Wednesday, December 12, 2007

What's it called? Oh, yeah, I remember

It's called leadership, bitches.

NE Patriots versus NY Jets, Sunday 12.16, at Foxboro. Mike Greenberg, one of the smartest of the sports-talk guys and a Jets fan, predicts 63-13, Patriots over Jets.

Eric Mangini, the Jets coach who narc'ed out Bill Belichek for the kind of video-recording of signals which every other coach in the NFL also employs--hell, which Mangini learned from Belichek--is going to get beaten by a gong.

Don't be fooled by Brady's matinee-idol looks (which the sportswriters, a singularly unphotogenic and un-athletic bunch, hate him for, on top of hating him for being able to do things on a football field they could never even dream of accomplishing), or by Belichek's impassive contempt for most of the ex-jock Big Dumb Lummoxes who get paid sycophantic salaries to say stupid shit during boring telecasts (which is the reason the sportswriters, who know that they're not as smart or as tough as he is, hate him): pay attention to those merciless veterans in the defensive line: to the Junior Seau's, who came back with steel pins in his arms after two weeks on the DL, in order to pound Ben Roethlisberger into the turf; to the Tedy Bruschi's. who come back from a fucking stroke and go out into the next season with no legal guarantee asked or needed between himself and Bob Kraft; to Asante Samuel, the ex-quarterback who can read offensive pass plays as if he has X-ray vision, and pick off interceptions like an assassin; to Mike Vrabel, the broken-nosed beast who'll hurt you on D and then, even if you see him come in on 1st-and-goal, and know that he's going to turn around and catch a little bloop pass, is still unstoppable; to Laurence Maroney, who's picked up the mantle of the great Corey Dillon and will gut out ground gains against defensive lines twice as big as he is; and to the offensive receivers Randy Moss, whose game is finally fired by his visible relief at finally playing for a QB who understands what it means to be a finely-honed machine that nobody in Oakland (fallen far from the great days of the '60s) could figure out how to use; and to Wes Welker, the toughest, fastest little White Boy I've seen as a receiver in several NFL seasons; and to all the rest of those rough, tough bastards.

I've long had a bias toward what I'll call "cold-weather" football teams: as a child of the '60s and the first Superbowls, I assume football players should be able to function in rain, snow, cold, and especially mud. Teams that were founded or still play in cold-weather towns and open-air stadia (Minnesota, Green Bay, Chicago, New England, etc) are, all other things being equal, both physically and mentally tougher than teams playing on Astroturf in domes. All other things being equal, I'm going to root for a cold-weather team, because I come from an era that says football is supposed to be an outside sport, and that great football players should be able to fight through bad conditions.

And I'll root for the sheer guts, ferocious attention, and flat fucking refusal to panic, of the Patsies, over anybody.

I look forward to Jets-Pats at Foxboro. Wunderground predicts 36 degrees and a 70% chance of precipitation on Sunday. Mangini was trained by Belichek, and he narc'ed out Belichek's video guy because he knew that he never, ever was going to equal Belichek as a leader--hell, as an intellect. Abandoning any pretext toward Buddhist equanimity right now, I hope the Patsies stomp the living shit out of New York--by at least the 26 points the bookies are predicting, but preferably by the 50 Greenie is calling--because Eric Mangini has most definitely got it coming to him.


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