Tag Archives: Peyton manning

The Broncos win an excruciatingly boring Super Bowl, filled with lame commercials. And the Larry David/Bernie Sanders SNL was terrific

Broncos.von-miller

I’ve watched every Super Bowl since 1983. I’ve seen blowouts, I’ve seen nail-biters, I’ve seen incredible performances and goats that will live forever.

Not sure I’ve seen a Super Bowl that had fewer exciting plays than this one.

Wow. That was a boring, boring game. I went to an 8-1 NHL game Sunday afternoon and I think that was more entertaining. On the 50th anniversary of the first Super Bowl, there was just … not a whole lot of excitement.

Oh, the Denver defense played amazing, and MVP Von Miller was doing his Lawrence Taylor impersonation all night, and that strip-sack and defensive touchdown in the first quarter was kind of cool, but I just … kept waiting for something exciting to happen.

Ah well, you can’t always get a thriller. Some thoughts on the game, the halftime and the commercials..

— Peyton Manning has been one of my favorite NFL players ever since he entered the league. I’ve always rooted for him, admired his style and humility off the field, and loved how hard he competed. So I was thrilled to see him get carried to the finish line of an amazing career Sunday. He was not good most of the night, after the first drive I’m not sure he made more than 1-2 good throws. But so what? He carried plenty of his teams with terrible defenses over the years, he’s earned the right to get carried to a Super Bowl win.

— I truly think he retires now, and finishes with 2 Super Bowl wins. At the same time, you know Eli’s sitting there, with 2 SB wins of his own, thinking, “I gotta get me another ring.”

— I mean, look how excited Eli looked at the end of the game!

— Difference in the game? Cam Newton just had no time to throw all night. Broncos were in his face on practically drop-back, making him throw off-balance, off his back foot. I don’t know if the Panthers should’ve double-teamed Miller more, or thrown some short passes or screens to slow down the pass rush, or what. But nothing worked.

— Not to be “that guy,” but let’s not forget Von Miller was suspended for using steroids two years ago, and allegedly tampered with the urine sample that tested him positive.

— The commercials were thoroughly underwhelming, were they not? Nothing in the first half was particularly memorable, except for the fantastic Steve Harvey-T Mobile ad spoofing his famous screw-up at the Miss Universe Pageant recently.
But the Bud Light Party one was silly, I thought.

— I thought the domestic violence PSA at halftime was very strong. Second-half commercials were better; the Doritos dogs ad (above) was my favorite of the night, and the Helen Mirren drunk-driving ad was stellar:

— Halftime show was pretty solid, considering Coldplay was in it. Beyonce is just… an electric performer, someone I’d pay to see even though I don’t know her music that well.
Loved that shot of Bruno Mars and Bey walking together and singing with Chris Martin in the middle. I’ve never craved an Oreo so much in my life when that happened.

— Lady Gaga’s national anthem was, um, something. That red eye shadow was fierce.

— Disappointed we didn’t get to see Cam Newton score once and then try desperately to find a little kid who could afford tickets to the Super Bowl, to give the ball to.

— Finally, Donald Trump says America never wins anything anymore but a team from the U.S. just won the world championship of football, so what do you say to that, Donald????

**Next up today, in a perfectly timed episode, Larry David, the world’s foremost Bernie Sanders impersonator, hosted “Saturday Night Live” a few days before the New Hampshire primary Saturday night.

Bernie was in one sketch and it was funny, but to me the most hilarious piece of the night was David playing Bernie in a fantastic “Curb Your Enthusiasm”  spoof, starring some of the characters from “Curb” and David acting as Bernie.

If Bernie keeps doing well, Larry David’s going to get some serious mileage out of this impression.

