Tag Archives: LaDainian Tomlinson

Jets. Steelers. One win from a lifelong dream. And a great piece on Rafa

I am a nervous wreck as I sit here typing this, late on Saturday night.
I am excited beyond belief. I am nervous beyond belief.
For the fourth time in my lifetime, the New York Jets are one win from the Super Bowl.
The last three times they got this close, the Jets broke my heart.
In 1982, I watched from the basement of the house of my family’s friends, the Katzes, in Monsey, N.Y., as the Miami Dolphins turned Richard Todd into Ryan Leaf.
In 1998, I watched from my apartment in Wilmington, N.C., as fumble after fumble by the Jets in the second half gave Denver the win.
In 2009, I watched from a sports bar in Ormond Beach, Fla., as a halftime lead evaporated under a hail of Peyton Manning passes.
I don’t ask for much in life. I’m a pretty happy guy. I’m a man made joyous by simple pleasures.
I ask today for a New York Jets win, and their first Super Bowl appearance of my lifetime.
I have seen all my other sports lifetime dreams occur. I saw the Rangers win a Stanley Cup. I saw the Yankees win multiple World Series. I’ve seen Duke win four national championships in basketball.
If this can happen today … if Mark Sanchez can outduel Ben Roethlisberger, if the Jets defense can stuff the run, if LaDainian Tomlinson has just a little more magic left in those old legs … my sports dreams will be complete.
Notice, I’m not even asking for a Jets Super Bowl win. More than any other of the four major sports title games or series, I think just reaching the Super Bowl is an accomplishment to be celebrated.
Of course I’d want the Jets to win the Super Bowl. But I don’t want to be greedy. Just get there.
Four times they’ve been in a position to bring me to tears of joy. Three times they’ve broken my heart.
It has to happen today. It will happen today. Jets 20, Steelers 16.
Please, God, grant me this wish, and  I’ll never trifle you with sports requests again.

And now, to get you fired up if you desire firing up, a couple of clips:

And take it away, Mr. Pacino:

**I’ve linked to Jon Wertheim’s work before here; he’s a friend of a friend and a super nice guy, as well as being one of the finest sportswriters in America. He’s got a new book out, called Scorecasting; basically it’s “Freakonomics” for sports. It looks terrific, from the excerpt I read in SI.
Anyway, wanted to point you to a fabulous story Jon wrote on Rafael Nadal in SI two weeks ago.
It’s funny, the more tennis fans that I talk to who love Roger Federer like I do, the more they feel like me: It’s impossible to hate Nadal. The guy is humble, polite to fans, and so unassuming he flies coach, still.
He’s on a quest right now to win the Australian Open, which would be his fourth consecutive Slam title, something even the great Fed hasn’t done.
It’s a fairly short story, but Wertheim absolutely sums up the essence of Rafa.
Read it and tell me how you could root against him.

A thrilling win for the Jets. And a senseless tragedy in Arizona

It’s three hours after the game as I type this, and I’m still too pumped up for sleep.
In yet another heart-stopping game in this NFL season for my beloved Jets, the green and white got a last-second field goal from Nick Folk and beat Indianapolis, 17-16.
So much to digest from this game. Since there was much bigger, more important news on this day, I’ll be relatively brief up here in this part.
Some quick-hitting thoughts for a wonderful win:
— Mark Sanchez, you were terrible most of the game. But man did you have a great final drive.
— That was the Jets running game we saw last year. So great to see LT and Shonn Greene pound the Colts defense in the 2nd half.
— Antonio Cromartie, your defense lapse that led to a TD is forgiven, thanks to that enormous kickoff return on the final drive.
— Braylon Edwards, you’re still not getting a big contract next year. But you were huge tonight.
— Jets defense was superb against Peyton Manning. OK, they didn’t sniff a sack all night, but the coverage was fantastic.
— Not ready to worry/think about having to play New England next week. Gonna enjoy this one at last until  Monday.
Jets 17, Colts 16. My boys live to see another day. Halle-freaking-llujah.

**There are many elements of horror in Saturday’s despicable murder of six people, and the serious wounding of a U.S. Congresswoman named Gabrielle Giffords, at a public event at a supermarket in Arizona.
Of course my heart breaks for the victims, including a 9-year-old girl named Christina Taylor Green, who had just been elected to her school’s student council.
And it’s truly a disgusting mind that decides armed violence is the way to react to a situation.
Here’s what really stung me, though, when I first heard about what happened: I wasn’t surprised.
Not in this America, circa 2011. Not when the extreme partisanship and disagreements of our nation’s citizens have become so angry, so virulent, so filled with hate.
Not when a disgrace of a politician named Sarah Palin puts the map below on her website, a pathetic graphic with gun sights set over the districts of 20 Congressmen she opposes, and says “it’s time to take a stand.” (I wonder how Palin slept Saturday night, knowing her “idea map” was carried out by a citizen.)
This is what we have become, and a tragedy like this has been coming down the pike for a long, long time.
I’m not naive enough to think this horror will change things in America. But maybe, just maybe, it will convince our leaders in the media, on TV, everywhere, to turn down the rhetorical volume a little. To demonize a little less the other side’s leaders and views. This must stop, now, all of this hate.
Out of tragedy, can sometimes come hope.

