The SPORTS PHILOSOPHER says: “On the 10th anniversary of 9/11, all is well in the land of the free and the home of the brave….cuz we’ve got football, baby!” — by Brad Eastland

September 11, 2011
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     A great first week for the NFL, “2011 version”.   Let’s get right to the highlights….

·       The new kick-off rule is now officially the joke of the NFL.   I knew this would happen, ‘said so in my column two weeks ago.   Remember?   They moved the kick-off line from the 30 to the 35 yard line, to “prevent catastrophic injuries”.   What it really prevents is excitement and clear thinking.   Consider this example:   Last year in games in Green Bay alone there were 81 kickoffs, and only 2 touchbacks all year.   But in Green Bay’s 2011 opener against the Saints, there were EIGHT touchbacks.   In one game!   The geniuses have taken football’s most exciting play and all but removed it from the game.  Well done, Roger Goodell & friends…

·              Amazingly, speaking of kick-offs, there were an astonishing THREE of them returned for touchdowns over the weekend.   But before you get too excited about the Sports Philosopher’s brain-dead “overreaction” to the new kick-off rule above, consider that the three fine athletes who accomplished the feat—San Francisco’s Ted Ginn, Minnesota’s Percy Harvin, and Green Bay’s Randall Cobb, had to field their kick-offs from two, three, and eight yards deep in the end zone respectively.   Great players, sure, but I call this the fluke of flukes.   It’s still a stupid rule….

Would you buy a used car from this man?

Would you buy a used car from this man?


·              Its  gonna take a very good performance to beat the Packers in a football game this year.   They are gooooooood….


·             The Peyton Manning multiple neck surgeries thing may be developing into a sad story….and by the way, speaking of the Manningless Colts, who lost yesterday by 27 points, it’s only Week One yet it’s perfectly obvious to all humans with an IQ over 80 that as far as 2011 is concerned, they….are….DONE.   Stick a fork in them.


·              How good is Jay Cutler?   The much-maligned Bears quarterback somehow continues to manage to put up huge numbers and make great plays virtually on his own.   I mean ANY decent quarterback can play great behind a great offensive line….But the Bears’ offensive line is truly offensive, and has been offensive for two years, allowing sack after sack, allowing QB hit after QB hit, and they can’t even take the pressure off Cutler with good run blocking because they suck at that too.   Yet somehow he wins games on his own with his great feet, great mind, and superhuman arm.   Cutler was absolutely magnificent against Atlanta on Sunday.   Just think how good he’d be on a team with a good offensive line???


·               All I know is the Bears are 1 and 0.   That’s all that matters.


·               Changing of the guard?   You tell me: The Ravens clobber the Steelers by 28 points, the lowly Bills destroy the Chiefs in the Chiefs’ own ballpark, the Lions—who set an all-time record the last couple years for consecutive road losses—win their first road game of the year convincingly, and the Colts are through for the year before they even get started.   Everything is flip-flopping.   The great Ben Roethlisberger throws three interceptions while the usually pathetic Rex Grossman throws none?   Ben loses and Rex wins?   Is the world is spinning out of control???   My head hurts.


·               But the best game of the day was by far the Sunday-night epic between the New York Jets and the Dallas Cowboys.   It’s only fitting.   It was held in New York, epicenter of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and former President Bush was on hand for the coin toss.   It’s almost as if we were saying to al-Qaeda, “Look, our former ‘Prez’ is tossing the coin at a football game—the only reason you terrorize us and kill our citizens is because we’ve got football and you don’t —so there!”   There’s actually a lot of truth to that.   And Dallas played a great game.   They were beating the heavily favored Jets in all phases, and led 24-10 in the 4th quarter.   But then the Jets became the Jets and the Cowboys, unfortunately, became the Cowboys again.   First the Jets get a touchdown catch from Plaxico Burress, who you may recall was last seen fondling footballs in the Big House.   Then Dallas quarterback Tony Romo (who had played flawlessly and brilliantly up to this point) acted like he suddenly remembered he had a big bet down on the Jets.   Still up seven points, and inside the ten yard line on 3rd down, he tries to run up the middle for a score and doesn’t protect the ball and fumbles.   Jets recover.   It was an unconscionably stupid thing to do, putting himself in a position to make a turnover when an easy field goal was only a few seconds away.   A few minutes later the Cowboys let some Jets guy stroll right through the middle of the line and he blocks a punt, which another Jets guy returns for an easy touchdown.   Tie game!   Unbelievable.  But then, with a couple minutes to go, Romo out-does himself, throwing into double coverage and right into the hands of a startled Darrelle Revis, and the Jets all-pro cornerback was so shocked to receive such a gratuity he almost dropped it.    But he didn’t, he ran it back deep into Cowboy territory, and with a few seconds to go Nick Folk, who the Cowboys cut from their team last year, predictably blasted a beautiful 50-yard field goal to win the game and stick it up the a** of his former team.   Perfect.   Some things change, but some things remain the same.   Romo and the Cowboys continue to do dumb stuff and lose.   The Jets are classy and have heart and find new ways to win….


·               Best performance of the weekend might have to go to San Francisco’s aforementioned kick returner Ted Ginn.   Ted not only had a kick return for a score, but also ran back a punt for a touchdown a mere 59 seconds later.    That’s pretty good.   Doubt if many teams will kick to Ted the rest of the year.


·              Worst performance of the weekend?   Romo.   Disgruntled Dallas fans have been waiting for many years for Tony Romo to step up and be the leader necessary to take them back to the promised land, back to the Super Bowl.   But what they got from him again tonight was more of the same; the promise of greatness, but in the end quivering mass of uncertainly, sloppiness, and defeat.   Romo makes tens of millions of dollars, but has never won a playoff game.  (He does go out with some good-lookin’ chicks, though.)


·               All in all, it was another great and exciting start to another thrill-packed NFL season.   What does all this mean?   Hell, I don’t know.   I’m not God.   But off the top of my head, I do think it’s fitting that 2011 “kickoff Sunday” fell precisely on the 10th anniversary of 9/11.   The forces of tyranny should know by now that you can’t keep Americans down.   In a world infected with tyranny, we are free.   And being free to obsess over football games is what this nation is all about.   There was a 9/11 “Never Forget” ceremony before pretty much every game on Sunday.   It is proof of the indomitability of the American spirit.   The economy may be in the toilet, the working man may struggle, people have lost their homes, and dime-store dictators will still try to pick on us from time to time….But apparently the game of football must, and will, go on.  


·               What really matters is if your favorite team won or not.   Am I right?   All I know is that the Bears are 1 and 0.   To me (in the short term, at least) that’s all that matters….

      Maybe next week we’ll start making some predictions against the betting lines.   You compulsive gamblers out there will love that….

meet….The Sports Philosopher!image003

Brad Eastland is an author, historian, film buff, undiscovered fictioneer, and unrepentant NFL slut.   Brad’s other recent columns for LaVerneOnline can be found in Sports under ‘The Sports Philosopher’ and also in Viewpoint under ‘Brad Eastland’s View’.    Brad has also written 4 novels* and over 20 short-stories.   

*To pick up a copy of his recently published novel of life at the racetrack, WHERE GODS GAMBLE, a tale of American mythology, simply search for it on,, or…it’s easy!  (Aren’t you at least curious???)








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