Championship Sunday NFL Trash Talk

While Divisional Playoff Weekend is the best weekend of football, Championship Sunday is the best day. Saddle up buckaroos, it is here! Before we get to the games, a word about Notre Dame and Manti Te’o. They are both lying through their teeth, and it is a sick comment on all that is wrong with big time college football, and hallowed universities’ efforts to maintain their “reputation” at all costs. Penn State has got nothing on Notre Dame. Dave Zirin says much of what else I would have to say for now, so I’ll just let you read him.

First up is the Niners at the Falcons. Current line is Atlanta +4. The Falcons showed some playoff moxie not previously seen last week by withstanding the charge of Russell Wilson and the Squawks and winning with a last minute field goal. That is the good news in Ho ‘Lanta. The bad news? Well, Russell Wilson and the Squawk beat the snot out of them in the second half. And that onsides kick with 8 seconds left has to one of the worst coaching calls in the history of football. So, some real questions about the Dirty Birds still linger. The 49ers, however, looked locked and loaded in shredding the Packers.

If there was a weak spot in their performance last weekend, I don’t remember it. The only question is if Colin Kaepernick can summons up another performance like that. If he can come even close, it is probably bad bongos for Atlanta, because they have a history of being killed by mobile and athletic QBs – see Newton, Cam and the torching the aforementioned Russell Wilson. Still I think the QBs and offenses balance out and the game will come down to defense. I trust San Francisco’s defense more than Atlanta’s, and that is my pick.

In the nightcap, the Ravens visit Brady, Bill Bel and the boys at the Big Razor. The line is currently Patriots -8. That is a lot, and many pundits are even saying they favor the Ravens, apparently due to the force of will of Ray Lewis and some misguided thought that Tom Brady is just an average playoff QB now and that Flacco is maybe actually superior. These people are smoking crack.

There is a track record for this game as the same two played in the same place for the AFC championship last year. And the Pats have never lost at Foxborough with a SuperBowl on the line. They are not going to start now.

So, my call is Niners and Pats for the big game in Nawlins. That said, I would be just fine with seeing Atlanta and the Ravens there as well. After all these years, Tony Gonzales, who may well be retiring after this season, just won his first playoff game. And you already know about Ray Lewis being on his last ride. It would be fine to see these two warhorses play it out. We shall see, should be exciting!

We are getting to the end of the line for football this year, better whoop it up while you can. Let er rip! Music is a killer couple of songs by a new group called HoneyHoney out of Massachusetts. Their first album, “First Rodeo” is really great stuff for a debut effort. Highly recommended.

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.
96 replies
  1. bmaz says:

    @rosalind: No Lance from me. Also note the same law firm and lawyer who represented Aaron Swartz also represented Lance Armstrong. Small world.

    What, no comment on HoneyHoney? I added a second cut to the post. I really like them.

  2. emptywheel says:

    I am currently 8-0 for my playoff picks.

    My remaining bracket is:

    Niners over Atlanta
    Ravens over Pats

    Niners win the big one.

    Now, I will OBVIOUSLY be thrilled if I’m wrong about that Pats. I picked the Ravens bc 1) the force of will of Ray Lewis, 2) Ravens aren’t gonna suffer the Gillette curse two years running, and 3) as improved as the Pats D is, Ngata aside I think the Ravens D is closer to peaking AND I think the Pats secondary will still get beat up.

    Happy to be wrong tho (and yes, I picked Peyton to lose bc I didn’t want the Pats to face them, but then picked the Pats to lose bc I didn’t want to be doubly disappointed if they do–both totally emotional choices but hell the Peyton one worked).

    On the Niners, I picked the Niners to win it all back in September. I still think they’ve got the most balanced team with which to do so, and I think the NFC is headed back into serious dominance over the AFC, Brady or no.

    Still would like to see Lloyd Carr’s QB beat Bo Merlot’s QB in the Super Bowl, though.

