Tag Archives: Eli Manning

What We Learned From Week Two of the 2013 NFL Season

by J-Dub and Meehan

Yet another week has passed in the sportsgasm that is the NFL season, and that means it is time for us to tell you some things you need to know without the self-serving spin those assbags at ESPN will never give you. We know this because if you think you can get real football information from guys like Merrill Hoge and Trent Dilfer, you probably also think the earth is flat and that Kennedy was assassinated by Daffy Duck.

1) Either the Jets aren’t that bad, or the Patriots aren’t that good: Pick one. 

tom-brady-sideline-welp

 

Let’s just cut through the bullshit here; the Patriots aren’t that good.  When you see Tom Brady mugging, screaming, and eye-rolling at his receivers, you know that Patriots offense is more out-of-sync than a 1985 Yugo with bad spark plugs.  In contrast, when the Orlando Magic were in their heyday, Shaquille O’Neal once famously called coach Stan Van Gundy the “master of panic.”  Bill Belichick couldn’t be more opposite when it comes  to being so stoic people are worried pigeons might start shitting on him, but make no mistake. Brady’s antics show there is panic in Foxboro.

If you are the Patriots, this is exactly the time to start panicking. In all fairness, the Patriots could easily be 0-2.  There’s exactly four points separating them from being winless. They haven’t covered the spread yet. They were beat by Buffalo for 59 minutes, and they played down to the level of the sorry-ass Jets, so we can clearly understand why there’s a panic breaking out in New England.  For all of us who have had to suffer through the pretentious attitude Patriot fans are known for, we love hearing the panic in your voices, because it’s better than your tacky Boston accent that sounds like somebody left an audio interview of Godsmack on in the background.

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What If Eli Weren’t Named Manning?

Raise your hand if you have a sibling. Keep your hand up if that sibling is in the same profession as you. Keep it up if you are one of the best at what you do, but your sibling is better.  Now, keep that hand up if your sibling is a complete drama queen.  If you are Eli Manning, right now your hand is still in the air. That upraised hand begs a question: Do you think after an entire Super Bowl week in which we’ve heard more about the Manning with the bad neck than the one who is actually playing in the game that Eli might be wondering what his life might be like if he hadn’t been named Manning?

That’s the question being asked by Andrew Sharp at SB Nation. It is a tremendous question, but without going all “It’s a Wonderful Life'” Sharp misses a bit on the answer.  To fully understand this, let’s walk through his assertion.

As the playoffs have unfolded I’ve found myself rooting for the Giants, and a number of friends keep asking, “How can you root for Eli?” On the surface, he looks like a spoiled, spastic version of his big brother, part of a royal football family that just won’t go away. But to understand what makes Eli great, you have to look past his bloodlines.

Eli Manning has always been famous because of his family. First when he was playing high school football in New Orleans, then throughout college at Ole Miss, then through the NFL Draft process, and even during the first half of his career. Every step of the way.

You’ve read this story a million times because it’s been written over and over again for 15 years. It started in 1997, when Eli was a 16-year-old quarterback at Isidore Newman in New Orleans:

“The two boys, Peyton and Eli, are as different as saucy shrimp Creole and a soothing mint julep. The whole family agrees about that. Olivia Peyton, their mother, says that Peyton was so organized at home, he bordered on compulsive. “He couldn’t relax until everything was perfect,” she said. “He’d be fluffing all the pillows on the sofa to make sure they were right.”

He may never become Peyton, but Eli is a legit quarterback.

This is the sort of backhanded praise that’s framed his entire career.

OK, there’s the premise right up front, the two brothers are different, but for some reason, Peyton is superior based only on his personality type. In his own second sentence, Sharp jumps right to Eli’s character and demeanor. The story goes for several more paragraphs until this commentary, and we have yet to get to anything remotely close about football.

It gets worse. Sharp lists a timeline of Eli v. Peyton anecdotes, and not one of them talks about performance on the field. In fact, let’s go through these dates and add some “What Ifs” of our own.

