Tuesday, November 14, 2006

More proof we're ass-backwards and other thoughts on the week...

As the handful of you that actually visit my blog and read my rants know, I typically stick to ranting about sports. Whether you agree with a point of view or not, it's an easy subject upon which to have a good-natured argument. Other than a brief rant some time ago on the idiocy of the "No Child Left Behind" act, I have largely stayed away from anything that is truly controversial.

In light of a report today about South African politics, I just need to make this brief comment - and will not go into detail - South Africa, a country in which the majority black population received the right to vote only twelve years ago, has passed a bill that makes it legal for gays to marry. According to the Associated Press report out of Cape Town, "The National Assembly passed the Civil Union Bill, worked out after months of heated public discussion, by a majority of 230 to 41 votes..."

What is wrong with our country? All the right wingers claim to be more patriotic than the liberals (I have voted Democratic, Republican and Independent in my life), yet it seems that the right wingers are always the the first ones to throw the following statement from the Declaration of Independence out the window, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights..."

I know I'm a little rusty on my U.S. History, but the last time I checked, there wasn't any fine-print in the document about "unless their sexual preference bothers you."

I think this part of the article sums it up best;
"When we attained our democracy, we sought to distinguish ourselves from an unjust painful past, by declaring that never again shall it be that any South African will be discriminated against on the basis of color, creed culture and sex," Home Affairs Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula told the National Assembly.

I guess, considering the continued state of a black-majority New Orleans that is still waiting on promised federal aid, I really shouldn't be surprised that a country that only overcame Apartheid less than a decade-and-a-half ago is already more progressive than we are.

On to lighter fare...

What's wrong with Tom Brady and the Patriots? There are a couple of issues that I can see - some Brady's fault, some the fault of the offensive line, some the play calling.

Currently Brady is looking a lot like Bledsoe did in his last two seasons with the Patriots. To wit; in spite of the health issues along the line last year, the Patriots did a decent job of protecting Brady. I don't have the numbers, but I'm not convinced that Brady is getting hit or sacked anymore than in previous years, but he is getting more passes knocked down and tipped at the line of scrimmage. There are two reasons for this issue; One, the line is not doing a good job of clearing the passing lanes; Two, Brady's pocket awareness, for whatever reason, is not as good this season - he isn't stepping up in the pocket to create the lane.

The defense that Brady is getting used to his receivers wears a little thin when he overthrows longtime teammate and wide-open tight-end Daniel Graham by a solid five, maybe eight yards, against the Jets. Brady was not pressured on the throw, and this was not one of the receivers that joined the team during the off-season. It was a bad throw, as was a pass that was thrown behind an open Ben Watson, and the interception thrown behind Lawrence Maroney.

In the two losses, the Patriots were running the ball well, and, after being stopped for little gain, went to an aerial attack with a Tom Brady that has begun, as I said previously, to look like Drew Bledsoe did when the Patriots line wasn't giving him good protection. Not a winning formula.

The only game this year in which Brady has looked comfortable - Minnesota. If Brady can only get into a rhythm if he's throwing on every down, then the Patriots should get used to the idea of enjoying the Super Bowl from their living rooms.

As for Bledsoe - enjoy your retirement. I say this because I like Bledsoe as a person and as a player. It is time to hang up the spikes.
I believe that Bledsoe is still capable of winning in this league, I just don't think that the handful of teams that have lines that could possibly protect him are going to come calling. It's time to walk away, while your career stats are still better than Broadway Joe's.

If he doesn't, possible destinations for next year, where he could do well, are limited. The Vikings have a better line than the Cowboys, and are not in the Brady Quinn sweepstakes, but I'm not convinced they're going to come calling.
Other places that may be looking - Tampa Bay, Detroit, and Oakland. A contract in any of those locations and Bledsoe best have his cemetery plot picked out.

You were very good for the better part of a decade, and still showed flashes after that hit. Enjoy retirement.

Is T.O. the most overrated player in the NFL, or is it Chad Johnson? Johnson just doesn't get in the endzone that much and T.O. drops too many passes.

I go back and forth on the Colts chances for the Super Bowl. They were unable to put away the Patriots when they had a chance, and they got lucky against the Bills. That being said, they are winning games the way the Patriots won during their first Super Bowl run - close. Nobody gave the Pats a chance going into the post season because they weren't blowing anybody out...sound familiar?
There were all sorts of shortcomings on the defense that a good offense was supposed to be able to take advantage of. Also familiar.

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