Sep 032013
 

Matt SchaubThe Rat’s Widow is back and this year she is picking for real, taking on the “brain trust” of our writers and determined to kick our collective butts! It’s going to be an interesting ride!

Here are the Widow’s predictions for the coming season:

 

 

AFC EAST
New England133
Miami88
Buffalo313
New York Jets313
AFC NORTH
Pittsburgh115
Cincinnati115
Baltimore97
Cleveland412
AFC SOUTH
Houston133
Indianapolis106
Tennessee511
Jacksonville214
AFC WEST
Denver133
Kansas City133
San Diego511
Oakland214
NFC EAST
New York Giants97
Washington97
Dallas79
Philadelphia511
NFC NORTH
Green Bay97
Chicago97
Detroit88
Minnesota511
NFC SOUTH
Atlanta133
New Orleans97
Carolina88
Tampa Bay412
NFC WEST
Seattle133
San Francisco124
St. Louis79
Arizona412
AFC PLAYOFFS- Wildcard Round
New England over Cincinnati
Kansas City over Pittsburgh
Divisional Round
Houston over Kansas City
Denver over New England
AFC Championship
Houston over Denver
NFC PLAYOFFS- Wildcard Round
Washington over New York Giants
San Francisco over Green Bay
Divisional Round
Seattle over Washington
San Francisco over Atlanta
NFC Championship
Seattle over San Francisco
SUPER BOWL
Houston over Seattle

 

 

 

 

 

Dec 262012
 

bowl-logosWidows and Fans, I totally get that this is an NFL site, although I can only assume that many of you also indulge in a little bit of college football in addition to the steady diet of the NFL, especially at this time of year. Having attended a Big Ten school myself, with a football program that has typically waxed and waned (mostly waned) in terms of their performance, and having come from a family of Michigan State fans, I have paid attention over the years to the Rose Bowl, Orange Bowl, etc. Getting a “Bowl Bid” was a big deal.

Bowl Bid- once upon a simpler time, this was an honor bestowed upon only the highest rated teams, who were invited to play in one of 5 post season games. Over time, the definition has changed to include the invitation to play in one of 35 post-season games.

Bowl games, once a New Year’s Day tradition, are now played beginning in mid-December and don’t end until early January. Teams with as few as 6 wins can be invited to play in one of these games. I found many in the sports blogging community that share my outrage at the deterioration of tradition. I also found someone who shares my sense of humor at the absurdity of it all. I can’t do it better, so here is a link to a 2010 blog post of the 10 worst (and funniest) college bowl sponsorships.

Some may disagree with my assessment that 35 bowl games is excessive and argue that it is still an honor to be invited to play in the post-season in spite of a team winning only half of their games. To me, it smacks of a “get-a-trophy-for-just-showing-up” mentality that takes away some, if not all, of the integrity of the bowl series. One of the large criticisms of the generation of young people entering adulthood these days is the expectation of reward for meeting basic expectations. Corporations like the San Diego County Credit Union, sponsors of the Poinsettia Bowl, and R+L Carriers, sponsors of the New Orleans Bowl, have found a great way to reward that mentality. Understand that I am in no way trying to diminish the college athlete and his accomplishments, or those of any team for that matter. I just thought that bowl games were about being the best, not about putting a company name out there for all to see, while placing the dubious distinction “Played in the 2012 Roady’s Humanitarian Bowl” on a Bowling Green graduate’s resume.

Since this has gone from the ridiculous to the sublime in my humble, Football Widow’s opinion, I have come up with a few ideas of my own as corporate sponsors court opportunities to support NCAA football and vice versa. With women representing a large part of the market share, some of these will also appeal to my sisters in crime.

1. Tampax Tampon Freedom Bowl- If there is one thing more American than college football, it’s freedom. You know I’m right…
2. “He Went to Jared” Bowl- Holy subliminal advertising, Batman! That one would get rings on the fingers of many a young lady in the new year!
3. Secret “Strong Enough for a Man, Made for a Woman” Bowl- Teeheehee! This one needs no comment!
4. Activia Regularity Bowl- Regularity is important, folks.
5. L’Oreal “Because You’re Worth It” Bowl- Hey, if car wax or local credit unions can sponsor a bowl, why can’t a quality drug store makeup and hair product company?

