Monday, January 24, 2005


Blah blah blah. Retch. Ick. BLAH!!!!

I'm am the emotional equivalent of a third nipple today.

That was just a terrible display of football. I stopped watching after the Steelers threw their 2nd INT which was then returned for a TD. I did it in part to spare myself from the mysery of watching the debacle and in part to spare the company I had over watching the game the mysery of watching me watch the debacle.

This is my last post about football until the draft. And much like the season has turned out for me, this will be a highly unsatisfying effort that is far too short.

I'll write again when I'm in a better frame of mind.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

More of the same

I'm sure the 2 people that still read this are bored to tears with me rumbling on about the Steelers. Facts is facts, though: I spend a lot of my time each day thinking about the NFL playoffs right now.

I'm nervous. I want to be happy on Monday.

I can sometimes take my mind off of it. Last night, I went bowling as I do every weekend. I had 1 really good game (209) and a couple of stinkers. In both of the stinkers, I threw splits in the final frame to ruin any chance I had of making those games respectable.

Jenn's got stuff going on, too. And actually, it's the kind fo stuff that I'd rather just think about football. But I do often think about how I can help her think about other things. It's a little late in the year to get her gung ho about the Steelers. Maybe in time. Sports really is the ultimate distraction. It's good like that.

Blair's coming to town, and that's good. I hope he can use the Steelers as a distraction as well.

WHY ARE THEY 3 POINT UNDERDOG!?!?!?! It's just stupid!!! And all of the reports keep writing as though the Patriots are the only team that's showed up the every game of the season this year. They act like the Steelers had nothing to do with the fact that Brady played a crappy game back in October and that the Steeler's ability to contral the clock was why they won. The Steeler's scored through the air that day, but they won it on the ground and in the tranches. Well, the guys in teh Steeler's trenches are still the same!!! And it's still the Steeler's defense that will be showing up. I don't see how Cory Dillion and one bad game from Big Ben is worth a 17 point swing in the final score. I read on line from one book maker that he thinks the line should be even but he has to set it where the people bet. Why are people discounting 14 weeks of solid play and assuming last week was the only one that mattered!?!?!? AAAARRRGGGGHHH!!!

And here's the worst part: I'm getting over confident. When you have the ability to counter every arguement made, that happens. If you're not really sure what to say in response, you can start to question yourself. But when you sit there and say, "Sure Belicheck is an all-time great coach, but when a team matches up well against the guys you've got on defense (like the Steeler's bruising running game against the talented but slightly undersized New England LB), that counts for something," you start thinking that there's no way you can lose on Sunday. And that's not where I want to be on Sunday.

On Sunday, I want to sit down and watch a great football game where my team shows up and plays their hearts out and wins becasue they are the better team. I don't want to be pissed going into the game because everyone else is a moron and has a REALLY short memory.

So yeah, I'm a little distracted this week.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Squeaky Clean

WOW!!!! Now THAT is what you call a close football game. I did not sit down from about 3:10 until an hour after the game was over. It was just a crazy, draining, angering, exciting, death-inspiring, and in the end joyful event to watch. In the end though, the Steelers played their worst game of the year and still managed a W. That's how it's done folks. They gave up a ton of underneath passes. They choked on kick coverage. They caugh Big Ben on a bad day. But they couldn't stop our running game. Like I predicted, if just one of the slightly slow-down-able aspects of their game was functioning in full force, they would win. And they did. I'll be honest: it's very nice to know that your team can throw together the worst performance of the season and still walk with a win. They sqeaked this one out clean. Not as much as I can say for my shorts.

I'm much more calm today than I was 7 days ago. The fact is, if they play their worst game - or second worst game - of the year on Sunday, they will lose. With the Jets, I knew the Steelers could win in spite of themselves. If they were struggling, I knew they could struggle through. Not happening against the Patriots. The good news is, I don't see this team putting up 2 crappy performances in a row. I honestly believe they will respond. I think Big Ben will be just fine. He's a winner. Period. Tom Brady's a winner, too, even if he doesn't look the part. But in the end, I have far more faith in the Steelers ability to rattle Brady than vice versa.

