Football Jambalaya! Conference Championship Edition

Green Bay's Seinfeldian Strategy Backfires as Eli Enjoys Family Matters Instead -- Says That Urkell Guy "Cracks Him Up"
Now there's the happy face of a kid who has just won his eighth-grade football championship.
See, even I can't help but poke fun at Eli Manning. He looks like a kid. And maybe that's because he kind of is. Eli was born in 1981, folks. he just turned 26 a few weeks ago. And he's in the Super Bowl four years sooner than his more-famous big brother and, yes, I think that's worth noting.
This guy was written off many times in the last few years by the New York fans and media. There were always some who said he needed more time and that they weren't going to give up on him and I was one of those fans. But even I fully admit that I never thought the Giants would seriously go anywhere with Eli at the helm... not for a while at least. I looked at him like a lot of past Giants quarterbacks, kind of like Kerry Collins. At the end of the season, the guy has twenty-something touchdown passes and 3500-4000 yards passing and you go, wow, this guy must be kinda good. And then he'd absolutely fold under the pressure in the playoffs or a big spot and you'd realize that he just didn't "have it."
I never thought Eli was bad, mind you. I always felt like we were a little harsh on the guy. He has been a full-time starter for three seasons now and he's made the playoffs all three times. Do you realize how hard that is in today's NFL? He's 29-19 over these past three seasons and 3-2 in the playoffs. And now he's reached a Super Bowl. And they'll be underdogs... again. And against a high seed for the third week in a row.
I'd like to self-congratulate myself right now because I picked the G-men to win yesterday, 24-21...and they indeed won by 3, 23-20. The game played out exactly like I thought it could/would. The Giants D kept the pressure up and the Packers couldn't plow through them like they could against Seattle. And Brett Favre did what I've been waiting for him to do all year through this sham of a "storybook" season -- he reminded us that he's still the "gunslinger" who makes terrible decisions. His first pick should have cost them the game and his second did cost them the game. Not only that, but did anyone else notice Favre throw a Hail Mary at the end of the third quarter? He threw a bomb towards the end zone where he had one possible reciever and THREE Giants d-backs. Did he think there was another halftime coming up? Imagine if THAT one had been intercepted?
Here's another thing to imagine. Imagine if it was Eli and not golden boy Favre who threw that awful pick in overtime. Imagine how Eli would be absolutely crucified by the media and fans alike. He'd be the butt of so many jokes. But with Favre, we get these kinds of excuses:
In fairness to Favre, there were a lot of reasons the Packers lost Sunday.
But the biggest was a horribly-thrown ball in overtime that allowed the Giants to get the ball at about the 30. Favre. "In fairness."
They couldn't run the ball as they had in the second half of the season -- running back Ryan Grant finished with just 29 yards on 13 carries after gaining 201 in an NFC divisional playoff win over the Seahawks -- and their defense allowed the Giants to control the ball for more than 40 minutes.
Yes, the defense wasn't all that impressive. Yes, Ryan Grant didn't rush for 201 yards but it's hard to blame Ryan Grant only having 13 carries on... Ryan Grant. What is he supposed to do? Steal the ball out of Favre's hands and run away?
To understand Favre's impact on the game, all you have to know are his stats before and after halftime. He completed 10 of 18 passes for 163 yards and a touchdown in the first half. He completed just nine of 17 passes for 73 yards with two interceptions in the second half and overtime.
I love this stuff. 90 of those 163 first-half yards came on one pass to Donald Driver. So take that away and he had exactly the same yardage in both halves. And did anyone else see why Driver was wide open? Because after he and his cornerback locked up, Driver flung the corner to the ground and sprinted downfield. That's actually not allowed but since it was in Green Bay I guess that rule was suspended. (Officiating was overall pretty piss-poor, by the way, and it's good that the officials didn't cost anyone the game.)
And this following line I can't quite follow... is the author trying to sort of semi-imply that the INT wasn't all Favre's fault?
In fact, he actually thought the pass was in trouble from the moment it left his right hand. Wide receiver Donald Driver was supposed to run a "shake" route on second-and-8 from the Packers' 28-yard line, but Favre's pass sailed behind the receiver after Driver made his out cut.
Hard to say.
And the piling on Eli even hasn't stopped. They even compared Favre's pick to something Eli would do, since he's, you know, such a f-ckup:
He got a reprieve in overtime after Corey Webster intercepted a struggling Brett Favre -- the kind of mistake Manning often has made before his recent turnaround.
Actually, Eli's never thrown a pick that deadly in the playoffs so knock it off.
The other guy I'm most happy for is Tom Coughlin. Tom has been under a lot of scrutiny as well, and again by the NY media and fans. And, like Eli, it's unjustified. Coughlin has taken the team to the playoffs three straight years, which is impressive, I don't care what happens after that. And Coughlin has survived near mutinies by his teams and he's also outlasted Tiki Barber. Ah, Tiki, the jerkwad who said he'd still be playing if not for Coughlin and who said Eli's attempts at leadership were "comical".... thankfully, the Giants were free of Tiki leadership and they've meandered their leaderless way to the Super Bowl! So good for Coughlin. He's a good man and a good coach. So he's a little intense. At least we got to see him smile yesterday. And who doesn't love smiles?
My last comment on the Giants-Pack game was the weather. I love how everyone assumed it was a huge advantage for the Packers. My wife even said, "I think the Giants are going to lose because the Packers are used to this weather." And that shows that that kind of thinking was girl thinking. See, everyone, both teams have to play in the same weather. It doesn't matter that it was the Packers home field. It was subzero for both teams and human beings get cold -- I don't care where they live. And as far as being used to it... well, this was the third-coldest title game ever so I doubt any of them have experienced this level of cold. And not only that, most games at Lambeau aren't played in mid-to-late January so it's hard to imagine it's ever typically that cold in, say, November. No, the weather doesn't matter, especially when you're playing a team from a somewhat cold, Northern locale like the Giants.
Some pics from the Giants-Pack game follow.