 

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

Panthers.NFCTitlegame

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.

michael-bloomberg.w529.h352

**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.

“Choose Your Own Adventure” books awakened my imagination. An incredible musical collaboration on a “God Only Knows’ remake. And a really bad day for the Manning family

cyoa013

I get nostalgic for a lot of things from my 1980s childhood. Hey, I’m a sappy, sensitive guy.
When John Hughes died, I was crushed and wrote a long piece about him. Whenever any relic from my past shows up in contemporary pop culture (like when a 2XL robot appeared in “Argo”), I get way too excited.
Last week I had another wave of nostalgia hit me when I read that the creator of the “Choose Your Own Adventure” books, R.A. Montgomery, died on Nov. 9.

Before I read and became obsessed with sports, before I tore through the “Little House” books and Encyclopedia Brown and a million others, I was totally enthralled with “Choose Your Own Adventure.”
I’d get one from our public library, or the school library at North Ridge Elementary, and I couldn’t wait to devour it. I’d read it as fast as I could, going through all the permuatations and possibilities (“well of course I’m going to follow the suspicious man into the bank, who wouldn’t?”), and then anxiously await my next library trip.

Those books opened my mind, and the minds of millions of others, to new ideas, new possibilities, and of course, new adventures. For a few hours I could forget where I was, and who I was, and go on incredible voyages without leaving my seat.

Thank you, R.A. Montgomery, for making my childhood a little bit happier, and giving me reading experiences I’ll never forget.

Very cool backstory on how the “Choose Your Own Adventure” series got started here, courtesy of MentalFloss.com.

**Next up, my awesome friend Melanie pointed me to this on Facebook, and I’m so glad she did: The BBC and a charity called Children in Need, in England, got a Hall of Fame-level group of singers together to record the Beach Boys’ classic “God Only Knows” and perform in this awesome video.

Elton John, Chrissie Hynde, Brian Wilson, Stevie Wonder… the list goes on and on. The video is psychadelic and fabulous, and the song is timeless. Hope it raises a ton of money for charity.

Robert+Griffin+III+Washington+Redskins+v+Tampa+W_o3TFvLN3Il

**Finally, Sunday was a really, really bad day for the Manning family.
At least, the Mannings who make their living playing quarterback in the NFL.
Peyton and his team were stunned by St. Louis, 22-7, with the Papa John’s pitchman tossing a couple of interceptions.
And little bro Eli, well, Eli had one of those Eli days that crop up every season, where everything goes wrong, it’s not all his fault, but the stats look really ugly.
Eli tossed FIVE interceptions in a game the 49ers desperately tried to give to the Giants, but ole’ No. 10 just kept chucking it to the other team.

Yeesh, seven picks between the Mannings. Hope Archie didn’t watch any of it.

Some other NFL thoughts on a day when the Jets didn’t lose…

— Remember when Robert Griffin III was basically going to be the Redskins’ savior, and Barack Obama’s sports counterpart as a messiah, hero, etc.? Yeah, about that. Washington fans were chanting for Colt McCoy in the fourth quarter. Colt McCoy! As one Redskins fan on Twitter said aptly, “God is punishing Dan Snyder, and the rest of us (Redskins fans) are collateral damage.” Jason Gay of the Wall Street Journal forced himself to watch Bucs-Skins and wrote a really funny article about it here.

— The Jets are 2-8. The Giants are 3-7. New York football, it’s FAN-Tastic! Seriously, why would anyone pay money to go to the Meadowlands the rest of the year.

— The Atlanta Falcons are in first place in the NFC South. With a 4-6 record. And I just know in January a 10-6 NFC team like the 49ers will have to play a road game at 6-10 division champ Atlanta or New Orleans. Which is a disgrace. But that’s what the NFL guarantees a division champ: One home game.

— The Packers. I mean, 50-plus points in two straight games? Insane. Meanwhile, Mark Sanchez came back down to Earth, which all Jets fans enjoyed.

