Posts Tagged ‘brett favre’

Unabated to the QB, Week 3: This Side of Michael Vick

“It was always the becoming he dreamed of, never the being.”

“Youth is like having a big plate of candy. Sentimentalists think they want to be in the pure, simple state they were in before they ate the candy. They don’t. They just want the fun of eating it all over again. The matron doesn’t want her girlhood—she wants to repeat the honeymoon. I don’t want to repeat my innocence. I want the pleasure of losing it again.”

–F. Scott Fitzgerald, This Side of Paradise

I’m pretty sure, now that I think about it, that it was the first time I had ever seen Michael Vick play, in that comeback in Morgantown. Up until 1999, Virginia Tech had been, at least to me, a banal Top 25 team, in that class with Clemson and Auburn and Georgia Tech — teams that were always ranked, that always played some good games, always played January bowl games, but never mattered in the title race. Vick, of course, changed that at Virginia Tech, and by the time I laid eyes on him, the Hokies were already No. 3 in the polls.

It was that run down the sidelines during the final drive that arrested my attention. It was so sudden and so graceful — so easy for Vick to transform the dynamic of that final minute from “Virginia Tech still needs a bunch of yards in a short amount of time” to “Oh, they’re in field-goal range now. They’re going to win.”

It was Will Hunting easy for Michael Vick to turn upfield on that play, and what seems so innocuous to us now wasn’t then. Quarterbacks didn’t do that. They weren’t that fast and elusive and graceful.*

*And if they were, they were doing it at a lower level of college football. This is my Steve McNair acknowledgment.

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Unabated to the Quarterback: The Last Judgment in the Preseason, NFC

“Don’t wait for the Last Judgment. It takes place every day.”

–Albert Camus

Don’t worry. Over the course of this, the second season of Unabated to the Quarterback, I do plan on expanding our epigraphical purview beyond simple Albert Camus. Eventually.

But why, indeed, shall we wait for the Last Judgment of the NFL postseason and the Super Bowl to level our own indictments and criticisms and praises of the 32 franchises that constitute America’s favorite sport? Why not just start now?

There are so many ways to format a season-opening NFL post. Just last season, I pulled out all the stops in our NFL Preview Bonanza. I’m afraid I shot my wad a bit on that, and there seems to be no real point of me rehashing the same favorite players and the same classic games for all 32 franchises. I thought of following the Bill Simmons route of summing up plotlines with quotes from a film; alas, those are only fun if you’ve seen and admire the film in question.* I could assign correspondences between each team and a character from The Wire, as well, although this would lead to massive stretches, spoilers, and alienation for those who haven’t seen the show.

*We get it, Bill. You REALLY like Rounders.

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Monday Medley

What we read while wondering why they even bother with the Grammys…

Unabated to the QB, Championship Weekend: The Brilliance of Peyton Manning

“This is a gift I have, simple, simple! a foolish extravagant spirit, full of forms, figures, shapes, objects, ideas, apprehensions, motions, revolutions. These are begot in the ventricle of memory, nourished in the womb of pia mater, and delivered upon the mellowing of occasion.”

—Holofernes, Love’s Labours Lost

Over the past several seasons, I have really disliked the Indianapolis Colts. This dislike has manifested itself in tangential attacks on the city of Indianapolis, the Colts’ fan base, the fact their stadium is a dome, and even their more or less beyond approach uniforms. The exact derivation of my distaste for Indianapolis was, for a time, unclear. After all, there are few teams pre-adolescent Tim latched onto as intensely as the 1995 Colts and Captain Comeback, Jim Harbaugh.* I was disproportionately disappointed when Ted Marchibroda left the Colts to coach the Ravens, and even more so when that Indy team slumped to 3-13 in 1997.

*And by “latched onto,” I mean rooted hard for in the AFC Championship in Pittsburgh.

The Colts used their No. 1 pick that year to draft Peyton Manning, and I haven’t really liked them since. Continue reading

Championship Sunday Live-Blog: NFC Championship

Since Tim decided to dub Championship Sunday the most exciting football day of the year (and since we’ll be too busy having fun during the Super Bowl), we felt it necessary to pull out all the stops with a live-blog. In case you missed, Tim, Josh, and John S already covered the AFC Championship Game. Now Josh is gone, but Tim and John S will bring you all the insight and action as the Saints host the Vikings…

 

10:27, JOHN S — Well, that was a pretty elaborate way to get a chalk Championship Sunday…YAWN.

10:25, TIM — The Favre joking aside, this is a gutwrenching loss for Vikings fans. Minnesota controlled most of the game but committed the turnovers (I mean, FIVE) that it had to avoid. The Vikings’ mistakes in this game were big ones: fumbles, interceptions, and inexplicable late-game playcalling by Brad Childress. I don’t exactly know how the pantheon of horrible losses shapes up for Minnesota, but this one has to be near the top (if below the ’98 NFC title game).

At the same time, I’m very happy to see the Saints in the Super Bowl.

10:22, TIM — My score prediction for this game? 31-27 Saints. Now it’s 3-to-2 in favor of me, Josh!

10:21, JOHN S — My brother (before Tim’s comment): “God clearly wants the last pass of Brett Favre’s career to be an Interception.”

10:19, TIM — And Brett Favre’s last pass was an interception in the NFC Championship Game.

Rich.

10:19, JOHN S — Remember when I said FGs wouldn’t decide this game? Forget that.

