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iB4e is gonna miss the NFL
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Ha! You just thought I was finished blogging. Nice try suckas, you can't keep me off Fan Nation. I am happy to ruin your day with more worthless drivel...

Wait! Stop! No! Nooooo!

The person responsible for that intro has been sacked. No onwards and upwards. I want to welcome all of FN to the first blog of the "Knights of the Fan Nation Trapezoidal Table". We worked long and hard on this blog and I hope all of you enjoy it. If you like it, spread the word to come check it out. If you hate, spread the word for people to check it out and decide for themselves.

Well, what are we waiting for. Fasten your seatbelts, it's going to be a bumpy ride.

This is an historic day for Fan Nation...

Oso: That should be "a historic"

Big Ben: No, he's right. Go ahead big E

Oso: No I'm telling you; in Antarctica we always say "a historic"

Sneaky Pete: Look, I'm a Bear and Oso is right...

I B4 E: Gentlemen, please stop interrupting the intro. There will be plenty of time to make fun of me later in the blog.

Big Ben, Oso:  Sorry.

Sneaky Pete:  My bad.

Continuing on, this is a hist... uh make that memorable, day in Fan Nation history. Never before has there been such a collection of some of the greatest minds in all of Fan Nation assembled in one location. I am truly honored to be the moderator of this momentous occasion. I have assembled a panel of 10 experts to answer some of the toughest NFL related questions ever asked. These 10 experts labored for hours poring over the details and the intricacies of the questions so that you - the community of sports nuts - can be privy to the interworking of these great minds.

In fact, I think we can classify this group as real men, and women, of genius.

Dan: Get on with it already!

I B4 E: That will enough out of you. Just for that Mr. Smarty Britches you will have to wait even longer to answer a question.

I must say though, that I could not have pulled this off if it had not been the support of these experts. Especially Sneaky Pete!  Without his masterful editing of this blog, it would never have happened!  His mastery of the English language has brought this piece of literature out of the dark ages of linguistic confusion and into the shimmering spotlight of witty sports commentary.  Sneaky Pete is truly a man of the ages, and... 

HEY!  I never wrote that!  Stop it, Pete!

Sneaky Pete:  What?  Oh, right.  I got a little carried away.  Scratch everything after "experts."  My bad.

I B4 E: I have to admit that it was a bit tricky getting everyone assembled. But the logistics worked out and we are happy to present the nation the first discussion of the:

"Knights of the Fan Nation Trapezoidal Table."

Josh: Do you even know what a trapezoid is?

I B4 E: Do you even know what 2 + 2 is?

Josh: That doesn't make any sense...

I B4 E: [in a sarcastic voice] "Oh that doesn't make any sense!"  This is my blog and if I want to call it a trapezoid I will.

Josh: Dude.

I B4 E: Moving on, I would be remiss if I did not thank our sponsor Vitametavegamin for their generous donation. Vitameatavegamin, it has everything you need - vitamins, meat, vegetables, and minerals. It's so tasty too, just like candy.

So without further ado, allow me to introduce our panel of experts.

Seated from my left: 

Tracy: Hey y'all! How y'all doin' tonight?

Dan TM: Thank you, Jim, it's good to be a se.., uh, I mean, here. Good to be here.

Big Ben: [Nods]

Josh: Hahahaha... Thanks, yeah, it's all true!  In fact, that reminds me of this one time in college...

Foosball: Yo Adrian!

BSchwartz: #07 on your FanNation, but #1 in your hearts!

Oso: [Growls]

KpKahder: Hi, my name is Debi and I'm addicted to the NFL.

All (Except Kp):  Hi, Debi!

Sneaky Pete:  [To himself] Man, I didn't know Tracy was from the south...  Er, um, thanks for having me.

Harry Callahan: Don't hate me because I'm beautiful.

I B4 E: Ok, let's get started. I would like to talk about the turning point of the season for our favorite football teams.  I think the turning point for the Cowboys was when they beat the Packers. I believe that was when they started to believe the hype and it went to their heads. Since they had Wade Philips as coach, he couldn't bring them back to Earth. What was the turning point for your team - good or bad?

Tracy: Spygate, hands down. Patriots were a team on a mission, and came out swinging hard. It was thrilling to watch.

