Friday, December 14, 2007

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly: NFL Primer Week 15

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly is a weekly NFL primer. Nothing is sacred, not the players, not the coaches, and certainly not the betting lines.

The Good: Jaguars at Steelers
I would understand if you don't agree with me that this is a good game this week, in which case you hate football and all that is American. This will be a throwback game to when football was all bout standing toe-to-toe with your opponent and just being stronger than them. Both teams use the exact same gameplan for their success: run the ball, and play great defense. With all the advances in offense and defense, you can go back 50 years, and down in the basic plans of winning games, hall of fame coaches always taught: run the ball, and stop the run - still works today.

The Steelers are coming off a guaranteed victory in which they delivered a suffocating blow to the previously unbeaten team an embarrassing and hopefully humbling loss, and as a Browns fan it was both sad and exciting. For one, it brings us one step closer to losing the division by a mere one game, but on the other hand, I really hoped someone would critically injure Tom Brady so that they lose a game. However which way they want to look at last week's game, the Steelers no doubt will not be yapping their traps anytime soon, because they saw just how far they are from the top. In the last couple of weeks, their offense has struggled to run the ball with the dominating power that was the calling card of the Bill Cower era Steelers. Equally disappointing (for them at least) has been their erratic offensive line play, which has also been the rock of this team for the last decade.

The Jaguars have lost their best defensive player, and a central part of their stopping-the-run gameplan in Marcus Stroud. How this will affect them against a team that has struggled to execute in that area is yet to be seen, but surely it will be an emotional hit. On the other side however, their quarterback (Gerrard) is playing nearly flawless football, and their two-headed running back rotation is producing devastatingly tangible results devoid of injury. So if you like beat-your-face in football, this game is for you. If you think this is boring, go put on a skirt and prance in the lollipop fields of Chocolate la

The Bad: Jets at Patriots
This one, boys and girls, is going to get ugly. Last I saw the line was 24ish, so take take take. Remember Patriotgate? Remember the lack of affinity the head coaches have for eachother? Remember the extremely embarrassing gap in on-field talent? Yeah, you remember all those things if you think the Jets are going to come out with a win, or even be within 25 some points of the Patriots in Foxboro. Need more reasons? How about the fact that NYJ were blown out at home by some 30 points when they last played this Patriots team.

Nothing is standing in the way of history, and of the Fuck You Tour by this Patriots team. Last week they flexed their muscle by soundly beating a team that they might be susceptible to losing to. They came up against the number one ranked defense in the league, punched them in the face, then laughed as their opponent lay on the ground crying and bleeding. They can do whatever they want on defense, and the Jets have neither the players, the scheme, or preparation to stop them or even slow them down. If there ever was a no-chance-in-hell game in the NFL, this has to be it.

The Jets on the other hand are going to come into this game for about a series or two of real effort. Once they realize how much they suck, and how much better the Patriots are in cold, snowy conditions they're going to shut it down. Why the hell would they want to be injured in some meaningless game for both teams late in the season? The Jets aren't going anywhere except the top of the draft board, ironically where they will see their nemesis. This will be payback by Bill and his players. Payback to Mangini for leaving, payback to Mangini for cheating, and payback for having no honor among thieves.

The Ugly: Bobby Petrino
I don't like Bobby Petrino, and I tried to make this abundantly clear. But for anyone who missed it, I don't like this greasy coaching robot, and he should go back to selling cars. I just summarized that entire post for you. I thought this situation was over when Arthur Blank came on the air, and in uncertain terms wanted to forget this era of betrayal, and I respect that kind of view. In fact, I feel so bad for Arty that he's come out of this looking like a sad old chap who's been beaten in the nuts too many times. And this year he has.

However, I can't let this Bobby Petrino thing go without addressing at least part of what I heard later that day. When I was driving home from work and listening to local sports radio, one of the announcers was protecting Petrino. This man should be taken off the radio immediately. To be fair, he wasn't defending Petrino's entire life, which has been marked by the stench of door-to-door salesmen etiquette, but more just this specific act. He was saying that he did the Falcons a favor by leaving, because he certainly didn't want to be there either professionally or personally. This point I can somewhat understand. But it's completely ignorant to focus on just the last day of his Falcons tenure to defend this man. If he had done it once, it's something that goes by the wayside, but this is the way he's conducted himself throughout his coaching career at Louisville, Atlanta, and without a doubt in Arkansas. I sincerely hoping this radio personality was just playing the devil's advocate for ratings' sake.

Here's what Petrino did: he quit on his team after lying to their faces. He didn't go through even one (be it difficult) season in Atlanta after preaching to his players to finish each game, finish the season, and never give up. His heart lies with Arkansas? Really? Did his heart lie with the Oakland Raiders or Auburn, or Atlanta (ha!) while he was at Louisville? I'm sorry, I don't have a shred of pity for this man. We all have jobs that we don't enjoy, we all have bad days, bad weeks and tough projects. But guess what? We're not getting paid nearly five million a year for doing these shitty jobs, we get paid enough to make our lives go. For five million I'd suck it up and take any kind of punishment Petrino takes on a daily basis. I would live through the criticism. It's a disgrace and insult to the general public that a person gets any kind pity. A guy that left a robotic letter of his absence in the players' lockers after dictating said letter over the telephone should be the media punching bag for years to come. Milloy had it right when he crossed out Petrino's name and in its place wrote "COWARD." Why would you want this slime to have anything to do with your program?

Petrino Bails. The hell you say! [We Suck at Sports]

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