Monday, October 29, 2007

On the couch, week eight

My thoughts on the Viking game (and even on military displays at sporting events) are below at "Coming off the ledge: Eagles 23, Vikings 16." "On the couch" is a chance to talk about other goings on in the NFL this week in a fairly orderless, unorganized fashion.

Week Eight Scores at

Hype for New England-Indianapolis
Last week I already heard people complaining about the hype that was being given to the upcoming Patriots-Colts game. I don't complain about the hype for a very simple reason: if I don't like it, I can ignore it. Nobody is forcing hype for this game upon me. If I want to read about the game, I can. If I don't want to, I don't have to.

Not that there aren't valid complaints about hype that is forced upon you. PFT noted that during the Colts-Jaguars Monday night game, ESPN was spending a lot of time talking about the Patriots. This is hype that you can't avoid if you simply want to watch the Jaguars play the Colts.

And, if you think that you simply need to watch ESPN a lot during the week, then you'll probably feel it forced upon you. If you feel the need to listen to a lot of talk radio, you might feel like it's forced upon you. But if you get sports coverage through newspapers and the internet, you can choose what to read and what not to read. If you don't like the hype, for the most part, it's your own fault: you can avoid it.

Each team continues to impress. The Patriots won 52-7 and the Colts won 31-7 this week. And next week when these two undefeated teams play, I'll miss the first half because I'll be driving home from the Viking-Charger game (and now the Chargers are good, moving to 4-3 with a 35-10 win. Glad the Vikings get to play them while their hot--but more on that game later in the week. While I'm in the parentheses, we can also note that the Steelers moved to 5-2, and the Steelers and Chargers are each capable of knocking off the Colts in the playoffs. I'm not sure they can play with the Pats, though. I hope so).

The Cosmos
I just need to process this: in this decade, the Red Sox have won two World Series and the Patriots have won three Super Bowls (and are currently dominating the NFL to an unprecedented level). Meanwhile, in Minnesota, we haven't seen a pro team reach the championship round since 1991.

Of course we all recognize that life is not fair, that the universe isn't striving for equality, that any God in the cosmos isn't interceding into the outcomes of sporting events to try spread joy around (if He is while ignoring everything else, we're really screwed, which we probably are anyway). But this is where I recognize again that the Cosmos has placed me on the side of the losers. Oh, I'm not going to complain about my life, which is pretty good (and I'm very aware of the very real suffering that is occurring all over the world, making this whining about sports always feel irrelevant and stupid). It is just that it is not in my lot to be on the side of the winners, and this extends into my political, social, and moral views. I'm always picking losing sides and fighting unwinnable causes. Is sports reflecting life, or is life reflecting sports?

Let's look at the NFL's statistical leaders at ESPN for fun things. Adrian Peterson still leads the league in rushing--and still has an incredible 5.8 yards per attempt. Trent Cole leads the league with 9 sacks, and from my seat at the back of the Metrodome, it sure felt like he dominated the Vikings (or that Bryant McKinnie is an awful pass blocker). Tom Brady now has 30 TDs and 2 INTs, which really is a Tecmo stat (I don't think you could even pull this off in Madden, as defenders would get some tips or jumps on the ball and pick off more than two passes). Note that Derek Anderson is #2 in the league in TD passes, one of those things nobody has any chance of predicting before the season. I would have predicted that the Browns would throw fewer than 17 TD passes all season and that Anderson would have none of them. And Anderson is having a positive impact on Braylon Edwards, who is involved in a spectacular (and relatively unexpected) fantasy season. It looks like he's everything he was made out to be when he was drafted #3. And let me just point out as a fantasy footballer that Reggie Wayne has been everything I hoped he would be and more.

Three teams are completely doubling up their opponents' points: New England (331-127), Indianapolis (224-102), and Pittsburgh (184-91, and that despite two losses). If this is parity I don't want to know what a league of juggernauts would look like.

Another good Monday night matchup, featuring Green Bay at Denver. It could be the Viking fan in my, but I'm predicting a Denver win (call me Metrodamus). Denver has the defensive backs to make things difficult on Favre. Perhaps I see only what I want to believe.


  1. Anonymous5:24 PM

    Today I explained to my students that the world hates them and in particular Minnesota sports fans hate them and they said 'Well it's not our fault we're better than everybody else.' I said some stuff about Patriots running up the score etc and we moved on.


  2. Anonymous6:32 PM

    "any God in the cosmos isn't interceding into the outcomes of sporting events to try spread joy around."

    But you'd think a God would step in to put a stop to New England sports' fans excessive amounts of hubris. I'm pretty sure there's a "No hubris" rule in one of those testaments.

    Bill Simmons should watch for oncoming trucks especially.

    This Bears' season reminds me of all the ones that I watched as a kid except for the last two and 1994.