Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Super Bowl - Fun with Photos

Okay, it's more "fun with photos." These are all "official" team photos. They are from the website. I looked thru the photos of all the players on both Super Bowl teams, and found the most interesting ones. So, without further ado, here are my snide remarks about the more remarkable photos:

Smallest head - Dominic Hixon (WR - Giants)
Do they have helmets that small, or do they have to order special.

QB Who Looks Most Like a Lineman - Jared Lorenzen (QB - Giants)
Do they have helmets that big or do they have to order special? He reminds me of David Putty from Seinfeld. "Gotta support the team."

Looks most like a hipster - Kawika Mitchell (LB - Giants)
He looks like he should be ironically drinking a Pabst Blue Ribbon while ironically wearing a Members Only jacket while ironically listening to Hall & Oates and talking about how ironically awesome that "Walker: Texas Ranger" is. Unironically, he's probably a douchebag.

Dreads - Lawrence Maroney (RB), Brandon Meriweather (S), Asante Samuel (CB), Donte Stallworth (WR)
Get up stand up, stand up for your rights. I can only guess that Tom Coughlin does not allow dreads on his players, as all the Giants seem to be neatly shorn.

Looks Like He Just Woke Up - Nick Kaczur (OL - Pats)
"Dude, where's my car? Whaddaya mean, today's picture day?"

Most Pissed Off - Kevin Dockery (CB - Giants), Vince Wilfork (DL - Pats)
I don't want to piss them off more. Let's just say they look mad and move on...

Best Grill - Mike Jennings (WR - Giants)
"Rollin down the street, smokin' indo, sippin on Gin and Juice, laid back - with my mind on my money and my money on my mind."

Gayest Photo - Michael Strahan - (DL - Giants)
Look at that pose. it reminds me of the photo that Deb took of Uncle Rico in Napoleon Dynamite. All the other photos are straight on, look at the camera type photos, but Strahan decided to gay his up a bit. "Okay, now tilt your head a bit - perfect."

Crookedest Head - David Thomas (TE - Pats)
What the hell happened to this guy? His eyes are crooked, his head is assymetrical, his mouth is off-center. What a mess.

Happiest to Be Here - Larry Izzo (LB - Pats)
"Woo-hoo, when does practice start? You guys wanna go out later? Can I have a ride? Okay then, I'll meet you there? Hey, where are you guys going? Wait up!"

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Super Bowl - Jeff Feagles

Football is clearly a young man's game. The average length of a career in the NFL is three and a half years. That's right - 3-1/2 years. So basically, your chosen career is over before you hit your late twenties - and that's if you are an average player. Clearly Jeff Feagles is above average. He is playing in his 20th NFL season. Of course, the main reason for this is that he is a punter. Even so, he has been at it for a long time. He has played for five teams in his career after playing at Miami and winning a national championship in 1987. This week, he'll be punting for the Giants in Super Bowl XLII - and he'll be doing it near his hometown, Phoenix.

Feagles was born March 7, 1966. He is almost as old as I am. Like me, he graduated from college in 1988. Due to his longevity, he holds just about every punting record in the NFL, including most punts and punting yardage. He is also a skilled negotiator. For most of his career, he wore number 10. When the Giants traded for Eli Manning on draft day in 2004, he agreed to let Eli have number 10 in exchange for Manning funding the Feagles family vacation. So he switched to number 17. When the Giants signed Plaxico Burress as a free agent the following year, he agreed to let Plax have 17 in exchange for a new outdoor barbecue addition to his house. He now wears 18. Well played. Here are some of his more obscure stats from his career:
  • He's made a total of 7 tackles in his career. He did not make a single tackle until 2002, his 15th season. I think I found the key to his longevity.
  • He's 0-for-8 passing in his career. His career passer rating of 39.6 is only slightly lower than Ryan Leaf's (50.0).
  • He's lost three fumbles in his career, but he's recovered five fumbles. He's +2!
  • Career rushing stats - 18 carries for -3 yards. He had a 12 yard gain for a first down in 1994.
  • He holds the NFL record for consecutive games played, although it's a bit easier to punt for 320 games in a row rather than do what Jim Marshall did - play defensive tackle for 282 consecutive games.
Anyway, why would I write a post about a player that I have no previous connection to, and who plays the least demanding position on the field? Because he is my age and he's still playing professional football. Good on you, Jeff.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Super Bowl - Worst QB Performances

In honor of Super Bowl week, I thought I'd start out with a list of the worst QB performances in the history of the big game. After minutes of exhaustive research, I was able to come up with seven really atrocious games, but there were others that just missed the cut.

