Holiday Trash Talk: Football, Fun and Frivolity

Ah, here comes the holiday weekend. With Monday being Christmas Eve, many of us are already on a giant holiday roll. Whether you are or not, it is time to engage in some holiday trashing.

Last night was some gawdawfully named thing called the “Beef O’Brady’s Bowl”. Seriously, what the hell is a Beef O’Brady’s? Well, no matter, fun is coming today in the form of the Boise State Broncos, who will be taking on Washington in the Las Vegas Bowl at 3:30 pm EST.Boise is always fun and well coached by Chris Peterson, and Washington Huskies should make for a good game. Christmas Eve night brings another smaller bowl, but a potentially interesting matchup between SMU and Fresno State in the Hawaii Bowl. All on ESPN.

In hockey news……No news is hockey news. Just foolin.

Okay, on to the NFL, where the meat on the plate is these days. First up is a rare Saturday night version of MNF on ESPN (8:30 pm EST). The matchup is Atlanta at Detroit. At the start of the year, you would have thought this game was a no brainer for critical playoff positioning. Not so thanks to the disappointing Criminal docket Kitties. The Lions are toast, seem to have lost heart and really need a coaching change. Hot ‘Lanta rolls on.

But the one must see game of the bunch is Niners at Squawks. San Francisco is playing for the NFC west title and to maintain its slim half game lead on the Packers for the second seed and first round bye. Seattle, on the other hand, is on a roll having won five of their last six outings and getting explosive offense from Russell Wilson, Marshawn Lynch and some quietly talented receivers. The game is in the notoriously loud and difficult Seattle bird’s nest. Should be cold and awesome. Head says Niners are too good; heart says lookout for the Squawks.

The other must see head to head division grudge match is Bengals at Stillers. Cinci comes in at 8-6 and Pittsburgh at 7-7. The way the Ravens have been going down the tubes, this game may well decide the AFC North and has so many playoff entry and seeding implications they are too many to go through. The Steelers have to win out against the Bengals and the Browns next week to get in. Bengals, who play the Ravens next week are in better position. The Ravens, meanwhile, play the also reeling Giants Sunday. Huge game; both the G-Men and Ravens are desperate to end their skids. Something will have to give. I think the Steelers pull out the win at home over the Bengals, and Giants pull together enough to pin another loss on Baltimore. Setting up a wild last week for all of them.

That leaves the Cowboys. They host the fork in em Saints. Never count out New Orleans and Drew Brees, but Dallas seems to have curiously jelled in the last 2-3 weeks. And the game is in Big D at Jerry world. A little queasy about it, but I take the ‘Boys. The Skins should get past the crumbling Eagles. Assuming the Giants do indeed get past the Ravens, that will leave Washington, Dallas and the Giants all tied at 9-6 heading into the last week. Right now, the Skins have the tiebreaker among the three, but Dallas and Washington play each other next week. Good stuff.

That leaves one last game of interest: Vikings at Houston. Texans have to be favored at home, they are just a better team and actually have a passing attack. But the real question is can Adrian Peterson put up big enough numbers to stay in the chase for Eric Dickerson’s record? 300 yards to go, but tough sledding against the Texans’ front line. Honorable mention goes to the Jets at Chargers in what can only be described as the Toilet Bowl. I am rooting for the Bolts, cause it could save Norval Turner’s job and kill Rex Ryan’s. Both would be fun!

Christmas Time in New Orleans and Winter Wonderland by the one and only Louis Armstrong. Get yer Santa on and let’s take a sleigh ride baybee!

Bmaz is a rather large saguaro cactus in the Southwestern Sonoran desert. A lover of the Constitution, law, family, sports, food and spirits. As you might imagine, a bit prickly occasionally. Bmaz has attended all three state universities in Arizona, with both undergraduate and graduate degrees from Arizona State University, and with significant post-graduate work (in physics and organic chemistry, go figure) at both the University of Colorado in Boulder and the University of Arizona. Married, with both a lovely child and a giant Sasquatch dog. Bmaz has been a participant on the internet since the early 2000’s, including active participation in the precursor to Emptywheel, The Next Hurrah. Formally joined the Emptywheel blog as an original contributing member at its founding in 2007. Bmaz grew up around politics, education, sports and, most significantly, cars; notably around Formula One racing and Concours de Elegance automobile restoration and showing. Currently lives in the Cactus Patch with his lovely wife and beast of a dog, and practices both criminal and civil trial law.
82 replies
  1. Joan McCarter says:

    Gonna be watching my Broncs, of course. And feeling slightly disloyal to the institution I actually got a degree from. But, hey, grad school is different. My real UW loyalty is to the Jackson School, not the athletics department. Let’s go, Broncos!

