Friday, February 04, 2005

Two Hats

The problem with writing your prediction column on Tuesday is that when you think of more stuff to say, you have nowhere to put it. Unless you want to write a whole other column, and let’s be honest, I’ve had a tough enough time getting one of these puppies finished. Two is a bit presumptuous. But sloth be damned, I’ll get it done. So here we go, Super Bowl article numero two. I mean it’s not like the Patriots are in the Super Bowl every year. Oh wait.

-- How does Joe Theismann get to pass off “If Donovan McNabb has the game of his life, Philly will win” as actual analysis? Where’s Mrs. Theismann on that one? Is there a Mrs. Theismann? There’s got to be someone close enough to the Theis to whisper quietly into his ear: “that’s the most obvious thing anyone’s ever said”. And after the effect of that one has sunk in, maybe follow with “you’re terrible at your job”. Not in a mean way, but just enough so that he knows you mean business. It’s not that Theismann is dumb, but if you told me that he and Paul McGuire shared a brain, I’d be surprised that half a brain could do so little. Please someone else do the game on Sunday. Please.

-- You know you work at a serious company when your CEO is double-fisting wine glasses at 5:45 on a Thursday.

-- It’s going to be very interesting to see what defense Philadelphia comes out with on Sunday. Jim Johnson, as we all know, is in love with the blitz, but not to the point of irresponsibility. As one of The Ninth’s favorite writers, Greg Easterbrook, regularly points out, the blitz is perhaps the NFL’s most abused and misused technique. An experienced team loves nothing more that being consistently blitzed because men will be open and they will find them. If you do anything with regularity against New England, they’ll notice it, take advantage, and you’ll lose. But Johnson knows that, and he won’t let himself become predictable. So how does he mediate his desire to send guys with the Pats’ ability to pick it up? A lot is made of Brady’s pocket presence, but anyone can be blitzed if they aren’t expecting it. This will be fun to watch.

-- Nothing more enjoyable that placing a large, complicated order at the local pizza joint right around the end of the first quarter of the Super Bowl. There’s always a disarming amount of noise in the background and the guy sounds about 20% more frantic than he ought to be. Oh, is it busy? So you can’t my pepperonis up into triangles to match the shape of the pizza slice? That’s too bad. If you end up ordering from a place that takes offensively long (The Ninth and Official Freshman Year College Friends waited over two hours in ’96), the best thing to do is call another pizza place and have them deliver their pies to the overworked store. Subtly sends the message of your displeasure.

-- While Tom Brady deserves a great deal of credit for putting the ball where his receivers want it, but the New England receiving core is one of the best at simply making catches. It’s hard enough in the NFL to get a guy open, recognize him, avoid a rush, and get the pass there – you just can’t have people dropping the ball. I promise you’ll see it once or twice from Philly this weekend (paging Mr. Pinkston), and it almost never happens to the Pats. When’s the last time Givens, Branch, Brown, or Patten just muffed one? I can’t think of it.

-- Everyone is picking Corey Dillon as their MVP, and frankly, I can’t see any reason to argue with that. One thing to keep in mind however: against the blitz (which as we discussed earlier, is a Philly favorite), nothing works better than a screen, and both Patrick Pass and Kevin Faulk run them better than CD. Either of them could have big days and possibly cut into Dillon’s field time. Another favorite of Charlie and Bill’s? Putting two TE’s on the line, blocking a heavy blitz, and sending a speed receiver deep against single coverage. Mr. Branch, Mr. Johnson, we’re talking to you here.

-- There is one sad thing about the Super Bowl this weekend: we’ll never to get to see this team again. Sure the Pats will be good again next year, but how can you not miss these guys? Oh well. As Mrs. G used to tell us, “you take the good, you take the bad, you take ‘em all and there you have the facts of life.” Indeed Mrs. G, indeed.
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