Tag Archives: Ryan Fitzpatrick

We leased a new car this weekend and got a great deal and I still feel icky. SNL and Tom Hanks skewer the final Presidential debate. And the Jets show life while A.J. Green is amazing

jagr-halloween

This photo has nothing to do with anything I’m writing about, but it’s almost Halloween and he’s Jaromir Jagr and I laughed really hard looking at this picture. It’s classic.

It’s a cliche that’s not supposed to be true anymore. Car dealers aren’t supposed to be able to pressure you to buy these days. No, car-buying or leasing is now a democratic process, since consumers all have so much information at their disposals, and so many options and …

We went looking for a new car lease this weekend, what I thought would be the very start of the process. Our old Honda CR-V lease, which we love, is up in a few weeks, so we wanted to start looking around. I was 99 percent sure we would get another CR-V, because we love it, but you never know.

So yep, we were just going to go to the first place on Saturday, a Honda dealer in Nassau County (on Long Island, for you non New-Yorkers), get a quote, and be on our merry way to our other non-vehicle activities.

And yeah, Sunday evening we drove home a new CR-V. My head is still kind of spinning.
What happened is, the saleswoman and her manager almost literally refused to let us leave the store. Several times Saturday we said we were happy, we really liked the 2016 CR-V Touring they’d shown us, and we’d get back to them.

Then they kept lowering the payments. And lowered them. And threw in more stuff. And offered to make our last payment on our current car. And then he offered us some property in Miami Beach and any one of his three children. (OK not really. He only offered us two kids. He’s not an animal)

Finally, he came down so low on the price, basically a few dollars more than what we’re currently paying, that my wife and I agreed we won’t do any better anywhere else. So I shook the saleswoman’s hand and the manager’s hand and suddenly papers were being drawn up.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m happy we got a good deal. But the whole thing still felt kind of icky. First, the whole process of the salespeople constantly lowering the price makes me think, “if they could go that low the whole time, and still make a profit, why the hell are they starting so high and trying to screw me?”

Second, just the whole negotiating and literally almost blocking us from leaving made me feel slippery. Look pal, I know you have a sales quota, but do you really need to press THAT hard?

Anyway, we love the new car, and as soon as we figure out how to use all the new features I’m sure we’ll love it more.

It just felt … icky.

**Next up, I figure I might as well be consistent and run the final “SNL” Presidential debate sketch, since I blogged about the first two here. Happily, this one was just as funny as the rest of them.

When Kate McKinnon claims she got “Trump bingo” at the 2:10 mark, I just about snorted water out of my mouth. I also loved the “Nasty Woman” coffee mug she busts out.

Also, this is the best acting Alec Baldwin has done since, um, ever. Or at least since “Glengarry Glen Ross.”

 

**Finally today, as I mentioned before I didn’t get to see much football on Sunday, thanks to all the car shopping stuff, but catching up on highlights and seeing the occasional glimpse of the Jets game on the TV at the Honda dealership, I was surprised to see my Jets actually remembered how to win a game.

And of course, it was odd: Geno Smith, in his first start at QB since 2014, got hurt in the second quarter, so benched starter Ryan Fitzpatrick came on and led the Jets to the win. The same guy who stunk for the first six games this year suddenly played well. Of course, this being the Jets, Geno will probably be healthy, come back next week, and throw five picks.

But hey, the Jets are 2-5, who’s complaining!

**I don’t know who’s good or bad in this year’s NFL, but I’m pretty sure that A.J. Green of the Bengals made the catch of the year so far. Forget for a minute the Browns’ defense’s ineptitude here, Green’s just a sick athlete.

**Watched the last few minutes of overtimes of that putrid, horrible Sunday night Football game between Arizona and Seattle which ended in 6-6 tie, thanks to BOTH kickers missing field goals inside of 30 yards in overtime. Then was up all night in a cold sweat after reading this from the New York Times’ Nate Cohn about November 8:
“Mrs. Clinton’s chances of winning are now 93 percent, or about the same probability as an NFL kicker missing a 29-yard field goal.”

**Not football, but I have to mention somewhere in today’s post that the Chicago Cubs (the Cubs!) are in the World Series for the first time in 71 years. So many incredible storylines to this Indians-Cubs Series, and I’ll probably write a few hundred words about it for Wednesday’s post. But my favorite thing I saw Saturday night/Sunday morning was this:
The last time the Cubs were in the Series, African-Americans were not allowed to play major league baseball. Tuesday in Game 1, the Cubs’ Dexter Fowler (an African-American) will be the first batter.

That’s just beautiful.

Finally after months of waiting, a real debate between Clinton and Trump. The awful Jets, the undefeated Eagles, and other Week 3 NFL thoughts

clinton-trumpdebate

It’s been a long, long time since professional boxing has mattered in this country.

So maybe this analogy will be lost on younger readers. But tonight’s Hillary Clinton-Donald Trump debate feels like a championship fight.

For a long, long, long time, the two major party candidates for President have sniped at each other from afar, with the vulgar, talking yam making up lie after lie and somehow rising in the polls despite it (Seriously, there was a Tweet I saw last week titled “Here are 18 lies Donald Trump told today at his rally.”)