In 2001, the lead from a New York Times story on Eli at Ole Miss: “From the juke joints of the Delta to the feed stores of northern Mississippi, he is called Archie’s boy, a son of one of sports’ most famous Sons of the South. In Tuscaloosa, Ala., in Knoxville, Tenn., and in every other castle in the Southeastern Conference football kingdom, he is “Peyton’s brother.”

In 2003, from USA Today: “Like his father, Archie, and older brother, Peyton, before him, however, Mississippi quarterback Eli Manning appears to have fallen into the close-but-no-cigar family routine.”

The “It’s A Wonderful Life Moment:” It is important to remember that once Ole Miss knew they had a Manning coming in to play quarterback, it was a moment bigger than if Notre Dame found out Jesus McGod had just committed to come South Bend. The moment was so big Mississippi went out and got David Cutcliffe to be their head coach since he had been Peyton’s offensive coordinator at Tennessee.

In 2004, the day he was drafted: “It started in kindergarten. Eli Manning would join his classmates at recess, and they would already have a position picked out for him. Many of the children knew that Eli’s father, Archie, had played in the National Football League. Some knew Eli’s older brother Peyton, who was a neighborhood legend as a preteen. The decision was simple. Eli was playing quarterback again.”

In 2004, the day after he was drafted: “Can he be as good as Peyton Manning, the NFL’s co-MVP last season? … Did the Giants get another Peyton Manning or just a player with the same last name?”

The “It’s A Wonderful Life Moment:” Let’s not forget the Chargers and the Mannings have a checkered history with each other. Remember that it was Chargers who came up “snake eyes’ in 1998 on the whole Peyton vs. Ryan Leaf draft choice. Then it was Eli who made it clear he would not play for the Chargers if they used their #1 overall draft pick to select him.

In 2005, there was more backhanded praise from the New York Daily News: “Montana, Young, Aikman, Brady, Favre, Elway. … Nobody is saying Eli Manning is going to make that list. Or be an immortal. Nobody is even saying Manning is going to be his big brother. … But we have found out a lot about Eli Manning already.”

The “It’s A Wonderful Life Moment:” More proof that the name “Manning” carries serious weight in Mississippi. Eli’s footprints out of Oxford are hardly cold when head coach David Cutcliffe is essentially forced out in favor the “Cajun Mastodon” also known as Ed Orgeron.

In 2008, after Eli pulled off one of the biggest upsets in Super Bowl history, it was another excuse to highlight the Mannings. As the Washington Post wrote: “When the New York Giants beat the Patriots in a stunning Super Bowl upset Sunday night, they did more than merely keep New England from completing an unbeaten season … The Giants also gave a second straight Super Bowl triumph to the Manning quarterbacks, as Eli reached the pinnacle a year after his older brother, Peyton.”

The “It’s A Wonderful Life Moment:” How many people think if it hadn’t been about the “Manning” connection, this story in 2008 would have been all about “Eli Whoever cock-blocks Tom Brady, the greatest quarterback of our generation.”

See, not only is Sharp ignoring the on-the-field stuff, he also ignoring that since Eli won a Super Bowl, the Manning family became a wholly-owned subsidiary of the NFL’s publicity monster.  The whole family is in on the deal; this is why there’s  a brother who shows up in photos who has never taken a snap in the NFL.  Cooper is the Manning’s equivalent of Fredo Corleone; if they were a political family he’d be Billy Carter or Roger Clinton.

Instead, Sharp inadvertently starts to paint the picture some of us have suspected for a while; that Peyton is a narcissistic, anal-retentive dickhead.

Even this week, Eli’s family still frames his success. From Newsday (subscription required):

Peyton was very much on Eli’s mind yesterday after the Giants arrived in Indianapolis for a week of preparation for Sunday’s game. He thanked him for all his support over the years. And he even brought us back into their childhood in New Orleans, when Peyton occasionally would beat up on his younger brother.

