The Substitutes

I caught a little bit of the Patriots – Ravens game tonight. The unnecessary shoving and slapping I witnessed in such a short time may actually rival that of the Jersey Shore crew. However, these football players didn’t require absurd amounts of alcohol to get hype…  JUST replacement refs.

I agree, the officiating has been just plain bad, and wildly inconsistent. The delays, poor calls, missed calls, and flat-out confusion that has occurred since the replacement refs were handed the reigns is frustrating. Clearly, “frustrating” is understatement for what it’s been for players and coaches. However, I’m pretty sure of one thing: there’s no excuse for the fighting and/or harassing and demeaning of these officials.

As I watched the game unfold, I couldn’t help but notice the mounting horror on the faces of these poor blokes. They are, after all, in charge of keeping order amongst very large men who have now resorted to physical violence against one another. Not good.

Then it struck me. I’ve dealt with this before. This is what I like to call, Substitute Hysteria. If you’ve ever had a substitute teacher, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Remember that stickler of a teacher you had, whose class you dreaded? Remember the joy you felt when you walked into his or her room and saw an unfamiliar face behind the desk? Yesssss, we’ve got a sub!

Whether you were a good kid (like me ;)), or the one that made that substitute hate their life for a solid 50 minutes, you’ve experienced Substitute Hysteria. There is a certain sort of madness or frenzy that can occur when a group of kids outnumber a naive and unsuspecting substitute teacher. Spit wads, slapping people (friends or enemies), and other random acts of craziness occur. Most of which would never happen if the “real” teacher was in.

That same hysteria has taken over what used to be an orderly classroom, headed by Ed Hochuli and his biceps. Unfortunately, Mr. Hochuli & Co will be absent for at least two more weeks even if a deal to end the lockout is reached soon. Meanwhile, these poor subs have completely lost control of their classroom.

Now it only takes a few bad “kids” to evoke madness in a classroom. Likewise, there are always a few unruly parents as well. Parents who think they know better than the teacher and think they can call the shots, rather than teaching their kids to be respectful.

I mention this because there are now two coaches, Denver Broncos head coach John Fox and defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio, who are reportedly being fined $20,000 each for publicly criticizing the replacement refs. Then there is Bill Belichick, who made the not-so-smooth move of grabbing a replacement official by the arm while running off the field tonight. Get your checkbook out, Bill. That’s gonna cost you, too. The point is, just like parents can make jerks out their kids, coaches can do the same to their players.

OR, they can be like good mommies and daddies and teach their kids that despite the second-hand officiating they’ve had thus far, they must still carry themselves with class and act like role models.

To wrap it up, I want to explain why I’ve been so empathetic to the replacements. have been a substitute teacher. You do the best with what you’ve been given, and hope that your students aren’t heathens. For those that are heathens, a little dodgeball to the head during gym class will shut them up rather quickly, or so I’ve heard. Whoops! 😉 For the replacement officials, your little yellow flag (when used correctly) should help you maintain order as well.

Bottom line is this: These players may not respect the current officials, but they still have to answer to their coaches. Coaches, be the example for your players. These replacements are doing the best with what they’ve got. Mr. Hochuli and crew will be back before you know it. Hopefully. 🙂

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Tim Tebow: Love Him or Hate Him?

It’s kind of hard to escape the Tebow-mania these days. I’m okay with it because I like the guy. However those who don’t, have basically been left with nowhere to hide from the Tebow tidal wave.

It’s pretty easy to see why people like him. Not only is he an underdog who continues to prove his critics wrong, but he’s a class act.   After each “miraculous” victory the Broncos have pulled off this season, Tebow is quick to pass the accolades he receives on to his teammates, as he should. ONE man surely cannot win a football game by himself. That being said, one man can make a football team believe in itself. Tim Tebow has a knack for that. Not only have his teammates bought in, so has his city, organization (Buh-bye, Orton!), football fans across the country, and even people who aren’t typically football fans at all.

