Axis of Right

Three Native Rhode Islanders Commenting From the Right on Politics and Anything Else

Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category

Tom Brady is Hurt

Posted by Ryan on September 7, 2008

I’m sure all of you with Tom Brady on your fantasy teams were hoping for more than one quarter out of the two-time Super Bowl MVP and the man who holds the single-season touchdown record for quarterbacks at 50, but football is a contact sport and people get hurt.  But why did it have to be the Golden Boy, Tom Brady! 

After completing a pass to Randy Moss, Brady’s leg was hit, apparently tearing his ACL.  If this turns out to be true (Belichick can be quiet about these things), then it’s a season-ending injury.  However, it could be smoke-in-mirrors; a slight sprain or bruise that could take a week or two to shake off.  Or maybe not.  We won’t know until later this week.

Regardless, now it’s time for Matt Cassel to step up.  The Patriots defeated the Kansas City Chiefs 17-10 with Cassel in most of the game, but the Chiefs aren’t that good.  The New York Jets are better, and so are the Buffalo Bills in the AFC East.  With thoughts of Super Bowl revenge melting away, I hope Matt Cassel can be a more than adequate substitute and keep the Pats competitive this year should the worst be true of Brady’s injury.

UPDATE: It’s true — a season-ending injury.  Alas!  I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the New York Jets early on their first win of the AFC East since the 2002 season (grumble grumble).

AP photo.

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Didn’t Like the Call? Just Kick the Judge!

Posted by Ryan on August 24, 2008

The latest controversy to arise out of Beijing deals with when Cuban Angel Matos disagreed with a judge’s enforcement of the rules during a tae-kwon-do medal round against Kazakhstan and decided to kick the judge in the face, spit on the mat and leave the arena. 

Here’s why Matos was mad:  He was up 3-2, but needed to take a time-out.  You get one minute for each time-out.  He took longer than one minute to gather himself.  He was disqualified.  It’s something like complaining that you don’t get 11 seconds to get up in boxing.  OK, but the rules say something different.  While Matos was ahead in the match, his extra-time would have been an unfair advantage.  While close, the rules are the rules and were set forth before you showed up. 

Get mad, or whatever, but striking a judge (en francais)?  This ain’t the mean streets of Havana; this is the authoritarian oligarchical dictatorship of China hosting the Olympic games! 

True class from our communist friends in the Caribbean!  Matos and his coach have been officially banned for life from all World TKD Federation [or appropriately the “WTF”!] events and his performances will be nullified.  I think he should also be charged criminally for assault and battery.

AP photo.

Posted in International Relations, Sports | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Sweet “Sixteen”?

Posted by Ryan on August 14, 2008

I’ve been watching some of the Olympic coverage on part of Obama’s media network, NBC.  All the human interest stories make me puke so I tend to flip around between “Family Guy” reruns and “Hannity and Colmes” before finally settling on the Olympics, which had the US Women’s Gymnastics team going up against China and Russia the other night.  So I watched.

Now, we have some young-looking girls on our team (Shawn Johnson, for example, looks about 12, but is really 16).  So I heard with interest that one has to be at least 16 during the year the Olympics take place in order to compete.  OK, teaching 16 year olds, I know some look very young, but when the Chinese girls got up there I was absolutely shocked that they weren’t all 13. 

Well, some of them might be!

One girl was actually listed as 13 last year.  Suddenly, when pressed, her new birthday is January 1, 1992, making her 16 years old this year!  I didn’t know China was such an amazing place that time had special rules!  In reality, our team should have performed better (obviously having more experience than some of their opponents).  But, it is a legitimate gripe — if China cheated, they should face the consequences.

AP photo.

Posted in International Relations, Sports, tyranny | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

NFL’s New Rules for 2008

Posted by Ryan on August 13, 2008

NFL.com is reporting that a few rule changes discussed in March will indeed be going into effect next season.  Among them, I liked these two: 

  1. They are getting rid of the “force out” rule — one has to honestly make the catch and come down with it in-bounds, regardless of whether the defense has knocked you out, allegedly before you had a chance to come down in-bounds.  I agree with the NFL that this rule is not consistently enforced as it has both helped and hurt every team.
  2. Also, they are not penalizing “incidental” facemasks like they did last year.  Every team has been a victim of this rule more than a few times each season.

