Tag Archives: Tom Brady

A fantastic profile of the great Billy Joel, tortured genius. A girl with an inoperable brain tumor has an amazing day of hoops. And I hold my nose and praise the incredible Tom Brady

NikWallenda.Chicago

**Nothing to see up above, just Nik Wallenda walking blindfolded on a high wire, without a net, above the city of Chicago Sunday night. Insane.

I’ve really fallen down on the job lately in this space when it comes to recommending/highlighting great stories I’m reading. There’s so much out there that’s so well-written that I try to point readers toward, but the truth is I do a much better job of hyping great stories on my Twitter feed than I do here.

But I’m trying to rectify that this week with two posts about amazing journalism I’ve read lately. The first is this exquisitely-researched and composed profile of Billy Joel by Nick Paumgarten in the The New Yorker. If you’re a kid who grew up on Long Island in the 1970s and ’80s like I did, Billy Joel pretty much was the soundtrack of your childhood.
Even if you weren’t a fan, his music was everywhere, on every station, seemingly all the time.

I’ve always been a big admirer of his music, have a ton of his albums, and know all the lyrics to many of his songs (not that you asked, but my three favorite songs of his are “She’s Always A Woman,” “Goodnight Saigon,” and, “The Angry Young Man.”)

But Joel has always had off-stage troubles, from legal problems to drinking problems to women problems. He comes off as a hard guy to work with and to like, but Paumgarten does such a thorough, fantastic job in this story, and given so much access by Joel, that the reader is sort of forced to admire all that Joel has accomplished. And at 65, he’s still going strong, making $25 million for just a dozen concerts at Madison Square Garden in 2014.
A really terrific story; I know it’s long, but read it a little bit at a time when you can, it’s so well worth it.

laurenhill.gameshot

**I’ve been following this Lauren Hill story for several weeks, and almost wrote about it a bunch of times. But each time I stopped, because I wanted to wait until it had at least a sliver of a happy ending, which it did Sunday.

Lauren Hill is a 19-year-old college freshman from Ohio. She was supposed to be a varsity starter for tiny Division III Mt. St. Joseph’s (OH) College this year, but as a high school senior she received some devastating news from her doctor: Lauren was diagnosed with a diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, or DIPG, which is a rare tumor that destroys brain cells and squeezes off vital functions.
It is inoperable, there is no known cure, and doctors told Hill this summer that she likely only had months to live.

Lauren still wanted to live out her dream of playing one college basketball game, and Mt. St. Joseph’s desperately wanted that for her, too.

And so the NCAA agreed to let MSJ move one of its early-season games up to Sunday, so Hill could play. A tsunami of love and support poured over her from everywhere in the world, with famous pro athletes, fans from as far away as Japan, and so many thousands of people in Cincinnati who bought tickets to the game.

Finally the game came on Sunday, and off the opening tap, Lauren Hill sank a layup. And the biggest cheer she ever heard erupted from the crowd. They gave her a standing ovation, and chanted her name, and … here, just watch. If you don’t get chills, check your pulse, you may not be alive.

Such a horrible hand Lauren Hill got dealt in life. There’s nothing anyone can do to get rid of her tumor, but they at least gave her one incredible day. Here’s a great story about her ordeal, and her wonderful day Sunday, and why Lauren Hill has inspired so many.

**And finally, a few words about a man who has tormented my football team for more than a decade. A man I loathe, a man I’m sick of, but a man I can’t help but stand in awe of after yet another phenomenal performance Sunday.

I speak of course of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who helped throttle the Broncos Sunday. Year after year, Brady, like Dan Marino before him, has driven a stake through my football heart, but leaving that aside, he truly is one of the five greatest quarterbacks I’ve ever seen play.

Every year, his supporting cast changes, he hasn’t had a good running game in a decade, and his receivers are rarely big-name guys. But Tom Brady gets it done, year after year, game after game. Sure he’s lost a couple of Super Bowls, but they weren’t his fault. The man is incredibly consistent, and at 37, still on top of his game.

I hate him, but he is a marvel and a legend. And he deserves all the accolades he gets.

Geez, you see what an eight game Jets losing streak does to me? I’m writing paeans to Tom Brady!

