Thursday, April 26, 2012

Draft Preview (part 3 of 3)

For the last day and a half, I thought I was going to get out of actually writing the third installment of the draft preview series. I had it all lined up: my colleague, Herman Munster, an avid NFL fan who does happen to like the draft, was going to write a guest blog where he takes a sort of point-counterpoint approach to debunking the claims that I made in part one. You know, he was going to prove that the NFL Draft doesn't suck, how it's actually really cool that it will be around 1 am when the first round finally wraps up, and that Mel Kiper is good guy. Not only would it have been a fascinating debate, but it also would have gotten me off the hook for part three. Alas, Herman Munster got lazy and reneged on his agreement, which now leaves me unsuccessfully scrambling for new material like I'm Seth MacFarlane. Speaking of which, the latest Family Guy preview implies that Peter and Quagmire will possibly have sex with each other in the upcoming episode. Now, Family Guy became unwatchable for me about three years back, and after 12 seasons or so it stands to reason that the well of plot lines is running pretty thin, but the lack of creativity and pathethic attempt at shock value gets worse and worse with every episode these days. I don't think anyone would argue if MacFarlane went out and said (years ago), "You know what? We had a pretty good run. I can't think of any new good ideas. What do you say we just shut er' down and let syndication of re-runs carry us off into the sunset so we can turn our creative focus to something different?"  At this point, an FGs writers' meeting must consist of little more than, "Alright, which characters haven't either gotten in a big fight or had sex with each other yet? Gender and coherence being irrelevant."

Anyway, with Munster out of the picture, I suppose the show must go on. After all, a promise is a promise Lieu-tenent Daaan!

Here are a few last minute happenings that may be of some interest to DTLs draft enthusiasts:


According to the 11th hour rumor mill, DTLs brass is trying to trade up to get a pick in the top 15, which they would use to take a defensive back, possibly Stephen Gilmore of Chouth Charolina. If Gilmore has received any tip-offs that he might become a Lion in about 5 hours, he isn't letting on.
[*Disclaimer: The following quote was taken from the Free Press, so bear in mind that it's probably either been taken out of context, or is just flat out incorrect.]
      "I haven't heard anything from Detroit, but that don't mean anything," said Gilmore. "I talked to them a lot at the combine. I didn't talk to them none after that, but that don't mean nothing because most of the teams that don't talk to you end up drafting you."

While I admire Gilmore's elegant use of the quadruple negative (grammar's equivalent of hitting for the cycle), his final comment leads me to believe that he doesn't quite understand how the draft actually works. Most of the teams that don't talk to you end up drafting you? Allow me to do the Jon Stewart goofy half-smile while staring into the camera for about the next four seconds.
"Hey Gilmore...only ONE team is allowed to draft each player...what you just passed off as common knowledge is in fact a procedural impossibility...just the way you never got into the NHL...ya' jack-ass!!"


After the events of yesterday, it might not be a bad idea for Mayhew to follow through on my ESPN Football Franchise Mode strategy of getting a lightning fast receiver in one of the later rounds, hoping that he'll develop into a breakout star. Despite my voting 20 times for Cam Newton (which is 20 more times than I've ever voted for a public official), Calvin still came away as the new poster boy for Madden '13. As we all know, being on the cover of the Madden video games is akin to being the Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher at Hogwarts: bad things happen. People say the position is cursed. Congratulations to Calvin for being really good, and popular, and muscular and whatnot, but am I the only who things that this might be a ploy orchestrated by the Saints to make bad things happen to the Lions? Was Mickey Loomis up on his computer for the past week, repeatedly voting for Calvin and using his illegal two-way spy device to talk to his cronies and convince them to do the same? Now I'm not saying I'm one of them conspiracy theorists, but I do know two things: (1) there were some awfully fishy happenings surrounding 9/11 (2) the last time a Lions player was supposed to be on the cover of Madden, he never played another game in the NFL. Just a few backyard sessions of Pass Defender with Scott Mitchell and Herman Moore.

If there's anyone powerful enough to reverse the Madden Curse, it's gotta be the Amazing Great. But just in case, I'd kind of like to get all Al Gore and request a recount for any votes cast in the state of Louisiana.


For those of you choosing to celebrate the 2012 NFL Draft, all I ask is that you stay safe, and shoot me a quick text when the Lions make a new pick every six hours or so.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Draft Preview (part 2 of 3): "The Lions should draft Woody Dantzler!"