So yes, we all understand why he’s well-liked. The thing I struggle with, however, is why so many people hate him. Just last night I walked up to a conversation in which the first comment heard was, “I hope Tim Tebow dies in his sleep.”

My ticket to enter the conversation. Really?

Through the ensuing dialogue, I learned some of their (yes, multiple people) reasons for the hatred for the Broncos quarterback were as follows:

“He’s too much of a Jesus Freak.”

“He’s a virgin”

“He talked a bunch of crap about Ohio State when they played in the National Championship.”

Another statement was that Tebow acts like God loves him more and that’s why he wins, like he’s just praying to win the game. That’s funny, I didn’t know there was an app that deciphers Tim Tebow’s prayers! (Darn that, Apple. They think of EVERYTHING!)

When it comes to the status of Tebow’s V-Card, I don’t know or care to know. However, I have to wonder if he has chosen abstinence, is that reason to hate him? Would people prefer him to be like Kobe, Tiger, Magic, Michael, and the rest of the professional athletes that sleep with countless numbers of women, despite the fact that in most cases they are married?

How about the argument that Tebow is shoving his religion down everyone’s throats because he’s constantly praying, aka “Tebowing.”

I totally get this one. I feel the same way about dancing. Dancing, as in victory dances in the end zone. Those jerks need to stop shoving their dancing down my throat!! Especially those Atlanta Falcons, they’ve been doing The Dirty Bird for well over a decade and every time I see it I feel a tremendous amount of pressure to get up and do it myself. It makes me feel uncomfortable.

End sarcasm. Point taken?

Speaking of Falcons, their ex comes to mind… Michael Vick. We all know what he did. He’s disgusting. Yet, through his whole dog-fighting controversy, prison stay, and return to the league, everyone seems to be tolerating him quite nicely. It’s one of those “his transgressions off-the-field aside” deals. We can put something like that aside but not what Tebow does? Instead, he’s hated for it. Which leads me to ask, why are we more tolerant of a man like Michael Vick, who has illustrated quite vividly his lack of care or compassion for living things? Yet some people are outraged at the sight of Tim Tebow praying? I’m sorry, I didn’t know praying ever hurt anyone or anything!

As far as his religion goes, he’s entitled to his own beliefs. Typically Tebow is seen pointing toward Heaven after finishing a prayer or celebrating a big play or win, not to the camera/viewers. He’s not telling anyone else they have to pray with him or believe what he believes. Although you have to admit, it sure seems to be working! 🙂

Here’s the thing, whether or not you’re a Christian, can you not respect a disciplined man who believes strongly in something and lives his life according to that belief?

Now, I’m not even going to get into it with all of those who still claim Tebow “sucks” as a player. He wins. Football is a team sport and last time I checked, success in competitive sports was determined by wins and losses, not stats, throwing motion, or style. Capiche?

So now I’m curious. How do you feel about Tim Tebow? We’re talking as a person. Steelers fans, I know he’s probably not your favorite player at the moment, but that’s a different discussion for a different day (orrrr never 😉 ).

Do you love Tim Tebow? Do you hate him? Why?

One thing’s for sure, it seems that just about everyone has an opinion of him. Another fact? More people were interested in watching Tebow & the Broncos take on Big Ben & the Steelers in the opening round of playoffs (nearly 42 million) than watching the BCS National Championship game this year (24.2 million). 

Tim vs. Tom: A Mile-High Holiday Treat

Somewhere in the North Pole, there is a bum with a white beard and a dirty red suit that is out of a job. The Claus-man has lost his sweet gig to a large man wearing blue and orange. The eight tiny reindeer have been replaced as well, by ten big dudes wearing tight pants and helmets.

