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The Donnybrook
Friday, September 29, 2006
Vacation Time Is Almost Over...

...so now is a good a time as any to introduce you to the newest moral-values-crusading degenerate Republican to sail gently into that good night, Rep. Mark Foley of Florida.

Don't be shocked if you see him and Chris Hansen chatting in the near-future...

UPDATE: Upon further review, Rep. Foley was the co-chair of the Congressional Missing and Exploited Children's Caucus.

So help me God, if you vote Republican this November, you're REALLY not paying attention and probably deserve the absolute worst of what American politics has to offer...

Thursday, September 28, 2006
Some Vacaction Reading (yes, Brian gave me access a while back)

I remember the 60's.

There are some who might suggest that this means I wasn't having a good enough time. That's fair.

What I remember in particular, at least for this piece, is the 1964 election. Goldwater versus Johnson. I was 14, politically active, and growing up in a blue-collar Democrat town. I was convinced that Goldwater was the only viable candidate running, and that if Johnson was elected, the US would fall to Communism. I couldn't understand how the people around me could be so stupid. I hoped the rest of the country wasn't so dumb.

When the election results came back, I went into a bit of a funk. How many more years would it be before we had to start learning Russian in our schools? I was determined I would never, ever, eat those damned fish eggs.

And you know? Johnson was as bad a president as I feared he would be.

But we survived. And we survived Vietnam. And Watergate. And Iran-Contra. And even a BJ. And eventually it occurred to me that maybe the US was stronger than I thought. Maybe there was something dynamic and wonderful in the Constitution. Maybe the Vietnam protesters weren't Commies after all, but concerned individuals whose right to disagree with me was a fundamental part why the American experiment was so strong and so robust. Maybe America is better than the guy who happens to be holding office.

It's like a pendulum. It may swing one way for a while, than the other way for a while, but through it all, America moves forward.

Only, it's happening again. I've become fearful the way I was back in the 60's. I don't see the pendulum moving back. I'm getting nervous.

Okay, maybe I voted Democratic for the first time in my life in 2000, but that was only because I didn't want a dimwit in the White House. I figured Gore was so bland he wouldn't hurt anything, but at least wouldn't embarrass us. But that Bush won didn't bother me that much. America was stronger than either Gore or Bush. I was encourage when I saw him select Colin Powell. He's surrounding himself with good people, I thought. Even a dimwit with good counselors can't go too far wrong. Like most people, you don't "hope" the person you didn't vote for will fail. That's stupid. It's our country, and whomever is in office we want to succeed. When 9/11 happened, I found myself hoping that this mediocre man would shine like a Lincoln. Maybe a cowboy was a good thing to have at that time.

Besides, stupidity makes for good comedy, and we can all use a good laugh now and again.

I don't feel that way any more. I don't see anything to laugh at. I'm afraid. Not of the terrorists (and yes, they'll strike again--it's what they do), but of that dimwitted cowboy, his cronies, his bobble-headed Congress, and the religious right that seems to want to do away with the separation of Church and State. For the first time since the 60's, I fear for America. Is the Constitution strong enough to withstand what appears to be an orchestrated onslaught from within? I hope it can. I fear it won't.

Sunday, September 24, 2006
The Eagles Kick Ass and the 49ERS Suck Ass...
We're unable to get the photo on here so this will have to do for now...
The Eagles are good and the 49ERS stink. The Eagles are 10 times the team the 49ERs are. On the Niners best day and the Eagles worst day the Niners would still lose by two touchdowns. Andy Reid is a genius and Mike Nolan is a goof. Brian was right and I was wrong. Brian is smart and I am dumb. Brian is very good looking, I am very ugly. How's that? Any better?

Wednesday, September 20, 2006
On Second Thought, I'm Going Out Like This...


Since I'm Leaving For A Week's Vacation...

...I figured this would be a good time to break out one of the all-time greatest bad songs loosely based on travel...

Murray Head's "One Night In Bangkok"

See you guys in October!

"Watch what he does, not what he says..."

Molly Ivins' quote about President Bush seems especially meaningful after his performance at the United Nations yesterday.

What he says:
Bush said Syria's leaders had made their country "a crossroads for terrorism" and told Syrians: "In your midst, Hamas and Hizbollah are working to destabilize the region, and your government is turning your country into a tool of Iran."
What he does:
Canadian intelligence officials passed false warnings and bad information to American agents about a Muslim Canadian citizen, after which U.S. authorities secretly whisked him to Syria, where he was tortured, a judicial report found Monday.

The report, released in Ottawa, was the result of a 2 1/2-year inquiry that represented one of the first public investigations into mistakes made as part of the United States' "extraordinary rendition" program, which has secretly spirited suspects to foreign countries for interrogation by often brutal methods.
Any questions?

Tuesday, September 19, 2006
A Schism In The Donnybrook Ranks...

Dr. Masse is a 49ers fan, I'm an Eagles fan.

Normally, this isn't a problem., but this Sunday, our teams are matching up for the second round of a home-and-home series, the first game of which was won easily by the Eagles last year, 42-3.

What we need now is a wager that is worthy of two buddies that have known each other for 15+ years.

I'm looking for a straight up governor's bet, and I've done the "logo at the top of page" thing many times before.

Let's get some ideas from the readers...

UPDATE: An idea: The loser must take a picture of himself holding a sign stating "The Eagles/49ers Suck Ass, And The Eagles/49ers Rule". The loser must also brandish the requisite forlorn look of the non-triumphant loser.

This photo will then be featured at the top of The Donnybrook for a solid week.

I must mention ahead of time that I will be out of town for a week starting this Thursday, so if the Eagles lose, my week will have to begin on October 2nd.

How's that?

A Quick Spoiler For All You Fans Of "The Office"...

If you don't want to be privy to an interesting plot point from the upcoming season, please pay no mind to the following picture.

Did you get the spoiler? Click on the picture to get a closer look...

When TV Talking Heads Mess Up...

...it makes me smile pretty.

Monday, September 18, 2006
Quite Simply, The Dumbest Argument Against Year-Round Schools EVER...

From our rapture-anticipating pals at Called2Action (no link, cause they stink):
Called2Action is weighing in now with its opposition to mandatory year-round schools.

The conservative Christian activist group is warning that the year-round calendar could have a devastating toll on summer camps such as New Life Camp in North Raleigh. The group also says the calendar “make it almost impossible for churches all over Wake County to run Vacation Bible Schools.”

“This issue will hurt families in Wake County more than any other issue Called2Action has faced,” according to the group’s latest actiongram.
Wait, I thought stopping gay people from getting married was the most important issue of our time...

Wanna Help Rebuild Iraq? Non-Republicans Need Not Apply...

Did you know that in this nation's infancy, Irish immigrants were looked down upon, and often denied opportunites for jobs, services, and the like?

Signs like the one to your right were fairly common.

Now, in 2006, it seems that the practice is still alive, even if the criteria has changed.

After the fall of Saddam Hussein's government in April 2003, the opportunity to participate in the U.S.-led effort to reconstruct Iraq attracted all manner of Americans -- restless professionals, Arabic-speaking academics, development specialists and war-zone adventurers. But before they could go to Baghdad, they had to get past Jim O'Beirne's office in the Pentagon.

To pass muster with O'Beirne, a political appointee who screens prospective political appointees for Defense Department posts, applicants didn't need to be experts in the Middle East or in post-conflict reconstruction. What seemed most important was loyalty to the Bush administration.

