Monday, November 8, 2010

Concussions, Ice-Gentle-men, Myanmar and Ugly Philly

Another week, another string of Updates…Please, hold your thunderous applause until the bottom of the piece, your enthusiasm is appreciated, but probably misplaced, it ain’t ever that good on a Monday.

What a weekend of tackle football. Nebraska squeaked out a win over Iowa State, LSU knocked off Alabama and Michigan State had a surprising (to me) bounce back win over Minnesota. Illinois scored 65 points against Michigan…and lost. It was the most points ever given up by Michigan in a single contest, and they won by two. That is a pretty rare event in sport. The teams combined for more points that the final scores of the past one, two, three! meetings of the school’s basket-ball teams (Basket-ball is roughly 4% as interesting as football, so it gets about 4% of coverage on the Update).

In the BCS, Oregon, My Oregon are number one and are the least likely of the top 5 teams to lose this season. Auburn, at number two, faces a handful of tough SEC games before they would have to play in the SEC Championship game at the end of the regular season. TCU is 3rd after destroying the Utes on the road. The Smurfs of Boise State are 4th, but could be passed by an LSU team at 5 that plays a much tougher slate of games toward the end of the season, and a potential bump by winning the SEC Championship. Nebraska is stuck at the Not-So-Great 8 spot, getting jumped by Wisconsin and Stanford. Shame, robotic computation devices, for letting this happen. May your circuits overheat.

In professional tackle football, the Cleveland Burnt Siennas beat the heretofore best team in the NFL, at least wins-and-losses speaking. The Jets snuck by the Detroit Lions in OT after being, in my very biased opinion, outplayed for 56:23 minutes. The Jets put up 10 points in the last 2:36 of the fourth quarter to force extra time, with a huge help from Lions LB Julian Peterson for ungentleman-like behavior on the game-tying drive. Peterson pushed LaDanian Tomlinson as the running back was stepping spritely out of bounds, which is by every account illegal. 15 yards, a first down and a very easy field goal would ensue.

In Philadelphia, Colts’ wide receiver Austin Collie went “over the middle” in order to catch a ball thrown deftly by Peyton Manning. This “over the middle” is constantly referred to and mentioned by Talking Ends and players, inferring that in this murky place of danger and adventure, where violent hits are more likely because receivers are defenseless and surrounded on all sounds by defenders. On this occasion, Collie caught the ball between three Eagles, placed a step or two on the ground and turned his upper body slightly to protect himself. The first Eagle hit him cleanly; a hard but legal hit. The second impact came from behind, helmet-to-helmet, with the crown of the Eagles helmet connecting to the rear of the Collie’s. Down went Collie, twitching and shaking, his arms frozen in the air in a sickening and alarming reaction to his brain being literally stirred about it his skull. A helmet-to-helmet hit; out came the flag. And the fans booed; the Eagles’ Kurt Coleman, who delievered the blow, gyrated and screamed in protest while another human being lay potentially paralyzed on the ground at his feet. While Collie was still being placed on a stretcher, unmoving, Eagles fans booed replays that clearly showed a helmet-to-helmet hit and a fellow man, with a family and friends and a life off the field, twitch unconscious at the end of the replay each time. The CBS commentator, Phil Simms, reviewed the play several times, forgetting that it showed a human being injured and focusing soley on whether it was a catch. Simms, Philadelphia and Kurt Coleman, you are all guilty of the single most disgusting act in sports this season…so far.

In Brett Favre news, the “Ol’ Gunslinger” threw for a career high 446 yards to beat the Arizona Cardinals in a game which proved the Vikings are capable of beating the fifth worst team in the league. The Vikings are 3-1 at home and winless on the road this season which is a good stat for the struggling Hyperboreans to hear. They play the Packer and Bears at home after playing at Chicago and getting the Bills and Giants at home as well. They go on the road only four more times, including a trip to Philly and Detroit to end the regular season. Kindly remove the fork from the Vikings…they are not entirely done yet. If they win their next two games, at Chicago and at home to the Cheese Craniums, they could be battling for the division, not just the wild card.

Last night, those very Cheese Craniums embarrassed the Dallas Cowpokes, so much so that Wade Phillips’ perpetual expression of “What the hell is going on?” actual gave way in the third to a pitiable look of, “I wish I still had no idea what was going on, this is terrible.” Seriously, that is what his face said. The ‘Boys (not men, “nothing but cowBOYS, just like the word says,” John Wayne) are now 1-7, tied for the second worst record in paid-football and no hope in sight. Owner Jerry Jones can’t fire Phillips because the potential replacement wouldn’t get to work with players till June, should the NFLPA and owners fail to reach an agreement over winter and spring negotiations.

IcemanFall 019
Winner, winner, chicken dinner: Brian Matter on his
way to victory.

In cycling news, the 2010 Iceman Cometh is in the books, with former winner Brian Matter claiming the men’s title over a field of high-quality professional pedal-turners. Matter jumped away with roughly four miles to go, and the leading pack, containing Todd Wells, Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski, Jerimiah Bishop and Sam Schultz, did not chase him down. Watch a video, taken from a camera taped to Bishop’s fork, of the action here. Over 4,000 cyclists braved freezing temps and mud-soaked trails to complete the 28 mile race, some so tired at the end that fans (myself including) pushed them up the final climb.

IcemanFall 023
Todd Wells, Sam Schultz and Jeremiah Bishop
scramble to the top of the last climb. Todd Wells held
on for second

On Sunday, Myanmar held its first elections in 20 years, though the outcome is already known at many voters forced by the military rulers to vote. A potential boycott, proposed by activists who oppose the nation’s militant government, was decreed to be punishable by the government and voters were prodded out, in some cases by police, to the polling stations. President Obama termed the elections “anything but free and fair” while the country’s League for Democracy voiced its desire any outcome because the results will be chosen the the military anyway. Myanmar also currently holds roughly 2,100 political prisoners at this time.

Thanks for reading, enjoy the Steelers vs. Bungles this evening on Monday Night Football. A better update tomorrow, I promise.

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