Tag Archives: Super Bowl

New York City: More than Just the Jets (Fortunately!)

New York's Times Square

In the spirit of full disclosure, let me point out that I was born in New York, and though my family moved to New England when I was only a boy of four, I have fond memories of many visits there, over the years, to visit my relatives.  My boyhood memories include great times at Coney Island, the Bronx Zoo, the Statue of Liberty., and later the New York World’s fair.  As we grew up here in Massachusetts, my younger brother and I always selected Mickey Mantle and Whitey Ford to emulate when we’d play baseball.  We sang along with Frank when he belted out “New York, New York” at countless weddings and Bar Mitzvahs.  I remember admiring John Lindsey and John Rockefeller, even as I became enamored of the Kennedy brothers.   I appreciated the Giants and Bill Parcells, even before he came to the Pats.   And even though I am a rabid Red Sox fan, I have always appreciated and applauded Yankees from Thurman Munson to Graig Nettles to Andy Pettite to Derek Jeter to Mariano Rivera who have played the game with both grit and class.

“So what?”  you ask.  So, there is no way you can accuse me of being a Big Apple-hater!  In fact, I just got back from a few days of delightful New York sight-seeing where I visited the Bronx Zoo, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, Times Square, the Brooklyn Bridge, and the Top of the Rock.  You can check out my photos at http://mrgrosky.wordpress.com/ and at http://www.flickr.com/photos/mrgrosky/ .

That is why it almost pains me to say that the New York team which is visiting Gillette Stadium in Foxboro tomorrow–the New York Jets–is one which is unworthy of its fans and unworthy of the great city of New York.   Yeah, I know all about the Patriots and the great Snowplow controversy and Spygate ………The former was no big deal to anyone except Don Shula and some disgruntled Dolphins, and the latter was nearly identical to what many other NFL coaches have routinely done.    For that, they were justly penalized a total of $750 THOUSAND  dollars and a first round draft choice—the toughest penalty in NFL history.   But these two events are the sole blemishes on a team that for much of the 90’s and the first decade in the new millennium has represented class and the highest level of skill.  Since 1994, the Pats have the best record in football.  They have continued their extraordinary record even after Spygate in 2007, when many were hoping and waiting for them to fall on their faces.

Now the Jets, on the other hand, have long been a team that has fallen far short of expectations.   Many say that the first three words that a new Manhattan daddy hears his baby utter are “Same Old Jets.”

This year the Jets have notched new lows in outrageousness and lack of class.  Hmmmm…….where do I start?   There are so many examples that I’d better take them chronologically.  Way back in August there was the HBO Hard Knocks display of profanity by brash Coach Rex Ryan.  Then in September, a reporter complained that she was subjected to catcalls and jokes by players as she covered practices.    Jets owner Woody Johnson had to not only apologize, but was forced to pay for an NFL training program to improve the workplace environment.   Also in September, we had the allegations of driving while intoxicated against Jets receiver Braylon Edwards.  Then, in December, the Jets were forced to suspend their strength and conditioning coach when he instructed inactive players to form a wall on the sidelines before he tripped a Dolphins special teams player during the game.  Then in December and January, we continued to deal with the behavior of Brett Favre, back when he was a Jet–serious allegations of sexual harassment by this famous quarterback, who also happens, by the way, to be a married man.  In recent days we have arrogant Coach Rex Ryan trying to get inside Tom Brady’s head by saying that Brady studies—but not as much as Peyton Manning, and that Manning would have been watching the Jets instead of watching the Broadway show Lombardi, a la Brady.  Finally, this week we have Antonio Cromartie profanely attacking Brady with words that can not be reprinted here (because this blog is read by adults and children of all ages).   For that reason among others, I will not even tread into the dirty waters surrounding the Ryan/Ryan foot issue.

And what have the Pats done during all this time?  Kept their mouths shut, respected their opponents–including the Jets–and played tough, smart, great football–even while having one of the youngest teams in the league.  The Jets would do well to remember that words are cheap, and that it is action and results that count.