“He’d pin me down and take his knuckles and knock on my chest and make me name the 12 schools in the SEC,” Eli said. “I was 6 or 7 at the time, and I didn’t know them, so I quickly learned them. It was a great learning technique, but I don’t suggest anyone duplicate that or try that out.”

There was more.

“Once I figured those [SEC schools] out, we moved on to all 28 NFL teams, so I had to get my studying done for that,” he said. “The one I never got was naming 10 brands of cigarettes. When he really wanted to torture me and I knew I had no shot of getting it, that’s when I started screaming for my mom or dad to save me.”

None of this is surprising. The Manning family has all the mystique to football fans that Camelot does for political nerds and Vanity Fair readers. In either case we’re talking about surreal levels of fortune and success, and just enough mystery to keep everyone fascinated for years. It’s nobody’s fault that Eli’s seen as a Manning first.

Again, what happens to this all if he’s Eli Smith? There’s a ton of writers out there who might actually have to develop real story lines on this guy; the low-hanging fruit of the “Kennedys of the NFL” drops like the leaves on Martha’s Vineyard in October.  If Eli was just another gun-slinger who graduated the college ranks to a starring role on the main stage of the NFL, the stories about him would be more about football than family.

If Eli weren’t a Manning, he would have a bit of the same problem Tim Tebow has. In this “fantasy football” world the NFL has become, you can’t simply be a winning quarterback, you have to look like one.  Sharp runs his finger around the edge of this problem.

It’s impossible to look at Eli without seeing shades of his big brother, and next to his big brother, it’s impossible not to see where Eli comes up short. Peyton’s taller, stronger, more accurate, more commanding, and more consistent. Peyton personifies the word “elite”. With Eli, the first question’s always been “Is he as good as his brother?” and any objective measure says no. That alone makes it hard to take him seriously. Next to Peyton Manning’s Brad Pitt, Eli seems more like Owen Wilson.

But if Eli wasn’t named Manning, he wouldn’t have spent his whole life being compared to Peyton, and instead of looking down on his goofy style, we’d celebrate his ability to win that way. Instead of some off-brand version of his big brother, Eli would be a whole different commodity.

And he IS a whole different commodity. That’s what we’ve started to see throughout the NFL Playoffs. If he wins Sunday, we’ll have no other choice but to appreciate him apart from his brother. Next to someone like Peyton or Tom Brady or Drew Brees or Aaron Rodgers, Eli’s nowhere near as perfect or consistent, but he’s every bit as deadly–the guy who can look truly horrible against the Redskins in Week 15, then turn around a month later and beat the best team in the NFL on the road.

This is the problem with framing Eli next to his brother, or even Tom Brady. It distracts us from what makes Eli Manning so much fun: He isn’t just elite, he’s unique.

There’s no doubting that Tim Tebow is unique. There’s no doubting Peyton Manning is unique. The only thing that casts a shadow on Eli’s unique nature is the fact he’s sharing a surname with another NFL quarterback. If Eli Manning weren’t constantly being compared to his older brother, he might just be a favorite son of the NFL.  After all, people love it when “regular” guys succeed; Eli is the “elite” quarterback who is actually fun to watch, and isn’t afraid to show his “regular guy” status.  He doesn’t hide his pathological obsession with pranks, his “mama’s boy complex,” or that stupid grin he always seems to have glued to his face. America loves a the “win at all costs” guy, but they also love a winner who has a certain amount of humanity; Eli would be that guy if he were Eli Smith rather than Eli Manning.

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The Dubsism Quarterback Douchebag Scale

Throughout life, we deal with units of measure.  To me, the most interesting are scales; where a level of intensity is assigned to an event or quality based on a quantifiable measure. The world of weather brings us the Saffir-Simpson scalefor hurricane intensity or the Fujita scale for tornadoes. Seismologists categorizes earthquakes according to the Richter scale.

