Tag Archives: Aaron Rodgers

Censorship of books again, really? “To Kill A Mockingbird” in the crosshairs. “Jeopardy” star Austin Rogers does a turn on Fallon, and it’s great. And the Jets get screwed by the refs, but probably would’ve lost to Pats anyway

Every few years or so, it seems we have to go through this. And every few years, I feel like it’s so important.

Thousands of fantastic works of literature are found objectionable by school-board bureaucrats in small (or large) towns across the country, and students in these districts are denied the opportunity to be challenged, to learn, to question, and most of all, to expand their minds.

This weekend I heard about censorship happening to maybe my favorite novel of all time, “To Kill a Mockingbird.” Yes, boys and girls, the people of Biloxi, Miss. decided to remove this amazing novel by Harper Lee from the 8th grade reading list at the local middle school.

Why, you might ask, is “TKAM” no longer suitable? According to the vice president of the Biloxi School Board, Kenny Holloway, “There were complaints about it. There is some language in the book that makes people uncomfortable, and we can teach the same lesson with other books.”

Language that makes people uncomfortable. Of course we all know what he’s talking about; racially charged words and deeds in the book have been discussed for years.

But removing books because of “language that makes people uncomfortable?” That’s the whole point of reading, especially when you’re young! I read all kinds of books that made me uncomfortable. Ellie Wiesel’s “Night” made me uncomfortable. Parts of “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” made me uncomfortable. So, so many other fantastic works I’ve been exposed to have made me unsettled, or angry, or questioning.

That’s the whole point of books! Ugh. Biloxi, Miss. won’t be the last school district to make this kind of idiotic decision.

**Next, I don’t know about you, but in my house we’ve been kinda obsessed for the past few weeks over “Jeopardy!” champion and ultimate strange dude Austin Rogers. A bartender from New York City (OK so that was the first reason I liked him), Austin won more than $400,000 in 12 games and was unlike any other contestant I’d ever seen. He dressed loudly, made strange pantomine gestures every time he was introduced, and generally acted like the crazy uncle you see at Thanksgiving every year who knows everything.

Anyway, I loved this dude. I’m sure in real life he’d drive you nuts, but for a few minutes on “Jeopardy!” each night, he was fabulous. Anyway, Austin’s run ended last week and he went on Jimmy Fallon to talk about it, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

**And finally today, I’d love to tell you that I didn’t get my hopes up for a Jets win over the Patriots Sunday, but after the boys in green and white took a shocking 14-0 lead in the first half, I kinda did.

And what was surprising was not that the Jets lost, because that’s what I usually expect when they play the Patriots. But the way they lost, and the absolutely egregious, horrendous, pathetic replay overrule that cost them a touchdown, well, that was new.

Go ahead and watch this clip of Austin Sefarian-Jenkins scoring a touchdown, have it be called a touchdown, then overruled inexplicably, and tell me this is the correct call. Absolutely ridiculous. Somehow, this was ruled as a fumble out of the end zone.

— So I guess Adrian Peterson has something left in the tank still, huh? Wow. What a game in his first one as an Arizona Cardinal.

— The Giants finally won, the Chiefs finally lost, and there are no really great teams in the NFL this year. So much mediocrity, that I think 10-12 teams could legitimately win the Super Bowl.

— On “Sunday Night Football” Al Michaels said the Giants “are coming off a worse week than Harvey Weinstein.” Oh, Al. What a horrible, stupid and cruel joke.

— Aaron Rodgers is probably out for the season with a broken collarbone, destroying Packers hopes (and the hopes of my fantasy team, for which he starred). If only there was a QB out there they could call, a free agent who had a terrific season last year but is being blackballed by the NFL for daring to speak out. Name is Colin, something or other.

Remembering Steven McDonald, a NYPD legend who just died. Harry Truman’s grandson goes back to Japan, movingly. And Aaron Rodgers cannot be stopped; neither can the Packers

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Friday was a very emotional day in New York City, especially if you’ve lived here for a while or grew up in the city or on Long Island, as I did.

In 1986 a 29-year-old police officer named Steven McDonald, whose wife was pregnant with their son Conor, was shot and paralyzed by a teenage robber in Central Park. McDonald instantly became a tragic hero, not just because he was a quadriplegic, but because a year after the shooting McDonald forgave the shooter.

“I’m sometimes angry at the teen-age boy who shot me,” McDonald’s wife Patti Ann said then, reading a letter Steven had dictated. “But more often I feel sorry for him. I only hope that he can turn his life into helping and not hurting people. I forgive him and hope that he can find peace and purpose in his life.”