A piece of evidence was brought to my attention earlier today [see here], suggesting that Mel Kiper Jr. not only reads my blog, but has also suddenly become self-conscious about his trademark slicked-back Tall Hair look. Who says that everything you read on Twitter is garbage?

In fact, I recently began entertaining the idea of opening my own Twitter account. I figured I haven't been acting Narcissistic enough over the past month or so, and tweeting could be just what the doctor ordered to make up some of that lost ground. To add fuel to the fire, loyal Bromolyte Nitch suggests that I give live Twitter updates (is there any other kind?) with my thoughts on each Lions draft pick as they happen this coming week. Seemed like a great idea at the time. However, blessed as I am with the ability of foresight, I began to envision what my Twitter account would eventually become if I went through with this: after a honeymoon period of a week or so where my tweets are chock full of depth, philosophy, and intellect (maybe an Edgar Allen Poe quote or two), it would quickly deteriorate into something more in the ballpark of, "aww man, jus took a wickd dump! reminds me of 1 dat @Nitch had back in college! #FECES! #HOLIDAY DINNER AT THE DORMS!"...
With that in mind, it's safe to say that I've put any more thoughts of a Twitter account on hold, at least for the time being.

Okay, time to shift gears. The two most exciting parts of the NFL offseason are almost here at last: the draft, and the beginning of NFL-sanctioned Organized Team Activities! And in order to put off talking about the draft for a little bit longer, let's talk about OTAs first.

OTAs, of course, are those special team bonding activities that take place in the months before training camp starts. It's okay if you've never heard of them before; I never had heard of them either until a few years ago, when the ESPN Bottom Line reported that Brent Favre hadn't been attending them for the Vikings. So what exactly is an OTA? Think little things, just some good clean fun to really bring everyone together before practice starts, like the memorable tug-of-war games at the annual Bengals staff picnic, or the New York Jets cramming into Mark Sanchez's living room every Wednesday night to share a bowl of popcorn and watch Friends DVDs. And to keep their football skills sharp during the OTA period, who can forget about those spirited games of Pass Defender?!

For those who don't know, Pass Defender is a classic backyard football game played with three players, each taking turns as the thrower, catcher, and defender (pass defender, to be specific). Bromolyte Big Mitchy claims to have invented this game circa 1999, but I'm actually fairly certain that it was first invented sometime in 1906, the year in which the forward pass was legalized, making "Smear the Queer" obsolete. In Pass Defender, the offense has four downs to score a TD; if they do indeed score, both offensive players get a point. If the the defender stops them, he gets a point. Turnovers are worth two. First to ten wins. Now in our backyard football primes, it was usually myself, Big Mitchy, and Bitts playing this game, but we threw an exciting twist into the game when Ahh Chreese W. joined us after school one day, adding a pass rusher to the equation. I really thought that Chris's presence could revolutionize the game of Pass Defender as we knew it; unfortunately, he got expelled from school a week later for threatening to shoot up the place and we never saw him again. True story.

Now that we're all up to speed on OTAs and the nuances of Pass Defender, I suppose I can't put off talking about the draft for any longer. So then, who should the Lions get? Ten years ago, my friend TS thought he had the answer. With a triumphant wave of the index finger, TS was convinced that with the 3rd overall pick of the 2002 NFL Draft, "the Lions should draft Woody Dantzler!"  You may or may not remember the former dual-threat quarterback from Clemson, and he didn't end up getting picked by the Lions, or anyone else in entire draft. The moral of the story here is that projecting specific players that your team should pick, especially when your knowledge of the situation borders on non-existent, is not a very good idea, and it only makes you an easy target for satire in the future. So than rather than try to pinpoint specific players that may not even be available by the 23rd pick, I'll give a round-by-round rundown of the positions that I would like to see the DTLs pick. My following mock draft all goes to shit if the Lions trade away any of their picks on draft day(s), which they probably will.  I hate the draft.

First Round (23rd pick overall): In my mind, it has to be an offensive lineman, preferably a tackle. On paper, cornerback may seem like a more pressing concern (especially considering the play of the secondary in the Week 17 debacle against the Packers and the playoff massacre by the Bounty-Hunting Eavesdropping Cheaters but for the franchise to succeed long-term, the priority needs to be finding a way to keep their potential Hall of Fame quarterback *as long as injuries don't derail him* healthy. A good O-line can't prevent everything, but it can prevent a lot of things, keeping in mind that the NFC North also happens to have the best and most vicious defensive linemen in the entire league.

