The Ten CoManningments

As this weekend’s Broncos game against the Colts approaches, Broncos fans should be mindful of the ten central principles of Broncos fandom, as were given down from on (mile) high.

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1.  Thou shalt have no other quarterbacks before me

Denver Broncos v San Diego ChargersPhoto credit:  New York Post

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An Oakland Raiders holiday poem

NFL: Preseason-Seattle Seahawks at Oakland RaidersPHOTO CREDIT: FoxSports

After Derek Carr’s 22-28, 254 yard, 3TD performance that crushed the 49ers’ playoff hopes and probably heralded the end of the Jim Harbaugh era (if not also the Colin Kaepernick era), here’s a holiday poem in honor of the new toast of Oakland:


[Sung to the tune of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”]

You know Pryor and Boller and Russell and Palmer,
You know Frye, Flynn, and Campbell, and Collins, and Walter,
But do you recall,
The most potentially maybe possibly promising Raiders QB of all…?

Since Gannon, the Oakland Raiders
Have had a very dismal road.
And if you ever saw them,
You would even say they blow.

All of the other pro teams
Used to laugh and call them names.
They never let poor Oakland
Join in any playoff games.

Then one foggy Draft Day eve,
Reggie McKenzie said,
“Derek with your throws so bright,
Won’t you guide my team tonight?”

Soon all the Raiders loved him,
When they ended Harbaugh’s dynasty,
Derek the bright-throws Raider,
You might avoid mediocrity!

raidersfanPhoto credit: Getty Images

A Raiders fan getting into the holiday spirit…

2014 Portland FFL Weekly Recaps

Week 1

Some things get better with age, and some things don’t.  Take this classic, for example:

I’m pretty sure when I first saw the movie, I didn’t spend the entire scene thinking about the following four points:

  1. That net must have been pretty god damn low if Tom Cruise was spiking over it;
  2. The fast cuts in the scene are so bad that they might have been edited by a capuchin monkey;
  3. Playing in those thick long pants must have been mighty uncomfortable;
  4. Goose kind of looks like Peyton Manning in a child molester costume

Chalk this one up in the “did not age well” column.  Hopefully, these Portland FFL recaps, which are now in year five (but are on a website for the first time) do not suffer the same fate.  After all, I now have multimedia and other fun (joique) bells and whistles at my disposal. Continue reading

2014 NFL prognoses

Annnnnnnd… we’re off!  Team-by-team and playoff predictions for the 2014 NFL season:


NFC South

Atlanta Falcons: A solid year from a solid team in a solid division.  Yawn. 8-8

Carolina Panthers: Cam “Isaac” Newton blows some teams away but battles injuries all year, ultimately leading to a disappointing first-round loss. 10-6

New Orleans Saints: Marques Colston officially turns into a metronome as he logs yet another 70 catch, 1,000 yard, 8 TD season to little fanfare.  11-5

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: A transition year by the bay, with plenty of friskiness showing through. 5-11

Continue reading

Team skylines 2.0

Link to the first installment, which includes an explanation of what’s going on here.

xMoscowMoscow:  San Antonio Spurs

Moscow is a strange duck.  It has many older but recognizable features like the iconic St. Basil’s Cathedral and the Seven Sisters, as well as cultural touchstones like the Kremlin and Red Square.  This echoes the robust history of the original ABA San Antonio Spurs and its unique and irreplaceable characters like George “Iceman” Gervin.  But the city’s actual skyline is dominated, in particular, by a cluster of modern towers that stand apart from the historic underbelly.  Continue reading

Cutting a handsome figure: Sports team skylines

HongKong from above

Every city has a feel to it. Ah yes, the fountains of Rome, the smog monsters of Beijing, and the Ian Zeiring Chippendales posters of Vegas.1

Walking the streets of a city is the best way to get a sense of its ambiance — a person strolling through New Orleans’ French Quarter would never mistake their surroundings for the streets of Cairo.  But every city also has a larger visual identity, and a city’s skyline is the best way to get a sense of this broad aesthetic character.  Think of it as the shadow that each city casts on the wall while it awkwardly dances in candlelight in an 80’s teen movie.  The silhouette created by a city is partially determined by population and wealth and development prospects, of course, but it also reflects the image that the city wants to present.  The steady low rooftops of Washington, D.C., broken only by historical monuments and colossal political egos, cut a very different figure and send a very different message than the contempo towers of the Frankfurt skyline, which advertise the city’s status as one of Europe’s leading centers of finance and cocaine.

Likewise, every sports franchise has a history.  Some teams have short and forgettable histories, like the Charlotte Bobcats, who will be soon changing their name to the Hornets to begin that forgetting process as soon as possible.  Some have long and storied histories, like Real Madrid and the New York Yankees.  If you plotted a team’s success and identity over time, what would it look like? Continue reading

Un-mending fences

How to succeed in causing a media firestorm without really trying.

Running back Rashard Mendenhall shocked the sports world by retiring at the ripe age of 26.  Mendenhall was drafted in the first round out of the University of Illinois in 2008, and after taking the reins from Willie Parker, he enjoyed three prime years on the Pittsburgh Steelers, topping 1,000 yards twice and appearing in two Super Bowls (winning one), and has now hung it up after one season with the Arizona Cardinals.


It is rare to see a well-known athlete pull a Ricky Williams and retire in what is normally one’s athletic prime.  Mendenhall apparently was a bit surprised at the shock that his announcement has engendered, and so he took to his blog at the Huffington Post to explain the decision as he sees it:  Link to article at Huffington Post.  What is most interesting is how this decision will shape his legacy perhaps more than anything he did on the field.

Now what good would this blog be if we took all of his musings at face value?

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Mortem Post: Champ Bailey

A post mortem on Champ Bailey.  No, he isn’t retiring, and no, he isn’t dead.  The news that the Broncos are releasing him, however, does feel like an ending of sorts, and it’s high time to celebrate his career.


I remember watching my beloved Broncos about a decade ago, not long after we shipped star running back Clinton Portis off to Washington for star cornerback Champ Bailey.1  I had been aware of his talent during his college career, and I knew he had already made several Pro Bowls, but I didn’t have a feel for him.  Lo and behold, it didn’t take long for him to make an impact, as he plucked an errant Trent Green pass in his first game as a Bronco.  That play, along with his swagger and his reputation, caused him to instantly become my favorite player.  (Admittedly, there was a gaping void in that particular category in the post-Elway and Terrell Davis years).

His signature moment for me came either that year or the next.  I don’t remember the specific game or opponent, but I have a perfect image of the play in my mind.  Continue reading

Major red flag

Some thoughts on the law and twisted logic of NFL replay challenges.

NFL referees are judges.  Just look at their titles – other than the Referee, Umpire, and Head Linesman, each crew has a Line Judge, a Field Judge, a Side Judge, and a Back Judge.  There are no robes and, unfortunately, no powdered wigs, but they damn sure make determinations like judges in a courtroom.1  In the NFL, sometimes they have too much power.  Sometimes, not nearly enough.


Continue reading