Life is a Highway

Life is a Highway

Friday, March 7, 2014

Players View: Opinion: Phil Clark: Football Championships Still Won by Complete Teams: Defense Still Wins Championships

Players View: Opinion: Phil Clark: Football Championships Still Won by Complete Teams

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger  

Roger Goodell and company may want to try to outlaw defense in the National Football League and try to make the NFL look like flag football, where perhaps even tackling may soon become illegal, because they believe offense makes money and defense holds down profits, turning the NFL into the AAML or the All About Money League instead of the NFL.  They are trying to get non-traditional football fans who are really only interested in celebrity culture and so-called reality TV, and perhaps are casual football fans at best, because they think some of the players are awesome or whatever. Defense still wins championships and it always will.

As Phil Clark said on his blog, you don't need a great defense to win the Super Bowl but you can't have the worst defense. And the only thing I would add to that is you can't have a bad defense either. You need to at least have a good defense.  A defense that gets stops, meaning consistently, prevents the other team from scoring. It doesn't get run over in the running game on a regular basis and doesn't consistently give up big plays in the passing game because it has a weak secondary or a weak pass rush, or a combination of the two.

If you look at all of the Super Bowl Champions, all 48 of them had defenses that were in the top 10 or near that and didn't give up a lot of points either. You can't say that about the Super Bowl runner ups, because several of them were toward either the bottom of the NFL or in the low twenties when it came to yardage and points given up. The 1984 Miami Dolphins come to mind very quickly and so do the 2007 New England Patriots, which were 18-0 going into Super Bowl 42 before they were upset by the New York Giants and did have one of the top defenses in the NFL that year.

There also have been explosive, high-scoring and yardage Super Bowl runner ups that were ranked pretty well in defense the year or years they went to the Super Bowl but not only lost the Super Bowl but lost it badly. The Buffalo Bills of the early 1990s come to mind very quickly, where they gave up a total of 140 points in their 4 losses, 30 or more in the 3 blowout losses, not because they had a bad defense but because they had an undersized defense going up against big physical teams with great running games: New York Giants in 1990, Redskins in 1991 Dallas Cowboys in 1992 and 1993.

And again the casual NFL fan who may only be interested in offensive football may say, well, what about the St. Louis Rams on 1999 or the Green Bay Packers of 2010 or the San Francisco 49ers of the 1980s or the Redskins of the 1980s. They were all very offensive-oriented teams that all racked up a lot of yards and scored a lot of points. True, but all of these teams, and the 49ers and Redskins specifically, were all consistently ranked high on defense in the top 10. I mean, the 1991 Redskins Super Bowl Championships team scored over 500 points, over 30 points a game, but they gave up only14 points a game and won a lot of blowouts.

The record and evidence are very clear, that if you are think about building a Super Bowl winner and you think you are going to put together a great offense and see how many points you can score that season or in that era, make sure you also invest well in your defense so you are not giving up nearly as many points and yards against your opponents as well, because when the playoffs come around, chances are you'll face at least one good defensive team that can move the ball and score points as well that may match up well with you. And you may need to get a lot of stops in that game to have a good chance at winning, as the 2007 Patriots found out the hard way in Super Bowl 42.

As much as Roger Goodell and company may want to change this, football still has three sides of it and the NFL is not arena ball, where it is mostly about offense. You still need to play good defense and have a good special team as well, no matter how many points you score and yards you put up. Breaking offensive records doesn't lead to championships but to having a good balanced team that scores, defends, covers kicks, kicks the ball, blocks and tackles, and so forth, which is still what it takes to win the Super Bowl. 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

American Throwback: Video: CBS Sports: NFL 1978-NFL Today Complete Episode 11/12/78

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

1978 was one of the best NFL seasons of all time, and I believe the National Football League was at its best with rule changes as they relate to blocking and pass defending to equalize the defense and offense so neither side of the ball has an unfair advantage, with blockers now being able to extend their arms to block, which is critical when you are trying to block a 265-270 pound muscle man who probably runs a 4.7 forty.  Now the OL has a fair shot at blocking a big man like that based on the rules:  the coverage rules on defense, with defensive backs no longer being able to manhandle receivers at the line of scrimmage but at least run their routes even if they are not opened and completely covered.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Marilyn Monroe History: Marilyn Monroe on the Jack Benny Show: From 1953

Source: Marilyn Monroe History- Jack & Marilyn-
Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat 

There is no better way to kick off the Jack Benny Program than with Marilyn Monroe highlighting her excellent comedic abilities, which includes playing the dumb blonde but doing it intentionally for entertainment. Jack Benny is living out his fantasy with a goddess sent to his cruise ship.  He believes he has Marilyn all to himself, whereas he is just having a great dream as he lies in the sun next to a very large woman instead.

