Eli Manning

Take Those Rings And Shove ‘Em

There’s a curious thing happening here in New York City.

The Rangers are playing some stellar hockey, to the extent that it’s time to think about playoffs, and I mean *deep* into the playoffs.

Then there’s the Jeremy Lin phenomenon on the Knicks, where it’s all anyone is talking about.  Even lay people who aren’t into basketball (like yours truly) have been jumping on the #LINning tweet hash tags and wondering what this kid can’t seem to do.

The Rangers are getting their due respect.  Henrik Lundqvist is finally coming into his own as an elite goaltender, Ryan Callahan is proving to everyone why he was named Captain of the team and these guys would take a bullet for one of their own teammates.  The Knicks are making their fans believers again, to the extent that people who had given up on them a long time ago are coming around again.

That’s not to say everyone is thrilled with these happenings.  I’m sure Devils, Isles and Flyers fans don’t care much about how the Rangers are performing (or Bruins fans, for that matter).  Is anyone outside of New York following Jeremy Lin-sanity?

So then when anyone brings up the fact that Henrik Lundqvist is a frontrunner for the Hart, Vezina and any trophy that can be anointed to any hockey player not a defenseman, or that anyone is a great player in New York…those who don’t care?  Those who like New York sports?

“How many rings does Henrik have again?”

“Has Jeremy Lin won any championships?”

Yes, folks, there are those people who want to piss all over the success of individual players by pointing out their shortcomings in the championship arena.

I could go the shorthand route and say, “Well it’s a team sport and any rings earned is based on team performance.”

But it’s something that any fan goes straight to, regardless of sport.  I mean, has everyone turned in Yankees fans to use their team’s overall success to diminish the greatness of a few individual players?

Look at the Devils’ Martin Brodeur.  Uncle Daddy Fatso has won three Cups under my watch and he was the star goaltender of those teams.  Yet, those teams won as a UNIT with the likes of Scott Stevens and Ken Daneyko leading the way.  Without those players, I doubt you get to fully appreciate how good Brodeur was for those teams.  And yet, when we all point and laugh at Marty, any of their Devils fans are all, “Well, how many Cups has Henrik won?”

Are you FUCKING SERIOUS?

Then there’s the whole Eli Manning ballwashing that has occurred.  Not to diminish any of his accomplishments because I’ll even admit that he has shown the capacity to really come through for his team when they need him most.  Yet, a few months ago, weren’t his fanbase and the local media throwing him under the bus for…well…whatever reason?  Look, mad respect for him…but does he win those rings with any other team?  Maybe not.

But then, does that mean he’s one of the best?  That remains to be seen.  But then we can look at the careers of Jim Kelly or Dan Marino and see that sometimes, life isn’t fair in sports.  Some of the best QBs haven’t won ONE ring, let alone two. Then Tom Brady is known for his failures to lead his team to two Super Bowl title when he already has earned THREE with the New England Patriots.

Football is strange though, because there are smaller margins of error in a season, and most games are more critical because there are fewer to play.

Basketball also has those great players who never won a championship.  I was a fan back in the day when John Stockton and Karl Malone were the core unit of the Utah Jazz.  They’re both Hall of Fame players, and don’t have a ring to their accomplishments.  Does this mean they were horrible players?  True, they’re not Michael Jordans, but even Dirk Nowitzki won a championship last year with the Dallas Mavericks, when the Miami Heat were all but anointed champions before a game was even played.

And don’t get me started on baseball.  I live in New York City, where I have to bear witness to the Yankee ballwashing that goes on a daily basis, 162 games a year, and 365 days a year when it’s all anyone harps on.  Forget the “Miracle” 1969 Mets.  Forget the Amazin’ 1986 Mets that we still haven’t gotten over.  It’s Derek Jeter – BEST SHORTSTOP EVAH according to their fans and local media.  How about Mariano Rivera?  All-time saves leader and has five rings.  But look at the teams they played on.  Wouldn’t it stand to reason that those teams won because of the TEAMS and not because of one or two players?  Look at the Jazz again.  If it were up to one or two players, championships would be easier to come by.  Even the 1980s Mets were faltered because of the game of chance.

Which is all some championship seasons are.  Chance.

But then, look at the Rangers.  If they win the Stanley Cup this year, IF Henrik Lundqvist wins the Vezina or Hart (or that may be one of his teammates, Marian Gaborik), IF IF IF IF…

When someone talks about how great of a season and improbable run as Henrik Lundqvist has had, they’ll say, “Yeah…but he doesn’t THREE CUPS.”