The Jets get a big break, and a big win over the Pats, and other NFL thoughts. And the new stupidest new infomercial in the world

jetsweb21s-1-web

Every New York Jets victory is sweet to fans like me.

But beating Bill Belichick and Tom Brady? Twice as sweet. It feels like two wins, not just one.
Sunday, in another game that cost me some of the few remaining hairs I have left (seriously, Rogaine helps a little but it’s no match against the antics of the Jets on my scalp), my beloved Green and White got down 11 points at halftime, rallied for a big comeback to take the lead, then had to go to overtime and overcome their own awful play-calling (more on that in a minute) and a very, very fortunate penalty on the Pats to win, 30-27.

Whew. Hell of a game, as most Jets-Pats games are.  Some scattered thoughts on the wild one:

– Geno Smith. All we Jets fans ask of him this year is that he show improvement, that he’s better in Week 16 than he was in Week 1. And so far, the kid is really doing it. Sunday was maybe his best all-around performance, taking decision-making, accuracy, and play-making ability (especially with his legs) into account.
He didn’t panic after his one awful decision (an INT returned for a touchdown), and he made some big throws in the second half to give the Jets the lead. Still too early to anoint him “the franchise QB”, but the signs are all encouraging.

– After being told at halftime that it’s not illegal to breathe on Tom Brady, the Jets D was stellar in the second half, sacking the pretty-boy QB four times and harassing him. Even with Gronk back in the lineup (and damn is he a beast to cover), the Jets D was terrific in coverage and in stopping the run.

– Now, the overtime stuff… first of all, I don’t know what the hell got into the Jets offensive coaches at the end of what was a beautiful, run-oriented drive in OT. The Jets got to the Pats’ 40, moving the ball really well, then inexplicably decided to stop trying to gain more yards, running three straight plays into the line and not even trying to make it a manageable field goal try for awesome kicker Nick Folk.
So Folk has to line up for a 56-yard FG try, a wildly difficult kick normally, and he missed. And so it looked like, there went the game.
But the penalty god smiled on the Jets, as the Pats got called for a new foul, as one of their defenders (Chris Jones) pushed a teammate forward to try to help block the kick.
So the Jets got a free 15 yards, and then Folk got a second chance and made the winning kick.
Now of course Pats fans are going to whine about the call being bogus, and wrong, and yada yada yada. Of course I’m biased, but I think any team that won a Super Bowl with big thanks to the “Tuck Rule” gives up the right to ever complain about getting screwed by the refs.

Hell of a win for the Jets. I’m shocked they have four wins before Halloween. Still don’t know if this team has a playoff shot, but damn, they are interesting to watch in 2013.

**Finally today, it’s been a while since I’ve featured a truly moronic infomercial, but I saw this last week and I swore it had to be a parody “SNL” commercial or something.
But nope, this beauty’s real. It’s the Cat’s Meow, and its function is this: To prevent your household feline from scratching up the furniture or causing other mayhem, you put this yellow plastic circle on the floor and press a button, and a miniature-wand starts moving round and round the yellow circle, and apparently the cat will be hypnotically attracted to the wand, and spend hours and hours chasing the thing around a circle.

First of all, I don’t buy it. I know cats ain’t that smart, but this is really going to be entertainment for him/her for hours at a time? Second, isn’t the cat going to tear up the yellow plastic once he can’t catch the wand?
And third, won’t this toy inspire the cat to go hunt around the house for REAL things he can catch, like mice or something?

Another remarkable Super Bowl, as Eli and the Giants do it again. Madonna gets it done at halftime. And the man who drove a Zamboni, drunk

Remember when Super Bowls stunk? When every year we’d get blowout after blowout?
Yeah, seems like an awfully long time ago. Sunday night, in a room filled with Giants fans both old and recent (as of a few hours earlier), I watched the latest in a recent series of scintillating Super Bowls.
So much drama, so much excitement, and once again, Eli Manning and his mates sticking it to the New England Patriots again, denying Coach Hoodie and the pretty-boy quarterback their fourth Super Bowl, 21-17.
What a thrilling contest. You can’t ask for anything more than the ball in the air, on the last play of the game, with the outcome in doubt. If Rob Gronkowski had come down with that Hail Mary, I think the Internet would’ve exploded and so might the heads of all Giants fans.

