Quotulatiousness

November 27, 2014

How bad is the NFC South this season?

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 07:29

Dave Rappoccio says it’s this bad:

This week, the NFC south is a dumpster fire, and that might be an insult to dumpster fires. The Saints and Falcons are tied in first with 4 wins each, and the woeful 2-9 Buccaneers are one game out of picking 1st in the draft and 2 games out of first place. No team looks to have a winning record by the end of the season and we could potentially have a 5-11 division winner while a potential double digit team in a real mans division misses the playoffs entirely. IS THIS ACCEPTABLE?

January 2, 2014

Green Bay playoff game at risk of TV blackout in home market

Filed under: Business, Football, Media — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 08:39

For some reason, I had the impression that NFL blackout rules didn’t apply in the post-season, but Dan Zinski says there’s a real risk that the Green Bay Packers may not sell all of their tickets for this weekend’s game against the San Francisco 49ers:

Packer fans are the greatest, most loyal and diehard fans in the world. Which explains why, as of Wednesday afternoon, there were reportedly still 7,500 tickets available for Sunday’s home playoff game against the San Francisco 49ers.

Huh?

Yes it’s true. Amazingly, the Packers are struggling to sell out their home playoff game. Despite their fans being better than everyone else’s fans.

[…]

The tickets must be sold by 3:40 PM Thursday to avoid a blackout. But if history is any indication the NFL will give the Packers an extension.

If the Packers still can’t sell the tickets and the blackout goes into effect? Look for a mass exodus out of Green Bay and Milwaukee and into all the towns where the game is on television. That will be a bad time to be traveling anywhere in Wisconsin.

And just wait until Sunday night when everyone is driving home, totally wasted. In the name of public safety, maybe the state government should buy up the tickets.

My guess is that the nightmare scenario won’t come to pass, that the tickets will get bought up and everyone will be able to see the game. And what an enjoyable game it will be…for people who hate the Packers.

On the other hand, I’ve seen predictions that the game-time temperature could be as low as -15F, which would be the coldest game in NFL history (the current record is -13F at the “Ice Bowl” in 1967). I wouldn’t blame the fans quite as much for not wanting to be part of that kind of historical event.

Update, 3 January: Earlier this afternoon, the Packers announced that they’d sold all the tickets to the game (a local business apparently stepped in to buy the remainder), so the game will be available on TV in the Wisconsin area. The weather reports are looking worse, however, as the temperature could go as low as -18F (or -25F) with a potential windchill of -53F. Brrrrrrrrrrrr.

July 6, 2013

Dateline 1972 – Nixon tries to “fix” NFL blackout policies

Filed under: Football, History, Media — Tags: , , , , , , — Nicholas @ 08:52

The St. Paul Pioneer Press raided the National Archives to find this clip of President Nixon talking to his attorney general about the outrageous NFL TV blackout policy:

Football populist Richard Nixon was furious at the NFL and wanted to flex his political muscle to end television blackouts.

At 2:06 p.m. on Dec. 18, 1972, Nixon met with Attorney General Richard Kleindienst at the Executive Office Building and railed against the league’s policy that prevented fans from watching their team’s home playoff games on TV.

The 37th president of the United States wanted to intervene because the Washington Redskins-Green Bay Packers postseason game at RFK Stadium on Christmas Eve was going to be blacked out in Washington, D.C., even though it already was sold out.

In a conversation secretly recorded by the White House bugging system that helped doom his presidency, Nixon threatened to sue the league if it did not lift blackouts for the playoffs. The devout Redskins fan ordered Kleindienst to “get busy with your lawyers” and take the fight to NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle and Redskins owner Edward Bennett Williams.

January 6, 2013

Vikings lose in Green Bay

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , , , , — Nicholas @ 11:48

Yesterday, I said “Everyone is expecting Green Bay to romp over the Vikings today“. That became an even more likely outcome just a few hours before game time, as the Vikings announced that starting quarterback Christian Ponder would be inactive with an elbow injury suffered in last week’s win. Backup Joe Webb would be the Vikings quarterback for the Green Bay game, not having thrown a pass since the preseason. After the game, it was made clear that the problem wasn’t pain, it was range of motion: Ponder couldn’t move his elbow enough to make the throws.