O'Beirne's staff posed blunt questions to some candidates about domestic politics: Did you vote for George W. Bush in 2000? Do you support the way the president is fighting the war on terror? Two people who sought jobs with the U.S. occupation authority said they were even asked their views on Roe v. Wade.
In light of how poorly things are going over there, it's not surprising to learn that only tried-and-true Republicans are running the show.

P.S. Mr. O'Beirne's wife, Kate, was born into an Irish Catholic family and is now a conservative commentator.

You just can't make this stuff up...

Saturday, September 16, 2006
"I fully expect gas prices to be below $2.00 by November. No one has a bigger interest in keeping the Republicans in power than Oil."

Truer words were never spoken.

Thanks, Mr. Gombita...

Friday, September 15, 2006
This Weekend, Do Yourself A Favor...

...and go see "Little Miss Sunshine".

You'll be sooooooooo happy you did...

Will Some GOP'ers Jump Ship If The Dems Take Over Congress?

This is something I haven't seen mentioned anywhere, but it does have a historical precedent.

Back in 1994, after the Republicans took over the House and the Senate, a few Democrats switched party affiliations (Richard Shelby and Ben Nighthorse Campbell in the Senate, Jimmy Hayes and Billy Tauzin in the House) in order to stay in the majority after the Democratic Party lost control of Congress.

With the prospect of a Democratic takeover becoming more and more likely every day, it's time to think of which Republicans might be willing to switch parties in order to maintain their majority status.

Any ideas?

UPDATE: The GOP police blotter just got a little longer, with Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH) about to plead guilty to influence-peddling...

Thursday, September 14, 2006
TV On The Radio: Check 'em Out...

"Wolf Like Me" is a helluva catchy tune. Very different sound.

You can hear it on their Myspace...

Gov. Ann Richards (1933-2006)

The Democratic Party sorely needs more ass-kickers like her...

Here's a link to her keynote address to the 1988 Democratic National Convention...

Wednesday, September 13, 2006
The Pitfalls Of Having A Common Name, Part 2...

Having the same name as a mediocre journeyman pitcher is one thing, this abomination is quite another...

What's Your Favorite Underappreciated Sports Achievement?

Don't tell me you loved it when McGwire hit #62, or when Cal Ripken broke Lou Gehrig's record.

Everybody knows that shit.

Go deep for me. Tell me about that oddball achievement that nobody talks about, but is mindboggling, nonetheless.

I'm going with Steve Carlton's 1972 season for the Phillies.

Look at these numbers from Lefty's '72 campaign:

Wins 27
Losses 10
Complete games 30
Strikeouts 310
Walks 87
Innings pitched 346.1
ERA 1.97

Impressive, right? Now consider the weirdest part: The Phillies won 59 games that season. Lefty accounted for 46% of his team's wins.

Get weirder/more impressive than that. I dare you...

Ever Seen A "Kitler"?

Now you have, thanks to Virtual Pus and the aptly-named Cats That Look Like Hitler...

Tuesday, September 12, 2006
Ultimate Super Bowl Tournament Elite 8

Were down to the final 8...anybody getting excited? Didn’t think so and yet I drone on...

1978 Steelers (14-2) vs. 1969 Chiefs (11-3): The 69 Chiefs have been the feel-good story of the tournament, pulling off one upset after another en route to the Elite 8. But now they run into one of the great teams in sports history. Everybody knows the Steelers were dominant on defense, but it was their offense in 78 that really started taking off. Terry Bradshaw threw for a career-high 28 touchdown passes while receivers Lynn Swann and John Stallworth had 20 touchdown catches. Franco Harris and Rocky Bleier made sure defenses couldn’t key on the pass, rushing for more than 1,600 yards and 13 touchdowns. In the playoffs, the offense scored 33, 34 and 35 points. Combine that with a Steel Curtain defense ranked No. 1 in the league that year and it was a handful just trying to compete with the Steelers. Another measure of their greatness is who they beat in the super bowl. They beat the defending world champion Cowboys, a team that had they won that game and equaled the Steelers for super bowls in the 70s, probably would have more Hall of Famers. But the Steelers won and they got the glory. The Steelers won almost every big game they played in the 70s and as solid as the Chiefs were they are overmatched in this game. The Steelers are the first team to really dent the Chiefs defense and Len Dawson and Co. are unable to rally when they have to abandon the running game.

OUTCOME: Too much Steelers power on both sides. Steelers 27, Chiefs 10.

2004 Patriots (14-2) vs. 1993 Cowboys (12-4): What a matchup this is. The Cowboys are the favorites entering this game but I don’t think it will sink in to a lot of people for about another 10 years how good this Patriots team was. This was the back end of the team that won an NFL record 20 straight games in the age of parity and they absolutely dismantled the league’s best offense that year, the Colts, even though their defense was ravaged by injuries in that game. The defense was underrated even though it ranked second in the league. But when you have warriors like Tedy Bruschi, Willie McGinest, Ty Law and Rodney Harrison playing for you, it’s going to be tough to move the ball against you. And as I have said before, this offense was a nightmare for defenses. They weren’t as flashy as a team like the Colts but they were deadly efficient, scoring at least 20 points in 18 of 19 games. There are not enough adjectives to describe Tom Brady’s outstanding play or leadership and when you combine that with Corey Dillon rushing for 1,600 yards and having his best season it’s easy to see why this team won the Super Bowl. But then you have the Cowboys who had one of the best offensive lines this generation has ever seen along with guys like Emmitt Smith, Michael Irvin, Troy Aikman and Moose Johnston. The defense ranked second in the league like the Patriots did and featured speed all over the place. However, I do think the Patriots offensive line which was underrated could contain the Cowboys pass rush, leaving their somewhat suspect secondary vulnerable. Ultimately, I think as good as the defenses were, offense would dictate this game and it would go back and forth. I like the Cowboys up front and I like their star power but I like the Patriots depth. I think what it comes down since it’s going to be close in the final minutes is the quarterbacks. Now Aikman was a great quarterback but the one thing I never saw him do was lead his team from behind in the final minute when the chips were down in the biggest games. If you look back at his playoff games, the Cowboys won almost all of those games in somewhat convincing fashion so maybe it’s not fair to say he didn’t have that game-winning drive since he wasn’t in that position. But there were several times I saw him have chances to do that in the regular season when Dallas used to be on TV all the time and most of the times, he seemed to come up short. You contrast that with Brady who has become the Comeback King of this decade. Twice he’s lead his team on game-winning drives in the final minute of the Super Bowl and he also led the Patriots back from a 10-point fourth-quarter in his very first playoff game against the Raiders. During the 2003 season in a span of five games, Brady led the Patriots to three fourth-quarter comeback wins.

OUTCOME: This is a classic and I see it being capped by Brady marching the Patriots downfield in the last minute and hitting Daniel Graham for the game-winning touchdown pass. Patriots 34, Cowboys 31.

1985 Bears (15-1) vs. 1974 Steelers (10-3-1): Talk about a defensive showdown. I kind of analyzed the Steelers in the first matchup. However, this was the Steelers dynasty in its infancy and I would say its most vulnerable. Bradshaw did not open the season as a starter and was still quite erratic while Stallworth and Swann hardly were threats yet, meaning the Steelers were kind of one dimensional with their running game. And trying to pound the ball against the 46 defense of the 85 Bears is not going to get the job done. The Bears, though, too have some offensive deficiencies. While the running game was outstanding led by Walter Payton and a terrific offensive line, the passing game could struggle. The Bears ranked 22nd in passing yards and 23rd in touchdown passes. Their wide receivers caught just 10 touchdowns and Willie Gault led that unit with a paltry 33 catches. Gault could stretch the defense with his speed and the Bears could strike for the big play, but that so-so passing game is something to keep an eye on the rest of this tournament, especially against a Steel Curtain defense that could contain Payton.