Big Ben: Unfortunately, the turning point(s) for my team consisted of bad things.  The biggest turning point was the funeral of Sean Taylor which energized our team to go on a four-game winning streak, but the other turning point was the knee injury to Jason Campbell which let the system QB Todd Collins to come in and execute the Al Saunders' "Book of Plays: Half of Which Never Even See the Practice Field Much Less an Actual Game!" to perfection and help us to the playoffs.  By the way, I hear that book is soon to be on bookshelves everywhere... So everyone will know NOT to design 700+ pages worth of plays... Most of which you'll never use in practice or even a game.

Dan: Yeah, Ben everything about our season hinged on Sean Taylor's death.

BSchwartz:

Oso: This past season was horrible for the Eagles. The turning point was when Reid's kids were arrested and the HC needed a sabbatical. I think he should have taken a longer break.  That would have let him sit out the year and come back when his house was in order. His head wasn't in the game and it showed. On a positive note, the team turned it around just about the time they were out of playoff contention. Wait, that was positive?

Callahan: Signing Moss, Welker and Stallworth.

Sneaky Pete: Going into the draft, Jerry Angelo said, "We have more wants than needs."  The Bears were *through* at that point.  Looking back, there were PLENTY of needs; the Bears simply didn't recognize those needs in time to do anything about them.

I B4 E: Thanks folks. That was very enlightening.

Josh: Hey, I didn't get to answer! I was going to say...

I B4 E: Don't worry; everyone will get a chance to answer questions. I don't want to be here all day; this is only an hour-long show.

I B4 E: Now, Josh aluded to...

Big Ben: alluded has 2 "L"s dip wad!

Sneaky Pete: al·lude -/ Pronunciation[uh-lood]

-verb (used without object), -lud·ed, -lud·ing.

  1. to refer casually or indirectly; make an allusion (usually fol. by to): He often alluded to his poverty.
  2. to contain a casual or indirect reference (usually fol. by to): The letter alludes to something now forgotten.

[Origin: 1525-35; < L all??dere to play beside, make a playful allusion to, equiv. to al- al- + l??dere to play ]

-Synonyms hint, intimate, suggest.

I B4 E: Ooookay... Thanks, GrammarNazi. As I was saying, Josh mentioned in a blog the importance of team chemistry. The Cowboys, after watching the Giants playoff game, were hurting in the chemistry department. They didn't seem to be playing as a team. So, how important is team chemistry?

Josh: Football is the ultimate team sport; chemistry is a huge part of the game.  I think it speaks volumes about this current Giants team that they won AFTER Tiki retired and Shockey went out with injury...they were both constant complainers and whiners against Coughlin and the organization... And they go away... And bam! The team wins the Super Bowl... Don't underestimate that.

Dan: It's not a matter of outspokenness or reservedness, but if a player has gone on record as disliking their coach, there's no turning back.

BSchwartz:

Foosball: Team Chemistry has got to be the 2nd or 3rd most important thing in any team sport.

Sneaky Pete: Chemistry is the most underrated aspect of a football team.  Outspoken players don't necessarily hurt a team, selfish players do.  Football is a team sport.  The NFL wants to make sure we know who all the superstars are, but not necessarily the grunts who are working behind the scenes to make the Manning's and the Brady's look like gods.  I think this encourages young players to try and steal the spotlight with their mouths rather than their play.  It works too, because the media LOVES a scandal or a scandalous quote/soundbite.  There's nothing wrong with being outspoken, but when you're an outspoken JERK...

Oso: Who are you calling a jerk?

Sneaky Pete: Huh?

I B4 E: He wasn't talking to you Oso, he meant that loud mouth players are jerks

Sneaky Pete:  Not really, I was saying that a player who is selfish and "calls out" his coach or his fellow players in the media creates problems.  A player, who is outspoken, yet respectful, can actually help his team by speaking to the media.  During press conferences look for the players who say "we" a lot.  Those are the players who include themselves in any problem the team may be facing at any particular time.  They are the guys a coach wants talking to the media.  It motivates everyone on the team.  Players who point fingers at everyone but themselves only create hostility and resentment in a team environment.

Josh:  He said "Wee!"

I B4 E: Moving right along...  Speaking of team chemistry, what makes a good locker room leader?

