Showing 1 - 10 of 379 posts found matching keyword: football

Back on December 12, I wrote

It is starting to look like 2023 will be yet another year where the Dolphins have a pretty good record heading into December only for the team to lose games they should win and flame out before the playoffs.

Final update: yep, they lost. After yet another December flame out, they lost their shot at winning the conference (last accomplished in 1984) and then their shot at winning the division (last accomplished in 2008). Once again, they backed into the playoffs as a wild card and then lost their shot at winning a postseason game (last accomplished in 2000).

Last year they lost to the Buffalo Bills in Buffalo in 28° weather. Last night, it was an even less competitive game, a dull 7-28 against the Kansas City Chiefs in Kansas City in -28° wind chill weather. I'm a little worried about what the temperature might be in next year's loss (in Cleveland?). Oh, well. That's the price you pay for not winning enough games to avoid away field disadvantage.

(To be completely fair to the Dolphins, for the second year in a row, by the time they got to December, the roster was devastated by injuries. It's hard to win at any temperature when you have no first- or second-string linebackers [although the real fail in the late season was an inability by the offense to score, partly due to lingering injuries but also bad scheming, play-calling, and execution]. I don't watch each game with the expectation of winning a Super Bowl; I just like football, and I like the team I cheer for to play well. It's just disappointing when the team seems to always be playing its very worst when the stakes get highest.)

My bigger problem with the loss was that in order to watch it, I had to subscribe to Peacock. The Dolphins v. Chiefs game was the first ever NFL playoff game available exclusively on a streaming network which charged a subscription fee and still ran a shit ton of ads. Fuck you, NFL and NBC. I'm glad your game was a frozen turd, and I'm glad I watched on someone else's account so you didn't get an extra dime out of me.

Welcome to the future, where the playoff football is terrible and you have to pay extra to see it. Living in the past increasingly seems the better option. I hear that 1972 was a pretty good year.

UPDATE: The Detroit Lions have won their playoff game, which means they no longer are the NFL team that has gone the longest since their last playoff win (31 seasons since 1992). That honor now belongs to, you guessed it, the Miami Dolphins. Twenty-three seasons and counting! Woot!

And since we're on the topic, I might as well point out that the Miami Dolphins currently sit at #5 on the list of NFL teams with the longest stretch since appearing in a Super Bowl. It's been 38 years since Joe Montana beat Dan Marino. It's been 47 years for the Vikings and 55 years for the Jets but it could be worse; the Lions and Browns remain tied at "never." So, yeah, that's the bright side: it be worse.

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Wow, what a rough year 2023 turned out to be. Domestic political dysfunction, nonstop foreign wars, losing your starting wide receiver, starting running back, starting defensive end, and starting cornerback in a seven day span just before the playoffs in what was looking to be the most promising season since 1993... Ick. Less of all that in 2024, please.

As seductive as it can be to fall into despair, this is hardly the first time global events have seemed to be spiraling out of control. In such circumstances, it is always worthwhile to listen to voices of wisdom.

I'm reminded of one speech in particular:

There comes a time when we heed a certain call, when the world must come together as one. There are people dying, oh, and it's time to lend a hand to life, the greatest gift of all.

We can't go on pretending day-by-day that someone, somewhere soon make a change. We're all a part of God's great big family, and the truth, you know, love is all we need.

Honestly, it can't be said enough. We are the world. The sooner we realize that, the sooner we can make the choice to start saving our own lives.

We are the ones who'll make a brighter day, so let's start giving our all and make 2024 a year to remember proudly.

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Once upon a time, they called it the Blockbuster Bowl. However, corporate America being fickle and football bowl committees being greedy, it has since been sponsored by Carquest, MicronPC, Mazda, Champs Sports, Russell Athletic, Camping World, and Cheez-It (which had previously sponsored a different bowl now sponsored by the mortgage lender Guaranteed Rate). In 2023, the new tenant is Pop-Tarts. What makes the Pop-Tarts Bowl significant isn't the string of consumer product sponsor changes but its weird connection to America's real favorite pastime: eating.

A few years ago, Duke's Mayonnaise bought the rights to turn the annual Continental Tire / Meineke Car Care / Belk Bowl into the Duke's Mayo Bowl. Duke's big, attention-getting decision was to replace the bucket of Gatorade traditionally dumped on the head of the winning coach with a giant jar of mayonnaise. It's exactly as gross as it sounds. When I see it, all I can think is, "Oh, those poor eggs!" (For the record, I never think, "Oh, those poor gators!" Gators got it coming.)

