Tag Archives: Carson Palmer

Carolina vs. Denver should be a really fun Super Bowl. The hockey player who tried to score with his stick on fire. And Mike Bloomberg for President? Wouldn’t be the craziest idea

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Greetings from Snowmageddon. Or Snowpaclypse. Or whatever you want to call it when everyone from Washington D.C. up to Boston gets hit with a crapload of snow. Hope you survived whereever you are; we got 28 inches here in NYC. We took the little guy out for his first-ever play in the snow, and he wasn’t a fan. Ah, he’ll learn the wonders of a snowball fight…

I watch the Super Bowl every year because I’m an American and it’s the law, but I love it when we get new matchups and storylines.

Teams that haven’t been there before, or star players who have never seen the spotlight that is the Super Bowl, always make it more fun.

We’ve definitely got that this year. After one scintillating conference championship game Sunday and one blowout, we’re left with the Carolina Panthers vs. the Denver Broncos in two weeks at Super Bowl 50.

So many great storylines: Cam Newton, the NFL MVP finally getting a shot at the title. Peyton Manning, the old guy with the scattered arm, getting to one more Super Bowl thanks to his incredible defense. Unsung, low-key coaches like Gary Kubiak and Ron Rivera. A fabulous group of Panthers defenders (and good guys, too) like Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis.

Great offense (Carolina) vs. great defense (Denver) always makes for compelling Super Bowls.

Can’t wait.
Couple quick thoughts on the title games:

— I hate Tom Brady as much as any non-Patriots fan does (probably more), but he was incredible Sunday in defeat. The guy was pounded and pounded and kept coming back, and very nearly got his team back to another Super Bowl. If Patriots kicker Steven Gostkowski doesn’t miss that first-quarter PAT, New England probably wins the game. They had all the momentum at the end.

— Newton is so much fun to watch. I don’t understand one iota these people who get mad at his over-the-top celebrations after scoring TD’s. The guy just plays with so much fun and enthusiasm, and his dances and histrionics are never mean-spirited.

— Manning actually played pretty well Sunday, but missed a few passes that made you realize he’s a shell of his former self.

Still, in honor of him making another Super Bowl, I give you this, one of my all-time favorite SNL commercials:

— Carson Palmer, epic choke job in the biggest game of your life. He had such a great season, you feel awful for him.

**Next up, meet Linus Omark. He plays in Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League, he used to play in the NHL, and after watching this, he’s definitely a guy I’d like to have at a party.

Dude lit his stick on fire, for real, and then tried to score a goal with it during the KHL All-Star Game shootout.

This is like that old NBA Jams video game come to life: “He’s on FIRE!” (Gen X boys like me will know what I’m talking about).

I so wish he’d scored and then this could’ve caught on and become a thing. Fire departments in cities all over the NHL would’ve been busy on game nights.

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**Finally today, the big political news over the weekend wasn’t anything from a candidate currently stumping in Iowa or New Hampshire, but a guy not yet in the race.

Michael Bloomberg, the gazillionaire former mayor of NYC whose wealth is nine times that of a certain sexist, bigoted blowhard currently leading the GOP field, is considering a run for President as an independent.

Bloomberg  has a lot of qualities a lot of moderates in both parties might like: He’s fiercely pro-gun control and pro-choice, but he’s also a big-business fan and conservative on economic issues. He was a good but not great mayor of New York, tarnishing his legacy in my eyes in two ways: 1, forcing City Council to change the laws so he could run and win a third term, and 2, his horrendous police strategies that resulted in thousands of unlawful and racist stop and frisks of New York City minorities.

He’s said to only be considering a run (and, in my favorite part of the story, spending $1 billion of his money in the race, you know, just a small chunk of it!) if Donald Trump gets the Republican nomination and if it looks like Bernie Sanders will get the Democratic nod. Bloomberg’s pitch would then be that there are radicals running on each major ticket, and he’s a sensible, much safer alternative.

There’s a lot to digest in a possible Bloomberg bid: I think he’d actually have a shot if it was a 3-way with Bernie and Trump (yuck, get your mind out of the gutter, folks), but he’d have no chance if Hillary was the nominee. A Bloomberg bid would give us another Jewish guy in the race (if Bernie got the nom, we’d have 2/3 of the nominees as Members of the Tribe! I’m kvelling just thinking about it!).