Second Round (54th overall): Cornerback. Get the best cornerback available on Tall Hair's Big Board, make him a starter from day one, and ensure that Aaron Berry will never see the field again and can go back to being broke and miserable. Dre Kirkpatrick from 'Bama would fit the bill, but he'll probably be gone by this point. I'd have liked to see the Lions reunite Prince Amukamara with Big Dom last year, but they went with the high-risk/high-reward Fairley Oddparent instead. The jury is still out for Fairley (both on the field and in his marijuana possession case).

Third Round (85th overall): Honestly, I wouldn't mind seeing either another O-lineman or another cornerback with this pick. Depth in those positions is sorely lacking at this point, plus it increases the odds that at least one of them will end up being a star. The D-Line is basically set, the receivers and tight ends are set, and the running backs would be if they got healthy and stopped chewing weed in the offeason, so those position groups aren't a draft priority. With the amount of injuries (and poor play) from the secondary last year, I lean towards getting another corner.

Fourth Round (117th overall): I have no idea what kind of negotiations are happening with Shaun Hill's contract, but if they aren't going well, I would use this pick to grab a (hopefully) solid backup quarterback. You never know when the Saints assistant coaches will explicitly instruct them to try and injure Staff's ACL, bad news if it happens. Shauny did a solid job in 2010 when forced into duty, but if it's going to require big bucks to keep him, they might be better off with someone different and less expensive. For kicks, I'll toss a potential name in here for someone who I wouldn't mind having and is likely to be available: Kellen Moore. Now I don't like the Boise States one bit, and Moore is undersized and has a relatively weak arm, but make no mistake, the guy is a good football player. If not for numerous embarrassing last-second field goal gorfings, Boise State would have gone undefeated THREE years in a row, all with Moore as the starting QB. He's a guy that lives and breathes football, rarely turns the ball over, throws with excellent accuracy, and thrives in clutch situations, exactly what you would want out of a backup QB. As an added bonus, he played for three years with Titus Young, so they already have that chemistry built up.

Rounds 5 through 7: When I played Franchise Mode in ESPN football, I always used my late round picks to get the absolute fastest players remaining in the draft, usually receivers. This sometimes backfired on me, as I would have a guy with a 97 speed rating and 24 hands fumbling every other kickoff return. Other times it would pay off big time, as I would put a speed demon at tight end, watch a linebacker hopelessly try to guard him on pass plays, and suddenly my 6th round draft is a pro-bowler (getting selected to the Pro Bowl, not a professional bowler). On that note, Chris Forcier of the legendary Forcier Family supposedly ran a faster time on his 40 than Robert Griffin III. So... yeah.

As long as I'm conjecturing the DTLs drafting a Forcier, they might as well go all the way and try to add Bitch Rod to the coaching staff. How is Stafford at running the spread option?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

NFL Draft Preview (Part 1 of 3)

Did you know? The NFL Draft is officially known as the NFL Annual Player Selection Meeting. That isn't very interesting.

It wouldn't do much good to hide the truth at this point, so I'll start things off with full disclosure: I don't like the NFL Draft very much. You could even say that I dislike the NFL Draft. The rest of this post will pretty much be me explaining why, as well as meditating on the contradiction of devoting three entire blog entries to the overblown spectacle that I've come to despise over the years. I've come up with three main bullet points here, in no particular order, to illustrate my distate. Enjoy.


Why are people so interested in the Scouting Combine, the week-long evaluation meat market that takes place 2 full months before the draft, yet somehow determines which round everyone will be drafted in?

Is it the thinly-veiled homoeroticism of old ugly men gawking at young attractive men in skin-tight spandex, before uncontrollably gushing over the astonishing feats that each can perform with his body? Is it the cruel irony of how these "experts" can diligently scrutinize four years of game film, yet still can't decide whether Robert Griffin III is good at football or not until they get a good look at his ass in spandex and see how many chin-ups he can do? As an aside, I find it annoying that football people still insist on referring to game footage as "tape" or "film". For those of you who have been living under Mel Kiper's hair for the last decade, the vast majority of video is captured digitally nowadays. But I digress, back to the combine...