  2. BearCountry says:

    I know that it’s a long way away, but I’m interested in the Gators vs. Louisville. The Gators should win, but as a long time Gator, I’ve learned never to bet on them or against them because whichever you do, they will let you down. This should be an interesting game in that the Gators seem to be back in the top tier of teams and the Louisville coach was the Gator DC for awhile under Urban Meyer.

  3. Jim White says:

    Wait, not Christmas in New Orleans, it’s New Year’s in New Orleans for my family, baby. Can’t wait to get there and the Gators are going to lay some serious kick-ass on Charlie Strong (whom we all still love here, by the way) and his Loiusville Papa John’s.

    My Gator basketball team gets a shot at some redemption tonight, taking on a good K-State team in Kansas City. Mr. bmaz gave me a lot of grief last week for the Gators giving away their game to the Mildcats in the desert, but they will shake that off and continue with what is looking very much like a final four or better season.

    Do the Kittehs have enough players who made bail to field a team this week?

  4. JohnT says:

    @Joan McCarter:

    Welllll, it is Trash Talk

    BTW, the SEC (the Alabama “schools” and LSU anyway), the (Cocaine Cowboys / Jerrah’s Kids) Cowboys, the (Evil Empire) Yankees, the UT (Whorns) Longhorns, and most especially Brad Childress still suck!

  5. BearCountry says:

    @Jim White: Wow. Your timeline made me realize how long ago we left there. We were already gone for 15 years when you got there. I don’t know how the town seemed to you when you got there, but we drove in and our path was trough Waldo. We thought that we were in the middle of nowhere as we drove from Waldo to G’ville. It was so expensive to stay in a motel in town ($30/night) and no motels between there and Waldo, so we went back to Waldo and stayed in a little shack just off of 301 for $3 for the night.

  6. Peterr says:

    @bmaz: Witness, for instance, that crack about the NHL.

    Somehow, it just doesn’t feel like Christmas with no Blues v Blackhawks on Dec 26th.

  7. Jim White says:

    @BearCountry: Heh. We’ve been here so long that the “hotel” where we stayed while the moving van caught up with us just shut down to make even more room for growth for Shands Hospital. There’s over 100,000 people here now, so the middle of nowhere feel is pretty much gone. Waldo, however is much less changed and still holds onto its reputation as the worst speed trap in the nation.

  8. BearCountry says:

    @bmaz: We probably would have been as comfortable sleeping in the car, which we did many times after that, but there was no rest area available either.

  9. Peterr says:

    Uppity Canadian lawyers are about to throw a wrench into the NHL/NHLPA negotiations, or at least make things much more interesting for Canadian fans:

    An expansive plan is in the works to force a “challenge” for the Stanley Cup that would honour the original intention of Lord Stanley of Preston, who bequeathed the trophy to the people of Canada more than 120 years ago.

    The shinny-loving Toronto lawyers who, seven years ago, took the NHL to court to prove the league did not, as claimed, own the Stanley Cup, are back – and this time with the potential financial backing to see the Stanley Cup awarded in 2013, even if there is no NHL season.

    [snip]

    The plan is rooted in Lord Stanley’s own words.

    “I have for some time been thinking that it would be a good thing if there were a challenge cup which should be held from year to year by the champion hockey team in the Dominion,” the governor-general wrote in a letter to the Ottawa Amateur Athletic Association on March 18, 1892.

    Mr. Gilbert, along with lawyers Gard Shelley and David Burt – both of whom belong to the “Wednesday Nighters,” a recreational hockey league composed of Upper Canada College “old boys” – have teamed up this time with financier Loudon Owen, who once played hockey in Europe. Mr. Owen is also a lawyer and famous for winning a $290-million (U.S.) patent infringement case against Microsoft Corp.

    This would really, really piss off Gary Bettman, and give the Canadian hockey fans a great way to express their displeasure. “Go ahead, argue over your millions. But what matters is The Cup, and it doesn’t belong to you.”

    What really ought to scare Gary Bettman is this: if this plan comes to fruition and Canada goes bonkers over it, the owners of The Cup might just tell the NHL that next year, their champion will just have to enter the “challenge” if they want to get their names engraved on it. Simply winning the NHL will not suffice.

