After an offseason that seemed only slightly less than a decade long, the NFL is back and so am I.
Did the Saints really win the Superbowl only in February? Did I really lose a packet on Peyton Manning’s 4th quarter meltdown? That was THIS YEAR? Not 2005? Hawking is right in his new book: time as we understand it is meaningless outside of our perception of it, and we create our version of history as our brains only experience time sequentially (NB: may not actually be the point he’s trying to make).
The last few years it has been fashionable to claim that the NFL runs all year, thanks to the Draft and constant offseason drama. Except for this year. The Draft? Meh. Ndamukong Suh was easily the best player (a massive and quick defensive tackle taken by the Detroit Lions, he can start on his Hall of Fame speech now) and he was still beaten out by a QB who I like (Sam Bradford, about to meat tenderised in St Louis) but who has the charisma of 4 day old bread.
4 day old white bread.
Off-season drama? Brett Favre un-retired again after being fellated by 3 players in a private jet (NB: metaphorically people!), and Ben Roethlisberger made an unwelcome sperm deposit on a woman in a nightclub bathroom while an off-duty cop watched the door.
This is NEWS? This is an NFL offseason? Pah. That’s barely an afternoon’s work for the Premier League.
When the highlight of the NFL Dead Zone is the Jets’ living embodiment Rex Ryan dropping f-bombs on HBO, well, lets just say thank god for the World Cup and Wayne Rooney’s sex life.
Here is the big sexy Rexy man himself. He takes a bit to get going, but he gets there. (It’s a link because the embed code is crocked):
Bear in mind this is Rex AFTER the fitting of a lap-band.
To the highlight games of the week then (all days US time):
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS v MINNESOTA VIKINGS
A repeat of January’s NFC Championship Game high tempo/great skills game, which turned on a late 4th Quarter interception from Ol’ Man Favre.
This won’t be anywhere near that close. The Saints are going to start hot mon cherie, and Favre, while still a football genius and a leader, no matter the diva off-field stuff, hasn’t had enough reps to get in sync yet with the Vikings terrific receiving corps.
The Vikings are going to be really REALLY good this year by the way.
The Saints are firing already – let’s hope they don’t peak early.
COLIN COWHERD (85% on picks the last 2 years) AGREES
I listen to Colin every day on ESPN Radio. If you’re up at 3am on a weekday (NZ time) you’ll hear one of the best sports shows on air anywhere in the world. You get used to the nasal whine eventually, but no-one uses dead air better than Cowherd. If you care about US sports, and/or a fan of sports radio in general, check him out. (Note: He was also the commentator we heard on major HBO boxing events in NZ & Australia in the 90′s)
MIAMI DOLPHINS v BUFFALO BILLS
I grew up in the Marv Levy four straight Superbowl losses Bills era so I will always have a soft spot for these guys. Its destined to be the NFL’s first international team, if you count Canada, and Canadians certainly do. Ex Dallas coach Chan Gailey has the reins now, and despite appearances (Chan looks mostly like an angry marshmallow) he’s a good coach. However Miami are better, and its still warm in Buffalo.
CINCINNATI BENGALS v NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
There has never been a collection of crazies like the ’10 Bengals since perhaps the heyday of the ’80′s Cowboys. TO and Ochocinco on the same team?? Adam ‘Pacman’ Jones?? There are 4 (!) reality shows being filmed simultaneously with various members of the team, and the team as a whole. How many 20 year old interns with Sony Z1s are there in this world? (Don’t answer that). I have NO IDEA if they are going to be any good. Neither do they.
COLIN AGREES (I’m not cheating! Honest!)
DALLAS COWBOYS vs WASHINGTON REDSKINS
The Cowboys are loaded but are still led by someone who has more luck with the ladies off the field (see top) than he does with men on it. I’m just not sold on Tony Romo. You put Stafford, Matt Ryan or Rogers on this team and they are an NFC Championship lock. Romo is like Favre without the genius. At a crucial time he will F*CK YOU. Probably why he’s so popular wit hthe fairer sex actually.
This is Game 1 of the Shanahan-era Redskins. I loath Mike Shanahan. He is completely over-rated as a coach (Elway did all the work), and has the mein of Roy Schneider’s evil cardigan wearing CEO in ‘The Rainmaker’. The Redskins have upgraded their QB and their running game, and will be substantially better than last year with or without Albert Haynesworth. But they lose here.
BALTIMORE RAVENS vs NEW JERSEY JETS
The Jets are the sexy team this year, but wow the Ravens are good. This is a homecoming of sorts for Rex Ryan who built the awesome Ravens defense. The Ravens also picked up great possession receiver TJ Houshmanzadeh last week, who gives monobrow Flacco another serious target. If the Jets are for real, they have to be able to win games like this. Let’s see how real they are.
COLIN AGREES AGAIN! It’s like we’re twins.