However, as a sports fan I’ve noticed there is a discernable level of jerk-like behavior present in NFL quarterbacks. Moreover, once I noticed the stratification of this behavior, I discovered that it too needed a rating scale so we may better understand the levels of douchebag present in any quarterback.  It is crucial to note this rating scale is completely independent of on-the-field performance.

Click here to see the full list.

- Dubsism is a proud member of the Sports Blog Movement

Why You Shouldn’t Cheer For…The New York Giants

1) Because nobody really knows what Tom Coughlin is

In the span of a month he’s gone from a 7-7 coach who job was on the line to a potential Hall-of-Famer. During his tenure in New York, he’s gone from brutal authoritarian to the coach “players want to play for.” I don’t know which is true, and I don’t care.  Frankly, I think he is secretly Mr. Miyagi.

2) Giants’ fans themselves, Part I

In other words, the group driving the dysmorphic vision behind rule #1. These are the people who were ready to storm the Giants’ “Bastille” six weeks ago demanding Coughlin’s head. Now they want that same head cast in bronze and sent to Canton.

3) Giants’ fans themselves, Part II

Dubsism World Headquarters are located just outside Indianapolis, and as we speak my town is filling up with Giants fans. Half of them look just like the above picture. The men look even worse.

4) They have a Manning

Granted, they have the one that bugs me the least, but now as previously mentioned, Dubsism is based in the smack dab middle of Colts’ Country, and right now we are making a our preparation to flee the impending Indiana civil war which will break out if the  Colts cut Peyton. It’s just like those old re-runs of The Big Valley…Nick may have started all the fights, but his brother Jarrod always had to shoulder the burden.

5) Another Manning joke

Drunk Eli on the cover of a video game is only fitting since most gamers are messed up half the time anyway.

6) The “Helmet Catch”

Sure, this helped them beat the Patriots last time, but thanks to this David Tyree moment, we’ve all had to listen to Patriots fans moan about this for four years.

7) Yet Another Manning joke

Honestly, I can’t tell which is funnier; the “tigger” costume, the Spidey Speedo, or the combination of the two.

8) Still yet another Manning joke

I must admit, that really does resemble Eli throwing on the run.

9) Because I’m a Philadelphia Eagles Fan

The "Miracle at the Meadowlands;" Herm Edwards about to "play to win the game."

Here’s four of my favorite moments in New York Giant history, all courtesy of my Philadelphia Eagles.

The Super Bowl: The Definitive Dubsism Preview

Let’s start with my original playoff predictions:

New England Patriots

Why They Can Win:

Because Tom Brady is still Tom Brady; one of the greatest quarterbacks in the history on the NFL, and he isn’t far enough past his prime to be discounted.

Why They Can’t Win:

To see the future in Foxboro, just look toward Indianapolis. Don’t look right this second, because you may notice the Patriots are beginning to get old before your very eyes.  They are the worst 13-3 team I’ve ever seen – they define over-rated.  They can’t run the ball and their defense couldn’t stop a Pop Warner team, yet somehow they are top-seed in the AFC.

All this team has is Tom Brady, and that’s just enough to hide the real defects in this team. There’s a reason I call this the “Manning Rule.”

Odds of Winning: 18 to 1

New York Giants

Why They Can Win:

Take a coin out of your pocket. This coin represents the streakiness of the New York Giants. Flip the coin. Heads, Giants win.

Why They Can’t Win:

That complete lack of consistency drives me batshit crazy. Flip that coin Again. Tales, Giants lose. Eli Manning is easily my favorite player to watch in the NFL; he is like a poker player who loses a shitload of $50 pots, and just enough $10,000 ones to stay above water.  This time, Eli is all in with two pair.

Odds of Winning: 20 to 1

Now that we are down to a head-to-head matchup, there are three categories to analyze.

