Friday, January 25, 2008

Press Roundup

Arizona (INEPT) - The week before SuperBore is slow. It is boring. But the press keeps writing. We survey. Another incomparable service, brought to you by the crack staff here at INEPT.

Klosterman Immortality: Nice piece by Patriot Lover Chuck Klosterman over at ESPN. Basically, the Patriots would be more memorable if they lost. To wit:
If the Patriots win, they will just become this thing that scorched the earth for five months before capturing a trophy that was never in doubt. Future historians will describe this New England team as if it were a machine. Everyone will concede the Pats' superlative greatness, but the 19 wins will be just a collection of numbers. But if they lose -- especially if they lose late -- the New England Patriots will be the most memorable collection of individuals in the history of pro football. They will prove that nothing in this world is guaranteed, that past returns do not guarantee future results, that failure is what ultimately defines us and that Gisele will probably date a bunch of other dudes in her life, because man is eternally fallible.

Thus, for the first time, we hope that the Patriots do indeed become immortal, in the Klosterman sense.

Bootgate continues: The stories about Tom Brady's feet continue. Is he hurt? Is he practicing? Is he hanging out with Tony Romo in Mexico?

Brady: Off Camera, Left. Three Chicks asking him, "Do you play QB like Romo?"

From this article:
When drills began and receivers ran pass routes, it was backup Matt Cassel throwing to Randy Moss and No. 3 quarterback Matt Gutierrez passing the ball to Wes Welker.

Just the thought of Matt Cassel/Gutierrez playing in the game makes us smile.

Big Brother: Peyton chimes in on his brother. Basically, he thinks Eli will be in multiple SuperBores, and that they taught their dad how to text message. Maybe Dad should have taught him how not to choke in a playoff game -- oh yeah, he never played in one. Oddly, no mention of the DSRL:

DSRL, DSRL, I can't get your damn song out of my head

Dr. Z: Genius: Dr. Z is picking the Giants. And not just to win the DSRL. No, the SuperBore too. A choice quote:
I have a chance to settle an old score, right an old wrong, find peace in my old age and apologize, in sideways fashion, to those whom I wronged so many years ago.

The way to do all this is to pick the Giants to upset New England, and that's what I'm doing. Giants to upset the New England Patriots, currently favored by 12½, in the great stormfest known as Super Bowl XLII.

In 1968 I was the beat man, covering the Jets for the New York Post. I was around the team every day. I flew down with them to Miami for Super Bowl III and I stayed in their hotel, the Galt Ocean Mile in Fort Lauderdale. The Colts opened as 17-point favorites. By game time, the rush of Baltimore money had pushed the price up to 19½, one of the biggest line moves in Super Bowl history. They were calling the Colts The Greatest Team Ever, or at least the greatest on the defensive side of the ball. Their owner, Carroll Rosenbloom, thunderously echoed that sentiment.

I had a feeling about the Jets, not a strong one, but Joe Namath working against that strong side rotating zone? Gee, he'd never had trouble with it before. Could it be that ... ? Do I have the courage to ... ? Nah, I'll pick the Colts to win, but by under the spread. That'll make everyone happy. So I did and it made no one happy, least of all me when the Jets scored the biggest upset in Supe history. Who was happy? Leonard Shecter of the Post. He picked the Jets. I kicked myself for the coward I was. No longer. Today, I am a man.

Yes, Dr. Z, you are a man. At least in this blog's eyes you are.

Dr. Z: Genius

Draft update: The first of the draft boards are up at SI. Who do they have the Patriots taking with their number seven pick? Mike Jenkins, a cornerback from South Florida to replace the soon departed Asanta Samuel. Sounds good to us; we doubt whether that will even improve the team. What are the odds of a rookie being better than Samuel? And why didn't you take that draft pick away too, Roger "Destroyer of Evidence" Goodell? Wimp.

Goodell, Nixon. Both Crooks.

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Anonymous Don Banks of SI said...

With all due respect to my friend and colleague Paul Zimmerman, the esteemed Dr. Z., the psychic guilt of having not picked Joe Namath and the Jets to beat the Colts in the Super Bowl 39 years ago is no reason to compound one's mistake by predicting a Giants upset of the Patriots in next week's Super Bowl, as he did for both and Sports Illustrated earlier this week.

It's an understandable, albeit misplaced, attempt on his part to make up for lacking the courage of his convictions oh those many years ago. I can certainly see a competitive Super Bowl on tap. It'll look a lot like the Patriots-Giants game I covered in the Meadowlands not quite four weeks ago. But it'll wind up being a New England victory, just as that one was.