Jack did a similar show but with Jayne Mansfield instead of Marilyn. (Speaking of great comedians with a knack for playing the dumb blonde) And Marilyn had other abilities as an entertainer and could play drama well like in the movie Don't Bother To Knock where she plays an ex-mental patient who gets a job babysitting and becomes impatient with the girl she's supposed to be looking after and ends up locking the kid in a room. But like with Jayne Mansfield, I at least believe Marilyn was a natural comedian and someone who didn't need a script to be funny, because she was funny and and did funny things intentionally and was accustomed to making people laugh when she wanted them to laugh with her and not at her. She also had a habit of getting people to laugh at her with some of her irresponsible behavior. But she was a natural entertainer and a very good one, as well as a good actress.
Marilyn Monroe History: Marilyn Monroe on The Jack Benny Show: From 1953

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Global News: Video: Hollywood Funny Man Harold Ramis Dies: A Master of Quick-Witted Off the Cuff Humor

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

Harold Ramis will be missed for his comic writing and acting because he comes from the old school, which is about being funny, but being funny in an intelligent way. Instead of being funny in a clumsy way, telling the fans to look at the klutz, Ramis brought intelligence to his humor that wasn't obvious.  You had to think to get it. To me, Harold Ramis was a master of dry wit and humor that wasn't obvious, but definitely noticeable if you paid attention and figured it out.

Harold Ramis's movies were about real people who tended to be bright but were underachievers or slackers who needed inspiration to reach their full potential. The movie Stripes is the perfect example of that, where two lazy wiseass guys sign up for the U.S. Army because they needed something constructive to do. Groundhog Day is another example, where an obnoxious fellow who considers himself superior to the Pittsburgh weathermen gets stuck repeatedly in Groundhog Day and discovers what is really important and how to deal with his colleagues responsibly.

The movie Vacation, perhaps one of the top five comedies of all time, with Chevy Chase, is a perfect example of a middle-class family man who aims to give his family the vacation of their lives. He drives his wife and children from Chicago to Los Angeles to an amusement park called Wally World. He is over his head, with the trip turning into a series of disasters. The dog incident is hilariously brilliant, although theoretically should be sad.  Enough said!

Harold Ramis's movies weren't based on klutzy people and his humor wasn't cookie cutter, borrowing lines and humor from other films because supposedly everyone laughs at the same thing. His humor was smart and off the cuff, with a great innovative wit. Harold Ramis would have been a great writer for Saturday Night Live and MASH because he had their type of humor.  That is what I'll miss most about him.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Film Society at Lincoln Center: Q&A With Raquel Welch on Myra Breckinridge

Source: Film Society at Lincoln Center-
Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat

Myra Breckinridge is not the movie that made Raquel Welch a star. Myra Breckinridge was a loser at the box office no matter how funny it was.  It was one of the funniest movies I've ever seen.  It might of been an official loser but Raquel was great and hilarious in it and it was in several ways a great movie. Just imagine going back to 1969-70 the end of the 1960s and the start of the 1970s. Yes, the cultural and sexual revolutions were already under way. The gay rights movement was already under way as well.

But take that a few steps forward where you have a formerly open gay man who decides that even living the life of a queen gay man, wasn't good enough for him and decides to take it a step forward and become a transgender woman. The word transgender might not have even around yet in the late 1960s and early 1970s. I've argued before that Myra Breckinridge both the book and the movie, were at least twenty years ahead of their time. Which I believe is why it was a loser at the box office. But that move comes out in the 1990s with the same cast, writing, and everything else, and I believe we're talking about one of the most celebrated comedies of all-time. It wasn't seen as a great comedy then but seeing it today it certainly looks like a very funny entertaining movie. And Raquel Welch was great and hilarious in it. As well as gorgeous, adorable, sexy, like she always has been.
Film Society at Lincoln Center: Q&A With Raquel Welch- Myra Breckinridge