Zeus stops by in his inimitable manner for the latest episode of This and That:


1. Schadenfreud (On Another Matter) – Spent Thursday in New York on business, and was feeling pretty good riding back on the train Friday morning. The Big Alpo was in a monumental funk, reacting with fury over the now defunct 2012 Yankees, lamenting them as the biggest waste of $200 million in the entire history of money. Which is pretty cool. Seeing this gigantic cesspool of semi-humanity and abject filth in such an indescribably foul mood really brightened my day and gave me reason to be optimistic about the upcoming weekend.


2. Woody and the jets – Robert Wood (“Woody”) Johnson IV’s most notable accomplishment is being the great-grandson of the founder of Johnson & Johnson. Since buying the vile jets in 2000, he has waged an epic battle with Knicks’ owner Charles Dolan to see who is the stupidest member of The Lucky Sperm Club in the northern hemisphere.

It is Woody who is responsible for the Tim Tebow debacle. The idiot owner brought in Tebow against the wishes of Mike (Oh!) Tannenbaum and Le Grand Rex. In so doing, Woody has effectively put the once and future quarterback in the display window at Saks Fifth Avenue, asking him to preen for the leering, brain-damaged hyenas that constitute The New York Sporting Press. Meanwhile, Mike and Rex spend a disproportionate amount of their time propagating metric tons of obvious bullsh!t regarding the Insane Decoy Plan of the Week, a harebrained scheme to trick the next opponent into devoting hours of practice time dealing with Tebow in some heretofore unexplored role (this week, a running back; next week, nose tackle …)

One would understand completely if young Mr. Tebow were to be puzzled and frustrated by all of this. He can’t relish being used as a prop by the owner and a decoy by the coach. He is, after all, a football player who has had some degree of success. Just why it is that God’s plan (in its infinite wisdom) has to include Tebow as the object of an insane Tug-of-War involving the deranged, the fat and the stupid? I mean you have to feel just a little bit sorry for the guy.


3. A Long Strange Trip – Back here at home, we reflect on The Curious Case of the 2012 New England Patriots. This is as inexplicably strange a football team as I have ever encountered in over 50 years of watching grown men try to bash each other’s brains out for fun and profit. Had they played just a little bit better, it’s not too hard to imagine that 3-3 could very easily have been 6-0. Just a little bit better.

And it is an undeniable fact that there is enormous room for improvement in all phases of the game:

  • The defensive backfield has treated opposing receivers as though they are carriers of a highly contagious and lethal plague.
  • The offense has had strange episodes of flat out refusing to traverse from The Red Zone to The End Zone, fearing that anyone doing so would be repeatedly shocked with gigantic electric cattle prods until they begin to drool uncontrollably in the manner of Woody Johnson.
  • The Special Teams Prank of the Week (a blocked punt here, a missed field goal there …) is giving Coach Belichick acid reflux and a rash on his ankles.
  • The Coaching Staff has lapsed into the occasional mid-game incoherent stupor, doing things that are, well, perplexing to say the very least. Plus, rumors abound that those coaching the defensive backs have been kidnapped and are being held hostage in a yurt somewhere in Outer Mongolia.

You can readily see how this has taken its toll on the average and not-so-average fan alike. So, where does this leave us? Well, the upside is tremendous and the downside is frightening. It wouldn’t surprise me a bit if this team were to miss the playoffs entirely. Or win the Super Bowl.

Public Safety Notice: TV viewers are advised to keep defibrillators and suitable emergency medication (gin, ether, nitrous oxide, valium, etc.) on hand for the balance of the season.


4. Houston, We Got a Problem – The self-proclaimed best team in the league through week 5 is clearly not the best team in the league through week 6. I’m not sold on these guys because, let’s face it, they haven’t won anything yet. Still, smarmy Cris Collinsworth stuck with the script Sunday night, praising J.J. Watt for having a great game even while the Texans’ defense gave up 42 points in the process of getting utterly humiliated on national television.


5. The Falcons remain undefeated because they are doing precisely what the Patriots have failed to do – make big plays to win close games. Atlanta has come perilously close to losing home games to the Panthers and the Raiders, both teams the Falcons should have handled with ease. A good but not dominant team. (And – please, please, please – let’s stop with this “Matty Ice” nonsense. A likable guy, a good player, but save the nickname at least until he’s won his first playoff game.)


6. Mediocrity abounds in the AFC where only the battered Ravens and the suddenly exposed Texans are above .500. It’s way too early for anybody to be talking about playoff seedings.


7. Crossroads – Still, the Patriots find themselves at a fork in the road this weekend. It’s true that six weeks do not make a season, but the time has come to stop showing up for every other game and to start playing consistent football. I had suggested that the influx of youth might result in some hiccups in the early going. Fine, but let’ get on with it already. Sunday would be a great time to start.






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