Sorry, Santa. Tim Tebow has stolen your thunder this holiday season and he’s spreading football cheer to just about everyone these days. Even some of us ill-fated Browns fans have (hopefully) found an underdog to latch onto this-coming postseason in Tebow and the Broncos. Whether you’re tired of hearing the Tebow-hoopla or not, I just can’t get enough of a good thing. Of course I wrote that story a month ago, so I’ll cool my Tebow jets for a few minutes.

Besides, before Tim can hit the lucky number seven (straight victories) and bring his Broncos one step closer to a playoff berth, he must slap a big “L” in the New England Patriots’ column; or rather, the loss column of proven-veteran Tom Brady.

Now let me just get this out there. Brady’s hair is a huge distraction for me. Even his sparkling blue eyes and stellar bone structure are rendered powerless to this female due to his terrible tresses. Let alone the words that come out of his mouth during a press conference. It’s like he’s on mute while I watch him speak because all I can think is, “Wow, that’s some bad hair.” (View evidence below)

Okay, I know the last couple aren’t him, but one has to wonder who his style icons have been over the years. Moving on…

Bad mop or not, Brady is a pretty sick quarterback, and he’s still not as big of a tool as the yeti in Pittsburgh. With the heated exchange between himself and his offensive coordinator last week aside, news of Tom and the Patriots has been fairly skim this season, despite their solid 10-3 record (hard to believe now that one of those losses was to Buffalo!). Brady is second in the league in passing yards and New England is third in the NFL in points scored per game with 30.5.

No wonder nearly everyone besides Patriots fans dislike the guy. Some even use the word hate. See the video below.

When you have haters under the age of 10, you know you’ve made it. 🙂

Well, Tom Brady and the Pats are hoping to make some grown men cry in Denver this weekend, just like they did to the scorned little fella above.

However, it won’t be easy. Denver is 7-1 with #15 at the reigns, and although Tebow’s game is sometimes hard to watch for the first three and a half quarters, I’d argue that there is not a better final-drive player in the league currently.

But will the Bronco’s mid-level defense keep it close enough for Tebow to take over in the fourth? Denver has not faced an offense like New England’s yet. Brady and the Patriots have been posting and average of 424 total yards per game, with 75% of those yards coming compliments of the six-time Pro-Bowler’s arm.

Of course the Patriots’ D is nothing more than average either, and they face a unique (to the NFL) Broncos’ offense which leads the league in rushing. Tebow makes the option work, and more importantly, Tebow makes his teammates believe they can win.

Yes, the New England name may be intimidating, and that reputation is deserved in my opinion. But one’s got to wonder… who should be more afraid heading into Sunday’s game? If I’m a Patriot… I’m a bit concerned about this Tebow character. Not to mention the rest of the Broncos, who have won five of the last seven meetings with NE, and the city of Denver that will no-doubt be going CRAZY for this game. There is something scary about a team that believes in itself as much as the Tebow-led Broncos do. You never know what they’re capable of.

There is also something refreshing about a football player who is clearly not out to make any fashion statements with his hairstyles. 

In closing, I’d like to leave you with a little jingle compliments of the man who was formally one of the Tebow’s biggest critics. Yes, Merril Hoge has been reformed. This is the same guy who called Tebow starting for Denver this season “absurd,” while stating, “It’s embarrassing to think the Broncos could win with Tebow!”

Open mouth, insert foot, Hoge!

If this can happen, just about anything is possible come Sunday!

***Play Video Below***

Poultry, Pigskin, and Good Ol’ Sibling Rivalry… Yes, Please!

Ah, Thanksgiving. A day for family and food. Toss in a competitive board game or a pick-up game of backyard football and you have all the makings of a great American holiday.

Oh, if it were only that simple. After catching up and reflecting on the year passed, the games begin… and out come the horns. Backyard football was never a favorite option among my family, my sisters in particular. We used to play Sequence, a strategic board-and-card game. Combating a relentless turkey hangover, we’d sit, and we’d battle. Dignity, pride and bragging rights on the line. Intense. Well, it was for us! But not compared to the Thanksgiving Day competition that one particular family has planned this year. Their backyard Turkey Bowl will include over 70,000 screaming fans, grown men chasing each other like hungry neanderthals, and a spot in the history books.