The Vikings got the opening kickoff and put on an entertaining drive that ended with a Blair Walsh field goal. Webb didn’t complete a single pass on the drive: it was all Adrian Peterson or Joe Webb running the ball. After the first drive, however, the Vikings went away from what had worked in the opening drive and were unable to move the ball consistently.

Jesse Reed at Bleacher Report:

Maybe we all took Christian Ponder for granted in 2012.

Joe Webb proved an invaluable lesson on Saturday night: The NFL is a quarterback-driven league, and it doesn’t matter if you have the best running back in the world; without one, you won’t win in the playoffs.

Webb started the game because Ponder couldn’t overcome an elbow injury he suffered in Week 17, and the Minnesota Vikings offense was a hopeless mess without Ponder.

That’s right.

As much as many (myself included) have ripped Ponder for his flaws, his value to the Vikings was made apparent in the worst way against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on Saturday night.

Webb was simply atrocious.

1500ESPN’s Judd Zulgad and Tom Pelissero:

January 5, 2013

Everyone is expecting Green Bay to romp over the Vikings today

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 12:17

The final gun sounded at the Metrodome last weekend in a Vikings win over Green Bay … and Vegas was already posting odds for Green Bay to win this week’s wild-card matchup by a big margin. Even the San Francisco 49ers are game-planning to face Green Bay next week after they beat the Vikings today. That’s pretty much the definition of “we don’t get no respect”.

The Daily Norseman‘s Christopher Gates explains why this isn’t a problem:

So, once again the Minnesota Vikings find themselves in the playoffs, and they don’t have a lot of people supporting their cause. Oh, there’s no way they can beat the Packers at Lambeau Field … ignoring the fact that there wasn’t supposed to be any way for the Vikings to beat the Packers last week because of how super duper awesome the Packers are in domes and such. The Packers are just too talented … the Packers are just too good … the Packers have Aaron Rodgers … I’m sure you’ve heard all of it since last Sunday night. How bad is it?

The San Francisco 49ers are already game-planning for a match-up against the Green Bay Packers next week.

Yeah. So there’s that.

The Vikings aren’t favored to win on Saturday night in Green Bay, and they shouldn’t be … don’t get me wrong on that. As it stands right now, the Packers are a better team than the Vikings are. How much better is something that we could debate for a while … and the gap is significantly smaller than it was just 12 months ago … but they should be the favorite as it stands now.

For whatever reason, the folks that cover the National Football League just don’t seem to be as impressed with the turnaround of the Minnesota Vikings as they probably should be. To hear these folks talk about the Minnesota Vikings going into this season, the “rebuilding” of this team was supposed to take anywhere between ten and thirty years, and it was going to take a significant amount of time before the Vikings caught up to not only the Packers, but to the Chicago Bears and the Detroit Lions in the NFC North. (Remember when the Lions were better than the Vikings? That was weird, huh?)

Yet as we sit here, just hours before the start of the 2012 NFL playoffs, the Lions are 4-12 and in the top 5 of the 2013 NFL Draft, and the Bears are looking for a new head coach after missing the post-season following a 7-1 start. But the Minnesota Vikings … a team that, just one year ago, had a franchise player coming off of knee surgery, no stadium, and (allegedly) no hope going forward … sit ready to take on the Packers in the wild card round of the playoffs. Sure, they’ve done it on the legs of Adrian Peterson … but a ton of credit has to go to a lot of younger players on this team. Guys like left tackle Matt Kalil, safety Harrison Smith, and kicker Blair Walsh have played big roles for this team in their first season, and going into this season half of the Vikings’ roster had two years of NFL experience or less. The stars on this team are playing like stars, but the role of the youth and their ability to accelerate the rebuilding process is not to be ignored.

I hope the Vikings can win again — I don’t really expect it, but the team is much better now than they were earlier in the season, so my hope isn’t out of the realm of possibility. Coming into the 2012 season, I expected a 6-10 or 7-9 with a lucky break or two. I really didn’t expect 10-6 and a playoff berth. The team has exceeded pretty much everyone’s expectations. Here’s hoping they can do it again tonight in Green Bay.

