Packers At Bears – The NFL Sun Comes Out Again Trash Talk

Trash Talk is back baybee! The NFL season starts for real tonight with the first game of the league’s centennial season. And, proving that even Roger Goodell and the NFL can occasionally get something right, the season starts with the Packers at the Bears. On Soldier field. Now that is a start to the season.

Honestly, the Bears are at home, and are probably, overall, the far better team. But the Cheesers have that Rodgers guy. If Green Bay’s O-Line can hold, they have a chance. If not, they don’t. It is pretty much that simple. Even a couple of Khalil Mackers to Aaron Rodgers will slow the Cheese train down. But, either way, it is one hell of a season opener.

There are a myriad of additional games on tap for Saturday in the college ranks, and Sunday, in the pro ranks. Not to mention the timeless speed of the Italian Grand Prix at Monza. Last weekend at Spa was a sensational race at, perhaps, the most beautiful circuit on the Circus calendar. Monza is not far behind, even if it is not the same as it once was with the feared steep banking.

So, Saturday is a big day here at Casa de bmaz as our daughter is coming home in the afternoon after six months on work assignment in India. We are extremely excited, but will try to get some more content up in the morning. If not, now you know why. The NFL sun is coming out starting tonight at Soldier Field. So the official Trash Talk season opening music is Sun King by The Cult. It is one truly kick ass song. Let’s rock and roll peoples!

The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Cards from Arizona

College football is done and over. I thought Clemson had a lot better chance against Bama than many did, mostly because of their quarterback, Deshaun Watson, and their defense. One of those was spot on, the latter, not so much. Irrespective, Alabama won fair and square in a fantastic game. Big hat tip to Tide QB Jake Coker, who proved to be calm and cool under big game status. He reminds me a little of Jim Harbaugh (and, seriously, I was personally present at Harbaugh’s last college game. Was in the Rose Bowl against ASU, and big Jim did not fare so well, but has had a hell of a career as a player and coach afterwards). Coker is a big kid, with a strong arm and huge heart. Coker might actually be a smart late round draft choice for an enterprising NFL team that could afford to try to groom him. I know Alabama QB’s have a bad name since Bart Starr and Joe Namath, but Coker seems to have something intangible.

Before we get down to the games, a word about David Bowie. Music, for better or worse, has always been a part of Trash Talk at Emptywheel. If you like it, many thanks, if not apologies. But a part it has always been. Because Trash has mostly been one of my duties here, you all usually get stuck with some music I select. Sorry about that.

I have been around a while (read: way too long chronologically) and, truly, have a pretty diverse range of likes in music. There has been everything from Charlie Pride and John Cash to Jimmy Hendrix and Be Bop Deluxe. And everything in between, here in Trash Talk. They are not particularly random selections, it is all music I have known and loved throughout my life. It is a very mixed bag, but I hope you enjoy it all as much as I do.

So….with a heavy heart, a bit of homage to David (Jones) Bowie. I almost did a standalone post on Bowie’s death, but I was pretty tied up in court this week, not to mention a few other things that consumed attention. But the sudden awareness of the loss of Bowie did indeed have a profound effect on me. David Bowie was never the number one band in the moving target of my rock fandom, but he was never very far off either. He was that good, that long, and in ever changing ways that made Bowie both unique and remarkable. There will always be music, but there will never be another Bowie. RIP Ziggy and David.

First up on the docket is the Chefs at Patriots. Edelman is back and ready to go full out. What does that mean, and will his foot hold up? Nobody knows. That was the early concern. But now it the bigger concern is Gronk. No, not the knee that has bee jabbered about, but his back. Gronk missed practice Thursday to get “treatment” at a local Boston hospital. Best bet that was for a serious epidural. Ouch. If Edelman and Gronk both play the full game and play well, then I will take the Pats. If not, then the Chefs may cook them. Alex Smith is not sexy, but he is scary good and consistent. And Andy Reid, while not maybe a game clock genius, is one heck of a coach overall.