As a DTLs fan, is it really worth getting excited about to hear that prospective O-lineman Matt Kalil had a solid showing in the 3 Cone Drill? So the guy ate a lot of ice cream, big deal. And this kind of crap gets top story news on SportsCenter! I apologize to all you combine enthusiasts out there, but I honestly can do without ESPN taking a week of my time to let me know who the Lions might choose two months from now, provided that none of the 22 teams in line ahead of them snatch the guy up first. Did someone say ESPN?

ESPN/Mel "Tall Hair" Kiper Jr.

Round-the-clock coverage on SportsCenter prior to the draft ranks third on my list of ESPN's most unforgivable football-related sins, behind cancelling "Playmakers" after one season (a vastly underrated fictional show starring Moe from Smart Guy) and introducing "First Person Football" mode to the ESPN Football video game. Am I seriously in the minority by actually wanting to watch sports highlights from the previous night, you know,  basketball 'Slam-jams' and what-not,  as I eat my Apple Cinnamon Cheerios each morning? The answer to my rhetorical question is YES, I am in the minority. Instead, what people seem to prefer is watching  non-athletes "Tall Hair" Kiper and Todd McShay on split screen, literally screaming at each other for four minutes straight, because Tall Hair more or less disagreed with McShay's assessment of Ryan Tannehill.

Without exaggeration, ESPN has now spent a solid three months devoting SportsCenter segments to a stupid DRAFT. Allow me to get all Allen Iverson for a few sentences here, because it's not like we're talking about some big championship game coming up...it's a DRAFT. It's not like somebody just scored a big touchdown in the closing seconds of a heated rivalry game...it's a DRAFT. We're not getting a behind the scenes look at what's happening in Iraq, or being prepared for the coming presidential election; a bunch of suits are telling us what they think might happen, in a football DRAFT.


On April 17th, 1999, I was mildly disappointed that had that my little league baseball practice conflicted with the first round of the NFL Draft, and I would have to miss out on seeing all the new guys that the Lions were going to add to the team. After all, practice was about two hours long, and I figure, since an NFL game lasts about three hours, it would probably take much less time for the commissioner to read off a bunch of names. That's fairly sound reasoning, no?

Needless to say, I was misinformed. I got home from fielding weak grounders that my coach/attorney shanked in my general direction, only to find that the Lions hadn't even made their first pick yet. "Are you kidding me?", I asked my stuffed animals. "What have they been doing all this time??" You see, unbeknownst to me, each team was given 15 minutes to waste before calling out the name of their new player. Only 8 picks had been made in the two hours that I had been away, and I was back just in time to pretend that I knew who Chris Claiborne was. At the conclusion of the two day ordeal, the DTLs had also picked up Sedrick Irvin (from Michigan State, Michael Irvin's smaller, weaker nephew or something) and Aaron Gibson (famous at Wisconsin for his inability to keep his weight below 390).

That 1999 Draft is a microcosm of what draft day has meant to me over the years: You get a few guys that you've never heard of, but "Tall Hair" Kiper says they're real good, a few guys that you've hated for four years because they went to MSU, but now you have to cheer for them, and then there's a few more guys with no chance to ever make the team anyway, so you just forget about them. And it's gotten worse since 1999. Instead of two full days of this garbage, now it's FOUR full days. I never thought I would see the day that a sports channel does a prime time broadcast, and four days of coverage, to what amounts to nothing more than a glorified board meeting. Board meetings suck, as does the NFL Draft, as does "Tall Hair" Kiper.

So then, why in tarnations am I dedicating a three part series on my site to something that I strongly dislike? Because, (a) apparently, that's what you idiots want, and (b) because it's not the idea of the Draft that I despise per se, so much as the unnecessarily prolonged spectacle that it's become. It is kind of interesting to see which new young guys could eventually become stars for your favorite team. However, I'm perfectly content just reading it in the paper on Monday morning, I don't need three months to prepare for it, and four days to witness it.

My next entry will be spent fantasizing about the great players that will all probably be gone before the 23rd pick.

In other news, I had a dream the other night in which the Lions won a close game in their season opener, and Jason Hanson gave me a signed game ball afterwards. Then, in a bizarre twist, he did a tomahawk dunk on a nearby basketball hoop. Simply put, the Best in the Business.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Wake me up when September begins

 I will say, the DTLs showed up to play on Saturday, and that first half was sure fun to watch. They marched right down the field on the opening drive and forced a turnover on the Saints' opening drive. And then another on their third drive. They went into halftime with a 14-10 lead. Calvin the Amazing Great was both amazing and great. Titus, Wormtail, and Burleson all made big plays. Stafford set a franchise playoff record with 380 passing yards in his first postseason game. Yet ultimately, the showdown in the Superdome played out like this pivotal scene in "A Knights Tale": the Detroit Lions were weighed, they were measured, and they were found wanting.

