Tuesday, January 13, 2009

football, sadly over and over sadly

Well the football season is effectively over. The three teams I usually follow (Jets, Giants, and Chargers) are all eliminated. Those left I either despise (Eagles) or am apathetic about (Ravens and Steelers) or only care about to the extent that no one can help rooting for an underdog as historically pathetic as the Cardinals.

The Jets started weak, ended weak, and pulled off an amazing five-game streak in the middle of the season just long enough to get everyone's hopes up and the commentators speculating on an all-NYC superbowl. Of course, with an organization as disappointing as the Jets and a tired old quarterback like Favre that can't stay strong an entire season, there wasn't much chance of that happening.

The Jets most urgently need a new defensive coordinator that won't run scared with his tail between his legs every time they take a one point lead in the 2nd quarter. They led the league in sacks but spent most of their time playing prevent defense and giving up score after score slowly but surely. If you're going to hire such a talented, big, and fast defensive line, hire a coach that knows what to do with it. But they also need better leadership in the form of a consistent, unemotional, machine-like quarterback. I'd rather have a quarterback like Eli Manning (ignoring his performance in the playoff game vs. the Eagles) who, even if far from the most talented quarterback ever, is consistent, humble, and a good calm team leader when things get tense, than someone like Favre (or McNabb or Cutler or any other of the plethora of similar hot-shots) who can make some amazing plays but makes too many mistakes and gets tired and inconsistent before he gets anywhere with it.

The Giants had a great regular season and should be in the championship game next week. It's exceedingly disappointing to see them lose out to their 9-6-1 division rival Eagles that just barely scraped their way into the playoffs at all. As much as I'm glad to see Burress getting what's coming to him for being such an unmitigated bastard all season, the Giants were really hurting for a good receiver in that game. Even without Burress though, they should have tried throwing to some of their other guys rather than failing to pick up 4-inch 3rd-down conversions by running every single play, while McNabb threw one 11-yard screen pass after another.

The Chargers... well, I'm still stunned they got in the playoffs at all. And stunned they won their first game. And not at all surprised or peeved that they're out now. They win when they get good and scared and it's crunch time, but that's not enough, and even though I root for them I wish they hadn't gotten that chance. Maybe missing the playoffs would stun the coach into realizing he has to take the whole season seriously, not give up game after game on the final play and then turn it around in the postseason.