The subjects of this Turkey-Day extravaganza: John and Jim Harbaugh, the first brothers to be NFL head coaches. Sons of long-time college football coach, Jack Harbaugh, these two have continued the football bloodline. While John and Jim were growing up, the Harbaugh family moved 12 times as Jack took new coaching jobs. As you can imagine, the brothers grew very close. Of course with that statistic, they didn’t have much of a choice BUT to be friends! After high school both Harbaugh boys played college ball, John as a defensive back at Miami University (Ohio), and Jim as a quarterback at the University of Michigan. Jim continued playing in the NFL where his career spanned from 1987-2001.

With football resumes like that, the competition has probably been simmering between these two turkeys since their births (just one year and three months apart)! I should point out, I use the term “turkey” here with no disrespect :). I am certain, however, that both men have made each other better at both playing and coaching football throughout the years. John was very supportive of Jim’s decision to take the San Fran job. “He loves competing at the highest level, and the NFL’s the highest level of football. […] he’s built for the job and I think he’s the right guy for the job,” the eldest Harbaugh said of his brother earlier this year.

The other brothers who can closest relate to the Harbaughs’ situation today are Rex and Rob Ryan. Rex, the head coach of the New York Jets, and twin Rob, a defensive coordinator now with the Dallas Cowboys, tend to handle their sibling rivalry a little less gracefully. Basically, they (especially Rex) use press conferences to bicker with each other like two elementary-age girls who have unfortunately been given microphones. Their nit-picking knows no boundaries. Rex has even gone far enough to dress up as Rob for a press conference before the Jets took on Rob’s then-team, the Browns. Maybe that’s why Rob felt it acceptable to openly address Rex’s foot fetish with the media? Hard telling.

Fortunately, the Harbaughs have steered clear of the Ryan brothers’ path of mutual humiliation thus far. Of course, they haven’t played each other just yet. When asked of a face-off with Jim shortly after he was hired in January, John said, “It’ll be fun (to face each other). It’s not going to be new for us. We’ve been doing it for quite a long time. We shared the same bedroom for 18 years, so we’ve been wrestling around for quite a long time. It’ll be fun to get back at it in this way, whenever that comes up.”

Well, it’s finally come up. Jim’s squad made the three-time zone leap to Baltimore yesterday, which makes for a quick game-day turn around in this short week. Jim has this to say on the long trek to the east coast,”I definitely think it was very considerate of the NFL to reunite the brothers on Thanksgiving. I think that’s going to be very difficult for our team. There’s no question that we drew the short end of the straw on this one.”

Sibling translation: “NOT FAIR!” 😉

“Harbowl” aside, I’m loving this matchup. The Ravens are perched atop the AFC North with a 7-3 record, while the rookie, Harbaugh, has led his 49ers to a 9-1 tally. That’s impressive, as is. It’s even more impressive considering that they haven’t had a winning season in 8 years!

My guess is that this will be close and low-scoring. Both squads boast impressive defensive units, with the Ravens holding a slight edge. Turnovers will prove costly and I wouldn’t be surprised if this comes down to special teams play.

My pick? I’m going to go with Jim & the Niners!! While John has the coaching experience in the NFL, Jim has 15 years as a player, which definitely helps. Jim is a little more animated, and I love his energy and intensity. I think the 49ers will play with the same urgency shown by their coach. San Francisco gets the victory and evens up the head-to-head record with Baltimore at 2-2!

Another interesting tidbit to this story line is that Jim and John’s parents, Jack and Jackie, will mark their 50th wedding anniversary on Friday. How’s that for two major milestones in two days?! Not too shabby, Harbaugh Family!

Tebow: The Newest Hunk/Hero (and those that came before him)!

