Tag Archives: Rex Ryan

An incredible obit about the man who stopped the My Lai massacre. Madonna is awesome on Carpool Karaoke. And a bunch of crazy finishes highlight a wacky NFL Sunday

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The real heroes of history aren’t always the people we know about. I’m not saying famous heroes like George Washington, Dr. Jonas Salk and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. aren’t worthy, of course they are.

I’m just saying that I had never heard of Larry Colburn until he died last Tuesday. Didn’t know anything about his heroism and bravery, and his important role in American history.

Maybe you didn’t either, so let me direct you to his wonderful obituary. Larry Colburn was an 18-year-old American soldier in Vietnam in 1968 when he was thrust into an impossible situation. He and two comrades were witness to the massacre of completely unarmed Vietnamese civilians by the U.S., and he and two other soldiers, including helicopter pilot Hugh Thompson Jr., swooped down to land the aircraft and confront the U.S. soldiers committing this atrocity.

From Sam Roberts’ NYT obit: “Mr. Thompson was just beside himself,” Mr. Colburn recalled in an interview in 2010 for the PBS program “The American Experience.” “He got on the radio and just said, ‘This isn’t right, these are civilians, there’s people killing civilians down here.’ And that’s when he decided to intervene. He said, ‘We’ve got to do something about this, are you with me?’ And we said, ‘Yes.’ ”

Mr. Thompson confronted the officer in command of the rampaging platoon, Lt. William L. Calley, but was rebuffed. He then positioned the helicopter between the troops and the surviving villagers and faced off against another lieutenant. Mr. Thompson ordered Mr. Colburn to fire his M-60 machine gun at any soldiers who tried to inflict further harm.

“Y’all cover me!” Mr. Thompson was quoted as saying. “If these bastards open up on me or these people, you open up on them. Promise me!”

“You got it boss,” Mr. Colburn replied. “Consider it done.”

Mr. Thompson, Mr. Colburn and Glenn Andreotta, the copter’s crew chief, found about 10 villagers cowering in a makeshift bomb shelter and coaxed them out, then had them flown to safety by two Huey gunships. They found an 8-year-old boy clinging to his mother’s corpse in an irrigation ditch and plucked him by the back of his shirt and delivered him to a nun in a nearby hospital.

Crucially, they reported what they had witnessed to headquarters, which ordered a cease-fire. By then, as many as 500 villagers had been killed.

Just… wow. Think about an 18-year-old kid, in a foreign land, being ordered by his superior to fire on fellow American soldiers, and what kind of mental anguish that must’ve put him in. Even knowing he was stopping evil, Colburn must’ve been overwhelmed, then and in the years that followed, by what he did, pointing guns at his fellow Americans.

How many of us could’ve done that, to confront fellow U.S. soldiers?

I urge you to read the whole obit. We see so much fake courage in 2016, from politicians to crooked religious leaders to TV stars who become President. This, what Larry Colburn did, was real courage.

I wish his story would be told in every high school classroom in America today.

**Next up, another great carpool Karaoke episode from James Corden, that I finally got around to watching. Madonna, bless her heart, looks amazing here. I don’t know how much work she’s had done surgically or who her doctor is, but do you realize this woman is 58 years old?? Amazing.

Enjoy.

** Finally today, we’re coming down the stretch in the NFL regular season, and the season has certainly gotten better as its gone along.

The 1 p.m. game Sundays were almost all good and close (except for the poor Cleveland Browns, who are just pathetic).

Couple quick-hits from a damn exciting Week 15…

— Ladies and gentlemen, the Tennessee Titans! What a crazy way they won Sunday. Down 17-10 to the Chiefs with three minutes left, they scored to draw within 17-16. They then, mind-bogglingly to me, tried for a 2-point conversion to take the lead, and failed.

Then, Marcus Mariota, their rapidly-improving QB, drove them into field goal range in the final seconds, where kicker Ryan Succop nailed a 53-yard field goal, in the freezing cold of Arrowhead Stadium to win the game. Wow. Titans are 8-6.

