Sep 052012

So why am I going to work today? Isn’t this a national holiday? Shouldn’t it be? Well, either way we are only hours away from the 2012 NFL season. It has been a long wait, and I for one am eager to camp out and watch the Giants play the Cowboys tonight. Of course I also have a work commitment tonight that will pull me away for the second and third quarters, but at least I will get to watch the beginning and end of the season’s first game.

Of course the season kicks off in earnest on Sunday, and I am looking forward to seeing the Patriots’ new-look defense when we kick off at Noon (Central) against the Titans. Here’s some last minute pre-season business before we get it all started tonight:

1. Oh, Rexy!

So Rex Ryan can’t envision a situation in which he would be fired by the New York Jets because he knows how good a coach he is? Wow. I have come to expect that NFL coaches (like players) are Type A personalities, but sometimes the narcissism can border on the irrational. While I am sure that Ryan is a very good football coach (yes, I said that), no one is going to employ the man based on his estimate of his own self-worth. Results matter, Mr. Ryan. I have already predicted that this will be the final season of Rex Ryan and Mark Sanchez in New Jersey. I don’t know if this is an accurate prediction and the odds are probably against my pick coming true. But I do know this… if the Jets have another season without reaching the playoffs, and certainly if they go 8-8 or worse, someone is losing their job. At the very least I would expect Mark Sanchez to bid adieu to New York and its high school dating scene, but both Ryan and Mike Tannenbaum should feel far from secure that their return is guaranteed for the 2103 season. It’s not “What have you done for me?”, it’s “What have you done for me lately?” in the NFL (unless you are Andy Reid, of course).

2. Officials v. NFL – Another Quirk

It would appear that another sticking point in the standoff between the NFL and its locked out officials is the NFL’s desire for accountability in the performance of officials. According to PFT, the NFL wants to create a system of accountability to would establish a reserve group of officials who would step in for struggling officials. NFL Vice President of Officiating Ray Anderson said that the league intends via the lockout to change from an system of “entitlement” to “accountability.” According to PFT, “While officials currently are held accountable via week-to-week grading that, depending on overall performance, could get an official fired or demoted, Anderson explained that some officials become complacent once they know they won’t be getting a postseason assignment.  He also said that some officials are in shape at the outset of the season, but that they are 20 or more pounds heavier later in the year, and in turn unable to keep up with the play on the field.”

On this point I have to agree with the league. While the locked out officials are far and away superior to the replacement officials lined up for Week One, the fact remains that we should all be held accountable for the jobs that we do. And when your job is as public as being an official in the National Football League, insuring accountability for high performance is critical. If the NFLRA is in any way staving off a settlement with the NFL over this issue, then they are (in my view) very misguided.

UPDATE: The NFLRA has responded to PFT, but their response is an unfortunate one, and this might well be a deal breaker in further negotiations.

3. Rat’s Widow

Regular readers know that my wife is a participant in this little adventure of ours, and I note that she is getting numerous hits on her articles. In looking through the different Google results for football widows, I do think we have the only football widow writing on a regular basis about her life with a football fanatic (and I am not nearly as fanatical as a number of people that I know). There are a number of women who have started football widow blogs (no men that I found), but much of the material is out of date and not maintained. So if you are looking for the perspective of a real football widow who is trying with all of her heart to humor her husband, learn about football, and help other people through the process in a light-hearted and entertaining way, this is your stop. Share this page with football fans and football widows alike, and let it be proclaimed that we have the best football widow on the internet! Besides, learning to live with a football addict is probably better than taking drastic action.

4. The Rat’s (Real) Lair

Regular readers know that i got married and bought a new house over the course of the summer. Part of the “fun” is the unpacking that must take place. I won’t even get into the planned extra bathroom that has now become the incredibly expensive added bathroom, thanks to the need for an egress window, the need to bring our plumbing up to code and add a draining system in the yard for storm water, not to mention the framing, drywall, plumbing and fixtures that promise to triple the expected expenditure for the overall project. In any event (back to the unpacking), I have had tons of curios sitting in boxes after five years of living in an apartment and wanted to bring out all of the things from my life that have meaning to me. So off my wife and I drove to Ikea, where they had great glass cabinets for a very affordable price. Now I have never been to Ikea, and thought of it as a place where young, single people go to get cheap furniture. And while there is some truth to that, I was amazed by how much great stuff there was at very affordable prices. Plus the Swedish meatballs were pretty good too. Anyway, to break away from my Ikea commercial (since they are not paying for this plug), I finally got to assemble more of the Rat’s Lair, where this wonderful site is maintained. So here’s what we (yes, my loving and patient wife was willing to build shelves with me so that I could take over the room) have put together so far:

Photo 1 – Showing my sports loyalties








Photo 2 – Gridiron Rats Central






Photo 3 – Another shot of the workstation (yes, I have to get those cords under control)






Not shown is the second work station (where the Rat’s Widow writes and where kids game) or the bookshelves and rocking chair. It’s no mansion, but it is a very comfortable room to relax and play with this website.

That’s all for now… keep on visiting, and PLEASE leave comments on the articles, “like” us on Facebook, share our articles with friends, and… most importantly, vote in our polls! Enjoy the football opener tonight!

Ghost Rat

Football fan and longtime follower of the New England Patriots. Happily married father, professional, and author.

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