Sports & More Strange Brew Sports & More Strange Brew

  • As close as it got....

    Posted by Jon Henseler

    Ahhhhh kickoff. It's like the first pitch of a baseball game (I worked baseball into this blog early baby!). Optimism running wild, no fan knows exactly how the game is going to play out or what extraordinary plays will take place. If only I could go back in time and tell this Cardinals fan to save his/her money and watch that debacle at home. Honestly how are you feeling if you're a Cardinal fan right now? You plunk down 60+ bucks for a game ticket, 10 bucks for a beer, 7 bucks for nachos, 20 bucks for parking and that was the effort they gave? This was a route from the word go. Packers imrprove to 11-5 and will be right back in Arizona for a 3:40 CT kickoff this Sunday. Some observations on the regular season finale;

    - I honestly have no idea how to read into games like these. Everyone has their opinions about whether you should rest your starters for fear of injury, play them to keep momentum up, don't show anything you plan on implementing into the game plan next week blah blah blah blah. The bottom line is these two teams came in with totally different strategies. The Packers wanted to keep fresh and keep momentum, the Cardinals clearly just wanted to make it out without any significant injuries and without giving the Packers anything to gameplan for for next week's rematch. And after next week's game is when we can talk about which strategy worked and which didn't. But I will say this, I love the way McCarthy approached this game (whoa...I just got a cold shiver after saying that). If you're a Cardinals fan or player you can't feel too good or confident right now. And regardless of the situation what would you rather have, a blowout win going into the playoffs or a blowout loss.

    - Charles Woodson is clearly playing with his difficulty setting on 'rookie' while everyone else's is on 'all-madden.' He's just at a different level. Loved that sign in the crowd after his pick 6, "3/4 of the world is covered by water, the rest is covered by Charles Woodson." How true is that these days? Like when I throw bread into my cart at the grocery store I'm looking over my shoulder to make sure Woodson isn't going to pick it off and run home with my food. He is not only the defensive MVP, he may be the MVP of the league. Honestly, is there anyone playing better on either side of the ball? Also I think I stopped breathing for 17 full minutes when he went down with that shoulder injury. Looks like he should be okay, but was that good for my heart rate? FOR SURE NOT.

    - How bad is Matt Leinhart? I mean before the 2006 draft people were basically taking measurements for his bust in Canton. Heisman trophy winner, two time national champ in college, but just can't get it done in the pros. Should he even be second string anymore? In all seriousness the gameplan for the Packers defense this week should be three words in bold AND italics print; Attack Kurt Warner. If Leinhart has to play for any reason we will win by 1000 2000 points.

    - I saved that Rodgers championship belt celebration on my DVR and am going to spend the rest of the day turning it into my new computer background.

    - You know how they say 'Don't covet thy neighbor's wife.'? Does that apply to 'Don't covet thy neighbor's punter.'? I hope Jeremy Kapinos was taking notes yesterday because the Cardinal's punter was punting....much....better....yeah. It seemed like after every punt we were inside our own 20, meanwhile Kapinos appears to be aiming for the endzone when he has a chance to pin an opposing team.

    - Congrats to Ryan Grant for setting a personal single season best in terms of rushing yards in a season. I've noticed some people saying lately that he didn't even deserve the Pro Bowl alternate accolade he received. Really? While he doesn't have that Adrian Peterson impact, he's the third leading rusher in the NFC with 1,252 yards to go along with 11 TDs. So yeah he didn't deserve to be a Pro Bowl alternate. He deserved to make the roster.

    - Donald Driver over 1,000 yards for the 32nd time in his career. Ho-Hum. Speaking of Canton...

    - Did you know American Idol starts next week? You'd think Fox would want to promote that or something...

    Alright so here we go gearing up for the playoffs. Today is the day where EVERYONE that has a team in the tournament concocts a completely illogical argument as to how their team has a realistic shot at the Super Bowl. Well those people are wrong and I am right! This team has a tremendous shot at the Super Bowl. No one is playing better in the NFC right now, with the exception of maybe Dallas. The Vikings were in a tailspin until they played a Giants team more mentally checked out than I was during a 3 day work week last week. The Saints have lost 3 of 4, the Eagles got shut out with a chance to get a home playoff game, and the Cardinals finished their final six games at 3-3. So the equation is simple; Packers=Super Bowl bound. Bonus word: momentum.

