Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category

1. The option doesn’t work, not against a defense prepared against it. In the option, the quarterback keeps the ball and runs toward the sideline. He has the option to either keep the ball himself and turn upfield, or pitch it out to a running back who sweeps around behind him. 

LSU tried to option non-stop in the recent BCS championship game, and were shut out byAlabama’s impressive defense. It just didn’t work; knowing it was coming, the defenders stayed with the quarterback and were able to close to the running back when the pitch came. Denver also went with the option. Tim Tebow is criticized for running an offense more like a college-style than pro-style, and this past weekend, that included relying on the option. The Patriots defended it the whole game, and devastatedDenver45-10. Pro defenses are too damn fast to try and defeat east-west. 

2. Teams that rest at the end of the season never do win out in the end. I suppose I can sympathize with this coach’s decision: the playoffs are all wrapped up, maybe even homefield advantage. Why risk our star players to injury? Why not give them a few more weeks of precious rest? 

I think we saw why not, again, in the Packers-Giants game. The Packers rested Aaron Rodgers the final week, they had the wildcard weekend off, and two weeks later, the Packers’ offense looked about as rusty as could be. Dropped passes. Errant throws. Turnovers. The Giants, playing their best football at the end of the season, rolled in with momentum and dominated. 

It’s not the first time this has happened, and it never seems to work out of the teams that don’t play hard through the final games of the season. Philly and Indy both lost in the Super Bowl playing this way, and perhaps they deserved to—the football gods demand your full effort. 

3. Never bet against the refs. At least, not in Green Bay. Why the hell was going on with that game? I love football, but we need sports to not only be impartial, but almost just as importantly to seem impartial. I can handle a loss (not well, but I can handle one). However, my least favorite sporting event of all time had to be Superbowl XL, where the Steelers defeated the Seahawks 21-10. Every call seemed to go the Steelers way. Every call. Even when Seahawks QB Matt Hasslebeck threw an interception, he was penalized for blocking below the waist while trying to tackle the intercepting player. It was a heavily favored game for the Steelers—the commercials, I remember, even featured Steeler players with the Lombardi trophy, and the refs, intentional or not, certainly called it in their favor. Granted, living in Seattle at the time, I was biased as a fan. But that game looked far from impartial, and it made me hate the league. 

Likewise, with the tuck rule game. I had no horse in that particular race, but I sure smelled horse shit at the end of that game. A fumble is a fumble. If the QB is not in the act of throwing a pass, and the ball is knocked out of his hands, I say it’s a fumble. This rule—and really more importantly, this ruling on the field—seemed only there to give Tom Brady another chance at victory. 

In the Packers-Giants game, the refs looked like they were trying everything to do what they could to keep Green Bay in the game. Green Bay fumbled, they clearly fumbled, and after watching in review, they called the runner down by contact. I call bullshit.

Later in the game, the Giants were penalized for going to the QB’s head, when they very clearly did not, allowing Green Bay to continue their drive. 

This from a Chicago fan that had to suffer through the over the line game in Green Bay, where “Magic” Majkowski stepped over the line to throw a game winning touchdown, but after review they ruled it a legal pass. The Bears kept an asterisk mark on their records book for that season. 

The refs are there to preserve the neutrality of the game. The moment they break the perception of that neutrality, the game becomes a very ugly thing—and so while I’m glad the Giants won, I was upset that the had to win despite the perceived bias of the refs.

4. Where the Urgent Care Clinic is, in Seattle.

5. Seattle has extremely localized weather conditions. Extremely.

The Chicago Bears just can’t win. (Or rather, as hard as I try, I just can’t will them to win from my living room. And believe me, I’ve tried.) Each year, I hold out hope against hope that they’ll manage to hoist that trophy… only for these hopes to end up dashed against the rocky shores of a desolate country known as What Might Have Been. In 2007, my beloved Bears made it all the way to Super Bowl XLI. Devin Hester returned the opening kickoff! The defense picked off Peyton Manning the next series! All looked hopeful… 

But there, in the rain, the Bears ended up losing to the Indianapolis Colts, 29-17. Manning picked apart their ridiculous Cover 2 defense effortlessly. I celebrated by throwing a chair off my balcony. 

Last year, the Bears made it back to the NFC Championship game (arguably, the AFC and NFC Championship games are more competitive than most Super Bowls). Jay Cutler hurt his knee. Todd Collins came in, and did absolutely nothing. Then Caleb Hanie came in, and almost pulled out a miraculous upset. 

But no. Once more, it was not to be. 

I think much of my disappointment each year stems from the fact that I grew up outside of Chicago, and started watching football back in 1985. That year, everyone was watching the Bears. Walter Payton. Jim McMahon. The Fridge. The Super Bowl Shuffle. They looked like a team that could not be defeated (except, poetically, by the Miami Dolphins, who preserved their past unbeaten season). Those Bears became the blueprint in my psyche for how I imagine each new season of the Bears will unfold, only to be disappointed time and again. 

This year, I had the privilege to watch Jay Cutler go down. Again. Then Matt Forte. Then Devin Hester turned an ankle. And last game against Seattle, Johnny Knox (their best receiver) went down under a horrific blow that bent his back. One by one, this team has been whittled away; and technically, while they have not yet been eliminated from the playoffs, they need to first beat Green Bay—a feat they’ll only accomplish, I told my wife, if they replace their injured players with actual bears. Grizzly bears, specifically trained to smell out Aaron Rodgers in the pocket and maul him to pieces. (In this fantasy, my attack bears mockingly perform Rodgers’ own touchdown dance after each sack, wrapping his disemboweled intestines around their waists instead of an imaginary championship belt). 

But I digress. 

My point is, here’s one more disappointment to throw onto the pile this year. Christopher Nolan’s first two Batman movies were filmed in Chicago. His third and final movie, Dark Knight Rises, was filmed in Pittsburgh. As seen in the trailer, Dark Knight Rises includes a football scene, using actual players from the Pittsburgh Steelers. 

You can check out the trailer below. It’s pretty damn awesome. I caught it before Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows (also awesome). 

My point being, had it been filmed in Chicago, those likely would have been Chicago Bears in the scene. Devin Hester (far more suitably) would have returned that kickoff instead of (inexplicably) Hines Ward. And how cool would that have been. 

Plus, the complete implosion of the stadium would have adequately reflected the Bears’ season.