— Finally, two quick thoughts from the Sunday night game: Adam Vinatieri is 41 and still kicking 50-plus yard field goals; he’s gotta be a Hall of Famer one day. And two, someone named Jonas Gray scored four TD’s for New England, because of course any guy off the street could be signed by Belichick and be awesome. God, it gets tiring hating the Pats…

Ebola paranoia shows off worst of America. The amazing Peyton Manning, and other NFL thoughts. And Wright Thompson writes beautifully about Mississippi

ebolavsidiocy

Saw this on Twitter Sunday and it made me laugh out loud:

“More Americans have been married to Kim Kardashian than have died from Ebola.”

It was a much-needed laugh, because I’ve become so sick and tired over the past week over “Ebola Paranoia.” Every news channel, every news website, has been stoking the fears and sounding the alarms, and scaring the bejeezus out of as many people as possible, about the Ebola virus and its affect on America.

For God’s sakes, I saw a news crawl on CNN that said “Americans stocking up on Ebola survival gear.”
It makes me sick how politicians just throw out stupid crap like calling our President “President Ebola,” and how he’s to blame for the virus infecting our country, and that the borders need to be closed to keep Ebola out (yes Rand Paul, keep saying stuff like that and you’ve got a fantastic shot at winning the GOP presidential nomination).
A Washington Post photojournalist who’d been to several of the African countries suffering from Ebola was disinvited from a scheduled lecture at Syracuse by the cowardly and pathetic administration there.  And there are a ton more stories like that, and a recent Washington Post poll showing 2/3 of Americans are worried about an Ebola epidemic breaking out.

The anti-immigrant racism, and complete ignoring of medical science, is disgraceful. There are currently THREE known Ebola patients in America, and only one has died. This is not an outbreak in America, this is not an epidemic, and we are not all at risk from a disease that’s really, really hard to catch.

This xenophobia is disgraceful, and America at its worst.

manning509

**So this Peyton Manning fellow, is he any good?
Ever since he first came into the NFL in 1998, when I briefly despised him for not coming out of college a year earlier so my Jets could draft him, I’ve loved Peyton Manning. I love the way the ball comes out of his hand, a spiral so perfect it ought to be in a textbook. I love his confidence, his humility, and how he’s been the hardest worker on any team he’s been.
I care not a whit that he’s won “only” one Super Bowl and lost two others. He’s, in my mind, the greatest quarterback to ever play, and watching him break Brett Favre’s all-time TD record Sunday night was beautiful.

Couple other NFL Sunday thoughts;
— So it’s Week 7 now, and I think a few things have been established: The Falcons stink, last year was not an aberration. The Bears stink, and have locker-room issues. And the Seattle Seahawks ain’t repeating.  Forget the loss of Percy Harvin (more on him in a minute), they just don’t look anywhere near the same on defense.

— Did you see the incredible “fake” punt return the Rams  pulled off for a touchdown in that game? See it above if you haven’t. One of the coolest and most unusual plays I’ve ever seen, anywhere.

— Watched a lot of the Cowboys-Giants game, and what stuck out the most to me about why the ‘Boys are 6-1 is that they’re not beating themselves anymore. Last five years you could always count on Romo or Dez Bryant or a defensive player making a stupid mistake to cost ’em the game. Now, they’re playing smart, disciplined football.

— So much for those new and improved Cleveland Browns, eh? Don’t get too used to that clipboard-holding, Mr. Manziel.

mississippi007_oxford_js_600x400

**Finally today, two incredible and unexpected sports stories have happened this fall, and I don’t know which one is more shocking: The Kansas City Royals are in the World Series (that still doesn’t look right, even seeing it on the screen) and Mississippi, last in just about every vital U.S. ranking, is the center of the college football universe.
Mississippi State is currently ranked No.1, while Ole Miss is No. 3. Both are undefeated, and just for the sheer novelty of it, I’m rooting like hell for both to stay undefeated until they play each other right after Thanksgiving.

Wright Thompson is a Magnolia State native and an outstanding writer for ESPN, and he wrote this beautiful piece the other day on just what it’s like for Mississippians to suddenly have their teams be unbeatable, with a look into the past as well. Thompson is extraordinarily good at details; this is one of his best pieces ever. It’s long, but worth it.