The key to success against the Patriot: PRESSURE TOM BRADY. Constantly. Get in front of his face. Send men up the gut and he'll miss fire. Steelers knew that in October. Dolphins knew it in December. He's going to hit his crossing WR's if he can see them. If he can't see them, 1 out of every 10 plays hell throw it anyway. In October and in the Dolphin game, that led to 4 very costly INT's. But you have to keep after him because he will settle back down. Pittsburgh is not going to play this game not to lose (as they did vs. the Jets).

Yes, the Patriot's Defense is very good and extremely well coached. But so are the Steelers. Both teams will live or die by the run. I think the Steelers stop the run just a bit better and that will enable them to get one extra score. Early. Just like cock push-ups, one's all you need.

The Steelers are 2.5 to 3 point underdogs right now. Please. These teams, on a neutral field, are even. Maybe give 2 to the Patriots because of Brady's experience. But that's it. Big Ben doesn't remember 3 failed AFC Championship games. He doesn't remember the last pick her threw, for Pete's sake. He's going to be fine. And so will I in another 7 days. I hope.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Nothing in particular

I don't have all that much going on right now. Nor do i even have a reason for blogging. It's lunch. I have some time. So there you go.

As alluded to in my previous blog, I'm thinking a lot about the Steelers. They play at 1:30 tomorrow. This morning, in spite of having enough work related stuff to keep be busy well past 5, I spent a good chunk of the morning reading on-line articles about the games the coming weekend. And that brings us to the current blog. Lunch is when I usually scope those sorts of things out, but today, I could not wait. So you're stuck with a boring blog.

So here are some random things that have absolutely no bearing on anyone's life but my own. And maybe Jenn's a little bit.

The past 2 nights, someone has been lying on our futon and the rabbit has actually jumped up onto the futon to see what was going on. Last night it was Jenn. She barely reacted. The night before it was I (actually, jenn and I were snuggling, but I was on the edge). At the time, I was on the verge of sleep (my futon has the power of putting people to sleep, I think it uses it's power for evil more than good). All of the suddin I flet a fuzziness on my hands and I just scooped it right up. Of course Token attempted escape, but I had grabbed him quick enough. We put him away in his cage and went to bed shortly there after. I couldn't help but wonder why he'd hop up like that? Do rabbits in nature like to huddle together so he just figured we were big rabbits? The fact that he did it again last night is why I even bring it up. Very odd.

I was in 5 Fantasy Football leagues this year. I only made the playoffs in 2 of them. In one of the 3 that I failed to make the playoffs, I had the 4th highest point total on the year but I finished witht the 9th worst record. That's just plain bad, dumb luck. In the 2 that I made the playoffs, I went 1-1 in the Championship games. That's not bad at all to have a 1st and a 2nd. Unfortunately, the 2nd was in my money league and meant a $300 swing. Oh well.

I had to buy a calendar for my office. I like those Page-a-day deals. Gives you something to look forward to every morning and on Mondays, you have 3 things to kill a little time. Anyway, I planned on going to the bookstore witht he sole purpose of looking for a Onion page-a-day. By the time I got to the store, I couldn't remember what exactly I was looking for, but I vaguely remembered that I was thinking I wanted something funny. By the time I got to the table with all the calendars, Ihad no idea what I wanted. I eventually narrowed it down to the Mensa Puzzle calendar and the Bishism calendar. I opted for the mensa because a daily reminder of the fact that our president is a complete and total imbicile kind of scared me. Most days, I probably wouldn't mind and would be highly amused. But if for whatever reason i had already had a bad morning, that wasn't going to help the matter. As I was leaving, I spotted, sitting right next to the Mensa box, a box with the Onion Page-a-day. It was right there in front of me and I didn't even see it! I wasn't sure if I should feel old, stupid or blind.

