Thursday, September 28, 2006

The Word

What's the bigger cuss word: dynasty or parity?

To the shell of the former dynastic New England Patriots, parity seems to be worse. Among other teams, the NY Jets have a viable shot at taking the whole AFC East division, with a Chad named Pennington and a ex-assistant now purified in the green waters of Lake Minnetonka leading the way. Purple Rain references aside, the 2-1 Patriots are far from the intimidating powerhouse they once were. A shaky secondary and an as of yet untested recieving corps, are the weaknesses of this new look team, but is that the reality? Why blame the players? Analysts to and fro have lent their expertese to the stumbling former ring-stingy franchise and all seem to blame the players. The Word poses this question: What of the coaching?

New England's problems lye in the lap of Bill Belichick. Arguably the most arrogant coach in pro football, Belichick is horrible to his players. Obviously he never listened to his mother or Trent Reznor who speaks out in firm resolution on the topic of not biting the hand that feeds you. A note from The Word: that hand is key defensive and offensive players, most recently Deon Branch. Belichick might have a super-system, a plug-and-play scheme that he can keep winning with, but chances are his Super Bowl consistency will from now on take a drastic skid. As we've seen with other super systems, that is to say Shanahan's Denver system, one player (last call for Elway, Elway; draft class of 83) can make a difference between just winning games and winning Super Bowls, so why should I believe Belichick can rewrite history with the yearly reworking of his team's chemistry? I also wonder how many players can he kick under the bus until the rest of the team sees how ungrateful he is for their services. I worry about the future morale of this team and what the fair-weather, late-adopters will do when NE is not back in another Super Bowl at the end of the year. The fans who don't remember the Paul-Revere-hiking-the-ball days, the Super-Bowl-shuffled-upon days. Where will the team be when they are banished back into the obscurity of their divsion like the teams of old; banished and long forgotten by everyone outside of Foxboro? This just in: Colts' fans could give a shit less.

I don't think I'll have to wait long for my answer though. A coach's arrogance, a division's parity, both enemies of Tom Brady, who'll no longer be able to look at porno and have people think it's cute.

For The New England Patriots, parity means fucked...

And that's today's Word.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

KrilDog Presents: Failed Celebrity Endorsements

Terrell Owens & Vicodin
Case #8010


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Spring 2005. Owens and agent Drew Rosenhaus conspire to launch a campaign to make TO the personification of gridiron greatness and also rehab his image after a very public and vocal falling out with Eagles teammates and coaches. One day while working out in the driveway of his New Jersey mansion, Owens pulled several muscles. Rosenhaus then carried him over his shoulder to the nearest ER, which was some 15 miles away, all the time screaming "My nest egg!" repeatedly. Doctors write TO a prescription for Vicodin to ease the suffering. Feeling energized by the little white pills, TO goes back to his workouts the very next day. Rosenhaus, seeing the chance to put more cash in his deep pockets, calls Pfizer to set up an endorsement deal. After a month of intense, profit-driven negotiations (thanks to Rosenhaus being a greedy, despicable waste of human life only in it for money), Owens signs on the dotted line and a commercial shoot is scheduled.

Unfortunately, the tape of the shoot has never made it into public view. However, yours truly was given a chance to view it for the purpose of this article. Let's break it down, shall we?

Scene 1

Owens wakes up in his bedroom with the sun shining through the windows and Sonny and Cher's And the Beat Goes On blaring from the alarm clock. He get out of bed, stretches and then pops 2 Vicodin, which he then washes down with some mineral water. He checks his newly created MySpace page to see that Tom is his only friend. He then checks his cell and e-mail and sees that he has no messages. Glumly, TO heads downstairs.

Scene 2

Owens enters the kitchen to find Rosenhaus cooking breakfast. Today is scrambled egg whites and toast with grape jelly. Owens grinds up 2 Vicodin and sprinkles them on the freshly-cooked eggs. He washes the meal down with a large glass of homestyle orange juice. After checking the cell again, he decides to workout.

