Friday, November 26, 2010

Can I get some cotton candy to go with that prediction?

If I had predicted right after the 2010 draft that by mid-season the Dallas Cowboys would be in last place in the NFC East and Wade Phillips would be given walking papers, you would have argued with me. You would have talked about a roster rich with talent, and pointed out that the Cowboys clenched their division decisively against the Eagles in 2009.

If I then had gone on to predict that the Vikings – with Brett Favre back under center – would be 4 games back from first place in the NFC North behind not only the Packers, but ALSO the Bears - AND that their coach, Brad Childress, would be canned, AND Randy Moss would be cut loose, you would have thought I had completely lost it, right?

Let’s say I then added that the Raiders, with Jason Campbell at QB, would be making a serious run at winning the AFC West and that the Bengals, with “premier” wide-outs Chad Johnson and Terrell Owens, would be last in the AFC North behind the Browns.
After all this, wouldn’t you have called in a prescription for crazy pills?
Looking at the NFL season thus far, I can’t help but shake my head and wonder how on earth anyone who calls themselves an “expert” on the NFL could make such certain predictions before the season starts. Here in Arizona, our color analyst for the Cardinals, Ron Wolfley, calls these predictions an “affront to the athletic process.” I would have to agree.
Clearly, the human dynamics involved in this fiercely competitive league make it silly to think there are any “givens” in any given season. The cliché “any given Sunday” came to be cliché for a reason – it’s accurate. The balance of team chemistry, injuries, contract negotiations, and the alignment of the planets inevitably conspire to keep parity alive and well.

And, this is why we love the NFL, right? Isn’t that what makes it worth your time to watch and cheer? Think about a movie that was spoiled for you, either because key plot points were given away by a friend or because it had been so totally overhyped it could not live up to your expectations.

This begs the question: since most of these expert predictions end up being about as accurate as the fortune teller at a parking lot carnival, what is the point of all the pontification?

The point is, we love the carnival.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Who do you think is the "hottest pic" at QB?

With all this heavy NFL talk about concussions, a looming lock-out, coaches on the hot seat, we need a break. I want to talk about something different – specifically starting quarterbacks.

But this is not about passer ratings, or total yards. Here’s the question I pose to you, ladies:

Josh Freeman

Who is the best looking starting quarterback in the NFL?

Here are my TOP FIVE pics...and picks:

5. Josh Freeman, Tampa Bay Buccaneers. At the bottom of the pile is Josh Freeman. Josh was the 17th overall pick in the 2009 draft, and with the recent success of Tampa Bay, I hope we’ll get to see more of him. I think he has a great smile, and his eyes melt my heart.

David Carr
4. David Carr, San Francisco 49ers.
Looks like David Carr is going to get to start for the 49ers with Alex Smith injured. David has been in the league since 2002. With an average passer rating of 75.1%, I don’t see him making a difference for San Fran this season, but I won’t mind watching him try. He’s got a great, strong jaw and a sultry grin. That’s how he gets away with this buzz cut.

Drew Brees

3. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints. Drew makes the top 5 for me. I have always thought that there was something really attractive about him, but when I saw his eyes teared up, holding his son at the end of the Super Bowl, that did it. I always noticed his great smile, but never noticed how gorgeous his eyes were until those post game pics.

Tom Brady

2. Tom Brady, New England Patriots. Tom takes 2nd place – something he probably would not like. I know most women think he should be in the top spot, but he’s not edgy enough for me. And frankly, the long hair is a complete turn-off - well, not a COMPLETE turn-off. He still made a run for the top spot. I mean, look at this picture – seriously.

Mark Sanchez

1. Mark Sanchez, New York Jets. I think Mark is absolutely smoldering. His smile is heart-stopping. I can’t tell you how much I love the post game interviews when they win. Have you girls seen his GQ spread from last year? Muy caliente!

There are two guys who get an “honorable mention”. Matt Leinart, the number 3 QB for the Houston Texans, missed the list because he is not a starter. Sorry Matt, looks like you lost out in this competition, too.

And I know most coaches will say that a player won’t lose their job because of an injury, but they will lose a spot on the list. Seneca Wallace, of the Cleveland Browns, sorry to add insult to injury but you are not a starter. Better luck next year!

Seneca Wallace

Ladies, I want to hear from you. Who is your favorite fella under center in the NFL?

Monday, October 4, 2010

Maybe female fans need a uniform code...

During a game, if an NFL player's socks are not pulled up to the "mid-point of the lower leg", touching the bottom of his pants, he gets fined $5,000. An un-tucked Jersey will cost him up to $10,000. During the playoffs a uniform violation can set a fella back $75,000.

