Monthly Archives: December 2007

‘Tis the Season: Titans put a shiner on the Colts

Final Sunday Night Football game of the regular 2007 season, featuring the Indianapolis Colts and the Tennessee Titans. Running back Chris Brown of the Titans made the first touchdown of the game near the middle of the first quarter. The Colts get a field goal in the top of the second quarter. The third quarter allowed the Colts to get into the lead with a touchdown by wide receiver Craphonso Thorpe. At the bottom of the third quarter, the Titans’ field goal tied the game 10-10. The Titans broke the tie with a field goal in the middle of the fourth quarter and increased the lead towards the bottom of the quarter also with a field goal. Final score Titans 16 and Colts 10. Tennessee is going to the Playoffs.

Observations & Miscellania:

1. As the teams ran onto the field and Al Michaels started his opening monologue, the cameras caught several glimpses of the fans in the stands, including many little, skinny boys–all Colts fans.

2. Today’s game marked Peyton Manning’s 160th straight quarterback start.

3. John Madden noted towards the bottom of the first quarter (regarding the drive after the Titans recovered a fumbled Colts ball): “with zone blocking, you gotta get good penetration.” During the following Titans kick-off to the Colts, Madden added “at the line of scrimmage, you wanna get good penetration.” Again, easily misinterpreted.

4. Jim Sorgi took over quarterbacking duties for the Colts in the second half of the game.

5. Colts defensive tackle Darrell Reid plowed into the Titans running back Chris Henry. The collision was replayed half a dozen times (in real time and in slow-motion). John Madden even asked something along the lines of “wanna see that again?” after the commercial break.

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

‘Tis the Season: Redskins sprinkle-dust the Cowboys

The Dallas Cowboys against the Washington Redskins (game on Fox).  It was raining at Fedex Field.  Redskins running back Clinton Portis made the first touchdown of the game just after the halfway point of the first quarter.   At the top of the second quarter, the Redskins put a field goal on the board.  Dallas still no points…until near the bottom of the second quarter.  They made a field goal.  Before going to halftime, Washington made a field goal.

The third quarter progressed to the halfway point and Clinton Portis made a touchdown.  Washington 20 and Dallas 3.  The fourth quarter opened with a touchdown by Redskins wide receiver Santana Moss.   It continued with a Dallas field goal as attempts to get into the end zone and stay there for a completed pass were unsuccessful.   Final score Washington 27. Dallas 6.

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

‘Tis the Season: Texans shake, rattle, and roll the Jaguars.

The Houston Texans faced the Jacksonville Jaguars today (game on CBS). Jaguars wide receiver Reggie Williams made the first touchdown of the game in the first quarter.  Jacksonville’s backup quarterback Quinn Gray was in for starting qb David Garrad; two of the starting running backs were taking five on the sidelines too.  Running back Ron Dayne of the Texans tied the game in the top of the second quarter with a TD.  Texans tight end Owen Daniels put a tie-breaking touchdown on the board in the bottom of the second quarter (he leaped up into the air at the back to the end zone, one leg extended out almost at a ninety degree angle to the leg vertical).  Houston 14. Jacksonville 7.  With less than a minute to play in the second quarter, Jaguars wide receiver Ernest Wilford tied the game again with a touchdown.   But wait, Texans wide receiver Andre Davis broke the short-lived tie with a 97-yard kickoff-return TD.

The third quarter began with another Andre Davis kickoff-return TD–104 yards. Ron Dayne increased Houston’s lead some more with a TD halfway through the third quarter.  Texans 35.  Jaguars 14.  In the bottom of the third quarter, Jaguars wide receiver Matt Jones made a TD.   Texans running back Darius Walker put a TD on the board in the top of the fourth quarter.  Ernest Wilford increased his team’s points to 28 with TD in the bottom of the fourth quarter.   Houston finished on top with 42 points.

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

In other news, the Atlanta Falcons  beat the Seattle Seahawks 44 to 41.  Je ne le crois pas.  Click here for details.

‘Tis the Season: Patriots bypass the Giants; 16-0

So that nearly the entire country would have the opportunity to watch the New England Patriots make history by having a 16-0 season, the NFL Network-televised game against the New York Giants was also broadcast on NBC and CBS.  I elected to watch the game on my local CBS station.

 

Giants running back Brandon Jacobs made the first touchdown of the evening, five minutes into the first quarter.  The Patriots ended their first possession with a field goal.  In the top of the second quarter, Patriots wide receiver Randy Moss made a TD, did a little dance, slammed the ball down onto the turf, and got a penalty for excessive celebration.   The Giants answered that TD with a 74-yard kickoff-return TD by wide receiver Domenik Hixon.  New York 14. New England 10.  Seconds before halftime, Giants tight end Kevin Boss made a TD.   Giants 21. Patriots 16.  New England has been behind six times this season and they’ve always managed to win.  I wonder if it’ll happen tonight.  Probably?

Nearly halfway into the third quarter, Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress caught a pass for a TD.  The Patriots weren’t going to accept that kind of skill; their running back Laurence Maroney put six more points onto the board close to the bottom of the third quarter.  With the one-point conversion, the Patriots were up to 23 points, still five points under the Giants’ 28.    At the top of the fourth quarter, Randy Moss caught a 65-yard pass for a TD.  Patriots quarterback Tom Brady raised his right arm and made a peace sign with his fingers: New England would go for a two-point conversion.  And it worked.  Patriots 31. Giants 28.  Towards the bottom of the fourth quarter, Laurence Maroney made another TD.  With one minute left on the clock, Plaxico Burress made a TD.   So close and still yet so far.  Final score: Patriots 38.  Giants 35.  New England made their history.

