Monday, November 08, 2004
So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish.
At 1:30 this morning, after having written and posted this entry several hours earlier, I learned via ESPN and the Miami Herald (no link, because I think you have to register to see their articles) that Dave Wannstedt, coach of the Dolphins for 5 seasons, is expected to resign Tuesday (today, or tomorrow, depending on how you count your days). The Dolphins currently have a record of 1-8, so it's not unexpected, but cripes guys, couldn't you at least wait until the bye week? Is it really going to make that a big difference in your season right now? You're pretty much not going to the playoffs, I fail to see how it would hurt to have Wannstedt finish this up instead of being forced out in the middle of it all.
Besides, it's not as though it's entirely his fault. I mean, Ricky Williams wasn't his fault. The quarterback situation could possibly have been managed better, but it's not his fault he doesn't have anyone on the team who can actually throw. It's not his fault the rest of the offense stunk like 3-month-old salmon left out in the sun. There's only so much the guy could do with what he was given.
Anyways, bye Dave. We'll miss you.*
"I am worn out right now, to be honest with you. [I'm] just drained from the game and putting everything we have into the game. You go four years and win over 10 games a year and it's taken for granted. We did not play any harder when we were winning 10 and 11 a year, I promise you that. We did not play harder than we did today. That's what rips your heart out. It's tough.'' --Dave Wannstedt, coach of the Miami Dolphins, after losing 24-23 to Arizona on Sunday.
That pretty much sums up the Dolphins right now. They're unwatchable. They have two quarterbacks sharing time, when it's clear to the world that one would probably suck a tiny bit less if a decision was made to stick with him (this may now be a moot point, as Jay Fiedler was obliging enough to get his shoulder knocked out of line in Sunday's game).
They have penalties dogging them like ravenous dobermans (getting pinned with unsportsmanlike conduct for kicking a ball because you're mad about the 15-yard penalty someone else on your team just got? Way to go, guys! Smart! 15 wasn't enough, better make that a 30-YARD PENALTY).
They have a coach who may or may not be out on his ass shortly after their bye week, and they have the delinquent specter of Ricky Williams hanging over them, blowing marijuana smoke and burned-up dollar bills in their faces.
It is, as Wannstedt says, just draining. It wears you out. You actually can't watch them anymore. You stare at the postgame pictures of a lone Dolphin receiver getting pancaked by a hundred thousand Cardinals, and all you can think is, 'Man, are those Cardinal uniforms new? I don't remember those pant stripes. And I thought they were a different shade of red.' Seriously. There's nothing else you can do. With all possible respect to my mother, the native Dolphins fan, I'm announcing it here: this team is dangerously pathetic.
The Lions loss I refuse to blame on them. Like last week, at least they looked like a football team on the field. Even when they were down you always had the sense that they could come back, unlike the Dolphins, for whom even a lead has the air of a train speeding up to reach the spot where the tracks go over the cliff sooner. Well. Maybe the Lions didn't look great, or even good. But at least they didn't look useless. Roy Williams is clearly still working on a sore ankle, which hobbled him and limited him to only one really spectacular one-handed, how-the-dickens-did-he-pull-in-that-one kind of catch. Poor Nick Harris, our punter, probably had the workout of a lifetime, since it seemed as though every other minute he was gamely trotting out onto the field again.
The Freep is pretty down on the Lions for Sunday's game, and I guess if you take into account the fact that we were 4-3 going into this, while the 'skins were 2-5, it doesn't look all that pretty. It doesn't bode well that we were the team Clinton Portis was finally able to open up against. Still. Still. There were flashes of brilliance. And if they weren't flashes of brilliance, they were at least flashes of something somewhat above complete mediocrity.
To borrow a bit from Red Sox Nation, when it comes to the Lions, I Still Believe. A perfectly objective person might find plenty of reasons to dump this team faster than a steamy baked potato, but I scoff in the face of such rationality. NEVER! If not this year, the next.
Alan Grant, one of the Snap Judgement guys over at ESPN, firmly states: "'...and this at the risk of offending our homoerotically sensitive fans in middle America: Detroit's Joey Harrington owes that one-hand-catching, making-up-for-the-absence-of- Charles Rogers, rookie phenom, Roy Williams, some big time manly affection." I agree. Obviously Roy has been a big part of this season. But you have to give Joey some credit on his own. There were a lot of passes yesterday that should have been caught by receivers and weren't.
It goes without saying that I'll be rooting for the Colts when they take on the Vikings at Indy later tonight.
The record stands, by the by. Bill Simmons picked the Lions to win again. And again they lost. It's true, the only way they can win is when Bill is sending hate waves their way. STOP PRETENDING TO LIKE JOEY, BILL. YOU ARE ONLY CAUSING US PAIN. Fascinatingly, he also picked the Dolphins to beat the Cardinals, and the Rams to beat the Patriots.
