Sports

Super Bowl Weekend Open Thread

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While real sports fans turn their eyes this weekend to an epic battle of cellar-dwelling college basketball teams–the rest of us will be killing time tomorrow evening watching overhyped TV commercials get interrupted by the occasional forward pass and muffed field goal.

So have at it, Hit & Run's weekend warriors: Which team of latter-day warriors will emerge victorious when the final gun sounds in Super Bowl XLI? Put on your best John Facenda and offer up a hypothetical highlight reel for tomorrow: Will Peyton Manning rise to the call like a champion or simply secure his birthright as a high-performance, second-generation NFL loser? Will Johnny Unitas and his squadmates from Baltimore haunt the Colts like Banquo's ghost at an all-you-can-eat buffet, damning the Indianapolis squad to also-ran status? Will the Monsters of the Midway pay honest tribute to the legacy of Mike Ditka and his '86 winners, or will they end up the girdiron equivalent of the inedible Chunky Beef Soup a pre-coronary Ditka used to pitch as readily as a sideline fit?

You get the picture. And while you're discussing Super Bowl's past and present, for god's sake, think about the policy implications of corporate welfare for filthy stinking rich team owners, the signal economic role played by one Joe Willy Namath and other sports free agents in the coolification of America, and whether Black Sunday scenarios are legitimate excuses to curtail civil liberties.

NEXT: Islamocreationism

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  1. Well, while for the 41st consecutive year the Cleveland Browns won’t be playing in the Super Bowl, at least one of their own finally made it into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in his final year of eligibility. Congratulations Gene Hickerson.

  2. A drinking game: Drink whenever Peyton Manning licks his fingers before taking the snap, etc. By the third quarter you’ll be Drinky the Drunk Guy Who Drinks a Lot.

  3. The real question is whether there will be a Superfans sketch on Saturday Night Live tonight.

  4. Hey, the sporting event I am looking forward to this weekend is on tonight – UFC 67! The debuts of Cro-Cop & Jackson! Oughta be exciting…

    – R

  5. My hatred of Peyton Manning is boundless. I was praying for the Bears to win 50 – 3 when I got an even better idea. Please dear god I want the Bears to win in the last second on the worst blown call in the history of television sports. Peyton will not stop crying all offseason long.

  6. Bears 84, Colts zip. Not gonna be pretty.

  7. scrooge – damn, that’s harsh. That would make this one of the worst superbowls of all time.

    Yeah, just what I wanna see.

    I, personally, have no dog in the SB fight, although it would be funny if Peyton is the next Jim Kelly (which would make the Colts the next Buffalo Bills, natch).

  8. Peyton deserves one. One. Tony Romo should be there. Next year.

  9. i couldn’t care less about indy. i couldn’t care less about the bears. but it’s very, very important to me that at the end of each quarter and at the end of the game, the bear’s score ends in 1 and the colt’s score ends in 0.

    -cab

  10. as in, Bears 21, Colts 30?

    my idea of a perfect NFL season: every team loses every game, then the NFL folds up and goes home. NFL players get jobs working construction and bagging groceries. NFL franchises stop blackmailing municipalities into building stadiums with tax money.

  11. Colts 27
    Bears 10

    The better team blows the worser team away.

  12. NFL franchises stop blackmailing municipalities into building stadiums with tax money.

    Oh, c’mon, we all know why rent-shopping is a problem – it’s because of the idiots who will pay, not the ones looking for the handout.

    It’s really hard to imagine saying this, but L.A. has shown remarkable good sense on this subject. It’s the NFL gnashing it’s collective teeth on not being in the nations top media market.

  13. LA’s open market is the bargaining chip that has “forced” the cities to offer new stadiums to their malcontent teams. They’re keeping LA open on purpose until all of the “next generation” stadiums are built. Then they move the _____

  14. I’m going to cry if the biggest stories next year are

    1) Peyton can’t win in the clutch, even though he has more come-from-behind wins than any other active QB
    2) McNabb has found himself in a QB controversy, even though no one can find a guy who will actually say Garcia is better
    3) The billionaire Saints are “America’s Team”

  15. Let me all remind you that the Colts actually did manage to win a game on the road after the first half of the regular season. Sure, they didn’t score a touchdown, but don’t get picky.

