Who to root for?

Are you having trouble picking a team to root for in the Superbowl? Can’t decide if you want the baby horses or the holy soul of a dead Catholic to win? Well, EJSIC’s got you covered because you need a team on Super Sunday.

There are numerous methods to picking a team. You could go with the ever popular conference affiliation system in which you root for the team that represents the conference your real favorite team plays in. For example, if you are a fan of the Oakland Raiders (well, first LOL at you) then you would root for the Colts based upon both teams playing in the AFC.

Another popular choice is the female method. In this system, you root for the team with the best color combination or hottest quarterback. Usually, this is reserved only for females, homosexuals, and people with an IQ below 70, but if you’re desperate, it can come in handy. If you liked the colors blue and white together or a quarterback with a neanderthal forehead, then you would bandwagon the Colts.

However, let me introduce you to a third method. There is no specific name for it, but it involves a comparison of the two teams and the cities they represent. No, I will not bore you with season averages, strengths and weaknesses, and anything else you’ll hear ad nauseum between now and kickoff. Instead, it will be a thorough comparison of the unique characteristics that should make your choice much easier.

Category 1: Festivities

Indianapolis – Indy 500

New Orleans – Mardi Gras

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The folks in Indy love their computer-controlled racecars while the residents of Nola drink for a week straight and toss beaded necklaces for displays of skin. I don’t know about you, but alcohol + boobs = winner in my book.

New Orleans 1, Indianapolis 0

Category 2: Superstar wives/significant others

Indianapolis – QB Peyton Manning’s wife Ashley

New Orleans – Reggie Bush’s girlfriend Kim Kardashian

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KK is a skank, but she is much more famous than Ashley Manning. One thing Ash has going for her though (in my book at least) is that she is from the Bluff City so I give her props for being a native Memphian. Also, she’s been with Peyton before he made his money and isn’t looking to be some hot chick on a superstar’s arm like Miss Skank. In the end though, America is all about popularity so New Orleans scores another point.

New Orleans 2, Indianapolis 0

Category 3: Good/Evil concept

Indianapolis – Good guys

New Orleans – Good guys

null nullBoth teams are generally held in high regard among NFL fans. When the Colts were battling the Patriots for the last decade, everyone outside of New England and Colin Cowherd hated the Cheatriots. We loved Manning and Dungy and the classy outfit in the Midwest. They lost some supporters in giving up the undefeated season, but it worked for them. New Orleans has had America’s heart in a death grip since the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina. Both teams split this point.

New Orleans 2 1/2, Indianapolis 1/2

Category 4: Superstar slayer

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Indianapolis – Defeated Tom Brady in the regular season

New Orleans – Defeated Brett Favre in the NFC Championship game

nullAgain, only Colin Cowherd and the greater Boston area likes Tom Brady. The rest of us see him as the arrogant puppet of a psychotic coach that he really is. Plenty of people still love Brett Favre, but the list is growing against him. Thankfully, Nola spared us from two weeks of Favre-slobbering by knocking his old ass out of the playoffs and hopefully into retirement. Plus, a win in the playoffs is always worth more than the regular season.

New Orleans 3 1/2, Indiapolis 1/2

It appears we have a winner: the New Orleans Saints. The undeniable flash and party atmosphere they posses was enough to overcome the quiet consistency of the Colts. I wish both teams the best of luck in the game, but I’ll be rooting for the New Orleans Saints.

Brett Favre: The Ultimate Packer

When legendary quarterback Brett Favre signed with the Minnesota Vikings last year, the news sent shockwaves through football circles.   Green Bay Packer fans everywhere were particularly (and justifiably) outraged.  Not only was the once-beloved Favre coming out of retirement yet again, but he was going to suit up for his old team’s bitter rival.

To make matters worse, Packer fans had to endure two ass-kickings at the hands of the now purple-clad Favre, and then were forced to helplessly watch him put together his finest season as an NFL quarterback.  They watched horrified as he carried the Minnesota Vikings into the upper echelon of the NFL, all while looking more like a 25 year old gunslinger than a grizzled forty-year old veteran.  Pundits watched as he seemingly improved his game management skills.  They commented on his improved decision-making; he was still making the big plays he always made, but was avoiding the monumental mental lapses he was also known for.