McDonald spent the rest of his life preaching peace and forgiveness all over the world. He became an inspiration to millions, and each year appeared on the ice at the penultimate New York Rangers game of the year to give out the “Steven McDonald Courage Award.”

He made public appearances, his son grew up to be an NYPD officer, and he stood for so much that was good, and just, in the world. If Steven McDonald could forgive the man who took away his legs, and his ability to breathe on his own, what right did any of the rest of us have to hold grudges?

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Twelve thousand police officers came to McDonald’s funeral Friday at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan.

Twelve. Thousand. I was at the Rangers game Friday night and the team made several tributes to McDonald, including a beautiful video honoring him during the game.

At the end of it, Conor and Patti Ann were given a standing ovation,  they embraced and cried after what must have been an incredibly difficult day. The crowd stayed on their feet and chanted Steven McDonald’s name, and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one at the rink with goosebumps.

A great man was lost. But he will always, always be remembered.

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**I’ve written here before about my love for the fantastic NPR story-telling series “The Moth,” which I listen to on its podcast regularly.

Actually, check that: What I usually end up doing is let a bunch of stories pile up, then listen to them all at once when I need a lift. Every once in a while I’m gobsmacked by one of these fantastic tales, as I was last week when I heard this phenomenal tale by Clifton Truman Daniel.

Clifton Daniel is the oldest grandson of Harry Truman (I think I actually met Clifton, a distinguished journalist, when I first started working at the Wilmington (N.C.) Star-News in 1997), and as such has had to live his life dealing with his grandfather’s complicated legacy.

On no issue is that legacy more complicated than the President’s decision to drop atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August, 1945. Clifton Daniel has had varying feelings about the historic attack, and in this moving story he tells of how Japanese people in America have approached him to discuss it.

But it’s only when he goes to Japan as an invited guest, to a memorial service about the bombings, that true understanding comes. Listen to this beautiful story, about forgiveness, age-old memories, and how strong people can be. This one really knocked my socks off.

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**Finally today, the NFL playoffs finally gave us some decent games after a dreadful opening weekend.

OK, they gave us three decent games and one great game, starring Aaron Rodgers, the Green Bay Packer quarterback who is pretty freaking unstoppable right now.

The Dallas Cowboys had a terrific season, and their defense has been great, but the Packers and Rodgers just picked ’em apart Sunday. Rodgers just waited, waited, waited and then hit an open receiver time and again. I have no idea how he’ll be stopped, by Atlanta next week or in the Super Bowl.

Green Bay jumped way ahead 21-3, the Cowboys and their fabulous rookie QB Dak Prescott came all the way back to tie the game at 28, then the kickers took over. Mason Crosby of Green Bay nailed a 56-yarder, then a minute later after one of the most clutch catches you’ll ever see (Jared Cook, pictured above) he nailed a 51-yarder.

The game was terrific, Rodgers is raising his “all-time NFL QB” ranking a few notches every week, and I’m just glad the Cowboys got beat.

Couple other NFL playoff notes…

— Oh, Andy Reid. Andy, Andy, Andy. Once again, your team has a great regular season, a playoff bye, a raucous home crowd… and yet once again you come up short. All credit to the Steelers, who have a terrific team peaking at the right time. But boy did the Chiefs lay an egg. From Travis Kelce’s drops to so many stupid penalties to (wait for it) clock and timeout mismanagement from Reid, Kansas City gave this one away.

As I said on Twitter after the game: “It’s stunning to see a favored Andy Reid team lose  in the playoffs.” — said no one, ever.

— I briefly got excited when, while at a birthday party Saturday night at a restaurant, I checked my phone and saw “Pats 14, Texans 13.” But then I realized there’s no way Tom Brady is losing a playoff game to Brock Osweiler. Patriots are going to the Super Bowl.

— Atlanta looked great on offense, but I have no idea how their defense will stop Rodgers next week. We’re looking at a Packers-Patriots Super Bowl and man oh man that will be fun.

The Golden Globes were more blah than usual, but saved by the amazing Meryl Streep. And a dull NFL wild-card weekend hopefully leads to better games next week

 

This image released by NBC shows Viola Davis presenting the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the 74th Annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Sunday, Jan. 8, 2017. (Paul Drinkwater/NBC via AP)

This image released by NBC shows Viola Davis presenting the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the 74th Annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Sunday, Jan. 8, 2017. (Paul Drinkwater/NBC via AP)

The Golden Globes are usually the best awards show of the season, because they’re unpredictable and fun and have winners who never win the other big awards.