    And let me remind you of how the AFC is the dominant conference. Do you think the NFC cellar dweller could have beaten the Colts when the Colts had a playoff bye on the line?

    The team with the worse defense does win the Super Bowl 14% of the time — how could a Colts fan not like those odds?

    Finally, the Colts have Peyton Manning. He’s got a ton of playoff experience, as his 3-6 playoff record before this season indicates.

  16. WTF — only one game this Sunday? How about they institute a consolation game, like the Playoff Bowls of the 1960s, between the conference runners-up, as a TV prelim? This time it’d be the Pats & Saints.

  17. I don’t know. I just wonder if Mike Ditka is done telling me about Toilet Safety, how Don Shula’s Nutrisystem is going, and if Peyton’s mom has used her Master Card to buy 50 lb. pags of potato chips at Sam’s Club yet.

  18. I just watched The Protector. Any thoughts on the portrayal of the Thai as morally pure savior and Chinese and “farang” (meaning westerner, in this case Aussie) as evil villian in the context of the 1997 economic collapse and the domination of the Thai business world by the Chinese?

  19. This year I will be doing the same tradition all quasi-men do; pretend to care about the stupid ball game while hoping that the commericals this year aren’t as shitty as they where last year.

  20. This year I will be doing what I always do during the Stuporbowl: Trying to find something worth watching on the other networks.

  21. I keep hearing people quote the Vegas odds to me: “Colts by 7. Colts by 7.” Yeah, yeah, way to pick your guess out of some official betting book you wankers. They said the same thing about the Saints game, and look how that turned out!

  22. I will be drinking. I will eventually pee 🙂

    *fart*

  23. Actually, neither UConn nor Rutgers is currently in last place – that honor goes to post-Huggins Cincinnati. But I did actually catch the end of that game, and outside of Rutgers making a last-minute 3-pointer to send it into overtime, it was terrible. If UConn had made their free throws, it would have been easily over in regulation. Both offenses looked brutal.

  24. Manning does a lot of ads. I’m pretty sure after tomorrow, Isotoner will be giving him a call, if you know what I mean.

    Bears 34, Colts 10.

  25. Oh, stop your whining yous guys!

    I am the one working all night in a commo truck at Dolphin Stadium. Almost tired of hearing anything to do with the event.

    The “NFL Team Store” in the NFL Experience area takes Visa or cash only, no American Express!

    Check out pictures from the last week or two here.

    I must be getting rusty at my hooker spotting skills, or they are working a different shift than when I am out and about (1600 – 2000). When driving up to North Miami to visit a cousin she said that I was driving through a hooker zone around US Rt.1 and 50th Street. Did not see anybody who looked hookerish at 1630. Driving back three hours later yielded no different results.

    While chatting with the desk staff at my hotel they mentioned hookers hanging around the lobby by the hotel and the condo elevators during the day, but I did not spot any. Some gal walked by while we were talking and I asked if I just missed one and they said “no, I think she is a guest”.

    Like I said before, I hope Castro stays alive until I am back in VA on Monday afternoon. Quiet and peaceful is better than the alternative. So much for piece-full.

  26. Lowdog

    Peyton is not in danger of becoming the next Jim Kelly, he’s in danger of becoming the next Dan Marino.

  27. And another thing. I am getting sick of KC and the Sunshine Band! Get them off of every news channel!

    Great, now all the action ios at American Airlines Arena, near my hotel, while I am way over here at Dolphin Stadium.

  28. Also, NFL gear appears to be cheaper outside of the NFL Team Store at Dolphin Stadium than it is inside. I swear I saw the exact same t-shirts for $5 – $10 less at the Marriott than they were on site.