BSchwartz:

Big Ben: Hey, I didn't get to answer that last question.

I B4 E: I know Ben, but I am trying to not run over on time. I want to get as many opinions as possible...

Big Ben: I don't care, I had a great answer and I want to share it

I B4 E: Fine, share it

Big Ben: Team chemistry is always important and when a team can play together with great teamwork it makes that team stronger.  A TEAM is only as strong as its weakest link and this can be applied to any football team.  When the QB is having a bad game, the rest of your team (defense, special teams, running back, wide receivers, etc) has to step up to pick up the slack that the slumping quarterback is causing.  When a defense can't hold the opponent's offense out of the end zone, the corresponding offense has to start putting points on the board or they're forced into a deep hole.  I wouldn't say that outspoken players hurt a team, but if they are just obnoxiously and purposefully stupid in terms of talking with the media then yes, that player can hurt the team.  Take Terrell Owens with the Eagles in 2005, the year after the Eagles' SB loss.  The Eagles suspended Owens after 7 games (despite him being on pace to have his best season ever with 749 yards over that span) and the Eagles went 6-10.  Of course this collapse can be attributed to multiple causes such as injuries to multiple players (McNabb being one of them).

Callahan: "Shut up and play ball" should be every coach's motto. All those players you just named have big mouths and were always jawing about something.

I B4 E: Guys! We're onto a different question now. What makes a good locker room leader?

BSchwartz:

Dan: Look at LaDainian Tomlinson, and how he got his whole team to abandon their criticism of Turner and play like a unit. He's a very strong leader without having to say too much. He doesn't ruffle feathers, but he can inspire his teammates to play their best.

Big Ben: Well...the Cowboys don't have the best locker room leader around so this question seems fitting from you, I B4 E.  A good locker room leader is almost like an extension of the head coach in the form of a player.  He can motivate and control his players.  That's all I have...

Tracy: Confidence, confidence, confidence.

Callahan: A team player without an ego.

I B4 E: Say, has anyone else noticed that Brandon has been unusually quiet.

Foosball: You're right. He has great insight about football; I was wondering why he wasn't answering.

KpKahder & Tracy: Oso!!!!!!

Oso: Mmmpmmmgn what? [Licks his paws] Smack, smack, um, mprrhh is it my turn? [Licks his lips]

Josh: Oso ate BSchwartz!

Big Ben: Ha ha, Oso ate a "Schwartz". Ha Ha Ha... Oh am I the only who gets it?

I B4 E: Oso! Spit Brandon out right this minute!

Oso: Fine! Patooey!  [Oso spits BSchwartz back out]

BSchwartz: OMG! That was friggin' awesome. Do it again!

Everyone else (except Ben): Nooooooooo!

BSchwartz: Oh hey, here's a half digested penguin back.

Oso: Thanks.

Big Ben: Oh man that would have been great. I want to be eaten by a bear. Eat me, Oso! Ouch!!! Pete?!?!

Sneaky Pete: What? You said you wanted to be eaten by a bear.

Big Ben: Dude! You're a Bears fan not an actual bear like Oso. Dang it! That hurt!

Sneaky Pete: Oh yeah, I keep forgetting about that. My bad.

I B4 E: You guys are unbelievable! Now we are going to have to go to commercial and get this place cleaned up. We'll be right back folks. We'll make sure to feed Oso during the break and get Ben bandaged up.

The preceding portion of the program was brought to you by:

Banana Splits

And Cavemen who like beer

Now back to our regularly scheduled program.

I B4 E: I apologize for that outburst, Fan Nation. We'll try to keep everyone in line. How about we take a question from the audience?

FanNation: How long did it take you to learn how to TiVo?

KpKahder: What's TiVo?

Tracy: It begins with T for a reason. Think about it.

Josh: What's a TIVO?  Don't have one...don't really see the need, since I can't stand 99% of what comes on the TV.

BSchwartz: I have had TIVO for about 5 years, so yeah, then.

Sneaky Pete: I still don't know how to TiVo.  I don't even know if I CAN TiVo!  Do you have to pay extra for that?

Callahan: Yes you do Pete. They usually charge $1.99 a minute

I B4 E: Ok, let's take one more.

Fan Nation: Which NFL positions have the players with the cutest butts other than QBs?