To that, I only have one response.

TAKE THOSE RINGS AND SHOVE ‘EM STRAIGHT UP YOUR ASS KID!!!

To take a team accomplishment and make it into an individual accomplishment defeats the purpose of sports.  But hey, it’s a game of one-upmanship for fans to participate in.  But it’s a flawed argument and I hope that “real” fans understand the difference.

Little Miss Sunshine: Super Bowl 46

So there you have it, folks.  Another football season is complete, with the Super Bowl ending just around 10 pm EST yesterday.

As a Jets fan, I was joking around for the past two weeks that I was rooting for a meteor or an epicenter to form in Indianapolis.  The reality is, though, while watching the game, my hatred for the New England Patriots kind of surpassed anything that I’d ever felt.  I can’t say I was rooting for them to lose, but I felt I snickered more at their misery and mistakes more than anything else.   When the game was official, I knew that the Schadenfreude delight was now complete.

I had a Stan Marsh moment too at one point: I learned something on Super Bowl Sunday.

I learned that I was a football fan.  I watched the game, and I enjoyed it.  I’ve always said that football is the sport I care the least about, but I found the Super Bowl fun and entertaining, and I was able to eat bad carbs and get away with it.

This is the first Super Bowl that I’ve covered here at Gal For All Seasons, since I’ve only been writing since basically the beginning of football season in 2011.  So maybe I’ll incorporate this every year into the Super Bowl recap.

In the movie Little Miss Sunshine, Olive’s father, played by Greg Kinnear, is a pseudo-motivational speaker.  His philosophy is coined on taking the steps of being a “Winner.”  He starts off the movie by saying, “There are two people in this world: winners and losers.”  The same could be said about sports, obviously, and the Super Bowl is a one-and-done game.  So I’m channeling my inner Little Miss Sunshine today.  Some of the winners and losers may be obvious, but I’m going to have fun with it, as only Coop can do.

WINNER:  Tom Coughlin.

At the beginning of the game, I mentioned to the group I was watching with, that he looked like he aged about 30 years this season.  Talk about a year of ups and downs.  Now he’ll be enshrined in Giants history as one of the best there ever was.

WINNER:  Eli Manning.

This was a no-brainer.  I’ve said all along that I’ve felt that Manning is overrated.  I’ll probably get killed for this, but I still do (you can thank the chemistry of his offensive line for the win last night…not to discount his performance, as he came through when the team needed him most which is more than we can say for the other team).  That said, he’s finally gotten out of the shadow of Peyton…literally.  During this first matchup in 2008, all that was shown was Peyton watching his little brother.  They were in his HOME FIELD…and everyone mentioned that Peyton wasn’t shown once on the broadcast.

Manning may be overrated.  But he’s an overrated QB with two rings.  And will get the respect he deserves, singularly.

WINNER:  Victor Cruz.

I love this guy!  How can one not have fun watching him play?

LOSER:  Bill Belichick.

Cheaters NEVER win, Bill.  I also reacted to Belichick’s vision on screen the way Bluto did to seeing Kent Dorfman’s face on the screen in Animal House.  “AGGGHHHHHHH!”

WINNER: Wes Welker.

Welker has gotten a lot of heat for dropping a crucial pass that could have sealed the fate of the Pats.  He took the criticism, and the blame for it.  He took the high road.  He didn’t need to.  The reality is, it was a poor throw from Brady.  Skip Bayless argued that Brady is one of the most accurate passers of his generation…but it was Brady who made a poor throw to Welker.

At the end of the day, I go back to my original argument.  That this game was the Patriots to lose.  The Giants had absolutely no pressure on them.  And look what happened: they made a somewhat blah game exciting at the end, and they won.

LOSER:  Tom Brady.

BWAH HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!!!!!

Okay.  I’m done.

BWAH HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!!!!!

No seriously.  I’m done now.

LOSER:  Gisele Bündchen.

BWAH HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!!!!!

I’m not a religious person.  But I really dislike when people use their power of prayer for trivialities in life, when there is legitimate suffering in the world.  Especially rich people who have everything.  And don’t get me started on Tim Tebow.  But Gisele’s email heard ’round the world: “Please pray for my Tommy.”  Could you get any more insincere than that?  Here are two people, each independently wealthy in their own right, “praying” for a Super Bowl win?  Get bent.

