Tag Archives: Bill Belichick

That was the greatest comeback in sports history. I hate you but I salute you, New England Patriots. There were a few good Super Bowl commercials that stood out. And “SNL” gets a hilarious Melissa McCarthy appearance.

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Yeah, I got nothin.’

As the Atlanta Falcons bullied, pummeled, and bludgeoned the New England Patriots all over the field for the first 2 1/2 quarters of Super Bowl 51, I was so, so tempted to gloat. So much was I enjoying seeing my hated nemesis and their two-headed monster, Tom Brady and Bill Belichick get their butts kicked, I wanted to get excited. I want to taunt my Pats fans friends (of which I have many). I wanted to make sarcastic remarks about Bob Kraft and Trump and Brady and so much of the New England mystique getting smushed on Sunday night… but I didn’t.

Because deep, deep, deep down, I knew that even at 28-3, this game wasn’t over. I have seen this movie, this incredible Patriots movie, too many times before. Too many times has No. 12 come down and broken hearts, splintered hopes, destroyed dreams.

And so with an enormous assist from their opponents, the Patriots and their robot quarterback did it again. In the biggest Super Bowl comeback ever (biggest by 14 points!), New England won a 34-28 overtime thriller.

And I’m … spent. In disbelief at how it happened, even as I feared it might. After looking so awful for so long, the Patriots woke up. Stopped dropping passes, stopped letting Brady get hit every time he threw, and actually played a little defense of their own.

And because they did, I have to finally say it: Tom Brady is the greatest QB in NFL history. And his coach is probably the best in NFL history, too (though Lombardi and Paul Brown have some pretty good arguments).

A horrible game. An amazing final quarter. A win that will last forever. A few semi-coherent thoughts from my notes…

— I mean, there have been sports collapses before, and choke jobs, and gag jobs, and just terrible play by teams that are way ahead… but oh my goodness, the 2017 Atlanta Falcons 2nd-half Super Bowl performance will be the standard all other collapses will be judged by. For eternity. you’re up 28-3! So many times they could’ve put this game away, but the two biggest screw-ups have to be throwing the ball on 3rd and 1, when you’re inside field goal range up 28-20 and a FG pretty much wins it in the fourth quarter, and then Matt Ryan’s sack/fumble that gave the Pats life a few minutes earlier.

Just an unbelievable collapse. The Falcons’ D surrendered but it was exhausted by overtime. This loss is just as much on the offense; how do you only throw the ball to Julio Jones FOUR times??? (and on one of those he made one of the greatest catches in Super Bowl history). Just a complete and total meltdown that will forever stain all those involved.

— Somewhere Rodney Harrison, victimized by the David Tyree catch nine years ago in the Super Bowl, was smiling Sunday night. Because that Julian Edelman catch (above) was some kind of Spiderman shit, too. If there was any doubt at that point that the Pats would win, that unreal catch was it.

— Kind of amazing that after dropping so many balls the first three quarters the Pats receivers caught every freaking ball in the fourth quarter and OT. (No, I’m not bitter.)

— Is there anyone in America, except maybe Falcons owner Arthur Blank, who thought once the game went into overtime Atlanta had a chance? Nope. There was no hope, especially after Atlanta lost the OT coin toss. Those defensive players’ legs were rubber.

Lady Gaga performs during the Pepsi Zero Sugar Super Bowl LI Halftime Show held at NRG Stadium on February 5, 2017 in Houston, TX. (Photo by Anthony Behar) *** Please Use Credit from Credit Field ***(Sipa via AP Images)

— Lady Gaga’s halftime performance was stellar and pitch-perfect. Not overly political but certainly inclusive, she performed her hits, had outstanding choreography, and a pretty fantastic finish. Well done.

— A lot of otherwise-bright people will tell you today that this was the “best Super Bowl ever.” Nonsense. It was a one-sided rout for three quarters. It was the best comeback ever, maybe the most dramatic game ever. But it was a snoozefest for a long time.

— I am so, so glad I didn’t have to cover that game and write a coherent story on deadline.

**So, the commercials. I thought they were pretty decent this year, actually. I loved the Turbo Tax Humpty Dumpty one, and I thought the Christopher Walken/Justin Timberlake ad was really clever. But the two I liked the best were the Honda ad with quotes from celebrity high school yearbooks (above) and this one, from Budweiser, about how their two founders met: Really smart and well-done.