    And yes, if the Packers lose this Sunday I will 140% be calling out McCarthy for not resting players this week!

  • No date for New Year's Eve?

    Posted by Jon Henseler

     

    Then look no further ladies! Video Mate is here to solve all of your dating woes! Seriously this is the greatest video of all the videos on the intarwebs. This might even trump "goat that screams like a man." (watches goat video again).....alright nevermind the goat still wins but by a slim margin. Like if I was making a line for that matchup it would be a push.

    Anyway this is one of those video's to just be enjoyed without commentary, but hey, I've ruined classier things with my commentary. First of all Guy #1 without a doubt read his cue card wrong, if he would have started with his name and then produced that line of eloquence where he says women are wiser then him he would have been golden. Like no woman would have even made it to the rest of these gems, they would have called Stephen in a heart beat. Game, set, match.

    Also, I'd like to have a word with Maurice. He totally stole my pick up line and just replaced "Country DJ by day" with "Executive by day." I mean at least cite me if you're going to use my material. This must have been what it felt like to be a musician when Napster started? Just plain thieving. I have to give it to him though, all indications are that he is in fact a wild man, I mean is there a single button on that shirt that is attached? I can't compete with that; advantage: Maurice.

    Right around minute 1:50, is that Tom Cruise? I know he had a break inbetween "Risky Business" and "Top Gun" and I doubt it would ever come to this for him, but I am 140% sure that's him looking for a goddess.

    And finally I'M going to contact Fred the Viking. He just looks like a fun dude to hang out with.

    And yes I realize that despite my jabs all of these men have had more success with women than me. Bonus word: 'success.'

  • Call Hasselback what you will....

    Posted by Jon Henseler

    But don't call him a liar! 6 years later he finally fulfilled his proclamation on a nice TD pass to John Carlson in the south end zone. Sure the Seahawks were down 443234-3 at the time, but let's give Matt that benefit of the doubt, he never specified time or circumstance on his prediction. In all seriousness what happened to this guy? Former pro bowl and Super Bowl quarterback making throws that Jay Cutler would be disgusted by. Alright that was harsh. He had a bad enough day without being thrown in the same sentence as Jay Cutler. Nobody deserves that kind of treatment.

    In a related story the Packers are in the playoffs baby! (Ric Flair strut) WHOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!! And if you thought we'd be typing that sentence after a week 9 loss to Tampa frieking Bay then you were either drunk or named Mike McCarthy or both. Either way the Packers punched their ticket with the help of a fail-tastic effort from the Giants AT HOME against the high flying Panthers. I was in attendance yesterday at Lambeau with a couple of my buddies and we got to drink in a dominant win and a playoff clinching celebration. We had a blast, I'm not sure those sitting around us can say the same thing (somwhere in Wisconsin right now 'yeah the game itself was great but there were these loud jerks giggling and yelling the whole time'). In any case some quick thoughts on win number 10.

    - You knew we were in for a phenomonal day when AJ Hawk caught Matt Hasselback's first pass attempt (and I use 'attempt' loosely there). That plus Jarret Bush got his first career interception. Read that again. I went to the bathroom and stood in line from the beginning of halftime until midway through the 4th quarter and upon my return when people told me that Jarret Bush made an impact play I called them all liars and assumed he had given up a touchdown. But lo and behold it did happen. He must have read my blog last week and decided to step it up. I know I would pick up my game if a guy who can't type without sweating was making fun of me.

    - Charles Woodson proved again why he should be the defensive MVP of the NFL this season. He didn't have a pick (and Bush DID, welcome to the bizarro world), but he was a sure tackler in run defense and shut down an above average receiver in TJ Houshmanzadeh. Everytime he made a play the crowd chanted 'MVP! MVP!' so that pretty much means he should win it right? I should qualify that by saying that I was chanting 'MVP!' for Matt Flynn by the end of that game, but whatever.

    - Another cool moment was Crosby's 52 yard field goal. Credit to Mike McCarthy for giving him a shot at a confidence building long distance field goal with the game already decided. It was a 4th and 1 and the Packers could have gone for it and run more clock off, but instead McCarthy saw this as an opportunity to give his maligned kicker a shot at confidence not only for himself but for the Packer's faithful. When he trotted on the field he was initially met with boos, but quickly the crowd got on their feet and got behind him, and he came through with a big make. If he drills important field goals in the playoffs don't look past that moment as a turnaround point.

