Infiltrating SportsNation: why not resurrect this feature at the very end of the season?

18 07 2007

SportsNation Official GrampaEarlier today in all of our press-credentialed fervor, TC reminded me it’s been some time since we’ve sat down with good ol’ Grampa Gary (Horton) and his weekly AFL Fireside Chat. We crowded around his favorite armchair and unwrapped some choice butter-scotches as Gary fired out answers to query after query (we suspect the helper monkey has learned how to take dictation).

After several disgruntled Chicagoans basically asked “what in the holy hell happened to the Rush’s clock management?” TC and yours truly elbowed in with a 1-2-3 combo of deft AFL inquiries:

J (Chicago, IL): Gary, do you think the Rush would have had a better chance of winning over San Jose if they’d taken D’Orazio out before his back crumbled like feta cheese? 

SNation’d! Gary Horton: (4:14 PM ET ) Well, that’s a great question and obviously our first reaction would be that they probably should not have played D’Orazio, based on what he looked like physically. But that’s such a tough call for a coaching staff. He’s been your guy all along. He wants to play and he has a great on the field relationship with Bobby Sippio. I’m sure there’s some second guessing now in looking back. But it could be that D’Orazio is so competitive that he talked them into believing that he was healthier than he was.

Verily. If I had to choose between a crippled shell of a man that threw three picks and was having trouble standing up straight and a healthy QB with loads of experience that I’ve publicly lauded as being much more than a backup QB, I’d probably leave the gimp in for half the game, too [not to get into stats, because TC hates that, but Michna played very well in the second half for Chicago]. Maybe Coach Ho watched Any Given Sunday the night before the game? Also, feta cheese joke: not my strongest.

TC (Chicago): Are you shocked and appalled by the fact that Columbus is representing their conference in the Arena Bowl, or are you just shocked?

SNation’d! Gary Horton: (4:17 PM ET ) Shocked would be putting it mildly. I thought the best two teams in the AFL were Dallas and Georgia and Columbus beat them both on the road. Neither game was a fluke. I just think they’re a team that peaked at the right time. They played almost error free football in the playoffs. They probably got Dallas and Georgia when neither one probably played their best game. But that may be a little bit of a tribute to the Columbus defense also. I fully expected Dallas or Georgia to be playing San Jose or Chicago. We only have one of those four teams in the AFL championship. It now makes for a great David and Goliath scenario.

Grampa often speaks in sentence fragments, and clearly plagarized our David and Goliath comparison, because there is no way that someone would think of that particular story when discussing a 7-9 team playing for the title.

Mike (Chicago): Do you get the impression that no-one is on the same page on the Columbus bench? I can’t figure out how a team that is so completely out of sync managed to knock off arguably the two best teams in the league. I’d have the same reaction if Detroit beat San Diego, Indianapolis, and New England in a three week streak.

SNation’d! Gary Horton: (4:19 PM ET ) To be honest, you’re bringing up a point that I really haven’t noticed. That’s very interesting. I’m going to make a couple of calls and get some opinions on the demeanor on their bench. I know the team is getting some great production from their QB Nagy to their WR Groce. Their defense is playing well. Probably the thing that impresses me the most is that they don’t make a lot of silly mistakes and they force you to beat them. They don’t beat themselves, which makes your point very interesting, because those are not the attributes of a team that has chaos on the sidelines.

Woah. The only thing more amazing than the fact they decided to call me “Mike” is that he didn’t really pick up on constant debacles on their bench where Nagy appeared to either be in complete contention with Coach Skip Walrus Brimley Foster or no-one seemed to have any plan at all. I caught part of the Columbus-Georgia game when Nagy was being interviewed by the booth, and as he grabbed his helmet to take the field, he was asked what their game plan was, and he said something to the effect of “I dunno, we’ll figure it out when we get out there”. Maybe he’s been watching a lot of Any Given Sunday too. Also, we think it’s pretty cool we stumped Grampa. Awesomesauce.

What’s in store for Grampa’s chat next week? Given that nothing new is happening this weekend, probably more of the same. Maybe he’ll answer my query of whether or not he thinks the soon-to-be-out-of-work Michael Vick will show up (with Marcus in tow) to the AFL Combine on the 28th.

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