1. SB XX (Bears 46, Pats 10) - Tony Eason 0-6, 0 yds, 3 sacks
Eason was shell shocked by the Bears' intimidating defense (note the four Bears defenders on top of him in the picture above). He did not even make it to halftime. He remains the only starting QB in Super Bowl history to fail to complete a pass in the big game. In fairness, that Bears' defense may have been the best ever. Eason probably would have been stomped by a team full of mini-Ditkas too. Reportedly, Eason still wakes up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat with visions of Richard Dent and Dan Hampton rushing at him like they're starving lions and he's a limping baby zebra. He was treated at the Bethesda Naval Hospital for post-traumatic stress disorder, and is not allowed by his doctors to watch any football ever, for fear he'll have flashbacks and poop all over himself again.

2. SB XII (Cowboys 27, Broncos 10) - Craig Morton 4-15, 4 INT, 39 yards
Morton was totally outplayed by his former Dallas protege Roger Staubach. It got so bad that he was replaced by backup QB Norris Weese, who guided the Broncos to their lone TD of the game after the Cowboys went ahead 20-3. Morton is the only QB on this list twice. Sorry Craig, it's nothing personal. Uninterestingly enough, Craig Morton is a native of Flint, MI ("Flintian?").

3. SB XXXVII (Buccaneers 48, Raiders 21) - Rich Gannon 24-44, 5 INT
The attempts and completions don't look too terrible, but Gannon threw 5 INTs, and three of those were returned for Tampa touchdowns. Raiders coach Bill Callahan apparently did not feel that it was necessary to change their signals or plays or formations, despite the fact that Jon Gruden, the Bucs head coach, had been the Raiders head coach the previous season. Buccaneer defenders were quoted as saying they knew what each play was going to be before the snap. Not coincidentally, Bill Callahan is currently unemployed after taking the once glorious football program of the Nebraska Cornhuskers and turning it into something resembling Iowa State.

4. SB XVII (Skins 27,Phins 17) - David Woodley 4-14, 1 INT, 97 yards
Okay, granted the Skins offense kept the ball for over 36 minutes behind John Riggins. But Woodley was brutal. The Dolphins opened the scoring with a 76 yard TD pass from Woodley to Jimmy Cefalo, but after that they were shut down. Their other TD came on a kickoff return (Fulton Walker, woohoo). If you take away that long scoring pass, Woodley was 3-for-13 for 24 yards. He was replaced late in the game by Don Strock, who was 0-for-3 himself. On the bright side for Dolphins fans, Dan Marino was drafted the following year. On the not-so-bright-side, he couldn't manage to win a Super Bowl either.

5. SB IX (Steelers 16, Vikings 6) - Fran Tarkenton 11-26, 3 INT, 102 yards
Much like some of the others on this list, Fran was facing an awesome defense. The Steel Curtain only gave up 9 first downs for the game, and a total of 119 total yards. The Vikings only TD was a blocked punt recovered in the end zone - and they couldn't even manage to make the PAT. Fran had a miserable day, throwing 3 INTs and netting only 102 yards, as well as being tackled in the end zone for a safety for the first points of the game. The Steelers offense had the ball for over 38 minutes, behind MVP Franco Harris' 158 yards rushing. Tarkenton later went on to co-host "That's Incredible," which, after Super Bowl IX, was probably the second most embarrassing thing to happen to him (on TV).

6. SB V (Colts 16, Cowboys 13) - Craig Morton 12-26, 3 INT, 127 yards
Here's Morton again. I was a youngster when this was played, and it's a good thing I don't remember it. Based on looking at the box score and accounts of the game, it was a very sloppy contest. So sloppy, in fact, that at linebacker for the losing team was awarded the MVP (Chuck Howley). Despite Morton's crappiness, the Cowboys were still leading halfway thru the fourth quarter. But he threw two fourth quarter INTs that the Colts turned into the winning points. Fortunately for the Colts, their QBs (Unitas and Morrall) sucked a little less (combined 10-24, 3 INT, 235 yards).