Last week, I ended my post with a series of questions concerning Joe Paterno, including whether the Penn State staple would be absent from the sidelines this past Saturday. The answer? Yes. And believe it or not, the sun rose again on Sunday. I admit, I was as intrigued as the next person by the scandal (obviously). However, I must be honest when I say I would rather discuss a possible collaboration of Justin Bieber and the Jonas Brothers before having one more conversation that includes “Paterno”, “Penn State”, or “Jerry Sandusky”. Thank you, ESPN, and every other news outlet (including myself) for covering this earth-shattering story around the clock. Curtains on this subject.

Moving on… I would like to steer away from the hard news and seriousness of last week’s post and focus on something a little more intriguing. This week’s story will be what the folks in the news industry refer to as fluff. In other words, we’re going to talk about the hunks of football because it makes us feel good. 🙂

(Men who follow this blog, I will not be offended if you veer away now.)

Today’s entry will not only be about the hotties, per se, but also the other just-plain-nice-guys that we find ourselves rooting for simply because they’re so darn sweet.

Let’s start with the most-talked about quarterback in the league, Mr. Tim Tebow. Tonight, Tebow had the perfect stage to continue his turn-around of the Bronco’s season, and another opportunity to shake his critics. Denver had posted a 1-4 record when Tebow was finally given the reigns against Miami in week 7. Now? They are 5-5, only a half-game back in their division, and basically they’re the hottest thing since leg warmers and knee-high boots. Didn’t know that was hot? Well, it is. Anyway, Tebow has continued to make things happen HIS way. Although, I will concede that his throwing motion doesn’t look half as good as his physical appearance. He entered this game with a 44.8 completion percentage while averaging 86.4 passing yards per game. That’s awful. However, if a quarterback can rush for the amount of yards that he’s able to each game, while winning four out of five outings, I don’t care if he passes the football underhand… I’d take it!

Next we’ll move on to the Tebow critics. Merril Hoge, aka Scrooge, and a number of other ESPN and NFL analysts can BACK OFF! Whether they like it or not, this not-so-tiny Tim is writing his own holiday story. Tebow is finding a way to win, albeit ugly at times. But that’s better than losing ugly. Ahem… BROWNS! And I bet you Colts fans would prefer ten ugly wins to the even uglier goose egg you have in your win column at the moment. Am I right?

Tebow

Bottom line is this: I’ve never cared about Tim Tebow’s career any more than I cared about the calorie content in the peanut butter pie I ate last night (which is not at all if you were wondering – it was worth it!). Now that his college-stud days are over, I find myself rooting for the guy just because I feel like people want to see him fail. Even when he wins he gets criticized more than most losing quarterbacks of the week! He’s a good guy. He stands up for what he believes in. Shouldn’t we want and will a guy like him to succeed? Well, thanks to all of his nay-sayers, Tebow has a new fan in me. The phrase, “keep hating, you’re making me famous” isn’t reserved just for teenage girls on Facebook anymore, right Tim?

Next hottie? Kurt Warner. THIS one goes out to my mother :). Of course she would say she likes him because he’s such a nice guy, but let’s be honest, Mom, he’s not too hard on the eyes either. My mom watched a special on Warner a couple of years ago and heard his story. Let me just say, she was pretty taken by the guy! Click here to hear his story for yourself. There have been SEVERAL different occasions since then in which she has referenced her “favorite” quarterback. Each of those times (at least the discussions she has had around me), she’s asked,

Warner

“What’s his name again? You know, the quarterback that Annette (her friend) and I like?”

“Kurt Warner?” I offer.

“Yeah, that’s it! Kurt Warner! ”

So, she may not know his name, but he IS her favorite! I can already tell you that if he were still playing, she would be rooting for him, no questions asked…. as soon as she’d realize he’s the one on the field.