Ah, Brett Favre, Jets fans love you all over again. And Newt, examined

Brett Favre, I never knew how to quit you.
Thankfully, you keep reminding me why I’m glad I did.
Maybe it’s the way “Monday Night Football” announcers slobbered all over you, praising you more than the media praised Obama in ’08. (Seriously, Gruden and Jaworski, does every sentence out of your mouth have to be paying homage to the guy? It was nauseating.)
Maybe it’s the fact that you played so awful for the first 2 1/2 quarters Monday night, only to scare the living you know what out of me and other Jets fans with your second-half rally.
In the end, though, I was a happy man Monday night. The Jets won, they’re 4-1, and who cares if they almost blew that game.
Some quick thoughts from a very happy blogger:
**LaDainian Tomlinson continues to amaze. Man that guy is good when he’s in space. What a tremendous pickup.
**I, and many other Jets fans I’m sure, had visions of Herm Edwards with that awful clock management in the first and second halves by the Jets. Seriously, this stuff is not that hard.
** Mark Sanchez had a poor game. Look, it happens. But that game should NOT have been close. The Jets dominated for the first three quarters, and couldn’t put Minnesota away.
** Percy Harvin is scary fast.
** Jason Taylor, you’re still a Dolphin and a jerk to me. But I’m starting to appreciate you since you seem to be rushing the passer so well.

**Seriously ESPN, enough Favre-love. The guy is a legend, one of the greatest to play the game. But right now he’s a 41-year-old with tendinitis who just isn’t that good.

**So there are a lot of dumb things in Esquire magazine, the clothes they tell me I “must” own are ridiculously overpriced, and it’s a pretty sexist publication sometimes, too.
But the reason I keep subscribing year after year is the writing. There is some tremendous, tremendous journalism in Esquire every month. In the last issue I truly was fascinated by this profile of Newt Gingrich by John H. Richardson.
Gingrich is truly a character, and by examining the future Republican presidential candidate through the mind of his ex-wife, you really get an interesting portrait of Gingrich.
And what a sad, insecure little man he truly is.

Parting shots from a weekend in New England. And the Jets roll on without me

Here it is folks, the picture I’ve been waiting a few weeks for: Patriots fan Ali Taber wearing a Jets jersey. Doesn’t she look thrilled? And yeah, that’s a Favre jersey I own. Hey, at the time I was pumped up about ole’ No.4.That photo will be on her excellent blog on Motherhood for the next week, as per our bet.

I know I’ve mentioned this before, but I love travel. Going to new cities, getting on airplanes, meeting new people and overhearing stories … it’s all good. I’m sure if I flew every weekend or more often I’d hate it and get sick of it and probably need those vomit bags they have on planes, but for now I love it.”

A few highlights from Sunday, when I flew back from New Hampshire to Florida, on a surprisingly packed flight:

— Gotta love loud people arguing next to you on a plane for three hours. The three folks sitting across the aisle talked about politics and a whole bunch of other stuff, quite vociferously, for most of the flight. But my favorite part came when they brought up the Kennedy assassination. Oh, these three (two men and a woman) had all kinds of theories and “truths” to spew, and we all got to hear them all.

— Manchester Airport gets a big thumbs-up from me. Fast security lines, a bar/restaurant with NFL Sunday ticket, and a very easy to navigate layout. Definitely would be happy to fly there again.
— One of the most frustrating moments in the life of a human: You’re in a public bathroom and wash your hands. You walk over to the automatic paper towel machine thingy, that is all “motion sensored” and all you’ve got to do is hold your hands under it.
And you stand there. And stand there. And stand there. And the towel doesn’t come out, and there’s no lever to push and you can’t reach in and grab a towel. So you just stand there with wet hands until you get mad and leave and wipe them on your pants on the way out.

—  My ears didn’t pop on our descent back into Orlando Sunday night. But I knew they wouldn’t, because they popped on the trip there. And for reasons I absolutely cannot fathom, my ears only ever pop on one leg of a round-trip flight. Sometimes it’s on the way there, sometimes it’s on the way back, but it’s only ever once.
Can someone explain this to me?

**So I was traveling Sunday and missed most of the Jets’ 38-14 beatdown of the Buffalo Bills. Me missing a Jets game is a very rare occurrence, and missing 3/4 of this blowout means I missed a rare stress-free Jets game.
But from the highlights and talking to my Jets “posse,” I am exceedingly confident about this team. Mark Sanchez again did not throw an interception, the running game was outstanding again (OK, yes, I was wrong about LaDainian Tomlinson, he’s not washed up), and the defense played terrific as well.

Shoot, they’re 3-1, 3-0 in the AFC East, and next week should get Santonio Holmes, an outstanding wide receiver, back in the lineup, along with the injured Darrelle Revis and Calvin Pace on defense. And who comes to town next Monday night? A certain former Jets quarterback named Favre. Should a be a lot of fun.