OUTCOME: The Steelers defense limits the Bears effectiveness much like the 66 Packers did in the last round, but again the Bears defense carries the day and forces Bradshaw to make some costly mistakes that lead to two touchdowns. Bears 20, Steelers 6.

1989 49ERS (14-2) vs. 1984 49ERS (15-1): Wow, this is another classic. You gotta love a game where guys like Joe Montana, Ronnie Lott, Roger Craig, Keena Turner and Mike Wilson get to play against themselves at Candlestick Park. The 89 Niners were a machine that decimated three straight playoff opponents 126-26 and humiliated the Broncos, 55-10 in the super bowl. The scary thing is that the Niners probably could have made a run at 70 in that game had George Seifert not pulled all the starters after they went up 55-10 in the fourth quarter’s opening minute. A solid offensive line gave Joe Montana time to connect with Jerry Rice and John Taylor, both who had 1,000-yard seasons, along with Brent Jones an emerging Pro Bowler at that time with Tom Rathman and Roger Craig combined for 122 catches out of the backfield. Craig also rushed for 1,000 yards although he averaged 3.9 yards per carry which was a dropoff from the previous year. The defense lacked a lot of big names other than Ronnie Lott and Charles Haley but nonetheless was terrific, allowing just two postseason touchdowns with both of them coming in garbage time. Somehow, it seems, though, that people forget how amazing the 84 Niners were. Not only did they come within a missed Ray Wersching field goal and a made Gary Anderson field goal of going undefeated, but they ranked No. 2 in offense and No. 2 in defense. The offense put up 475 points and the Niners beat teams by a staggering margin of more than 15 points per game. They topped 30 points in 10 regular-season games, held three playoff opponents to 26 points and held six regular-season teams to fewer than 10 points. The Niners sent 10 players to the Pro Bowl, including three offensive linemen and every member of the secondary, a truly astonishing feat. The offense featured Montana at his best as he threw 28 touchdowns and just 10 interceptions. The Niners also had a powerful running game with Wendell Tyler gaining more than 1,200 yards and Roger Craig adding 649 yards along with 71 catches. Tyler was outstanding averaging an eye-popping 5.1 yards per carry. While the 89 Niners had the explosive Rice/Taylor duo the Niners had the less explosive but still effective Dwight Clark/Freddie Solomon duo combining for over 1,600 yards and 16 touchdowns. This game would be a classic and since Montana is on the field whoever has the ball last likely would win. But when I look at these two teams I like the 84 Niners across the board a little bit more except for one aspect and that is that the 89 Niners had Jerry Rice. Still, while Rice might be the greatest football player ever, the 84 Niners were just too dominant for even this machine-like 89 team to overcome.

OUTCOME: The 84 Niners were a spectacular defensive team even if they don’t get the credit they deserve and that is the difference in this game. 84 49ERS 30, 89 49ERS 20....And then there were 4!

The Ultimate Super Bowl Tournament Final 4
1978 Steelers vs. 2004 Patriots
1985 Bears vs. 1984 49ERS

Allegdly Racist Republican Senator Holds "Ethnic Rally"...

...presumably to prove that he, you know, really digs the brown folks...

"Macaca": The gift that keeps on giving...

An Interesting First Week For Fantasy Football...

Considering the annual preseason bias to focus on runningbacks, runningbacks, runningbacks, isn't it funny to see this list of the top 10 scorers after the first week of NFL action?

1. Donovan McNabb, Phi QB (Suck it, T.O.)
2. Kurt Warner, Ari QB
3. Jeff Wilkins, StL K
4. Charlie Batch, Pit QB
5. Chad Pennington, NYJ QB
6. Frank Gore, SF RB
7. Byron Leftwich, Jac QB
8. Bears D/ST, Chi D/ST
9. Ravens D/ST, Bal D/ST
10. Michael Vick, Atl QB

Only one RB breaks the top ten: Frank Gore.

Incidentally, he's my #2 RB, but that's neither here nor there...

What Menu Item Are You Physically Incapable Of Resisting?

Doesn't matter what restaurant, what location, or what time of day, if I see paella on a menu, I'm on it like a rabid dog.

What entree (or appetizer, for that matter) can you not say "no" to?

P.S. If any of you local guys have never had paella, speed thee to Parizade superquick...

Way To Grasp The Moment, Mr. President...

It's only a national day of mourning.

Why wouldn't you seize the opportunity to cover your ass before the mid-term elections and give the same speech you've been giving for the past three-and-a-half years?
Bush began with a two-minute tribute to the "nearly 3,000" victims of the Sept. 11 attacks, but most of his 17-minute speech was devoted to justifying his foreign policy since that day. With his party's control of Congress at stake in elections less than two months away, Bush suggested that political opponents who are calling for withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq would be giving victory to the terrorists.

"Whatever mistakes have been made in Iraq, the worst mistake would be to think that if we pulled out, the terrorists would leave us alone," Bush said from the Oval Office, with a photo of his twin daughters and the American flag behind him. "They will not leave us alone. They will follow us. The safety of America depends on the outcome of the battle in the streets of Baghdad."

Monday, September 11, 2006
Five Years Later, This Still Bugs Me...

I'm not going to get into the sentimentality of the fifth anniversary of 9/11.

I respect you guys enough to honor your ability to grieve and commemorate in a way that is appropriate to you. For me to tell you how to deal with it would be the height of narcissism.

I feel it's a personal experience, so I'll treat it as such.

That being said, I must mention that I'm still incensed that five years later, the rebuilding of the World Trade Center site has still yielded nothing.
Five years after Sept. 11, 2001, ground zero remains a 16-acre, 70-foot-deep hole in the heart of Lower Manhattan. High above it, a scaffolded bank building, contaminated during the attack, hulks like a metal skeleton, waiting endlessly to be razed.

The wreck that still stands tall and the pit that still sinks deep sum up the troubled history of ground zero. A site of horrific tragedy whose rescue and cleanup operation was a model of valiant efficiency, ground zero turned into a sinkhole of good intentions where it was as difficult to demolish a building as to construct one.
Scrap the "Freedom Tower". Rebuild the World Trade Center. Stronger, and one floor taller...

Republican Senatorial Committee Holds Members Of Its Own Party Hostage...

This is what Liddy Dole actually spends her time on?
In an extraordinary pre-emptive announcement, the National Republican Senatorial Committee has said it will concede Rhode Island to the Democrats should Stephen Laffey, the mayor of Cranston, defeat Mr. Chafee in the primary. Citing poll data, Republican leaders said they saw no way someone as conservative as Mr. Laffey could win in a state as Democratic as this; as it is, they are increasingly worried about Mr. Chafee’s hopes in a general election.
What a message to send to Republicans in Rhode Island!

I'm so loving this...

Friday, September 8, 2006
For All My Fellow Guitar Players...

Here's a little John Petrucci to make you feel painfully inadequate. The song's called "Damage Control"...

Have a great weekend...

Thursday, September 7, 2006
If Osama Is Hitler, Why Is He Still Alive?

