John Never Said It Would Be This Fun!

Since I bought my PlayStation 2, I’ve bought just one game, Jak and Daxter. I’ve rented half a dozen now, and have found what will probably be the next member of my permanent collection: Madden 2003. Other than some unfortunate choice of music with profanity in it in the menus, the game is great. The franchise mode is still there (I’ve been playing the Madden series since Madden 1995 on my old 486), only improved greatly with trickier trades. My favorite part though is the improved play designer. It’s way too much fun. I created a formation yesterday with five wide receivers, lined up two to the strong side, and three to the right. The options are amazing, and you can practice the play with any offensive and defensive unit you want. It’s great, totally worth the purchase price. I think next I’ll create a whole playbook of I formation plays with four wideouts. Yes, indeed, the fun never ends.

Monday Night Recap

I’m sure you’ve read all about it already, but I was there. Ok, I wasn’t there there, but I was in the stadium. Yes, we made it to Monday Night Football last night. It took us two hours to get there, a mile of walking past tailgaters, port-a-potties and up four stadium levels of ramps to get to our seats on the upper-deck. That said, we had a surprisingly good view of the field and play.

Ok, the game sucked. It sucked so bad that we knew it was over after the Eagles’ second drive. We were surrounded by a bunch of Eagles fans (four right in front of us, one next to me), and there were a surprising number in the stadium. As the game wore on, and the outcome became more inevitable, it became less and less comfortable to be there. The exodus began shortly after the second half began. As the third quarter drudged towards the 0:00, every Redskins screw up started a stream of Redskins fans headed for the exit and the awaiting traffic jam. That left the hardcore drunkards rooting for both teams, which led to the pepper spray incident I linked to above. When the referee said, “A foreign substance has been sprayed on the Eagle’s bench,” we decided we’d had enough and headed for the ramps.

That’s when we saw the dark side of pro football games – the drunk bastards. See, the police used pepper spray to stop a fight. When we got to the first ramp, it was shut down, and we saw half a dozen fans being sequestered against the rail, surrounded by cops and two or three state police directing us to another ramp because they had closed the ramp to clean up the mess.

On our way to ramp number two, we walked past a small group of Eagles and Redskins fans in a shouting match. As we walked past, the words were heated and slurred and bodies were inching closer to each other, chests thrust out. Yeah, I narced on them.

We escaped the drunken yells of “E-A-G-L-E-S EAGLES!!!” and got the car, where we waited about twenty minutes to get out of the parking lot. Surprisingly, traffic was light on the beltway headed home, and we made it home a little before two.

It was fun, but Jen and I both agreed we don’t need to do it again. I like Pro Football best when I can watch it on TV, with my bathroom handy, my snack food (that doesn’t cost 4 times what it should), and I can flip to other games, and turn off the TV if the game gets boring. It was an experience; one I’m glad I had, but not one I’m ready to repeat.

And today – root canal. YES!

Let the Pre-Fun Begin!

An A/C update… We are back to living in climate-controlled comfort. I put in a new filter, washed all of the lint out of the A/C unit outside. Cool air is blowing out of the right vents, and warm air is being sucked in the correct ones.

On to what I really brought this window up for. I’ve mentioned this before (so long ago that no one who reads my ramblings now would remember, or done well enough to inflict it on anyone): I love pre-season NFL football. Why? The games mean nothing as far as the team goes and are unrelated to standings or stats. But, the drama is there. There are 91 guys who go to training camp. 54 end up making the final team. Watching guys you’ve never heard of playing their hearts out trying to earn a spot on a team in the sport they love is just great to watch. Watching 3rd team offenses against 3rd team defense fills me with hope.

For example, the Redskins clobbered the 49er’s on Saturday night. The Redskins actually looked really good. For someone who didn’t pay attention, it would be a sign of a good season to come. If you paid attention though, the Redskin’s first team spent 90% of their time in the game playing the 49ers second team.

The other great thing about pre-season football is that every team in the NFL is full of hope (unless you happen to play for the Bengals), and everyone has a chance to reach the Super Bowl. It’s a great time of year, the end of the summer sports drought (and thank goodness for that.. if I had to watch another SportsCenter where nothing but baseball was shown, I think I would give up and start watching the Soap channel).

The season starts in less than a month. Two months later, we get the start of the NBA, and the glorious fall and winter of real sports. YES!

Now, the Bucs have fired

Now, the Bucs have fired Tony Dungy. With Dennis Green, and now Tony Dungy on the market, the ‘skins went and signed Mr. Spurrier? Now, I admit that he’s a good coach with an offensive system that can put up a lot of points. The problem is the guy has no NFL track record. There’s no way of knowing how his style will translate. Green and Dungy both have proven track records.

I feel really bad for both guys. Dennis Green had to deal with a tragedy in training camp that you could tell sapped his team. They just weren’t the same. He had to deal with the unexpected loss of Robert Smith to retirement. After what he did for that franchise, you’d think the owner would realize that and let him try to redeem himself next season. Dungy only took the laughingstock of the NFL and turned them into a contender. The guy is all class. I’m hoping both guys resurface soon. I would love to see Green take over in Indy. To see him get ahold of the triumverate of Manning, James and Harrison would be a glory to behold. Dungy would be a good fit in San Diego where there defense has lost a little swagger. With Dungy in charge of head coaching and defense and Norv Turner heading the offense, I think they could be back in the playoffs in no time.

The Redskins have a new

The Redskins have a new coach. I’m a little surprised it all happened this quickly, but I guess I shouldn’t be. The short owner isn’t known for acting with deliberation. Now they have a coach who will at least make them entertaining. I’ll be interested to see who they get as GM. That’s the real problem. Tony Banks won’t work as the QB in Spurrier’s system, and well, I doubt anyone else on the roster right now will either. That means they need a GM who can get a top-flight QB without mortgaging too much of the future. Good luck.

“I thought Tony was

“I thought Tony was fine,” Schottenheimer said. “He missed a few throws, but with the exception of Brett Favre everybody misses a few throws. What we want to do is keep working with the guys we’ve got and try to get Tony more and more comfortable with all the receivers.”

That has got to be the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard out of a head coach’s mouth, and I’m including everything Jerry Glanville has ever said. The Redskins suck, and as long as Marty’s the coach, they will continue to suck. Tony Banks was NOT fine on Monday night. It’s not fine to fumble snaps, forget to go through your progressions and make stupid throws. Stephen Davis can’t get anywhere because the Offensive Line has been hideous since game one. Oh, and the fact that he doesn’t seem to want to get anywhere. No one on the team looks like they’re trying. They sit back on their heels and wait for the next bad thing to happen.

How can they fix it? They need a top-flight VP of Football Operations to keep Daniel Snyder out of the football part of the team. Then, a top-flight GM to trade for good draft picks next year, and at least a decent coach. Marty is the whole thing, and is sucking wind at each position. He made no deals to get a decent quarterback, when everyone could tell that the system wouldn’t fit Jeff George. He’s not coaching his players; he’s yelling at them. He’s not making any moves in the right direction in any part of his job.

It’s just sad that the Redskins have turned into such a mess, and they’ve done it in a very short period of time. It’s just amazing, isn’t it?