Monday, January 31, 2011

Where the streets have no name: U2 and the best Superbowl half time show ever.

The best Superbowl half time show of all time? Naturally, it was a bunch of lads from Dublin. Let's face it - there will never be another Superbowl half time show as good as U2 in 2002. Ever. There simply isn't anything that can top it. From the choice of songs (two absolute classics), to the incredible reaction from the crowd, the classy sans-politicking memorial all the way to Bono's enjoyably over the top showmanship. There isn't even any point in holding up other half time show as comparison as it would be like comparing The Tulsa Dirt Dogs Sunday slow pitch softball team to The Boston Red Sox.

U2 managed to do the almost impossible, by being both dignified and entertaining, in an often electric manner. They grabbed the attention of people all around the Globe. It was the perfect performance for an imperfect time in our lives.

Peter King of CNNSI wrote emotively;
"U2's two songs -- I wish it had been nine -- were perfect for the occasion. 'Beautiful Day' was more baleful than what I heard on tour, and 'Where the Streets Have No Name' sounded better because it was less noisy than a usual concert, I think because of the backdrop of all the names of the people who died in the Sept. 11 tragedy. I praise you, NFL, selfishly, for giving me 11 terrific minutes at halftime of a great event."

The New York Daily News said;
"During last night's halftime show, the mini-concert by U2 managed to strike the right mood of patriotism, pride and solemnity in this first Super Bowl since the Sept. 11 tragedy.

The Boston Globe's Dan Shaughnessy, who had previous to this never written a good word about anything (with apologies, Dan!) said;
"U2's Super Bowl halftime performance -- with names of the deceased from 9/11 scrolling while they played 'Where the Streets Have No Name' -- was the greatest halftime show in the history of sporting events. Hands down."

First up, U2 came on stage to 'Beautiful Day'

At the time, on a personal level, this was one of those pinnacle life moments for me. The new England Patriots had miraculously made it to the Superbowl against all the odds and were not only competing they were actually leading. The defence was playing out of it's skin and Tom Brady looked like a veteran and not the rough-around-the-edges rookie he actually was.

I was home watching with my Dad, my brother and my friend Paul and I didn't even know U2 were going to be the half time entertainment. When they came on stage I thought to myself 'This really can't get any better'.

It was indeed a beautiful day Bono, touché

The opening song was a great way to kick things off but I don't think anyone was prepared for what followed. Bono and the Edge singing softly together as the massive September 11th memorial unveiled behind them was to date the most simple yet moving and caring memorial to that terrible day I have seen. The mesmeric guitar opening to 'Where the streets..' started up in the background and the Louisiana crowd was ready to explode long before Bono offered 'I want to dance, in the Louisiana rain'

Here is 'Where the streets have no name' in all it's glory.

If this doesn't make your heart beat just a little bit stronger, well then, you are already dead inside.

Forget the nip-slip, forget the awful 'The Who' showing, or the lethargic, aged Rolling Stones stumble down memory lane. Forget the rest, this was the best.



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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A few general sporting queries from Zelgebrat the extraterrestrial

Greetings, earthlings. I am Zelgebrat the space alien. I have traveled light years to visit your planet. Do no be alarmed by my flawless English. By complete fluke it would appear we speak the exact same language. Let's cut to the chase. I am absolutely fascinated by this thing you call 'sports'. Since I have landed on your planet I have assimilated 4,567,967 hours of sporting action with my enormous alien brain. I love it. I am hooked. We don't have anything like it on Planet Zingaboom, where we are primarily into bloated gloating and various forms of foot fetish as forms of exercise. ‘Sports’, as you call it, absolutely riveting.

I just have a few questions. Maybe you can help me out.

Leading off, this NHL hockey thing looks interesting. I am kind of stumped by a few parts of it though. Why does the guy who scores come off the ice immediately after scoring? Is that a rule? Or just a tradition? Why do they allow players to fight? In other sports players are ejected for fighting. I don't get it. Is that just a tradition too?

I tried watching some soccer football, and at first I enjoyed it. My massive alien brain particularly enjoyed watching the teams Barcelona and Arsenal weave their intricate passing moves together. However, eventually my even handed alien propensity for logic has forced me to give up on soccer. There is just too much simulation. Players dive to the ground without even being touched, often affecting the outcome of the game. Why does FIFA not step in and ban players for 3-5 games for 'diving'? This would stomp it out immediately. Why don't they act? Maybe they are too busy counting cash obtained from bribes. FIFA officials seem to approve of a good bribe.

FIFA have so far not returned my calls

Moving on, as I transmongified around the planet, hopping effortlessly from earth country to earth country, I thoroughly enjoyed the adult pastime of gambling on sporting events. It made the games more exciting, and although ill never get to spend them, I very much enjoyed winning many earth units of currency. Now, why was I not allowed gamble in the country you earthlings call the United States? I could gamble in Ireland, I could gamble in England. I could even gamble in Russia. However, not in the United States. I was allowed purchase an automatic weapon, which I could then go out and kill many people with, but I wasn't allowed place a considered adult wager. This confused me greatly.

Continuing on to NFL football, excuse my alien innocence, but I don't get all the adulation for this Ray Lewis individual, he of the Ravens of Baltimore. Also, why did Baltimore choose such a dramatically non-intimidating bird as their logo? Back to Ray Lewis, I watched the game against Pittsburgh on my 6D TV aboard my spacecraft, and was bemused at the incessant praise being heaped on him. What's that you say? 6D? Yes, it's pretty superior to 4D and 5D. Lewis, it appears to me, is almost always the last guy in on the tackle, and yet the commentary teams were fawning over him as if he was the second coming of the one you earthlings call, LT.

One has to note, he doesn't seem to be an upstanding citizen, either. Lewis was involved in the murder of Jacinth Baker and Richard Lollar, for which he was both suspended and fined a quarter of a million by the NFL. Legally, he got out of a murder charge by testifying against two friends. He then paid off the Lollar and Baker families as a result of a civil suit. If you are innocent, why pay people off? I have to ask, and again excuse my alien innocence, why is this guy given such a pillar to stand on and be praised upon?

Amongst the many million hours sporting events I assimilated into my wildly enormous alien brain, I found the NBA perhaps the most aggravating. It would appear to be some kind of theatrical performance, rather than a sport. The pudgy little referees have way too much room to make arbitrary calls and subsequently have way too much influence on the game. Some call fouls, some don't, some eject players for seemingly absolutely nothing. Some fix games for betting purposes. Amongst all the sports I watched, and I am even including such non-sports as cricket here, the NBA referees are easily the worst arbiters of sporting events. Why do you earthlings accept this?

