Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Oh... The Sorrows of Life

I woke up this past Monday with an idea for my upcoming article.  It was going to be an earth-shattering piece of crafty literature.  I wanted to give a summary of Wild Card weekend by addressing what was obviously the most interesting of the games (Denver defeating Pittsburgh) without riding the Tebow bandwagon too hard.  After my 9:15 class ended, I got to work, scribing upon my 2008 Macbook Pro perhaps the greatest single piece of sports commentary ever to be written.  Just one page in, I had already undergone an emotional rollercoaster creating it as I laughed, sobbed, and felt like, for the first time in my life, I found my reason for being on this planet.  Surely such grandiosity would have been something any reader would have experienced for as well.  My next class began at 11:35 so I packed up my computer and embarked for my lecture, hoping that the next hour would fly by so that I could continue on my literary masterpiece (I also recently got hooked on Showtime’s show, Weeds, and had already blocked off a sizeable chunk of my afternoon so I could finish watching the first season on my computer.  You will note that I said, “Showtime’s show, Weeds” to avoid any possible misinterpretation of that sentence). 

I got back to my house, ate a quick lunch, and plugged in my computer.  The only problem was that the aforementioned 2008 Macbook Pro would not turn on. 

The next two and half hours of my life were devoted to my attempts to ameliorate this most tragic situation.  “I don’t understand,” I proclaimed to anybody that cared to listen, “it was working swell this morning!”  My first attempt was to monkey with the charger.  That was a failure.  I then took out the battery and applied the N64-blow-on-it trick to any part of the computer that looked important.  If there were ever an indication that I know absolutely nothing about computers, that pathetic effort leaves no doubt.  Anyway, this heartbreaking tale ends with my computer getting shipped off for the next two weeks to undergo various operations that will hopefully end with it back in my arms and fully operational.  In the meantime, I was given a 2007(!) Macbook Pro as a replacement from the school.  The thing weighs at least ½ a pound more, which I find to be downright intolerable.

The reason I am writing all of this, besides the fact that I need a venue to bitch about my horribly unjust and difficult time, is that my broken computer and subsequent loss of recently created files means that the gem and crowning achievement of my writing career is forever lost – that is until I release my posthumous blog, Born Again: The Lost Blogs of Adam Weinberger. Until that day though, we will need to put the lost piece behind us, despite how difficult it may be.  Attempting to rewrite my article exactly would be a waste of time, as whatever I produce will lack the charming spontaneity of my first effort. 
Like I always say, "If Biggie could do it, so can I."
Here is my best attempt at a seamless transition from a woebegone tale to a more traditional column focused on sports.  Game picks for this weekend will be coming later this week.  In the meantime, here are some NFL issues that have me as heated as one can be without someone saying to you, “You realize you’re talking about sports here.”  Note: these appear in order from frustrating to downright intolerable (with the same “just sports” stipulation). 

1. The New York Jets Soap Opera
I think mostly because we’ve known this was bound to happen eventually, the imploding locker room is snagging multiple front-page stories on the ESPN and NFL websites.  First it’s Holmes, then it’s Bart Scott, and now Marc Sanchez.  They collapsed this season and quite frankly were never really any good. Maybe it’s because I have no interest in hearing about my team’s failures weeks after the season ended, but I feel like the only football stories that should matter at this point are those for the eight teams left.  The Jets have weaknesses at the quarterback, running back, wide receiver, and nickel back positions among many coaching ones.  Baring an unforeseen offseason pickup/trade, I don’t see this team winning more than 7 games in 2012 and by this time next year they will be all but irrelevant were they not from New York.  

2. The Review System
Just when you thought the slow-as-molasses, blatantly flawed review system of the NFL could not possibly get any worse, the esteemed minds of the league decided that every scoring play should be reviewed, adding on another 15 minutes to every game. Does the head ref really need so much exercise that he must go over to the hood to watch the replay for himself?  I mean, everyone watching the game on television usually gets to see the review of the play five to ten times before we even hear the dreaded words, “The previous play is under review.” No shit it’s under review!  We just watched it get reviewed.  In fact, we pretty much already know if it’s getting overturned or not.  But, rather than having all those guys upstairs who are supposedly watching every play just radio down to the head ref and tell him either “it’s overturned” or “the play stands”, I need to listen to another fifteen minutes of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman punditry.  But, hey, at least the duo understands that all scoring plays get reviewed.  Half the announcers still argue with one another about whether or not the coach should challenge the touchdown until one the dimwits says, “But, wait, all scoring plays get reviewed.”