But Sunday night, I don’t know if it was just that the host was bad (sorry Jimmy Fallon, but this isn’t your best role, can’t Tina Fey and Amy Poehler host this show every year? They’re beyond awesome), or that the crop of movies was blah, or I just wasn’t in the mood, but for the first two hours the Golden Globes were boring as all get out.

Then, it was time for Meryl Streep’s lifetime achievement award, and man, did business pick up. Nobody in Hollywood is more admired than the amazing Ms. Streep, for her grace, for her unparalleled talent, and for her kindness toward others.

Viola Davis gave Meryl a wonderful tribute, some clips from her many phenomenal performances were shown, and then the greatest actress of our lifetime spoke.

And she spoke about the man who in less than two weeks will actually be our President.

Surgically, beautifully, she called him out for what he is: A mean, thoughtless, ignorant jerk who conned millions through his use of insults and fear-mongering.

This short speech was phenomenal, and needs to be watched. “When the powerful use their position to bully, we all lose,” she said. Here is a woman speaking from the heart, about what so many have felt. By far the best thing at Sunday night’s ceremony. (If the speech isn’t embedded below, click here to watch it)

Some other highlights and lowlights from the show (as always, most of the fashion comments come from my beautiful and talented wife):

— The best thing on the show besides Streep, I thought, was Kristin Wiig and Steve Carell’s hilarious bit about the first animated movie they’d seen. Such great deadpan and timing!

— Viola Davis was stunningly beautiful in her dress; Emma Stone looked “airbrushed,” and Mandy Moore looked amazing. Nicole Kidman, I believe, will still look gorgeous at age 113.

— “The Americans” stars were robbed once again, but I was thrilled to see Sarah Paulson win for her Marcia Clark portrayal in “The People vs. O.J. Simpson,” and Tracee Ellis Ross gave a heartfelt and winning speech after her win for “Blackish.”

— Really lame, stupid and borderline offensive of the writers to make lame Sofia Vergara accent jokes (come on, her saying “anal” instead of “annual?” That’s Howard Stern-level humor), and portray Goldie Hawn as a ditzy old lady not able to read a TelePrompter. Just bad.

— Do awards shows really need a DJ? Apparently. Qwestlove didn’t get to do much but he’s always fun.

–Didn’t see “La La Land” and don’t plan to, but “Moonlight” sure as heck looks amazing. And I can’t wait to see “Fences” as soon as I can.

— Seriously, bring back Amy and Tina next year. And every year from now on.

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**Finally today, that was one shitty NFL wild-card weekend, eh? Four games, and not really a great game among ’em. Hell, there wasn’t even a good game among them, although Giants-Packers was at least compelling for 2.5 quarters.

This happens fairly frequently on wild-card weekend; sometimes the matchups just aren’t good. Still, we should have at least two good games next weekend. Couple thoughts on the slop that took place Saturday and Sunday…

— The Dallas Cowboys are the happiest team in the world this morning, since the Giants, the only team that’s beaten Jerry Jones’ boys all year when they were playing all their regulars, are not coming to Texas next weekend to try to beat Dallas a third time. The boys from New Jersey played a miserable game Sunday, although part of that was because Aaron Rodgers played superhuman quarterback for the final three quarters.

I still don’t think the Cowboys are making the Super Bowl with a rookie QB and a rookie running back, but their road got a lot easier with the Giants losing.

— I feel really badly for the Raiders, of all teams. They were having a sensational, dream-like season for 14 games, going 11-3 and looking like a real title threat.

Then their star quarterback, Derek Carr gets hurt, and they don’t win again and they’re forced to play a kid making his first-ever NFL start (Connor Cook) in a road playoff game. No way that goes well.

— I think the chances of Donald Trump coming out of the closet as a gay man on Jan. 20 are greater than the chances of the Houston Texans going into New England next week and beating the Patriots. I’m just sayin.’

— The two “good” games I see next week are the NFC contests: I guess the Steelers could upset Kansas City, but I just don’t think Pittsburgh’s D is all that great this year. But I think the road teams are very frisky next week in the NFC. Seattle looked very solid and have all kinds of playoff experience, and the Matt Ryan-led Falcons certainly have a choking history in the playoffs.

And the Packers, winners of seven in a row, with a QB playing out of his mind, absolutely could steal that game in Dallas. Rodgers is on a different plane right now, just totally locked in.

And really, who doesn’t want to see Jerry Jones unhappy?

Saying goodbye to a crappy 2016 at the NY Botanical Garden train show was super-fun. The Mariah Carey train-wreck on NYE: Oy. And the NFL playoffs should be wild.