Bloomberg is 73, apparently in good shape, and he’d certainly bring gun-control issues to the forefront. Even though his candidacy would hurt my man Bernie’s chances, I hope he jumps in. Would make for great political theater, even better than we’ve had already.

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My Jets return to Earth, and stink it up. Why a friend’s kid’s bat mitzvah made me feel really old. And the great Stevie Wonder does carpool karoake

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(Maybe it’s just because I live in New York City, but the above Photoshopped pic cracked me up something fierce. This past 72 hours in NYC has been all about the Mets and the pontiff, so combining the two was just hilarious. Well done, Internet people.)

Well that was pretty much what we expected.

If I told you a month ago the Philadelphia Eagles would come into the Meadowlands Sunday and wipe the floor with the Jets, you’d have agreed and not blinked an eye.
And that’s exactly what happened (don’t let the final score of 24-17 fool you, it wasn’t close.) Except it did seem a surprise to many since my beloved Gang Green started 2-0, and the green and white team just up I-95 surprisingly started 0-2.
But you know, Sunday things returned to normal. Ryan Fitzpatrick threw the ball way too much since the Jets fell behind 24-0 before halftime, and when Ryan Fitzpatrick throws a lot, bad things happen, like three INT’s (though two weren’t his fault).

Philly scored a bunch of points off Jets mistakes, like Brandon Marshall trying the dumbest lateral in decades, the Jets tried to rally, but fell short.

Look, I wasn’t getting crazy when the Jets were 2-0. But this was a very winnable game, and they blew it. Sigh. Glad I only watched highlights (see below for explanation).

More quick-hit thoughts on NFL week 3:

— The Oakland Raiders have two wins, the Baltimore Ravens have zero, after three weeks. Raise your hand if you saw that coming. Again, this is why you should NEVER gamble real money on the NFL. Because no one knows anything.

— Jacksonville vs. New England isn’t fair, and will never be fair, really. Like varsity against JV.

–I think the Buffalo Bills might be a playoff team. That defense is scary-good. Then again, Rex is their coach, so who knows…

— I just watched highlights of the games Sunday, and I swear tackling is as bad as it’s ever been. Does every defender have to go for a huge hit on every play?

— I think an Arizona vs. New England Super Bowl would be crazy high-scoring and all kinds of fun. The Cardinals (led by Carson Palmer, below) are just shellacking people right now. And Larry Fitzgerald, who I had on my fantasy team for years, thanks for coming back to life the one year I don’t have you.

— Are we all supposed to cheer Adrian Peterson again now, as so many millions seem to be doing? And we forget about him beating his child with a tree branch? Just checking.

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**Next up, Sunday I had one of those experiences where I really, really felt old. I turned 40 last month, and I rarely feel it. Except for Sunday.

In a fact that’s still kinda unfathomable to me, my wife and I have friends who have a daughter old enough to be bat mitzvah’ed. These are people she went to college with, the same age as us, and somehow they have a 13-year-old kid.

Anyway, the bat mitzvah was Sunday, and I expected it to be a blast, not just because it was at the same synagogue where Shelley and I got married two years ago.

The food was fabulous, just as good as it was at our wedding, only this time I got to enjoy it without having to hug and kiss and greet 200 people.

But it was a party clearly designed for 13-year-olds. The music was unintelligible to me, it was incredibly loud, and there were hordes of hormonal teenagers swarming the place and bumping into everyone. Surprisingly to me, the DJ played all the same bar mitzvah games we played in 1988 (complete with glowing headbands and the classic “Coke and Pepsi” game).

I felt 100 years older than these kids. To them, I was just some old dude who was clearly friends with Sarah’s parents, someone to be ignored or patronized.

We had a good time. I just felt really, really ancient. Thankfully, not too decrepit to enjoy the maple-drizzled sweet potato fries at the cocktail hour (best thing ever).

**Finally today, chalk this one up to Daddy Brain: I had this clip of the legendary Stevie Wonder appearing on James Corden’s fantastic “Carpool Karaoke” segment on his show all ready to roll for Good News Friday last week. Then I forgot about it. (see above post about me getting old).

It’s definitely worth your time, and almost guaranteed to give you a smile on this Monday.

