Vedder sure does have it.
It’s Tebow Time, you bastards! Seriously. Fuck every single one of you Tebow haters. You’re stupid. And wrong. Admit it. This was one of the most amazing NFL games – regular season or playoffs – that we have ever seen. And we have Tim Tebow to thank for it, as he absolutely wrecked the #1 defense in the NFL. Now, you know where my loyalties lie – in New England. Thus, I will rejoice in the awesomeness of Tim Tebow for the rest of the evening. But come tomorrow, when I get my voice back, I will be begin wearing #12 for the rest of the week. Tebow is a God. But Go Pats!
Most people think my man-crush on Tim Tebow is a joke. Like some kind of lame, ironic love that you have for an informercial product. But I am incredibly sincere in my respect for and support of the lightning rod leading the Denver Broncos on an unlikely playoff run. First off, let me get it out there that Tebow is the best thing to happen to the NFL in the past ten years. No player – probably ever – has caused such a frenzy of both love and hate from the league’s fans (and, more surprisingly, people who don’t even care about the sport). It has made for an insanely exciting season. So, at the least, we have to thank Timmy for that one.
Now, I’m a Patriots fan. So my expectations for the quarterback position are quite high. Is Tebow the next Brady? I doubt it, and even if he is, he hasn’t earned enough props to be included in the same sentence as Brady (the second greatest quarterback of all time, in my opinion, behind Montana). But Tebow is about more than completing passes. Here’s a guy who was told he couldn’t be a quarterback through his entire high school and college careers, even when he was busy winning the Heisman. And when he finally got to the NFL as a surprise first-round pick (I think it’s funny that nobody has mentioned Josh McDaniels through any of this), it was more of the same criticisms. Now, I didn’t really care at the time, as he had yet to finally lead an NFL team.
But then he got the chance to kick some ass. And he’s been doing just that. He’s taken the Broncos to 8-5 and a division lead. He’s led four fourth-quarter comebacks. He’s won five games on the road. Three overtime wins. The man has defined clutch this season. And he still has his dissidents, which I completely understand. He hasn’t destroyed Goliath, his completion percentage is under 50%, and he doesn’t follow the same outline as your typical, elite quarterback.
But, so what? The NFL today is filled with assholes who are worshipped. Michael Vick. He kills a bunch of defenseless dogs for no apparent reason and is now the King Leonidas of Philadelphia (only with a much worse spiral). He absolutely sucks as a quarterback, has a disgusting past, and yet we are still overjoyed to watch him play. Big Ben. Sexual assault, apparently, is also something to model yourself after. Sure, he’s got two rings, but surely we can follow a player for different reasons.
And much of the criticism is simply unfair. Have some strange events – some claimed to be ‘divine intervention’ – helped the Broncos in their recent wins? Sure. But welcome to the NFL. Hell, Mark Sanchez needs twelve God-induced events to win on any given Sunday. Anybody remember Eli Manning’s absurd toss in the Super Bowl that was somehow caught on David Tyree’s helmet? Do we all hate Eli Manning and the entire Giants organization because of that fluke catch? Not more than Tebow, apparently.
But here’s my point – the NFL needs more Tebows. Players who are genuine, honest, respectable, and damn talented at what they do without being complete assholes. Players who play for the team on the front and not the name on the back. Hate him because of his apparent faith? You’re an idiot. A stupid one. Hate him because such a religious and prudent guy can have a girlfriend that looks like his? You’re a loser. Hate him because his completion percentage is less than stellar? Get over it. He could bench-press your entire body mass and then steal your wife just because he’s bored. The point is to win games, and the man has done just that. I can’t say how the season will end for Tebow, but it’s been an absolute blast watching him ball. So, shut up. Sit back, enjoy the show, and show some love for one helluva football player.
It’s really no secret that I’ve been terribly hard on Ryan Howard, of the Phillies, or a while now. From my perspective, he’s the most outrageously overrated big-time, big-money slugger of this era. And after the previous two postseasons, it’s becoming really difficult to fight me on this one. In fact, the final outs of the two previous Phillies’ seasons have come on his failed attempts to do something of importance. It’s embarrassing.