"In what world, could you, have ever beaten me?"

It would be very hard for me to say with a straight face that the DTLs were a better team than the Saints this year. The most profilific offense in NFL history rolled up a staggering 626 yards of offense against a defense that was supposed to be pretty good. Brees and the New Orleans receiving corps made Detroit's secondary look like a schoolboy chasing after the bus in vain after sleeping through his alarm. That schoolboy is me, by the way. Luckily, I had a great rapport with my bus driver Dan, and Dan would always wait extra long for me and stop if he saw me in the rearview mirror while pulling away. Unfortunately for the Lions, Big Meachy and Devery Henderson didn't grant that luxury to their secondary, preferring instead to score touchdowns and make Aaron Berry and company look pretty freaking sleaux down on the bayou. Despite the disparity in talent between the Saints offense and Lions D, the Bromothymols still have to be kicking themselves for the amount of opportunities they let slip away in this game.

Once while riding home from school on Dan's bus, a few unruly middle schoolers were tossing a pigskin across the back rows of seats. Laying down the law, Dan yelled back, "Hey! Put football away!" to the offending students. The defending backs for the DTLs would have also done well to heed that piece of advice on Saturday, instead dropping four different golden opportunities for interceptions. You really can't put football away one time out of four? I felt and still feel that Stafford outplayed Brees, with the only difference being that the Saints picked off two of Staff's bad throws, while Brees got away with four bad ones due to all the drops. Add in the fact that the Lions couldn't score any points off of the two New Orleans fumbles, and you see a winnable game and strong effort that just wasn't meant to be.

I can't fault the effort of the boys on Saturday, and I recognize that they happened to catch a rough opening round matchup against a superior team (thanks to the idiotic system that gives home playoff games to 7-9 and 8-8 teams for some reason). Any objective observer can tell you that looking at the DTLs, they can see a team on the verge of greatness, but whose time has not yet arrived. However, we are far past the point of taking playoff appearances for granted. What if all that potential is never realized, and it takes 12 more years to get another shot at this? The thought that I could be 36 years old the next time I get to watch the Lions playing postseason football again in unbearable to me.

The dumber the Berry, the sweeter the juice

If there's any scapegoat to be found from this game, it has to be cornerback Aaron Berry. After allowing 466 passing yards and dropping two giftwrapped interceptions, Berry went on Twitter to tell DTLs fans who were upset by his performance, "Y'all can go back to being Broke and Miserable." Time for me to do my best Jim Rome imitation:

I'm afraid you're a little bit confused, Aaron. At no point during the previous weekend was I more miserable than when I was watching you attempt to play defense on Saturday night. The only broke things I saw were your ankles as the Saints juked you time and again, or perhaps your concentration on those two game-changing interception chances that you managed to gorf up. I understand that some idiot fans may have hurt your feelings, but as a player who is borderline good enough to be in the NFL to begin with, going to a social networking microblog to insult and alienate the fans of the only franchise willing to give you a chance is probably not the best career move to make after hemorrhaging 466 passing yards in a playoff game. I wouldn't be the slightest bit surprised or disappointed if this was your final game as a Detroit Lion. The secondary couldn't have been much worse off on Saturday if they'd stuck Aaron Carter in at cornerback (in case you forget who Aaron Carter is, picture a late 90s version of Justin Bieber, minus the fans). Then you want to go on Twitter and remind everyone that at least you're RICH? If I may borrow one more catchphrase from my bus driver Dan, I'll offer this to this to you, Mr. Berry: "Turn around, sit down, and shut up!"

I certainly don't want to let Aaron Berry be the lasting image of this very exciting and memorable rollercoaster of a season, so I'm finished ranting and will move on to some other odds and ends from Saturday night that stuck with me.

Final Thoughts on the Playoff Game

-Among the unexpected people in attendance at the Superdome were Brent Favre and Spike Lee. Now Brent we could have done without, but I thought it was great when the cameras zoomed in on Spikey. Since Spike has an honorary degree from Michigan and not Tulane, it's a safe bet that he was fervently cheering for the DTLs. Brent was not cheering.

