emptywheel’s Famous Football Trash Talk Thread* – Division Playoff Edition

We are now down to genuine pro football. No more Cinderellas; the teams that ought to be here are here. No more "best of the rest" discussions, no more silly BCS games without the best teams playing. Three out of the four games are being played outdoors, where football is meant to be played. Hoosiers, I’m talking about you; you got to toughen up, if you can’t plant your butts outside for three hours to watch Peyton and the Colts, you aren’t real fans. Time to get down and dirty.

Pats and Jags – The Asterisk Bowl! The Jags seemed a lot tougher before they wimped out and took down their website asterisk on the Pats. Thats it, they are toast. Belichick was already going to use the asterisk bit, now he and the Pats are going to flat out disrespect the Jags as a bunch of wusses. For the Jags, DT John Henderson has a touchy hammy, but will play and LB Mike Peterson has a bad paw and is doubtful. The Pats don’t even have any injuries to report; uh oh, 16-0 and they are fully healthy. The Jags are a very good team, are well coached, and earned their way here; but they are done now. Buh bye.

Pack and Seagulls – Jonathan Livingston Seahawk is flying in to TitleTown. Prodigal sons Holmgren and Hasselbeck return to that from which they came. A couple of weeks ago, I would have told you Seattle wouldn’t get out of the wildcard matchup. Last week, it was close, but I thought the Skins would eke out a win. Give em credit though, the Seahawks are playing well, and Holmgren is a good coach. I have to admit, I am more than a little worried. However, Brett Favre is loose and ready. Favre is always ready for some football; he is a 38 year old kid on a playground. I think its different this time though, because he has already indicated he is coming back, so he is not worried about it being his last game and he believes in the kids around him, and they believe in him. Ryan Grant looks like a real find at running back and his style is perfect for this kind of field and this time Read more

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including Vice, Motherboard, the Nation, the Atlantic, Al Jazeera, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse in Grand Rapids, MI.

emptywheel’s Famous Football Trash Talk Thread – Wildcard Weekend Edition

At long last, the playoffs are upon us. Well, the playoffs are upon us for the NFL anyway; there are still no playoffs for major college football, so we will once again have to settle for a BCS title game with arguably the wrong participants.

Saturday’s Games
Skins at Seahawks – In the their last 26 games at home, Seattle is 22-4. Qwest field is as loud and disruptive an environment as any out there, if not more so. Hasselbeck and Alexander have been playing very well of late (and hey, Hasselbeck’s brain dead sister in law is returning to The View! It must be a sign!). This one seems pretty cut and dried. So I’ll take the Skins in another upset. Joe Gibbs has an even better playoff pedigree than Mike Holmgren and the Skins are really playing as a dedicated team in the aftermath of the tragic murder of Sean Taylor. And Gibbs has a history of playoff runs with quarterbacks pressed into duty out of the dust bin. Todd Collins fits the mold perfectly and Clinton Portis appears healthy.

Jags at Stillers – I don’t know what to make of this one. EW has been riding with the smart money lately on the Jags and they are solid in all aspects of the game. There is something about Rothlisberger that I am always hesitant to bet against; he is one tough kid and a hell of a leader considering how young he is. The absence of Willie Parker is brutal though; the Jags don’t have to worry about breakaway speed from the running game and Rothlisberger’s ability to run play action is hurt. That is the difference; Jags win.

Sunday’s Games
Giants at Buccos – Will Eli be as reliable as one of those Citizen EcoDrive watches? Can the Bucs keep Jeff Garcia protected from the Giants rush? I have no idea on this one; both teams seem flaky to me.

Titans at Bolts – This would a no brainer if we were not talking about the Chargers and Norv Turner. I firmly believe that history has definite patterns and sage lessons to teach, and the history in this regard for the Bolts and Turner is bleak. Vince Young sure isn’t going to be mistaken for Joe Montana any time soon for the beauty Read more

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including Vice, Motherboard, the Nation, the Atlantic, Al Jazeera, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse in Grand Rapids, MI.

