Monthly Archives: January 2010

Manning the Barricades

The Jets “Cinderella” season came to a crashing halt on Sunday night and it may have been my fault. I had my haircut on Sunday morning. It hadn’t been done since before the Jets went on their win streak and got into the AFC Championship game. Thing was, I was starting to feel a bit untidy and I the missus couldn’t face the thought of me waiting another couple of weeks until post Superbowl. So, off it went, then we lost!

In all fairness no one was stopping Peyton Manning. He was unstoppable, showed exactly why he was MVP. We had chances, and the injury to Shonn Greene didn’t help, but Manning was on another level.

What it does show though, is that there might just be hope for the Jets in the future. The core of the side is young. Mark Sanchez developed in the playoffs and will be all the better for it. Shonn Greene too. The offensive line is a solid unit that should be together for a while yet, Alan Faneca may be the exception. A bit more receiver depth, to go with Cotchery, Edwards and Keller would see the offense alright, as the ground game should be good with Greene, Washington returning from injury and possibly Jones sticking around.

Defensively, despite the stats, there are some areas to consider. Pass rush needs to be upgraded, and we have to find someone to go opposite Revis Christ.

The offseason promises to be interesting…particularly if I can get a Wembley ticket on Monday!

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When did it become the done thing to wander about town in your pyjamas?

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Don’t Fear the Reaper

It seems the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are abroad. It’s a bizarre turn of events but performers who once fought it out to be declared public enemy number one are now being reinvented as cuddly purveyors of all things wholesome on our TV screens every day.

The first harbinger of doom out of the blocks was Mr Johnny “Rotten” Lydon. He may well have been the antichrist, an indeed an anarchist, but these days he sells us butter.

He was followed by ‘Famine’ and ‘Pestilence’ in the emaciated shape of one Iggy Pop and a Chuckie-esque rubber mini-me style representation of himself. It’s unclear whether he’s selling golf, time or car insurance, but none of these would’ve interested “The Passenger”.

Now we have Death himself, disguised as Alice Cooper. Not content with extolling the virtues of not throwing a TV from a hotel window, but instead trading it in, he can now be heard providing the sound track to a breakfast cereal advert. Not just any breakfast cereal mind, but one aimed at children.

It’s only a matter of time before Hitler and Stalin team up to tell us what a good idea sponsoring a dog is.

On the subject, Mr Renault, the motor car has been at the centre of every major revolution in human life has it? Funny, I don’t recall mention being made of the nobles being driven to meet Madame Guillotine..

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This summer will see the end of an era, for me at any rate. I won’t be playing cricket. I’ve officially hung up my bowling callous, and decided to satisfy my inner geek by becoming a part time scorer. Other than being a closet nerd, I’ve always enjoyed the art of scoring a match and recording the stats. If I could get paid for it, I would. It’s probable that part of the charm lies in the fact that so many people find the arcane ways of the scorer to be incomprehensible, that and the fact that I wanted to be Wendy Wimbush when I was younger. Not in the ‘lop bits off and take lots of hormones’ sense of be, but to be there, watching top quality sport in the company of some of the icons of commentary. That for me would be ‘job satisfaction’.

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Haiti, once synonymous with voodoo, now inextricably linked to earthquakes. Whilst what has occurred there over the last few days has been disastrous for it’s population, it once again illustrates a couple of things.

Firstly, just how quickly emergency appeals can be set up. It seems that barely had the rumbling faded away than there was a phone number and website created by DEC. Do they have forewarning?

Amazingly, given these times of recession, money has been found by Joe and Josephine Public to pour into the various appeals and telethons. Governments, who are busy complaining of shortages and the need to raise taxes can be find vast sums at the drop of a hat to help out.

Some people could be limbo champions given the depths to which they can stoop. All those religious organizations, not least Scientologists swooping down to offer succor and aid, oh and by the way, do a little bit of recruiting. Between them and the journalists clogging up the airport, it’s no wonder aid is struggling to get in.

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Ice Ice Baby….

Once again, Darwinian theory has been put into action in West Lothian. Sadly, according to this report http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/8454242.stm the region’s Dumb and Dumber failed to remove themselves from the gene pool.

