Not a sports fan? Read this anyway -- there's very little actual sports in here.
It's the most wonderful time of the year -- the NFL Football playoffs, which this year have the good sense both to begin on my birthday and to include Brett Favre. That calls for a double-whammy Nonstop! Nonsportsmanlike Conduct! Weeklong Special Edition of the:
NonSportsmanlike Conduct 100% Accurate, Never-Fail, Always-Right, Sure-Fire System For Picking The Playoff Winner.
This system, you'll recall, is the one that totally, 100% accurately, predicted that the 2009 World Series would be the St. Louis Cardinals against artist Christian Faur, thereby proving that the system works, unlike such other notable systems that clearly do not work. (Windows, the U.S. Senate.)
The NFL Playoffs are a huge deal, being the only playoffs in the only sport that I really care about (and since it's the only sport I really care about, it's also the only good sport, really.) So huge that I can't limit them to just one day, and that's why my Nonsportsmanlike Conduct! feature is spilling over from its usual unread Sunday position to all this week! For the remainder of this week, each day (hopefully!) I'll be putting up the only analysis you can rely on to determine who's going to win the Superbowl.
I'll be using the patented system that has never once failed ever (results +/- 100%). To recap, that system ranks teams not on offense or defense or dumb stuff like that; what good is knowing, for example, that the Packers have the number one rated defense in the NFL and were 7-1 (by sheer luck, I'm assuming) over the last 8 games? How's that going to help me figure out who's going to win?
No, I rely on far more accurate but underused indicators to make my never fail, 100% accurate predictions. Those indicators are, again, Best Mascot/Nickname, Craziest Fan, Politicians' Bets, and Weirdest Thing For Sale In Their Shop.
Ordinarily, I award one point to the team that wins each category. I'm going to break from tradition, and make the 100% system more accurate and scientific, by instead, ranking each team in each category on a 1-5 scale, awarding five points for something truly great, and 1 point for something truly lame. At the end of the rankings, then, the AFC and NFC teams with the most points will be the Super Bowl teams, and whichever has the most points will be the winner of that matchup.
Simple. Scientific. 100% Accurate. AND, for the first time ever, also, low in cholesterol. So this is not only good, but good for you.
We'll begin with the two lowest-ranked teams in the playoffs. From the AFC, that's the New York Jets, coming in as a six seed wild card.
From the NFC, that's obviously the Packers, who barely made the playoffs and will be lucky if they're allowed to suit up for the game.
Let me just google that last sentence to make sure my assumptions are accurate... what? The Packers are not the lowest-ranked playoff team? How'd that happen?
Apparently, Soon-To-Be-Fired Packers GM Ted Thompson, and coach Mike "Mike" McCarthy are the standard bearers in the Even a Blind Squirrel Federation. Whatever. So the lowest ranked team in the NFC is the Philadelphia Eagles.
Let's apply the NC!100%AN-F,A-R, S-F SFPTPW to these two playoff hopefuls*
(*note: they have no chance of winning. Sorry, New York & Philadelphia.)
1. Best Nickname/Mascot: The Jets have a timely nickname that ties into pop culture -- Jets -- and will no doubt enjoy a boost from the feel-good movie of 2009, Up In The Air.
On that note, Sweetie and I saw Up In The Air on our date last Friday. Our date was one of the more romantic dates we've been on lately, which really says something about us, or romance, or dating, or about the way the Packers managed to somehow luck into a playoff spot. Or about all of those things.
We arranged the date by getting The Boy to babysit, in exchange for letting him have a 2 a.m. curfew on New Year's Eve. That, on reflection, only guaranteed we'd get babysitting by someone too tired to actually take care of the Babies!, so to be on the safe side, we also timed our date to take place mostly during the Babies!' nap time. Once Mr F and Mr Bunches were safely locked in their room (note that I don't say "sleeping," since they never sleep), we headed out. First stop: Panera, where The Boy works. We went there for lunch, and to use the Internet, a move that was made necessary by the death of our laptop the morning before. When our laptop died, we were left without a computer in our house, which posed serious problems because Sweetie couldn't check her email, and couldn't keep up with celebrity gossip. It also meant that we couldn't actually order a new computer, because we do that through Dell over the Internet, and our old Dell computer was down.