Okay Already, Here’s Your Damn Trash Talk Thread

Everyone’s spoiling my Bhutto thread with their damn trash talk, so I’ll put up this one, a whole day early. Jeebus, you put the Pats on TV and people get all uppity. (Incidentally, this Pats-on-three-channels thing started after John Kerry complained; where was all this gumption in 2004 when we needed it???)

That said, as much as I’m hoping the Pats win (and recognizing that, even without Shockey, the Giants have a shot), I’m most interested in those games that actually, you know, matter. I’m of the opinion that the most interesting factor still to be decided for the playoffs is who has to face the Jacksonville Jaguars when. The Jags have the ability to beat either the Colts or the Pats (though they have one of those blocks against beating Peyton), to say nothing of those "division winners" with worse records than the Jags. And those guys are Hu-Ge. Will San Diego put up enough against the hapless Raiders to earn the right to avoid the Jags, and if not, will the Parker-less Steelers be able to beat a very cranky Baltimore to avoid the team that beat them a few weeks ago? I’ve gotta hunch that one of these games will be an upset, and I’m hoping it’s San Diego.

And while we’re at it, can the Titans and ‘Skins beat the Colts’ and ‘Boys’ second stringers, respectively, in order to seal up their playoff spots? Even the TO-less ‘Boys aren’t going to want to get beat by their big conference rivals. And Dungy probably remembers the lesson of 2005 acutely, so will try to avoid treating this game like a rest game.

So I think all of those games may be more interesting than the Pats’ dance with history.

But just in case, I’m going to do what I’ve been doing for several weeks, to ensure the solid play from a key Pat: I’m going to predict that if the Pats lose, it’ll be because Rodney Harrison has lost a step. You see, every time I suggest Rodney-Roid no longer has the speed and power he needs to compete, he comes on and makes some really key defensive stops. That’s the whole point of trash talk, after all, isn’t it? To incite your team to win and win big?

Go Pats!

Update: Brady soft porn courtesy of joejoejoe. mr. emptywheel hates when I play that YouTube. But it’s one of Read more

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including Vice, Motherboard, the Nation, the Atlantic, Al Jazeera, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse in Grand Rapids, MI.

Emptywheel’s Famous Football Trash Talk Thread – Holiday Edition

The weekend is upon us, which means it is time for some trashing and burning (Note: not for you folks working for Cheney at his "ceremonial" office, you have trashed and burned quite enough this week). You may ask "why, bmaz, is Cheney’s Vice Presidential Office ceremonial"? Don’t ask such silly questions, everyone knows he mans the President’s office while his feckless sidekick, Boy Dunder, rides his trike and clears brush. Without further adieu, here are some of my takes:

Green Bay at Da Bears – What can I say, when the head cat is away, the rat is gonna play. So the lead game on this week’s thread is not the Pats. Oh, the sacrilege. Its a shame Phred isn’t around to see the Pack in the pole position. Da Bears are having an injury filled downer of a season. But it is late December, Halas and Lombardi, classic Black and Blue Division football. While Soldier Field may not be the frozen tundra of Lambeau, it sure isn’t much warmer if the wind is up. With these two old foes you can throw their records out the window when they get together. Well, perhaps you can throw the records out the window, not me; um, I’ll take the Pack.

Fish at Pats – If I wasn’t worried that mom would take my car keys away, I am not sure I would bother with this one. The Dolphins are a once proud and grand franchise that have really fallen on hard times. I guess it seemed like the right idea to them at the time; but somehow or another you just knew that sooner or later they would regret giving Don Shula the bums rush out of town, even if it was for Jimmy Johnson. Pats ought to be able to rest Brady by the time the two minute warning is given. In the first half that is.

