Is it Great to Be a Florida Gator??

No rest for weary Gator fans who may have stashed their 2008 BCS Champs shirts for sunnier days: Jeff Driskel’s recentl loss to The U has nerves amok in Gainesville

By David Hauser

Attending a 10-year high school reunion after spending one’s 20’s accruing a laundry list of felonies and frequenting brony conventions sounds more desirable than the five-year reunion the 2008 National Champion Florida Gators have bathed in this summer.  While Tim Tebow may be able to show his former gridiron classmates snapshots of his Ben Hill Griffin Stadium featured $500,000 bronze statue and Percy Harvin can lean on his newly minted $67 million contract to rent out the lobby bar for the reunion after party, the boys in orange and blue of yesteryear have experienced an uncanny hideous run of unfortunate events this summer.  Let’s take a brief look at their ill-fated, Dante’s Inferno of a summer (or Dante’s Peak depending on your feelings about Pierce Brosnan’s post Nintendo 64 Goldeneye work):

Swampy Summer Camp Timeline:

  • June 26– Absent of any irony, or humanity for that matter, former standout UF tight end and former Tebow favorite pass target, Aaron Hernandez was arraigned for 1st degree murder.  Haunting and tragic details manifested suggesting Hernandez led an execution style murder of his “friend,” and casually left behind hoards of circumstantial evidence like his spit out and chewed out bubble yum at the scene of the crime.  Subsequently a trail of breadcrumbs has emerged leading back to previous unsolved murders and attempted murders in Boston and Gainesville with Hernandez’s fingerprints all over the case files.  Most recently, a damning feature in Rolling Stone profiled Hernandez’s troubled past following his father’s premature death including: alleged gang connections, violent crimes at UF potentially swept away by an earnest Urban Meyer trying to thump some bible into this seemingly lost teen-come-thug, and rampant angel dust consumption by Hernandez over the last six months which may at least in part explain some of the dense callousness layered upon this case.
  • July 30– In seemingly bright news for Gator disciples, 2008 stud all-purpose offensive weapon, Percy Harvin got paid and got away from the spray paint can arm of Christian Ponder.  Despite this good news, consistent with the hot hot heat of summer baking down on former Gators, Harvin immediately aggravated his hip, requiring surgery that will keep him off the field for much of the first season of this grand new contract.
  • August 1– Doing nothing to shake the image of North Florida as a wellspring of redneck parlance, former Gator All-Amurikin’ wideout Riley Cooper saw fit to drop an N-Bomb in the direction of an African-American security guard who was so rudely preventing the D-List celebrity from going back stage at a stop on the Kenny Chesney world tour.  Much to the disappointment (and lack of awareness) of Cooper, he happens to live in the Western Hemisphere during the 21st century, where cell phone cameras are kind of a “thing.”  The Internet heard about it, and the Internet got mad.  Adding insult to slur, was the timing of the release of this uncouth video, squaw in the heart of the dog days of summer, giving most beat-less sports writers (not all, kudos to Whitlock) further opportunity to pounce a Gator.
  • August 31– Cue the roadies: the NFL QB career revival tent is coming down.  Former Heisman QB and everyone’s favorite evangelical rowdy reptile, Tim Tebow, had his NFL career absorb perhaps its final blow dart when he was cut from the New England Patriots before the start of the regular season.  With Josh McDaniels, the coach/GM that drafted him into the NFL, and Urban Meyer crushholder, Bill Belicheck, giving up on the idea of Timmy as a legitimate NFL quarterback, he now more than ever seems destined to be the lead of the next season of The Bachelor.
  • September 9– And finally this past weekend, Maurkice Pouncey, Twin A and Anchor of the National Championship offensive line, suffered a season ending ACL and MCL tear putting the rare Week 1 nail in the coffin to the Pittsburgh Steelers season that already never was.

So let it be proclaimed: beware Brandon Spikes, Carlos Dunlap, Joe Haden, the Alachua County winds are swirling these days, and not in a swell direction.

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Jay Cutler: Teenage Mutant Ninja Quarterback

By David Hauser

First off, let the record state how difficult it is, in this the year of 2012, to find an actual hardbound (not even leather-bound nor smelling of rich mahogany) copy of the English dictionary.  But one university research library and two reference section workers with Masters in Library Sciences degrees later, just as I suspected, Jay Cutler’s picture is indeed printed right alongside the definition of “petulant” in the English dictionary.

Capricious? Check.  Insolent and rude? Check.  Fussy disposition? Emphatic check.

Ever since the mysterious self benching in the 2010 NFC Championship against his Bears’ ancient rival Packers, which resulted in Caleb Hanie’s 15 minutes of sports almost fame, the sports world has been scrambling to label and understand the moody man from Santa Claus, Indiana. Continue reading

Thur$day Night Football

In Roger Goodell’s tireless quest to further monetize the NFL (because you know these owners are broke and whatnot), the Thursday night on-field product suffers and injury risks rises

By David Hauser

Roger Goodell, the self appointed crusader and czar of NFL player health, found it within his complex web of cognitive dissonance to courageously demand teams play on 3 days rest, so the world can get yet one more night of football…and perhaps, oh I don’t know, his owners can make a few more greenbacks.

In yet another bout of wild hypocrisy (to go along with “Bountygate”), for the first time ever the NFL has scheduled weekly Thursday night games in order to commandeer one more night of voluptuous and bountiful TV ratings.  Better yet, with the Thursday night monopoly on professional football his The NFL Network can gain further leverage with Time Warner Cable in their endless bickering to add the 24-hour football network to more households (at a hefty price of course) and big markets.