Scene 3

The infamous driveway. TO goes through his standard set of exercises, taking time to drink Gatorade in between sets. The Gatorade looks a little cloudier than normal, and when the director investigates he finds that it's spiked with a mysterious white powder than looks very similar to what Owens had with his breakfast. Owens tries to cover by saying he added Creatine for enhanced performance, then laughs nervously and heads for the shower.

Scene 4

Owens is in his rehearshal room. It is a room filled with mirrors that looks very similar to the room from the final battle of Enter the Dragon. Here, Owens practices responses to questions that he may face from the media. Rosenhaus asks the questions and coaches his client on how to properly throw your teammates, fans and city of employment under the bus and come off looking like a prima donna jackass. Every time TO responds correctly, Rosenhaus gives him an M&M for encouragement. However, the M&Ms appear to be oddly shaped. A production assistant examines them after shooting is done and discovers that they are candy-coated Vicodins. It is estimated that TO ingested 15-20 "candies" during the session.

Scene 5

Owens has not been seen for hours. Crews have taken the time to shoot all the necessary filler shots of the residence they will use for transitions during the editing process. Suddenly, sobbing is heard from the master bedroom. Crews rush upstairs to find that TO has used some blankets and pillows to build himself a fort. Several candles dimly illuminate the room as R.E.M.'s classic song Everybody Hurts blares on repeat from the stereo. Owens himself is seated on the floor in the fort, wrapped in a pink blanket with white bunnies on it. He cradles a teddy bear in one arm as he types on his laptop with the other. A pacifier and a bowl of Vicodin sit at the ready nearby. Owens laments the fact that even Tom won't be his friend on MySpace anymore. "I have nobody," he yells to no one in particular. "I'm so alone. I am a solitary black pit of gloom and despair. This is totally going in my LiveJournal." The crews slowly back out of the room and pack up for the day.

The Aftermath

The next day, Pfizer summons Rosenhaus to explain his client's actions. The agent tries to blame the incident on Donovan McNabb and Andy Reid then claims TO is persecuted because he's black. The powers that be don't believe it. He claims it was an isolated incident, but when prodded with further inquests all he can say is "Next Question!" Frustrated, Pfizer buys out TO's contract and hands Rosenhaus cash on the spot. With an evil smirk on his face, he tucks the stack of bills in his jacket and promises to deliver it to his client. Upon returning to casa de TO, Rosenhaus laments that the deal is off and they won't see a dime. As Owens retreats to his fort, Drew heads to the bank to make a deposit, whistling Dixie the entire way and confident that everything is going to be ok and this sordid affair will never happen again...

Monday, September 25, 2006

Colts Report, Week 3

I guess some people do learn after all.

Take this quote from Jaguars linebacker Mike Peterson concerning this week's game, "When they come to our turf, we're going to try to return the favor," he said.

There's a very small but very important word stuck in this sentence. It's "try." You see, in the past, the fiery ex-Colt would simply have said, "We're going to return the favor." And then Byron Leftwich would've probably flipped someone off. So maybe the J-Cats have learned something after all.

That's right, boys, you're still not an elite team. I'm sorry about that. After all this talk of getting respect, the Jaguars showed once again they're pretenders, maybe even phonies. Are they a good football team? Yes. Are they a great football team? Certainly not.

Let's cite a few examples this week why Jacksonville isn't ready for prime time yet:
  1. Despite outgaining the Colts in the first half, keeping the Colts offense off the field, and physically manhandling the defense (156 rushing yards in the first half), the Jaguars ended up tied at halftime, thanks to a missed field goal (CLANK!) by Josh Scobee, and a complete special teams breakdown that allowed Terrence Wilkins '06 to look more like Terrence Wilkins '01, resulting in an 82-yard touchdown
  2. A variety of stupid penalties that make you wonder if Jaguars players are taught to stop when the flag flies instead of when the whistle blows
  3. Another Scobee miss
  4. Blown coverage on Dallas Clark (how can you not cover a guy that big?)
  5. Deviation from a winning game plan (11 rushes in the second half? What happened to the smash-mouth philosophy?)
  6. Talk, talk, talk, talk...and again...no action
  7. And you let Peyton Manning run for a touchdown; I suppose it's better than letting him beat you with his arm, but Holy Lord...that's not supposed to happen!