 

A forgettable Super Bowl, as Seattle bludgeons Denver. And RIP, Philip Seymour Hoffman, an incredible talent

seahawks.superbowl

Still recovering from that incredible, heart-stopping sporting event this weekend, that was hyped for weeks and was played in the New York area.

No, not the Super Bowl, silly; the Duke-Syracuse college basketball game Saturday night. What an unbelievable game that was, truly one of the five best regular season college hoops games I’ve ever seen. I could easily write 1,000 words on it, but there was that OTHER game this weekend that demands attention that I’m sure more of you are interested in …

Maybe it’s fitting that during a Super Bowl where so many of the commercials harkened back to the 1980s, the game itself was played like so many of the Super Bowls of that decade played out: Blowout, blowout, blowout.

What a miserable, hard-to-watch game if you weren’t a Seattle die-hard. The Denver Broncos failed to show up, and Peyton Manning’s legacy took a hit, and the Seattle Seahawks’ defense played ferociously, and it was never close after the first quarter.

That’s about all that needs to be said about the game itself, so let’s get on to the other, more interesting stuff Sunday night…

— The national anthem was stellar. Renee Fleming brought the goods.
— Bruno Mars was pretty terrific at halftime; I like his music but didn’t know if he could pull off a Super Bowl show. But from the clothes (I want one of those gold jackets) to the dancing, to the seamless transition to the Red Hot Chili Peppers (and man was that an odd pairing), Bruno was terrific.

— By the way, if we’re not allowed to see Janet Jackson’s nipple at the Super Bowl, why must we be subjected to Anthony Kiedis’ nipples?

— The commercials were pretty good, I thought, but definitely my favorite was the Radio Shack ad (below). When you put Alf, Hulk Hogan, Erik Estrada and Cliff Clavin all in the same ad, you’ve got magic!

I thought the Cheerios commercial was super-cute, the Coca-Cola commercial with the singing of “America The Beautiful” ad was beautiful and moving, and the Toyota Highlander commercials starring the always-awesome Muppets were great, too. Also liked the Turbo Tax ad at the beginning of the game.

— And oh yeah, the Budweiser puppy adoption one was fabulous.

— The commercials that stunk? I didn’t think the Tebow ones were that funny; the Bud Light “Ian Rapaport” one was only eh, and the Bruce Willis “hugging” ad was just creepy.

— Can’t believe Bob Dylan actually did a commercial. Never thought I’d see the day.

— One more thought on the game itself: Can’t remember a worse performance by a losing team. The Broncos offense, defense and special teams were all atrocious. How do you come out that flat and uninspired in the biggest game of your life?

— Loved the “Seinfeld” bit at the beginning of halftime; the whole 6-minute clip is much funnier, and can be seen here. “Newman!”

— Finally, really disappointed we didn’t get 20 degrees and snow for the first outdoor Super Bowl. I still think it was crazy to hold the Super Bowl outdoors in a cold-weather climate, but after today’s game went off without any weather issues, you know we’re going to have more.

Great.

**It’s pretty rare that a celebrity death makes my jaw drop and my wife runs into the room after hearing me scream “No!”

But when I heard that Philip Seymour Hoffman, one of the greatest actors of the last 20 years, died of a drug overdose at age 46, I couldn’t believe it.

The details of his death are awful: Hoffman was found with a needle in his arm and heroin lying in a bag nearby.

But I don’t want to focus on any of that today; I want to pay tribute to a fantastic actor and a great human being who always, always brought his best. Whether it was his iconic role as Lester Bangs in “Almost Famous,” his brilliance in all of P.T. Anderson’s movies, his spectacular job as a priest in “Doubt” (an underrated classic; see it if you haven’t), or his Oscar-winning portrayal of Truman Capote in “In Cold Blood,” Hoffman always stole every movie he was in.

He had a presence like few others, and I’m deeply saddened we’ll never get to see his acting brilliance again.

