Sunday, August 20, 2006

The NFL is back!

Oh man...I know I haven't posted anything to this blog in so long! Don't worry, with classes starting up again on Wednesday, I'll be posting on here all the time in order to procrastinate from doing work. I've also discovered that 850 & 620 The Blog have linked to this blog (thanks, guys!), so I have added incentive to keep it updated. And finally, I have two other writers posting to this site, and they have classes starting up this week, too. So...this blog will be jam packed with sporting goodness, at least until exams end in December.


The NFL is back! I've been counting the days since last season ended. I'm pleased with the Panthers' performance in their first two games, and after years of badmouthing Keyshawn Johnson, I have to admit that he seems like a good addition to the team. As long as he doesn't cause any distractions, I'm fine with Keyshawn.

Aside from the Panthers, here are the teams I'm looking forward to watching this season:

1) The Dolphins. I'll start by disclosing that my family is from Miami, and I've therefore always been a Miami fan. But at some point in my life, I got bored with watching their mediocrity year after year, especially when I could watch the Panthers instead. The last straw was when my dad, brother, and I sat in the cold and watched the Dolphins squeak out a 10-7 snoozer of a win against the Browns in 2004. Yes, that game was played in Miami. Yes, it was cold. Anyway, since the Dolphins finally realized that Dan Marino retired years ago, they went out and found themselves a decent quarterback. I'm eager to see if Daunte Culpepper can take the Dolphins to the next level. Granted, they no longer have Ricky Williams. It'll be interesting to see if they can compensate for that "loss," too.

2) The Colts. I don't think I have to give much more of an explanation on this one. It's always interesting to watch Peyton Manning. They will be a little bit less interesting to watch because they no longer have David Thornton.

3) The Chargers. Drew Brees is out. Philip Rivers is in. I have to admit I'm excited to see what the former Wolfpack quarterback can do. I hope it's been worth the wait. Speaking of Drew Brees...

4) The Saints. They have Drew Brees. They have Reggie Bush. They don't have Aaron Brooks. This combination should be a recipe for improvement.

5) The Titans. They have Vince Young. Ah, and they also now have David Thornton. I usually have little reason to be excited about the Titans, so these players are key for me. In fact, the last time I really payed attention to the Titans was when Samari Rolle played for them, and that's really only because I like his name. Not a great reason to be interested in a football team.

6) The Texans. They make my list only because because of Mario Williams, another former Wolfpack player. As long as he stays healthy, I'm sure he'll have a great career. I don't think he'll ever get the credit he deserves, though. Too bad defensive ends typically aren't as exciting to watch as running backs.

7) The Steelers. Can Willie Parker have another spectacular season? Can the Steelers succesfully defend their title? Will the commentators spend at least half of each Steelers game talking about Ben Roethlisberger's motorcycle accident? Tune in to find out!

Note that the Cowboys did not make this list. I'm sure I don't have to watch any Cowboys games in order to get the latest T.O. updates. Sheesh.

Since the football preseason is underway, the Sporting News Radio Network has been full of commentary about the NFL. Last Tuesday, Dave Smith went on a tirade about how boring the NFL is and how college football is so much better. And I do mean a tirade. I think he talked about it for an hour. Well, fine. That's his opnion. I do have a few rebuttals in the NFL's defense, however:

1) Dave Smith is based in Los Angeles. L.A. and the NFL don't mix. But there's great college football to be had there. I smell bias. It's the same thing as when I argue that college basketball is better than the NBA. I live in Chapel Hill. I've never lived more than an hour away from Chapel Hill. Of course I'm going to argue that college basketball is better than the NBA.

2) Dave Smith argues that college football is more exciting because every regular season game is like a playoff game. He then turns around and admits that the NFL has a better playoff system, and that college football should scrap the BCS and implement a playoff system. Now, a playoff system wouldn't mean that 6-5 teams could win the National Championship, but it probably does mean that, say, Miami could lose to both Florida State and Florida in the regular season and still win it all. Every regular season game a playoff game, eh?

3) Dave Smith argues that the NFL's clock management/field position game is boring. Sure, it's not the most exciting thing to watch, but I've also seen it in the college game. Maybe I'm watching the wrong college teams. The Triangle isn't exactly a football hotbed.

4) Dave Smith argues that throwing a 3-yard pass on 3rd and 7 is stupid. I can't argue with that one. It is stupid. It drives me crazy. I don't think that's a problem with the NFL, though. I think it's a problem with individual coaches. Some of them don't make the best calls. It's also not a bone-headed play that's confined to the NFL. I've seen college teams run the same stupid play. Again, maybe I'm watching the wrong college teams.

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