    - Cool moment #2 occurred when Ahman Green got in the Lambeau endzone. This is a sentence that hasn't been read since 2003. He may be 87 years old, but he has played very well since Thompson signed him midway through the year. Everyone cheered him, then cringed as he went for his Lambeau leap. Luckily he made it out uninjured. Uninjured might be a made up word.

    On top of all that Brandon Jackson had three touchdowns, Greg Jennings had another 100+ yard day, and Matt Flynn even looked solid in a mop up role. Honestly when I think back we saw a 3 TD game from Jackson, a Bush pick, a Hawk pick, an Ahman Green TD in 2009, Matt Flynn completing passes, and Crosby nailing 50+ yard field goals all in one game. Like the perfect storm of bizarre. Now all the Packers have to to is wait to see where they're headed for wild card weekend and whether or not they will have anything to play for on Sunday. Back when they were 4-4 I thought that the Cardinals game might have no meaning because we were mathematically eliminated, not because they had already locked up a playoff spot. Bonus word: 'playoffs.'

    You like my 'quick' thoughts!?!

  • Further proof....

    Posted by Jon Henseler

     

     

    That Canadians are 140% crazy. This makes me complaining about the heat in my apartment never getting above 62 degrees seem like whining doesn't it? Seriously though what is the point of 'free heat' if my radiator never clicks on when I set it to 87 degrees? Advantage: false advertising. Anyhow that's not the point of this blog, the point is that this is certifiably insane. And when they get out of that water their voices are barely shaking? Guy #1 made me feel like less of a man and then Guy #2 pops out and he's like 14 years old! Polar bears are cold watching this video, and I'm not talking about those people that jump into Lake Michigan on New Year's day. Although that is equally bonkers. Bonus word: bonkers.

  • I have the football ow's.....

    Posted by Jon Henseler

    Dear Mason Crosby,

    They're running out of YOU!!! Sigh....alright well there are a million and one reasons to point to and about 18 different players you could hold accountable for this loss. But the bottom line is in the NFL everything balances out. We had won 5 in a row, the Steelers, the defending Super Bowl champion Steelers, had lost 5 in a row. It was in Pittsburgh. They were desperate for a win and have lost 4 heartbreakers this season in similar fashion. At some point the schedule and the season balances out. I'm not saying the Packers shouldn't have won, they should have, but every team has 2 or 3 games they should have won or in some cases HAD won and couldn't hang on in the end. So chalk this up to the Steelers being due and needing it more. I thought typing that would make me feel better. I=wrong.

    - Any way you slice it this was an instant classic. Almost a thousand yards of total offense, lead changes, comebacks, it had all the drama of a playoff game. Not to mention it got my heart trained for playoff football based on the 9 heart attacks I had in the last 39 seconds alone. It more than made up for the Jets/Falcons borefest I watched prior to our game. I wish I had those three hours of my life back.

    - This morning and last night there will be a lot of deserved ire thrown the way of Mason Crosby. Another critical field goal missed. No this is not a repeat from last week. Or the week before that. Or the week before that. Or the...alright you get the picture, he has been all sorts of bad this season. And I have had my fill of the excuses; snaps, ball placement, holder, cleats, his breakfast burrito wasn't warm enough, WHATEVER. He's got more excuses than me when I miss my first five shots and am winded 7 minutes into open gym. So are you confident if we need a kick in the playoffs? FOR SURE NOT. Shaun Suisham is available, he kicked in Washington this season and was 18/21. Why was he cut? He missed a 23 yarder two weeks ago that would have iced a Redskin victory over the Saints. Even with that miss he is still hitting 85% this season, as opposed to Crosby's 70%. (creidt Dan Podell, facebook friend, status update yesterday 4pm for bringing up Suisham's name). If school taught me one thing it's to site all sources.

    - Clay Matthews had two more sacks yesterday (should have been three), ho-hum, 10 sacks on the year and relentless pressure on the QB. He should have the defensive rookie of the year on lock, but has he entered into the NFL defensive player of the year conversation? How much fun is Dom Capers having with this kid in his 3-4 defense? It's like getting pocket aces in hold'em on every hand.

