Saturday, September 29, 2007

I'll Pay How I Want, TYVM

Mastercard amuses me -- or used to, anyway. Visa pisses me off. Mastercard's whole "priceless" campaign has been fairly consistently clever. Well, lately, the Peyton Manning ads have grown tiresome. [Peyton Manning ads in general have grown tiresome. Are there products he doesn't endorse?] But they've had some of the more memorable -- and therefore effective -- commercials. Some are poignant, but most are humorous. The concept has been parodied on billboards, in sports stadiums, and even on the internet for years. Well done.

Then there's Visa's most recent slew of ads, in which they show a shiny, happy place of business where everything runs smoothly until some asshole comes along and has the nerve to pay with cash. Everyone in the place looks at him with a combination of scorn and horror. How dare he, right?

How fucking patronizing!

Hey, Visa? Bite me. If someone wants to pay with cash, don't make them look like an idiot. They're probably doing it because they recognize the value of a dollar and understand the concept that owing a credit card company money is a losing proposition. Yes, your commercials are for your debit cards, which aren't nearly as evil as credit cards are, but people watching the ads aren't focusing on that distinction.

I want someone to make a commercial like that in which everyone's in the 15-items-or-less line paying for their last-minute football-game-watching snacks with cash, looking at their watches and doing the hurry-up-dance. Then some prick yanks out his Visa to pay for a Zagnut and a Red Bull. Cut to the cashier rolling her eyes as she swipes the card and waits for the approval to come through and the dual receipt to print. As he waits for her to hand him the pen with the plastic pinwheel taped to it so he can sign the merchant's copy, the fans beat the living shit out of him. Death takes Visa.

Incidentally, not to piss on New Orleans' grave, but Visa's most recent ad that follows this concept is a double-failure, as the Saints now sit at 0-3 after making it all the way to the NFC Championship game last year. Last year was all about spirit. This year, it's kind of amazing how little they've been able to accomplish by contrast.

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Friday, September 28, 2007

Fucks You, President Bush

"...[C]hildrens do learn..."?!!?!!!

In a fucking speech about fucking edu-fucking-cation?

Know who's fucking edu-fucking-cation? You are, knuckle-fuck. You are.


Thursday, September 27, 2007

420 in 240

Packers 31 - Chargers 24

Dan Marino played 240 regular season games in the NFL, and he threw 420 TD passes in his career. On Sunday, Brett Favre played in his 240th consecutive regular season game and tied Marino's TD pass record. (Yeah, yeah, it took him two games longer to get there... whatever -- he's still playing next week, suckas.)

The NFL Network replayed the game Tuesday night, and I watched it all over again -- this time on satellite, with no static.

Personally, I'm thrilled that Greg Jennings caught #420 (on a slant!). Back in his opening game of the season after nursing a hamstring injury, he certainly showed no twinges of pain as he ran it 57 yards down the field with about two minutes left in the game. That was the first of two scores we'd have late in the game, thanks to Nick Barnett's heads-up play to intercept Philip Rivers. That would lead to a Brandon Jackson TD run. Yes, it would have been nice if Brett could've gotten #421 at home, but it'll be just that much sweeter in the Metrodome, where I'm hoping Donald Driver can quiet that lame-ass crowd of norse idiots (maybe on another slant!).

So the game also reintroduced us to three Packers staples:
  1. The slant!
  2. The screen
  3. Bubba Franks dropping the ball in the end zone

Hey, two out of three ain't bad. Actually, replace #3 above with "The KGB sack." He had two on Sunday, bringing him to within two of Reggie White's record of 68.5 for the Pack. Double D has the receptions-at-Lambeau record outright now. And the most impressive record of the week? The Packers are the first team in NFL history to start 3-0 winning against teams that all reached the playoffs in the previous year.

Did you notice? This season is different somehow. I mean, yeah, we're undefeated, so that certainly feels a lot better than 1-2, but Brett seems to be doing the same kind of amazing things as he was doing in the late '90s... and his teammates know how to help him! It's especially amazing considering we have the youngest team in the NFL. Where did all of these young bucks learn how to let Brett Favre make them look so good? My theory is that they learned it by growing up watching Brett Favre play.

