Oh, my sporting friends...this weekend was absolutely bittersweet agony. Kinda like a really good dark chocolate bar: sharp, poignant, melts easy in your mouth. A little is really, really, good, but too much is nauseating.
Sometimes agony is...needed. Sometimes you are skating through life and you become numb to the daily ins-and-outs, the joy, the fear, the terror, and the pleasure that makes up this crazy world we live in. Nothing really affects you. Then something really big happens that knocks you off course and sends you stumbling into territory that is so unknown that is causes agony. You feel your way back to your normal path, and you have a new-found appreciation for the little things in life. It's Karma's way of keeping everything in balance.
Saturday I endured yet another defeat by my boys at Notre Dame. UGH. I've resigned myself to the realization that this is a rebuilding year, that the Irish are probably going to go 0-8, and it's going to be painful to watch any games this year. On the flip side of the coin, however, it's suddenly very easy to score ND tickets. Can you say bitter IRONY?
Later that same day, I was watching the Georgia-Bama game, and actually enjoying it, when Mike Patrick (ESPN's commentator) started babbling about BRITNEY SPEARS during OT. His colleagues thought he had lost it. I was so aggravated that I turned off the game and missed the winning score by the Bulldogs. Now, I realize that calling a three-hour football game can be challenging...but trust me on this one. Stay away from Britney Spears chatter. It totally turns off the fans. If I want Britney chatter, I'll flip over to E! or VH1 or some other inane channel. It's a pretty good conclusion that I'm watching The Worldwide Leader because I want to see SPORTS. But hey, what do I know? More bitter irony...
Sunday brought the NFL games, and Game 3 of the series between the Cubbies and the Pirates. I'm usually conflicted when the Cubs play the Pirates (it's that Chicago/Pittsburgh thing), but not so much this year. The Cubs swept the series and are now 3 1/2 games up in the NL Central with only 6 games left. So sorry Pirates, but I'm really starting to believe that It's Gonna Happen, so my semi-loyalty to you must be sacrificed. You really didn't have a chance this year anyway. We need a break. It's not you...it's me. I actually have some Hope for the Cubs. It's a small little ember in the pit of my stomach, kinda like the smoldering gut-ache one experiences after too many brewskies, but it's hope nonetheless. Smoldering, yes, but it's a sweet smoldering.
The Steelers won--convincingly. True, Ben's stats weren't "Brady-esque", but that's because the Steelers ran the ball. And besides, I'm convinced that Brady has a pact with Satan. Anyway, I've always thought that teams who run the ball heavy kinda short-change their QB's. Yeah, football's a team sport, and it's all about the W's...yadda, yadda, yadda. If you really believe that steaming pile, tell me why we even pay attention to the stats then. Whatever. That's an argument that I'm not going to win. So back to my rant...Ben and the O Line looked AWESOME. The D looked good, too. I was also very happy to read in Peter King's column this morning that Ben's an early season nominee for MVP. Ha!! I hate to tell you all I told you so, but I've been telling you so for THREE SEASONS. Yeah, last year was bad. But I'd like to see you play professional football six weeks removed from planting your face into the side of a Cadillac after being launched from your motorcycle and THEN having your appendix literally explode inside your gut. Freakin' A people.
Let me tell you why I am so high on Roethlisberger. Having watched Brett Favre beat up on the other teams in the NFC North (and the old NFC Central) division for nearly his whole career, I've got a pretty extensive internal video library of his moves. Forget my feelings about the Packers...I'm objective enough to say that Favre is one of the best QB's I've ever seen play the game. And Big Ben reminds me so much of the Brett Favre from say...13 or 14 years ago. Ben's got the brains and the moves, and now it looks like he has the O Line and the coaches he needs to become the next Favre. I'm saving this post...and in 10 years, I'm pulling it up as proof of my absolutely uncanny knack to predict the future. You'll see. I'm right on this one. And the Steelers win, my friends, was the sweet, decadent topper to the weekend.
Wait...I forgot the Bears-Cowboys game, you say? No...I'd just like to forget.
I'd really, really like to know what Grossman has on Lovie to engender such blind loyalty. I'm sure that Rex is a nice guy. I'm sure he's committed to his career. But he's kind of like my love life...ridiculously inconsistent. When it's good, it's really, really good. When it's bad, it sucks. It's horrific. It's ghastly. And Lovie's a smart guy. It's beyond me WHY he is willing to let the team be sucked into the Rex Abyss.
This is how bad the QB situation is in Chicago: sometime during the second half, the HOMETOWN crowd in Soldier Field started chanting "Griese! Griese!" and booed as Sexy Rex left the field. I was throwing tortilla chips at my TV and cursing, and I started chanting as well. And I don't even like Griese--but he's gotta be better than Rex. And I was amazed and horrified as the camera panned around the stadium in the fourth quarter...it was almost empty. That says more than the "Griese" chant ever could. A bitter, bitter ending to the weekend, my friends.