The Lone Pylon

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Last Preseason Game

The fourth NFL preseason games start Thursday night, but I am more likely to watch the college opener. The NFL have the best players in the world, and for that reason it remains my favorite form of football, but the NFL can't touch the atmosphere of a Saturday afternoon college football game played outdoors in the crisp autumn air. That's great stuff! Then again, college football can't touch the atmosphere of a NFL playoff game, so it goes both ways. It's football, baby! It's all good.

I suppose I'll watch the Vikings for a little while on Thursday, but most of those players won't be on the roster on Sunday. The Vikes have already announced that most of the starters are not going to play, which I think is smart. I mean, what's the point? Let's watch Jared Allen tear up a knee during the last game of the preseason. That would be just frickin' brilliant. The fourth preseason game is more like a showcase for the arena league... and I think it is a shame that NFL teams even charge admission for those games. They should be open to the public. Yeah, like that's going to happen. There's a reason why the NFL has got a ton of money!

My fantasy drafts are right around the corner, just a little more than a week away and I can't wait. I look so forward to draft night; it's almost as good as Christmas. My fantasy teams always end up sucking, but I've never enjoyed something so much that I am so bad at. Did that make sense?

I heard an interview with Matt Hasselbeck the other day and someone asked him about Usain Bolt, the crazy-fast Jamaican who is now the world's fastest man. "Would he make a good receiver in the NFL?" the interviewer asked. "Sure," Hasselbeck replied. "As long as he runs a straight line, doesn't meet Troy Polamalu and doesn't have to catch the ball, he'd be great in the NFL." Nice one, Matt. (I agree with Mr. Hasselbeck, by the way.)

I will try to update this blog a bit more often now that the football season is approaching. I'm don't know if anyone reads it, but I enjoy listening to myself yack anyway.

Friday, August 15, 2008

August 15, 2008

I guess it is high time I update here.

Well, I was right... sort of. Brett Favre was traded, only to the team that no one was talking about: the NY Jets. Of course ESPN's Chris Mortenson said after the trade was announced that "he had a feeling" Favre was going to the Jets -- he evidently just forgot to tell everyone else that. This comes from the same hole who proclaimed just days earlier, "To tell the truth, I have no idea where this Favre drama is going!" What a creep.

It is interesting to learn that the Jets' odds of going to the Super Bowl were 75-1 at the end of last year's regular season. After the Favre trade, those have improved to 15-1. Can one player really make that much difference? Not a 39 year old QB on the backside of his career. Yeah, Favre had a good season last year, but he also made his share of costly mistakes (just like he's done his entire career), and now he's in a new system -- an old dog learning new tricks -- in the media capitol of the world, with all of New York City ready to scrutinize with his first INT. And it sounds like Favre and Laveraneus Coles have already gotten off on the wrong foot. My prediction? This could get ugly fast. We'll see where this is in six weeks.

I watched the Packers/Bengals game last Monday night. Aaron Rodgers is going to get killed this season. I noticed right away that he holds onto the ball way too long. The Pack gave up a couple sacks with the first team unit, and this was against the Bengals, one of the poorest defensive teams around (what happened to Marvin Lewis being a defensive genius?). Rodgers might not even make it to the regular season. My prediction? At some point during the season, Daunte Culpepper will be in puke green and piss yellow.

Steven Jackson still remains a holdout and the closer we get to the regular season, the more detrimental this will be for fantasy drafts. I would not want to be picking at #3 or #4 overall, because that is where I see Jackson coming off the boards. As it is, do you gamble and take him then and hope the Rams come to their senses? Jackson is the best player on the entire football team and they are nothing without him (as evidenced by last year's crappy season). I think he will be on the field week one, but you never really know about these things.