Anyway, I have this different attitude as I watch the games, too. I don't know if it's just that I'm appreciating every play a little bit more or what. I know that when one announcer said in the post-game analysis on Sunday that, "Without Brett Favre, the Packers would not have won either of their last two games" by exclaiming at the TV, "But we DO HAVE Brett Favre!" Isn't that the point?

BTW, I noticed that, in the Texans game, Samkon Gado got a touchdown and Ahman Green left the game in the second quarter with a recurring knee injury.

But, all in all, despite Oblio's strange play calling from the sideline, the Packers came out victorious against Dave Barry's Chargers.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

What a Wynn!

Packers 35 - Giants 13

I couldn't resist. Actually, Wynn's two TDs were just icing around Brett's three touchdown passes. I mean, I'm not quite ready to say "Ahman who?" just yet -- one 38-yard run to ice the game was about the only bright spot from the rushing standpoint. Luckily, Favre and the offense showed up in the second half. Brett was 18/21 for 147 yards in that half, completing the first 14 in a row. Exciting as hell to watch.

His three TDs in this game brought him to 417 (three away from Marino's record), and the win was his 149th, making him the all-time winningest QB in NFL history. While I'm certainly guilty of keeping close tabs on all of "his" records, even Brett admits that last one's not exactly as meaningful as it might seem:
I think it's unfair that the quarterback gets labeled with wins and losses. I think it's a team effort.
For my money, that's in the same vein as the "interception" that comes off another player's hands. I say that shouldn't count against the QB, so, for consistency's sake, I should probably also say the QB shouldn't be the only one given credit for his team's wins. But come on. It's Brett Favre!

Special teams were good again last weekend. It's plays like the forced fumble in our fourth quarter kickoff that makes differences in games. If we can count on 3-7 points per game off of special teams, we're in great shape.

Incidentally, these two wins to start the season means we won't be 1-4 this year!!! This is the first time we've started 2-0 since 2001. Actually, it means we've won our last six games in a row. Cool.

In other news, Bubba Franks returned. He caught his first TD pass since October of 2005. In fact, between him and Donald Lee, I think the tight ends were involved more in this game than they were in all of our games last year!

Oh, and that Mason Crosby kid is a total bust. What a loser. We should have kept Rayner.

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Friday, September 14, 2007

I Almost Forgot

One of the best parts of Sunday's game showcased what we all love about Brett Favre (well, perhaps everyone except Eagles fans). The NYT wrote it up well:
For Favre and Packers, an Ugly Win Is Still a Win - New York Times:
The Eagles’ pass rush forced Favre to improvise, and his shining moment occurred during the third quarter, facing third-and-10. With a defender hanging on his leg, and other Eagles closing in for a potential sack, Favre deftly shoveled an underhand pass to DeShawn Wynn, who gained 18 yards to keep a drive alive, leading to a field goal. Asked about that play, Eagles safety Brian Dawkins complimented Favre. “A quarterback with not that much moxie would not complete that pass,” Dawkins said. “He’d have just taken the sack and gone down. But Brett has been there for so long, and he’s that gunslinger and he’s going to take those chances.”
I had toyed with calling the last post "What a Wynn!" but I am growing tired of pun-based post titles. Of course, having decided against that title, I forgot to mention it altogether.

A couple of plays later, Favre escaped another sack (to Philly's credit, they did get to Favre successfully four times) and completed a six-yarder to Donald Lee. Has Favre aged? Of course. Is he the most reliable 4th-quarter comeback QB he was a decade ago? Not so much. But do I want the ball in his hands any less now than I did ten -- or even 16 -- years ago? Nope. Magic.