A fantastic way to introduce yourself to strangers. Canada mourns two of its own. Jim Carrey hilarious on “SNL.” And the NFL’s best team plays in Arizona

Cocktailblog

One of the things I hate, and I admit to doing it as much as anyone, is when you go to a party or a conference and start chatting up strangers, within seconds you’re automatically asking them “So, what do you do for a living?”

And no matter how they answer, you’re automatically, even subconsciously, placing that stranger into a category or box in your mind.

It works just the same when you’re introducing a friend of yours to others at a party; by you saying “Oh, she’s in finance,” or “he’s a construction worker,” it’s automatically limiting others’ thoughts of them.

A woman named Cadence Turpin, at storylineblog.com, has a pretty terrific solution to this problem. In this piece, she writes about her frustration with this practice, and her solution:

“What if instead of introducing your friend as Jennifer the nurse, you started introducing her as Jennifer, one of most thoughtful people you know, or Jennifer the friend who helped you move in when you didn’t know a soul in this city.

Introducing your friends for who they are rather than focusing on what they do will remind them they are loved before and beyond their titles. It’s an easy way to remind them that you see them for their hearts instead of their accomplishments.”

Fabulous idea. I definitely think I’ll start trying it. Recognizing people for what they mean to you, or what their best qualities are, defines them way more than a job label does.

**It was a terrible week for Canada last week, as a tragic pair of incidents, so far unrelated, ended up in the deaths of two innocent people. Corporal Nathan Cirillo and Officer Patrice Vincent were murder victims in a country that just doesn’t see stuff like this happen, and the fact that this was so shocking illustrates the difference between our two nations.

Anyway, nothing united Canadians like hockey, and I thought this was a beautiful ceremony the Ottawa Senators put together Saturday night. The most moving part was the “O Canada” rendition (starting at 5:15 of the above video).

Really, really moving.

**Next, had to throw this in today’s blog because it was so damn funny: Jim Carrey, hosting “Saturday Night Live,” spoofing the Matthew McConnaughey Lincoln commercials.

The second one, starting at 1:20, is by far the funniest and my favorite.

**And finally, some NFL thoughts as I thank the good Lord above that I didn’t watch the first half of the Jets-Bills game, therefore missing Geno Smith’s three interceptions in the first quarter…

— The best team in the NFL after Week 8 is … the Arizona Cardinals. Yep, I’m as shocked as you. That was a hell of a game they won over the Eagles Sunday, surviving when a possible game-winning TD pass for Philly on the last play didn’t quite get completed. Arizona is getting great QB play from Carson Palmer (OK, decent QB play), they’ve got young stars like John Brown and Andre Ellington on offense, and oh yeah, that Larry Fitzgerald dude can still play a little. They’re a fun team to watch.

— The Bengals really pulled one out of their arse their, huh? Nothing like a 4th down QB sneak for a TD.

–Remember all those morons about four weeks ago saying Tom Brady was done? Yeah, about that…

— Loved having an NFL game at 9:30 a.m. Sunday. Before my kid was born, no way I’d have been up at that hour, but now I’m wide awake by 7:30 and was into the Falcons-Lions tilt from London. Oh, Falcons, you really do find new ways to lose all the time.

 

The Jets are back. Giants, too. A disgusting story out of Penn State. And a fabulous “Goodfellas” parody

Well well, looks like we’ve got a little race in the AFC East again.
Looking nothing like the frauds who lost three straight games in September and October, my beloved New York Jets kicked some serious ass Sunday.
After spending the first half trying really hard to keep the Buffalo Bills in the game, with the boys in green blowing chance after chance, the Jets dominated the second half and won easily, 27-11.
Man that was fun to watch. And thanks to my good friends the New York Giants pulling a stunner up in Foxboro (more on them in a minute) the Jets have an incredible shot next Sunday night, against New England at the Big Snoopy (that’s what I’m calling MetLife Stadium, think it’ll catch on?) to take control of the division race.
Wow. Some quick thoughts after this one:
— The Jets’ D was huge, shutting down a very good offense. Bart Scott and David Harris both made some fantastic plays, and once again Darrelle Revis was fabulous in the secondary.
— Mark Sanchez, you once again make me crazy. You play great on the first drive, get ’em all the way down inside the 10, then throw a terrible interception. Then you fumble a snap. But in the second half, you were fabulous, making every big throw. He could be SO good, this Sanchez guy, but he’s just not there yet.
— Dustin Keller, please keep your feet on the ground so you don’t kill yourself. Thank you.
Other NFL thoughts on a wild day in the league, as usual…
— What a huge upset by the Giants, going up to Foxboro and beating the Pats, 24-20, with (stop me if you’ve heard this before) a great last-minute drive by Eli Manning. OK, it wasn’t the Super Bowl, but still, that’s a hell of a victory.
— Green Bay’s offense > any other offense in the last 10 years in the NFL.
— Hey Oakland fans, how’s that Carson Palmer thing working out? It’s a mad, mad world when the Bengals are in first place and their front-office made a smart move.
— How the hell are the Bengals 6-2 and the 49ers 7-1????
— Finally, this is one of the best punt returns you’ll ever see. Arizona’s Patrick Peterson, a 99-yard beauty in OT, as called by a Spanish announcer.