Pop Tarts saw Duke's made-for-TikTok moment and raised. Their mascot this year is a Frosted Strawberry Pop-Tart which emerged at midfield in a giant toaster. Throughout the game, the Pop-Tart posed for photos with children, danced with cheerleaders, and made finger guns at the officials. Then, when the game was over, he climbed back in his toaster only to slide out of a slot in the side... where the winning team ate him.

[To be clear, the players ate a giant Pop-Tart decorated to look identical to the mascot. At least I really, really hope that's what happened. I'd link here to a video of the event in question, but that's exactly what Kellogg's wants me to do.]

I'll be the first to admit that I like both football and Pop-Tarts as much as the next red-blooded American. (My favorite is Brown Sugar and Cinnamon, but the box in my pantry is Frosted Cherry because they are very marginally less malnutritious.) And I regularly eat barbecue at restaurants with smiling pig mascots on their napkins. But if you spend four quarters giving your mascot a personality, I'm not okay with putting it in the oven and eating it, even if you claim "it wants it" — that's a mental illness, Kellogg's! I'm a red-blooded American, not a fairy tale witch in a gingerbread house.

Eat up kids. And clean your plate. Ethiopia is full of starving cannibals.

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117/2283. Navy Blue and Gold (1937)
Robert Young and Jimmy Stewart portray Navy football players in this movie, but the director didn't seem to understand how the sport was actually played. The climactic sequence of events in which (SPOILER) Navy comes back and wins the big game is impossible in the game of football, even in 1937. (After a score, the non-scoring team receives the following kickoff.)

118/2284. Curious Caterer: Fatal Vows (2023)
As is usually the case, the solution here was obvious from the structure; motivation is explained only after all other suspects have been eliminated. If this was a real crime... nevermind. No crimes are committed like this. I don't watch these Hallmark Mysteries for their verisimilitude.

119/2285. Akeelah and the Bee (2006)
As much as I love the annual Scripps Spelling Bee, I had never seen this, a movie in which learning to spell makes the entire world better. Of course I loved it.

120/2286. The Bad Sleep Well (1960)
Akira Kurosawa's film noir tale of betrayal and revenge, with an underlying theme of how even a righteous crusade against greed can bring its own kind of corruption, is very, very good. It never quite goes where I expected. Kurosawa so rarely disappoints.

121/2287. Butterfield 8 (1960)
Yet another Elizabeth Taylor movie I didn't like. In fact, I'm hard-pressed to understand why anyone would like this film. I have to assume that its repudiation of the repressive sexual culture and forced conformity of the 1950s made it titillating viewing in its day, but its day should have long passed by now. Ick.

122/2288. Coraline (2009)
A dark fairy tale in the style I've come to expect from Neil Gaiman (with extra Roald Dahl flair for good measure). Very well done.

More to come.

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Week one of this college football season, I told friend Randy that we should go the National Championship Game if his team, Florida State, ended up playing mine, Georgia. Well, we got half of that.

Randy didn't want to spend the time or money it would take to get us to the Orange Bowl (which is understandable since he's dealing with family medical issues), so we compromised instead on the Camellia Bowl played in the Cramton Bowl stadium in Montgomery, Alabama, where we saw the Northern Illinois University Huskies defeat the Arkansas State Red Wolves 21-19.

Maybe it didn't have the weight of an SEC vs ACC contest, but I can't argue with the price or location. We even had great seats. Well, pretty good seats, anyway. The banner in front of us did block our view of the near sideline, as you can see in this screenshot of us from the ESPN broadcast. I have helpfully illustrated the best looking Georgia fan in the stadium.

Look, Ma! I'm on TV!

Last year in Birmingham, we were very cold in the evening air. This year, we were very warm in the midday sun. As much as I dislike the cold, I also dislike noon kickoffs that require 9AM departures. Maybe next year the time and temperature will be just right.

Highlights of the experience include the Arkansas State crowd booing when the PA announcer suggested everyone should get COVID boosters, Randy's calling a fake field goal prior to the snap (by the position of the kicker), and Randy's recognition that the late game onside kick attempt was doomed to failure (by the position of the kicker). That Randy sure knows his kicking game.

Speaking of kicking, Randy also had a lot to say about the Camellia Bowl Queen who played football on her high school football team. Her position? Kicker.

Arkansas State 19, Northern Illinois 21

I'm glad we went, and I already wonder where we'll go next year.

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Sometimes I feel like the people inside my television are from an alternate dimension talking directly to me....

One for the money

Two for the show

Three to get ready

Now throw, cat, throw!
from Late Night with Seth Meyers, December 12, 2023, via

The joke here is that Amber doesn't understand how football works, but even ignorant fools recognize that Dan Marino is the greatest to ever play the game. Respect!