"So I don't know where he (Osama bin Laden) is. You know, I just don't spend that much time on him. And, again, I don't know where he is. I'll repeat what I said. I truly am not that concerned about him."
--President George W. Bush, March 13, 2002
The newest round of Republican talking points states that Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda are the contemporary equivalent of Adolf Hitler and the Nazis.

If they feel this way, why has the administration taken such a laissez-faire approach to finding Osama bin Laden, even going so far as to shut down the CIA unit charged specifically with finding bin Laden?

During World War II, it took the United States and its allies less than 5 years to destroy a genocidal psychopath who had one of the most powerful military forces on the planet at his disposal, but a terrorist coward with a bad kidney and the blood of 3,000+ Americans on his hands still walks free a full five years after committing the most horrific atrocity ever seen on US soil.

Bush and the Republican party seem far more interested in keeping bin Laden around as an election-year bogeyman than actually bringing him and his ilk to justice, and the weird thing is that nobody really seems to be bothered by this...

P.S. I can only imagine the furor that would rise up from the 30+ percent of Americans that still view George W. Bush as a competent President if it was discovered that Bill Clinton said he wasn't "that concerned" about bin Laden, even before 9/11.

Similarly, I doubt that Franklin Roosevelt ever stated that he wasn't "that concerned" about Hitler...

UPDATE: Remember when Bush said there was "no question" that Saddam Hussein had ties to al-Qaeda during the rush to war in Iraq?

That was bullshit...

"Breassssssst Miiiiiiilk...You Made My Daaaaaayaaayyyyy!!!"

One of the four greatest sketches ever from Chappelle's Show...

"Have you no sense of decency, sir?"

P.S. I've got a new post up at Election Predictions this morning...

Wednesday, September 6, 2006
A Brilliant Idea From PSoTD...

It's a simple proposition: Post a memory.

A fun toy you had as a kid, a video game you loved, a magazine you used to read, anything. The more old school, the better.

I've got two. First is Mattel's handheld electronic football game.

The next one is not so well-known, but I have met people that know what it is. It's an old "Book and Record" story of Dracula, Frankenstein, and The Wolfman.

Anyone remember this???

Tuesday, September 5, 2006
One Of Our "Allies" Is Giving Bin Laden A Pass?

5 years after 9/11, Pakistan is letting bin Laden run free. Do we even have real allies anymore?
Osama bin Laden, America's most wanted man, will not face capture in Pakistan if he agrees to lead a "peaceful life," Pakistani officials tell ABC News.

The surprising announcement comes as Pakistani army officials announced they were pulling their troops out of the North Waziristan region as part of a "peace deal" with the Taliban.

If he is in Pakistan, bin Laden "would not be taken into custody," Major General Shaukat Sultan Khan told ABC News in a telephone interview, "as long as one is being like a peaceful citizen."

Who Will Be Hip-Hop's Nirvana?

This question comes from a great conversation I had with Mrs. Donnybrook over the weekend while flipping through this year's disastrous incarnation of the MTV Video Music Awards.

We've come to the conclusion that hip-hop music circa 2006 is the equivalent of heavy metal circa 1992.

Back in 1992, the charts were overrun with cookie-cutter bands that looked like this...

...and were more interested in the image they portrayed than the music they played. These bands took the great sound of the metal acts that came before them (Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Def Leppard) and watered it down to nothing.

Now, in 2006, the rap community has apparently reached that same critical mass. You've got any number of rap artists that are trying their best to portray an image that looks roughly like this...

...and making music completely lacking in creativity. Again, it's a watered down version of a formerly inspired musical movement led by bands like Public Enemy and N.W.A.

Rock music needed a big change in the early 90's and got it in the form of an unwashed malcontent named Kurt Cobain. I fucking hate Nirvana and most of the bands that became popular at that time, but I completely understand why their movement succeeded.

So who's gonna come along and save rap music now that it's entered it's very own Britny Fox/Enuff Z'Nuff/Steelheart period?

The names that come to my mind are OutKast and Gnarls Barkley, if only because they actually put out music that sounds like music and not a millionaire pseudo-thug screaming over a drum machine.

Any thoughts?

It's Catharsis Time, Everybody...

Consider this the place to make all your stingray jokes...

P.S. I know it's a tragedy, and that Steve Irwin was a good guy (minus that whole "dangling his baby in front of a pissed-off crocodile" incident) who did wonderful things for the environment, but he was also clearly insane and if his death isn't the absolute definition of irony, it's pretty damn close...