December 29, 2012

Here you go, Chicago Bears fans: your temporary Green Bay Packer fan application

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 09:16

Courtesy of Bear Goggles On, a fan publication for Chicago Bears fans.

Packer Fan Application Form

For those not following the NFL playoff picture, Chicago needs help from Green Bay — in the form of a win over the Vikings — to qualify for the last NFC wildcard spot.

April 21, 2012

The NFL draft: top picks no guarantee to turn losers into winners

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 11:29

Tom Pelissero has an interesting column up on the actual impact high draft picks can have on the teams who select them:

The NFL is designed to promote competitive parity, from the salary cap to revenue sharing to a draft order inverted by record and strength of schedule.

However, it remains a league of haves and have-nots in many ways. Look no further than the inability of roughly half the league to capitalize on the sorts of opportunities the Minnesota Vikings have with the No. 3 overall pick in this year’s NFL Draft.

Since the NFL playoffs expanded in 1990, 17 teams have made multiple top-three draft picks, accounting for 56 of those 66 picks (84.8%) overall. Only three of those teams — St. Louis, Indianapolis and Washington — have won a championship.

The other 15 teams have combined for 32 Super Bowl appearances, including 19 of 22 titles (86.4%).

In other words, no amount of talent can fix a bad team if the team is bad for organizational reasons. Management/leadership matter more than raw talent, at least in NFL terms.

March 3, 2012

New Orleans to rename NFL team after “bounty hunting” revealed

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 11:05

Football is a fast, hard, dangerous game. But the New Orleans Saints made it that bit more dangerous for their opponents by offering head-hunting bonuses for injuring players during the game. This is against NFL rules, and it’s rather surprising to find that players earning hundreds of thousands per year could be motivated by such relatively trivial sums ($1,000 to $1,500 for knocking players out of the game):

The National Football League on Friday found the New Orleans Saints guilty of a wide-ranging system of bounty payments to between 22 and 27 defensive players from 2009 through 2011, and player-safety-conscious commissioner Roger Goodell could bring the hammer down very hard on the franchise.

The most alarming finding by the league, according to one club source who was briefed on the investigation late Friday afternoon, was this: Before the 2009 NFC Championship Game, Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma offered any defensive teammate $10,000 in cash to knock then-Vikings quarterback Brett Favre out of the game. Favre was hit viciously several times in the game. Favre told SI.com Friday evening: “I’m not pissed. It’s football. I don’t think anything less of those guys.”

The details of Vilma’s offer were in a report to the 32 NFL owners, sent out by the league to detail further what the league’s 50,000-page investigation found.

Early indications late Friday afternoon were that the sanctions against the Saints and their former defensive coordinator who the league said administered the bounties, Gregg Williams, will be severe. The league said the penalties could include suspensions, fines and loss of draft choices — the latter of which could be particularly damaging to the Saints, who do not own a first-round pick this year. Their first choice will be late in the second round, the 59th overall … unless Goodell takes the pick away.

Football is a rough sport, but Goodell needs to crack down on this with enough force to send a message to the entire league. Taking away New Orleans’ draft picks would certainly be a punishment of that magnitude.

June 16, 2011

Welcome to Vancouver. Please ignore the rioters

Filed under: Cancon, Sports — Tags: , , , , , , , — Nicholas @ 08:02

Lord Stanley’s Cup won’t be coming back to Canada this year, but as Brian Hutchison points out, that’s only one of the losses sustained by Vancouver last night:

The season ends, and the worst does come to pass. Vancouver, you have lost. Twice. But the game hardly matters now, does it? The score? Who cares? As I write this, my eyes are stinging, my is throat sore, having breathed in some sort of dispersal chemical that police deployed — in desperation, and perhaps too late. There could be some residual effect from having inhaled acrid, toxic smoke from burning cars, exploding cars, destroyed by lunatics still running crazy on the city’s downtown streets.

Blood in our streets. I saw people on the ground, bleeding. Shattered glass everywhere. Police cars set alight. Major bridges are now closed, preventing public access into the downtown core. Transit is plugged up, there’s no way out. More police and fire crews are arriving, from the suburbs, but again, it seems too late.