However, there were no new rules involving handling the quarterback.  Brushing against this player can cost a team 10-15 yards!  Football is still a contact sport last time I checked and quarterbacks and the NFL needs to accept this.  However, the NFL still coddles those in this position, even though the hits quarterbacks get are not consistently called either.

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Brett Favre and the New York Jets

Posted by Ryan on August 7, 2008

Trading in the green-and-gold for a certainly less shiny green-and-white, the Green Bay Packers have ended all this pre-season Favre silliness by finally trading the future Hall-of-Famer to the New York Jets for a “conditional” fourth-round draft pick

But, here are some other conditions from NFL.com:

“The pick turns into a third-round selection if Favre plays in 50 percent of the plays this season, a second-rounder if he plays in 70 percent of the plays and the Jets qualify for the playoffs, and a first-round pick if he plays in 80 percent of the plays and Jets make it to the Super Bowl.”

Now here’s the real gold-mine for the Packers:

“Not only did the Packers block the Vikings from trading for Favre, but they also have done the same to every team in the NFC North…. If the Jets were to trade Favre to any NFC North team, they would have to give Green Bay three No. 1 picks. And Green Bay didn’t even stop there. The trade also includes provisions preventing a trade to another team if they were to trade him to the NFC North.”

My head is spinning a little bit on all the details, but one thing is clear from this Patriot’s fan point of view:  playing the Jets won’t be two automatic W’s this season. This also means that two controversies are being quelled for the price of one as Pennington gets officially released at 4pm today.  I give Favre a few months to learn the system, making the Jets potential trouble down the stretch.  They’ll definitely improve on their 4-12 record last season.

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Where O Where will Dick Cheney Be?

Posted by Ryan on August 5, 2008

Word is buzzing that Dick Cheney may not be invited to speak at the Republican National Convention.  A sitting two-term Vice President has never been snubbed by the incumbent party’s convention that I can think of in modern times.  I know that if Cheney doesn’t go it’ll be spun as his “choice” to help McCain, but McCain’s people are probably spearheading the effort to snub him — McCain’s camp has not seemed to care about Conservative sympathies anyway.

Regardless, I know the McCain people are iffy about having the divisive liberal lightning rod, Dick Cheney, speak at the Convention, but c’mon! 

I suggest giving Cheney a spot introducing McCain on September 4!  I mean, no one is going to watch McCain’s acceptance speech since most Americans watching TV that night will catch the opening game of the 2008 NFL season as division rivals Washington Redskins play the Super Bowl Champion New York Giants instead! 

At this rate, I may be watching football too.

Posted in Election 2008, Media Bias, Politics, Sports | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

What to do with Manny Ramirez?

Posted by Ryan on July 27, 2008

The Boston Red Sox have a problem:  Manny Ramirez is a great player, just not a great team player.  Lately he’s been verbally and physically confrontational with his team and staff and the management have been equally vocal about Ramirez’s behavior.  He even missed Game 1 in their latest series against the New York Yankees, showing up to the game where the Yanks piled on 10-3.  It seemed like all the chatter (when A-Rod wasn’t getting hit — not cool by the way) was about Manny and his future.  More to come in tonight’s game.

Why not just trade him?  Well, he’s pretty good although routinely goes through mid-season meltdowns like clockwork, and other teams are wise to the fact that Manny’s going to act like this where ever he ends up.  Some have offered suggestions, but mostly every conversation goes in circles — if he leaves, no one will pay him what the Sox have paid him, so he’s apt to stay.  Whatever the outcome, with a tight AL East this season, the early favored BoSox could easily end up in third behind the surprising Tampa Bay Rays and resurgent and lately dominant Yankees.

Pic from the Red Sox Times.

Posted in Sports | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Favre’s Impending Return

Posted by Ryan on July 26, 2008

Is anyone else getting sick of all this?  I remember at the end the last NFL season, the great Brett Favre finally retired.  Everyone was nostalgic, some even perplexed since he obviously still had talent, even I here at AOR provided a glowing post as a career epitaph for a man who always looked like he was having fun out there.

Now all this:  Is he coming back? Yes, but where will he end up?  What do the Packers have to say about this?  What about Aaron Rodgers who’s been training to take over Favre’s position for months? Will Favre end up on the Vikings? Bucs? Or even the Jets?  No no no, he’s back at the Packers… for now, unless traded.

