Tuesday, January 29, 2008

More random thoughts...

My father's name is Lawrence Smith. He was born in 1939.

Imagine my surprise when I heard on Sports Center this morning that Larry Smith had died at the age of 68. I had that brief moment of shock until I remembered that my father shared his name with the former football coach of USC and Arizona....well that, and why on Earth would my father's death be announced on ESPN? (I will admit to being a bit of an idiot, but in my defense, it was 6:30 in the morning and my infant daughter had me up at midnight and four AM).

Still, it was weird.

Ten straight...

I forgot to address this in my last piece.

A lot has been made of the Giants winning ten straight on the road as one of the reasons that they would win (once again, I would like to reiterate that I think the Giants have a legitimate shot, and I wouldn't be surprised if they won, I just don't think it will happen). The ten road wins in a road are impressive, and 10-1 in their last 11.

Not even taking into account that the Patriots are at 18-0 (which seems to have become the "they have to lose sometime" tool to use against them in predictions), the last time the Patriots lost a road game was in Indianapolis in last year's playoffs. And including last season's playoffs, the Patriots are 11-1 in their last 12 road games.

If we want to consider them the home team, as per the Super Bowl designation, the Patriots are on a home winning streak of 14 straight since their regular season loss to the Jets in week 10 of last year.


Blogging, sports columnists, and all the other talking heads do an enormous amount of speculation. Really, it's what we do. We look at records, statistics, and quotes from news conferences and we speculate on what it all means.

One of the bits I have heard come up, not a popular one, but I have heard it, is that Bill Belichick will walk away if the Patriots win. The argument being, after 19-0, what's left to accomplish?

My guess...no head coach in the history of the game has five Super Bowl rings, and only one has five NFL championships - Vince Lombardi. If Belichick can win this year, giving him four SB titles in seven years, he still has an opportunity for as many as three more this decade with '08, '09, '10 seasons (unlikely, but possible).

These are the things that have never been done that he could potentially accomplish - three Super Bowls in a row, six in a decade, and the most dominant football franchise of all time in a single decade. Will he? I don't know. They have a hard road with teams like the Colts, and San Diego as perennial contenders.

Some people never learn...

23-17. That's what Plaxico Burress says that the final score will be, in favor of the Giants. It's one thing for the owner to talk like that. But Burress? Sure he's had some decent games against the Patriots in his career, but consider the following -

In 2001 Burress' Steelers team already had made reservations for New Orleans. The Steelers didn't just lose that game. They were pushed around and bullied in their own stadium.

Two seasons later in Super Bowl XXXVIII the Panthers vaunted defensive line was supposed to manhandle the Patriots offensive line made up of back-ups and street-free agents. The line didn't give up a single sack.

The following year Eagles wide-out Freddie Mitchell famously boasted he had something for Rodney Harrison. Mitchell had one catch in the Eagle's Super Bowl loss for 11 yards. Harrison, on the other hand, caught two of Donovan McNabb's passes.

This season alone, the following have mouthed off before Patriot games with the subsequent results -

LaDainian Tomlinson (...ya ain't cheatin', ya ain't tryin') - 18 rushes for 43 yards in a Chargers loss.

Terrell Owens (Getcha popcorn ready) - Six receptions for 66 yards and one touchdown in the Cowboys loss. Three catches for 31 yards and no scores in the second half.

Washington Redskins defense (they haven't seen a defense like ours yet) - 'Skins lost 52-7. 'Nuff said.

Anthony Smith (People keep asking me if we're ready for the Patriots. They should be asking if they're ready for us) - That was only the beginning of Smith's statement guaranteeing a Steelers win over the Patriots. Brady constantly picked on Smith, burning him on at least two long touchdown passes. Smith was later benched.

Igor Olshansky (New England is more worried about us...they know what's up) - Olshansky was largely quiet during the playoff game against New England, registering five tackles, two assists, and half a sack. The Chargers never led in a game that was seldom as close as it seemed, and the defensive line didn't get the pressure they needed.

And now Plax appears to be lobbying to join that list.

I'm not saying that Burress shouldn't believe that the Giants can't win - there would be no point in playing the game. However, he could have handled that...in a more diplomatic manner...say, maybe answering the question with, "yeah, I think we can win. We have our work cut out for us with that team over there. But yeah, we have a chance."

As for the people who like to say, "if they need that to get up for the game..." Let's face it. They don't need it, that doesn't mean they aren't going to use it.

Just a thought.

By the way...

Currently I am the Maryland Columnist for the Mid-Atlantic Brewing News. It's a good gig if you can get it. As such, I have started a little endeavor with some of my cohorts here. If you're a fan of micro-brews, or inexpensive wine, or like the occasional mixed drink...hell, if you're an alcoholic, then stop by.


sugarshane024 said...

You sound like JA Adande from today's Around the Horn.

Kevin Smith said...

Funny thing, I missed the tuesday episode. I teach martial arts on tuesdays and thursdays when the show is on.