Monday, September 4, 2006
Ultimate Super Bowl Tournament Sweet 16
1972 Dolphins (14-0) vs. 1978 Steelers (14-2): It’s a shame these two heavyweights are meeting this early but that’s what happens in a random draw tournament. Here’s the thing with the 72 Dolphins. Most of the players from that team cock off that just because they went undefeated they are the best team ever. I disagree. As I said last round, they beat two teams with winning records in the regular season and both were 8-6. Then they win their three playoff games by six, four and seven points. Don’t get me wrong, this was a great team that was solid in all areas but I don’t think they are as deep as the 78 Steelers. The Steelers had a better passing game and while Miami’s running game and offensive line were dominant the Steelers were outstanding in those areas too. And while the Dolphins had a rock-solid defense, the Steelers had the Steel Curtain where Hall of Famers were lining up all over the field. I don’t think Miami would be able to pound the ball against that front four so Bob Griese would have to beat them through the air. While Griese was a great quarterback I don’t see him doing a lot with Mel Blount and Donnie Shell manning the corners. Yes, Dolphins you went undefeated and the Steelers didn’t. But those were different years and in this game, the Dolphins unbeaten streak comes to an end.
OUTCOME: Just too much Steelers power. Steelers 24, Dolphins 13.
1969 Chiefs (11-3) vs. 1995 Cowboys (12-4): I think a lot of people look at this game and think Dallas walks away with it. I also feel like this Chiefs team is vastly underrated in the annals of NFL history. Remember, the Vikings were huge favorites in Super Bowl IV and the Chiefs just decimated them. This was a dominant defensive team that shut down three straight playoff opponents, while allowing just 13 points to the Jets and Raiders the previous two AFL champions. It would take a dominant defensive effort to beat the 95 Cowboys and this team would be up for the task. Buck Buchanan, Willie Lanier, Bobby Bell and Curley Culp combined for a staggering 31 Pro Bowl appearances. Something else to think about is that this was not a dominant Cowboys team as the 92 and 93 squads. The 49ERS embarrassed them at Texas Stadium during the regular season and they nearly suffered a three-game losing streak late in the season. And if not for Neil O’Donnell’s inexplicable interception to Larry Brown when the Steelers were trying to take the lead in the Super Bowl, Pittsburgh might have won that year as they outplayed the Cowboys throughout the second half. The Cowboys would put some points on the board, but the Chiefs featured a strong offense led by Hall of Fame quarterback Len Dawson who did not make many mistakes. Mike Garrett and Robert Holmes keyed a good running game and Otis Taylor was one of the game’s top receivers. And here’s the X factor–The Chiefs were coached by Hall of Famer Hank Stram. The Cowboys were coached by Barry Switzer. Put it all together and I smell an upset.
OUTCOME: This game goes back and forth but Dawson leads a late drive and the Chiefs keep their Cinderella run going into the Elite 8. Chiefs 21, Cowboys 17.
2004 Patriots (14-2) vs. 1973 Dolphins (12-2): I said during the first round that this Dolphins team might have actually been better than the 72 team. Between 72 and 73, the Dolphins won 18 straight games, a record they shared with a few teams for a long time–until the Patriots came along. The Patriots a likely never to be broken 20 straight games between 2003 and 2004. What makes that even more impressive than what Miami did is that the Patriots did it in the age of parity and free agency when it’s impossible to keep a team together. And whatever adversity struck the Patriots, they always overcame it with amazing depth at seemingly every position. Like the Dolphins, the Patriots were solid in all areas. But one can argue that the Patriots played better competition since these days any team has a chance to go from bad to great in a year whereas in the 70s the good teams usually remained good and the bad usually remained bad, meaning that a team like the Dolphins might have some near automatic wins before the season even started. What I really like about the Patriots is that this team added Corey Dillon and he was a beast, rushing for over 1,600 yards. Key on him and Tom Brady just picked you apart. I think the Dolphins were a great team and it would stun me if beforehand somebody said they would not reach the Elite 8. But it’s hard to bet against Tom Brady in a big game. The guy is Joe Montana’s clone and the bigger the game the better he plays. He started his career 10-0 in the playoffs which is just crazy. The Dolphins would throw everything at the Patriots but Brady would find a way to shoot them down.
OUTCOME: This game resembles the Panthers-Patriots Super Bowl as it is a see-saw battle won in the end by New England on a field goal from Adam Vinatieri, the NFL’s best clutch kicker ever.. Patriots 27, Dolphins 24.
1999 Rams (13-3) vs. 1993 Cowboys (12-4): This might be one of the tournament’s most entertaining games to watch. The Greatest Show on Turf against one of the most balanced offenses fans could hope to see. Like the 69 Chiefs, I feel like the Rams are an underrated champion. Most people think about Kurt Warner and his amazing passing that year, but the player that stands out is Marshall Faulk who was virtually unstoppable. Stop him running and he caught passes and beat you there. The thing about the Rams is that they had so much speed on offense. But Dallas was one of the league’s quickest defenses and had some dominant players up front like Charles Haley and Leon Lett. As I said before, people tend to think that the Rams were not a good defensive team in 99 but that is not true. They were very solid but they would have their hands full against one of the greatest offensive lines in NFL history that sent three players, four if you count fullback Darryl Johnston as an extra linemen, to the Pro Bowl. And when Troy Aikman had time to throw and had targets like Michael Irvin and Alvin Harper and Jay Novacek to throw to...and you have a warrior like Emmitt Smith running the ball, you have a dominant football team.
OUTCOME: The Rams score some points, but the Cowboys wear them down up front and keep Warner and Faulk off the field for large chunks of time in the second half. Cowboys 38, Rams 24.
1985 Bears vs. 1966 Packers: This is a great showdown between one of the greatest single-season teams and one of the great dynasties in NFL history. The Packers dominated the 60s, winning five championships in seven years but they never had to play a team like the 85 Bears. During one seven-game stretch in 85, the Bears defense allowed just 39 points, an average of less than six per game. The 46 defense was something Buddy Ryan had used before but it became a weapon when he had players like Richard Dent, Dan Hampton and Steve McMichael up front along with Mike Singletary, Otis Wilson and Wilbur Marshall at linebacker. That unit thrived on stuffing the run and harassing the quarterback so the Packers stout offensive line would have to be at the top of its game. The Packers also could dominate defensively with Hall of Famers like Willie Davis, Ray Nitschke and Herb Adderly headlining the unit. If the Packers could contain Walter Payton the Bears could have problems since they did not have outstanding receivers, although they did have a great deep threat with Willie Gault.
OUTCOME: This game is all about defense. The Packers lead late, but Jim McMahon orchestrates a late-game touchdown drive and Singletary then forces a Bart Starr fumble that leads to a field goal as the Bears escape. Bears 13, Packers 7.
1974 Steelers vs. 1982 Redskins: The Hogs have their work cut out for them here against a Steel Curtain defense that allowed 27 points in three playoff games as the only six points the Vikings scored in the Super Bowl came on a blocked punt recovered in the end zone. The Redskins loved pounding the ball up the middle with hulking fullback John Riggins but that would be tough against the likes of L.C. Greenwood, Joe Greene, Dwight White, Jack Lambert and Jack Ham. The Vikings also had a solid ground game with Chuck Foreman leading the way but the Steelers completely stifled it along with scrambling quarterback Fran Tarkenton. The Redskins might also have trouble throwing the ball as other than Art Monk, they featured some smaller receivers like 5-10 Charlie Brown and 5-7 Alvin Garrett. The Redskins played good defense and could take advantage of Terry Bradshaw who was still mistake-prone at that time. However, Bradshaw was one of those great quarterbacks who always rose to the occasion in big games and with Franco Harris opening up he could take advantage of that defense.
OUTCOME: The Redskins take an early lead but Bradshaw connects on some long pass plays and changes the game complexion as the Steelers defense settles down and wears out the Hogs. Steelers 16, Redskins 10.

1976 Raiders (13-1) vs. 1989 49ERS (14-2):
This was a high-scoring Raiders offense headlined by Ken Stabler connecting with Cliff Branch on the long bomb. But as they showed in the Super Bowl against the Vikings, the Raiders also could pound the ball with Mark Van Eeghen and Clarance Davis behind an imposing offensive line. And the Raiders would need to bring their best offensive game against an 89 Niners team that was unstoppable for much of the season. This was Joe Montana at the top of his game and Jerry Rice and John Taylor near the top of theirs. It was a quick and athletic offensive line clearing the way for Roger Craig and it was Tom Rathman providing crushing blocks as well as over 70 receptions out of the backfield. Nobody came close to doing anything against them in the playoffs as they ambushed the Vikings, Rams and Broncos. You have to play dominant defense to beat this team and while the Raiders were great in the playoffs that year, they finished just 12th overall and were susceptible to allowing a lot of points as indicated by a 48-21 loss to the Patriots. The Raiders also nearly lost to that same Patriots team in the playoffs before taking advantage of a controversial pass interference call and winning, 24-21. The Raiders keep this close, but Ronnie Lott makes a big third-quarter interception, Rice bounces off of Jack Tatum who instead of trying to wrap him up tries to drill him with a hard hit and scores a game-breaking 65-yard touchdown.
OUTCOME: This was a great Raiders team but the Niners were a machine in 89. 49ERS 31, Raiders 20.
1984 49ERS (15-1) vs. 1997 Broncos (12-4): The Broncos can’t seem to catch a break in this tournament. The 98 team draws the second team to ever go 15-1 in the first round and the 97 team draws the first team to do so. That’s potential bad news for the Broncos since the 98 team was better than the 97 squad which finished second to Kansas City in the AFC West and won the Super Bowl as a wild card. The Broncos won tough road games in the playoffs against the Chiefs and Steelers by seven combined points before stunning defending champion Green Bay 31-24 in the Super Bowl. John Elway had an outstanding season, throwing 27 touchdown passes against only 11 interceptions. But it was Terrell Davis who made this offense go, running for over 1,750 yards and 15 touchdowns behind an efficient and solid offensive line. The defense too was solid but it also was vulnerable to great offenses. The Packers scored 24 points against them while the 49ERS beat them 34-17 in their second-to-last regular season game. They were especially vulnerable in the secondary which is bad news when you’re playing Joe Montana who threw for 28 touchdowns and just 10 interceptions that season while topping 3,600 yards. Montana had plenty of time to throw behind a dominant offensive line that sent three players to the Pro Bowl. Wendell Tyler and Roger Craig were a nightmare out of the backfield combining for over 1,900 yards and 14 touchdowns. And did I mention the defense? The Niners led the NFL in defense, allowing just 227 points and sent five players to the Pro Bowl, including all four defensive backs. Add in pass-rushing fiend Fred Dean and you have a stingy unit to say the least.
OUTCOME: Elway thinks he is playing the 89 Niners again as he is riddled by the secondary and throws three costly interceptions. The Niners offense takes control in the second half and San Francisco cruises to the win. 49ERS 35, Broncos 14.
Elite 8 Pairings
1978 Steelers vs. 1969 Chiefs
2004 Patriots vs. 1993 Cowboys
1985 Bears vs. 1974 Steelers
1989 49ERS vs. 1984 49ERS

What Does Labor Day Mean To You?

