Friday, October 12, 2007

I know I promised my take on the Joe Torre situation with the Yankees, but a few things have come up to interfere with my blogging. Not the least of which is that I recently checked Mother Night by Kurt Vonnegut out of the local library. I realize I just 86ed my street cred, since no one who is any one between the ages of 18 and 65 checks books out of the library. And if they do, it's certainly not to read them for edification. That said, if you get a chance and you are in the habit of reading, I highly recommend this book. It's short, it's funny and it offers some chilling insights into the way people act.

But Joe Torre will have to wait, because this afternoon, a more pressing concern is on my mind. This Sunday, two undefeated teams square off on the field beneath the half-assed open roof at Texas Stadium. They are the loathsome New England Patriots and the Dallas Cowboys. And, as you might expect, only one of these teams can emerge with a victory.

Conventional wisdom tells us that the Patriots will win the game. Rodney Harrison is back from his little slap on the wrist for taking illicit performance enhancing substances. Tom Brady is something like 29-2 on artificial playing surfaces in his illustrious career. The Patriots have steamrolled over every opponent they have encountered this season, and the pasting the Chargers put on the Broncos suddenly makes it look as though the Pats have faced a half-decent team. And on top of that, the Patriots have the second best player to wear number 81 on the field at Texas Stadium in recent memory on their side. No one can stand in the way of this juggernaut, and only a fool would believe that any team has a chance against them.

Call me a fool, but I think Dallas will win this game. Any reasonably competent high school algebra student can tell you that in accordance with the transitive property, since New England destroyed the Bills and Dallas barely escaped Buffalo with an improbable win, New England will beat Dallas handily. Alas, the transitive property works much better in a math book than it does in the real, honest to goodness, no fooling three dimensional world of pro football.

I am fond of quoting the Michael Douglas character from the Ghost and the Darkness who said that in prize fighting, everybody has a plan until they get hit. Dallas has been hit, and hit hard. They have shown that they can overcome adversity, silly mistakes and a hostile crowd in a strange environment and survive. New England has shown that they can get a lead and front-run with the best of them. No one has hit the Pats yet. And that is in large part due to the fact that the Pats have been great so far, but what will this version of the Pats do should the breaks start beating the boys?

Recently, a good friend sent me a cold analysis of the Notre Dame game vs. UCLA which pointed out that when the UCLA starting QB went down, they were forced to play a walk on with no game experience. Although the author's intent was to caution fans like me from getting to happy about ND's first win, it had the unintended effect of reminding me that New England knocked JP Losman out of their game against Buffalo and got to face the untested rookie Trent Edwards. Edwards had a few games to adjust before he faced the Cowboys. And yet Buffalo managed to score precisely zero offensive TDs against the Cowboys.

What worries me about the Cowboys is how their pass protection will hold up against the Patriots, or any team for that matter. I am not overly concerned with their ability to run the ball. The Patriots have a big defensive line and they have been able to push around lighter offensive lines to this point. However, Vince Wilfork will encounter a creature nearly as rare as the Loch Ness Monster in the form of Dallas guard Leonard Davis - a man actually bigger than Vince Wilfork and not on one of those TLC shows about an enormously fat shut-in who is moved from point to point by a piece of construction machinery. Dallas is much bigger on the offensive line than any team NE will face this season, and I'm not sure the Pats can handle it.

I think barring holding penalties or some sort of deal with the devil, Matt Light will be made to look ridiculous (at least in a professional capacity, he does his own work making himself look ridiculous off the field) by DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer. No matter what Shawne Merriman and the pharmaceutical industry tell you, Ware is the best OLB in the game right now. And the Pats o-line just isn't ready for him.

And make no mistake about it, take any combination of three Patriots you want, and you'll still be a man and a half short of covering Terrell Owens. And for all the highlight reel TDs Randy Moss has caught this season, show me one play where he threw one block 1/3 as good as any TO threw to spring Creighton for the long TD in St. Louis. That's why TO is that much better than Moss, he's not as fast, but he's tougher, smarter and braver about going over the middle. He may drop a pass here and there on account of a lack of concentration, but I'd much rather have him than Moss any day of the week, and twice on Sunday.

Dallas is a better team than New England. And unless Belichick has some sort of trick up his sleeve involving compromising photos of Tony Romo or illicitly obtained video of the Dallas coaching staff's signals, I'm confident that for once, right will prevail.

In other news, the Red Sox and the Cleveland Indians face one another for the right to represent the AL in the World Series. I really tried the last day or so to generate any interest, any hope of rooting for the Indians, and I can't. My hatred for the Red Sox is in no way diminished, and I still want them to lose every game by 100 runs, but I never wanted Cleveland to be the team facing them. As Victor Frankenstein said, it wasn't supposed to be this way. It wasn't supposed to be this way at all. It was supposed to be a thing of beauty.

And I run a risk doing this, as I try to avoid political matters in this space, but I have to rip some one for this. Al Gore shared the Nobel Peace Prize? How is that possible? Maybe he has done some nice work on global warming whoring himself out to the Day after Tomorrow's promotional campaign and appearing in an Inconvenient Truth. But has that made the world a more peaceful place in any way, shape or form?

For instance, when Teddy Roosevelt won it, he got it for brokering the treaty that stopped the Russo-Japanese War. That is making the world more peaceful for his efforts. Al Gore and his UN group have gotten emerging economic powers like China and India to reduce what percentage of their greenhouse emissions? They've increased liberal guilt in the G8, but that's not Nobel worthy. Even if it were, how is it worth a peace prize? It might be worth an eighth grade environmental science bee prize, but not the Nobel Peace Prize.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I agree with you on Al Gore. Nice work, but he's just the face/spokesperson for Global Warming. It is great that he's donating the prize $, but I agree - just doesn't seem like an appropriate award.