Saturday, January 12, 2008

I'm back, and just as mediocre as ever.

Damn, it’s been almost a month since my last post. That sucks for you. I have excuses but nobody cares, so lets just get right into it.

Quite honestly my return post looks nothing like the article I had prepped on Saturday. I had two pages ready to go about how the Pats have ridden the NFL’s storyline arm to reach an undefeated record and was ready to document each and every bad call in the game against Jacksonville, both for and against the NFL’s golden boys.

Than a funny thing happened. The crew assigned to the Pats game called just about the best game I’ve seen by an officiating crew all year. Sure there were some close calls (Jax 1st TD, mystery facemask call on Seau, roughing the passer call against Jax) but overall other than the refusal to call holding against the Pats line and receivers it was a well called game. It really came down to a piss poor game plan by Jacksonville on D and the weather not helping them contain the Pats offense.

That’s not to say that the NFL had a good officiating weekend. The Colts got every questionable call that the NFL’s storyline committee could dream up in order to maintain the dream game of Peyton vs. Brady. But somehow the Colts failed to take advantage and squandered what should have been a gift-wrapped win.

Unfortunately the weekend’s results in the AFC leaves us with the most unappealing match-up possible in my eyes, as the NFL’s biggest assholes travel to take on the NFL’s golden boys backed by the most annoying fans.

Lets start with the visitors. San Diego consistently produces the most despicable football players in the NFL. Something about the culture of that team brings out the worst in players. Going back to the development of Harrison and Seau (more on them later) this team has been full of cheap shot artists, steroid abusers, overrated hacks and loudmouths.

The poster boy for the Chargers D is Shawne Merriman. You only need to know that he has been caught using steroids to wonder how the NFL, Nike and the announcers can continue to prop up this overrated piece of garbage. The guy is good at one thing and one thing only, blitzing the QB. Sure this gets you media recognition and probowl slots as most are either to lazy or dumb to take a look at his overall game. But this guy is such a liability in run support and pass coverage that there is no way he should be getting any kind of love from football savvy watchers. This guy is the complete San Diego package, overrated, steroid abuser, loudmouth hack, nice.

His supporting cast on D isn’t much better, hell the team isn’t referred to as Bengal’s West for nothing. Louis Castillo, steroid user, Shaun Phillips (the real best LB on the squad) has had offfield run ins with the police (reportedly fought with officers after putting a woman in a headlock), Marlon McCree has taken up the late hit/cheap shot position left vacant by Harrison, and that’s just picking 1 guy from each level.

Then you head over to the offense, sure LT is the teams best known player, but the traditional leadership position is manned by this guy.

Mr. Personality himself, Philip Rivers.

Damn, if I had know what an assclown this guy was, I never would have supported the move to trade Fredo Manning for this guy. I thought the Chargers did the right thing from a talent and football maturity standpoint. It turns out I was way off. The talent levels are comparable and Rivers looks as if he should still be in diapers by the tantrums he pulls on the field. This is the guy you let Drew Breese go for? This is the long-term face of your organization. A.J. Smith, you are a genius.

Other than that there isn’t too much bad on this offense. Sure LT’s halo is a media fabrication, if you care to look around there is plenty of ass-hattery there. But this is starting to run long, and we haven’t even delved into the Pats and their fans.

I've made no secret of my dislike of the Pats, and as the season has gone on my disdain has only grown. The team is given verbal BJ's by the media on a daily basis. I've almost completely stopped watching ESPN and listening to both ESPN and NFL radio due to the nauseating coverage.

Somehow this team is almost universally praised for doing things the right way both on and off the field. Praised for their player's sportsmanship and dedication. The only dissent being the complaints that Bellichick runs up the score, which is the one place I agree with them, you are on the field to score, it’s the other team's job to stop you.

But how can the media ignore the constant cheap shots by Harrison and Seau, the eye gouging by Wilfork, the taunting by Brady, Moss’ remarkable revival as he front runs for a playoff team after quitting on his previous two teams. Make no mistake; this team is full of dirty players and assholes.

Hell, lets remember that Harrison was referred to by many as the dirtiest player in the league while in San Diego, for committing the same actions that he is now praised for in New England. Harrison is one of the few players I have actually rooted for to get injured and laughed out loud when he broke his arm last year. Sure I call for the opposition to take out Brady, but its in jest and I appreciate his football skills. Harrison is a thug with no redeeming qualities.

I have never liked Seau; the guy has always been a fraud in my eyes. While in San Diego the team listed him at OLB instead of MLB just to ensure he would make the probowl. He has preached class on and off the field while being a dancing cheap shot artist on the field. His tearful retirement ceremony was just another publicity stunt in this man’s sham of an image. Is it any surprise that both he and Harrison have San Diego ties?

But this pales in comparison to the NFL’s kid glove treatment of the Pats, and their self absorbed fans. The most egregious thing I have seen all year in the NFL is the official's treatment of the Pats. This team has been given every possible advantage on the field by the NFL's unbiased officiating crews. Every time the Pats were challenged by the opposing team, the yellow hankies came out to salt the game away for the Pats. The Giants game was the most flagrant example of the NFL's desire to maintain the perfect season storyline. Early in the game the Pats were given 1st downs when struggling on offense to keep the Giants from building an early lead. Once the Giants offense proved they could move the ball almost at will against the Pats, the officials found questionable call after questionable call to make against the Giants offense. We need go no further than the week 12 and 13 games against the Eagles and Ravens to see that this team does not deserve a perfect record. Make no mistake; the Pats need to distribute perfect season bonuses to the leagues officials as a thank you for the 16-0 gift they received.

This would be more than enough to wish bodily harm on Tom Brady and Randy Moss, but remember I am a Raider fan; I lived in New England for 10 years prior to my recent move to Pittsburgh. I watched the Pats go from an afterthought, with most of my friends from that area identifying them as their “2nd favorite NFL team” to a region full of bandwagoners. I watched the NY Giants flags & bumper stickers in southern CT be replaced by Pats flags and bumper stickers (hell I had 1 neighbor put his brand new Pat Patriot bumper sticker right over the old NY Giants sticker). The entire region is in full bandwagon mode.

Look, I have nothing against Boston as a whole; I met my wife there, went to college there, and still have friends there (well maybe not after this column). But the Pats fan with his constant whining about the officiating (1st the Pats have been handed more games in the last 7 years than any other team, 2nd if the Pats hadn’t been breaking the rules on PI there would have been no need to re-emphasize them) the way they take anything said negatively about the team as a personal affront, and the way they defend the most undefendable actions of the team is nauseating.

So here I am, with only two NFL weekends left, and I am guaranteed that one of these two teams will be a major part of both weekends, the only thing I am left to root for is some sort of natural disaster to hit Foxboro this weekend, eliminating both teams from the playoffs. Hopefully God hates douchbags as much as I do and will smite both teams before our very eyes this weekend. But he has already abandoned his coach, Dungy, and linebacker, Rey Rey, so I have little hope for the majority of NFL fans.

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