Oh, and in case you've been living in a football-free zone for the past week or so, ESPN and (parent company) ABC have been doing 19 days of football. They have one columnist forcing himself to watch them all, eat chips and salsa, and write about it. The day of the Michigan/Michigan State game he gave it a passing mention, but chose to concentrate his column instead on the other horrible games that were televised that day. This struck me as a bit of an injustice. So I dashed him off an email to that effect, thinking 'Eh. What the heck.'
Shockingly, he apparently read it. I know this because he printed it in the bottom of his next column. Score! I got on ESPN! I got on ESPN! Sort of. I'm the Boston Fan in Michigan, in case you're a bit slow in the gray matter.
(And if it seems like I'm a bit heavy on the ESPN writers here... well, I'm a bit heavy on the ESPN writers. They are, by and large, funny, especially the Page 2 team. I enjoy that in a sportswriter. So sue me.)
The Patriots game redeemed my faith in football for the week. This was a team that had me tearing out my hair in loss and confusion last week (why did it have to be the insufferable Steelers, WHY?). By the middle of the week I had art students nudging me in the halls and slyly saying, "Hey, how 'bout those Pats?" in the hopes of seeing me blow up (the Red Sox stuff got me a bit of a... reputation). They were surprised and, no doubt, disappointed to see me shrug, slightly bitter but perfectly calm, and say, "Hey, we don't have to be undefeated to go the playoffs." Yes, by this Sunday I was back in a pretty normal frame of mind about New England. I was a bit nervous, to be sure, but whatever happened wasn't going to be the end of the world.
Then, of course, the Patriots decide to go and show everyone exactly why that winning streak was not a fluke.
We're a team that's been utterly decimated by injuries. We're a team who had just been slaughtered the week before. We're a team that had a guy named Earthwind Moreland (I'm not even kidding, he's really on the team) playing. So what did we do?
We had Mike Vrabel, a very good defensive linebacker, catch a touchdown pass as an offensive receiver. We had Troy Brown, a wide receiver (that's offense, mind you) playing cornerback, even though he had barely even practiced on defense before. We had Adam Vinatieri, the kicker, the Bloody Frikking Kicker, throw (throw!) a touchdown pass. We had one college student dropping her digital-class-required three-button-mouse on the floor and squealing in pure, unadulterated glee.
Anything else you want about that game you'll have to get over at Cursed to First because a) I need to pick this up later, I have a bio study session I should have left for 5 minutes ago and b) she really said it all, and anything else I attempt to say about this game pales in comparison to how she puts it. Just go read, you lazy curs.
In Sox news, Manny appears to be having hamstring trouble again. Worrying. Worrying. Schilling is supposed to get surgery on Tuesday (that's tomorrow, mind you). No word on the Varitek front, which could mean anything at all. David Ortiz hit a 514 foot homerun in Japan a few nights ago. Apparently it was so impressive that both his teammates and the Japanese team came out of the dugouts to watch its path.
The Red Sox and Major League Baseball are offering a $5 card that declares the holder to be an 'official' member of Red Sox Nation. People are not, from what I've seen, taking it especially well. Personally speaking I wouldn't bother with it unless I had some knowledge that it was going towards keeping 'Tek in town. Otherwise I might as well fire up Photoshop and make my own.
I have returned from the vast, unchartered regions of the Natural Science building, having survived the bio study session and a brave but ill-advised trot around half the campus. You see, I knew that by the time I got out of bio the dorms would have stopped serving dinner, and I didn't much feel like microwave noodles, so I needed to pick up foodstuffs somewhere. I also knew that I ought to take some more photos for my art lecture project (light pollution). In my dubious wisdom, I decided that the thing to do would be to saunter down South U. after leaving bio, take shots along the way, go to Subway, and then take shots on the way from there to my dorm.
This noble plan I executed forthwith, having taken into account the time (late enough to be quite dark out, and early enough that I'd get back in plenty of time for Monday Night Football) and the distance (reasonable) but not, alas, the temperature (below freezing and most emphatically not reasonable, especially with a light jacket and no scarf).
I did get some good shots, at least.
In other news, Les McClaine was running a guest artist contest. It essentially boiled down to an underhanded attempt to get a bunch of people to give him fanart of his characters, but they're fun characters to draw so no one was complaining. Heh. Naturally I scrawled one out and sent it along. You can see them all here, if you are so inclined.
And now, if you'll pardon me, there is football to be watched, biology to be studied, art project bits to be fiddled with. Good eve, all.
*Sort of. But, in any event, you always hate to see a coach run out like this, especially when it's not all his fault by a long shot.