A pretty tame Golden Globes, with some surprise winners. And the NFL gets a couple of great title game matchups

Paula-Patton_gallery_primary

The Golden Globe Awards are always like the drunk cousin of the Oscars: They’re rude, they’re boisterous, sometimes they make no sense, but they’re almost always a good time.

Sunday night the Globes were kinda less crazy than usual, but were still pretty fun thanks to Amy Poehler and Tina Fey, who again did a kick-ass job at hosting (Seriously, why can’t the People In Charge let them host the Oscars?) From their opening monologue poking fun at George Clooney and Bradley Cooper, to Poehler making out with Bono, they were great as always.  (And of course, their best line: “Now, like a supermodel’s vagina, let’s now all give a warm welcome to Leonardo DiCaprio.”)
Lots of other thoughts my trusted awards review co-writer wife and I wrote down while watching the show:

— Fashion review first: I don’t know what the hell Zoe Saldana was wearing but it was ugly, Paula Patton (above) looked like a peacock, and Drew Barrymore’s dress was way awkward-looking.

— Jennifer Lawrence couldn’t be more adorable. She really seems down to Earth, and super-talented. I just hope she stays that gracious and humble as she seems now.

— Very glad to see so many of the big awards spread around. I was mad Michael Fassbender lost for “12 Years a Slave,” (though Jared Leto was terrific in “Dallas Buyers Club,”) and Jon Voight winning over Aaron Paul is a joke, and I’m only halfway through Season 2 of “Breaking Bad.

But I was thrilled Amy Adams won for “American Hustle,” and that Spike Jonze got best screenplay. Really, no one movie was the big winner, which was rare and nice to see.

— The speeches were mostly boring, but Jacqueline Bisset was oddly crazy, and Cate Blanchett was hilarious at the end, admitting she was drunk and then rambling for a while.

— NBC, we get it, Fallon is taking over “The Tonight Show.” Thanks for the 47 commercials.

— Has Bono ever had an awkward moment in his life? The man is the epitome of cool. Loved hearing him and U2 talk about how much Nelson Mandela meant to them.

— Was it just me, or did Robin Wright and Jennifer Lawrence look a little bit too much alike Sunday night?

— How the hell did Taylor Swift get such a good seat near the front? What movie has SHE ever been in?

–Finally, very happy to see “12 Years A Slave,” shut out for most of the night, win the best drama award. As I wrote back when I saw it, this is such an important, moving film, and hopefully the more awards it wins, the more people will see it.

And now, the Oscar countdown begins …

manningbroncos

**And now to the football. I can’t be the only one who was watching the fourth quarter of Sunday’s Denver-San Diego game going, “Jesus, is a Peyton Manning-led team going to collapse yet again in the playoffs?”
Thankfully, they did not, and now next Sunday ought to be a sensational day of football.

For the AFC title we get the 412th (OK, 17th) duel between the two greatest quarterbacks of this generation, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. And then the NFC gives us one of the suddenly-fiercest rivalries in the sport, with the 49ers going up to the insanely-loud Seattle Seahawks stadium and trying to get to a second straight Super Bowl.

Should be terrific.  My early pick is Denver and Seattle making the Super Bowl, but I’ve bet against Brady before and been very, very wrong. But it would be pretty cool to see Peyton try to win a Super Bowl in Eli’s home stadium, no?

Couple other quick thoughts from the weekend of football:

— I’ve been watching this sport for three decades, and I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a game with more trash-talking and showboating than the Niners-Panthers game. I mean, every freaking play these idiots were glorifying themselves, or shit-talking their opponent. Can anyone just shut up and play?

–Andrew Luck reminds me an awful lot of Brett Favre. Gunslinger mentality, forces lots of throws, can win you or lose you any game at any time. Boy is he going to be fun to watch the next 10 years.

Can’t wait till next Sunday.

