Congratulations to the Seattle Seahawks. My daughter’s favorite NFL team are World Champions! Now on to a post-Super-Bowl best (and worst) of the week.
Biggest Blowout. “Breaking Madden: The Super Bowl in which the machine bleeds to death” by Jon Bois at SB Nation.
For this, the season finale of Breaking Madden, there will be bitter cold and heavy snowfall. There will also be, Lord willing, the most one-sided result in the history of sports. In the greatest American football rout of historical record, Georgia Tech beat Cumberland College, 222-0. I want to multiply that. I want a thousand points in one game.
This is how we’re going to try.
The Match Up?
“…the machine bled to death.”
And you thought yesterday’s game was bad. Now on to some good stuff …
Best Story. “Of Clouds, Quiet Tears, and Sunrise” by Ashley Larkin at Draw Near.
Best Article. “Rise of the Lean Artist—the Birth of Musician 2.0” by Michael Cheng at Medium.
Best List. “The 23 People You Meet at Every Super Bowl Party” by Spencer Hall at SB Nation.
Best Cause. “Saint G.K. Chesterton” by Dale Ahlquist at Catholic Exchange.
Best Parenting Post. “Having a Son Has Ruined Football for Me” by Scott Benner at Huff Post Parents.
Best Question. “Who is My Digital Neighbor?” by Stephen Okey at Millennial.
Best Poem. “Final Request” by John at The Beautiful Due.
Best Video. “Johnny T’s Guide to Attending the Super Bowl” by Glove and Boots (via YouTube).
“So you see a Jets fan, you be nice! You say ‘I’m sorry … that you’re a Jets fan.'”
Anna is a Seattle Seahawks fan, and I am coming to terms with it.
They are the “local” team, so she’s not jumping on a bandwagon. And they are going to the Super Bowl for only the second time in their history. Win or lose, their success at this early point in her life will probably make her a fan for life.
I know. My passion for my favorite team is rooted in a Super Bowl appearance. It was January 14, 1973. I was seven years old (only a year younger than Anna is now) and was living in the D.C. suburbs when the Washington Redskins faced the Miami Dolphins in Super Bowl VII.
Two weeks earlier, the Redskins had beaten their greatest rivals, the Dallas Cowboys, in the NFC Championship game at RFK Stadium. Even though the Redskins were the home team and the NFC East Champion that year, the Cowboys were expected to win. They were the popular bandwagon team with two Super Bowl appearances, a Super Bowl Championship, and a winning legacy behind them. That game was my first definite memory of a Redskins’ triumph and still one of my all-time favorite games.
Here’s my best of the week from around the Blogosphere.
Best Bad Dream. “Dreaming of a Greyish-White Super Bowl” by David Roth at SB Nation.
(T)he Garden State contains loud multitudes. There is a great deal of natural beauty and there also are desolate cities whose nicer neighborhoods could still be mistaken for Bartertown from Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome; the state produces delicious tomatoes and corn and blueberries, and also generates richer, beefier Heavy Industry-Related Butt Smells than you can possibly imagine.
Best Guest Post. “Love Showed Up and Watched My Kids” by Addie Zierman at Leannepenny.com.
(S)he said, “I’m taking your kid this Friday,” and when I protested she held up a hand and said, “I’m taking your kid. You need time to finish your book, and I’m taking your kid. Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.”
Most Vulnerable. “Of Embarrassing Prayers and Naked Talks with God” by Natalie Trust.
God, how am I supposed to pray? How am I supposed to express day to day desires when the cry of my heart is to have some hope for a miracle of healing? My prayers today feel so trivial. On the scale of urgency and necessity: a new job for my husband or the life of my best friend. When faced with what to pray for, this doesn’t actually feel like a choice. And I’m kind of angry with you for how confused I feel.
Funniest Video. “More NFL ” by Bad Lip-Reading (via YouTube).
Best Take on a Classic Book. “What Charlotte’s Web is Teaching Me About Longing” by Ashley Larkin, guest posting at Moments and Invitations.
It’s partly the ache of childhood gone, and going. Partly the bursting bounty of flowers and drink. Partly the wondrous miracle of life in secret places. Partly the joy of bearing witness, like Fern, as everyday sacred plays out before our watching eyes.
It is all this and something more that continues stirring this longing, seeking home.
Best Bad Search Technique. “Google Searching for the Next Great QB” by Hughtavious Hill at Fanspeak.
Instead of relying on simple measurables and game tape, evaluators have started to learn and utilize the nuances of advanced metrics and statistical analysis. Draftniks continue to push the envelope to get smarter and smarter.