I love Brett Favre the player, but he’s definitely the bad guy in all of this.  He should have waited a few months before announcing his retirement earlier this year and getting everyone in such a frenzy. 

AP photo.

Posted in Pop Culture, Sports | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Nadal Defeats Federer: A Wimbledon Classic

Posted by Ryan on July 7, 2008

Roger Federer is the best male tennis player in the world in my opinion.  Watching him play is like watching an artist paint a great work.  He has recently won five consecutive Wimbledon Championships before being defeated in a dramatic fashion by the young clay wizard, Rafael Nadal yesterday [6-4, 6-4, 6-7 (5-7), 6-7 (8-10), 9-7]. 

Some believe the match was the best they’ve seen in a generation, or ever!  The defending champ was down 2-0 (one set from a sweep) and tied it 2-2 before finally losing to Nadal (in tennis’ version of overtime) 9-7 in the fifth and final set.  Purely great, exciting tennis.  Here are some clips:

Some think that Federer is past his prime since he’s been losing more matches than usual lately.  He has been so dominant lately on every surface except clay, that it would be difficult for him to maintain this level of excellence!  I still think he’s the best out there, but Nadal has been his nemesis lately, and finally beat him at Wimbledon.  Good for Nadal, great for the game of tennis!

Posted in Culture, Europe, Sports | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Wasting Money Telling People About Cleaning up After the Wasted

Posted by Mike on July 1, 2008

One thing that bothers me even more than wasteful government programs is the way government often wastes money advertising wasteful government programs. Actually, what really bothers me is being caught off guard by a photo of an oversized vomiting sea cow. Thankfully this masterpiece advertising the fact that government will clean up your puddle of yack was funded by our British friends’ hard earned tax funds and not ours. Small comfort to those of us who, um, enjoyed that photo for free.

On a lighter note, if there is any truth to what was implied by today’s rumor, then this hag would be one heck of a step up for Alex Rodriguez.

Posted in Anything Else, Culture, Europe, Politics, Pop Culture, Sports, UK Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Boston Celtics Win 17th NBA World Championship

Posted by Mike on June 17, 2008

The basketball world was restored to normal earlier tonight when the Boston Celtics crushed the hated Los Angeles Lakers 131-92 to win their record 17th NBA World Championship. These finals were special for the three authors of this website as we grew up in New England watching our Celtics battle with the Lakers for the title almost every year. It is even more special for the generation before us who witnessed the Celtics not only battling for the title every year, but winning it. Heck, the Celtics eightpeated from 1959-1966.

Unfortunately the last two decades have not been nearly as kind to Celtics fans. After winning the Championship in 1986, the Celtics future superstar, Len Bias, died of a cocaine overdose days after being drafted. The following year, the Celtics fell to the Lakers in the finals. Then came the the sharp and rapid decline into mediocrity. There were some playoff appearances during that time, but never any real hope. What was almost as painful was witnessing the rival Lakers win Championships while our team was on the sidelines. The last two decades have not been easy.

Tonight, the wait is over and basketball is the way it ought to be. The Celtics are on top of the world, and they got there by humiliating the Lakers.

For the next week, our site will be green in honor of the Champions.

Reuters photo

Posted in Sports | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

Michael Strahan Goes Out On Top

Posted by Ryan on June 9, 2008

Famous New York Giants Defensive End Michael Strahan decided to retire after fifteen straight seasons, seven of which were Pro Bowl seasons.  After winning his first Super Bowl title after being an important part of the Giant’s victory over the New England Patriots.

I liked Michael Strahan.  He was a great player and had a sense of humor that translated well to advertising and public relations.  He was one of the few high-profile members of NY Giants who I actually liked.  Plus, like John Elway, he’s decided to retire while on top, not after a series of failed seasons.  Ultimately, if you can do it, this way is the better way to go.

AP photo.

Posted in Sports | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Boston Red Sox BaseBrawl

Posted by Ryan on June 6, 2008

While the Boston Celtics won an exciting Game 1 NBA Finals victory over the LA Lakers last night 98-88, the big game was not the only one in town that has generated some news.

During the Boston Red Sox game against the upstart Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays last night, the BoSox Center Fielder Coco Crisp (I think I used to have that for breakfast as a kid) was struck by an errant pitch from the Rays’ James Shields, causing Coco to charge the mound and the dugouts to empty.  The ensuing brawl got three players ejected.

