Not actually the coach of the Cleveland Browns:
Ah, the weekend before Xmas. I used to hate this weekend, as the
Listener would put out their ‘bumper’ two week Xmas/New Year issue
(maybe they still do). I hated that issue. Nothing but lazy Best Of
lists, and nothing new to read for TWO WHOLE WEEKS. I used to have to
branch out to the really boring bits of past issues, articles on the
Wellington Ballet’s Summer Season, or the politics behind the Billy T
James’ Easter Special. Why couldn’t those lazy ass journalists put the
BBQ tongs and the tinnies down, get back in to work and put out another
issue? Leave me to listening to my grandmother’s bagpipe records and the
racing from Trentham why don’t you. Bastards.
Now of course, we have SKY, the internet, Xbox, text bullying and all
the other things that make being 12 in the 21st C freaking awesome. And
as an adult who pays US$250 a month for cable, I get televised sport on
every day off. Xmas Day here means only two NBA games, but trust me,
I’ll make do.
So in the spirit of that crappy bumper Listener issue, here’s a crappy
bumper NFL column:
DON’T MESS WITH THE DOOFUS:
As I’m writing Peyton Manning just brought back Indianapolis against the
Jacksonville Jaguars with 17 points in the last quarter. Peyton gets few
cool points because he seems a bit gangly, a bit uncoordinated in his
6’5″ frame, a little dim with his slow Southern twang. The truth is,
he’s a disturbingly good athlete and actor:
Now after an 8-0 run the Colts are going to make the playoffs for their
7th year in a row after starting the season 3-4 with Peyton coming off
knee surgery. So then, Peyton in recovery, Colts vulnerable. Peyton
feeling strong (his name means ‘fighting man’s estate’), Colts win. No
team will want to play him and the Colts in the playoffs. However their
coach Tony Dungy is going to go ape when he finds out Peyton is gay.
IF YOU HAVE TO BE FROM SOMEWHERE, DON’T BE FROM OHIO:
The actual coach of the Cleveland Browns:
This weekend has many interesting games between good teams looking to
gain places in the playoffs (see below). But the connoisseur’s matchup
is the Cincinnati Bengals and the Cleveland Browns meeting in an epic
Ohio Sucks! Bowl. I work with a young guy from Youngstown Ohio, very
proud of his hometown. So who is he a fan of in pro football? The
Pittsburgh Steelers. Yep, that would be the team IN THE NEXT STATE.
These two teams are not only awful, they are teasingly awful.
The Bengals were actually pretty good in ’06/’07 until Carson Palmer got
his knee rearranged in a tackle, and receiver Chad Johnson (who legally
changed his name to Ocho Cinco, his jersey number 85 in bad Spanish)
went completely insane.
The Artist Formerly Known As Chad Johnson:
Cleveland meanwhile discovered a great unknown at QB in ’07 with Derek
Anderson, but he brutally reverted to the mean this year, and the team
went with it. Romeo Crennel (top) will certainly be fired as the Browns
coach in two weeks time. This game is purely for pride, and bragging
rights on Interstate 15, and to remind us all of how truly awful pro
football can be. I’m pulling for 10 combined interceptions and 110 total
offensive yards. If you’re close to winning a fantasy completely
shitty-league this game will put you over the top.
THIS ONE’S FOR ALL THE MARBLES:
The Giants play the Carolina Panthers for the 1st seed in the NFC, home
field advantage and first dibs on Selita Ebanks (above), girlfriend of
injured Giant Osi Umenyiora. I wasn’t really aware of this woman until I
caught the 2008 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show in HD last night. Now,
count me fully aware.
Along with Atlanta, Carolina have been the biiiiig news this season,
just completely over-achieving with solid defense, and a great running
game. They also have Steve Smith, the angriest man currently playing in
If he thinks you’ve slighted him in any way, no matter how trivial, he
will not only burn your team for a million yards, he will ram his fist
right into your neck. Via your ass. He was suspended two games BY HIS OWN TEAM for punching a
team mate in practice. And he’s a receiver. That makes no
sense. He’s also the star of the new Sportscenter promos:
Much as I love Elijah, brother of Peyton, I see Carolina taking this on
CHRISTMAS DAY MOVIES, PART ONE
Its a tradition here to open a ton of new movies on Christmas Day. I
guess its a way of escaping having to discuss putting Aunt Helen in the
home for two hours.
Anyway, there are a few intrigueing ones this year. So, when you pull up
at the Imaxoctomegaopoplex, what are you going to choose? Our first
candidate is Marley and Me.
In case you were wondering SPOILER ALERT the dog dies at the end.
Soooooo, let’s say you bought your partner a cute new puppy for Xmas.