In short, Packer fans felt betrayed and sickened by the dazzling show Favre and the Vikings put on in the 2009 season.  But it turns out there was more to the story.

Monday afternoon, EJSIC insiders spotted Favre at Green Bay’s most exclusive eatery with none other than Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy.   Our hidden microphones were able to pick up some of their conversation:

McCarthy: I gotta say, you really outdid yourself.  I mean, I was skeptical when Ted first told me about it. But damn, you pulled it off beautifully.

Favre:  Well, things just fell into place man.  Hell, Adrian almost did it for me.  I was gonna have to kick his ass if he fumbled one more time.  No way I’m letting him screw this up for me, as hard as I worked to get into that position.

Thompson:  If you weren’t the greatest Packer of all time before, you sure are now.  We can’t thank you enough.  I know this year was stressful for you, but thanks again.

Favre:  Nothin’ to it, man.  Glad to help where I can.  I gotta say, it was fun.  I felt like James Bond or something.

[Laughter]

Thompson:  Did you hear the play-by-play call?  You ripped their hearts out, man.  Brutal.  I almost feel guilty.

Favre:  Oh yeah.  I’m thinking about getting it as my ringtone.  “Intercepted, I can’t believe what I’m seeing right now.”   Awesome, man.  Sounded like he wanted to puke.

[Laughter]

McCarthy:  I think the most brilliant thing about the whole deal was that you didn’t hardly throw any interceptions all year.  They were completely not expecting it.

Favre:  Yeah, well, sometimes these things just have a way of working out.  (pause) Hey speaking of things working out…have y’all told Aaron yet?  Think he’ll be upset?

Look into the camera, Viking Fan.  You just got Favred.    And you gotta admit, he got you guys good.

Speaking of extremely annoying sports sycophants and drama queens: Fox Sports and Brett Favre

Attention sports broadcasters: This is Drew Brees, the other quarterback in last night's NFC Championship Game

Yesterday, I was able to watch both the AFC and NFC championships in their entirety, thanks to a great significant other who took care of all food preparation after 3:00 yesterday and made sure that all our errands were run before the opening kickoff of the Colts – Jets game.  Because one game basically followed the other and there was nothing to interrupt my viewing, I witnessed firsthand the difference between pretty solid sports analysis and grace under pressure–CBS Sports and the quarterbacking of Peyton Manning, Mark Sanchez and Drew Brees–and fawning parasitic babbling and and manipulative melodrama–the pre-game predictions, halftime analysis and color commentary of Fox Sports and the quarterbacking of Brett Favre.

Until yesterday, I thought Brett Favre’s neediness and attention-mongering were confined to contract negotiations but that he left all that behind when he was on the field. And I thought that the High Priests of the Brett Favre Holy Shrine were only on ESPN. As I am about so many things, I was completely wrong.

I really hadn’t watched the Vikings much this season (or Jets or the Green Bay Packers in the past), and I’ve never really paid close attention to Favre as a player other than to note in passing to my brother about 5 or 6 years ago that it looked like he was doing good things for Green Bay. In fact, my mind shuts down when I hear or see his name, and I never read any articles about him. So, yesterday was the first time I got to see him in all his diva-like glory and I was disgusted. He and his team made key mistakes and he himself threw two interceptions, but thanks to his uncanny ability to manipulate the press, he managed to prevent criticism of his play last night.

After the first interception, his behavior turned the corner from mildly annoying to unbearably horrible when he started rolling around the field in agony, pointing at his knee. People from the Vikings organization immediately rushed out to the field and helped Favre while he limped to the sideline as if someone had shot him in the knee, somehow managing to portray both extreme agony and stiff-upper-lip bravery at the same time.

The game clock remained frozen while several sports medicine types fussed over him like grandmothers as he had his ankle (yes, that’s his ankle, not his knee) taped and re-taped. Finally, it was decided that he would live and play resumed. Interestingly, Mr. “Will I Ever Walk Again?” somehow managed to get back on the field when Vikings regained possession of the ball and played the rest of the game.