Sneaky Pete: I refuse to answer this question on the grounds that I may be "outed."

Tracy: I would never look at player's butts that would be like treating them like objects or pieces of meat when they are clearly finely tuned athletes who sculpt their amazing bodies to suit their position. I'm gonna say wideouts.

BSchwartz: What?

KpKahder: The list goes on and on and on and on... and where was I?

Josh: Um...are you trying to drag me kicking and screaming from the closet?  Besides, that's easy... Tight Ends... Duh?

Foosball: Are you kidding me? Come on everyone knows it's the cheerleaders. And Washington Redskin or Tampa Bay Buccaneers cheerleaders have the best.

Dan: I prefer the announcers.

I B4 E: Ok, time to move on before we lose our PG rating. Other than having your team win the Super Bowl, what one thing would you change about this NFL season as a whole?

Big Ben: Personally, I'd change around one singular event this season: the death of Sean Taylor.  Now, I know he spurred our team to four straight wins, but at the cost of an amazing player, a life, and a father.  If I could change anything, I'd bring Sean Taylor back from the grave and have him roaming our secondary.

 I B4 E: You are right about that Ben. Let's pause for a moment of silence for Taylor, Darrent Williams, and Marquise Hill.

BSchwartz: Nice, Ben. I would have fixed the issues in Atlanta. Blank is a good guy and my dad is a HUGE Falcons fan, so I hate to see them become a bigger punch line than a team that finished 1-15.

KpKahder: Hmm. As a whole, I would say challenges. I think in the final 2 minutes, coaches should be able to challenge a play or a call. It's the most critical time in so many games and the NFL is the only authority to challenge in the 2 minutes. That's crap.

I B4 E: Wow, Kp. How do you really feel? ;>)

Dan: I'm assuming I can't take back Sean Taylor dying? I'd like to see the rules on what is and isn't a catch changed so they make sense. Too many great catches were overturned on replay due to slight ball movement.

Sneaky Pete: I would change most of the announcers in the booth.  Most of them are just AWFUL and they distract me from the game.  I spend as much time griping about the commentators as I do the Bears' offense.  Example:  In the Packers - Giants game, Troy Aikman called out Atari Bigby for "leading with his head" on a hit.  While he was getting the words out of his mouth, the replay clearly showed that it was a clean hit as Bigby lead with his shoulder.  Watch the replay before opening your mouth!  I dunno.  Maybe I'm just overly sensitive to these things...

Callahan: Simply put - That Spygate never happened.

I B4 E: This is great, folks! I think most everyone agrees that Adrian Peterson (Vikings edition) really deserved Rookie of the Year. Other than Peterson, who should have won ROY and why?

Tracy: Joe Thomas, he made that O-line so much stronger for Cleveland, and this offseason they can concentrate on that defense.

Josh: I agree, Joe Thomas... ‘Cause he helped the Browns to a huge turn around...  He plays one of the hardest positions in the NFL... And O-lineman don't get enough respect.

Foosball: Oh yeah, Joe Thomas of the Browns... Solid guy, played really well, and helped improve the OLine protection of QB Anderson who had a career year and created lots of holes for running back Jamal Lewis...  Both will get big fat contracts now partly because of him... Besides, any guy who decides to go fishing with his dad instead of going to the draft is a pretty down to earth guy.

