Sunday, September 24, 2006

Monday A.M. Quickie:
We're All Saints Fans

I was so eager to get posts up last night after sitting out for the weekend that I blew my wad with all of them for you to find when you got here this morning. I know bloggers are really supposed to publish posts throughout the day to encourage readers to return over and over, but I was too excited to get to it today. Under this post, be sure to check out:

NFL Week 3 Wrap
New CFB Top 25 Ballot
CFB Saturday Wrap

On to today's Quickie:

TOP STORY: Super. Home.

The Saints' return to the Superdome is so much more important than everything BUT the actual football.

(It's also the biggest story of the sports day, and not just because it'll be getting blanket coverage.)

Sure, both the run-n-gun "run-n-run" Falcons and the heart-warming host Saints are 2-0.

But it's all about the image of the Superdome hosting a football game, rather than the scene of a year ago: Devastation.

The topic will be beaten to death over the next 24 hours, but I point back to my rally cry from early last season, for at least one night:

"We're All Saints Fans."

NFL Week 3 Wrap: Full NFL W3 wrap below, but here are a handful of half-baked observations worthy of a one-take look at the biggest NFL storylines of the day:

(1) If the Jags' offense was half as good as its D, Jacksonville would have beaten the Colts -- and be the best team in the NFL.

(2) The Bengals are the new team to beat in the AFC; the Steelers won't be making it back to the playoffs.

(3) I wasn't wrong last week to call the Pats one of the NFL's least impressive 2-0 teams; losing at home to Denver wasn't as bad as the way they did it -- listlessly.

(4) Rex Grossman's first-ever 4th-quarter TD to lead the Bears over the Vikings was more impressive (and important) than his 4 TDs in Week 2.

(5) Don't overweight Brett Favre's performance in getting the Packers' first W of '06: The Lions are a top contender for the NFL's worst team.

(6) Clinton Portis returns to reasonable strength (16 carries, 82 yards 2 TDs) and Mark Brunell is able to complete 22 passes in a row: Coincidence? I think not.

(7) Instead of blaming the crowd noise, the Giants should think about blaming their porous D. (Nice rally to make it interesting, though.)

(8) The most intriguing NFL game of 2007 just might be in the preseason, when the Seahawks and Pats meet in the NFL's first-ever game in CHINA. (8:30 a.m. ET kickoff)

(9) Realistic fantasy lineup I wish I had:
QB: Matt Hasselbeck (5 TDs)
RB: Brian Westbrook (2 TDs, 117 yds)
RB: Ladell Betts (TD, 124 yds)
WR: Javon Walker (2 TDs, 130 yds)
WR: TJ Houshmandzadeh (2 TDs, 94 yds)
Flex: Keyshawn Johnson (1 TD rec, 1 TD rush)
K: John Kasay (FGs: 51, 50, 49, 46)
D: Vikings (2 INTs, including 1 for TD)

CFB Hangover: I'm still recovering from Notre Dame's comeback win at Michigan State. Coming later: (1) Why did the ND win represent the week as a whole in CFB? And (2) Yes, but where do you rank the Irish NOW?

Meanwhile, congrats to Rutgers! I've had them in my personal Top 25 poll ranking for a week, but the AP finally ranked them this season, the first time RU has been ranked since 1976.

MLB Wrap: Hoffman Is Saves King! It's actually hard to figure out what's more impressive:

Trevor Hoffman setting the career saves record (479 – enough to be a Hall of Fame lock?)...

...Or Hoffman, at 38 years old, leading the NL in saves THIS season (43) and positioning his Padres to make the playoffs -- and to make himself the league's Cy Young winner.

Tigers Clinch Playoffs! Breathe easy, Tigers fans. No matter what happens the rest of the regular season, your team has clinched a spot in the AL playoffs.

The achievement represents the most impressive worst-to-first turnaround (albeit over three years) since the Braves went from worst to first in one year ('90 to '91).

Given where the Tigers were three years ago -- and how ultra-competitive the AL Central was supposed to be, between the defending champ White Sox, the shoulda-coulda-woulda Indians and the perennially competitive Twins 0 – it's particularly incredible.

Playoff Races: Dodgers win, but only keep pace. Padres' win keeps LAD .5 GB in NL West; Phillies' win keeps LAD .5 GB for Wild Card.

