Super Bowly Preview

samuel-jackson-beer

You’ve heard all the go-to Super Bowl “storylines” 1,000 times by now, including the one about how everyone playing in the game used be on the Cleveland Browns or something. With less than an hour to go until kickoff (6:30 pm, FOX), here are a few appetizers before we all get into the heavy stuff:

#Jimbo

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  • No Super Bowl preview is complete without a season recap from the folks at Bad Lip Reading:

People have to understand: I felt like it was my fault, like it was my responsibility, that the Falcons franchise had been set back. And if Matt had been a bust … then my guilt over the harm I’d caused the city would have only grown worse. So, yeah, I’m human. It hurt when the Falcons drafted Matt. And for a while there, for sure, I was envious of Matt’s position. But Matt being such a success — that’s been a joy for me. For me, that’s been relief. It’s been peace of mind.

And the same thing goes for this MVP season of his (he’s got my vote), and this amazing Super Bowl run (I’ve got the Falcons winning, 23–16). Joy, and relief, and peace of mind. And that’s what I mean, when I say that Atlanta is family. Family isn’t just about when it’s good for you, or when it’s convenient, or when the love comes easy. Family is about when the love comes no matter what.

  • Rembert went to Houston and found all the Falcons fans in town for the big game:

  • The strongest and rightest take:

Enjoy the game!

Ray Rice’s suspension in context

In news today that was mostly (but not totally) condemned as tone-deaf and inappropriate, the NFL suspended Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice for two games, but no preseason games, practices, or training camp activities, and docked his pay for a third game, for beating his then-fiancee, Janay, until she was unconscious and dragging her out of an elevator at an Atlantic City casino this February. That the NFL has a serious domestic abuse problem became frighteningly clear at Rice’s post-beating press conference (which I unfortunately had to highlight here). Today’s mild sanction did nothing to change that nauseating narrative.

Deadspin put together a list of “other notable NFL suspensions,” which offers some context for Rice’s two-game sanction. If you want to read the list, with all of the details and circumstances, it’s available here. I’ve attempted to distill the list to the basics below.    Continue reading

FrankenMonday Update

Nothing is weather until it’s New York City weather, which means that, as of sometime today, we have ourselves some weather. Somehow unsurprisingly, the indomitable Clay Travis has himself a man on the scene, reporting live from the south shore of Long Island. Somewhat surprisingly, there has been a dearth of Point Break references being made, so that’s something we collectively need to work on. And while the Frankenstorm/Hurricane Sandy caused the main presidential candidates to take a break from the campaign trail, it didn’t stop sports this weekend.

Saturday was a tumultuous day in college football’s top 25, with undefeateds Ohio and Mississippi State taking their first losses of the season, Wisconsin losing to Michigan State in overtime, Oregon State losing to Washington, Florida losing to Georgia, USC losing to Arizona, Rutgers losing to Kent State, and Michigan losing to Nebraska. Although not technically an upset, Notre Dame surprised most people outside of South Bend by beating Oklahoma in convincing fashion. The Georgia win is significant because it dashes the order that was starting to distill in the highly competitive SEC East. The Arizona win is significant because 1) aren’t they really bad??, and 2) it weakens Oregon’s strength of schedule, because the Ducks were relying on a win against USC to buoy their BCS ranking that continues to fall despite an unbroken series of mathematically mind-boggling wins.

In the NFL, the Lions beat the Seahawks by scoring touchdowns in both halves of the game, and even daring to take a lead in the first half. The Falcons preserved their position as the NFL’s only undefeated team by beating the Eagles, a team where the only constant now seems to be the walrusness of Andy Reid’s mustache. (Reid fired his good friend and defensive coordinator Juan Castillo during Philadelphia’s bye week last week, and after yesterday’s game, Michael Vick said that Reid was contemplating a change at quarterback.) In a real accordion-style game, the Giants went up 23-0 on the Cowboys, then went down 24-23, before coming from behind in some technical sense to beat Dallas, 29-24. Andrew Luck led the Colts to an overtime victory against the Titans, the Broncos beat the listless Saints by twenty, and the Bears survived a scare from the visiting Panthers, beating Carolina by one.

Finally, the sad World Series came to an end last night when the Giants beat the Tigers 4-3 in the tenth inning of game four. It’s San Francisco’s second championship in three years. More on that later in the week.

Mark 2011 as the year the Lord took on NFL player contracts

It is said that the Lord works in mysterious ways, but this summer, He has been stepping out a bit more, seemingly bearing a new cross for those who praise Him. The Almighty has tackled public works projects before– the Great Flood, liberation of his people from bondage in Egypt, urban renewal in cities like Sodom and Gomorrah, descending to Earth in human form, etc.– but this campaign feels different, perhaps because of its apparently limited, if no less public, scope. Mark 2011 as the year the Ancient of Days took on high-profile NFL player contracts.

Yahweh’s first target was in the Arizona desert, where He helped Larry Fitzgerald secure an eight-year, $120 million deal with the Cardinals. After Fitzgerald’s new contract became public, Chris Johnson, holdout running back for the Tennessee Titans, praised the Everlasting Father for His accomplishment: “Congrats to Larry Fitzgerald. God is good.” Indeed.

Luke, the Gospel writer, tells us that there is more rejoicing in Heaven when one sinner repents than there is for ninety-nine other righteous people who need not repent, and so it should come as no surprise that the Wonderful Counselor would take the case of the once-disgraced, now-redeemed Michael Vick (f.k.a. Ron Mexico). Just this week in the City of Brotherly Love, Vick signed what his head coach called “a beautiful contract,” which may or may not be worth $100 million. In response, Vick said, “I want to thank God for the opportunity that I’ve been presented.” And so we can assume he did.

Numerically, if there’s a digit more biblically favored than four or seven, it would have to be three, and so we should expect Elohim to be involved in at least one more blockbuster deal before the season starts next week, and the smart talents are on Johnson himself. Johnson believes the Titans should compensate him on a scale comparable to the highest-paid players in the league, and not merely as the highest-paid at his position as the team has offered to do. On Wednesday, Johnson said, “I like to thank everyone who have me in their prayers thru my situation, it’s much needed.” It just might be.

Can the Holy Spirit reach this man on behalf of Chris Johnson?

Philadelphia dreamin’, on such a summer’s day

It’s been over a year since “The Decision.” Thirteen months since Miami’s “Big Three” hit South Beach. Two months since the Heat lost in the NBA Finals. One month since the NFL lockout ended. In other words, it’s time for the media to reprise the dream team motif that paid their bills through the NBA season. NFL free agency, though compressed, has been slow, with one exception. Keep reading…