The late game today is here in the cactus patch. Packers at Cards. I’m sure some sport will be made of my dual loyalties. I am a Cheesehead from very early in my childhood. It started when I read a book about a former Bear Bryant player by the name of Bart Starr and, about the same time, Lombardi and Green Bay drafted and featured an electrifying ASU player by the name of Travis Williams. Arizona had no pro football then, and still didn’t for a long time after the Cardinals plopped their carpetbags down here. The Cardinals were unlovable losers until they drafted Jake Plummer, another ASU hero. Jake the Snake was also electrifying. But the Cards were still the loser Cards until Kurt Warner and Larry Fitzgerald brought some real game. Both should be in the Hall of Fame, and both will be I hope. Now, under the guidance of Michael Bidwell, son of Bill Bidwell, and a quite decent chap I know from his days as an AUSA in the District of Arizona, the Cardinals are really embraced by the city of Phoenix and the state.

It took a very long time, but the Cards are really ours now, as Jerry Colangelo’s teams, the Suns and Diamondbacks were from the start. The Packers have won and been everything to pro football, from its inception. They are Titletown incarnate. But there is something special about the current Cards of Bruce Arians, Fitz, Carson Palmer, Honeybadger and all the rest. It is pretty contagious. I think Rodgers and the Pack are WAY different than they were a few weeks ago when Arizona rolled them. This will be a hell of a game, but Go Cards!

The early game on Sunday is Seattle at Carolina. The Panthers have been the darling of the 2015 season, and Cam Newton has been simply spectacular. Luke Kuechly, Josh Norman and the Carolina defense are better than even advertised. But the Squawks simply scare the hell out of me far more than the Panthers. We shall see what the Mode does, but the Seattle beast seams to be coming alive at just the right time. I’ll take the Squawks.

Lastly, the Steelers are gassing in the altitude at Mile High. Big Ben has a wounded clock arm, and Antonio Brown is out with the concussion the Bengals thugs claim didn’t happen. Bottom line, never count out the Stillers if Roethlisberger is on the field. But it is hard to see how the Steelers pull this off with an O-line that allowed the damage to Big Ben it did against the Bengals. Not to mention, of course, that Antonio Brown and D’Angelo Williams are out. Is it possible the Stillers overcome “against all odds”? You bet. But that is not my bet. I am betting on one last epic Peyton versus Major Tom battle for the AFC crown. But that is just me, the games speak for themselves.

So, that’s it. Music, of course, by Bowie. Suffragette City is one of the great rockers of all time. The overlaid guitar work by Mick Ronson is simply spectacular. Here’s a bit of trivia: There is a line in Suffragette City “Hey man, droogie don’t crash here, There’s only room for one and here she comes, here she comes”. Droogie is an homage to famed Brit author Anthony Burgess and his classic work A Clockwork Orange. The original book actually has a glossary with definitions for the liberal slang used throughout the book, and “droogie” is one of the more frequent terms used. It made it into the later (and, sadly, more famous) movie as well, but it really comes out in the book. Second fun fact: As quintessential a Bowie rocker as Suffragette City is, Bowie offered it to Mott the Hoople, but they took All the Young Dudes instead, which gave Mott new and continued life and, arguably, created their brand with the public. Bowie did so much for so many musicians over the years, his greatness is in all of them in addition to his own catalogue of work.

NOT Trash Talk: Watch This Space

Most unsportsy member of the Emptywheel team here, throwing up a placeholder post to catch the sports stuff.

Commenter Lefty665 “seeds the kitty”:

How about them Redskins? Gonna kick some Cheesehead butt. Rogers has all the history, but since the bye Cousins has been the better QB. GM Scott McCloughan has turned the ‘Skins around, Gruden has grown up as coach, and miracle of miracles, Snyder has apparently kept his fingers out of the pie for the first time ever.

Here’s a link to the tune for the day, Patty Loveless doing Darrell Scott’s “You’ll never leave Harlan Alive.”

