NECESSARY ROUGHNESS, WEEK 4: THE AGONY AND THE ECSTASY
Last week we heard nothing but bitching from me as I accidentally destroyed my own cable hook-up minutes before Sunday’s opening kick-off. This misery was followed by melancholy as the closest bar showing the game closed at three. There should be a law that if a bar is open on Sunday, and they are showing the game on the bar TV, that bar should stay open, at least as long as the game is on! Yes, that’s right, you heard me, a law! Punishable by DEATH! But I couldn’t help but notice that aforementioned bar was staffed almost entirely by women. Not that some gals don’t like football (a miniscule number actually do, not just pretend to like it so they can have someplace to live…), but let’s just say they aren’t as up on the sport as their male counterparts. And that’s being kind. I’m pretty positive I am far from the first Redskins fan that has been run out of there, and I sensed a smirk or two…
Before I start the coverage, let me say that I have a lot of respect for Fox NFL co-host Terry Bradshaw, but is there anyone else out there that thinks he has totally lost his mind? He just sits there on the pre-game show laughing hysterically, except when somebody else makes a joke. It’s a sad day when Howie Long is the smartest member of ANY panel…well, I guess Jimmy Johnson is pretty cool, and that’s a hell of a thing for a Redskins fan to say!
But on to this week! My cable is fixed, and this was a real important week in the N.F.L. Who would have thought the Saints were gonna start 0-3, or that Houston, Arizona, and Atlanta would be unbeaten? Plus the referee dispute was finally over, and once again we could look forward to Ed Hochuli’s gigantic meathooks ruling with fairness. Let’s play some football, oh, and by the way, if you hate football, stop reading this column about football.
Not gonna say much about the Thursday game except that I wish the Browns could get a decent season together. The game was pretty much what you would expect: the Browns hung in there but lost, and they remain the only winless team in the A.F.C. Ray Lewis danced around a bunch looking like a fucking retard in the process. I wonder if he did that little dance after his buddies murdered that dude a few years back.
The dirty birds of Atlanta had a wild one with the Carolina Panthers who are still trying to find themselves behind QB Cam Newton. The Panthers, who enjoyed excellent special teams play and a spirited effort from Cam, fought a back-and-forth game but just couldn’t pull it off, falling to the Falcons 30-28 despite Matt Ryan absorbing seven sacks.
So let’s get on to the next of the unbeatens… the Arizona Cardinals? Aren’t they supposed to always suck? Well, it took an overtime victory over the Miami Dolphins to do it, but the Arizona Cardinals improved to 4-0, mostly on the strength of their defense. The Cards are for real. They have won eight straight at home, and 11 of 13 overall, stretching back to last season. But they truly are the cardiac Cards. Five of their last 13 games have been decided in OT with the Cards winning them all. I, for one, am glad they are not in my team’s division anymore! Go Cards!
The last of the bunch was the Houston Texans, and you better believe they are for real, crushing the Tennessee Titans 38-14. All three teams that came into the weekend unbeaten stayed that way, and Houston QB Matt Schaub is looking damn good. If only Jerry Jones had a QB like that the Cowboys might not be the second-best team in Texas!
People in New Orleans have been dealing with a three-week hangover as their beloved Saints have remained winless. There are few towns that love their teams as much as the people of New Orleans and the Saints 0-3 start had made the entire city an above-ground tomb. The one salve that could take away the pain, a victory, was not to be, as the Saints fell 28-27 to a still-pissed off Green Bay Packer team. The margin of defeat was small; a holding penalty pushed the Saints to the limit of kicker Garret Hartley’s ability, and he didn’t quite make it. Suddenly the people of Green Bay fell in love with the refs again! As far as the Saints, I just don’t know. Brees is on track to have another stellar year but they just can’t seem to put the pieces together. I guess losing your head coach CAN really fuck with you. You know other teams were indulging in the bounty practice, but for whatever reasons Payton and the Saints were made the scapegoats. Maybe I’m wrong, but it just doesn’t seem like the Saints were the only team in the league to indulge in such a practice. I guess they were just the only team to get caught.
The Jets are a tough team for a non-fan to like, and they made it a lot harder on Sunday. Tebow, the highest paid second-string blocking quarterback in the league, continued to look better in fashion ads than on the field, where he didn’t do much. The 49ers came back hard over the Jets, 34-0, after a tough loss last week to the Vikings. The Patriots rudely snubbed the Bill’s latest resurgence, 52-28, but don’t worry, there is still plenty of time for the Bills fans to get their hopes up and have them rudely dashed a couple more times before the season is over.
Hey, have you guys noticed how cool it is that Brett Favre doesn’t have ANYTHING to do with the NFL? (with the exception of the occasional Wrangler ad) Team-less and with an endless script for Oxycontin, maybe he’ll run over his head with a self-propelled lawn-mower. We might actually get a good quote out of him then!
Elsewhere about the league, Ponder led the maybe-for-real Minnesota Vikings past the Detroit Lions, 20-13, and San Diego smushed the Kansas City Chiefs 37-20. It was great to see the Denver Broncos — behind bionic man Peyton Manning — embarrass the Oakland Raiders, 37-6, unless of course you are one of those Raiders fans that dresses up like GWAR, in which case you probably feel like a real tool. I thought the Raiders were supposed to be good this year! It seems like they have sucked forever.
If you thought I forgot my Redskins, hell no, the Skins somehow overcame three missed FG’s from kicker Billy Cundiff and evened out at 2-2 behind an amazing performance from RGIII. The kid is for real, and if he can keep his head attached to his body, the Redskins might have a shot at a winning season. And finally, the Philadelphia Eagles prevailed in a gutsy battle against the New York Giants, 19-17. For a team that is 3-1, people talk about the Eagles like they are winless or something… what’s up with that? Could the hatred for Michael Vick be that strong? I sure haven’t seen any public-service commercials decrying the evils of dog-fighting.
I will tell you guys again, I have to get this column in on Monday morning so I can’t cover the Monday Night Game. We will see who prevails in the Battle-of-the-two-quarterbacks-who-have-no-discernible-personality bowl (Cutler vs. Romo). Did I forget something? Get something wrong? Or perhaps you disagree? Or maybe you wanted to just call me an asshole? That’s what the comments section is for! See ya next week!