**Finally today, this was about the only thing that could cheer me up after the Super Bowl: “Saturday Night Live” hit it out of the park again over the weekend, as Melissa McCarthy did her best Sean Spicer (White House Press secretary) impression.

Again, these things are hilarious but the real-life stuff is just so scary; Trump saying on the Super Bowl pre-game that sure, Putin’s a killer but we’ve got killers in America, too is pretty horrendous, but this passage, from this tremendous NYT story, is what will scare the hell out of me for weeks:

Mr. Bannon remains the president’s dominant adviser, despite Mr. Trump’s anger that he was not fully briefed on details of the executive order he signed giving his chief strategist a seat on the National Security Council,…

The President of the United States had NO IDEA what he was signing!!!!!!!!!!

Ugh. OK. I think I need to take some pills. Have a wonderful day.

 

 

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Why I have mixed feelings about Saturday’s enormous marches across U.S. A hockey coach’s Dad does 100 straight push-ups and I’m in awe. And the Falcons and Patriots are feeling Super

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This was a pretty remarkable weekend in the history of the United States.

On Friday, the 45th President of America painted a horribly dark and vile portrait of our current-day 50 state union that seems at odds with reality.

Then on Saturday, millions upon millions of women, white, black and brown, old and young, marched in cities large and small across this nation that’s already great in opposition to the vile man who was just elected, vowing to fight him every step of the way. Men marched as well, and bless them too, but this was overwhelmingly a female statement.

Saturday night the new President and his press secretary chose not to usher in a fresh start and offer a new vision, but instead bitched and moaned at the press, then uttered bald-faced lies.

I don’t want to talk about Trump and his “alternative facts” today, there’ll be plenty of time for that.

I want to talk about the Women’s March, and why it left me with mixed feelings. On the one hand, it was amazing, beautiful, sensational and moving. I’m thrilled beyond belief that so many individuals availed themselves of our right to protest, and spoke loudly and clearly that the new President has many, many opponents.

I just … I just wish the millions who marched Saturday also stayed active and called their local representatives, and lobbied Congress, and ran for office themselves. Because as wonderful as Saturday was, it doesn’t change that the GOP controls 68 out of 100 state legislatures right now, and 31 governorships, and have both houses of Congress and the Presidency.

And that’s where the sausage gets made, the laws that restrict voting rights and have done a powerful job denying women’s rights to their own bodies, and have completely corrupted campaign finance reform, and horribly mismanaged our criminal justice system so a guy is in jail for 40 years for selling an ounce of pot.

That’s where the long-lasting impact of Saturday can lie. The march will be for naught unless we effect small, incremental changes at the lowest levels, and build from the way up. That’s what the Koch brothers realized in the 1980s, and look what they’ve wrought.

Don’t just be fired up and involved in political change once every four years. Come out to vote in 2018’s midterms. Lobby your local officials and don’t let draconian policies that greatly affect you fly under your radar.

Fighting for your rights shouldn’t be a once in a while thing when millions of others are doing it on the same day. It needs to be an every day thing if things are going to change.

 

**So this is pretty fantastic: Most every NHL team has a “Dad’s road trip” each season, where player’s Pops get to come on the road for a week or so, hang out with their famous kids, and watch a lot of games and beam with pride. It’s a really cool quirk and new tradition in the best sport in the world.

This, though, I’ve never seen. A man named Kenichi Ohashi, father of a Caps’ assistant coach, told the team he’d do 100 pushups if they won on Saturday. They won, so he did.

I’m in awe, Mr. Ohashi. Absolute awe.

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**Finally today, the Super Bowl is set, and it’s a matchup we’ve never seen before, which is always nice. But the bleepin’ New England Patriots are in it, which for me isn’t so nice.

A team that hasn’t been in the big game for 18 years, the Atlanta Falcons, destroyed Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers Sunday afternoon, 44-21, and it wasn’t that close.

I’m happy for Matt Ryan, who has presided over some pretty terrible playoff losses in his career and finally has won a big one. I’m happy for two guys I used to cover or write about, Eric Weems and Ricardo Allen, both from Daytona Beach, Fla., who will get the awesome experience of playing in the Super Bowl.

The Falcons offense is pretty sensational; yeah the Packers had won eight in a row and had lots of injuries on defense, but Atlanta just carved them up. Julio Jones, Ryan, a fierce offensive line… the Falcons are dangerous.