Brawls are not unusual in baseball from time to time, but when later in the game (an eventual 7-1 rout of the Rays to put the BoSox at the head of the division) Manny Ramirez struck Kevin Youkilis in the dugout!  What’s going on over in Beantown?  You guys are in first!  Relax, you’re playing until September at least.

Posted in Sports | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

A Celtics vs. Lakers Final

Posted by Ryan on May 30, 2008

Tonight, the Boston Celtics defeated the Detroit Pistons 89-81 in Game Six of the NBA’s Eastern Conference Championship game.  The Celts will now play for the NBA Championship for the first time in 21 years (that was 1987 for those of you with a public school education).  The kicker is who they are playing: the Los Angeles Lakers! 

Whoa…  I can’t believe it!  Where am I? Or more importantly, when am I?

If there ever was a classic NBA match-up to bring many old fans back, this is it.  I count myself in that category.  The NBA has been very unexciting to me since Michael Jordan finally retired.  I was mainly rooting against the Chicago Bulls back then, but Jordan was something special to watch and the Celts weren’t very good.  Just last year the Celts only won 24 games (this year they had a league-leading 66 wins!).

In fact, Boston fans haven’t had much reason to cheer for the Celtics over most of the last two decades because they have pretty much have stunk.  Hence, my interest in pro-basketball has waned considerably, replaced by a renewed interest in Big East College Basketball instead (Go Friars!).  However, a chance to see the Celts play their storied rival, the LA Lakers for the NBA Championship next week is just plain awesome!  I’ll watch every game and bask in all the history the commentators will relish in!

AP photo.

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The Bionic Man Competeth

Posted by Ryan on May 16, 2008

Oscar Pistorius, a man who needed part of his legs amputated as a young child, has been cleared by the IAAF to compete in the Beijing Olympics.  This point is controversial because some believe that his prosthetic limbs could indicate an unfair advantage against non-bionic opponents, and the “Paralympics” is an existing competitive body for those like Pistorius.

I’ll be honest:  I’d love to see this guy compete out of curiosity.  Prosthetic technology has innovated leaps and bounds (no pun intended) over the last decade.  What if Oscar defeats his opponents by a wide margin?  Will fairness be an issue?  Will some crazy competitive psycho lop his own legs off to gain a competitive advantage, if an advantage is shown to exist, for the 2012 games?  Um… probably not, but Oscar will get the chance to shine (or at least compete) in Beijing. 

I’m rooting for him!

Daily Mail UK photo.

Posted in Anything Else, Sports | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Matt Walsh and Spygate

Posted by Ryan on May 13, 2008

The former New England Patriots’ scout, Matt Walsh, handed over eight more tapes related to the Spygate scandal which followed the Pats near-perfect run last season, leading to that karmic smackdown called Super Bowl XLII. 

As a wounded Patriots fan, more tapes mean more pain, however I was elated to hear that no Super Bowl tapes were part of Walsh’s collection.  That would have permanently tainted the Brady-era for myself, most sensible fans and foes.   

I’d like to think that all of this is mostly behind us now as a dark moment in Pats history, but every single game played in New York is going to have spirited chants mocking the Pats, from easy ones like “Cheaters Never Win” to “18-1” to a host of other things I’m sure that Jets fans will concoct.

Kurt Snible cartoon from ESPN.com.

Posted in Culture, Sports | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship

Posted by Ryan on April 7, 2008

I have no horse in this race since my brackets had UNC winning the whole thing.  Ugh.  It was a great ride, though. I’ve never been in this late in my office bracket-pool!

In about five minutes, Memphis and Kansas will battle for the championship.  I had faith that Kansas would blow it like they always do in the semis, but they didn’t.  So, to set karma straight, I’m rooting for Kansas tonight.  If they win, all is well.  If they lose, I got yet another signal from the Almighty that I shouldn’t gamble!

UPDATEKansas wins 75-68 over Memphis!

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Just Another Day in Jersey

Posted by Ryan on April 1, 2008

Here are a few tidbits from the Garden State on this very slow news day:

Truckers, looking for vengeance due to high diesel prices, take it out on (where else!) the New Jersey Turnpike by stalling traffic in one of the nation’s busiest corridors.  Tax and cut Governor Jon Corzine was not present to extract extra tolls from the truckers (I heard there were seat-belt issues involved).