Oh, one more question before I go. This weekend past I had some serious alien business to attend to off-planet, so I missed the AFC Championship game. I assume the Jets of New York won, and are on their inevitable and unstoppable march to the Superbowl? Right? I mean, they seemed pretty confident about it, so I assume they won? Otherwise, all that foot stomping, gloating, all those back flips in the ends zone and self touting, that would have all seemed pretty ridiculous, no?!

I have many more questions, which I will drop by and pose to you earthlings at an undetermined date in the future, for now, keep watching the skies, the truth is out there, and I can not wait to cash in my New York Jets Superbowl bet! Peace, Zelgebrat out.



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Monday, January 24, 2011

Jay Cutler and casting the first proverbial stone

We are going to have to come up with a name for this idiotic phenomenon. You know the drill, something happens in the sporting world, and within seconds the army-of–the-undead like cretins of the Internet spew forth a Tsunami of hate and bile.

These are the basic facts. Last night in the NFC Championship game, Chicago Bears trigger man Jay Cutler hurt his knee. As it turns out he hurt it pretty bad. Cutler said he injured his knee on the second-to-last series in the first half and then aggravated it on the next series. After hurting the knee, Cutler tried to test it by riding a stationary bike on the sideline, where he remained throughout the game. Word on the street is Cutler will undergo an MRI on Monday.

Cue the madness

Not long after the game ended, the Internet and talk show trolls spilled into action, jamming Chicago sports lines and Internet forums with their own turgid brand of verbal rubbish. They questioned Cutler's toughness and angrily demanded the Bears trade him. They made ignorant homosexual references and crass sexist analogies. You know that idiotic 15% of NFL fans that think they can say anything? Well, those guys were out in force last night

Of course it’s not only the no-name zombies of the Internet looking to verbally assault Cutler post game. Enter Michael Wilbon. Logon to ESPN today and you can read this little cracker; ''Injury aside, Jay Cutler's NFC Championship Game showing proved he's not worthy of the Chicago Bears.'' Written by the big man himself.

Wilbon apparently decided to summarize Cutler's season, and his worth to the Bears, on the basis of one single game, as opposed to the bulk of the regular season. He also did so in full knowledge of the fact that Cutler was injured, badly, in the game he has decided to judge his entire season upon.

Wilbon leaves it unclear whether he has tried to play in an NFL game with a serious injury or not
About the only exercise we are 100% sure he gets is chasing after skimpily clad bimbos in the VIP areas of shady clubs. Do an Internet image search for Wilbon and basically half the returned images are Wilbon amongst a group of vapid looking, half naked women, or with an individual of similar ilk perched on his meaty lap.

The point is, Wilbon wouldn’t know a sporting injury if it came up to him, slapped him in the face and then bit him in his ample posterior. Unfair? Wilbon leaves himself open for ridicule, with a knee jerk, reactionary piece like that referenced. Particularly when Cutler has played extremely well this season for the Bears.

Cutler played a full season behind an offensive line that yielded the most sacks in the NFL. Despite this, he missed only one game, and that was due to concussion. Without Cutler, the Bears would not have got as far as the playoffs, let alone the Championship game.

The good news is, the opinion of the Internet Trolls and sofa bound cheeseburger chuggers like Wilbon amounts to basically nothing in terms of importance. What matters most to Cutler, no doubt, is the opinion and indeed the feelings of his team mates. In this case, the Bears have Cutler's back, and no amount of mud slinging by attention seeking loud mouths like Wilbon will change that.

Take Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher, who angrily defended Cutler, for example;
‘’Jay was hurt. I don't question his toughness. He's tough as hell. He's one of the toughest guys on our football team. For them to question his toughness is stupid to me."

Furthermore, the most telling comments on the severity of the injury, as described in detail by Chicago Bears center Olin Kreutz, who noted seeing Cutler's leg shaking during a huddle in the second quarter.
"I didn't even think he was going to finish the half. When he came back to try it again, that amazed me. It was shaking right after he took the hit and walked back in the huddle. It was swinging like this [waving his hand back and forth]. So I knew one of his ligaments probably went. I can't remember exactly what play it was. I know it was the second quarter. I remember him walking in the huddle, and I saw it shaking like this. I said, 'Ah, man.'"

It is abundantly clear, the Bears are completely behind Cutler on this.

If you have ever been hit by a crazed, angry lineman or linebacker, if you have ever had a serious sporting injury, you would think twice about questioning the bravery of any athlete, let alone Jay Cutler.

However, if you are a cretinous moron sitting at home in your underwear, alone, eating cold pizza, downloading the entire back catalogue of 'Two and a half men' and the latest Kanye West CD, while playing online poker and watching the NFL, you probably have nothing better to do than rant idiotically about someone else’s bravery or your take on their lack of. The Internet Trolls, therefore, have some kind of an excuse.

Not so sure about Wilbon, perhaps he just needs a little attention?



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Friday, January 21, 2011

NFC Championship game: Green Bay @ Chicago

Fantastic, old school NFC Championship game, with a plethora of side stories and intriguing anecdotes. Green Bay has been doing things the hard way all season long so traveling to Soldier Field will not scare them unduly. They have beaten the Giants, Eagles and Falcons in recent weeks and look like a real force to be reckoned with. The offence is slinging the ball around with consummate ease, racking up points like Vince Wilfork gobbles up cheeseburgers. To add to that, the Packers boast the league's fifth-ranked defense and tied for second with 47 sack. Clay Matthews was fourth in the league with 13 ½ QB take downs. Many see the Bears succumbing to a bull-rush of Packer blitzers.

Here’s the thing. Since week 7, when the Bears were just 4-3, Cutler and Co embarked on a sparkling 7-1 run which led to the NFC North championship and subsequent first-round bye. Much of the success came off the back of clever play calling from offensive guru Mike Martz, and excellent execution by Cutler and his bevy of speedy receivers. Not to mention Matt Forte. Martz and Cutler can come up with a game plan of 3-5 step drops, quick passes and chain moving plays to avoid the inevitable Packer rush.

Two more big factors to talk about. The only glaring Achilles heel in this game is the Packers running game, or lack of it. They are going into this encounter with one of the worst running games in the NFL. The Bears will be able to sit back and play the pass, with very little effort required to stop the Packer running game. The Packers can do no such thing, they have to give Matt Forte his due respect, which opens up the field a little for Jay Cutler.

Finally, the Bears special teams unit is one of the best in the NFL, in terms of both the return game and the coverage side of things. Devin Hester is keeping the Packers coaching team up late at night, as they try to think of ways to keep the football away from him.