I know deep in my heart Trump ain’t winning this election; I don’t care if the statisticians in the world keep saying his chances are going up, she’s not pulling away like she was a month ago, yada yada yada.

Still, my liberal heart is a little nervous about tonight. Couple quick points I want to make going into the 9 p.m. Eastern debate which I think will probably break all TV ratings records for debates:

She must call him out on his lies. Every time. I have no faith that NBC’s Lester Holt, a perfectly reputable broadcaster, will have the time nor the inclination to point out every time Trump lies. That’s why Hillary has to do it. I don’t care if she comes off smarmy, or has to interrupt him 35 times. Trump’s enormous whoppers, whether they’re about ISIS, or the economy, or crime in the America, cannot be allowed to stand. We political junkies forget this, but millions of people are just starting to pay attention to this race. Trump’s fibs cannot be allowed to be what they remember from this debate.

Hillary must remind people what she’s done: So much of this election has been about GOP fear-mongering of what she “would do” or “will do” as President. Hillary has a long list of accomplishments dating back to Children’s Health Care, her time as Secretary of State, and as First Lady. She has to remind Americans that for all her faults, she’s done a lot.

— Trump can’t lose his temper: If I were, horrifyingly, advising the scariest major candidate in the last 100 years, I’d tell him containing his temper is the No. 1 goal of tonight. Everyone thinks you’re a temperamental, thin-skinned, hothead who can’t handle any critique and flies off the handle at the slightest provocation. Prove them wrong by staying calm tonight.

Get your popcorn ready, folks. This should be very interesting.

**Finally, some quickie NFL thoughts from Week 3. I didn’t see much of the games because my beautiful wife and I were in Montauk for a wedding Sunday, but watched some highlights and a little bit of the Jets game. I am very, very glad I didn’t watch the Jets debacle. SIX Ryan Fitzpatrick interceptions? OK, they weren’t all his fault but come on, SIX? Jets are in deep doo-doo if they lose to Seattle next week.

— The Giants-Redskins game was a terrific back and forth affair, but what will stick out for me is yet another Odell Beckham Jr. temper tantrum (above). I don’t know if this kid will ever mature, maybe he will. But man oh man does he seem like a total immature punk right now. A powder keg that could go off at any moment.

–The Eagles whipped the Steelers, 34-3, and the Vikings stayed undefeated as well, and we are once again reminded football is such a strange game. Eagles rookie QB Carson Wentz was expected to ride the bench this season, learn the ropes, etc. Then a month ago Minnesota’s QB Teddy Bridgewater gets seriously hurt. Which led to Eagles QB Sam Bradford being traded to Minnesota. Which leads to Wentz getting a chance to play and looking awesome, and the much-criticized Bradford playing great for the Vikings, and now everyone in both cities are thrilled. But if not for one injury, none of this happens.

Fate is crazy.

— I knew few people cared about the Browns-Dolphins game, but I was following along on my phone thanks to Cody Kessler of the Browns getting his first career start at QB. I think I blogged about this last year, but I got to interview Cody when he was at USC for a story I was doing on his wonderful work with the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation, which I volunteer for. He’s a fantastic young man with a big heart, and I was thrilled that he played so well for Cleveland on Sunday (even though the Browns, being the Browns, lost in overtime)

The Jets behave like the Jets, and I still am somewhat surprised. Obama and Seinfeld have coffee and drive around. And the Dashcam Pro infomercial is hysterical and awful

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How I can now spend the three hours next weekend that I thought I’d be watching a New York Jets playoff game:
1. Taking a walk outside in freezing January temperatures.
2. Catch up on my correspondence.
3. Contemplate why my 16-month-old gets such immense joy from ripping a piece of toilet paper from the roll, walking to the garbage can, and dropping it in. Then repeating this behavior 11 more times while giggling.
4. Decide once and for all, if I prefer Ginger or Mary Ann.
5. Start learning a foreign language.
6. Beat myself over the head with a wooden mallet, which, let’s face it, is pretty much the same experience as watching a Jets game.

Happily, any and all of those options are at my disposal, since my pathetic excuse for a football team decides the best way to finish off what has been a surprisingly fabulous season is to play an awful game they had to win up in Buffalo, to qualify for the playoffs.

I’m not going to get all upset and riled up again going over all the details. Suffice to say, I was angry for a good solid hour after the game Sunday, then spent 20 minutes mad at myself for being 40 and still allowing this franchise’s performance to affect my emotional state.

So, you know, typical end to the Jets season.

**Next up today, you know I love me some Jerry Seinfeld, and I love when Barack Obama does pop-culture-y things that shows off his sense of humor, so of course I loved this episode of “Comedians in Cars Coffee,” that debuted last week, with Seinfeld and our Commander in Chief kicking it in the White House.

My two favorite parts (and I recommend the whole thing🙂 at the 10-minute mark when Seinfeld asks Obama about if he ever touches the thermostat in the White House, and at around 14:00 when Seinfeld says “How many world leaders do you meet and think they’re completely out of their minds?”

