blueollie

Great Playoff Games! (for a change)

You can tell that the games are good when I get nervous watching them…and none of the games involve *my* teams (*)

Packers vs. Cowboys: a classic; 3 50+ yard field goals in the final 1:38. The Packers were leading 21-3 in the first half, but the Cowboys rallied to tie it.

Here is a close up of the catch from the NFL’s Instagram feed:

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Steelers vs. Chiefs: also a good one. The Steelers moved the ball up and down the field but had to settle for 6 field goals. The Chiefs got the only 2 touchdowns but still lost.

A key play came late in the game when it appeared that the Chiefs had tied the game on a 2 point conversion. The left tackle was flagged for holding which forced the Chiefs to try the 2 point attempt from further out:

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Sorry, but that was totally holding; he had his arm wrapped around the front of the body from shoulder to shoulder, THOUGH I’ve seen linemen get away with worse.

(yea, in HS, I’ve gotten a few of these calls…due to my slow feet)

(*) currently, “my” teams are the Bears )3-13) and the Colts (8-8); basically *my* teams are the ones I get to watch in person.

How they have gone:

early, up until 1975: Packers (dad liked Vince Lombardi)
1975-mid 1990’s: Cowboys. Lived in Texas for much of that time; and while in the Navy, Austin, Texas was my “home”.
1983-1984: Patriots were also my team, as I got a chance to watch a few of their games live in old Sullivan Stadium
1990’s-2009 none, really, “sort of” Bears
2009-2015: Rams; my wife took me to a Rams game and I saw a few games every year
2016-now: switched to the Colts and Bears as those are the teams I get to see.

Side note: I did catch one Tampa game when I lived in Florida, one Rams game back in 1984 and I was on leave near Los Angeles, and one Colts game in 1983 when I was on vacation in Baltimore.

January 16, 2017 Posted by | football, NFL | Leave a comment

Sports: Bradley Basketball (men) on the upswing…and NFL

Last night, Bradley shot the lights out (8-17 from 3 point range, 55.1 percent overall) and beat struggling Northern Iowa 72-61

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Bradley just sizzled during the first half, and did enough to put the game away during the second half.

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But, to be fair, UNI was without its best player, though BU was missing a key player as well.

Still, after repeated beat downs, it was nice to see BU turn the tables.

NFL: the Chargers are moving to Los Angeles…and are going to play in a stadium that holds less than 30K for at least 2 years?

Interesting…given the “empty seats” we are seeing in many stadiums, perhaps pro teams are going to “club seat only” type stadiums and relying on television for the average fans?

January 12, 2017 Posted by | basketball, football, NFL | | Leave a comment

Thrilling finish to the National Championship game and pick plays

Like many college football fans, I was spellbound by Clemson’s 35-31 thriller over Alabama. Clearly, these really were the best two football teams in the land, and they played an “instant classic” game; it reminded me of the Texas vs. USC thriller so many years ago.

But this game had some controversy toward the end. Because I follow Notre Dame (one of “my” teams, albeit behind Navy, Texas and Illinois), I remembered this “pick play” which DID draw an “offensive pass interference” penalty.

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But this play did NOT:

Why? This article has a nice explanation of the difference. Roughly speaking: it isn’t illegal if you can get the defenders to run into each other, but one isn’t allowed to block downfield (not past 1 yard).

Here is another article about these type of pass patterns (albeit at the NFL level)

January 11, 2017 Posted by | college football, football, NFL | Leave a comment

NFL, NBA or MLB: live and on TV: what do you chose?

Ok, I’ll ask a question:

on television, you get to watch ONE regular season game: MLB (major league baseball), NFL (pro football) or NBA (pro basketball).
Which do you choose? Assume that all are equally meaningful games.

Now same question, but this time, you offered a ticket (with companion of choice) of similar level to MLB, NFL, or NBA. Assume equally meaningful games, pleasant weather, etc.

