Sometimes…

America can make me a Little Sad.

I was driving home from watching the Super Bowl last night when I heard this announcement type thing on the radio.  It was a news tease, or some type of PSA, or I don’t know, but the woman said, “A study shows if you use the 5-second rule you may be putting yourself at risk.  Germs can attach to the surface of food in under five seconds.”  I nearly drove off the road.  You are telling me there are enough people out there who believe the 5-second rule is a real thing that an announcement becomes necessary.  For me it would have been tantamount to hearing, “stepping on cracks doesn’t break your mother’s back.”  Who are these people out there thinking, oh, the food’s good.  It was only four seconds.  It makes me a little sad to think about them.

And, I have this reaction every once in a while.  People are just so clueless sometimes, you want to give them a little nudge.  They’re almost endearing in their idiocy.  Another example, I have a link on this page to a Fred Couples fan site.  There is a forum, it’s completely fan run, has nothing to do with Fred Couples personally.  All of this is fairly obvious if you look around for about ten seconds.  Despite this, someone will wander into the forum every once in a while, and write, “Dear, Fred…”.  Like this is Fred’s personal blog, and he’ll be getting right back to them.  Are they disappointed when he doesn’t respond?  Makes me sad.

Another thing, people who cannot communicate with ear phones in.  You know how many people walk around with guy pods in their ears now, and there’s always someone who can’t master their own volume.  They’re screaming at you, or constantly fiddling with their “ear buds”.  There’s nothing more depressing than seeing someone who clearly never had a Walkman growing up wrestle with some headphones.  I know you made a sweet mix, but you’re still in public.  Makes me sad.

I once encountered this little fella at a golf course.  He had way too many clubs in his bag, and he loaded them in a way that made the bag too top-heavy.  There’s a way to put clubs in a golf bag, and if you don’t know what it is, yes it makes a bit sad for you, but if you are open to help…well, then we can get somewhere.  This guy wasn’t open.  He put the bag on his shoulder, and all the clubs slid out,  because it was too top-heavy.  I tried to tell him this.  Put the longer clubs in the back of the bag.  No, he didn’t like that idea.  He was just going to put a cover on his bag so the clubs didn’t fall out.  Great.  So, the little guy loads up his bag again, snaps his cover on, and throws his bag over his shoulder.  The clubs can’t fall out of the bag this time, but the weight is still completely unbalanced, and the guy tipped himself over.  Honest to god, it happened.  So, now, I have to stand there and not burst into laughter because this guy is an idiot. He rights himself, and says, “You might be right.”  No sh*t.  Baffling how many people won’t listen to reason.  Makes me sad.

Feel free to share your own examples.

Is There Room For Ovechkin in the Discussion?

Ovechkin Toys With Opponents.

I don’t know if anyone noticed, but there was a hockey game on yesterday.  You could have caught a bit of it before the Super Bowl blitz started.  The Capitals hosting the Penguins in a match-up that is the NHL’s equivalent of Lakers vs. Cavs.  It was Crosby and Ovechkin, and when these two get together, the outcome rarely disappoints.  They are the sports two best players.  For the past few years Ovechkin has been touted as the better scorer, and Crosby the better overall player.  The proof of this supposedly lying in the Penguins Stanley Cup Title.  I’m not sure the quick descriptions of these players fit any longer, though.  Crosby has ramped up his scoring this season, and Ovechkin, despite missing 10 games with an injury is the league’s leading scorer.

The Capitals are the hottest team in all of professional sports.  They stared down a 2-0 deficit against Pittsburgh yesterday, watched Ovechkin tally a hat trick, and then won the game in overtime.  The Caps look like a juggernaut.  A team that will literally just run the opposition over.  Ovechkin has always been their lead dog, but the rest of the Caps have risen to new heights and perhaps allowed Ovechkin to start scratching at the surface of his peak potential.  Far from a one man show, the Caps come in waves, but when they need to change a game, tilt the ice in the other direction so to speak, like on Sunday, they look to number eight.

I wonder if it is time to start thinking of Ovechkin as one of the most dominant athletes in all of sport.  This discussion usually starts with guys like Tiger and Roger Federer.  The distinction between top athletes in team sports is harder to see.  LeBron or Kobe?  Manning or Brees?  Ovechkin or Crosby?  If you can’t say they’re clearly the best in their own sport, how could they be awarded the greater title?  I suppose it hurts Ovechkin’s case.  Team sport has seen its share of dominance, though.  I think of Gretzky and Jordan, can Kobe or Ovechkin, or even Crosby reach those heights?

I believe Ovechkin has a chance.  He’s never going to score the 212 points that Gretzky did.   He’s unlikely to win 4 or 5 Cups, though it is possible, but when you look at Ovechkin and realize he’s just 24 and not as his peak, the potential becomes limitless.   This season he’s scored 42 goals in 51 games.  He’s added 44 assists, and his plus/minus rating sits at a mind-boggling +41.   His plus/minus projects out to one of the most dominant seasons ever in that category, he’s going to score 50 goals for the third time in 4 years, and likely set a career high in points and assists, despite not playing a full 82 game season.