This has all the makings of a classic encounter. The Packers have played great football the last few weeks, however they may have just a few more question marks hanging over them in the form of that shoddy run game, and some awful early season losses. Chicago, at home, with so many weapons to play with, in a surprise shoot out.

The Pick: The Bears 35-32



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Monday, January 17, 2011

Irish midfielder Andy Reid may benefit from Darren Bent departure

English Premiership side Sunderland’s supporters have been taken by surprise today with a shock transfer request from super striker Darren Bent.

The 26 year old England player was seen by many to be manager Steve Bruce’s first name on the team sheet every weekend.

Now Bent wants out, and Aston Villa appear to be ready to table a £18 million bid for the striker.

The knock on effects of this potential move are plentiful, and one of those would be a possible increase in playing time for tricky Irish midfield player Andy Reid. Reid is just back from a loan spell at Sheffield United, where he scored a couple of crucial goals. He is fit, and knocking on the door to get into the team. Some media entities are speculating that Reid not being in the team is part of the reason Bent wants out, the striker being unhappy that his fruitious supply line of last season (Reid contributed a large percentage of the assists for Bent’s goals) has been cut off.

Whether Bent moves on now or not, Bruce will find it hard to resist giving the Irish man a good run in the side, to see if his superb passing ability can add something to Sunderland in the attacking half of the field.

As for Bent himself, this is just a case of one more greedy English soccer player, who does not understand the concept of a contractual agreement. Bent signed a four year deal in 2009 and is paid very handsomely by his club to play a game. He is also completely idolized by the adoring Sunderland fans, although not for long perhaps in the light of these revelations.

Perhaps someone needs to sit Bent down and explain the idea behind the Premiership table to him. Sunderland, sitting nicely in sixth place, on the cusp of European competition, are enjoying a fantastic season under a progressive manager in front of 45,000 + every weekend. Aston Villa are fourth from bottom of the table, twelve points behind Sunderland, and most would consider them a club in turmoil.

Having been to both the Birmingham and Sunderland areas, I can confirm Bent is not gaining anything in terms of standard of living by moving down South. Sunderland is a proud, friendly and welcoming City. Birmingham? With all due respect, let’s just say it could do with a bit of a facelift.

With Bent's request now out in the open, the pieces will move around the board for a day or a week or two, and fall into place. With more close to £20 million in the coffers and some interesting options available to Bruce, things don't look too bad for Sunderland.

For Bent, a curious move, a questionable future on a questionable team beckons.



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Drive to extinction: Patriots 7:45 long drive leads directly to demise

Cold, grey January morning here in Dublin. Perfect weather to wake up to a world where Rex Ryan is right, and Braylon Edwards is still in the playoffs. A good friend sent me a short, despairing text which said simply; ‘Brady has lost his magic.’ He’s not alone in thinking that, and all over the globe Patriots fans are questioning how their team lost to the offensively challenged Jets.

However, as with everything in life, the simplest explanation is the most logical explanation.

The Patriots made a key stop with the majority of the fourth quarter remaining. They were only 10 points down. A quick, efficient scoring drive would have given them a Vince Wilfork sized portion of tasty wiggle room. This was easy to envisage as they had sped down the field like an Olympic sprinter on the previous drive, scoring easily after chucking the ball around the park a few times.

The Patriots embarked on their crucial drive, and 7 minutes and 45 seconds later their season was effectively over.

Instead of launching a quick strike attack, something these Patriots are not only famous for, but infinitely well equipped for also, they instead spilled out onto the field into a turgid, slow, painful drive that had players, coaches and indeed fans livid on the field, sideline and sofas. The drive to extinction for the 2010/2011 Patriots started at their own 18. It took 14 plays to make 48 yards (3.4 yards a play) and it ended on downs when Brady and Branch couldn’t hook up down the left sideline.

Side-note, the Patriots could have attempted a 52 yard field goal instead of a 13 yard first down, and you would imagine in hindsight they may have taken that option. But, what is it they say about hindsight?

Two factors on ‘the drive’ would add up to equal fatality. The Patriots looked very, very slow and lethargic out of the huddle. They frequently allowed the play clock to click down to 04, 03 and 02 seconds before running off a play. As the game clock ticked down towards single digits, you were left wondering, ‘what’s the plan here?!’ Secondly, were 7 running plays really going to get the job done at that stage? 7 ineffective run plays, when the Patriots needed to score quickly, stop the Jets and then score again.

You really need look no further at all to find the source of the end of the Patriots season. Brady has not lost his magic, in fact he looked superb on the previous drive. There is no great mystique here. A slow, ultimately ineffective drive killed them off. There is nothing or no one else to blame. The Jets won fair and square, and their class-less, idiotic and childish celebrations at game end were only to be expected from a team as arrogant and mouthy as they are.

The Patriots have only themselves to blame, and that’s what stings perhaps the most.

Now, when do pitchers and catchers report?



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Friday, January 14, 2011

NFL playoffs - Divisional round

Ravens @ Steelers
Put the kids to bed before this one (although, they might argue with you seeing as it would be actually fairly early, particularly in the States, in Ireland you might get away with it, but, as Homer says, and I don’t mean the Greek philosopher, I digest!) it might get ugly in a hurry. Two hard hitting, penalty prone teams going head to head. A tough talking and tough playing rivalry for the ages. The Steelers have really put an emphasis on ‘D’ this season, and their ‘O’ has, for long stretches, struggled to score points. The Ravens made a tricky trip to Arrowhead look easy last week. The Steelers are understandably the home favourite, however the Ravens have a comparable (note, comparable, not equal) defence, and a superior offence with more weapons. Sneaky feeling they waltz into Heinz Field and come out smiling the other end
The Pick: The Ravens 27-24

Packers @ Falcons
Now that’s what you call Saturday night entertainment. What a potentially fantastic game. Here’s the thing, doesn’t it seem every season the Packers play great, entertaining football, beat a few people up and then lose an absolutely fantastic shoot-out against someone? You hate to ‘hex’ a game, but we should expect fireworks here. Matty ‘Ice’, given a minute to work with, drives the Falcons into game winning field goal range, after a barn-stormer of a showdown.
The Pick: The Falcons 38-36

Seahawks @ Bears
Last weekends shocking upset by the Seahawks over the former champion Saints was an incredibly generous gift, beautifully wrapped, for the Chicago Bears. Instead of facing Green Bay they now get to face one of the worst road teams in the NFL. The Seahawks played with great passion and pride in front of their home fans and truly deserved that win last weekend, but this Sunday evening reality will hit home. Reality in the form of that swarming Bears ‘D’ will hit home hard. It is hard to see how the ‘Hawks will move the ball with any regularity against the creative and aggressive Bears blitz packages, and they will certainly not be taking Lovie Smith and his crew by surprise, after unseating the champion Saints. Meanwhile, the last couple of months Jay Cutler, Matt Forte and the rest of the Bears offence look like they have really bought into offensive coordinator Mike Martz’s schemes. The Bears are scoring freely and Cutler looks really comfortable. Hard to see anything but a big Bears win.
The Pick: The Bears 35-17