PSoTD has tabbed me with the responsibility of answering that interesting question.

I'm sorry to say that Labor Day itself has never really meant much more to me than a day off from work. Before that, it was pretty much the last gasp of summer before the horrifying start of the school year.

Now, I guess I see it as a day to appreciate those who work way too hard for too damn little pay. Sadly, these people are more and more plentiful in today's economy.

Due to rampant outsourcing, the targeting of workers by our intrepid Republican Congress, and the reduced role of unions in business, workers have it tougher and tougher every year.

One decent salary used to be enough to raise a family, buy a house, and maybe take a vacation each year. Let's see what one salary gets you in 2006.

Even the minimum wage, which is the basis for a lot of workers' wages, hasn't increased in 10 years, in the name of protecting corporate interests. Thanks, GOP!

For more info, the AFL-CIO has a interesting history of Labor Day on its website...

UPDATE: For an all-too vivd illustration of my point, take a look at this...

Friday, September 1, 2006
A Team For Which I Feel Nothing...

So my big fantasy draft was this past Wednesday. I was picking 2nd and keeping Donovan McNabb. Here's my full squad:

QB Donovan McNabb (PHI)
RB Cadillac Williams (TB)
RB Frank Gore (SF)
WR Chris Chambers (MIA)
WR Matt Jones (JAX)
TE Todd Heap (BAL)
K Shayne Graham (CIN)
D/ST Tampa Bay

QB Jon Kitna (DET)
RB Cedric Benson (CHI)
RB LenDale White (TEN)
RB Lee Suggs (CLE)
WR Muhsin Muhammad (CHI)
WR Braylon Edwards (CLE)
WR Bobby Engram (SEA)
TE Jermaine Wiggins (MIN)

The headline says it all: I have no idea what the hell to think of this team...

Ryan Howard Sets The Phillies' Mark For Homers In A Season...

In case you haven't been paying attention, this third-year phenom is leading the major leagues in both home runs and RBI, and he's got 29 more games to add to his bawdy totals.

Step aside, Michael Jack. There's a new sheriff in town...

Ultimate Super Bowl Tournament Round 2

We’re down to 32 teams vying for a spot in the Sweet 16...not that anyone cares, judging by the reaction thus far...

1994 49ERS (13-3) vs. 1972 Dolphins (14-0): It’s too bad this game is in the second round because this is a clash of two heavyweights. The undefeated Dolphins against one of the all-time great offenses and a defense headlined by pro bowlers like Deion Sanders, Bryant Young, Dana Stubblefield, Tim McDonald and Merton Hanks. Here’s my thinking on the 72 Dolphins. They were an outstanding team but just because they were undefeated doesn’t mean they are the greatest of all time. The bottom line is they beat just 2 out of 14 teams that had winning records that year...and those two teams were 8-6 and neither one made the playoffs. They also won close playoff games against the Browns, Steelers and Redskins so it’s not like they obliterated teams. None the less, they were great. They ranked No. 1 in offense and defense. The running game was sensational with Larry Czonka and Mercury Morris both topping 1,000 yards and Jim Kiick adding 500 more. The offensive line could overpower teams and the defense was stingy to say the least. The 94 Niners too were outstanding in all facets. After a 3-2 start they won 14 of their last 15 games. Had their last regular-season game meant something they would have won that too, but instead rested their starters for the postseason. Their offense was a machine, topping 31 points in eight of their last nine games.

OUTCOME: This game would be a classic but I’ll take the Dolphins offensive line to wear down the Niners up front and keep Steve Young off the field long enough to escape. Dolphins 23, 49ERS 20.

2002 Buccaneers (12-4) vs. 1978 Steelers (14-2): We discussed the 2002 Bucs in the first-round matchups so we’ll analyze the Steelers here a bit. Some say, and I agree, that this was the best Steelers team. They defeated nine teams by 11 or more points. They lost just two games by 10 combined points and steamrolled the Broncos and Oilers in the AFC playoffs before edging defending world champion Dallas in a great Super Bowl XIII. The offense ranked fifth while the Steel Curtain defense was first and held six teams to single digits. Ten players went to the Pro Bowl and Terry Bradshaw threw 28 touchdown passes. Franco Harris again turned in a 1,000-yard season while receiver Lynn Swann and John Stallworth caught 20 touchdowns. With the Steel Curtain still dominating and the offense as powerful as ever, this team was one of the ages.

OUTCOME: There’s just too much Steeler power for the underdog Bucs in this one. Steelers 28, Buccaneers 13.

1969 Chiefs (11-3) vs. 1986 Giants (14-2):
We looked at the Chiefs in their first :round win over the 2001 Patriots and they looked very tough to beat with so much talent on both sides of the ball. The Giants, though, are a formidable foe who ended their year on a 12-game winning streak. They also blitzed through the playoffs outscoring the 49ERS and Redskins, 66-3 before rallying past Denver 39-20 in Super Bowl XXI. Ironically, the Giants made a trademark of winning close, come-from-behind wins throughout the season, stunning the Niners and the Vikings on the road, while edging Denver in overtime during the regular season. In fact, eight of their regular season wins were by seven points or fewer. Led by league MVP Lawrence Taylor, the defense could stifle teams and finished second in the league. The offense too was dangerous with Joe Morris rushing for 1,516 yards and 14 touchdowns. Phil Simms had a great super bowl but actually struggled in the regular season, throwing 21 touchdowns and 22 interceptions. The receivers left something to be desired but tight end Mark Bavaro was a monster and had 1,001 yards.

OUTCOME: Boy, this is another tough one. I think the two teams mirror each other in a lot of ways with efficient offenses and nasty defenses. I like the Chiefs offense a bit more so I’ll take them in a low-scoring game. Chiefs 14, Giants 13.

1995 Cowboys (12-4) vs. 1980 Raiders (11-5): Again, we analyzed the Cowboys in the first round and saw how powerful they were so let’s look at the Raiders. Oakland shocked the world, becoming the first wild card team to win a super bowl while overcoming a 2-3 start. The upset the Browns and Chargers on the road to get to the super bowl then routed the favored Eagles, 27-10 in Super Bowl XV. This team was not a dominant force, ranking seventh in offense and 10th in defense, but they played their best when it mattered the most. The offense took off after quarterback Jim Plunkett replaced injured starter Dan Pastorini and threw 18 touchdowns. Mark VanEeghen and Kenny King formed a solid backfield tandem, combining for over 1,500 yards while Cliff Brinch and Bob Chandler caught 17 touchdowns. The defense improved as the year went on but did allow seven teams to score 20 or more points.

OUTCOME: The Raiders Cinderella story ends here as they run up against a team too talented for them to overcome. Cowboys 35, Raiders 17.