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Prior to the Snap, Championship Weekend: Yeah, It’s Kind of a Misnomer

Who cares about Bob Dylan when there’s football to be played? In New Orleans Town! I made the case last week that the Divisional Playoff round is the sport’s best weekend, Championship Sunday is its best day (until a fortnight from now, when I say the same thing about the Super Bowl, obvs). With two intriguing games and a lot of suffering fan bases with some karmic reparations due, it should be fun.

#2 Minnesota Vikings at #1 New Orleans Saints

Remember when everyone thought this was inevitable? Oh yeah.

And remember when you said it wasn’t? Me? When would I say such a thing?

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Prior to the Snap, the Divisional Playoffs: Let the Wild Rumpus Begin!

There was a time when a second-round upset was a huge deal. They didn’t happen too often, so when Lin Elliott cost the 13-3 Chiefs a game against Jim Harbaugh and the Comeback Colts in 1995, it resonated throughout the league. Even though the AFC’s top seed would lose each of the next two seasons (Denver, and then Kansas City again to Denver in 1997), I remember these upsets being shocking on the same level of a 1-8 upset in the NCAA Tournament. The team that dominated the regular season was gone, just like that.

We’ve kind of changed that perspective the last few years, haven’t we? A second-round upset is now kind of like a 5-12 game; it isn’t a matter of if it’s going to happen, but rather to whom. Home teams are just 5-7 the last three years in the second round, with three of the four falling a season ago. Prior to 2007, the NFC’s top seed had won 17 straight in the divisional round. It’s now on a two-game slide.

It’s in this second round that the NFL has more closely resembled Major League Baseball’s playoffs, with freakish upsets happening seemingly out of the blue. On paper, the Panthers were better than the Cardinals last year, the Cowboys better than the Giants before that, the Chargers better than the Patriots before that, the Colts better than the Steelers before that. But it’s been working out less and less frequently on the field, which is what has definitively made this the most intriguing weekend of the NFL season year in and year out these days. You have all the best teams playing in four games spread across two days.

The only hard thing about it is trying to predict what’s going to happen. Continue reading

Unabated to the Quarterback, Week 15: AFC v. NFC

“Nothing is given to mankind, and what little men can conquer must be paid for with unjust deaths. But man’s grandeur lies elsewhere, in his decision to rise above his condition.”

–Albert Camus

For virtually the entirety of the Aughts, the AFC has been far more intriguing than the NFC. After pulling two Super Bowl upsets to start the decade (one little upset by a big margin, one big upset by a little), the AFC has been favored to win the NFL’s title game the last seven seasons. It has given us the decade’s best rivalry (New England vs. Indianapolis), its transcendent players (you can make a case that the best player to spend most of the decade in the NFC is Torry Holt), its best individual teams, and its best franchises.

Suffice to say, the story of the NFL in the Aughts was almost always the story of the AFC.

And I wanted to write how that was changing this season, how the NFC—by being the home of a team that reached 13-0 for the first time in the conference’s history, of the league’s most polarizing figure in Brett Favre,* of what portended to be its best division (the NFC Beast)—was the more interesting conference in professional football. I was going to use the glut of 7-7 teams corrupting the AFC playoff picture—including a Texans’ team that hasn’t won a big game in its franchise history and a Jets’ squad that seems like it has more interceptions this year than touchdowns—as a starting point to talk about how the NFC is deeper, how its playoffs will be a thrilling toss-up where pretty much any team can emerge and then provide a legitimate challenge to the AFC champion in the Super Bowl. Continue reading

Unabated to the QB, Week 13: The Saints Are Marching

“In truth the way matters but little; the will to arrive suffices.”

—Albert Camus

It took me awhile, but I knew I had already made this comparison. And I did it only three weeks ago:

The Saints remind me of a really good college football team at this point. They score a lot of points, so it’s no big deal if they come out flat and fall behind early. They play down to competition. Reggie Bush played well for them. Eventually, though, they’re gonna drop one of these.

Yes, on the final weekend of the college football regular season, with Texas and Cincinnati using last-minute scores to each win by a point and maintain undefeated seasons, I couldn’t help but think of New Orleans in college terms. If anything, the Saints have looked more and more like a college team as the season has progressed: They have a quarterback who is preternaturally accurate—one that makes several throws per game that simply cannot be defended. They have three running backs, none of whom are particularly good, but all of whom are good enough given the system they play in. They have a half-dozen viable wide receivers, all capable of making big plays at any time, even if they’re playing defense. Their offense relies more on speed than any other in the NFL; given adequate time, Drew Brees will find an open man.

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Unabated to the QB, Week 9: The Halftime Report

Every time it seems to me that I’ve grasped the deep meaning of the world, it is its simplicity that always overwhelms me…. Everything simple is beyond us. What is blue, and how do we think “blue”?

—Albert Camus

Three seasons ago, the NFL peaked in terms of its own scheduling. Every team had enjoyed its bye week by Week 9 (hehe), meaning that there was a distinct midway point of the season by which everyone had played eight games.

The NFL, for some unknown reason, tinkered with its bye scheduling in the subsequent years, pushing some byes back later in the schedule. Thus, this year, while 30 of the 32 teams have already had their bye and have played eight games and can be totally compared at a kind of midway point, the Giants and Texans are 5-4 heading into their byes.

This does not, however, mean that we can’t still consider this halftime of the 2009 NFL season and the perfect time to look back at what I thought was going to happen, and what subsequently did not happen. We’ll hand out awards amidst some “Pats on the Back” and several “Yeah, about that…”s.

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