  29. Great, just great.

  30. RSDavis,
    I am with you on the UFC 67 thing. On new years day I got to watch Chuck Liddel KO Ortiz, that was a cool new years.

    I won’t be able to watch this one as there is no tv where I am at now.

  31. Cro Cop blew that chump up.
    Jackson looked good (not great).

    And is this the thread where I say I’m going to drink myself into oblivion watching the 6’5″, 235 lb quarterback, laser, rocket arm decimate Da Bears?

  32. Sorry, I just can’t take another 4 hours of the poor Peyton Manning story, or New Orleans for that matter.

    And sure as HELL not going to listen to Jim Nance for another 60 seconds. Thought that guy bombed in tennis. Is that what the Superbowl has become?

    I’ve been avoiding ESPN at all costs for the last two weeks.

  33. u gonna laugh, but I liked the XFL. the main reason was that the salaries were so cheap. I continue to believe that they got booted by NBC becuase the low salarys represented a threat to the sports industry and pressure was applied to dump the TV contract. QB’s made 50K a yr. Once the stupid wrestling shit was removed from it, the games were watchable.

    if the XFL had been successful, it would undermined the entire grossly inflated cost structure in sports.

  34. A Hurricane vs. a certain coach Lovie. Who wins?

    DAAAAA Lovie.

    What if da hurricanes name is Lovie?

    Oooo….

  35. Bears 33, Colts 27. Colts remember they can’t stop the run, leading to another year of insufferable Manning talk.

    Prince sings “Little Red Corvette”.

    The long time rumor of a Disney Land being built north of Dallas are floating around stronger than ever this year in the real state market, so don’t be surprised if an announcement is made after the SB. If I’m wrong, then you shouldn’t believe in rumors.

  36. Final Score:
    Bears 41
    Colts 13

    This is not really a prediction, since earlier in the week I was visited by the Ghosts of the Chicago Bears Past, Present, and Future in a dream. I peeked at the final scoreboard while the Spirit of the Chicago Bears Future was dragging me around Miami. That was a mistake – no real suspense in watching the game for me now.

    Anyway, the whole Dickensian tale is linked below, but will probably only be understood and appreciated by Bears fans:

    “Da Bears Song in Prose – Being a Ghost Story of the Superbowl”

    Having learned the outcome of the game, before the game, I am pondering other weightier issues, including those offered by Nick. However, Nick may have overlooked the most important question to consider before the game: Who would Jesus bet on?

  37. My husband used to host a “male bonding” party to watch the Superbowl. His guy friends had to refrain from shaving on Saturday or Sunday, and come dressed in their most obnoxiously macho clothing. (The best costume I remember involved a hunting cap, T-shirt with slogan for power tools, and a bottle of Old Spice. That guy was gay, by the way.) They watched 3 Stooges movies at half time, and ate nothing that didn’t come in boxes. (Well, one year he barbequed ribs, but that was okay since it only involved applying meat to fire.) They also developed a rating system for the commercials involving stacking beer cans.

    We wives and girlfriends usually went shopping or to the Zoo in San Antonio if the weather was good.

    Now that we all have kids and real responsible jobs, we no longer do this.

  38. my wish is that, during a live televised interview, jim irsay suffers a sudden debilitating stroke that causes him to foul himself. the stroke leaves him fully conscious and aware but totally unable to communicate or move in any way. he suffers as an aware vegetable for years until the day that some merciful power blackout shuts off his respirator.

    did i mention i’m from baltimore?

  39. I lost interest in sports a couple years ago. Pretty much when I started reading. No way I have the time for both.

    With that said, and since this is an open thread, anybody reccommend any good books? I like philosophical novel types (i.e. Thus Spoke Zarathistra, Candide) but not those with a socialist message and a couple degrees more sophisticated than Ayn Rand. Existentialism is good too.

  40. Since I dislike sports, I’m going to hide out in my place, painting my 1/3000 scale WWII German ships and playing MST3K videos.

