Monday, November 12, 2007

There are some occasions when I wish I were a Patriots fan. Not to enjoy this undefeated season in the making, not to jump on the bandwagon and not to find out if, as the old saying goes, ignorance is bliss. But to be able to quip after the Patriots bye this week that the NFL finally found a way to stop the Pats from scoring. I imagine that if I were as dumb as the average Pats fan, I could convince myself that I were clever dropping a line like that.

Thanks to Mike Shanahan's hesitation and a fair-sized hangover, I left Travis Henry in my fantasy lineup this week. So his DNP didn't help, and Manning's epic six interception performance still ending up netting 21 points thanks to a FFL commissioner whose struggles with incompetence should make him the subject of a made-for-TV movie of the week, I came in to tonight's game trailing by 1.5 points. All I needed was one catch for six yards from 49ers TE Vernon Davis to win. That didn't seem like an unreasonable expectation, did it?

Of course, with the brilliant pass protection scheme of the San Francisco offense keeping Davis in for max protection, even though it didn't work at any point in the game, that simple hope was doomed from the start.

This season has forced me to face an unpleasant reality. So much attention has been paid to Tony Romo's new contract, Brett Favre's milestones, Peyton Manning's Super Bowl championship and Tom Brady's illegitimate kid and amazing stats. But there has been a vast, dishonest, corrupt conspiracy to divert attention away from the greatest quarterback in the game - Matt Hasselbeck. With the way he put up numbers against the 49ers in tonight's game, the NFL must waive the whole retirement for five years requirement to induct him into the Hall of Fame immediately.

I've been wondering why Hasselbeck is shunted aside in favor of guys like Manning and Brady. It can't be a question of talent, numbers or overall success. It has to be because he's bald and he has that sad little emasculated voice that distinguishes true he men like Hasselbeck and Bill Simmons. Hell, field generals like Joe Montana and Johnny Unitas wish they could have an epic moment like the overtime playoff game when Hasselbeck announced over the stadium PA when the Seahawks won the coin toss that the Hawks would take the ball and win the game. Alas, Hasselbeck threw an INT which Al Harris returned for the winning TD.

It must be a conspiracy, though. It can't be because Hasselbeck is barely above-average at his position. Nor can it be that he is more prepared to provide an excuse for his failure than to drive his team to success. Nor can it be tied to the fact that he plays in a dick town whose most notable football tradition was shamelessly ripped from Texas A & M. As an aside, why couldn't Seahawks fans have stolen the bonfires which collapse and kill the builders instead of the 12th man.

Unfortunately, the story didn't garner the national attention it deserved, but Hasselbeck and his teammates made sure to remind themselves of Super Bowl XL prior to this season's meeting with the Steelers. They brought motivation from the bad calls which they felt deprived their team of the championship they so richly deserved. Whether it was because he spent too much time reading his playbook out loud to clam his children, because State Farm wasn't there for him, because they dwelt too much in the past or because the Steelers are just that much better, the Seahawks were soundly beaten.

This game against San Francisco is fairly typical of Hasselbeck's career. The Seahawks came in expected to win, even without Deion Branch and Shaun Alexander. San Francisco has been dreadful all season, no matter how much they spent this offseason. And Hasselbeck was throwing the ball all over the place. He's always very good in the games he's expected to win. But when the team plays a better team, he folds.

I said all that because Steve Young appeared in the broadcast booth tonight, complaining that Hasselbeck is ignored because he plays in the Pacific Northwest and toils on a team with very little tradition of excellence, so they don't draw media attention. That isn't the case, necessarily. With so much coverage by ESPN, ESPN2 the NFL Network and FSN, with the interest in fantasy football and with the internet, fans have so much access to so much football information at every minute of every day. If fans aren't focused on a player it's performance based, not regional bias. Maybe Hasselbeck is the fifth best QB playing right now, but the Grand Canyon separates him from 1-4.

In other news, BC lost again this week. It seems like an annual rite of passage, like the swallows returning to Capistrano in California in March. Thanksgiving approaches, BC controls its own destiny for an automatic berth to a BCS bowl and a .500 team upsets them. And all of a sudden, there is no BCS berth. And then the whining about BC missing out on higher profile bowls because of the perception that BC fans don't travel well begins in earnest.


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Anonymous said...

You are one ignorant dick.