Jets @ Patriots
Couple of things came to mind this week, as the Jets, and everyone associated with them, ran their mouths all week long. Remember the Steelers had a verbal ‘pop’ at the Patriots in ’07, and Brady and Moss pulled off that humiliating trick play, where Brady threw a backwards pass to the sideline to Moss, who threw a backwards pass back, after which Brady uncorked a 60 yard beauty for a completely demoralizing touchdown? Remember that? Should be interesting to see what Belichick and Co come up with against Cromartie. Bear in mind Cromartie was absolutely torched by Manning and the Colts. All credit to the lad for his nice kick return close to the end, but before that we should all remember he was absolutely abused by Manning and his gang.

I also remembered the 2004 ALCS, where Brady, completely flattened by the flu, walked into Pittsburgh and pulled out a performance for the ages, managing New England past the Steelers. My thought there was, in terms of this week, if Rex Ryan really thinks he is going to distract Brady with some pathetic, asinine media garbage, he has another thing coming. The Jets are all talk. They keep telling us they are going to win the Superbowl, they have been doing that for two years now. However, we're not stupid, right? We can all see they snuck past an injury depleted Colts team, and we all noted they gave up 80+ points in two games to the Patriots and Bears. We're not falling for this pathetic bluster coming out of New York, right?
The Pick: The Patriots 30-17



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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Premiere League soccer players disgracing themselves: Diouf and Bellamy in hot water (again)

In England, a country hit almost as bad as Ireland by this tricky little Global recession we are all experiencing, a ‘Grade A’ nurse is paid between £10 and £12 thousand pounds a year.

The average English police officer earns £20 thousand. A teacher in England can be paid as little as £15 thousand.

Craig Bellamy will be paid £4.5 million this season by Manchester City. El Hadji Diouf will be paid just over £3 million for his services this season by Blackburn Rovers.

Why are we bringing all this up? Because it is pretty sickening to read about the disgraceful antics of players in the self acclaimed 'best league in the World', the English Premiere League, who are paid sums that those previously mentioned hard working people could never even dream of coming close to seeing in their infinitely more important lifetimes.

Bear in mind, this is coming from someone who invests considerably too much time and effort in and on sports, however there is no escaping at very least the question, why is the Grade A idiot El Hadji Diouf paid £60,000 a week when a Grade A nurse earns £192 for the same period?

If you think about it too much it would make your head spin, it is indeed a bewildering world we live in.

Does it appear we are unfairly picking on two individuals with bad boy tags? Well, last night Bellamy was arrested on assault charges (yes, again) while as recently as Saturday past, Diouf was embroiled in a particularly ugly incident in a cup match.

When it comes to El Hadji Diouf, where on earth do you start? This nasty piece of work is so past his 'sell by' date, it isn't even funny. Diouf is a big fan of spitting. In 2003 he spat at Celtic supporters in the stands. In 2004 he moved on to Middlesbrough fans, later that same year he spat at Portsmouth player Arjan de Zeeuw. You can probably see a pattern developing here.

There is no humour at all in his most recent incident.

On Saturday Blackburn beat Queens Park Rangers 1-0 in the English FA Cup. During the game QPR player Jamie Mackie suffered a horrific injury in a tackle with a Blackburn player. Players in the vicinity of the incident were visibly upset as Mackie lay writhing on the turf, clutching, as it turns out, a leg broken in two places.

Diouf's response? He approached the scene and gestured at the stricken players and shouted, loudly, ''expletive you and expletive your leg!''

''expletive you and expletive your leg!''

The QPR players were so incensed that there was a fight after the match in the tunnel as they left the pitch. Blackburn players, Diouf's own team mate, have come forward anonymously and told journalists they think Diouf should be sold immediately. His own manager is conducting an internal inquiry on the incident.

The worst part of the story is after the match QPR players approached Diouf and told him that Mackie's leg was broken badly, in fairness to Diouf, in case he honestly thought Mackie was faking. Diouf’s response? Repeating word for word his earlier assessment of the situation; ''expletive you and expletive your leg!''

Craig Bellamy’s rap sheet reads like a Cincinnati Bengals player’s (in 2009/2010 there were ten, count them, ten Bengals players with police records of some description). Come to think of it, do the Bengals need a kicker in 2011? Bellamy could be a perfect fit.

In March 2004, he threw a chair at a Newcastle coach. In 2006 he was accused of assaulting two women in Cardiff. In 2007 Liverpool held an internal investigation after Bellamy assaulted team mate John Arne Riise with a golf club. In 2009 Bellamy attacked a pitch-invading football fan. Last night, Bellamy was arrested and bailed on an assault claim in Cardiff, in which two men suffered facial injuries.

So what do these two individuals, Bellamy and El Hadji Diouf have in common? Apart from the fact they are both basically scum-bags dressed in fancy, colourful uniforms? They are both disgustingly overpaid compared to the hard working people doing the really important day to day jobs that keep, in this case, England ticking. This all leads to the vexing, perplexing question, why on earth do we, as a society, allow this to happen? Why are professional athletes so wildly over paid in comparison to the men and women of our embattled and beleaguered public services?

That's a meaty, heavy question that needs further research, analysis and debate, and right now there's no time, as this writer feels oddly compelled to go spit at someone, perhaps while attacking them with a four iron.



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Monday, January 10, 2011

The top ten most enjoyable rivalries in sports: Version 2.0

And so, it came to pass, the Jets would travel to New England to play the Patriots. New Yorks gritty, grinding win over the injury riddled Colts on the weekend means that the Jets get another shot at making a 'rivalry' out of their show downs with the Patriots. To date, although tensions are high, it isn't a rivalry in the classic sense of the word, as the Jets have struggled to keep up with the Patriots. No Superbowl wins, very few playoff wins and a terrible head to head the last few years (although it is notably more even just recently).

That aside, seems like a good time to review and update Boston Irish's top ten most enjoyable sporting rivalries, worldwide. Often if you get someone from Europe picking the list you get tennis, motor sports, soccer and cricket. if it's someone from the States you get obscure college rivalries and NASCAR. The answer to the question 'What are the top ten most enjoyable rivalries in sports?' lies, as always, somewhere in between.