A New Jersey Mathematician at NJIT has figured out a mundane way to pick winning baseball teams… yet, on this kind of news day, this is good stuff: pick the obvious teams and have a disclaimer that pitching, rookies and other intangibles may affect the outcome…  so, when can we go to Vegas with this guy?

Another buzz around town happens to be about a new book which just hit the shelves of my local Barnes and Nobles, called The Soprano State: New Jersey’s Culture of Corruption, which cites (of all things) corruption at the very heart of New Jersey politics!  Oh my! 

And by the way, 84 year old New Jersey Senator Democrat Frank Lautenberg has decided to run for reelection this year!  I can’t wait for Jon Corzine to make his first age crack at McCain (a whopping 13 years younger than Lautenberg).  I wouldn’t put it passed Corzine, who might just have the Legislature levy a “speaking about McCain” tax to ease the property tax burden. 

Corzine, who can’t raise taxes quick enough on every little thing he can imagine, is under threat of a laudable, if ultimately laughable, recall effort — the folks at the center of the recall consider themselves “Whigs” to boot!  Nice.

Sometimes one just has to sit back, exhale, and think: wow, I love this state!

AP photo.

Posted in Anything Else, Culture, Election 2008, Politics, Sports | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

NCAA Men’s Final Four is Set

Posted by Ryan on March 30, 2008

So, how’s your bracket (pdf)?

One of things I’ve learned the hard way over the years is that never before have four #1 seeds ever met together in one season’s Final Four.  In the last eight years I’ve had two brackets where #1 seeds make the Final Four (granted I was very new at the whole thing).  I was told by wise people to never have one’s Final Four be all #1 seeds.  I heeded that wisdom for years and it served me well.

Bit me in the rear-end this year!  UNC and UCLA were a good picks for their region, but Kansas blows it every year so they won’t make it, while Memphis just can’t keep this going, coming from the wimpy Conference USA.  Logical, but picks against my gut:  Memphis looks like an NBA team and Kansas actually seemed like they got their stuff together this season.

Ugh.  UNC, UCLA, Memphis and Kansas are in — all #1 seeds… tailor-made for the newbie who never heard the ancient conventional wisdom and just went with the frontrunners on their way to winning lots of office cash! 

So, my brackets are pretty feeble this year.  My Final Four was UNC v. Georgetown and UCLA v. Texas.  In my office pool this almost means complete elimination from the competition, unless North Carolina wins the whole thing like I hope they do!

AP photo.

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Here We Go: Red Sox v. Yankees

Posted by Ryan on March 26, 2008

The first sign of Spring in America 

New York Yankee’s Co-Owner Hank Steinbrenner: “Red Sox Nation? What a bunch of (expletive) that is….  Go anywhere in America and you won’t see Red Sox hats and jackets, you’ll see Yankee hats and jackets. This is a Yankee country. We’re going to put the Yankees back on top and restore the universe to order.”

Associated Press Sports Writer Ian O’Connor: “The Red Sox have become the Yankees, and the Yankees have become the Red Sox, and Hank and [Joe] Girardi [the Yankee’s new manager] will have a hell of a time reversing the damage…. George Steinbrenner always thought a transition period was the time spent between the last out of October and the ceremony at city hall, and [Joe] Torre readily accepted that term of engagement.   Now Hank and his manager confront a bigger obstacle on their way back to a ticker-tape rain. These days, the only team worthy of being called an evil empire is based 200 miles north of the Bronx.”

So it begins, 2008-style.

Posted in Sports | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Brett Favre to Retire

Posted by Ryan on March 5, 2008

News came yesterday that Green Bay Packers Quarterback Brett Favre will retire after 17 years in the NFL. 

I loved watching Brett Favre play and even though rumors of an impending retirement have been around for years, it always seemed like he would come back again next year to play for the storied NFL franchise in Green Bay.  He and his talented group of players came just one drive shy of getting back to the Super Bowl for the first time this decade.  One pick and the Giants kicked a field goal, ending the season for Green Bay. 

I’d hate to think that Favre’s last play will be an intercepted pass, but I think his tenacity, passion for the game, his victory in Super Bowl XXXI, and the love he demonstrated for the game on a weekly basis will erase that moment and cement Favre as one of the best of all time. 

NFL.com photo.