Dumb: “Haw maaaannn, this is takin’ ages but” (“Old bean, this journey is dragging out”)
Dumber: “No ma fault! Aw these cars is gaun deed slow cozza aw raw snaw. I cannae git gaun” (“I’m blameless my friend. Traffic is being held to low speeds due to the inclement weather. The ice and snow making are making traction difficult”)
Dumb: “Haw look, erz ra canal. Pure icy maun. Nae boats oan it. Get right tae the ‘burgh.” (“But soft, what light from yonder waterway breaks? It is the canal, and it’s icy surface glints in the moonlight. There’ll be no barges on it now. We can travel direct to Winchburgh”)
Dumber: “Genius, but.” (“Splendid idea, old bean”).
Dumb: “Gie it laldy” (“Home, James, and don’t spare the horses!”)

Maybe a 106 would’ve gotten away with it, but a 406!
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Times must be hard for Prince. He seems to have undergone a sex change and is now advertising “Club” style work out DVD’s to make ends meet.

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So, after all the hoo-hah about resting players and clubs sneaking in, the NFL playoffs began last weekend. Three of the four games were direct rematches of games played the previous weekend, with the venue changing in only one of these cases. Dallas handled Philadelphia as convincingly as they had one week earlier, similarly, despite going on the road, the Jets had a fairly comfortable time of it against Cincinnati. Game of the round, saw the only reversal of result from Week 17, as Arizona stomped all over Green Bay early, before being pegged back, only to win the highest scoring playoff game ever, in overtime, when a defensive player finally decided to turn up.

Result of the round though, was the Patriots being crushed by Baltimore. The Ravens dominated early, scoring 24 unanswered points in the first quarter, thanks to turnovers by their defense. Saint Thomas of Brady powerless to do anything. This works out well for the Jets too. The result meaning in the Divisional round, the Jets have to go San Diego rather than Indianapolis. I prefer the match up with San Diego at this point and feel it’s a game that we could win. With any luck, the Ravens beat the Colts and that would leave the Jets hosting the AFC Championship game!!

In an interesting twist, teams that “rested” players in Week 17 struggled in their playoff matches. Cincinnati were beaten, Arizona just made it through and New England were humbled. Maybe there’s something to be said for continuing to play hard and having the magical momentum on your side.

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Just Another Winter’s Tale

January. A month for those of us in the northern hemisphere that is pretty much in the middle of winter. That’s winter, when you would expect to meet wintry weather, you know the sort of thing. Cold, fog, ice, maybe even some snow.

It’s also a month that provides Sky, ITN and BBC News with a great money-generating scheme. The chance to supply overseas TV stations with a years worth of slapstick comedy. Once again, the great nation of Britain has been brought to it’s knees by a little bit of winter weather, in winter, well who’d-a-thunk-it!

Aircraft, which can happily fly at night, when it’s dark, can’t fly in fog. Trains can’t run when it’s cold, even those that run underground in tunnels protected from the elements. As for drivers! I live on a street that winds down a slight incline in an ess shape. It’s not overly onerous to get out of, even with 6 inches of snow, but it is almost impossible at the moment, given the number of abandoned cars. It would appear that 90% of drivers feel that the best way to counter act the fact that their wheels are spinning is by pressing harder on the accelerator pedal. Yes, more gas is always the answer. When it doesn’t work, they reverse, try to start over with more power! Once they fail for the tenth time, it’s get out the car, slam the door shut and stomp home in a huff.

All across England, news reporters are falling over themselves to describe the apocalyptic conditions. Telling us of “blankets of snow”. Err, GRASS IS STILL CLEARLY VISIBLE!!!. People have been spending the night in department stores because they couldn’t get home!

Meanwhile, in parts of the world where a couple of inches of snow is a summers day, they tune to Sky News and lap up the comedy as we slip, slide, skid and complain about the place grinding to a halt.

“The Day After Tomorrow” this isn’t, and yet it’s only a matter of time before there’s a charity appeal for blankets for the south of England.