Ground rules:
It has to be a reasonably evenly matched head to head to be considered a rivalry. Until the Jets actually win something, for example, their rivalry with New England is more of a border-feud. Most Individual sports don't count. Two bratty, spoiled tennis stars feuding on the court? No interest. If there aren't hundreds of thousands of fans motivated by the rivalry, it doesn’t count. There are of course exceptions. Disclaimer: This is of course just one blog's opinion. That's the beauty of sports lists. Disagree? Make your own! Go ahead, put it in the comments section!

The top ten most enjoyable rivalries in sport

10. Muhammad Ali v Joe Frazier
Starting, naturally, with the exception to the rule. Way back when, in a time when heavyweight boxing was still important, these guys went head to head three times. Two of those events were considered among the greatest, if not the greatest fights of all time. Boxing enthusiasts often call their first fight at Madison Square Garden in 1971 the most 'significant' boxing match in history. Their third fight, "The Thrilla in Manila" is the stuff of lore. This selection is tinged with nostalgia, as boxing, to me anyway, is dead at the moment. It's lost something. I remember staying up late for the big fights, Foreman, Tyson, Lewis, Bruno. There was something of a charm and a class to those fights. Today? Nothing. Boxing has no pulse. Muhammad Ali v Joe Frazier? The stuff of legend.

9. Inter Milan v AC Milan
There is atmosphere, and then there is atmosphere. The depth of passion and history in this rivalry is astonishing. Italian league football has lost a little of its gloss lately, lagging behind La Liga and the Premiership, but any meeting between these two old giants is worth tuning in for.

8. Giants v Dodgers
Every time you see a game between these two, you can feel the mutual hatred in the stands and on the field. In this day and age of multi millionaire playboy players, that's pretty rare. Kind of nice to see actual sporting animosity still alive and well in this rivalry. Of all the rivalries here, do Dodgers and Giants fans hate each other more than anyone else? Even more so than Boston/New York for example?

7. Celtic v Rangers
The 'Old Firm' derby has been diluted somewhat by over exposure to each other, however when gameday comes around, this is one of the most fiercely contested sporting events in the world. Consider this, US readers who are wondering why namby pamby college A against hauty tauty college B isn't in this list. It is actually dangerous, physically dangerous, for a Celtic fan to be at Ibrox, or a Rangers fan to be at Parkhead. You would be literally taking your life in your hands.

'The Old Firm rivalry fuels many assaults and many deaths on Old Firm Derby days; an activist group that monitors sectarian activity in Glasgow has reported that on Old Firm weekends, admissions to hospital emergency rooms increase ninefold over normal levels, and journalist Franklin Foer noted that in the period from 1996 to 2003, eight deaths in Glasgow were directly linked to Old Firm matches, and hundreds and thousands of assaults'

Celtic v Rangers is so much more than just a football match - it's a clash of religion, politics and opposing social attitudes. It's war.

6. India v Pakistan
You want a global level rivalry, a rivalry of potentially nuclear proportions? I give you India v Pakistan. Since the creation of Pakistan by the Partition of India in 1947, cricket on the subcontinent has been a hairs width from causing international incidents on several occasions. I witnessed a small cross section of this on a trip to India a few years ago.

So for those of you following at home, India have arrived in Pakistan for their massive showdown. I have seen Red Sox v Yankees. I have seen Sunderland v Newcastle, the Manchester Derby, Ireland v England in all sports. They are all an episode of the Tellytubbies on a Saturday Morning compared to this in terms of intensity. I don’t know how many guys I saw carrying cricket bats with them today, clutching them like they would be able to help India win from here. In a country with whatever, 1 billion people, it is literally all anyone wants to talk about. It actually nearly proved the catalyst towards the first conversation between my driver and I. I’ll get back to that. On a somber note, but just to give some idea of how big this game is over here, the atrocity in Madrid was a very, very poor second to the game on the front page of the newspapers. If it hadn’t been for CNN in the hotel I would hardly have known what happened actually, showing just how far away and just how different a place this is. Same way I imagine we would turn something of a blind eye to something of that magnitude happening here in Delhi.

5. Sunderland v Newcastle
Often called the Tyne–Wear derby, this makes North Carolina/Duke look like a picnic in the park between friends. These two groups of fans hate each other like there is no tomorrow. Sunderland, for years, were sort of the 'Rebel Alliance' to Newcastle's mighty Empire. However, then Newcastle went and got themselves relegated and spent last season in the division below the Premiership. They are back up again and the two showdowns between the two North Eastern giants in '10/'11 will be as bloodthirsty as always. Perhaps more so than ever before, come to think of it, with Sunderland now built with a spine of steel in the form of Jordan Henderson and Lee Cattermole, two of the most committed midfield players in the league. Combine Newcastle's Joey Barton and the odds on a red card in these two fixtures would have to be 1/5 or lower. Sunderland and Newcastle fans would settle for a mid table finish this year if you were to guarantee they would beat their rival. That's literally all they want.

4. Red Sox v Yankees
This rivalry literally exploded back into life in the early part of this decade. So much has happened in the last ten years alone you could write a 1,000 page book on the subject (and plenty have tried!). Joe West might not like it, but Boston/New York is juicy, super juicy. Think about it. All the Pedro Martinez stuff, Don Zimmer taking a dive, Carl Everett breaking up Mike 'Moose' Mussina's perfect game at Fenway, Karim Garcia and Aaron Boone, the whole A-Rod thing, Jason Varitek showing A-Rod who is boss, Johnny Damon, Gary Sheffield fighting with Boston fans and The Mitchell report and the nine Yankees appearing on it.

Then 2004 happened.

Boston coming back from 0-3 down. Dave Robert's steal. Curt Schilling pitching on one leg. David Ortiz's walk off hits. Johnny Damon again.

This isn't as much a rivalry, as an insane melo drama packed to bursting with story lines. Long may it continue..

3. Patriots v Colts
The greatest current rivalry in the NFL, one of the greatest of all time. Polian v Kraft, Dungy v Bilichek, Brady v Manning. The Colts may have the upper hand at the moment in that they are the most recent Superbowl participant of the two, but all Brady has to do is wave his hand with the three shiny Superbowl rings on it in the direction of Manning with his one, and the argument is done. For now.

2. Barcelona v Real Madrid
El Clásico. A match so good, so big, you just crack open a beer, sit back and let it wash over you. This has everything, history, drama and passion. Last season's sensational La Liga campaign saw Barcelona and Real Madrid quite literally battle over the title to the final day of the season. It was enthralling, and their late season derby match was absolutely compelling drama. Real Madrid re-stocked over the summer, and brought in more high priced talent and Barcelona's reaction was to absolutely abihilate them 5-0 in the first El Classico of the season. If you have never seen El Classico, do yourself a favour and make sure you catch the next one.

