By: Emily Byers

Saturday, July 31, 2010

So Long Summer, It's Dolphin Season!

Miami Dolphins training camp opened today under sunny skies as crowds of orange and aqua packed in to Nova Southeastern University to get a look at the 2010 Dolphins.  Coach Sporano, looking pounds lighter and vigorous in the sun, called orders from the center of the field before heading off to work with the O-line.

The obvious draw was new wide receiver Brandon Marshall, standing at an impressive 6-4, 230 lbs.  How someone that big can be fast is proof that all men are not created equal.  He and the other wide receivers ran drills that included stopping on a dime...which meant balancing like a drunken crane for several moments after the stop.  He seemed in good spirits and joked around with Bess and Camarillo while catching passes from the football launching machine.  (most awesome machine ever!)

Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown threw the football around in the endzone for most of practice.  They seemed to be having a great time tossing the ball back and forth like old friends. I'm not sure why they were playing catch...they aren't wide receivers or quarterbacks, and the other running backs were in their group doing drills, but it was still nice to see the stars out and about. 

The Dolphins have a tough schedule beginning with a home opener against the Jets.  If last season was any indication, the problem the Dolphins face isn't so much a competitive division and tough schedule, but an inability on the part of the offense and defense to work together to close out games.  Under today's sunshine the sins of last season were forgiven and all is shiny and new.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Mascots in Need of a Makeover

Some NFL mascots are in serious need of a makeover.  The purpose of a mascot is to rile up the crowd, enchant the young fans, and act a clown, only without the creepy sadness factor.  Some mascots perform admirably.  TD, the Miami Dolphin, does a remarkable job for a fish of questionable masculinity in an aqua jersey.  Both the Dallas Cowboys and the New England Patriots have mascots that are essentially bobble head dolls of the printed mascot.  They are recognizable and beloved as larger than life representations of the team.  The big, blue Buffalo Bill has a costume so awesome I want him at all of my parties.  Now on the failures of the mascot world:

1. Baltimore Ravens - named Edgar, Allen, and Poe...the Baltimore Ravens are a rip off of Heckle and Jeckle.  In addition, what young child wants their picture taken with three scary birds???  When I was a little girl I wouldn't even go near a man with a mustache!  It's not just that I personally hate birds that is clouding my judgement; I bear the Seattle Seahawk no ill will.

2.  Jacksonville Jaguar - Jaxson de Ville is a cat.  How simple and elegant to achieve, an unsuspecting person might think.  The Carolina Panther (though lamely named Sir Purr) is a sleek black feline with a volumous roar.  Jaxson de Ville looks like he may have eaten more than his share of paste back in primary school.  Pot-bellied, wearing sunglasses at night, and sporting spots on his coat that are remniscent of leprosy, one must infer that the designer of this costume knew his department was being downsized and wanted revenge.

3. Tennessee Titans - The mascot is a RACCOON.  Get it, it's a metaphor!  (stop thinking, it's not a metaphor)  It's bizzarre is what it is.  Moral of the story, don't name your team something you can't portray as an overgrown stuffed animal.  It's just unsportsmanlike.

What I have I missed?  Please leave comments about the best and worst of football mascots.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

"Show Me" T.O.

Loyal readers, I must confess.  My integrity as a writer has been compromised by summer television.  You see, in the absense of football, sitcoms, or even Christmas cartoon specials, I have become addicted to Vh-1 reality shows...both "The Ultimate Catch" with Chad Ochocinco and "The T.O. Show."  And it's not just that I'm watching the shows...but this mid-summer heat has melted my brain and heart into steaming puddles that now sympathize with T.O.'s plight and hope he lands on a team this year.  He just seems so sad.

Rumors of a possible deal with St. Louis make me think contradictory thoughts.  First, why does the St. Louis Rams front office hate their fans?  But also, why not take a chance on T.O.?  In a division where teams compete tooth and nail to see who can be king of the Losers (and perennial sacrificial lamb in the playoffs) T.O. might elevate St. Louis from playing its roll as stooge of the division.

Let's look at the evidence against him.  First, he was distracting in San Francisco, Philadelphia, and Dallas.  Since he wasn't pushing forty at the time, let's throw out San Francisco.  Maybe he thought "outing" Jeff Garcia would be popular with the San Francisco fan base.  Garcia sure didn't think so.  In Philadelphia he risked his own health to play in a superbowl...then spent the remainder of his tenure there reminding everyone about it.   Maybe T.O. is a prophet and he knew one day the Eagles would stoop to the ultimate low of signing Puppy Killer and Sociopath Michael Vick.  He was only trying to warn the Eagles that they were on a path to the Bible says "Someone is shouting in the desert!"  Finally T.O. ruined a great deal in Dallas by becoming locker room poison.  To be fair, it isn't easy to watch your ex-bff move on so quickly after you split.  Romo and Witten didn't have to exchange friendship bracelets right in front of T.O.'s locker.