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And a happy 2017 to all of you out there in Internet-land. I hope you rang in the new year safely and happily, we did our usual “movie and champagne at home” thing, where we enjoyed “Oceans 11” (my first time seeing the whole thing, it was very entertaining but I kept marveling at the sheer impossibility of that caper) and then watched Kathy Griffin do her annual humiliating of Anderson Cooper on CNN (truly that network’s best programming of the year).

But before all that the wife and I took our 2-year-old to the New York Botanical Gardens for a wonderful day. First we saw a Thomas the Tank Engine show for the toddler set; my boy hasn’t watched Thomas yet on TV but we have a few books and he’s becoming a big train fan. He sat still for the whole 30-minute show and got his picture taken with Thomas on stage, so he was very happy.

Then the real highlight: The NYBG does a Holiday Train Show every year, and it was nothing short of astonishing. They spend months and months building replicas of New York landmarks like the Statue of Liberty, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the N.Y. Public Library, and Yankee Stadium, out of plants, branches and resin. And they have a whole slew of model trains going around the landmarks and winding through an entire area of the Garden. (that’s one of the models, above).

It was really pretty special to see, the craftsmanship and beauty of the landmarks, the gorgeous trains, and how many little kids and big kids alike (me) couldn’t stop smiling.

If you’re in the New York area and/or are visiting between now and Jan. 22, I highly, highly recommend it. It was the perfect happy day to end a miserable year. Here’s the NYBG website with details of the train show.

**

So I have no particular dislike of Mariah Carey, except for the fact that she used to seem like a nice person when she was younger and fresh-faced and grew up like 30 minutes from where I did, and then in the past 10-12 years she seems to have turned into a not-so-nice diva who thinks her poop doesn’t stink. Anyway, I like her music just fine, she’s obviously a great talent, yada yada yada.

But man, did she have a miserable New Year’s Eve. Performing live at Times Square on ABC’s show (the one Dick Clark made famous and Ryan Seacrest is now desecrating), she lip-synched badly, got mad at the technical mistakes, then basically left. Not a good look when people start calling you Mariah Milli Vanilli Carey.

Watch for yourself…

**Finally today, the NFL regular season ended Sunday and it was a merciful end for Jets fans like me; I think I watched one or two plays, tops of their “huge” win over the Buffalo Bills. Hey, 5-11 is better than 4-12! The Jets are a mess, the Bills are an even bigger one; if you want more proof, check out how the Jets scored their final touchdown. I mean, maybe that’s happened before in the NFL, but wow. How do you not know the rules about a kickoff?
Happily, Jets owner Woody Johnson decided not to do the knee-jerk thing and fire the coach and GM; you’ve got to give them more than two years when one year was terrific and the second one was terrible.

Also, Darrelle Revis? Thanks for the memories. Don’t let the door hit you on your big, fat wallet on the way out.

— OK, on to teams that matter now in January. I always love it when new teams make it into the playoffs, ones that haven’t been there for a while. This year we’ve got the Raiders but their stay will be short since their star QB, Derek Carr, is hurt; the Lions who are never a playoff regular, and the New England Patriots, who finally had a good season (ha ha).

I have no idea who’ll win the Super Bowl, but a few weeks ago I thought the Steelers and Packers were playing the best. I don’t believe in the Cowboys in the playoffs yet, so let’s go with Coach Hoodie in the AFC and Seattle in the NFC, just because they’ve been there before. My “backup” picks would be the Giants and the Chiefs, because they’re both playing terrific right now.

— 49ers fired Chip Kelly. Guy inherited a terrible team, and they give him one season and then fire him. Hard to believe this is the same franchise that everyone used to look up to.

— Kirk Cousins, I really, really wanted to believe in you. But you make it tough. You’re in a must-win game, against a team (the Giants) who didn’t need the game at all, and you come up very, very small.

— Finally, this isn’t directly related to football, but was so outrageous that I must point it out. A Philadelphia Inquirer reporter named Jeff McLane was ejected from the press box of Sunday’s Eagles-Cowboys game, for apparently talking too loud and briefly arguing with a media relations staffer. An Eagles VP then threatened to eject the rest of the sportswriters there who were objecting. McLane has been a beat writer for eight years, so of course he’s written some negative stories about the team. But come on, how amateurish is this?

Seriously, this actually happened. Pathetic.

 

Good News Friday: Derek Jeter writes the perfect farewell. “Blackish” a really fun new show. And Aaron Rodgers does good by some kids.

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We get magical moments in sports all the time, but the joy is that we never know exactly when they’re going to happen.

Derek Jeter played his final game at Yankee Stadium Thursday night. It comes after a full season of hype, publicity, and at times nauseatingly-loving media coverage, coverage so immense that even Yankee fans like me were sick of it by midsummer.