— Now, the Eagles going for two in the final seconds, down 1 to the Ravens, to try to win DID make sense to me. You’re Philly, you’re 5-8, you’ve got no shot at the playoffs, what the hell. It didn’t work, but I really like Carson Wentz’s future.

— This Giants team is starting to look like the last two Super Bowl winners, am I right? That was a dominating defense that shut down Detroit Sunday.

— So this isn’t NFL-related, but did you see this insane game-winning catch by Youngstown State’s Kevin Rader to win a FCS semifinal Saturday night? Incredible.

— Oh yeah, the Jets played this weekend. They lost 34-13. Nothing to see here…

— Finally, reports are that Rex Ryan will be fired by the Bills after just two seasons. Color me shocked (not). I loved Rex when he came to the Jets, but it became pretty clear as the years went on that the man is just not a good head coach. I was stunned when the Bills hired him, and in two years he’s shown he’s still not a good head coach.

Rex Ryan: Great for a few laughs, but not too many wins.

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Good News Friday: A doctor in Nepal cures blind people with a $50 operation. A 94-year-old man plays ice hockey, really well. And the “Finding Dory” trailer looks fabulous

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And a Happy Friday to you all; mine would be a lot happier if the Jets hadn’t played so godawful last night, playing like dogs for a few quarters, making a furious comeback, getting in a position to steal a win, and then blowing it with horrific play-calling straight out of the Paul Hackett era. And then having to watch a celebratory Rex bleepin’ Ryan curse up a blue streak in celebration was delightful. I hate the Jets, I really hate them.

OK, rant over. No time to feel glum; too much good stuff to share. First up, one of the reasons I love the New York Times’ Nicholas Kristof so much is because he shows you how even a little bit of money, in the right place, can have a huge impact on lives.

Kristof this week brought us the story of a remarkable doctor in Nepal named Sanduk Ruit, who has, and this is not a typo, given blind people the power of sight 100,000 times.

That’s right: The man has done more than 100,000 eye surgeries on blind people. That’s believed to be the record for one single person.

In this story, Kristof goes to Nepal and watches Ruit perform cataract surgery, using a technique that is now being learned in the United States. The best part is that this surgery costs $25 per patient, and takes five minutes. Five minutes!

“If we can do it in Nepal,” Ruit said, “we can do it anywhere.”

Look at the face of that woman above, who’s just been the power sight. of sight. That is as true and pure a look of joy as you will ever see.

**Next up today, a story I couldn’t believe the first time I saw it, and still can’t. This is from a few weeks back on “CBS Sunday Morning,” and it’s a Steve Hartman special if I ever saw one.

Steve found a 94-year-old hockey player named Mark Sertich, still playing while just six years short of a century. Mark plays all the time, has the coolest handlebar mustache this side of Rollie Fingers, and sounds like a wonderful guy.

This man plays ice hockey, full pads and all, 3-4 days per week. At 94! Sertich has been playing for 85 years. You know how many slapshots, bodychecks and goalie saves he’s seen in his life? Me neither, but it’s higher than I can count.

If this man doesn’t inspire you to go run a lap or two, nothing will. What an awesome outlook on life.

**Finally today, “Finding Nemo” might be my favorite animated movie ever. “Shrek” is amazing, and so is “Up,” but “Finding Nemo” gets me in the heart every single time I’ve seen it (and I’ve seen it at least a dozen times.)

For reasons I can’t quite fathom, it’s taken Pixar more than a decade to come up with a sequel to the fabulous flick. But finally at long last, “Finding Dory” is almost here.

It’s out next summer, but the trailer was released Wednesday, and I couldn’t stop smiling while watching it.

As a bonus, here’s an Ellen DeGeneres clip (she’s the voice of Dory, remember!) from this week that definitely qualifies as Good News. Ms. Beasley, I’m coming to New Orleans to eat at that truck…

My Jets return to Earth, and stink it up. Why a friend’s kid’s bat mitzvah made me feel really old. And the great Stevie Wonder does carpool karoake

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(Maybe it’s just because I live in New York City, but the above Photoshopped pic cracked me up something fierce. This past 72 hours in NYC has been all about the Mets and the pontiff, so combining the two was just hilarious. Well done, Internet people.)