1. Celtics v Lakers
Such a colourful clash of cultures, styles and characters. You had the Showtime Lakers vs. blue-collar Boston in the '80s which was basketball at its best. Now we have the rivalry reborn in '08, '09 and potentially this season, '10/'11, and it feels as dramatic as ever. New characters, same enormous clash of styles. You really get a feeling as a fan that these guys do not like each other, and in this day and age of pampered sports stars, that's kind of nice.

The top ten most enjoyable rivalries in sports
  • Muhammad Ali v Joe Frazier
  • Inter Milan v AC Milan
  • Giants v Dodgers
  • Celtic v Rangers
  • India v Pakistan
  • Sunderland v Newcastle
  • Red Sox v Yankees
  • Patriots v Colts
  • Barcelona v Real Madrid
  • Celtics v Lakers



Comments welcome! Free and open debate and communication are some of the most enjoyable aspects of life. Please leave a comment, disagreements welcome! If you disagree, debate your case by all means. However, anything rude, spiteful or any cowardly anonymous personal attacks will be not be tolerated and will be deleted.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Marshawn Lynch wins the weekend

See, isn't this more fun than if the Rams had made the playoffs?

Last night the Seahawks stunned the universe and every clown that picked against them (including me) with a shocking 41-36 win over the Champion Saints. The clinching run was a rumbling, grumbling, jumbling 74 yard scatter by Marshawn Lynch. No, seriously, Marshawn Lynch. Eight, count em', eight Saints missed, whiffed, struck out on tackles on the young man.

Just in case you missed it, check out the video here. Count those missed tackles, and imagine the Falcons sitting at home giggling to themselves as Marshawn went marching in.

Reached for comment, Drew Brees had nothing to say, however he did have this facial expression for us to remember forever.

Oh, Marshawn!



Comments welcome! Free and open debate and communication are some of the most enjoyable aspects of life. Please leave a comment, disagreements welcome! If you disagree, debate your case by all means. However, anything rude, spiteful or any cowardly anonymous personal attacks will be not be tolerated and will be deleted.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Wild Card weekend – the picks

Saints (11-5) at Seahawks (7-9)
Yes, Qwest Field is an intimidating place to play, we have all heard the cliché. The crowd is about as vociferous as it gets, although I don’t know how intimidating it can be for NFL players to be booed by someone holding a double espresso skimmed milk frothy mocha latte. Yes, the Saints are making that hideous cross country trip, and yes, they are doing it on a relatively short week. However, that’s where the hurdles stop. Last time these two met (November) the Saints ripped Seattle to shreds, 34-19. Pierre Thomas, Marques Colston and young tight end Jimmy Graham represents about 300% more ‘skill’ player than Seattle has. Reggie Bush also looks like he is almost at full throttle again. The ‘Hawks, firmly in rebuilding mode, made their season intentions clear when they allowed Deoin Branch to walk to New England earlier this year. If all else fails to convince you, bear in mind there’s a 60% chance the immortal Charlie Whitehurst starts this game for Seattle.
The Pick: Saints 28-16

Jets (11-5) at Colts (10-6):
A number of factors have to be in place for a traditional under-dog to pull off an upset win on a favourites home turf. One of the most important of those is for the under-dog to sneak in and take an unexpecting favourite by surprise. The Colts (a 3 to 4 point favourite as we speak) are fairly well aware that the Jets are coming. Rex Ryan ensured this by announcing this week to all and sundry that his team would consider anything but a Superbowl win a complete disaster. This is the same idiotic walking, wobbling mouth-piece on legs that last season announced Superbowl victory parade plans to his team before the first playoff game. That worked out well. The Colts have faced adversity all season long and somehow come out smiling. There are signs they are getting healthy again. Their running game, boosted by the return of Joseph Addai, has shown real signs of life the last couple of weeks, taking the pressure off Peyton Manning and the passing game. Of course the Colts are a passing team first, and if you are considering backing the Jets this weekend, ask yourself how the Jets did recently against two other passing teams of the Colts quality, the Bears and Patriots. This looks like the kind of game where the Colts could turn home field advantage into a big win, where half way through, with the Colts up by 10 and driving with the ball, we all exclaim; ‘Wow. The Colts are really that good’.
The Pick: Colts 27-17

''Now, where's the BBQ?''

Ravens (12-4) at Chiefs (10-6):
Doesn’t it feel like there is just something slightly awry with this Ravens season? Something slightly off. Be it the surprisingly loose play of QB Joe Flacco or the relative inability of Ray Rice to build on last seasons success, the Ravens just look one shade off this year. Meanwhile, Kansas is quietly building a contender. Arrowhead Stadium will be rocking, the Chiefs were 7-1 there this year and their fans can make this a very uncomfortable visit for Baltimore. The Chiefs running game can make things more uncomfortable yet. Slight gut feeling on this one, the Chiefs are on the rise, the Ravens have several important players past their peak. The shock of the Wildcard weekend.
The Pick: Chiefs 28-24

Packers (10-6) at Eagles (10-6):
Green Bay at Philadelphia, or, the battle of the time challenged coaches. We should be afforded many chances to marvel at two of the ‘looser’ time managing coaches in NFL football. In fairness to both Mike McCarthy and Andy Reid, they have done well to push their squads to identical 10-6 records. McCarthy, it could be argued, has faced down the greater levels of adversity, in the form of injured players. Reid had two NFL caliber QBs at his disposal, and for my money anyway, Green Bay’s results against over .500 teams are more impressive. Green Bay’s recent ‘nearly-win’ in New England, against all the odds and with Matt Flynn at the helm, was very note worthy. They showed real team spirit, and then backed that up with a stunning dismemberment of New York a week later. A mild shock on the cards.
The Pick: Packers 30-27



Comments welcome! Free and open debate and communication are some of the most enjoyable aspects of life. Please leave a comment, disagreements welcome! If you disagree, debate your case by all means. However, anything rude, spiteful or any cowardly anonymous personal attacks will be not be tolerated and will be deleted.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Underdogs Manchester City battle to 0-0 draw with Arsenal

Not since USA 4 USSR 3 in the Miracle On Ice, not since Ty Law picked off Kurt Warner and sent the +14 point underdog Patriots on their merry way in 2001, not since Sunderland shocked mighty, mighty Leeds in ’73, has there been as big a sporting upset as last night’s miraculous 0-0 draw between big bullies Arsenal and brave, tiny minnows Manchester City.