Now I will climb off of my soap box and get back to the business of planning the menu for the first annual Gridiron Rats Super Bowl Party, to which I will be wearing my brand new Patriots Breast Cancer Awareness t-shirt! Thanks, Ghost Rat! I love it!!

Dec 202012
 

christmas-treeMy goodness, Widows. We are nearing the end of the road on this year’s regular NFL season. I am sure that your fan is eagerly awaiting the most exciting day of the year. The day that fills a football fan’s home with sounds of cheer and delightful smells of food from the kitchen. The day when friends and families gather to celebrate that which is truly important…FOOTBALL! Oh, wait…did you think that I meant Christmas? Sorry, Widows. I meant the Superbowl.

Just so all of you know that I have not been truly converted from Widow to Fan, I turn to one of my tried and not-so-true methods of choosing my teams for this week. Quarterbacks. In particular, which one that I would rather see in my stocking this year if Santa were giving me a cute Quarterback for Christmas. To be short, sweet and to the point so that I can get back to wrapping presents and baking cookies- I appreciate the ability to see nice looking young men when I watch the games and if you can’t be grateful during the holiday season, when can you?

This week, due to the way the holiday falls, we have no Monday night game. In fact, no more Monday night football until next fall. (pausing for any shouts of joy…). Instead we have a Saturday matchup between the Falcons and the Lions. I find Matt Ryan more aesthetically pleasing, so I choose a Falcons win.

Here’s the rest. Happy Holidays to all three of my readers!

Week 16 Widow’s Picks

Falcons over Lions (see above)

Packers over Titans (Locker is cute. Rodgers is cuter)

Panthers over Raiders (I love a Cam Newton smile)

Dolphins over Bills (Ryan Tannehill…and his wife is gorgeous too)

Bengals over Steelers (I usually don’t go for red heads like Andy Dalton, but I can’t wrap my head around finding Ben Roethlisberger the slightest bit attractive and I certainly don’t want to wake up Christmas day and find him under my tree.)

Patriots over Jaguars (Probably not a surprise, but I NEED Tom to come through for me this week and show us that is a far more than a pretty face.)

Colts over Chiefs (Two nice looking quarterbacks, chosen by likelihood of actual winner)

Cowboys over Saints (Tony Romo over Drew Brees)

Redskins over Eagles (I am a big RG III fan)

Buccaneers over Rams (Freeman over Bradford)

Ravens over Giants (I don’t find Eli attractive. At all.)

Texans over Vikings (Matt Schaub over Christian Ponder. I just prefer his looks)

Browns over Broncos (Sorry Manning…See comment above re: Eli…)

Cardinals over Bears (I like the Cardinals’ new guy)

Seahawks over 49ers (Tough call. Colin Kaepernik is a cutie. In the end, I opted for less ink.)

Chargers over Jets (I had to change this one 6 times during the season due to the Jets quarterback crisis.)

Dec 122012
 

Widows, this was a good week. Rat’s Orphan and her roll of the dice put me in the position to do better than my husband with my predictions. It all came down to the Monday night game. He chose the Texans and the Orphan and I chose the Patriots. (Pause for gasp!) Ladies, do not adjust your computer monitor. You read that correctly. My husband, a loyal Patriots fan, DID NOT choose them to win. It was amazing to watch the cognitive dissonance created as he wished to be wrong about the outcome of that game! Being wrong, however, meant that this week would mark the first week that I came out ahead in my predictions. December 10, 2012 is a day that will live in infamy. Not only was I right about the Patriots, my husband was actually rooting to be wrong! Now I have seen it all and I can leave this earth as a happy woman!

I give Ghost Rat a hard time. I tease him about how loudly he claps and yells, pretending to cower in fear. I scheduled a Christmas shopping run that lasted most of the first half of Monday night’s game on purpose. I told him to develop some sort of SOS code to use if he keels over since he watches the game in the basement and I may not hear him collapse. In spite of myself though, I have grown to enjoy my time in the man cave, eyes glued to 6 different games on NFL Sunday Ticket. I have opinions now about players, coaches and teams. I may not be well informed, but I know just enough to be dangerous, and probably more than a little bit annoying. I realize that many men need to be careful what they wish for. I wonder if they really want us to sit down next to them on the couch, pop open an adult beverage and talk about wisdom of starting a rookie quarterback. Maybe what they really want is to be left well enough alone. I need to issue a warning: If it can happen to me, it can happen to any woman. Any woman can end up a FAN.

