Monday, September 10, 2012

NFL 2012 Week One

And another NFL season is underway, which for me brings melancholy feelings in that it indicates the unofficial end of summer and the start of the steady march towards the cold days winter. These half-full half-empty feelings are eclipsed only by those experienced at the start of the NBA season, but I digress...

Not much to report, other than the San Francisco 49ers surprising everyone except themselves and their supporters (present company included) by going into the house that cheese built and "upsetting" the Packers. I certainly found it strange that all these pundits were picking Green Bay to win without much trepidation: you have arguably the #1 defense in the league going against arguably it's top offense -- a wash -- but on the other side of the ball, you have a swiss-cheese defense going against a middle-of-the-pack offense with improved weaponry. I'm not saying this automatically spells a 49er victory, but it should certainly be enough to offset the home-field advantage and make the game's outcome a difficult pick. If nothing else, didn't anyone see what the Giants did -- when their defense was performing on all cylinders -- in Green Bay the last time a meaningful game was played there?

This was the one game I watched fully, and if the officiating was any indication, Lord help us in 2012. As a fan, your gut tells you to say your team got an unfair share of calls against it; as a person who keeps his emotions in check, I know there were just far too many questionable calls on both sides of the ball. So while the non-call on the block in the back during Green Bay's TD punt return was easily the biggest game-changing referree error of the game, that was only due to the immediacy with which it affected the scoreboard. The game's outcome turned out the way it should have, but there is easily a missed interefence call that disrupted a drive or two for both teams.

In any case, kudos to the Niners for hitting the ground running in a big game on the road. Big things lie ahead if they just keep playing their game, improving every week, and believing in 'team team team'.

* Sports Illustrated's Peter King gets a big huge shout-out for coining a term that really should be standard issue around the NFL:
"Did you see the silly interception Mark Sanchez threw on the first possession of the Jets' season? Rolling out on second down at his 47, Sanchez neared the sideline when, for reasons known only to him, he tried way too hard to make something happen, flipping the ball *in Favrian style* to tight end Jeff Cumberland. But safety Bryan Scott picked it off"

Priceless! Favrian! Has there ever been a more perfect marriage of player and tendency than described here? Every ill-advised, overly-forced pass should henceforth be labeled "Favrian". Hell, I'm submitting this to Webster's. There's simply no quarterback in NFL history with a greater tendency to get himself in trouble trying too hard to force an issue than Brett Favre. I may start using this term in analogies outside of football, it's so perfect. Take a bow Mr. King. Take a bow.