Ok, so before I get to the most polarizing day of my life, I just want to give a shout to all my family and friends who have been turned on to this in the past couple of weeks. I just want to say I really appreciate all you guys taking time to read this and letting me know how much you like it.
And now onto the bad news. Yup, they climbed the hump. Peyton's finally in the big game. Whoopidy doo! If any Colt fan (and there have actually been some) who are about to tell me that the better team won yesterday, you're nuts. The Colts didn't prove very much to me again yesterday. I mean what do you want me to say? "Oh Peyton Manning looked invincible. They can't be stopped." No, it's not like that at all. However, one of the greatest brains in football history got outplayed...by himself. What happened Bill? Well, I have one theory on this. The last drive the Colts had before halftime (by the way, at this point, I became incredibly concerned), they were able to pick apart the Patriots, setting up a Vinatieri field goal to make the score 21-6. From then on, Belichick implemented a weak defensive game plan which called for a four-man rush and seven to be in zone coverage. What did I say? What did I say!? You need to put pressure on Manning all the time. And what happened? Manning was able to sit back and throw at will. Granted, the few times they rushed him, they were able to rush his decision, and most of the time, got a hit in on him. Look, when you're playing without one of the best safeties in the game, you have to be aware that the offense will be looking for ways to exploit that. I just really felt terrible watching Manning go back time after time and throwing over the middle for big yards. Richard Seymour getting banged up in that game didn't help matters at all. When he was on the sidelines, and Jarvis Green was in the game, the Pats completely threw out their original gameplan that worked so well in the first half. Again, I never felt confident at any point of that game. When Asante got his pick six, and the score was 21-3, I still wasn't satisified. Think about it, Pittsburgh did the exact same thing to them last year! Had it not been for an ungodly tackle by Ben Roethlisberger and Mike Vanderjagt hitting one of the biggest shanks in recent memory, the Colts probably win that game. So, needless to say, I was still praying that they could score another touchdown and put the game a little further out of reach. I will give credit to Peyton Manning. The guy did take a beating on Sunday, but he hung in there the whole game, and in the end, was able to "one-up" Tom Brady in the playoffs, something that no one thought would ever happen.
The mistakes the Pats made in the game were absolutely crucial. Some of them were very close, but others were blatently obvious. The close ones include the "faceguarding" penalty against Ellis Hobbs in the end zone and the "roughing the passer" on Tully Banta-Cain. First of all, faceguarding is exactly that, guarding the face. If a guy happens to not look back on the ball, and then knock it out of the air while not causing any kind of visual disruption to shield the receiver from seeing/attempting to catch the ball, then it is not a penalty. It's simply an instinctive play, and a great one at that. Anyway, that penalty set up a touchdown...to Dan Klecko? Anyway, then there was the roughing the passer penalty. This penalty would have been even bigger if the Pats recovered Reggie Wayne's fumble, which seemed to hang in the air for about five minutes before Wayne was able to recover it. Still, if a guy is coming at the quarterback, and a lineman pushes him, causing his hand to hit the quarterback's head, you cannot call that. What do you want him to do? It's not that he intentionally went in after Manning's head. He got pushed into him! That gave the Colts another nine yards and ultimately set up their final, game winning touchdown. Of course, the ultimate in mistakes was basically anything having to do with Reche Caldwell. I mean that guy choked real good, I mean real good. He was the antithesis of how the Pats of old (going all the way back to two years ago) played. They stepped up in the big situations. Caldwell could have changed the outcome of the game. He got bailed out on his first drop in the end zone after fellow newcomer Jabar Gaffney made an amazing, and somewhat controversial, catch in the back of the end zone. The second one was inexcusable. Literally no one was playing on him. He had at least twenty yards of daylight in front of him. I mean even if he doesn't score there, he gets you at least 10-12 yards, which would have set up a 3rd and 1 from around the 4 yard line. But it just wasn't happening for Caldwell, who's lack of big game experience shown the brightest on Sunday.
Ok, just one more observation and then I will officially be switching into NFL Draft mode with the Patriots. The running game, what happened? I mean I realize that the Colts had a great push up the middle, but was it that good? I mean Maroney and Dillon were never able to get it going in the second half after having a good deal of success in the first half. What happened to the double TE set? That's what you need to do against an undersized defense. You need to put a buch of big guys out there that can wear them out. Again, once it stopped working a few times, they were never able to regain any composure. I mean here's my bottom line: I hope they learned something out of this. They had this game won, and then, they became ultra-conservative, and completely self-distructed. I just hope that they learn to keep a gameplan for four quarters no matter what. You need to stick with your guns. Playing ten yards off of receivers is not going to do. You need to be up at the line, jamming them and disrupting their routes. So, that's all I really have, and better yet, want to say. Go Bears.
And now, I have some observations to share. Maybe something to think about. Ok, so the Dodge "Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robot" commercials are getting neck and neck with Mellencamp's Chevy ads for the most annoying thing on TV. Ok, you know, the first few times, I thought "oh wow, I remember playing with those when I was a little kid, so that's pretty cool." But I mean the more times I see it, the more I start to analyze everything. What's the robot's beef with a Dodge truck? How does the robot lose if it's not getting hit? Why are those people wandering down an alley that leads to nowhere? Maybe it's just me, but if I keep watching something over and over again, I start to look at the little flaws in it and start to make a huge deal of it.