Some quickie thoughts on the game, before I get to halftime and the commercials:
— Eli Manning now has more Super Bowl wins than Peyton Manning. That blows my mind. Dude is just beyond clutch. He was terrific early, had some lulls later, but in the fourth quarter he took his team down the field like he’s done all year. It was so reminiscent of the Super Bowl from four years ago, I half expected Plaxico Burress to come limping out onto the field.
— No other way to say it, but the Pats offense choked in the 4th quarter. From Wes Welker dropping what could’ve been an almost game-clinching pass, from Brady underthrowing Gronkowski deep, from the drops on the final drive, New England came up very small in the final minutes.
— That Ahmad Bradshaw game-winning touchdown was awfully strange. It looked like he realized the Pats were trying to let him score, tried to stop himself from scoring at the 1 yard line, then fell into the end zone. It was a brilliant call by Coach Belichick to let the Giants score, and not let them run the clock all the way down and kick a winning field goal. If the Pats had won, Bradshaw wouldn’t have slept for months.
— That catch by Mario Manningham (above) was sick. Incredible.

And now, for my Madonna and commercial thoughts:
– I got two of the three Madonna “old” songs correct in our little party’s guessing game, for what that’s worth. I thought the Material Girl did really well, generally; the costumes didn’t do much for me, and she looked like she was moving a lot slower than she used to (well, she IS 53 years old now), but I thought it was a pretty solid show.
I missed the now-famous M.I.A. middle-finger salute during the performance; frankly I had no idea who M.I.A. was so hey, good job getting a little more famous, lady!
— I liked several of the ads Sunday; the Skechers one with Mark Cuban and the dog was really good, and I loved Budweiser “Prohibition” and the E-Trade baby ad as well. The Fiat ad with the woman was pretty great, too.
But my favorite was the one above, the dog in the Volkswagen commercial. Great stuff.

**I always love these kinds of stories, especially during hockey season. A Minnesota man was arrested last week for driving while intoxicated.

His vehicle of choice? A Zamboni. Yep, Joel Bruss, 34, of Apple Valley, Minn. was apparently driving erratically, as witnesses saw his Zamboni careen across the ice and bounce off the sideboards.

Read the rest of the glorious details here. As for Joel, well, all I can tell him is this: next time pal, don’t drink and ice-clean.

Two amazing football games put Giants, Pats into Super Bowl. A creepy PSA about teen sex. And the mixtapes live on in San Francisco.

So much to get to today, I’m gonna save my thoughts on the irrepressible Newt Gingrich (our next President) and Joe Paterno until tomorrow. Plus a review of a great movie I saw last weekend starring George Clooney.

Wow. Sakes alive, those were two fantastic, thrilling, heart-stopping NFL playoff games Sunday.
To use the old cliche that’s so true in this situation: This is why we watch. This is why live, televised sports will always beat stupid “reality” TV, scripted programming, and anything else you can throw on the tube.

Sunday, the four NFL teams playing for the Super Bowl played a pair of fantastic games. First, the Patriots hung on to beat the Ravens, 23-20, and then in an even better contest, the Giants and 49ers played a four-hour epic, with the Giants winning in overtime, 20-17.

Many, many thoughts on these two fabulous games that I watched with my Dad on my couch. I’ll try to be somewhat brief (but with me, you know, that’s hard to do:)

– First on the Pats game. Everyone’s going to blame the Baltimore kicker, Billy Cundiff, and for sure he deserves a lot of blame for blowing a 32-yard field goal that would’ve tied it at the end of the fourth quarter. But Ravens wideout Lee Evans deserves some blame, too, for letting the game-winning TD get stripped in the end zone by someone on the New England D named Sterling Moore. I’m not sure that that wasn’t a touchdown, by the way; can’t believe they didn’t review it with instant replay. Looked to me like Evans caught the ball and took 2 steps before the ball was stripped.

– Ravens QB Joe Flacco (from Delaware) can’t be blamed on this one. After a shaky start, he played a great game.
— Anyone else find it weird to see Steven Tyler sitting in the owner’s box?
— Best line of the day came from former SI writer Steve Rushin, who Tweeted after the game: “Delighted for Tom Brady. About time life went his way.”

