Ol’ man river,
Dat ol’ man river
He mus’know sumpin’
But don’t say nuthin’,
He jes’keeps rollin’
He keeps on rollin’ along.
Do you know that song? Peyton Manning does. But here’s a link in case you want to play it while reading.
This is obviously a song about the mighty Mississippi, but it’s basically about Peyton Manning. Thirty eight years old and still chasing that dream. In some careers that would feel pathetic. But in what the Laotians call Futbol Americanico, Peyton is a legend.
This isn’t a eulogy for Peyton Manning. Sure, he looked subpar out there this past weekend. How would you do out there with a tear in your thigh as long and wide as a souvenir Apache teepee? Not too bloody well, I’d imagine. (Trying to get back to my earlier roots of referencing British things.)
Thanks. Feels good to be back. The fact of the matter is that there’s zero chance Peyton hangs ‘em up. He owns the most TD passes in NFL history, true, but if you think he’s about to stop thiiiiiis close to the NFL passing yards category? Well, then you’ve done gone plum crazy. Here’s how close he is to the golden throne atop the NFL passing pantheon.
You think he’s going to just going to go quietly unto that dark night and live forever with the knowledge that one more year could have done it? Not a chance. Not a chance in hell. Remember, he’s been headed toward this destiny his whole life.
At the end of the day, players get hurt. On a day where the Broncos needed Peyton to be healthy, he was bested by a pig-mouthed bridge troll. It happens.
Because Peyton wants something else, to get him through this semi-charmed kind of life, baby baby. Peyton wants something else (the all-time passing yards title.) We’re not listening when he says….good-byeeeeeeee. Because it’s not real. He’ll be back.
The news of the weekend was probably the no-catch call on the Dez Bryant catch.
Listen people, it was an amazing effort, but the rules are the rules. We can’t just wave a magic wand whenever we like!
Speaking of wildly handsome men, this one just became the head coach of the San Francisco Forty-Niners and I just became a Niners fan.
I don’t like Jim Tomsula. I love Jim Tomsula. He’s been with the Niners for fourteen years and three head coaches. Every time a NFL team gets a head coach they come in and clean house and bring in their own people. But everyone kept Jim Tomsula around. Because he’s energetic and a great teacher and has a passion for the game that’s second to none. These guys almost never get head coaching jobs. They don’t “look the part.” They aren’t slick enough. They haven’t prioritized the bullshit PR doublespeak side of dealing with the media. But the Niners parted ways with a borderline crazy person and replaced him with someone that the players are going to love and respect. Everyone who talks about him mentions the words class and integrity. In his young coaching days when money was tight he cut firewood and delivered newspapers and worked as a night janitor to make a little extra scratch to get by. This is a great person and a great hire and I’m not sure there’s another franchise in the league that would have had the courage to pull the trigger on Jim Tomsula. Go Niners! Fuck yeah!
As we turn our attention to the weekend ahead it seems like we’re more or less adrift in a spaceship being pulled inescapably toward a singularity called Seahawks Repeat. If you step back and take a realistic look at the four teams left, I’m not sure that any of them have the weapons to undo that amazing Seattle defense.
But, you never know. No one thought Eli could beat the Patriots even once. No one thought the Greatest Show on Turf could be toppled. Hell, even Mickey didn’t think Rocky could beat Clubber Lang. “‘Dis guy’ll kill ya, Rock!” I close one eye and wag a finger at my kids and say that sometimes and none of them have seen any of the Rockys so they just get real quiet and look at each other and share in the collective misery of being the offspring of an actual crazy person. But someday….someday, when they’re a little older, and they’re kind of jerky disaffected tweens and they see that speech on the screen for themselves, they may say “huh.” Or they may become engaged, evolved young’uns and be thrilled by me having surreptitiously tableset the best lines of various films for them. You never know how it’s going to shake out. That’s why we play the games.
This weekend’s lineup:
A gimpy Aaron Rodgers travels to Seattle to try to solve the Gordian Knot that is the Seahawks defense. While Seattle is defined by grinding the offenses of other teams into a tasty, easily-digestible meal, the Packers aren’t outstanding at anything, specifically. They have arguably the best quarterback in the league, though he’s nursing a calf injury and is clearly not 100 percent. They have arguably the best receiver in the league in Jordy Nelson, though he’s been quiet lately. They’re strong almost everywhere, but great nowhere and that may prove to be their undoing. This game is in the hands of defensive coordinator Dom Capers. If he can figure out a way to keep this game close (and keep Russell Wilson in the pocket) then they really have a shot. If Wilson ends up breaking contain the way Colin Kaepernick famously did a couple of years ago against them, well, this one’s already in the books.
The Colts are a team on the rise in every phase of the game. Andrew Luck gets much of the credit but you can’t downplay the coaching staff or the truly-shutdown-corner-good Vontae Davis. Their gameplan against the Broncos was blissfully bold. They lined up in press coverage and dared Peyton Manning to try to go over the top against them. And he couldn’t. It was a gamble, but it paid off. Now the Colts travel to New England to see if they can corral the Patriots. Though they’ve struggled against the Pats in recent meetings, losing the last three by more than twenty points each, the Patriots are beatable. We anticipated a great game against the Ravens last weekend and I still don’t know how the Patriots won. I saw the game with my own eyes and I’m still not sure what happened. Here’s the Advanced Football Analytics live win probability graph from the game and it tells the story better than any words could. The Patriots came back from an 8 percent win likelihood. 8 percent! So you’re saying there’s a chance?
It’s a complete head scratcher. The Patriots didn’t run the ball. They were down by two touchdowns not once but twice. What does a Baltimore brother have to do to get a win up in this mamma jamma? Jeeeeeezus. But now Andrew Luck and his overactive salivary glands come to rain hot pigskin over the Patriots secondary. If the Patriots don’t figure out a way to pressure the quarterback they’re in for a huge disappointment. Andrew Luck will carve that defense up like a thirty eight dollar fillet.
We’re soooooo close to the game where we all sit and watch the commercials, people! It’s like that embarrassing Doritos ad that mouthbreathers love but is truly unfunny can’t come fast enough! Will we get to see another crying Tom Brady, Gisele barking that her husband can’t actually catch the ball too? Will someone, anyone, beat Russell Wilson, the instrument of God’s polite wrath? Er… the polite instrument of God’s wrath? What flavor of gum will Pete Carroll be chewing? Does Andrew Luck eat lembas before he uses Lord of the Rings dummy calls in his cadence? Will the first hit Kam Chancellor puts on Randall Cobb liquify both of his femurs or will it take like two hits?
Only time, and American Football will tell. See y’all next week.