That got me thinking, Widows. What if women ran the NFL? I think that there are many who would like to see the resignation of Roger Goodell, but are they ready for a woman in the role of Commissioner? Or would that make her a Commissionette? If women ran the league, I think some things would change!

The latest controversy centers around a proposal to ban the kickoff. Without going into elaborate detail, this is being batted around as a way to reduce injury to players by eliminating the opportunity for a surprise on side kick. I have tried repeatedly to re-type the logic for choosing the field position, the rationale behind making it a “4 down and 15 yards to go” situation, and quite frankly I deleted it 4 times before I decided to abandon my efforts. A female commissioner probably wouldn’t choose a strategy that was that hard to explain. That isn’t to say that a female commissioner would embrace a practice that creates great risk for injury, but with that logic, she would probably turn the league into the NFFL (National Flag Football League).

Regarding the violence issue, I think a female commissioner may approach rough, hazardous play differently. Teams are penalized in terms of yardage and players are sometimes fined or suspended for their conduct. Yardage penalties don’t seem to deter thugs from acting accordingly and those guys have paychecks that aren’t even touched by the fines issued. If we invoke Kindergarten rules, when players can’t play nice, maybe he shouldn’t be allowed to play at all! Bench him. Immediately. Remove him from the playground and make him sit in time out while his buddies play nicely.

When I began musing about this topic, my husband pointed out that Condoleezza Rice, the former Secretary of State, has had her name bandied about for the top spot in the NFL. A die hard football fan, she is a lifelong follower of the Cleveland Browns. She has been quoted several times saying that the commissioner job is her “dream job”. She recently appeared in an advertisement for NFL football apparel for women. Not only is she a fan and now a model, but she is also both a football orphan (her father was a football coach) and a football widow, having had a long term relationship with an NFL player in her younger years. I don’t know if the world is ready for a woman in that position, but her resume looks good. Watch out, Mr. Goodell!

Since this week’s focus is on women ruling the football world, I am turning to my own intuition again for the picks.

Widow’s Week 15 Picks
Bengals over Eagles
Packers over Bears
Giants over Falcons
Buccaneers over Saints
Rams over Vikings
Redskins over Browns
Dolphins over Jaguars
Broncos over Ravens
Texans over Colts
Lions over Cardinals
Chargers over Panthers
Seahawks over Bills
Steelers over Cowboys
Raiders over Chiefs
Patriots over 49ers
Jets over Titans

Dec 052012
 

Well, Widows, here we are at week 14. The season is winding down and teams are beginning to clinch their playoff spots. The New England Patriots were the first to definitively win their division title, which brought great joy to the Rat’s Lair. As I watched another week of the football season, I found another term to add to the Widow’s Glossary.

Breaking the Plane- The “plane” refers to an invisible wall that extends upward from the goal line into the heavens. For a player to score a touchdown, any part of the ball has to cross the line before the player’s knee, forearm, elbow, or buttocks touch the ground, or before the player steps out of bounds. When there is a question as to whether the player from your fan’s favorite team “broke the plane” and therefore scored, you will typically hear “he broke the plane!” being yelled in the general direction of your television. Don’t worry. Nothing is really broken and you will not need to vacuum anything up, with the exception of the stray nacho chip after the game ends. A word to the wise: WAIT until the game ends to clean the game snack shrapnel. You’ll thank me later, as will your football fan.

I would like to introduce you to another class of individuals that are impacted by the NFL season similarly to football widows. These brave boys and girls are the Football Orphans, children of football fans. How would you know one if you met one? Their closets contain team apparel and their rooms have football lamps, posters, pennants, clocks, and other NFL-related items. They can be found wandering around their homes aimlessly for 3 hours at a time on Sundays during the season, with potato chip crumbs and salsa stains on their shirts from their game day snacks. They answer to names like “Shhhhhhh!” and “Not now, the game is on!” Their vocabularies include most of the words from our Widow’s Glossary, because, unlike us, they learned to talk under these circumstances whereas we joined the fray much later. I’m not going to say that our children learn profanity solely from listening to their fathers, grandfathers, uncles, and family friends watch football, but they certainly witness some creative uses of the words.