The Jets perform a Christmas miracle (a win!). Great moments in history performed in LEGO. And an awesome wedding proposal idea.

manning19

Two of my good friends are die-hard Jets masochists (I mean fans) like me, and back in August I asked them both how many games the Jets would win in 2013. I thought 3, maybe 4, if everything goes great, they win five.

Both David and Mark, though, were strangely optimistic. Each said they expected 7 or 8 wins. They said this with a straight face, thought at that point after what they predicted you probably had enough evidence to check them into the loony bin.

But in either a sign that the NFL is really crummy this year, the Jets have been incredibly lucky, or Rex Ryan is a much better coach than I think he is, these horrendous, no-talent Jets won their seventh game of the season Sunday.

And shockingly, they looked pretty good doing it. Geno Smith was solid, actually improving for the first time in two months (hey, he’s only thrown 1 INT in the last two weeks!), the defense was good, and the receivers made a few plays.
And now, suddenly, it looks like Rex Ryan may keep his job as coach. I still think he should go, for his disastrous job coaching the team the last two years, and this one, and that as much as I love him as a fun guy, he’s just not a good head coach. His team is still way too undisciplined, takes way too many penalties, and he’s just not that good a judge of talent (Bart Scott, and Vlad Ducasse, anyone?)

Still, the Jets winning was one of only 11 bizarre things that happened in the NFL Sunday. A few that caught my eye..

— As Tommy Tomlinson astutely Tweeted on Sunday night, “does the NFL have to have an NFC North?” A pathetic display by the Bears Sunday night. Equally woeful effort by the Lions. And the Packers somehow gave up 38 to a bad Steelers team Lambeau. Wow.

— Gotta love the Miami Dolphins, in total control of their own playoff destiny, getting shut out by the Buffalo Bills.  Made my day even sweeter.

— Peyton Manning. I mean, what’s left to say about him at this point? (I highly, highly recommend Lee Jenkins’ profile of Manning in the SI Sportsman of the Year issue, by the way. He takes a fascinating angle on the story (interviewing all the kids named Peyton in Tennessee) and then gets fabulous details about Manning’s kindness toward all). Peyton broke Drew Brees’ single-season TD record on Sunday, as the Broncos thrashed Houston, pulling away in the second half. What an incredible athlete, one of the top 5 QB’s of all time.

**Next up, I thought this was all kinds of awesome. I’ve written before in this space about my love of LEGOs, and the geniuses who have put together these “sports moments re-created in LEGO” over the years.

Well now the good people at Mentalfloss.com have compiled some of the best ones ever, including some new ones I’d never seen. The one above might be my favorite, as it’s Andy Murray winning Wimbledon in 2013 and becoming the first British man to do it in 77 years.

But all of these great, especially the Chris Webber calling timeout thing from the 1993 NCAA Final.

Truly, nothing isn’t made better when it’s done in LEGO, am I right?

videogameproposal

**Finally, I thought I’d seen and heard it all when it came to creative marriage proposals, but a computer programming whiz inventing an online game for his fiance to play, and then get to the end and have the proposal be PART of the game?

Yeah, that’s a new one on me. But 24-year-old Oregonian Robert Fink did just that to pop the question to his girlfriend Angel White, and you can see the awesome video of Fink’s handiwork below.

Very, very cool.

A black athlete’s intelligent take on the “n word.” Ron Burgundy anchors a N.D. newscast. And TV shows with Internet stories in the 90s crack me up

colemancollins

I’m not sure if athletes today are smarter than in days past, or if there are just many more media outlets with which to express themselves.

But it seems like over the past year we’ve seen a whole bunch of well-written articles on important sports topics by men and women who’ve played the game.

I thought this was particularly fantastic; Coleman Collins (above), a former standout basketball player at Virginia Tech and now a pro player overseas, talks about how he feels about the “n word,” his fellow African-Americans’ embrace of it, and what it means to hear it in a foreign country.

