Tag Archives: Nick Mangold

Pinch me, the Jets are 60 minutes from the Super Bowl. And some Golden Globes thoughts

I have resided in sports nirvana just once before. It was on June 14, 1994, when something I never thought would happen in my lifetime occurred: The New York Rangers won the Stanley Cup.

I never thought a moment in sports could ever make me that happy again.

Dear readers,  the professional football team I root for is 60 minutes away from giving me that feeling again.

Unbelievably, improbably, ridiculously, the New York freaking Jets, a team that couldn’t beat the Ryan Fitzpatrick-led Buffalo Bills earlier this season, won their second straight playoff game on the road Sunday.

They beat the San Diego Chargers, a team many thought had too much offense, too many weapons, and too strong a pass rush.

But by God, the Jets did it the way they’ve done it the last seven weeks: Pound the ball with the running game, play excellent defense, hang around, hang hang around, make a few passing plays with our rookie QB Mark Sanchez, and then put the game away in the fourth quarter.

I mean, this game unfolded exactly as the Jets hoped it would. They didn’t do much early, but they kept the game reasonable (7-0 at halftime).

They got some tremendous breaks, yes, as Nate Kaeding, who just never misses against other teams, melted down and missed 3 field goals (although 1 was from 57 yards, which wasn’t his fault), but were 40 yards or less.

But the Jets earned this win every which way, and I cannot tell you how excited I am that they’ve got a shot next Sunday in Indianapolis, to go the Super Bowl.

God, just saying it gives me goosebumps.

Some ruminations from today’s 17-14 win:

— Rex Ryan, God bless you, you’re the Jets coach I’ve been waiting my whole life for. Not just because you’re smart and funny and know what you’re doing, but because today, and always, you don’t play not to lose, you play to win. Fourth and 1, at the Chargers 28, up 17-14, little over a minute to go.

EVERY other Jets coach in my lifetime either kicks the field goal there, which makes it 20-14, but gives San Diego the ball back with a (slight) chance to win, or even worse, punts it, to try to pin the Chargers deep.

But Rex said, nope, I trust my line, I trust my running back (Thomas Jones), and dammit, we’re not giving them the ball back. And the Jets got the first down,( with me on my knees, on the floor of Houligan’s, with my hands clasped). Game over. Fantastic. A coach with balls.

–What a tremendous game by the Jets defense. They got just enough pressure on Philip Rivers to rattle him a little, and the Chargers’ run game was totally shut down, and Vincent Jackson and Antonio Gates were held pretty well in check (though Gates did make a sick catch in the first half). You hold the Chargers to 7 points through 3 1/2 quarters, that’s damn impressive.

— Sad to see LaDainian Tomlinson a shell of his former self. Man, did he get old.

— Lot of people criticized the Jets for trading up to get Shonn Greene in the draft last April. Not hearing those people now. How about the strength of this kid, to run through tackles on his way to the end zone in the fourth quarter?

— Darrelle Revis, that interception in the fourth quarter was spectacular. Just spectacular. And Mike DeVito, the nose tackle no one talks about, had a fantastic game pressuring Rivers.

— Can’t say enough about the Jets’ offensive line. Nick Mangold, D’Brickashaw Ferguson, Damien Woody, Brandon Moore, and Alan Faneca did such a great job run-blocking, and protecting Sanchez today.– Rich Cimini of the Daily News said this was the Jets’ biggest upset win since Super Bowl III. Hard to argue.

—Man the Chargers totally lost their poise Sunday. Stupid penalties after the whistle, Vincent Jackson kicking the challenge flag and taking a 15-yarder? Just stupid.

— I’m sure Norv Turner will get criticized for the onside kick attempt with just more than two minutes left, but I thought it was the right call. Ah, Norv. So good to see you on the other sideline.

–Finally, there’s this: Everything is going right for the Jets the last four weeks. Everything. Why won’t it continue? Especially with the Super Bowl just 240 miles from my home?

This week, I’m going to honestly think about how much I’d be willing to spend on Super Bowl tickets. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d be doing that this year.

What a country, America.

**OK, some quick thoughts on the Golden Globes, since this post is running way too long:

— Thought most of the big awards went to the right people; was thrilled to see Toni Collette rewarded for the underappreciated “United States of Tara” on Showtime (seriously, check it out on DVD if you can, it’s a great show), and equally thrilled that “Glee” won for best musical or comedy (though “Modern Family” getting a win would’ve thrilled me, too.)

— Christina Hendricks of “Mad Men,” wow, that was quite a dress.

–Robert Downey Jr.’s speech was very funny.

— Did James Cameron look like a guy who had just signed the Declaration of Independence, or what? Seriously, he was channeling John Adams or something.

— Sorry to see Jane Lynch from “Glee” not win, though Chloe Sevigny is awesome in “Big Love.” So glad to see good TV getting rewarded.