    - While Derrick Martin has been unquivocally awful on defense this season he has been a beast on special teams. 5 tackles on special teams is not easy to accomplish, especially when the Packer's special teams have lacked the 'special' adjective.

    - When Aaron Rodgers does the WWE championship belt move at the end of rushing touchdowns I can't help but get turned on a little. TMI.

    - What was with the drops yesterday? Driver had 3? In the first half? Look Donald, if I'm going to campaign for your Hall of Fame nomination you're going to have to cut down on the drops. He did have that sweet 47 yard catch and run though. See? I can't stay mad at him.

    - Lord beer me patience with instant replay. Last week Jennings had a TD overturned and this week Matthews loses out on a clear fumble out of the hand of Roeslesdfjakldfjwoefjeaer.

    - You know how there's the saying in baseball for Manny Ramirez when he goofs off? Manny being Manny? Well the same can be said when Jarret Bush is playing terrible football. That's just Jarret being Jarret. He gave up two pivotal bombs, the first on the first Steeler play from scrimmage resulting in a touchdown. What has he done to justify a roster spot? If Crosby's job is in trouble Bush's should be as well.

    - Was Mike McCarthy playing against someone who had Ryan Grant as their running back in a fantasy championship? He had to be right? That's the only explanation for EIGHT carries the entire game. And on those carries he averaged 4.6 yards per carry and got a touchdown. I know the passing offense was prolific, but running eats the clock up a bit and helps ice a game in December. Just sayin.

    - You know what I think about when I'm sad? How dominant Jermichael Finley is going to be in 2 years.

    - Was anyone else sort of hoping that James Jones would have taken a fall at the 2 yard line on that last touchdown? Then three knees and a (cringe) 19 yard game winning field goal? That's how suspect the Packer defense was yesterday. I'm going to attribute this to the Steelers having an intimate knowledge of the 3-4 (which they run) and knowing how to defeat it. Now if the Seahawks rack up 500 yards through the air, then there is reason to be concerned.

    So after 5 straight weeks of writing post-victory blogs, the Packers finally lost a game. Still in control of their own destiny, with a win on Sunday and a Cowboy's or Giant's loss we lock a spot in the playoffs. Giants play tonight in Washington. The room for error is less, but clean up the secondary, bring in a kicker to compete with Mason, and figure out the still relevant problem with a plethora of penalties and we should be okay. That plus watching Favre lose ANOTHER game in the cold in December makes me feel better. Bonus word: cookies. Cause I anger-ate 42 of them after that loss.

  • I want one!

    Posted by Jon Henseler

    Admittedly I don't get all that invested in 'viral' videos. And by 'don't get invested' I mean 'watch all day while I'm supposed to be doing work but needed a break from obsessing over the fantasy football playoffs,' but who's counting. Either way this has to be the funniest thing I have witnessed EVAR. And this goat has just skyrocketed past Packer footie pajamas on my Christmas list! These are essentially the sounds I make when the Brewers or Packers are losing anyway so this goat would fit right in at my apartment. Not to mention he would render my trash can and paper shredder useless! Advantage: goat.

    See how I somewhat justified the 'and more' portion of my blog title here?! Which leads me to my next point; the Packers can lock up a playoff spot with a win on Sunday and a Giants or Cowboys loss. Rooting against the Cowboys is second nature anyway, hell I'm rooting against them right now and they're not even playing a game. And I'm still bitter about the NFC championship game in 2007 so my hatred still burns for the Giants. And yes, that is a sentence I will be able to type for the rest of my life. A seamless transition from goat to Packers.

     

     Bonus word: playoffs.

  • Bears Suck

    Posted by Jon Henseler

    I must be the 8 millionth Packer's blogger to make that reference in the past 24 hours, but whatever, laughing at the Bear's expense never gets old! So another Packers win....ho-hum, 5 in a row on their way to the playoffs for an inevitable showdown with the Vikings at which point Aaron Rodgers with rectify his two previous loses to Brent Favre all while validating Ted Thompson's decisions and faith in an unproven quarterback last year. Wow. That escalated quickly. I mean that really got out of hand. At least there was no trident being thrown.