I watched this week's game with a friend, and we both agreed the Colts should've been down by three scores after the first half. Instead, miraculously, it was all tied up. I'm still not sure how that happened. The offense never stayed on the field long enough to find a rhythm, and the defense was atrocious (try tackling next time, guys).

That said, here are my observations for Week 3:

A 20-Doss gun salute. Mike Doss played really big for the Colts this weekend. I don't think he's had that much fun since his little gun incident in Akron. I know, I know. That was a cheap shot. I guess I'm starting to take Jacksonville's style of play to heart. Seriously, though, Doss had a huge interception, and showed he was one of the few Colts capable of showing off a good form tackle, especially in the second half.

Who hit the Playmaker button? Was that Peyton Manning with the naked bootleg for a touchdown? No way. It couldn't have been. No one expected that. Great call by Tony Dungy and Tom Moore.

Premature Martin. I got a kick out of it when 97-year-old Martin Gramatica had to re-kick the ball on a kickoff. Apparently, he didn't wait for the referee to signal him to start. As I was watching the game, all I could think of was Gramatica saying, "That's never happened before. I swear. It's the first time."

Tackling Dummies. The Colts, as mentioned previously, did a horrible job of tackling. It was a very poor effort in the first half. How many times can a team run draws out of the shotgun and pick up big yardage with the backup (but very talented) halfback? At least they shored things up in the second half, and thanks to Jacksonville's many mistakes, didn't end up letting the team get behind.

Where's Dwight Freeney? His injury must be worse than anyone's letting on; Freeney's been pretty ineffective so far, and hasn't registered a sack. It's kind of scary for the Colts' main defensive centerpiece to be so quiet.

Simon says questionable means "I ain't playin' cause they ain't feeding me enough." Will Corey Simon ever suit up for a game? He's not the only problem with the defense, but having his big, um, body in the middle would certainly help clog things up a bit. And I think Maurice Jones-Drew (the UCLA running back formerly known simply as Maurice Drew) is probably small enough for Simon to eat, thus eliminating that problem. Maybe in December.

Crazy Jack's got that Crazy Look. I think Jack Del Rio may be crazy. Seriously. When they show him on the sidelines, I'm frightened. There's a difference between crazy and frighteningly homicidal. I'm just not sure which side of the line Del Rio is on.

Wonderful Wilkins. I'll tell you what, I was really skeptical when the Colts even had little Terrence Wilkins on the roster. But he's been pretty good in the return game, and his punt return TD was a gigantic boost for a team desperately in need of a lift. Without that big play, I don't know what would've happened in the game. I don't think it would've been pretty.

Reggie Wayne's non-catch. I think it was a catch. Wayne reeled it in, got both feet down, and then fell to the turf. At that point, since possession was secure, I think he was down by contact. There was no indisputable visual evidence on the replay that the ball came out while Wayne was rolling over, so I don't see how it could've been overturned (and the reverse: if they'd ruled it incomplete, I wouldn't have seen indisputable visual evidence that Wayne caught the ball). This reminded me of the Troy Polamalu interception last year. That was a horrible call to reverse (as much as I'd like to say it was an incomplete pass, it wasn't; the league even admitted a mistake...and actually the referee in both games was Pete Morelli!). The big difference is, though, that no one touched Polamalu while he was down. Perhaps I'm not interpreting the rules correctly, but I thought it was a catch.

Familiar sight. To stop the Colts offense, you must grab and hold the Colts receivers. This strategy was crafted and perfected by the New England Patriots. Both receivers and DBs were playing hand battles, so I have no problem with that. However, I think at least one pass interference call should've gone in the Colts' favor. It was either the one where Marvin Harrison was grabbed from behind, or the one where Marvin was knocked on his butt when the defensive back didn't even bother to make a play on the ball. The latter was especially obvious, in my humble opinion.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

We interrupt what was supposed to be my TFT birthday post ...

So, I'm sitting here at Mission Control North (my new apartment; Studicus' new place is now Mission Control South), getting set to write my overdue and much anticipated TFT birthday post when the Batphone rang.