He is one of the greatest Yankees in history, a sure-fire Hall of Famer, and a man whose play the last few years has been painful to watch for those of us who remember his prime fondly.
So Thursday night it was finally going to end, and “Jeet” had a couple of nice moments through eight innings: A double off the wall, a go-ahead grounder that scored a run, and in the top of the ninth he stood at shortstop with the Yankees about to close out a routine 5-2 win over Baltimore.
Only then, the Hollywood ending wouldn’t have happened. So David Robertson, a solid closer all year, gave up a couple of homers and the O’s tied the game at 5, and of course Jeter was due up third in the bottom of the ninth, and of course the Yanks got a man to second, and then, this happened…

Some of us got chills. How great is that? A perfect ending for a marvelous career.

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**Next up, there are so few good network sitcoms these days that I think a new one debuting is worthy of a Good News Friday mention. I’d read some good things about the new Anthony Anderson show “Blackish,” so the wife and I gave it a shot Wednesday night.
Really, really funny. The writing was sharp (I especially like the part where Anderson and his wife discuss the O.J. case), the acting spot-on, and the premise seems like it can be carried out humorously for awhile. (Though bad-ass Laurence Fishburne playing a Grandpa made me feel really, really old.)

I’ve seen lots of shows that have had great pilots and then stunk after that (I’m looking at you, “Michael J. Fox Show”), so I don’t want to get too excited about “Blackish.” But it was smart, funny and definitely I show I’ll keep watching for a while.

**Finally, Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers has a pretty good reputation for being a good guy (his idiotic blind defense of steroid user Ryan Braun is one notable screw-up by him), and he showed again that there are 99 percent good dudes in the NFL, we just hear about the screw-ups.

Rodgers heard about a woman named Annie who’s suffering from spina bifida, and surprised her with the biggest shock of her life. Really sweet, heart-warming video, especially at the reveal at 1:40 mark …

 

Big brother wins another Manning Bowl. Catching fish with your hair? Sure. And a baseball player mails pot to his dog.

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As a lifelong little brother myself, I always root for Eli Manning when he has to play Peyton.
I mean, Peyton has gotten to do everything first in life: Star in football, first in college, and then the NFL. Peyton got to throw touchdown passes first, got to the Super Bowl first (though Eli now has two rings to Peyton’s one, which just seems strange, doesn’t it?), and is a better overall quarterback and TV commercial pitchman. (that’s Peyton above on the right, with little bro’ Eli in front).

So when Eli has played Peyton, I generally pull for the Giants signal-caller. But once again Sunday, as he has in all three times they’ve played, Eli fell way short.
Peyton was brilliant, throwing for more than 300 yards and powering the Broncos to an easy win over the 0-2 Giants. (By the way, my terrible Jets are 1-1, and the far-superior Giants are winless. I said to my father-in-law, a die-hard Giants fan, Sunday night, that if the Jets somehow finish with a better record than the Giants, he’ll never hear the end of it.)

Peyton beating Eli was expected, but I still felt for the younger brother as usual. You know Peyton has never let him win anything in life, and when they’re old and gray and sitting on the porch chasing the grandkids, Peyton will hold his 3-0
record over Eli’s head forever.
Damn those older siblings.

Some other quick-hit NFL thoughts an another bananas day in the league:
— It’s really fun to watch the Eagles play offense. Not so much fun to watch them play defense. Michael Vick will throw for 6,000 yards this year, and the team will finish 7-9. Good times, eh?
— Biggest positive surprise so far? The 2-0 Chiefs. Still weird to see Andy Reid in red-and-white, but that’s a pretty solid team he’s got there in Kansas City. Biggest disappointment? The Washington RGIII’s (hey, it seems like much of the media has decided not use the offensive “Redskins” name anymore, so RGIII’s is as good as anything else).
Boy does Washington look awful. Their defense is atrocious, they can’t get off to a good start, and there’s no running game to speak of. Griffin doesn’t look fully recovered from his knee injury at all.
— Three games were decided in the last minute Sunday: Chicago-Minnesota, Buffal0-Carolina, San Diego-Philly, and New Orleans-Atlanta, while a fifth, Tennessee-Houston, went to overtime. My point? I have two. First, nobody does drama like the NFL. And 2, why anyone would ever wager on these games is beyond me. Nobody knows what’s going to happen from week to week, and if someone tries to tell you they do, they’re bullshitting you.

**Next up, nothing unusual to see here: Just a college kid catching a fish with only his hair.
One of the many, many reasons I wish I still had lovely mane of locks: I could do stuff like this.

