Sunday, September 11, 2005

Fifteen Weeks to Go
By Ben Valentine

Opening days are always fun, no matter what the sport. But the NFL is the sport where it means the most, since it is 1/16 of the season. So naturally, it’s perfectly understandable when people tend to overreact one way or another based off that first game.

But I’m here to tell you its just one game. Week one counts as much as week six… or week twelve. Does it stink Chad Pennington fumbled six times today in Kansas City? It sure does (unless you’re a fan of KC or any other AFC East team). But I highly doubt this is going to become a weekly occurrence. Are the Niners now contenders because they beat the Rams and stand as the only NFC West team at 1-0? Of course not, though their win was a surprise. Just give them credit for beating a team not named the Cardinals for the first time since 2003.

We always react to what’s happened most recently. The last game is always more prevalent on our minds than the last one. First weeks are always even more exaggerated because it is the first real action fans and pundits are getting to see. There’s no last game to draw comparisons to. It’s loads better than the preseason because it counts. But it doesn’t decide the Super Bowl. Nobody’s gone undefeated since 1973. Hell, two years ago the Patriots started 0-2. Didn’t seem to stop them. Three years ago the Carolina Panthers won their first game. They lost their next fifteen.

So Jets fans, come back off the ledge. The Niners don’t have to start printing those playoff tickets and Willie Parker isn’t the second coming. Yes it was an interesting first week but let’s not jump to conclusions based off it. While the NFL season is the shortest league of all, there are still fifteen games to go.

Jets lay an Egg

Now that I've said not to panic, I'll quickly dissect this Jet loss. It can be summed up in one phrase I said to Zach repeatedly today as he called me after each new debacle.

"I've never seen so much go wrong to one team in one game."

Seven fumbles? Three dropped TD catches? Geez. Honestly, it's amazing they didn't lost by 40. But like I said, no need to panic.

The Jets were walking into a hornet's nest at Arrowhead. It's one of the toughest places to play in the entire league. To go in there week one with a new offensive system was asking for problems. And they got those problems, big time. Still the offense moved the ball. The defense after a miserable 1st quarter, proceeded to play pretty well the rest of the way. I think it's safe to say Pennington won't fumble six times next week.

In short, I thought I'd be annoyed by this loss. But I'm not. If the Jets lose to Miami next week, then I'll be worried. While optomism and the Jets never belong in the same sentence, I'll stay positive. I mean, I really hope this is the last time I have to have this conversation with my dad:

Me: "I don't believe this! They've made a season's worth of mistakes today."
My dad: "Then they shouldn't make anymore the rest of the season."

Unexpected Kudos To An Unexpected Sport

They say there are few moral victories in sports. But today I have to give credit where credit is due to one Andre Agassi. I’m not a fan of the tennis great and was rooting hard against him today as he played the world’s undisputed best, Roger Federer. Still, even I was impressed the heart and battle he showed. He made a match of the second and third sets, keeping the world’s number one off his game and maybe even getting into his head a little. He forced Federer to rely on his backhand, which was poor throughout the match. Though Agassi didn’t have much success with his first serves, he was broken only once in the second and third sets, while managing to break Federer three times.

In the end, the class showed. Federer saved himself when he did finally take that break, down 4-2 in the third set. The champ never looked back. He took the third set tie break 7-1 and then routed the aging pro in the fourth set 6-1 to take the US Open crown three sets to one.

But Agassi made a game of it. For about an hour today, I started to think that he stood a chance. That was an hour longer than I expected.

However on another note, I must say the coverage of the match was disappointing. John McEnroe gave one of the worst color jobs I’ve ever heard at a sporting event of any nature. He bordered on Chicago White Sox homerism for Agassi. I almost expected him to say “another winner for the good guy!” whenever Agassi put one home. At the end, when Federer was dominating the fourth set and it was clear Agassi was done, McEnroe began to praise Federer’s greatness. But for the first three sets it was nothing but “Agassi this, Agassi that, He’s in great shape, Maybe Federer hasn’t trained as hard as Agassi has…” and on and on and on. But then this is one of my problems with tennis announcers. They fall in love with players and grow to dislike others, and their commentary usually reflects that. If you only listened to announcers, you’d think Maria Sharapova and Andy Roddick have won some 10 grand slam events between them. That’s not to say McEnroe dislikes Federer. (Hell supposedly the guy is completely un-dislikable) But it was clear he who he wanted to win this match.

Oh, and Roger Federer is really good. I’m not a huge tennis fan, but even I know nobody playing now is in his league. He might just be better than Pete Sampras was. But we’ll have to wait and see on that.

Its Amazing What People Will Buy

Car commercials are usually the worst advertisements on TV. But I think they hit a new low today, as Ford is now offering a promotion where if you buy a new Ford in the New York Metropolitan Tri-State Area, you get an autographed baseball by Derek Jeter. I have two thoughts on this.

How much is Ford paying Jeter for this?

And secondly, if anyone is actually dumb enough to buy a $30,000 car just to get a baseball autographed by ANYONE; they should not be allowed to operate a motorized vehicle.

And Finally:

-Mets snap their six game losing streak with a 7-2 win over the Cardinals
I shouldn’t care. But I do. What can I say? I’m a fan.


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