Championship Sunday Trash Talk
Well, here we are at Championship Sunday weekend. It seemed like only yesterday that the NFL season was tearing through a hasty preseason after the lockout, and the Packers were beating the Saints in a season opening Thursday night shootout. And now we are down to the penultimate games. Gents are visiting the Niners, and Ray and Reed are taking a trip to Foxborough. Good stuff.
First game up is Ravens at Pats. We know the players and lowdown on this already: the unstoppable force of Tom Brady, Wes Welker, and the “Boston TE Party” of Gronk & Hernandez, versus the immovable object of Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs and Ed Reed. For the Ravens to have a chance, they have to get a great game out of Flacco; he is capable of it, but only sporadically. Even if the Ravens get Flacco and Ray Rice untracked, they have to outscore Brady. Tough job, I don’t see it. Now the better question here is asked by Robert Kraft via PFT: Is Bill Belichick the best coach in the history of pro football? Yes, Kraft really went there. I will throw that out for discussion, but I am going to weigh in with no. I got Lombardi easily in the first spot, followed by Paul Brown, Bill Walsh, George Halas, and a three way tie between Don Shula, Chuck Noll and Tom Landry. Bill Bel is getting there, but not yet.
The second game on tap is the better of the two, Elite Eli and the Giants going to San Francisco with an aching in their heart for another SuperBowl. Again, the book on both teams is pretty well known by now. The 49ers are way more solid on both sides of the ball than many thought, even though their D was pretty well understood to start with. And Alex Smith is a competent pro QB now. But the Giants just look like they are on a roll like they were in 2007 and Green Bay was last year. Good team, hot at the right time. Oh, and Jean Pierre-Paul is flat out a stud; if he stays healthy enough throughout his career, this kid is potentially Hall of Fame material. Dude can ball. And, the Gents might be a little pissed that Niners great Jerry Rice thinks that battering ram Brandon Jacobs is “soft”. Really Jerry? Come on man. Hard fought game, but the Gents bring it home.
Last, but certainly not least, we have a big announcement to make. Our long time friend Randiego, aka Surfer Dude, up and got hitched a couple of years ago. At 2:30 pm yesterday, he and the lovely Mrs. Randiego welcomed a new son, James, into this wild world we live in. Congratulations folks, from your family here at the Emptywheel Blog! My guess is that James’ first surfboard has already been acquired. Baby James will be coming home soon, and the Zep has an app for that.
Pretty exciting stuff we gots going on here. But a touch of sadness too. The great blues and soul singer Etta James has passed on. Etta was something else; man could she belt out a tune. My intro to her was the summer of 1978 when she opened for the Stones in Tucson. Much of the crowd was restless for Mick and the boys, but Etta James blew the place seriously up. Later Linda Ronstadt, who was in town visiting her parents, came on and joined Mick for a version of Tumbling Dice that may never be topped. But that is another story, this is about Etta, and she was something else. The above video is of “Pushover” which she first recorded in 1963. It is killer. RIP Etta.
That’s it folks, rip this joint!
The wonderful Etta…damn what a voice.
The Niners should easily prevail in their tilt with the NY dwarfs. Manning, earlier this year, announced that he was the second coming of Brady. Pathetic.
My Pats are in tough but will prevail. Flaco wil not be able to handle the vaunted NE pass rush let alone pick apart our secondary. As for shutting down The Gronk, it ain’t gonna happen.
I will not be going to the game. And now I hear that the anti-choice wannabe QB in Denver will be on the Pats broadcast (not, we may assume as an expert) so I will be listening to radio commentary with Gil Santos and Gino Capeletti…much better.
Sorry to see that Barichello cannot get a ride this year, looks like his long career may be over. So much money is being delivered to teams by the young drivers it seems there is less emphasis on good drivers and more on how much money they can bring from their billionaire backers. Billionaires that will keep gambling on young drivers, one after the other, until they hit pay dirt. Rich men playing a game of chicken with other people’s lives.