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**Finally today, a tale of an athlete so stupid you just have to laugh and just sort of marvel at his stupidity. A couple of weeks ago a Cleveland Indians pitcher named Chris Perez was convicted on drug charges, for mailing a package containing nine ounces of weed.
To his dog.
Yep, Brody the Dog got a package from his owner, which was awfully nice since I’m sure Brodie hadn’t gotten high in at least a few days. All he’d been doing was chasing his tail (which is a lot more fun when you’re stoned, dogs have told me), and running after a tennis ball, (which is an activity that loses its luster when you’re stoned, dogs have also confided in me.)

Ah, Chris Perez. If only you knew the truth: The dog was just ordering the pot for the goldfish; that’s the real drug fiend in your family.

A terrific Jets win has them tied for 1st. A dispiriting Yankees loss pretty much dooms them. And the guy who jumped from outer space

Well that was a decidedly mixed and bittersweet sports Sunday for yours truly.
More sweet than bitter, because I’m a bigger New York Jets fan than I am a Yankees fan, but still (If pressed, I would say my diehard sports allegiances rank is: 1, Jets, 2. New York Rangers, 3. Duke basketball, 4, Yankees baseball, 5, Brooklyn Nets basketball. Not that you necessarily needed all that information, but I’m here to share.)

Let’s start with the good. I expected the Jets to have a shot to win Sunday against the Colts, because Indy’s not nearly as good as San Francisco, Houston (they get a mulligan for Sunday night) or Pittsburgh, but I did not expect a 35-9 walloping.

Everything went perfectly for Gang Green, starting with the running game, which to this point in the season had been MIA. Shonn Greene looked like the same guy from 2 years ago, bullying and bruising his way through big holes the O-line created.
Mark Sanchez did what he needed to, simply hitting his receivers when they were open and making two really nice throws on his TD passes. The defense realized it was allowed to hit the other team’s QB, and did so repeatedly.

Really good win for my boys. I still don’t think they’re any good, but hey, look at the standings, everyone in the AFC East is 3-3 right now. A four-way tie for first, or for last (I guess it depends on your perspective on life which way you see it.)

Some other quick-hit NFL thoughts on Week 6:
— Man, that was a hellacious beatdown the Packers put on Houston Sunday night. Where’s that Green Bay offense been all year, Aaron Rodgers?
— That was one serious statement by the Giants in San Fran. They obliterated the 49ers, 26-3. I have no idea which Giants team will show up week to week, but they looked like the best team in football on Sunday.
— Hell of a comeback by Seattle to stun New England. Brady and his boys looked pretty mortal in the 4th. Jets-Pats, next Sunday in Foxboro. Even after Sunday, I’d say 38-10 New England sounds about right.
— If you haven’t seen RGIII’s incredible touchdown run in the 4th quarter Sunday, watch it here. Man this kid is fast.

**And then there’s the Yankees. Let’s face it, the Bronx Bombers were fortunate to get by the Orioles; those two teams were pretty dead even. Now against Detroit, even with some Raul Ibanez magic Saturday night, the Yanks’ offense has been beyond putrid.
Pathetic, awful, whatever you want to call it. Sunday night, with the great Derek Jeter out with a broken ankle, the Yanks mustered four measly hits.
It’s amazing how every single guy in the lineup, especially A-Rod and Cano (the latter is O-for-his-last-26, which is really hard to do for a big leaguer. 0-for 26!) look so lost at the plate. They’re barely even hitting the ball hard.
So the Tigers are up 2-0, and have Cy Young likely winner Justin Verlander going in Game 3, and yeah, the Yankees seem pretty much done.

Delighting millions of haters everywhere.

**OK, is there any doubt that Felix Baumgartner has the all-time best story to tell at his next high school reunion?

“So Felix, whatcha been up to?”
“Oh, not much. Just, you know, jumping out of a capsule from outer space and breaking the speed of sound.”

Sunday, Baumgartner, a 43-year-old Austrian achieved one of the coolest feats in recorded history, leaping 120,000 feet from the edge of space in the greatest skydive you could possibly do.

Watch the video (below), and if your jaw doesn’t drop in the first 30 seconds, it may be wired shut and you should consult a dentist immediately.

Wow.