But I’m the bad guy in all of this. The one with a silly vendetta against the Phillies. Now, it’s true that the Phillies are not my team (I wear the pinstripes), but does the sad hope that a player (one you’ve invested so much in) will eventually elevate his team to something other than a plane ride back home cause delusion? This is a case where it’s being called like it’s seen. The guy went without a hit for his last 15 at-bats in this year’s NLDS. But Phillies fans (i.e. those who throw batteries and force themselves to throw up on children) just keep the brotherly love flowing for the big man…at least the ones I talk to.
How can a player – who recently inked a 5 year, $125 million contract – fail so much in the clutch and still maintain fan loyalty? Many of my dissidents immediately bring up Alex Rodriguez, and my response is simple. I, along with most other Yankees fans, knew his absurd contract was a bad idea many moons ago. We absolutely despise him when he sucks, and he’ll hear about it. The same goes for any other overpaid jackass in pinstripes. But Howard still seems to have most of the city behind him, and it baffles me. As if he walks the dogs of the entire Phillies fan base on the weekends…for free!
Let’s cut the shit. Any player who joins the $20m+ club needs to be ready and able in the clutch, because that’s where championships are won. Howard is not that guy. At least, not yet. Personally, I doubt he’ll ever be that guy. He’s origami. He’s a joke. He’s the guy who hits the ball when you don’t need him to. And he’s not worth anything near the amount of money the Phillies are giving him, with or without an torn Achilles. I hope this city finally bucks up and admits that its next championship will not be obtained with significant help from Howard.
With the most impressive starting rotation of the past 20 years and a payroll the size of Ryan Howard’s strikeout totals, this is an embarrassing failure for the Phillies. And while not all of the blame can be placed solely on Howard’s shoulders, I think most of it has to. This is the second postseason in a row where Howard has failed miserably and completely disappeared when his efforts were most needed. He’s had far too many chances to prove me wrong, so I’m just going to go ahead and declare myself right here. That doesn’t happen often.
Hey, AROD sucks, too. But I’m over it.
We headed to Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore last week to catch a Yankees/Orioles game. This particular game was re-scheduled twice, and this was the full crowd at first pitch. It was a good time, although the Yankees managed to lose. The best part? After an Orioles home run, the big screen loops a drunk Will Ferrell from Old School.
I read an absolutely brilliant article the other day on how Eagles Fans are not true lovers of the sport of football and was surprised (in an appreciative way) to actually see such words printed in the terribly biased Philly sports media. The article echoes a theory I’ve maintained and publicly advertised for the past five years. To Eagles fans (and yes, this extends into other sports, as well), the NFL is comprised of one team – their own. There are no Sunday night games between the Rams and Raiders. There’s really no such thing as college football; Ohio State vs. Michigan – who gives a shit, right!? Hell, the Super Bowl doesn’t even matter to these folks if the Eagles aren’t participating. And while, like anything else, there are exceptions to the rule, I’m confident in saying this is characteristic of the majority.
For years, this truth has annoyed me to no end. The amount of futile attempts I’ve made to discuss a non-Eagles or non-Phillies topic with a local fan boggles my mind. And if you cannot discuss anything other than a single team, you’re just not a real fan of the sport. I’ve never understood it, and I’m happy to see that someone has made the same observations. They’re like the Penn State fans of the NFL, and I like to think that this is the sort of thing that gives outsiders reason to doubt Philly as a true sports town.
The new season approaches quickly, and for me, living here in Philly, it’s more of the same in the local sports media and fan environments. I’ll just keep enjoying my favorite college football rivalries that have absolutely nothing to do with Philly, and I’ll continue to catch every single NFL game that I possibly can (regardless of who is playing). And if the Raiders or Lions are losing 31-0, I’ll just keep on watching. Because it’s football, and it’s my favorite sport in the world.
I don’t mean to bash Eagles fans (disclaimer: I’m not one of them), but really, it’s just much more fun to be a fan of the entire sport.
I spent the past week in St. Louis with my coworkers and was lucky enough to catch two different Cardinals games at Busch Stadium. Beautiful venue, storied franchise, a city that is generally synonymous with the pastime, and a division rivalry that actually turned out to be pretty serious this year (i.e. the Brew Crew). I couldn’t ask for more. The games were everything I so happily expected. The fans, however, are another story.
A young and proud Pujols fan watches his team get b-slapped at home by the division rival Brewers. You’ll get ‘em next time, little dude. If not, the Yankees could always use more fans.
The view at Busch Stadium.