The playoff game between the Baltimore Ravens vs. New England is scheduled first off on Sunday. If my information is correct, one of the starting linesmen for the Ravens is expected to be Michael Oher, #74. He’s been in the league for a couple of years. Most of the players in the trenches are not well known– especially the offensive linemen. But Oher has had a movie made of his rags-to-riches life, “Blind Side”, and its a pretty good movie. The title is taken from the idea that for a right-handed passer, the left side of the line is his “blind side,” and it really is a good rags-to-riches story. At the least, I’m going to keep my eye on #74. BTW, he plays on either left side or the right side.
But my real question for the weekend is, Will the Harbaugh Bowl survive Sunday’s games, so that we can have a Dueling Brothers Superbowl?
Bob in AZ
My head says Ravens Gents. My heart says Pats 9ers.
I’m hoping that, since the news of JamesDiego has gotten me all warm and fuzzy, the heart rules this weekend.
@nomolos: Methinks you are hoping the Niners take out the Giants because, as we all know, Eli and the Giants are proven Pats killers.
I had not heard about Rubens yet, thanks for the update. Sad, I love Barichello, a man who seemingly can drive as well as the equipment he is given will allow. Maybe he is slipping a little, I dunno, but F1 is a better place with him around.
@Bob Schacht: Bob, that info got lost in my notes, sorry!
I’m so sick and tired of hearing about Timbo, I really am.
I didn’t watch any Denver games and I still won’t watch ESPN or any other coverage where he’s fawned over.
General Red Face Coughlin
I’m going with Pats-Niners for the big ‘un…
But more importantly, CONGRATS to the Randiegos! What delightful news : ) Lets see for the newest surfer dude a case of sunscreen as a birthday present might be a good option ; )
P.S. rosalind, whenever you happen to turn up… the Mr. and I watched the open source Stars Wars movie this morning (we’re having a snow day here). That was amazing! Start to finish, more fun than you can shake a stick at : ) Thanks again for posting the link yesterday!
My sports obsession of this season has been to track concussion news, as it becomes an increasingly interesting question as how leagues like the NFL and the NHL are going to navigate the path of taking care of player safety while not ruining their sports. Oh, then there’s the litigation, which is a sport of its own.
Thus, I’ve noted that the Pat’s Aaron Hernandez has been on the injury report all week for a concussion and has been limited in practice. This has largely gone without notice in the Boston press, which strikes me as odd as how any team deal with a concussion in a star player for a critical game should be worth at least a paragraph.
@Saul Tannenbaum: Maybe that’s what the Brady shoulder stuff was designed to distract from. Or maybe in Boston they just assume BillBel is goosing injury reports, like they always do.
Still, that would admittedly make Ray Lewis’ job easier.
@Saul Tannenbaum: & @emptywheel:
There are absolutely no football reasons for “injury” reports. Bill treats them with the disdain they deserve. The only possible reason for the publicized damage assessments is for the odds makers in Vegas.
@nomolos: @emptywheel: It certainly wouldn’t be unusual for the Patriots’ injury report to be goosed. My vague impression, though, has been that teams who want to play games with concussions label them “head injuries” or “neck injuries” just to avoid the C word which gets more attention. The biggest surprise is the Boston press which is paying no attention. It’s all one big let’s-win-this-one-for-Myra coverage.
@Saul Tannenbaum: It’s all one big let’s-win-this-one-for-Myra coverage.
Gracious you and I must be getting different Boston Sports News
The Boston Herald
The Boston Globe
*raising a glass*
to the Randiego Trio!
Pats and Giants.
Niners and … somebody.
This is a really classy move by the SEC. From WBIR in Knoxville:
The SEC’s page is here, and ESPN has a great story about it as well.
Go with your heart….
@Peterr: Wow; classy and SEC are not words that often belong together. Action must violate some rule….
@phred: (hey phred! i’m dying to watch it, but have to wait for the Super Geek to come over tomorrow night)
@bmaz: I know. But you gotta give them credit when credit is due.
Gonna be a sloppy field at the Stick
Prolly gonna come down to David Akers. Look a lot of traps and dives on both Offenses. Niners ST is gonna be a factor
9ers by 21
Manning throws 4 intercepts one returned for TD, 2 others 9er O score 2 TDs and 1 for Akers.
yes it will be raining and I wonder if it’s high tide. Then the other big if is can pg&e keep the lights on?