Here’s a quick excerpt:

Though I dislike the word, what I dislike even more is people moralizing as if poverty, discrimination and institutional racism are the proper rewards for a few slips of the tongue. These critiques are almost always classist and sometimes explicitly so, with privileged people bemoaning a “lack of class” or a “bad upbringing.”

Really, really interesting stuff.

**Next up, you may have heard a thing or two about “Anchorman 2” coming out in theaters soon.

Will Ferrell, God love him, has been pimping this movie on every single media outlet in America, including a TV station in North Dakota last week. He did a whole half-hour newscast as Ron Burgundy, and it was pretty damn funny. Check it out above.

And here’s Burgundy interviewing Peyton Manning

**Finally today, you know I love good “Internet back in the day” stories, and this is great stuff from the wonderful website MentalFloss.com. They went back to 1990s TV shows and found 11 storylines that referenced the Internet, and how in hindsight how laughable they are.

From Jackie on “Roseanne” getting addicted to America Online, to “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” using online matchmaking to have Carlton and Hillary accidentally set each other up with each other, this stuff is great. I love the “Friends” clip above, too.

Ah, the mid-’90s, when Google wasn’t even a glint in our eye.

“Enough Said” a wonderful romantic comedy. A wildly exciting Sunday in the NFL. And Miley, funny on SNL

enough-said-trailer_612x380

I hate that in the midst of so many Hollywood blockbusters bombarding us at the theater, with things blowing up out of the sky and a million chase scenes and $200 million budgets, that a sweet little movie that’s about such real-life characters gets lost in the shuffle.

My wife and I saw “Enough Said” over the weekend, and I cannot recommend it highly enough. I wish it were doing better at the box office, but it’s spectacular and I highly suggest seeing it.

If you don’t know the movie’s premise, it’s this: Eva (Julia Louis-Dreyfus, stellar as always) is a divorcee and a masseuse who’s feeling lost because her only child is getting ready to go away to college.

At a cocktail party she meets Albert (James Gandolfini, in one of his last roles before he died), also divorced, kind of a lovable schlub who’s also dealing with his daughter’s impending trip to college.

And for 90 minutes, we get to see these two getting to know each other, fall in love, have a falling out (I won’t spoil it, but I was pretty surprised at the plot twist), and deal with the aftermath.

The movie is funny, sweet, melancholy and perfectly acted, with Toni Collette (who’s good in everything, and in this flick gets to use her natural Australian accent!) and Catherine Keener rounding out a great cast.

This is the rare movie that I wish was longer; the writer, Nicole Holofcener, actually wrote a film’s dialogue that was achingly real.

Gandolfini was such a gifted actor, and it’s a shame we will remember him only as Tony Soprano, scary mobster, and not for roles like this one.

“Enough Said” was wonderful; if you don’t believe me, check out its 95 percent “fresh” rating on rottentomatoes.com.

If it’s playing near you, don’t miss it.

tonyromo

**Sunday in the NFL was a rare relaxing one for me, as the Jets don’t play until Monday night (my cousin Rob and I were lamenting how much we hate it when the Jets play night games; we get so worked up that it’s hard to sleep and get up for work the next day; doesn’t the NFL care?). It was a great slate of games, though, and I watched at least a part of almost all of ’em.
Some quick thoughts:

— Denver 51, Dallas 48. Nuts. Both defenses ought to be embarrassed, but maybe it was just a day of great offenses. Tony Romo, bless his heart, matched the incomparable Peyton Manning shot for shot, until the final two minutes when Tony Romo did what Tony Romo does, throw a killer interception. Still, what a fun game to watch.

— Indy-Seattle was also terrific; I am beyond jealous that Colts fans have gotten so spoiled with two great QBs the last 15 years; Andrew Luck is sensational.

— Never saw a touchdown like the first one in the Chiefs-Titans game; how the heck could you have seen that one coming?

— Always nice to see Tom Brady get humbled. Never thought the Bengals could hold Gisele’s husband to only six points, but in a driving rainstorm, they did it. Great stuff.
— Finally, the Philadelphia Eagles win their first game, lose the next three, then beat the winless Giants Sunday and at 2-3, are tied for first place. Crazy.