**Finally today, it’s been a while since I’ve had fun with a terrible infomercial on this blog, but I saw this commercial the other day and was immediately horrified/fascinated, which is exactly the reaction you want when watching one of these. Have you seen this, people? It’s the Dashcam Pro videocamera for your car, and it’s apparently a MUST-have item for your vehicle.

I have lots and lots of questions after watching this: First of all, given what we’ve seen on the news the last few years, I have total faith that the white police officer would be fine with the militant-sounding African-American driver in an accident reaching over to his windshield and shoving a small camera in his face.

Next, the first few clips show innocent people getting their cars smashed and their fabulous camera footage saving them. But at the :21 mark, the “innocent” woman is applying makeup while driving and then gets hit. Isn’t she the one at fault here?

Also, at 1:05 they brag about flipping the camera screen on road trips to “capture all those special moments” in the car. Are you kidding me? No actual family has ever had a “special moment” on a road trip. It’s four hours of bickering, threats to turn the car around, or sheer boredom. And if the camera is facing the other way, isn’t going to miss the accident you’re about to have when you turn around to smack your kids?

Wait, I’m just getting started. Do we really need yet another device to be distracted by/have to pay attention to in the car? Will one of the people who get into an accident use the “sorry officer, I was adjusting the angle of my stupid dashboard camera.”

“It’s the most important tool you’ll ever buy for your car!” Really? New brakes, replacement tires, none of that is more important?

And yet… I almost kinda maybe want the thing.

The Jets with a stunning, thrilling win over the Patriots, as Belichick makes a rare stupid decision. “Master of None” a superb new Netflix show. And the rapist who made sure his victim got home safely.

jets-v-new-england-patriots

Wow, wow, wow, wow, wow. It’s been several hours since the New York Jets pulled off an always-satisfying, and always-rare, win over the Patriots Sunday.

And I’m still jazzed. Damn, that feels good. I’ve said before that a victory over New England, since it’s so uncommon, feels like two wins instead of one. And this one certainly does.

Where to start? Well, for once Bill Belichick didn’t come off as such a genius. Coach Hoodie seemed to make major blunders throughout the game, starting with the end of the first half when he inexplicably decided not to try to score more points, with 1:50 left, 2 timeouts, and his team trailing by 7.

But Billy boy saved his best brain work for OT, when after winning the coin toss, he told his captain to say the Pats wanted to kick off. This meant, if the Jets scored a TD, New England wouldn’t get the ball at all and the game would be over.
Which is exactly what happened.
Because Ryan Fitzpatrick, God bless his journeyman soul, led the Jets downfield for a beautiful TD. I don’t know what the hell has gotten into Fitz this year, but this isn’t the QB I watched so many years in Buffalo and Houston. This guy is calm, poised, and after a shaky start, played a terrific game Sunday.

And Brandon Marshall… you complete me. I never saw Don Maynard because I wasn’t born yet, but Marshall’s the best Jets receiver of my lifetime. At least he’s having the best season of any Jets receiver of my life. He’s been so clutch, and so huge, in so many games.

The Jets defense also was fantastic, though to be fair, I think the Patriots were down to the kids from “Lucas” on the offensive line and at wideout by the end. Brady is just so fricken good, he almost pulled out a win anyway.

Ah, so much fun to beat the Pats. Now the Jets have set me up for the ultimate heartbreak: Having to beat Rex Ryan and Buffalo next week to get in. Bills, nothing to play for, Rex desperately wanting to beat his old team, Jets in a great spot… what could possibly go wrong?

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**Next up, I’ve been reading and hearing over the last few weeks about how fantastic Aziz Ansari’s new Netflix comedy, “Master of None” was. I’ve seen it on a bunch of “Top 10 shows of the year” lists, my favorite TV critic Alan Sepinwall had raved about it, and word of mouth about it was great.

Still, I wasn’t a big fan of Ansari or “Parks and Rec,” his last show, so I didn’t immediately watch.

Big mistake. The wife and I have been binge-watching it this weekend and it’s absolutely terrific. We’ve seen eight episodes (of 10) and it’s getting better and better.

The show, ostensibly, is just about a single man (Ansari) in his 30’s, working as an actor, hanging out with his friends, and having adventures both in dating and professionally. But it’s much more than that.

The writing is sharp and real; the chemistry among the actors (none of whom besides Ansari are famous) is terrific, and the stories told are fascinating.

One episode has Ansari’s character, Dev, vying with another Indian actor for a role in a TV show, since “you’re only allowed one Indian per show.” Another hilarious episode has Dev and his Asian friend Kevin trying to repay their parents for giving them a great new life in America by learning about their journeys.
And maybe the best storyline so far involves Claire Danes and Noah Emmerich in guest-starring roles, playing comedy so well.

It’s the rare show that treats its audience as intelligent adults; the relationships seem real, the dialogue is really funny, and it’s just a great, great show.

Can’t wait to watch the last two episodes; this is definitely a show you should check out.