So, if your sitting next to this guy during the game, should he pay a fine?
I have to say, I would love to share season tickets in the same section as this guy versus the wanna-be-gold-diggers at the stadium - "kickin' them daisy's", their thongs showing whenever they sit down or raise their arms.

Watching them teeter through the crowded concourse on stilettos leaves me embarrassed - for them. I refuse to post pictures and give them the attention their daddy never did.

I consider myself a huge fan, and I make it to every home game to see my team play. I have jerseys and girly gear of all kinds sporting my allegiance. I'm there to experience the awesome energy of live NFL action and cheer for my favorite players. I'm not interested in playing the role of "eye candy" to a rowdy crowd of inebriated men with testosterone levels in the danger zone.

So, I'll see you at the game - in my Chuck Taylor's and my Adrian Wilson jersey.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

"Shake it off!" What great advice...

How many times have you heard - or said - "shake it off", referencing some misfortune on the football field - or some misfortune in life?

I know for me and other people, it's become a sort of running gag when something bad happens to say this to someone, knowing full well the "something" we're talking about won't be easily shook.

This week though, when I was watching the Monday night game between the Packers and the Bears, something hit me. After every snap, any professional football player who wants to be one of the best , who wants his team to win, really does have to  "shake it off".

"It" could be throwing an interception, blowing a tackle, comitting a stupid penalty, or getting lit up like a Christmas tree by a Pro-Bowl linebacker.

Regardless, if that player wants the next snap to have any chance of resulting in success, he's got to let "it" go - and fast! In most cases, the player has all of about a minute to take his mind off the last play to prepare for the next.
And can't you tell when he doesn't? Isn't it so obvious when the opposing team is able to get "in a player's head," and his play suffers throughout the rest of the game?
Get ready. I'm about to get philosophical.

Here's my thought: What if I was able to "shake off" every poor result in my life in less than a minute? What if I could look at each mistake, each failed attempt, and disappointment and recognize that it was just one "play" in a very long game?

Of course, I am the only one who could say what "winning" my game would look like when the clock runs out. But how much more likely - and much more quickly - would I be able to accomplish the win just by letting go of what didn't work?

And even if I "lost", what would the experience of playing the game be like?

It seems to me, it would be exhilarating, intense, inspiring because it would have been all of me in the game all the time. I would still go back and "watch the tape" to really get my mind around what didn't work, but there would be no time to wallow or luxuriate in it.

As a matter of fact, wouldn't it even be great to shake off a win, too? Think of the players who have been so in love with their own talent and accomplishments that the game, and his team, took second place to his own ego. (Can you say, T.O.?)

And what is the game of my life - of your life - worth when compared to a 60-minute football  game?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I agree with Keith Olbermann?!?! Anyone hear...did Hell freeze over?

Never thought I'd hear myself say this, but here it goes: "You are right Keith! Preach on, brother!"

Keith Olbermann was commenting on the alleged "harassment" of Azteca "reporter", Ines Sainz, when she was in the New York Jets locker room Monday.

Olbermann said, "She undermines every hard working woman sports reporter who knows the game."

I could not agree more. Ines Sainz is nothing more than a piece of eye candy for Azteca and everyone knows it - including her.

Listen, as I woman, I know what reaction I'm trying to elicit or what impression I'm trying to create when I put myself together every day. There are certainly different "themes": job interview, baby shower, beach day, date night....girls night out. Each theme has a different make-up application. Some call for stilletos and thigh-highs, others call for a ball cap and sneakers.

I'd be willing to bet Ms. Sainz has pondered over these kinds of choices, as all women do.

So, you tell me: what reaction...response...impression....was she trying to create when she made the choice to wear this?

As I heard one woman say on a call-in sports show this morning, "She dressed to get attention and attention is what she got!" Exactly.

Ms. Sainz made a choice when she painted those jeans on - and choices have consequences.

Would any reasonable, rational person - even a reasonable, rational feminist - expect a locker room full of intense and competitive men, coming down from an adrenalized testosterone high, to "mind their manners"?

I think it is a shame that the Jets players chose to react the way they did to this calculated choice by Ms. Sainz (and her producers) to show up for "work" dressed this way. The players could have made a choice to treat her like any pudgy, middle-aged male reporter in the locker room.

Which brings up another good point by Olbermann: "Ultimately, what the hell are reporters doing in locker rooms anyway?"

What upsets me the most about this? I had to agree with Keith Olbermann. Damn.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

It's almost midnight, Cinderella....

I was watching pre-season football games wrap-up and started to think about sleep when it occured to me, "Lots of these guys won't be sleepin' - no way."