Another issue I have, while I'm on commercials, is every McDonald's ad that has been made in the last five years. Do they really have a marketing team? When they have meetings and sit around, do they really think "yeah, this is what kids are into." Clearly they have been attempting to do anything humanly to tap into anything related to the hip-hop community and failed miserably. This time around, they've attempted to parody the show "Best Week Ever," which again they do a horrible job in doing. What happened to Jordan and Bird playing horse? What about "two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, on a sesame bun?" Did those guys die? I mean that was the bread and butter of McDonald's. They were able to expand around the world with those campaigns. Now, they're like third on the list behind Wendy's and Burger King. I mean McDonald's will sit back and watch what the other guys do, and then steal it. It's almost as if they have completely given up hope and are just trying to compete now. This was the fast food chain, and now, slowly but surely, they are starting to drift away, with sudden flashes when they re-introduce the McRib every year. I don't know why I'm getting fired up about this, but they need a kick in their golden arses if they want to stay relevant, and for God's sake, stop running those commercials!
Anyone catch "Maui Fever" on MTV last week? I mean really, how far can this teen drama thing go? It's like every network is trying to capture the magic in a bottle and continue to overload the airways with a bunch of crap featuring good-looking people going through "real" issues. I mean I have to say that I watch them because it's almost I have feelings that are somewhere between jealousy and pity for them. I could see myself surfing all day, having no financial restraints, and hooking up with random girls even though I'm labeled as "trouble." I could see it. However, what I can't see is living my high school years, the supposed "best years of my life," to the tune of MTV making me act a certain way, say certain things, do something overdramatic, all just for the glorification of ratings and sponsors. When are we going to draw the line? Is this kind of stuff going to start creeping into middle school? You don't have to be a genius whatsoever to know that the times are changing. Kids are growing up, literally and figuratively, faster and faster with each generation. A show like "Laguna Beach" or "The Hills" has an extremely wide range of viewers. There are plenty of viewers that are within the 25-40 bracket, but you are going to see that the majority fall into the 13-25 age group. Yeah, 13, landing them right around the 8th grade. MTV (hate to pick on them, but they are the big culprit) and others make no bones about targetting younger viewers. All I really want to say is that it's enough already. There are already too many shows on TV that are like this, but when you keep adding more and more, it may almost be viewed as "the norm" for kids to be growing up like this. I just think that it's the wrong message to be sending to them. I know that it is all for entertainment value, but they are almost beginning to cross the line with the total inundation of the whole high school drama specials.
Speaking of TV, I have to applaud the general viewing audience for the declining ratings of reality TV. There are really only two giants left (American Idol and Dancing With The Stars). Shows like "24" and "Prison Break," you know, shows that actually have substance to them, are starting to rise to the top. I think, for the most part, everything has been said and done concerning reality TV. I think FOX basically thought of everything it could conceivably have put on TV without being completely illegal (however, they were going to put that O.J. thing on...which reminds me, how on Earth is he going to pay the Goldmans $43 million? I know the NFL Players' Union has a great pension plan, but really...). I feel that the average viewer is starting to realize the the "compelling factor" that they got when watching reality shows could be translated into these dramas, like "CSI" and "Lost," where you have actual writers creating human drama stories for characters that can almost be labelled as more "realistic" than anything "The Surreal Life" has ever offered.
Recently I was shopping around online for car insurance, and a thought came to me: What if car insurance was decided not only by your prior driving history, but also by intelligence? Think about it. Would that maybe solve the amount of idiotic drivers there are in the world? Now I know that this may be a little harsh, but stay with me on this. Ok, every time someone needed to re-purchase their insurance (usually every six months), they would have to take a written driving test, made up of maybe 20-25 multiple choice questions (none of which are going to be insanely difficult), and then, their premium would be either lowered or raised based on the outcome of the test. Now, as far as eligibility goes, I would impliment a "3 strikes" plan. This plan would look at a certain person's history. If within the last two years, they have had less than a combination of speeding violations, at-fault accidents, or any other violations equalling three, then they would take the test. When you're talking about repeat offenders that have more than two violations, you obviously know that this person is already realizing their driving woes through their ever-increasing premiums, so therefore, they should already be aware that they are not "on top of their driving game" to begin with. Also, anyone that has ever been convicted of a DUI or has any history of drinking or substance abuse would not be eligible, under any circumstances, to take the test. Basically, you would be rewarding people who follow the law and understand how to operate a motor vehicle, and you would be able to "weed out" potentially bad drivers who have just been fortunate and lucky that they have not been involved in more incidents. I think someone who was caught going 15 mph over the speed limit, and someone who doesn't know what "yield" means, should be punished the same way.
