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The 2018 NFL Playoffs

I’ve been a fan of the Miami Dolphins since 1969, through their heyday and despite that um, they’ve not been playing good football for a long time and haven’t made the playoffs as consistently as they once did.

I have other teams I like to see play, like the Rams, who I liked because of their helmets, believe it or not. All in all, if the NFL is playing I’m watching… because it’s football. Locally, there are three teams many root for: The Washington Redskins (often called the Deadskins), the Balitmore Ravens (who were once the Cleveland Browns) and the current and defending SuperBowl champions, the Philadelphia Eagles who were, more often than not, called the “Slegles” because if they didn’t have a shitty season, they’d choke in big games and play like they were a high school football team.

Last night, the defending champs played the Chicago Bears and despite the Bears having the #1 defense, it was a missed – or now, officially – field goal that allowed the champs to continue in the playoffs and ended the Bears’ season and, expectedly, vilifying their kicker… and a guy who once played for the Eagles and was released because, um, he kept missing field goals at critical times and losing games.

Now, I’m not an Eagles fan, not like I am a fan of the Rams who’ll be playing this coming weekend… but they’re one of the local teams and many football fans will keep an eye on their local team even if not a real fan. I also like Kansas City’s chances; they’ve been playing lights-out football with an amazing QB and coached, by the way, by the same guy who once coached the Eagles and made them into a division powerhouse if not, sadly, Super Bowl champions.

But the Eagles, led once again by the guy they call Saint Nick – QB Nick Foles – pulled out a win when everything was pointing to the fact that their usual late-game heroics weren’t gonna save them this time.

And as he’s proven he can do, Saint Nick pulled another “miracle” out of his pack with a fourth down, this is the game and season – touchdown to Golden Tate but leaving time in the clock for Chicago and their QB, Mitch Trubinsky – to stage a comeback of their own.

And I was t surprised that the Eagles’ defense, which is usually pretty good, just failed to stop the Bears from getting into field goal range which set up the thrilling scenario a lot of football fans live for.

It’s fourth down, ten seconds left on the clock, and Chicago is setting up to kick the game winning field goal which is well within their kicker’s range. As expected, the Eagles call their last time out to freeze the kicker, a game tactic that, in most cases, doesn’t work. The time out is called at just the right moment, the whistle blows to stop play but the Bears’ kicker goes ahead and kicks the ball anyway – and the kick was good.

I don’t know about anyone else watching the game and in that moment, but I got a sense of what was gonna happen before it did… because Mr. Murphy is also a fan of football, it seems, that and game commentators have a long history of jinxing kickers by talking about their current record and how they’ve not missed kicks from distances that are well inside their range.

Time’s back in and I’m nowhere near Soldier’s Field, not a true Eagles fans in that sense – or a Bears’ fan – but I cold feel the tension and suspense at the long snapper did his job, the holder grabs it and spins the ball so that the laces face away from the kicker, who is already into his kicking motion.

Now it’s an exercise in… geometry? Not really sure what science is involved but as the kicker makes contact – and there are bodies flying all over the place – if you could mentally track the ball’s vector, you knew it was gonna hit the goalpost before it actually hit it. But, as these things can go, it deflected downward after hitting the goalpost and how many times have we’ve seen a ball whack the goalpost and bounce over the crossbar and go through?

My eyes tracked the ball from the moment the kicker made contact, knew it was gonna hit the goalpost, watched it bounce off the crossbar… and back into the field of play.

And I said, “Holy shit… they won. Again.” I also knew that the poor kicker was gonna get crucified and the network dutifully showed this same guy missing game winning field goals earlier in the season and, how about that – some of them got doinked in the exact same way this season ending kick did.

The Eagles dodged yet another bullet; Bears fans are looking for some rope to string the kicker up but, wait just a moment! Seems that the NFL had a reason to take a really close, frame by frame look at the kick and it appears that an Eagles’ defender got just enough of a finger on the ball to affect its trajectory and cause it to go more left than intended.

So… homey didn’t get frozen by the timeout and choke – his missed for a reason. Still, disgusted Bears fans probably ain’t gonna care that their kicker missed because the ball got tipped by the merest of fractions of space – he still missed, the hopes to advance deeper into the playoffs is gone and the Bears will be looking for a new kicker next season.