1) What Vegas Thinks

Anybody who loves to bet knows professional gamblers pay attention to five key categories:

  • Yards Rushing per Game – Patriots 110.2, Giants 89.2
  • Yards Rushing Allowed Per Game – Patriots 117.1, Giants 121.2
  • Points Scored Per Game – Patriots 32.1, Giants 24.6
  • Points Allowed Per Game – Patriots 21.4, Giants 25.0
  • Ratio of Points Scored to Points Allowed –Patriots 1.5, Giants 0.984

This discussion falls into the classic “more than meets the eye” department because it would seem to be a clean sweep for the Patriots. But the number get more curious when you consider that the above bulleted stats are from the regular season. The numbers change quite a bit when you keep them to the post-season.

  • Post-Season Yards Rushing per Game – Patriots 121.0, Giants 117.3
  • Post-Season Yards Rushing Allowed Per Game – Giants 120.3, Patriots 130.0
  • Post-Season Points Scored Per Game – Patriots 34, Giants 27
  • Post-Season Points Allowed Per Game – Giants 15, Patriots 13
  • Post-Season Ratio of Points Scored to Points Allowed –Patriots 2.62, Giants 1.8

Now instead of being a distinct advantage for New England, there has been a definite closing of the gap by the Giants. The numbers still point to the Patriots being a better bet, but consider the environment in which this significant statistical improvement occurred.

  • The Patriots played two games at home. One of those games was against the Broncos, whose anemic performance skews the post-season numbers dramatically toward making the Patriots appear better than they really are.
  • The Giants played three games total, two of which were on the road against the top two seeds in the NFC (Packers and 49ers). The Giants man-handled the Packers (who were a prohibitive favorite) in Lambeau Field, and took down the 49ers in overtime in a quagmire at Candlestick.

Boil it all down, and it means the Giants have been far more impressive than the Patriots in the post-season. This is why despite the picture painted by the numbers, the Patriots are only a 3 point favorite.

Advantage: Push

2) The On-the-Field Matchups

  • The Battle of the Trenches

The Giants go as far as their offensive line, which is a unit that has played out of its mind the last three playoff games. The Patriots can’t offer anywhere near what the 49ers did, and New York handled San Francisco with relative ease. Meanwhile, the front four of the Giants are going to make themselves well-know to Tom Brady’s face.

  • The Battle of the Quarterbacks

Brady vs. Manning II: This time it’s personal.  Actually, this time it is without David “Helmet Catch” Tyree.  So now it’s likely to be less about Eli getting lucky, and about Brady finally showing how over-rated of a quarterback he really is.  Try this one on for size: Who would had a better season – Tim Tebow with the Patriots or Tom Brady with the Broncos?

Not to mention, even sportswriters have figured out how to beat Brady. And like it or not, a lot of Brady’s passing stats are heavily padded by the yards-after-catch of the Wes Welker and Rob Gronkowski’s of the world.

  • The Battle of the Non-Over-Rated B.S.

Neither team runs the ball particularly, but the Giants have picked up their game as of late. Neither team is really worth discussing in the defensive backfield. Both teams rely on their offensive lines, big-play quarterbacks, and a couple of downfield play-makers.  To me, the Giants pass-rush will make the difference.

Advantage: Giants

3) A Comparison of the Cities

The trouble here is that by judging where these teams respective stadia are located, there  really aren’t any cities to compare. I know that it is petty and anal retentive, but it has always been a pet peeve of mine that the “New York” Giants actually play in New Jersey. I’ll even admit it is a double-standard; I don’t apply this to the Jets, probably because they were treated as the little brother of New York football for decades. I get that East Rutherford is a mere six miles from mid-town Manhattan, but the concrete canyons of the city might as well be a world away from the partially-drained swamp they call Meadowlands.

At least the Patriots are sort of honest about it. They aren’t trying to get you to believe that some jerkwater hick town somewhere in greater New England where they likely still burn witches  is still somehow “Boston.”

Advantage: Patriots

The Dubsism 2011 Pre-Season NFL Power Rankings

As we find ourselves on the verge of another NFL season, it is time for the degenerate gambler in me to preview the carnage. Let’s face it, the NFL is comprised of  three classes: Really Good, Mediocre, and Lousy.  This means NFL predictions are pretty easy to get reasonably correct. For example, the online sports book experts find it easy to predict the AFC East standings each year. As long as quarterback Tom Brady is playing for head coach Bill Belichick in New England, that will be your division favorite. Another point that should be obvious is that if you are reading this article and expecting anything more clever than a sports book expert, maybe you shouldn’t be gambling in the first place.