Honestly, it was more sickening than a Greg Paulus flop or a “I just kicked the goalie in his privates and now I’m going to pretend he injured me for life so I don’t get a penalty” performance from any number of soccer/futbol players from around the world. It was also extremely manipulative because natural concern for someone who appeared to be seriously injured was milked to hide the fact that the Best Quarterback in America had thrown an interception.

The other quarterbacks that played yesterday were also under pressure. For example, Peyton Manning’s team was down to the Jets going into the second half. Did Manning have a bunch of hissy fits and try to be the “star” by throwing passes wildly? Nope. He had taken in the Jets’s defensive moves and worked with the coaches during half time to make adjustments that would throw the Jets off. As Sanchez watched the game slip away, did he writhe in melodramatic fashion near the line os crimmage? No. He kept trying to work with his team to win. The Vikings defense wasn’t exactly kind to Drew Brees, but he doggedly ground out plays to keep them in the game.

What made it 10 times worse for me as a viewer is how Fox Sports covered Favre in all his vainglory. For example, instead of focusing on Vilma, the guy

Too bad I didn't think to turn the sound down on these guys

who intercepted Favre the first time, and hastily putting up his stats and any information about earlier interceptions in the season, Fox trained all its cameras on Favre’s antics on the sidelines. They even dragged out a camera shot of Favre’s wife’s reaction when he was hit, which included putting her hand over her mouth in concern (as if no other wife in the history of football suffered when her husband was hurt).

If this had been Fox’s only transgression, I would have forgiven them for playing into the hands of a master manipulator. However, this was only part of what I can only describe as obsessive Favre coverage. They counted every time he was hit (as if no one ever tackled a quarterback before) and constantly reminded everyone of the “pounding” he was taking throughout the game.

The pre-game show featured Fox “analysts” (I can’t remember which ones offhand, sorry) insisting that the Vikings would win because they were the best team in the NFL and they repeated that again during the half time show. (I find it fascinating that the best team in the NFL didn’t have the best record.) Also during half time, all kinds of criticisms of Payton’s coaching of the Saints were offered up and it was at this time that they made a huge deal out of the hits on Favre and insinuated that New Orleans wouldn’t be able to keep him down and they were unlikely to win.

After suffering through this commentary and endless, sycophantic Favre coverage, I had the brilliant idea to turn the sound down on the game at the beginning of the fourth quarter and watched it with a lot less rancor, especially once my significant other suggested that I stop counting the camera shots of Favre both on and off the field. When the Saints won in overtime, I even managed to forget my ire in my happiness for one of the biggest underdogs in NFL history.  However, that joy was shortlived.

This morning I realized that the sick, symbiotic relationship that I thought existed only between Favre and ESPN/Fox probably extends to all sports media, because even NPR’s coverage of the game was devoted to what Favre thought about the game (“It was more physical than people realized, wah, wah”) and whether or not he would play next year.

Look out for the bus, Adrian!!!!!

Then, I went online and saw that espn.com is throwing Peterson under the bus for the loss because of his fumbles, when they’re not blaming the Vikings for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory or using their thesauruses to come up with new ways to describe the ills Brett imagines he suffered at the hands of the Saints defense. And I can’t help but wonder, did these people even watch the game? Because, you see, there was another team that played in the game. That team is called the Saints and they had an offense that scored more points than the Vikings and a defense that helped force the turnovers, including two that were made by someone other than Peterson, one of which probably cost them the game. And that team is actually the team that’s in the Super Bowl. I don’t want to hear endless speculation about Favre’s future and whining about how the Vikings should be in the Super Bowl. I want to enjoy the moment for both the Saints and the Colts. And somehow I don’t think I’m alone.

Samurai Of The Week ~ November 1

The Sensei's Samurai of the WeekThe best part of watching sports are the rare moments when you’re just sitting on the couch with some friends watching a random game… and then something amazing happens and everyone immediately shouts “HOLY FUCK”, puts their computer or unpaid bills or math homework down, and leans forward to wait for the replay.

Then the replay appears, everyone watches in awe, says “holy fuck” a couple more times, looks around the room, and shares a bonding moment with everyone else.

This happened to The Sensei and his friends during today’s Vikings @ Packers game, and the video below shows why Percy Harvin is the Samurai Of The Week.