Congratulations to the new parents. I can’t believe mine are 28 and 25 – how time flies.
I think I’m going with the Pats and Giants. I can’t really believe yet that Smith is that good. Too many poor seasons in the past to turn it around like that. The old habits have to come out.
Not to hijack the thread but did anyone watch Gingrich’s speech? That dude is scary.
Excellent article on the man behind the Red Face of Tom Coughlin
@GulfCoastPirate: I thought that the first half of Gingrich’s speech was an attempt to sound presidential. Yes, he is scary– a real wild card.
Bob in AZ
what is all this hard news stinkin’ up the Trash? c’mon people, our sacred Trash Tradition is OT hard news stuff stays on the most current news thread.
okay then, Go Giants!
Is that unstinky enough for you?
I had to say that vewwy quietly too because my son thinks it is sacrilegious for Iggles fans to root for the Giants :)
@joanneleon: Rosalind has had a ‘tude ever since she mind melded with Zenyatta out at Hollywood Park. That is why we love her implicitly! ‘Tudes fit in here….
From Adam Schefter:
@bmaz: ‘tudes are fine in my book. I like people with passion. Now I just realized that the games are at funky times today so I have another hour to get something done before things get underway. I will skim the Ravens game but give full attention to the NFC game.
Ravens & Niners.
But I might miss the second game as I owe my wife dinner out for her correct prediction that the scandal would kill JoePa within six months.
@JTMinIA: Dude, go buy a fine bottle of wine and order the best pizza available in exactly the way she wants it, and stay in front of the TeeVee!
@bmaz: and to think i was thisclose to blowing off the race. oy.
if Steven Tyler’s rendition spurred your curiosity also: Kristin Chenoweth (Broadway/TV) will be doing the honors at the 49er game. prediction: she’ll lip synch.
1/2 time entertainment: Brad Paisley.
@JTMinIA: Wow, that’s pretty morbid. You guys didn’t include the rule that at least she’d wait until he was buried to collect?
(Not that I didn’t have the same thought myself, but then I’m pretty sure I’d have been kicked out of my mom’s side of the family if I had voiced that thought.)
@rosalind: Brad Paisley when the Stanford marching band is right there??
That is criminal.
Still, better than the Nickleback we would get if the game were in Michigan.
If only Ochocinco had ended up being that Ochocinco guy the Bungles used to have, and maybe we’d be able to stretch out this D.
Where did the Pats find that old woman who looks like Steven Tyler and the cargo plane that did the flyover?
@emptywheel: Making 85 inactive may be the Pats best hope today.
Somebody fed Wilfork a WHOLE BUNCH of Wheaties this morning.
@bmaz: Missed all that. Sounds like I’m glad I did.
So far Ladarius Webb has been the Ravens’ best O.
Baltimore INT–Did Brady underthrow the receiver, or were they trying for one of those back shoulder passes?
Bob in AZ
Well, apparently the Ravens are NOT the Broncos.
@emptywheel: Our only defense is that we both really, really hate PSU, having spent ten years teaching there. She took under and I took over on the 6-months bet. As to bmaz’s suggestion of wine and pizza … you know that saying about racing wheels? Cheap, light, and strong; pick two. Well, in spouses, I was faced with smart, hot, and will accept pizza and wine as a “night out”; pick two.
@JTMinIA: titanium/magnesium alloy – get it all!
Oh, wait, that is probably not cheap. Dammit….
I see the Pats’ noted run offense is wearing down the Ravens.
@JTMinIA: LOL. I forgive!
Have a nice night out then!
I see someone finally reminded Harbaugh that the Pats have the 2nd worse passing D.
@emptywheel: *cough* little brother *cough*
Are you saying you didn’t go for ‘smart’ and ‘will accept pizza’?
I’m disappointed in you!
@P J Evans: Hey, at least I choose the correct option on the “pick two” on the first try, in contrast to a certain Republican who needed three tries….
@rosalind: I sincerely hope little brother is otherwise occupied.
