Unbeaten teams! Monday Night (Arena) Football! Point/Counterpoint! Dallas at Philly!

28 04 2008

Better stand tall when they’re calling you out. Don’t bend, don’t break baby, don’t back down.

BY FAR THE MOST INTERESTING GAME THIS YEAR…

Two unbeaten football teams… playing each other! The novelty!

APPARENTLY THERE IS SOME SORT OF RIVALRY…

Remember last year when Graziani’s shoulder was separated? And then ESPN played the clip from every conceivable angle five times a game? And what Graziani sounded like when getting blindsided (kind of like a cow being buried under sacks of government-subsidized potatoes)?

DID WE MENTION THESE TEAMS ARE BOTH UNBEATEN?

This is kind of a selling point to snag some viewers tonight (8pm E, ESPN2/ESPN360.com)!

POINT/COUNTERPOINT AFTER THE JUMP!

Even though TC is currently in rehearsal! Read the rest of this entry »





What On Earth Can We Expect: The Grand Rapids Rampage

29 02 2008

Grand Rapids Flag

What. The. Fuck?

Facts:

  • American Whatever Central The Other Thing
  • Arena Bowl Championships: 1 – 2001
  • Half of It’s Still Football has actually been to Van Andel Arena. For the 2001 Women’s Big Ten Basketball Tournament. So, you know … upgrade!
  • Last Year’s Record: 4-12 (5th)

A Paragraph About Upcoming Horror/Delight:

BREAKING NEWS: Grand Rapids relocates to Screwsville! I have now spent the better part of an episode of Furturama trying to think of something positive to say about Grand Rapids, or even something remarkably bad. You can call it a rebuilding year, if you want, Grand Rapids denizens. If that makes you feel better. Ugh.

Bullet Points About People:

  • The Adrian McPherson Experience continues, despite all odds and logic.
  • For sake of convenience, backup QB James MacPherson will just drop the “a” in his last name. I hope. Desperately.
  • Hey, it’s Brian Gowins! Kicker for the 1996 Rose Bowl Participating Northwestern Wildcats! And a snappy dresser!
  • [Something pleasant about new coach Steve Thonn]

The Good:

Steve Thonn was Georgia’s offensive coordinator, and Georgia put up numbers, so the future can be bright. McPherson could be fertile comedy ground.

The Bad:

The defense isn’t any better, and McPherson is wildly erratic. MacPherson is untested.

Completely Arbitrary Prediction:

5-11, with a strong likelihood of playing the role of slumpbuster for a number of teams.





What On Earth Can We Expect: The New Orleans VooDoo

29 02 2008

Fleur-di-lis and bars

One Fleur-de-Lis for each time I flashed my chest for beads when we were in N’awlins.

Facts:

  • National Conference, Southern Division
  • 2007 record: 5-11; Arena Bowl championships – see alternate universe
  • Nightmarish mascot “Bones” balanced by Muppet-ish/Phanatic-esqe “Mojo”
  • Head Coach Mike Neu is a free agency mad genius

Paragraph About Upcoming Horror/Delight:

Time to be perfectly honest – most of the previews I’ve handled have been a cursory look at last year’s performance and any significant roster changes. Looking over this season’s roster, though, I am slack-jawed: Neu made some serious acquisitions on both sides of the ball, and I daresay that this New Orleans team I wouldn’t have noticed last season could be dangerous this year, even in a tough division with Georgia, Tampa Bay, and Orlando. If they’re this year’s Tampa Bay, I will gladly tell you I told you so.

Bullet Points About People:

  • Newcomers WR/DB BJ Barre, DB Lin-J Shell, and WR Chris Horn (who seems to be in some NFL squad’s team every preseason) scheduled to go on team-building retreat in Louisiana outback
  • Head coach Mike Neu’s main office located in abandoned oil platform in Caribbean that’s being upgraded into a Super Doom Fortress using FEMA debit cards
  • QB Steve Bellisari nagging Tony Graziani to have an “Italian Off”; challenges to include recalling Dean Martin lyrics and naming as many salami varieties as possible in 20 seconds

The Good:

New additions to the team. Relative unknown QB Bellisari. Kicker Jonathan Ruffin won the Lou Groza award at Cincy. Red beans and rice.

The Bad:

Tempting nights out on Bourbon Street. Tough division. Overall lack of experience. Possibility of bad Mojo.

Completely Arbitrary Prediction:

The VooDoo rebound from a disappointing 2007 season with an 8-8 record because I’m not that confident in my sleeper pick. Mike Neu takes over New Orleans with a genetically-enhanced voodoo lady that shakes her stick and drives you crazy with that BOOGIE. BOOGIE. BOOGIE.





What On Earth Can We Expect: The Philadelphia Soul

29 02 2008
Ain’t no party like a Philly mascot party

The City of Brotherly Love loves guys in suits, so long as the suit isn’t red and the guy is Santa Claus.