Now on to the other game…

I’ve been laughing and mocking the people who’ve been comparing Eli Manning to his brother. I’m not laughing anymore. What a gutsy, terrific performance by Eli Sunday night. He got hit, and hit again, and hit some more. And he kept getting up and making great throws. One more win and he’s got more Super Bowl trophies than Peyton, one of the greatest to ever play.

– Victor Cruz, you are an absolute stud. Everyone knew he was getting the ball, and he just kept making plays.
— I think the “real” Alex Smith showed up for the Niners Sunday. Or at least, the “old” Alex Smith. He looked terrible after the first quarter, though the ferocious Giants pass rush didn’t help.
— Kinda had a feeling it would take a major turnover for someone to score in overtime. Both defenses were just playing so, so well.
— If you’re counting at home, that’s 5 Giants Super Bowl appearances in my lifetime. For my beloved Jets, ZERO. Not that I’m bitter.
— Giants-Patriots Super Bowl. The rematch from four years ago. David Tyree, call your agent. I have a feeling a whole lot of media outlets are gonna want to talk about this…

Two great games. God, I love sports.

**So if you’re a child of the 80s like me, you’ll appreciate this the most.  I’ve just discovered something called the San Francisco Mixtape Society, and I love it. It’s a group from the Bay Area that holds parties once a month where people come and exchange mixtapes (not CDs, they have to be cassettes) based on the theme of the night.

I used to spend hours making mixtapes, mostly for myself, occasionally for others. Kids today won’t understand this, but in the 80s, if you really liked a girl and had just started dating, you made her a mix of your favorite songs. It was, like, a huge show of affection.

I miss mix tapes. I may have to fly to San Fran and show them my “Awesome Slow Mix No. 6″ that’s in the back of my closet.

**Finally, I wish I could say this was a parody or a joke. But nope, it’s real. Kids, listen up and learn why waiting for sex is the right way to go!

A pathetic effort by the Jets, and more NFL thoughts. A quick restaurant pet peeve. And an awesome Veteran’s Day idea

Too depressed to rant much about Jets right now.
With so much on the line Sunday night (first place in the AFC East, a chance to finally get a shot to host some playoff games), my beloved Green and White came out and played an absolute stinker of a game. Pathetic. Fumbles on special teams. Defensive breakdowns. More terrible decisions by Mark Sanchez, who continues to, um, not show improvement midway through his third season.

And once again, the defense, when the offense finally wakes up and cuts the deficit to 23-16 in the fourth quarter, and the crowd comes alive again, the defense couldn’t get it done. Seen that movie before.
Dammit, dammit, dammit. Another huge opportunity blown. Why do I even bother rooting for this team? Thirty-five years of this garbage and I still come back for more.
Some quick-hit NFL thoughts on games that didn’t annoy me as much…
– Wow, Atlanta coach (and Father Lopez High School grad) Mike Smith is going to get heat, and rightfully so, for going for it on 4th and 1 on his own 30 in OT Sunday. Falcons didn’t get it, and New Orleans won. Just way too aggressive of a decision by Smith.
—  The Colts are going 0-16. I feel very confident in saying that.
— Hell of a win for the Steelers. Bengals looked good for a while but then their rookie QB pulled a Sanchez.
— If it’s 49ers-Packers in the NFC title game this year, can we get Brett Favre and Steve Young to come back and play? They had some classics in the 90s.
— Um, yeah, about those Detroit Lions who we all felt great about at 5-0… not cool.
— Finally, this was kinda cool. A Buffalo Bills played named David Nelson scored a TD Sunday, then ran the ball over to his girlfriend, who’s a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader.

**So I need to get this off my chest. Has bothered me for quite a long time. I’m in a sports bar Sunday afternoon, watching football, and this couple sitting at the next table is ordering brunch.
The guy (who I would discover over the next few hours is a doofus) is ordering an omelette. But he then proceeds to spend the next 30 seconds saying he doesn’t want this in it, he wants that, and I don’t want that, but I want this, and basically makes four or five changes.
Then after 20 minutes he calls the waitress over and asks where the food is already. And she politely explains that since he ordered something that was not on the menu, it’s taking a little longer.

I don’t get it. I don’t get why people walk into restaurants and proceed to completely ignore the menu, the LIST OF EVERYTHING the restaurant serves, and tell the waitress to make them something different.