I have a ton of bet in already on my dad's on-line gambling account. Basically, it's like playing with the house's money. And anyone who's been to Vegas and actually won some money can tell you that you'll never have more fun in Vegas than when you're playing with the house's money. Anyway, I'm not going to tell you who I'm betting on becasue my friend Eddie never tells anyone. Seems reasonable enough to me. Who am I to argue with Eddie?

I hate Fresno weather. It's no better than being in the Northeast. I might as well be living in Pittsburgh.

I like Fresno food. There is some surprisingly good food here. And when the Claim Jumpers opens, LOOK OUT!

I can't wait for the Claim Jumper to open. I think I'm going to try to get all my Fresno friends who have never experienced Claim Jumper beofre to go with me on a trip to Six Flags. There's a Claim Jumper 5 minutes from there. We could go there for dinner before heading home. I just want more people to be excited aout this.


Wednesday, January 12, 2005

The only thing I have to fear is fear itself

Thank you FDR. I bet you never thought you'd help provide the title to blog about the looming playoff game between the Jets and Steelers.

This Saturday, the Jets and Steelers will be kicking off the Playoff festivities for the weekend at 1:30 PT. And until then, I'm going to be in a constant state of terror. My brother called me earlier in the week and asked me to help talk him down a bit because he's really nervous. Normally, I have to provide reassurance that everything's going to be OK and the sky isn't falling and the Steelers will win. Me. A soothing influence on someone. But this week, I had to be honest: I'm totally freaked out about this game.

With football, it's all about the match-ups. Usually, each week, the Steelers will be facing a team that have some sort of advantage. In those cases, I can reassure my brother (and myself) by figuring out ways the Steelers can nuetralize these road blocks to vicotry. Liek when we went to the game in Dallas, the Steelers were down late in the 4th quarter and Dallas had the ball. My brother was totally pissed and was cursing like a sailor about how the Steelers suck and they blew this game. I just sat there totally relaxed and told him to chill out because Vinny Testaverde is the Dallas QB and the Steelers NEVER lose to Vinny. Ever. Sure enough about 1 minute after calming him down, Vinny fumbled and the Steelers were on their way to victory. We had a disadvantage, but Vinny was the perfect antidote.

The problem is that this week, I can't figure out anything about the Jets that I should be afraid of. There isn't a single fascet of the game where the Jets have a decided advantage. I can't look at this game and say, "If the Steelers don't stop Curtis Martin, they're going to lose this game," becasue the Steelers WILL stop him. It's not even a question. So when my brother called I had to be honest:I'm not afraid at all about this game which scares the absolute HELL out of me. I can't relax. I can't focus. All I can think about are the 1 Million and 1 ways the Steelers can kill themselves on Saturday. I think about that because that's the only thing that can happen that would cause them to lose. The only way the Steelers lose is if you take all of the mistaakes they've made through out the season (and they were 15-1,s o there weren't many of them) and throw them all into this one game.

Big Ben has an attrocious game (like he did against the Jets when they played in December)

The Bus is ineffective (like he was coming of the bench early in the season)

Duece is held in check (like he was in the first Baltimore game)

The Steelers Special Teams gives up a return for a TD (like they did against the Giants)

The Steelers D gives up a ton of dink and dunk passing yards (like they did in the second half against the Patriots or against Carson Palmer in the 2nd Bengals game)

Keep in mind that ALL of these things would have to happen in order for the Steelers to lose. ALL OF THEM. Not 3. Not 4. ALL of them. The Jets would have to shut down both backs, hope Big Ben becomes stupid for 60 minutes, the Special Teams forgets to tackle and the corners play too far off while the front 7 fails to apply sufficient pressure. If one running back has a good game, then the other is enough to counter balance Ben's problems. If the Special Teams is solid, the Jets will never be in good enough field postiion to fully abandon the run and start picking appart the secondary.

And so, the thing I'm afraid of is the convergance of my worst nightmares. And that makes me more afraid of this game than any other before or after. If we manage to keep it together and win on Saturday, I'll look at the Colts or Patriots and recognize their stregths and figure out how the Steelers will be able to counter them. But how can the Steelers counter themselves?