7. SB III (Jets 16, Colts 7) - Johnny Unitas 11-24 1 INT / Earl Morrall 6-17 3 INT
The Colts were favored by 19 points in this game. Joe Namath famously guaranteed a Jets victory anyway. The QB play was the difference in this game. Namath played turnover-free football, and Unitas and Morrall stunk up the Orange Bowl. Morrall started and threw 3 INTs in the first half. Unitas came on in relief in the second half and led the Colts to their only TD late in the fourth quarter, but it was too late. This game was the catalyst for Joe Namath becoming the most overrated QB of all time.

In conclusion, some very good QBs had some very bad games at the very worst times against some very good defenses.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Tom Brady's Injury

Tom Brady's fake injury stunt has left me wanting more. A fake ankle injury? Why stop there? Why not be seen in public every day from now until the Super Bowl with a different fake injury, with the injury getting progressively worse each day? Starting tomorrow, here are my suggestions:

  • Thursday, Jan. 24 - a band-aid on his chin

  • Friday, Jan 25 - an eye patch

  • Saturday, Jan. 26 - a wrist brace on his non-throwing hand

  • Sunday, Jan 27 - a big obvious knee brace over the pants

  • Monday, Jan 28 - a white gauze bandage around his entire head, with a bloody spot near one temple

  • Tuesday, Jan 29 - his throwing arm in a sling

  • Wednesday, Jan 30 - a vestigial parasitic twin attached to the side of his head

  • Thursday, Jan 31 - a fake spear thru his chest

  • Friday, Feb. 1 - neck brace with halo

  • Saturday, Feb. 2 - undisclosed injury, being pushed around in wheelchair by cranky uncooperative nurse (think Nurse Ratched without the compassion) to fend off aggressive photogs

I think this would be a great way to ease the tension before the big game and break up the tedium of the two week layoff. Plus, it would be hilarious. Please leave your own suggestions in the comments.


Well, my informal poll that started last week has ended. The results were more optimistic than I expected. I thought there might be a few more voting for 8 or less wins. A whopping total of 11 people cast votes and 4 people voted with me (11-12 wins), 4 people voted for 9-10 wins, and 3 people voted for 8 or less wins. So eight of the eleven who voted believe that Michigan's 2008 season will be as good or better than their 2007 season. I'm on board with that line of thinking. I'll take another poll after the golf outing to see if sentiments have changed, and to see if our recruiting class and the spring practices provide any reason for changing our minds - and to see if we can get more than 11 people to vote. Now, to employ the lazy blogger's favorite gimmick - links to other bloggers:

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Super Bowl

I had a couple thoughts when I saw this photo on this morning:

  • First of all, the walking boot he's wearing on his right foot is all part of Belichick's plan. He's not hurt, but the coach is playing with the Giants' heads. You think it's a coincidence that this photo was snapped in NYC?
  • That small bouquet of flowers is the best you can do on a $8 million salary? For your supermodel girlfriend? Really? She is accustomed to flying all over the world to exotic locations for glamorous photo shoots and this little $25 bouquet is all you got? If he wants to make good use of the two weeks before the Super Bowl, he really should start it off with a little more flash and pizazz. For his sake, I'm hoping that the bag in his right hand contains some more interesting - no, make that mind-blowing - items, and that he does not leave Gisele's apartment until early next week. Contrary to popular belief, laughter is not in fact the best medicine. Sex with a supermodel is the best medicine. I think I read that somewhere.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Grateful Dead Lookalikes

It occurred to me yesterday that our blog "Grateful Blue" has not yet in its long glorious existence (two months) had a single post related to the Grateful Dead - unless you count Candyman's Jefferson Starship concert review, which I don't. So I guess I'll take it upon myself to try something to get some Dead content here. So, without further ado, I would like to introduce "Grateful Dead Lookalikes." I endeavored to find a celebrity lookalike for each GD member, since saying "Phil looks like this guy down the street from me" doesn't really make sense to anyone else. Add your ideas in the comments, if you have some better matches.

Jerry Garcia - Santa Claus
This one's pretty obvious. We Wish You a Jerry Christmas.

Bob Weir - "Stinky Pete" the Prospector from Toy Story 2
This was probably the hardest one to match. I wanted to find something from the early days when Bob looked like a girl, but I couldn't. Give me some suggestions and I'll add "Bob, the early days" to this list.