**Finally today, I’m a few weeks late on this but just got around to reading it this weekend, and it’s brave and powerful and fabulous so I wanted to share it. Alisson Wood wrote this in the New York Times Week in Review a few weeks ago, about the time she was a college student, working as a waitress in a diner, and was raped by her boss, a manager at the restaurant.

The headline “Get home safe,” my rapist said” doesn’t grab you, nothing will. After committing his sexual assault in his office, Alisson’s boss helped her into her car, then followed her home.

It took years for her to come to terms with what happened, and her essay brings forth all her emotions. It’s difficult, important writing, and it’s done very well.

Rapists come in all shapes, sizes and demeanors; the stereotypes are often very wrong.

It’s a terrific essay and I highly urge you to read it.

An enormous win for the Jets over the Giants: I’m going to enjoy this one for a while. The Seahawks and Pats moving in different directions. And Julianne Moore, acting her ass off in Times Square

giants-v-new-york-jets

It’s not easy being a New York Jets fan, no matter where you live in the world.

But in New York, it’s really not easy. Because everywhere you go, everywhere you look, everywhere you listen and read, you’re reminded that the Giants are the best and most important football team in the state.

It’s the Giants who have the four Super Bowl titles, the Giants who are a first-class organization, the Giants who have the great tradition and fans and yada yada yada I want to throw up. Hell, for more than 20 years the Jets played their home games in a place called GIANTS STADIUM!

The Jets and their fans are second-class, and there has never been any doubt about that. There have been maybe five moments of my life as a football fan where I have thought, “I’m glad I’m a Jets fan. I’m glad when I was 6 years old I chose the Jets to root for, and not the Giants.”

The whole rest of the time, I definitely feel I made a mistake.

Which is why Sunday felt so incredible. So satisfying. So… great. For three quarters, big brother bullied little brother around the field, as the Giants grabbed a 20-10 lead. I was depressed, I was mad, I would’ve thrown things at the TV if I hadn’t been at my in-laws family Hanukkah party (oh and hey, Happy Hanukkah to my fellow Members of the Tribe out there.)

And then, the heavens opened, the angels sang, and Ryan Fitzpatrick and Brandon Marshall decided to make some beautiful music. Giving me flashbacks to Ken O’Brien and Wesley Walker, the Jets QB and wide receiver just dominated the fourth quarter. The Jets scored 10 points to tie the game, the defense played great, and then in overtime, Gang Green kicked a go-ahead field goal.
The Giants drove down inside the Jets’ 30 and had a chance to tie, but Josh Brown’s 48-yard field goal try was wide, and euphoria erupted in Jets-ville.

Huge, huge win. Moves the Jets to 7-5 and firmly in the playoff race. So many heroes of this one, after such a miserable first few quarters. Fitzpatrick was sensational, best game a Jets QB has played in a decade. Marshall is the best Jets receiver since Keyshawn. Eric Decker was stellar, as was Bilal Powell, as was the defense for most of the game.

Man, this one feels good. So rare to be able to look down on the Giants. Maybe that’s not very polite of me, but dammit, it feels good.

Couple other quick-hit NFL thoughts…

— Looks like the Seahawks are back and ready to kick ass again. What a destruction of Minnesota Sunday.

— Patriots losing streaks are as rare as an interesting Bill Belichick quote, so pay attention to this one. New England fell way behind Philly Sunday, 35-14, and almost came all the way back before falling short. Pats are banged up big-time but suddenly Tom Brady’s crappy receivers are reverting back to form.

— The Falcons are done. Never seen a team go from 5-0 to 6-6 and look this bad. Disgraceful.

— Cam Newton for NFL MVP, and there really is no other choice. What a thrilling player he is to watch. I don’t care about his silly celebrations and histrionics; guy has grown up and has fun playing the game.

— The Cleveland Browns lost in epic fashion Monday night, and the Detroit Lions lost on a Hail Mary Thursday. Which reminds me once again: As miserable as it usually is being a Jets fan, I could still have it worse. I could root for the Browns or Lions.

**Finally today, maybe you’ve heard of the comedy show “Billy on the Street,” on TruTV, where Billy Eichner ambushes people on the street with funny comedy bits.

I don’t watch the show but have occasionally seen clips, and laughed. This one, though, is downright hysterical, and if my admiration for the awesomeness that is Julianne Moore could possibly be increased, it is now.

Billy and Julianne decide to go to Times Square and tell tourists that instead of giving money to begging schmoes in superhero costumes, they should make a small donation and watch an Oscar winner act out scenes from her movies.

The reactions are priceless; my two favorites are the woman walking behind Moore at 2:13, and the Japanese guy who has no freaking idea what is going on at 2:36. Warning: Definitely some NSFW language here, so use headphones if at your desk.

I love this so much.

The Jets have a pulse, the NFC “Least” is a joke, and more NFL thoughts. An awesome Daughtry song I just discovered celebrates ’80s and ’90s rock. And the amazing iPad magician

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The New York Jets have a pulse this morning. And I’m wondering if we could petition Roger Goodell to make sure the Dolphins are the Jets’ opponent every week from now on in 2015.

Because that Jets team I watched Sunday looked nothing like the bums who’ve gone 1-4 since a 4-1 start. Hell, the Jets haven’t looked that good since … the last time they played the Dolphins.