  3. emptywheel says:

    One more note: if my bracket DOES end up winning out (unlikely), meaning I will have picked the winning SB team in September AND picked the entire bracket, then I’m quitting blogging and taking up betting full time.

  4. JohnT says:

    Manti Te’o? Weird story

    Lance? Meh. Just me, but, I don’t care about cycling. And, I dunno … I never got into the whole over-the-top hype thing; my spideysense told me something was off about him from the beginning

    And it’s 14 days to the Harbaughcalypse, or is it Harbaughmageddon?

    I could be wrong, but, this could be the weekend for the unleashing of Randy Moss. I can see the Falcons cheating at the line to stop Kaepernick, which’ll open up the secondary for the Freak. And the Niners offensive line is putting on a clinic right now.

    I wanna say this game turns out similar to last week against the Borg … erm, Packers, and say the Niners win big. But I won’t tempt the football gods. I’ll say it’s closer than the spread indicates

    And the Ravens have to win just so we don’t have to watch the Hoodie at every freakin Super Bowl. … That, and they used to be the Browns. And, John is prolly the nicer brother

  5. scribe says:

    The hell with football. Hockey’s back. So far a couple good games and, in the one I’m watching, a couple of good knock-down drag-out fights. That, and my Penguins won, too….

  6. scribe says:

    And, I was looking for a good Manti T’eo joke, but they seem to evaporate as soon as you think you’ve found one. The best one I heard was “Alabama: where the football and the players’ girlfriends are real.”

  7. rosalind says:

    @bmaz: “The issue of Slater’s absence is murky, and not entirely satisfying to digest. It’s unclear why this issue would suddenly surface at the last minute, but Slater faces a conflict with the Association of Surfing Professionals, governing body of the professional tour. Mavericks is not an ASP-sanctioned event, and as such, Slater could face being fined, losing points (in the tour standings) or having his seeding changed in ASP events if he competed at Mavericks.”

  8. rosalind says:

    @emptywheel: you’re only allowed the betting life until you bank enough to get our edit buttons back.

    and no love for whether lanny breuer was lance’s DOJ criminial division protector? (see my #1). sheesh.

  9. emptywheel says:

    @rosalind: Could be. Though his doping goes back so far it could be any of Bush’s fellows, too, with the added benefit of TX connections.

    I’d love for it to be Michael Chertoff.

  10. bmaz says:

    @emptywheel: Remember, he rode for the US Postal team. There were a lot of reasons, and perhaps people, that could have had a stake in protecting him – including the Texas angle you noted.

  11. masaccio says:

    So my former law partner’s son married into the family of one of Armstrong’s oncologists. I have a recollection that he told the family he didn’t think Lance was doping, for fear it might affect him badly because of the cancer drugs. Or I might have made that up in my dotage.

    I saw Lance ride home on the Champs Élyseés one year. They really fly down the street, so fast you can barely get a picture.

  12. der says:

    25 degrees and 15 to 20 mph winds at Gillette Stadium blowing Flaco’s bombs off course keeps the passing game under 15-20 yard tosses, advantage to Brady. The Patriots came back from 28 points down to score 24 in the 4th quarter and hold Kaepernick to 10 so there’s a way if Mike, Smith not McCarthy, has been paying attention. Pats have a better shot winning it all if Atlanta wins. NFC a tossup for me.

  13. bmaz says:

    @der: The thing that really gives me pause is Atlanta’s record of success in their home dome with Ryan at QB ever since his first game as a starter as a rookie. I don’t have the numbers off top of my head, but they are insanely good.

  14. orionATL says:


    33-4 at home/reg season.

    but it’s every game it’s on world of stats at this level.

    nonetheless, if a team playing as a unit can win a football game, falcons will win this one – team play is their coaches’ mantra.

  15. what constitution says:

    @masaccio: Lance Armstrong may, with my thanks, move to his nephew’s broccoli farm in Manitoba, there never to be seen nor heard from again, and at no time to have a microphone placed in his face nor a camera in his vicinity except when he signs checks payable to the people he viciously attacked in the course of perpetuating his fraud. And two of those people should be Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughan. Query, is the cameo scene in Dodgeball funnier now even than it was before, or is it just sad?