Facts:

  • National Conference, Eastern Division
  • 8-8 in 2007, lost in the divisional round to forceful Georgia
  • Celebrity owners Jon Bon Jovi and Ronnie “Jaws” Jaworski made it to half of the home games Tony Graziani wasn’t injured
  • If you watched any of ESPN’s coverage of anyAFL game last season, you may have heard that Jon Bon Jovi and Ron Jaworski were co-owners of the Soul

Paragraph About Upcoming Horror/Delight:

The Philadelphia Soul with a healthy Tony Graziani: tasty. The Soul with an injured Tony Graziani: salty. His new backup, former Rush starter Matt D’Orazio, is not invincible, but perhaps a little more experienced than the Soul’s previous interim QB, Juston “SLING IT” Wood. Bret Munsey is as good as any head coach in the AFL, although if absolutely necessary, we’re sure either TC or myself could put on some headphones and tell the fastest WR to go deep. Despite losing some key players in the off season (see: Dwayne Missouri), the Soul are still a better team than last year’s record would make you think. This years’ team should be just as feisty on offense and stout on D.

Bullet Points About People:

  • Given his hard count, Tony Graziani might struggle in the real world
  • FB/LB Wes Ours will literally devour the competition
  • Former standout Georgia Force WR Chris Jackson has the strength of a grizzly, the reflexes of a puma, and the wisdom of a man

The Good:

Healthy southpaw Graziani. The return of rumblin’ bumblin’ stumblin’ Wes Ours. The addition of Chris Jackson. Celebrity owners helping attract fans. Soul food is fucking delicious.

The Bad:

Losing Dwayne Missouri. Graziani’s accuracy when he’s pressured or dislocates his shoulder. A division with Dallas, Columbus, New York, and Cleveland. Ronnie Jaws in Bermuda shorts. Soul food will fucking kill you.

Completely Arbitrary Prediction:

Soul go 10-6, lose to Georgia in second round. Jon Bon Jovi gets a lifetime achievement Grammy. Jaws and Graziani open a deli and option rights for a sitcom.





What On Earth Can We Expect: The Orlando Predators

28 02 2008
No. No. No. Joe.
Did these guys care Orlando wasn’t in the Arena Bowl? Hell to the naw.

Facts:

  • National Conference, Southern Division
  • 2007 record: 8-8, good enough for a wild card berth and first round loss to Philly
  • We’re not sure you were aware, but the Predators’ head coach is directly related to Tampa Bay Bucs coach Jon Gruden
  • You’re not staring too hard at the monitor, those guys designed their helmets with light-up eyes
  • If you stay too long after games end at Amway Arena, you’ll get deceived into selling paper goods to your neighbors part time
  • Wikipedia title entry “Predatorial Highlights” is not only a grammatic nightmare, but a working title for an upcoming Chris Hansen clip show

A Paragraph About Upcoming Horror/SuspenseDelight:

What the hell are we supposed to make of the Predators? They have been in the playoffs EVERY YEAR SINCE 1992. The only year they haven’t been in the playoffs was their inaugural season in 1991. Not a bad record to have, but I’ll be damned if every time we watched them on ESPN last season Shane Stafford didn’t find a way to throw a bone-headed interception late in the game and Other Gruden stared vacantly into space thinking about his next Vodka/Red Bull. I can’t see them being dominant this year, but at the same time, they aren’t doormats. They’re like The Strokes, or chicken flautas – just okay.

Bullet Points About People:

  • 11 of this years’ Predators are rookies. We’re sure that’ll be just fine.
  • There is no way we’ll make Coach Gruden regret this feature.
  • DB Damon Mason’s official height is listed at 5′ 9″, which means in reality, he is about as tall as the ‘D’ at the beginning of this sentence.
  • We’re sure FB/LB Marlon Moye-Moore has never been referred to as “3M”.

The Good:

Shane Stafford in the first three quarters. WR TT Toliver. Sure wins against New Orleans VooDoo. More Florida oranges.

The Bad:

Shane Stafford in the fourth quarter. ESPN broadcasts. Tampa Bay and Georgia in the same division. The Gruden Face.

Completely Arbitrary Prediction:

Finish 9-7, again devoured by the Soul in the playoffs. Other Gruden mails us a bag of dog poo and tells us he’s had enough of our shenanigans. Those mask guys take another trip to N’awlins.





What On Earth Can We Expect: San Jose SaberCats

28 02 2008

thunderlolcats

Close, but no cigar.