Having said that, here’s how we see these teams come January (playoff teams noted in green).

Rankings by Division

AFC East

The Patriots looked invincible last season until the New York Jets found their Achilles’ heel. Once you take away the Patriots running game, their offense suddenly can’t create plays. However, the Pats’ seem to have addressed that by solidifying the offensive line.  Otherwise, the Patriots needed to make two major changes;  they needed help in the defensive secondary, and they needed size in the running game. Danny Woodhead is a great story, but he’s a munchkin, and teams had him figured out by the playoffs. Brandon Meriwether is a fraud, and has been for a while. This is why the Patriots drafted defensive back Ras-I Dowling and running back Shane Vereen. When you stop to consider the Patriots’ past success at player scouting and development (don’t make me break out the Tom Brady cliché yet again), it is safe to assume that the Patriots solved their problems.

Q: Who knew this looked a future Hall-of-Famer? A: Bill Belichick.

But don’t sleep on the Jets.  The Jets get the second spot in the AFC East by default; the Bills and Dolphins are both in that “Lousy” category. The Jets season hinges on two things: the defense has to live up to expectations by being the dominant unit it should be, and Mark Sanchez has to not suck. Frankly, it is time for Sanchez to prove he is worthy of the star status he has been accorded. If he finally shows us he is the “San-chise,” the sky is the limit for the Jets. If not, expect another playoff loss.

  1. New England Patriots
  2. New York Jets
  3. Miami Dolphins
  4. Buffalo Bills

AFC North

The Ravens defense used to be radioactive to offenses, but like all radioactive elements, eventually they pass their half-life and the decay becomes noticeable. This may not be the year that happens, but it is getting more likely with time. If the Ravens are going to make a move and snatch this division from the Steelers, that defense needs to stay healthy and give us one more season of nuclear-powered destruction. Anything short of that, and we may very well be seeing those damn Terrible Towels deep into the playoffs.

  1. Pittsburgh Steelers
  2. Baltimore Ravens
  3. Cleveland Browns
  4. Cincinnati Bengals

AFC South

This division goes to the Texans by default. Tennessee has a new head coach, and I have no faith that Matt Hasselbeck is the cure to all that ailed the Titans. Jacksonville is just plain bad, and I can’t sell on the Colts fast enough. If you saw Indianapolis in the pre-season, you saw the lack of Peyton Manning is only one problem this team has. The offensive line couldn’t block a hat, the defense acts more like the express lane at the toll-booth, and head coach Jim Caldwell couldn’t find his balls with both hands. However, in all fairness, it’s not like the Texans have ever shown they know where their balls are either; they’ve never once showed they have what it takes to win.

  1. Houston Texans
  2. Tennessee Titans
  3. Indianapolis Colts
  4. Jacksonville Jaguars

AFC West

Here’s another default situation that just drives me nuts. Every year, I get sucked in by the Chargers, only to watch them underperform. I honestly wish I could say with confidence San Diego can’t win this division, but who else can? The Raiders didn’t lose a division game last year, but they also have a new head coach, question marks all over the roster, and the usual Raider drama. The Chiefs showed what they were in that seal-clubbing they took at the hands of the Ravens in the playoff last season, and they didn’t get better since then. Do I even need to mention the Denver Tebows?

  1. San Diego Chargers
  2. Oakland Raiders
  3. Kansas City Chiefs
  4. Denver Broncos

NFC East

We could call this division the NFC Over-Rated. I swear to god, the next person who refers to the Eagles as “dream team” will get kicked in the neck (I say this as a lifelong Eagles fan). They have some serious issues on the offensive line, and I will give you even money Michael Vick proves to be a bust on that big contract he just got. Don’t forget he got the crap beaten out of him last season and lost five games due to injury, plus he got progressively worse as the season went on. Not to mention he is age-wise already north of 30, and I don’t know of too many athletes that aged like wine; running quarterbacks age like milk.