It may be closer than you think though. The BBC are currently running a special program dealing with the snow outbreak as I type.

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I think we already have a winner for best sport headline of 2010.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/athletics/8441196.stm

Speaks for itself really!

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The NFL’s regular season ground to a halt on Sunday night, with the final playoff positions being sorted out and, in a surprising development, the Jets have snuck in there. Much to the chagrin of commentators and pundits alike in the States, who seem to think that by resting star players last week, the Colts handed it all to the Jets on a plate. This does kind of over look the previous 15 weeks of play where teams had a chance to arrange themselves a playoff berth.

America is a strange nation when it comes to sports. It’s a country built on capitalist ideals of free market economies and deserving everything you earn through hard work. Where the poorest members of society are expected to haul themselves up with no help, support or healthcare. Where the most exalted members of society tend to have inherited their money rather than earned it. Fair play is to be expected of others, but you should use any means necessary to gain an edge. And yet, the sports leagues exist in a bubble of communism. The worst teams get first pick of the best young players in an effort to allow them to become better. Revenues are centrally pooled and shared equally throughout the league. Can you see Manchester United allowing Liverpool to benefit from their shirt sales? Salaries are capped so that the teams with the richest owners can’t just hoover up the best players. That won’t fly in the UK. Apart from anything else, European Employment law wouldn’t allow it.

For a couple of weeks now, people have been up in arms because the Colts decided that having a couple of players fit for the playoffs outweighed a couple of extra wins, and this allowed the Jets a slightly easier passage. Bollocks. It shows a lack of depth in the squad if the so-called back up players are so poor that the team stops performing when they come in to the game. Perhaps if the administrators of the teams managed their finances better they’d have more able reserves. Perhaps if the teams who were relying on one or two teams beating other teams had actually taken care of their own business in preceding weeks and won games the situation wouldn’t have arisen.

Sport is big business. There are large amounts of money to be had by the winners. While that remains the case, teams are not going to “look out for the good of the league”, they are going to look out for the good of themselves.

Another argument that has been linked in to the discussion is the possibility of moving to a 17 or 18 game season. This, the nay-sayers argue would see yet more meaningless end of season games and increase the risk of player injuries. Well, boo-hoo. Again, teams that are managed properly will be able to field a decent level of back up player. It’s called building a squad. Besides which, if a team does well enough through the season to be in a position where it has things wrapped up with a couple of weeks to spare, they’ve earned the right. The rest of them need to look at themselves and improve.

The records themselves are fairly moot anyway. There are 32 teams in the NFL, split into two conferences of 16, which are in turn split into four divisions of four. Each team play the other teams in its division home and away. They then play one of the other divisions from their conference and one division from the other conference, on a rotating basis. The last two games are defined by finishing position the previous season. In effect, teams may only have a handful of opponents in common over the season, yet they are compared as if they’ve played the same schedule.

It’s impractical to play a season where everyone plays everyone else, the shear physical toll on the players would be too great, however, this pretence that everyone is equal and should be treated as such is downright un-American!

The big pre-season talking point as I recall, was the height of the new scoreboard at the new Dallas stadium. How it was going to be peppered by punters and make a mockery of the game. Well, after 8 regular season games, it seems to have been hit less than once. At least, it’s gone unreported and there would surely have been an avalanche of “I told you so” valedictory pieces from the various talking heads predicting football Armageddon.

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Happy New Year, same as the old one

I look out the window and it’s still a scene from ‘The Day After Tomorrow’ out there. Not only that, it’s the same snow that was there when I finished work for the holidays. Can’t remember the last time that sort of thing happened. Don’t think it ever has in my working career.
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Mrs C is a bit of a CSI and Criminal Minds fan so from time to time I find myself watching Living TV. Last night, it was incredibly disturbing. The channel has a sponsorship deal running with the new movie, ‘It’s Complicated’. So far, so meh. However, the fact that these strips run in every ad break got particularly annoying, especially the one that mentioned bikini waxing. Now, I’m no prude, but please, no one should have to hear about Meryl Streep’s unkempt bush, fictional or otherwise several times a night.

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