Well that was pretty much what we expected.

If I told you a month ago the Philadelphia Eagles would come into the Meadowlands Sunday and wipe the floor with the Jets, you’d have agreed and not blinked an eye.
And that’s exactly what happened (don’t let the final score of 24-17 fool you, it wasn’t close.) Except it did seem a surprise to many since my beloved Gang Green started 2-0, and the green and white team just up I-95 surprisingly started 0-2.
But you know, Sunday things returned to normal. Ryan Fitzpatrick threw the ball way too much since the Jets fell behind 24-0 before halftime, and when Ryan Fitzpatrick throws a lot, bad things happen, like three INT’s (though two weren’t his fault).

Philly scored a bunch of points off Jets mistakes, like Brandon Marshall trying the dumbest lateral in decades, the Jets tried to rally, but fell short.

Look, I wasn’t getting crazy when the Jets were 2-0. But this was a very winnable game, and they blew it. Sigh. Glad I only watched highlights (see below for explanation).

More quick-hit thoughts on NFL week 3:

— The Oakland Raiders have two wins, the Baltimore Ravens have zero, after three weeks. Raise your hand if you saw that coming. Again, this is why you should NEVER gamble real money on the NFL. Because no one knows anything.

— Jacksonville vs. New England isn’t fair, and will never be fair, really. Like varsity against JV.

–I think the Buffalo Bills might be a playoff team. That defense is scary-good. Then again, Rex is their coach, so who knows…

— I just watched highlights of the games Sunday, and I swear tackling is as bad as it’s ever been. Does every defender have to go for a huge hit on every play?

— I think an Arizona vs. New England Super Bowl would be crazy high-scoring and all kinds of fun. The Cardinals (led by Carson Palmer, below) are just shellacking people right now. And Larry Fitzgerald, who I had on my fantasy team for years, thanks for coming back to life the one year I don’t have you.

— Are we all supposed to cheer Adrian Peterson again now, as so many millions seem to be doing? And we forget about him beating his child with a tree branch? Just checking.

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**Next up, Sunday I had one of those experiences where I really, really felt old. I turned 40 last month, and I rarely feel it. Except for Sunday.

In a fact that’s still kinda unfathomable to me, my wife and I have friends who have a daughter old enough to be bat mitzvah’ed. These are people she went to college with, the same age as us, and somehow they have a 13-year-old kid.

Anyway, the bat mitzvah was Sunday, and I expected it to be a blast, not just because it was at the same synagogue where Shelley and I got married two years ago.

The food was fabulous, just as good as it was at our wedding, only this time I got to enjoy it without having to hug and kiss and greet 200 people.

But it was a party clearly designed for 13-year-olds. The music was unintelligible to me, it was incredibly loud, and there were hordes of hormonal teenagers swarming the place and bumping into everyone. Surprisingly to me, the DJ played all the same bar mitzvah games we played in 1988 (complete with glowing headbands and the classic “Coke and Pepsi” game).

I felt 100 years older than these kids. To them, I was just some old dude who was clearly friends with Sarah’s parents, someone to be ignored or patronized.

We had a good time. I just felt really, really ancient. Thankfully, not too decrepit to enjoy the maple-drizzled sweet potato fries at the cocktail hour (best thing ever).

**Finally today, chalk this one up to Daddy Brain: I had this clip of the legendary Stevie Wonder appearing on James Corden’s fantastic “Carpool Karaoke” segment on his show all ready to roll for Good News Friday last week. Then I forgot about it. (see above post about me getting old).

It’s definitely worth your time, and almost guaranteed to give you a smile on this Monday.

A few words about the departing Rex Ryan, who I loved then hated. Jib Jab brings the funny of 2014. And Dave Barry brilliantly dissects 2014.

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On this morning after another miserable New York Jets season has ended, permit me a few words about the sure-to-be fired Rex Ryan, a coach unlike any I’ve ever seen stroll the sidelines for the Green and White.