January 6, 2017 Posted by | baseball, basketball, football, NBA, NFL | Leave a comment

New Year 2017: Colts vs. Jaguars, Pacers vs. Magic (and I used up “spouse points”)

We celebrated New Year’s Day in Indianapolis. First, we made the Colts vs. Jaguars game (1 pm ET). Then we made the Pacers vs. Magic NBA game (6 pm ET). Lucas Oil Stadium and Bankers Life Fieldhouse are about an easy 10 minute walk apart.

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The football game: The Colts won 24-20 with the winning score coming with 9 seconds to go. The irony is that the Colts won in almost exactly the same way they’ve lost this season; they were outplayed for the first 58:20 of the game, but had one last good drive. They threw an interception, lost a fumble on a “t-formation” snap from center and got a punt blocked. In fact, the Colts were outgained 470-384.

But…after getting pushed all over the field for most of the first half (and getting booed), they were down 17-0 prior to driving for a field goal. The Jaguars drove but then missed a 30 yard field goal; so the half ended 17-3.

The Colts held their own in the second half, getting a drive to cut the lead to 17-10 The defense got some stops and some turnovers, and so the Colts made it 17-17 in the 4’th. But with 2 minutes to go in the game, the Jags blocked a Colts punt; there was a delay in the game to see where the ball should go, as the punter made a desperation throw (forward)…so the ball went to the scrimmage lines.

The Jags tried three runs to force the Colts to use their time outs. They kicked a 41 yard field goal, and a touchback on the kickoff placed the Colts at their own 25 with 1:32 to go…and no time outs.

They drove it to the 20 using passes and “spike to stop the clock”. Then the Colts threw a pass that ended on the 1; a quick spike stopped the clock at 14 seconds. Time for perhaps a shot in the end zone, but they couldn’t afford a sack or a stop in the field of play. They got the TD with 9 seconds to go…on a short pass. I really thought that the Colts were finished.

The Jaguars reminded me of the Browns against the Chiefs last year; they had a bad record (and of course, still do) but came in and played hard.

My photos:

Barbara with the Bill Hudnut statue (former Mayor of Indianapolis)

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Random fan.

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Colts enter the field.

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The action from our perch in the first row of the upper deck; I sat next to the same two ladies that I sat next to last year (for the Texans game)…4 seats over.

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We then walked to the Pacers game; we had to wait a few minutes as they let people in 1 hour ahead of time. I did see a few Colts jerseys there. Note: they had a nice crowd (17,500); there were a few empty seats in the “non-luxury” sections.

The Pacers won 117-104, getting 35 points in the second quarter to lead 62-51. They shot 40.9 percent (9-22) from 3 point range; or put it this way: the Magic made 10-38…one more 3 point basket made but 16 extra attempts to achieve that! Also, the Pacers were 22-24 from the free throw line; the Magic were 10-11.

My photos

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The cheerleaders

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The massive scoreboard

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There is someone rappelling down…hard to see but look at the center.

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Pacers enter

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Tipoff

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The Turner Block Rowdies

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January 3, 2017 Posted by | basketball, football, NBA, NFL, travel | , | Leave a comment

Colts turn the game over to the Texans 22-17


Though the Colts outgained the Texans 348-316, the Texans controlled the ball, ran for 185 yards and got three turn overs; one on a strip sack, one where the quarterback was hit while passing…and one when the Colt receiver just plain fell down. And the Texans kicked 5 field goals (Colts missed a 55 yard attempt just prior to halftime).

It started out promising, with the Colt quarterback making a 33 yard run as the Texan left end broken containment. But that lead to a field goal..which the Texans quickly matched. It was 10-3 at the half.

The third quarter saw the Texans take a 16-3 lead, partially based on a field goal after a turn over. But then the Colts struck back with a drive and were driving again and had the ball first down on the 1. But a tackle for a loss lead to a third down inside the 5..and the quarterback getting hit while attempting to throw and fumbling, which the Texans recovered.