The Law Firm chews up yards one foot at a time.
@rosalind: Though I hear Dad knows a thing or two about gridiron.
@bmaz: That was a boneheaded call. That said, I’ll take Law Firm’s 66 yards, particularly with Rice’s 21.
@emptywheel: yeah, like figuring out how to run, pass and defend in the rain & wind while getting a foothold on the swampmarsh that will be the field. i do not envy the fans at the Stick today.
The local fans already know what they’re in for. The Stick has been notorious for its weather since it was built. (Baseball fans called it the Polar Grounds.)
Flacco sacked! They ran two at right tackle Michael Oher, and he didn’t know which one to block, so he got neither and they both ran past him for the sack.
Bob in AZ
Is Twitter broken?
Tom Brady, who grew up with the Flying Wallendas, has scored a touchdown.
Yeah, yeah, so NE got a TD. What really just grabbed me was the Audi ad right afterwards, with the tow-truck driver. I loved it (even if, for some silly reason, I was hoping it would be an Evo, instead).
Broomball Shoes ! That’s what we use in the Canadian Flutie League under these conditions …
and let’s hear it for WIDE LEFT
ALright. I love the Pats. But after backing into the Super Bowl like that I take whoever wins the NFC game.
damn! no Super Harbowl.
OK baby brother, time to avenge…
Laces out, Dan !
@emptywheel: Jeebus you are a mope of a winner. Can’t you just do some cartwheels and stuff and be happy?
Well, ain’t that an interesting end to a game?
Looks like some of that Baby Jesus magic dust rubbed off on Cheatin’ Bill and his boys. Talk about a kicker feeling the tightness in his throat: he sent Patsies to the Super Bowl and his career to the Toilet Bowl.
@emptywheel: Ah, c’mon, you know you will be back.
They were leading and held on, that isn’t backing in.
But kicker = goat now
@rosalind: Yeah, now I got TWO reasons to root for the 9ers.
@Petrocelli: (running to google) ah, those are some sturdy looking shoes there, now with “action traction”!
is the crowd saying “dreeew” or “boooo”?
Kraft sounds hammered, accepting the trophy.
@bmaz: Oh, I’m happy! I’m thrilled! I’m just consistent in my belief that the Pats lack of D will catch up with them–particularly if Mr. Brady plays like that against either the 9ers or Gents D.
Though good on Wilfork. HE had a stupendous game.
@scribe: I believe the only dry luxury boxes in the country are in UT–and even there the Huntsman box flows like a frat party.
Other than dropping the rock, looks like Good Eli has showed up today. That could be bad sign for the 49ers.
@bmaz: Alex is just warming up …
@bmaz: A drop here, an INT there, and pretty soon you’re looking like Brady.
Plus, Eli’s already got his grumpy face on that short circuits his brain.
Okay, I’ve thought about it, and I’ve come to grips with winning like that. That’s how the Pats ALWAYS win Championships at Foxboro. And then BillBel has two weeks to turn them into a team again.
The religionists must be right. There is a devil because Brady made a deal with him. Good looking, a model wife, 20 million home recently in the papers and now some guy misses a 30 yard field goal so he gets another Super Bowl opportunity????????????????????????????
@GulfCoastPirate: Like I said, that’s Foxboro, not Brady.
Plus, you forgot to say what a shitty ass game he had.
Ah well, it was less sketchy than the Tuck Rule.
@emptywheel: Or, you know, when they had the convict wheel the snow scraper out to prep field for the winning field goal.
@bmaz: I remember that one but that was way before BillBel and Co – Ron Meyer was the coach and it beat Shula and the Fins
And the final for that game was 3 – 0 I believe
@bmaz: See what I’m saying? Foxboro isn’t one of those famous domineering home fields.
Except for Championship game.
Okay, seriously, Victor Cruz is an animal.
@bmaz: Yup. He almost makes me like the Giants.
Then again, he’d eat up the Pats and spit them out. So I’m REALLY rooting 9ers now.
When Davis is good, he is very very good, but when he’s bad, he’s horrid (i.e., getting unnecessary penalties).
The 49ers offense is like a desert with occasional oases.