Brr! It's cold, ya'll! I guess you won't have to read stories for the next two weeks about how back in Kiln, Mississippi I sand down balsa wood using nothing by my manly whiskers! Yeehaw!

Archie Manning hugs Tom Coughlin. I guess Archie decided to use his "incognito Indiana Jones" disguise.

Lawrence Tynes leads the way to the bratwurst and jacuzzi tubs.

Patriots Win, But In Boring-Ass Game

Was it just me or was that a really boring game? I was honestly expecting the Pats to come out and bomb the Chargers back to California. I was thinking it'd be like 28-3 at the half. But the Chahjuhs defense definitely held firm and worked Brady over. Three picks, Tommy? Three? That's not so good. Try doing that against the Giants and see how it works out. He won't, of course, because Brady never has consecutive bad games, but if he did, it would hurt the Pats. Mainly because the Giants can score touchdowns and the Chargers couldn't do anything but knock some field goals through.

Which is why when the Pats went up 21-12 early in the fourth, me and the guys I was watching with said, "That's the game."And Mrs. Money said, "Wait, why is that the game? There's like almost a whole quarter left. I don't get why you guys say that." And I then explained why we all felt that way -- the Chargers didn't look like they could possibly pump in two touchdowns in the final quarter so there was no way they were coming back. It really was foregone at that point. And it turned out to be true.

I don't have much else to say about this game because we all knew how it was going to turn out. I do give a lot of credit to the banged-up Chargers for getting this far and to Norv Turner for actually not appearing to be a terrible coach at all. Tomlinson, you're a sissy... saying you're 90% all week and then playing one series. Solid, man. Was it too cold for you in those mean Patriots' house? What a waste.

Pics from the fun in Foxboro...

Tom Brady reads a note left by last year's AFC champ QB Peyton Manning: "I still punked your ass last year, bitch."

The Pats are so good they give themselves challenges to keep the game interesting. Here, RB Kevin Faulk rushes with his eyes closed to give the Chargers at least a fighting chance.

More Proof That Polls Are Dumb has a thingie up right now where you click on your favorite team and then vote for who you're pulling for in the Super Bowl. This is kind of clever but I'm not sure people get it.

I clicked on the Giants and it says, "Giants fans: Which team are you rooting for?" Now, shouldn't Giants fans be rooting for the Giants? One would think. And they pretty much are. But I was expecting it to say 98% for the Giants. No, after I voted, it showed 81.2% are rooting for the Giants and 18.7% for the Pats. What? What Giants fans are rooting for the Pats? If you're rooting for the Pats to have a perfect season, well, then you're not a Giants fan and I officially revoke your credentials.

Candidate For The Dumbest Thing I've Seen on Fox's Pregame Show:

Before the game started, we got to see the Fox team looking like frozen imbeciles (instead of room temperature imbeciles) because they thought it made sense to broadcast from the field at Lambeau. Somebody please explain to me what the point of this is. Do we care any more about what they're saying if they say it from inside Lambeau? Are they more credible? It's the same reason I think it's so stupid when a television field reporter is reporting on a hurricane and they go to the place where it's making landfall and stand in the storm. What's the point?

But no, just them being there wasn't the dumbest thing I saw. No, the dumbest was when Jimmy Johnson poured water from a bottle into a glass and said, "We'll see what this is like after the game!"

What? It's water, Jimmy. And we've already established that it's -2 outside. So it'll freeze. What's the point? To prove that water freezes below 32 F? Didn't we all learn this in Earth Science class? How frickin' stupid.

Candidate For The Dumbest Statistic I've Ever Heard:

After the game, Fox actually told us that the Giants were "the first team to reach the Super Bowl by beating three Super Bowl winners."

Wha?? The Bucs won their Super Bowl...when, in Jan 2003? Five years ago? With different players? The Packers won their last one, when, a decade ago? And the Cowboys won their last one even longer ago than that. Absolutely brilliant, Fox. You've found the statistic with the least meaning ever.

Stupid Michael Jordan-esque "Nobody Respects Us" Quote Of The Weekend:

After the Pats beat the Chargers to go to the Super Bowl and advance to 18-0 this season, super-sized idiot Rodney Harrison was interviewed after the game and said things about how "it's not bad for a group of over-30, washed-up, can't-run guys, huh? Not bad."

Yeah, um, Rodney? Come over here a sec. Yeah, nobody has ever said the Patriots defense is washed up. Nobody said it, nobody thought it, nobody thinks it, nobody would even dream of it. Your team is 18-0. You cannot -- I repeat, cannot -- play the "Nobody respects us" card. You simply can't. Everyone respects you. Everyone is afraid of you. Your team is a more than two-TD favorite in the Super Bowl. So shut the hell up.


That's all for now.... but you know there will be more.

Congrats Keaton

Congrats J Money, Congrats Eli, Congrats Giants!