So it remained 16-10 and the Texans drove to kick a field goal.

The Colts did strike back with a long pass, but Texan running put them in position to kick another filed goal. But it was only 22-17. The Colts had one more drive but failed on 4’th and 1 to end the game.

Overall: the extra turnovers just killed the Colts, as did the Texan ground game and accurate field goal kicking.

Photos:

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December 13, 2016 Posted by | football, NFL | | Leave a comment

And I drag Mat to the Bears vs. 49’ers game

How does a math professor afford “Media Deck” seats in Soldier field? Well, having an outdoor December game between 2-9 and 1-10 teams helps.

As far as the seats: row 1. Loved that. Now the bathroom at the end (section 244) is too small..and the concourse is crowded. So, next time I’d go to the middle sections to get to the bathroom. Other than that: excellent.

Now the game: the Bears won 26-6, though the first half didn’t look so promising. The 49’ers controlled play…but only managed two field goals. One came on a drive. The other was set up by a partially blocked punt which was returned to the Bear 4 yard line. But the returner though he had scored and …in celebrating what he thought was a touchdown, did a snow angel in the endzone. That resulted in a 15 yard penalty which ..lead to a field goal.

So with just over 2 minutes left in the half, the Bears had the ball at their own 20. They tried two running plays with limited success..and the 49’ers called time out, hoping to get the ball back.

So the Bears completed a pass for the first down..and which point momentum shifted. The Bears found that their backup quarterback COULD pass in this weather and he started to hit passes. That moved the Bears sharply to the 12 yard line, and a pass interference penalty put the ball at the 49’er 1 with just over 30 seconds to go. The Bears ran it in and took a 7-6 lead at the half.

The Bears dominated the second half, mixing running and passing. The drove for 2 touchdowns and established a 21-6 lead going into the 4’th quarter.

A nice field goal pushed it to 24-6; and then a good punt pinned the 49’ers deep (at their own 2), and a quarterback sack for a safety pushed the final margin to 26-6.

So, the Bears won 3 games this season, and I was there for 2 of those victories! In fact, I’ve yet to witness the opposing team score a touchdown on the Bears.

I never got that cold; in fact, during the game, I never had to put on my extra coat.

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The Media Deck concourse has heat lamps overhead. If you sit in rows 11-12, these might keep you a little bit warm.

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The Bears take the field.

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Early action.

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Field goal 49’ers.

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Bears in scoring position in the third quarter.

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Touchdown Bears!

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The cold fans braving the elements.

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The red arrow marks where we are.

December 6, 2016 Posted by | football, Friends, NFL | | 1 Comment

Colts 24, Titans 17; fast start and hanging on…

Last year, my “double” was a 28-3 Illinois loss to Ohio State followed by the Bears crushing the Rams 37-13. I’ve had one other “double” weekend: Texas upsetting Oklahoma 28-24 followed by the Cowboys getting pasted by the 49’ers 31-13 the next day. That was back in 1989, I believe.

This year, I followed Illinois 28-0 loss to Iowa with watching the Colts vs. the Titans. The Colts managed a 24-17 win.

It started great; the Colts scored touchdowns on their first three possessions; the second saw the Colts execute a flea flicker; they had both a deep and a check-off receiver wide open and so they threw it underneath.
And so it was 21-0 in the second quarter and the Colts were driving…again. But their very reliable kicker missed a 42 yard field goal and momentum shifted; they got a touchdown to cut the lead to 21-7.

Second half: the Colts had to punt a couple of times right away, and the Titans, lead by their quarterback, managed to score 10 points to cut the lead to 21-17. The Colts finally managed one drive to cut it to 24-17, and thwarted one final drive. Then with 2:2x left, the Colts got one first down which iced the game.

One of Barbara’s game photos.

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The flag prior the start.

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First play.

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The larger of the two massive windows.

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November 22, 2016 Posted by | football, NFL | | Leave a comment

Chicago Bears vs. Lions trip

Well, the trip to Chicago was more uneventful that I had anticipated. We went up the night before just to enjoy some relaxation.