    Just when you think that the old line “first, we kill all the lawyers” might have some merit, along comes a group like these folks in Toronto.

  10. Peterr says:

    @Jim White: Here in Missouri, the state legislature passed a law a while back to cut down on speed traps on major state highways. They capped the amount of a city’s operating budget that could be generated by fines at 35%, and said that if a city took in more than that, it had to go to the state.

    The grand prize MO speed trap is just outside KC in Lone Jack MO, which now owes the state about $120,000, according to a recent state audit.

    Lone Jack disputes this audit, saying “Math is hard.”

  11. bmaz says:

    @Peterr: Thing is, you are gonna need lawyers to figure out the correct and acceptable method for killing the lawyers. This is where William Shakes breaks down.

    @Peterr: Lone Jack doesn’t know jack. The way around that is to have really huge court surcharges, but leave the “fine” amount at a level that keeps them under the state threshold.

  12. Peterr says:

    @bmaz: I’ll pass that bit of pro bono legal advice along to the city fathers of Lone Jack.

    It may be, however, that the lawyers in the legislature saw that one coming and restricted it in the statute language, but the reporters are working with shorthand.

  13. Peterr says:

    Niners, Stillers, and Not-Saints.

    But that’s tomorrow. Today there are also some fine college hoops going on, and there’s already been one upset: Temple over #3 Syracuse.

    Around these parts, #9 KU Selfs vs Teh #7 Buckeyes is just getting started, followed in a couple of hours by #12 Mizzou vs #10 Illinois (a school whose fans could not even spell “Illini” when they were beating up on my Fighting Journalists, back in the day), and a couple of hours after that with Bruce Weber’s K-State taking on #8 Florida.

    It’s the time of the year when coaches get serious and schedule real opponents, rather than resume-builders.

    Speaking of resume-builders, I feel compelled to note that #4 Arizona Wildcats is playing the 2-7 East Tennessee State Buccaneers. That’s one way to stay undefeated.

  14. Peterr says:

    @bmaz:

    That was on the 15th. On the 18th, Arizona bravely took on Oral Roberts, squeaking by 89-64.

    One game like that is a breather. Two is . . . not.

  15. bmaz says:

    @Peterr: WTF, did Jim White put you up to this?

    UNDEFEATED BAYBEE!

    The proper attack on me is “Hey bmaz, what the hell you doing talking about the hated Arizona Wildcats, you’re supposed to be a Sun Devil”? Well, ASU sucks in basketball…..

  16. dakine01 says:

    FWIW, Beef O’Brady’s is a low end semi-sports bar type chain. I’ve gotten lunch sandwich’s a couple of times over the years and found them quite underwhelming

  17. rosalind says:

    my BFF in Olympia, WA and i have a friendly wager going for Sunday night’s Seattle meet-up. If Niners win I get Olympia Roasters Coffee & Smoked Fish from Olympia Seafood Co., if the Squawacks pull it off she gets fresh Pumpkin Bread & Peanut Brittle lovingly made by a nice Nun (they exist!) at the Monastery of the Angels (a cloistered Nunnery deep in the heart of H’wood, though baking nun is non-cloistered).

    http://monasteryoftheangels.com/gift-shop

  18. JohnT says:

    Niners – Seahawks are mirror images of each other: Mike Sando

    Each team has scored 25 red zone touchdowns on 47 chances.

    Each team has converted about 36 percent of its third-down opportunities.

    Each team averages 6.8 yards per pass play.

    The teams are within 30 yards of one another in total rushing yards: 2,280 for the 49ers and 2,250 for the Seahawks.

    Thirteen first downs and 11 plays from scrimmage separate their season totals through 14 games.

    The 49ers have kicked off two additional times, and each has had 65 kickoffs reach the end zone

    The teams are within one total touchdown of one another: 40 for the 49ers, 41 for the Seahawks.

    […]

    I dunno what the spread is but it’s gotta be close. I’d say Niners win, but the Seahawks need it more

  19. Peterr says:

    @Jim White: And it’s over . . .

    Bruce Weber has got to be a happy camper tonight, and there’s a big party in the Little Apple.

    And you? I’m guessing not so happy.

  20. GulfCoastPirate says:

    Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr… Aaaaaarrrrghhhhhhhhh ……….

    They put up one of those electronic billboards on the way back from Galveston on I-45 that said ‘He’s Johnny Football’. I can’t get away from this shit. The kids on this side of Houston don’t even go there. A&M is for all the farmers on the north and west side of town. Why are they doing this to us?

