Nurse the Hate: Hate the Tailgate
The scene outside Cleveland Browns Stadium last weekend wasn't exactly the pre packaged Network pregame shot of smiling fans grilling brats and sipping lite beer. To me it was more reminiscent of when a destroyer docked in WWII and the ships crew was set loose on the seedy port town. Were the smiling fans with rubber dog masks there? Of course they were, but they were nestled into an overflow of shit faced drunks that had completely lost their motor skills. The only thing that made the Cleveland Municipal Parking Lot different than the Philippines in mid 1945 was a lack of guys getting anchors tattooed onto their forearms and tiny strippers shooting ping pong balls out of their crotches. Although I can't say for certain that wasn't happening somewhere down the lot...
The problem with the 4:15pm kickoff is that the parking lot is still going to be full at 8:00 am. That 22 year old girl at the tailgate next to ours might have been able to keep it together if she had made it into the stadium at 1:00pm. That extra 3 hours of drinking is what we in the trade refer to as "the difference maker". That extra three hours is why she had to wash the vomit off of the front of her shirt with water, and she decided to dance/grind into everyone like she was in a low budget rap video. That extra three hours is why "bandanna guy" screamed every time someone took his picture. Wooooo!!!!!! That extra three hours is why you feel comfortable urinating on the train tracks and providing a full frontal view of your equipment (in action) to the passengers zipping by on the RTA. Yes, that extra three hours is why the tens of thousands had convinced themselves that this year was going to be different.
Well, as you know, it wasn't and won't be. The Browns are going to be about 6-10, the Cowboys will be really good, that girl will wash the barf off of her, and "bandanna guy" will be down there next week going "Woooo!!!!" into cameras again.
A few other observations about Week 1 of the NFL:
* The Oakland Raiders are still incapable of running an offensive play without getting a penalty. Their lack of execution will be passed off as being "renegade". That's just because they have a pirate on their uniform. It is, and always has been, a lack of preparation and understanding of the basics. If they were an accounting firm, they wouldn't know how to create a spreadsheet. But they would go to work in an eye patch. They will once again be awful.
* Tom Brady had his knee blown out at about 1:43pm. By 1:47 pm I had seen the clip of it happening 49 times, and heard reaction from 136 different sportscasters and ex-players.
* Vince Young got hurt, and is melting down. The team actually called the police to track him down this week because they must have been convinced he was going to try and kill himself. Prior to the draft, some teams had reservations about Vince because he scored the lowest score ever for a QB on the Wonderlick IQ test. (Sample question: "The fire engine is red. What color is the fire engine? Ahhhh....Blue?") Vince had never really faced any adversity because he was always so much more athletic than everyone else. Not anymore. Now he has to understand coverages, make multiple reads, and can't run away from the big scary defensive linemen. That's not working out, and Vince can't deal. I think he may be done for all intents and purposes. Hopefully he doesn't do something stupid just because he can't play football as well as he thought he could. Despite this drama, Tennessee might be better with another QB, even though that other QB is Kerry Collins.
* Bret Favre led the Jets to an exciting last second victory over the Dolphins. Now he's on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Quick reminder...The Dolphins were 1-15 last year. I still think he'll wind up mangled and in a wheelchair like Commander Pike in that old Star Trek episode.
* If someone says "Want to go to the Rams game?", I'd say "No thanks." That's a gruesome looking situation there.
* Carolina and Buffalo look like they are on the way up, Tampa and Indy look like they are slipping.
* I would have some concerns if I were an Indy fan. Despite all the discussion about Peyton Manning and his health, the real story there is how Chicago ran it right up the gut despite having Kyle Orten at QB. When Kyle Orten is at QB, what you are saying to the other team is "Look, we all know we're not going to pass the ball. The white guy with the mustache is going to hand it to one of the really fast black dudes lined up behind him. You should get ready to stop that really fast black dude." If I knew that, I am fairly sure Indy did too. Despite this, they didn't do anything to stop it.
* Kickoff for this week's Browns v Steelers game is 8:00 pm. "Bandanna Guy" is going to be there at 8:00 am. That's going to be a problem.