After all, how could they? Imagine the suspense as Saturday approaches and teams are mercilessly cut down to 53 men. If it were me, I would be lying in bed playing every snap from every practice and every pre-season game over, and over again in my mind.

Tonight was the last time that some of these players will get to take the field with an NFL team. For others, life "on the fringe" begins - waivers, practice squads, trades - but no starts.

And frankly, how many of them would we even remember or recognize?

Made me think about Cinderella...

Made it to the ball, dressed to kill, danced with a hot prince, had a glass of bubbly...and still ended up going home in a pumpkin.

Monday, August 30, 2010

I vote "NO!" on 18

I think my "girly" side is kicking in again - trumping my love of the game.

It looks like, inevitably, the regular NFL season is going to be extended to 18 games. I hate this idea. Hate it.

Sounds crazy, right? Here I am, sitting on the couch, writing a blog about football and saying "no more football" - but hear me out.

Adding two more games to the regular season means that my favorite players will be subjected to two more punishing and dangerous battles each year. I think it's reasonable to think that this could very well shorten their careers, and even worse, impact the quality of their lives after football.

As it is now, the average player only lasts in the NFL for about 3 seasons. Think of that...everything you've worked for your whole life used up in 3 years.

I know...I know, "Don't feel sorry for them! They make more in those 3-4 years than I will make in my lifetime!"

Here in middle-class-ville, it's easy to imagine that the money would make it worth it. But does it?

Most of these guys start their careers in the NFL still so young that they believe they are invincible, immortal - with pockets full of cash. They can barely see past tomorrow, much less 10, 20, 30 years into the future. Could you at 22?

But does the fact that they get paid obscene amounts of money to "play a game" make it right to capitalize on their talents for our entertainment until their bodies are pulverized?

Something about that just seems "off" to me.

Am I the only one?

Sunday, August 22, 2010

One snap, your season's over.

You're 21 years old. You've played football for more than half your life. You had one dream: to play in the NFL.

And you've worked hard to get good - really good - good enough to make it to the NFL draft. This is something that thousands of little boys dream of, but something few ever achieve.

But you, you've made it.

Can you imagine? Can you imagine the excitement, the anticipation of being one phone call away from having all your dreams come true? And not just for you, but for your friends, your family, the people who love you, the people who got you there.

Ben Tate was the Houston Texans' second-round draft pick this year. When he got "the call", shouts of celebration and tears of joy erupted from him and his friends and family.

Ben's season is over. On Aug. 15th, his ankle was broken during a pre-season game against the Arizona Cardinals. His first NFL game.

Now, being the fan that I am, I can't deny that there is something about the brutal , physical battles between these modern day gladiators that I love. But, Ben's story - one of many that make the pre-season headlines - makes my heart ache for him, and for all the others.

I just imagine the shock and the crushing disappointment of having the dream you've worked so hard for, and just barely got to taste, stolen from you in a moment. When I see these things happen, I feel sick. Is this just my "girl" showing?

Of course, I'm sure that the Texans plan to "get value" from this "pick" next year. Coach Gary Kubiak said, "The surgery should be fine, he should be back playing next year. But it's a big blow. We were counting on him a great deal. He's a dang good-looking young player."

But, in the "win-now" NFL with coaches' jobs at stake, a lock-out looming and other talented young men fighting to take his place, I would imagine Ben Tate had a hard time choking down his birthday cake on Saturday.

I bet I know what he wished for when he blew out those 22 candles...

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

"What about Brett Faverer?"

Ok, I am SO SICK of this story line.

To me, he has completely tarnished what was an incredible reputation and fan following with his self-indulgent, attention seeking, dramatic "will-he-won't-he" production.

And the worst part: If he is coming back to the league this year (Magic 8-ball says, "It is decidedly so"), then we will have to go through this all over again at the end of this season! Unless of course, his 41-year old body takes a beating he can't recover from at some point during the season.

Maybe the 2011 lock-out over the collective bargaining agreement will give him the "closure" he needs to retire. Do I think there'll be a lock-out? Magic 8-ball says, "Signs point to yes."

Monday, August 16, 2010

Pretty Pigskin: For women who love football. Welcome!

You know, I can't even put my finger on it. Why I love the NFL so much...

I know that these guys inspire me. Really. When you think of how many kids step on to a football field each year, how many play Pop Warner, then on to high school and college, there is a lot of competition and a lot of talent out there.

So, what's different about the guys who win the "fight for 53" to be on an NFL roster. For some, it has mostly to do with physical gifts.

But, if you are a true fan, you know that most of the time for a man to rise to stardom in the league, it has more to do with heart, determination, and hard work - not just physical talent.

Watching football always make me want to try harder - at everything.

What about you? Why do you love football? What do you love about it?