My reaction about Michael Sam

This isn’t it:

But even with the bad apples getting a LOT of publicity, NFL players are less likely to be violent criminals than other young men of the same age and socio-economic status. But I digress.

About Michael Sam:

1. He was the Rams 7’th round pick. I am actually more interested in picks 1, 2 and the pick earlier in the 7’th ground (all linemen) and note that one of the draft picks (a running back) may have already made an impact on the team. A former starting running back has been let go.

2. My reaction to seeing Sam was “OMG, he must be a babe magnet…and he is wasting that ON A GUY???” Seriously. :-) I know…I am not gay so, on the gut level, I don’t “get it”. But being stuck with nothing but guys just seems….sad and depressing.

I suppose it is like if someone really likes, say, Indian food, and can’t understand (at the gut level) why others don’t.

I hope to make 3 Rams games this year (later in the season), which might include a couple of night games: 49’ers, Cardinals, Giants….maybe Broncos too.

Last year, I made the Titans, Saints, Bears and Buccaneers games.

May 17, 2014 Posted by | football, NFL, social/political | , | Leave a comment

Post Superbowl

In a way last night’s Super Bowl was like some of the previous ones; an expected close game was a rout.
I didn’t expect a blowout either. Kudos to the Seahawks. It was fun watching that defense dominate ..and the offense was far from shabby too.

What was as much (or more fun) was seeing conservative heads EXPLODING over this commercial:

(for the record: I thought that it was a good commercial, though I didn’t know what it had to do with soda-pop)

The Coca-Cola boards were attacked by outraged right wingers. So we had a little fun with them (and I threw in a “why are they singing it in Ben Ghazi) here and there, and added some misspelled tea party signs and an “English was good enough for Jesus” line)


February 3, 2014 Posted by | football, NFL | , , | Leave a comment

Cold, NFL and science

Jerry Coyne has an interesting post about how he sees science being “dissed”. I’ve been over much of this; one reason is that sometimes non-replicated studies are loudly presented as break throughs when, in fact, they are merely false positives.

That jet stream appears to be stuck, thereby subjecting us to repeated blasts of cold air and others to severe drought. View the maps presented here.

Many schools were cancelled yesterday; the University of Illinois was not. That we were: kind of silly; it was actually COLDER today. But some of the Illinois snowflakes were less than pleased that they had class and vented on the internet.

Again, big school; small sample size.

It is interesting how the players are decried as “thugs” by many; some say that football promotes a “rape culture”. So I went online to look for statistics; in fact, even when one considers ALL violent crimes, there is zero evidence that NFL players commit them at a higher rate than other males their own age and race. In fact the evidence suggests that they commit such crimes at a LOWER rate. Here is the non-technical study from Duke University; “arrests, charges and conviction” data is presented and discussed.

January 29, 2014 Posted by | education, NFL, science | , | Leave a comment

Now it gets real: spring 2014 duties, Sherman post game interview, etc.

Workout notes I got it done in 75 minutes. Highlights: I did the pull downs on a different machine and finished my workout with dumbbell supersets of military, one armed bent over rows, upright rows, curls.
5 sets of pull ups (sort of weak), 10 x 135, 4 x 180, 7 x 170 bench, 10 x 140 incline. etc.

My university is having a visit program today so the gym is closed for 3 hours; and in 3 hours I meet with some prospective students and then there is a department meeting.
That is reality of a professor’s life at a non-research intensive university: much of your job has nothing to do with teaching and scholarship. There are upsides too; every job has its unique characteristics.

There is an interesting article called the Death of Expertise. In some ways, I am shielded from this since my Ph. D. and research is in mathematics; I don’t have “the man on the street” telling me that I am wrong about a mathematical fact. But you see this a LOT in public policy discussions: “is this law constitutional”, “is there evidence that Keynesian economics works”; “is climate change real and did human activity affect it?”, “evolution” and “GMO topics” among many others. And yes, people get their feelings hurt when you tell them that you have no reason to take their opinion seriously.

I enjoyed last nights Seahawks vs. 49’ers slugfest; it was quite the rock-em, sock-em game. And yes, the 49’ers did have a couple of outrageously bad calls go against them, though the “non-fumble” didn’t cost them as they got the 4’th down stop the play after.