Ah, Rex. You came in breathing fire back in 2009, talking about meeting the new President one day (as in, we’ll win the Super Bowl and be invited to the White House) and charming the press. Then, incredibly, thanks to a series of lucky breaks and other teams losing, you led the Jets to the playoffs, before staging two fantastic wins to get to the AFC Championship game.

Then the next year, you did it again. The Jets whipped the Pats in the playoffs and came oh-so-close to beating the Steelers to go to the Super Bowl, and now the team I bleed for had made 2 straight title games and had a coach ready to become a legend.

Then … it all went to shit, pardon the expression. The quarterback regressed, the defense got old, the offensive line collapsed, the star receiver became an even bigger diva, and the coach, well, it turns out he was awesome at motivation, awesome at designing defensive schemes, and so awesome at anything else.

The man was a terrible, terrible game-coach. Truly awful. For six years Rex Ryan ran a disorganized sideline; no one wasted more timeouts, or was called for too many men on the field penalties, than the Jets.
And nobody talks about this, but Rex for most of his career as Jets coach had a major say in the draft, and he didn’t excel at picking players, at all. He fell in love with Sanchez, who wasn’t all that great, and 1st-round defensive picks like Kyle Wilson and Quinton Coples have been busts.

The man deserved to be fired two years ago, and wasn’t because the owner loves him. He deserved to be fired last year, and wasn’t. And he most certainly deserves to be fired this year, and finally, mercifully, will.

I have heard over the past few weeks many broadcasters and media members say Rex deserves to stay, he’s a great coach, etc. And I wonder: Have these people been watching the Jets? Because if they were, they’d see a coach long past his expiration date.

I feel bad it didn’t work out because I’m a fan and Rex is great fun in press conferences. But after those first two magical years, he’s been awful. And he’s stayed far too long.

Now, to paraphrase his greatest-ever quote, I’m going to go eat a goddamn snack.

**Next up, the good folks at Jib Jab have put together their as-usual awesome video parodying the year that was.

Here’s 2014 in a two-minute nutshell; I laughed out loud at least twice.

**And finally, the legendary newspaper comedian Dave Barry has come out with his “review” of 2014, and it’s the funniest thing I’ve read all year. A few excerpts of his brilliance in this piece:

— On a happier note, Colorado announces that it has already collected marijuana sales taxes totaling $2million, which the state plans to spend on “a subwoofer the size of Delaware.”

— In an aviation miracle, a 15-year-old boy sneaks into the landing-gear compartment of a Hawaiian Airlines Boeing 767 and somehow survives a five-hour flight from San Jose to Maui. Hours later major U.S. airlines jointly announce that they are offering “an exciting new seating option for budget-minder flyers who enjoy fresh air.”

— In government news, the troubled Secret Service once again comes under withering criticism when an intruder is able to jump the White House fence, enter the White House through the front door, overpower a Secret Service agent, run through the Central Hall, enter the East Room, deliver a nationwide radio address and appoint four federal judges before being overpowered. In a congressional hearing probing the incident, the Secret Service director promises to improve White House security but suggests that in the meantime the First Family should “consider adopting a larger dog.”

Dave Barry’s the best.

The best and funniest newspaper corrections of the year. Stephen Colbert goes out with a bang. And Rex Ryan loses one more soul-crusher to Belichick

 

It is of course the time of year when we are all inundated with lists, best-ofs, and other reminders that the 12 months we just lived are about to end, and a new year will start.

But if you read this column regularly you know that only one year-end list really matters to me, and really makes me happy: Craig Silverman of the Poynter Institute’s “Regret the Error” column, rounding up the best, worst and most hilarious newspaper or magazine corrections of the year.

I cringe when I read some of these, because as a longtime journalist I can see exactly how some of them could’ve happened (hey, at my first job in Wilmington, N.C. I once ran a photo with an obit of a guy he died. Except it was the wrong picture; dude whose mug we ran was very much alive, and called the next day to express his displeasure about being prematurely killed. Hey, no one’s perfect!)

