Patriots, Giants Set for Super Bowl Rematch and I’m Already Sick of David Tyree

Patriots 23 Ravens 20 – New England dodged a bullet, maybe two, on route to Indianapolis. First Lee Evans fails to secure what would have been the game winning touchdown and then Baltimore kicker Billy Cundiff misses the tying field goal, making us all instantly forget about Scott Norwood. Joe Flacco proved to be much more capable than Ed Reed expected while Tom Brady kind of played like a guy worried about how he was going to regulate the temperature in his new 22,000 square feet mansion. Although, it’s tough to give the Ravens QB too much credit when most smartphones continue to autocorrect his last name to “Flaccid”.

And as a Patriots fan I’ll be happy to never see Bernard Pollard again. First Brady. Then Welker. And now today Gronkowski. That man must have a personal vendetta against the entire Kraft family. Either that or he collects ACL’s like Lt. Aldo Raine collects scalps. If I’m Bill Belichick I assign a member of my coaching staff to scout out the Lucas Oil Stadium parking lot just in case Pollard is hiding behind Peyton Manning’s burnt orange Ford F-150 waiting to lunge at Aaron Hernandez with a tire iron.

Speaking of Indianapolis, it would have been a nice story if the Baltimore Football Team of Today would have had a chance to play for a Super Bowl Championship in the city that stole the Baltimore Football Team of Yesteryear. How many shots of the Mayflower trucks pulling out of Colts headquarters would we have had to endure? Alas, as @sethmeyers21 points out, probably an unhealthy number of National Bohemian’s being consumed tonight down by the docks in Baltimore harbor.

Giants 20 49ers 17 – Somebody needs to explain why it looked so dark on the Candlestick Park field. Did they borrow a set of portable lights from a local high school? Did Jed York forget to pay his electrical bill? Forgot about the wet weather, as a receiver it must be next to impossible to catch a ball when it’s being thrown down a dimly lit alley. Maybe that’s why the game was decided on special teams.

My favorite part of the game came during the first half when Eli Manning was caught off guard then broke into an Irish jig. Those dance moves will come in handy when older brother Peyton shows him around the best juke joints central Indiana has to offer. I bet you Cooper Manning knows how to twirl a glow stick.

 

 

 

 

How the Tuck Rule Game Changed My Life Forever (or at least the last decade)

My good buddy Lucas reminded me that yesterday was the 10 year anniversary of the “Tuck Rule Game” otherwise known as “the day when I officially became a New England Patriots fan”. You see, I was an NFL orphan, having been abandoned by Dan Marino and the Miami Dolphins at the end of the 1999 season. A decade ago, as an impressionable college senior in the middle of nowhere Maine, I was surrounded by a bunch of Patriot lifers who graciously accepted my into their then modest fraternity as one of their own.

Now just to be clear, I am willing to compromise my already tenuous hold on the Patriot Way by telling you that if it weren’t for the 3 Super Bowls and Tom Brady I probably would have already moved on to another team like, gulp, maybe even the Baltimore Ravens. But on this, the 3,651 day since Charles Woodson DID NOT cause a Tom Brady fumble, I’m proud to say that I continue to support Pat the Patriot. That is until the Miami Dolphins trade up to draft RGIII and I bound up the attic staircase to dust off the old teal and white #13 jersey.

NEW ENGLAND (-6) over Baltimore – As a Pats fan, this is going to sound crazy but I kinda hope Joe Flacco plays well on Sunday, even if it means the game is going to be much closer than it would have been otherwise. I just can’t stand to hear anymore criticism, either from the media or his teammates, especially when he has led his team to the playoffs each of his first 4 years in the league. The Baltimore media is so Ravens crazy right now that they have started to pursue a story regarding Flacco skateboarding in his driveway over the bye week like it was some sort of egregious breach of contract. The Sun and WBAL should be directing more of their venom towards the Orioles and the problems they’re having bringing star players back for the team’s FanFest this weekend. Oh that’s right, I forgot the Birds are all but dead to the Charm City this, or any, time of the year anyway. Sigh

San Francisco (-2.5) over NY GIANTS –  As Mike Francesa says, it’s been “monsooning” all week long in the Bay Area. Which team benefits from the sloppy conditions, depends on who you ask. I say it’s a complete wash and this game goes down to the final possession. The reason I’m picking the Niners is because otherwise I’ll have “Occupy Tyree” and prevent the former Giants WR from giving any interviews over the two weeks leading up to the Super Bowl in Indianapolis. Some pain is just impossible to overcome.

view from The Razor courtesy of @MikeReiss 

Punching Tickets to Championship Weekend

Layering was the key to surviving sub zero temps Saturday night in the Razor. That and a few well placed hand warmers did more than the trick as we braved the upper deck maelstrom to watch the Patriots advance past Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos on their way to the AFC Championship next Sunday.

Highlights of our excursion to Foxboro included: parking at a Papa Gino’s, frozen Magic Hat Howl, and running into Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown. Which reminds me, when a politician goes in for the hand shake and you’re already holding two beers it’s best to counter with a polite elbow.

Saturday

49ers 36 Saints 32 – Not gonna lie, missed this one completely. Well that’s not entirely true as I did manage to catch a few fleeting glimpses while I walked past various makeshift Direct TV setups en route to my designated tailgate in the Enterprise rent-a-car overflow parking lot. By the way, it’s a little known fact that the quality of a football tailgate is inversely proportional to the location/business where it is being held. A Chubby Chet’s Tire Warehouse is sure to bring about the finest fish chowder in all of New England while officially sanctioned affairs at Patriot’s Place will leave you sitting in a snow bank by halftime.