It was none other than America's favorite fast food clown, Ronald McDonald. And he wanted to discuss the current situation with the Burger King with yours truly. It's a little known fact that Ronald and the King played college ball together at Corporate Mascot University back in the day. And boy, did he have some unflattering words to say about the NFL's favorite burger boy. The following is a transcript of our conversation.

"I sure have to say that 'I'm loving it!' It being the fact that the entire world now knows how big an asshole BK really is. When we were freshmen at the U, he threw a shit fit to [Head Coach] Dave Thomas about how he should be playing QB instead of me. He got to summer camp the first day and threatened to transfer. I graciously switched to WR just so we wouldn't have a huge problem and lose one of the cornerstones of our recruiting class. Coach took care of me for my troubles by making sure I still got throwing in during practice and by instilling some trick plays where I'd be the one leading the arial assault. That seemed to make everything cool for a little while, BK and I even ended up rooming together during camp and seemed to hit it off pretty well. And its not like I didn't get my touches (McDonald averaged 70 catches, 1100 yards and 15 touchdowns a season in his first three years of college), but that motherfucker always had to hog the glory and showboat.

I can remember a game against Boston College our sophomore year. On three straight passing plays, he didn't even bother to look my way. I had the fucking Taco Bell dog covering me one-on-one for Christ's sakes! I can outjump the little bastard, not to mention outrun him. What does BK do? Keeps the ball and runs twice and dumps off to [tight end] Mayor McCheese (who was only a Councilman at that point) in the flat. So we get back to the huddle and I calmly tell BK that I'm open. He tells me to shut the fuck up. It took [offensive linemen] Grimace and the Red Fry Guy to keep me from ripping his arms off Chewbacca-style. And then after the game, he nails Coach's daughter Wendy, the head cheerleader, in Coach's office after he left for the night. [defensive back] Hamburglar walked in on them when he was returning some game films. One of Coach's cardnal rules was hands off his daughter. Douchebag didn't care. He considered Coach a father, but that didn't matter. Coach never found out; nobody had the heart to tell him before he passed away.

So after our junior season, ass-doink waits until the last minute and declares for the draft after he told the rest of us he was coming back. How's that for some shit? We're 10-2 and coming off of a Fiesta Bowl win. We're the odds on favorite to take it all next year. He's the favorite to win the goddamn Heisman. But he hears the dollars calling. Coach doesn't freak like I thought he would. He called me after the press conference was over.

'Ronnie,' he said, 'I'm moving you back to quarterback. It's your team to lead now, son. Make me proud.'

Mission accomplished, baby! Undefeated season, National Championship, Heisman Trophy, #1 pick in the draft. Plus unlike BK, I didn't have to be switched to defense because I couldn't 'grasp the offense'. Know what that means? Asshole used the pages in his playbook for rolling and smoking doobies. People wonder why he's always smiling...motherfucker is stoned out of his gourd 24/7. What a waste of talent. Maybe Ray Lewis will stab the son of a bitch the next time they play and put America out of it's misery."

Harsh words from an honest man. I wonder if BK will have a response to these statements...

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Have it your way!

After establishing himself as one of the most dominating defensive players of all time, the Burger King has demanded a trade from the Arizona Cardinals. "BK," as the fans and teammates call him, was most recently seen laying a vicious hit on Rams receiver Torry Holt. Now, he wants to be traded to a contender.

The Arizona Cardinals aren't budging, and say they expect the King's latest outburst to pass like his others.

"It's time to make it clear to the King that he can't always have it his way," team President and Chairman William Bidwill said. "He has to realize his special orders do upset us."

The brazen declaration from the King follows a tumultuous offseason full of controversy. He demanded a Whopper-sized contract as a free agent from Baltimore before settling on terms with Arizona. Baltimore decided not to designate him a franchise player, and even though his contract was signed, the King held out for more money during training camp with the Cardinals. That elicited a strong response from the team, which tried to void his contract. An NFL arbitrator intervened, ordering Arizona and the King to honor the contract. Begrudgingly, the King complied.