Phil Lesh - Ned Flanders from The Simpsons
The modern day Phil has kind of a goody-goody quality to him - kinda like Ned Flanders without the fanatical christianity.

Brent Mydland - comedian Zach Galifianakis
Zach Galifianakis is a comedian who also plays piano as part of his act. They've got matching beards.

Mickey Hart - John Oates of Hall & Oates
Most people think Mickey resembles Spock (Leonard Nimoy). I agree, but with the 'stache, he's a dead ringer for John Oates and his 'stache. He's a maneater...

Bill Kreutzmann - actor Bill Murray
Not so much when they were younger, but they do favor each other now, especially with the beards.

Donna Godcheaux - country singer Loretta Lynn
Donna's appearance makes her look vaguely Native American, and Loretta Lynn is part Cherokee, so this one seems to work.

Keith Godcheaux - Cowardly Lion from Wizard of Oz
There are very few good pictures of Keith, but I think this matches pretty well.

Ron "Pigpen" McKernan - Pigpen from Peanuts
This was another obvious one. I had a hard time finding any celebrity who looks like Pigpen.

Vince Welnick - comedian George Carlin
I suspect George is a little more fun to be around than Vinnie probably was - he battled depression for years before his death.

Another collossal waste of time, brought to you by Grateful Blue. May the four winds blow you safely home.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Wolverine Football Poll

As you can see, I added a poll in the left hand column. I know it's early, but what better time for blind optimism? How many games to you think the Michigan Wolverine football team will win next year?

Glass half full:

  • New coach brings new attitude and swagger to stale Wolverine program
  • Gigantic QB ill-suited for spread offense has left, allowing RichRod to more quickly and completely implement his philosophy
  • Defense is returning almost all starters
  • Looks like another good recruiting year - the McGuffie (and hopefully Pryor) era begins
  • Shawn Crable, who seemingly had just as many dumb penalties and missed assignments as he had great plays, is outta here

Glass half empty:

  • Players will take time to adjust to new coaching staff
  • Five-star QB recruit from last year that showed some level of competency this season has transferred, leaving only two QBs on scholarship
  • Defense is returning almost all starters
  • Manningham and Arrington - the long and short of the passing game - are gone
  • Mike Hart is gone
  • Very good four year starting QB is gone

Which side of the fence are you on? I think OSU is due for a fall, and we are due for a bounceback. I say 11-2 is a reasonable expectation, and we go into Columbus and beat the Buckeyes - finally.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Big Weekend for Wolverines and Big Ten

Well, it was a pretty good weekend for the Wolverines. In the NFL Playoffs:
  • Tom Brady set a record for accuracy in a playoff game by going 26-for-28, which is just short of 93%. The two passes that he did miss hit his receivers right in the hands. He threw for 3 TDs without an interception. Not bad
  • Amani Toomer scored two TDs for the Giants in their upset of Dallas.

That's a pretty good day. No other school had players involved in as many TDs. Other Big Ten players fared pretty well too:

  • Former Minnesota Golden Gopher backfield mates Marion Barber and Laurence Maroney each scored once and had over 120 yards apiece.
  • Former Buckeye Anthony Gonzalez scored a long TD for the Colts.
  • Former Hawkeye Dallas Clark scored a TD for the Colts.
  • Former Badger Chris Chambers scored a TD for the Chargers.
  • PSU alum Bobby Engram scored once for the Seahawks.

Also, non-Big Ten, but in close proximity:

  • Domer Ryan Grant scored three times and rushed for over 200 yards.
  • WMU grad Greg Jennings scored twice.

Not a bad day for the Big Ten/midwest. Of the 26 TDs scored this weekend, 11 involved Big Ten players, and 16 involved Big Ten/midwest players.

The Michigan basketball team also reached a milestone: they won their first Big Ten game (on the road, too) under coach John Beilein. Even though it came against Northwestern (in front of a huge crowd of 5027, included our own Taxman, in Evanston), it still counts.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Marathons - Why?

Since the Houston Marathon is this weekend, one nagging question keeps popping into my head: Why would anyone want to run a marathon? It's over 26 miles (26 miles 385 yards, to be exact). The distance from Ann Arbor to Detroit Metro Airport is about 25 miles. Imagine running that.