    - Literally this was a yawner. I'm not sure what the atmosphere was at field level, but from my living room this was as boring as December football gets. I may have fallen asleep. Twice. Times three. But either way it was a victory and a season sweep of the Bears. By the way, that was the 179th meeting between the Packers and Bears, 178 of which were during the regular season. I don't know what shocks me more, the length of the rivalry or the fact that these teams have only met up in the playoffs once? Really?

    - Speaking of the rivalry, has this one lost a bit of its luster? Don't get me wrong, I hate the Bears as much as anyone, but my blood truly boils when the Cubs and Brewers hook up for one of their 18 yearly showdowns. It just appeared as though some of the passion was lacking yesterday. Could that have something to do with the Bear's complete irrelevance at this point in the season? Ohhhhhh burn. See what I did there? Jon:1 Bears:0!

    - How Shawn Slocum, Jeremy Kapinos, and even Mason Crosby at this point, still have jobs is beyond me. They must have dirt on Ted Thompson that he doesn't want to get out. Only explanation. Again this hurts me a bit because we had Mason on for the past two seasons for a weekly segment, but the guy needs to figure it out from the right hash mark (6 of his 8 misses this season are from the right hash). How confident are you feeling if we are down by 2 in the playoffs on the road with less than two minutes that he can make a game winning field goal? Right now about as confident as I am that I will see a ticker tape parade in downtown Milwaukee for a Bucks championship. Kapinos is also in a gots to go situation when this season concludes, can he put ONE frieking punt inside the 10? Not even the 5 yard line, I'll take the 10, or even the 15 at this point! He is a walking touchback right now.

    - Packers may need to work on their killer instinct a bit. It looked like they were going to win this game by 6 TDs after Grant went 62 yards on the opening play from scrimmage for the Packer's offense. Then a bunch of drives stalled out and they not only allowed the Bears to get back into the game, they allowed them to take a brief one point lead. We're not playing first to 10 here. A knockout punch is needed.

    - Speaking of Ryan Grant, how about the season he has put together. I mentioned this on a blog earlier in the year, but now he's over 1,000 yards, he is averaging 4.3 yards per carry and is 7th in the LEAGUE in rushing. Makes me wish I wouldn't have passed him up while drafting Steve Slaton in the second round of one of my fantasy leagues (I do have him in about 3 other's though. Also, I have a fantasy football addiction).

    - You know how some losses look better as the year goes on? Like that loss to the Bengals in week 2 doesn't look all that awful now that the Bengals are knocking on the door of winning the AFC North? The Tampa Bay loss does not fit into that category. They have not even been close to winning another game all year. It is shocking that we gave up 38 points to that team and lost, it may have been a wakeup call that led to the current 5 game winning streak, but man, that is going to be the only win Tampa gets all year.

    No matter how you want to characterize this win, 'boring,' 'sloppy,' 'uneventful,' the bottom line is it is a win. And if you told me before kickoff that Rodgers wouldn't throw a TD pass, would have only 180 yards passing and turn the ball over, I would have told you they would lose by two TDs. But they didn't. The defense was solid, Woodson further added to his defensive MVP resume, Clay Matthews got his EIGHTH sack (I am all about caps today apparently), and Nick Collins continues to be steady at the safety spot. Seriously if it looks like there will be an NFL devoid of a salary cap next year, we can't carry our money over. Not a cent. They spent some of it today on Brandon Chillar (what?), spend the rest on extending Collin's contract. Also, was anyone really concerned when we went down 14-13? Yeah it was a little perplexing that the lead melted away like it did, but as is the game plan for every team playing the Bears, just wait for Jay Cutler to make another big mistake and capitalize on it. In the two meetings with the Bears this season Cutler has easily been our MVP.

    So the Packers now sit at 9-4 and probably have all but locke....nah I'm not going to say it yet. Even though Pittsburgh concerns me, Seattle is a must win situation, given the current state of affairs in the NFC I think 10 wins should give you a very solid chance. Let's not forget this was only a 6 win team last year as well, yesterday's 'W' guarantees a winning year. And yesterday's win along with Monday night's win are both games we don't win last season. Last year if the Bears grab that one point lead, they win the game in the end. Last year with all of the penalties and the Ravens back into it in a blink, we lose that game too. So there have been signs of maturity here week by week. Bonus word: maturity.