Of course, the worst part of all is that thanks to absurd rules regarding what can and cannot be challenged, they still get the call wrong many times.  Two incorrect calls were made this weekend on fumbles because the refs could not necessarily say a defender would have recovered the football had the play not been blown dead. 

3. AFC West Front Office Blunders
Which California team committed a bigger mistake, San Diego for bringing back Norv Turner or Oakland for firing first-year man Hue Jackson?  Both moves are as difficult to understand as Matt Millen’s qualifications for his job at ESPN.  Coaches get scapegoated too often nowadays for team failure, as seen in Jackson’s departure.  However, in the case of Norv Turner, I believe he has long overstayed his welcome.  In a year where the AFC West failed to produce a nine-win team, it’s an absolute joke that talented San Diego didn’t take the division.  After the Philip-Rivers-botched-snap disaster, it behooved Turner to prevent his team from falling into a midseason funk.  He didn’t and his club proceeded to lose its next four games, at which point their season was all but finished. 
While understandably upset about his firing, Jackson
should be proud of his top 8 finish in the
Yet the Hue Jackson firing is even more stunning.  With a career record of 8-8 in Oakland, he has the best win percentage of the last six men to coach for the Raiders.  If I were making a list of the top 10 candidates for Coach of the Year, Jackson would have been in there.  In one week, the Raiders lost their best player in running back Darren McFadden and brought in Carson Palmer, who had been back in football for less than a week.  Prior to the McFadden injury, Oakland was 4-2.  Three of their final five losses were to playoff teams. 

4. The Use of “A”
Is something grammatically, syntactically, or otherwise wrong with the following sentences:

If the 49ers want to be a better offensive team, they’re going to need someone like a Drew Brees at quarterback.  Then again their secondary could use a Darrelle Revis or a Troy Polamalu.  In the return game, they’d benefit from a player that can be like a Devin Hester.

What the hell is “a” doing before all of those people’s names?  It serves absolutely no point accept to indicate the poor education of the person using it in such a frivolous and incorrect manner.  Yet, time and time again, the football maiden’s of ESPN, CBS, FOX and sports talk radio around the world insert the insignificant syllable and, in doing so, remove any vestiges of validity their comment may have had. 

I guess this was a preemptive topic to include because the NFL draft coverage has begun to steadily increase, which means TV’s across the country are going to be bombed with Mel Kiper, the biggest fan of the irrelevant and idiotically nonsensical “a”.  If his first grade teacher is still alive, I’m sure she busts a gasket anytime her grammatically challenged ex-student decides to show his forehead on mainstream television. 

To prove my point, I was trying to find a video in which Kiper performs this moronic sin and, what do you know, he does it literally within the first three seconds of speaking in the first video I clicked on.  As is always the case, the “a” added absolutely nothing. 

5. All Pro = Pro Bowl
Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!

Being an all-pro player is in no way the same as being a pro bowl player.  Just to be clear, the all-pro roster is voted on by 50 sports writers, the same group of people as those who vote on the AP MVP award.  There is only one player selected for each position, with the exception of WR, CB, LB, D-line, and RB (because more than one of these are typically on the field at the same time).  Compare that to the slew of old, overrated, and/or popular bums who get voted into the Pro Bowl by the fans. 

Jared Allen explained it best this past week after he made the roster for the fourth time saying, “The All-Pro Team to me is one of the all-time accomplishments.  Pro Bowls are nice, but guys get voted in longer than they should and guys who deserve to go don't always get to… this is the honor I hold the highest.”

There are a lot of terrible commercial out right now, but absolutely none of them are as difficult to watch as this GEICO commercial. 

“You are all pro linebacker, Brian Orakpo.”
I wonder how guys like Clay Matthews, James
Harrison, and DeMarcus Ware feel about
Orakpo's label as an "all-pro"
No he is not!  Brian Orakpo has never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever made an all-pro roster.  He’s never even made the second team all-pro list.  In fact, both of his appearances in the Pro Bowl have been essentially as replacements. 

Some day I am going to call up GEICO and demand I speak to enough supervisors before I can unload my frustration on whatever careless bozo wrote such a fallacy.  The thing that really kills me about the commercial is that Brian Orakpo must know they aren’t telling the truth.  Maybe that’s the only reason he agreed to the commercial in the first place.   

It’s one thing for an insurance company to make a mistake, but I expect more from people actually involved in the football world.  During the Bengals-Texans playoff game, one of the commentators (either Tom Hammond or Mike Mayock – it’s a shame I forgot) repeatedly referred to wide receiver, A.J. Green, as an all-pro.  The rookie had a great year, but was probably not even in the top 10 at his position. 

Okay, well, my blood is sufficiently boiling.  Divisional Round picks will be out in the coming days.


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