Sunday, Ryan Fitzpatrick threw four TD passes (and finally trimmed that scary-ass beard of his.) Brandon Marshall, welcome back to the offense! We’ve missed you, buddy.
Chris Ivory had a rough day but ripped off a gorgeous 31-yard TD run in the fourth quarter, breaking five tackles.
And Devin Smith, to this point the Jets’ bust of a second-round draft pick actually caught a touchdown pass. It was a Thanksgiving miracle, I tell ya.

Seriously, I have no idea if this Jets team is any good. I know for certain that Miami stinks. Next week is Jets vs. Giants at the Meadowlands, in a game with huge importance for both. Should be a ton of fun.

Other NFL thoughts from Week 12…

— Speaking of the Giants, what an awful performance against the Redskins. That NFC Least division has to be the worst it’s ever been. Somewhere Bill Parcells called Joe Gibbs on the phone Sunday night and muttered, “Can you believe this shit?”

— But Odell Beckham Jr. made another insane touchdown catch Sunday for the Giants. That kid is worth the ticket price alone.

— The closed captioning of Giants-Redskins at one point called Eli Manning “Eli Man Penguin.” And now that’s all I’ll ever call him.

— Our first snow game Sunday! Denver-New England. Love, love, love football in the snow.

— Go ahead, you figure out the Seattle Seahawks in 2015. I sure as hell can’t. Big win over the Steelers on Sunday. I think they are equally likely to miss the playoffs as they are to get back to the Super Bowl.

— A lot more awful games on Thanksgiving, and plenty of stinkers on Sunday. Is it me, or has this been a pretty terrible NFL season, quality-wise? Good thing millions are still addicted.

— I know I shouldn’t take joy in the misery of others. But man, it is SO much fun watching Rex Ryan explain away another Bills loss Sunday, using the exact same lines and excuses he used to use as Jets coach.

**Next up, I’ve said it many times on here, and it can be verified by anyone who knows me well: I know nothing about current pop music. I choose to be blissfully ignorant of most music made after 1994 or so, except for a few songs that capture my attention for a brief time.

But happily, my wonderful wife occasionally sends me music from the 21st century she thinks I’ll like. And after watching the Thanksgiving Day parade performance by Daughtry of this song of his from 2013, she immediately told me to listen to it.
Which I did. And I loved it. And since this blog is nothing if not random stuff that comes into my head sometimes, I’m sharing it here now.

It’s about paying tribute to the great 1980s and ’90s rock and roll that seems to be dying off these days, and the lyrics are funny and I like the beat.
It’s called “Long Live Rock and Roll.”
Is it the greatest song ever? No. But if you’re a Gen X’er like me or just someone who loved that music, it’s pretty terrific.
Then again, others may disagree.

 

**Finally today, this is a clip sent to me this weekend by my father that made me go slack-jawed a few times; it’s from an “Ellen” episode earlier this year and stars Simon Pierro, who’s billed as the world’s best iPad Magician.

I have no idea how he does any of this, the thing with the straw at 1:50 just blew me away (and was a little creepy.)

But I enjoyed seeing this, no matter how the hell Pierro did it. My iPad just crashes on Chrome all the time, it doesn’t do any of this stuff.

Seriously wondering what it would take for Trump poll numbers to drop. The Jets are officially pathetic, while the Pack is back. And saluting Djokovic on an incredible year

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I can’t even get outraged anymore at the things Donald Trump says.

I mean, what’s the point? This lunatic is so far off the reservation, I don’t think any GPS ever created could find him.

So I just laugh, and shake my head, and keep telling myself that this disgusting, racist, elitist pig of a human being will soon be off the presidential candidate radar, in a few short months; kicked to the curb by voters who will finally, inevitably, wise up.

Then I stop laughing and get scared. Because it seems every time Trump gets further and further off the ledge, and says even more offensive shit like his cracks on Friday that there should be a database of all Muslims in the U.S., and they should have to carry ID cards (hey Donald, isn’t that what they did to Jews in 1930s Germany? Just asking), his poll numbers stay strong.

Then Sunday he claimed he saw thousands of Muslims from New Jersey cheering on 9/11 as the Twin Towers fell, a statement that is 100 percent bullshit. And no one cares.

So I thought to myself Sunday night: What would it take for Trump’s numbers to actually fall? Is there anything he could say or do to lose this unfathomable popularity?

So I came up with this list of stuff that might, might make him lose voters:

  • Have a picture surface of him hugging Hillary Clinton
  • Stand up in the middle of Charlotte, N.C. and declare NASCAR is stupid and not a sport.
  • State that “The Dukes of Hazzard” is an overrated TV show and Daisy wasn’t even that pretty.
  • Admit his home state of New York is the greatest state on Earth, and the rest of you people live in “loser” states.
  • Declare a book other than The Bible as the greatest tome ever written.
  • Announce plans to nominate a Muslim as his vice-presidential pick.
  • Say that he’s in favor of gun control

OK, maybe that last one would do it. All the rest? Who knows. Truly, the man is a political miracle.