And then, the Patriots. This is their, what, 34th Super Bowl in the last 10 years or something? They just keep winning and winning, and Tom Brady made a deal with the devil to stay young forever, and Coach Hoodie keeps finding these undrafted dudes who no one else likes and turns them into Jerry Rice at wide receiver (Chris Hogan, it’s your turn) and it just gets tiring rooting for this team to fail year after year.

I have no idea who’ll win the Super Bowl yet; maybe Atlanta’s offense can light up the scoreboard and make this a great game after what’s been a pretty terrible NFL postseason.

Nobody outside of New England wants to see the Pats win a fifth title. For the next two weeks, we are ALL Falcons fans, right?

The Jets with a stunning, thrilling win over the Patriots, as Belichick makes a rare stupid decision. “Master of None” a superb new Netflix show. And the rapist who made sure his victim got home safely.

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Wow, wow, wow, wow, wow. It’s been several hours since the New York Jets pulled off an always-satisfying, and always-rare, win over the Patriots Sunday.

And I’m still jazzed. Damn, that feels good. I’ve said before that a victory over New England, since it’s so uncommon, feels like two wins instead of one. And this one certainly does.

Where to start? Well, for once Bill Belichick didn’t come off as such a genius. Coach Hoodie seemed to make major blunders throughout the game, starting with the end of the first half when he inexplicably decided not to try to score more points, with 1:50 left, 2 timeouts, and his team trailing by 7.

But Billy boy saved his best brain work for OT, when after winning the coin toss, he told his captain to say the Pats wanted to kick off. This meant, if the Jets scored a TD, New England wouldn’t get the ball at all and the game would be over.
Which is exactly what happened.
Because Ryan Fitzpatrick, God bless his journeyman soul, led the Jets downfield for a beautiful TD. I don’t know what the hell has gotten into Fitz this year, but this isn’t the QB I watched so many years in Buffalo and Houston. This guy is calm, poised, and after a shaky start, played a terrific game Sunday.

And Brandon Marshall… you complete me. I never saw Don Maynard because I wasn’t born yet, but Marshall’s the best Jets receiver of my lifetime. At least he’s having the best season of any Jets receiver of my life. He’s been so clutch, and so huge, in so many games.

The Jets defense also was fantastic, though to be fair, I think the Patriots were down to the kids from “Lucas” on the offensive line and at wideout by the end. Brady is just so fricken good, he almost pulled out a win anyway.

Ah, so much fun to beat the Pats. Now the Jets have set me up for the ultimate heartbreak: Having to beat Rex Ryan and Buffalo next week to get in. Bills, nothing to play for, Rex desperately wanting to beat his old team, Jets in a great spot… what could possibly go wrong?

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**Next up, I’ve been reading and hearing over the last few weeks about how fantastic Aziz Ansari’s new Netflix comedy, “Master of None” was. I’ve seen it on a bunch of “Top 10 shows of the year” lists, my favorite TV critic Alan Sepinwall had raved about it, and word of mouth about it was great.

Still, I wasn’t a big fan of Ansari or “Parks and Rec,” his last show, so I didn’t immediately watch.

Big mistake. The wife and I have been binge-watching it this weekend and it’s absolutely terrific. We’ve seen eight episodes (of 10) and it’s getting better and better.

The show, ostensibly, is just about a single man (Ansari) in his 30’s, working as an actor, hanging out with his friends, and having adventures both in dating and professionally. But it’s much more than that.

The writing is sharp and real; the chemistry among the actors (none of whom besides Ansari are famous) is terrific, and the stories told are fascinating.

One episode has Ansari’s character, Dev, vying with another Indian actor for a role in a TV show, since “you’re only allowed one Indian per show.” Another hilarious episode has Dev and his Asian friend Kevin trying to repay their parents for giving them a great new life in America by learning about their journeys.
And maybe the best storyline so far involves Claire Danes and Noah Emmerich in guest-starring roles, playing comedy so well.

It’s the rare show that treats its audience as intelligent adults; the relationships seem real, the dialogue is really funny, and it’s just a great, great show.

Can’t wait to watch the last two episodes; this is definitely a show you should check out.

**Finally today, I’m a few weeks late on this but just got around to reading it this weekend, and it’s brave and powerful and fabulous so I wanted to share it. Alisson Wood wrote this in the New York Times Week in Review a few weeks ago, about the time she was a college student, working as a waitress in a diner, and was raped by her boss, a manager at the restaurant.

