The World Series is over, and maybe you can pay a little attention to another national pastime, the upcoming midterm national elections.
What? Oh. The NBA is in preseason, hockey is back, and of course, it's football season.
So let me put this in terms you can understand.
America's team is in real trouble, and you can help them out.
Are you ready for some (political) football?
With LOTS of yummy links?
Follow me to the sports section, inside
In retrospect, several other early season changes have proven costly as well. Making the second stringers practice out in the parking lot sure felt good, but the resulting injuries have hurt us in the long run. Renaming the team from the Raiders to the Patriots was confusing enough, but then changing it again to the Angels really alienated many of our fans. Perhaps the Separation of Sports principle is a sound one, after all. Replacing the marching band with a choir wasn't as inspirational to the fans as we originally thought, either.
Making the cheerleaders wear business suits and blanketing the TV with them was supposed to add respectability to a playing style that has, in the past, been a bit too physical for general audiences. As it turns out, the fans want what they've always wanted from the cheerleaders - meat.
Coach Rove's play calling, so effective in past seasons, seems to be stuck in a serious rut. First there was that disastrous 8-6-01 PDB play that led to a very costly fumble, and before you know it, America's team had suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of a pathetic, rag-tag Pop Warner team that didn't even have uniforms. Instead of rethinking strategies, Coach Rove kept up his same aggressive style: run right on first, second, and third downs, then throw a Hail Mary on fourth down. Aside from being utterly predictable, this one-dimensional game plan resulted in an astonishing lack of yardage.
The almost universal lack of experience in the first string, notably the offensive line, has proven to be another liability. Throughout the 2000 draft, and the even brighter 2002 draft, all of our acquisitions talked forcefully about knocking the other teams off the ball, off the field, and into early retirement. But as it turns out, it's helpful to have actually played before. It gives players a better sense of the discipline and training required to win games in this league.
Our fortunes seemed to be looking up earlier in the season, when the league looked the other way regarding some significant changes in the rules that were designed to help the team win the games it always felt it should win. Widening the right side of the field by another 100 yards certainly aided the play-calling style of Coach Rove, and the new rule about stopping play every time quarterback Bush fumbled the snap was a big help, indeed. Because Bush's experience on the field was limited to being a cheerleader, allowing him to pick his own referees, always play offense, and spot the ball anywhere on the field were also beneficial changes.
But lady luck just doesn't seem to be on our side. There was that play where Bill Frist, a highly-touted receiver, ran out of bounds and collided with that hapless family in the Florida emergency game. Nose tackle Dick Cheney took aggression to a whole new level when he played the Texas game with a gun, (and used it on a teammate), guard Tom DeLay, safety Duke Cunningham, cornerback Bob Ney, and publicist Jack Abramoff have all been caught up in a betting scandal, to say nothing of the recent wide receiver problems, or that disastrous game at the Superdome. Now it turns out those prayer circles on the fifty yard line, such a fan favorite after games, are actually circle jerks. At this point, even the water boy is in trouble!
These events, and so many others, have finally led to a change among the fans. Where they used to come in droves and cheer wildly even before the game, now there is a sense they come to see a ghastly spectacle, like staring at a train wreck.
So what is America's team to do? Well, remember those second stringers? The ones practicing without pads out on the asphalt? They're ready to play. They're tough, they're battle hardened, and they have a game plan that is realistic and plays by the old rules, which always made for a better game.
Let's put them in.