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**Pathetic. Embarrassing. And, yeah, typical of the New York Jets.
Sunday continued the freefall of a once-promising season, as the awful, horrific Jets were beaten by the legendary T.J. Yates (T.J. Yates, for god’s sakes!) and the Houston Texans.
This was bad, man. The Jets were outclassed, outcoached, and even the great Darrelle Revis was torched time and time again.
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick threw two late INT’s, looks like the Jets drafted yet another second-round wide receiver bust in Devin Smith, who dropped a sure TD pass, and the running game was non-existent.
Hard to believe this team almost beat the Pats a few weeks ago. Disgraceful effort Sunday.
More quick-hit NFL thoughts…

— After three weeks of awful football, the Green Bay Packers sure looked like themselves. Beatdown of Minnesota, 30-13. The Pack is back.

— The Tampa Bay Bucs as a playoff contender? Yep. The NFL’s favorite alleged rapist, Jameis Winston, is having a hell of a rookie year, and his Bucs are 5-5 now after thrashing the Eagles. Pretty stunning. (FYI, saw a few minutes of “The Hunting Ground,” Sunday night on CNN, a powerful documentary about the Winston-FSU rape case and other sexual assaults on campus, and it looked great.)

— The Arizona Cardinals are pretty freaking good. And fun to watch. I want them in the Super Bowl.

— At some point, Greg Hardy is going to punch out the entire Cowboys coaching staff and Jerry Jones is still going to defend him, right?

**Finally today, I hardly ever write about tennis here once the U.S. Open is completed in September, because I and many other diehards usually pay little attention to October/November results, since the tournaments don’t matter as much and many top players tend to “mail it in” after a long and grueling year.

But I must take a minute today to acknowledge the incredible, historic year that Novak Djokovic completed Sunday, as he turned back Roger Federer at the prestigious season-ending ATP World Tour Finals in London, 6-3, 6-4.

Djokovic won three major titles in 2015, and lost in the finals of the fourth, the French Open. With all the talk about Serena Williams’ near Grand Slam, it turns out the Serb technically got closer, as Serena lost in the U.S. Open semis.

Djokovic went 82-6 this season (82-6!), captured 11 tournament titles, and lost only three times to players other than Federer, the world No.2

Djokovic has never gotten the love and adulation of Federer or Rafa Nadal, and if he were American the U.S. media and corporate world would have made him a much bigger household name.

But what he accomplished this year is phenomenal. And historic. His 2015 was for the ages, and I can’t wait to see what he does as an encore.

I’ve said this for 10 years now, but we truly are in the Golden Age of tennis.

A fantastic piece on domestic violence and the NFL’s cowardice. The Jets and Giants both win ugly. And black athletes at Missouri make a brave stand against racial intolerance

GregHardy.photos

Three stories to share with you this Monday autumn day that all, technically, involve football, but don’t go away if you hate the sport, because really, two of them have very little to do with America’s fall sports obsession.

Stick with me, you’ll see what I mean.

First up, you may be familiar with the despicable human being called Greg Hardy of the Dallas Cowboys, who despite being convicted on domestic violence charges last year, has returned from suspension, showed absolutely zero remorse toward his victim, and is being celebrated by Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and many others for his skill at sacking the quarterback.

Friday the website Deadspin.com published exclusive photos of the violence inflicted upon Hardy’s ex-girlfriend Nicole Holder (one of the pics is above), and suddenly there was outrage on the Internet. Because, you know, what, before this people had no idea what domestic violence looked like?

Anyway, blowhard Jones rejected calls from media and fans that Hardy be cut or suspended, spewing some bullshit spiel about “second chances.”

Jennifer Floyd Engel, writing for The Sporting News, wrote a column on Hardy that is the most powerful, and maybe best thing I’ve ever read about the NFL and domestic violence. Engel argues that Hardy should be forced to remain a Cowboy, and not be suspended, so everyone can see what the NFL is willing to tolerate.

An excerpt:

They signed Hardy, let him play again, giggled at the tone-deaf and sexist idiocy he delivered at his first opportunity to address the domestic violence charges he bought his way out of, defended him after he physically went after a coach, called him a real leader and talked of re-signing him.

They did this because he is a defensive beast and because they did not care and because no pictures had surfaced to give them 457 public relations reasons to pretend to care.

No, the NFL should be forced to wear Hardy like Holder did her bruises and scars.

Until they fade but the memory remains.

The whole column is outstanding, please take a few minutes and read it (the ending just hit me like a punch in the face). Chilling, dead-on accurate, and forcefully told.

The NFL ought to be embarrassed a schmuck like Hardy is celebrated and embraced. As should we be as fans of this product.

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**Next up, a potentially huge development in college sports, racial tolerance on college campus, and the NCAA having to deal with a large athletic labor force unwilling to just go along and get along occurred Saturday night.

After months of racial incidents and protests that have roiled the University of Missouri campus, the football team took an extraordinary step Saturday night: The African-Americans (2/3 of the team, as usual in college football) on the squad released a statement saying they will no longer take part in any football activities until school president Tim Wolfe resigns.