Have at ’em. Marcy, bmaz, edit this post as you see fit whenever you have a few minutes.

Oh yeah, might be helpful to post this weekend’s NFL playoff game lineup:

Saturday: Pittsburgh Steelers versus Cincinnati Bengals — 8:15 P.M. EST — CBS (free)

Saturday: KC Chiefs versus Houston Texans — 4:15 P.M. EST — ABC/ESPN (free on ABC)

Sunday: Seattle Seahawks versus Minnesota Vikings — 1:05 P.M. EST — NBC (login required)

Sunday: Green Bay Packers versus Washington Redskins — 4:40 P.M. EST — FOX (login required)

Mashable’s posted info about streaming these games. Sucks if you have crappy internet, especially if you’re one of the roughly 30% of Americans without high speed internet access. Given how damned little came out of the FCC’s auction for 700Mhz bandwidth formerly used for analog television broadcast, does it ever feel like the auction was a scam to force the public to pay more to view sports?

Head upstairs where bmaz has posted the REAL trash talk tackling the divisional playoffs. I’ve also corrected the lineup to add Kansas City vs Houston *now in progress*, per NFL’s schedule. Wow, so pressure, much football, very relief. /Rayne

The Roger Goodell Fraud and Stupidity in Seattle’s End Zones

Screen Shot 2015-10-05 at 10.57.28 PMMost all who read this blog already know the patent bogosity that is #Deflategate. But, Roger Goodell, on behalf of the entire National Football League, relentlessly and petulantly screams that not only is the ginned up horse manure worthy of occupying the NFL’s time, he and the NFL have seen fit to copiously waste the time of two different levels of the federal court system.

Even worse, they have either sought, or by their unyielding craven attitude, caused stipulations to be entered that the federal court system accelerate their cases while far more important criminal and civil cases wait. It is the epitome of arrogance and corporate hubris and personal narcissism.

Roger Goodell has consistently lectured all the rest of us, who do not make $44 million a year for being an incompetent jerk, that the whole ginned up, factually unsupported, steer manure that is #Deflategate is all “to protect the integrity of the league”.

What a load of horse manure. Has Roger Goodell seen what happened in the end zone at the end to the game in Seattle last night?? If the “integrity of the league” is not at issue with this type of blatant misapplication of the clear rules, and … what confirmation (or not!) by the NFL’s vaunted replay system (which is curiously not applied in many situations when it is dispositive), then what is?

Well, okay, THAT was really stupid and in complete contradiction of the crystal clear NFL rules. But hey, it is not like the referees could have looked at tape and done the honest thing to not hand the game on a platter to the Seahawks and skew the league for the entire year. Well, of course, they actually COULD HAVE done the right thing, but just did not. But beyond screwing the pooch, then the NFL’s stenographers at ESPN put up some former NFL referee expert™ to explain and cover for the patently obvious wrongful cow dung. Because that is what toadies do I guess.

Not exactly the first time, however, the NFL has willingly sanctioned and ratified stupidity in a Seattle Seahawks end zone that ended up screwing, and altering, the lives and seasons of teams and players across the league. No, of course, there was this intellectually insulting crap that occurred because Roger Goodell was too cheap to pay the referees and umpires in his league a few extra bucks (maybe if NFL paid more, they could get better, and full time, officials). Watch Goodell’s inglorious work in the 2012 game between Seattle and Green Bay:

So, the “integrity of the game” didn’t matter when Roger Goodell was trying to bust the game officials’ union for a cheap last couple of dollars. The “integrity of the game” apparently doesn’t matter to the NFL, or their apologists, over the sham that clearly occurred in Seattle last night. And Goodell and the NFL’s precious “integrity of the game” seems, to them, to be worth more than all other civil litigants in SDNY and the 2nd Circuit, even if there are serious civil rights and criminal cases that get shoved aside for their arrogance.

But Roger Goodell struts out like the $44 million a year arrogant peacock that he is and claims obsessively that a ginned up sting job the league ran on Tom Brady and the Patriots, that has absolutely no credible evidence to support it, was “necessary” for the “integrity of the game”.