City, who’s Scrooge like owner Sheikh Mansour has only invested a paltry £573m in the club, defied the massive odds stacked against them to come away with a hard fought point from fortress Highbury. Man of the match was undoubtedly feisty young goalkeeper Joe Hart, who’s only claim to fame is that he is a full English international. Hart watched helplessly as Arsenal pounded the woodwork several times in the first half, but reacted superbly to tip over a potentially game winning rasper from Van Persie late on.

Striker Carlos Tevez also impressed. City’s adventurous, swashbuckling, cavalier manager Roberto Mancini employed Tevez in an imaginative role slotted in neatly just in front of the back nine, a kind of a 9-1-0 formation that looked revolutionary and forward thinking. Tevez rolled up his sleeves, tucked his Snood in and tackled his big Argentinean heart out all night long.

Tevez: Bravery in a Snood.

City’s ‘no-name’, heroic, battling midfield quartet of underdogs, De Jong, Barry, Milner and Touré almost brought a tear to the eye as they fought all night long to keep up with the Arsenal bullies, like 19 year old Jack Wilshire. The Dutch World Cup finalist, England international mainstays and former Barcelona star, valued at a piffling combined £100m, stuck studiously to their manager’s genius plan of none of them coming within 25 yards of the Arsenal goal. This ensured City had all the defensive cover they needed, and made the absolute most out of Mancini’s meager resources.

This courageous 0-0 almost makes up for the 0-3 thrashing Arsenal administered to City earlier this Premiere League season in Manchester when City, at home, were forced to, you know, play football.

This result will come as an enormous boost to beleaguered City, who are wallowing down the Premiere League table in lowly second place, and facing a financial crisis unlike any other club in English football.

Things are so bad in Manchester financially, that they are barely able to scrape together £27m to invest in Edin Dzeko, arriving next week in a desperate attempt to buy in some quality. Dzeko, ostensibly an attacking player, might be used as an auxiliary left back by Mancini, perhaps employing him in a brave, attacking 5-1-4-0 formation, with Dzeko pushing forward to support the four holding midfielders.

One thing is crystal clear, with battling, hard working and indeed heroic performances like these, the future is a turgid, stinking pile of dung for City fans all over the world. One would have to think £573m just isn’t worth quite what it used be.



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Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Is Rex Ryan handicapping his own team?

Jets coach Rex Ryan is at it again. After a regular season ending, empty, meaningless win over a very bad Buffalo team, Ryan has announced his Jets squad as Superbowl favourites.
"I thought we'd win it last year. I think we're going to win it this year,"
Ryan is basically doing nothing but putting a massive bull’s-eye target on his sixth seeded wild card team.

The Jets are a talented, veteran squad with upper level skill players on both sides of the team, up and down their roster. They no doubt have the pure talent to win a Super Bowl. The question is, do they have the coaches to lead them to that title?

The Jets are hurting a little, their quarterback is nursing a damaged wing and they basically backed their way into the playoffs, winning an entirely meaningless game against a brutal Buffalo team on the last day of the season. Sadly for Fireman Ed and the rest of Jets nation, recent results have been less than exemplary. Jay Cutler and Tom Brady had their merry ways with the Jets secondary while New York failed to score a touchdown against a Miami team that then completely folded its last three games.

That’s the best team in the NFL? Really, Rex?

Once again though, the Jets form or skill is not being debated here, what is up for question is, why does their coaching staff insist on putting such ruinously heavy weight on their own teams shoulders?

The Jets, to win the Superbowl, will most likely have to beat the Colts, Patriots, Steelers and Falcons or Saints, in that order. On the road. To put it further in perspective, to win it all, the Jets Mark Sanchez is going to have to outplay three quarterbacks that have six Superbowl rings between them, Indianapolis' Peyton Manning, New England's Tom Brady and Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger. Of course, there is no doubt it could happen. They have the players to do it. However, what is the point in announcing to their upcoming four power house franchises that they are going to beat them? All that does is ensure those teams will be ready and waiting for them.

You think any of those teams are afraid of a Jets team that failed to score in Miami? A Jets team that conceded around 80 points to the Bears and Patriots?

All Ryan has done is fire up the likes of Dwight Freeney, Vince Wilfork and James Harrison. All he has done is intimate to his own team that anything but a Superbowl is abject failure. They will be playing every snap with tremendous pressure on their shoulder pads.

Ryan’s most seemingly innocuous comment is possibly his most revealing. It reveals his essential need to keep his mouth moving. He is like a shark, which needs to keep swimming to survive. Ryan seems to need to keep talking to do same.

There’s a great Simpsons episode where Homer is listening to Ricky Gervais’ painfully English character prattle on before Homer finally exclaims, exasperated, ‘You take forever to say nothing!''

With that in mind, here is Ryan on the Jets plans for this coming weekend.
''We're not going there to lose. We're going there to win. That's our mentality. That's my mentality. Always will be. I'm not apologizing for feeling this way. I believe in our football team. I know that's an excellent team we're playing, but they're getting our best shot."

Rex Ryan, you take forever to say nothing!



Comments welcome! Free and open debate and communication are some of the most enjoyable aspects of life. Please leave a comment, disagreements welcome! If you disagree, debate your case by all means. However, anything rude, spiteful or any cowardly anonymous personal attacks will be not be tolerated and will be deleted.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

The Boston Irish NFL picks – Week 17

The Boston Irish NFL picks – Week 17
NFL Week 16 results 13-3
Season to date 158-80

The first picks of the new year, 2011, who'd a thunk it? Happy New Year everyone! Time for the New Years resolutions and all that. Let's have a look at the last week of the NFL regular season and also each teams New Years resolutions.

Panthers @ Falcons
Bear in mind the Falcons do actually have something to play for here. With that in mind, like every time Braylon Edwards opens his mouth, no thought required here. The Panthers got a head start on their New Year's resolution, firing their coach last week. The Falcons resolve to never call such a dull, boring game plan again, after last weeks snooze inducing 'offensive' game plan.
The pick: Falcons 38-13

Steelers @ Browns
Big Ben's New Year's resolution is to read the entire works of Germaine Greer in the offseason. Eric Mangini's New Year's resolution is to find a job, you know, right after he gets the sack. Probably right after this game. The Steeers actually do have something to play for here, and that matched with the Browns nasty little late season slump/slide should combine for a Steelers win.
The pick: Steelers 26-14

Vikings @ Lions
The Lions New Year's resolution is to be awesome in 2011. They will get things started here with rolling their three game streak into four. First rant of the day. How on earth is Matt Millen the face and voice of all things football now on TV? The Lions are only now slowly recovering from his stint as their president for eight years, from which he was fired in 2008. They were very definitely the eight worst years in Lions franchise history. He also called amiable Ron Jaworski a 'Polack' as recently as 2010. That's not cool. Why is this guy in our living rooms every Sunday?
The pick: Lions 24-20