Facts:

  • American Conference, Western Division
  • Reigning Arena Bowl XXI Champions, overall 2007 record 13-3
  • If you make a joke to Mark Grieb’s dad in the aftermath of the Arena Bowl about how his MVP son is using his degree in biochemistry from UC Davis and Masters in Education from Stanford in a very unconventional way, Mark Grieb’s dad will think you are a total asshat

A Paragraph About Upcoming Horror/Delight:

Count on more delight from the SaberCats in 2008. Long the favorite of TC, San Jose has a dapper head coach in Darren Arbet that’s able to get a lot out of his players, most notably, the aforementioned Absurdly Well-Educated Mark Grieb. Did TC and I really have a say in his MVP status in Arena Bowl XXI? That can’t actually be true [ed. note: it actually is]. Although San Jose lost a lot of talent in the offseason to trades and returning only a third of 2007’s squad to the roster, the roster does include Grieb, veteran WR James Roe, and WR/DB Jason “Rock You Like a Hurricane (alum)” Geathers. Could they pull a repeat? They have as good a chance as any as heading to New Orleans in July, but we’ll see for sure. Something you can take all the way to the bank, though, is the SaberKittens will make some horny old man think of a joke about them being welcome to their ‘scratching posts’ at least once a quarter.

Bullet Points About People:

  • Blatant homerism: OL William Obeng, DB Omarr Smith, QB Scott Rislov, and DB Trestin George all attended my mother’s alma matter, San Jose State
  • Grieb’s notorious Las Vegas Outlaws teammate, Rod “He Hate Me” Smart, is on the AAFL’s Team Tennessee. Relevant? Not in the slightest.

The Good:

Offense – tied with Dallas for most points scored in 2007. Even though I haven’t mentioned it, defense – #2 per points allowed. Coaching – Arbet’s won three Arena Bowls, offensive coordinator Terry Malley has been with the team since it’s inception in 1994. Dedicated rabid fan base armed with cowbells.

The Bad:

Expectations to pull a repeat. Grieb’s mobility out of the pocket could be an issue if his protection can’t handle the jack. Green and gold works, so long as they don’t go all yellow a-la Oregon State. Chicago in the playoffs.

Completely Arbitrary Prediction:

Will the SaberCats improve on their 13-3 record? Will they face the Rush in the conference title game yet again? Will a 2049 Error close the HP Pavilion for good?

Maybe, possibly, and no.





What On Earth Can We Expect: The Georgia Force

26 02 2008

800px-flag_of_georgia_us_statesvg.png

Back to flags. Georgia Tech is pissed about this whole flag, pretty much, right? With that dome-thing*, and the red, and the minuteman dude, right? What do they get? The color yellow? 

Facts:

  • National Conference Southen Division
  • I made the Georgia/Georgia Tech (unfunny) joke because of the time that they wore helmets that had a red stripe and a gold stripe to honor both universities.
  • Arena Bowl Championships: 0
  • Last year’s record: 14-2 (1st), lost (bafflingly) to Columbus in the championship round. (See also: Desperados, Dallas)

A Paragraph About Upcoming Horror/Delight:

Sadly, unlikely to be quite as good as last year, if only because the rest of their division is so competitive. I also learned recently (3 minutes ago) that they have a new offensive coordinator. But, they were sturdy to the point of dullness. So, what have we learned? That I can’t analyze to save my damn hell ass life. It certainly doesn’t seem like there’s that big of anobstacle to overcome when you’re the league’s highest-scoring team with the guy who threw for 117 damn touchdown passes under center. So, celebrate cautiously, Georgia fans.

Bullet Points About People/Anthropomorphic Horrors:

  • Perhaps you’ve heard that Chris Griesen is scrappy?
  • Arthur Blank owns two football teams. This one might be able to beat his other one. Yeah, I said it.
  • I cannot describe how truly bizarre Blu is. I swear we had a picture with him, but it bends space and time, and I can’t find it now.
  • Dispersal draft pickup R-Kal Truluk’s full name is R-Kal K-Quan Truluk, which means “Ruler of the Lake” in Swahili. Lives in a Fortress of Solitude. I will type “Trukluk” by accident 1,049 times this season.

The Good:

They’re good! Harrison Bergeron is good! Chris Griesen is made out of space-age unbreakable material! They’re known for scoring points in a league that scores points in uncountable numbers! I haven’t heard anything bad about their defense! Will win many shootouts!

The Bad:

I’ve used up all of my exclamation points for the next 24 hours. The National Conference is stupid-good this year. Like I said, I can’t remember a damn thing about how they won 13 14 games last year. Tampa Bay is better, New Orleans can’t be as bad (right?) and Orlando still has a team. But that’s talking about other teams. I can’t think of much bad to say about Georgia. They’re like a stealth team.

Completely Arbitrary Prediction:

11-5, playoffs, lose to… let’s say, Tampa Bay. Seriously, the only way you can see this team is if you’re pretending to look at something else and you catch them out of the corner of your eye. It’s like hunting for salmon using only the tactics and weapons provided to bears without the advantage of being a bear.

*Okay, the dome thing is on Georgia Tech’s insignia too. Damn. I give up on making jokes.