The game wasn’t sealed until 18 seconds to go, when a Seahawk cornerback deflected a fade route pass into the arms of a fellow defender. Afterward, the defender gave an epic interview (the emotions were still raw)

Personally, I LOVED the interview; it was fun to see a non-sanitized interview given right after the “heat of battle”; emotions were raw and the “PR app” had yet to load. No, I never played football at this high of a level; I was able to start on year of varsity football for a small high school and was, at best, minimally competent. The future division I prospects whipped me soundly. But I remember the motions….

So, this young man got some heat from many of the fans for a variety of reasons. I happened to like this take on it though.

January 20, 2014 Posted by | football, NFL, social/political, weight training | , | Leave a comment

It IS a game of inches: 49’er field goal almost blocked

Screenshot from the television feed:


This field goal was good…but literally went through the arms of the Green Bay defender.

Note: an alert reader pointed out that the defender was offside on the play and had he made the block, the 49’ers would have been able to try again, this time 5 yards closer.

January 6, 2014 Posted by | football, NFL | 2 Comments

Doing nothing all day

I did an 8 mile treadmill walk (1:03/37; took a break after 5 miles) and then shoveled snow. We had maybe 4-5 inches and there was some blowing.

Fortunately, what I shoveled at the start of the Bengals vs. Chargers game is only covered by a light dusting. So the “second shift” might not be such a chore.

The second game might be interesting (Green Bay vs. San Francisco); the temperature will be single digits. Will we see this?


January 5, 2014 Posted by | NFL, walking | , | Leave a comment

Rams on the cusp of becoming a good team….

Yes, as reported before, though it is game day, I got in 15 minutes on the elliptical trainer, 4 mile run in 38:50 (21:00/17:50), 1 mile walk (to make 5 miles in 53:20).

As usual, the Jones Dome staff was nice to us; Barbara still needs a wheel chair to go anything longer than a reasonably short distance though she can walk very, very short distances with a boot. So our “row AA tickets” (bottom of the upper deck) were traded for handicapped access tickets on the concourse. We were seated at about the 20 yard line.


Though there were empty seats, the crowd wasn’t that bad given that this wasn’t against the Chiefs, Saints or Bears (who bring a lot of fans). And the crowd was louder than normal.

The Rams beat the Buccaneers 23-13 and limited the Bucs to 170 yards of total offense. They sacked the quarterback 7 times.

The teams started by trading punts.

Then the Bucs got an 85 yard drive for a touchdown, moving it mostly on passes in the middle of the field. The Rams responded with an 80 yard touchdown drive, mostly on running.


The Bucs drive was aided by a dubious “hit on a defenseless receiver call”; the Rams drive was aided by a terrible “roughly the quarterback call” against the Bucs.

A tackle/strip on a running play gave the Rams the ball back very quickly; the Rams cashed in on a well executed double reverse to score. The downfield blocking was excellent. 14-7 Rams.


Screen shot 2013-12-22 at 3.40.11 PM

The Rams held and got the ball back and drove it 65 yards (excellent 30 yard run on a misdirection pitch out)….it looked as if the Rams were about to take control of the game. They had the ball first and goal and got to the 1. But on second down, the Bucs defense stuffed the Rams for a short loss…which lead to a 3’rd down. The Rams called a weird “fake/quarterback keep” (the Rams QB is NOT a runner) and he got hit and fumbled. Tampa recovered.

Tampa got stuffed and had 4’th down on its own 1. They punted and even a “block in the back” call still gave the Rams first down at the 48. But the Rams fumbled AGAIN. Tampa cashed in driving the ball to the Rams 9, but two sacks put them far enough back…so Tampa got a field goal to end the half. 14-10.

Screen shot 2013-12-22 at 3.40.33 PM

The Rams were unable to move the ball at the start of the second half. Tampa got the ball and drove for a field goal; it was now 14-13. But it was all Rams after that.

The Bucs tried an onside kick which they ALMOST got; the Rams ended up with the ball at the 35. The next drive was just long enough to set up a 54 yard field goal; it was now 17-13.