Then there’s the Ravens’ game against the Colts. If you watched that game, you know that Baltimore lost a close game… but it’s how they lost it that, I think, will stir up some shit in the offseason, like the head coach’s decision to stick with his rookie QB who wasn’t getting anything done until late in the fourth quarter while keeping their more experienced and Super Bowl winning QB on the bench… and more so when said rookie fumbled away the Ravens’ chance to pull out a last minute save.

Coach Harbaugh will be second-guessed for this by a lot of armchair, Monday morning coaches as well as the experts in the game; the coach – and even the players and owner will defend the decision because, as one of the commentators of the same brought to the viewers’ attention – and as said to some fans by a Ravens’ player, “We got here with number 8 so show him some love and stop being fair weather fans!”

That maybe so… but number 8 did cost them the game, didn’t he? His inability to move the offense just made the Colts’ defense look really damned good and, perhaps, better than they usually are and before the end of the first half, even the commentators were of a mind that a QB change was coming because, clearly, this kid just flat out sucked and as his -2 yards of passing indicated.

But they change never came and by the time the third quarter was half over, the fans were screaming at Harbaugh it put Joe Flacco into the game… and the expert commentators were wondering why Harbaugh wasn’t listening and doing what, statistically, makes sense: If the guy playing ain’t getting it done, put the guy in who can, oh, like the guy who has led the team to many playoffs by winning the divisions and, oh, yeah, won the damned Super Bowl.

Besides, how much worse could things get given that things were already quite fucked up? The cameras kept showing Flacco sitting on the bench and showing shots of Harbaugh studiously ignoring the very loud chants to get Flacco into the game and with the hopes that he can turn the game around so they could extend their season.

And we’ll never know if Flacco could have done just that. The Colts now have a date with the Kansas City Chiefs and while Colts QB Andrew Luck played brilliantly as dis the Colts’ defense, um, wow… have you seen KC’s offense with Patrick Mahomes at QB? Their defense hasn’t been… consistently outstanding but, um, when your offense can put up 50 and make it look magically easy…

Just wanted to share this with y’all because I’m still sitting so,what amazed that the Eagles keep finding ways to win games that they should have lost.

 
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Posted by on 7 January 2019 in KDaddy's General Observations

 

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The Multi-Million Dollar Knockout

Domestic violence is an ever-growing problem and one that affects people in all walks of life and that includes professional athletes who are held to a higher standard than your average Joe and, as such, are expected and required to behave in a way that won’t reflect badly on their profession and whatever league they play for.

Ray Rice, for reasons that have yet to be fully revealed, did something in Atlantic City that has not only brought some shame to him and his wife but has also ruined what was a stellar football career and along with the loss of millions of dollars.  By now, almost everyone has heard of or has seen the video of Ray knocking his then-fiancee out in that elevator and only they know (for now) what started the shit in the first place.  The NFL admits that when they first heard of this, they only suspended Ray for two games but realized they screwed the pooch; the commissioner was catching all kinds of flak about such a light punishment for what’s considered to be a serious offense and I give him props because he publicly admitted that he screwed up… and then announced the league’s new policy on domestic violence issues, something that’s been plaguing the league – along with the usual substance abuse – for several years now.

Ray Rice, because of the video that was released, was made an example of and deservedly so.  This isn’t as much about Ray as it is the image of the NFL, which lags behind the other sports leagues when it comes to zero tolerance for bad behavior by its players on their respective fields of play or off it.  I dunno… maybe professional athletes feel or have reason to believe that what they do when they’re not playing is no one’s business… and I think that they forget that even when they’re not playing, they are representatives of their respective organizations, in this case, the NFL and whatever they do off the field that involves any police action reflects badly on the league as a whole and more so when they’ve usually gotten off with mild slaps on the wrist.

Ray isn’t the only player this year to get bitch-slapped by the NFL; several prominent players have been suspended and one other has been suspended for the entire 2014 season… and all because of something they did off the field of play.  Ray’s career, according to football pundits, is pretty much over; even if the NFL decided to show him some leniency – and they probably won’t – his age, along with his somewhat poor performance last season, would make him a questionable asset.  It’s sad; that one moment, caught on tape, has put an end to what was a brilliant NFL career and has tarnished Ray for the rest of his life.