And as I write this, the sun has just set. Vancouver, what a disgrace.

Update: A Tumblr page posting photos of the rioters and looters:

The National Post has more photos of the aftermath.

Update: Joey “Accordion Guy” deVilla points out that one of these riots is not like the others. Oh, and a commentary on the most famous photo of the riots (so far).

February 4, 2011

Superbowl XLV storyline: sportscasters in the frigid cold

Filed under: Football, Humour, Media — Tags: , , , , , , — Nicholas @ 09:03

The Two Scotts spend a bit of time talking about the teams, but most of their column talking about how the brave network sports guys are bearing up under the unexpectedly cold weather:

Reid: Top three undeniable facts about Super Bowl XLV:

1. Sports Reporters Are Pussies. So far the most reportable item from the 2011 Super Bowl appears to be that it’s very coldy woldy. We had to spend days listening to ESPN’s Mike and Mike wussy aloud about how cold it was broadcasting outside until they finally moved their show indoors. And it seems every other reporter in Dallas assumes what the football-loving public wants to learn first is how they’re all holding up in the frigid air of north Texas. Yo candy apples, it’s barely dropped below freezing. Grow a pair!

[. . .]

Feschuk: Reid is right — how can you people think about football at a time like the Super Bowl? Have you not read the stories of valour and bravery from north Texas? Are you not aware of the HARDSHIP and SUFFERING being endured by members of media, who have been subjected to horrible injustices such as wind and having their corporate golf junkets cancelled? Reading their harrowing dispatches from the front lines, it’s clear that these reporters are pretty much exactly like the pro-democracy protesters in Egypt, except even more courageous because some of them forgot to bring warm socks. WE STAND WITH YOU, HEROES!

Honestly, did the US networks hire all of their current crop of sportscasters from Toronto? It would explain the whining about the weather . . .

Then again, the reporters had to write about something, and there are only so many times you can go on about Aaron Rodgers’ talent or interview the family of gypsies that lives in Brett Keisel’s beard. One news outlet in New Hampshire was so desperate that it actually ran a story about a local man who has the same name as Packers coach Mike McCarthy. Think about that. Think about how hard-up for a remotely engaging Super Bowl story the editor must have been to say out loud, “There’s someone else on this planet with the name Mike McCarthy?? AND HE LIVES HERE IN NEW HAMPSHIRE???? To the newsmobile!!!

Aside from the terrible, terrible burden of the weather, the next biggest problem (according to Reid) is this:

There are Not Enough Slutty Women in Texas. In what would constitute a crisis in any circumstance, an embarrassing shortage of prostitutes in the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area during the Super Bowl may irreparably damage the city’s reputation among hard-up pigs. It is estimated that 10,000 hookers are needed to satisfy the drunken demands of fat corporate slobs who, left to their own charms, couldn’t pick up a slice of pizza. Dallas currently has less than half this number of ladies of the evening (not mention ladies of the afternoon, the late morning, the early morning and the Warren Sapp). In response, the Dallas mayor has been forced to implement emergency measures: Free tickets for Charlie Sheen and ‘friends’.

January 14, 2011

Bruce Arthur continues to bathe Seattle in praise

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 12:58

Well, sorta:

Three of the four teams that advanced in the NFL playoffs last week did so on the road. The one home team that managed to win was the Seattle Seahawks, who became the first 7-9 team to topple the defending Super Bowl champions. And if Seattle and Green Bay both win on the road, Seattle will become the first 7-9 team to host a conference championship game, by virtue of having won the Oklahoma Dust Bowl of NFL divisions.

If this occurs, by the way, I give up. I will surrender the job of picking NFL games to the coin. You’ll barely be able to tell the difference, really.

[. . .]

By the way, Seattle’s nine losses this season were by 17, 17, 30, 34, 15, 18, 19, 16, and 23 points, which added up to the fifth-worst point differential in the NFL this season, even if you take their playoff win into account. Only Denver, Buffalo, Arizona and Carolina were worse.