I don't actally think that they're going to play the worst game of the year this weekend. That's what it will take for them to lose. And knowing that's how they would have to play to fail and knowing that that's the last Steeler game I'd get to watch for the season, and knowing that such a putrid performance would stew in my gut for the whole off season, scares me. I am only afraid about being afraid.

Saturday, January 08, 2005


I love the NFL Playoffs. Just fun and exciting and football for 3 consecutive weekends. 3 of my favorite things. There are periods of the year that I am typically at my least productive at work: January, the first week of the NCAA Hoops tournament and the week between Christmas and New Years. I try to limit my playoff surfing to lunch time and the last hour of work. But that's like trying to limit myself to one Krispy Kreme doughnut. it just ain'[t happening.

Anyway, my prdictions for the playoffs from October were OK, but nothing stellar. In the AFC, I predicted Denver to win the West and Baltimore to get the other Wild Card. Turned out San Diego won the West and Denver got the WC. Real close. By the way, San Diego is exponentially better than anyone predicted. In the NFC, I predicted Minnesota to win the Central and Detroit and Carolina to win the Wild Cards. That was way off, with Minnesota getting a WC behind Green Bay in the Central and Detroit stinking down the stretch and the Rams sneaking in.

So now I will try for some predictions. A few things to bear in mind with the playoffs. First, head coaches are very important. This will influence several picks. Second, QB are also very important, but not from a throwing the ball stand point. From a game management stand point. And lastly, you're insane if you think I'm picking aganst the Steelers.

In the wild cards today we have Seattle vs St. Louis and San Diego vs the Jets. That first game is just scary bad. Neither of these teams deserve to be here for the way they've played all year. St. Louis has beat Seattle twice this year already. You hear a lot of people say it's really tough to beat a team 3 times in a year. Bull Shit! I take the Rams. As for the other game, if the Jets had any semblance of a passing game, I'd take them. San Diego has benefitted from a super easy schedule, but they've played hard enough all year to deserve to win one in front of the home crowd.

On Sunday we have Indy vs Denver and Green Bay vs Minnesota. On that first game, don't get fooled by the season Peyton Manning has had. He's still Peyton Manning and he still is a liability in the Palyoffs. But not this week. Indy wins easily. The other game features a match up between the NFL head coaching equivalents of Laurel and Hardy. Seriously, they're both morons. In Green Bay, Sherman has no idea that he has one of the best running backs in the league. he thinks he has Brett Farve from 1998 not from 2004. But they'll find a way to win in spite of themselves because that's what they've been doing the last 2 months. More than I can say for Minnesota.

Next weekend, in the AFC, you will see the Steelers vs San Diego and the Patriot vs Indy. I have no respoect for San Diego on the road in January and there is no way Peyton Manning will ever beat the New England Patriots as long as the Linebackers are healthy and they have their current head coach. EVER. That will set up a really tough game in Pittsburgh the following week between the 2 best teams in the league. Luckily, I think the Steelers know how to beat them. You absolutely, positively HAVE to blitz Tom Brady. The Steelers lost in 2001 because they didn't trust their secondary. This year, they have that trust, so they will be blitzing their brains out. If they can get even a 1 point lead, there's no way New England will be able to come back.

In the NFC we will see Philly vs the Rams and Atlanta vs Green Bay. The Rams don't actually have a head coach. That don't even have a Steward a la Gondor (remember the guy that goes crazy and is about to set his own son on fire?). They have Rainman, except Rainman knows when Whoppner's on. Mike Martz barely knows when his team is playing football. In the other game, I don't like the Atlanta Offense. You can't have a team so dependent on one player. But I like Green Bay's Defense and their head coach even less. So Atlanta wins by default. And teams that get to the Championship game by default don't make it to the Super Bowl, no matter how banged up the other team is.

In the Super Bowl, we all know who I like to win. But I really don't feel comfortable giving reasons or breaking it down. That will have to wait until February.