Then there’s the Cowboys. To buy this team, I need to do two things that make me nervous. First, I have to buy Tony Romo as a quarterback who can win a game that means something; that’s compounded by the fact he plays behind an offensive line that at times can look like five matadors in silver and blue. Secondly, I need to see head coach Jason Garrett take this team out of the gate as “the man;” last year I suspect he got a bump in performance out of that team just for not being fat Bob Newhart Wade Phillips.

As far as the Giants are concerned…well, let’s just say the difference between Tony Romo and Eli Manning is pure, uncut luck. Without one David Tyree catch against his helmet as the best possible time, we are likely dogging the drunken, non-misshapen-headed Manning as badly as we dog Romo now. Besides, that one catch lengthens the time before I will see Tom Coughlin standing by a freeway on-ramp holding a sign which says “will be an asshole for food.”

One of these quarterbacks is probably not a homosexual. The other is Eli Manning.

The only thing for sure about this division is that the Redskins will be a vortex of inter-galactic suckittude; the kind that generates such a gravitational pull it threatens to collapse under its own mass.

  1. Philadelphia Eagles
  2. New York Giants
  3. Dallas Cowboys
  4. Washington Redskins

NFC North

The Packers return better as defending champs not because they added tons of talent in the off-season; rather because they are entering with all the talent they lost due to injury. Let’s face it, the 2010 Packers were so beat up last year they looked like the battered women’s shelter by Mike Tyson’s house. If they can learn to slip that “I’m off my Lithium again” left-hook the NFL season can throw, the Packers will prove to be more than a Buster Douglas-type one-trick pony.

Meanwhile, three hours to the south lies the enigma known as the Chicago Bears. How can a team have so many ex-head coaches on its staff (Mike Martz, Rod Marinelli, and Mike Tice) and not know that a key to a successful offense is not letting the other team turn their quarterback into lawn mulch? It is easy to beat on Jay Cutler, but’s let’s be fair, he could sue his offensive line for non-support. If there’s a guy in Chicago who should be getting called out, it’ s Lovie Smith. He’s done the least with the most talent of nearly any coach in this league, and yet his job never seems to be in danger. One can make an argument that a coach who didn’t have his head up his ass could have won two Super Bowls with the Bears during the Lovie regime, but nobody ever seems to mention that…

If Wal-Mart made a cheap, Guatemalan-made version of the New York Jets, it might just be the Detroit Lions. Let’s look at the common components:

  • A team that will likely have a bone-shattering defense
  • A team designed around a “ball-control” offense
  • A team with a young quarterback who needs to prove he’s the real deal
This will be the first year of the post-Favre debacle in Minnesota; an era that will be marked by 6-win seasons and a continued failure to understand the value of the quarterback position and the talent required to make a winner.
  1. Green Bay Packers
  2. Chicago Bears
  3. Detroit Lions
  4. Minnesota Vikings

NFC South

The NFL Lockout really was a cover story so Drew Brees could hang out with Seal Team 6 and waste some bad guys.

The Saints may very well be the most complete offense in the NFC. Drew Brees and Sean Payton make the brainiest quarterback-coach combination since Joe Montana and Bill Walsh. Not only did the running game get better simply by the subtraction of Reggie StolenHeisman-KardashianReject,  the addition of running back Mark Ingram and “I’m gonna smash you in the mouth” center Olin Kreutz, makes for a physical ground game to go with the Brees and Company Flying Circus.

Every since draft day, we’ve known the Falcons think they are “that one piece away,” and they think that piece is wide receiver Julio Jones. Honestly, I would be more concerned about the impending breakdown of running back Michael Turner; in the past few seasons he’s touched more balls than the lady who does the lottery drawings.

