Thursday, January 24, 2008

Little big man

Ten free minutes for me, 10 free Dana Jacobson bleep-faced rants for you . . .

1. Remember when Kevin Faulk couldn't nudge aside a decaying Terry Allen to become the Patriots' feature back? Remember a few years later when he lost his third-down role to temporary hero J.R. Redmond? Remember when you cringed every time he carried the ball because it seemed like he fumbled in every big situation? Remember when Kevin Faulk wasn't nearly as dependable, clutch, admired, smart, tough, respected, and downright essential as he his now, in his ninth NFL season? Talk about a player who has redeemed himself, not only on the field but in the eyes of the fans. He's the heir apparent to Troy Brown as the team's designated Beloved Overachiever, and it's to his endless credit that he has arrived at this point in his career after such a maddening start.

2. It kills me how the ESPN hairdos and other would-be contrarians, in their desperation to find a way the Giants can stop the Patriots, repeatedly cite the 1990 Bills and the 2001 Rams as two historically great offenses who were defeated in the Super Bowl. I mean, c'mon - shouldn't it be obvious, even to the multi-concussed likes of Merril Hoge, what the common denominator was in those two games?

3. Let's see: Mike Vrabel allegedly tried to leg whip Philip Rivers in the AFC title game, Rodney Harrison's list of dastardly transgressions is long and distinguished, and I'd be tempted to side with Richard Seymour against Nick Hardwick's claim of cheap play if only he hadn't been caught stomping on the Colts' Tarik Glenn last season. If the Pats aren't careful, they're going to get the reputation as a dirty team. Which, frankly, is fine by me.

4. Philip Rivers yaps way more than a quarterback of his limited talent and accomplishment should, but after watching him gut it out against the Pats on a messed-up knee while LaDainian Tomlinson passed the biggest game of his career by brooding in his Haz-Mat suit on the bench, I know who I'd respect more in that huddle from here on out.

5. A pleasant dilemma for Danny Ainge: Should he sign Damon Stoudamire once his buyout with the Grizzlies becomes official, or should he gamble and hope that the superior Sam Cassell - a good buddy of KG's and proven postseason performer - becomes available in a similar fashion a few weeks down the road? I think I vote for the latter, though the risk is that Stoudamire signs elsewhere, Cassell doesn't become available, and we're stuck watching the likes of Tony Allen pass, punt, and kick the ball upcourt in a playoff game when Rajon Rondo is on the bench.

6. I suppose the man Bill Parcells christened "Beach Ball" deserves credit for being honest about who he's pulling for this week. To put this delicately, DeOssie doesn't strike me as a guy who always put family before football, but he wouldn't be the first person to get his priorities straight as he grew older.

7. Damn. Talk about seeing a ghost. A few days ago, I watched that '86 Maryland/North Carolina game on ESPN Classic - you know the game I mean, for it's remembered as Bias's definitive performance - and I was reminded yet again how easily the memories of his death come rushing back. Yeah, I'll probably check out the movie. But I doubt I'll see anything that wasn't permanently burned into my mind when I was 16 years old and devastated.

8. The closer we get to spring training, the closer I get to officially becoming concerned that Terry Francona doesn't have the lucrative, long-term contract he deserves. Here's hoping this is something Theo's getting done under the cover of darkness, and it'll be announced when we're not expecting it.

9. Best wishes to Tom Coughlin with your extensive skin-graft surgery, and here's hoping you don't come out looking like the Cat Lady. Seriously, by the end of the NFC Championship Game, he looked like a cross between the Snow Miser and Fire Marshall Bill. Couldn't he have at least worn some ear muffs?

10. As for today's Completely Random Hockey Card:

I pay about as much attention to hockey as I do to "The View," but I'm fairly certain the Bruins' coach looks nothing like this nowadays.

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