**This is one of the most disturbing stories I’ve ever heard. Jerry Sandusky, a former longtime assistant coach at Penn State under Joe Paterno, has been charged by a grand jury with sexually abusing eight boys over a 15-year period.
What’s almost as awful is that officials at Penn State apparently knew about Sandusky’s behavior and DID NOT report him to legal authorities.
Joe Paterno has had a legendary career as a head coach at Penn State, and scandal has never truly touched him. So far,  it doesn’t look like Paterno is charged with any wrongdoing.

But man, these things have a way of mushrooming and enveloping everyone involved. So we’ll see.

**I’m a huge “Goodfellas” fan, as I think all right-thinking people should be. And if you know Scorsese’s classic, you know one of the most famous scenes in movie history is when Henry Hill takes Karen out on a date to the Copacabana club in New York City, and the camera follows them for one incredible shot as Henry walks through the kitchen glad-handing everyone on the way in.

ESPN’s “Pardon the Interruption” show just celebrated its 9th anniversary and did a fabulous parody of the scene. Here’s the original scene, and above is the incredible ESPN version. Love it!

The future is now for the Jets, a crazy idea by Seattle, and NBC’s bad Olympics promo

How am I feeling today? Well, maybe this will give you a good idea:

Yes, yes, yes, Ren and Stimpy speak for all of us Jets fans this morning. What a glorious, glorious afternoon and early evening of football the Green and White played Saturday. It went about as well as we could’ve possibly hoped, and for one afternoon, you could squint hard at the TV and see the Jets future:

Mark Sanchez, playing poised and confident, making every big throw he needed to. Shonn Greene, the rookie running back, dashing and darting his way through the holes, and not fumbling; an aggressive defense, which save for one early drive and one big run by Cedric Benson, was terrific.

This Jets team is good now, as evidenced by their 24-14 victory over Cincinnati. But as both my fellow Jet-aholic friends Scott (who writes a great blog about “The Office,” by the way) and Jeff pointed out to me during the game, there’s clearly so much hope for the future. All the building blocks are in a place for a long run among the NFL’s elite.

But let’s wallow in the present for a moment. Saturday’s game was exactly the blueprint the Jets needed to win. Sanchez was terrific, hitting 12 of 15 passes for one touchdown. He should’ve had two, but Braylon Edwards, God love him, still seems to have trouble with perfectly-thrown bombs that are right in his hands.

The running game was terrific, thanks to Greene, who took over the main duties from Thomas Jones today (but hey, TJ did score a huge touchdown). The offensive line was fantastic. The defense shut down that loudmouth Chad Johnson, and got just enough pass rush on Carson Palmer in the second half to make him look terrible. And how ’bout Jay Feely, the placekicker who was forced into punting duties when Steve Weatherford had an irregular heartbeat right before the game? Feely was fantastic, very clutch as usual.

One down, two more to go to get to Miami and the Super Bowl. OK, I’m drunk with delusion; the Jets aren’t getting to the Super Bowl.

But if Baltimore can beat New England today, and I think it can, the Jets would play San Diego next week. I think that’s winnable, especially since Norv Turner coaches the Chargers.

Sweet, sweet win. I’m going to enjoy this one for a few days. Heck, I’m not even mad that my Dukies played terrible today and lost at Georgia Tech.

**Hey NBC, is it really a good idea to run commercials starring Michael Phelps when you’re trying to promote the Winter Olympics? I’m just saying, you can’t give us some Bode Miller clips, or maybe Shani Davis the speedskater, or the Flying Tomato, Shaun White?