Then you think, hey, Owen Wilson, he’s ok, and Jennifer Aniston looked
hot on that 30 Rock episode. This seems like a fun date movie. Then that ending happens. That’s a Christmas you’re
going to remember.
THE NFL NETWORK SUCKS
Seriously, this looks fun to you?
Due to a faceoff between the league and big cable, I can’t get NFL
Network games where I live. You know, the tiny mountain hamlet that is
So I have to go to a bar to catch the Baltimore Ravens v the Cowboys. On
a Saturday afternoon.
Now I know what you’re thinking, you’re thinking that sounds ok. But it
screws with my routine something fierce. Saturday afternoon is, ahem, my
private time in the house. Chores done, wife out shopping or yoga or
something til about 6pm. Just me, alone, in the house. All afternoon. If
you’re thinking Al Bundy with a Kings of Leon soundtrack you just nailed
Yes, my sex is on fire….:
Instead I’ll now be at Barneys Beanery scooping free peanuts with two
Ravens fans on Red Bull, several sweet college couples in matching Romo
outfits, and one random guy in a Seahawks hoodie.
The Ravens finally have an offense driven by rookie QB Joe Flacco, and
defensive linebacker Ed Reed is truly scary. He makes team mate Ray
Lewis look tame.
The Cowboys playing at home in their current stadium’s last game need to
win to make the playoffs. They get the tip, but only just.
In other news, Terrell Owens’ 5 carat diamond ear studs can be seen from
THIS ONE IS, UM, ALSO FOR ALL THE MARBLES:
The Steelers are sneakily good this year, and they have a great coach in
Mike Tomlin. This week he faces off against uber-coach Jeff Fisher and
the decimated Tennesee Titans. One of their key pieces, the gigantic
Albert Haynesworth is out with a leg injury, and along with several
members of their offensive line the Titans are suddenly looking less
than, um, titanic. Actually, Titanic is exactly how they look. So this
game, which will decide the No 1 seed in the AFC looks like a walk-over
for Big Ben and the boys from Steel Town.
MY CURRENT FAVOURITE LATE NIGHT TV AD:
Its a pill. A freaking pill! How does anyone think they’re going to
work?? Yet they’ve sold 250,000,000,000 of the things.
CHRISTMAS DAY MOVIES, PART TWO
David Fincher is having a perplexing career. A phenomenally talented
director, his films are always lacking something emotional. Sometimes
this lack of heart works brilliantly, as in Panic Room, Se7en
and Zodiac, the closest he’s come to making a ‘personal’ film.
But Button looks like a cynical X Gen over art-directed version
of Forrest Gump (from the same writer).
Oh wow, you’ve made a shirtless Brad Pitt ugly, and then beautiful
again. How exciting.
Now if you did that with a shirtless Angelina Jolie we’d be talking.
Having said that I definitely will be seeing it next week. Damn you
On a football tangent, he also directed the excellent new Nike spot
starring the Chargers’ LaDanian Tomlinson and awesome Steelers
linebacker Troy Polamalu.
That boy should be playing League.
OTHER GAMES THAT WILL ABSOLUTELY BE WORTH WATCHING:
ATLANTA FALCONS v MINNESOTA VIKINGS
Matt Ryan’s Falcons only just squeaked home against Tampa last week, and
are now on the road against a Vikings team just starting to gell. At
least its still a dome game. However, this will be a loss. Minnesota QB
Tavaris Jackson rescued from the washout bin has discoved the out route
and with Mr Energy Adrian Petersen pounding the rock* the Vikings are
very dangerous right now.
(*favourite football cliche #22. Works best when said in a Lion Red
ARIZONA CARDINALS v NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
Dude, that’s the wrong Sox hat:
There are many good storylines this year, and the emergence of Matt
Cassell, the super sub for Tom Brady (out since Week 1), is one of the
He has just been getting better through the season, is capable of
throwing a 4TD game no problem, and has played well enough for the
worn-out Patriots to compete for a Wild Card spot.
He’s a good leader and likely to make a fortune after the season as a
free agent if Brady is ready to come back.
However, can he pull a Brazillian supermodel, that’s the real question.
Patriot Tom Brady & Giselle Bundchen’s ass:
Arizona meanwhile have won their Division and are coasting in on fumes.
They will be blown out here, and I have to say, if they win one more
game this season it would be slightly shocking.
GAMES THAT ARE MORE LIKE SLOW MOTION CAR WRECKS
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS v DETROIT LIONS
Reggie Bush is out for the season, Drew Brees has become mortal, and yet
the Saints are still two touchdown favourites over the hapless Lions.
The worst possible scenario here is of course is that the Lions pull
themselves together, the Saints check out, and Detroit loses its shot at
legendary ineptitude. So, if you want to know how to make a crappy game
even crappier, you have your answer.
– Mark Tierney