Posted in Sports | 3 Comments »

A Super Bowl Massacre?

Posted by Ryan on February 7, 2008

A 35-year-old Tempe man, Kurt William Havelock, lost his bid to get a liquor license from the Tempe City Council.  So, he planned on taking an assault rifle to the nearby Super Bowl and plugging 200 rounds into the fans!  He even wrote a manifesto!

Security was very tight getting into the game, but the parking lots had a few traffic cops and some people waving orange batons to direct traffic.  Without a change of heart at the last minute, my Super Bowl experience and the experience of many others may have been very very different.

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My Super Bowl Hangover

Posted by Ryan on February 6, 2008

I did have a great time at the Super Bowl and in the Phoenix Area, even though the Pats were essentially out-played and out-coached by the 12-point underdog Giants.  I guess being in 4 of the last 8 Super Bowls and winning three of those makes Sunday’s 30-second loss to the Giants not necessarily as depressing as it could have been. 

To their credit the Giants ate up the clock, kept the game close, and gave it to their offense for one last game winning drive… and they pulled it off.  After my initial melancholy wore off, I did congratulate those around me (that, or get my ass kicked!). 

It was a great game. 

Don’t get me wrong– I’m mad as hell, but being there and losing 17-14 in the last minute rather than a blow out, ridiculous penalty or special teams play determining the outcome was at least somewhat comforting: it was an honest beating.  If the Pats had to lose, at least it was with some dignity.  31-14 would have brought me to tears;  17-14 just got me angry and frustrated.  

The worst part wasn’t the cussing from the smug Giants fans, it wasn’t the initial shock of the how the potentially best season in NFL history ended with a thud, rather it was facing the schleps at work today.  It was funny:  those who didn’t even know who the Giants were seven months ago were the most obnoxious.  Then there were the tongue-and-cheek condolences. Yet, those who could appreciate the 18-year wait for the Giants to win another Super Bowl also appreciated the nature of the victory and were nervous until the very end.  That’s what it felt like in the stands:  there was a sense that the game wasn’t over until it was absolutely over.  The Giants fans’ elation was muted until that end and exhaustion was on everyone’s face.  This was a battle and they knew it too. 

It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience and I had a great time in the Phoenix-Glendale-Scottsdale area.  The most bitter moment was at the end of the trek.  Driving home from Newark Liberty Airport (quite possibly the worst airport in the developed world) I needed to take Exit 9 off of the NJ Turnpike.  The sign read:

Exit 9

Rutgers University

Shore Resorts

Seems simple enough.  But the exit leads to two particular routes around Jersey:

Rtes 18 and 1

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Cheaters Never Win: New York Giants Win Super Bowl XLII

Posted by Mike on February 3, 2008

This New York Jets fan is proud to congratulate the New York Giants for winning Super Bowl XLII 17-14 over the New England Patriots Cheaters and removing the stain that tarnished this season and threatened to remain on the record books forever.

By stopping the Patriots, the Giants showed that although cheating can seemingly give one an upper hand, bring short-term success, and even make the guilty seem unstoppable, at the end of the day, cheaters never win. Thanks to the Giants, we can now say that the best team in football actually earned it, the 1972 Miami Dolphins do not have to share their place in history with a pack of cheaters, and those who play by the rules accomplish far more than those whose cheat ever could, even if they do get away with it on occasion.

Congratulations to the G-Men and their fans. Tonight, the Giants won on behalf of all those who came before them who wouldn’t even think of doing what the Patriots had the nerve to do. That kind of victory is even more impressive than winning a football game, even the biggest game of the year on the grandest stage of them all. Well done!

Reuters photo

Posted in Sports | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Super Bowl XLII

Posted by Ryan on February 2, 2008

As it turns out, I’m actually going to Super Bowl XLII!  The plane leaves wicked early tomorrow morning, but whatever… I’m gonna see the New England Patriots (18-0) take on the underdog New York Giants (13-6) and that’s absolutely worth the hassle and the cost!  If Pats win there’s the 19-0 historical season, and if the Giants win they will have thwarted the Pats and be in the NFL history books as well! 

And I’m going to be there. Woo hoo!!!

As it turns out, I’m going with a long-time Giants fan.  We have an agreement on trash-talking and peace should be kept throughout the experience.  Because of the trip, I will not return from Arizona until Super Tuesday, so I will be absent from AOR for a while.