Then Tampa had to punt and the Rams got the ball an a nice 15 yard punt return to go to work at the Ram 44.

A long drive took the Rams to the 7; another field goal and it was now 20-13.

Tampa tried a drive and moved it some; but another sack/fumble gave the Rams the ball back at the Tampa 46 with just over 9 minutes to go.

Then it was mostly running. The idea was to burn clock and the Rams took almost 6 minutes off. Then another field goal (47 yards); 23-13 Rams with about 3:15 to go.

The Rams defense held; got the ball back on the Tampa 36; picked up a first down and eventually turned the ball over on downs with a few seconds left in the game. Quinn got his third sack of the game to break the franchise record for sacks (18) and that finished things.

Of note: Akeem Spence is a Tampa Bay defensive lineman and got a tackle; I saw him play at Illinois (2011-2016).

(photos: ESPN) Stacy had 104 yards (good blocking) and the defense was smothering.

The Rams are on the verge of becoming a good team
The start wasn’t so hot:

Screen shot 2013-12-22 at 4.29.03 PM

3-5 as you can see.

But the last 7 games were better:

Screen shot 2013-12-22 at 4.29.40 PM

4-3 for the last 7 games; they won their last 3 home games to go 5-3 at home. Even better: they went 3-1 in games that I was able to watch in person. I could get used to this. :-)

There isn’t much consistency: they whip the Colts on the road and the Saints and Bears at home…but get blown out by the Cardinals on the road and lose to the Titans.

Ironically, they seem to have played better with Clement as quarterback (Bradford got hurt).

I think it is realistic to expect serious contention for a playoff spot in 2014.

Props to my long suffering wife who went to all of these games with me.

December 22, 2013 Posted by | football, NFL | , | 2 Comments

Rams whip the Saints 27-16

I am liking this; I had to watch quite a few live Rams games prior to seeing them win. Now they’ve won the last two I’ve seen in person. I could get used to this. :-)

Once again, the Jones Dome staff was very nice; they traded our tickets for wheelchair access tickets. This time, we were basically one row lower than our actual tickets (which were in the first row of the highest deck).

Here is a photo of a Ram touchdown (second quarter); we are seated right above the red arrow (at the rail)


How the game went

It was clear that the Rams wanted to play ball control and keep the potent Saints offense off of the field. After a first down, the Rams had to punt. But on the first play, the defensive line hit Drew Brees while he was throwing and forced an “underthrow” interception.

Then the Rams scored on the first play after, on a screen pass in which the Rams receiver broke one tackle, got some good downfield blocks and tight-roped down the sideline.

The Saints had a nice drive after that, but Brees threw into triple coverage near the goal line which lead to an interception.


The Rams drove it 93 yards, bolstered by a 29 yard run and two different 15 yard “unnecessary roughness” penalties on the Rams (one of them a dumb hit on a sliding quarterback and one was a hit out of bounds).

14-0 Rams!

Then the Rams executed a perfect “in the air” onside kick; I didn’t expect it. More importantly, neither did the Saints.

That lead to a drive and a field goal; 17-0 just after the start of the second quarter!

The Saints came back with a drive for a field goal; it was now 17-3.

An exchange of punts lead to the Rams getting the ball back; then came a drive which was capped by a 40 yard touchdown run. It was now 24-3 and I had a hard time believing what I was seeing.


The Saints marched the ball inside the Rams 10 and, with 15 seconds left, apparently scored on a touchdown pass. BUT a “illegal hands to the face” penalty nullified that (the Ram pass rush bothered Brees all day) and then after an incomplete pass, the Rams blocked the last second field goal!

24-3 at the half!

The Saints got the ball in the second half and were evidently driving the ball well…but a sack/fumble at the St. Louis 37 ended that drive. The Rams did nothing with it, but a good punt pinned the Saints inside their own 10.

That lead to a short field, and the Rams ended up using up a lot of time and kicking another field goal; 27-3 Rams with 2:42 left in the game.

In the 4’th quarter the Saints drove and got a touchdown with 11:20 left in the game, but a 2 point conversion failed.