Observations & Miscellania:

1. Idina Menzel sang the National Anthem.  The audio was a little odd–sounded like someone just stuck a microphone to a speaker (echo and all).

2. I’m still not keen on the NFL Network score bar (middle top of the screen), but the field graphics (down and yardage) is exceptionally crisp.  It reminds me of a hot dog and a Slim Jim.  I’ve expressed the same thing before.

3. Commentator Cris Collinsworth uttered during second quarter (regarding a particular play where the Patriots were on defense) the following words:  “the penetration on the front side is forcing those on the back side to go in a little deeper.”  Easily misinterpreted.

4. In the very bottom of the second quarter, Patriots linebacker Junior Seau and Giants Brandon Jacobs got into a little scuffle.   Shortly thereafter, Patriots defensive lineman Vince Willfork stuck his right index finger into Jacobs’s face mask.  The referee charged Seau with a penalty.

5. After returning to the game from commercial break at the top of the fourth quarter, the camera went to a medium shot of Patriots guard Logan Mankins, offensive lineman Matt Light, and center Dan Koppen  sitting on the bench.  They all reminded me of filmic representations of vikings–as in the Nordics not Minnesota’s team.

6. Patriots cornerback Ellis Hobbs intercepted one of Eli Manning’s passes meant for Plaxico Burress nearing the middle of the fourth quarter.   After this moment, the Giants lost their umph.   Laurence Maroney made a TD at the end of that possession run.

7. In addition to the magic that happens between Tom Brady and his offensive teammates that enables them to score, they also have this effect on their opponents.  If the other team is playing pretty well (even leading in points), as soon as their spirits are dampened by an interception, an avoidable fumble or incomplete pass, or significant and ostensibly debatable penalties, the roll they were on suddenly slows to a crawl.

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

GQ on Sports Movies and NFL Cheerleaders (encore une fois)

I was at the bookstore in Chinatown today and saw the November 2007 of Taiwan GQ (No. 134). Hong Kong singer-actor Andy Lau graces the cover.

I picked it up, flipped through it and came across an image from the football biopickish We Are Marshall (McG, 2006). I did some quick scanning of the article and sweet fancy Hosea–it was about American sports movies. I bought it.

I was going to translate the whole darn thing from Chinese to English, but I decided to go with a few excerpts here and there. There isn’t a specific individual credited as having authored the piece. The name of the article is “Get Spirited. Sports Movies Must Exist” (white text at bottom of picture).

The bolded paragraph reads:

An entire summer of baseball and futbol has ended and is followed by seasons of the NFL, NBA, and NHL, the three dominant American professional sports. Aside from the mesmerizing reality of competition’s defeat and victory, one can watch a few films that haven’t yet hit theatres in Taiwan or action-packed, heartwarming or other kinds of sports movies on DVD as part of a ritual. Current sports movies have already shed their naive aims, as they record historical turning points, responding to economic downturns and human troubles. It’s like exciting competition arouses the spirit of devotion to a righteous cause. Good sports films also convey life’s hope, momentarily filling any disappointments in realizing one’s dreams.

What’s interesting about this article is how it relates to the Sports Illustrated piece by Adam Duerson. Duerson observes that the quality of American sports films is on the decline, and if studios are partly to blame, it’s because overseas audiences don’t really dig sports films. This GQ article refers to this idea in the first chunk:

Since 1993, American sports network ESPN has held an annual awards ceremony that recognizes exceptional athletes of diverse backgrounds. Among these awards is Best Sports Movie. The Best Sports Movie in 2006 was <<Kingpin Races the Wind>> (Talledega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby), and it managed to play in Taiwan theatres. In the same year, <<Hope Doesn’t Fade>> (We Are Marshall) was nominated, and though it starred box-office star Matthew McConaughey, local distributors didn’t readily embrace it.

Farther down, the article argues that “in America, sports movies are a big deal. Every year there’s inevitably a big star acting in this kind of film. In Taiwan, sports films are a small deal.

The piece mentions Friday Night Lights (or “Winner’s Light” as it’s translated in Chinese), and along with Glory Road (or “Bravely Burst into a Restricted Area”) and We Are Marshall, it didn’t get a theatrical run in Taiwan. The article adds, “it’s a shame because these three major stars [Josh Lucas, Matthew McConaughey, and Tim McGraw] frequently did a lot of research and made many sacrifices for their roles. Matthew McConaughey’s southern accent is a small case; in order to portray a middle-aged coach, Josh Lucas had to gain a lot of weight in the middle of the film; and the ever-sexy-on-stage Tim McGraw was a bald, professionally unsuccessful middle-aged father, a breakthrough performance that garnered him an MTV movie award nomination.”

The article then addresses the plot and themes of the films. The last sentence of the piece is:

Regardless where the emphasis is placed, a goal is necessary. Presenting hope has always been a strong part of American films. To the audience members with popcorn and cola in their hands, though, they need these films to incite their hearts and souls on occasion.”

And now for some goods from American GQ. Click here for a spread on the Worst Sports Movies Performances. Click here for a textual and audiovisual presentation of what it’s like to be an NFL Cheerleader.

Oh, and I kid you not. Talledega Nights is known as “Kingpin Races the Wind” in Chinese. We Are Marshall is called “Hope Doesn’t Fade.”

This Hong Kong version has a different Chinese title. It says “Strong Young Men.”

The Hong Kong version of “Glory Road” says “Spirited Strong Basket.”