The headline “Get home safe,” my rapist said” doesn’t grab you, nothing will. After committing his sexual assault in his office, Alisson’s boss helped her into her car, then followed her home.

It took years for her to come to terms with what happened, and her essay brings forth all her emotions. It’s difficult, important writing, and it’s done very well.

Rapists come in all shapes, sizes and demeanors; the stereotypes are often very wrong.

It’s a terrific essay and I highly urge you to read it.

A damn entertaining Super Bowl, with some great commercials to boot. And Serena and Djokovic rule again at Australian Open

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Never in Super Bowl history have so many jaws hit the floor at the exact same time as they did a little after 10 p.m. Sunday night, in one of the greatest Super Bowls ever played.

You don’t have to ask what I’m talking about. From sea to shining sea, all 110 million football fans watched the Seattle Seahawks just GIVE away a championship to the New England Patriots in the final seconds of Super Bowl 49.

At the 1-yard-line, with :30 left, with the BEST SHORT-YARDAGE BACK in the NFL on your team (Marshawn Lynch), with a touchdown winning the game, the Seahawks decided to throw the ball.

I had to watch it four times to actually believe what they did. But it happened. And Russell Wilson’s pass was intercepted, and the Patriots won, and oh my God that was one sensational football game.

And it’s too bad that so many great moments from the game will be forgotten because of the worst play-call in Super Bowl history. The incredible Jermaine Kearse catch to get Seattle down there in the final minute (and if that had led to a Seahawks win, on yet another fluke/crazy catch in a Super Bowl, the entire New England region would’ve been on suicide watch, I think).

Tom Brady, cool as Fonzie, bringing his team back from 10 down. The great games by guys you never heard of, like Seattle’s Chris Matthews and New England’s Malcolm Butler.

One of the five best Super Bowls of my lifetime, with an ending that’ll never be forgotten.
It pains me, really, really pains me to type this.  But congratulations to the legends, Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. To win four Super Bowls in 14 years is insanely difficult, and worthy of much praise.

Some other Super Bowl thoughts from my scattered brain…

— Idina Menzel sang the hell out of the anthem. God, what a voice.

— Loved the cool new NBC overhead camera angle they showed us at times; really let you see the whole field.

— Real classy, Doug Baldwin of the Seahawks, pretending to poop out the ball after scoring a TD (NBC cut away from this delightful act, but it’s all over the Internet if you haven’t seen it.) Your whole life, you wait to score in the Super Bowl, and that’s what you do?

**Loved a bunch of the Super Bowl commercials, including the Dove for Men ad (yes, of course me being a new father had a little to do with that), the Budweiser Lost Puppy ad, and this Snickers “Brady Bunch” ad was hilarious:

I also loved the Dodge commercial featuring the 100-year-old people giving pearls of wisdom. And I thought the Nissan commercial with the race-car driver and Harry Chapin’s “Cats in the Cradle” was good too, though as many pointed out on Twitter, Chapin died in a car accident so maybe not the best idea to have his song there, Nissan?

**On the other hand, that Nationwide commercial? Way too dark. Scared the hell out of me. Yes, let’s talk about kids dying from being unsafe on the Super Bowl.

— Didn’t watch much of the halftime show, since Katy Perry doesn’t do it for me. But seeing dolphin mascots dance alongside her was … interesting.

— It’s unconscionable that the Pats’ Julian Edelman wasn’t checked for a concussion after that severe hit he took in the fourth. It’s all about the safety of the players, right Roger Goodell?

— No more football for awhile. Boo.

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**Finally today, I want to say a few words about Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic, who just completed dominating performances in winning the Australian Open, once again.

Serena, who it’s no secret to anyone who reads this blog I have long loathed for her poor sportsmanship and arrogance on and off the court, was once again her dominant self. She now has 19 Grand Slam singles titles, rapidly closing the gap on Margaret Court’s total of 24 (and let’s be clear, it’s MUCH harder to win Slams these days, because the field is so much tougher than it was in Court’s day.)

She’s inching up the ladder toward being considered by most tennis experts as the greatest of all time. I still have her behind Steffi Graf and Martina, but it’s damn close. Serena is an incredible athlete, an unmatched competitor with a killer instinct like few others.