Browns at Bengals and Skins at Vikes – These are my co-choices for best of the rest. Neither one of them seem particularly appealing on the surface; but both have some compelling story lines going. The Browns may be the story of the year when it is all said and done. They have been playing good, smart, conservative ball all year. And winning. At the Read more

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including Vice, Motherboard, the Nation, the Atlantic, Al Jazeera, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse in Grand Rapids, MI.

Emptywheel’s Famous Football Trash Talk Thread

Hello there sports fans and fanettes. You have probably been wondering what happens to the New England Patriots if Tom Brady is injured or out. The second string is a pretty severe step down; for those scoring at home, or even if you are alone (shameless rip off from Keith Olbermann), Brady’s backup is Matt Cassel, a perfectly fine chap, and by all accounts a good quarterback. But he is no Tom Brady.

Well, here at Emptywheel, we have the same phenomenon. My name is bmaz, and I am no Emptywheel. Most of you know me; and for those that don’t, well, please don’t be scared off. This will not be the only thread; there will be substantive thread as well, if, and as, called for. If you see breaking news that is important, or have something critical for discussion, please ante up. I have noticed in the past the absolutely incredible talent that frequents this site, and TNH before it, tends to dissipate when Marcy is away. The group I know and love, and that is all of you (crikey, even the house troll I suppose), is too good, and works too well together, for that to happen. I will do my best to at least be a marginally competent guest host, but its no good without all of you; so have at it.

With the pleasantries thus out of the way, lets get down to business. It is crunch time in the NFL:

Looks like the weather may be a bit dicey in the greater Beantown area. Are the the Pats going to need a work furlough crew of convict snow plow drivers; or is Belichek going to hang a 75 point runup on his ingrate student, Mangini?

Did you know there was a game tonight between the Bengals and 49ers on the NFL Network? Do you even get the NFL Network? For those answering yes to these two questions, hey Mr. and Mrs. Dilfer and hey Mr. and Mrs. Palmer.

Will Brett Favre make his 251st straight start against the Rams in St. Louis? Is this record more astounding than Cal Ripken’s streak of 2,632 games? My take – of course he will, and it just might be.

The best of the rest appears to me to be the Browns v. the Bills. Read more

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.

Football Trash Talk Thread

I had intended to post this thread on Friday, as a regular feature on the new digs for the rest of the season. But with so much going on, I’m just getting around to it now. To catch us up on the football trash talk, I give you Neil:

It’s 36F and overcast in Foxborough with a steady 6 MPH breeze from the northeast. You can run or throw in this weather. The players won’t be tight from extreme cold. It’s apparent the loss of Roosevelt Colvin has made the Pats run defense more vulnerable, putting additional pressure on the suspect secondary. The Pats will have a sophisticated game plan to take away the Steelers strength on offense.

The 10 point spread is an over estimate. I think the Pats have a 3-point advantage. Vegas has gotten in wrong for three weeks in a row. Things have changed since the early routes. Vegas is still catching up.

This week in the NFL is when fatigue sets in. Players’ minds are sharp but their bodies can’t execute at the same level as earlier in the season. Better, more disciplined athletes will make the plays. Expect errors like turnovers and drops that affect the outcome.

About the Rodney Harrison watch, we continue to observe if a failure on defense that results in a loss is caused by this “experienced” free safety or steroid withdrawal symptoms.

The Lions are up 10-7 against the Cowboys early in the second quarter with the ball in the red zone.

 I agree with Neil about the spread: this is going to be a very tough game for the Pats. If only the Steelers were playing as well in away games as they have in years past, I’d be even more conservative than Neil.

The Rodney Harrison reference is to something I said last week; I predicted he would be the weak link in the Pats inevitable loss this year. But I think he must have read what I said, because he was really instrumental in stepping it up against the Ravens last week. Though I agree with Neil: without Roosevelt Colvin, the Linebackers all of a sudden look as old and creaky as I am.

And about those hapless Lions? They’re now up 20-7 against the ‘Boys. 

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including Vice, Motherboard, the Nation, the Atlantic, Al Jazeera, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse in Grand Rapids, MI.