The next damning piece of evidence is his poor performance in Buffalo.  St. Louis, however, isn't frigid from late September on.  Its climate controlled stadium might be friendlier to the veteran receiver.  When running with the grain of the turf it is actually faster than running on grass.  Click on the link for an informative article on astroturf.  If one is worried about T.O. poisoning the locker room, they only need to remember the 1-15 record last year.  I imagine the locker room literally contained poison for grown men to play so badly.  Also, if T.O.'s mouth is that big a deal put a "no talk" clause in his contract.  Every time he speaks in the locker room he forfeits his salary that week. 

Thursday, July 15, 2010

2014: The Year of the Frostbite

Some people love cold weather football.  Images of obese men wearing nothing but body paint and a tinsel wig in thirty degree weather come to mind.  Freshly laid strips of sod decay into brown mud holes more remniscent of Woodstock than an arena...or as the Steelers call this, "December football." 

I am not one of these people.  When the superbowl of 2014 comes I will take a play from the book of Jimmy Johnson and grill out in the back yard while thousands freeze in the Meadowlands.  Should New York be allowed to host an outdoor superbowl?

Advocates pointed out that thousands flock to Rockefeller center and Times Square during the frigid Christmas/New Years season.  Others pointed out that playoff games go on in areas such as Green Bay through January and everyone is fine.  Still another group cried that no one produces a spectacle like New York and that this game could attract even more global attention.  But will the festivities be ruined if the game is compromised due to weather?

Everyone has seen games played in the Northern states suffer due to weather.  Field goals can't be kicked.  First down markers are covered with snow.  Part of the New York (really New Jersey) proposal included an estimate on how many people could stand by with shovels to dig out the field.  Snow or no snow, the likelihood of a shoot out like the last superbowl seems unlikely.  Does it matter?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

How not to be a NY Jets fan


This article is on elevator etiquette.  Let me preface by saying I am not bashing the misguided Jets fans I met in the elevator this weekend simply because they are obnoxious yankee scum.  I myself am guilty of carpetbagging into the great state of Florida.  No, this article is to inform the reader about how to either a) back up your team with facts rather than bluster or b) talk to a pretty girl without sounding like a complete a**hole.

First off, when you enter the elevator of a foreign city and see a young woman wearing a t-shirt with the mascot of the home team, it is not polite to sneer "You're ACTUALLY a Panthers fan???" while staring at her chest.  Yes, I know the Panthers have endured more trials than Hercules.  I know our best chance at a winning season this year is probably a cancelled season due to a massive military invasion...but that is the HOME TEAM, so it is not unusual to see its logo on occasion.

Without missing a beat I inquired "So are you from New York or New Jersey?"  It's not that people from New York and New Jersey are bad's just that they're often Giants or Jets fans, which makes them arrogant for reasons that seem to have nothing to do with their seldom winning of their own divisions.  A non Giants/Jets fan would have begun with "So you like football?"  Also, they had ridiculously spiky, big hair.  I just knew.

For a reason I have yet to pinpoint, I also responded that I have season tickets to the Miami Dolphins.  "GOOD LUCK PLAYING THE JETS" they guffawed.  Yep, Jets.  I should have known better than to acknowledge them.  It probably doesn't matter that the Dolphins beat the Jets twice last year.  And yes, I'm jealous that the Jets made offseason moves to improve the team, instead of dumping everyone over thirty like a man with a midlife crisis.  But over thirty, injury prone running back and a receiver who is suspended for four games does not the dream team of football make.  Instead of arguing, I politely asked "Do you think Sanchez can pull it together this year?"

(Arrogant, too-many-appletinis-before-noon laugh here)  "Well he did it last year!!!"  Umm...the Patriots won the division.  Yes, the Jets went to the AFC championship game on defense and the legs of Thomas Jones, who no longer wears green and white.  However, this is football and everyone knows almost doesn't count.  Ask Jake Delhomme after the playoff game with Arizona in 2008.

At this point I decided to get off on a floor five levels above my room.  Not only is taking the stairs a great form of exercise, but I was afraid "idiot fever" might be contagious.  Also, I hesitated to retort in fear that these deplorable gentlemen would be guests at my sister's wedding that evening...and the maid of honor is not supposed to tackle people by the mashed potato bar. 

As the doors opened I departed to the chant of "J-E-T-S" which my mind supplied the response "Suck Suck Suck."  Don't be like Jets fans.  An oversupply of hubris and appletinis is no way for a grown man to go through life.