Friday, January 19, 2007

It's finally happened. I suppose it was a matter of time, but I doubt any one expected it to come so suddenly. After decades of mocking kings, popes, God Almighty and any one and every one under the sun, the Onion has finally brought ruin down on itself. Where will we go to find out what larks Area Man and Area Woman have gotten themselves into this week. A legion of Patriots fans is now gathering. In about three years, after they learn basic navigation and develop opposable thumbs, the Onion is done like dinner.

For those who have not seen the slander most vile, here it is. The very idea that Bill Belichick could muddle his way through any question on any subject is anathema to a New Englander. We know that if this great coach and archdouche doesn't have a home-made particle accelerator somewhere on his fortified residential compound, it's because he lacks the time rather than a working knowledge of advanced multidisciplinary physics. That, and I'm reasonably sure the presence of a particle accelerator on the grounds of the Patriots team facilities would attract a certain amount of interest from several government agencies.

It's bad enough that LaDainian Tomlinson can get away with casting aspersions on the great Belichick. But when the NFL, the US government and all right thinking Americans tolerate a media outlet of questionable repute slandering the man who single-handedly saved the National Football League, I just don't think I can find the strength to go on. Belichick did save the NFL, just ask a Patriots fan. That conversation might get a little murky when you point out that the NFL hasn't faced a grave threat since 1987, but a command of current events and the ability to bring the powers of rational thought to bear on said events have never been the hallmarks of the New England sports fan.

That said, the article itself was a little disappointing. It wasn't very funny, in the first place. I felt they tried too hard to work in the economic angle, any question on any other subject would probably have been more amusing. That's the trouble with satire as a genre, when it's good it's great and when it's even average it's stale and disappointing. But, since I went 2 for 2 last week, I'm feeling arrogant enough to predict these games.

The past record doesn't mean very much when it comes time to lace up the spikes on game day. Neither Manning's long run of failure against the Patriots, nor his recent string of victories in Foxboro will have the impact that the media is giving them right now. As for my feeling, I want both teams to lose. Since that it impossible, I have to weigh my hatred of the Pats against my hatred of Peyton Manning. I simply do not want to live in a world where Peyton Manning is a champion. After all, I pronounced him an archfraud in this space in September. So I'm going with the Patriots.

Then there is this piece I discovered on Slate. If you are wondering why Slate pays people to write about football, or like me you wonder why Slate pays the people it pays to write about football, this will justify your sentiments. First of all, this tool runs down the idea of seeing a playoff game live. I've never seen an NFL playoff game in person, but I think it would easily be the most amazing experience of my life.

The game I saw at Gillette Stadium this season was fantastic. The playoff game which featured the largest single comeback in NBA postseason history (Celtics vs. Nets, 2001) was unbelievable. The overtime playoff loss to the New Jersey Devils (1994) I saw at the real Garden was awesome. I imagine an NFL playoff game would be like all of that combined and then some. I imagine it would rank right behind Springsteen's concert as the most amazing spectacle I've ever seen.

Atmosphere isn't overrated. Sitting in front of your TV, even if it is HD, is overrated. But even worse, this person referred to Shaun Alexander as Gimpy McHalfspeed in an article for which he was paid (in the interest of fairness, I must confess I didn't click that link to find out if it were an original or borrowed name. I was simply too depressed). Would that I were a douche with a prepackaged sense of humor, then I too could be paid for poor writing (and I am aware of the irony inherent in my criticizing another writer when this isn't exactly Charles Dickens).

Then there is this other participant in Slate's dialog on the NFL playoffs. Quick aside: Good call on the dialog format, Slate editors. After all, Plato is still jumping off the shelves these days for other reasons than the simple fact that educators will insist on force-feeding him to generations of people that really don't need it (far be it for me to discount the wisdom of the ancients, I just don't see the brilliance of the Republic, a work which continually runs down Athenian democracy while admitting that the work could not have been composed under any other system). I just don't like Plato, but now isn't the time for philosophy.

According to our commentator, weather will not be as big a factor as predicted. After all, most of the Bears players do not come from Chicago originally. But the Bears do have more recent experience at managing cold weather than the Saints do. Living on the Great Lakes, which tend to be a degree or two chillier than the Gulf Coast, and playing in Soldier Field (which is outdoors, and as such slightly cooler and a bit more windy than your average dome) might give them a slight edge over a team which comes from 1,000 miles to the South and is still practicing indoors.

In the end, I think the weather will give the Bears a slight edge, but one that will matter very little if they can't keep Deuce McAllister in check. I think the Bears will win the game. I see NO as somewhat better on offense than Seatlle and not quite as good on defense. As long as Rex doesn't make stupid mistakes, I think we're looking at a rematch.

In the Super Bowl, I see Kraft and Belichick using the two week layoff to pressure Dolphins management into converting the field format in another sad psychological ploy.


Tom said...

Great post and interesting read. The Onion is known for its humor, but I myself did not find this particular article very funny.

Jimmy C said...

Does the Cincinatti Kid feel that the Patriots have failed him by failing to make Manning and the Colts fail? Could we have a breakdown of what broke down in the game?

congrats for going .500 with your picks this week.