Monthly Archives: September 2007

‘Tis the Season: Eagles sputter against the Giants

I don’t really keep up with the Philadelphia Eagles in terms of how consistently good or bad their performance has been in recent seasons. I suppose I can say the same for the New York Giants–it’s just that my local TV stations have broadcast the Giants’ games more often; thus, I’m more accustomed to watching them play. They beat the Eagles tonight 16 to 3.

Neither team scored in the first quarter. In the top of the second quarter, wide receiver Plaxico Burress made a touchdown. The Giants would get a field goal in and another touchdown (intercepted pass by linebacker Kawika Mitchell) in the bottom of the third quarter. Philadelphia made a field goal in the top of the fourth quarter but nothing more. In fact, their quarterback Donovan McNabb was sacked a total of twelve times tonight. Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora was responsible for six of them.

Observations & Miscellania:

1. Sometime during the third quarter, John Madden was highlighting Giants Derrick Ward’s gaze using a strange looking graphic reminiscent of a zipper spotlight. A still image of the line of scrimmage from behind Ward was on screen. The spotlight (cone-shaped and possibly twenty to three degrees wide) turned from left to right, like windshield wipers. It wasn’t very aesthetically pleasing.

2. There was another odd graphic near the bottom of the third quarter. It was circular and looked like poker chips, the kind whose rims have alternating dark and light colors. Again, not too pretty.

3. Apparently, a primary contributing factor in the Eagles’ underwhelming performance was due to running back Brian Westbrook’s injury from a previous game.  The muscle and tissue around his lower ribs need to heal otherwise one of them will poke through and really, really hurt.

Get the game summary, stats, and play by play here.

Read more about the game on the Giants web site here.

‘Tis the Season: Falcons’ Ode to Joy over the Texans

Victory, sweet victory is finally ours.

I watched the majority of the Atlanta Falcons vs. Houston Texans game (on CBS), the second half of the second quarter onwards. Sweet fancy Moses, the Falcons finally won a game–26 to 16. The two Falcons touchdowns were both made by wide receiver Michael Jenkins in the first and second quarters. By the time I got downstairs and flipped on the television, Atlanta’s subsequent scores would come from field goals (three of them; their first field goal of the game occurred in the first quarter).

The Texans made one touchdown in the first quarter (by wide receiver Andre Davis). The rest of their nine points came from three field goals, one in each of the remaining quarters.

Observations & Miscellania

1. Texans quarterback Matt Schaub used to be a Falcon; he was Michael Vick’s backup man.

2. Falcons kicker Morten Andersen is seven months older than head coach Bobby Petrino.

3. For some reason, I thought the game would be played at 4pm. I was in a slight panic as I turned on the TV and changed the channel to my local CBS station. I immediately looked to see what the score was and then which quarter it was–10 to 7 in the second quarter; I was so happy.

4. Football physics is about a lot more than how much force and momentum go into tackles or how fast the players can run. It also concerns windspeed, velocity, and throwing. A quarterback throwing the ball to an intended receiver who is running involves factors similar to dropping an object from a great height onto a moving target. It takes time for the object to fall just as time would elapse for the moving target to get into the strike zone. Thus, in order for an object to land onto the target, one would have to let go to the object before the target appears within bull’s eye range. Visualize a right angle.

Imagine that you are standing at the top arrow head and you want to throw something down to that right angle (the little square at the intersection of the two lines). The horizontal line represents the path of your moving target, and it’s actually going to travel towards the right angle, not away from it as the arrowhead suggests. If you know how fast the target is moving, then you can figure out mathematically when you ought to drop the object (also considering your height and the effect that gravity has on all things on the planet). If, however, you didn’t know the speed of the moving target, then you’d have to approximate your drop time. Don’t let go of the object when it’s directly below where you’re standing. Instead, drop the object before the object is directly beneath.

One could apply this technique to when a quarterback ought to throw the ball. Assuming there isn’t a swarm of defensive players crowding around him, and he has some time to do some quick mental calculations, if he can’t find an open teammate to throw the ball to, he has to throw it to a receiver or running back who is in the process of arriving at a particular location. Theoretically, the quarterback can’t wait until his receiver is already wherever he needs to be; he has to throw the ball while his receiver is en route. Hopefully, the numbers (of speed and momentum) will work out and the receiver and ball will come together to make that right angle.

5. Given the role that wind speed has on field goals, kickers have to know as much about its impact on successful kicks as snipers would on successful hits.

To read more about football physics, I highly recommend Dr. Timothy Gay’s book The Physics of Football: Discover the Science of Bone-Crunching Hits, Soaring Field Goals, and Awe-Inspiring Passes.

For a game summary, stats, and play by play, click here.

Here’s an article on the game from the Texans’ web site.

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Edit: The Indianapolis Colts leftthe Denver Broncos in the dust this afternoon, winning the game (on CBS) 38 to 20. Five touchdowns by the Colts, dude. Five (and one field goal). Get all the details here.

The Arizona Cardinals defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers!!! 21 to 14. Click here for all the goods behind the glory. (I consider myself a Steelers fan, so I’m not thrilled. But maybe a little impressed).

pix creds: amazon.com, google image search

College Football News: Clemson played at Bobby Dodd

…no wonder I saw an SUV donning Clemson Tigers flags as I was driving down Springs Street today around 1pm.