This week, I need to give credit where credit is due for my picks. I called upon the daughter of Ghost Rat, whom I have dubbed Rat’s Orphan, to choose winners, which she did by rolling dice. She also granted me an exclusive interview to let us into the secret life of the child of a football fanatic. Rat’s Orphan describes being able to hear the screams and the clapping from the opposite end of the house even when she can’t see him watching the game. She gave a very convincing impression of her father watching in game day mode that went something like this: “YES!!! YES!!!!! NO! NO! NO! TOUCHDOWN!! YES! NO!!!!” In order to approximate the volume of his clapping, she had to bang on a hard surface. While she and her younger brother and sister are accustomed to this scene, Ghost Rat’s step-children are new here. I think that it is safe to say that they are often startled by the outbursts of Patriot spirit, preferring to hide in another area of our home. This week, my hat is off to the five children who live at my house, as well as the countless others who were born into the life of Football Orphanhood.

Widows Note: My comments on the likely outcome of the game follow her picks, although I stand by her choices.

Week 14 Picks

Broncos over Raiders (yes)
Ravens over Redskins (maybe)
Browns over Chiefs (Yes, Fat Jesus. This says “Browns”)
Chargers over Steelers (probably not)
Titans over Colts (probably not)
Jaguars over Jets (yes since Sanchez is starting)
Vikings over Bears (possible)
Falcons over Panthers (likely)
Eagles over Buccaneers (will check Eagles for snot kicked out of them after the game)
Rams over Bills (sure)
Cowboys over Bengals (possible)
Dolphins over 49ers (nope)
Giants over Saints (why not?)
Cardinals over Seahawks (maybe)
Packers over Lions (yup)
Patriots over Texans (she didn’t even cheat…)

Nov 272012
 


Well, Widows, last week I took on the coin toss to see if I am actually able to do better than chance when I make my weekly picks. Even though I am ahead of the Idaho Quarter (IQ for short) over all, this week the quarter and I were tied. Incidentally, so was Ghost Rat, so I have earned the distinction of being as right as he is!

Last week, I neglected to award my Widow’s Scorn award. It wasn’t for lack of inappropriate behavior, but rather due to disorganization on my part. This week’s award goes to…drum roll please…Ndamukong Suh of the Detroit Lions! On Thanksgiving, he unceremoniously kicked Matt Schaub in the, shall I say, “groin”. I saw the replay and it looked very intentional to me, and to most who saw it. This isn’t Mr. Suh’s first offense. Last year on Thanksgiving he stomped on the shoulder of a Green Bay Packer. Earlier this year, he temporarily rendered Bears quarterback Jay Cutler unconscious, even though the play was deemed “clean”. Again I am convinced that the rules of Kindergarten apply to the gridiron. In this case, don’t kick boys in the nuts and don’t lie and pretend it was an accident when it was clearly on purpose. He is high on the list of the dirtiest players in the NFL.

As the old saying goes, behind every great man is a great woman. In the case of the NFL, this comes in the form of the wives and girlfriends of the players who are the ultimate football widows. I think I have it bad when it comes to losing my husband every Thursday, Sunday and Monday to the flat screen, but I got nothin’ on these ladies. In fact, I have developed a list of reasons why it is better to be the widow of a fan versus the widow of an NFL quarterback.

10. 300 pound men don’t get paid to try to knock my husband down.
9. No one rates my level of “hotness” among football widows on the internet. (True story. Google it!)
8. Screaming fans don’t yell at my husband when he has an off day.
7. I get to sit inside where it’s warm to watch football games in support of my husband.
6. At half time, my husband can carry on a conversation with me instead of his coach.
5. After a win, I don’t have to worry about my husband fending off hot football groupies.
4. After a loss, my husband doesn’t ever embarrass himself at a press conference.
3. My husband only gets a little bit sweaty during games.
2. Two words: NO CHEERLEADERS!

And the #1 reason why it is better to be the football widow of a fan…
Ndamukong Suh never gets close to my husband’s groin.

This week, I am paying tribute to the ladies who stand behind the quarterbacks. They are the REAL football widows. I’m not gonna lie – I’d love to have a quarterback’s paycheck to spend on all manner of shoes and purses, but I wouldn’t trade places with any of them.

When I did my research, which is as exhaustive as I have patience for and may not be flawless, I found some interesting stories of high school and college sweethearts, women who join their husbands in charity work, mothers of multiple children, and women who are stars themselves.