The Growing Pains of Mark Sanchez, and Holder disappoints



Here’s just one tiny slice of what it’s like as a New York Jets fan:

This year’s Quarterback of the Future, a.k.a. the next Joe Namath, threw an interception return for a touchdown on his first pass. And frankly, I wasn’t even remotely surprised.

On his next throw, Mark Sanchez hit Baltimore linebacker Ray Lewis right in the chest. Lewis dropped it.

About what I expected.

Earlier tonight, while I watched the Jets’ new hope show he’s, um, a rookie, I tried to remember all the young quarterbacks I’ve been excited about as a Jets fan for the last 29 years (I don’t count my first 5 years of life; no football memories back there).

There was Ken O’Brien, who, while very accurate, got sacked more often than Scott Bakula at the beginning of “Necessary Roughness,” (an underrated movie, in my opinion. I tried to link to a clip from the film here but not one single clip was on YouTube. A disgrace, people of this world, an outright disgrace! Anyway…)

There was the legendary Browning Nagle, who was going to be so awesome after a great 1991 preseason (then they went 4-12). Who could forget the magnificent Glenn Foley era, or the one that followed a few years later, the Glory that was Ray Lucas?

You get the point. All those guys after O’Brien stunk more than four-day-old garbage. And each time, like Charlie Brown running at Lucy, I get my hopes up.

So, I’m trying to be cautiously optimistic about this new kid, Sanchez. He’s saying all the right things, he’s respectful, seems to have a great attitude … but they all do at the beginning.

I thought after his first two atrocious throws, it would get better for No. 6. But then he botched a handoff exchange, totally mis-timed a pass to Jerricho Cotchery, and looked poor for most of the first half.

But God bless our new coach, Rex Ryan, who was going to leave Sanchez in there until something good happened. And it did; thanks to Leon Washington’s brilliance (a guy who I’ve been crowing about since he was a rookie, and yet they never give him the ball enough) and a great throw, Sanchez tossed a TD pass late in the half.

The kid ended up 3-for-8 with one pick; fortunately for him, Kellen Clemens stinks. I’m officially off the Clemens bandwagon; I’ve had more excuses for this guy than a kid with a late school project, but he’s just not that good. He’s making rookie mistakes in his FOURTH year.

So I guess Sanchez should be the starter; I mean, the Ravens are one of the best defenses in football, so it’s not that embarrassing that the kid stunk. I initially hoped Clemens would win the job and give Sanchez a chance to sit and watch for a while, but Kellen has shown me bubkes (it’s Yiddish, look it up. This blog is going multi-lingual!)

Other quick Jets-related thoughts after I just watched three quarters of preseason football (you could say I’m a little obsessed):

— I feel very good about Gang Green’s running game. Leon was terrific tonight, and Thomas Jones had some nice burst up the middle. Having Alan Faneca and Nick Mangold back was very nice to see.

— I’m loving what Rex Ryan is doing with the defense; these guys blitz and bring pressure from everywhere. I thought the first team D did a real good job, with the exception of the secondary, where Dwight Lowery continued to show why he belongs as a backup.

— Very worried about the receivers; I’m just not seeing any separation or play-making ability from anyone. I really don’t want them to bring in ultimate head case Brandon Marshall, but they need somebody who can make a play.

I think deep in his heart Ryan wants Sanchez to be the starting QB, but I think he should wait until after the Giants game this Saturday to decide. Neither guy earned the job tonight.

OK, repeating to myself: It’s only preseason, it’s only preseason (though I have to say I’m enjoying the new “MNF” booth; Jon Gruden is bringing something to the table, and he and Jaworski seem to have good chemistry).


Eric Holder, I had high hopes for you.

Finally, finally, you decide to appoint a prosecutor to look into all the torture of the alleged terrorists the Bush/Cheney gang rounded up. Finally, you had decided to you simply couldn’t look the other way, and that justice needed to be done as the previous administration picked up the Constitution and spit on it.

And yet, there are conditions. Always with my wimpy Democrats, there are conditions and caveats. As the outstanding Salon writer Glenn Greenwald points out here, Holder is just dipping a toe in. He’s basically saying that he’s just going after the guys who did more torture than sadists like Cheney and John Yoo approved, because Cheney and Yoo made the laws at the time (Seriously, it is frightening to know how much power John Yoo had in the last administration. Frightening).

Instead of vowing to go after anyone and everyone who authorized or encouraged torture performed by lower-level CIA or FBI employees, Holder barely dipped a toe in the water.

Watch this video again, and let it sink in: The United States of America tortured people. And once again, just like at Abu Gharaib, it looks like the low-level interrogators will be the only ones to suffer the consequences.

Maybe Holder will go further. For right now, he’s taken the first step. So I’m at least a little happy about that.