And Novak Djokovic? Well, he just about owns the Australian Open now, winning it for the fifth time. His defense, his shot-making, his mental toughness, just so impressive. Andy Murray had plenty of chances to win Sunday, and he played great at times.

But Djokovic was fitter, stronger, and better. He’s not in Rafa or Roger Federer’s category yet when it comes to all-time greats, but shoot, he’s getting closer.

Great Australian Open.

A barbershop encounter gives me serious childhood flashbacks. Browns and Jets lose excruciatingly, as usual. And an 18-wheeler jumps over a racecar

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You ever have an experience as an adult where you meet someone who reminds you exactly of you as a kid, and it sorta freaks you out?

I had one of those moments Sunday, in a pretty unlikely place. Before heading to my usual NFL-watching sports pub, I walked a few blocks to my usual barbershop, which because I’m significantly follicly-challenged, I only have to visit every three months or so.

It’s a tiny place, just 3-4 chairs and a small waiting area, and when I got there a father and his two young sons were already waiting to be shorn. Both kids (I found out later they were 8 and 5) were wearing football jerseys; the older one was wearing a Mike Wallace Dolphins jersey, while his brother rocked a Darrelle Revis Jets jersey.

So we’re all just sitting there, me across from them, and because I’m the kind of person who likes talking to strangers, I said to the older boy “So, you like the Dolphins, huh?”

This produced, wonderfully, a 20-minute stream of football talk from the mouths of these two that can only be called a massive flood of gridiron info. The brothers were seemingly so excited to have a captive audience that they just started spewing out NFL knowledge, rapid-fire, talking over each other and making my head spin as I tried to respond or acknowledge each expression.

It sounded something like this: “Did you know the Bears lost to the Cowboys 41-28 The Eagles are my favorite team I really like Mark Sanchez Did you see the game where the 49ers lost to the Seahawks My Dad took me to Giants vs. Texans J.J. Watt is super awesome I think when I grow up I want to be a linebacker Do you know that my favorite team is either the Broncos or Giants or Jets…”

And on and on. It was hilarious. Eventually the smaller boy went into the barber’s chair and his dad had to keep reminding him to look straight ahead and stop turning around to talk to the strange man, but darn it if the kid kept turning around, to the amusement of the barber.

When they were done, the father thanked me for indulging his boys, I told him I had an infant one at home, and then it hit me: Those boys are exactly like I was at their age. I was a sports nut extraordinaire and I loved it when a grown-up would talk sports with me, or more likely, let me talk sports at them. Kids just want to be heard, and I was just like those boys today at the barbershop.
Thirty years ago, I was them.

I walked out with a big smile, which is very rare when I leave a barbershop and have to see just how little hair I have left.

**Next up, a data storage and cloud computing company named EMC put together this awesome commercial where an 18-wheeler jumps over a race car. I have no idea what any of this has to do with a data company, but it was super cool to watch. For more info on how they did this, click here.

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**Finally, some quick-hit NFL thoughts on a Sunday filled with many blowouts and a few exciting games:

— My favorite team, the Jets, played a pretty good game Sunday but of course lost in OT when a simple screen pass turned into an 87-yard game winning TD. I truly watched very little of this game, because I just can’t waste my time watching the same awful play week after week, but from what I saw, Geno Smith showed some glimmers. 2-11 baby!

— This cracked me up: For the coin toss before the Rams-Redskins game, St. Louis coach Jeff Fisher sent out six players who aren’t usually captains and who seemingly were chosen at random. Except they weren’t; those six are the players St. Louis drafted over two years when they traded the No. 2 overall pick to the Redskins in 2012, so Washington could pick RG III.
That deal’s not working out so well for the ‘Skins, so I loved Fisher’s gesture. Great sense of humor.

— My “adopted” team, the Browns, did everything possible to break their fans’ hearts Sunday, before finally losing to Indy in the final minute. Cleveland has the worse kicker in the NFL this year, Billly Cundiff, who shanked another one to help lose this game. How is he still employed?

— Finally, I hate Bill Belichick as much as I hate anyone in sports, but Joe Posnanski wrote a really insightful piece on Coach Hoodie for NBCSports.com the other day. The Daylight Savings Time anecdote cracked me up.

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

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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?

A rare easy win for the Jets, OD’ing on Barack, and a huge gay-rights win in Houston

Well that was a highly unusual Jets game for me.