I was watching ESPN the other day, and they were running their preview ad for "NASCAR on ESPN" and I started to think "how long can the country lifestyle stay popular?" I mean it has been around for a while no doubt, but recently, it has taken a bigger share in pop culture than ever. The idea of being "country" was all of a sudden cool. Does anyone remember, oh I don't know, maybe 15 years ago, when Alabama and Vince Gil were the top country artists, NASCAR was on ESPN2 (trust me, the TV rights were just a little smaller back then...maybe $2-3 billion cheaper), and if anyone had a southern accent, they were labelled as "dumb rednecks?" I just find it amazing that now, not only has it been embraced, but it's a staple in society. Now, rednecks are being paid millions of dollars to be...rednecks. However, this past year, I made an observation. Country's relevance is based entirely on how well NASCAR will continue to do. The whole NASCAR boom happened right after the death of Dale Earnhardt in 2001. His legacy was so profound that it took on a life of its own. People started reading about him in the news, they started showing highlights of him being "The Intimidator" on the track, and gradually, people began to start to take interest. All of this culminated to Dale Jr. winning the 2002 Daytona 500. After that, forget about it. You couldn't go anywhere without seeing someone with a #8 or a #3 sticker on their car, country music acts like Kenny Chesney, Lonestar, Keith Urban, and Tony Keith started selling out football stadiums that, at the time, had really only been reserved for one country act (Garth Brooks). The Blue Collar Tour, taking place around 2002, was the highest grossing comedy tour in history. People could not get enough of the country way. Now, I'm not so sure if this has the main-stay ability as everyone thought it once had. With NASCAR ratings dropping 10% (I attribute that entirely, by the way, to the fact that FOX does not cover all the races, and that NBC and TNT, with their below average telecasts, picked up half the schedule, including last year's Daytona 500 and the entire "Chase For The Cup.), I think country may be going down with the ship. Now I have nothing against country music. I'm not really into it, but there are a lot of talented artists out there. All I'm trying to say is that it seems that NASCAR is at the proverbial wheel in determining the impact country will have on society. Personally, I think ESPN is about to lose a ton of money in this deal. I feel like when you're watching a race, you can't watch it on any network but FOX. Their innovations, as I have said thousands of times before, have transcended sports and have made racing fun for people who don't even like NASCAR. They emphasize the action of the sport, and seemlessly integrate racing terminology so as to not lose the hardcore fan. Then, they will explain themselves, so that they will not be alienating people that aren't necessarily "gearheads." FOX should have ponied up the loot to get the entire schedule, but instead, turned its attention to the BCS, and now we'll be stuck with what's sure to be a below-average effort from "The Total Network."
On a final note, you may or may not now that I am a "listoholic" (yeah I made it up and it's completely cheesy, but when you consider other -oholics I could be, a listoholic isn't all that bad) and recently I was thinking about what kind of list I could contrive. Then, I was listening to The Hollies' "Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress," and thought "there have been a lot of good songs with "woman" in the title. So, I expanded on that, and now, I present the top 50 songs, from 50 different artists, that have either the word "girl," "woman," or "she" in the title:
- Black Magic Woman- Santana
- When A Man Loves A Woman- Percy Sledge
- Something In The Way She Moves- James Taylor
- No Woman No Cry- Bob Marley
- Isn’t She Lovely- Stevie Wonder
- My Girl- Temptations
- Long Cool Woman In A Black Dress- Hollies
- Brown Eyed Girl- Van Morrison
- American Woman- Guess Who
Woman- Doors L.A.
- Witchy Woman- Eagles
- Breaking The Girl- Red Hot Chili Peppers
- She Talks To Angels- Black Crowes
- Just Like A Woman- Bob Dylan
Boys California Girls- Beach
- Brandy You’re A Fine Girl- Looking Glass
- Pretty Woman- Roy Orbison
- Hey There Lonely Girl- Delfonics
- Honky Tonk Woman- Rolling Stones
- Girl, You’ll Be A Woman Soon- Neil Diamond
- I Got A Woman- Ray Charles
- More Than A Woman- Bee Gees
- She’s Out Of My Life- Michael Jackson
- Ain’t No Woman Like The One I Got- Four Tops
- She Drives Me Crazy- Fine Young Cannibals
- American Girl- Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers
- Woman- John Lennon
- Jessie’s Girl- Rick Springfield
- She’s Leaving Home- Beatles
- Here She Comes Again- Cars
- Is She Really Going Out With Him- Joe Johnson
Pilots Sour Girl- Stone Temple
- Cinnamon Girl- Neil Young
- Material Girl- Madonna
- Evil Woman- Electric Light Orchestra
- About A Girl- Nirvana
- I Need A Hot Girl- Hot Boys
- And She Was- Talking Heads
- Fell In Love With A Girl- White Stripes
- She’s Crafty- Beastie Boys
Girl- David Bowie China
- Girls, Girls, Girls- Motley Crue
- She’s Not There- Zombies
- The Girl I Love She Got Long Black Wavy Hair- Led Zeppelin
- Steady As She Goes- Raconteurs
- Uptown Girl- Billy Joel
- Girls, Girls, Girls- Jay-Z
- Hey Girl- O.A.R.
- Are You Gonna Be My Girl- Jet
- She Hates Me- Puddle Of Mudd