Posts Tagged ‘Football’

 

Nobody’s Perfect

Monday, February 4th, 2008

the_catch.jpgIn what was one of the best football games I’ve ever seen, the Giants beat the Patriots in Super Bowl something, something “L.” The Pats quest to be perfect ended.

I don’t want to dwell on the game. There are more eloquent writers who’ll fill the newspapers tomorrow. I do need to acknowledge Eli Manning’s escape from the grasp of the Patriot’s defense and subsequent complete pass to David Tyree. It was a play for the ages.

Normally, Helaine and I would sit and watch from home. This year we joined some friends, and their friends, for a Super Bowl party in New Haven.

Being in a crowd disqualifies me for much discussion of the commercials. Those I did see in the clear seemed like they were trying too hard.

Helaine is a really good person to invite to a party. She loves to bake and she’s very good at it. I have, unfortunately, nibbled on her baked goodies much too often. If she baked at home under everyday circumstances, I’d weigh 400 pounds.

We came with pecan squares, butter cookies with a jam center (these are possibly the finest cookies ever baked), rice pudding, chocolate and chocolate chip cookies and Mexican dip.

This was quite an eclectic group, mainly made of people who used to be in, or were still in, radio.

We watched the game on a big screen TV in the living room. When it got too crowded, there was another set nearby. During big plays, the people watching that auxiliary set would cheer or moan about five seconds before we saw what was going on with the big screen. There’s that much delay!

I’ve never been a huge Tom Petty fan, but they were great. No disappointment there for me.

About two thirds through the evening, one of the other guests came up to me to say he could see the body language between Helaine and me,showing how we felt about each other. That was very nice to hear. I do feel that way about her.

Now my sports world goes quiet for a short while. Pitchers and catchers report in just a few weeks.

Annoying Ads On Football

Sunday, January 13th, 2008

If you watch a lot of football, and we do, you see a lot of the same ads repeated… and repeated again.

Helaine likes the animals singing along with Andy Kim’s Rock Me Gently. I like the NFL merchandise spot where players deliver ‘swag,’ like Adam Vinatieri kicking a grill long distance to a fan.

We like anything with Peyton Manning, especially his “pep talks.” Helaine just rewound the DVR to see MasterCard was the sponsor. Oops. I’d work on that brand recognition boys.

We’re disappointed by Southwest Airlines’ new business oriented spots. We like Southwest as they were, people oriented.

Mostly, I’m bugged by the Coors Light ads. You know the ones. Twentysomething guys infiltrate NFL post-game press conferences. Using actual coaches responses, the script inserts new questions.

This bit was pretty funny when Steve Allen did it in the early 60s¹. It is not funny now.

Good writing is incredibly valuable. These are terribly written. There is no subtlety, no nuance. The match between question and answer is often tenuous. The whole thing is just forced.

There is one unforeseen problem with my distaste for these spots. I can’t turn away! Helaine was first to notice, as soon as the commercial came on TV I’d snap my neck in that direction.

Maybe I shouldn’t let Coors know.

¹ – I remember Allen using this on his Sunday evening show. He would play back studio supplied, filmed interviews with movie stars on location. First he’d do the interview straight. Then he’d do it again, with new questions.

Steve Allen invented most of what’s on TV and everything that’s on late night.

Freezecam Debuts

Sunday, November 4th, 2007

We’re watching ‘the’ game on TV – New England vs. Indianapolis on CBS. So far, this battle of undefeated teams, both led by charismatic quarterbacks, is everything promised.

Not a sports fan? Don’t stop reading up yet.

CBS added a new feature to today’s coverage – FreezeCam. Remember when two words actually had a space between them?

I’ve tried to find as much info as I could, but there’s really not much available.

FreezeCam manipulates a high resolution, wide angle image of the field. There are enough pixels to allow zooming into small areas without the image getting ratty. It looks spectacular, though it’s probably not as amazing as it seems. Even in high definition, a television screen has significantly less resolution than a cheap digital camera.

Still, this is a major breakthrough, allowing a view of quick events happening away from the action where a camera would not normally be looking.

FreezeCam comes from Sportvision, the company responsible for many of the best sports video innovations. They provide the virtual 1st down line in football games, car tracking in NASCAR and pitc trajectory in Major League Baseball games.

I think they also provide the technology for the virtual ads behind home plate you see during baseball games. I’m considering giving them a pass on that, all things considered.

These are my type of geeks!

I’ve only seen Freezecam used a few times so far, to isolate a runner’s feet in possible out-of-bounds plays. Very impressive. It’s a gadget with a real purpose and value.