Here in Jersey you’d get the impression that the Giants are the only ones who are even going to play in the Big Game:  Michael Strahan is going to “show-up,” Brady’s hurt and will be sacked all game,  Eli’s playing like a God lately, Plaxico predicted a 23-17 Giants win so it must be so, the Giants all wore black as they got off the plane this week to mourn the death of the Patriot’s Dynasty, the Giants have a “running game,” blah blah blah.  The Pats, I guess are only 18-0, playing in a better Conference and defeating arguably better teams than the Giants in the playoffs to be here.  Whatever.

So I have asked many trash-talking Giants’ fans a simple question:  Could you give me a logical, stat-based explanation on how the Giants will win this game? 

I usually get “the Giants are hotter right now” as a response.  One has to admit that the Giants sure are spirited, but that’s probably because this Super Bowl-thing is kind of new to them.  That’s why they play the game. Belichick and the Pats know that every team who has trash-talked the Pats has lost this year.  Either way, even if the Giants play a better game, remember (as Mike and commenter Chris love to point out) the Patriots cheat! 

So there you have it:  if the Patriot’s talent, experience, better coaching, and healthier squad doesn’t do it, they’ll “cheat” anyway.  I have the Pats winning by three, because for some reason they always win the Big Game by three in recent years.  Let’s say 31-28 Pats.

NFL.com logo.

Posted in Anything Else, Sports | 3 Comments »

It’s Official: Pats v. Giants in Super Bowl XLII

Posted by Ryan on January 20, 2008

The NFL’s two Conference Championship games were held today and as usual, the one that the Pats weren’t playing in was more exciting.

The first contest pitted the San Diego Chargers against the New England Patriots.  Though a pretty sloppy game, the Pats won 21-12 to be the first team in NFL history to go 18-0 in one season. It was their fourth AFC Championship in seven years and the fifth time they’ve played in it in seven seasons.

The late game had the New York Giants playing an Ice Bowl at -4 degrees (-24 windchill) against the Packers in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  The game was tight given the rough conditions, but the Giants pulled it off in overtime 23-20.

So, it’s my home team against the local team in Super Bowl XLII on Sunday, February 3, 2008.  Given what I’ve seen and experienced in my lifetime, I will be on the record taking the Pats by 3 points which was the margin of each of the three Super Bowl’s that they have won over the last seven years: 20-17, 32-29, 24-21 respectively. 

It should be a good game and I’ll have more analysis and thoughts on this as the Super Bowl approaches in two weeks.  While playing their best football on the road, the Giants’ 10-game road winning streak will probably end much like the Chargers and the Jaguars’ various streaks, or the mighty Cowboys and Colts (whose first losses were both to New England this season).  But, I do think the game will be very competitive, more so than last year’s Super Bowl.  Plus, don’t forget the potential for history as the Pats strive for the first 19-0 season ever!

Pic from the Slimes.

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Randy Moss in the Crosshairs

Posted by Ryan on January 16, 2008

Famed New England Patriots wide receiver Randy Moss has an “order of protection” slapped against him from an alleged altercation with a woman in Florida on January 6.  Moss is set to go to court on January 28, which happens to be the Monday before the Super Bowl if the Pats win this weekend at home against the underdog San Diego Chargers.

This has to be a major distraction for Moss, whose record-breaking 23 touchdown passes this season was followed up by a 1 catch night last Saturday in their game against the Jaguars.  Could it have been the triple coverage or something on his mind?  It’s hard to say.  He must have known about this before today.  The Pats don’t need any more motivation to win Sunday, but rallying around their teammate, who has truly turned over a new leaf this year, is sure to get them psyched for the game.

After it’s all said and done, however, Moss has not been charged with anything yet.  The woman in question has asked for payments of “six figures” due to the allegation, whose details have yet to be made public.  Sounds really fishy, but one never knows these days.  One thing is certain:  this will distract the Pats’ locker room going into Sunday’s Championship game.  It’s too bad the story of the game will be about Moss’ off-the-field behavior and not the on-the-field efforts every player.

AP photo.

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New Hampshire Debates Tonight

Posted by Ryan on January 5, 2008

Chalk one up to bad planning!  Both the Democrats and the Republicans are having a debate tonight, at St. Anselm College outside Manchester, New Hampshire.  The Republicans go first at 7pm then the Dems square off at 8:30pm, on the same exact stage (I wonder which Dem is more likely to pull a Hugo Chavez and make a comment about the smell of sulfur). 