But media and team officials criticized BK for becoming too well acquainted with the Phoenix-area party scene. Kyle Orton-esque pictures of the King soon hit the internet, creating a media circus involving ESPN, Fox Sports, and the Burger King's corporate partners.

"Leave it up to our top free agent to land us in King-sized trouble," two-time MVP Kurt Warner quipped. "And we wanted to see him do some double-duty on offense."

Running back Edgerrin James, another key free agent acquisition for Arizona, took a different approach to the situation.

"You know, dawg, you just gotta do what you gotta do. You know, man? We just (unintelligible) (unintelligible) and (unintelligible). Then, dawg, they made me their chief. Screw Peyton," James told TFT in an exclusive interview.

The King, meanwhile, has been elusive throughout the affair. But reporters did manage to catch up with him at his Scottsdale-based resort castle. Out shooting some hoops, the King took a break to grab some chicken fries and answer some burning questions.

"I just feel like I've been deep-fried over this," BK said as he chewed a mouthful of chicken fries, washing them down with a King-sized Coke. "A man's gotta feed his family, you know?"

When a reporter pointed out that the King is a king, heir to the privileged Burger King family fortune of fast food and money, BK struggled to explain himself.

"Well, you know, I've worked hard all my life, from my cushy prep school all the way up to my Ivy League education," the King explained. "So I don't understand why everyone wants to try to take everything away from me."

His Coke empty, the King made a loud slurping sound as agent Drew Rosenhaus pulled up in his sports car.

"Hey, media types, get out of here! Can't you see my client is under duress!?" Rosenhaus exclaimed as he waded through a sea of reporters.

Taking a burger from the King's stack of double cheeseburgers, Rosenhaus loudly unwrapped the sandwich as reporters bombarded him with questions. The scene was familiar for football fans.

"Drew, will the King continue to play for the Cardinals?"

"Next question!" Rosenhaus replied.

"BK, what do you think of Arizona's new stadium?"

"Next question!"

"King, do you have any plans to expand your dessert menu?"

"Next question! That's it, no more questions!" Rosenhaus screamed as he pushed photographers out of the way.

The King tried to calm down the reporters, but they continued bombarding him with asinine questions.

"Have it your way, bitch," the King exploded as he extended his right royal middle finger into the crowd before retreating into his castle. With the drawbridge slammed shut, reporters stared down a moat behind the basketball court.

A car door slammed as Rosenhaus revved the engine and sped off.

"Damn, I forget my siege tower," a reporter was heard saying.

The King's press agent released this statement about the encounter:

"The King sincerely apologizes to anyone he may have offended with his recent behavior. He looks forward to getting back onto the practice field soon, if Coach (Dennis) Green will allow it. This isolated incident has shamed his noble family."

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Colts Report, Week 2

I can attribute the dearth of updates to a few things: first of all, I know for a fact Blogger has been having some problems, and Krildog has been stonewalled in terms of trying to post something. In addition, I moved to Greenwood over the weekend, and haven't been able to set up internet service yet. It's in the middle of my long list of things to do. Cut me some slack, folks, I've got a wedding coming up.

An important, earth shattering date passed by without notice. Yes, TFT turned a year old last week (here's the very first post from Krildog). We've quasi-consistently updated the blog, with contributions from several different writers. It's funny to look back at some of the old posts; you should check out the archives if you get the chance.

I think Krildog has some sort of TFT Tribute in mind, so I hope I'm not stepping on his toes or going over his helmet by mentioning the anniversary. Just something noteworthy.

Okay, with that out of the way, it's time for my weekly Colts Report.

My observations for the game against Houston:

If at first Rhodes don't succeed, Addai, Addai again. Joseph Addai looked worthy of his first-round status after playing the Texans. The only unfortunate part of this is that he did it against the Texans. Still, Dominic Rhodes has done nothing this season to prove he's the answer at tailback. And since, going into the season, this was "his job to lose," I'd say he's lost it. Check out the numbers: Rhodes (30 carries, 66 yards, 2.2 AVG, 2 TD) and Addai (23 carries, 108 yards, 4.7 AVG). Addai is a patient runner who seems to have a good feel for the stretch play; Rhodes always wants to cut the ball upfield without really letting the play develop. On the other hand, Addai did fumble at the goal line (more on that later), but hey, that was one of Edge's favorite pastimes, so I won't begrudge him for that.