The Patriots are going to win, Paul. And they'll be 19-0 and fresh out of challenges to their throne when they do. Just as I predicted way back in Week 7 of this season. To counter Dr. Z's case for a Super Bowl upset, here are my five best reasons why New England will not fall short of perfection:

1. Taking a break is a real buzz killer.

The two weeks between the NFC title game and the Super Bowl will serve to diffuse, if not kill, the Giants' sense of momentum.

Dr. Z and others are correct when they say that a huge part of New York's success this month is attributable to its soaring confidence level and the mental toughness to handle whatever challenge is next put before it. The Giants are in that zone right now, and not playing again this weekend actually hurts them more than helps. Once the most unpredictable of teams, they need to keep it going, keep the underdog mojo flowing, keep the win-a-week routine in place.

Ah, but nothing breaks a winning team's routine like a Super Bowl trip. Many a red-hot conference champions have rolled into a Super Bowl city and found the big-game atmosphere to be distracting and filled with the types of focus-altering stimuli that can throw a team off stride. The more playoff-tested and mature a team, the less chance there is for the Super Bowl nonsense factor to have an impact. But when you think of the Giants, maturity has not always been their calling card. This new incarnation of theirs is only weeks old.

If there's a team in Arizona that's likely to get caught up in all the hype and all the talk, forgetting ever so slightly to keep their heads down and their eyes on the prize, it's not New England. It'll be the Giants. New York doesn't need the extra preparation time or the build-up. It needs to keep playing. Keep pushing. Keep the pedal to the medal.

2. Nobody gets ready like Bill Belichick.

No coach in the league -- and maybe in NFL history -- matches Belichick when it comes to his legendary preparation skills. Giving him two weeks to get ready for an opponent is almost unfair. He'll invariably find a weakness in an opponent and devise a way to exploit it, or at least figure out a way to neutralize a team's greatest offensive strength. In his New England tenure, Belichick is 6-0 in the playoffs when he's had two weeks to prepare for an opponent, and that doesn't even include the Patriots' signature upset of the heavily favored Rams in Super Bowl XXXIV, which was played just one week after the conference title games that year.

Belichick has done some of his best work against quarterbacks named Manning. He's 8-4 in games against the Peyton Manning-led Colts, beating him twice in three playoff games, and for the longest time Eli's Manning's big brother had to contend with the notion that he had a severe case of Belichick on the brain. That Week 17 showdown against the Giants was Belichick's first encounter with Eli, and while No. 10 played great, New England did win the game to cap its 16-0 perfect season.

3. Been there and done that really matters.

When it comes to coaching in the Super Bowl, experience counts for something. While the record of first-time Super Bowl head coaches is a respectable 19-24, when you break down the matchup of Belichick versus Tom Coughlin a little further, the advantage swings firmly in New England's favor.

Belichick is 3-0 as a Super Bowl head coach, while Coughlin will be making his Super Bowl head-coaching debut. In the first 41 Super Bowls, there have been 18 matchups where one head coach had experience working on the NFL's grandest stage, and one didn't. The coaches with previous Super Bowl experience went 12-6 in that situation.

It has been 10 years since a Super Bowl rookie head coach bested an opponent with prior Super Bowl experience: Denver's Mike Shanahan got the better of Green Bay's Mike Holmgren in Super Bowl XXXII in San Diego. That type of "upset'' has happened just twice in the '70s, twice in the '80s and twice in the '90s. Belichick is 2-0 in such a situation, with wins over Carolina's John Fox four years ago in Houston and Philadelphia's Andy Reid three years ago in Jacksonville.

4. It's an AFC thing.

As well as the Giants (13-6) have been playing, do we need to remind you that this is the NFC champion we're talking about? The AFC has won four consecutive Super Bowls, six of the past seven, and eight of the previous 10. A decade of dominance is a pretty good measuring stick when it comes to trends. In those eight winning Super Bowls, the AFC's average margin of victory has been in double digits, at 10.1 points per game.

Tampa Bay in 2002 and St. Louis in 1999 are the only NFC teams to triumph in the Super Bowl in the past 10 years, and they beat two of the lesser regarded AFC champions in recent memory in Oakland (just 11-5 in the regular season) and Tennessee (a wild-card playoff entry). The Rams were favored by seven points over those Titans, and the Raiders were actually 3 1/2-point favorites over the Bucs in the nearest thing to a toss-up Super Bowl in the past eight years.

If you're wondering, the Giants did go 3-1 against AFC teams this season, but that's a bit misleading in that New York was fortunate to draw the weakest division in the conference to square off against. New York had the AFC East in interconference play, beating the Jets, Dolphins and Bills (three teams that combined to go 12-36), and losing, of course, to the Patriots in Week 17.

