Monday, September 12, 2005

Confessions of a 20-something football junkie

Random thoughts about Sunday's NFL action:

  • Daunte Culpepper will never lead a team to a championship, with the possible exception of your cousin Earl's fantasy squad. Today's football talking heads are too scared to say it - just look what happened to Rush Limbaugh when he made a bone-headed but not racist statement about Donovan MacNabb - but the Minnesota quarterback is not very intelligent. It's the classic "million dollar talent, ten cent head" story. A game highlight was Culpepper being alarmingly ignorant of the basic rules (he thought off-setting penalties meant his just-completed touchdown pass would stand, excitedly thrusting his hands in the air before the truth was slowly explained to him). Many other times during yesterday's game he looked confused and miles away from the action, which led directly to his team's 24-13 home loss against the lowly Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
  • Cincinnati looked reasonably strong in a 27-13 win over Cleveland, particularly on its defensive side. Their two leading tacklers? Just two down-home boys named Odell Thurman and David Pollack, in their first NFL start.
  • America Online's fantasy football sucks. This is my first - and last - time using their website, as the first week has been full of intermittent website availability. The site's "live scoring" option wasn't available all afternoon, stripping me of my favorite Sunday pasttime - getting some work done around the house, while keeping a close eye on my players' stats. And here we are on Monday morning, and I can't find an updated score to save my life - much less any free agent stats from yesterday. That said, the far superior CBS Sportsline's set-up was working like a charm all afternoon for my baseball league, where I'm in the semi-finals against my sister's team. Considering she's currently in Louisiana volunteering for pet rescue services, should I feel bad I still have a bloodthirsty desire to call her with a taunting, profane message if I win? (That last part was written yesterday afternoon. The taunting, profane message will have to wait as she won. Damn hippie).
  • The Washington Nationals beat the Chicago Cubs Sunday afternoon 9-7 - well, actually, that was the Washington Redskins defeating the Chicago Bears with that pathetic, baseball-sounding score.
  • Jerry Rice does not have a future in television. His brief analyis (on CBS, I believe) was peppered with more uncomfortable pauses and "uh's" than a stuttering Tourettes patient who's drunk.
  • "It's gotta be exciting to be a 49er fan!" This is some of the "analysis" I was forced to listen to while watching the San Francisco/St. Louis game (if you want to know why I was watching it, look no further than my bank account). This heady praise came just as the 49ers scored their first points of the season - over four minutes into the second quarter. Not exactly immediate fireworks. Are there honestly no more than five or six good football analysts in the world? Why are the lesser games forced to pull from such a shallow talent pool? And why are they so unbelievably afraid to be critical? That's the real problem with hiring former players to sit in the booth - some of them are very intelligent, but almost all of them are terrified of being labeled a "player hater."
  • I can't believe I bet on a Mike Martz-coached team, by the way. I'm disgusted with my Week One rustiness.


Doug said...

Limbaugh's statement may not have been overtly racist on its face, but then you start to peel back some of the layers. Really, it was more insulting toward sportswriters and McNabb fans than anything else, because Limbaugh was basically saying "Y'all are such stupid PC-obsessed rubes that you'll give this guy props he doesn't deserve just because he's black."

But certainly there have been overrated players before, haven't there? Like, I thought Eli Manning was massively overrated when the Giants moved heaven and earth to draft him last year, but I wasn't dumb enough to say something like "He's only getting all that hype 'cuz he's white."

Most of the time, when one person says a player is good and another person says he isn't, it's a simple difference of opinion, they can argue about it, but they can both agree that they have a right to their opinion. Limbaugh, however, had to take it to a new level and start bringing race into it. Why would he do something like that? None of us can know for sure, but I really think there's a part of him that is so contemptuous and mistrustful of black people that he's conditioned to try and seek out inadequacy in African-Americans wherever he can — all the better to start shrieking "Look, a black man's getting props he doesn't deserve, affirmative action isn't working!!!!" at the drop of a hat.

I don't think Limbaugh's a cross-burning, hood-wearing racist, just one of those people who gets real indignant whenever you suggest he has a problem with black people but will then reach into his pocket to make sure his wallet's still there anytime a black guy so much as starts browsing next to him at a store. At any rate, he don't know shit about shit, when it comes to football, politics, or anything else.

Josh said...

Eli Manning was overly hyped because of his last name, nothing more.

And of course Limbaugh's comment was directed at sportswriters - that was obvious. And yes, I agree it was a stupid thing to say, especially because he should have shut his detractors mouths by staying as apolitical as possible. Still, you would have thought he dropped the n-word and wore blackface the way some people reacted.

Josh said...

And I'm sure, by the way, some people would find my remarks about Culpepper's intellgence to be racist... even though you could substitute "Daunte Culpepper" with "Jeff George" and I'd feel the exact same way.