Okay, just so we all understand the origin of the marathon. According to wiki:

The name marathon comes from the legend of Pheidippides, a Greek soldier, who was sent from the town of Marathon to Athens to announce that the Persians had been defeated in the Battle of Marathon. It is said that he ran the entire distance without stopping and burst into the senate with the words "Masters! Victory is ours!" before collapsing and dying due to exhaustion.
So, basically, the dude (Pheidippides, or Dippy for short) ran 26+ miles to inform the Greek senate that the Greeks had defeated the Persians in a battle. There were not a lot of travel options back in the first century AD, so I can understand why this guy had to run. The internal combustion engine had not been invented yet, so cars were not available. Perhaps the horses were too tired from the battle, or had been slaughtered in the battle. Fair enough, I get that. But people thinking about running in marathons need to read the last few words of this description:

"before collapsing and dying due to exhaustion."

So Dippy ran 26+ miles. Then he collapsed and died. "Okay, to honor Dippy's memory, let's have a race where you run 26+ miles, and try not to die." Woo-hoo. It's a competition where the object is to survive. Isn't it enough of a challenge not to die when you get into your car every day? Or step onto an icy sidewalk after a bad-ass mid-west winter storm?

I'll leave the back-breaking, knee-pounding, distance running to others. This is a "marathon" competition that I can support - and even win, with the correct amount of training.

Paraphrasing Jerry Seinfeld's comment about marathons: "Ah, what's to see? A woman from Norway, a guy from Kenya and 20,000 losers."

Thursday, January 10, 2008

This Day In History

I occasionally google "this day in history" to get ideas for posts, but today's really caught my eye. On January 10, 1964, William Clay Ford became the sole owner of the Detroit Lions. Since that glorious day, the Lions have won one single playoff game (in 1991). After discovering this, I dug up some interesting Detroit Lions trivia*:

  • After the death of duet partner Tammi Terrell, Marvin Gaye made plans to quit the music biz and play football for the Lions. He trained for his tryout in 1970, but was cut. He remained friends with Lem Barney and Mel Farr, and they both provided backup vocals on "What's Going On," which was released in 1971.

  • Matt Millen's jersey number in the NFL was 55, which coincidentally is also his IQ.

  • Matt Millen's penchant for choosing wide receivers in the first round of every draft is well documented. However, a little known fact is that the yearly draft coincides with Millen's assigned timeshare weekend in Palm Beach. His participation in the draft is usually limited to occasional faxes sent to Lions staffers from the poolside bar, and he often mistakes the NFL draft for his Penn State Alumni Assocation fantasy draft.

  • The last Lions QB selected to the Pro Bowl was Greg Landry, following the 1971 season.

  • The Lions head coaching job is a dead end. Without going too far back, I can say with certainty that every single Lions head coach going back to Joe Schmidt (fired after the 1972 season) has failed to get another head coaching job in the NFL. The Lions head coaching history looks like a virtual "Who's That" of the NFL: Rick Forzano, Tommy Hudspeth, Monte Clark, Darryl Rogers.

  • The Lions are among an ever-shrinking list of teams that have yet to make the Super Bowl (Lions, Cardinals, Saints, Browns, Texans, Jaguars). Only the Cardinals and Browns have been around as long as the Lions. The others are expansion teams.

  • Matt Millen owns compromising pictures of someone in the Ford family. This is the only plausible explanation for his continued employment with the team.

So, here's to William Clay Ford. Due to your football acumen, your Detroit Lions are perpetually positioned precariously on the razor thin line that separates the bad teams from the perennially putrid teams.

*Only some of these bits of trivia are true.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Michigan Basketball - "The Horror" has the following sub-headline to their story about the loss to Indiana last night:

No. 10 Indiana shot a blazing 46 percent from the floor to answer Manny Harris' 19 points and DeShawn Sims' 16 in a 78-64 Michigan loss in Crisler Arena.
Really? 46% is "blazing?" I would say 56% is blazing. I would say 46% is "decent." I guess "No. 10 Indiana shot a mediocre 46% from the floor..." doesn't sound as dramatic. I suppose they wanted to make it seem like Indiana had to shoot the lights out in order to beat the Wolverines. Indiana shot 30-for-66. If you look at the 14 point final score differential, and doing a quick calculation (for simplicity, I'll just assume all 2-point baskets), they could have made six fewer shots and still won. That would be 24-for-66, or 37%.