Dylan Gandy: a defense's best friend. Great hit by offensive lineman Dylan Gandy. The second-year guard tried to go all Reggie Bush by helping Addai get into the end zone against a gaggle of Houston defenders. Instead, the big guy managed to jar the ball loose. He put his helmet right on the pigskin, helping the Texans stop the Colts from scoring yet another touchdown.

Adam sits, Hunter kicks. Colts fans spotted an alarming sight when Adam Vinatieri found himself on the sidelines with a pulled groin. Hunter Smith tried to fill in, notching a couple of bad kickoffs and missing an extra point. To be fair, Hunter's not a placekicker any more. I hope the coaching staff just felt it wasn't worth the risk to put Vinatieri into the game since he was sore. I really hope it wasn't because his injury is worse than previously thought.

And where is the Freeney? He's at home, a-washin' his tights! Seriously, though, Dwight Freeney has been a non-factor so far for Indy. He'll get back on it. The worst part of this, however, was the casual mention Sunday that "Freeney is going to the locker room." No follow up on that. Apparently, he's got a "hip flexor or hamstring" injury. An MRI should provide a clearer picture.

With a special cameo appearance by Brandon Stokley! Brandon Stokley, all he does is catch touchdowns. Every reception he's made this year has been for a score! Oh wait...he's only caught one pass in two games. And after he reeled it in, he reinjured his already tender ankle. I'm not ragging on Stokes, I love him. Just unfortunate that he's been so banged up over the last couple seasons.

Ben, how many fingers am I holding up? Poor Ben Utecht got blasted after making a big catch for a first down. His helmet even got knocked off. He wasn't exactly sure which direction he was going, then got a crazy look in his eyes before signaling for the first down. That's tough. I don't think he came back into the game, thus opening up some playing time for Bryan "Fletch" Fletcher (a.k.a "Pollard Lite").

A passing phase. The Colts seem committed to passing the ball. Hey, look, Captain Obvious is in today. Peyton aired it out for 400 yards. He threw the ball 38 times. He had 41 attempts last week. Mark my words: if the Horseshoes don't settle into their running game, it's going to be a long season. And as much as Peyton has been scrambling around in the pocket this season so far, I'm hoping they'll commit more to the run. That actually won them a few games last year.

Sorgi sighting. Sadly, there was no Jim Sorgi sighting. Peyton played the whole game. He even took a knee to run out the clock. Is there a reason for the highest paid quarterback in the league to still be on the field with six minutes left when the game is clearly out of hand? Of course, I guess the counter-argument here is that the game was over after the first snap. That would then mean Sorgi should've come out on the first series.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Ominous signs...

The recent release of the latest George Lucas DVD money grab revealed something Lucasfilm Ltd. did not want you to know. I was lucky enough to stumble upon its plans for the Special, Ultra, Superfluous Definitive George Lucas Visionary Edition DVD set. It packs all six Star Wars movies into one extras-filled set.

Unfortunately, Lucas is not finished tweaking his movie trilogy. I'm very disheartened to have to tell you that he's gone back and made some changes that I'm absolutely alarmed by. His intention is to "bridge" the prequel and the classic trilogies even more. I think perhaps it would've been best to, I don't know, think about this before writing the prequel trilogy. In the following exclusive still, you can note a major new character from Return of the Jedi no longer exists. Admiral Ackbar is now replaced by Jar Jar Binks in the grand assault on Death Star II.

In the Alliance briefing room scene, Jar Jar, not Admiral Ackbar, gives the lowdown on the new Death Star. Ahmed Best recorded new dialogue: "Yousa can sees nowsa the Death Star orbitin' the forest moon of Endor. Although mesa no thinka the weapon systems arsa bangin', the Death Star still has a strong-o defense mechanismo."

Yes, folks, we're in trouble.

Take this pivotal above scene from Return of the Jedi as an example. The dialogue: "Oh no-sa, mesa thinkin' it's a trappy-wappy!"