Hardly any pacing or shouting. Very little teeth-gnashing or anger-filled phone calls to my Jets posse. It was a delightfully easy win for the Gang Green, a 26-3 pasting of the pathetic Tampa Bay Bucs. I realize I insult all pathetic things by calling the Bucs pathetic; quite frankly, Tampa would have had to improve quite a bit Sunday to reach the high level of patheticness.

Basically, the Jets did what I expected them to do on offense: Run, run, run. Kellen Clemens proved once again he has as much business being an NFL quarterback as I do in the NBA as a dunking coach. Seriously, dude missed open receivers by THREE FEET sometimes! He was pretty bad for most of the game, though he did make a few nice throws in the second half, and most importantly, he didn’t screw up with any bad turnovers.

The defense was terrific, harassing Tampa’s running game and completely confusing poor rookie QB Josh Freeman. Man did that kid look lost.

The Jets running game was terrific again; I’d like to see them use Brad Smith more like they did today, on some Wildcat option plays. Guy is fast and has a strong arm so he’s a threat to throw.

And Thomas Jones, well, he was great again. (Discuss: Thomas Jones is the second-best running back in Jets history. At worst, he’s third, behind Curtis Martin and Freeman McNeil.)

The Jets have now won three in a row, against, admittedly, crappy teams,  and once again Sunday, the football gods shined upon them in other games. Miami beat Jacksonville, and Denver lost, too. The Jets are now tied with Miami, Jacksonville and Baltimore for the wild card spot, and stayed one game behind Bully Belichick’s New England team (who don’t scare anybody anymore; hell, Carolina was tied at 10 in Foxboro with someone named Matt Moore as their quarterback).

Still don’t think my boys are going to the playoffs, but if Sanchez is healthy next week and the Jets can beat Atlanta, well, things will get interesting.

Couple quick NFL thoughts:

— A brief toot of my own horn. In my weekly NFL pick ’em league, I went 14-for-14 on Sunday’s games. Picked every single winner correctly. I don’t think I’ve ever done that before. OK, you can stop applauding now.

— Indy escapes again. New Orleans escapes again. Both are 13-0. Five more wins each, and my dream of two 18-0 teams meeting in the Super Bowl becomes reality.

— The NFL blackout rule kills me. 85 miles away from Jacksonville, a bunch of Miami Dolphins fans who really wanted to see their team play the Jags had absolutely no options Sunday afternoon. No viewing allowed on basic TV, or DirectTV, blacked out in both places because Jacksonville didn’t sell the game out. Just an awful, awful rule.

— This just in: The Giants defense is awful. What a wildly entertaining Sunday night game, though, with Philly claiming a 45-38 win over the Giants. Every few minutes there was another huge scoring play. But man, the Giants D stinks.

***So I saw President Obama on “60 Minutes” last night, and once again he was smart and well-spoken and defended his ideas well.

I used to laugh at the following notion when it was first posed a few months ago, but now I’m thinking it might not be crazy: Is this President on TV too much? I mean, every five minutes he’s doing another interview or press conference or speech. I just think maybe we should see him a little less, give off the appearance of being a little more presidential, and not be so available.

Just a thought.

***Finally, I wanted to follow up on something I wrote about a month ago, which become a terrific reality Saturday: The city of Houston elected its first openly gay mayor, as Annise Parker won a run-off election. The fourth-largest city in America has a lesbian mayor, becoming the biggest U.S. city to ever have an openly gay person in charge at City Hall.

This is huge, especially in a place like Texas, which in the past has not proven to be, shall we say, welcoming to people who are different.

Brick by brick, crack by crack, the wall of intolerance is coming down.

“South Park” nails it again, and the funniest hockey celebration ever

A couple of thoughts, and a couple of great videos for a lazy Sunday in November, as I prepare to watch my New York Jets get pummeled by the Patriots:

First, let me state right upfront I’ve never been a big “South Park” guy. I know, I know, everyone says it’s the greatest thing ever, and I admit that the few times I’ve watched it I’ve laughed. But I just never got into the show, though I acknowledge how wickedly clever Matt Parker and Trey Stone are.

This, however, absolutely slayed me. It’s Cartman, singing a song about … well, just listen. Brilliant stuff.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

**I have absolutely no faith that the Jets will beat the Pats today. As I said in an email to my friend, excellent writer, Patriots fan and FOWWOS (Friend of Wide World of Stuff; yeah, that acronym needs some work) Ali Taber this week, I figure either New England will be so mad about everyone criticizing Coach Hoodie’s strategy at the end of the Colts game that they’ll come out and pulverize the Jets, or the Pats will still be a little dazed and my Gang Green will have a chance.