Quinn

The next stud on the list just can’t go without mentioning. Yes, I have already discussed him on here, and yes, I already receive crap about this guy too: Brady Quinn. You may have gathered from previous posts that I’m a Notre Dame fan. During my college days Quinn led the Irish to some of the best seasons I can remember. He holds 36 records at Notre Dame and won the Maxwell Award his senior year. The Maxwell Trophy, though not as prestigious as the Heisman Trophy, is given to the best player in the country according to a panel of NCAA head coaches and members of the sports media. In other words, he is not terrible, and no, I do not like him just because of his looks… although they surely don’t hurt. 🙂

Notice how I’m already defending my bias for this quarterback. Let me tell you exactly why, and exactly why I will admit, yes, the guy also wins points with me because he’s incredibly good-looking. It’s because with most of the men out there, he LOSES points because he’s incredibly good-looking! In other words, they’re jealous. The same goes for Tim Tebow. He’s an attractive, positive, and faith-driven man yet sadly enough, a lot of negative people out there don’t like that. You know what they say… misery loves company!

Ultimately ladies, in your own football world you can like (or dislike) anyone for whatever reason you choose. If you don’t have one already, your assignment is to select your favorite player. Have no shame. Think he looks good in his tight pants? Perfect! Think he’s a nice guy and deserves some support? That works too! Try to make it a point to either watch him play this weekend, or at least see how he did afterwards.

In closing, we’re going to take a poll. Who’s the most attractive guy in the football? If your favorite is not listed, add him in the “other” line. Yes, coaches are allowed too. However, as mentioned before, I’d appreciate it if you could all show some restraint and leave Joe Paterno out of this.

😉

And you thought YOUR relationship was complicated…

Have you ever had your heart broken? Believed in something too much, too soon? Have you ever realized perhaps a little too late that you’re in over your head? Very few of us, if any, have been exempt from heartbreak throughout our lifetime. Think about your first big break up. Now consider a few words to describe how you felt at that time: Devastation? Confusion? Hopelessness? Of course it’s the great times in that relationship that make the loss so tough to swallow, right? Or maybe it’s the potential you saw in the object of your affection? So goes the life of the underdog fan. Last week, a reader made a comment that really made me think. He stated, “MOST relationships do not last as long as that developed at an early age with a favorite team.”

I had never really thought about my connections to my teams in that term: relationships. Then suddenly… the lights dim. Over the inspiring melody of the Rudy theme song (play this for optimal experience), I picture myself at my first Notre Dame game: 1998. 12 years-old. Losing feeling in my toes and buried deeply under my stadium blanket. Thrilled as I watch Autry Denson float across the field en route to his school record 4,318 rushing yards. The Golden Dome is behind me, Touchdown Jesus to my left. Man, it doesn’t get better than this! I’m officially smitten. Fade to black…. [and turn off Rudy]

Fast forward to October 15, 2005. The No. 9-ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish host the No. 1-ranked USC Trojans as the Irish hope to avenge literal butt-kickings at the hands of the Trojans the previous three seasons. Notre Dame dons the sacred green jerseys. I didn’t have to be at the game to feel the excitement. Fourth quarter. USC trails by three and are just a few yards away from the end zone. There is only enough time on the game clock for one more play. Trojan quarterback Matt Leinart (#11) takes the snap, keeps the ball and hits a wall of Irish defenders at the goal line. Enter: Reggie Bush. Play this. Leinart twists, turns, and throws all of his 230-some pounds toward the end zone as Bush (#5) grabs his quarterback by the jersey and PUSHES him in from behind (if you were wondering, NO, you can’t do that). The result, a play that will go down in history as the “Bush Push,” and a 34-31 USC victory. The result for me? Devastation. Confusion. Hopelessness… maybe some tears… [end Nazareth song]