The Saints defense held after 1 first down and the Saints got the ball back with 8:14 to go at their own 20.

The Rams gave up the middle of the field and the Saints burned a LOT of clock; they scored again but there were only 3:07 left on the clock. It was 27-16.

BUT it got interesting the onside kick was recovered by the Saints.

The Saints drove the ball inside the Ram 10 but the defense held. So on 4’th and goal from the Rams 8, the Saints tried a field goal…AND MISSED! (tipped?)

So the Rams got the ball back and the Saints had but one time out to use. The Rams punted with 15 seconds to go, but the Saints were offside…so the Rams got the first down and took a knee to end the game.

The Saints out gained the Rams 432-302, but had three turn overs (two interceptions and a fumble). They gave up an onside kick and missed two field goals (one blocked…not sure about the second). They also committed key penalties.

For the Rams: it was typical of this season: strong games against good teams (wins over the Bears, Colts, Saints) and they played the Seahawks oh-so-tough….but losses such as last week’s blowout loss to the Cardinals.

The Rams had good balance on offense: 144 rushing, 158 passing. The pass rush was pretty good too; 4 sacks and lots of hurries.

December 16, 2013 Posted by | football, NFL, Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

ARGH: I watch too much football…

From 1975 (Junior year in high school) to the present: that is 38 years. During that time I watched the following:

9 complete seasons of University of Texas football home games (save two games during those years):
1975, 1976, 1981 (first year after graduation), 1985-1990

4 complete seasons of Navy football (1977-1980)

2 complete seasons of Illinois State football (1992-1993)
3 complete seasons of Illinois football (2011-2013)

The strongest teams: Texas 1981 (10-1-1, Cotton Bowl win), 1990 (10-2, Cotton Bowl loss)
Texas had other winning teams; Navy went 5-6, 9-3, 7-4, 8-4 during my years there.

I watched one national championship team (Colorado beat Texas in 1990; good game), a couple of teams that went undefeated in the regular season (Texas vs. North Texas in 1983; I was on leave and caught a game), Miami vs. Iowa in 1992 (lost the Sugar Bowl to Alabama), and MAYBE Ohio State this year vs. Illinois.

Yes, I follow Notre Dame too but have only seen one home game (vs. Navy in 1979); I’ve seen them against Navy in 1980 and in 1984 (in New Jersey; Giants Stadium), against Purdue in 1991 and 1995 (at Purdue) and against Texas A & M in 1988 (got blown out in the Cotton Bowl; won the NC the following year).

I’ve seen Texas on the road (vs. Penn State in 1984, New Jersey), at Baylor twice and at Houston and twice against Oklahoma. I’ve seen Navy at Air Force (1980) and at Virginia (1983) (both losses); I’ve also caught Texas games while on leave or vacations.

I was once a guest at the Michigan vs. Penn State game (at Michigan) in 2002.

Bowls: 8 Cotton (1986-1991, 1995, 1998), Alamo (2000), Garden State (1980), Go Daddy (2011).

Professional: I’ve seen a few USFL games (at Washington, at College Park, Tampa) and some NFL games: Patriots (several), Rams (several, including one in Anaheim), Bears (once), the Baltimore Colts (once), Cowboys (once) and Tampa Bay (once). I’ve seen three Super Bowl champions (Washington 1982 vs. Tampa, San Francisco vs. Dallas in 1988, New Orleans vs. St. Louis in 2010).

I was taken to the Browns vs. 49’ers in 1962 but don’t remember it.

I’ve even caught the local NAIA team (Eureka) a couple of times. :-)

Imagine had I done something productive with my time instead!

December 1, 2013 Posted by | college football, football, NFL | | Leave a comment

Andy Griffith sees football for the first time

(hat tip: Lee)

Note: Green Bay has bigger problems than their missing their starting quarterback, and so far, the Raiders are vastly outplaying the Cowboys. It is only the first half though.

I am old enough to remember when the Cowboys and Raiders were both relevant…during the SAME SEASON! They used to both be perennial powers in the NFL; always a threat to win the Super Bowl or at least go deep in the play-offs.

November 28, 2013 Posted by | football, NFL | , | Leave a comment


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