What is lost in all of this is the fact that the product looks terrible on Thursdays.  The complex uptempo offenses, amazing quarterback play, and gifted skill players fans have fallen in love with in the last 2-3 seasons all require time to master execution and rest up from the prior week’s bloodbath.  But Goodell won’t have it, not when there is more $$$ on the table.  Goodell shrewdly selected a Bears v. Packers matchup, that had all the makings to be one of the best games of the year.  But due to his greed and insistence on placing this game on a Thursday night to spotlight his network (making it ever the more noticeable to cable viewers who do not receive the NFL Network), what could have been one of the marquee games of 2012 turned into an unwatchable slopfest.

Yes, Clay Matthews racked up 3 sacks and both defenses were conceivably more active, but anyone who watched the game knows that this was more of a product of offenses depleted of healthy skill players, lacking practice, and unable to execute.  Mark me down as one voice willing to forego an extra night of football to enhance the quality and health of the game.  And Roger, your big crafty master plan to convince me to call up my cable company on YOUR behalf to beg them to pay your ransom for your precious product…yeah…that’s not happening either.

Late July. NFL Training Camp Hype. Ryan Kalil.

July 25, 2012 Charlotte Observer, Ryan Kalil Issues his guarantee for a Panthers Super Bowl this year

By David Hauser

Heck, I’m not even laughing, I’m just impressed.

Impressed first, that a young guy is so well versed in his franchise’s roots, especially considering that Kalil is a Cali kid with no ties whatsoever to the greater Smoky Mountain region.  How does he know so much about such a young and mostly anonymous NFL franchise, a team that he grew up literally 5,000 miles away from?  A lot of professional athletes get tagged with the mercenary label: there to get a pay check, fame, and a bunch of twitter followers…and barely know what city they are playing for.  Not Kalil, you can almost feel the retro-active pain he feels for his club’s “Dom Caper Years,” when all that Panther Nation[1] had to root for was possessing the league’s most unheralded fantasy QB in Steve Beuerlein[2] and rooting for one of the greatest names to ever bless the field of sport in tailback Tshimanga (pronounced Tim-monga) Biakabutuka. Continue reading

NFL’s New “Williams Wall”

By David Hauser

For the past half decade the Vikings defense has been a nightmare matchup for Offensive Coordiantors to scheme for because of the impenetrable defensive line Minnesota assembled.  The Vikings’ Pat Williams and Kevin Williams formed what NFL diehards coined “The Williams Wall.”  This pair led a defense that did not allow a 100 yard rusher for virtually three straight seasons (allowing opponents only 68.5 rushing yards per game over this stretch).  However, Pat Williams aged and left the team in 2010.  Kevin Williams remains with the Vikings, but the Williams Wall has come down.

There is a new “Williams Wall” in the NFL these days.  With the signing of “Super Mario” Williams, the Buffalo Bills are paring arguably the most complete defensive end in football with their already stout interior defensive lineman.  Most notably, All-Pro defensive tackle Kyle Williams will line up next to Mario Williams on the d-line for the 2012 Buffalo Bills this fall.  This new Williams Wall, along with standout Alabama second year defensive tackle Marcell Dareus, form the most fearsome defensive wall seen in the NFL in some time.  This new “Williams Wall” gives the hungry fans of Western New York something of a proud foundation to once again stand upon.

Super Mario Bros: Buffalo Bills Defensive Line Edition

By David Hauser

Big day for Headie Sports!  Mario Willaims (@bbwolf90) is now using a Headie Sports created twitter avatar!  It appears late yesterday afternoon a Bills fan tweeted the new Bills Defensive End the “Super Mario Bros: Buffalo Bills Free Agency Edition” artwork from this website.  Mario Williams is now sporting only the headiest of twitter avatars that I’ve seen throughout the twittersphere.

Per the request of Bills fans over at Buffalo Rumblings, here is a similar version of the Super Mario Bros. pic with Kyle Williams to represent the tremendous defensive line advantage the Bills will have moving forward (let’s also not forget #3 overall pick from the 2011 NFL Draft, Marcell Dareus either).  It would now appear the Bills are no longer pursuing Manningham, after locking up the real Super Mario for $100 million over 6 years.

According to Buddy Nix in an appearance on Pro Football now with Mike Florio this past Friday, it appears the Bills will be seeking a WR with a bigger frame and 4.4-4.5 speed in the NFL draft, perhaps as early as the 2nd round.

As the weekend following the signing carries on, the #SuperMarioParty continues on in Western New York!  Reports from Buffalonians suggest there was not much work productivity this past Thursday, as fans followed along with the huge signing at work.  Additionally, fans started up a spirited and random car horn honking campaign all the way home throughout 5 o’clock traffic on I-90 thru Buffalo to celebrate the monumental Super Mario signing.

Luke Russert continues to operate in his late father’s stead as defacto leader of the #BillsMafia.  Using his national communication platform, Russert tweeted back and forth with ESPN Chris Mortenson as Bills fans waited for the word as to whether or not Mario was indeed signing with the Bills.  In the moments following the successful Super Mario signing, Mortenson responded to Russert who tweeted “Yeah baby!!! Mario in #Buffalo!!” with “I can see your Dad smiling and pumping his fist right now.”

SPINAL TAP: Indianapolis

Owner Jim Irsay’s taking the lead, shaking up the front office and roster from top to bottom.  Andrew Luck is expected to form a solid foundation for the new rhythm section.  Front man Peyton Manning may be offering his lead vocals elsewhere.  And new band manager Rob Lowe has great expectations for all.