they suck too much to:

1. make a game winning shot (they’re shooting 5% when trailing by 2 or fewer with less than 10 seconds left in the game)

2. win at least one game in their past four

3. man the fuck up after losing said four straight and hold back their tears

 

THEY CRIED?!?!  After four losses in a row… in the regular season?!  Seriously, are we talking about grown men here or a bunch of whiny four year old girls that dropped the top scoop of their three scoop ice cream?  Howbout instead of crying and pitying your own second tier basketball squad, you rally around the losses, accept them for what they are, and start balling better?  Charlie Sheen would definitely not consider this winning.  This would not be banging 7 gram rocks and finishing them all.  And how are they gonna react when they can’t win in the playoffs?  Their atrocious against teams with records of .500 or better will inevitably doom them when they have to play ONLY .500 teams or better (unless a sub-.500 team sneaks into the playoffs in the east, which will happen, because the NBA is kinda silly in that sense.)  Now the Heat are notorious for being a big bunch of pussies who lose because not a single ounce of clutch flows through their blood.  Hell, they’re the goddamn antithesis of clutch.  Don’t like the attention?  Too bad, cause Stan Van Gundy said it perfectly, (I know, who woulda ever thought he would say anything perfectly,) “My suggestion would be if you don’t want the scrutiny, you don’t hold a championship celebration before you’ve even practiced together.”

to the 2007 Pats.  Yeah I know, they never existed, but I had to write a memoir for my communications class so naturally I wrote about the Patriots.  Here it is

 

Devastation Is an Understatement

by

Andrew Ju

 

In ten years nobody will remember the 2007 New England Patriots as the perfect regular season team quarterbacked by a single-season record setting Associated Press MVP Tom Brady, who had fifty passing touchdowns that year, twenty-three of those caught by Randy Moss (also a single-season record.)  Fans will remember the squad as the 18-1, ultimately failing to win the Super Bowl, team that came within a minute of a perfect season.  I will still cringe from the feeling a dagger in my heart at the mere utterance of the 2007 Patriots.  In fifty years, the gang will be long lost beneath the history of organizations that actually won the Super Bowl, but I will be explaining to my grandchildren the most painful heartbreak of my life.

It was February 3, 2008—the date of one of the most anticipated Super Bowls in history: the New York Giants battling the 18-0 New England Patriots, on the verge of completing what would be regarded as the most dominating single season ever.  By a mile.  I dragged a black leather lounge seat in front of the television, ready to celebrate a 19-0, history shattering season with my family.  I did not just expect a victory, I expected the Pats to roll over the 13.5 point spread—I thought for sure the Brady Bunch would put up enough points to win by at least two touchdowns.  After all, New England had essentially steamrolled every opponent that season, so my typical Boston sports fandom cockiness was well justified.  While my parents whipped up their own Super Sunday feast, my brother, who was home from his freshman year at Syracuse University, and I gathered around the TV for the pregame show, eating stereotypical Super Bowl food including wings and Doritos, I paused for a minute to ponder the road to Super Bowl XLII in Arizona.

Backtrack to the previous year’s AFC Championship game.  My brother and I watched at our neighbor and close friend Brent’s house.  In the second quarter against the Indianapolis Colts, the Pats jumped out to a seemingly insurmountable 21-3 lead; certainly Bill Belichick’s astounding head coaching abilities would earn Tom Brady, a dismal Canadian Football League quality receiving squad, and the rest of the team a trip to Super Bowl XLI.  Surely enough, the Patriots choked away the lead, relinquishing the lead and the game with just a little over a minute to play.

“We still have a shot,” I thought, “if there is one qualified QB to march down a field in a minute and a half it has to be Captain Clutch, Tom Brady.”  Brady threw an interception.  Before the game clocks even displayed quadruple zeroes, my brother and I stormed out of Brent’s living room, silently back to our house, disregarding the furniture that we had not put back.  Brent and his family understood.

That offseason, during the ensuing annual NFL Draft, I joyously watched the Patriots trade a fourth-round pick for future Hall of Famer, the Freak, Randy Moss.  This steal of a deal bolstered our awful pass-catching group.  Other additions before the 2007 season started included wideout Wes Welker and Adalius Thomas, who would both prove to be key improvements to the team.  “We’re in for a hell of a year; we’re gonna be” I thought, “Unstoppable.”

I remember the 2007 regular season as vividly as any memory contained in my noggin.  The unforgettable season stuck with me so much that I can still recite stat lines from the first time I watched Randy Moss in a New England uniform.  Week 1 was in the Meadowlands against the Jets; a 38-14 victory that yielded numbers of 22/28 completions/attempts for Tom Brady, 297 yards, three touchdowns, no picks.  Randy Moss reeled in nine catches for 183 yards and a deep touchdown strike.  These stats, to most mean absolutely nothing.  But to me, this was the beginning of something special, which is why I will always keep them stored in my brain—it is impossible for me to forget these stats.  Other memorable victories I will always be able to recite off the top of my head include 48-27 of the Cowboys (who ended up an NFC best 13-3 that season,) 49-28 over the Dolphins, 52-7 over the Redskins, 24-20 over the legitimate Super Bowl contender and biggest Patriots threat Colts, and 56-10 over the Bills.  The best part about these decimations?  They occurred in consecutive games—five straight weeks of sports fan euphoria.  I spent time in fandom heaven.