Anyway, these are always great and worth your time. Some of my favorites from this year’s collection (the whole column can be read here):

From the Washington Post:  An earlier version of this story erroneously said that Joaquín Guzmán was found in bed with his secretary. He was found with his wife. This version has been corrected.

From SlateThis post originally quoted photographer Tom Sanders as saying it takes him five years to get on the dance floor. It takes him five beers.

From The DartmouthA front-page editorial published Oct. 17 calling for the abolition of the Greek system at Dartmouth stated that in the late 1980s, Alpha Delta fraternity pledges were forced to perform oral sex on an ejaculating dildo. The editorial should have stated that some pledges were required to simulate oral sex on an inanimate object, which the house’s advisor now says may have been a banana.

Glad they got that cleared up.

**Next up, the great Stephen Colbert ended his groundbreaking “Colbert Report” last Thursday night, and it was beautiful. For the final segment, he gathered a whole bunch of famous people in his studio, including Jeff Bridges, Barry Manilow, Katie Couric, Bryan Cranston and Willie Nelson, for a rousing chorus of “We’ll Meet Again.” Seriously, he had every famous person alive (EW.com has the full list of everyone on stage here; it’s dizzying.)

I thought this was great. Colbert takes over for Letterman next spring, and we all know he’ll do a great job, but the “Report” brought the funny each and every night.
It’ll be missed.

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**Finally today, some thoughts from the gridiron, as the NFL season winds down and we get set for what looks like it’ll be a wide, wide-open playoffs:

— So because I’m a masochist, I watched most of the Jets-Patriots game, even though I knew exactly how it would end. It’s like a movie you’ve seen 50 times so you know the ending, but you just can’t stop watching, anyway.

Jets defense played great, confusing Tom Brady. Jets offense played well between the 20’s, only to completely stall inside the red zone. And just when the game’s close, just when Gang Green might pull it out, Brady embarks on a clock-killing drive that ends the game.
Happens so damn often. At least the Jets made ’em sweat a little, and didn’t worsen their draft position. But I hate, hate, hate losing to Belichick and Brady. 17-16 was the final, so damn close.

— Who’s excited for that divisional showdown with a playoff spot on the line next week, the 6-8-1 Carolina Panthers vs. the 6-9 Atlanta Falcons! Anyone? Anyone? What a joke that one of those losing teams will get to host a playoff game.

— Couple games to get legit excited about next week: Bengals-Steelers for all the marbles in the AFC North, and Lions at Packers for all the marbles in the NFC North. Nothing better than football in Green Bay in late December.

— Mark Sanchez, you made me all nostalgic Saturday night. Throwing a couple of key interceptions, helping cost your team a playoff berth… man, it’s like it’s 2011 all over again. (Wipes tears away with Kleenex.)

— Arizona, you ain’t going nowhere with Ryan Lindley. Watched some of that game Sunday night and I’m sorry, there’s a reason he’s third-string.

— Finally, the Buffalo Bills. Oh, the Buffalo Bills. Huge win last week, giving their fans hope for the playoffs. Then Sunday, they lose to … the awful Oakland Raiders? Really Buffalo? Been 15 years now since they made the playoffs. Those fans deserve better.

Foxwoods Casino both a relic from the past and wave of the future. A wild final NFL Sunday, with the Jets showing life. And meet 3-year-old Trick Shot Titus

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When I was a little kid, my grandparents indoctrinated me into the love of casinos.

I know, I know, you’re ready to question their sanity. But trust me, it was all fun and games. My mother’s parents used to take me to Atlantic City once a year or so, let me run wild in the arcade and in the bowling alley (Showboat Hotel had great lanes, I bowled my first over-200 game there!), and then I’d stand behind the velvet ropes in the smoke-filled casino and watch my grandparents gamble.

I was seduced by the sights, the sounds, all of it. Since then, I try to get myself to a casino whenever I can, which in recent years has not been that often.

But the wife and I went to Foxwoods in Connecticut for a few days over Christmas, and it was a hell of a lot of fun, and not just because we won quite a bit more money than we lost (always a good thing).

Some thoughts on a few days on an Indian reservation-turned gambling mecca:

–First thing I noticed: All the people smoking indoors. I’ve gotten so used to being in smoke-free environments the last few years that it was almost shocking to have to breathe in the fumes. Nasty.