The Irish have lost far more big games than they’ve won in recent years. Believe me, I’ve felt the heartbreak, along with thousands of fellow Irish fans. The ups and downs of this courtship have been utterly draining at times. You can probably relate in some way, shape or form, right? However, my love for the Irish still doesn’t qualify me as an underdog fan…. my affection for the Browns does. While my relationship with Notre Dame is definitely more serious and passionate, I care enough for Cleveland to admit that they’ve hurt me too. If the Cleveland Browns were a boyfriend, he’d be one that you don’t expect a lot out of, so when he does something even slightly nice for you, you get overly excited. You think, “maybe he’s changed!” This is when the “Believeland” shirts come out. Maybe THIS season will be different. The thing is, we really do believe that! No joke! Just like the ever-loyal and faithful girlfriend, Cleveland fans never give up on their Browns – no matter how many times they mess things up! Call it a dead-end relationship if you want. We have too much invested in this to let it go.

Well, the Browns dropped from 3-3 (which, let’s be honest Browns fans, we weren’t too upset about) to 3-4 with a loss to San Francisco this past Sunday. While I would have loved to have been above .500 for at least a week or so, I have to admit, I’d rather take a loss to the 49ers than one to the Steelers. Or the Patriots. Or any other team that is used to winning. The NFL has been great this year in that a slew of underdogs have been extremely successful thus far.

In the NFC, San Francisco is atop the West at 6-1, having already matched their win total from last season (they finished 6-10). After a perfect 4-0 start, the Detroit Lions are now 6-2, with one of those losses coming from San Fran. The Lions were also 6-10 last year, and an even more dismal 2-14 in 2009.

In the AFC the Cincinnati Bengals have gone from a 4-12 worst-finish in the North a season ago to 5-2 so far in 2011. However, the gems of the underdog studs this season in my eyes are the Buffalo Bills! They’ve also improved a 4-12 2010 record to 5-2 thus far. The difference here? This squad has not had a winning season since 2004! If I had to put any group of fans in the same category as Browns fans, it would be that of the Bills. These fans even sit in the face-frosting, painfully cold, crappy, lake-effect weather to (usually) watch their team lose like we do! I only know a couple of Bills fans, but what I’ve appreciated about all two of them is that every season they know exactly how bad their team is, but it doesn’t make a difference, the love doesn’t fade. It’s like a tattoo. Once you get it, you’re pretty much committed whether you like it down the road or not.

So there you have it. Are the Browns a one or two-loss team this year? Nope. Will they be next year? ABSOLUTELY! 😉 The point is, I’m happy for Bills fans. I’m happy for Lions fans. I’m happy for 49ers fans, and…. and I’m going to stop there (the Bengals are still in the Browns’ division, after all). Anyway, you all deserve the excitement of having a winning team. We know what it’s like to put in our time even when it’s not always fun. Therefore, win-on, fellow underdogs!!

Now ladies, on to this week’s assignment. Last week you were to pick a team (you did, right?). This week, place a friendly bet on that team. Make it a dollar, a lunch, $20…. or if you really want to raise the stakes…. bet your favorite handbag. I dare you. If that doesn’t get you screaming at your television come Saturday or Sunday, I don’t know what will! This week you will have a little something more invested in your team. You can now consider yourself a couple dates into this relationship. Stay open-minded and just see where it goes. 😉


The Kickoff

Behind every fantastic guy is usually an equally (or even more) fantastic woman. On Saturdays and Sundays however, the attention of that great man is typically focused on what’s right in front of him: the television. Football season is in full swing, and ladies, I’m willing to bet more than a few of you are looking forward to its end. You miss your men, right? Your weekends?  Maybe you’re even supportive enough to sit through the good, bad, & ugly of it all with your sweetheart… without really having a clue what you’re watching (that’s love right there!). Or maybe you’re like me, and every bit as excited (and even more so at times) for some gridiron action as your guy is! Whether you fall into these categories, or anywhere in between, this blog is for you. (Men, you are welcome to follow along too.) 🙂

When given reign over the remote, most of the men in your life (your dad, your brother, your S.O., or guy friend) probably turn directly to ESPN. Ahhhh, yes… the manliest of all man channels. This, ladies, is simply their very own soap channel.
It’s got it all: the gossip (Urban Meyer to OSU?!); the drama (Jim Harbaugh/Jim Schwartz fight?!… or rather, “confrontation”); and the divas (see NBA Lockout). The sports world is like The Real Housewives of New Jersey with a splash of testosterone added to billions of dollars, then multiplied by 15,408 (that’s an approximate number of coaches and players in college football and the NFL). Sound interesting yet?