If you look at the entire menu and don’t find anything you want, then go to a different bar! Now look, I understand if you have dietary issues, health issues, and you need to substitute one thing here, or hold another. But this guy basically created his own dish entirely, and then was mad when it wasn’t ready fast enough.

Sheesh.

**Finally, there was an incredibly cool event Friday night in San Diego. On the aircraft carrier the USS Vinson, North Carolina and Michigan State played an outdoor basketball game on Veterans Day. My girlfriend’s friend Joanna was there live and took this awesome photo.

What a wonderful idea, to play an outdoor game like this. I hope it becomes an annual event.

The Jets season continues to spiral downward. The sensational 49ers. And the best surprise kid’s video, ever

This is how a season blows up.
Players talking badly about coaches behind their back. Neither offense nor defense playing well at the same time in the same game. The players after yet another loss spouting things like “we’re getting there,” and “this was better.”
This is what my New York Jets have come to, five weeks into a season that was supposed to be so much better.
My boys lost again Sunday, to New England, in depressingly familiar fashion: They fell behind by double-digits early, mounted a comeback late, but once again when the chips were down, the defense couldn’t make a stop to give the offense one more chance.
So frustrating, and not just because they lost to the Evil Empire, Coach Hoodie, and the Golden Boy quarterback Tom Brady.
Couple quick thoughts on the game:
— Why, for the love of Emerson Boozer, must the Jets start every game in the middle of the second quarter? For a year and a half now they give away the opening 15 minutes. Sunday they didn’t get a first down until their fifth offensive drive. I’m sorry, but when you start the game badly every week, that’s coaching.
— I liked that the Jets finally got a pass rush going. Too bad Brady still carved them up when he needed to. Damn he’s good.
— Shonn Greene, welcome to the 2011 NFL season. That was his first good rushing game.
— I don’t want to hear another word about how good the Jets defense thinks it is. Once again Sunday, for at least the 7th or 8th time in the last 3 years under Rex Ryan, the Jets D had a chance to make a fourth-quarter stop, to give the offense the ball back with a chance to win the game.
And once again, the D melted like butter at a picnic in August. Brady led the Pats down for a game-clinching field goal, and that was that. Awful.

Some other NFL thoughts on another interesting Sunday…

– Nice to see the Raiders rally in honor of the great Al Davis, who died Saturday. Course, Matt Schaub of the Texans threw a horrendous interception at the end of the game by the goal line to help, but hey, a win’s a win.
— What a hell of a statement by the 49ers Sunday. Winning 48-3 in the NFL, against a 3-1 Tampa team? Wow. That was pretty shocking.
— The Panthers and Cam Newton don’t win much, but they sure are fun to watch.
— Awful loss for the Giants. Eli Manning, you gotta be better than that. Giants can’t be losing to Seattle at home.

**This is fantastic. Watch as a little girl finds out that she’s going to Disney World for her birthday. The look on her face when her Mom tells her is just so priceless.

The Wall Street protests keep going strong. Hockey’s back! And it’s Jets-Patriots week: I am scared

I have to tell you, I’m pleasantly surprised that these Wall Street protests have gone so long.
When they first started, I was pessimistic. America knew how greedy Wall Street tycoons were, the politicians in Congress didn’t care, and what were a bunch of screamers in Lower Manhattan going to do about it?
And for a while, the national media agreed with me. The Wall Street protesters were ignored.
Only, the protests kept growing. And spreading all over the country. And now it’s been three weeks, and Obama is talking about the protests, and more and more cities are holding events, and labor unions are getting involved, and well, maybe something is happening here.
Paul Krugman, as usual, has a very smart take here in the N.Y. Times. Maybe this is our time, fellow liberals. Maybe we can force change once and for all.