The stats are just complimentary to the discussion, though.  Much of Ovechkin’s dominance needs to be seen on video and not in a box score.  He’s a physical presence.  He imposes his will.  He’s certainly LeBron to Crosby’s Kobe.  There’s no doubt who is the stronger, more physical specimen.  There’s an inherent aggression to the way Ovechkin plays as well.  He’s always thinking goal.  There’s a palpable level of self-c0nfidence that dwarfs the other players on the ice.  I guess I’m saying there’s different ways to get to a similar stat line, and Ovechkin arrives in a more dominating fashion than any other athlete I’m watching these days with the possible exception of LeBron James.

It’s a shame Ovechkin plays hockey, and is relatively out of the national spotlight, because I think we’re seeing an evolution of what it means to be a great hockey player.  It’s happening right before our eyes, and no one is paying any attention.

(Photo by Peter Silver/OffWing Photo)

Who Ding Dat Dong Dang Dat Gonna Beat Dem Saints?

I'll Have a Bottle of the Manning, 2004.

So, in the end, after 21 grueling weeks, it is the Saints.  New Orleans beat Indianapolis 31-17 on Sunday to capture the Vince Lombardi trophy, a victory that will likely send the city of New Orleans into a month-long party.  They may have finally found something to upstage Mardi Gras, but more likely it will just be the perfect complement for a city that knows how to celebrate.  I can’t say the game went as I thought it would, although I did feel the Saints would be more competitive than most people.  It was a close game, but not the most exciting one, a few big plays highlighting what was mostly a lot of methodical offense.  I guess it was hard to be fully invested if you aren’t a Saints or Colts fan, but with the game in doubt until the closing minutes of the fourth quarter, I couldn’t have asked for much more.  Some things I took away…

Both defenses played a little better than I thought they would.  This wasn’t quick strike offense.  Both sides moved the ball, but the drives were long, calculated, and featured a lot of short passing.  Both teams made decent attempts at establishing a running game, but they were throwing it when it mattered, and nothing was opening up down field.  The Colts defense had a great first half, and a great goal line stand.  The Saints defense capitalized on some momentum, and obviously had the huge pick-6 late in the fourth quarter.  This wasn’t smash mouth football by any means, but a solid effort by the defensive units, especially the Colts, whose offense let them down.

No one is ever going to question Peyton’s Manning greatness.  Sunday he threw a handful of amazing passes, dropped in with perfect touch that reminded you how good he is, but perhaps we got a little ahead of ourselves with Mr. Manning.  Not in the sense that he’s not any good, but the sense that it was a forgone conclusion the Colts were going to win this one.  You can’t bet against Manning.  That was a popular refrain.  Is Manning the best QB of all-time if he wins this game?  That would have been a big leap, and Manning still has years left, but this game (2nd half especially) was a reminder that Manning hasn’t always been ice cold under pressure.  He had his struggles.  Well documented ones, in fact.  Personally, I think Manning is just as good as ever.  This supporting cast at the skill positions I find to be a bit lacking, and maybe we finally saw that Sunday.

On the other hand, Drew Brees was perhaps not given enough respect.  Brees who had MVP numbers during the regular season, took home the Super Bowl MVP with a near perfect final 3 quarters.  Watching this game, what struck me most was how important accuracy is at the QB position.  Obviously, you need a minimum level of arm strength and athleticism, but there’s no substitute for putting the ball exactly where you want.  Brees and Peyton are both examples of that, but Drew Brees in the second half, couldn’t miss.

I have give to Sean Payton credit.  The guy put himself into a position where he was going to face a lot of heat.  The decision on the goal line late in the first half, and then backing that up with an onside kick, it was extremely risky.  I don’t know many coaches who take that chance.  He looks like a genius in hindsight, but I imagine if Indy recovers that kick we might be having a different discussion.  I think it ultimately shows Payton’s belief in his guys.  Both on the goal line, and with the onside kick.  I don’t think it was fear of giving Peyton Manning the ball, he was looking for a chance to swing momentum, and believed that worst case his defense would hold, and they’d be down 13-6.  Still a one score game.  Of course, Sean Payton doesn’t have to worry about the what-ifs now.  He’s bought himself at least a 2 year grace period.

The commercials!  On the whole, I thought they were extremely weak.  Sorry effort by Doritos who had a lot of spots, and I thought Coke was a miss.  Budweiser didn’t live up to the standard they’ve set for themselves.  It wasn’t a great year for the spots, that’s for sure.  I think Go Daddy has run its course, and when someone typing things into a Google search bar is one of the best ads, you know you have problems.  Of course, E*Trade did step up to the plate with another great baby ad.  Another catch phrase, much like shank-o-potamus, this time “Milk-alholic”.  Not bad.  For those not entertained by the ads, perhaps you’ll enjoy this 60 second disclaimer for the physically not fit staying of mechanical bulls:

I guess that pretty much wraps up the NFL season.  Get ready for the draft, or something.  I want to give a thanks to my boys Kraft and Big Dub H for picking the whole season with me.  I think it was a pretty good time, pretty enlightening at points as well.  For sure.  Congrats to all the Derek Anderson winners,  Saints fans, and Vegas…because you know they made a killing.  Saints/Under.  Yikes.