Sunday, September 29, 2013


Bears 32

Whenever I have to go somewhere with NFL Sunday Ticket in order to watch the DTLs game, I always get stuck watching without sound, because the sports bar invariably chooses a different game to put on the speakers. This gets pretty annoying during the actual game because it takes away from the atmosphere of the game and detracts from the overall experience. However, during the commercial breaks, it allows me to watch without context all of the lunacy that the network and their sponsors are peddling at the time, and I can fill in the silence by coming up with my own ideas of what the voiceover guy should be saying as each commercial plays.

Muted Commercial Break #1: "Tonight, on Animation Domination, it's the season premiere of Family Guy! Our writers haven't even been trying for about 6 years now, but the over-evolved orangutans at the network focus groups haven't seemed to notice! Watch a hilarious new repackaging of the plotless and unimaginative cartoon fight scene! Which combination of characters will have sex this week? Herbert and Tom Tucker maybe? Wouldn't be the stupidest thing we've thought of! Tune in, 9 o'clock on FOX."

Today was an absolute masterpiece of a first half for the Bromothymols. Reggie had a highlight reel touchdown run, Staffy and the Amazing Great, Calvin Johnson connected for a TD, Delmas had a huge play, Dom was raising all heck in the trenches, Spurlock made a big play with a 58 yard punt return to set up an easy TD, Cutler was forced into some huge errors, and Wormtail even made 5 catches and no drops.  Going into the half up 30-13 against your undefeated division rivals qualifies a sending a major message.

After last Sunday's game, Nitch asked me about my current feelings on Ndamukong Suh. That's a complex subject for me, and I couldn't give him a real answer at the time. Two years ago, I juxtaposed Dom as the anti-Bill Laimbeer, an immensely gifted player, but whose Bad Boy antics came at the worst times and often worked against his team's chances of winning. My Pops absolutely hates the guy, as he's made clear in a series of spirited emails over the past few weeks. I don't think I'll ever go so far as to call myself a true Dom Suh fan, but especially after games like today, I think I can make peace with what he offers to the team. He is always going to hop back and forth from jaw-dropping displays of strength to "blue collar" plays that earn him fines and suspensions. After watching him play possibly his finest game as a Lion to date, with 4 solo tackles and two sacks (including gift-wrapping a fumble-6 to Nick Fairley, who did a pretty good Leon Lett impression on his TD celebration), I think I have my answer for Nitch: Dom Suh can be thought of as the Steve Stifler of the NFL; some of the crap he pulls is indefensible, but at the end of the day, he brings far too much to the table for the boys to stop hanging out with him. Today, the Suhmeister chipped in for that summer beach house, setting the tone for Jim, Oz, Finch, and even Eugene Levy to get everything they wanted out of the arrangement.

Muted Commercial Break #2: "On this week's episode of New Girl, one of the main characters gets punched in the penis! Will it cause him to get that weird sensation where it feels like your stomach hurts? Find out, Tuesday night on FOX!"

I'm still having a hard time believing that Reggie Bush is on the Lions. A lot of people forget just how electric of a player he was back in his college days, where he ran wild over defenses from the conference formerly known as the Pac 10. As the superstar on a USC team loaded with superstars, Reggie legitimately looked like a faster version of Barry Sanders, and probably should have had to return two Heisman trophies if the voters knew what they were doing. He hasn't exactly been a perennial All-Pro guy as an NFL player, but I think part of that is due to the unreal expectations that people had for him, putting a target on his back for opposing defenses since day 1, and partly due to him never really being in an offense that plays to his strengths. Through three games, Reggie has made it clear that he still has the explosiveness that made him one of the top five college players I've seen in my lifetime, and with Calvin and Staff generating so much attention from defenses already, there really isn't a better scenario for Reggie to operate out of the backfield as both a running and receiving threat. As part of the Lions' dominating first half today, Reggie had that spectacular touchdown run, hurdling over a potential tackler before turning on the jets towards the corner of the end zone, and later putting on an eye-popping spin move/juke combo that will have Cartoon Chris Berman shouting WHOOP!! a few times when reviewing the game highlights.

Muted Commercial Break #3: A.man and woman just pulled off a good victory in their semi-competitive mixed doubles tennis match. Something about the filter in the camera lens tells me that this is going to be a Cialis commercial. Sure enough, after another ten seconds or so of suburban tranquility scenes, the Cialis logo pops up on screen. My communication studies degree certainly hasn't gone to waste. 
"When the moment is right...will you have remembered to pack your erection pills in your tennis bag before heading to the country club?"