**The NHL regular-season saw its first face-off Thursday night. As always, I am super excited hockey is back. Looks like my beloved Rangers might be a little better this year; would be nice to actually, you know, win a round or two in the playoffs once in a while.
If you’re a hockey fanatic like me, you’ll love this video CBC put together, a wonderful montage of great moments from last season’s playoffs:

**So it’s Jets-Patriots week, which ordinarily has me more fired up than a 5-year-old in a candy store. But for a variety of reasons, I haven’t been as jacked as usual this week.
Maybe it’s because my boys in green and white have played like dog doodoo the last two weeks, and I’m just so NOT looking forward to watching the Jets go to Foxboro Sunday at 4 and get beaten up for three hours.
I need something to snap me out of my funk. I need something to help me envision something other than Wes Welker catching 11 TD passes Sunday.
Something to give me confidence. Oh yeah, there’s THIS happy memory…

Ah, now I feel better. I don’t expect the Jets to win Sunday. Brady and the Pats offense has been insanely good this year, and last January’s loss will I’m sure be in the minds of the New England boys.
Still… isn’t this Jets team too good to lose three in a row? Doesn’t the Pats defense stink something awful right now?

I’m talking myself into this being a close game. Hey Mark Sanchez, this would be a good time to remind us Jets fans why we love you.

Ice cream for dogs, Brady and the Pats suffer (yay!), and man, that’s gotta hurt.

So, I’m not a big animal lover. Nothing personal, I’m just not a huge fan.

But I realize I live in a world where many people treat their pets better than their spouses. A world that sees people like my crazy but lovable sister-in-law Lauren dress her dog in Santa outfits every December, then takes said puppy to get her picture taken with Santa. A world that sees pets often eat better and more expensively than their human owners.

But still, even I was taken aback at the supermarket on Saturday when I ran into the above product. Seriously, we need special ice cream for dogs now? The Butter Pecan from Baskin’ Robbins was being rejected by the canines? Breyer’s Chocolate chip just wasn’t good enough for the four-legged beasts anymore? Come on people, have dogs really been clamoring for this?

All the dogs I’ve known just want a nice, interesting place to pee (where they can smell other stuff, of course), some decent shelter, an occasional game of fetch, and a nice place to lay their heads.

Sigh. What at least made me feel a little better is that the Frosty Paws seemed to be fully stocked in the supermarket. Maybe, just maybe, nobody’s buying this stuff.

Then again, these dogs look pretty happy.

*** Pretty terrific day of football Sunday, unless you root for the New England Patriots, which of course I don’t.

Boy, did Baltimore ever manhandle Coach Hoodie and his pretty-boy quarterback. I mean, that was a dominating performance. Couple of caveats in the Pats’ defense, of course: Wes Welker was out injured, and Tom Brady does have about six different wounds right now.

There have been some people who are already saying this is the end of the Pats’ dynasty, no one’s scared of them anymore, yada yada yada. I’m not ready to say that yet; they’ll be back pretty strong next year, I have no doubt.

Still, it was nice to see the New England fans booing the hell out of their beloved Pats Sunday. Music to my ears.

**Debated this with a few Jets friends Sunday; who would we rather face, San Diego or Indy? I’m glad it’s San Diego. I know they’ve won 11 in a row and have a scary good QB in Phillip Rivers, but there were two reasons I wanted NO part of the Colts:

1. Peyton Manning is the greatest quarterback ever (yeah, I said it)

2. Norv Turner is coaching the Chargers. When Norv’s on the other sideline, you always have a chance.

***That was a great school-yard touch football game the Cardinals and Packers played. 51-45 in overtime? Were the teams aware that tackling is legal in the NFL these days? Damn exciting stuff, though. Incredible game from Kurt Warner and Steve Breaston, though I don’t know how in the world Arizona will have a chance to stop Drew Brees and Co. in New Orleans next week.

One other thing that cracked me up from that game: Cards defense gives up 45 points, then scores the game-winning touchdown, and the defensive players are acting all cocky. You made one play since the first quarter, fellas.

**And finally, if you think you’ve had a bad day, well, you could be one of these people: The biggest “ouches” of the past year (Tip of the hat to SI.com for this gem):

Drew Brees’ magic, a Tiger Woods gift idea, and “Halleluja” like you’ve never seen it before

So I thought watching Peyton Manning play was as good as quarterback play ever got.

Then Tom Brady came along, and well, he was at least Manning’s equal for a while.

I didn’t think it got much better. But man oh man, take a look at what Drew Brees is doing for the New Orleans Saints these days.

Yeah, I know the Saints got a little lucky Sunday, as the Washington Redskins completely melted down at the end of regulation (missing a 23-yard field goal? seriously? And then fumbling in overtime after you win the toss? Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy, owner Dan Snyder, who makes Jerry Jones seem like a wallflower).