For tomorrow’s playoff game, I hope that the Jets leave the trash talk in the locker room, and come out to play some good clean hard-nosed football.  It’ll be the only way they have a chance.   If they get carried away with their own hyperbole, as they did the last time they met the Pats, it’ll end up being another blowout with the Pat winning 38-10.  If the Jet can play up to the level and quality of the city they represent—with class and with heart—it’ll be significantly closer.

Still, I’m predicting a Patriots victory 31-27.

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Super Bowl XLIV–A Review

I can’t remember any non-Patriots Super Bowl in recent years that I have enjoyed as much as Sunday night’s game between the Saints and the Colts.  And no–it wasn’t just because I had predicted the upset a week earlier right here on my blog.  There were a number of reasons that I had a great time at my good friend Arthur’s Annual Super Bowl Party—great company, tons of munchies, a delicious half-time feast, and a game that was worthy of the title SUPER Bowl.

Now as my second-ever YouTube video (and the first one featuring Yours Truly) I also reviewed this game at http://www.youtube.com/user/mrgrosky1.   I’m trying out an idea that I’ll call “Just Three Things” where I’ll focus on three major points.  In any case, a little of this may look familiar if you have already seen my video on You Tube.  If not, I’d appreciate your checking it out, and telling me what you think.  I know I look excessively serious—but hey, it was my first time on You Tube, and I was really nervous!  I know, pretty strange, considering my dramatic background. 

Anyway, back to the Super Bowl!

I guess I was rooting for the Saints because I felt that the city of New Orleans would really be uplifted by a Saints victory.  After all, Hurricane Katrina’s effects continue to impact nearly everyone in the city–their homes and their families.  Secondly, I had read a lot about Drew Brees and all that he and his teammates had done for their adopted home city. 

Speaking of Brees, what an amazing clutch performance!  32 completions in 39 attempts for 288 yards–tying Tom Brady’s Super Bowl record for completions!  Two touchdown passes and NO interceptions.  He spread the ball around to EIGHT receivers:  Marques Colston caught 7, Devery Henderson another 7, Pierre Thomas 6, and Reggie Bush pulled in 4, along with some nifty running.  In the go-ahead touchdown drive, he even hit seven in a row to seven different receivers–absolutely Brady-esque!  But what impresses me most is that he’s not only a great quarterback, he’s also a good man–a kind and decent man, and even (dare I say it?) a good role model.   Look, he came back from a serious injury four years ago when San Diego didn’t want him, when nobody wanted him, except for the Saints.  And he won over them AND the city of New Orleans!

Now what about Peyton Manning…?  Well, from everything I hear—another really decent guy—-BUT—he’s got two problems:  1. He’s the nemesis of my favorite player and team (Brady and the New England Patriots) and he’s a bit overexposed as far as commercials go.   I really wasn’t eager to see him win the game and hear all those Colts brag about how he had won two Super Bowls and was just one behind Brady.  So how did he do?  All things considered, pretty well overall–just not good enough in a game where Brees was better.  Manning was 31 for 45, 333 yards’ worth of completions, with one touchdown and (oh, yes) just that one KILLER interception.  He had a couple dropped on him, but then again, so did Brees!  So, I guess that mean that he’s now just 50 percent lifetime for both the playoffs (9 wins, 9 losses) and for the Super Bowl too (where he’s now won 1 and lost 1).  Now, sorry about that Colts fans, but that just doesn’t cut it when you compare that to Tom Brady 14 wins and 4 losses in the playoffs and his 4 wins and 1 loss in Super Bowls.  I give Manning his due:  he IS a great quarterback, but “Quarterback of the Decade?”  THAT would HAVE to be Tom Brady.

Before I wrap up, I’ve got to give a huge amount of credit to two coaches:  first of all, to Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams.  Hey, anytime you can hold Peyton Manning to 17 points, you know that you’ve devised a great defensive game plan.  Secondly, kudos to Coach Sean Payton for an extraordinary job overall.  He had his team ready to play hard–with emotion–but also with control.   He also took the game right to the Colts with three gutsy decision.  First of all, he went for it on fourth and one early in the game when the safe call would have been a field goal.  At the time, especially since they were stopped on the fourth down try, it looked like it may have been a huge mistake.  But then, the Saints defense stopped the Colts offense cold, forced them to punt, and took advantage of a short field to score a field goal just before the half. 