Couple other quick-hit NFL thoughts from Sunday:
— Very, very pleased that the Eagles fans did the right thing and gave Donovan McNabb a standing ovation in his first game back in Philly with the Redskins. Good job, Iggles fans.
— Starting to get worried about the Saints and the Colts. New Orleans is 3-1 but keeps squeaking out wins, and there’s no way Indy should’ve lost to Jacksonville Sunday, even if it did take a 59-yard field goal.
— Hey Giants, where the hell’s that been all year?

Colbert before Congress? What a joke. Jets-Fins thoughts. And the greatest Falafel picker ever

In case anyone still wonders why the American people hold Congress in such low esteem…

Look, I like Stephen Colbert as much as the next guy. I think he’s hilarious, smart, and I’m glad he’s on TV every night.
But you’ve got to be kidding me with him testifying before a Congressional committee Friday. Colbert, in character, came before a House Judiciary subcommittee looking at the rights and issues confronting America’s field and migrant workers.

Colbert, who spent one day as a day laborer in the fields for a sketch for his show, spoke to actual members of Congress, at an actual hearing.
I’m sorry, but this is 10 times as stupid as Congress getting involved in baseball’s steroid issue. What in the hell does Colbert have to do with any of these real, legitimate issues? Nothing.
I swear, sometimes Congress is like the star-struck 12-year-old who just wants to be around famous people. What was the great line that Clinton adviser Paul Begala once had about “politics is show business for ugly people?” So true.

What a joke.

**Definitely nervous about tonight’s Jets-Miami game down in Miami. Forget for a minute that my boys don’t have all-world CB Darrelle Revis, or that the idiot Braylon Edwards, who the Jets desperately need, won’t play for some of the game thanks to his DUI this week.
The Fins are 2-0, have a strong defense, and have owned the Jets lately, with three straight wins.
This won’t, I don’t think, turn into a huge game for Mark Sanchez. Jets need to pound the rock with Shonn Greene and LaDainian Tomlinson, and play great defense against Miami’s Ronnie Brown. I always feel confident against Miami, because I hate them so much I always think the Jets are going to beat them.
But I’m definitely nervous about this one.

**Finally, because it’s Sunday and you want to be impressed, I give you the greatest Falafel picker in the world:

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Coming late to the party on “Psych.” I tweet, therefore I am. And psyched up for “Hard Knocks.”

Sometimes, like most men, I have to be hit over the head with something before it registers.

For years my wife has told me that I would love the USA show “Psych.” It’s funny, incredibly 80s-reference dominated, and completely lightning-fast with the jokes. If you’ve never seen the show, it stars James Roday as Shawn, a “psychic” detective in Santa Barbara, and Dule Hill (Charlie from “The West Wing”) as his straight man/partner Gus. Corbin Bernsen is in it too, as a police chief.

Mindless entertainment, but awesome. Yet I resisted. Last year they did an amazing and hilarious episode completely based on lines from John Hughes movies, and still I didn’t watch.

Finally this season I’ve gotten into it. And it’s awesome, again. The rapid-fire delivery of the actors totally makes the show, and you spend a few seconds after each joke thinking about what you just laughed at, and miss a joke.

The acting is great, the writers are clearly having a great time and don’t care if you don’t get all of their pop culture references. I once had an editor tell me that once you make a pop-culture reference in a story, you lose 1/3 of the audience. He may have been right, but it’s still funny if pulled off properly.

Anyway, I highly recommend “Psych.” Wednesdays on USA.  80s lovers, I guarantee you’ll laugh.

**Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all ages: I have an announcement. I’m taking my talents to South Beach (oh wait, sorry, that was LeBron James’ script. How did that get here?).

No, seriously. My announcement is that I’ve finally joined the Twitter-verse. That’s right, tonight I sent my first Tweet. Man, it felt refreshing and a little tingly.

If you’re Twitter-inclined, please consider following me. I’ll post links to my blog, links to other great writing, and basically rant and rave in 140 characters or less (that will be a HUGE challenge for me. I’m not, shall we say, brief in my thoughts).

Find me there at twitter.com/michaeljlewis75. Thanks.

**One of the true highlights of the summer for me comes tonight. My beloved Jets are the subject of HBO’s “Hard Knocks,” a totally awesome reality/documentary HBO does every summer inside the training camp of an NFL team.
I’m addicted to it normally anyway, ever since we saw Tony Siragusa and Shannon Sharpe hazing rookies on the Ravens’ “Hard Knocks” a few years ago.
But now, with my team being in the spotlight? Should be awesome. The storylines are so good: Rex Ryan, uncensored. LaDainian Tomlinson and Jason Taylor (still can’t imagine him in green and white, and still hate him), trying to show they’ve got something left. Santonio Holmes, a star on a new team. Bart Scott’s bark. Darrelle Revis’ holdout.

So much good stuff. Can’t wait for the season, and can’t wait for tonight’s first episode.