Tag Archives: Monday Night Football

Prognostication Is My Business: Week 3 in the 2012 NFL

Does anyone like Thursday night games? I know the players don’t as several will miss the games with injuries that typically take a full week to almost heal and I’m pretty sure the fans don’t even like it. They can only be seen on the NFL Network and your team will only be on there once a year, which is hardly a reason to switch to dish and they completely ruin Sundays if your team is playing. To be perfectly honest I don’t even like Monday Night Football. I like my Sundays. I digress. The Patriots nearly came from behind, but still lost, in a game they were favored by nearly two touchdowns while the Giants completed the comeback and won by a touchdown. Buffalo had no need for a comeback as they blew out the Chiefs and the Jets had no chance as they were stifled by the Steelers. Let’s see how they will fare this week.

@ Carolina Panthers -2.5 New York Giants

This is an awful spot for the G-Men. Hakeem Nicks, David Diehl, Ahmad Bradshaw and Domenik Hixon are all out. They are on the road against a dynamic player in Cam Newton who can eat up defenses. The reasons why the Panthers are favored is obvious and as a prognosticator I think it’s the safe bet, but induldge me for a moment and I’ll tell you why as a fan I believe they will win. We still have Eli Manning and Victor Cruz. I don’t think Bradshaw is a feature back, so that isn’t a huge loss. They haven’t had the same offensive line seemingly since 2008. Newton is prone to make mistakes in the form of interceptions so the name of the game is contain and force him to pick apart the secondary. Big Blue is a more seasoned team and can take advantage of the up and coming Panthers. Plus the Giants always do the opposite of what you think they will.

New York Jets -2.5 @ Miami Dolphins

Anything can happen in road games and more importantly in divisional games. The Jets look like a mediocre team this year, which is more than you can say for the fish. Sure both teams are 1-1, but the Dolphins had the luxury of playing a west coast team on their home turf, where they all have trouble adjusting to the new time zone. The Jets will have no such problem and will move the ball on that weak d like an offensive lineman on a buffet. Ryan Tannehill will have more growing pains. Off the field he was winning the battle with his smoking hot wife Lauren, but the Jets are pulling closer as Mark Sanchez is dating Eva Longoria. Or are they winning?

Buffalo Bills -3 @ Cleveland Browns

I’m back in on the Bills. Well in certain situations like playing quite possibly the worst team in the league. CJ Spiller is my proudest prediction thus far. Have I mentioned that yet? I think I may have. I believe that Fitzy will have a big game passing for 300 plus yards while there is another dominating performance for everybody’s favorite losers.

@ Baltimore Ravens -3 New England Patriots

My how the mighty have fallen. The Pats looked like they would roll through this season straight into their second straight Superbowl. We knew they would lose a couple, because everyone does, but the Arizona Cardinals? Now the world has lost faith in this squad as they are road dogs. The Ravens lost last week too remember? I think that Belichick has had this game circled on his calendar for months and will be prepared to baffle Flaco, shut down Ray Rice and allow Tom Brady to do what he does best. Pats win on the road.

-Erik

Did I get it right? Let me know what you think via our twitter (@seeuinoctober) or leave us a comment.

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Voices of the Game

Jack Buck's son and his Great-Great-Great-Grandpa

Since I’ve actually been watching a Yankeeless postseason this year I’ve had to suffer through many more hours of terrible broadcasting on TBS, TNT and Fox. Perhaps it is just nostalgia, but when people think back to famous games of yesteryear there are signature calls we remember and announcer who made them. As corny and goofy as some may have been, Phil Rizzuto and Harry Caray, they provided a personality and signature to the game. Now we are stuck with the bland Joe (not Jack) Buck and the ancient Tim McCarver.

Buck has a terrific voice, but lacks in originality. The most interesting thing about him is his face that kind of resembles the Who’s from Whoville in the live

Joe Buck out Christmas Shopping

action Grinch. McCarver proves night in and night out that he has lost touch with the game. Part of the beauty of sports is couch coaching. First base is open, do you pitch to Pujols? (Well let’s be honest, after last night’s game I don’t care if the bases are full, I’m not pitching to the Machine). Suicide squeeze, the green light on a 3-0 count, sending the runner, are all decisions at home managers scream and sometimes beg and plead with the real skippers to make. Fortunately for the audience we have McCarver to serve as our official prognosticator. McCarver: “They’re going to bunt here.” Buck: “And the pitch… swung on and missed strike one.” Got that one wrong Timmy. The game is changing and it’s time to bring in a color man who understands the modern athletes, managers and strategies.