Which is exactly why we’re about to do the opposite. Everyone’s going smart, so let’s go dumb.
Best Muse. “In Which Ms. Frizzle is My New Writing Muse” by Sarah Bessey.
(O)ne of Ms. Frizzle’s favourite ways to teach is to drop the kids into the middle of the experience and say “Take chances! Make mistakes! Get messy!”
I love that.
Best Cover of a Cover (That’s Also a Medley). “Space Oddity” by Glove and Boots (via YouTube).
It’s midseason–give or take–and here are my updated projections, served with a side of crow to be enjoyed later, as always.
(Key: #1 SEED, Division Champion, Wildcard.)
New England 12-4
NY Jets 10-6
What the hell is happening in New York (Part One)? Rex Ryan looks to save his job for another year and some team out there loses a great defensive coordinator. Meanwhile, the circus moves to Miami and another “Dream Team” bites the dust
The factory of sadness temporarily moves to Pittsburgh, and life in Cleveland is just a little bit less hopeless.
Andrew Luck and the Colts are for real. Matt Shaub and the Texas are not. (And get well soon, Coach Kubiak.)
Kansas City 12-4
San Diego 9-7
I knew KC would get better. I did not expect them to get 9-0 better. But they still have to play Denver twice and we’re talking Peyton Manning vs. Alex Smith here. Reality check time.
Call me a homer. I’ll admit it.
I greatly underestimated the effect that Robert Griffin III’s surgery and the second half of the $36 million cap penalty would have on the Washington Redskins.
Call it wishful thinking, but I blew it.
I wish I could call it a one-time blunder, but I made a similar mistake last year. In that case you can blame “homerism-by-association.”
Because my wife is a New Orleans Saints fan. And it was for that reason that I greatly underestimated the effect last year’s bounty scandal and suspension of head coach Sean Payton would have on the Saints.
The parallels are numerous, and yet I refused to see them. My bad.
But, in spite of that, I’m feeling okay about the Redskins this year for three reasons.
They could have gotten off to a worse start.
The Saints lost their first four games before they got back on track. By then the season was lost and they were left playing for respectability. The Redskins, however, pulled out a win Sunday against Oakland. “Yes,” you say, “but it was against Oakland.” I don’t care. A win is a win. Now they have a week off to get their “stuff” together before playing the Cowboys. There’s still time to turn the team around and salvage a respectable season.
They could be in a bigger hole.
Face it, the NFC East blows this year. The Cowboys are in first place at 2-2, the Eagles and the Redskins are tied for second at 1-3, and the Giants are in the cellar and winless so far. An 8-8 team could take the division. In comparison, Atlanta ran away with the NFC South last year and the Saints couldn’t do anything about it—sweeping their rivals gave them bragging rights, but not much else.
It gets better.
One year later, the Saints are undefeated after the first four games of the season. A complete reversal from last year. No matter how this season plays out for the Redskins, the pieces are in place for a successful team down the road. Next year, Griffin will have had a full offseason and a complete training camp on a fully-recovered right knee. The team will also have its cap space back and be able to bring in some key free agents (smart signings, please, not flashy ones) to help out in the secondary and on the offensive line.
Yes, we Redskins fans have all said “wait until next year” far too many times over the last two decades, but this is different. We have the core of a young team that’s had a taste of success and wants more. In a division where the Giants have collapsed, the Cowboys are on the road to cap hell, and the Eagles are just starting to rebuild, the Redskins are in the best position to become a serious Super Bowl contender for the first time since Joe Gibbs’ original retirement.
It’s been a long time coming, but I still have hope.
One more thing, given the struggles the Saints endured last season and the train wreck the Giants are currently experiencing, I don’t want a Super Bowl to ever be played at FedEx Field or any other stadium the Redskins call home. Ever.
In fact, if the NFL prefers, they can just move the game to Jerry World. Permanently.
For the second year, I am making a futile attempt to predict the totally unpredictable NFL season. Given the mostly lousy job I did last year, I am changing my approach a little. First, I’ve not wasted my time trying to predict the winner of each game. That took far too long and didn’t really work all that well. Instead, the records are my own estimation of about how good (or bad) each team is this year. Second, while I have attempted to be realistic in my regular season predictions—for example, I don’t have the Redskins going 14-2 and clinching the number one seed—once I get to the playoffs I’ve thrown out any illusion of objectivity and instead played out what I would like to happen.
So first, my predictions for the regular season.