— Because I’m me and this is what I do, I tried to schmooze with the blackjack dealers between hands. Some, like Al and Barbara, were friendly and told me about their careers, how long they’ve been there, etc. Others refused to make eye contact, which of course led them to dealing me bad cards (kidding. It just seemed I did better with the nicer dealers.

— Not to say I’m superstitious or anything, but after a particularly good run at the tables, the dealer, Al, went to go work at another table. So I picked up my chips and followed him there.

— One or two stupid players can throw off a whole game. I knew this, and tried to steer clear of people who had no clue what they’re doing. One woman tried to hit on 17, the dealer checked with her to make sure she really wanted to do it, she nodded, and of course she busted.

— Finally, one fabulous and terrible thing about Foxwoods, where a bunch of hotels and restaurants are connected through indoor walkways: I didn’t breathe fresh outside air for two days. And I was fine with that.

**Next up, here’s a 3-year-old making ridiculous trick shots on the basketball court (well, into a basketball hoop, anyway).

This video has to be fake, right? But it looks pretty real to me… Can the kid suit up for my Nets right now, please?

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**Finally, the NFL regular season ended Sunday, and I’ll be damned if my New York Jets didn’t leave me feeling good going into the offseason.

Led by Geno Smith, who suddenly looks like he may have a future as a Jets QB, the Gang Green knocked the Miami Dolphins out of a possible playoff spot with a 20-7 win.
Then, owner Woody Johnson announced the Rex Ryan, despite three straight non-playoff seasons, was going to be kept as head coach.

I’m on record here and anywhere else someone has asked me as saying that Rex ought to be fired; he’s a great guy and a terrific motivator but just not a good head coach. The Jets take way too many penalties, they make head-scratching coaching decisions all the time, and Rex’s record of picking players has been spotty at best. I just don’t think the Jets are winning anything with him in charge.

But hey, maybe they get some decent wide receivers, a couple more tight ends, some better offensive linemen, and go to the playoffs next year. Crazier things have happened.

Other quickie-NFL thoughts:

— I think you have to feel good for the San Diego Chargers fans, who have had so many things go against them and so much bad luck over the past 15 years, but finally caught a few breaks and made the playoffs with a crazy 27-24 OT win over Kansas City. The Chiefs played their backups, the Chargers still tried to give it away, got a very fortunate call in overtime, and managed to win and make the playoffs. And you know what? They’ve got a shot at Cincy next week.

— Peyton Manning: 5,477 yards, 55 touchdowns this year. Yeah, he never should’ve come back from that neck injury. Amazing human being he is.

— Packers couldn’t have written the script any better. Aaron Rodgers comes back from injury and throws a fourth down, last-minute touchdown pass to beat their hated rival, the Bears? Just amazing.

— I have absolutely no clue what the Cleveland Browns are doing. Firing their coach after 1 season? Crazy.

— Really like the first-round playoff matchups: Cincy-San Diego could be fun, Packers-Niners will be exciting, Kansas City-Indy, should be competitive, and New Orleans/Philly ought to be high-scoring and wild.

— And finally, the Dallas Cowboys. Kyle Orton plays a great game at QB, they’ve got a chance to win it at the end, and he throws a pick. Oh, those Cowboys, they always find a way to entertain.

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

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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?

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**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.

Matt Harvey interviews Mets fans about Matt Harvey. What famous web pages used to look like. And playing Strat-O-Matic with Rex Ryan

The Major League Baseball All-Star Game is being played today at Citi Field here in New York, and man have the New York media been beating the drum for this thing.
For an event that’s pretty meaningless, it sure has gotten a lot of attention. Hey, it’s good that there’s some excitement going on at the ballpark there; when the Mets play it’s usually not that exciting.

But you probably have heard of their new phenom pitcher, Matt Harvey. On Monday, Jimmy Fallon thought it would be funny to send young Mr. Harvey out on the streets of New York to interview Mets fans about … Matt Harvey.