  16. rosalind says:

    @bmaz: HoneyHoney is based in L.A.? how have i missed them? great songs, thx for introducing them. gonna have to do an Amoeba run this week.

    and bmaz & i have been chatting on twitter about a film many of you may like – “Sound City: Real to Reel” about the late, great recording studio in San Fernando Valley. Dave Grohl (Nirvana, Foo Fighters) directed.

  17. bmaz says:

    @rosalind: I think they are now based in LA. They are really good.

    Speaking of missing them, jeebus. I was listening to them last night after writing trash and eating. Must have been about 8 o’clock. I thought, hmmm wonder if they are coming here anytime soon. Fuckety fuck. So, I went to their website and looked up their tour schedule. They were in downtown Tempe last night and were taking the stage about exactly when I discovered it – no time to get dressed and get down there. I was so pissed.

  18. Peterr says:

    With apologies to Mr. Poe . . .

    Once upon a Sunday dreary while Pats pondered weak and weary
    Over many a quaint and curious volume of Bill’s playbook lore,
    While they nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
    As of some one gently rapping, rapping at their chamber door.
    `’Tis some visitor,’ Bill muttered, `tapping at our chamber door –
    Only this, and nothing more.’

    Open, then, Bill flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
    In there stepped a stately Raven of the saintly days of yore.
    Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
    But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above the chamber door –
    Perched upon a bust of BillBel just above the chamber door –
    Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

    Then this ebony bird beguiling Bill’s sad fancy into smiling,
    By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,
    `Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,’ he said, `art sure no craven.
    Ghastly grim and ancient Raven wandering from the nightly shore –
    Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night’s Plutonian shore!’
    Quoth the Raven, `Nevermore.’

    `Prophet!’ said Bill, `thing of evil! – prophet still, if bird or devil! –
    Whether tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed you here ashore,
    Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted –
    On this field by horror haunted – tell me truly, I implore –
    Is there hope of our Pats winning? – tell me – tell me, I implore!’
    Quoth the Raven, `Nevermore.’

    And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
    On the pallid bust of BillBel just above the Patriot door;
    And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon’s that is dreaming,
    And the lamp-light o’er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
    And the Pats from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
    Shall be victors – nevermore!

  19. bmaz says:

    @JohnT: By the way, as I look at the score on my TeeVee, I understand why you are jawing surfing instead of 49ers. Speaking of ugly, the Red Wings got nuthin on this.

  20. JohnT says:

    @bmaz: lol. Yea, Mike Nolan’s getting his revenge … so far … on both sides of the ball. I was gonna mention Vernon Davis, but I forgot to yesterday. Methinks they need to get him more involved

  21. Jim White says:

    Golden Domes are so cursed this month they made the 9ers spot teh Dirty Birds 17. Still pulling for SF, though, and they have finally put up a 7.

    Julio Jones is absolutely unreal today, though. And he’s from the Bama team that bmaz groused so much about a couple of years ago having no offense…

  22. Valley Girl says:

    Anyone out there (in the EW world) listening to or watching SF- Falcons game via internet- I’d love a link.

    I tried to google, but tough to know what search terms to use. No luck so far, except for dubious places.

  23. Peterr says:

    @emptywheel: From the Detroit POV, it was.

    For the Blues, however, it was the perfect antidote to the passing of Stan Musial. I was watching the game on Fox Midwest, and the Blues announcers couldn’t go more than about 10 minutes without mentioning his death.

  24. P J Evans says:

    I’d have thought that in your area basements would provide wonderfully cool rooms for summer use. Besides, where else would you store wine?

  25. emptywheel says:

    @Peterr:Fair enough. I’m just hoping for my state it isn’t–as it appears–to be an indication of where this “season” is going.

  26. Valley Girl says:


    Course I won’t. But I see that invitation via the site. The other sites I found, as I said, were dubious.