I read on Facebook where several people are giving Ray’s wife the business for ‘defending’ him and, well, it’s complicated and more so since the exact details of what caused him to knock her out have yet to be released.  I myself opined if Ray now thinks that his actions in that elevator were worth it, just as I wondered if it never occurred to him that there are security cameras everywhere in Atlantic City casinos, including the elevators.  Sometimes, the price of fame is very, very high and Ray – along with his family now – is paying the price.  Now, onto another NFL subject…

My daughter, lovely creature that she is, suggested that I write something about Mike Sam, the football player that came out and admitted that he was gay before the NFL draft got underway.  The St. Louis Rams picked him up and, ultimately, released him and one can’t help but think that this guy’s open gayness was part of the reason why he was let go; from what I saw of his play – and you know they were watching him closely in the media – he did pretty good; I didn’t see many plays where he wasn’t involved in and, at least in my opinion, he’d earned a spot on the team… but I guess Jeff Fischer and the rest of the Rams’ braintrust didn’t agree.

The Dallas Cowboys picked him up and put him on their practice squad and, as a knock against my son-in-law – a die-hard Cowboys fan – shit, after the way Dallas’ defense played Sunday, they might want to get Sam off the practice squad and put him in the lineup; he couldn’t possibly play any worse than the starting eleven did when getting their heads handed to them.

When my daughter suggested I say something about this, I was kinda ambivalent about it because, okay, the dude is gay – so what?  Anyone who believes that there are no gay or bisexual players in the NFL probably doesn’t understand the whole “we’re a team” thing or how that brotherhood can and has led to some of these powerful men to have sex with each other.  I say – and many others do as well – that a player’s sexuality shouldn’t have any bearing on his (or her) ability to play the game and as a fan of the game, that’s all I really care about:  Can he play his position?  If he can, then what’s the big fucking deal?  If I’m a player – and let’s assume that I’m straight (ha, ha) – sure, I kinda don’t care if he – or any of my other teammates – likes dick… as long as he doesn’t bother me with that and, of course, does his job when we’re on the field.

Leave it to the media, however, to turn this molehill into a mountain and, in my opinion, unnecessarily so.  That more professional athletes are coming out as gay or bisexual really shouldn’t surprise anyone but I guess because professional athletes are celebrities, the media is duty-bound to make a big deal out of something that a lot of us know has been going on since organized sports began.  Indeed, anyone who has played an organized sport probably knows what goes on in the locker room after a game and even why it happen and even more so when discretion mandates that some guys wait until they leave the building to get their freak on with each other.  Hell, I know what the deal is – played basketball in high school – so that there are guys who like dick or like it enough to deal with the emotions playing the game can invoke – doesn’t surprise me at all and, as such, an openly gay player in the NFL doesn’t surprise me either.

I commend Sam’s courage to come out; he did this with the knowledge that his announcement could affect his desire to play in the NFL and the league, in trying to be more mainstream and all that, didn’t even bat an eye that a potential draftee was gay… but that’s because they, too, know what the deal is and, besides, it makes them look good in the media to embrace Sam and any other gay or bi player who wants to come out – it has the potential to put asses in the seats in all of the stadiums so, yeah, that’s a good thing – the NFL is all about making their money, after all.

I hope that Dallas gives Sam a chance to play and I know that their owner, Jerry Jones, has instructed everyone to not make this man’s sexuality an issue – or else; given what’s happened to Ray Rice and a few other players so far this young season, I’m pretty sure the team doesn’t want to find out what “or else” means to Jerry or the league at large.  I’d even go as far as to say that the straight members of the team won’t have to worry about getting hit upon – Mike Sam is already in a relationship so unless the boy is shady, he’s off the market and unavailable.

Daughter, how did I do with this?

Finally, to end my NFL ranting, my Dolphins kicked New England’s ass right proper Sunday and that can only be a good thing given how sorry they’ve been since Don Shula stopped coaching the team and Dan Marino retired…

 
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Posted by on 9 September 2014 in Life, Living and Loving

 

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