US Chokes on Ryder Cup: Who's the bigger loser -- (a) the US losing in the Ryder Cup (again) or (b) the US losing in world hoops (again)? (c) None of the above: That loser who bet $465K on the US to win the Ryder!

And a huge thanks to everyone who participated in the CFB and NFL Comment-frenzy this weekend. Terrific work. It's like you don't need me at all! (Wait, that CAN'T be good for business...)

-- D.S.


Gary said...

Dan, About Notre Dame's game representing the whole college football day...did you see any of the other games? Not really much competition. Besides, it was a great high scoring affiar with the biggest name in college sports.

I may root against the Irish at all costs, but it was still a fantastic game to watch with a pitcher (or three) of Miller Light at your local establishment.

Dan, now that Rutgers is in the top 25, do you think people will start to re-evaluate the Big East as a good BCS Conference. They are at least as good as the Pac-10 and maybe even the Big XII (this season). I wouldn't be suprised if Rutgers finishes up their season with a 10-2 record (losing to WVU and Louisville). So that would be three Big East teams with the potential (albeit small) to make a BCS Bowl Game. That's pretty good. Also, five of the eight Big East teams have a legit shot at a bowl. Not bad for the "worst" BCS Conference

Christian Thoma said...

1. I still hate Trevor Hoffman for blowing the All-Star Game.

2. My one thought on the Ryder Cup: Who do you think Vijay Singh roots for?

3. I knew Dan (and Banks did as well) would bring up the 'it was only Detroit' card, both conveniently forgetting that Favre is historically lousy on the turf, especially in Detroit.

4. Right now, my dream situation is either the Dodgers gets the WC, or the Dodgers win the West--the Philles get the WC--but finish with a worst record than the Cards.

5. We put a lot of criticism on the Red Sox earlier this season because they had won so many games in the NL. How about the Tigers-Royals series? Detroit is 14-1 against the Royals this year. Put Detroit in the East or West, and I think they'd be struggling for the WC (of course you can probably say the same about the Twinkies and Chisox).

6. Rutgers. Wake Forest. January.

7. Heard this morning that the Fox crew is going to be at the Saints-Panthers game next week. So will I (traded my Giants-Panthers I won playing DDR to a co-worker for them). My question to everybody is: if I assassinate Joe Buck, what book should I be carrying in my back pocket? I'm thinking the paperback version of Now I Can Die in Peace (for both the title and the anti-Buck rants).

The heroin sheik said...

The ryder cup may have been painful but after two aces this weekend that makes it three I have seen on tv in the last month. Considering I have never seen one before on tv that was cool to me. I think the problem with the us is that are just too uptight. The europeans seem to relax at these events and guys who are only above average (Sergio) shine in this type of environment. Still I thin kthe funniest moment of the weekend was watching woozie spit up champagne like a porn star gagging on a load.

Mega said...

I think the AL Central is by far the best division in baseball this year. The Twins and Tigers will make the playoffs. The White Sox and Indians underachieved big time. Sure KC has a bad record, but they beat up the NL just like every other AL team did (can you say .500 if they were in the NL Central)? Is there really another division that comes even close?

Mega said...

"You really think the Royals have better pitching staffs than the Marlins, Brewers, or Giants?"

Never said they did, but what did the pitching staffs of those NL teams do agains the AL? Check the stats and see if there is a viable argument here.

Brian in Oxford said...

I think there's something odd here, with the Rams being allowed to change their mind on declining the offside penalty at the end of the Cardinals game. Isn't that like when you play Monopoly with a 5-year-old, and you have to explain to them WHY they'd want Boardwalk to go with their Park Place? If the Rams don't know the rules, the ref shouldn't be explaining them on the sidelines after their choice. I don't think Rackers woulda made the free kick....but teams *deserve* to lose games when they don't think out their decisions when they're supposed to!

Other than that, why is nobody caring about the big battle for 2nd place in the AL east at this point! Oh never mind....

And as for the Royals, remember what Ozzie G. said about the AL's superiority....he could win 150 games in the NL east, the Mets would probably be in last in the AL central....The Red Sox and top 3 AL Central teams were a combined 50 games over .500 in interleague, no?

thistlewarrior said...

A large portion of the blame for the Steelers' woes has to belong to Cower. He should have played the 1st string offence a hell of a lot more in the preseason games; Roethlisberger had what, 37 snaps in 4 games? Palmer got more reps than that in 2 games. Plus, he never should have let him play at Jax. I know the kid is super competitive and all that, but sometimes it is the coaches job to protect his players from themselves. The bye week couldn't come at a better time for them.