The millions of dollars for an inherently biased, not to mention intellectually and legally incoherent, Ted Wells report, the waste of time, and acceleration before all other pending cases and controversies, including criminal cases with lives in the balance, of a federal judge in the Southern District of New York (SDNY)…that was in Roger Goodell’s “Integrity of the game”. They now waste time in the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, and on an accelerated basis – all on affirmative initial filings by Goodell and the NFL – that, too, is in the precious “integrity of the game” for Roger Goodell.

The only thing that does not seem to be within the “integrity of the game” for Roger Goodell and the NFL is actual integrity and sense of place for the game. What a clownshow Roger Goodell is, and is running for the vaunted NFL shield.

Real NFL Trash Talk: Packers Fair and Square

Yo. How y’all doing out there? Yeah, yeah, trash talk has bee a bit thin for a while. And some “other” blogger at this site has been carping at me about that. I would say it was righteous carping…BUT no can do.

One of the first humans I ever saw hopping on the Brittney Griner train when she was a Baylor Bear was Marcy. Yet when Brittney, the Phoenix Mercury and Diana Taurasi advance to the WNBA Championship, I hear nothing. What is a self righteous Emptywheel denizen to do?? I ask you! This would never have happened if our old friend Bob Schacht were around to scold us. I miss Bob.

But, tonight, the WNBA is an afterthought because real live genuine NFL Football is here. At long last love.

Tonight is all about the Heroes of Titletown, the one and only Green Bay Packers, going to the land of clouds and rain to visit the Seattle Seasquawks.

Pretty awesome opening game, no? Yeah, don’t mess around, of course it is. It is on NBC, tune in or get out.

Seattle is one tough joint to play a gig in for a football team. But, that said, the Arizona Cardinals, of all people and teams, went in to the Emerald City late last season and knocked off the Squawks. If the local yokel Cardinals can do it, then Aaron Rodgers and the Pack can.

Will they? Okay, I am not betting any of my fleeting real money on it, but I think Aaron Rodgers can out fox Richard Sherman. GO PACK GO!

Trash Talk: The NFL Season Begins Packers & Saints

It’s Here!! It seemed like it may never happen the way things looked in the spring and early summer but, unlike those mopes in Washington DC, the NFL and the players figured out what needed to be done for the long term, and got it done. Not some freaking kick the can down the road for a couple of months, or pass the buck off to a “Super-Committee” of bribed up asshole politicians, but a comprehensive and fair agreement for the next ten years. The Congress and Executive Branch in DC could learn a few things from our mindless sports pastime.

There are a couple of other updates I would like to get out of the way before we get down to business. First, in the biggest news of the day – and this is going to break Marcy’s heart – Peyton Manning is in a world of hurt. Manning had a cervical fusion operation today, and will be out 2-3 months. I would not bet against Peyton returning this year, but I find it unlikely. Unless the Colts are looking good for the playoffs late in the season, why would you put him out there? The surgery sounds very serious, and anything involving the spinal column is that, but it is fairly common actually. I have seen several personal injury clients through the process in the upper cervical area, all with good results and very little effective reduction in motion range. He will be back; just maybe not this year.

Secondly, good old Henry Waxman is again reaching his unneeded long hairy arm into the world of professional sports:

Today Rep. Henry A. Waxman sent a letter to National Football League (NFL) and National Football League Players’ Association urging them to put in place human growth hormone testing (HGH) procedures for the players without further delay. Despite agreements to test and impose penalties for HGH use, the NFL and the Players Association have failed to finalize HGH testing procedures in time to begin testing before tonight’s start of the 2011 season.

Here is the full letter. Waxman had no basis to be sticking his hand in the sports pie as head of House Oversight, and only slightly more as chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee. I guess the NFL is commerce but, really, that is a little thin; with all of the concerns in this country and Washington DC, this is not among the top of them. What really pisses me off is that Waxman is out there making a stink about this crap and, from what I am told, still pushing buttons behind the scene to maintain the prosecution of Roger Clemens.