The Golden Globes entertain me once again. A crazy NFL weekend capped by Giants upset. And an update on MJ’s coach

The Golden Globes were Sunday night, and I love a good Hollywood awards show (go ahead and threaten to take away my “man card,” I don’t care.) The Globes this year weren’t all that terrific, but that didn’t stop me from having some thoughts; some nice, some not so nice.
— Ricky Gervais wasn’t anywhere near as mean as last year. But he also wasn’t that funny. He had one or two decent jokes in the monologue but nothing memorable.
— Is there a better Hollywood couple than William H. Macy and Felicity Huffman? Their intro was very cute.
— Great seeing Madonna, but her arms looked really scary.
— So happy that “Homeland” cleaned up, with Claire Danes winning best actress and the show winning best drama. I’ve said it several times before: Watch this show if at all possible.
— Harrison Ford, God bless him, looks like death warmed over.
— Reese Witherspoon (above) and Charlize Theron looked amazing.
— Seth Rogen got the biggest laugh by admitting, standing next to Kate Beckinsdale, that he was currently “hiding the biggest erection.”
— Wondering how a silent movie like “The Artist” can be nominated for best screenplay. There were no words!
— Very tough call: Which role will Morgan Freeman most be remembered for? “Driving Miss Daisy” or “Shawshank?” I say “Shawshank.”

**Wild, wild weekend in the NFL playoffs. Lots to digest, so some quick-hitting thoughts on the games from a man who was once again reminded to never, ever, ever wager money on the outcome of a football game:

— Shockingly dominant win by the Giants. Big Blue did whatever they wanted to Green Bay’s putrid defense, which isn’t as shocking. But the fact that they forced three Packers turnovers and held Aaron Rodgers basically in check was pretty stunning.
Amazing that the Giants were basically given up for dead at 7-7 in Week 15, and now are 60 minutes from the Super Bowl. It’s looking very much like 2007 all over again.
— Insanely exciting finish to 49ers-Saints Saturday night; I got home from dinner just in time to see the fourth quarter. Four TDs in a the last five minutes? And who knew Alex Smith had such clutch play in him? There should be NO hands up, since the football world had long since given up on him before this year.
— Very surprised that Baltimore struggled so much with Houston; thought that one would be a blowout. I’m not so sure the Ravens offense can keep up the the Pats’ juggernaut next week, but it should be a heck of a game.
— I don’t want to hear the name “Tim Tebow” for a while now. That’s agreed upon by all, right? He was a great story but even Tebow-lovers have to be sick of him by now.

–On a personal note, if the Giants win next week that’ll be 5 Super Bowl appearances by them in my lifetime as a Jets fan. Appearances by the Jets in my lifetime? Zero.
Yep, I definitely chose correctly back when I was 6.

**So a few days ago I linked to a great story by Sports Illustrated writer Thomas Lake on Clifton “Pop” Herring, who in the early 1980s coached Michael Jordan at Laney High School in Wilmington, N.C. It was a great story because it once and for all punctured the crazy myth that MJ was cut from his high school team. Herring, who has suffered from mental illness for years, finally was vindicated.

Yet, the same week Herring’s story was finally told to a national audience, he’s dealing with fame for a very different reason. This is bizarre, but Herring was arrested Friday after a dead body was found at a home where he was living. Herring isn’t being charged with murder, but with resisting arrest.
As of now the facts are still unclear, but it doesn’t look good for Pop.

Crazy to think that a week ago, this guy was still basically anonymous. Now he’s been in two major news stories in the span of a few days.

Ugly but beautiful: Jets rally to beat Redskins, and some more NFL thoughts. Boeheim finally gets it on sex abuse charges. And similes that are awesome.

It seems that ugly will have to be beautiful for Jets fans this year. Once again Sunday, my boys in green and white played pretty miserable offensive football for 3 1/2 quarters against the godawful Washington Redskins, and it looked like the men of Sanchez would go down to defeat. A loss that would pretty much end any playoff hopes.

Watching at my friend David’s apartment, I was resigned to their fate. But then they had to screw with me again, playing a great last six minutes, and winning going away, 34-19.
Mark Sanchez made some big throws at the end when he had to. The defense stepped up big-time (Aaron Maybin, where you been all my life?). And hey, they even managed to not fumble the last couple of punts! That in itself was thrilling.

Washington is terrible. Rex Grossman is a crime against quarterbacking; he makes Tim Tebow look like Dan Marino. And I’m still not sure my Jets are any good. But they are what they are; 7-5 with an easy schedule the rest of the way that may allow them to make the playoffs.

And how could I argue with that? I can’t, that’s how. Today is a good day.

Some other quick-hitting NFL thoughts…

— That Giants-Packers game was phenomenally entertaining. Aaron Rodgers and the Pack won 38-35 on a last-second field goal, but man the Giants showed a lot of moxie and explosiveness in keeping it close. I just don’t know if you can play QB any better than Rodgers is right now. I had zero doubt, with the game tied at 35 and a minute left, that he would lead the Pack down for the winning points at the end. Dude is frighteningly good right now.