    I’m not coming out until the last sloshed yahoo is safe in the city drunk tank.

  41. The real question is: Are we going to see Beyonce’s titties? Or, barring that, Prince’s?

  42. “Since I dislike sports, I’m going to hide out in my place, painting my 1/3000 scale WWII German ships and playing MST3K videos.”
    This past thanksgiving they made me work a 8-hour shift at Blockbuster, which constisted of me and my co-workers watching every bootleg copy of MST3k I could get a hand of, chatting it up with the 5 or 6 customers who came into the store and enjoying the meal my mom brought in from home. (All while earning time and a half) You mentioning how you’re spending Superbowl Sunday made me realize that this past thanksgiving was my greatest Thanksgiving ever.

  43. I’m always somewhat relieved when this bit of noise has passed.

    Hey, I’m not in the game, I don’t bet on them, and once I realized that my early interest in sports was mainly an attunement to my father’s passion for them, I readily let them go.

  44. edna – I hope you have enough of a soul to realize that the Ravens are an abomination every bit as bad as the Indianapolis Colts. Nevertheless, I’m rooting for the Colts just so the hypocritical assholes in Baltimore feel bad.

    /Browns fan

  45. the ravens did not steal out in the middle of the night and use jim brown’s image to promote themselves. the browns still play in cleveland.

    laundry has a deep emotional resonance, make no mistake- think of “flag-burning.”

  46. Touching on a libertarian theme, does anyone else agree there are too many damn rules in the NFL? And I’m not just talking about instant replay, where inevitably a wrong but non-reviewable call will decide the game anyway. Illegal motion? Ineligible receivers? Illegal formation? Too much legislation. Put 11 guys on a side and let ’em go for it.

  47. UHHHH. I know the Bears technically won in 1986 but its obvious that the writer of this “hit and run” doesn’t watch much football because no football fan would have refered to them as the the “’86 winners”……

  48. Don’t kid yourself. If Saint Artie had had his druthers, you’d be rooting for the Baltimore Browns, who would put up statues of Otto Graham and Leroy Kelly in the Inner Harbor. And yes, Art did run out of town with no warning after doing a bunch of shady dealing. He’s every bit as nasty as Isray was.

    But yeah, football is stupid. I hate how it causes me to do irrational things like waste money on tickets and cheer for Baltimore to slide into the sea.

  49. Right on, Tim. What gets me is that you’re not allowed to so much as touch the QB in his head. It bugs the crap out of me when a quarterback gets away from a sack because the defender let go of him for fear of drawing an unnecessary roughness penalty.

  50. Yeah, it also bugs me when a QB runs with it, then fakes a slide so the defender lets up, only to run a few extra yards. If you get rid of the slide rule, then QB’s have the choice of hitting the ground sooner or taking the hit. Just enforce the late hit penalty.

    As far as shots to the head goes, I’m not so sure. I don’t like watching people suffer brain injuries on the field either.

  51. you’d be rooting for the Baltimore Browns

    no, we wouldn’t. baltimoreans have an almost arabic sense of historic wrongs and slights. the brown name carries too much baggage there. we remember 1964.

  52. I want the Bears to lose. I want everyone in Shit-cago to be miserable. I want to whole damn disgusting city to crumble into Lake Michigan and everyone die a slow death INCLUDING THAT BITCH OF AN EX-GIRLFRIEND OF MINE WHO DUMPED ME LIKE A HOT POTATO AND THEN HAD THE GALL TO MOVE TO CHICAGO, GET HAPPILY MARRIED AND HAVE A GREAT LIFE! Not that I’m bitter, or anything…

  53. I too liked the XFL. I prefer football that’s off the beaten track. I go to women’s and minor league men’s footall games, also rugby, of which I played a little too. I especially like single wing and related offenses.