The second gutsy call was the shocker of an onside kick to open up the second half, with the Colts leading 10-6.  Sure it worked, but if it hadn’t (and let’s face it, it usually DOESN’T) then Manning might very well have brought the Colts in for a quick score, a 17-6 lead and an avalanche of second-guessing the coach’s decision to go for the onside kick at that point.  “What in the world was he thinking? all the experts and pseudo-experts would have proclaimed.  Instead of a goat, he’s a genius—because they made it!

The final gutsy decision was to go for the two extra points (instead of the nearly-automatic one point)  after their go ahead touchdown.  Two point is tough to make, but those two points meant that even if Manning had been able to rally his troops for another score (plus a Colts extra point), the game would be no more than tied–possibly heading for the first overtime in Super Bowl history.  So Congrats to the coaches–as well as the players.

Finally, as I think about all the problems that we have in our country at this time, I can’t help but wish that more people thought and spoke as Drew Brees did after the game on Sunday night.  If you missed the interview, think about what he said for a moment.  Maybe we can all learn something from Drew Brees:

“Four years ago, who ever thought this would happen?  Eighty-five percent of the city was under water, all the residents evacuated all over the country, people never knowing if they were coming back or if New Orleans would come back,” Brees said.  “But not only the city came back, but the team came back too…When the players got there, we all looked at one another and said, ‘We’re going to rebuild together.  We leaned on each other.  This [the Super Bowl victory] is the culmination of that.'”  From the ashes, the Saints and the city that loves them, have arisen.  May they both continue to prosper.

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Super Bowl XLIV–Saints Vs. Colts

   

Monday Morning's Headline Shows New Orleans' Victory Over Indianapolis

 

Those of you who remember and loved Super Bowl XXIX with its record 75 points are going to be thrilled with this year’s clash of two high-octane offenses going at each other full-tilt.  This year’s classic will set a new benchmark for high scoring championships with a total of 77 points to be scored, with the Saints taking home the Lombardi trophy 42-35.  

As good as Peyton Manning has been, he’s still no Tom Brady in the big ones.   Still, I expect he’ll come out firing and generate some good scoring drives.  Unfortunately for the Colts and Manning, however, I expect that Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams’ warriors are going to make good on his promise to lay some “remember me” hits on Manning, particularly in the form of Defensive Tackle Sedrick Ellis.  Ellis will have a career game applying pressure on Manning–much like the Jets were able to do in the first half of their battle against the Colts.  The usually untouchable and unflappable Manning will be harrassed all game long by the Saints defense, much like they did to Warner and Favre.  Still, because he is Peyton Manning–a very talented quarterback—he’ll get his points—just not quite enough of them.  

On the other side of the field, there is Drew Brees, and this is Drew Brees’ year!  As great as his numbers have been this year, however, he’s not a one-year wonder; he has thrown for a total of more yards over the past four years than any other NFL quarterback!   The Colts–having faced the likes of Joe Flacco and Mark Sanchez–are finally facing the kind of prolific QB that they have in Manning—but this time–Folks–he’s playin’ for the other guys!  And Drew Brees has some great receivers that he knows just how to utilize!  He’s been throwing to most of these same guys for 3 or 4 years now, so they are at the point where they can read each other’s minds.  Marques Colston had well over a thousand yards receiving and nine TD receptions.  You’ve got Devery Henderson and Robert Mechem who will be grabbing the deep balls, and Lance Moore who will do damage in the slot.  Tight End Jeremy Shockey is looking to this game to make a statement, and he might very well do so.  I look for Reggie Bush (47 catches in the regular season)to have a good game too–breaking at least one catch for major yardage.  With all these weapons and Dwight Freeney’s ankle still far from 100 percent, there is no way that the Colts defense can contain Brees and Company.  

All things considered, and giving Manning his due, 42-35–Saints–is my prediction, though it could be an even longer night for the Colts if Manning gets frustrated or knocked out early.  Get ready for the Super Bowl of Mardi Gras on Bourbon Street!  The Saints will come marchin in—Big Time!

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