Shaun Fagan's Blog
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Hello Nation, I hope you are having a great week! I must say the Northeast is enjoying unseasonably warm temperatures, as evidenced by my January 6th golf day that I took in Middlebury, CT. It was 70 degrees; San Diego probably can’t hold a candle to that kind of warmth. Anyway enough about the weather, winter is coming eventually, like it always does up here, but Al Gore certainly is onto something.

So before I get into the Divisional Playoffs this week, I’d like to take a look back at the week that was. First of all, I might be mistaken, but I believe I was DEAD last in the FanNation college football pick em’ challenge. Not bad… you see, this is why I don’t comment on college football. I know nothing about it, the only time I ever followed CFB was last year when Bush and Leinart were stacking up the points. The only thing I know about college football is that running college QB’s fail in the NFL. Also, that the Heisman Trophy winner is rarely chosen objectively. I’ve covered this in a previous blog which you may or may not have read. Oh, I’ll also shamefully point out that I picked against Boise St. ONLY because they have the bluegrass field. That’s the ONLY reason.

Speaking of college football, I didn’t even tune into the championship game for one minute, mainly because I don’t like Florida, especially since they won the NCAA tourney last year, and I hate Ohio State and Troy Smith. I’d rather watch Rutgers and West Virginia again. I’m glad that Troy Smith got embarrassed, since I’ve always said he sucks. I hope the NFL Draft passes over him. What would he be good for, emergency QB in the NFL? Whatever team drafts him (please don’t let it be the freakin Lions!) should be boycotted until Smith is removed via free agency or he’s cut. It would be the most wasted 1st round pick in NFL history.

I finally got to reading Bill Simmons’ “Now I Can Die in Peace” book I got for Christmas. I have to say, despite it is a montage of his Page 2 articles dating back to 1997, nonetheless it is interesting stuff. I’m a little young for all the 1980’s pop culture references, but I am a borderline die-hard Red Sox fan. My grandfather was a die hard, and my dad liked them until he realized they couldn’t win. He likes watching them, but he talks to much negative stuff about the Sox that it would be unfair to true die-hards to call him a die-hard. Let’s just say the old man’s eyes got a little puffy after Foulke fielded that ground ball in Game Four. I’m sure it was mainly because his father, in his 68 years of hardcore WWII, Korea, and Vietnam Army Rangerness, was never able to see that magical championship go to his Sox.

Anyway, the book is good if you are in your late 30’s, smoked a lot of pot in your day, and love the Red Sox. I’d recommend it because of the Sports Guy’s witty writing and over 500 footnotes he’s added since the book was first published. Sure some of the references might slide over my young head, but check it out if you want to get a good laugh and understanding of how we Red Sox fans go through the summer.

Time for some NFL speak:

So the first game on tap is the Colts and the Ravens, playing tomorrow at 1pm. The guessing game begins now, because to be honest with all of you, I’d never bet on one of these games in a million years. I’m not a betting man, but still that’s the feeling I get from this weekend. Things are going to happen that would make Tony Romo’s already sweaty hands feel as though he just smeared them in astroglide. Hmm, (moment of silence, partially in shock and partially in utter truth). Anyway, so yeah, the point is that there’s no way of guessing what’s going to happen this weekend, as these matchups are what makes the NFL so f*ing fun this time of year.

How do you stop the most prolific offensive player in the last 10 years? With the fast, scheming, super smart Ravens defense. Adalius Thomas, Ray Lewis, Ed Reed. Oh, and the playoffs have helped slow Manning down a little too (low blow). Tell me this doesn’t feel exactly like the last Brady versus Manning matchup in 2004. I think it’s pretty clear what's going to happen. Manning never plays well against a defense like this. The Ravens have to hope they can score a defensive TD or hope the Colts D isn’t playing with the same amphetamine-induced hysteria it had going for them last weekend. I’m going to be rooting for the Colts, since I want to see the Chargers/Colts matchup, and the potential 98 points that might come out of it. Despite who I’m rooting for though, I strongly agree with the panel of experts that the Ravens will come out of this one victorious. I’m picking the Ravens so that I win something no matter who wins. In fact, that is the whole alterior motive behind this entire blog. I’ll pick the team I think will win, and root for the team I want to win. I should have thought of this earlier, it involves so much less stress!

Ravens 24, Colts 21 

At 4:30, the Eagles and Saints come marching onto your TV sets. This might be the only game in which that some people are decided about. Let’s not quite count out the Eagles yet. I made that mistake the day after McNabb went down. I distinctly remember saying that the Eagles would finish 10-6 and win the NFC East. I regretfully retracted that statement the minute McNabb tore his knee and counted them out for the rest of the year. Then, those damned “experts” on ESPN decided that the Eagles were going to keep winning, which I was convinced that that was the most cockamamie, cross-eyed conglomerate opinion of all the experts in the industry. It was a classic example of how the experts really knew nothing, and fell face-first onto the newest, weekly trend. I can honestly say in hindsight though that they actually got something right. Nice call.

