My Wife Needs A New NFL Team

There were 2 minutes left in Friday night’s preseason football game.  My once-beloved Kansas City Chiefs were losing 4,000a to 0 and my wife casually uttered the most horrific thing I’ve heard, to date, in our marriage: “I think someday, maybe, I might end up having to root for the Patriots.”

A little bit of background here.  We live in Boston, but are both transplants.  I’m originally from Kansas City; she’s from St. Louis.  Her primary allegiance is to hockey and the Blues, but we have both been able to root for the Bruins.  The Celtics were also an easy adoption for us since neither home city has an NBA team (stupid Kings).  The Red Sox are tolerated and generally well-wished in our household, but will never be our primary team.

Then, there’s the Patriots.

I abhor the Patriots.  To quote Dr. Perry Cox from TV’s Scrubs: I “megaloathe” them. I hate their sense of entitlement.  I hate their mumbling, hoodie-wearing coach.  I hate their pretty boy quarterback.  But, most of all, I hate their fans.  There’s a fine line between Pats fans and, say, Sox fans or Bruins fans – since it’s mostly the same group of people – but, I don’t have the energy to try to make sense of that for you right here and now. You just have to trust me that there is a difference.

Yeah. That about sums it up.

So, in her earnest attempt to reconnect to a sport she genuinely enjoys – and despite the unfortunate scenario of being a Rams fan in Massachusetts – my lovely wife audibly contemplated the unthinkable.

Now, she has given me the charge to wade through the remaining NFL teams to find her a suitable team to root for.  This will start with a trial, one-season fandom.  After which, she is free to continue or abandon as she deems fit.  What follows is my initial reaction to each team.  A final decision will be made prior to the beginning of the season.

Let’s get to it. Continue reading

Super Bowl Preview Series: Keyshawn Johnson

Hey America, it’s me, your favorite wide receiver of all time, Keyshawn “Give the me the damn ball” Johnson. That slogan originated in my youth, but now I’ve settled down thanks to the tutelage of the guys at ESPN, most notably Boom and T.J.

nullLet’s get onto my reason for writing for EJSIC today: Super Bowl preview. You may have seen my commercial for Sunday NFL Countdown in which I bring up the segment of “Key Match-ups.” Yes, that was my idea much like most of the great things on that show. It’s all me, baby.

Well, let’s get to some Key Match-ups for the big game. You win football games with style, not X’s and O’s. See, that’s what T.O. doesn’t understand. His on-field antics ain’t stylish. C’mon man! But let me get back on topic. Who’s got more style between the Saints and the Colts?

I’m going with the Saints. Not only are their black and gold uniforms much more stylish than the mundane Colts, they know how to wear it. Reggie Bush, who attended the best football program in college by the way, is all flash and that’s what matters. You’ll never hear me yelling “C’mon man!” at Reggie because he doesn’t make mistakes.

nullWhat was that? You’re asking me through the computer screen about Reggie’s dropped punt last week? Dude please. The Superdome had the lights so bright they reflected off the Saints’ helmets and caused Reggie some temporary blindness. Ain’t nothing major for a player like Reggie Bush.

Finally, I’ve said it all year, the Colts are the worst Super Bowl team I’ve ever seen. Defense is horrible, one-dimensional on offense, no style, no me. You got to be about the me. Me, me, me. I’m taking to the Saints in an easy win, 35-16.

Remember, if you’re in South Florida this week and see me walking down the street, no need to holler “Who dat?” because everybody already knows who I am. Key out.

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.

The NFL Playoffs Part 2

Yesterday, we previewed the NFC playoff picture and the various implications of week 17. Now, we will take a look at the AFC which is far more complicated with seven teams still alive for the two wild card slots.
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1. Indianapolis Colts 14-1 (clinched home field)
2. San Diego Chargers 12-3 (clinched first round bye)
3. New England Patriots 10-5 (clinched AFC East)
4. Cincinnati Bengals 10-5 (clinched AFC North)
5. New York Jets 8-7
6. Baltimore Ravens 8-7
7. Denver Broncos 8-7
8. Houston Texans 8-7
9. Pittsburgh Steelers 8-7
10. Miami Dolphins 7-8
11. Jacksonville Jaguars 7-8

Teams 5 through 11 are all still alive for slots 5 and 6. The Jets and Ravens hold the inside advantage on the two wild card spots. If they win Sunday, they are in no matter what.

