This needs to end

Favre almost had us fooled:

Brett Favre unretired again and will be wearing purple this time. Chew on that, cheeseheads.

Pulling an about-face on his playing status for the second straight summer, the three-time MVP quarterback will suit up for his old rival Minnesota starting with Friday’s preseason game at the Metrodome. The goal: help the Vikings win that elusive first Super Bowl.

Let’s give this another try

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I have been starting and deleting NFL blogs since around 2006. My first one is no longer available online. My second one has since been taken over by someone else and is reasonably successful. This blog was started a little over three years ago, and has experienced off-and-one posting ever since. It’s been about a year and a half since I last posted here, but I’m ready to give it another go.

If you’re reading this, chances are you came to the site because of this post about JaMarcus Russell. History has, so far, proven me to be absolutely correct about him. On this small sliver of credibility, I’ll hope you’ll bookmark or subscribe to this site and give me a chance.

The first week of preseason is behind us, which means that we have another three weeks of meaningless football and tragic injuries before the real games begin. I’ll probably be posting several times a week between now and then, and more frequently during the season.

Eli Manning is all grown up–or is he?

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In the wake of Eli Manning’s performance in the playoffs and Super Bowl (now being declared Teh Best Evaaar!), many sports writers are officially declaring him to be “grown up”, with many Super Bowls still to come.

I’ve always been an Eli Manning fan, and I think he deserves [almost] all the praise he’s been given for his performance, but let’s back up for a moment. Manning was swell against the Bucs. Against the Cowboys he played another fantastic game. In the championship game against Green Bay he was off and on, but still managed to outplay Favre when it really counted.

And now we get to the game against New England. On the opening drive Manning led the Giants down the field for the first score of the game, albeit a field goal. Later, he led the Giants all the way down into the red zone again, but this time Steve Smith couldn’t hang on to a well-thrown pass and Manning was picked off.For much of the rest of the game, Manning was largely ineffective, neither making big plays nor throwing backbreaking interceptions. Meanwhile, the defense kept up a relentless pass rush, forcing Brady to miss several wide open throws that could have changed the game entirely.

Then the fourth quarter came around. Early on, Manning led the Giants down the field again, capping it with a perfectly thrown ball to give the Giants a 10-7 lead. Brady came back and answered, putting the Pats up 14-10. Here’s where I have to disagree with everything else that’s been written. I don’t deny that Manning stayed cool and collected on that final drive. He made several great throws, and he didn’t make any crucial mistakes. Or did he? Manning threw two passes that should have been intercepted. How the Patriot defenders managed to drop those two throws will never be known, but the fact remains that the Giants should have lost. If you ran back the scenario ten times, nine of those times one of those two passes would have been picked, and we (everyone but Patriot fans) would be subjected to intolerable levels of Tom Brady worship.

Luckily for us, the potential interceptions were dropped, and a blown coverage on Plaxico gave the Giants a lead they would cling to for the duration of the game. Manning deserves major credit for staying calm and making one of the greatest plays in Super Bowl history, but let’s be honest–the Giants’ defense was the real hero. They virtually shut down Randy Moss and made Tom Brady look very, very human. The offensive line that had looked invincible for most of the year suddenly started giving up sacks right and left (literally).

I couldn’t be happier for Eli Manning, but let’s not make this game something it isn’t. It was a great performance, but not a masterful one. It will cement Eli Manning as the starter in New York, and keep his job safe for several years. But let’s hold off on saying Manning has “grown up” or “come into his own”. He might very well have. But we’re dealing with a very small sample. Give him a chance next year, see how he plays, and then make a judgment.

2008 Super Bowl Ads

Agree? Disagree? Let me know what you think in the comments, and tell me how you’d rank them.

The absence of Emerald Nuts commercials made me very, very sad.

FIRST QUARTER

Bud Light Fire (7/10)- Mildly amusing, but not on par with some of the ads they’ve run in previous years. Still, I chuckled. One of the better ones of the night.

Audi (8/10)- The Godfather spoof was sheer brilliance.


Diet Pepsi Max
(7/10)- It started poorly, but ended well. They just couldn’t resist throwing in some gratuitious violence.

Sales Genie (0/10)- Not funny. Not convincing. In fact, it made me dislike Sales Genie. Subpar even for late night television. Horrific for the Super Bowl.

Bud Light Cheese (5/10)- Again, mildly amusing. But more what I’d expect during the second round of the Buick Open, not the Super Bowl.

Under Armour (5/10)- They tried a little too hard to get the goosebumps. Didn’t really work. Decent, but overstated.

Bridgeston (6/10)- Kinda funny, but nothing special.

SECOND QUARTER


Gatorade G2
(3/10)- Lame effort for the Super Bowl, fellas.

GoDaddy (0/10)- In poor taste, as usual.

Dell XPS (3/10)- The idea is to get me to want to own an XPS. I don’t.