    I’m trying to get some team to implement my Horse Fly, which combines the sidesaddle T with the single wing and wing T. From one formation you can run the fly (or jet) sweep series faster than conventionally, plus single wing power series without the center’s having to look between hir legs, plus a wicked crossbuck series with fewer handoffs, speed options by different combinations of backs, quick and running passes, faster drop back passes, quick pitches, any conventional wing T or T-bone plays you want, and what amounts to an extra blocker on some plays. All you have to do is turn your quarterback sideways and practice one blind lob snap.

  54. Yes, Tim, there are way too many arbitrary rules in football. It makes the whole enterprise so maddeningly (hah hah, football pun) constricted.

    I’m genuinely baffled by football’s rise as the most popular American spectator sport. I’ve no doubt that volumes have been written on the topic, probably with a bunch of blah-blah-blah about football as a metaphor for warfare and real masculinity and American industriousness and God knows what else.

    But I don’t understand how the appeal was able to transcend several basic obstacles — the game’s herky-jerky flow, the long stretches where nothing happens, the lack of personal connection for viewers because players are disguised by pounds of gear, etc. That all strikes me as a recipe for something totally NOT television-friendly, yet sports historians trace the NFL’s rise to the TV era.

    But what do I know. I’m a major sports fan, but I prefer fluid, animated games where players’ personal athletic skills are easily displayed — basketball, soccer, even baseball, despite its own herky-jerky pace.

  55. Robert, I have little idea what you’re talking about but your Horse Fly sounds pretty fucking cool.

  56. “you’d be rooting for the Baltimore Browns”

    I even traveled from NY to go to a Balto. Stallions (CFL Colts) game in Memorial Stadium vs. the Argos. It helped that there was a prelimary Rugby League international between the USA & Canada, and a RL 10s club match between Havre de Grace and Phila. in the stadium too. That was the first time I got a sunburn on my bald spot.

    Years earlier I went to an Interstate Football League game around there in which my cousin Terry Beck played for Reisterstown against I forgot whom from Penna.

  57. Tom2, I don’t understand it either. When I was a kid my father had NY Jet season tickets, and I went to nearly every home game for about 7 or 8 years. I’ve gradually lost interest (even during Jet’s winning season) due to a combination of rule changes, my increasing sensitivity to the on field injuries, and my aversion to face-painters.

    But aside from an occasional exhibition, I don’t see American football expanding to other countries like baseball or basketball, primarily because there are too many rules to learn in order to understand the game.

  58. Why if Football so popular? One word

    Gambling.

    Only fools bet on individual baseball and basketball games because there is so many elements of chance in s aingle game. That is why both sports have long seasons. In baseball especially, the difference between a good team and a bad team is about one win a week.

    In football, the better team wins 75% of the time and the factors that go into an upset can often be discerned in advance. That’s why the line is so important in football gambling. It turns a simple game of skill and research into a game of chance.

  59. Re Guy Montag’s puzzlement of the lack of visible hookers (i.e. streetwalkers):

    This is just my own opinion based on observation, but for at least the last decade or so, prostitution appears to have gravitated towards on premises work (both incall “bordellos” and outcalls) and away from the streets. The reasons probably vary in each locality, but my guess is that the operant factors include the rise of the intubeweb and the LE emphasis on street-level crime eradication (definitely the case in NYC, with which I am most familiar). For the working girls, it it all win-win: working indoors is usually safer, results in higher earnings, and is less likely to result in arrest.

  60. So, Cro Cop looked good against that patsy. I loved how the guy said “The name ‘Cro Cop’ goes in one ear and out the other. I’m not afraid of him,” then proceeded to run like a 12 year old girl until nasty leg kicks removed his ability to do so.

    I was annoyed that our local cable outfit didn’t broadcast the thing in high def, but it was good time and chicken wings on a night before the super bowl.

    Discussion: Is Dana White of the UFC the best capitalist you’ve seen over the past 10 years?