1981 49ERS (13-3) vs. 2004 Patriots (14-2): After looking at the Niners in the first round let’s look at the Patriots. This was the best Patriots team to win a super bowl and its winning streak reached an NFL record 20 games during this season. The defense was ravaged by injuries and yet completely shut down the Colts and quarterback Peyton Manning who had 49 touchown passes, holding them to a measley three points in the divisional playoffs. The Patriots then avenged a loss at Pittsburgh, hammering the Steelers before edging the Eagles in the super bowl. The offense ranked No. 4 and the defense ranked No. 2 and the team never missed a beat despite many injuries on both sides of the ball. Running back Corey Dillon added a new dimension to the Patriots offense, rushing for 1,635 yards and 12 touchdowns. That made the offense nearly impossible to stop with legend in training Tom Brady throwing for 3,692 yards and 28 touchdowns. That unit topped 20 points in 18 of their 19 games. The offensive line was underrated but solid as was the receiving corps. Add in coach Bill Belichick who established himself as a genius once again and this was one of the best teams to come along in a while.

OUTCOME: Joe Montana keeps it close, but the Niners can’t keep up with the Patriots who pull away in the second half. Patriots 27, 49ERS 17.

1973 Dolphins (12-2) vs. 2005 Steelers (11-5): We discussed the 73 Dolphins wrecking crew in the first round so we’ll focus on the Steelers here. Pittsburgh looked like it might miss the playoffs when it lost three straight games and fell to 7-5. But the Steelers won their last four games, then won four straight playoff games to win the super bowl as a wild card. Along the way they beat Peyton Manning’s Colts who everybody seemed to think was a lock to win the super bowl, the favored Broncos and the Seahawks. Those three teams combined went 40-8 during the season. A solid offensive line cleared the way for Willie Parker who rushed for over 1,200 yards while Hines Ward anchored a solid receiving trio that included Antwaan Randle El and Cedrick Wilson. Ben Roethlisberger was injured for a good portion of the regular season but was rock solid in the AFC playoffs. The defense also struggled at times during the regular season but was outstanding in the playoffs, holding the Colts, Broncos and Seahawks all under 20 points.

OUTCOME: The Steelers were a great Cinderealla story but the clock strikes midnight here. This Dolphins team was strong in all facets and would grind down the Steelers. Dolphins 24, Steelers 10.

1971 Cowboys (11-3) vs. 1999 Rams (13-3): We looked at Dallas in the first round so now let’s look at the Rams who were the story of the year after finishing 4-12. Kurt Warner became one of the all-time great Cinderella stories after replacing injured starter Trent Green in the preseason. Warner went from grocery store stock boy to league MVP, throwing for 41 touchdowns and 4,153 yards. Warner was one of the many great players who made this one of the all-time great offenses. The Rams lit up just about every team they played, scoring 526 points and topping 30 points in 12 of 16 regular-season games. Running back Marshall Faulk showed why he was one of the great running backs of this generation, rushing for 1,381 yards while also catching 87 passes for 1,048 yards. Receivers Isaac Bruce, Torry Holt and Az Hakim all had over 600 yards. But what people forget about this team is they had a good defense this year as well that ranked fourth in the league. That unit also held the Buccaneers and Titans to 22 points in the NFC championship and Super Bowl and forced numerous turnovers throughout the season, intercepting 29 passes.

OUTCOME: The Rams are just too quick for the Cowboys who find themselves in a track meet where they can’t catch up. Rams 34, Cowboys 21.

1983 Raiders (12-4) vs. 1993 Cowboys (12-4): We looked at the Raiders in the first round so let’s turn our attention to the Cowboys who won their second straight super bowl after overcoming an 0-2 start when Emmitt Smith was holding out. Had he not held out this team likely goes 14-2. This may have been the best of the three Dallas teams to win super bowls in the 90s as the offense and defense both ranked second. Eleven players went to the Pro Bowl, including three offensive linemen. The o-line was brilliant and frequently overpowered teams, while opening big holes for Smith and giving Troy Aikman plenty of time to hit talented targets like Michael Irvin, Alvin Harper and tight end Jay Novaeck. Fullback Daryl Johnston also was one of the best blocking backs in the league and had a lot to do with Smith rushing for 1,486 yards in 14 games. The defense also could shut down opponents, holding nine teams to 14 or fewer points. Charles Haley was one of the league’s best pass rushers while Ken Norton led a solid linebacking core.

OUTCOME: Too much Cowboys talent here for a good Raiders team to contend with. Cowboys 30, Raiders 17.

1985 Bears (15-1) vs. 1998 Broncos (14-2): This is a great game and it’s too bad they are meeting in the second round. Both teams made runs at perfect seasons with both starting 12-0 and 13-0. The Broncos repeated as champions in John Elway’s last season and were strong in all areas. With a stout offensive line in front of him, Terrell Davis topped 2,000 yards rushing and was virtually unstoppable all season. Elway threw for 22 touchdowns despite missing some time and the offense scored 501 points, topping 30 points 10 times. The defense did allow 301 points but still was solid with Steve Atwater and Bill Romanowski going to the Pro Bowl. But this team was about offense. Defenses had a hard time keying on Davis with Shannon Sharpe, Ed McCaffrey and Rod Smith as receivers. But if anybody can stop this offense it’s the 85 Bears who some feel might be the best defensive team ever. The Bears allowed just 198 points and sent six players to the Pro Bowl on defense. Their pass rush, with guys like Richard Dent, Dan Hampton and Steve McMichael was outstanding, their linebackers, like Mike Singletary and Otis Wilson were amazing and their secondary with guys like Dave Duerson and Gary Fencik was solid. The Bears shut out the Cowboys and Rams in the playoffs before allowing just 10 points to the Patriots in the Super Bowl. Counting the playoffs they shut out four teams and held nine to single digits. Oh, they could score points too, putting up 456 that year. Walter Payton rushed for 1,551 yards while Jim McMahon threw 15 touchdowns. Willie Gault could stretch defense and the offensive line was tough to move.

OUTCOME: This would be a great game but the Bears find a way to slow the Broncos enough to win it late. Bears 17, Broncos 10.

1992 Cowboys (13-3) vs. 1966 Packers (12-2): We kind of discussed Dallas when talking about the 93 Cowboys who basically were the same team just a little bit better so we’ll focus on the Packers who lost two games by just four combined points. This Packers team was dominant, finishing fourth in offense and first in defense. The team was littered with Hall of Famers on both sides of the ball. Bart Starr was outstanding at quarterback, throwing just three interceptions in 251 attempts. Running backs Jim Taylor and Elijah Pitts combined for more than 1,700 yards of offense and Carroll Dale averaged 23.2 yards per catch. The defense held six of 14 regular-season opponents to single digits and the Packers routed the Chiefs in the first Super Bowl. This team was solid top to bottom and coached by one of the greatest, if not the greatest, in Vince Lombardi.

OUTCOME: Packers power overcomes Cowboy talent as Lombardi inspires his team to a late-win ala the Ice Bowl. Packers 30, Cowboys 28.

1991 Redskins (14-2) vs. 1974 Steelers (10-3-1): We looked at a facsimile of the Steelers when talking about the 75 Steelers in the first round so we focus on the Redskins here who blitzed their way to the title in a surprisingly weak NFC that year when some of the best teams like 49ERS and Eagles just missed the playoffs, meaning the Redskins beat the average Falcons and Lions en route to the super bowl. Still, this was a great team that finished first in offense and second in defense. Quarterback Mark Rypien had the year of his life, winning MVP honors after throwing for 3,564 yards and 28 touchdowns. Ernest Byner topped 1,000 yards while Ricky Ervins topped 600. Gary Clark and Art Monk both had 1,000 receiving yards and the offensive line allowed less than 10 sacks so this offense was tough to stop. The defense also did damage led by guys like Charles Mann and Darrell Green. Everything clicked for Washington this season but they soon fell apart as they got old quick and after a 9-7 1992 wild card season did not return to the playoffs until 1999.