No games, no practices, nothing. They did this with the full support of their coaches. If they stay firm on this, this decision by the Tigers team will cost the school millions and millions in lost revenue.

Now, there is A LOT of backstory to this at Mizzou, and if you’re interested, I recommend reading this great timeline of events from Mizzou’s school newspaper, the Maneater,  or this recap as well from the Columbia Missourian newspaper.

This goes well beyond football. At nearly every Division I school, football coaches and players have the most leverage and power. By choosing to use it this way to stand up to intolerance, the Missouri team may be setting a fantastic new precedent. This will be fascinating to watch; stay tuned.

The always-perceptive Dave Zirin has a terrific column on what this all means.

Monday afternoon UPDATE: Well, that was fast. President Tim Wolfe announced his resignation Monday morning, effective immediately. Anyone out there doubt football is king?

 

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**And finally, to the action on the field I watched on Sunday. Ugly wins for my Jets and that “other” New York team, the Giants. My green and white men tried really hard to lose to lowly Jacksonville, but Ryan Fitzpatrick made enough plays, and the Jaguars committed enough turnovers, and somehow the Jets escaped with a win.

Next up? Old friend Rex Ryan and Buffalo come to town Thursday night, if the Jets have enough healthy bodies to play. Bears repeating, though I’ve said it before: It is beyond ridiculous that the NFL makes these players play Thursday night games, four days after playing another game. It is laughable that the NFL says it cares about player safety, yet makes these players smash into each other again 96 hours after a game, all in pursuit of more TV money.

— The hell happened to the Atlanta Falcons? Three weeks ago they were 6-0 and rolling. Now they just lost to the horrible 49ers and backup QB Blaine Gabbert.

— Watched some of that Raiders-Steelers classic Sunday; man, that was great back and forth action, like a matchup from those two teams when they were great in the ’70s.

— Finally, I threw this out on Twitter: Whatever happened to barefoot kickers? Used to be half the league had them, now I barely see any. Rich Karlis (above), I miss you so.

Another glorious NYC Marathon Sunday, viewed up close. The Jets are nosediving, and a 52-49 NFL game? Sure. And all hail the Kansas City Royals, world champs.

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Lots of wonderful things I’ve discovered about living in NYC for the past four years.

One of my top three favorites, though, is the first Sunday in November. As I’ve written about here the past three years, Marathon Sunday is the best. Fifty thousand runners, of all shapes, stripes, creed, color and age, pushing their bodies 26.2 miles through all five boroughs.

In 2013 we moved to an apartment right under the 59th Street bridge, along 1st Avenue, which is a perfect spot to get up close and watch the runners fly by. With the weather perfect and my excitement heightened by showing this fabulous spectacle to my little boy for the first time (he was momentarily excited and wide-eyed, but after 10 minutes he got a little cranky), I happily stood along the barricades at 61st and 1st for a few hours.

Some thoughts from a wonderful day of watching athletic accomplishment:

— One thing that always surprises me about this throng of runners all barreling down the street: You never see a collision, or any bumping at all. I think in 2.5 hours of watching Sunday I maybe saw one time where a runner almost ran into another one.

— Highlight for me Sunday was seeing my awesome friend Christine, running her first marathon, spot me before I spotted her. I had my wife and all the strangers around me looking out for her (she had told me what she’d be wearing, I told her where we’d be, and I was tracking her race on the fabulous NYC Marathon app), and then all of a sudden she started streaming toward me. We hugged, I told her how great she was doing, she screamed “This is so hard!” and then kept running.

It was great.

— Love the high-fiving of strangers. Love screaming out the name of people with their name on their shirt, then them looking around like “who knows me here?”

— The costumes were, as usual, stellar. I saw quite a few Batmans, several Wonder Womans, lots of people wearing their country’s flags, and even a guy dressed in full FDNY firefighter gear, carrying a fire extinguisher to boot. That dude had to be committed to that costume to wear it for 26 miles.
My favorite, though, had to be the dude wearing an Eiffel Tower replica, with two people trailing him, one who was barefoot. I was speechless at that one.

— Always great signs from fans along the course. Two favorites from Sunday: 1., attached to a picture of a male underwear model, the words “Hey girl, I’m waiting for you at the finish line,” and “If Britney Spears could survive 2007, you can survive 26.2 miles.”

— Finally, every year I say the same thing, after watching the joy and agony of the runners: I’m gonna do this one day. I haven’t run so much since the little guy was born, but before his arrival I did a 10k and could run 6 miles at a time. I’ll get there one day.
But watching is almost as much fun.

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**Next up, never a good sign as a Jets fan when Geno Smith comes into the game in the first quarter. What a miserable performance by my team, really getting blown out from the start by the suddenly decent Oakland Raiders. Looks like Ryan Fitzpatrick may be out awhile, which means we get more of Geno, which means the Jets’ once-promising season may get real shitty, real fast.

— The Giants scored 49 points Sunday. Eli Manning threw SIX touchdown passes. And they lost.
That was one of the most bizarre NFL games I’ve seen. Literally neither defense could make a stop, until the Giants got a defensive touchdown to go up 49-42.
What a pathetic display of defense. How do you feel good if you’re the Saints after that?