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Thursday, September 13, 2007


Packers 16 - Eagles 13
I'm hopeful that this victory will be a sign that this will be a year in which any last-second field goals will fall in our favor. Mason Crosby quickly became famous this week, thanks to literally kicking off his career as a Packer by booting a 53-yarder through the uprights to put the team up ten to zip in the first quarter... and then, oh, by the way, kicking a 42-yarder through with two seconds left to win the game. The last rookie kicker to win a game like that for the Pack? Same as the last Packer to boot a 53-yarder on opening day: A guy named Chris Jacke. In the end, yes, Crosby's just a kicker, and I'm sure I'll have a vitriolic rant about him on this blog eventually, but for now it's nice that he was able to lead us off with a victory the way he did.
The offense struggled in this game. The defense played solidly, although there's still room for them to improve -- the Philly offense should not have been allowed to catch back up to us by the end of the first half. The play by special teams was inspired. Over the past couple of seasons, I've lamented that we had no "x-factor" like we had in the late '90s. Our defense was amazing then -- and defense really does win championships -- but we also had Desmond Howard running kicks back into the end zone every once in a while. Last year, the Bears got to the Super Bowl, thanks in no small part to Devon Hester. Meanwhile, our average starting field position was probably at, like, the 15. We didn't run anything back on Sunday, but we did apparently scare the bejeezus out of their returners enough to make a difference. The first score of the season was a muff recovery in the end zone (thanks, Atari!). If that's an sign of things to come, I'm reading.
To make up for lost time, I expect Brett to throw at least four TD passes (and run one in -- why not?) this weekend at the Giants' place. In the meantime, Brett did reach his first milestone of the season in Game #1, tying John Elway with his 148th career win. Donald Driver also tied an important record on Sunday. He and Antonio Freeman both have 213 catches at Lambeau.
Beating the Eagles was huge. We haven't done that in a long time. Winning our home opener was equally as huge. It's been too long on that, too. Our contain was good on Brian Westbrook, and our pressure on McNabb was appropriately persistent. The only really weird trend I noticed in this game, which I hope was just an opening day fluke, was that it seemed to take us far too long to get the ball snapped and start the play. We had, I think, one delay-of-game penalty, but there was also one no-call I noticed, and otherwise it seemed we were snapping the ball with :01 on the clock with alarming frequency. We'll see if New York time is any different. Hope so.
Short version: I wish Rayner all the best (I guess), but we chose wisely with Crosby.

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Saturday, September 08, 2007

NFL Eve Three-Fer: Packers Preseason


Packers 48 - Seahawks 13

I've come to love games against Seattle. I'm not a Holmgren hater -- far from it -- but there is something... special about watching him fume and turn crimson on the sideline. In this case, we had some especially good standout defensive plays that contributed to a solid victory (with a lot of scoring). Our second-stringers played another great game. Perhaps it was just a little unfair to Holmgren's blood pressure when we continued to blitz/sack late in the game. The only bad thing about this game was that I had to 'watch' it on my computer. (Thank you, NFL Network and DirecTV+DVR, for making it possible for me to watch the full game after the fact!)


Packers 13 - Jaguars 21

Despite the score, this was a balanced game... and essentially one that we won. Preseason is the only time I can walk away satisfied [read: not fuming and turning crimson] with a loss. The starters played longer than in any of the other preseason games, and they seemed pretty cohesive. The second quarter was awesome. In the most memorable scoring drive, Brett passed on almost every down, spreading the ball around to at least six different receivers. Sweet. Rogers came in and played well again after that. The scariest moment was when Driver shook a tackler, gained a few more yards, but then ended up getting his ankle rolled. He went back to the locker room on a cart, which never looks good. [It was a sprained foot; the good news is that Driver's probable for tomorrow... the bad news is that the Jennerator is questionable with a bad hammy.]


Packers 14 - Titans 30

We just can't ever beat the Titans. This game was pretty uneventful. Starters didn't play for more than a few minutes. The first-team D held Tennessee to a three-and-out and then called it a day. Brett got a TD pass. Some other stuff happened, too, I think. I left early and went to karaoke, then watched the rest of the game a few days later.

The season actually already kicked off on Thursday night, but what matters begins tomorrow. In just twelve more hours, the Pack is back once more! Let's rally, people!!!

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