But it's the following change that may perhaps completely turn off diehard Star Wars fans. Lucas has stripped away a pivotal character, and replaced him. For years, people have compared Yoda to Grover, implying the Jedi Master was nothing more than a Muppet. Now Lucas has bowed to these wishes, inserting Grover from Sesame Street into the Star Wars movies in place of Yoda.

Where there was once Yoda, there is now Grover, as evidenced by these screen grabs. One is from The Empire Strikes Back, the other from Attack of the Clones.


Now, "Yoda" spends more time doing "near...far" than teaching the ways of the Jedi. And bad voice dubbing in Empire is extremely apparent. The ghost of Obi-Wan: "You must go to Sesame Street. There you will learn from Grover, the same Jedi Master who taught me how to count and spell."

Luke Skywalker then replies, as he passes out, "Ben, can you tell me how to get...how to get to Sesame Street?" It's disgusting.

And if you think Lucas is all about comercialization, you're right. Now, corporate sponsors are EVERYWHERE in the Star Wars saga. This preproduction photo shows a Stormtrooper in modified NASCAR-style armor. It will all be added in thanks to the magic of CGI for both clonetroopers and Stormtroopers. And just imagine what they'll do to the pod race. You can't miss the Tony Stewart cameo (he replaces Sebulba in a Home Depot pod). You can expect movie tie-ins with all these products (although I'm curious to see how Lucas plans to incorporate Zima and Trojan-Enz into the mix). This is indeed a sad day for Star Wars fans.

Other changes in the trilogy bow to this new corporate beast. On Cloud City, instead of asking Han and Leia to join him for some refreshment, Lando asks, "Care to join me for some Mountain Dew?" And once the door opens to reveal Darth Vader, the Dark Lord says, "I would be honored if you would join us for a Pizza Hut Pan Pizza."

I just don't know what I'm going to do with my beloved Star Wars. Bob Knight once said, when under duress, you should "sit back and enjoy it." Well, I'm pretty sure I'm not enjoying this bastardization of my beloved Star Wars. And I doubt many of you will either.

So remember, next year, when the Special, Ultra, Superfluous Definitive George Lucas Visionary Edition DVD set hits stores, don't buy it. Don't buy into the hype. Unless...well...Best Buy offers some kind of really good preorder deal. Then, maybe...maybe you should get it after all.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Colts Report, Week 1

Thank goodness all football is here...college and pro! And I have to say I enjoyed the college football on Saturday more than I enjoyed yesterday's slate of NFL games. The games were more intense, and seemed less sloppy.

For example, the games I saw on Sunday were KC-Cincy, Seattle-Detroit, Green Bay-Chicago, and New York-Indy. While I loved seeing the Bengals win, and watching the Colts pull one out, the games were sloppy. The KC-Cincy game nearly bored me to tears, Seattle and Detroit (which I only glimpsed between commercial breaks) seemed equally boring, and Green Bay vs. Chicago was simply yawn-inducing. Geez, Brett Favre, please retire already. I love your heart, love your mentality, but your skills have degraded, and so has the talent around you. It's just so sad to see someone loved by the entire state of Wisconsin and a nationwide coalition of Cheeseheads look so miserable and clueless. I understand the Bears defense is excellent, but Favre was awful.

As for Indianapolis and New York, that was the real highlight game for me. I'm a gigantic Colts fan, still holding onto the eternal hope that somehow the Horseshoes will bring home a Super Bowl championship. Of my favorite teams, IU basketball has won a national title in my lifetime, ditto Notre Dame football, and ditto Cincinnati Reds baseball. I'm still waiting for the Colts (and honestly, the Pacers) to win a title. It's bound to happen someday.

Anyway, I looked forward to the ill-conceived Manning Bowl. I didn't really buy into the brother vs. brother angle, which of course every media outlet covered (including Nepal, which has also been covering a big story on off-track betting in the Himalayas. It's a smaller story, but I'm sure you've been following it). I was more excited with the fact the Colts are back in action.

So, like I'll probably be doing the rest of the season, I'm going to run down my observations for the week.