OUTCOME: It’s tough to pick against the Redskins here, but I can see the Steel Curtain fighting through the Hogs, flustering Rypien and making life miserable for him. Steelers 16, Redskins 7.

1968 Jets (11-3) vs. 1982 Redskins (8-1): The Redskins get another shot here against Joe Namath and the Jets who shocked the heavily favored Colts in Super Bowl III. Looking back it’s surprising the Jets were so lightly regarded since they finished second in offense and fourth in defense. Namath threw for over 3,000 yards although he had more interceptions than touchdowns. Matt Snell and Emerson Boozer made a nice one-two running back tandem while Don Maynard and George Sauer both topped 1,000 receiving yards which was unheard of in 1968. The defense included four pro bowlers and dominated the Colts in the Super Bowl after a 27-23 AFL title win over the Raiders. The Redskins surprised many after finishing 8-8 but they were outstanding in this strike-shortened season. The defense finished first although the offense was just 12th. Still, they had their way with two straight playoff opponents before fighting off stern challenges from the Cowboys and Dolphins in the NFC title game and the super bowl. Although John Riggins could pound defenses with his hard-nosed running behind the Hogs, it was quarterback Joe Theismann who put up the better numbers. In just nine games, he threw for 2,033 yards and 13 touchdowns. The defense allowed just two teams to reach 20 points, including playoff games.

OUTCOME: Namath guarantees a win, but the Redskins do their talking on the field and wear down the Jets late. Redskins 20, Jets 16.

1976 Raiders (13-1) vs. 2003 Patriots (14-2): We talked about the 2004 Patriots who are somewhat similar to the 2003 Patriots minus Corey Dillon. That, though, is a huge difference, making the 2004 team stronger. The Patriots, though, overcame a variety of injuries and won their last 15 games after starting 2-2, seemingly finding new ways to win every week for a stretch. Ironically, the Raiders only loss in 1976 was to the Patriots. They also almost lost to them in the playoffs but eked out a three-point win before throttling the two-time defending champion Steelers and the Vikings in the AFC championship and Super Bowl. The offense lit up the scoreboard with Ken Stabler throwing for 27 touchdowns and Mark VanEeghen rushing for more than 1,000 while Clarence Davis topped 500 yards. The offensive line dominated teams and was anchored by Gene Upshaw and Art Shell who manhandled the Vikings in the Super Bowl. Cliff Branch had over 1,000 yards receiving and caught 12 touchdowns and was the league’s best deep man at the time. The defense was tough but susceptible as it allowed 20 or more points five times, including 48 in a loss to the Patriots. This, though, was probably the best of the three Raiders super bowl winners.

OUTCOME: Brady leads a game-scoring touchdown drive in the final minute but the Raiders win in overtime. Raiders 23, Patriots 20.

1989 49ERS (14-2) vs. 1996 Packers (13-3): This was likely the best 49ERS team and that is saying something considering the talent of their 94 and 84 teams. The Niners destroyed the Vikings, Rams and Broncos in the playoffs, outscoring them 126-26 while sealing every game by halftime. The halftime scores of those games were 27-3, 21-3 and 27-3. Joe Montana had his best year, setting what was then a record for passing efficency while throwing for 3,521 yards and 26 touchdowns against just eight interceptions. Jerry Rice and John Taylor formed the league’s best receiving duo as both topped 1,000 yards and combined for 27 touchdowns. Fullback Tom Rathman was the best in the league that year and caught 73 passes while helping Roger Craig rush for more than 1,000 yards. Brent Jones also emerged as a weapon at tight end that year.The Niners scored 452 points and the defense ranked second in the league. Ronnie Lott spearheaded the defense while players like Pierce Holt, Charles Haley and Kevin Fagan created a fierce pass rush. Don Griffin, Daryl Pollard and Tim McKyer were not household names but they made it tough to throw against the Niners and helped the team intercept 21 passes. The Niners lost two games by just five points and one was on a last-second field goal. The Packers overcame a mid-season two-game losing streak to win their last eight games. They fended off a tough challenge from the Patriots to win their first super bowl since 1967. Brett Favre showed why he was the best in the game at that time, throwing for 3,899 yards and 39 touchdowns. No receiver or running back topped 1,000 yards but Edgar Bennett and Dorsey Levens ran well while Antonio Freeman emerged as Favre’s go-to receiver. Reggie White could overpower offensive linemen while Leroy Butler spearheaded a good secondary.

OUTCOME: The Packers were solid but the Niners are just too strong and too deep for them here. 49ERS 34, Packers 17.

1984 49ERS (15-1) vs. 1990 Giants (13-3): The 84 Niners were the first team to win 15 games and came within a last-second Gary Anderson field goal of going undefeated. The Niners overwhelmed opponents, finishing second in offense and first in defense while scoring 475 points. While noted for their offense, the defense was dominant, allowing just 26 points in three playoff wins and shutting out the Bears 23-0 in the NFC championship. The Dolphins were supposed to have an unstoppable offense but the Niners held them to 16 points and just one touchdown in a 38-16 super bowl rout. Montana threw for 3,630 yards and 28 touchdowns while Wendell Tyler ran for 1,262 yards. Roger Craig became a threat at fullback, running and receiving for more than 600 yards each while scoring 10 touchdowns. Dwight Clark and Freddie Solomon combined for over 1,500 yards and caught 16 touchdowns while the offensive line sent three players to the Pro Bowl. The 90 Giants were a tough as nails defensive team that allowed just 211 points but finished only 15th in offense. The defense stymied the two-time defending champion Niners and high-powered Bills in the NFC Championship and super bowl, winning close games, 15-13 and 20-19. Jeff Hostetler replaced injured quarterback Phil Simms late in the season and was steady in the playoffs, while running back Otis Anderson rushed for 784 yards and 11 touchdowns.

OUTCOME: The Giants defense was outstanding but the Niners offensive line would hold them in check and the Giants offense would be unable to keep pace late in the game. 49ERS 28, Giants 14.

1970 Colts (11-2-1) vs. 1997 Broncos (12-4): This Broncos team had to go the wild card route after a late-season two-game losing streak but while not as dominant as the 98 team was very similar in capability as that team making it a tough team to beat. This was the last hurrah for the Colts who just two years later would stumble to a losing record. This was not a dominant team but it found ways to win as evidenced by its 16-13 super bowl win over the Cowboys. Johnny Unitas and Earl Morrall combined for 27 touchdown passes while but the running game left something to be desired as no back topped 450 yards. The defense was solid but did allow 44 points in a loss to the Chiefs.

OUTCOME: The Colts don’t have enough juice to hold off Elway, Davis, Sharpe Inc. They would need to score a lot of points to win and that won’t happen. Broncos 31, Colts 17.

Sweet 16 Pairings
1972 Dolphins vs. 1978 Steelers
1969 Chiefs vs. 1995 Cowboys
2004 Patriots vs. 1973 Dolphins
1999 Rams vs.1993 Cowboys
1985 Bears vs. 1966 Packers
1974 Steelers vs. 1982 Redskins
1976 Raiders vs. 1989 49ERS
1984 49ERS vs. 1997 Broncos


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