Drew Brees’ wife, Brittany, was his college sweetheart. They have 3 sons, the middle of which was named with assistance from Drew’s Twitter followers. That makes the woman a saint (no pun intended) in my book. The couple does charitable work in New Orleans, San Diego where they make their home in the off season, and near Purdue where they went to college. Russell Wilson, Chad Henne, Joe Flacco, Matt Moore, Alex Smith, Andy Dalton and Carson Palmer are all married to women that they have been with for many years.

Among the ranks of the NFL women-behind-the men are athletes in their own right. There are softball, soccer, tennis and golf standouts from their respective colleges, as well as a Czech national gymnast and a US gymnastic medalist in the Beijing games.

Ryan Fitzpatrick proposed to his wife, Liza Barber at McDonald’s over Chicken McNuggets. It doesn’t get any more down to earth than that. There were married in 2006 and have 3 children. Melanie Weeden has been through not one, but two professional sports careers with her husband. He spent 5 years playing professional baseball prior to coming to the NFL. The brothers Manning both have wives and children, including a set of twins for Peyton and Ashley.

Tom Brady is married to supermodel Gisele Bundchen.  Since 2004, she has been the highest paid model in the world, is a former Victoria’s Secret model, and was the 16th richest woman in the entertainment industry, with an estimated $150 million fortune in 2007. In this case, and in spite of his greatness, perhaps the great man stands behind a greater woman.

Tiffany Rivers wins the Ultimate Widow award. The couple began dating in the 7th grade and married after their freshman year of college, with the blessing of his football coach. They have 6, count ‘em, SIX children! She wins the prize!

Tony Romo and Ben Roethlisberger are newlyweds. Robert Griffin III is engaged. Among the girlfriends, there is a reality tv actress, an ESPN reporter, actress Eva Longoria, and R&B star Ciara. Matt Stafford continues to date his college girlfriend. It is a classic case of quarterback and cheerleader. What makes her noteworthy is that she plays fantasy football!

This week, my picks are based on my personal assessment of the widows that sit on the sidelines while their husbands entertain the football fans that we know and love. We’ll see if that is a good basis for choosing winners.

Widow’s Week 13 Picks

Saints over Falcons
Seahawks over Bears
Packers over Vikings
49ers over Rams
Cardinals over Jets
Chiefs over Panthers
Lions over Colts
Bills over Jaguars
Patriots over Dolphins
Texans over Titans
Broncos over Buccaneers
Ravens over Steelers
Browns over Raiders
Chargers over Bengals
Cowboys over Eagles
Giants over Redskins

Nov 212012
 

Greetings Football Widows and Happy Thanksgiving to all! This year, the NFL gave me the greatest gift EVER for Thanksgiving. I know…Thanksgiving is not typically a gift-giving holiday, so imagine my surprise when I discovered that they had bestowed something on me that is truly special. My husband’s beloved Patriots are playing on Thanksgiving Day! But wait…there’s more! They are playing none other than the most despised JETS! Apparently I am on the “naughty” list this year because not only do I lose my husband for 3 hours on a national holiday, but there is a risk, albeit a small one, of a possible humiliating loss to Rex Ryan’s crew. Perish the thought!

Ladies, don’t feel left out. The NFL has given you a gift as well. There are no more bye weeks. Everyone plays every week. If you don’t have your Christmas lights hung outside yet, you may need to kiss the neighborhood “Clark W. Griswold Christmas Decoration Award” goodbye because your fan will be unavailable to hang them each and every Sunday for the duration of the season.

There was a discussion that happened over the weekend that inspired the title of my article this week. While talking about the upcoming Patriots game, I said something to the effect of “If WE don’t beat those people…” The “we” in this case was The New England Patriots. Very quietly, with a smile in his voice, Ghost Rat replied “you said ‘we’!” My proverbial Thanksgiving goose is cooked. I have apparently drank the Kool Aid and I am now one of those people that talks about a football team as if I either own it, play on it or coach it. I must invoke the “F” word in this case. FAN. How did that happen? Regardless, I said it, and my husband will never forget it. I fear that I am one foam finger away from being completely sucked into the vortex of fandom.