It’s hilarious; my favorite is the guy who says “my wife likes your butt.” Although the guy at 1:59 is pretty great too.

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**Next up, I’m a sucker for those old “look what the Internet looked like in the olden days” stories.

Well a friend pointed me to this gem; it’s a look at what major companies’ web pages looked like in their first incarnation.

I remember the Yahoo! page talked about here, and this Amazon.com page looks vaguely familiar, too.
Web design sure has come a long, long way.

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**Finally, a very cool little story from the New York Times’ Ben Shpigel today. I know from experience as a sportswriter that when you’re covering a team, and it’s the offseason, you look for any “different” angle you can find, and do your best to pull it off.

It’s hard, but Shpigel does this brilliantly. He found out that Jets coach Rex Ryan used to be a huge fan of Strat-O-Matic baseball (you remember, the dice game where you make players do things based on your roll?), and Shpigel was a big fan, too. (Me? I used to spend hours playing Micro League Baseball, the very early Apple II computer baseball game).

So he convinced Ryan to sit down and play a game of Strat-O-Matic with him last week.
Really fun, really well-written story, and it shows a side of Ryan we rarely see.

I start my new career as a teacher (finally). The Jets mercifully pull Sanchez, and win. And the best photos of the year

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Big day for me today.
My professional teaching career will finally begin.
Got a phone call Sunday night from the New York City Dept. of Education automated substitute teacher line, asking me if I wanted to work on Monday.
The call surprised me for several reasons, mostly because after just finally getting registered and approved last week, I was told I wouldn’t even be in the system for another week or so.
But hey, after three months of waiting to be allowed to sub, I’m not complaining.
And  so off I’ll go, to a school I won’t name in a borough I won’t name, to sub in a grade I won’t name (hey, not about to get myself in trouble by talking in too much detail about my new gig yet).

Should be an interesting and challenging life as a sub. At the very least, I’m sure it’ll give me good stories to tell all of you.

I just hope kids don’t still throw erasers at subs; I can’t duck as well as I used to.

McElroy

**My jaw dropped toward the table at my favorite local sports bar at about 3 p.m. Sunday, when something I’d been hoping and praying for finally happened:
Rex Ryan, after months of stubbornly refusing to bench the woefully performing Mark Sanchez, actually pulled the plug and took out the man we all know isn’t the answer at quarterback.
And while we expected Tim Tebow to one day get a chance this season, it was third-stringer Greg McElroy, who may turn out to be the best quarterback on the roster, who got in the game.
I was thrilled. As were the fans at MetLife Stadium, and I’m sure, the Jets players. McElroy wasn’t sensational in the win, but against the beyond-putrid Arizona Cardinals (Ryan Lindley might be the worst NFL starting QB I’ve ever seen, though to be fair, he’s Arizona’s third-stringer, too), being efficient and OK was enough.

McElroy led the Jets to the 7-6 win, and we fans got to smile. Rex, sweetheart, bubeleh, please leave McElroy in next week. Give the kid a chance; it’s not like the Jets are making the playoffs anyway.
And besides, now that the win screwed up the Jets’ chances of a Top 5 draft pick, might as well try to win a few games.

Some other NFL thoughts from a pretty darn exciting Sunday:
I think it’s crazy the NFL went ahead with the Kansas City Chiefs game a day after one of their players, Jovan Belcher, murdered his girlfriend and then shot himself in front of the Chiefs’ head coach and general manager. There’s no way that the team or coach could’ve been emotionally prepared to play a game after something like that. The Chiefs did play, and won, in a very surreal game at Arrowhead Stadium (thankfully, the Chiefs offered no such “moment of silence” for the murderer.)

I’ll be very curious to see if any brain damage or head injury issues result from his autopsy; sadly it’s always possible now, with history shown that brain injuries can cause violent acts.

— In less-important football news, gotta be impressed again by Andrew Luck. Down 12 in the fourth quarter, he rallied the Colts to beat Detroit on the last play of the game. Man, Colts fans are gonna be spoiled; Peyton Manning, then Luck playing QB for them.
— How in the world did the Ravens let Charlie Batch, Charlie freaking Batch, beat ’em 23-20? Why do I have a feeling these two teams will meet again this year in the playoffs?