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However, we shall start with the Indianapolis Cunts. The organization decided resting starters for the playoffs, which has yet to work for this particular franchise in recent history, was far more important than going for the undefeated season. Sunday they play Buffalo which means fans will be treated to the probable MVP Peyton Manning playing one drive in order to keep his consecutive starts streak in tact. After that, he’ll freeze his nards on the sidelines of Ralph Wilson Stadium.

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The San Diego “Super” Chargers are arguably the hottest team in football. They’ve won about 100 straight games (or so it seems) and Phillip Rivers has transformed into one of the elite QBs in the league. And perhaps most importantly, San Diego is 4-1 in its last 5 games against the Colts including eliminating Indy from the playoffs each of the last two seasons. They play the horrible Washington Redskins on Sunday.

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The New England Patriots have won three straight games and clinched the AFC East this past Sunday. Now, they play the still-alive Houston Texans and I am betting on Belichick’s boys to not let the Texans have a free win like the Cunts would do. The Pats don’t have much to gain in this game except for keeping the integrity of the game which would be ironic given “spygate” a few seasons back.

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No longer the “bungles,” Cincinnati has claimed the AFC North and is set to host a home playoff game. Their fans are hoping to avoid the ills of their last playoff game which saw star QB Carson Palmer taken out of the game on the first snap. This Sunday they play the Jets in New York. Will they pull an Indy and give Rex Ryan’s team two straight free victories?

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Speaking of Rex Ryan and the J-E-T-S, the coach considered his team dead two weeks ago. Now they sit in the driver seat for a wild card spot. As previously stated, they host Cincinnati Sunday who has nothing to play for. The Jets could be a very dangerous team in the playoffs with their staunch defense. What holds them back is the often-times erratic play of rookie QB and So-Cal heart throb, Mark Sanchez.

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Despite losing to division rival Pittsburgh last week, the Ravens still control their own destiny. They travel cross-country to play the Oakland Raiders which looks really good on paper except for Oakland has pulled off a few upsets already this season. With that said, if the Ravens don’t shoot themselves in the foot like they did Sunday, they should be in.

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Denver is in the midst of another late season collapse. There’s numerous ways they can make the playoffs, but all the team needs to be concerned with is winning its own game first. They play division rival Kansas City who would like for nothing more than to spoil the Broncos playoff chances.

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Houston looked dead a few weeks back, but thanks to an anti-Denver run, the Texans are in the middle of it going into the last week. Admittedly, they need a lot of help, but it is the NFL and anything can happen. They host New England which gives them some advantage playing at home. Andre Johnson is one of the best receivers in the league and will provide a mismatch against the weak New England secondary. They can pull the upset, but anyone who has followed this team the last few years knows that staying over the .500 hump has been a problem for the Texans.

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It’s slightly amazing that a team which endured a 5 game losing streak in October and November is still alive for a playoff spot, but that is the AFC wild card race. The defending champion Pittsburgh Steelers need quite a bit of help. They’re the last of the 8-7 teams by virtue of the NFL’s tie-breaker rules. They travel to south Florida and play the clinging-to-life-support Miami Dolphins. Can they sneak in?

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Speaking of Miami, Tony Sparano’s team has looked great at times this season and not so good at others. Miami really hurt any realistic chance this past Sunday with a flat first half against the Texans. They need to concentrate on winning and then praying like a death row inmate after their game is over.

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Another team on life support is the 7-8 Jacksonville Jaguars. Basically, they get into the playoffs if they win and every other team ahead of them finishes with an 8-8 record. Then, the Jags own the tie-breaker over all of them by virtue of in-conference record. They also need to do a lot of praying.

Confused? It’s really not all that complicated and I tried to spare some of the excruciating circumstances that could take place. All of this should provide some great football to watch, though. You can guarantee the teams in the hunt will be playing all out for their shot at the playoffs.

Concerning the Indianapolis Colts

I was watching the undefeated Colts yesterday as they took on the New York J-E-T-S Jets, Jets, Jets in what amounted to a playoff game for fightin’ Rex Ryans. Inexplicably, Jim Caldwell and company took Manning out of the game up 15-10 in the 3rd quarter. Eventually, the rest of the starters found the pine where they watched their undefeated season go down the drain at the hands of a rookie QB and a blood-thirsty defense.

