Monday, September 11, 2006

Week One Nuggets of Wonderment

Each Monday, I will give you my brief thoughts from Sunday's action. This week I watched the Rams beat the Broncos, the Bears beat the Packers, and the Colts beat the Giants.

Does anybody else suffer from Sunday Night Insomnia?

The combination of the physical (a day's immobility and caffeine consumption) and the mental (statistics and images of plays dancing through my head) leave me lying awake for hours. Perhaps last night was particularly bad since I'm racked with anxiety over the Viking game tonight. Suddenly I started picturing Randle-El running back punt returns and wondering how many sacks and turnovers the Vikes can force out of Brunell.

Football language can be very homoerotic.
This is a sport where common words to precede "up the middle" include "penetrate," "pound it," and "hammer away." That said, am I being overly purile about these two exchanges?

John: "He's thinking, 'How am I going to get my mouth around that?'"
Al: "We can help."

John: "Tiki Barber has a lot more thunder than you'd think."

"The Shadow of Their Own End Zone"
On Dan Patrick's radio show Friday, Kordell Stewart called the Steelers winning a championship a "blessing in disguise" for Steeler fans. Hell of a disguise.

The Favre Tally
Favre remains 24 TDs away from Marino's cherished TD record, and has narrowed the margin to Blanda's interception record to 20. One of Favre's picks was to Nemesis himself.

I also have an Interception Theory. "For every one interception a quarterback throws, at least one pass will bounce off a defender's hands." Culpepper had 2 interceptions and 2 passes hit defenders' hands. Favre had 2 interceptions and 3 bounce off defender's hands. Peyton Manning had 1 interception and 3 bounce off defenders' hands.

They are football players, after all.
I like to watch for a cornerback's tackling ability. Tackling is why I think that while Deion Sanders is the greatest cover corner I've ever seen, Rod Woodson is a better football player. Tackling is why Antoine Winfield is my favorite Viking (he gives up passes, but he usually stops the WR cold right where he catches it).

Champ Bailey sticks out to me as a very good tackler.

Better special effects than The Matrix.

When I see that robot jumping around on the side of the screen during FOX broadcasts, I think, "So they paid money to have that thing done. Will that increase a single rating point? Will it increase a single person's enjoyment of the broadcast? Will it bring back a single viewer for the next week, just because of that?"

The only thing it could possibly do is entertain bored toddlers who are stuck watching football with their mothers and fathers.

Quality work
I thought that NBC's "Football Night in America" was a superb show. Good features, good coverage of highlights, good commentary. They could use a few more stats, but overall I'm very pleased with the coverage. Considering I don't get ESPN for financial reasons (as has been almost as well documented at this blog as the fact that I teach a class Monday night and will miss the beginning of the Viking game and am totally aware that I refuse to stop whining about it), I'm glad to get a good highlight show on a broadcast network.

The Black and Blue Division is Back.
Three NFC North teams played yesterday. They combined for 1 offensive touchdown. I really hope the Vikes can double that tonight.

Why am I not hyperventilating?
Sunday afternoons are a special experience when your favorite team doesn't play. During a Viking game I usually use up so much emotional energy before, during, and after the game, that sometimes I can't watch another game afterward. I'll go for a walk to try calm myself. So when the Vikings don't play and I get to watch three straight games, it's a surprisingly relaxing day. But I'd still rather be watching the Vikes.

Play(s) of the Day
Plaxico Burress's catches. Years of cheering for Randy Moss and Cris Carter have turned me into an aficionado for big athletic receivers who make crazy catches with spectacular use of hands.

Most Important Game of the Day
Falcons defeating Panthers. That game tells us a lot about both teams.

Minnesota at Washington
I don't think either team will be able to run the ball effectively tonight. The Vikings should be able to pressure Brunell into mistakes (I'm dreaming of 4 sacks and 3 interceptions), but I don't think Brad Johnson will be as easy to rattle. I'm suddenly concerned about special teams--I don't think the Vikes have a great return game, and I don't know how they'll do covering returns, either. But without Clinton Portis, Washington's offense is below average. Though I don't think the Vikings will succeed throwing the ball downfield, Brad Johnson's short passes should pick up first downs. Vikings win, 20-10.

But keep in mind, when it comes to the Vikings, I'm like Fox Mulder: I want to believe.


  1. good call on the robot. Micah loved it.

  2. Good luck with your Vikes tonight.