OK, I admit it, even with my beloved New York Jets having a miserable season, I’m starting to get sucked back into the NFL.
It’s December, we’ve got crazy-weather games going on now, like in Green Bay, New Jersey and in Miami on Sunday, the division races are heating up, and best of all, we’ve got new teams who haven’t been heard from in a while looking playoff-bound.
I’m looking at you, Tampa Bay Bucs, and you, Detroit Lions (9-4! A 2-game lead in the division!) and you, Miami Dolphins (who I still loathe from my childhood but man, they have been bad for a loooong time.)
Some thoughts from Sunday’s games, when the stretch run really began…
— Hell of a win from the Giants Sunday night. Cowboys had won 11 straight, but the Giants forced star rookie Dak Prescott into some bad interceptions, got a late TD from Odell Beckham Jr., and grabbed the victory. Always twice as bad for me when the Jets are having a miserable season and the Giants are actually good.
— But hey, the Jets won on Sunday, an absolutely meaningless victory and something that hurt their upcoming NFL Draft position. I swear, we were driving home from Long Island around 4:30 and I turn on the Jets-Niners game figuring it’s maybe 3-0, or 7-0, and hear that it’s 14-0 San Fran five minutes into the game. I immediately called my Dad to find out what the hell had happened.
“They’re the worst!” he declared. But alas, they rallied behind Bryce Petty, who probably isn’t going to be a great QB but found a way in the 4th quarter and OT to lead the Jets over a miserable Niners team. The Bryce Petty era, get excited!
— Anybody out there had the Lions having a 2-game division lead with three to play? Didn’t think so.
— Being a Redskins fan must be all kinds of fun. Kirk Cousins gives you heart attacks every week, then does just enough to help you win.
— Finally, not NFL-related but the great CBS announcer Verne Lundquist called his last college football game on Saturday, and he offered this beautiful send-off at the end of the broadcast. He’s a class act and a guy who never took himself too seriously. Thank goodness he’s still going to be doing March Madness; his pipes are so perfect for that event.
**Next up today, taking a break from the Alec Baldwin as Donald Trump theme for a week, “Saturday Night Live” brought out a heavy hitter to talk about the insanity of Trump’s Cabinet picks so far.
Ladies and gentlemen, meet your new Drug Enforcement Agency czar, a high school science teacher from New Mexico, Mr. Walter White.
“Breaking Bad” fans, Heisenberg is back!
**So Saturday was the annual Army-Navy football game, something I have recently begun to care about, which I’ll explain in a minute. The Naval Academy had won 14 consecutive games in the rivalry, which is crazy considering usually the teams are even and trade wins every year or two.
It really is an amazing scene, the Army-Navy game; I’ve never been to one but for years watching it on TV it looked awesome.
The reason I have cared more the past few years about the game is because the U.S. Military Academy has been phenomenally involved with the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation, the charity I’ve talked about a lot on here that my wife and I support big-time and that I do volunteer writing for.
A few years ago the Army football team adopted a young cancer patient named Sean Callahan, and in the spring of 2015 let him play in their spring game. The video below, which I think I ran here once before, always makes me smile (especially Sean’s TD dance at the :50 mark).
Talking to several of the players for a story I wrote on Sean, the love for him in their voices and the appreciation they showed for having the opportunity to serve our country, really moved me.
Army finally beat Navy on Saturday, 21-17, breaking that long losing streak. Sean Callahan died on August 22, 2015. I’d like to think that somewhere in their celebrations on Saturday, a few of the players thought about Sean with a heavy heart.