I caught most of the  fourth quarter on ABC this afternoon.  The GaTech Yellow Jackets beat the Clemson Tigers 13 to 3.  That would be two field goals and a touchdown vs. a field goal?

:checks the box score:

Ah, indeed.

Get the game summary, stats, play by play, and photos here.

NFL News: DeAngelo Hall, ‘Man’ ; more sighs for Michael Vick

How many of you watched the Falcons vs. Panthers game last Sunday, specifically, the penalties against DeAngelo Hall’s “attitude” and behavior on the field…in the general direction of an official.

The Associated Press reports:

Falcons fine Hall $100,000, may suspend him for part of next game

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — In another distraction for the Atlanta Falcons, Pro Bowl cornerback DeAngelo Hall said Wednesday he’s been fined $100,000 and may be suspended for at least a quarter of the next game for his meltdown last week against the Carolina Panthers.

Hall wasn’t pleased with the decision and plans to appeal through the NFL Players Association.

The Falcons (0-3) acted quickly after their defensive star was called for three penalties totaling 67 yards on one possession, including two personal fouls, then got into a heated sideline confrontation with coach Bobby Petrino and an assistant.

The penalties led to a Carolina touchdown that tied the game at 17 in the third quarter. The Panthers went on to a 27-20 victory.

Read the rest of the story here.

And now let’s all stand in a circle (or a horizontal line or a hexagon) and audibly exhale (and even tsk) for Michael Vick’s newfound headaches.

Another piece by Associated Press:

Vick tests positive for marijuana, faces stricter release restrictions

RICHMOND, Va. — A federal judge placed tighter restrictions on Michael Vick on Wednesday after the Atlanta Falcons quarterback tested positive for marijuana…..

Vick, who has admitted bankrolling a dogfighting operation on property he owns in Surry County in his written federal plea, is scheduled for sentencing Dec. 10. He faces up to five years in prison.

On Tuesday, Vick also was indicted on state charges of beating or killing or causing dogs to fight other dogs and engaging in or promoting dogfighting. Each felony is punishable by up to five years in prison.

The 27-year-old former Virginia Tech star was placed under pretrial release supervision by U.S. Magistrate Dennis Dohnal in July. The restrictions included refraining from use or unlawful possession of narcotic drugs or other controlled substances.

The random drug testing ordered Wednesday could include urine testing, the wearing of a sweat patch, a remote alcohol testing system or any form of prohibited substance screening or testing.

Hudson’s order also requires Vick to participate in inpatient or outpatient substance therapy and mental health counseling, if the pretrial services officer or supervising officer deem it appropriate. Vick must pay for the treatment.

Read the entire article here.

‘Tis the Season: Cowboys Wahoo!

Another night of NFL on NBC. The Dallas Cowboys fenced in the Chicago Bears on their own turf too.

Although, neither team scored until the bottom of the first quarter (the Bears got a field goal). The Cowboys responded quickly in the second quarter with a field goal. Fumbles and incomplete passes pervaded the top of the third quarter for both teams…until Cowboys tight end Jason Witten made a touchdown at about the ten minute mark. The Bears tied the game 10-10 when running back Cedric Benson made a TD a few minutes later. Cowboys running back Marion Barber went to the end zone at the bottom of the third quarter. At that point, the game was essentially over for Chicago. Dallas would get another field goal and make two more touchdowns (thanks to cornerback Anthony Henry’s interception and Barber again). Yes indeed. The Cowboys came out on top 34 to 10. Cowboys wide receiver Terrell Owens caught the ball eight times. Al Michaels and John Madden also pronounce his name “tair-rull” as opposed to “turr-ell.”

Cowboys Roster.

For the game summary, stats, and play by play, click here.

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Still reading John Feinstein’s book Next Man Up, and I am in awe of this man’s writing. He is a truly remarkable storyteller. The transitions between individuals and the chronology of events are so seamless. History is not simply a record of “A happened and then B happened which prompted C to happen” and writing it is no easy task. I wonder if Feinstein would be as good a documentary filmmaker. On the bottom of page 331, after providing information on Jonathan Ogden’s seven-year contract of 50 million dollars, he mentions the 2004 presidential election:

Most professional athletes aren’t even registered to vote. Those who are almost always vote Republican. The most rabid Democrat on the Ravens was backup linebacker Bart Scott, who spent a lot of time in the locker room trying (to no avail) to convince some of his teammates that voting based strictly on who would tax you less was a mistake.

These details seem too random to be important or included in the final draft, but Feinstein’s voice makes it fit. And, I was very happy to read it. He’s incredibly funny too. I couldn’t stop laughing during this part:

The toughest thing about playing in Philadelphia as the road team might be waiting for the endless pregame introductions. First there’s the Eagles fight song. Then, of course, the theme from Rocky has to be played. Then come the fireworks (yes, in the daytime). And finally, the PA announcer stretches the name of each Eagle out for what feels like about a minute (334).

Feinstein has a solid grasp on the art and structure of creative nonfiction. His descriptions of games are as suspenseful as a film noir or a psychological thriller–the moments before the villain leaps out from nowhere. And, like an omniscient camera in a fiction or nonfiction film, his authorial voice doesn’t call attention to itself. He lays out in the introduction the unbelievable degree of access he had to players, coaches, and administrative personnel. On the one hand, I knew that most of what he wrote about consisted of things he had witnessed. On the other hand, though, as I’ve been reading through his book, I forget.