Tag Archives: Chad Pennington

Saturday grab-blog: Pennington, the Rangers, healthy horses and missing fall

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Lots of quick-hitting thoughts on the first Saturday in October …

**So I pretty much love the weather here in Florida. Despite being a New Yorker, I’m proud to say I don’t miss the snow, the sleet, any of it. I don’t miss waking up and trying to feel my toes, and I don’t miss spending 10 minutes de-icing my car.

But this time of year, I always seem to miss autumn. We don’t have fall in Florida, we just have a kind of a less-hot summer. I watch TV and movies and I see people running through leaves and jumping in piles and having those kinds of October/November moments, and I get a little sad.

Was there anything more fun as a little kid than raking leaves in your windbreaker, than jumping into a huge pile of leaves with your friends? Quick, somebody get me that “When Harry Met Sally” scene when they’re walking through the park. Anyway, I just miss fall, even more when I watch college football games from the Midwest.

**So I’m going to break my long-standing rule of never having sympathy for a Miami Dolphins player by saying that I really, really feel bad for Chad Pennington. The ex-Jet QB suffered yet another serious shoulder injury last week, and word came down this week that he’s considering retirement.

Chad has always been one of my favorite Jets; 2002, when he came off the bench for Vinny Testaverde and led the Jets, shockingly, to the playoffs, is one of my favorite Jets seasons ever. It pained me to watch him throw for Gang Green the last few years of his time in Jersey; he just couldn’t get the job done anymore.

I hope he plays again, I really do. Just not for Miami, please.

***So it turns out Barack Obama’s magnetism doesn’t quite extend to Denmark. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil won the 2016 Olympics Friday. I’m very glad that Chicago didn’t win, and that Juan Antonio Samaranch, the IOC head who is to liars what Mickey is to mice (the standard-bearer), didn’t get his way by having the Games in Madrid. Believe me, I know some people in Chicago are upset, but they have no idea how much better off they are without.

**Just wondering: Everyone always says “healthy as a horse.” Do we have any, like, proof that horses are healthier than any other animal? I mean, where’s the data here?

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**Saw my New York Rangers play pretty well in a season opener Friday night, a 3-2 loss to the Penguins. Love the early part of hockey season because you get to see all the new guys and how they’ll mesh (plus they show lots of games on the Free NHL Center Ice preview, which for this season goes for three (3!) weeks.).

I really liked what I saw from Matt Gilroy, new rookie defenseman, and I think I’m going to love Marian Gaborik’s speed. If he stays healthy, he’ll score 40. Of course, that’s like saying “If Rush Limbaugh kept his mouth shut, I’d like him more.” Gaborik never stays healthy.

But all in all, a pretty good start for the Blueshirts. And even though it was for another team, loved watching the Pens’ banner-raising ceremony. Those things always move me a little, especially in hockey, because it’s so damn hard to win a Cup.

**Finally, why can’t Chris Evert stay in a relationship? Something always goes wrong for America’s old tennis sweetheart. After just 15 months, she and Greg Norman are calling the match, splitting up before they have another anniversary. What is this, like, the end of three marriages for Chrissie? Maybe she’s just hard to live with.

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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The phrase I hate most as a Jets fan, and two other cool things

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So this will be the first of what I’m certain will be many, many posts about the New York Jets on this blog. I am an obsessive fan, way too intense for my own good, and I’ve been a long-suffering (as if there are any other kind) Jets fan since 1981, when as a 6-year-old I watched Richard Todd get intercepted, I think, 412 times by Miami in the AFC championship game.

I will not be rational when I talk or write about the Jets, I’m warning you up front.

Except for today, when I think I can be rational. It is, after all, only the first week of August. I want to talk about my least-favorite phrase in Jets lexicon.

“Not the Same Old Jets.”

Just a quick search of the New York Times archives shows 13 mentions of the phrase. A google search gives me 430 mentions. Every single time the Jets change coaches, or get a new quarterback, or a new GM, or something else, the media trots out the old “Not the Same Old Jets” line. It offends me more than the “Same Old Jets” line, which, like the “1940” chant at Rangers games pre-1994, I just learn to tune out.

I’m so god-awful sick and tired of the press and TV and everyone heralding a new Jets era, like this one will be different. When Bill Parcells took over, yes, that was a new era, and things were nice for a while. When Chad Pennington became a star, he was proof it wasn’t the same old Jets. When Herm Edwards became coach, we were told this was a new feeling and not the same old Jets. Ditto for Eric Mangini, and for Brett Favre, and for way too many more things to mention.

Here’s the thing: Until the Jets win a Super Bowl, please SHUT THE HECK UP about any new eras and abandoning the same old Jets mantra. Look, this is the franchise that blew a 10-point lead at Cleveland in the 1986 playoffs. This is the team that saw Blair Thomas fumble away a game on Monday Night Football against the Bears, causing me to literally become nauseous. This is the team that has blown so many unblowable things that I don’t even want to list them here, but believe me, they’re all in my head, taking up space where the cure for cancer, or where in the name of God I left my wallet, could be.

I’m sick of everyone thinking things will be different, because they never are with this team. Do I like Rex Ryan? Absolutely. Do stories like this make me feel excited for the season? Sure.

But please, leave me to my misery in peace and quit trying to convince me that this time, the new regime is going to make a difference. I’ve been waiting a long time for a Super Bowl, and I know I’ll be waiting a lot longer.

When a Jets player is standing on the podium accepting the Super Bowl MVP trophy, I will then give the world’s media permission to say it’s not the same old Jets anymore.

Thank you.

Cool Thing No. 1: So having been at NFL training camps as both a fan and as a sports writer (it’s way more fun as a fan, not surprisingly), I found this Peter King SI column nugget hilarious and completely accurate. King followed Ravens star Ed Reed for 37 minutes as he walked down the autograph line at Ravens camp the other day, and he transcribed the whole thing. I loved it.

Cool Thing No. 2: Meant to mention this yesterday but forgot (hey, it happens). One thing I love about as much as sports and politics and 80s pop culture is food. And I have to tell you, at a post-wedding brunch in Mystic, Conn., Sunday, I had the best cinnamon bread in my life. Seriously, this stuff was awesome. It was made by the Holland American Bakery in Sussex, N.J., and it was truly unbelievably good. If you think I’m just praising them because I’m hoping somehow they’ll find this and send me a few free loaves, well, you’d be right.

But it also was fantastic. Sadly, I discovered today they don’t ship as far as Florida, where I live, but I’m gonna try to convince them to make an exception. It was that good. If you’re anywhere near Sussex, N.J., give it a shot.

OK, end of food rant. I have some leftover cinnamon bread to go eat.