It would be just like the Jets to win today and then lose three in a row.

**This is totally random, but has anyone else noticed that tubs of cream cheese in the fridge don’t go bad nearly as fast as they used to? This is definitely a phenomenon worth exploring. I had some Philly cream cheese today that I think I bought in, like, September, and it was still good. I seem to remember cream cheese in the past always would go bad after like a week.

**Finally, 30 seconds of comic hilarity. A player in the Swedish hockey league, Henrik Andersen, got really excited after scoring his first goal of the season. So excited that, well … just watch.

I agonize over the Jets again, Belichick turns stupid for a minute, and ruminations from the supermarket


jets-jags
OK, nine games.

Not bad, New York Jets. Nine games in, and I can officially call it a season.

No playoffs, certainly not at 4-5 with the Pats coming up next week. No Super Bowl (ha!). No real reason to expect things to change in this, my 28th year of fandom (I was too young the first six years of my life to really appreciate this lovely franchise).

I really don’t feel like re-hashing all the things the Jets did wrong in their excruciating 24-22 loss to Jacksonville Sunday, but a few must be brought up:

— The defense is off for TWO weeks, and the Jets play like that? Awful tackling. Pressure on the QB in the second half, but not much in the first. And the pass defense on the final drive was atrocious.

— Braylon Edwards, you want a big contract? You HAVE to make that catch on the 2-point conversion the 4th, after the Jets put together a fantastic drive to take the lead. Don’t give me any garbage about the hit knocking the ball out; you have to make that play. If he does, I think the Jets lead by 3 and the game goes to overtime.

— I know it didn’t cost them any points, but Mark Sanchez, what the hell was that throw on the second interception, when the Jags’  defensive end, Quinton Groves was RIGHT THERE in front of your face, and you threw it anyway? Thankfully Groves forgot how to run at the end there, and tripped over his own feet at the 4-yard line. But still, terrible decision by our franchise QB. He did, however, have a great 4th quarter to redeem himself.

–Only my beloved Jets can try to let a guy score at the end of the game, which was the right thing to do, and fail at that, too.

— Rex Ryan, you’re a defensive coach. A brilliant coach, we’ve been told. One of the great minds in the NFL. Yet this is now twice in the last six weeks, when your offense gets you the lead, all you need is one stop to win the game, and your defense, which talks more trash than any team has a right to, can’t get it done. This was the freakin’ Jaguars, for God’s sakes, not the 1989 49ers or the 1998 Minnesota Vikings!

— More timeouts burned needlessly by the Jets in the second half. Didn’t we already go through this during the Herm Edwards Era?

Ugh. Just awful. This team is just not that good. The rookie QB is learning, the rookie head coach is learning, and it looks like 7-9 is in our future.

Thank God Duke basketball is getting underway. I need a good team to root for this winter.

**Some other NFL thoughts from a wacky Week 11:

— Bill Belichick made one of the craziest coaching decisions I’ve ever seen this side of Ray Handley and Art Shell Sunday night. After his Patriots pretty much dominated Indianapolis, Belichick decided to go for it, up 34-28, on 4th and 2 from his own 28-yard-line. Why? Clearly, he had no faith in his defense stopping Mr. Peyton Manning, but still, they’d stopped the Colts a few times already, and don’t you at least have to try?

Of course, the Pats didn’t make it on 4th down, and the Colts had great field position, and of course Peyton Manning made a superb throw on the score that won the game. Doug Hennig never made as many escapes as Indy’s No. 18. My friend Pearlman just wrote a blog about his greatness.

**Fantastic, hard-hitting Bengals-Steelers game Sunday. What an amazing turnaround by Cincy. Quick, someone call Ickey Woods and see if he still knows how to shuffle.

**OK, everyone who thought the one-win Rams would have a pass attempt that could beat the undefeated Saints on the last play of the game Sunday, please raise your hand. This is yet another reason I don’t gamble on the NFL.

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supermarket

**Finally, I love supermarkets. Always have. There’s just something about food shopping that makes me feel like a grown-up. Seinfeld has said this before, and he’s totally right: As a kid in the supermarket, you have to beg your parents for food. As a grown-up, you can buy whatever the hell you want.