Just makes it seem like NBC is saying the only good Olympians are the Summer ones.

***We wonder sometimes why some NFL franchises are usually successful, and others aren’t. Other times, it’s quite obvious, like a smack in the face.

The Seattle Seahawks, for reasons I can’t possibly fathom, have decided to give a 5-year contract as their head coach to Mr. Pete Carroll, who we all know is a bang-up college football coach, truly just a swell guy, but an absolutely horrific pro coach.

He proved that with the Jets, and then New England, in the late 1990s, as his career record was 33-31. Yet for some reason, Seattle thinks he’s the answer, and will lead them to the Promised Land of the Super Bowl.

What an awful, awful decision. Everyone else in the NFC West is celebrating right now. Just like me. Here’s Seattle Times columnist Steve Kelley’s take; he’s just as enthused as I am about Pete.

Hey, one more time, with feeling…

Pumped up for the Jets game, and great stories of those we lost in ’09

Yeah, I’m psyched for today at 4:30 p.m. Really psyched.

Look, I don’t get to see the Jets in the NFL playoffs all that much, OK? These are not the Dallas Cowboys or New England Patriots or Indianapolis Colts. The Jets just don’t make it to the postseason that often.

I just looked it up; in my lifetime as a Jets fan (I first started really being old enough to follow the team when I was 7, in 1982) I’ve only gotten to see them in 15 playoff games. In 27 years! And three of those games were when I was 7, so it’s not like I really remember too much. I know, if you’re a Lions fan or a Browns fan you can’t really have sympathy, but for the rest of America, you get my pain.

What I’m saying is, Jets playoff games are rare enough that I can probably instantly give you details, positive and negative, of the last 12 I’ve seen. The good: The 41-0 pasting of the Colts in the 2002 season. The tremendous overtime victory over San Diego in 2005. And of course, the divisional playoff win over Jacksonville in the 1998 season, followed by a 10-0 lead at Denver in the AFC title game, where, with 2 minutes left in the half, I for the first time really believed they were going to the Super Bowl (Silly, silly me.)

The bad? Oh, the bad comes back to my mind so much easier. Mark Gastineau’s idiotic roughing the passer penalty in the ’86 playoffs, leading to a double-overtime loss to the Browns, 23-20. The excruciating loss to Pittsburgh in the 2004 playoffs, when Doug Brien (DOUG BRIEN!!!) missed two field goals that could’ve won the game. And of course, the second half of that loss to Denver in ’98, when it all slipped away under an avalanche of Jets turnovers.

Today’s game? I’m feeling very, very confident. I don’t think Carson Palmer and the Bengals will be able to throw the ball much on the Jets, and Cedric Benson doesn’t scare me.

(By the way, my friend George, a big Bears fan, cringed when I told him today’s game would be a matchup of two backs the Bears let go: Benson and the Jets’ Thomas Jones. “But Benson sucked as Bear!” he quickly reminded me. That’s true, he did suck).

Offensively for the Jets, I’m thinking Mark Sanchez throws 15-20 times; any more and we’ve got problems. A steady does of the running game with Jones and Shonn Greene, milk the clock, take the fired-up Bengals crowd out of the game, and escape with a win.

Jets 20, Bengals 13. A happy Saturday night in the Lewis home.

**This may sound a little morbid, but my absolute favorite issue of the New York Times Magazine is the final one of the year, called “The Lives They Lived” when they look back on about 20 people who died in the past 12 months. (It came out two weeks ago, but I just finished it Friday).

What’s fabulous about it is that they don’t pick just famous people, though this year they did pay tribute to some reasonably notable ones (Ted Kennedy, boxer Arturo Gatti, director Budd Schulberg). What I love is learning about some of the lives who were historically significant, but under the radar.

It’s a wonderful thing to discover people like Crystal Lee Sutton, who courageously helped organize unions in cotton mills in North Carolina in the early 1970s (she was the basis for the title character in the movie “Norma Rae”); Ellie Greenwich, a Jewish woman from Long Island who wrote a ton of hits for girl groups like The Chiffons and The Shangri-La in the ’60s; and Maurizio Montalbini, who decided to push the limits of human endurance by voluntarily living in a cave for hundreds of days at a time.