Despite the victory, still very concerned about the Bengals D, they did not look good. Also wonder where the O-line disappeared to. Not ready to call them the best in AFC just yet.

V. excited about MNF tonight. So happy to see NFL back in New Orleans. They still have a long way to go, but at least it is a step in the right direction. GO SAINTS!!!

Unknown said...

I disagree. Cowher was right to play Big Ben in Jacksonville. He needs to get up to speed fast and playing in real games is the only way to do that. Roethlisberger is clearly still rusty.
If Cowher had played Ben more in meaningless pre-season games, he'd have been lambasted for risking his barely healed QB.

I still like the Steelers over the Ravens and I don't have them out of the playoffs just yet.

Hox said...

What is more impressive: going worst-to-first and LOSING the World Series, or going worst-to-first and WINNING the World Series? Nice that you mention the 1991 Braves and not the 1991 World Series champs Twins, Dan.

Jingoist said...

Best sports moment this weekend? I had the honor of meeting John Madden. Very gracious, and not at all the boisterous "TV Madden" you see on broadcasts.

rob (warwick)

Trayton Otto said...

More US disappointment: Davis Cup semifinal loss to Russia. In Moscow and on a stadium clay court, on Friday Roddick lost to Safin and Blake lost to Youzhny (the same guy who knocked off Nadal in the US Open and the Bryan brothers on the same day). On Saturday, the Bryan twins did their job as the world's #1 doubles team to make Sunday mean something. Sunday, Roddick down 2 sets to Tursunov decided he'd finally hold serve, eventually winning the 3rd and 4th sets. In the 5th, he was up a break, serving for the match at 6-5, but lost the game. He faced 3 match points at 11-12 and held on, but couldn't face down another match point at 15-16. Game, set, match, tie. Good game, USA.

The Russians were striking the ball really well. Tursunov had many many solid forehand winners both down the line and across the court that Roddick never had the chance to get to. In the post match interview, Roddick was pissed/disappointed over his 4:48 loss, congradulating Tursunov of course. He didn't mention the length of the match, losing himself in that. He was focused, but just didn't have what he needed to win. "Davis Cup losses are the toughest to take."

Jingoist said...

Even as a Pats fan, I have to say, I think Belichick et al. has finally played one "budget" hand too many. More like overplayed. When you are $15 million under the new cap and you are a premier franchise in the NFL, you are doing something wrong. That's not to say spend $15 million per year on 1 player (see: Deion Branch), but geez, do something to bolster your deficiencies (wide receiver, secondary). Role players are role players for a reason. You need a superstar or 2 in each of the skill positions.

Of course, I'll be choking on this after the Bye week and the 4 WRs (Gabriel, Caldwell, Jackson, Brown) start posting 50+ yards a piece because Brady feels comfortable, but hey.

rob (warwick)

Gary said...

Rob (warwick)

Did you meet Madden in front of the Providence Place Mall at the waterfront park? Or were you at the game?

I saw they were doing a remote location from there during the Ryder Cup coverage. It's funny how everyone associates the Pats with Boston but they are basically Providence's team. The visitors stay in Providence and they are much closer to Providence than Boston. Anyway, just saying. I fell asleep before either team scored in that game.

Ed Lamb said...

Superdome = Worst. Football. Venue. Ever.

I'm apalled that not a single commentator has stated the obvious fact that the next touchdown dance at the Superdome will be literally danced on a Hurricane Katrina victim's grave.

Absolutely return football to New Orleans, But have the Saints play at Tulane's stadium until a new version of the Superdome can be built. It's just wrong to pretend that the Superdome is nothing but a place to have fun.

Josh said...

I think its a little early to write off the Steelers.

You national media members wrote them off on December 5, 2005.

We saw how that worked out.

There is a lot of football to be played, and no one has ever made the playoffs on September 25.

Mike said...

did you really say "blow my wad"?

Unknown said...

With a new kid...the blog is probably his only chance to do that...

Marcus T said...

Steelers not making playoffs AND Cincy is the team to beat? Please, Cincy got SOO lucky. The Steelers had 2 turnovers inside their own 30 AND two INT's in Cincy's endzone. Cincy didn't win it, Pitt lost it, and I highly doubt you see Pitt play that bad ever again this season.