Of course, when they say "blazing," that could be a relative term, since Michigan shot 32% for the game (19-for-60), which is most assuredly not blazing. In fact, I would classify that as frigid, icy, arctic, Siberian, etc.

It's gonna be a long basketball season. The Michigan basketball team will not win as many games as the Michigan football team did this year. Guaranteed. They have 4 wins now, and there is no way they win more than three or four Big Ten games. However, I remain optimistic for the future of the progam. I think Coach Beilein can restore the program to respectability.

As for the present state of the program, we have Tommy Amaker to thank for that. Thanks Tommy. Enjoy your time in pressure-free Harvard. Those pointy-headed ivy leaguers will probably love you and your turtleneck/sportcoat look.

Go Blue!

Monday, January 7, 2008

CD Review: "Dirt Farmer" - Levon Helm

I heard a song off this album on the local public radio station this weekend, and I was instantly impressed. For those of you who don't know who Levon Helm is, he is the drummer for "The Band." It's not too often that a drummer's voice is identified with a band, but it's Helm's voice that you hear when you hear "Up On Cripple Creek" and "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down," two of the all-time greatest songs ever written. Helm is a 67 year old cancer survivor - he had throat cancer in the 90's. This is his first solo album since 1983, and it's a dandy. His unmistakable voice is still strong. If you like The Band, and specifically the songs that feature Helm on lead vocals, you'll love his new album.

The album was released in October of 2007, and it features Helm's daughter Amy, as well as Larry Campbell, longtime Dylan sideman, who also serves as producer for the album. Amy Helm is a member of the band "Ollabelle" that plays music that is similar to the style on this CD. Her voice is a perfect compliment to her father's, it's apparent that her appearance on the CD is no gimmick - she's a pro and she can sing. The CD is recorded, as near as I can tell, with all acoustic instruments. It was recorded in Helm's studio, which is housed in a barn on his property in Woodstock, NY.

Anyway, enough of the background. On to the CD. If I had to categorize the CD, I'd put it in the "Americana" or "Roots" genre. It is full of old-timey references, and the themes of the songs include wine, whiskey, guns, railroad, train robbery, farming (and the farmer's daughter), poverty, mining, Tennessee, mountains, women, and the blues. When Helm sings the songs on the album (all covers or traditional songs), it sounds authentic - there is nothing forced about his delivery. Starting with the first notes of "False Hearted Lover Blues," Helm takes you on a journey through the middle-American landscape, through farmlands, mountains, and rivers. The last song, "Wide River to Cross," is particularly poignant, as you can't help but listen to it with his cancer and his advancing age in the back of your mind (similar to Warren Zevon's entire final CD that he recorded after discovering he had terminal cancer).

One last thing. One of the most distinctive things about Levon Helm's singing voice is also one of my favorite things about it. He still pronounces words like "thing" as "thang." Like in "Dixie Down," when he sings "and the bells were rang-in'" and "the people were sang-in'." This CD contains mutiple instances for him to showcase this little quirk. I love it.

You can buy this CD direct from his site if you would like. It's been nominated for a Grammy. If I knew how to put music clips on this blog, I'd do it. Maybe I'll figure it out and add something later.

BCS: LSU or OSU? I'm Conflicted

Okay, I will admit I'm having a bit of a problem with deciding whom to root for in tonight's BCS championship game. One the one hand, I am tired of the constant promotion (on ESPN, all over the internet, and in the media in general) of the idea that the SEC is so vastly superior to all other conferences, and that the Big Ten is equivalent to the Sun Belt Conference. In order to stop this ceaseless drumbeat, I would love it if OSU would beat LSU tonight. In fact, in all the other bowl games, I've been rooting for Big Ten teams. Go Purdue! Go Spartans! Go Nittany Lions! So far this bowl season, the Big Ten is 3-4, and 1-1 vs. the SEC.

On the other hand, I have a hard time rooting for OSU. By "have a hard time," I really mean "I can't physically do it." Go Buckeyes? I don't know. I'm getting hives just thinking about it. Maybe I'll just watch season 3 of Arrested Development on DVD tonight. Or just stay away from the TV...