It just reminds you of the incredibly creative, entertaining and diverse world we live in. Check the issue out if you have a chance.

J-E-T-S storm into the playoffs. Thoughts on “personal pricing.” And a Balki shout-out

I had my new Jets T-shirt on. I was wearing my usual Wayne Chrebet No. 80 jersey, green. Had my dark green Jets baseball cap on.

And just for an added dose of luck, which I bring out only in big games, I squeezed my mini-Jets football (a wonderful present from my friend Mark Mahoney)  that when you hit it, does one of three things: Yells “Touchdown, Jets.” Or says “J-E-T-S.”  Or plays some goofy fight song.

So yeah, I was pulling out all the stops Sunday night, expecting anything from my beloved Gang Green.

Except, I didn’t quite expect a 37-0 absolute mauling of the toothless Cincinnati Bengals. This was the Christians vs. the (not Detroit) Lions, Tyson vs. Spinks, you name the one-sided annihilation.

Before anyone starts screaming about how the Bengals “didn’t try,” or rested some key players, I’ve got one word for you: Bull. Carson Palmer, Chad Ocho-Johnson, and the Cincy line was in the game for the entire first half, and they gained seven yards. SEVEN.

It was an astoundingly good performance for the Jets,  and I’m kind of dumbfounded. Watching the Jets for 30 years, every game kind of reminds you of at least one other you’ve seen, and this one felt like the rout of the Packers in the last week of the 2002 season that also sent them into the playoffs (Great stat by NBC Sunday night: the last four times the Jets have made the playoffs, it’s taken them until the final week to clinch. Yep, that’s why I’m headed to an early grave.)

Like that one, I feel like this Jets team is peaking at the right time. Mark Sanchez, our golden boy QB, is playing smarter with the ball. The offensive line is as good as any Jets line ever; Sunday night they just manhandled the Bengals.

The running game is tremendous, and the coaches FINALLY seem to have figured out that Brad Smith is, you know, a great weapon, and maybe he should be in the game plan, you know?

It was a fabulous night for Jets fans, made even a little sweeter since it was the final game in Giants Stadium. I always hated that the Jets played in a stadium named for someone else, and it was beautiful that after the Giants put up a stinker in their home finale last week, that the Jets gave the fans something positive to remember the old place by.

And how great was it that the Jets players, after the game, came out and made a lap around the stadium, shaking hands and high-fiving the brave and hearty souls who sat for 3 hours in 4-degree wind chill? Great moment.

So, of course now I start dreaming big. Can the Jets win next Saturday at Cincy, in the first round of the playoffs? Sure. It’ll be tougher than this one was, but clearly Rex Ryan’s boys can do some damage against a weakened Bengals’ D.

After that? Well, let’s not get too crazy. Tonight I’m just going to enjoy this one: The final stop on a wild roller-coaster season, one that I wrote off three or four times, ends up on top.

**So this was one of those life questions that hit me this morning: As I do every 3-4 months, I had a slightly threatening phone discussion with a New York Times subscription department employee.

They had once again charged me the unholy amount of $31.00 for four weeks of my Sunday-only subscription, an amount I find ridiculous. So what I do is go four months at a time with their “new customer” discount, which is only $3.25 per paper, for $13 bucks a month.

So I call and tell them I want to cancel, because I’m not willing to pay $7.50 a week for the Sunday Times, even though I love it dearly. And then, miraculously, the man or woman on the phone says “Wait, don’t cancel, I’ll give you another 12 weeks at $3.50 per week.”

And there you go. What got me thinking after we hung up Sunday, though, was how we all put a “mental price” on everything in our life. What’s it worth to keep getting a service or a product? Why do I decide to draw the line at $3.50 or $4 on the Times, and that $6 is too much?

I just think it’s interesting how each person has a “don’t cross” mental price line on every item they’ve ever purchased.

**And finally, just because we all need a little Balki in our lives once in a while…

Three and oh, my New York Jets keep flying. And a great old Jewish joke at the end

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Well, this is getting a little ridiculous, isn’t it?

It’s getting increasingly difficult for me to strike my usually pessimistic, gloomy view of my New York Jets.

Yet another Sunday afternoon, and yet another day I leave Houligan’s (sports bar where I watch the games) happy. After a great start, a very shaky 2nd and 3rd quarters, and a terrific 4th, Gang Green beat Tennessee, 24-17.