But here’s the thing: When Shaun Suisham, sure to join millions of Americans at the unemployment office Monday, missed that kick, was there any doubt whatsoever that Brees would lead the Saints back? Of course not. Every pass is precise. Every throw is deep enough, or short enough, wherever it has to be.

We’re watching a man play the quarterback position to absolute perfection, and he’s been doing it for three years now. What an amazing player, and the perfect guy to come to Louisiana and give the people of New Orleans a little bit of joy after so much suffering.

I hope the Saints and Colts do go 16-0, just so the hated Patriots don’t have that record all to themselves anymore.

Other NFL thoughts, on a bizarre day of games:

–Speaking of the Pats, pretty weak second-half effort by the boys of Belichick, allowing the Dolphins to pull out a one-point win. I know, I know, Jets fans should calm down, New England is still going to win the division, and the Jets will miss the playoffs.

Still, nice to see New England sweat a little.

–I will say this: Just about everything the Jets needed to go right Sunday, to stay in the playoff race, happened: The Pats lost, and the Steelers shockingly lost to the Raiders (was that Bruce Gradkowski in the fourth quarter in the silver and black, or was that Kenny Stabler?), and the Texans lost. The Jets are now a game out of a playoff spot (Jacksonville’s, at 7-5, and the Jags have a tough schedule the rest of the way.)

I know, I know, I’m deluding myself.

– Had to suck be a Falcons fan Sunday: Not only does your team get blown out at home, not only are your two star players (Michael Turner and Matt Ryan) hurt, but your old dog-torturing quarterback, Michael Vick, comes out and scores two touchdowns on you.

***Random Tiger Woods thought: I just know, in some basement office somewhere in America, someone’s printing “Honk if you HAVEN’T had an affair with Tiger Woods” bumper stickers.

I’ll purchase two, thank you. And if you don’t think all his mistresses are going to be pitched a reality show with all of them living in a house together, my friend, you’re just not alive in America in 2009.

**Finally, my wife’s cool friend Tamara pointed us to this today, and it’s truly brilliant. A high school chorus decided to act out, with cards, the lyrics to the “Hallelujah” chorus. So perfect. I love how they go high for the high notes and low for the low ones, and the short monk jumping in the air at 1:10 killed me.

Enjoy.

A fun flight home, the NFL gets serious about concussions, and a classic TV food fight

Greetings from the state of my birth.

Julie and I flew home to New York from the Fla. tonight. And boy are our arms tired (Ba-dum-bum). This is without a doubt my favorite time of the year, because Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year. It contains three of my favorite things (eating, football, and family), so how could it not be great?

More on why I love Thanksgiving in Thursday’s post. Tonight, a few quick thoughts before I fall asleep at the keyboard:

**So we’re on the Southwest flight from Orlando, a route we now know so well we could direct the pilot if needed. And there’s a little kid, maybe 3 years old, sitting behind Julie, kicking the seat and crying hysterically for a good, I don’t know, 45 minutes.

And not once, not once, does the adult sitting next to this little terror pick the kid up, walk him around, move his seat, anything, to acknowledge the disturbance and try to rectify it.

Look, I know traveling with small children is extremely hard, and I have the utmost respect for parents. But isn’t there some societal obligation that kicks in there, that the person who paid a couple hundred bucks for a seat doesn’t deserve to get kicked for 45 minutes? Just wondering.

**I have bashed the NFL for a while for what I feel is their refusal to take the issue of concussions and their symptoms seriously.

But I was very happy to see that the league is actually working to rectify one of the biggest problems: NFL team doctors, under pressure from management and the team that pays their salary, putting players back in before they’re ready.

This week, though, came a big breakthrough: It was announced that teams will now be required to consult with independent neurologists while treating players with brain injuries, the New York Times reported.

Comissioner Roger Goodell and his execs were humiliated by Congress last month, which pointed out that the NFL clearly wasn’t doing enough to protect its players.

Now, with outside doctors who don’t care if Brian Westbrook or Tom Brady or anyone gets back on the field to help win the game, there’s a much better chance the players’ brains will be truly looked after.

Good step, NFL.

**Finally, this cracks me up every time I see it. The classic Thanksgiving food fight from “Cheers.” The good stuff starts at the 5:20 mark.