**Finally today, a little Miley Cyrus humor for you, from Miley herself. She hosted “Saturday Night Live” last weekend, and while I only watched a few clips, she did a pretty solid job.

Remember, the kid is 20 years old. She has no idea what she’s doing most of the time, she’s been famous for 15 years, and of course she’s going to make some screw-ups along the way.

This was the opening sketch from the show, with 2045 Miley talking to 2013 Miley about some of her recent choices.

Big brother wins another Manning Bowl. Catching fish with your hair? Sure. And a baseball player mails pot to his dog.

peytoneli

As a lifelong little brother myself, I always root for Eli Manning when he has to play Peyton.
I mean, Peyton has gotten to do everything first in life: Star in football, first in college, and then the NFL. Peyton got to throw touchdown passes first, got to the Super Bowl first (though Eli now has two rings to Peyton’s one, which just seems strange, doesn’t it?), and is a better overall quarterback and TV commercial pitchman. (that’s Peyton above on the right, with little bro’ Eli in front).

So when Eli has played Peyton, I generally pull for the Giants signal-caller. But once again Sunday, as he has in all three times they’ve played, Eli fell way short.
Peyton was brilliant, throwing for more than 300 yards and powering the Broncos to an easy win over the 0-2 Giants. (By the way, my terrible Jets are 1-1, and the far-superior Giants are winless. I said to my father-in-law, a die-hard Giants fan, Sunday night, that if the Jets somehow finish with a better record than the Giants, he’ll never hear the end of it.)

Peyton beating Eli was expected, but I still felt for the younger brother as usual. You know Peyton has never let him win anything in life, and when they’re old and gray and sitting on the porch chasing the grandkids, Peyton will hold his 3-0
record over Eli’s head forever.
Damn those older siblings.

Some other quick-hit NFL thoughts an another bananas day in the league:
— It’s really fun to watch the Eagles play offense. Not so much fun to watch them play defense. Michael Vick will throw for 6,000 yards this year, and the team will finish 7-9. Good times, eh?
— Biggest positive surprise so far? The 2-0 Chiefs. Still weird to see Andy Reid in red-and-white, but that’s a pretty solid team he’s got there in Kansas City. Biggest disappointment? The Washington RGIII’s (hey, it seems like much of the media has decided not use the offensive “Redskins” name anymore, so RGIII’s is as good as anything else).
Boy does Washington look awful. Their defense is atrocious, they can’t get off to a good start, and there’s no running game to speak of. Griffin doesn’t look fully recovered from his knee injury at all.
— Three games were decided in the last minute Sunday: Chicago-Minnesota, Buffal0-Carolina, San Diego-Philly, and New Orleans-Atlanta, while a fifth, Tennessee-Houston, went to overtime. My point? I have two. First, nobody does drama like the NFL. And 2, why anyone would ever wager on these games is beyond me. Nobody knows what’s going to happen from week to week, and if someone tries to tell you they do, they’re bullshitting you.

**Next up, nothing unusual to see here: Just a college kid catching a fish with only his hair.
One of the many, many reasons I wish I still had lovely mane of locks: I could do stuff like this.

dog.weed

**Finally today, a tale of an athlete so stupid you just have to laugh and just sort of marvel at his stupidity. A couple of weeks ago a Cleveland Indians pitcher named Chris Perez was convicted on drug charges, for mailing a package containing nine ounces of weed.
To his dog.
Yep, Brody the Dog got a package from his owner, which was awfully nice since I’m sure Brodie hadn’t gotten high in at least a few days. All he’d been doing was chasing his tail (which is a lot more fun when you’re stoned, dogs have told me), and running after a tennis ball, (which is an activity that loses its luster when you’re stoned, dogs have also confided in me.)

Ah, Chris Perez. If only you knew the truth: The dog was just ordering the pot for the goldfish; that’s the real drug fiend in your family.