  21. Jim White says:

    @Peterr: I’m pretty disappointed. The Gators didn’t play inspired ball, but pretty much through the entire game it felt like the Cats just outplayed them. Didn’t have that feeling at all in the Arizona game, where the Gators gave it away at the end with an epic meltdown.

    I still like the players on this team and think they have a real shot at putting things together late in the season.

  22. bmaz says:

    @Jim White: Should be fine so long as they don’t have to face any Wildcats.

    Oh. Wait. SEC. Gators will have to play Kentucky, right? More Wildcats. That could be a problem.

  23. angry bitter drunk says:

    Was anyone — as in, anyone else with a fantasy interest — watching the Falcons-Lions tonight? In the fourth quarter Mike Tirico was giving a SportsCenter preview, and it sure seemed to me like he was taking backhanded shots at his employer over ESPN’s obsessive Tebow coverage. Been waiting for Deadspin or Awful Announcing to pick up on this, but I’ve not seen anything…

  24. scribe says:

    Chilly, snowy, breezy in Pgh today.

    Steelerweather!

    Just a reminder, that yesterday was the 40th anniversary of the so-called “Immaculate Reception”, in which Franco Harris pulled in a Bradshaw 4th and 10 pass, tipped by Raider Jack Tatum and Steeler Frenchy Fuqua, and ran it in for the winning touchdown with only a few seconds left. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immaculate_Reception That was a defining turning point for the Steeler franchise, being their first-ever post-season win and the end of 40 years of futility and losing in Pittsburgh.

  25. bmaz says:

    Surprised at how the Pats have let the Jags hang around until the last touchdown.

    Also surprised JohnT has not been around to chat about how the Vikes are doing against the Texans.

  26. bmaz says:

    @rosalind: The Lucky Colts now have a touchdown lead with two minutes or so left.

    But, wow, the Vikes whipped Houston, 23-6. But AP only got 86 yards rushing. Going to be tough to catch Dickerson now. Going to need a big game to even get 2,000 now.

    Stillers and Bungles may be headed to overtime.

  27. rosalind says:

    @bmaz: aaand the Colts pull it out, barely, and are playoff bound…where with their current O-line they’re going to get slaughtered.

  28. bmaz says:

    Ooops, spoke too soon. Big ben threw an interception at the WRONG time and place,Dalton and AJ Green executed a beautiful deep pass and Cinci gets a game winning FG with 4 seconds on the clock.

  29. Peterr says:

    @rosalind: Of course they pulled it out. I had no doubts whatsoever.

    The debate on talk radio in KC is how (not if) the Chefs will screw up the #1 draft pick. It’s that kind of year around these parts.

  30. bmaz says:

    ARRRRGGGHHH!!

    RomoCop threw a TF to Miles Austin with less than 30 seconds left for the “Boys to tie up the Saints at 31 a piece. Now headed into overtime……….and the fucking local CBS affiliate switched me over to see the start of the Bears and Cardinals. What a bunch of petty NFL shit.

  31. 4jkb4ia says:

    @bmaz:

    NO!! All I saw was that Josh Brown kicked a 43-yard FG because I am enough of a masochist to see if the Jets could still win.

  32. Peterr says:

    @bmaz: Roger Goodell, petty? No one could have anticipated . . .

    The Aints kicked a 20 yarder to win.

    Still hanging in there for Da Bears, but even with a win over the Bidwells today (how ’bout that fumble, bmaz?) and the Kittehs next Sunday, they’ll still need some help next week to get in.

  33. rosalind says:

    @Peterr: yeah, the ESPN online comments during the game were hilarious. “dear colts, will you please let us throw this game?” (only they didn’t say “please”) and “how will the Chiefs screw up the draft pick this year” (only they didn’t say “screw”)

  34. Bay State Librul says:

    Legal question

    The Sunday times (uk) payed Armstrong $1.6 million to settle libel suit

    Now that are suing for a refund.

    Any legal precedent?

  35. Peterr says:

    @rosalind: I heard a serious discussion this morning, where the two sports guys noted that the Chiefs still haven’t paid Todd Haley — there’s apparently a dispute over what he is owed when they canned him last year. They kicked around the question of whether this would play into whether or not to fire Pioli and/or Crennel, and came to no consensus.

    They did offer the observation that (a) if they were talking about some other team in some other city with records like theirs, firing both would be a no brainer, and (b) the mere fact that they were having the discussion of these two staying because the top brass didn’t want to get into another battle over a firing until last year’s is dealt with is a sad, sad, sad commentary on the state of football in KC.

