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January 14, 2007

LT tells it how it is

First Belichick is caught manhandling a cameraman out of the way while rushing to gloat about his victory over Eric Mangini. Now this.

I hate the New England Patriots

There's no two ways about it. I don't know how they can go on time and time again winning playoff games without deserving them. It's disgusting.

Football's full of mistakes. They're a part of the game. But certain mistakes are so fundamental that professionals avoid them--in general. It's these mistakes that teams facing the Patriots in the playoffs regularly make. Today's loss by the Chargers was a perfect example. The mistakes include dropping wide open passes, inexplicable play calling, boneheaded penalties, ridiculous challenges, and, of course, intercepting a fourth-down pass instead of knocking it down. Don't get me wrong: the Chargers did not deserve to win this game either. But the thing is, in a fair world, the Patriots would lose just as many games that neither team deserves to win as they win. But that's not the case; rather, the Patriots win almost every single game when both teams play like crap, and that disgusts me. (Ok, well, that combined with Patriots fans interpreting their victories as being due to the supreme excellence of their football team, rather than the other teams' gift-wrapping the games for them.)

The Chargers should have won this game by 20 points. Instead, they handed the game to the Patriots on a silver platter, and the Patriots, who had looked inept and overmatched for much of the game, performed admirably in the clutch and accepted the victory. Belichik didn't win this game; Brady didn't win this game; Gostkowski didn't win this game. The Chargers lost this game, as so many Patriots opponents have done in the playoffs over the past six years. Some day the karma must run out, and I hope I'm around to enjoy it.

Fuck the Patriots.

Go Colts.

January 7, 2007

Two Takes on the Same Issue

Recently, GM announced a new hybrid car called the Chevy Volt. Immediately, I found my my feed reader filled with two expert opinions on this announcement:

  • Cy Chan, hybrid-automobile-blogger extraordinaire, weighs in with a positive review in "A GM I would actually buy...".
  • Scott Adams, Dilbert creator and master of wacky ideas, is less impressed in his take, "Concept Car".

How could such similar authorities differ so greatly on this issue? I'm baffled.

January 2, 2007

Seasons Cut Short

There's a thing about being a passionate sports fan: you're almost always disappointed. Even fans of perennial cellar-dwellers (e.g. Lions) and teams which face long odds even before the season's first game has begun (e.g. Devil Rays) are disappointed in the end, despite realistically low expectations. And for those of us fortunate enough to root for large market and consistently competitive teams, the brutal reality of a season's hopes dashed is a pain that can endure throughout an offseason.

Of course, the particular nature of the end of the season goes a long way towards determining the degree of devastation. When the Mets fell to the Cardinals in Game 7 of the NLCS this year, the shock was sudden and severe. That game featured perhaps the greatest catch in baseball postseason history, which brings me to this year's Denver Broncos season. You see, football has its own version of the catch, and 24 years after Joe Montana and Dwight Clark hooked up on that famous play, the 49ers--now a much more diminished and desolate franchise--ended the Broncos playoff hopes and their season with a 26-23 overtime victory. One week after the Broncos squeaked by a far better Bengals team on a botched extra point, the Broncos failed to will their way into the playoffs and saw a promising season that started 7-2 end in disappointment.

But 2006's seasons will be marked as much by the abrupt season ends of a few players as by these nailbitingly disappointing final games. Both the Mets and the Broncos saw their share of normal injuries: knee injuries, torn rotator cuffs, strained rib cages. But it's the unusual circumstances that cut short the season's contributions of a few key players which stand out.

For the Mets, this means Duaner Sanchez, who separated his shoulder and was out for the closing half of the season and playoffs after being a passenger in a taxicab accident in Miami. It could also extend to Orlando 'El Duque' Hernandez, the Mets secret weapon for the playoffs, who injured his calf days before the NLDS while doing nothing more spectacular than jogging in the outfield.

This year, the Harvard Crimson basketball team has their own case of a season cut short. Brian Cusworth, their senior center, is graduating this winter and will be ineligible to play basketball after January. He'll play Harvard's first two league games, and then the team will be without their court leader for the rest of conference play.

But all of this is really just a prelude for a mention of the ultimate in seasons cut short. Mere hours after the Broncos fell to the 49ers, 24-year-old Bronco starting cornerback Darrent Williams was murdered. He sat comfortably with teammates and friends inside his limousine, and for reasons unbeknownst to us a drive-by shooter sprayed a dozen bullets into the vehicle, one of which caught Darrent's neck. We learn from the media in his death of Darrent's energy and passion for life, and we learn of the youth programs he's worked to establish to keep kids in his Texas hometown away from violence and out of trouble. Darrent had a rough childhood but had succeeded despite long odds; he was already poised for a tremendous NFL career and a lifetime of helping others avoid the hardships he once faced.

And now all that potential has been taken away in one senseless killing. If that's not a season cut short, I don't know what is.

Darrent Williams, 1982-2007