In a few years, we’ll probably be as blas

Gametime With UCONN Football

Saturday, October 27th, 2007

Helaine and I spent a good part of the afternoon watching UCONN vs USF from Rentschler Field in East Hartford.

First, I wanted to see if my forecast verified. I’d spent a good deal of air time, both Thursday and Friday, giving a specific gametime forecast. That can be a setup for disaster.

Sorry to the folks in the stands, but I’m glad it poured.

Second, UCONN is now a nationally ranked college football team. That’s new.

In our 23 years in Connecticut, UCONN has served mainly as an easy week for other schools. The change came with Coach Randy Edsall and quarterback Dan Orlovsky (You can see him at Detroit Lions games, mainly carrying a clipboard). All of a sudden UCONN football means something.

“Name two players,” Helaine asked as the game began?

OK, I’m a front runner. I admit it. If UCONN was having another loser season, I wouldn’t be watching. In fact, this might be the first UCONN game I’ve watched from opening kickoff to final gun.

The coverage on ABC has been fine with one exception. The announcers are ‘awayers’… as opposed to homers. Any effective play by UCONN was greeted by surprise. It was only a matter of time before USF would take control – or so they implied.

Grrrr. It’s like listening to the TBS coverage of a Phillies/Braves game.

The game’s not over, and USF may yet win, but UCONN is ahead by a touchdown. A little impartiality might be nice. UCONN has played well and that deserves to be recognized.

And, as it turns out, UCONN wins!

Am I Ready For Some Football?

Sunday, September 9th, 2007

I was out of bed at 11:00 this morning. That’s especially early for a Sunday start.

Helaine had long since left the bedroom. She was downstairs, doing everything she could to be ready for today’s important business – football!

Though New Orleans got clocked by Baltimore (I know – live with it) Thursday night, the season really starts today. The Eagles will be playing at Lambeau Field in Green Bay. And, of course, we live and die by the Eagles.

Two hours before game time, as she sat and intently listened to the ESPN coverage, Helaine turned to me and jokingly said, “I am every man’s fantasy. A woman who loves football.”

She is.

When we were married, it was her subscription to Sports Illustrated that came to our Buffalo apartment. She’s enough of a fan to root against teams, because my enemies enemy is my friend.

Oh, speaking of ESPN, five commentators on the set makes for one of the most unwieldy camera shots ever. Five guys in a row is just too wide. Maybe it’s better on HDTV with its stretched screen.

The real deal begins in about a half hour. A competitive team will make for a fun fall. Wish us luck.

In A Super Bowl Pool? Me Too.

Sunday, February 4th, 2007

A week or so ago, one of our photographers at work came by with a sheet of paper and fistful of cash. It was time to pick boxes for the Super Bowl pool.

In case you’re not a football or pool fan, here’s how it works. A grid of boxes, 10×10, is drawn. You pick a box and hand over your cash. In this pool it’s $5 per square or $500 total.

Once all the boxes are chosen, digits are assigned to each row and column. So, the third row might be “8″ and the sixth column… well it could be “8″ too, or any other number! Then the rows and columns are assigned to the two teams.

When all was said and done, I was assigned 6 for the Bears and 6 for the Colts. If any quarter ends with both teams scores ending with a “6″ (like 16 to 6 or 46 to 26), I win some cash.

The payoffs get progressively bigger as the game goes on. The winner of the 4th quarter (final score) gets $250.

I figured “6″ has to be about the least likely number possible. Even worse, since games can’t end tied, 6 and 6 becomes less likely to show in the 4th quarter.

Are there stats for this? Hey – this is the Internet era. Of course there are stats!

Of all the quarters played in all the games this season, 6 and 6 showed up twice.

I thought I made a bet. I actually made a donation.

We’ve Arrived

Saturday, January 13th, 2007

Greetings from Atlantic City. We got here around 8:00 AM. I had hardly any sleep in the car, courtesy of good conversation.

While Rick and Dennis went searching for a card game, I called my friend Peter to ask if I could crash on his sofa… which I did. Am I a wuss, or what?

Actually that worked perfectly, because after my nap, Peter and I walked around his neighborhood – meaning along the Atlantic Ocean and on the Ventnor City Boardwalk. The skies were partly cloudy and the temperature hovered in the low 60s. It’s January, so the beach is deserted.

I met up with the boys at the Hilton for a 2:00 PM tournament. It was a small buy-in. That’s my plan. There’s no necessity to play for a lot of money to have fun.

We also had a little side bet going, paying the man who lasted longest before busting. I lost in the tournament and side bet! This win goes to Rick.

Our room at The Borgata is very nice. We’ve got a view of the Atlantic City skyline, which is reasonably impressive.