-After scoring the game's opening touchdown, Will Heller continued the time-honored NFL tight end tradition of just doing the big hard generic spike of the football to celebrate. Tony Scheffler notwithstanding, what is it about tight ends that make their TD celebrations so unimaginative?

-I said it on draft day and at the mid-point of the season, and I'll say it again: Titus Young will be a very good receiver for the Lions. I by no means am saying that Titus has the physical gifts to be anything like Calvin, but in his rookie year, Titus had the same amount of catches and even more touchdowns than Calvin's 2007 rookie season. He made big catches all year and showed on the opening drive on Saturday that he was not afraid of the moment, coming up with several impressive catches to start off the game.

- Let's not forget how fortunate we are to be able to watch Calvin Johnson play football every week during the fall.

- The Lions for the first time since I've been a fan, finally look like a team on the verge of greatness. While this remains unrealized potential and gives absolutely no guarantee of any type of success moving forward, for the third year in a row the H-Bromos have vastly improved upon their previous season. After watching Stafford play is first full season, I'm beyond impressed with what he was able to accomplish, both statistically and in late game comebacks. Keep in mind that Staff is still about three years away from entering his prime as an athlete. Calvin is just beginning to enter his. With this tandem, it no longer seems absurd to think that this team can finally reach the Super Bowl sometime this decade. Just so long as they take care of business.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Sinners vs Saints, Part Two

Can't say there's another video out there that would get me more pumped for Saturday night than this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eRhEcKHU5LY&feature=related

Completely agree with Mr. Mathers, "this ain't a movie, there's no Mekhi Phifer". But if it was a movie, Mekhi Phifer would likely play the role of DTLs safety Louis Delmas, by virtue of his impeccable dreadlocks. And while I'm playing this game, I'll go ahead and cast Eminem as Jason "the Best in the Business" Hanson, the role he always knew he was born to play. Since I brought up Eminem, I'll also go ahead and share a funny anecdote that blends the topics of Em and football...

When I was in early high school, I had the PS2 game "ESPN Football", a slightly inferior Madden competitor with a gimmicky 'first person football' option that let you play the game from the perspective of inside the player's helmet, which by the way was ridiculously stupid. Anyhow, another feature of the game was that it played fake songs over the stadium loudspeaker; you know, songs that sounded very much like other popular tunes of the time, but that were just slightly off in order to avoid copyright infringement (a technique also employed to hilarious effect by the Disney Channel show "Even Stevens"). Examples of these fake songs included Lenny Kravitz's "Fly Away", The Kinks' "You Really Got Me", and Gary Glitter's "The Hey Song". My favorite of these songs was a ripoff of Em's "Lose Yourself", which would often play right before a kickoff. It always cut off just before any lyrics were sung, but me and Big Mitchy always pictured that it would have been something like,

"You'd better, not be able to find yourself,
in the music, the instant, you want it,
you'd better always hold on to it!
You won't get a second chance,
do not miss your chance to go!
This opportunity comes once, before you die!"

In the soundtrack to the game, the name of that song was "N n' N". So shameless.

So I hear the rematch is on. Same time, same place, same TV channel, same record-setting QB wearing the fleur-de-lis helmet on the other side of the line. The last time the Detroit Lions won a playoff game, I didn't yet know who the Detroit Lions were. The last time they won a playoff game on the road, my Pops didn't yet know who the Detroit Lions were. In part one of this Saga Genesis, we saw a DTLs meltdown akin to Dr. Robotnik going haywire after Sonic get the final hit on him in the Final Zone. What gives fans like myself the hope, no, the expectation that things will be different this time around?

For one thing, the H-Bromo defense will have a few key players back this week that were unavailable the first time the two teams played: wounded warrior Louis Delmas, back from a knee injury, and wounding warrior Dom Suh, back from his Stompsgiving suspension. Despite how unremarkable of a season Dom has thus far had, I have to think his presence on Saturday will help the front four to get some much-needed pressure on Brees. Delmas, who has missed the last five games, is the heart and soul of a hot and cold secondary that feeds off of his boundless energy and enthusiasm when on the field.

Even amid the injuries and suspensions in the first meeting, the game was actually much closer than the 31-17 final score would indicate. New Orleans jumped out to a big first half lead. but the Lions outplayed them in the final 2 1/2 quarters if you take away their unbelievably stupid penalties (I know you can't really take them away, but let's pretend). For all the (much deserved) accolades the Saints' high powered offense receives, the boxscore shows that the Lions actually outgained them in that game, 466-438. About those penalties...