Witnessing the Patriots writing history on live television never lost its novelty—it was impossible to grow tired of hearing “Brady to Moss.”  On weekdays after school I would plop my pompous New England fan butt in front of the television to watch Sportscenter, where I could watch highlights of an unstoppable force deploying its ordnance on inferior teams.  I basked in my Boston glory and chuckled every time I noticed that on ESPN’s “Bottom Line,” where at the bottom of the TV screen they roll news and scores from the sports world, the headline categories would read NFL, NBA, NHL, and Patriots.

The Pats rolled through the regular season a perfect 16-0, and slept through the playoffs, beating the opposition, playing with their left hands tied behind their backs.  Well, at least it seemed to me like that could happen and we would still win.  On to the Super Bowl.

During the Super Bowl’s traditional annual Media Day, opponent New York Giants’ receiver Plaxico Burress predicted a 21-17 victory for the G Men.  Our boy Tom Brady responded with something along the lines of, “17 points?  C’mon, Plax, we haven’t scored that few all season.”  I fully agreed with Brady; I considered Burress’ words to be utter blasphemy—a bunch of nonsense that would render him a complete fool after the game.  But that’s why they play the game.

Back to February 3, 2008; my parents had finished cooking and eating their meal and my brother and I approached stomach-explosion-stuffed-status as we all anticipated kickoff.  I was situated on my cushiony chair, with my brother to my left hogging an entire couch, and my parents behind us in the kitchen.  Trapped in a deep collective food coma, we expected to breeze by the first half.  That didn’t happen.  Possession after possession, the Giants pounded the front line, pressuring Brady and forcing him to rush the ball, resulting in poor decisions and throws.  It was all right though, because the Patriots entered the locker rooms up 7-3.  “We got this in the bag,” I thought, “after all, nobody’s better than Belichick at making halftime adjustments.”

Then I heard something that planted a seed of doubt in my head for the first time all season.  One of the commentators suggested that, “the Giants are right where they wanna be.”

“Oh shit,” was my initial reaction, “what if he’s right?  No team has pressured the Patriots like this all year.  What if this is the single method to stopping those who can’t be stopped?”  Throughout Tom Petty’s halftime performance, I kept convincing myself that the commentator’s words were crazy talk, intended to rile up the audience and cause commotion.  My family and I would have to wait for the second half.

It turned out that whatever second half adjustments Belichick imposed failed.  The Evil Empire’s football team persisted to pressure Brady as I anxiously watched in full-fledged lockdown-focus mode.  My mom could have told me we were moving and I would not have budged.  With time dwindling, the Patriots trailed 10-7.  No points all half, until finally, with a little over two minutes to play in the game, Brady threw a strike between the 8 and 1 of Randy Moss’ jersey on a slant route in the end zone, regaining the lead, 14-10 Pats.  “Moss!” I said, “Yeah!  Hell yeah!”  The way my brother and I were jumping and screaming, we could have registered on the Richter Scale.  I thought for sure this was it, we had done it, our season had culminated in Arizona with an unprecedented 19-0.  “This won’t happen for another decade—no, century!” I thought.

It wouldn’t happen then either.  Everything that could have gone wrong on the ensuing Giant possession did.  The first Super Bowl sealing opportunity came when New York QB Eli Manning threw a botched pass right to Patriot defender Asante Samuel, who is regarded as a premier defensive back.  The pigskin bounced right off Samuel’s hands.

At the time, I made nothing of it, “Psh.  We’re still gonna win.  They have to drive much too far.”

The Patriots soon forced the Giants into a long 3rd down.  As Manning dropped back to pass, the Patriots defensive line swarmed the blockers and engulfed Manning.  In the midst of the moment, I thought this was the season sealing play.  But through dumb luck, Manning escaped the defenders that had nearly downed him and chucked up the ball in hopes that a Giant would be on the other end.

To this day, I cannot stand what happened next—ask me about it and I will tell you I am bitterer about it than anything that’s ever happened to me.  No name scrub receiver David Tyree used his helmet to catch the ball in a play that happens one in a thousand times.

“Oh, shiiiit.  We might actually lose this.  We might actually end up 18-1.”  My family uttered not a single sound over the next few minutes; our hearts raced, our blood rushed, our adrenaline took over.  The G Men soon found themselves hiking the ball a few yards shy from heaven—heaven that would complete the single biggest upset in sports history.  As the players lined up, I noticed 5’9 Patriot cornerback Ellis Hobbs assigned to a 6’5ish Plaxico Burress.

“Get somebody else on him!” I said to myself, “We’re absolutely fucked if Hobbs is man to man with Burress without any help and the Giants throw a fade route!”