In weeks past, I have taken on the social conscience of the NFL, have scoffed at the NFL cheerleading franchise, attempted to choose winners based on aesthetics, and tried to outwit my husband. This week, I am taking on my biggest rival when it comes to accuracy in prediction of game winners: CHANCE! I am going “mano y mano” (Widow y Coin-o?) with none other than the Idaho Quarter. Since I tend to be only slightly ahead of the coin toss in the standings, I have elected to directly match wits with an inanimate object to test my mettle. Here it goes, with commentary. Where the quarter and I disagree, it is noted. The Quarter and I differ in our picks in 8 games this week. On a positive note, my husband and I only disagree on the outcome of 2 games, which means that I have another shot at being almost as right as he is. This is a real feat for a quasi-fan such as myself.

Widow’s Week 12 Picks

Texans over Lions (the Texans may have looked bad last week, but the Lions are worse)
Redskins over Cowboys (the Redskins are 0-6 against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving. Maybe they are due)
Patriots over Jets (Duh…!)
Bengals over Raiders (Based on season record, I’m good with this one)
Steelers over Browns (The Quarter apparently hasn’t been watching football and has the Browns)
Colts over Bills (I defer to home field advantage and vote against the Quarter)
Titans over Jaguars (With 9 losses for the Jaguars, I am siding with the Quarter here)
Broncos over Chiefs (Sorry Chiefs, I think the Quarter is wrong with Peyton Manning in the house)
Vikings over Bears (The Quarter and I are not liking the Bears if Cutler remains questionable)
Buccaneers over Falcons (I think the Quarter is wrong and the Falcons are due to lose another one)
Seahawks over Dolphins (Silly Quarter, the Seahawks need a win on the road and this could be it)
Ravens over Chargers (Again I disagree with the Quarter, mainly based on the Ravens’ defense)
49ers over Saints (I have 2 words for the Quarter: Colin and Kaepernick!)
Cardinals over Rams (based on my own coin toss, I agree with the Quarter)
Giants over Packers (the Quarter and I discussed it and we think the Giants are motivated to win)
Eagles over Panthers (the Quarter picked the Panthers, but with 2 equally bad teams, home field advantage has its, well, advantages)

Nov 072012
 

Before I go into my process for selecting winners for Week 10, I feel duty bound to comment on how I did last week when I deliberately chose opposite of my husband, Ghost Rat. We went into Monday night’s contest TIED!! I unfortunately lost along with the Eagles as my husband chose the Saints to win. Still, I declare victory that it came down to only one game. By my count, that makes me almost as right as he is! Yippee!!

On to Week 10…I enlisted some help this week from my 15-year-old son to assist me with my picks since the topic is of great importance to him. I am speaking, of course, of the NFL cheerleaders. I am coming to terms with grown men getting paid enough money to run a small country to play football for around 20 weeks a year. I lag behind in my understanding of the use of “cheerleaders”.

The criteria used to choose an NFL cheerleader are surprisingly not rigid. They are chosen based on their ability to entertain the audience. Prior dance experience in NOT required, and there are not age, height or weight requirements for most teams. In fact, while the average age of NFL cheerleaders is 25, they range in age from 18-42. Shoot!! I just missed my window of opportunity to become one! Women from all over the country can try out, but must be willing to move to the home community of the team in order to make it to practice. They are required to have another full time job in spite of the huge commitment of time required to be an NFL cheerleader. They must have a minimum of a GED or high school diploma.

This week, I wanted to honor teams that, like me, don’t see cheerleaders as necessary. By my count, there are 6 NFL teams that don’t have a cheerleading squad, including the Browns and the Packers who have a bye week, as well as the Bears, Giants, Lions and Steelers. Since the majority of teams do, in fact, have cheerleaders, I made an effort to determine which teams had cheerleaders that provided the most value in society. I also had my son look at pictures of them and measured his “drool factor”. Sleazy cheerleaders equals a loss for the team. My research proved interesting regarding the ladies that cheer and there were some nice surprises about their contribution to the greater good. It is with clenched jaw that I speak in defense of the women who make up the NFL squads. All of them appear on behalf of the team to raise money, act as ambassadors and complete hours of community service. I sought to use my usual scientific method to make a judgment call, with the team with the most substantial cheerleaders winning. The harder I had to look for information about community service efforts, the more likely I chose the team to lose.