After going up 40-16 in the fourth quarter, the Lions still couldn't quite slam the door shut and completely put the game away, similar to the Minnesota game. A Joique Bell fumble and a few touchdowns and two point conversions put Chicago within an on-side kick's reach of making things very interesting. The boys just can't make things easy. Only after Kris Durham (who to my surprise is actually developing into a pretty serviceable player) recovered his second consecutive on-side try could we officially say that the Lions are in first place in the NFC North. They've had late fourth quarter leads in all four games, haven't yet trailed by double digits, and certainly haven't had to frantically erase 20 point second half deficits like too often in '11. They've already snapped one long road losing streak, and look to put an end to an even longer one at Lambeau Field next week. With the Packers off to a sluggish 1-2 start, this looks like the perfect time to pay them a visit. Dom Raiola seems to think so at least, doing Aaron Rog's championship belt celebration while trying to take credit for Reggie's 37 yard TD run this afternoon.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Lions to ditch Run n' Shoot offense in favor of Hot n' Ready

Back when I lived in Ann Arbor, me and Bromolyte Big Todd had a Sunday afternoon tradition where after watching the Lions game together, win or lose, we would head over to Little Caesars and then stop at the Circle K gas station for some Polar Pops (Polar Pop, for the uninitiated, is a 32 ounce styrofoam barrel filled to the brim with a cool portion of fizzy maroon Dr. Pepper, selling for the unheard of bargain of 59 cents each. Todd, if you're reading this, you need to check out this coupon). As Big Todd drove us home from this postgame rite of passage, I would always sit with the pizza boxes on my lap, clutching them tightly no matter how much the steaming Hot n' Readys burned my thighs. Todd used to laugh at me, but I always warned him, "Listen man, if these things accidentally slide off the seat, I don't want you to go reaching for them and lose control of the car and crash into the median and break your arm." He would scoff at me. Come on ya' big dummy, that sort of thing would never happen.

When I first learned that pizza played a key role in Nate Burleson's car accident last night, I assumed that he must have made the classic mistake of eating more than 2 slices of Pizza Hut, caught a bad case of food poisoning, and unavoidably crashed his SUV while violently puking out the side window. Been there, done that, perfectly understandable. However, imagine my anguish when I found out that by simply having a cautious friend like me along for the ride, this whole thing would have never happened.

**A quick public service announcement to avoid making this rookie mistake**
If you must drive alone with pizza:
-Full Pie: Put a seatbelt on it.
-Single Slice: You just gotta eat that shit before you leave. You're either going to splatter cheese and sauce all over your shirt when you hit the breaks, or even in the best case scenario, your steering wheel is going to be all greasy and slippery by the time you're done eating. You're better than that.

Whenever a Lions player does something stupid enough to make the news, there's always a mixture of embarrassment and resentment toward that player that festers inside of me in the following days. However, in Nate Burleson's particular incident, I don't really feel that, because not only is he among my favorite DTL players, but this also just looks like a case of a good guy making a tiny mistake and just getting absurdly unlucky. How am I supposed to get angry about a rogue slice of za? The fact of the matter is, it certainly could have been something a whole lot worse. As Lions fans, can't we be thankful that at least he didn't crash because of doing something like changing clothes and shaving while watching porn on the in-dash DVD player or something? The poor guy was just trying to prevent the cheese and pepperoni from getting all stuck to the lid and leaving that weird and unappetizing visual of only crust and sauce that kind of resembles a fresh wound. It's not like Nate was being overtly reckless or stupid in his pizza rescue mission either. I mean, I remember when me and Big Mitchie used to pull some pretty idiotic practical jokes while cruising the streets of Harbor Springs back in the day. Like "the Ghost" trick, where I would steer the truck from the passenger seat while Big Mitchie ducked all the way under the windshield, making it look from the outside like there was just a passenger but then nobody driving the car. Now that was stupidity; Nate was just trying to grab a quick late-night slice. And finally, at least he didn't crash his car and break his arm because a stripper smashed a champagne bottle over his head. I would have a hard time justifying that one, but that stuff happens sometimes, believe me. It's bad PR.

Those who know me and the questionable content that passes for "humor" amongst my group of friends won't be surprised at all to hear that my phone quickly started filling up with pizza-related humor this afternoon as the Burleson story surfaced. Some things truly never change, and the top 3 things that keep us united still seem to be the Lions, pizzas, and ripping on whoever happened to make the most recent embarrassing mistake. I love Nate Burleson as much as anyone (in a 'I enjoy the way you play football' sort of way), but if he's going to be treated like one of the guys, I guess it's his turn to get ripped on. After all, me and Nitch once howled with laughter as our boy H took about 25 minutes to old-man hobble across an intersection on a torn ACL.

In October 2005, what started off as a typical Friday in my high school cafeteria quickly turned ugly when a pre-pubescent freshman named Ricky cried out in falsetto frustration from the front of the line,

I'm sure we all wish that there was no more fuggin' peetcha left at the Lions Monday Night Funny YouTube Video Watching Party yesterday evening, but like I said, I can't blame Nate or even get mad about this this one. It looks for all the world like he'll be spending the next few months chugging Polar Pops on the sideline, but then again that's not necessarily such a bad ending for what must have been a pretty scary situation. I'll be back in Michigan in late December and might even get over to Ford Field when the H-Bromos clinch their playoff berth against the Giants. If Nate wants to grab a few Hot n' Readys after the game to celebrate, I'll let him ride shotgun and protect the goods while I drive us to Circle K. Wishing him a speedy recovery.