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This time last week, despite winning zero games against teams with winning records, the Miami Dolphins were in position for the first place seed in the AFC, something they hadn't accomplished since 1984. If the Dolphins are the number one seed, they're guaranteed to make it to the first round of the playoffs and not lose for the first time since 2000... because they wouldn't play in the first round. Number one seeds get a free pass into the second round where they'll probably lose against a team with a winning record.

Then, last night on Monday Night Football against the 4-win Tennessee Titans, the Dolphins blew a 14-point lead in the last 4 minutes 34 seconds, something no team had done since 2016.

I've been watching football long enough that 2016 doesn't seem like such a long time. So far as I'm concerned, the Gold Standard for blowing a late game two-score leads remains the 2011 game where brand-new starting quarterback Tim Tebow led the 1-win Denver Broncos to score 15 points in the last 5:05 to eventually win in overtime... over the Miami Dolphins. It was the first time the Broncos had ever won in Miami. That game sparked the movement that would eventually become Tebowmania as he piloted the team to win their division and their first-round playoff game. Remember Tebowing? Yeah, that was the Dolphins' fault.

It is starting to look like 2023 will be yet another year where the Dolphins have a pretty good record heading into December only for the team to lose games they should win and flame out before the playoffs. I'm not mad about it. That's what the Dolphins do. If I wanted a different outcome, I'd cheer for a different team.

It could be worse. I could be an Atlanta Falcons fan.

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2023 SEC Championship: UGA 24, Alabama 27

On the bright side, it's kind of comforting to lose an SEC Championship game to Alabama again. In changing times, it's reassuring to have a familiar rock to crash your ship upon.

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Last week, knowing that Mom would be busy tending to her wounded beau, I sent a message to my standing group text with my friends looking for someone to accompany me to tonight's 7PM football game between #2 UGA and #9 Mississippi. They ignored me.

To add insult to injury, my so-called "friends" were unsympathetic the following day when I complained about people who put up and decorate Christmas trees the first week in November. Are they really my friends if they hate live football and think Christmas should be celebrated before Thanksgiving? I say no.

So I did what any sane person would do: I deleted the group text chain from my phone and went to the game by myself.

No. 9 Mississippi 17, No. 2 Georgia 52

Sure, it was cold and drizzly, but I still had a great time (and a hand warmer), mostly because the Bulldogs were totally dominant (and because Mom wasn't there to talk me out of bringing a hand warmer to the game). The seniors were celebrated; the veterans were celebrated; the SEC Champion soccer team was celebrated.... After halftime, it was pretty much all celebration inside the 9th largest football stadium in the world. These are good times to be a Bulldogs fan.

There are still two games remaining on the season, but this was the last home game of the year, an unusually early ending to a (mostly lousy) home schedule. Looking back at the four I attended, Kentucky was the most fun, but this was an easy second place. The question is whether I will be back next year.

It is getting very hard to find people to go to the games with me, especially since I have fewer friends than I thought I did. (Christmas tree-hugging bastards!) So spending thousands on a couple of tickets I can't (and don't want to) always use is starting to seem like a bad use of my money.

I'll see how I feel when the bill comes due in February.

In the meantime, do as Miss Manners advises and "finish your turkey before putting up Christmas." Assholes.

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It's a big deal when some teams come to town no matter their records. And it's not such a big deal when some other teams come to town, no matter their record. Auburn, Tennessee, and Notre Dame fall into the first category. Missouri is in the other.

No 14. Missouri 21, No 2. UGA 30

I think that most of the problem is that Georgia has only been playing Missouri regularly since the latter joined the SEC in 2012. In that decade, Missouri has beaten UGA only once, and looking back at my write-ups of previous games I've attended, very few of those have been worth watching. Obviously, that's not going to stir the imagination of either fan base, even when Missouri is ranked #14 and Georgia #1 (or #2, if you're a 2023 CFP voter).

Making things worse, because Georgia played on the road for most of October, today was Homecoming, which means an audience full of fans who aren't in attendance for the game. So instead of having the feeling of a title bout knotted at 10-10 at halftime, today's stadium atmosphere was more... mildly bemused. Think Rome before Maximus demanded to know if the crowd was entertained. (It certainly wasn't helping that it seemed like the officiating crew blew a lot of calls in both directions. Maybe even the refs weren't particularly excited by the matchup.)

Like Maximus, UGA was ultimately victorious, winning 30-21.

From my point of view, the brightest spot of the evening was Mom's decision to honor her sister's request to take a "selfie" of the two of us after the game was over. Despite being the one holding the camera, this is the face she made when she pressed the button to take the picture:

I always wondered why my brother can't smile for a camera like a human being; now I know where he gets it

That's worth the price of admission.

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To be continued...


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