The Vikings lost Heath Farwell in the first preseason game and that really hurts special teams. Farwell was the best special teams player on the roster last year, and losing a guy like that can really leave a negative impact on your team, even though your average fan may have never heard of him. As a matter of fact, on March 26, 2008, I blogged about Farwell on this very site:

"I was very happy to see the Vikings re-sign Heath Farwell to a one year deal yesterday. Hopefully they can sign him to an extended contract at the end of this coming season; Farwell is one of those players that not many know about, but his importance can‘t be overstated for the Vikings. He is a good linebacker in his own right, but more importantly, he is an outstanding special teams player -- in fact, many regard him as one of the best special teams players in the league. He was voted the Vikings’ special teams MVP this season, not bad for an undrafted free agent, signed as a walk on in 2005."

Yes, losing him hurts. Now it's time for Maurice Hicks to step up and deliver. The Vikes signed him away from the 49ers as a key special teams player this offseason. I've read that the 49ers front office is regretting dealing Hicks (they signed DeShaun Foster instead of re-signing Hicks). He can definitely play ball and someone needs to step up.

Madieu Williams is also out for at least six weeks, with what is called a "neck injury." That's a pretty broad umbrella. It could be a sprained neck or it could be a career threatening injury. The Vikes are taking the Belichick approach to this and not saying much. It makes me wonder why?

All I can say is it is good to see football back on t.v. I live for late summer/early fall, when the anticipation of a new football season is in the air, preseason games are back on the airwaves, high school practice fields are filled in the early morning, all my buddies are doing their fantasy research, and the topic of nearly every conversation is about this player or that player and what kind of year he's going to have.

What would life be without football?

I love this stuff.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

A merciful ending?

It is beginning to sound like Favre is going to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Tampa Tribune is reporting that a deal is in the works, and it is just a matter of dotting the i's and crossing the t's before the Packer is in pewter. Boy, that will be a sight to see. I have to admit that I believe this story is true. I do think Favre is going to be a Tampa Bay Buc very soon. The main reason is because this story did not originate from the Milwaukee Sentinel-Journal, which has proven itself to be nothing more than a breeding ground for rumors and false stories.

Of course, Favre still has an ace in the hole here: he may change his mind about changing his mind and announce his plans to un-unretire and go back to the farm in Mississippi. This would be the adult version of "taking my ball and going home." And it could certainly happen.

And how about the cheeseheads who left the Family Night scrimmage in Green Bay to make the pilgrimage to Austin Straubel International Airport to watch St. Brett descend from the sky, like the second coming of JC himself, to bring salvation and redemption to Packer Nation? Cheeseheads, reality is a harsh thing. Your vaunted team has forsaken you. The great Saint was not welcomed back -- and he will not play in Green Bay again.

These are the days of your lives.

With all of this crazy Favre news, there are a lot of important football stories which have been completely ignored. The biggest story, which would be the headline of all football web sites if it wasn't for this Favre foolishness, is the hold out of Steven Jackson. Jackson is one of the top fantasy running backs going into 2008 and he is holding out for a new contract. This is big news, especially for fantasy GMs drafting at #3 or #4. How long with this hold out last? What kind of impact will this hold out have on Jackson's game? These important questions, and they have been lost in the Packer shuffle.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Vikings Exonerated

A story which spread like herpes over the television and internet some two weeks ago has come to a very quiet, and for the national media, very disappointing end. Today, Roger Goodell exonerated the Vikings on tampering charges regarding illegal contact with Brett Favre.

Just like this entire fiasco, these charges were a joke, a complete fabrication by the Packers organization -- and like I mentioned in a previous blog, when it is proven the Vikings are innocent of these charges (let's face it, the media presumed the Vikings guilty until proven innocent), the Packers should suffer the consequences. The Packers front office knew damn well there was no merit in these charges. They simply tried to spread this Favre disease elsewhere in an effort to get the spotlight off of their own embarrassment. They should be subject to a fine or lost draft picks... or at the very least a public apology to the Minnesota Vikings. Actually, that in itself might be punishment enough!!

Well, Ted Thompson, you tried to humiliate the Vikings by dragging them into your cess pool of mismanagement. And at the end of the day, you simply look like an even bigger asshole now... if that is at all possible.

