Archive for January, 2010

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

The Times They Are A-Changin’

As was reported last week (and noted today in our Monday Medley), The New York Times is planning to announce that it will soon begin charging for its online content. In some respects, this was inevitable: In order to produce a product, you need to generate revenue, and it’s becoming clear to many people in high places that online ad revenue is not going to sufficiently replace the revenue from print ads.

Nevertheless, this move seems like it may come too late in the game: Readers are already used to getting the Times (and newspapers in general) for free online, and charging these readers is likely going to drive a significant number of them to other sources. It’s true that some papers, most notably the Wall Street Journal, have succeeded with a pay-for-content model, but this won’t necessarily translate for the Times. For one, the WSJ has a reputation for expertise in a particularly valued field—finance—so people are likely willing to pay more for that content. More important, though, is that the Times operates on a different standard for readership; even at the height of the financial crisis, when people turned more and more to the WSJ for their news, the Times got about 30% more unique visitors. That number would almost certainly shrink—and with it, ad rates—once the website starts to charge for content.

It is probably wise, then, that the Times is evidently leaning towards a “metered” system. Instead of a simple pay-wall, in which certain content remains restricted, the system will allow casual readers to browse for free, only charging once you overstayed your welcome. This will obviously keep some readers, but once people get tired of having their browsing interrupted, some will stop going to the Times with the same frequency. Continue reading

Monday Medley

What we read while fumbling the football…

  • One of us is from Staten Island and now lives close to the Jersey Shore. In other words, he’s just living the dream.
  • We’ve been really enjoying Charles P. Pierce’s blog at Boston.com, and this post’s title, which is almost as long as the post itself, is perfect in taking a shot at fellow Bostonian, Bill Simmons.

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.

Continue reading

Championship Sunday Live-Blog: AFC 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.Tim, John S, and Josh will all be here during the day as the Jets battle the Colts and the Saints host the Vikings.

6:16, JOHN S — Well, I was neither especially wrong about the Jets nor especially devastated by this loss. But it was nice to see the Jets give the Colts a run for their money. NPI will be back in a few with the NFC Championship game…

6:14, JOSH — It’s been a fun season. Can’t complain about making the AFC Championship game with a Rookie Coach and QB. I look forward to upgrading our secondary and adding another receiving option in the offseason and making another run. I’m out for the NFC Championship coverage (you know, I go to law school and have work and such), but it’s been fun. 

6:12, TIM — I just want to say that, for as much as I’ve killed them all season, the Jets had a very impressive year. They’re right up there with “Teams I’ve Been Most Wrong About.” And they were fun to watch. It will be interesting to see how they do next year in what should be a loaded AFC East (yeah, Chan Gailey’s gonna work wonders in Buffalo).

6:10, TIM — Totally agree, John S. Unless Nantz and Simms can definitively prove that the Colts would have lost this game if they had not rested their starters the last two weeks, they’re on thin ice. (Although, the Colts did look especially fresh down the stretch…) Continue reading

Mere Anachrony: Being John Malkovich

Back in December, when we at NPI were going over what we were most looking forward to in the new decade, Josh mentioned his anticipation of Charlie Kaufman’s next film. He is not alone. Kaufman has many admirers: Roger Ebert called his directorial debut, Synecdoche, New York, the best of the Aughts, and many other sources gave that honor to Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

The cult of Kaufman began in earnest, though, with the release of Being John Malkovich in 1999. This film, directed by Spike Jonze, was Kaufman’s first produced screenplay. It established Kaufman’s reputation as an inventive, cerebral, and idiosyncratic voice in Hollywood. Continue reading

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?

Continue reading