  1. New Orleans Saints
  2. Atlanta Falcons
  3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  4. Carolina Panthers

NFC West

Welcome to the NFC 7-9 Division, or as I like to call it, the “Somebody’s got to win it” Division. Honestly, I loved all the belly aching that went on about how a team with a losing record shouldn’t be in the playoffs despite the fact the SeaHacks won under the architecture provided, and the people who bitched the loudest about the NFL playoff system are the same ones who beat on college football for not having a playoff. Plus, it was these very same people who bitched about my solution for the college playoff issue who stole the line form the “Poll and Bowl” crowd about this being about the “best teams, not just those who win a bad division.”

That was until the SeaHacks knocked out the Saints. Then it all stopped. It really doesn’t matter, because one of these teams will be in the playoffs whether you like it or not.

  1. St. Louis Rams
  2. Arizona Cardinals
  3. San Francisco 49ers
  4. Seattle Seahawks

Overall Rankings

  1. New England Patriots
  2. Green Bay Packers
  3. Philadelphia Eagles
  4. Pittsburgh Steelers
  5. New York Jets
  6. New Orleans Saints
  7. San Diego Chargers
  8. Atlanta Falcons
  9. Baltimore Ravens
  10. New York Giants
  11. Houston Texans
  12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  13. Dallas Cowboys
  14. Chicago Bears
  15. Miami Dolphins
  16. St. Louis Rams
  17. Tennessee Titans
  18. Detroit Lions
  19. Indianapolis Colts
  20. Arizona Cardinals
  21. Oakland Raiders
  22. Cleveland Browns
  23. Kansas City Chiefs
  24. Jacksonville Jaguars
  25. Seattle Seahawks
  26. Minnesota Vikings
  27. San Francisco 49’ers
  28. Buffalo Bills
  29. Denver Broncos
  30. Cincinnati Bengals
  31. Washington Redskins
  32. Carolina Panthers

Jim Sorgi Just Can’t Get Out From Behind a Manning

I’ve always liked Jim Sorgi, ever since his days quarterbacking the Wisconsin Badgers. Having lived in Minnesota and therefore having had to live with the insufferable Minnesota football fans, I appreciated anybody that used Paul Bunyan’s Axe to consistently cut the balls off Goldy Gopher.

But the poor guy just can’t get away from America’s most obnoxious quarterback family.

(Photo hat tip: Kissing Suzy Kolber)

Seriously, the poor guy has spent so much time behind Gayton Peyton Manning you would think he was Dallas Clark’s tumescent penis. His career in Indianapolis ends with a shoulder injury, and next thing you know, he gets to back up the Manning brother who isn’t a closet case.

Why You Shouldn’t Cheer For…The Indianapolis Colts

There are several key storylines that all media outlets are required to discuss in the days leading up to the Super Bowl. Seriously, any media outlet, even penny-ante blogs, are required to cover the Manning family angle. Since the Colts have decided to employ a Manning, it is their fault we all have to live through this again.

Note the neckwear...There's always one guy who can't be a team player.

Note the neckwear...there's always one guy who can't be a team player.

Let’s face it. The Super Bowl has become an annual Manning family reunion and it sure-as-shit ain’t the Saints fault. Archie Manning quarterbacked the Saints through 11 of the most horrible seasons any one team has ever suffered through. He was the face of a franchise that literally did not want to show its face. In return, the Saints gave him a porous offensive line and a nice concrete playing surface. In other words, the Saints tried to kill Archie Manning so his progeny couldn’t do this to all of us.

Instead, for the third damn time in four years, the Manning clan rallies around one of their own, and we get to read all about it. The senior Manning will be feted and praised, his wife will beam proudly, and Peyton will continue to imitate a quarterback who routinely wins the big games. Eli will prattle on about how the pass David Tyree caught with his head was the greatest play in the history of sports. Then there’s Cooper…the Manning’s family answer to Fredo Corleone.

All in all, a good bit of nauseating family fun and thanks to the Colts, we fans suffer once again.

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