The Giants threw a fade.  Hobbs fell down.  Burress caught the winning touchdown with ease with about thirty seconds left to play.  Nobody said anything.  I had lost hope; I did not even consider that thirty seconds was plenty for Tom Brady and the most prolific offense ever to advance the ball into field goal range where we could tie the game.  “This is the end.  We failed.  This season means jack shit in the big scheme of things.”  My family and I watched as Brady and the Pats failed to move the ball anywhere of significance.

I just sat there, staring blankly.  I did not blink; I did not breathe; my heart did not beat.  Statuesque, I sat there with my on my face.  After a few minutes, my dad broke the silence. “That’s sports,” he explained, “you never know.”

These words not only broke the silence—they shattered my disbelief into pieces and injected my blood with rage and anger and every possible F-bomb, A-word, and female dog synonym combination.  I swear I must have come up with new ways to curse.  Storming out of my chair and past the kitchen, I threw my fist straight as a wall as I passed by it.  The wall stood no chance.  I stomped upstairs, fist bloodied, leaving a hole in the wall in my wake.  After slamming my room’s door as hard as my might would allow me to, I went straight to bed.  It surprised me how fast I fell asleep—something took over that instantly put me out of consciousness.

I woke up the next morning to my mom asking me if I was going to school that day.  Wallowing in my own pity and filth, in a sulking voice, I muttered, “No.”  Usually my mom would force me out of my bed, even if I felt sick—she would tell me to take an Advil and suck it up.  In this case, however, she understood.  I was in no mood to be conducting anything of importance or productivity.  I just wanted to mope and sulk in my bed all day, blankly staring at random things, not thinking about anything.  I must have seemed like someone had died, and to be frank, as ridiculous as it sounds, I felt that way.

I dragged my dismal self to school the next day; it turned out that many of my friends shared the same sentiment.  A good chunk of students, like I, rejected the very idea of school on a Monday following the worst defeat we will ever endure.  People from outside New England find difficulty in understanding our relationship with our beloved sports teams.  They say that they have it worse because their teams always lose.  What they do not understand is you expect your team to crush opponents, a tally in the L column hurts more than usual.  A B- mark may bring joy to a C student, but to an A+ student, that same B- agonizes their entire existence.  I’ve tried every tactic when explaining my story to outsiders—analogies, comparisons but no matter how long I drill the mentality of a New England sports fan, they still think half my high school and I are all crazy.  In retrospect, so much for Plaxico’s 21-17 prediction.  17 points would have made victory possible.  So much for “they have much too far to go,” Asante’ Samuel’s interception would have won the season.  So much for 19-0.  February 3, 2008 was not just a Super Bowl loss; it was the killing of the greatest single season sports team ever.  It stole a chunk of my heart that will never be replaced.

 

Umm… Celtics?

Posted: February 24, 2011 in sports
Tags: , , , , , ,

Did I just watch Inception or something?  Cause my confuse-o-meter is going bananas.  What in the hell could the Celtics possibly have been thinking when they traded Perk and Nate for OKC’s Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic?  Nenad who??  Krstic?  How do you even pronounce that?  And dumping Semih Erden and Luke Harangody for a 2nd round pick from the Cavs?  What’s up with that?

Last time I checked, the Celtics own the best record in the East are competing for an NBA title.  And last time I checked, you don’t win NBA titles by shipping off defensively and reboundly (love making up words) proficient players.  Semih had been an up and coming young center, but he’s gone too.  KG can’t play center and neither can Not-Big-Enough-Baby.  That Nenawhatever the fuck (this trade agonizes me so much that I’m not even going to star out my swears anymore.) guy that we traded for is a center who averages 4.4 rebounds per game.  That leaves us with… ABSOLUTELY NOBODY to fill the void at the center position until Shaq returns, and who knows how long he’ll last.  We get it, Danny Ainge, you’re proving you don’t need to compensate, but we still need big guys on the squad!

And you don’t trade the little man that ignites the bench and energizes the team.  Nate was like three packs Duracell batteries dunked in a bunch of shots of 5 Hour Energy, all sake-bombed into cups of Red Bull and Monster.  And the Celtics would drink that shit.  That shit was good.

Who’s gonna jump on Big Baby’s back and wipe his drool?

Who’s gonna flip over Paul Pierce?

This just doesn’t stack up for me.  The Celtics have the best shot at winning a championship this year, before Miami plays more cohesively, before the Amarelo Stoudanthony build yet another evil empire in New York, before the Lakers remember the damage they’re capable of dishing, and most importantly, before our big 3’s bones turn to dust because they’re all senior citizens.  Now that the front office has drastically diminished our chances of making that title run happen, we Celtics fans can no longer expect rings.  I won’t be surprised if we lose in the first round of the playoffs.  The C’s had no need to rebuild either; Perk and Rondo were supposed to be the future of the club.  Now Perk’s gone, leaving Rondo guessing at who his veteran co-leader will be when he has to develop the young guns.  So what in the flying fuck was Danny Ainge thinking?  This better be some secretly brilliant Bill Belichick-Randy Moss-trade type shit.