Middle has a laptop, though, and she has wireless internet access -- but not through our account. So we needed someplace with wifi, and we chose Panera, where The Boy works, because it not only has free wireless Internet but also offers french onion soup and free soda refills.
We whiled away most of two hours there, alternating between me reading my Kindle and Sweetie getting caught up on celebrity gossip, and Sweetie reading her book while I ordered our new tiny 'puter. With that done, we then headed off for our date, getting to the movie theater to see Up In The Air just as previews were starting -- so late that we had to sit way up front and look at the screen from just below it.
Towering, looming images of George Clooney notwithstanding, the movie was excellent -- but it was not, as it turns out, the "feel good" movie of the year, even though the ads made it seem like it would be. It also involved Omaha, Nebraska, a lot, which counts against it a little. Also, the movie involved jets, with a small j, because most of the characters fly on them all the time.
On that basis, I'm going to give the Jets a 3 for their nickname. Scientific, isn't it? And, because I've been rambling on, I'm not going to spend much time on the Eagles. Let's just give them a 2, because eagles are boring, but double it out of patriotism because eagles are our national symbol. But then let's take away a half-point because Pennsylvania has an "official state electric locomotive," and that's a dumb thing to make an official state symbol out of.
So, so far, it's:
2. Craziest Fan: As always, we go to Youtube for this. Searching for crazy Jets fan gets us this guy:
That, I can only assume, is the world's ONLY out-of-shape anti-semitic dirty-joke telling superhero. Let's give it up for Jets Man! (Note: Jewish people, and people who aren't anti-Semitic, need not give it up for Jets Man.)
Who would win in a fight, though, between Jets Man and the number one result on Youtube for crazy Eagles fan? I give you... EAGLES MAN!
I like the scream at the end, because with that, the video answers the question: What's Howard Dean been doing with himself?
Jets Man is crazy, so he gets 5, but then I have to subtract 15 for being anti-Semitic. Eagles Man earns four: one for stealing the Lombardi Trophy, one for his cape, and 2 for heading up the DNC.
3. Politicians' Bets. You know what? I don't like this category. It's dumb. Politicians' bets are always dumb, because politicians are dumb. If they had anything useful to say or do, they'd not be in politics. Useful people don't go into politics; useful people get jobs and make money and help people out.
Politicians, on the other hand, are the kind of people who do well in the Iowa Caucuses, then drop out of sight until they resurface wearing a green cape and yelling Whoo!
So I'm eliminating this category. Instead, I'll replace it with Best Name On The Roster. This indicator is a follow-up of my long-held theory that the best quarterbacks are those with the best names, and by best names, I mean two simple criteria: One-syllable, manly first name, and strong-sounding last name. The closer a quarterback comes to those ideals, the better that quarterback is:
Joe Montana: Perhaps the best quarterback name ever, and winner of not only five Superbowls, but also now a rodeo rider and assistant screenwriter for the hit TV series Two and A Half Men (uncredited.)
Terry Bradshaw: weak first name, but the last name sounds burly: like Broad Shoulders.
You can do the rest of the work to determine how good your favorite quarterback is. But the theory is accurate, and explains how Trent Dilfer won a Superbowl, why Matt Hasselbeck might yet, and why Ryan Fitzpatrick never will.
I'm expanding that out to pick the Best Name On A Team's Roster, which I will do using the entirely-objective system of Whichever name I kind of like.
From the Jets' roster, I was tempted to go with former first-round pick D'Brickashaw Ferguson, on the scientific, objective basis of "I like a name with an apostrophe in it," but then I saw Chauncey Washington, a running back on the Jets whose career stats with New York show that he's never carried the ball for them. Not only that, but Chauncey is the Man With No Country -- his official team bio is blank.
That led me to develop some sympathy for Chauncey, and to hope that this weekend, in the Jets' only playoff game this year, he'll at least get one or two carries in what's bound to be a losing effort. That, in turn, led me to wonder whether growing up as a Chauncey made him tougher because of all the teasing he probably got as a kid; kids still tease each other over names, weight, height, glasses, and every other thing, right? If I had to get teased for being named Pagel, (wondering how they teased me? It rhymes with bagel. If you don't think a tasty bread-like treat can also be an insult, then you were never a kid), then kids should also have to get teased for being Chauncey.