Anyway they are now all convinced that they can’t hold a candle to the Saints. I’ll be cheering hard for the Saints without a doubt. I like this team, and I’ve always loved Reggie Bush. Actually, Bush inspired me to start a collection of sports jerseys that would make a nice wall theme on my sports bar-styled basement whenever I move into that house I imagine in my head. Anyway, it would start with my personal favorite jersey of any sports star that wore the #1. It’s actually very difficult to find a list of all the great stars wearing numbers 00-99. If I was to have a list, it would be a much easier task to accomplish. For the sake of argument, I can think of Warren Moon as a #1. After him, I’d move up to #2, which might be Deion Sanders’ Florida State jersey, all the way up to #25 or so, coming to an end where it all began, with Reggie Bush’s jersey. Here’s a quick list of what I’m thinking so far

  1. Still not sure
  2. Not Sure
  3. Not sure
  4. JJ Redick, Duke/Favre
  5. Nomar, Red Sox (perhaps)
  6. no idea
  7. Elway or Flutie
  8. Steve Young/Ripken Jr.
  9. Ted Williams
  10. not sure
  11. Mark Messier
  12. Michael Jordan (don’t believe me, look at this picture http://i.a.cnn.net/si/2006/writers/rudy_klancnik/05/25/number.12/p1_jordan12.jpg) or Tom Brady
  13. Marino or Kurt Warner on the Rams
  14. Not Sure
  15. Not Sure
  16. Joe Montana 49ers
  17. not sure
  18. Peyton Manning
  19. Johnny Unitas?
  20. Barry Sanders, obviously
  21. LaDainian Tomlinson
  22. Emmitt Smith, if he’s lucky
  23. Jordan/Lebron
  24. Willie Mays
  25. Reggie Bush, screw Barry Bonds!

I don’t really know. Can anyone find a list online of famous athletes wearing Number 1-25 or so? I’d greatly appreciate it!

Oh wow, kind of went on a tangent there huh. Alright, back to the game. Give the Eagles some respect. They’ll play hard, but I’m going with the Saints, and picking them to win the game too. I know that violates the rules I already laid out for myself earlier in the blog, well before the whole numbers part. My bad. The estimated score won’t show how close the game really was until the end. Saints score 2 TDs late to put it away. 

Saints 31, Eagles 17

I’ve already alluded to the fact that I think the Seahawks could be this decade’s version of the 1990’s Bills. They might make it to the Super Bowl every year! It all depends on Rex Grossman and how he plays. Also, we’ll see if Lovie will play a lovie and act like Herm Edwards and keep him in to shoot the Bears in the collective shoes, or will he act like the former Coach of the Year and put in Brian Griese? I don’t know, I can’t put any faith into Grossman. He’s just another Joey Harrington, only he wins because of the superior team around him. He’s kind of like the really drunk bus driver that everyone knows about. Sure he’s a boatload of fun, and you haven’t been killed by him yet, but that possibility is always overhead, although you don’t mind it so much because he’s such a great guy. Ah yes, the antithesis of American business strategy you are, Rex Grossman.

I’m rooting for the Hawks in this one, but I’ll be the objective boring type who doesn’t take risks like Ben Stiller in Along Came Polly. Quickly, I have to point out that the funniest part in that whole movie is the way Phillip Seymour Hoffman B.S’s the sales pitch to the insurance company and starts off clearing his throat for 5 minutes. Classic immature writing at its best right there. Go Hawks! 

Bears 17, Seahawks 16 

And Finally, the game of the week. The Big Cheese, The Right Stuff. All that rolled into a quesadilla and deep fried. The Patriots take on the Chargers. I’m not going to spice up this preliminary observation of the game because then I would look like one of those idiotic sports writers and take away from what will transpire in the game. Instead, I will state the obvious.

What the Chargers need to win

  • <!--[if !supportLists]-->·         <!--[endif]-->100 yards from LT, 2 TDs
  • <!--[if !supportLists]-->·         <!--[endif]-->One big play to Gates over the middle
  • <!--[if !supportLists]-->·         <!--[endif]-->A non-Rex Grossman performance by Phillip Rivers
  • <!--[if !supportLists]-->·         <!--[endif]-->Merriman having Roid-breath, if that’s even possible (3 sacks)
  • <!--[if !supportLists]-->·         <!--[endif]-->Marty: Let your boys play they way they have been all year!

What the Patriots need to win

  • <!--[if !supportLists]-->·         <!--[endif]-->Protect Tom Brady!
  • <!--[if !supportLists]-->·         <!--[endif]-->Larry Maroney and Dillon combining for over 150 yards
  • <!--[if !supportLists]-->·         <!--[endif]-->Cause 2 turnovers
  • <!--[if !supportLists]-->·         <!--[endif]-->Bill Bellichick 

I’m going to be smart and pick the Patriots, because no one bets against the Patriots in the playoffs. Plus, they are underdogs, and we all know how that has been received over the past 4 years. I’m rooting for the non-locals. Go Bolts! But I think I’m being smart and responsible when I say there’s little chance the Pats will lose this one. The Bolts need to come out and just win, baby. And yes, I know that’s a Raider reference, but the Raiders hate the Chargers, so take that, baby.

Patriots 28, Chargers 24

Alright that’s it I’mmmm outta here.

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