FedEx (6/10)- Fairly good. Nothing special, but above average for this year.

Cars.com (7/10)- For some reason this one had me laughing. Stupid, but funny.

Tide (4/10)- Um. Weird.


Budweiser
(5/10)- Eh. Apparently it’s a spoof on something. Not really that good.

Toyota (6/10)- Again, decent, but not Super Bowl quality. This is a commercial you’d expect to see during the regular season.

Garmin (4/10)- Not as funny as it was trying to be.

CareerBuilder.com (8/10)- Creative. Funny. Well done.

LifeWater (1/10)- Unnnnnnnngh.

GMC (4/10)- Watching the little black guy pushing a rock up a hill got a bit tedious after, oh, maybe two seconds.

Bud Light (8/10)- Funny mainly because it built off last year’s.

Planter’s Nuts (5/10)- Aaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh.

T-Mobile (7/10)- A bit odd, but amusing. Built off a running joke they’ve been using for quite a while nowl.

Pepsi (10/10)- Seeing Justin Timberlake getting beat up was one of the highlights of the evening.

Doritos (3/10)- Did I miss something?

THIRD QUARTER

Claritin (2/10)- Um. You spent millions of dollars for…this?

Cars.com (9/10)- Probably one of the best of the night. Like the first one, except funnier.

Sales Genie (0/10)- Like the first one, except even worst.

Vitamin Water (6/10)- I like Vitamin Water. Their commercials…not so much.

Budweiser Cavemen (5/10)- Drop the cavemen motif already. Please.

IceCubes (4/10)- If you share our gum with Carmen Electra, she’ll say “Whoa”. Yeah, fantastic.

Bridgestone (4/10)- Same theme as the first, not half as funny.

CareerBuilder.com (6/10)- Kinda funny. Not memorable.

Hyundai (5/10)- Sorry folks. Simpler is not always better.

E*Trade (9/10)- Talking baby + Creepy clown = Superb.

Bud Light (7/10)- Similar to the first one. Again, gratuitous violence. But still amusing.

Sunsilk (5/10)- Eh.

Coca Cola (7/10)- Rather odd, but still mildly effective.

FOURTH QUARTER

Classic Coke (9/10)- Great commercial with Carville and Frist. You have to follow politics a bit to get it, but it was brilliant.

Toyota (6/10)- Fairly unexceptional, all in all.

E*Trade (9/10)- Same formula as the first, every bit as funny.

Taco Bell (6/10)- My biased hatred of Taco Bell food is probably skewing this one, but I thought it was a pretty lame ad.

Gatorade G2 (7/10)- Still not a great ad, but I liked this one a lot more than their first one.

Bud Light (10/10)- Will Ferrell at his finest. Really, really funny. Best commercial of the Super Bowl. “A magical blend of barley, hopps, and delicious alcohol.”

Hyundai (7/10)- I liked this one a lot more. Simple, but this time effective.

Victoria’s Secret (7/10)- I’m not sure this is the best commercial for the target audience, but I’m guessing most guys were watching intently.

Amp Energy (6/10)- Some people liked it. Me, not so much. Not the worst ad of the year.

Super Bowl Wrap

Well, well. So there you have it. 18-1*

That great gust of air you felt was the football world letting out a sigh of relief. There still is karma. And it’s a beautiful thing. For the third year in a row, Tom Brady cracked when it really counted. I’ve been saying it all year; they don’t give out Lombardis during the regular season. I’m pretty sure everyone on the Patriots team would gladly trade a couple of their regular season wins for one last night. Suddenly, beating the Redskins by fifty points doesn’t feel all that special, does it?

I’m officially ready to say that Eli Manning has grown up. He’s been legit since week 17, and that go-ahead touchdown drive at the end was the stuff of legends, as was the spectacular David Tyree catch. That play will cement itself as one of the greatest in Super Bowl history when it’s all said and done. Manning made a Houdini-like escape from the clutches of Jarvis Green, backed up, and heaved it thirty yards downfield where Tyree leaped above Rodney Harrison and barely managed to trap it against his helmet before getting a better grip on it as he fell to the ground.

The officiating for the game was excellent. There were a few questionable calls (and non-calls), but I don’t think anyone can say that they really impacted the game.

If there’s one thing this Super Bowl accomplished, maybe it will be that teams will stop kissing up to their opponents and finally have the guts to say what they actually think. Of course everyone thinks their going to win every game. So why not say so? Why pretend like you have all sorts of respect for your opponent when you don’t? Call it like you see it. Really, if you need the other team to predict a win to get motivated, then you need to hang up the cleats.

*- Lost to Eli Manning

Super Bowl Pick

Patriots 24, Giants 14

The Patriots will get off to a quick start. Possibly 14-0. The Giants will wake up late in the second half to make it 14-17, then it will be a long boring stretch with the Patriots putting the final nail in the coffin with a few minutes left in the game.

It’s Really Quite Simple

The front fell off.