Fans of France kiss before their Group D Euro 2012 soccer match against Ukraine at Donbass Arena in Donetsk

**Finally today, I love great photo montages, and the Reuters news agency has put together its best photographs of 2012. The one above looked cool to me because it’s pure joy in the middle of a crowd, but there are so many other incredible images in this gallery (especially No. 14 and No. 18), it’s well worth your time to check out.

Gail Collins’ new book explains how Texas took over America. The Jets are an utter disgrace. And kids eating ice cream for the first time: priceless

“Homeland” is back! I am very happy. I will be doing weekly recaps and thoughts on each episode, but will save those until Tuesday, since I know not all of you can stay up late Sunday night to watch it when it airs live on Showtime at 10. So glad the best show on TV is back. And the first episode was awesome.

It’s not enough that so many of us just shake our head at the craziness that is Texas. We really should look at how destructive and dangerously trend-setting it is for America.
From health care and social services (worst in the nation) to polluting the air (also near the bottom) to being the biggest textbook publisher in America, thereby setting the agenda for what kids around the U.S. are learning, Texas has an outsized effect on the U.S. (Plus, they’ve sicced both George W. Bush and Rick Perry on us, which is a plague all it’s own).

Gail Collins of the N.Y. Times, a really smart op-ed writer, has decided to examine Texas and figure out why the hell it’s always puffing itself up when there are so, so many things wrong with it in her newest book, “As Texas Goes.”
I just read it last week and really enjoyed it as a book, but it scared the hell out of me.

Besides Texas’ rightward slant on everything, it was depressing to see how much it has held down its own citizens, actively stolen business from other states, and slanted our nation’s textbooks.

I don’t want to give away all the fun stuff in the book (and it is a really fun read, Collins is really witty), but it’s truly staggering to think that this state sets much of the Republican agenda, and sometimes the nation’s.

Check out more about the book here; I definitely recommend it.

**Here’s something I know I wish I could’ve had recorded in my own life: Little kids eating ice cream for the first time, and how deliriously happy it makes them.  This should make you smile on a Monday, and make you hungry for some Ben & Jerry’s… (my favorite is the kid at :31)

**Finally, football. Here were some phrases thrown around via text among my Jets support group/posse that I communicate with every Sunday in the fall:
1. Disgraceful
2. Pathetic.
3. Kotite-level incompetence (I was particularly proud of that one).
As bad as I expected the Jets to do against maybe the NFC’s best team Sunday, they played worse in getting shut out by the Niners, 34-0. The less I say, the better.

Except two things: 1, This coach and GM ought to be embarrassed by the level of talent on this team right now, and 2, They had better draft or sign a quarterback for next season. Because Mark Sanchez will never become a successful QB in this league. He’s getting worse every week.

Some other quick-hit thoughts from Week 4:
— A friend who shall remain nameless texted when the Bills were up 21-7, saying the Patriots were done, headed to 1-3, not that good, etc. I told him it was way too early to say that.
Um, yeah, the Pats won 52-28. Scary how good that offense can be.

— Fantastic endings to the Carolina-Atlanta and Washington-Tampa games. Matt Ryan led his team from his own 1 into field goal range to keep the Falcons unbeaten, and RGIII beat Tampa on the last drive when Billy (Shank) Cundiff finally made a field goal after missing three others.

— The real refs were back! And yeah, they made some bad calls, but SO much better than those imposters.

— How good are the Texans? So pleased the Jets get them next week. That’ll be fun.
— Peyton Manning, that’s more like it. You helped me to a (likely) fantasy win this week.
— The Chargers are going to fall apart like they usually do, right? Because they look damn good right now.
— Finally, the Giants just can’t seem to beat the Eagles. Stupid penalty at the end by Ramses Barden, but you know, the guy has hardly played. I was still hoping Tynes made that kick at the end to punish Andy Reid (and all other coaches) for that split-second timeout they always call right before a game-deciding kick.

Such a stupid rule that you can do that.