Bob in AZ
@dakine01: Yep was before Bill Bel, but indicative of the crazy power of Pats home field in such games.
@GulfCoastPirate: Tim Tebow would agree.
This game is benefitting from the popularity Tim Tebow has brought pro football!!
This overtime brought to you by a knee.
Bob in AZ
It’s looking more and more like neither of these teams wants to win.
Now you got your rematch, EW.
Futz. An East Coast Harbaugh-less Superbowl. Whoopeedoo.
San Francisco special teams lost the game– or maybe I should say the Giants’ special teams won it.
Bob in AZ
Eli and the Gents are PATRIOT KILLERS
Well, like I said, I think the NFC team will win (grumble grumble).
But I think BillBel and Bieber might summon themselves into inspired playing for the rematch here.
And Victor Cruz aside (who will kill the Pats), the Gents looked like their earlier season sketchy selves.
@bmaz: Maybe. But BillBel doesn’t lose to the same team twice in a season very often. This may be the reverse of 2007, in that BillBel figures out the Gents for the big game.
Well I was wrong and east coast sb so I’ll be doing something else. On to Dayton 24hrs and Sebring 12
@emptywheel: I heard Cruz and Manningham are practicing their against-the-helmet catches.
@scribe: I’m sure they are!
Look, I’ve been waiting for the Pats’ lack of D to catch up to them all season. I REALLY don’t want that to happen in the SB, and I admit it may well happen, embarrassingly so. But I also think the Gents are the most inconsistent team in the playoffs. So we need to get him inconsistent.
@emptywheel: Maybe he was saving his ammo for the rematch with Eli. Should be an interesting game don’t you think?
@GulfCoastPirate: On paper, the Giants match up perfectly against the Pats: they’ve got the D line to get to Brady and make him look like an idiot.
So no, it may not be interesting.
But as a Pats fan I’ve been spelling doom for some time, and BillBel and Brady find a way to win. They will want this. Very seriously. And BillBel gets 2 week against a team they lost to already, which BillBel usually learns a lot from.
So I may be surprised. I won’t hold my breath, but the reason I like BillBel is his ability to game out shit like this.
I’ve got to go with the Patriots in the Super Bowl. The Giants have had a nice run but if the Cowboys had won any of their last three games (or was it two) the Giants wouldn’t even be in the playoffs.
@emptywheel: Relax – the Pats are going to be fine.
Congrats to the new parents. Mine are 25 and 28 now. Frak how time flies. Enjoy it while you can.
@GulfCoastPirate: Oh pshaw, this is her ritualistic secret DOOM I TELL YOU DOOM! play. Then she springs the Brady and 12 TDs on the lulled into sleep foe!
did you look at their uniforms?
they were very likely exhausted.
you can’t play football much harder than those two teams played.
the patriots avoided a loss by a ball fortuitously knocked out of a receivers’ cradled arms.
the patriots avoided a tie by the poorly turned laces of the ball on a field-goal.
luck like this does not often repeat itself.
flacco certainly seemed to do as well as brady when it counted,
and john harbaugh could hardly be said to have been out-coached by bellichick.
John Harbaugh mystified me with his “pass on 1st down, run on 2nd down” tandem; which never worked against the Gints.
Still, an excellent year, by every one of the Niners’ organization !
Get yer Harbaughs straight dude!
@bmaz: Dadnabbit … sorry, Jim ! Can’t stand John or his blackbirds …
epu type info
the best coach ever ???
a tie between George Halas and Curly Lambeau
six championships each
they both did a lot more, but as championship winning coaches, they haven’t been surpassed yet
ah well. great year 49ers. i had to watch the final seconds of the game while awaiting the 7:30pm show outside the Groundlings theater peering across the street at the TVs in the sports bar. realized the guy and gal next to me doing the same was Jason Sudeikis (SNL) & his new lady Olivia Wilde (House).
@rosalind: Brush with greatness!
The first person to actually engage that discussion. I still say Lombardi, but you are right that Lambeau should have been in my list. My bad.
Get out the Duckboats.
Redemption ala Brady, Belichick and Bob Kraft style