  61. Smart money seems to be on Colts winning, but not covering. I am not smart, so I’m taking the Colts and laying the seven. Bears could easily win this game: Colts kicking directly to Hester, Grossman completing a few bombs to Berrian/Bradley, Harrison failing to show up again in the playoffs…

    I just think Evil Rex will show up and that the Colt’s D hasn’t been a fluke the last three games. Really, I couldn’t care less, since my fantasy season’s been done for the last month.

    From Grand Chalupa, “With that said, and since this is an open thread, anybody reccommend any good books? I like philosophical novel types (i.e. Thus Spoke Zarathistra, Candide).”

    Anything by Chesterton. Love “The Man Who Was Thursday.”

    My opinion why football’s so popular is that it combines violence with a game that is almost perfectly cropped for television. I’ve no idea why people pay the outrageous prices they do for NFL tickets when the game is far better at home than on t.v.

    On the flip side, soccer is one of those games that’s infinitely preferable live.

  62. Holy shit!!! The song playing during the “hits of the play-offs” montage, segment whatever, was from my friends band. Or at least these guys I know, whatever, that’s freakin cool!!!! Good for them.

  63. Gray Ghost,

    Soccer is certainly preferable live, but the “infinitely” part can be dropped if you’ve seen it on HDNet. Even the relatively lower quality of MLS is pretty awesome in 16:9 HD.

  64. Gaah. So what do the Colts do? Kick it to Hester. Sigh.
    The Colts look like crap so far. And this is why I don’t pick games professionally…

    I’ve not seen soccer on HD; I don’t have an HD set (or even cable, unfortunately). It sounds great. What kills me about soccer on tv is that they generally isolate on the guy with the ball, and completely ignore the rest of the developing play. Not really much they can do about it, given the difficulty of conveying depth on a screen. Maybe HD makes it easier, I dunno.

  65. Ghost,

    That’s an American lack-of-clue about broadcasting soccer at play there. Whenever possible, European, South American, Mexican, whoever, shoot the game with as much field in view as is practical.

    HD, coupled with actual clue means much better experience. The extra width on a 16:9 screen makes quite a bit of difference over a 4:3.

  66. Anything by Chesterton. Love “The Man Who Was Thursday.”

    Never heard of the man. Looked him up on Wikipedia and it turns out that he was a Christian apologetic, and even worse, a Christian apologetic after Darwin came along. On the other hand, the first paragraph of the Wikipedia article says

    He is one of the few Christian thinkers who are admired and quoted equally by liberal and conservative Christians, and indeed by many non-Christians.

    So, since we’ve got such a fine library system here at the University of Colorado I’ll be sure to check out the Man Who Was Thursday tommorrow and let you know.

    And I’m reading nothing else of the Wikipedia article so I can go in fresh.

  67. Grand Chalupa,

    As long as you are headed to the library check out Alan Dundes’ Holy Writ as Oral Lit: The Bible as Folklore.

  68. Actually American football is catching on elsewhere as a participant sport (and to some degree as a spectator sport), especially in English-speaking countries. Yes, the rules are complicated, but those of Rugby Union are approximately the same degree of complication, and that’s a fairly global sport. The simpler game, Rugby League (simplest of the ballcarrying forms of football), is less popular everywhere except Australia. So mere complexity of the rules isn’t that big a determinant.

    http://pointme.to/football for a good compilation of links, though it’s gotten a bit behind.

  69. The Super Bowl once again demonstrates that Latin was invented to count the number of these events. Well, that and dividing a day into a.m. and p.m. 😉

  70. So glad the super-duper bowl is over. Why the rest of us have to put up with that shit and football in general is beyond me. We get money ripped out of our pockets to pay for stadiums so flabby-assed neanderthals can watch bigger-assed neanderthals drag each other around a little field all day.

    Oh, I know. It’s good for business. It brings communities together. It gives people something to cheer for on the weekends and a respite from their boring jobs. In that case, I’d prefer we legalize prostitution and turn it into a team sport. Build stadiums for our ‘ho’s. Give ’em team names. Think of how it will build morale in the community, create new business, really give people something to cheer for. Strangers waiting in supermarket check-out lines will be brought closer together. “Hey,” the bag boy will say, “how ‘about them ‘ho’s!” Customers will nod and smile as they pick up their bags and head out the door looking forward to the next weekend of bachnaliaic glory.