Patriots 45 Broncos 10 – And it wasn’t even really that close. The only time I found myself holding my breath in nervous anticipation was when waiting in line for a good solid 15 minutes before using the bathroom. If things went on any longer I was going to have to call an audible and scurry off to “tebow” in one of the poorly lit corners of Gillette Stadium.

Sunday

Ravens 20 Texans 13 – Baltimore had several chances to put this one away early but credit the Houston defense for keeping it close until the bitter end. Also the Ravens crowd continues to impress as one of the most influential “12th men” in the game. Now if only Baltimore would show up for the Orioles.

Giants 37 Packers 20 – More than anything, I’m just sorry we won’t be able to see any more of those State Farm Insurance “Discount Double Take” commercials. They’ve been a staple in our lives for the past 4 months and I for one don’t know if I’m ready to live without them. On a lighter note, Giants/49ers in the NFC Championship Game brings back such fond memories of 1990 when I convinced my parents to let me stay up just long enough to listen to Whitney Houston lip syncing the National Anthem.

The Long New England Winter Just Got a Little Longer

With the loss by my New England Patriots, this playoff recap was about as tough to write as any previous post. Alas, I’m a professional and I know most of you kind souls out there don’t care for a single second that Mark Sanchez will be taking his A Night At The Roxbury routine to Pittsburgh next weekend.

Pittsburgh Steelers 31 Baltimore Ravens 24: Catch the ball Housh!!!! Catch the ball Anquan!!! Help your young quarterback out. Granted Joe Flacco wasn’t playing all that well either but those drops by his two best receivers went a long way towards determining the final outcome of the game.  Give credit to Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers who just continue to find ways to win playoff games. Are you aware that Roethlisberger is two wins a way from his 3rd Super Bowl victory?  Personal life aside, guy is a beast of a QB who usually comes through in the clutch. (View of Heinz Field courtesy of @trixietraci)

Green Bay Packers 48 Atlanta Falcons 21: I think it’s safe to say that Aaron Rodgers is playing himself on to a Wheaties box. That was until the folks over at ProFootballTalk mentioned some pretty damning video regarding Rodgers snubbing a cancer patient looking for an autograph.  Not the most inspiring footage.  Luckily, Clay Matthews was there to save the the day for the Packers, but for Rodgers, the damage may already be done.  As a professional athlete, airports must be a claustrophobic nightmare with pimple faced face fans climbing the walls just to catch a glimpse of their gridiron heroes.  But, as PFT points out, this was not your typical fan and Aaron Rodgers should have had the decency to take a quick moment to sign an autograph for a person who was clearly battling something much more devastating than a Cover 2 defense. (View of Georgia Dome courtesy of @Brian_Chrispigna)

Chicago Bears 35 Seattle Seahawks 24: So much for the momentum. In the immortal words of Denny Green, the Seahawks “are who we thought they were”. Not much suspense in this one, except for those gamblers who took Seattle at +10 and were hoping Pete Carroll went for the 2 point conversion on that last TD. The future isn’t all that promising for the Hawks fans who are probably hoping for a disastrous 2011 campaign if only to have a chance at drafting Andrew Luck. The Bears, and their fans, have got to relish being 3 point underdogs at home against the Packers in the NFC Championship game.

New York Jets 28 New England Patriots 21: And it wasn’t even that close.  As a Patriot fan, what can I say?  Rex Ryan outcoached Bill Belichick.  Mark Sanchez outplayed Tom Brady. Done and done. The team of destiny rolls on to the AFC Championship Game. I do wonder what sort of sophomoric barb the Jets will use to get under the skin of their opponent this week. Will they emasculate Troy Polamalu for having long hair? Do they say something derogatory about all the middle class iron workers who populate the Heinz Field stands? Or dare they go as far as to challenge the authority of Pittsburgh head coach Darnell Jefferson? One thing’s for certain, the New York media market is going to be alive with energy this week and I am going to do my best to maintain complete radio silence. (View of Gillette Stadium courtesy of @RyanFox25Sports)

The “It’s Good to be the King” Week 14 Power Poll

About a half hour before kickoff last night, VMS contributor and lifelong Jets fan Dave asked if we could record and later post our in game commentary. In the spirit of our friendship, and for the sake of time, I have decided not to share the details of our conversation.  Needless to say, Dave went to sleep a very, very disappointed young man. It’s true pal, the final score was really 45-3.

1. New England Patriots (10-2): Pats are now undefeated, 1-0, when honoring Tedy Bruschi at halftime. Please keep this in mind Mr. Kraft.

2. Atlanta Falcons (10-2): Am I alone in thinking that Chris Berman sounds soooooo 2008 when he refers to Matt Ryan as “Matty Ice”?

3. Pittsburgh Steelers (9-3): I wonder if Al Michaels has accepted the news that Ben Roethlisberger’s nose was in fact severely disfigured.

4. New Orleans Saints (9-3): When do the Saints and Falcons play each other again?

5. Chicago Bears (9-3): Is there a better home field advantage come mid/late December than Soldier Field when the Bears are winning?

6. Green Bay Packers (8-4): Anyone giving away tickets to Pack @ Gillette Stadium on 12/19?

7. Baltimore Ravens (8-4): Joe Flacco may in fact be their weak link.

8. Philadelphia Eagles (8-4): Michael Vick, most dangerous QB in the 2010 playoffs?

9. New York Jets (9-3): I’m brimming with anticipation for Mike Francesa’s excoriation of Rex Ryan for his decision to challenge the spot on a 4th and 1 on the 45 yard line in the first quarter when he would eventually decide to go for it anyway.  Please don’t let me down Mike!

10. Kansas City Chiefs (8-4): May as well be the Giants or Jaguars.

As always, please feel free to share your views.