December 2009

Beginning of Fourth Quarter

Ugh. Lawrence Taylor, Carl Banks,
Jason Sehorn, Harry Carson and Roman Oben are in the building. At halftime,
several of us considered if you put those former players in Giants uniform,
could they do any worse? As Banks said, this is a case of “DWI — don’t
want it.” Sad. And inexplicable.

Too often, these Giants just don’t
respond to adversity. They either don’t know how or don’t have the want-to.

Yes, the Redskins were complicit,
but the Giants looked so good Monday night because they jumped all over the
Redskins and never were challenged. Today, they have a promising first drive
derailed by a holding penalty then a lost fumble, and they can’t get off the
mat. Joe Buck just called it the worst tackling game he and Aikman have seen
all year. You can’t blame that on Bill Sheridan.

The Giants defenders must be
embarrassed. They’ve turned Brad Hoover — Brad Hoover! — into Larry Csonka.
It all comes full circle as Giants Stadium is giving a pathetic farewell by the
home team. And John Fox still can coach, which comes as no surprise to anyone
within the Giants organization, where he’s always been well respected.

That’s it from here. See you on
“This Week in Football.”

End of First Quarter

End of the first quarter: Manningham
can’t fumble there. Or anywhere. But especially on an initial drive in a game
the Giants have to have. Just ate chocolate pudding in the press room at Giants
Stadium for the final time. No ambiguity here. There will not be chocolate
pudding next week. The Jets have a different philosophy than the Giants when it
comes to feeding the media. It starts with no chocolate pudding.

Live from Giants Stadium

Hello from Giants Stadium. For the
final time for a Giants game. Huge crowd. Lots and lots of tailgaters.

I will never pretend to understand
weather, but I know this: It’s infinitely nicer today, on Dec. 27, than it was
for most of the Yankees home playoff games. The sun is shining and the Giants
are driving. Eli just completed a pass with Peppers in his grill. With Peppers,
you get the feeling he can be as good as he wants to be, don’t you?

Looking forward to Jets-Colts and
the Revis vs. Wayne subplot.

Will check in a bit later.


Holiday cheer

Xmas-12-24-250.jpgMerry Christmas! Happy Holidays!
Can’t believe it’s Christmas Eve. I swear, the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas shrunk this year. Wishing all of you the Happiest Holidays!
And wishing me some upward movement in our season-long picks on “This Week in Football!” The Giants saved me from an 0-fer last week, so I’ll pick them again. Two things: Someone (with help) has to block Julius Peppers and someone (with help) has to keep Steve Smith — the Carolina Panther — from having a monster day.
The Colts will beat the Jets because there is no way Peyton is going to stand and watch an undefeated season go up in flames during the final regular season game in Indy. No way.
And the Patriots will win against the Jags because the game is in New England and because these are the games the Pats always win.
That’s it for now. I’m planning to blog Sunday from the final Giants game at Giants Stadium. See you then!

NFL Picks: Granderson edition

It’s no given that Curtis Granderson is going to hit .300 or 30 home runs as a Yankee, but he certainly appears to be a guy who will have no trouble fitting in. He made quite a first impression at his introductory press conference Thursday. He has a remarkable reputation, as much for the amount of work he does in the community and as an ambassador for baseball as for his play. And if he does, indeed, join Alex for those hitting sessions with Kevin Long in early January, his production against lefties will improve. Long has that kind of track record.

On with my “This Week in Football” picks, made Tuesday and inexplicably delayed until now: Jets over Falcons because they can run the ball as well as anyone, even if they have a rookie QB with two knee braces. The Jets are kind of strange in that they’ve done a lot of talking this season — less lately — yet their best player, Darrelle Revis, is never heard from. Guess he does his talking on Sundays.

Giants over Redskins on Monday night because the Giants simply have no other choice but to play to win the game. Where’s Herm?

And I went with the Saints over the Cowboys. Two reasons: December is in the Cowboys’ heads and Sean Payton will be at his creative best as a play-caller against his former team. New Orleans City Hall closed early when the Saints played the Pats on Monday night. Can you imagine the party on a Saturday at the Superdome?

By the way, Alex told me Thursday that he watches “This Week in Football.” Of course he does! Who doesn’t?

NFL picks: The charade continues

Other than comic relief, there’s really no reason for me to continue to make picks for “This Week in Football.” That and producer Jared Boshnack’s insistence.

I think I’m a single game ahead of Gary Myers for last place. Embarrassing. For me. And, perhaps, Gary.

Anyway, we make our picks on Tuesdays. That I’m getting around to posting on Saturday evening is solely testament to my laziness. On Tuesday, we did not know that Mark Sanchez would not start. Or that Kerry Rhodes would continue tweeting. Or that the Steelers would go into the tank — completely — thus ruining my Survivor pool. (Why I picked them, I’ve no idea.)

So, here goes. My first pick was the Jets over the Buccaneers. The Jets were a unanimous pick on the set, if I remember correctly. If I knew Sanchez wasn’t making the trip to Tampa, I might have chosen the Bucs, just to be different. Really, what do I have to lose?

I went with the Giants over the Eagles. As we went around the table in the production meeting, I realized I was the only person to choose the Giants. As I see it, this is an opportunity for me to pick up a game. As long as Celek doesn’t go all Witten on the G-Men.

And as my wildcard, I selected the Vikings over the Bengals. The Vikings/Favres burned me the week before in Arizona. To some people — like Gary — that game provided evidence that Favre has begun a downward spiral that will continue through the final weeks of the season. I refuse to believe that. So I’m stubbornly sticking with the Vikes.

Enjoy Football Sunday, everyone!

Tired of Tiger? How about some Hot Stove?

I can’t stand the Tiger Woods stuff anymore. Really, I can’t. It was a strange, bizarre accident/incident nearly a week ago and the initial reports — that his injuries were “serious” — were alarming.

And then a few details emerged and you figured there had to be more to this story. (Who would have guessed how much more?) And I think everyone suspected the kind of stuff Tiger and his wife were, uh, discussing on Thanksgiving night.

And now it has become a media obsession that will not die. Talk show hosts who swear they aren’t interested in gossip won’t stop dissecting it. Tabloids have hit the lottery. And it is such a tired topic. Enough already.

So, if you need a diversion, we have “Hot Stove” tonight on YES — 6:30 and 10 p.m. — which includes an interview with Derek Jeter, just after he was presented as SI‘s Sportsman of the Year on Tuesday night.

And there’s always “This Week in Football,” for which I must make my picks. For better or worse. Usually worse, considering last week’s 1-2 effort. (Thank you, Saints.)

I’ll take the Jets over the Bills and look forward — as everyone does — to Revis vs. Owens. If Rogers Centre is indeed sold out, it should be a sight to see. The Blue Jays never see it full, that’s for sure.

I can’t pick the Giants again until they show something that resembles quality football. So I’ll go with the Cowboys in a game the G-men absolutely have to have.

And my third pick is Vikings over Cardinals in what should be a fun game to watch Sunday night. The MVP debate is going to heat up soon: Who’s it going to be? Peyton, Favre or Brees?