I’m sure there will be more card playing later, but right now it’s football. The early game is on and the Eagles get started at 8:00 PM.

Oh – there is one problem. I can’t get the wired Internet in the room working, so I’ve come down to the “Living Room” (where two little kids are currently running around, screaming at the top of their lungs) to use the wireless access.

I took nearly 300 pictures this afternoon. They’ll have to wait.

Aloha.

Blogger’s addendum – I originally called the Living Room the Library. Oops.

Eagles Win!

Sunday, January 7th, 2007

The Eagles beat the Giants on a last minute field goal. It was not their best game. It was good enough.

At halftime, Pam Oliver asked Andy Reid what he thought this game would come down to. Reid answered, “The wire.”

Toward the middle of the fourth quarter, the three of us, sitting in the family room, got very quiet. There was the unspoken undercurrent of the Eagles snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. And we were feeling this way while the Eagles had the ball!

Even as the Eagles took a time out with under 20 seconds to go, we worried the Giants would be left with too much time. The Eagles must have figured that out too. They called one more play. Garcia plunged up the middle and the clock was stopped at 00:03.

David Akers. Good. The final was 23-20.

Next Saturday the Eagles go through this again. Helaine and Steffie will be here. I’ll be in New Jersey with some friends. Thank heavens for cellphones.

How strange is this game of football? Unless you’re in the Super Bowl, the season has been a disappointment. Sadly, every team but one exits the playoffs with a loss.

Is It The Kiss Of Death?

Wednesday, January 3rd, 2007

Have you seen the cover of Sports Illustrated? Of course you have. There it is over to the left.

That’s Jeff Garcia, Philadelphia Eagles fill-in quarterback. He is here because Donovan McNabb is not. Jeff Garcia, a discarded quarterback well past his peak, is our savior. He’s amazing every second he’s on the field. If this is my football dream, I don’t want to wake up.

But now he’s on the cover of S.I. Oh no!

You see, being on the cover of Sports Illustrated is an honor, but it comes with the world famous SI cover jinx. No, I’m serious. Even lesser sports fans, like me, have heard about it. Sports Illustrated itself, in a true exercise in navel gazing, has written about it.

Whether it’s true or false… it had better be false this time. From here on out, as the Eagles start the first round of the playoffs, it’s win or walk.

I wish they would have put someone else on the cover. How about Tiki or anyone named Manning? Don’t the Giants deserve a little additional attention?

Busy Sunday

Monday, December 18th, 2006

Another beautiful winter’s day in Connecticut.

Sure it’s Sunday, but it’s also the third night of Chanukah¹ – the Jewish Festival of Lights.

It is not ‘our Christmas’ – though I sense the hoopla over this lesser holiday is our defense mechanism. It’s tough to compete with Christmas.

Trust me – growing up Stef never objected to eight nights of gifts. She probably still doesn’t!

Every year around this time, our friends Harvey and Sandy throw a Chanukah party. We weren’t able to go to the last few, but said yes tonight.

Then we saw the calendar. The Eagles would be playing the Giants in a meaningful game right as the party was getting underway.

Hey, a commitment is a commitment. We went and had a great time.

There’s a special tradition that goes with this party, though we only knew a few of the 50 or so adults and children there. Along with the people and the food and the being incredibly jealous of whatever new adult toys Harvey has acquired in the past year, there is the lighting of the menorahs.

Each night during Chanukah, at sunset, one additional candle is lit on the menorah (One the first night, two the second, and so on), accompanied by a few Hebrew prayers. I’m not particularly religious, but this is tradition worth keeping, especially with all the kids this year.

Before we left our house, Helaine and I decided we’d record the football game and then try and avoid any mention of it. But seriously, how could a Giants game be ignored here in Giant’s territory?

As it turned out, no one said a word about the game. We were stunned. Does this speak to the athleticism of Jews, or Harvey and Sandy’s friends, or did we just luck out and avoid discussions that were ongoing, but out of earshot?

When it was time to go home, we headed out with the radio off. By the time we picked up this 4:00 o’clock game, it was nearly 9:00PM.

If you’re a football fan, you already know, the Eagles won. If you’re not a football fan, you don’t care. This entry will no game details.

There is one observation I must make. Helaine and I were surprised… no, astounded, to see the Eagles win. This was especially true, since they were their own worst enemy with stupid penalties at crucial times. The Giants didn’t take advantage and the Eagles didn’t quit.

I believe this Sunday was a total success.

¹ – Chanukah, being a Hebrew word, is only approximated in English. This spelling is one of many. I am of the personal opinion that if you say it right, people near you will get wet.