And yet with three-quarters of the league lying on various Caribbean beaches letting the bruises heal, here the Seahawks are, two wins from the Super Bowl. Weird? Well, when Marshawn Lynch ripped off that game-sealing, tackle-shedding, 67-yard trample that made the Saints defence look like it consisted exclusively of Canadian pedestrians, it made for the first 100-yard game by a Seattle running back this season.

Up is down, and black is Seahawks blue. At this rate, the Seahawks are going to win the Super Bowl, be collectively elected to form the next American government, discover a universal antibiotic that crushes even the most indestructible of superbugs, and be the first football team to walk on Mars. There, they will defeat a squadron of 14-foot-tall lizard men from a distant galaxy, despite being billion-point underdogs.

January 7, 2011

Something tells me that Seattle isn’t a popular pick

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 12:08

Here’s Scott Feschuk venting his spleen about the myriad wonders that put Seattle into the playoffs as the number 4 seed, despite posting a losing regular season record:

Did you see how coaching mastermind and Up With People alumnus Pete Carroll waited to tip his hand about who’s going to start at quarterback for his Seahawks. That left New Orleans at the disadvantage of having to prepare for both Dumb and Dumber. That’s some sneaky maneuverin’! It’s too bad Seattle couldn’t bring in The Most Sought After Man in the World, Jim Harbaugh, to coach this game. Or quarterback it. Or use his heavenly powers to part the Saints D-line while curing leukemia with his farts. Because according to sports talk radio Harbaugh could totally do it. HE’S A MICHIGAN MAN! Alas, the Seahawks are stuck with the roster that managed exactly one victory this season against a team that finished with a winning record. Every single one of Seattle’s nine losses this year was by more than 10 points. Every. Single. One. Why? Because they are terrible. TERRIBLE. Do not let yourself forget this: They are a terrible football team that is awful! Although in their defence Mike Williams has had a nice season and Carroll’s hair has never had more lustre and bounce. Some people seem to be trying to talk themselves into taking the points. At ESPN.com, one blogger wrote about how “the planets are aligning for a Seahawks victory.” His proof? “The defending Super Bowl champs must travel across the country to face a 7-9 team they defeated by two touchdowns already this season. Is that anything for them to get fired up about?” Um, yes, actually. I’d think the prospect of beginning your quest for a second consecutive Super Bowl title by lining up across from the Spazzy McNumbnuts would indeed be a tantalizing and highly agreeable proposition. Sure, the Saints will be without their two top running backs. But you know why that’s no big deal? BECAUSE THE SEAHAWKS ARE TERRIBLE.

Bruce Arthur chimes in:

Playoffs! We’re talking about playoffs! But not before we check off the list of those who didn’t get here, and therefore got thrown out on their behinds. We’ll go from the top of the trash pile to the bottom, starting with the stinking Seattle Seahawks, who finished 7-9, scored fewer and allowed more points that the 4-12 Cincinnati Bengals, got outscored by a total of 97 points — more than Detroit, Dallas and San Francisco combined — and …

Wait, what? They’re in? Well, that’s ridiculous.

January 10, 2010

Shootout in Arizona, shoot-down in Foxboro

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 21:29

Just watched the Baltimore Ravens do horrible things to the guys wearing the New England Patriot uniforms. Following that, the Arizona Cardinals had a scoring fest against the Green Bay Packers . . . who also had a scoring fest.

I don’t know what happened to the Patriots, as they looked as though they’d never seen a football before. The game was already looking out of reach by the end of the first quarter. Final score, 33-14. Baltimore tried a couple of trick plays — having the quarterback throw the ball in a “forward pass” rather than handing off to the running back. It’s a legal play, and some teams do a lot of it, but Baltimore didn’t need too much of that exotic stuff to grind New England down.

Arizona appeared to have an insurmountable lead over the Packers, but somehow (perhaps by not playing any significant defence) they let Green Bay tie the game at the end of regulation, forcing an overtime period. This was one of the highest scoring games in playoff history (at one point, the game announcers said it had already tied for second highest combined score, and the game wasn’t over yet). The game was decided on a defensive TD early in the overtime period, finishing 51-45.

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