The Afternoon Before: Time traveling with Pack Wars

Calm before the Wars

Remember that feeling you had as a kid when you’d rip open a fresh pack of cards, convinced there was some sort of cardboard gold inside? Every once in a while, you’d hit the jackpot: Ken Griffey Jr. grinning at you, or Shaq trying to demolish a backboard. It was the teenage boy version of pulling the handle on a slot machine.

That’s where Pack Wars comes in.

Continue Reading

The Afternoon After: The irrational hatred of Favre

Here are my weekly thoughts on the game of football, with my standard disclaimer that I don’t profess to know a whole lot about the sport. Apologies for its lateness – baseball, some Halloween activities and hanging out with Larry Johnson (post forthcoming) got in the way a bit.

"Text me" on a Favre jersey? This doesn't even make sense

It’s amazing to see the fall of Brett Favre, considering the heights he came from.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m certainly not an enormous fan of Favre’s apparent heavy-handed attempt at simultaneous sexual harassment and adultery.

But the visceral jubilation I’ve seen for the destruction of Favre’s legacy is baffling to me. It seems to stem from a deep-rooted dislike of Favre that has grown over the years, and one that seems somewhat outsized.

I mean, if you took out of context the euphoria on Twitter after Favre threw an interception on Monday night against the Jets, you’d have thought we caught Osama Bin Laden.

Continue Reading

The Afternoon After: Low frequency, high quality – NFL on radio a treat

Here are some reactions to this weekend’s football action, a little belated because of a rare vacation to the Jersey Shore, where I didn’t actually have Internet access. As such, I missed out on a lot of people complaining about the Mets’ inability to sign Jon Garland, of all people. It was bliss.

Black Sunshine

I’ve always been a radio guy, dating back to my high school days of calling the WFAN overnight shows, which actually provided a distinct preview of my sleeping habits later on. I later had the privilege of hosting my own sports and heavy-metal music shows – I was far better with sports given that I actually know very little about heavy-metal music.

Continue Reading

The Afternoon After: Mourning glory – maligned duo elevated by tributes

Here is my weekly look at what I saw from NFL Sunday. As usual, a reminder that I’m basically a football layman, and I’ll also point out that I observed less than usual due to watching National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, possibly the greatest movie of all time, on Sunday.

Emotion sickness As just about everyone did, I considered the death of Chris Henry to be a real shame. Obviously, Henry had something of a checkered past, but from all accounts was attempting to get his head on straight and his life in order, something all of us can appreciate.

Being on injured reserve and away from his team, he lapsed in his decision-making at the worst possible time.

Maybe that’s why I found it especially touching to see the efforts of Chad Ochocinco and Brandon Marshall, two other quirky – to say the least – wide receivers, to pay tribute to their fallen comrade.

Continue Reading

The Afternoon After: More than revenge, Favre gets personal vindication

Here are my thoughts on the week’s football games after a busy weekend – hope all had an excellent Halloween. (Mine was pretty stellar)

Another great Favre moment at Lambeau

I don’t like writing about what everyone else is, but what can I say about Brett Favre? I’ve lamented in the past that I’m sick of the guy, and that I don’t think he can get the job done anymore. I may have to back off at least one of those stances.

Continue Reading

The afternoon after: Heel the world – Giants deep everywhere but QB

Here are my usual post-Sunday thoughts. More a “late-night after” than afternoon today. I’ll reiterate that football isn’t my thing, but I’ll give it a shot as usual.

Eli gets it off (for a touchdown); Carr in his usual position

  • The Giants have a deep and talented team, particularly on defense. Steve Smith is open every time you look up. They gave the Chiefs fits on Sunday. I do believe they’re the best team in football, but their huge weakness was exposed when Eli Manning somehow hurt his foot. The “bruised heel” diagnosis was shady at best, as I simply view such an injury as impossible under those circumstances. I get injured all the time, so I’m sort of a self-proclaimed expert; the first thing I thought was that he messed up his Achilles’. Now I’m hearing that it may be plantar fasciitis, which would be far from a best-case scenario, but at least it wouldn’t be his Achilles’. Regardless, I believe Eli – who’s far tougher than he looks – won’t miss a whole lot of time with this. I’ve had plantar fasciitis, and though it’s no picnic, it’s at least manageable. With the horrible Raiders coming to town, they may choose to sit him until the following week in a huge showdown in New Orleans. But David Carr isn’t suitable to play quarterback in this, or any, league. And as deep as the Giants are at most positions – including running back, where Ahmad Bradshaw has been at least the equal of Brandon Jacobs thus far – David Carr simply is not an NFL quarterback, having been permanently ruined by years of playing behind a sieve-like offensive line in Houston. I believe the Giants are very good, and potentially dominant, but until Eli plays a whole game and shows no ill effects, you have to temper your enthusiasm.

