NFL Power Points (and Jack)
I had to catch last Sunday’s Patriots-Bills game at the bar because the Jets-Dolphins game was being televised in the New York market. I met one of my buddies outside of a subway station at Fifth Avenue and 9th street in Brooklyn. We had a ways to walk to get to the spot I usually frequent but ended up stumbling on a hole in the wall that I noticed was playing the Pats game. Since the place was relatively empty we decided it was as good as any. It ended up being better. Mugs of Budweiser were a dollar fifty, served by a barkeep who probably remembered life during the Prohibition. There was also no kitchen, which earned this particular bar the designation of “only bar open at noon on Sunday just for drinkers” (or so I would surmise).
The clientèle fell in line with the venue; guys on the solo, sipping brew, uttering profanities at the particular television where their gaze was directed. There were two women in the bar; the token football-bar cute girl (who’s ratcheted up a few notches on the “cute scale” simply because she’s drinking beer and watching football on Sunday) and the bartender’s lady friend (who took intermittent breaks to share a Newport with her man). Since there were no greasy burgers or dry eggs benedict to be had, food deliveries were rampant. I kid you not; I’ve never been to a place where one guy was inhaling a cheesesteak with fries next to a guy chowing on lo mein and egg rolls out of a box. The experience was perfected when a gentleman arrived with a bag of pirated movies, proclaiming “best DVD from Chinatown”. Good times. Now let me unveil the first installment of my NFL top five power poll.
1. Patriots (3-0) Usually the defending champs have to drop a game before relinquishing the top spot. Except this year. In 2007 the Patriots have outscored their opponents, 114-35, and have won each game by at least 24 points. Tom Brady has thrown for 887 yards, 10 touchdowns and one interception; his completion percentage is 79.5% and his quarterback rating is 141.8. All are numbers I can’t even fathom projecting. Randy Moss has been the best receiver in football and the Patriots defense is simply nasty (and missing its two best players). Add that all up and you know why the Patriots are number one until they fall.
2. Colts (3-0) After smoking the Saints at home on opening night the Colts have struggled in victory against Vince Young and the Titans (one of four teams to beat Indy last season) and the emerging-Texans. Wins are wins in the NFL, don’t get me wrong, but the Indy defense remains suspect, especially with the losses of Nick Harper and Cato June. Offensively (per usual) the Colts need not worry. Joseph Addai looks like he’s about to bust out a 1400 yard/15 touchdown sophomore campaign, which will makes things much easier for Peyton Manning as the Colts pursue a (futile?) defense of their title.
3. Steelers (3-0) So far the knock has been that they haven’t beat anyone that good just yet. But three decisive victories (Browns/Bills/49ers) with an average margin of three touchdowns has me believing the Steelers are once again for real. In terms of “Steel City Football”, Mike Tomlin has picked up right where Bill Cowher left off. By pounding the ball with Willie Parker (who leads the NFL with 368 rushing yards) and playing hard-nosed defense (the Steelers D ranks second in the league), Pittsburgh looks likes it’s ready to take back the AFC North.
4. Packers (3-0) The only thing more surprising than the Packers’ 3-0 start was when Ben Stiller’s character in “There’s Something About Mary” thought its quarterback was named “Brett Faaahvraaaah”. Indeed, the man and legend who’s time and again teased us with notions of retirement is guiding a team that has “NFC contender” written all over it. Wins over Philly, the Giants, and most recently San Diego, mean the cheeseheads have returned in full force, and with reason. Green Bay now has a young and vibrant defense complementing the old war horse, and in a division/conference where anything is possible, I say the Pack is back.
5. Cowboys (3-0) I’m not sold on this team yet. The talent is there, no doubt. In fact, top to bottom the Cowboys are probably the most talented team in the NFC. But the NFC East is also the toughest division in the conference and I’ve never thought a whole lot of Wade Phillips (especially in comparison to Bill Parcells) . Because the Eagles are notorious slow-starters I’m far from anointing the Cowboys NFC East champs. Although I will say their second half thrashing of the Bears at Soldier Field on Sunday night was a big statement. I felt they were going to win the football game; I just didn’t know they were going to become “the team” that forced a major shakeup in Chicago.
On a different note, I felt I had to address Jack Bauer errr Kiefer Sutherland’s recent DUI arrest. In case you missed it, Jack was cited for driving under the influence after he was pulled over for making an illegal U-turn Tuesday morning in West LA. While TMZ.com caught Jack lethargically signing autographs at the Fox function he was attending before the incident, I can only imagine how the actual apprehension went down. I’m guessing it was something like this:
Officer: Do you know why I pulled you over, Mr. Sutherland?
Jack: Who the f–k are you talking about?!?!!? I’m Jack Bauer!!!!!
Officer: You made an illegal U-turn, sir.
Jack: I used to run CTU you sonavabitch!!!!
Officer: Have you been drinking, sir?
Jack: There is a terrorist threatening to detonate a nuclear warhead in Los Angeles!! Millions of lives are stake!!!! I implore you to let me go!!!!!!!
Officer: Will you step out of the car please, sir?
Jack: Millions of lives!!!!!!
Officer: Sir, I’m going to have to ask you again.
Jack: Do the names Glen Livet and Jack Daniels mean nothing to you!!!!?!?!?!?
Officer: Mr. Sutherland, I’m placing you under arrest.
Jack: Habib Marwan!!!!!!!!