Sunday, July 26, 2009

With all these questions....

Is all the playoff hype warranted?

[John McClain,]
If you're like me, you've got a lot of questions about the team going into Gary Kubiak's fourth season as its coach. For instance, will they have their first winning record? Will it be good enough to make the playoffs for the first time? Will they play better on the road? Will they play better in the AFC South? Will they improve their red-zone problems on both sides of the ball?

Now, let's break down the team and start with the rookies: Will first-round pick Brian Cushing sign on time, and what kind of impact will he make on the front seven? Will second-round pick Connor Barwin contribute off the bench to the pass rush despite playing defensive end only one year in college?

Will third-round pick Antoine Caldwell make enough progress to compete for a starting job at some point this season at center or guard?

How fast will fourth-round pick Glover Quin and sixth-round pick Brice McCain develop in the absence of the team's best cornerback, Dunta Robinson? How much of a contribution will fourth-round pick Anthony Hill and fifth-round pick James Casey make as a blocker and receiver? Will Casey develop fast enough to earn playing time?
Local experts and pundits are already beating the playoff drum for this team and while there's plenty of evidence that makes this a possibility (the projected decline of the Colts and the Titans, the teams good play in the second half of last season) there's also plenty of reasons to question whether or not they can get over the hump. (Schaub's fragile frame, scoring in the red zone, can the defensive backfield shut anyone down)

I'm looking forward to this NFL season for two reasons:

1. The Chron's coverage of the Texans is full of hilarious bi-polar writing. Both Justice and McClain are rapturous after wins and despondent (or, in the case of Justice, angry to a point that he loses his professionalism) after losses. I haven't gone through the Texans' schedule with a fine-toothed comb yet, but I'm guessing there will be opportunities for both. It makes for entertaining reading (and blogging)

2. The 49'ers have Mike Singletary back as Head Coach, this time for a full season. Now...if they can just find and offense to go with their improving, young defense they have a good chance at making a playoff run in the weak NFC West.

Until then, here's a great commercial from Versus hyping (in part) their upcoming College Football coverage that's sure to get you in the mood for sports in some manner. My house goes silent every time this comes on.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I'm sorry Erin.

You see, it's not all guys who are jerks, just some of them. Unfortunately the "sportz FAN" male is held up as the stereotype for all of us, and that's not fair. Not that this is any comfort to you I understand. Because some idiots decided they had a Divine rights to view the naked body of any woman they choose you're now subjected to a life of looking over your shoulder at every turn and stuffing wash-cloths in the key-holes and in the crack of the door. In short, your life has been ruined, all because you decided to become a reporter for a "man's" game.

In England they have a saying: "Football is a gentleman's game played by hooligans, and Rugby is a hooligan's game played by Gentlemen." That's a pretty good description of the two sports over there, but in America we might say it differently.

"Football is a man's game watched, in large part, by mental infants."

It's those infants, the type of men who think the pinnacle of culture is belching out the Battle Hymn of the Republic after chugging 3 beers, that sort of ruin the sport for the rest of us. They're the reason we have to put up with the "all men cheat" rantings from raving feminists who's idea of utopia is the corralling of all heterosexual males into sperm farms where they can be cattle-prodded into submission every day. It's an ancient idea of masculinaty that's as out of place in today's culture as a dinner jacket would be in pre-historic times. Back when Uga the Mok was challenging you for breeding rights, conking a she-ra on the head, taking her back to the cave and giving her the business may have seemed like a good idea. In today's society unfortunately, that'd still earn you the admiration of the 80's Fraternity set.

I'm not sure who's argument to be more amazed with, 1560 the Game's Shawn and John who said on-air that Erin should "embrace" having her privacy violated and being stalked, or the argument of Bob Norman* from the Broward Sun subtly hinting that Erin's looks sort-of justify it in an odd sort of way. How dare you be attractive and NOT show us your breasts Erin?

What's lost in all of this is that Ms. Andrews is a damn good sideline reporter. She's savvy enough about Football that she understands the game and is capable of asking coaches questions that run deeper than the old Susie Kolber stand-by: "How do you feel?" Losing Andrews on the side-line because of this would set in-game reporting BACK a long way.

Unfortunately, because of this, Erin is going to have to develop a thick outer skin in order to keep her career on track. She's going to be cat-called by drunk boys who downloaded her video before it was removed, she's going to wonder what's behind the lecherous stares that she's getting at every game. Every time she interviews a player "Has he seen the video?" will be in the back of her head. I hope they catch the guys that did this and let her kick them in the balls repeatedly. It's probably a small target but I'm guessing she'll manage.

Sorry Erin, some guys just have a long way to go. Don't hold it against all of us please?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Tour de France 2009

OK, after Stage 15, and heading into the 2nd rest day...

Can we finally admit that Armstrong isn't going to do it this year?


Monday, July 06, 2009

Le Tour

In case you missed it over the weekend (and, this being America, you probably did) Saturday marked the beginning of the 2009 Tour de France the most spectacular, ridiculous bicycle race in the World.

And I use ridiculous in a good way. Because the Tour itself is a insane test of physical and mental stamina. For the uninitiated, the start of the Tour is typcially contested over a series of flat stages. To man these are rather pedestrian, but they often lead up to one of the more exciting moments in International sport, the sprint finish. Typically this is a time when the Americans take a back seat, and watch men like Thor Hushovd, Tom Boonen go at it for the win. Recently however that has changed, with riders such as Mark Cavendish of the Isle of Man riding for American team Columbia-HTC and young American sprinter Tyler Farrar riding for Team Garmin-Slipstream. Cavendish is possibly the best sprinter on the road today.

In the General Classification things have been made even more interesting by the return from retirement of one Lance Armstrong, currently placed 10th in the General Classification. (what we would call the overall standings) While my pick to win the Overall is Armstrong's Astana teammate Alberto Contador, their are four GC contenders from that team alone. (American Levi Leipheimer and German Andres Kloden being the other two Astana riders currently in the top ten of the GC)

Soon the mountains come, first the Pyranees followed by the French Alps. Then the ride into Paris.

I can't wait.