Continue Reading

The afternoon after: Demise of Pennington sad, but not a shock

Again, some quick thoughts on the NFL. It’s not “the morning after” since I generally wake up after 1 p.m.

  • Never a good sign when they have to cut off your uniform... I’ve been a fan of Chad Pennington dating back to his Jets days. He’s gutsy, smart and tough. I think my arm is stronger than his, but his guile and heady play have always set him apart in my opinion. He validated that last year by finishing runner-up for the MVP Award while leading an overachieving Dolphins team to 11 wins, a stunning turnaround and a division title. Pennington blended seamlessly with the Wildcat offense and was a joy to watch. But the problem with Chad has always been his inability to make it through two seasons in a row. And sadly, he was unable to prove the skeptics wrong in that regard. Football’s a tough sport, and you can’t blame someone for having his shoulder shredded. But with Pennington paying greater attention to fitness at this stage of his career, it’s just a bad break. I’m not sure we’ll see him play again, and it’s a real shame: Pennington is a gentleman and a fine player. It’s just too bad that he lived up to his reputation, in a negative sense.

Continue Reading

Essence of sports can be found where you least expect it

As fans, we spend a lot of time griping about what’s wrong with sports. Just tune in to WFAN one night and you may think the world is ending every time Joba takes the mound.

That’s why once in a while, it’s great to see something that makes you remember why the world of sports can be such a captivating and magical thing. For me, it was on a New Jersey Transit bus en route to New York that took a detour through the Giants Stadium parking lot , while fans tailgated before the annual Giants-Jets preseason game.

Living in the shadow of Giants Stadium, I’ve always been fascinated by the football culture in this area, and how it seems to take on a life of its own every fall. This will be further examined by this site at a later date.I didn't have a camera on the bus, so this'll have to do

The other day, the bus stopped in the parking lot to pick up passengers, and for a minute or two, I watched a father with a backwards hat and what I believe was a Mathias Kiwanuka jersey tossing a football to his two daughters, who couldn’t have been more than three years old, both wearing Eli Manning jerseys and cute as a button. Try as they might, the two little girls couldn’t catch the ball, while the father expressed light-hearted exasperation while pantomiming how to cradle the ball against his body.

I don’t think those little girls fully understood what they were there for. They’re not going to recall the score of the game, where they sat, or who the Giants were playing. They couldn’t care less about Plaxico’s guns, who starts at receiver or how much money Eli makes.

But I guarantee they’ll always remember playing catch before the Giants game with dad.

That’s what sports does for us. When you cut away all the Plaxicos, Vicks and Favres, all the A-Rods, Mannys and Big Papis – you have the experiences that you share with those you love.

We get so caught up with wins and losses, payrolls and free agents, draft picks and salary caps. Meanwhile, none of that is what sports is about, or at least what it should be about.

Just try to remember that the next time you hear Lenny from Manhattan on WFAN screaming about firing everyone on the Mets.

Sports can be so much more than we make it out to be.

First impressions: Introducing RjE

Editors’ Note: We’re excited to welcome longtime associate Ron Epstein to the SportsAngle family. Ron has been an Internet writer for quite some time and has a unique take on things. We look forward to his contributions.

My name is Ron Epstein. I love sports. I also love to write.

It took me a long time to write an appropriate opening for this introductory post. Definitely not the way I wanted to make my first impression with you, the reader.

Now let me get this out of the way. I like you. I like you a lot. With all the garbage clogging up the Internet, I am thankful that you’ve trusted me enough to spend your valuable time reading my ramblings instead of those of countless others you’ve never met across the Internet sports scene.

Because you’ve put so much faith in me, I want you to know that I won’t let you down. I want to make you laugh. I want to make you cry. I want us to grow old together. On our magical journey together, we will learn many things about each other. favrejobasplit480

You will learn that I am extremely opinionated and not always well thought out.  I will learn that you don’t mind that so much. In fact, you may even encourage it.

You will learn that I believe that the American sports machine is seriously broken. Something is wrong in our sports culture when SportsCenter, ESPN’s flagship “news” offering, constantly runs a decidedly uninformative crawl that reads, “Brett Favre still undecided on whether to return to football.”

I’ve also learned that sports talk radio is even worse. The hosts are extremely unprepared, and their callers are generally a bunch of crybabies who can’t get over the fact that Joba Chamberlain is never going to return to the bullpen.

And I’ve even learned that many people spend more time on their fantasy football team than they do on their personal grooming habits. Regardless, I still like you, and I’m glad we’ve been able to make this introduction. Stop by often.

The world is a much better place now that SportsAngle is back.