5. Nobody comes up big in big games like the Patriots.

With the NFL's first 19-0 perfect season on the line in Super Bowl XLII, this is quite simply the biggest game in the careers of both Tom Brady and Belichick, the preeminent big-game quarterback-coach tandem since Bart Starr and Vince Lombardi were doing their thing for Green Bay's dynasty in the 1960s.

Brady and Belichick are 14-2 (.875) in the playoffs in New England, trailing only Starr and Lombardi's .900 postseason winning percentage (9-1). A win will not only give New England its fourth Super Bowl title in seven years -- a span of success beaten only by Pittsburgh's four rings in six years in the '70s -- it'll set the Patriots apart in NFL history as the first team to reach the 19-0 mountaintop.

I can't fathom the Patriots, who have jealously defended their legacy against all real or imagined slights this season, letting an opportunity to leave a completely unique mark on the game slip away. It means too much to them to let themselves be denied one step away from a historical accomplishment of this magnitude. Whatever it takes against a hungry and dangerous Giants team, New England will find a way to win and stand alone.

That's the Patriot Way.

10:13 AM  
Anonymous HAHA GO PATS said...

Some 62 percent of Pats fans living in the Boston area earned a bachelor's or postgraduate degree or have some higher-education experience, compared to 59 percent of Giants fans, according to the latest marketing data provided by the Nielsen Co., the TV ratings firm.

Likewise, 72 percent of Pats fans live in homes worth north of $200,000, compared to 63 percent of Giants yahoos. Pats fans drink Amstel Light, not Bud Light. Giants fans slug back lots of whiskey. Bostonians are likely to read connoisseur magazines like Wine Spectator. Gotham fans like to pig out on junk food like pretzels, chips and nuts. When Giants fans aren’t booing Giants coach Tom Coughlin or punk quarterback Eli Manning in that New Jersey stadium they call home, they’re out practicing their tennis backhands in the backyard.

Taken from a statistics column in the Boston Herald. All research done by non-biased scientists.

10:40 AM  
Anonymous PatsandSeahawks said...

Excellent comment, don banks. You pretty much nailed every hater there.

Chicks: "Do you play QB like Romo?"

Brady: "No, because I don't fumble snaps against Seattle, and I don't have a great regular season without winning some playoff games, unlike the Cowboys and Mavericks."

1:50 PM  
Anonymous GiantsfaninNE said...

One would think that with all that "extra" education the New England Patriots' fans have, that they wouldn't be as classless and ignorant as they portray themselves. Must be a BAHSTON thing - hide the intelligence. Too bad the Pats fans forgot where they hid theirs.

2:07 PM  
Anonymous GO PATS said...

Sorry, stats don't lie, we probably hide our intelligence cause it's easier to talk to idiots with lower vocabulary if you mimic them....

You're a Giants fan, and according to that article, you need to go and earn a higher education degree.

3:38 PM  
Anonymous Pats Fan said...

Wanna know something else, my dear Giantsman?

Your homeboy Plax just said something reaaaalllllyyy stupid....and that, I think, is what's gonna bring the Giants down into an angry and horrific defeat. Why oh why do people like to piss off the Patriots?

Look it up on SI.

5:57 PM  
Anonymous Daytona said...

That one article shut all the hater bitches DOWN.

Let's see them responding to THAT, a PURE football-based argument.

And Giantsfreak- what the hell? Where in the world did you get the idea that we HIDE our intelligence?

Perhaps it's already shown in the team we support.

8:59 PM  
Anonymous Patty "Tom's here, safe with me, chowing on some Paul Newman cookies" Pat said...

I just read that Eli pulled a cheek miscle in the DSRL and will have to sit this one out.

9:05 PM  
Anonymous GiantsfaninNE said...

If the fandom of the Patriots have to stoop low enough to come onto a message board that is dedicated to hating them, then I think that shows their lack of intelligence right there. Could be lack of maturity, but feeling the need to trash talk for every game, and beat their chests like neanderthals says something about the intelligence of those fans.

I know Plaxico said that stupid something. I want to know how anybody can understand what he says unless they put the TV on closed caption. He's a low-talking mumbler. In any case, I'm sure he's just frustrated with the Patriots' hype, not that that, in any way, is an excuse for his remark.

One more week to go, then we'll see who walks away Super Bowl champions. Then all the articles about who dyes their dog, which fans are smarter, and Tom Brady and his Abercrombie & Fitch boot will be over, thankfully.


2:45 AM  
Anonymous PatriotsReign said...

"I know Plaxico said that stupid something."
Yup. They never learn, do they?
Thank you, Plax. When the Pats win it all, your mouth should be named a co-MVP.

7:32 AM  

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