Let me cut to the chase. Girls, you and the sports-crazed men in your life have a lot more in common than you think. It IS possible to share autumn weekends together… and enjoy it! Consider this. Your favorite entertainment shows like EXTRA and Entertainment Tonight draw a distinct parallel to the holy grail of ESPN, SportsCenter. You know exactly what I’m talking about. The “dunnuh-dun…dunnuh-dun” is just as recognizable as The Young and the Restless‘ theme. Entertainment shows give us a daily rundown of what’s going on in Hollywood. Sports fans get the latest news and gossip from SC and other ESPN programs.

But wait, there’s more. Ever watch The View? Have you ever wished you had a mute button for a host or two on the show? Well ladies, the men have their version too… and in the case of Around the Horn… they’ve beat us to the mute button. Pardon the Interruption (PTI) could also be thrown into the same category as The View or The Talk except for the fact that they’ve limited the bickering to just two hosts. Genius, right? How about the Best & Worst-Dressed lists on Fashion Police? Male version: SportsCenter‘s Top Ten and Not-So-Top-Ten Plays.

Lastly, we come to one of my guilty pleasures: The Bachelor/Bachelorette. During the rose ceremony the contestants all stand at attention wearing their very best. Wide-eyed and nervous, they wait intently for their name to be called. It’s hard not to commiserate with these poor people at a time when they are so vulnerable. I’ve seen the same look on the faces of football players waiting for their names to be called during the NFL Draft. Don’t believe me? Check out the look on Brady Quinn’s face as he anticipated his selection (then felt the rejection) in 2007. Originally projected to be a top-five pick, Quinn was chosen 22nd overall by the Cleveland Browns. As you can see in the clip below, most expected the Miami Dolphins to pick up Quinn with the 9th selection… including the director, as he chooses to focus on the quarterback during the announcement.  
Ouch. How can you not feel for the guy?! When it comes to the Draft however, the athletes are vying for a baseball cap and a football jersey instead of a rose. Oh, and a big check.

Bottom line is that we become wrapped up in “our shows” because we get wrapped up in the characters and the story line. We begin to feel like we know these people and end up rooting for or against most of them. We can name housewives, Grey’s Anatomy doctors, guidettes, their relationship statuses and more in a heartbeat. The sports nut in your life can dish names, numbers, stats, and game-day status just as quickly.

Maybe you would like to know more about football or sports to share a common bond with someone. You may be interested in simply knowing more for yourself. MAYBE you just want to see the look on some guy’s face when you chime into the next sports convo with a legit opinion or bit of information HE didn’t even know! The moment you start caring about (or even disliking) a particular team or player will be the moment you cross over. It can happen. It happened to my husband when I made him watch The Bachelorette with me. (Sorry, babe!) 😀

Your first assignment…. pick your team if you don’t have one already. Have no clue where to start? Pick the team with the best colors. It doesn’t matter. Google them and catch up. The season has already started, so just like YOUR shows, your team already has a story line established and history beyond just this year. This season has been extremely unpredictable! The underdogs (ahem, LIONS) are winning. The usual top-contenders (COLTS! cough, cough) are losing…. NEITHER of these are normal!

As far as college football goes, I’ll give you all a head start: Notre Dame is the best. EVER.

(MY assignment is to work on an unbiased standpoint for this forum) 😉

Have fun!!! 😀