It is no secret that Detroit's immaturity directly cost them 10 points in that game, and indirectly cost them a lot more, figuring in wasted field position and wiped out first downs and all. This culminated in a grand total of 107 penalty yards, three unsportsmanlike conduct penalties, and three offensive pass interference penalties on the same player, which I still believe has to be some kind of record. Like how Happy Gilmore still holds a Junior League hockey record for being the only guy ever to take his skate off and try to stab someone.

For those who forget, Jimmy Schwartz was left teary-eyed and speechless, Stafford's 400 yard passing game went completely unnoticed, and after the game, Dom Raiola (master of the illegal snap penalty) yelled to the locker room to "Grow the F#@K up!", as reported by the Detroit Free Press. I wonder how one goes about pronouncing the word 'F#@K', or if Raiola actually said 'FUCK' and one of Michael Rosenberg's buddies just misquoted him, as so often happens in journalism these days. To prove my point, I don't even know if it was actually the Free Press that reported that. I'm just fed up with the sloppy typographical errors that appear in seemingly every one of their on-line articles (even more than this blog), so I feel like making fun of them.

As for other reprimandings that occurred following the penalty debacle, it's been reported that rookie Titus Young got plenty of earsful from his coaches and veterans on the squad, and I assume that Stef Logan received the same and is genuinely remorseful for his actions. As for Pettigrew, I'm not worried about him one bit; I hear that Voldemort gave ol' Wormtail a thick dose of the cruciatus curse back at the Riddle House following his personal foul penalty and subsequent bumping of the ref. If that doesn't help get the message across, I don't know what will.

(and since Nitch requested it)...
There are two things in the Harry Potter movie series regarding wand use that I found to be humorous:
1) the way Lord Voldemort holds his wand kind of skinny in Goblet of Fire. Tentatively, using all five of his long fingers, but barely grasping it. That was done perfectly.
2) When one wizard threatens another, they always hold the point of the wand close to the other's throat, as if it were a sharp knife or switchblade. Since a) the point of a wand is not sharp, and b) several much more painful curses can be performed from a longer range, this is completely unnecessary in my opinion. Back to pigskin.

If the DTLs go out and underperform on Saturday, the cliche that the squawking heads in the sports media will probably use is, "oh, they were just happy to be there in the first place". To some degree, this is true, at least from a fan's perspective. I haven't been able to watch Lions playoff football in quite a long time, and I'm very excited that I'll have the chance this weekend. I don't harbor any wet dreams of winning the Super Bowl, at least not this year, especially with the vicious schedule moving forward (all roads seem to go through Green Bay at this point). However, I think our Bromothymols have the firepower to hang around with anybody, and this should make for a very compelling shot at redemption on Saturday.

I will certainly be wearing my new B.Sanders throwback jersey to work tomorrow.

As Pops says while reaching the crest of every roller coaster at Cedar Point, "Here we gooo, babbbeeyyy!!!"

Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Flynn Supremacy

Is there a quarterback controversy suddenly brewing in Green Bay? My sources tell me no NO, but I tell me YES, and the locker room divide that this could cause may very well derail Green Bay’s hopes of a second straight Super Bowl run.

 I’m upset about the Lions’ loss today, not because of the game itself, but because I didn’t get to watch any of it. The biggest downside to being an oxymoronical blogger with a life is that I have to be traveling during the entirety of what sounded like a highly entertaining game of pigskin on the final day of the regular season. With 3 ½ hours of downtime in Chicago before a final flight to Denver, I should have at least been able to catch the final 8 minutes of the DTLs…but no. Upon arrival at O’Hare International, the only games in sight were the Atlanta Falcons and the Timmys. I’m pretty sure this happened either because of sour grapes by the Bears fans in the vicinity, or due to a budgeting flaw by the O’Hare Planning Committee that allocated too much money toward building large replica dinosaur skeletons and not enough money toward adding a few more television channels. Or at the very least, they could have used the extra dough to build an underground doomsday shelter for the world leaders once the apocalypse happens, like at the Denver Airport. This was exactly the type of game that was just purely fun to watch too. Both teams had essentially already clinched what they wanted to clinch (Lions could have gained one more playoff seed), and they were all just out there tossing the skin around and having a good time. No, the football part isn’t what bothered me.