That, in turn, made me remember that one episode of Friends where Chandler tried to be friends with Monica's dad, but Monica's dad thought Chandler's name was Chauncey, and then Chandler sat on Monica's dad's (naked) lap in the steam room, which, on reflection, was actually a very risque storyline for a sitcom that aired early in the evening.
I don't want to put a picture of that in here, so I'll settle for a screen capture of the time Jennifer Aniston dressed up as Princess Leia:
And not that I should know this, or ever make use of the site, but there's a whole website devoted to Princess Leia's metal bikini. I just thought I'd share that for you, and mention that I know what I want from Sweetie for my birthday.
So, Chauncey is the best name on the Jets' roster, and I'll award him a 4, or one point for every time he's carried the ball in the NFL.
The Eagles' choice was a little easier. While I was tempted to go with Defensive End Victor Abiamiri, because first, who's named Victor anymore, and, second, his last name sounds like it might mean something in some other fake, non-English language, so his name, translated, might be something like Victor "Looking Into The Future" or some such, I was quickly distracted by tackle King Dunlap, whose name outranked even Eagles' cornerback Macho Harris. I wanted to go with royalty as the best name. The only other people I know named after actual royal positions are Prince, Prince Albert, and the guy across from the courthouse who insists that I call him Viceroy and crosses the street to talk to me.
But then I noted that there are not one, but two "Quintins" on the Eagles' roster. And not only that, but they both play safety -- so the Eagles are the only team ever in history to have two safeties named Quintin (prove me wrong! I dare you!). On a hunch, I checked to see what secret, fate-defining meaning the name Quintin might have, and I learned that the hidden meaning of Quintin is... it comes from the name Quentin.
Quentin, in turn, means... the fifth. That probably is symbolic of something, I'm sure. I'll give Quintin five points; who am I to argue with a website set up to tell me the meaning of names?
4. Weirdest Thing For Sale In Their Shop.
The Eagles' official store has a category entitled Novelties, and under that, something called Eagles Forest. I clicked on that and found the Eagles Forest Tree in Neshaminy State Park . To my disappointment, you can't buy an Eagles Tree and have it shipped to you, so, Sweetie, you're not getting that for Valentine's Day.
Instead, you can, for the low-low price of $61.99, plant a tree in Eagles Forest! The idea is to offset the Eagles' greenhouse gas emissions, and, if you buy a tree to do that, you'll get "a card acknowledging the purchase." In 2-4 weeks.
While it's pretty obvious this concept doesn't work, I'm going to pick it for the Eagles anyway, and also lament that I didn't know about this in time for the Nongift! Nonguide!. I can only picture this exchange between two Eagles' fans in the stands of whatever stadium the Eagles play in:
Fan 1: (Pointing to his own jersey) Whoooo!! WHOOOO!! I love the Eagles. You can tell by my jersey that I am wearing. Whoooo!! (Looks to fan to his right, who's wearing regular clothes.) Don't you love the Eagles, man! Whoooo!!
Fan 2: Um, yeah. I do. Can you keep it down a little?
Fan 1: Whooo!! No can do, man! I love the Eagles! If you love them, why aren't you wearing an officially licensed replica jersey with an NFL-approved name that doesn't offend anyone?
Fan 2: I thought about doing that, but instead decided to help reduce the Eagles' carbon footprint by sponsoring a tree in the Eagles forest, hopefully reducing the number of greenhouse gases by nearly a ton over my lifetime, and preventing the polar ice caps from melting and flooding the eastern seaboard, including probably Philadelphia, which the author of this blog is pretty sure is kind of close to the Atlantic Ocean.
Fan 1: Um... Whooo!! Go Eagles!! (Passes out.)
From the Jets' pro shop, we get... nothing, because they don't have an official pro shop. You can, though, buy a woman's New York Jets' thong on eBay for only $7.99. This guy, in fact, is wearing one:
And I've got all that money left over from not buying an Eagles tree...
I'll give the Eagles five, and the Jets zero for not having a pro-shop. So the final tallies for these two teams is:
I'll look at the five seeds tomorrow. Until then, group photo!