Running game. What's going on here? Dominic Rhodes was awful, although he finished with a touchdown. Actually, I was more impressed with Joseph Addai. He had some fairly strong runs, and showed great hands out of the backfield. This running back by committee approach isn't going to work. It usually doesn't. It may work okay in New Orleans, but Rhodes isn't Deuce McAllister, and Addai certainly isn't Reggie Bush. If the Colts want to win this season, and avoid another postseason gag session, they're going to have to learn how to run the ball more effectively.

Defense. Almost as disheartening as the running game was the atrocious defensive performance. If the Giants hadn't made so many stupid penalties (Plaxico Burress had several of them, thanks to a hold, a block in the back, and a crackback block), the Colts really would've been in big trouble. Could someone stop Tiki Barber? Please. The tackling was terrible, and no one seemed to be in the right place. Where was the pass rush?

Special Teams. Welcome to the roster, Mr. Vinatieri. I wish you didn't wear Jim Harbaugh's coveted number four on your jersey, but if you keep nailing kicks and sending kickoffs deep like you did against New York, maybe I'll cut you a little slack. The coverage was actually fantastic on kickoffs, which is a testament to the fact the Colts have someone capable of sticking it deep. Finally.

Giant Tough. I gotta say I was impressed with NY's fairly nasty attitude. They tried to pull a New England by bullying the Colts' receivers. It didn't work: Marvin Harrison, nine catches, 113 yards, but at least they tried. The only thing I didn't like about the Giants was their tendency to repeatedly pin Colts receivers down on the ground after a reception, or hit someone late. Sure, the Colts did a little bit of this too, but New York started it on Indy's opening drive.

Peyton Air, Peyton Ground. Unless the Colts get something worked out in the running game, we're going to see a lot of games in which Peyton A) throws the ball 41 times and B) scrambles out of the pocket. I have to say I was very impressed with how Manning (the older one...did you know his little brother plays for New York?) moved around in the pocket. He showed some great footwork and mobility. I wonder if he worked on that in the offseason, because it was definitely noticeable. Don't get me wrong, #18 has always had good pocket presence, but sometimes he stands too much like a statue. While you won't mistake him for Michael Vick any day of the week, he made some great throws under pressure while rolling out and scrambling.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Ah....football

Observations made during halftime of the Bengals-Chiefs game

1) When did the Chiefs hire Tony Dungy away from the Colts? I swear, the guy on their sideline looks exactly like Dungy.

2) During ESPN's Sunday NFL Countdown, Tom Jackson asked Michael Irvin on the air, "Are you retarded?" during a segment discussing the Manning brothers. That's pretty much like asking John Madden if he wants gravy on his food. All of it.

3) The Burger King laid down the wood on Torry Holt. Weird.

4) Hope you didn't miss Frank Caliendo as J.B. on the Fox NFL Sunday show. A comedian in blackface. Classy.

5) And Frank Caliendo also did his hilarious Dr. Phil impression on ESPN this morning. Wait a second...that was the real Dr. Phil? Creepy.

6) I saw three definite trends in pregame segments. As a pregame show, you must do a segment on: Carson Palmer's knee; Terrell Owens and Bill Parcells in Dallas; and the Manning/Manning matchup. As a side note, did you know Peyton and Eli Manning were brothers? For all these years, I just thought they had the same last name.

7) Charlie Casserly on CBS' pregame show. It was like watching Bud Selig in a really, really bad hairpiece discuss NFL football. And no matter what Mr. Casserly says about the Mario Williams/Reggie Bush thing, it was all about the money. Nothing else. It had to be.

8) Speaking of Reggie Bush, I'm going to have to agree with my brother, who said yesterday, "They've already made me sick of Reggie Bush."

9) I'm glad Chad Johnson watched "Demolition Man" before the season started. Maybe the hairstyle will catch on in Cincinnati, replacing some of the mullets that typically congregate in Paul Brown Stadium on Sundays.

10) I'm not sure which is scarier: Peyton Manning being "reborn" out of a football for a Gatorade Commerical or Peyton Manning wearing a wig and fake moustache to pimp Sprint NFL Mobile.