Saturday, October 25, 2008

Commercial viability

I love advertisements.

No, I don't just sit and watch ads - if I have something TiVo-ed, I will fast-forward through commercials. But I like breaking down the approach - what are the ad execs doing; is it entertaining; who are they targeting?

These are just some of the things I like to think about when I actually do watch the ads.

There are particular campaigns that I have enjoyed over the years. As little as I've like the product, the "Taste great, less filling" ads were fun. I have to admit to a certain visceral pleasure in watching Justin Timberlake getting whacked in the 'nads for a soda commercial. I thought the Visa commercials during the Olympics, the ones talking about the Olympic spirit - the one about the sprinter who finished the race leaning on his father, in particular - were excellent.

But some of my favorite sports related ads were from a campaign that's about five years old - Terry Tate, office linebacker.

The man is back...

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


I was concerned before the Monday night tilt against the Broncos - and rightfully so. The Patriots defense has struggled this season, and at times Denver has moved the ball at will against opponents. So you will pardon me if after watching Delta O'Neal get burned against the Chargers more often than the Mekong Delta during a napalm attack I lacked some confidence in the Pats ability to fend off a high-powered offense.

While I still have concerns about the offense (they looked great, but it was against one of the league's worst defenses), I have to give the defense props.

Yes, I'm a little worried moving forward about the lack of a healthy Rodney Harrison, but let's take a look at who made the plays on the "aging" Patriots defense.

The Patriots had two interceptions - one each from their pair of young safeties, Brandon Meriweather and James Sanders. Sanders was drafted in 2005 and Meriweather in 2007.

Three men on defense forced fumbles - undrafted defensive lineman Mike Wright (26 years old), Ty Warren (27) and the oldest - veteran corner Lewis Sanders (30).

The men who recovered those fumbles - rookie linebackers Jerrod Mayo, Gary Guyton, and back-up defensive lineman Le Kevin Smith - are all no older than 26.

Including the combined two sacks from Adalius Thomas and Richard Seymour (not including the shot at the beginning of the game from Sey and Tedy Bruschi that seemed to throw Jay Cutler off his game), the average age of the game-changing players on the Pats D in the Monday night tilt - 26.1 years.

Not exactly the NFL equivalent of AARP membership, is it?

In other NFL news...

So, it's been reported that Brett Favre contacted the Lions before their game against Green Bay and spent an hour on the phone giving the Detroit coaches details regarding the nuances of the Packer offense. While technically not against NFL rules, it is incredibly slimy.

It's one thing for a team to bring in someone cut from an opponent to pick their brain. It's another thing for a player to go out of his way to contact the former team's upcoming opponent.

Favre has, of course, denied doing so. Lions coaches, on the other hand, have refrained from comment.

What really got me was the following passage from the article -

Packers wide receiver Ruvell Martin shared Woodson’s concern.

“If it’s true, then you’ve got to question motives,” Martin said. “I don’t know what to say.”

But Martin downplayed the actual damage leaked inside information could do to a team.

“In my opinion, there’s not too much you can gain,” Martin said. “You can give them our hand signals, (but) those are on tape already. If we find out you’ve got our hand signals, we try to find a way (around it).”

Okay -does anyone else out there see what I'm seeing? Anyone? Any of the outraged about the Pats Spygate scandal?

Remember, during that total lack of digging done by the pundits and sports reporters in which few beyond Michael Silver noted that taping is commonplace through the NFL? That time period during which the Jets it turned out had been caught, but no one whined about that? That time period during which Jimmy Johnson admitted to doing it while coaching the Dolphins and the Cowboys? When people ignored the fact that Mike Shanahan was caught doing the same in the 1990's?

So now, based on that comment, you have to believe that not only the Pats, Jets, Phins, Broncos, and Cowboys have engaged in this, but evidently it's a common enough practice in the NFC North that a Packer wide-out publicly asked what an opponent really could have garnered by talking to a former teammate because they had all the signals on tape.

Yeah, right, this wasn't a common practice.


Staying on Favre for just a moment longer -

Jets fans should consider the following very telling statistic an indictment of Eric Mangini's ability to pick a talented offensive coordinator who can use the talent he's given.

Brett the Jet has averaged 9.9 yards per completion this season. Chad Pennington is currently averaging 11.8 yards per completion. Last year Pennington averaged 9.86 per completion in Brian Shottenheimer's offense.

Coincidence? Maybe, but unlikely.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Elegy and other things...

Well, it was a good run. They teased me into believing again. They came up just short.

So it goes.

Now, after a good season, the Sox turn their attention to off-season concerns.

Congratulations to Tampa, you earned it. Good luck in the next round.

Over on the Grid-iron...

Does anyone else think that somewhere Drew Bledsoe was watching the Dallas game yesterday with the following thought running through his head - "frickin' pansy. Yo, dough-boy, it's a frickin' pinky - I led the Patriots to two come from behind victories with a god-damned screw sticking out of my index finger. Jesus. They benched me for that wuss?"

The cracks are beginning to appear in Dallas - TO whining, Romo wussing, Pacman fighting, Jerry Jones trading the farm for a horse.

They now stand at 4-3 with only to pushovers, San Francisco and Seattle, left on their schedule. They are behind both New York and Washington in their division, and could, by the time they reach their bye easily be 4-5 and would likely need to go 6-1 over the remaining games just to get into the playoffs. With games against the Redskins, Steelers, Giants, Ravens, and Eagles, I think that's highly unlikely.

Speaking of the Giants, I admit, it looks like I was wrong about them, as I was about the Eagles. I thought the Eagles would be better and the Giants worse. The Giants have responded to the challenge of defending their title this year.

Right now Buffalo is the best team in the AFC East.

How weird is this after the first eight years of the decade - the Chargers, Colts, Jaguars and the Patriots who have combined for 17 of a total 32 possible playoff appearances over the last eight seasons (12 of those between the Patriots and Colts alone who are currently second and third in their divisions and a combined 6-5). The only current division leader/wild card contestant in the AFC that has regularly been at the top of their game along with the aforementioned teams is Pittsburgh at 5-1.

Welcome to Bizzaro-world, NFL style.

With any luck, the Pats go to 4-2 tonight, but I have to honestly say, I don't have any confidence that the Pats defense is going to be able to shut down Denver's high powered attack. This is a New England team that's still searching for its identity since the loss of its offensive leader.

It would be nice if tonight was the night the defense found their stride.