The hotel (Hyatt and McCormick Place) was really about 1 mile away from the stadium, and most of the walk was along bike path type surfaces.

We took this before Barbara saw our seats…

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Here she was contemplating “acrimonious divorce”.

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But hey, there was a great view.

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The crowd was somewhat late arriving, but it did fill up pretty well.

As far as the game itself: The Bears did control action during the first half but really had only 7 points to show for it. The Bears defense shut down the Lions effectively, allowing only one 50 yard field goal and coming up with an “almost pick 6” at the end to stop a Lion drive (busted route).

Second half: the Lions opened up with drive that took almost 8 minutes of the 3’rd quarter. They got first and goal at the 5 and ran it to inside the 1. But…the Bears goal line defense made two key run stops, stopping them for no gain and then a 2 yard loss.

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So the Lions had to kick a field goal and it was 7-6. Then the Bears hit a 64 yard pass to set up a short touchdown pass; it was now 14-6.

Another drive set up a field goal to make it 17-6, and the Bears came up with another interception inside of 4 minutes to go. Bears running made the Lions use up time outs.

But the Lions hit a big 80 yard punt return for a touchdown with 1:50 to play and followed it with a 2 point conversion, but the Lions had no time outs left. The Bears recovered the onside kick and went into “victory formation” to seal their first win of the year.

bearslinonsvictoryformation

Highlights:

October 4, 2016 Posted by | football, NFL, travel | | 1 Comment

Slacking on the back exercises

Given: double header in baseball, then a tone of computer workout without teaching classes (I stand during class) plus not doing my back exercises = “restless night” where I had trouble finding the right position.

I did..I got up early and walked this route (6.28) in 1:33:44 (14:55 pace; deliberate pace but not “fast”…obviously. 🙂 )

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Lesson learned.

Protests:

One thing about the Kaepernick “controversy”: I’ve learned to spell his name.

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Ironically, the group of people who applauds Trump for saying that our country has gone down hill and needs to be “Made Great Again” doesn’t seem to support Colin Kaepernick’s not standing for the National Anthem.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who has become a public intellectual since his playing days, has a good take on this here.

So, what to make of this “protest”?

1. It is silent, non-violent and non-disruptive. And yet there is a problem? 🙂
2. Trump supporters appear to want a return to 1950’s social values (no more “press 1 for English” and “get THEM off of welfare!” and quit coddling “THEM” when they commit all of those crimes) while those supporting Kaepernick’s “protest” (such as it is) want more equity (e. g. on how law enforcement treats people of different races). So both groups perceive shortcomings, albeit very different ones.
3. Christine Weick, a religious fundamentalist activist (an extreme one) supports denouncing our country for it not being “godly enough”….and says:

The controversy over the football player sitting out the national anthem, actually has me thinking the same.
I can argue that we are no longer a ‘nation under God’.
Even at this point, I wonder what god with all the pagan images associated with that slogan!
As believers, are we to show no allegiance to anyone or anything other than God Himself?
I say BRAVO! He wants a change in this nation as I do.
Maybe we should be thinking twice about honoring a God hating government.
Look at the pic closely. I think I fits well.

4. Ironically, Colin Kaepernick might well get cut…for football reasons (size of his contract is not warranted by his performance or what he can do for his team, right now). I can imagine the reaction….but hey, if he saved even a small amount of the money he made, he is set for life anyway.

Ironically, I’ve seen him play in person, several times (vs. the Rams). I first saw him on TV when he played for Nevada; his team lost to Notre Dame 35-0. That wasn’t a big surprise given the difference in talent on the teams at that time. But he didn’t show me much…but it wasn’t as if his teammates were on a level of the Notre Dame players. So, his talents remained hidden to average fans like me, though I suppose the professional scouts knew what to look for.

August 31, 2016 Posted by | injury, NFL, social/political, walking | , | Leave a comment