I’ve never liked McCarver. As a broadcaster, he routinely stumbles over his words and creates awkwardly worded statements. As a commentator, well he kind of gets what’s going on most of the time. I am a big believer of the principle: If you’re going to complain you have to offer a solution. Until this year I couldn’t think of a really good commentator, but now I’ve found him. John Smoltz. The future hall of fame pitcher has served as a member of the TBS broadcasting team the last two seasons. If you’re not sure which one he is that’s because he doesn’t talk too much. Guys like Bobby Valentine and Ron Darling never stop providing their “insights.” When Smoltz talks it is sharp, accurate and concise. He understands what it is to be a pitcher facing today’s big sluggers and what managers try to do to neutralize offensive threats. I think he would make an excellent pitching coach, but for now I hope that Fox steals him from TBS.

Part of the blame falls on the networks. They are looking for middle of the road guys and consistency. The audience likes to feel comfortable and familiar with their announcers, but this breeds a team like Buck and McCarver. They are locked in with Tim probably until he decides to walk away because of his long standing relationship with the public. How can you reign in a guy who you can’t fire? Commentators, like all of us, have big egos and the longer they do their job the more they feel that their opinion is the only one that matters. I think that every five years the color guy should be rotated out to keep it fresh.

Now I love baseball. It truly is America’s past time and while many complain about the speed of the game, I love the drama that it builds. Everyone is in love

Wait, Gruden didn't like something?

with the NFL, but they have some issues in the booth as well. The Monday Night Football team could be the worst assembly of announcers in any of the four major sports. I like Mike Tirico as a play by play guy. He has a good voice and a nice touch, but the other two knuckle heads in there with him… woof. John Gruden sounds like your fat Uncle Billy at Thanksgiving dinner. “I really like that stuffing. I like the way the bird looks this year. I really liked that gravy. I like food a lot.” Like works fine when talking about food, third grade crushes and Facebook, but doesn’t play well in sports analysis. If Gruden doesn’t get back into coaching soon he will become the Dick Vitale of the NFL, only less loveable. Don’t tell me who you like; tell me how my team can win this game.

That is the job of the analyst. Give the viewers insight on how the team will react in situations, why they would do it and what they should do. Don’t talk down to the audience and don’t always praise players. While I don’t particularly like Cris Collinsworth, he is not afraid to criticize players. With Gruden and those of his ilk, the play didn’t work out or the defense did a great job and we really like that D.

A quick note on graphics. Limit them! The most annoying thing about this postseason, aside from the Yanks’ impotent offense, was the K Zone for every pitch. I was so distracted I wasn’t watching to see if the pitcher missed a spot or if the catcher framed a pitch. Instead I found myself looking for a blue dot in a gray box. Baseball has a serious problem with each umpire having their own version of the strike zone. Fans don’t understand it as our society looks to become more uniformed. In reality people treat others differently. You would be more willing to help out family than strangers. If somebody is a whiner it’s nice to see them fail and that’s what we get in baseball. They need to emphasize the human element of the game. Use the K zone on close pitches like they were doing before and other than that point out the relationship between pitcher and catcher. Play up the tension between hitters and an ump with a wide strike zone.

Also have you seen the heat camera on Fox? It shows us where the ball hit the bat based on friction because 17 different slow motion angles can’t capture that well enough. Sports are becoming over analyzed and the fan experience is suffering. We can’t really avoid it because of astronomically high ticket prices, so they have a captive audience upon whom they can show off their latest gadgets and profound knowledge of the game. With technology these days we hardly need the announcers and analysts. Just clarify a couple of confusing plays each game and then take a backseat to the live action, because that is what we tuned in to watch.

-Erik

Do you hate announcers as much as I do? Let me know via our twitter (@seeuinoctober) or leave us a comment.

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First Ever “Like a Boss” Award

Every week here at SeeYouInOctober our editorial staff will be selecting our ‘Like a Boss’ award for the NFL.

This week’s candidates both come from the AFC East.

1. Ryan Fitzpatrick: The quarter back for the Buffalo Bills commanded the offense on Sunday to a 41-7 blowout of the Kansas City Chiefs on the road. Fitzy threw for 208 yards and four touch downs while completing 68% of his passes. By the way, he watched the fourth quarter from the sidelines.