It was quite different from the first two games, but at the end all I care about is the W. Three and oh. Never, in a hundred years, would I have predicted the Jets would be 3-0 after this brutal early schedule they had.

But hell, maybe after 40 years everything is starting to go right again. Heck, the Jets got two gift touchdowns from the Titans’ returner (or should I say ex-returner) Ryan Mouton, Mark Sanchez didn’t panic under pressure, and they’ve got a quarterback crazy enough to take on defenders while leading with his head. It’s great!

— Let’s start with Mark Sanchez. Love the kid’s poise in the pocket, but hey Mark, bubeleh, next time you’re going to try to run it in for a touchdown, please slide or try to go around the big dude trying to tackle you? This play scared the hell out of us fans (fast forward to about the :32 mark). Still, really bad attempt at a mustache aside, the kid is making all the right moves. Sure he had some mistakes Sunday; the ball slipped out of his hand a few times, and he threw an INT that wasn’t his fault. But he’s making progress every week.

— Big game for David Harris and Bart Scott, the Jets new linebacker combo. They harassed Kerry Collins in the fourth quarter. The D looked shaky for quite a while in the second and third quarters, but you know what? When it mattered most and they HAD to get stops, they did. I love that Rex Ryan throws so many different looks at opposing offenses; three straight weeks now, in the fourth quarter, the opposing QB looked rattled.

–I’m officially concerned about the Jets running game. It’s been three games now, and the O-line hasn’t been opening too many holes. Thomas Jones had two good runs in Week 1 and that’s been it, and Leon Washington hasn’t done much, either.

— Jerricho Cotchery, you rule. Couple of fantastic catches Sunday. Overall, the offense was subpar, but they took advantage of the chances the Titans gave them.

— Tennessee’s receivers totally let Kerry Collins down most of the day. Justin McCareins, where have you gone? Oh wait, he stunk, too.

— Next week is a freebie in my mind. I don’t expect the Jets to go into the Superdome and shut down Drew Brees (though Buffalo did a pretty good job on him Sunday.) Even if the Jets lose that one, they’re 3-1 with two games against Miami, one against Buffalo and one against Oakland the next four weeks. Sounds good to me.

OK, enough giddiness. These are my Jets I’m talking about here. They’ll break my heart again at some point this season. But for now, man this is fun!

Other NFL thoughts:

— Congrats to the Detroit Lions and their fans, as the Leos finally broke a 19-game losing streak with a win over the Redskins. If I’m Washington head coach Jim Zorn, I’m not answering the phone for a few days. It’ll probably be crazy owner Dan Snyder looking to fire him. Great column on the Lions here by the great Mitch Albom.

–HUGE comeback win for the Cincinnati Bengals, HBO’s favorite team. Down 20-9 at home to the Steelers in the fouth, Cincy comes back and wins with a Carson Palmer touchdown in the final minute. Psychologically, Pittsburgh has owned the Bengals, so this one is huge. Who’d have figured Pittsburgh would be 1-2 after three weeks, with two crushing last-minute losses? Check out Cincy Enquirer columnist Paul Daugherty (who I always read after Bengals games because even when they’re terrible, he’s wildly entertaining) with a good column here.

— We have two legit opportunities for a team to go 0-16 this year. I don’t have a clue who the Cleveland Browns will be able to beat; they look horrendous. And the St. Louis Rams, well, they’re not much better, especially if Marc Bulger is out for a while.

— Apparently some guy playing QB for the Vikings had a last-second touchdown to win the game. Sorry, I’m still in a Brett Favre blackout. Can’t discuss it.

— The Miami Dolphins’ receivers stink. All of ’em. Man did they drop a lot of passes Sunday in their loss to San Diego. Ted Ginn, especially, can’t seem to catch a cold. Poor Chad Pennington got hurt again, too; I love Chad but he gets hurt practically every year.

— Miami is 0-3, my Jets are 3-0. That’s just beautiful.

**Finally today, for those of you, like me, going without food for Yom Kippur, here’s a great joke from a very cool website called, Old Jews Telling Jokes. It is, well, exactly what it says is: A web site where old jews stand up and tell jokes.

This one is unsafe for work at the end, so maybe turn your volume down if that’s where you’re hearing it:

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