In the Thursday night game, the Colts face the Jaguars. This one was close for me. The team picture of the Jaguars cheerleaders revealed, no pun intended, some of the most well endowed women across all teams. The ROAR, as they are called, function as a community service organization in addition to a dance squad. The Colts cheerleaders, while also a community service organization, include women named Sable, Candi (with an “I”), Jenniphure, and Allegra. Is it just me, or do those sound more like stripper names? Jaguars win!

Here are some of the other noteworthy bits of information. The Broncos Cheerleaders log over 1,500 hours of community service per year. The Buccaneers Cheerleaders and the Oakland Raiderettes are considered elite squads. The Buffalo Jills visited the war zone in Iraq in 1996 and the49ers Gold Rush traveled to Bosnia to entertain the troops. These are just small examples of the positive work of these women.

I am choosing an Eagles win over the Cowboys on general principal due to the fact that the Cowboys have the most famous cheerleaders of all NFL teams. Also, the Eagles have the only squad that places a “mature content” warning on their web page. After looking at all of the web pages, I applaud their insight because most of the sites I visited contained fairly mature content.

I am introducing a new concept this week. I am calling it the Widow’s Scorn award. For the remainder of the season, I am going to select a recipient who, in my estimation, places the largest blemish on the face of the game for the week. This may be in the form of behavior on or off the field, and will likely include violations of my “everything I need to know about football I learned in kindergarten” principles. The first recipient of the Widow’s Scorn award is Sarah Jones, former Bengals Cheerleader. She has not been in the news since October 8th when she accepted a plea deal after being accused of having a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old male student during her time spent as a high school English teacher. She has admitted to the misconduct in open court as part of her plea agreement, although she is not going to jail and is not being required to register as a sex offender. However, she is the first winner of this award because of my focus on cheerleaders this week. It is by far the most damaging thing I found, and, unfortunately for the Bengals, this bad apple spoils the batch for this week.

May the most tasteful cheerleaders win!!

Week 10

Jaguars over Colts
Broncos over Panthers
Buccaneers over Chargers
Titans over Dolphins
Bills over Patriots
Raiders over Ravens
Giants over Bengals
Saints over Falcons
Lions over Vikings
Seahawks over Jets
Eagles over Cowboys
49ers over Rams
Bears over Texans
Steelers over Chiefs

Oct 312012
 

Please indulge me for a moment, Widows! I had a VERY good week last week, going 10 and 4 on my picks for last week’s game winners. I tied Brodrick Kincaid for the lead position among our regular contributors and, in fact, surpassed my lovely husband’s record for the week. Does gloating make my butt look big?

Our new term for the week is (drum roll please…) BYE WEEK!!

Bye week: One week during the regular NFL season, each team gets a week off without a game. Please look for signs of grief, depression and withdrawal in your fan as he tries to cope with a week without his beloved team during their bye week. Your fan may attempt to cope through watching other games or console himself with talk of the schedule that his team faces “coming out of the bye week”. His hope will likely be that the team will emerge well rested, healed from injury, with corrections made to any difficulties that they are experiencing and ready to continue with the season.

A well timed bye week can have advantages to you as a football widow. Depending upon where you live, there may be leaves to be raked. Regardless of where you live, there is a honey do list that has been gathering dust and holiday lights to be hung. If your fan’s team has already had their bye week, perhaps you have already taken advantage of his availability. If your fan’s bye week is yet to come, he may be able to accompany you to the mall to act as Sherpa for your holiday shopping bags.

Some of you will be less fortunate. This is the bye week for the Jets, 49ers, Rams, and The New England Patriots, which is a pretty big deal at my house. I excitedly informed Ghost Rat that I was happy to have “total custody” of him this Sunday. He responded in the form of a question: “do you think there aren’t other games on?” Some of you will still lose your husband to the man cave for blocks of time since his team isn’t the only team he watches. Yet, I submit that his resolve will be weak and you have a better chance of luring him out from in front of the television during the bye week.

Prior to the start of the season, I decided week by week how I would choose my winning teams. I wanted to do “Opposite Week” at some point during the season, choosing completely opposite of Ghost Rat. I selected the Patriots bye week to do it in order to avoid having to choose another team over them since a Patriots win is always what I want since it is cause for much rejoicing. He presented me with his picks this morning and I cringed when I saw some of them. My intuition tells me that he is probably right about many of his choices, so I am actually not going to do very well this week. Since I am riding the wave of a great week last week I decided to generally choose opposite of him, while invoking the Woman’s Prerogative Clause: the right to change my mind! I will note those games with an asterisk so that my 3 readers will know where I deviated from my usual scientific method of choosing winners and losers. My goal is simply to tie Ghost Rat in my record for this week. Cross your fingers for me, Widows!