  71. brutus,

    Football is a sort of civic religion.

  72. Grotius,

    …and like most (all) religions, it is exceptionally silly.

  73. …except that football is more like religion in that sense than many other sports that are considered to be religion-like. Only golf has more rules overall, though golf’s body of rules seem somewhat less arbitrary and self-contradictory.

  74. Oh, I know. It’s good for business. It brings communities together. It gives people something to cheer for on the weekends and a respite from their boring jobs. In that case, I’d prefer we legalize prostitution and turn it into a team sport. Build stadiums for our ‘ho’s. Give ’em team names. Think of how it will build morale in the community, create new business, really give people something to cheer for. Strangers waiting in supermarket check-out lines will be brought closer together. “Hey,” the bag boy will say, “how ‘about them ‘ho’s!” Customers will nod and smile as they pick up their bags and head out the door looking forward to the next weekend of bachnaliaic glory.

    You guys are freakin hilarious. Chris Hitchens once wrote an article I wish I could find (buried somewhere on hitchensweb.com) about how he detested having strangers bring up sports to him as some kind of lame attempt at male bonding.

  75. The Roman numerals on the Super Bowl came about because it wasn’t initially clear the game would persist as an annual affair. The original Super Bowl was thought by some to be a one-time affair whose name had been suggested by Lamar Hunt (after the Super Ball) and was propagated by sportswriters. So the second was dubbed by those same sportswriters (and TV networks) Super Bowl II like a movie sequel. By the time the NFL & AFL officially adopted that name for it (starting with Super Bowl III), that tradition had stuck. Had it been clear from the start that it would be contested in approximately the same format annually, and had that name been adopted officially, it’d’ve been devoid of any numbering, like the college bowl games.

    As to the supposed arbitrariness of the various North American football codes, I can point to every single significant rules provision (not some of NFL’s & CFL’s chickenshit like the dress codes) and give a reason for it (not that every one of them suits my own preferences, but that I understand the justific’n for them) in terms of one or more of:
    making the game or a feature thereof not too easy
    making the game or a feature not too hard
    adjusting the balance between offense and defense
    safety of the participants
    ease of administration by officials
    providing tactical and strategic choices
    adjusting the duration of the games
    allowing the development and display of certain skills
    all based more on experience than on anticipation. Remember that the NFL did not invent football.

    I hope these HTML list tags work here.

  76. Grand Chalupa,
    It’s not a novel but I recommend “The Blank Slate” by Steven Pinker. One of the most intellectually invigorating books I have read in a long time. Maybe some talented novelist could give those ideas some bones and a face. The hero could then give a long 80 page speech at the end summing up all the ideas: “You claim that man is nothing more than an empty vessel waiting to be filled, but I say unto you, the brain of a new born babe is like a complex blue print to a great house: the structural support, the wiring, the organization, is all there, all that is needed to be filled in is the furniture and then the-…..” zzzzz, what? Oh sorry, must have nodded off. 🙂

  77. Any advice or predicitons in this thread by anyone claiming to be me (while not denying or confirming the possibility that they may or may not have been written by me) was posted while I was in a state of temporary insanity. Legal and medical documentation available on request. Any and all posts and comments while I was in this state are now formally declared inoperative. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation during this difficult time. I am feeling better now.

  78. Grand Chalupa,
    It’s not a novel but I recommend “The Blank Slate” by Steven Pinker. One of the most intellectually invigorating books I have read in a long time.

    Already read it twice and I loved it. Should be required reading. Helped change my views on politics and life. I also recommend stuff by Thomas Sowell.

    And even though we give her a hard time, I thought Ayn Rand had great insights into the psychology of those who preach misery. I just wish all her books were about three quarters shorter.

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