Raiders @ Chiefs
The Raiders New Year's resolution is to be less confusing in 2011, they were almost impossible to predict this season. The Chiefs New Year's resolution is to wrap Matt Cassel in bubble wrap in the offseason. The drop off in quality to their backup is cliff like. Steep cliff, like. This game is somewhat meaningful to the Chiefs, who are pretty decent at home anyway.
The pick: Chiefs 30-17

Dolphins @ Patriots
The Dolphins New Year's resolution is to win some home games next season. No problem with their road record though, 7-1, that's just crazy. The Patriots
New Year's resolution is to give Bill Belichick a lifetime contract. He earned it on the back of this season alone almost. Can the Patriots 'B' squad beat Miami? Probably.
The pick: Patriots 24-21

Buccaneers @ Saints
Massive 'trap' game. On first glance your initial inclination, well, most sane people's inclination would be to pick the Saints. However, assuming the Falcons get the job done against the coach-less Panthers, the Saints have absolutely nothing to play for. They will have their scrubs in by late in the second quarter. The Buccaneers can qualify given a set of crazy permutations, so they will be trying their little hearts out. Take the crazily high points spread and sit back and enjoy Josh Freeman's awesome afro.
The pick: Buccaneers 23-20

Bills @ Jets
The Bills New Year's resolution is to find some quality skill players for the surprisingly good Ryan Fitzpatrick to toss the pigskin to. The Jets New Year's resolution is probably just to mouth off, taunt, eulogize, verbally fabricate and basically bore us all to death with their own brand of soporific rubbish in 2011. Again.
The pick: Jets 20-17

Bengals @ Ravens
The Bengals New Year's resolution is to avoid reality TV like the bubonic plague. The Ravens is to find some young defensive players that talk less and tackle more. You know, to replace the second biggest mouth (behind the Jets collectively) in the NFL, Ray Lewis, who does way more talking than tackling these days.
The pick: Ravens 24-20

Chargers @ Broncos
Does Tim Tebow believe in New Year's resolutions? Or are they a sin? How on earth does he survive in the NFL, amongst a group of men famous for womanising, gambling, drinking and carousing at 'Last days of Rome' levels? Does he basically end up in the fetal position in a dark corner of whatever club they are in clutching his rosary beads rocking back and forth reciting scripture? Before the angry religious right start their angry commenting, Tim Tebow chooses to ram his religion down my throat (snicker), so I reserve the right to make fun of him. One question for you. Imagine a dark skinned, Muslim player, who painted passages from the Koran in his eye black, and answered every single question with 'I just want to thank Allah for everything' and rammed his religious beliefs down our throats, do you honestly think it would be accepted, in fact adored and adulated, by the US sporting media? Be honest. I don't think so. Hey Tebow though, mighty fine football player. What in blazes were we talking about? Oh right, Broncos, at home, playing for their fans and against a hated old rival. Plus Tim Tebow is awesome.
The pick: Broncos 33-30

Bears @ Packers
The bout to knock the other guy out. Believe it or not there is a chance this fine Packers team will not make the playoffs. The Bears New Year's resolution? I don't know, can they even think straight enough to make one, given how excited they must be in Chicago right now? Just a feeling, they come down to earth a little bit this week, The Packers might be getting healthy at just the right time.
The pick: Packers 28-24

Titans @ Colts
The Titan's New Year's resolution is to find some decent linemen and Tight Ends to block for Chris Johnson. They had one (Alge Crumpler) but he got away to New England, and all of a sudden Ben Jarvis Green Ellis looks like the second coming of Corey Dillon. The Colts New Year's resolution? Bill Polian is working on a rule change as we speak, that opposition players are not allowed physically touch Peyton Manning while he is in the act of passing. Not too long ago, after New England destroyed his Colts in the playoffs, Polian griped, whined, whinged and nagged his way to the rule changes that now mean you basically can't even look funny at receivers in the passing game. It is always good to bring that up and remember it. Please do not get fooled into backing Tennessee in this game. Don't do it. Step away from the computer, if that's what you were planning. The Titans are absolutely awful, and the Colts are the kind of team that, even while struggling, get on the field and play so well that you end up chastising yourself for backing against them, 'Damn, they are that good.' Plus they are playing for their lives here.
The pick: Colts 36-20

Cowboys @ Eagles
Michael Vick's New Year's resolution is to be kinder to animals, no, seriously, apparently it actually is. Is anyone else not buying this vapid, transparent 'transformation' or is it just me?
The pick:
Eagles 35-30

Cardinals @ 49ers
If you find yourself gambling on, watching or anyway otherwise following this game, your New Year's resolution should be to read a book, visit an old friend or paint a wall somewhere, instead of watching this meaningless crap.
The pick: I refuse to pick between these two. Huh, I have to? Fine, whatever, Cardinals 17-14

Giants @ Redskins
Tom Coughlin's New Year's resolution is to be nice to kickers and punters. Donovan McNabb's New Year's resolution is to text Ricky Williams and find out what he's doing the next few months.
The pick:
Giants 27-24

Jaguars @ Texans
Note to all those picking the Texans; The Jags are playing for their playoff lives, the Texans have less than nothing to play for, and their head coach is getting canned approximately 00:00:01 seconds after this inevitable loss.
The pick: Jaguars 24-17

Rams @ Seahawks
Can you believe the winner of this game is going to win a division title? That's the most shocking thing since I found out that Darth Vadar was Luke Skywalker's father, and that was pretty dramatically shocking at the time. I once saw Darth Vadar in the Dunlaoighre Shopping center, with two Stormtroopers flanking him. Not sure what he was promoting, can't remember, but, one of the best days ever.
The pick: Rams 24-14

Happy New Year, ya'll!

Other weeks to date:
Week 16 (13-3)

Week 15 (9-7)
Week 14 (11-4)
Week 13 (11-4)
Week 12 (9-7)
Week 11 (14-2)
Week 10 (8-6)
Week 9 (10-3)
Week 8 (10-4)
Week 7 (10-4)
Week 6 (8-6)
Week 5 (8-6)
Week 4 (9-5)
Week 3 (8-8)



Comments welcome! Free and open debate and communication are some of the most enjoyable aspects of life. Please leave a comment, disagreements welcome! If you disagree, debate your case by all means. However, anything rude, spiteful or any cowardly anonymous personal attacks will be not be tolerated and will be deleted.

Irish National baseball team

Irish National baseball team
Team Ireland at the European Championships, Croatia, 2000.

A nice little mention for this blog on Fox Sports

A nice little mention for this blog on Fox Sports


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