Week 9 Picks

Chiefs over Chargers
Panthers over Redskins
Packers over Cardinals*
Jaguars over Lions
Bears over Titans*
Broncos over Bengals*
Ravens over Browns
Bills over Texans
Dolphins over Colts
Seahawks over Vikings
Buccaneers over Raiders*
Steelers over Giants
Falcons over Cowboys*
Eagles over Saints

Oct 232012
 

Greetings again, Widows. I realized that I have been neglecting one of my commitments that I made when I said that I would do a weekly blog about my survival of the football season–adding to the glossary of terms. Allow me to play a little bit of catch up.

“Line of scrimmage”: this is the imaginary line that the players who have the ball have to line up behind. Basically, they have to be behind the ball, and they have to use their imaginations, as well as their depth perception to make sure that they are lined up correctly. I have previously defined false starts and offsides in our glossary of terms. Both of these penalties relate to failing to follow the rules about staying in line.

“Pocket”: the imaginary area created to try to protect a quarterback in order for him to have enough time to pass the football. The people who provide this protection are typically enormous individuals. In playground language, these are the guys to whom you gladly give your lunch money to protect you from the guys who want to beat you up to steal it.

“Sack”: this is what they call tackling the quarterback behind the line of scrimmage. I had a terrible time trying to find out why they call it a “sack”. It may be because officials used to throw down a bean bag (sack) when this occurred, according to Wikipedia. (Sack is also a manufacturer of purses, offering a variety of stylish, yet practical, over priced handbags that can be found in any major department store near you! I have one and guess what?? It has a pocket. Coincidence?? I think not!)

“Intentional Grounding”: much as the name implies, this penalty is called when the quarterback throws the ball at the ground on purpose. Based on personal observation, it appears that this is done to avoid being tackled/sacked. (I intellectually understand why this is something that is not allowed, although if my son was a quarterback, I guarantee that I’d be the loudest person in the stands yelling “GET RID OF IT!”)

“Incomplete pass”: unlike intentional grounding, in this case, the quarterback has very good intentions of throwing the ball to another player, but it ends up on the ground by mistake. This results in the need for a do-over. Depending on who a fan is cheering for, it may also resort in loud use of profanity and questioning of why it is that people who are paid that much money can’t seem to do their job, whether it be the inept quarterback or the butter fingered intended receiver.

Now, watch me use all of this in a sentence! The quarterback stepped back into the pocket, and then intentionally grounded the ball to try to avoid a sack because he couldn’t get across the line of scrimmage, although the coach had the play reviewed because he thought it was an incomplete pass. Nice, right?

My dear Sisters of the Traveling Remote Control, I invite you to submit football terms to this website that defy your understanding. I promise to research them to the best of my patience and attention span, and to define them in a manner designed to increase your understanding of football as well as mine. I will gladly treat any questions or requests in the same manner. This will give me something meaningful to do while my husband assists to coach the Patriots for 3 hours per week from the privacy of our basement. (Does anyone know where I can get a 2012 Patriot’s coach Bill Belichick sweatshirt just like the one that he wears on the sidelines on game day? And do you suppose that he cut the sleeves off himself or does it come that way?)  Ghost Rat’s Note: Here it is, honey… in gray but with sleeves. Still very nice.  :-)

This week, in honor of Halloween, I decided to base my picks on the team with the “Best Costume”. Those guys at ESPN really “get” us and understand what is important: power rankings of current uniform sets following the Nike re-design!! I am a sucker for a good costume change every now and again to mix things up. See how ESPN ranked them (as well as pictures of the home and away uniforms) here:

Week 8 picks

Buccaneers over Vikings
Packers over Jaguars
Jets over Dolphins
Chargers over Browns
Colts over Titans
Patriots over Rams
Eagles over Falcons
Bears over Panthers
Lions over Seahawks
Steelers over Redskins
Raiders over Chiefs
Giants over Cowboys
Saints over Broncos
49ers over Cardinals