 If Jason Bourne, in his first sniff of the field all season, can come in and throw more TDs than even Aaron Rog could dream of, you just tip your cap and say, “at least now we don’t have to play you guys again until the NFC Championship.” Stafford had a few picks, but still racked up over 500 yards and 5 TDs through the air. When even your biggest detractor goes on record to text, “at the end of the day, who am I to question a dude throwin for 40 TD and 15 int?”, it’s a safe bet that your first real job after college is off to a good start (41 TD and 16 picks are Staff’s final regular season numbers). Calvin the Amazing Great continues to astound, coming within 58 yards of Cloyce Box’s single game receiving record, with 11 catches, 244 yards, and another TD.

 A few other thoughts to wrap up what was a fine Honolulu Bromothymol regular season:

-My mom gave me a new iPhone for Christmas, which I’m very grateful for. However, I think the ESPN Gamecast app must be faulty, as it reported to me that Jason Hanson missed a chipshot 39-yard field goal today. Surely, such a travesty could not have occurred, not to the Best in the Business.

-I haven’t been able to sneak in this small piece of trivia in any of my other posts, so with the regular season drawing to a close, I suppose now is as good of a time as any: Over the course of the season, I’ve noticed that DTLs linebacker Bobby Carpenter looks a lot like infamous werewolf/Death Eater pledge Fenrir Greyback of the Harry Potter series (Compare and contrast, Bobby and Fenrir). Actually, that brings me to another point from the Harry Potter series that has troubled me somewhat through the years. Of the two known werewolves mentioned in the books, both have uncannily wolfish names. There is Fenrir Greyback, whose first name is derived from a famous wolf in Norse mythology (Fenrirsulfr), and surname happens to be a common attribute of wolves. Then you have Remus Lupin, the Remus likely taken from the founding father of Rome who was raised by wolves, the Lupin meaning “wolf-like” in Latin. Now, if Lupin and Greyback had been werewolves from birth, I would understand their being named as such, but as both became werewolves sometime in their childhoods (lycanthropy being a random condition that only afflicts the unlucky few who are bitten), either a) it was simply destined from birth that Greyback and Lupin would eventually become werewolves, or b) J.K. Rowling was using some clever wordplay that appears tacky in retrospect. Anyway, this is a discussion topic for an entirely different blog, I don’t know what I was thinking.

- As I write this, Atlanta is beating whatever piss the Buccaneers have left out of them, with a 42-7 halftime lead. This means that the DTLs will almost certainly be the #6 seed in the NFC Playoffs unless some Houston Oilering of epic proportions happens in the second half. This also means a return to the Superdome against the Saints for a rematch of the Sunday Night abomination that happened a month ago. Let’s hope the Dome is kind to the state of Michigan in the near future, as both the DTLs and the Maize and Bromothymol Wolverines will travel there for huge games this week. I’ve heard that it’s wrong to make bargains with your God, but if I could only have one, I’d take a Lions win over a Michigan one any day of the week, including the Sabbath.

- The Lions’ 45-41 loss to Green Bay in today’s shoot out makes their path out of the first round a little more difficult (a win today and they’d have the pleasure of beating either the shaky Giants or the shakier Cowboys in the Wild Card game)*Update: Giants it is. The upside is that the path to the NFC Championship game is actually a little easier as the #6 seed. Win the Wild Card game as the 6, and instead of playing the Packers on the frozen tundra in round 2, they would instead play a pleasant-weather game in San Francisco. I know that a team must be extremely good to go 13-3 in the NFL, but the thing about the 49ers is that they just don’t seem that good. Beating the Saints will be very difficult, but if the boys somehow pull it off, I would be quite confident about getting a win at San Francisco the next week. Bet Schwartz would have a great handshake in store for Harbaugh after that one! My recommendation would be “the tickler”, a move in which you use the middle finger to give an uncomfortable tickle to the victim’s lower palm during the shake.
*Correction: It has been brought to my attention that the NFL does not used a fixed playoff system. The #1 seed gets matched up with the lowest remaining seed in the Divisional round, so if the Lions beat New Orleans, they will play Green Bay in their next game regardless.

 I’ll be working next weekend, so with any luck, the football gods will be kind and give a late kickoff for the DTLs game. I’ll be back sometime during the week with some more playoff fever, and until then, I’ll leave you with a hearty DE-TROIT LIONS! DE-TROIT LIONS! DE-TROIT LIONS! DE-TROIT LIONS!!!!