October 13, 2008

The Humbling of the Patriots

I ACTUALLY FELT a little bad for Bill Belichick last night. Here the New England Patriots are on national television, and the San Diego Chargers are kicking the Patriots' asses up and down the field, and Belichick had this look on his face the entire game as if to say, "Jesus Christ. This can't be happening." At one point, when the camera was focused on the coach after a stupid personal foul, one was able to read his lips and it appeared as if Belichick said, "A personal foul? You've got to be kidding me."

For a football coach, it was not a good day. It was not a good day for the Patriots, either. Like many observers, I was stunned at the San Diego Chargers' performance and just how well they played. Their 30-10 stomping of the Patriots was ... well, powerful is a good word to describe it. The Bolts were firing on all cylinders and they looked strong -- not only on offense, for which the team is well noted, but especially on defense. It could be the Chargers, as they seem to do every year, are picking up steam as they get their bearings and could well make it into the playoffs.

Of course, the rest of the country didn't mind seeing the Patriots lose. Neither did I, for that matter -- as a Steelers fan, I fear the Patriots and don't want them anywhere near the playoffs, where they could face the Black and Gold and ruin our quest to secure a sixth Super Bowl ring. But I heard two comments from non-Patriots fans that I thought were indicative of how the rest of the country sees the team. The first was a suggestion the Patriots get out their video cameras. The second was that we'll see just how smart Evil Genius Hobo Coach is now that he is without the league's top quarterback.

In other football news, I have come to realize that I'm starting to have Issues (with a capital I) when it comes to Baltimore Ravens fans. For instance, when Mr and Mrs Kepple were in town last weekend, we went out for Sunday brunch prior to the day's football. At the restaurant's omelette station, I went to place my order and discovered to my horror the cook was a Ravens fan. I couldn't help myself, and blurted out, "The Ravens!" as if I was a homeowner who discovered Dutch Elm disease in his backyard. Although I fortunately was able to recover, and didn't let on that I was a Steelers fan, I was shaken by the whole experience.

Then, yesterday, at Billy's, a friendly group from out of town arrived to watch football, and I asked which game they wanted to watch. The Ravens game, they said cheerfully, not paying attention to my Steelers cap. I offered a friendly greeting but the look on my face must have said something, because they went to a different table. Then again, perhaps I'm just being a bit oversensitive -- but I fear I'm ending up like a Browns fan or something.

Fortunately, though, the Indianapolis Colts just smoked the Ravens yesterday. Now that was fun to watch! Even though I had to root for Laser Rocket Arm, it still felt good. In fact, except for Miami's loss to the Houston Texans yesterday, everything pretty much went the way I had hoped. Oh, and Detroit got robbed.

God. The Minnesota Vikings-Detroit Lions game was actually given top billing in the back room at Billy's Sports Bar yesterday, as a group of Vikings fans turned out for the game. They were not happy. One fan, a regular who has the Vikings logo tattooed on his arm, spent good portions of the game on his mobile phone complaining about Brad Childress, the Vikings' head coach, and repeatedly calling for Childress to be cashiered. The Vikings fans also considered a questionable pass interference call against Detroit late in the game -- a call that essentially cost the Lions their first victory -- divine providence.

On the other hand, it was fantastic to see the Dallas Cowboys lose. Wow. What a game that turned out to be! I am happy for the Arizona Cardinals -- to a point -- but more glad the Cowboys lost. A couple more good losses and their locker room will fall apart and their fans will wail and gnash their teeth and that will be the end of everything. They can't take losing down there and every time Dallas loses an angel gets its wings.

Sorry, Miami. But keep at it. Remember, the goal is to defeat the Patriots. Also, I applaud the New York Jets for their win. Remember, the goal is to defeat the Patriots.

As for the Cincinnati Bengals ... oooh. 0-6. You know, it's time to like fire everyone and start over, 'cause your season is toast. T-O-S-T toast. I am not inclined to be cordial to Bengals fans at the moment, as a certain Bengals fan sent me a note professing shock over Michigan's loss to Toledo on Saturday. I would simply note that back in February, I predicted the Bengals would go 3-13 this year, and it would appear that I was on to something. Although the Bengals aren't bad for an 0-6 team.

As for tonight -- ooooh. Well, I would like to think the Browns could shock the world and cut off the New York Giants' heads, but I'm not all that confident. Neither are the Browns fans I know. But it would really be cool if the Browns could come out and win -- at 1-3, they are little threat to the Steelers at this point, and I wouldn't begrudge the Browns a win. They need one. The city of Cleveland needs one. The whole bloody state of Ohio needs one. So go out there and take the Giants down a peg tonight!

Posted by Benjamin Kepple at October 13, 2008 09:02 AM | TrackBack
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