Now the media is going crazy on the new rumor that the Packers contacted the Vikings on Friday, saying Favre was available. Sure he is. They've made it blatantly clear they do not want him, which is why I think he won't play another down as a Green Bay Packer. Now, I don't know where he'll play, or even if he'll play (after all, Favre reserves the right to change his mind... frequently), but it is unthinkable that the Packers would trade Favre to the Vikings. Actually, I've learned that this newest trade rumor originated from the Milwaukee Sentinel-Journal, the same reputable paper which reported Favre had a Packers-owned cell phone, which is how the Packers "knew" Favre contacted the Bevell and Childress. That was a lie, this new trade rumor is a lie, and quite frankly, I'm not sure if anyone in this scenario is capable of speaking the truth.

The Green Bay Packers have very quickly gone from being one of the most venerated franchises in the NFL, to becoming the laughing stock of the league.

If I didn't love it so much, I'd think it's sad!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Put up or shut up time

I have to chuckle to read my last blog. Brett Favre a Minnesota Viking? Are you kidding? I was guilty of listening to too much baloney from the national media and started to believe the impossible. Time to re-focus and listen to my heart. There is not a snowball's chance in hell Favre is becoming a Viking. And you know what? I don't want him in Purple. I hate him.

Now the stage has been set. Favre has touched down in Green Bay and now the Packers front office has been given a little Milk of Magnesia to speed things along. Yes, it is time to crap or get off the pot. What will they do? If one is to believe the press release by the official Packers spin doctor (and having just hired Ari Fleischer, former White House press secretary, they've now got one of the best), apparently the Packers have been full of crap all along, and their big talk and posturing for the last month has been just a laughable front. The Pack say they are "welcoming" Favre back for a 17th season and are "turning this situation to [their] advantage," to directly quote the press release.

So is this just another front by the Packers front office? One final attempt to gain a little leverage in possible closed door trade talks (not with the Vikings, by the way), or will they go down as the most indecisive, jelly-spined organization in professional sports history? Will they really "welcome" Favre back and allow him to start his 17th consecutive season? Remember, they said just a week ago that such a scenario would not and could not happen, and even went so far as to pathetically offer a $20 million dollar shameless bribe to keep Favre off the field. (Don't give me this "marketing deal" spin -- don't forget, Ari Fleischer is a professional spin doctor -- in the world outside of the NFL, offering someone money not to do something is, by definition, called a bribe). The first word was that Favre was going to take the bribe, but he has (surprise!!) changed his mind. Roger Goodell said that Favre will be reinstated at noon Monday, so the Green Bay Packers have got until noon Tuesday to do something. They will probably decide to make no decision.

If Favre really is starting for the Packers in September (and who is to say he won't change his mind and un-unretire in the next month?), he will be playing for an organization which he has gone on record saying he does not trust and he claims has intentionally lied to him in the past. Why would he lay it all out for a group of pukes he clearly cannot stand? I guess it is because the guy has no dignity, and playing football for another year or two is more important than retaining his legacy.

Of course, if Favre comes back and wins another Super Bowl, I will eat my words, but Favre said on March 6th, amongst the tears and snot, that the chance of winning a Super Bowl in 2008 is "pretty slim at best." That came from #4 himself. So we'll see.

But it appears, my fellow football friends, that this whole soap opera has been one big farce, and neither side really has the courage or brains to make a decision and stick to it. Pretty pathetic. But what would you expect from a bunch of fart-sniffers from Wisconsin?

It will just be all the sweeter when Jared Allen delivers a snot-bubble on Favre at Lambeau on the first Monday night game of the year. I can't wait.

And I will say it again: what the hell happened to this terrible tampering charge that the Packers filed against the Vikings? I've not heard another word about it. That's funny.

And another thought: will Green Bay still retire Favre's number September 8th??

God, I hate the Packers... now more than ever. Let's get this season started!