The road to the Super Bowl is long, winding through 17 weeks of the regular season (R), and then a narrowed field navigates a month-long playoff tournament. Every team imagines they are on their way to Houston, host to this year’s Super Bowl . . .
At the Quarter-Pole on the Road to Houston
Some former Texans head up division leaders as the NFL concludes the first quarter of the regular season (R4). Coach Gary Kubiak’s Denver Broncos are off to a fast and perfect start, while (friend of Farewell to Football?) quarterback Case Keenum has led the unlikely Los Angeles Rams to a share of the NFC West lead with the Seattle Seahawks. The Rams have scored 13 fewer points than their opponents through four games, yet they are 3-1.
The biggest surprise has to be the Minnesota Vikings, who lead the NFC Central with a perfect 4-0 record. They were a good team and won the division last year, but they suffered catastrophic early blows to their offense this season, losing young quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and veteran running back Adrian Peterson, and could easily have folded. Instead, they seem to be undergoing one of those transformations-through-adversity that sometimes happen in sports, and last night they dismantled the New York Giants and made it clear that the Vikings are going to be a contender to go all the way . . . to Houston!
Texas Rookies-of-the-Year of the Week
Rookie quarterback Dak Prescott continues to play well for the Dallas Cowboys, leading them to a come-from-behind 24-17 road win in San Francisco. Rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott contributed substantially, rushing for 138 yards–averaging 6 yards per carry–and scoring a touchdown.
In Houston, wide receiver Will Fuller V lit it up with his world-class speed, scoring a touchdown each receiving and returning a punt, accounting personally for 12 of Houston’s 27 points in a home win versus the Tennessee Titans.
When we invite the NFL on TV into our homes, we let in a whole lot more than just pro football . . . .
That Hyundai commercial finally added up for me: the married man in the shorts and Dolphins T-shirt and sneakers unties his boat to let it drift away so that he won’t have to spend Sunday sailing with his in-laws, thus missing watching his beloved Dolphins play football, either live or on TV. The tag line is “we don’t judge,” and we find out that Hyundai is an official sponsor of the NFL. Sacrifice your only begotten boat so that your NFL Sunday might remain inviolate. That’s the kind of idolatry Hyundai and the NFL want to promote. And they don’t judge!
Bill O’Brien freaked out again at the end of the first half of the game against the Titans, fouling up his time-outs and clock-management so badly that the TV announcers
commented derisively. This week he’s got a built-in excuse, since he took over play-calling responsibilities after the Texans laid an egg offensively against the Patriots. So much on Big Bill’s Big Brain! And you can be sure that O’Brien will have something sarcastic and dismissive to say about it to the press. In fact, after the Titans game O’Brien sarcastically and dismissively reported that his wife tells him he seems mean at the podium. Mrs. O’Brien just might have a point there, Coach: you’re in your third year as head man at Houston, and you haven’t won a play-off game yet. Maybe you should save the sarcastic and dismissive Bill Belichick routine until you’ve won a few Super Bowls.
Tuesday Night Tedium: There’s No Football Game on TV Tonight! Just the Horror of the Vice-Presidential Candidates Debate!
Farewell to Football? An American Fan’s Examination of Conscience. Click here to order a copy in paperback or Kindle format.