But it gets better.  Apparently, Gisele had some choice words for her Tommy’s teammates after the loss.  “My husband cannot [expletive deleted] throw the ball and catch the [expletive deleted] ball at the same time.”  I know Brady is one of the best there is, but come on…like he hasn’t choked the same exact fucking game away twice?

Gisele, you seem like an intelligent business woman.  But please keep your mouth shut about your husband’s profession.  It makes all women look bad.

LOSER:  This broad.

Speaking of making all women look bad, Stacey Tavor Merwin has set the feminist movement back at least 45 years by emasculating her husband to the extent that when they got married last year, her husband (who makes a livelihood of sports photography) mentioned that there will be a chance that the Super Bowl might fall on their anniversary.  So what does she do?  Create a hubbub reminiscent of Bridezillas.  And insist they go out on one of the biggest sports nights of the year…and writes about the wifely sacrifices SHE needs to make.  Like walking the dog.  Big fucking whoop.  It’s like the old Chris Rock bit that used to say, “I take care of my kids.”  Yeah, you want a cookie?  YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO TAKE CARE OF YOUR KIDS.  And you’re supposed to take the dog out on walks. And if your husband wants to watch the Super Bowl, you could compromise and go out to dinner the night before…or have some kind of special weekend away. I know from being married, it’s about the other 364 days a year, not just that one day of the year.

Women like her need to get over themselves.

Read Kristine Reese’s post on that in The Green Room from Sunday.  Her take on it is better than anything I could ever say.

WINNER:  Womankind.

I was in a house watching the game with a ratio of 3 women: 1 man.  Take that, Ms. Merwin. (And her husband could have totally joined us)

WINNER:  Kelly Clarkson.

Clarkson nailed the Star Spangled Banner.  Some singers make the National Anthem more about “them” and their vocal styles, as opposed to making Francis Scott Key proud, with the way it’s supposed to be sung.

LOSER:  The vicious media.

Kelly Clarkson is a healthy role model for women everywhere.  Because she doesn’t weight 75 lbs is cause for vicious attacks on her body.  She’s healthy.  She looks phenomenal.  Leave it alone, the criticism gets old.

LOSER:  The Half-time Show.

I am a child of the ’80s.  I like dating myself to the extent that I can tell people, “I remember music BEFORE Madonna.”  Like her or not, Madonna helped change the face of music, she changed fashion, she changed the face of pop culture and she changed the face of women and sexual notions.  I was cautiously optimistic about her half-time show, as I’ve heard her shows are very detailed.

She started out strong, got bored in the middle and it ended okay.  But I felt like that episode of The Simpsons, where Homer was watching Bachman Turner Overdrive play and he kept yelling, “TAKIN’ CARE OF BUSINESS!! TAKIN’ CARE OF BUSINESS!!”  To which they said, well, that’s all the crowd wants to hear anyway…so they break into TCB, to which Homer yells out, “GET TO THE GOOD PART!!”

Yeah.  That was how I felt watching that.  While I know Madonna has evolved over the course of her career, let’s be fair: people want to hear the ’80s shit.  If she had stuck to that, I think it would have been a lot better.

LOSERS: Sore winners.

I am a Jets fan.  I probably weighed the pros and cons of this Super Bowl a few times.  I wasn’t going to root for anything, but the Patriots losing did make me smile a little.  The Jets had nothing to do with the games.  They haven’t even friggin played since New Year’s Day.  But sore winners still make it a point to bring up the Jets’ faults.  Again, what the fuck does that have to do with anything?  And most Jets fans were happy about how it turned out last night.  Those who feel the need to bring that up don’t deserve to be happy about their team’s win.  Fuck them and the white horse they rode in on.

WINNER: New York

My mom once pointed out to me that I have an unnatural hate towards all things Boston.  That’s not true.  I don’t dislike the Red Sox.  You know, that whole “enemy of my enemy is my friend” BS.  In 2004, I was pleased as punch when Boston knocked out the Yankees and then went on to win the World Series (mostly as a baseball historian).  But I never liked the town of Boston.  It aggravates me to the point that I just trash it when I’m there.  My mom tells me I have a New York City complex.  While that may be true, the reality is, Boston doesn’t make it any better by contributing to the whole “inferiority complex” thing.  Like Philly. I also have an unnatural hate towards all things New England.  Not lobster.  Or New England clam chowda.  But Connecticut: HATE.  Massachusetts:  Hate hate hate.  I’m sure if I visited Vermont or New Hampshire, I’d find a reason to hate them too.

So New England – Fuck you!  Take a cue from what it’s like to be from a REAL metropolis.