So, what’s the big deal? 

#1:  It’s Saturday night.  

#2:  An NFC and AFC Wildcard playoff game will be played tonight, one starting at 4:30pm (Redskins at Seahawks) and the other at 8pm (Jaguars at Steelers).  Both games should be awesome:  the Redskins might have the heart to pull an upset, and the Jags are tougher, have a better record, and are healthier than the favored Steelers.

To which my response is: What the heck!?!  I really want to watch how Mitt and She Who Must Not Be Named respond to their losses on Thursday.  However, New Hampshire is going to make me choose between playoff football and this debate.  Am I already getting disenchanted with the 2008 Election?  Hope not.

Posted in Election 2008, Politics, Sports | 2 Comments »

Perfect Patriots

Posted by Ryan on December 30, 2007

16-0

Until now it’s never been done in NFL regular season history, but it became a reality Saturday night as the New England Patriots defeated the New York Giants 38-35 in probably the most exciting “meaningless” game I’ve ever seen.  Both teams had their playoff seeds locked up, but they both played their starters for the whole game and gave it their all.  The Pats were down by 12 (16-28) in the second half, then scored 22 unanswered points (making it 38-28) to bury the Giants in dramatic, come-from-behind fashion.  The Giants scored a late touchdown, but lost the onside kick try.  The Pats knelt on the ball to run out the clock and run into NFL history:

  • First 16-0 regular season ever; fourth undefeated season in NFL history
  • Most TD passes for a quarterback in a single season (50 by Tom Brady)
  • Most TD receptions for a wide receiver in a single season (23 by Randy Moss)
  • Most points scored by a team in a single season (589 points)
  • Most touchdowns scored in a single season (75)
  • Most consecutive regular season wins (19 in a row from last season)

So what now?  A bye-week and potentially two home playoff games before a prospective Super Bowl.  Many believe that if they don’t win the whole thing, then the season isn’t complete or as awesome.  Maybe.  I feel that they must win their last three playoff games to make the 2007 Patriots a team for the ages.  Plus, all teams aim for winning the Super Bowl, even those that didn’t win all their games.  So, they’ve reached the first plateau, but the climb isn’t finished yet.  For now, however, I’m quite pleased (the Giants fans at work would have nagged me for years if the Pats lost!).

NFL promotion photo.

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The Patriots Boom

Posted by Ryan on December 22, 2007

I was waiting until the Patriots actually achieved the 16-0 regular season record before writing a post on this season’s achievements (knock on wood, the 14-0 Pats still have to beat the 1-13 Dolphins and the 9-5 Giants).  Since the infamous “Spygate” incident in Week 1, all but a few reporters and Jets fans have seemed to have let that go for now since history has been creeping since the November 4 win against the Colts.  Living in Jets country, I hear it all the time!

Actually, according to this report the Patriot’s attempt at achieving the perfect regular season, which hasn’t been done since 1972s 14-0 Miami Dolphins, is drawing record crowds, including the most-watched cable program ever (the close call in Baltimore), the highest rated Sunday Night Football Game ever (the other close call against Philadelphia) and the highest rated Sunday afternoon game since 1987 (that incredible November game against the Indianapolis Colts). 

The NFL is loving the Patriots right now, fans all over the league are tuning in at record numbers to see possible history being made every week, and this Pats fan loves all the ESPN, CBS, and FOX coverage, along with the national interest in the team. 

But, not everyone likes the Patriots.  After Spygate and the Pats’ subsequent success, the Pats have become the new team many love to hate.  I understand this feeling: I hated the Dallas Cowboys of the 1990s– no one could beat them AND they were cocky about it!  The Pat’s head coach Bill Belichick won’t let the team get cocky, and I’ll be the first to admit that the team seemed to peak in November– not a good time to peak. 

In fact, if the Pats don’t win the whole darn thing this year, it’ll seem like all the hype was for naught, the team wasn’t really that great, the close games this season become lucky, and Spygate should have resulted in a forfeited game.  That’s a lot of pressure for any one player or individual to have to handle.  Plus, the last team to beat the Pats in the regular season was the Miami Dolphins! 

AP photo.

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