Notes on a football weekend:
--NFL: Bad. How does the defense not stop Ben Roethlisberger running? (See, Ben? Sports are better with a helmet.) How does Derek Anderson-- so strong for so many weeks, and so good in the first half-- throw two incomplete passes near the Steelers 35 (esp. with an 18-yard pass to Kellen Winslow, Jr. crammed in-between)? The Browns have had a very good year-- they're one stupid NFL rule/botched field goal away from being 6-3-- and I think they'll end up about 10-6, which is a quantum leap from the last three seasons. Still, it's clear Pittsburgh remains the Pistons to their Bulls, the Bulls to their Jazz, the Gators to their Gamecocks, the Seinfeld to their Newman. They'll probably sweep the other teams in their division, but they can't overcome the Black-and-Gold this year.
-- College ball: Some good, some bad, some a mixed bag (I'm a Hoosier, but my sister went to Northwestern, so it's a win-win for our family either way).
--Ha! And by that, I mean, ha!
--I'm really enjoying the new pre-game team on NBC's Sunday Night Football show. I never need to watch Michaels and Madden during the actual, snoozer games the network gets, but Bob Costas, Keith Olbermann, Peter King, former Gator Chris Collinsworth, Jerome Bettis and Tiki Barber are all a delight: smart, knoweldgeable guys who are funny and passionate without engaging in that mookish macho BS that ESPN can't seem to avoid these days. A few weeks ago, I suggested Costas was not as good a partner for Olbermann as Dan Patrick had been, and I still think that's true-- there's not that Martin-and-Sinatra, ping-pong rhythm that Sportscenter had a decade ago. Still, they seem to be growing more comfortable with each other, and Costas seems to enjoy being the wry, deadpan reactor to Olbermann's rants, jokes and surreal observations.
--Finally...Whether north, south, east or west; SEC, Big 10, ACC or Pac-10; AFC or NFC; red state or blue state; offense fan or defense fan...I think this is something we can all enjoy, isn't it?: