Posts Tagged ‘san diego chargers’

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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NFL Preview Bonanza: AFC West

SAN DIEGO CHARGERS

Last Season: 8-8

This Season: 13-3, AFC #1

Everything sets up perfectly for San Diego to cruise to the top seed in the AFC. Shawne Merriman is back, meaning the defense will transform from bad to above-average. LaDainian Tomlinson can’t be as bad as he was last year, and Darren Sproles should spell him more. Vincent Jackson and Chris Chambers are good No. 2 receivers. Antonio Gates should be healthy. Oh, and did I mention they play in the AFC West? I’d be stunned if the Chargers lost more than one divisional game this year. I don’t know what they’ll do once they get to the playoffs, but I don’t expect the Chargers to have to leave San Diego.

Tim’s favorite player in San Diego charger history is…: He was a big-time part of that run to the Super Bowl in 1994, he was briefly a Giant, he was arguably the fifth-best tight end in Charger history. He’s none other than Alfred Pupunu!

A Great and Recent Charger Game: While San Diego has rung the Colts’ bell a few times the last several seasons (twice in the playoffs and once to end Indy’s undefeated season), the road victory to close out the RCA Dome in 2007 is probably the best of the three.

I forgot Billy Volek was huge in that game: It’s about time we go ahead and anoint Billy the best backup in the NFL.

I also forgot LaDainian Tomlinson was once good: It’s arguable that nobody in football has had their on-field reputation fall more in the last year or so than Tomlinson’s. That’s part of the reason I expect a bounceback season from LdT.

If the Chargers were the career of an actor, they would be: Paul Rudd. They’ve been on the verge of stardom for so long; they just need the proper vehicle to put it all together. (I Love You, Man, though funny, did not put it ALL together.)

Are you really getting through this without once mentioning the Merriman/Tila Tequila thing? What can I say? I don’t do “topical” humor.

Did you know? The Chargers were right to fire Marty Schottenheimer.

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