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Todd Collins is Living the Dream

The dream run of Todd Collins. You have to feel good for a guy who puts in the work for so long and finally gets rewarded with a shot at fulfilling his dream. Collins is in his 13th NFL season. Drafted by the Bills in ’95, as the Bills "dynasty" (cheap shot Candyman - i know) was winding down, he played in 7 games in each of his first two years, starting a total of 4 games. In ’97, he started 13 games. Candyman could perhaps expand on the Bills team that year but I vaguely remember a porous offensive line and Collins took a beating that year. The Bills gave up on him after that one season as a starter and he went to KC to back up fellow Wolverine Elvis Grbac. In 8 seasons with the Chiefs, he got in a total of 12 games, going 18-27 in that time. He learned under longtime NFL assistant Al Saunders and followed Saunders to Washington in ’06 - where he never saw the field. Look at this guy's career profile:

Fastforward to December 6th where he comes in for an injured Jason Campbell and leads the Skins to victory over da Bears. (That was in a "nationally" televised game on the NFL network that about 25 people outside of Chicago and Washington saw). He starts and wins 3 more games and leads the ‘skins to the playoffs after the emotional rollercoaster involving the Sean Taylor murder. Leaving out the Giants game, played in severe weather and 50 MPH winds, Collins has completed 59 of 80 passes (73.8 percent) for 722 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions. His passer ratings in those three games have been 144.6, 124.8 and 104.8. He hasn’t thrown a pick in 10 years!

Feelgood story in the Washington Post today - otherwise, I haven't heard or seen much about this story and i'm surprised.

Collins has had a great job and a great professional life - 13 years of collecting NFL checks and not taking a physical beating like so many of these guys do. So there's no reason to feel too bad for his professional career - I would love to have had that job coming out of school. But he’s a competitor and he has to be relishing every minute of this. You have to feel great for him - he’s enjoying the ride and I for one am on the bandwagon. Let’s hope we see him battling Tom Brady on Super Sunday.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Wolverines Win One for Lloyd

Michigan 41
Florida 35

Wow. Fantastic game. Needless to say, the Wolverines needed this one. They looked better than they have all season. I'll tackle this in a "random bullet points" fashion:

  • DeBord pulled out some plays from the never-before-seen section of the playbook (from page 723 - a throw to Jake Long?). IMHO, the most brilliant play was the screen pass to Butler. Michigan lined up with the four guys to the right, and from that formation they always run the bubble screen (or WR screen, whatever you want to call it) to Manningham, and Florida knew it and had everyone leaning that way. Butler was wide open on the other side and it went for big yardage. Kudos to DeBord for this game, but I don't understand why we call plays the whole year to set up deception in the bowl game. Pull those plays out all year! Anyway, the game film should be a nice audition tape for DeBord's next job, wherever it may be: "You see, I CAN be creative!"

  • Mike Hart fumbling twice was shocking. It doesn't diminish his stellar career, or make him any less of a great player in my mind, but it does somewhat tarnish the "legend" of Mike Hart. However, he still had a great game, and he still goes down as one of my all-time favorite Michigan players. He'll be hard to replace next year. I hope McGuffie lives up to the hype. RR's offense seems like it would suit him well.

  • Coach English will be heading to Louisville to coordinate their defense. They need help on defense, and he'll do well there.
  • The way Henne played made me fully understand how badly his shoulder must have been hurting earlier in the season. He was dead-on with almost every throw. Another senior who topped off a wonderful career with a great game.

  • Despite giving up 35 points, I thought the defense played rather well. They contained Tebow, and only Harvin really had a good game. Almost all of the blitzes that were called were exceuted perfectly. Coverage (except of Harvin) was usually very good. Tackling, in most cases was very good. Jamar Adams had some big hits. I don't remember one instance of Florida throwing deep.

  • Harvin is scary. I think I pulled a muscle from tensing up every time he got the ball.

  • That one-handed catch by Arrington on the sidelines was sick. That should be on the best catches of the year list. He also made another one across the middle where he juggled it and caught it against his hip. I hope he stays. He could be a monster in RR's offense.

  • It's funny how last year all of the "pundits" were saying how the long layoff hurt OSU and Michigan in their bowl games. This year, that same layoff allowed Michigan to get healthy, and they looked anything but rusty.

Go Blue!