All Things Football

Ghost Duck

I haven’t posted in a few days because I’ve been pre-occupied with other things. I’ve had plenty to write about, so daily posts will follow until I’m caught up.

Take for example the college football championship game. For those following this blog who don’t follow American college football, there used to be a very odd, opaque process for determining the top college football team that did not involve an elimination tournament. I never fully understood the old process, so I won’t bore you trying to explain it. Let’s just say that it was very controversial and, more to the point, boring.

Americans are used to playoff games, like they have in the National Football League. The top teams play each other, with the winners eliminating the losers until the last two teams standing play each other for the championship, otherwise known as the Super Bowl. College football didn’t have a corollary, until Monday.

On Monday, fans got to see the first college equivalent of the Super Bowl, with the Oregon Ducks taking on the Ohio State Buckeyes. I watched the game, as did millions of others. It was a ratings blow-out.

Ohio State won the game convincingly and were anointed the champions of college football. It’s worth pointing out that, under the previous system, Ohio State would not have been the championship team.

It’s also worth pointing out that when I began watching the game, before any play had been run, I texted a relative to predict that the Ducks were doomed to lose because of their uniforms. The Ducks weren’t wearing the traditional Oregon colors, which feature green and yellow. Instead, they were wearing a special uniform designed by Nike that made them look like ghost Ducks (see the photo, above). Sure enough, they performed like ghosts of their former selves.

I had a minor rooting interest because the Ducks are a Pacific coast team and my relative has a close friend who is an Oregon alumni. So I take no joy in pointing out the issue with the uniforms, but let’s hope that next year the Ducks stick with the traditional colors instead of shilling for Nike. It’s like putting your champion hound in an ugly Christmas sweater at the Westminster dog show. Even a dog knows when it’s wearing inappropriate attire, not to mention an elite college football player.

Switching gears, the local pro football teams have hired new head coaches. The 49ers went for an inside candidate, Jim Tomsula, while the Raiders went with an outside candidate, Jack Del Rio.

I mention this, in part, because I met Jack once very briefly. His girlfriend at the time was a member of my cover band. He seemed like a nice guy. Good luck, man. As a Raiders fan, I hope it all works out. Reportedly, Jack grew up a Raiders fan, too, so that’s a plus. The reality is that the Raiders have fired a lot of head coaches in the past few years, so I appreciate the fact that Jack decided to take the Raiders up on their offer. It’s not like people are breaking down their door to get into that organization, given the track record. Maybe he’ll help to convince other serious football people to sign up for the Raiders’ program.

As for Tomsula, it seems a bit pathetic. I don’t mean he’s pathetic, but when you fire a guy that took you to the brink of a championship three out of the last four years, it seems like promoting a guy into that spot who’s obscure by comparison shouldn’t be seen as an obvious, genius move. Whatever.

I’m going to Las Vegas for the Super Bowl, so I’m going to predict the whole thing, right now. I’ll blog with my tail between my legs if any part of this doesn’t come true.

I can’t possibly predict that the Patriots will defeat the Colts. I’m still mad about the Patriots beating the Raiders in the AFC championship, even though their quarterback fumbled the ball toward the end of the game. There was so much controversy about that call it resulted in a new rule; the “tuck” rule. Total BS. So Colts go to the Super Bowl.

The other game is a coin-toss. Green Bay against Seattle. If there’s any justice in this world, Aaron Rogers and Green Bay will torch Richard Sherman and the Seahawks. Why? Because Sherman has been begging for a comeuppance, and because Seattle’s quarterback, Russell Wilson, is one good sack away from being exposed as the overrated player that he is.

So it’s the Packers vs the Colts for the Super Bowl. In my opinion the Colts will win that battle because Peyton Manning needs to end his career and a Colts win will be a bittersweet salve to heal his many wounds.

Thanks for your continued interest in this blog.

Garbage Time

Raiders Losing

The picture doesn’t tell the story. All the really bad shots have been taken off the website already.

I was a Raider season ticket holder for 10 years. I quit when I took my daughter to a few games and figured out it was an inappropriate atmosphere for an infant. Now that the Raiders have become an embarrassment, I’ve concluded that they are inappropriate for adults, as well.

At least for this season. Gawd, it’s pathetic that I can’t be more definitive and just cut the cord; say Adios to Raiders fandom completely.

For I have seen this season, and, in particular, last Sunday’s game.

This is the first and probably the lone post I will ever do flaming a sports team. That it is focused on a team I care about is a measure of the shame I feel after witnessing the completely lame Raiders performance against a team, that, while competent, is not on the level of the Kansas City Chiefs. The Raiders beat the Chiefs last week (their first win in over a year), which makes the manner of this week’s loss that more ignominious.

The Raiders lost.

But more than that, they didn’t score.

At all.

Zero.

Meanwhile, the other team (who I won’t mention; this post is not about them) scored 52 points.

The Raider’s season was lost way before this latest humiliation. It was already garbage time. But garbage time exists in the context of a game, or a season, or in general. This last game was garbage time in any possible context; the pure manifestation of an NFL franchise in the process of creating bad, no, unacceptable, content.

They’ve been doing it for years now.

I don’t presume to know how to lead the Raiders back to greatness, but here’s a thought.

Mr. Davis, please realize that, while you may one day possess the smarts to make the right hiring decisions to restore the team to greatness, you can retain ownership, but for the time being, the key hiring decisions should be made by someone who has more football experience than you have. The only hiring decision you should make, with close consultation with trusted experts (and with listening to people you don’t necessarily trust; you want to know what your enemies don’t want you to do); is to hire someone to make key decisions for you.

This Sunday the Raiders play the 49ers. I have cognitive dissonance around this game, because the Raiders’ season is already over, while the 49ers need to win to have a plausible chance of making the playoffs.

As it stands now, I prefer rooting for the local interest than rooting for garbage time, as much as that hurts.