Anyway, two ruminations from my Sunday evening trip to the store:

— One way I always know the new year is coming is when the milk’s expiration date is past January first. This is the earliest I ever remember it happening, but I got a carton with a “Jan. 6, 2010” date on it. I was excited.

— It’s 2009. Hasn’t anyone at the company that makes Comet (Prestige Brands, I just learned) figured out a way to put a real, closeable top on the bottle yet, instead of that stupid adhesive tape that never sticks after you open the bottle? I mean, seriously, is this really so hard?

This is the stuff I think about. And you wonder why I have trouble sleeping…

Mark Sanchez makes me happy, and maybe the best Federer shot ever

Jets Sanchez Football 

You know, I’m trying to stay level-headed today. I keep telling myself, “It’s only one game, it’s only one game.” Lots of quarterbacks have had one great game. Hell, a journeyman named Scott Mitchell once had three great games, got a huge contract, then stunk up the field for the next two years.

But man, Sunday afternoon my New York Jets’ latest “savior” quarterback had a hell of a debut. A smashing, bang-up debut, one that had all the critics (well, me and every other Jets fan who are conditioned to be critical after 40 years of mostly losing) shaking our heads in wonder.

Mark Sanchez played like a 10-year veteran in leading my beloved Green and White to a stunningly convincing 24-7 win over the Houston Texans, heretofore thought to be a pretty good team. Sanchez stepped up in the pocket to avoid the rush. He made smart, accurate throws. He scrambled when he had to. He held on to the ball when his receivers were covered and he didn’t try to be Superman, forcing a ball into triple-coverage.

In short (which, incidentally, is what I am), he was awesome. The Jets’ offensive line was awesome, giving Sanchez all kinds of time. Leon Washington, who you will soon learn is my favorite Jet, was terrific, too.  Thomas Jones, who did nothing in the first half, had two huge runs in the second half to help salt the game away.

And man, what a start for the Jets defense. They were flying all over the place. New coach Rex Ryan came in with a lot of expectations on him, to make the defense great and blitz and force turnovers and all that stuff he did with the Baltimore Ravens.

Well, so far, so great. The Jets forced two turnovers, harassed Houston QB Matt Schaub into all kinds of hurried throws and sacked him twice, and tackled as well as the Jets have tackled in years. Darrelle Revis, the star DB, completely shut down Texans wideout Andre Johnson.

Very, very satisfying opening win, right up there as openers go with the win at Tennessee a few years back, and the mauling of Seattle in Bill Parcells’ first game in 1997.

The bullies from New England come into the Meadowlands next week. I’m certain Sanchez will make a few mistakes in that one, since Bill Belichick is known for confusing young quarterbacks.

But I really like what I see from this kid; after his one huge mistake, an interception returned for a touchdown, he didn’t get nervous or suddenly make tentative throws; he fired a laser to Dustin Keller on 3rd down on the next drive for a huge first down. The kid seems to have moxie and swagger (Moxie and Swagger, weren’t those two of the dudes in Billy the Kid’s gang?), and you have to love what he showed Sunday.

Couple other quick thoughts on Sunday’s NFL games:

— Poor Bengals. They’re down 6-0 to Denver, finally score with 35 seconds to go to take the lead 7-6, and it looks like they’re going to win. Then Denver hits a miracle play, off a deflection that just happens to land in Brandon Stokely of the Broncos’ hands, and he goes all the way for the winning touchdown.

All I can say is, Bengals fans, I’ve been there.

— Boy am I glad I drafted Drew Brees with my first pick in both fantasy leagues I’m in. Six touchdowns? Yeah, I’ll take that every week.

— Don’t overreact to Week 1, but the Panthers and Browns appear to stink, the Chiefs and Lions may not stink as much as we thought, while Philly and Indy are going to be pretty damn good again.

Finally, check out my penultimate U.S. Open tennis blog here, and watch this amazing shot (below) by Roger Federer in his semifinal win. This was maybe one of the two or three best shots I’ve ever seen Roger ever hit; my jaw hit the floor. Federer later called it the best shot he’s ever hit, and you can tell by his reaction how excited he was.

P.S. As usual, my favorite sports writer Joe Posnanski has written an entire, beautiful column about this Federer shot; check it out here. In it, he makes a fantastic point that I completely agree with: The more you know about tennis, the more you appreciate how amazing Federer is.