— Ah, Detroit Lions, nice to see you’re still the bad boys of the NFL. I so want to root for them since Lions fans have been down for so long, but more thuggish behavior was on display Sunday night against the Saints.

— Been a long time since a Colts-Patriots game was that meaningless.
— I have no explanation for Tim Tebow and his continued end of game magic.
— One day Terry Bradshaw’s forehead will swallow the entire FOX studio.

**Next up today, a hilarious Washington Post project, asking readers to come up with the most tortured similes they could. They crowned 56 winners. A few of my favorites:

32. The plan was simple, like my brother-in-law Phil. But unlike Phil, this plan just might work.
32. He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells, as if she were a garbage truck backing up.

and my personal favorite…
22. He fell for her like his heart was a mob informant and she was the East River.

Check out the rest of them here for a good Monday laugh.

**Finally today, a few words about Syracuse men’s basketball coach Jim Boeheim. There are few coaches I have disliked more over my lifetime. I find Boeheim to be a smug, whiny, arrogant jerk who constantly complains he’s put upon, and generally acts like a jackass in interviews and during games.

And so I was a little bit pleased to see, after Boeheim jumped all over the accusers in this Bernie Fine case (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, Boeheim’s longtime assistant has been accused of sexual molestation by three men who worked for the team when they were teenagers), to see him have to back off once more accusers started coming forward.

But I have to admit, after admitting he was wrong to so quickly call the accusers liars, he’s been really, really smart in his comments. Check out this story from the Syracuse Post-Standard over the weekend, and hear the contrition and concern in Boeheim’s voice. I think this case has really shaken him, and he seems committed to finding the truth now. Sure, this could all just be phony PR from him, but I don’t think it is. Judge for yourself.

A pretty darn good Super Bowl. And a few pretty awesome commercials

Given that it’s a near-certainty that Sunday’s game as the last real NFL football I’d be seeing for at least a year and a half, I’m glad it was a pretty entertaining game.
With the owners getting set to lock out the players (billionaires fighting millionaires, as it were), Sunday’s Super Bowl was all we’re getting probably until 2012.
So I’m happy it was a hell of a game. All the classic elements of a great contest were there; one team gets out to a big lead, the other comes all the way back, and we’ve got an exciting finish.
Lots of topics to hit on from this game, and all the FOX-related hoopla throughout the day:
— Aaron Rodgers will play in, and win more Super Bowls than that guy he replaced, Brett something or other. And who in the world could’ve ever predicted that? It never happens in sports that a legendary QB follows another legendary QB. It happened in San Francisco with Montana and Young, but off the top of my head that’s the only time it happened in my lifetime.
— We went a few years there in the post-Ed McCaffrey/Wayne Chrebet time without a stud, fast white wide receiver in the NFL. Glad to see Jordy Nelson is stepping in to fill the void.
— I didn’t look this up, but I thought that was the fewest penalties I’d ever seen called in a Super Bowl. Good to see.
— That camera shot of Cameron Diaz feeding Alex Rodriguez popcorn? Priceless.
— The halftime show was, umm, interesting. I thought the Black Eyed were mostly OK, though Fergie’s mic kept cutting out, it looked like. LOVED that Slash got some SB halftime love, with “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” one of my favorite-ever songs, though it didn’t sound great.

— Did you hear about the ticket fiasco before the game? 1,250 people had tickets for seats that didn’t exist or weren’t deemed safe, and had to be moved. 400 people never got a place to sit, having to stand and watch the game on monitors. Disgraceful. Check out the details here.

— How good is Clay Matthews Jr., the Packers’ stud linebacker? Amazingly good.
— I thought Troy Aikman had a bad game announcing for FOX. He misspoke a bunch of times and didn’t really add anything to the broadcast.
— I tweeted this last night: Look at how many injuries there were in the Super Bowl. And the NFL owners want to add two games to the schedule. Insanity.
— Still annoyed the Jets weren’t in this game Sunday. Arrghh. So close.

**As for the commercials, well, I thought most of them were blah. But here were my three favorites. Above, we have the NFL paying tribute to its fans through classic TV, digitally enhancing everyone with football paraphernalia. Brilliant.

**Then, a truly moving commercial from Chrysler, starring Eminem. I don’t buy for a minute that Detroit is going to reclaim its title as car capital of the world, but it’s a hell of a good ad:

**And this one might’ve been my favorite, the Volkswagen Darth Vader commercial. So good. And the expression on the father’s face when he presses the remote button? Fabulous.

Which did you think were the best commercials?