2. Tom Brady: Mr. Brady set a Monday Night Football and Patriots franchise record throwing for 517 yards including a 99 yard score to Wes Welker. He threw for three more touch downs, but saw his streak of 358 regular season passes snapped on a screen attempt in the third quarter.

And the award goes to…

Mr. Brady! While our hearts were with Fitzy, it’s tough to compete with a historically great performance in the national spotlight. Plus

did you see the way Mr. Brady looked in the pocket? Gisele is one lucky lady. I’m not going to say that Brady played as well as he did

because he wanted this award and he knew Fitzy had it but I’m not going to say that he didn’t. I’m also not going to say that this award means as much to him as his two NFL MVPs or the Super Bowl MVP but then again who am I to make that decisi

Think we got it wrong? Did somebody else deserve a nomination? Let us know on Twitter @seeuinoctober or in the comments.

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The Highs and Lows of MNF

All Hail Thomas Edward Patrick Brady!

After getting a stop on fourth down within a yard of its own goal line Team X went into a shotgun with five wide outs spread wide. The announcers voiced their surprise and questioned the coach’s decision in a situation that usually called for a run. Then the quarterback hit a slot receiver on a seam fly pass and after breaking a tackle ran the rest of the way for a touchdown, a 99 yard completion.

The team? The Boston College Eagles were of course playing the Alabama Crimson Tide in the 2012 BCS National Championship game. Oh did I forget to mention that this was during a lengthy session playing NCAA Football 12 for Playstation 3?

Well a 99 yard touchdown pass in a video game isn’t unreal. It’s really the only time you see a touchdown that ridiculous. I guess Tom Brady must have been doing a little preparation with a controller this offseason.

With the Dolphins down 5:44 left in the fourth quarter Brady lined up in a shotgun set with an empty backfield inside of his own end zone. Then he unleashed a perfect pass to Wes Welker on the outside seam and 99 yards later the Patriots had hammered the nail in the upset minded Dolphins coffin.  

This play encapsulates where the Patriots offense is now after last night, which would be Madden on rookie unstoppable. Brady put up a ludicrous 517 yards passing and other than a fluke interception looked flawless. Brady hit 8 receivers including Welker and the most explosive tight end combo in the league in Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. The only negative thing to say for the offense is in the injury to veteran Dan Koppen who broke his ankle. The pass protection was still fine during the game but others will need to step up to replace such an important part of the offensive line.

I’m as excited as anyone to see the run it up, shove your face in our awesomeness offense. The only part of the game I might have enjoyed more was when Jaws let out a expletive during the broadcast. The defense on the other hand, well to say watching Chad Henne tear up the secondary made me unleash slews of profanity I wasn’t entirely sure I had a handle on would be factual. The Patriots gave up 488 total yards to the Dolphins. Maybe Chad Henne has what it takes to be a franchise quarterback but I’m pretty sure he doesn’t. Last time I checked he had  been written off as the guy warming the seat for whoever the Dolphins pin as the next franchise guy.

The secondary looked sluggish and ineffectual. The defensive front that was supposed to be so improved looked okay but time and time again Henne had far too much time to check down to the next option as well as tie his shoes, call his parents and read the entire Girl With The Dragon Tattoo series. The pressure did manage to collect four sacks which was better than a year ago when they managed only 2.25 sacks a game but it didn’t seem like they were getting a whole lot of pressure.  To the defense’s credit they also did better on third down allowing only two conversions on 14 attempts.

Oh and the new additions that caught all the headlines in the offseason? You remember Chad Ochocinco and Albert Haynesworth? We’re they even playing? Chad had a staggering one reception for 14 yards and Haynesworth absolutely tore up the Dolphins line recording not just one but two solo tackles. Calm down there boys save something for the rest of the season.

The Browns beat the Patriots handedly last season in Week 9 before the Patriots rattled off 8 straight wins so one game isn’t a good read on the entire season. The offense is fine, but no one expected otherwise as long as those long flowing locks are under center. Belichick will undoubtedly improve the defense which is still adjusting to the new 4-3 format after so many years in the 3-4. It’s how much that defense can improve each week that will determine whether the Patriots are an 11-5 wild card squad or a 14-2 juggernaut.

No big deal though it’s only the San Diego Chargers and its explosive offense led by Philip Rivers who comes into town next week. It’s not as if he’s an elite NFL quarterback heading a team that led the league in total yards last season. Oh wait yes it is.

-Phil

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