What the Oh So Honorable Mr. Waxman, nor even any of his lesser staffers, manage to find time for is to discuss the issues behind the DOJ colluding with admitted felon obstructor of justice Scott Read more

SuperBowl XLV Trash Talk

As of post time, it appears SuperBowl XLV will still be played in Reykjavík Texas despite the spate of injuries to innocent plaintiffs, er fans, from ice falling off of Cowboys Stadium. SuperBowls should be played in reasonable and warm climates, not the frozen tundra of Texas. As Dallas born and bred Stevie Ray Vaughn knows, the Texas Flood will give you the blues; just think what the ice storm they have been suffering the past few days will do.

Now the thing that has most fascinated me from all the usual build up hype this week is the discovery that, apparently, all stud Packers quarterbacks are Vikings, whether at the start of their career or the geezerly end. Who knew?

Despite my Geezer based flirtation with the Vikings, and despite living in a city with a semi-pro football team known as the Cardinals, I have been a lifelong Green Bay Packer Cheesehead. I read a biography of Bart Starr when I was maybe eight years or so old and a kid, even ones in places with no teams, had to “have a team”. Mine became the Packers, and the deal was cemented for a lifetime when, at Vince Lombardi’s express demand, the Pack drafted Travis Williams from Arizona State and he had a breakout year his rookie season in 1967, setting the rookie record for kickoff returns, including two in one game against the Cleveland Browns. The Cardinals may be here now, but I am a Cheesehead for life. And I am still waiting for Phred to send me my damn cheesehead she promised years ago. This is in contrast to that “other blogger” here at Emptywheel, who lives equidistant from the Packers, Bears and Lions and seems to want to claim all of them.

The game itself looks to be fantastic. Two original NFL teams that bring their lunchpail to the field. And, in that regard, it is notable that both teams come from the heart of the American workforce, people that make things and do things, and are supporters of American labor. From the Alliance for American Manufacturing:

This year’s Super Bowl presents a special match-up: two teams named for the local industries that support their diehard fans. The Steelers emerged from Pittsburgh’s steelmaking foundries, while the Packers honor their sturdy meatpacking industry.

Both teams are understandably proud of their hometown fans and the work they do. Both Green Bay and Pittsburgh were built on manufacturing, and are the respective epicenters of paper and meatpacking, and of the steel industry, in America. Both cities have suffered heavy manufacturing job losses, but some paper production remains in Green Bay, and Pittsburgh still retains a steel presence. Both Green Bay and Pittsburgh also enjoy a loyal following built on the middle-class, blue-collar jobs supported by these industries.

The video above of Packers AJ Hawk and Mason Crosby is refreshing. It is good to see top flight NFL players standing up for the incredibly important, but too often ignored, principle that the United States needs to renew its ability to actually make things as opposed to the craven churning of financial products that seems the focus of “business’ these days.

To get back to the game, both teams have excellent defenses with genuine stars and studs from the line to defensive backfield; they bring it all game long and make big plays when it counts. Green Bay appears to have the more explosive and superior offense, but I am not sure that is really the case. The Steelers can make big plays and chew up yardage in a hurry when the need to; it is just that their preference is to grind it out and eat up the clock. They are very good at that. Although the Pack seems to have found a solid running game with James Starks, but you would still have to give the edge there to Pittsburgh with Rashard Mendenhall.

Both teams have a few nicked up players, but the only major issue on the injury front belongs to the Steelers who will be without Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey, who went out in the AFC Championship game with a high ankle sprain. This could pose a few problems for Big Ben, but he has played on the run all year anyway from a somewhat leaky offensive line; he should be able to cope just fine.

The rest of the story you all already know from the discussions and Trash Talks throughout the playoffs. These teams are who we thought they were, and that is how they are gonna play Sunday. So, let the trash talking begin! Go Cheesers!