— Are the Vikings the best team no one is talking about? They’re 5-2, they’ve got a terrific young quarterback, and a good defense. And yet nobody’s considering them as a contender.

— This is not NFL-related, but again college football had me screaming at the referees Saturday night. Check out this nutso game-winning touchdown by Miami over Duke, using eight laterals, that absolutely should not have counted. Clear runner down at :26, and brutal block in the back at :39. Yes I’m a biased Duke fan, but this thing went to instant replay and they still got it all wrong! So, so awful.

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**Finally, this World Series, man … it’s been fabulous.  Sunday night, Matt Harvey pitches the game of his life, just a few months after Mets fans were questioning his heart and desire. Guy throws eight shutout innings in a game his team must have, and still can’t get the win.
The Royals’ aggressive baserunning, a bad throw by Lucas Duda, and extra innings again. What an incredible, battle-back, scrappy team Kansas City is. I mean, they are never, ever, ever, out of a game. Such great defense, such smart baseball they play.

They are worthy World Series champs. Once the game got tied Sunday, I had no doubt K.C. would win. What an amazing turnaround story that franchise is.

As for the Mets, they had a hell of a season. Much better than anyone expected. You hope they’ll be back.

Terrific series. The best team won. (And poor Daniel Murphy can now go find a hole and hide for a few months).

A movie I’ve seen WAY too many times: Brady slays my Jets. How many tragedies can Oklahoma St. endure? And a beautiful profile of master NPR interviewer Terry Gross

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There are some movies I love to watch over and over again.

I can’t view “The Princess Bride,” or “Coming to America” enough, and if “The Shawshank Redemption” or “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” are on, I’m stopping to watch for at least 10 minutes.

And then there’s the movie I can’t stop watching, even though I really want to. It’s a movie I’ve seen so many damn times before, and it stars a pretty-boy quarterback who wears No. 12 for the New England Patriots football team, and in this movie that runs on a loop twice a year in the fall, the quarterback slices and dices the defense of my beloved New York Jets.

Oh, sometimes the script changes a little bit, sometimes the green and white get closer to beating the Pats; sometimes it hurts more than it does others.

But the ending Does. Not. Change.

I watched it again Sunday, and once again I got suckered in, thinking maybe this was a director’s cut or some new spliced footage coming in. My boys played a strong first three quarters: Ryan Fitzpatrick looked real good at QB, the defense bent but didn’t break, and even without the customary strong running game, the Jets were in every position to win.

The Pats were dropping passes, settling for field goals, and as soon as the Jets’ Brandon Marshall hauls in that pass to put the Jets up 24-16… only he drops it. And of course the Jets kick only a field goal, and of course Brady marches New England down the field for the go-ahead touchdown, and you know the rest.

Every damn year. So frustrating, because this Jets team is good enough to beat the Pats. But it never changes. The movie reel never runs out before the bad guys win.

Dammit, dammit, dammit. Forty years old and I’m still yelling at my TV over a stupid football game.

One day Brady will retire, and the movie might change. Maybe.

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**Usually, interviewers dream about, or are desperate to interview one or two famous people they’ve never gotten to talk to.

In the case of NPR’s queen of awesome, Terry Gross, it’s celebrities who fantasize about being interviewed by her on her iconic NPR afternoon radio show, “Fresh Air.”

Seriously, listen to some of these quotes from this fantastic profile of her in Sunday’s New York Times Magazine…

‘My No. 1 fantasy of all time is to be interviewed by Terry Gross.’’

‘‘I have gone so far as to rehearse answers to specific questions. … ’’

‘‘Every single time I hear a Terry Gross interview, I wonder what it would be like for her to do some research on me and do an interview.’’

Terry Gross has hosted “Fresh Air” for my entire lifetime (since 1975) and she’s quite simply the best interviewer on the radio, TV or anywhere else. This profile by Susan Burton really goes into who Gross is, how she gets inside her subject’s heads so, and what makes her tick. When I listen to her, I often find myself saying “that’s a great question, I wonder if I would’ve thought to ask that.”

She’s a maestro, and this profile is well worth your time today.

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**And finally today, you may have heard about the awful tragedy that happened Saturday afternoon in Stillwater, Okla. when a car driven by a drunk driver plowed into a parade celebrating Homecoming at Oklahoma State University, killing four people and causing dozens of ther injuries.

It immediately made me think: Is this poor school cursed? This is the third major tragedy the school has suffered in the past 14 years, all tied to the athletic program.

In 2001, a plane crash carrying men’s basketball team personnel and broadcasters crashed in a snowstorm, killing 10 people.
Ten years later, in Nov. 2011, women’s basketball coach Kurt Budke and assistant Miranda Serna were among four killed in a plane crash in Perry County, Ark., while they were on a recruiting trip.

And now this. It’s unfathomable, and awful, and no school deserves to continually go through this. It’s amazing that three tragedies like this have happened to the same place; I can’t imagine one small community having to go through all this.

Spare a thought for the people in Stillwater today, as old wounds just get dredged up again.