    Worst case scenario: the Chefs allow Pioli and Crennel to stay on, at least through the draft, in which they screw up using the #1 pick.

  36. bmaz says:

    @4jkb4ia: Yep, it was typical Big Ben, the protection broke down, he scrambled and tried to make a play. But this time it went the wrong way. Man, you can feel through the TV how much he loathes offensive coordinator Todd Haley. Though the last interception was not Haley’s fault, a lot of a crappy offensive output could be.

  37. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    Damn, that Boise Broncos – UW Huskies game was fun.

    But I swung by to leave a note about the NYT’s exceptional work called “Snow Fall”, which I think is quite promising for digital media. The long-form article is about an avalanche in which several (expert) skiers were killed in the Cascade Mtns of Washington state last February.
    The article is called “Snow Fall”:
    http://www.nytimes.com/projects/2012/snow-fall/#/?part=tunnel-creek

    I spent my teens skiing (fast!) down the ski runs of Big Chief and Seventh Heaven noted in the “Snow Fall” piece at NYT. IMVHO, the NYT did a wonderful job conveying a sense of that part of the north Cascades, and of elite skiers (I have siblings who fall into that category, one of whom still does avalanche patrol in the Mountain West).

    For all the rotten things that I’ve said about the NYT through the years, particularly Judy-Judy-Judy, this new production by the NYTimes really is beautifully done. It’s well worth a view for those around here interested in media, storytelling, and digital content.

    Happy Holidays all around…

  38. rosalind says:

    @bmaz: yes & better. i wasn’t expecting the show’s structure to be in such solid shape. they have a little tweaking to do, but hope to get to Broadway late 2013/early 2014.

    i’ve been remiss in writing up a diary on the show, hope to have it up next weekend.

    http://www.allegiancemusical.com/

  39. JohnLopresti says:

    Another team’s running back had an average yards gained similar to the more flashy running E Dickerson; it was Wendell Tyler. There were soli statistics proving that throughout most of Tyler’s numerous quite longs, preferrably directly through the line of scrimage, Tyler actually had control of the football. True, Tyler’s fullback runs statistics are even closer to the amazing record by E Dickerson if one includes the Tyler carries when Tyler kind of lost possession of the football somewhere near the defensive line. Tyler’s successor, Bonehead, remains with 9rs as backfield coach, I believe. Bonehead’s style was completely different from Tyler’s, seen in video replays. Bonehead actually ran his own interference with his helmet, lifting defense guys out of the enough to run through the gap. Whereas, Wendell simply was canny about seeing the hole open, and arrived at the most advantageous moment to maximize run yardage.

    As for snow in western Pennsylvania, ever may it continue. That’s a unique sort of football land around the Alleghenies, a mountain range which is very old and possibly named in part for some native peoples as well as some workers landed from Ireland to whom the hills’ geographic name echoed vaguely of a name with Celtic lineage.

    I grew up when the team which eventually hired E Dickerson was located somewhere close to the La Jolla bluff on which M Romney’s exclusive home sits in post-Recession condition, sorely needing some tax relief so Romney can continue the house renovations to completion; or, alternatively, maybe the depreciation was only market-value recalculations. I forget which.

  40. bmaz says:

    Hi folks. Apparently we have had some intermittent server problems again. We are aware of it, and are looking in to it. Stick around!

    • bmaz says:

      It is entirely possible that the Squawks are gonna win this game. (35-6 well into 4th quarter)

      On behalf of the Green Bay Packers, thank you!

  41. JohnLopresti says:

    fútbol makes teams that gelled recently approach playoffs by disparate strategies; which is about all I am saying about the 49ers right now, as they plan to bring Phoenix to Candlestick next week, Maybe the coaching and bruised list reports will illuminate further, tomorrow.

    Meanwhile, a kind word to the young Louis Armstrong, the part of his career I enjoyed mos; t am more into modern jazz than what Armstrong was doing, and Benny Goodman, though each has some amazingly genius recordings. They laid the groundwork for modern jazz. But it’s probably my subjective blues perspectives, and the new classics from India and other Orient lands that drew me into the possibilities for modern keyboard work, too.

    Phoenix always has been a friendly rivalry.

  42. rosalind says:

    @Peterr: nah, as i explained to bmaz last night on twitter, i turned off the game after the 3rd injury. hate seeing guys get hurt.

    and as i lost my bet (see my #31), i must now get me to the Nunnery…

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