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Remember: Bears can smell the menstruation. No wonder they're attacking the Colts superstar

And yes, I have a problem with it. I don’t care if the Colts want to insinuate that a perfect season was never one of their goals or some other BS excuse. The fact is, Indianapolis was two games away an undefeated regular season. Then, it’s three more games to become the second team in NFL history to complete the feat. You have to go for it. There can not be another alternative if they are a true competitor. They owe it to the fans, the rest of the teams battling with the Jets for the playoffs, and, most importantly, the Colts owe it to themselves.

Yet, as I write all of this, I realize that I can’t completely bash the move until the team loses in the playoffs. If they win the Super Bowl, which the Colts state is the ultimate goal, then this move will be celebrated (and I will eat crow). However, the Colts recent history suggest resting the starters does not translate into post-season success. In fact, the one season they played through week 17, they took home the Lombardi Trophy.

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Hate him or not, Belichick would've gone for the perfect record like a true man.

I wish the Colts luck. I want to see the best teams battle it out, but I can’t help but feel a little bit cheated. The schedule set up for them to go for it. And personally, I want to see a team play all out for 19-0 like New England did. If the Colts’ starters played throughout and the Jets still won, I would’ve applauded Indianapolis. Instead, I can only call them a bunch of pussies now. Good luck (but not really, I hope you lose the first playoff game).

Colts or Saints?

The Thanksgiving holiday and November are now passed us and the NFL still boasts two undefeated teams: the New Orleans Saints and the Indianapolis Colts. Both teams lead their conferences with an 11-0 record. Instead of celebrating exellence, we have to debate who is better (it’s an American tradition it seems).

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Colts QB Peyton Manning

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Saints QB Drew Brees

Offense

The Colts and Saints feature great offenses which have been the cornerstone of success. Peyton Manning and Drew Brees are two of the best QBs in the league and each have a plethora of playmakers to throw to. In terms of yards per game, New Orleans is first in the NFL with 425 while the Colts are third at 393. Indianapolis does lead the league in passing yards per game (305) with the Saints in fourth at 275. Possibly the biggest separation in the two offenses comes in the rushing department. New Orleans is fifth in the league with 150 yards per game and, surprisingly, Indianapolis is 31st out of 32 teams with just 87 yards per game.

Both teams put up points, though each has their own way. New Orleans features a balanced attack and the Colts rely on Manning’s golden shoulder. Balance is what usually prevails in the playoffs though. Advantage: Saints

Defense

Defense was the specialty of former Colts coach Tony Dungy, but now first year head coach Jim Caldwell takes over after being Dungy’s QB coach since 2001. Saints coach Sean Payton also hails from the offensive side of the ball so it’s not surprising to see both of the teams with middle-of-the-road defenses (statistically speaking). In total defense, the Colts come in at 15 while the Saints are one spot behind. However, one shouldn’t overlook the big-play ability of each defense. Each unit has made countless plays throughout the season when needed.

The Colts and Saints have serviceable defenses which do enough to slow down the opposing offenses and allow their own offenses to build leads. Advantage: Even

Coaching

As stated earlier, the Colts feature a first year head coach in Jim Caldwell who has studied under Dungy since 2000. He has learned a lot and deserves some credit for the season so far. Question marks surrounded the Colts entering the season. Would their offense be as good without a second receiver (Garcon has stepped up nicely)? Perhaps Caldwell’s best move as coach was to keep Tom Moore as offensive coordinator. It kept Manning happy and provided some stability during the coaching change.

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Saints Coach Sean Payton

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Colts Coach Jim Caldwell

The Saints showcase a young coach as well. Sean Payton is in his fourth season and has already won a coach of the year award. He came to the Big Easy from Dallas where he was an offensive guy under Bill Parcels. Payton has worked throughout his tenure to upgrade the defense and it seems to be paying off finally.

These teams have been similar thoughout our comparison and the coaching is no different. Two young coaches with great backgrounds as assistants. Advantage: Saints (barely).

So America, I’m taking the Saints as a better team because of their balance on offense and a head coach with playoff experience. Agree? Disagree? Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below.