Big Ben: I think there could have been several choices:  Dwayne Bowe, Joe Thomas, Marshawn Lynch, and Levi Brown.  Bowe created a reliable complementary receiving target in Kansas City's offense to Tony Gonzalez and broke 100 receiving yards on more than one occasion.  Joe Thomas was a great pick by the previously draft inept Browns who had a 1,300+ yard rusher in Jamal Lewis who averaged 4.4 YPC for the first time since his 2,066 yard season in 2003 (when he averaged 5.3).  A huge improvement over the rushing of Reuben Droughns and the other useless backs they threw in the line up in 2006.  Their passing attack also improved greatly with Braylon Edwards continuing the 3rd year wideout explosion (earning a Pro Bowl and gaining over 1,000 receiving yards and 10+ TDs) as well as Kellen Winslow Jr. gaining over 1,000 receiving yards from his tight end spot.  No stats for Thomas but his addition (if I remember correctly, he allowed NO sacks all year) along with Eric Steinbach greatly improved a Browns offense that had previously ranked in the bottom five the league in every offensive category the past few years.  Marshawn Lynch deserves a look for Offensive ROY because, for a good piece of the season, Lynch was pretty much the Buffalo offense as the Bills struggled to pass efficiently and consistently.  He crossed 1,000 rushing yards, but if not for missing two or three games due to injury might have collected more votes for the rookie honor.  Levi Brown was the 1st round pick by the Cardinals who moved into a weak offensive line with the legendary Hog Russ Grimm coaching it.  Edgerrin James rushed for over 1,200 yards and averaged 3.8 YPC compared to last year when he averaged 3.4 and gained just over 1,100 rushing yards.  As far as I know, Levi Brown didn't allow many sacks, but since O-Linemen don't have stats I wouldn't know except by watching a Cardinals game or two (and I watched none... Not even the game against the Redskins).  But my vote would go to either Adrian Peterson or Joe Thomas.

I B4 E: Wow. You need some oxygen after that answer Ben?

Oso: Patrick Willis. I know this may not be a popular pick among the knights, but aside from a rookie who set a single game rushing record. The rookie ILB from Mississippi was the next in line for ROY. Willis was a one-man tackling machine with 174 tackles, 4 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles. He will be a force to be reckoned with for a long time to come.

Sneaky Pete: I had a bacon, egg, and cheese bagel for breakfast this morning.  It was yummy!

Callahan: Ooh bacon and eggs - Yum! Oh, with biscuits and gravy.

Josh: Spam!

BSchwartz: Oh yeah. Sausage too. Maybe some pancakes.

Tracy: Pancakes, yeah - topped with whipped cream,

KpKahder: Ah yes, and some warm cheese blintzes topped with strawberries

Oso: Don't forget the penguins dipped in chocolate sauce.

I B4 E: See what you started Pete. Dang! Now everyone's hungry!

Sneaky Pete:  My bad.

I B4 E: Ok, we'll take one more question from the floor then we will adjourn to the green room for tea and crumpets, and penguins.

Fan Nation: If you could be anywhere right now, other than participating in this lame blog, where would it be?

Tracy: I would be on a beach in Hawaii, killing time after the Pro Bowl.

Josh: Miami, February 4th 2007... Right at Kickoff of last year's Super Bowl... Greatest moment in my sports watching life... Just awesome!

Callahan: I would rather be in prison.

KpKahder: A beach in a warm place.

Foosball: In bed with Elisa Cuthbert.

Dan: Kate Winslet's shower.

I B4 E: Guys, this is a PG rated blog.

Sneaky Pete: I'm picturing someplace warm, sitting in a hot tub or pool with a tall drink in one hand and a TV remote in the other...   Ahhhh...  That's nice!

BSchwartz: HOME!

I B4 E: You will be soon my friend. You will be soon. Thank you for your service.

That does it for this episode of "Knights of the Fan Nation Trapezoidal Table."

Stayed tuned until next time and find out who answered:

"I've been told that *I* do.  ;)" and...

"I keep fighting off his advances for drinks and a motel."

This drivel was brought to you buy:

Vitameatvegamin

Bud Light (and the occasional Budweiser)

And with special funding by:

Dilbert

Credits

Trapezoidal Table Members:  Big Ben68: NFL PT Champ

                                          #1 BSchwartz07

                                          Dan TM is (fill in the blank)

                                          Foosball

                                          Harry Callahan

                                          I B4 E

                                          Josh

                                          KpKahder

                                          Oso 214* BS-CB-NMI

                                          Sneaky Pete

                                          Tracy00214-CB

Moderator:                            I B4 E

Primary Writer:                      I B4 E

Director of Arbitrary Sponsors: I B4 E

Supervisor of Hyperlinks:        I B4 E

Editor/GrammarNazi:              Sneaky Pete, with help from Josh

Artistic Consultant:                 Sneaky Pete

Special Humor Consultant:      Sneaky Pete

Additional Witty Remarks:       Sneaky Pete

Creator of Delusional Titles:    Sneaky Pete

Master of the NFL Universe:     Sneaky Pete

I B4 E:  PETE!

Sneaky Pete:  My bad.

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