A Great New England Monday

JANUARY 16, 2007

Hey Everybody,

MY first blog entry is a sports blog; you’ve been warned. Its a little clumsy and word heavy, but there’s no way I’m fixing it up; I wrote before I wrote my Intro post and I’m not fixing it.

WARNING: This is a sports heavy blog.

Today was pretty damn cool. I woke up, listened to a little sports radio, and didn’t have to roll out of bed to go to work. Besides the fact that it was 38 degrees and raining, I was a pretty happy guy this morning. Of course, one of the reasons I was so happy this morning was because the New England Patriots, in one of the wildest games I have ever seen, beat the more talented San Diego Chargers team in San Diego late yesterday afternoon. At this point in the day everything has been rehashed one hundred times, but to sum it up for those of you who don’t follow professional football: The Pats, who are not as good on paper, were outplayed for the entire first half, until the last minute and a half when Tom Brady and company went 72 yards in 1:11 and scored a touchdown. The second half was pretty even, both teams played sloppily, and in the end, the Pats ended up winning on the field goal of a rookie kicker. Marty Schottenheimer, the coach of the Chargers, has a notorious record of coming up short in the playoffs due to being overly conservative, and while I personally thought the play-calling by Marty’s staff was pretty good, he made some of the most bizarre and horrible coaching moves I have ever seen. Teamed up with some idiotic mistakes and missplays by the Chargers players, and the Pats were able to win, despite a somewhat subpar performance. Following the game the Chargers star running back, LaDainian Tomlinson (the best running back in the league), called the Pats classless and refused to shake hands with certain players after the game, despite the fact that his teamates were talking rampant smack all week.

So there you have it for those who don’t follow the NFL; just a great game with interesting post-game storylines. After listening to sports radio literally all day, I have a few things to add to all of the commentary I have heard:
1) A lot of analysts have correctly recognized the efforts of Matt Light and Nick Kazcur on the offensive line, the left and right tackles, respectively, for absolutely shutting down the Chargers pass rush, including loud-mouth/steriod user Shawn Merriman. Also getting their fair share of recognition are Pats wideouts Reche Caldwell and Jabbar Gaffney, who caught 17 balls, and of course the indespensible Troy Brown, who made the game-saving play of the game. But I feel personally like Kevin Faulk deserves a little more airtime for his catches and runs on the TD drive at the end of the first half. Faulk also made some key blocks and caught a direct snap for a two-point conversion in the second half. I don’t care what anyone says (one of my favorite sports writers called him washed-up earlier this season), not only is Kevin Faulk not washed up, but we would not have three Super Bowl titles right now without him (maybe two, but not three).

2) This morning I was switching between Dennis & Callahan on WEEI and Mike & Mike in the Morning on ESPN2; when Joe Thiesman came on Mike & Mike, he commented that LaDainian had no right complaining about post-game celebrations, seeing as how they didn’t win the game: if they don’t like that stuff to be done in their house, then don’t lose the game!! It was a refreshing to hear that on a national program. The next guest was Mike Ditka, the “coach” from ESPN’s pre-game show and someone I have always suspected of disliking the Pats. But I changed my mind this morning, after listening to Ditka: he doesn’t just dislike the Pats, he hates them, and I think he’s holding a grudge against Belicheck. His rant was ridiculous: he claimed that the Pats were classless, and to quote, “the Patriots get away with this stuff all the time.” He tore Greenee (Mike Greene) to pieces for sticking up for the Pats, and then he went out his way to defend Marty’s dimwitted, bizarrely awful decisio to challenge a play that a five-year old wouldn’t challenge. After listening to the idiot this morning, I have decided that I will boycott anything that has to with Mike Ditka. If I see him on TV, I’m going to change the channel, likewise for radio. Ditka proved this morning that he is not an unbiased national analyst: he’s a national analyst who has a grudge against my home team, which happens to be the team that has been running the tables in this league for the early stages of this century.

3) Speaking of Ditka, he’s a member of the ESPN pre-game show, which in my opinion has become totally unwatchable, and not strictly because of Ditka. This show, which features Chris Berman, Tom Jackson, Michael Irvin, Chris Mortensen, Ditka, Ron ‘Jaws’ Jawsorski, and Steve Young. First off, there’s way to many guys on this show; they’re not always there at the same time, but most of the time they are. But more importantly, there’s absolutely no interesting football knowledge that you take away from this show; instead, you end up being a little dumber after watching it. Ditka plays tough guy and yells alot; Irvin plays the class clown and laughs a lot while wearing awful suits; and everyone else just kind of sits around a laughs. There is nothing interesting that is said; the only one I sort of like anymore is Mort, and he just gives injury updates all morning. Without the NFL Network to watch (probably my favorite TV station ever excluding the Discovery Channel), my only other options before game-time are FOX or CBS, and I’ve grown to like CBS. I like everyone, including Dan Marino, who some consider a meathead, and Shannon Sharpe, who some people claim not to be able to understand due to an unique speaking voice. And FOX, which is not quite as good as CBS, is about 100 times better than ESPN.

4) I forgot until watching a local sports program on TV tonight that the last time we played the Chargers they totally ran the table on us, and afterwards, Marty had a quote along the lines of “it was a good run for them, but it looks like they’re done with” (this is not an exact quote, just paraphrasing here.) Well, it looks Marty’s run as a head coach is about done due to some of the worst coaching I’ve ever seen, and also looks like he can stick his foot in his mouth.

5) I tried to watch ’24’ last night, just to see what Jack Bauer was going to do this time around, besides saving the world. But I just couldn’t get into it; I missed the first twenty minutes because of the game, and by the time I tuned in the President was being talked to by some advisors about some kind of terrorist crisis and Jack Bauer getting out of a Chinese prison. I skipped last season after watching the season before, and honestly, it seemed like the same exact show that I watched two years ago. After changing the channel due to boredom/commercials, I tuned back in about halfway through to watch Jack track down a terrorist on train with a bomb; right before he could trigger the switch, Jack pushed the would-be bomber out of the back of the train, causing an explosion on the tracks. Not only was I not even remotely surprised, I wasn’t intrigued. It’s the same plot; maybe if he had to scuba dive to the bottom of the ocean and stop a bomb that was going to drain the oceans, or spend 24 hours on a plane chasing around some lunatic with a self-destruct button for the entire Earth, I would watch. But I don’t want to watch some canned plot about bombs and terrorists thats already been done (and I’m sure they’ll switch it up a little, but you know what I mean.) If it gets any better, someone let me know.

I’m out everyone; gotta get some grub in my stomach. To those of you who aren’t sports fans sorry for the sports heavy edition: you don’t have to worry, because as soon as the NFL season is over, the only sport that really means anything to me won’t be back for another 9 months or so. Until next time, Stay Real!

Greg Hovanesian

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