NE looked pathetic, lifeless, and dead. Not even trusting your kicker to make a 38 yarder to bring you w/i 7 in the final 2 minutes? Bellicheck...not a genius?

Lastly, you can count me off the Saints bandwagon. Granted, I'm a bit of a heartless bastard, but NO doesn't need football and sympathy. They need money, government, construction, etc.

Bobman said...

A few have already said it, but I have to agree - we're not all Saints fans. I'm happy for the people of New Orleans that they're getting back to a moderate sense of normalcy, and that they can have football back there, but how that relates to me wanting one of the worst franchises in the NFL to WIN? It doesn't even relate.

It's just another thing for all the mindless drones in the media, especially the sports media, to cling to and make themselves seem deep and thoughtful. If you want to help, go down there and help, or donate money to the effort, don't root for a stupid football team that sucks.

Christian Thoma said...

the next touchdown dance at the Superdome will be literally danced on a Hurricane Katrina victim's grave.

They buried people in the superdome?

Ingrid and Jim said...

Let me preface this by saying that I am a Rutgers graduate.

There is NO WAY we should be top 25. Look at who we´ve played! Until we have a respectable showing against a real team (WVU, Louisville), I am not a believer.

Ace Cowboy said...

Is it true that Keith Jackson is calling tonight's MNF game?

Jingoist said...


met him at the Westin in Providence. He was staying there and I was there this weekend for a wedding.

You're right about Providence. All the celebs/athletes who come into the "Boston area" for events actually stay in Providence out of the limelight and it's easier access to and from events.

Tiger is another example- he always stays at the Westin when he plays nearby. A friend of mine has a membership at the Westin gym and says you can catch Tiger there typically when he's in town.

rob (warwick)

Steve said...

Can we please all keep in mind that Rex freaking Grossman lit up the Lions even worse than Favre did? Once Grossman faced a halfway decent defense like the Vikings he laid an egg. Detroit's defense = suck. Favre's performance yesterday = overrated.

Ed Lamb said...

I was at the Supedome for the 1996 Sugar Bowl, when my beloved Hokie upset the Texas Longhorns on one of the best New Year's Eves ever. The place was great for a football game then. It is now a memorial to tragedy. Don't play/party there.

Steve said...

The superdome was originally built on an ancient Native American burial ground. No one seemed to give a crap about it being a memorial then. Everywhere on earth has had people die there at one point or another, you just gotta move on.

Christian Thoma said...

It's not a memorial to tragedy, it's a memorial to bureaucratic ineptness. And if we stopped playing football in every city that has shown bureaucratic ineptness, well, there aren't very many places left to play.

And definitely not Oakland.

Christian Thoma said...

Speaking of tragedies, Shaun Alexander is out indefinitely with a broken foot. The Madden Curse Lives!

Lew said...

Imagine the horror of Saints fans if Reggie Bush gets injured? The irony of the hope of a franchise and city taken down by their own stadium.

Unknown said...

Ugh. The Hokies. Purple Turkeys..worst mascot ever.

Ed Lamb said...

"People died everywhere in the city. Should we just ditch the city as a whole under your theory?"


Obviously, I can't I argue that New Orleans should be abandoned because a natural disaster occured. Nor would I. New Orleans was my favorite place to visit before Katrina, and I'm thrilled to see that the place is coming around.

But I do believe that the Superdome should be viewed and treated as what it has become, which is a memorial to tragedy. If the largest other stadium in N.O. holds only 20,000, as another poster noted, then play Saints game in front of 20K. Why would that be a problem?

Also, I didn't know that the Superdome was constructed on top of an ancient Indian burial ground. (Again, quoting another poster.) If that that is true, the site should be abandoned for two reasons. The fact that people didn't seem to object to building the Superdome on a graveyard doesn't mean that doing so wasn't wrong.

Who paid for the Supedome repairs? And how much did fixing the stadium cost? Couldn't that money, time, and people power have been put to better use rehabilitating the houses of New Orleans?

And thats my real point in all of this. As important as sports are in creating and maintaining people's sense of community, it is killing (metaphorical usage) me that seemingly no one is discussing the all too apparent negatives to returning footbal to a location where so much bad stuff happened.

P.S. to raphael: Harsh me all you want, but the Hokie Bird never did anything wrong to you.