    Oh, yeah, fumble… not sure who to root for here EW or the Falcons. ;)

  27. emptywheel says:

    9-0 baby.

    Let’s hope my juju works out: fucking up my perfect record so my team goes to the game.

  28. Peterr says:

    @rosalind: Googling around . . . Eddie is one of the finalists for the NFL Hall of Fame this year, and the voting ends the day before the Super Bowl. Sure looks like the 9ers want to give him as much help as they can.

    Teh Rules are for Teh Little People, I guess.

  29. emptywheel says:

    @Peterr: Hey, if the Moral Rectitude Drone Assassination Czar doesn’t have to live by the rules, why should poor little Eddie B?

  30. Peterr says:

    Charlie Pierce made an interesting suggestion yesterday, as he sits in DC awaiting “the celebration of the re-installation of our current Kenyan Muslim overlord”:

    Personally, I think they ought to rotate the presidential inauguration, the way they do the Super Bowl or the Olympics. I mean, the president’s actually getting sworn in privately tomorrow anyway. What would be wrong with inaugurating a president in, say, New Orleans once a decade or so?

    Roger Goodell will no doubt be all over this, and suggest that the presidential inauguration simply take place during halftime of the Super Bowl.

  31. JohnT says:

    @Peterr: Sounds cool, but what happens when somebody like W steals an election gets elected again.

    I can see it now. The 2025 Presidential inauguration from Liberty University sponsored by Goldman Sachs and Fox “News”

  32. Peterr says:

    @JohnT: Congress would never stand for it. “WE are the ones who organize this event. WE are the ones who host it. WE are the ones with real power, even if the temp that occupies the public housing unit at 1600 PA Ave is the one in the spotlight.”

    Even suggesting otherwise would make heads explode in DC.

    OTOH, if cities could financially bid to host the inauguration, Congress might be willing to sell it in order to reduce the deficit. Can you imagine Hollywood getting into a bidding war with Wall Street? If you tell the GOP that the proceeds could pay off the debt, they’d be all over it.

  33. emptywheel says:

    @Peterr: Especially bc all my DC Tweeps are bitching about the Tourists wandering in their way.

    Not ONLY should Tourists be hugged bc they pay for the 11 years of Military Industrial Complex stimulus that has made DC rich.

  34. P J Evans says:

    Pasadena has a week or so of effing-tourist season every year. You learn to avoid some parts of town, because they’re lost. Bless their hearts.

  35. scribe says:

    @emptywheel: Ballmer has Cheatin’ Bill’s number. And Bieber has had a couple of inexplicable brain farts that the cynical call the “bookie’s friend”.

    Looking bad for the Patsies. Not that I really mind – between these two teams I’m rooting for Frisco.

  36. rosalind says:

    Harbowl!!!! yeah, baby.

    fun fact: Jim’s son Jay (not to be confused with his other sons James and Jack) is an intern on his Uncle John’s Ravens.

    good times.

    and our internet lives hang in the balance: will we be bidding a sad farewell to our fearless leader, off to ply her talents in various dens of inequity should Niners prevail?

    stay tuned…

  37. mlnw says:

    Hey, don’t hold to your word and abandon this blog for a career in betting (unless you decide to run a betting blog- then by all means do it…….if not to preserve your record, then at least for your impoverished readers).

    It looks like it will be the “Brothers Harbaugh” in the SB, except with Ray Lewis dancing on the table, not Maria Schell.

  38. jo6pac says:

    @Peterr: When Jed took over the team he hired his uncle as a consultant the NFL allowed that so he’s been close to the team. It was Great to see him and sure hope he makes into the Hall

    Peterr—Yes corp. can ruin more sports and lives on Main Street than anyone thing on the plant.


  39. Starbuck says:

    End of football season.

    Thank God for small favors! But what will ya’all do before the next season kickoff?

    And considering the filthy politics of today, why would one attack FB for following suit? FB is a game of violence, as I could see in a game last night I partially watched during dinner out. The ball carrier was “tackled” by simply flipping him over head first!

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