Monday, December 31, 2007

The 2007 "Now That's F---- Up" Story of the Year

by Sluggah Jells

In 2007, just like any year, we have seen the obscene, the shocking, and the downright idiotic. We have witnessed total abasement, constant stupidity, and unthinkable insanity that has made 2007 another year of having its share of things that are totally “F---- Up!”

From Tony Romo’s fumbled field goal snap to the NASA astronaut using pepper spray on a romantic rival at work. From the Virginia Tech shootings produced by the troubled Cho Seung-Hui, to Mattel messing up their toy company with defective products, the events continued to amount.

2007 couldn’t be complete without the Minnesota Bridge disaster, New Orleans residence still waiting for their long awaited FEMA check, Bud Selig’s refusal to travel to see Barry Bonds break baseball’s historic home run record, and PETA, the NFL, Nike, and anybody else laying the boom down on Michael Vick. The year’s insanity cannot excluded the departures of Karl Rowe and Alberto Gonzales from George Bush’s office, the continued fall of Spears family, Tim Donaghy opening up the gambling scandal in the NBA, a spitting incident of epic proportions on “Flavor of Love”, and Martina Hingis massive cocaine charges that drove her out of the game she used to love possibly forever.

Besides the Va.Tech massacres, notable tragic deaths continued, with the stunning gun downs of Washington redskins safety Sean Taylor and Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. The sport of soccer had its own share of pain scattering events, as Antonio Puerta of Spanish club Sevilla and Motherwell’s of Scotland Phil O’Donnell collapse and die on the field.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad continued rejection of same sex lovers in Iran, the writers strike in California plaguing the networks, and Beanie Siegel chastising Kanye West for his selection stood out as well. The Jena 6’s story and Don Imus’ “nappy headed ho’s” could be placed in their own years of controversial events, Kevin Everett’s sudden paralyzed state was yet alone painful bow for new NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and Beyonce falling down on stage was indeed, “f--- up” worthy.

Sports coaches did and had their fair share of “F--- Up” moments. Isaiah Thomas, besides being head coach of arguably sports most dysfunctional and underachieving franchise, had commitments about whose allowed to call a black woman a “:b----“. Nick Saban continued to show his “class” by comparing a pair of consecutive defeats for his Alabama program with the events of Pearl Harbor and 9/11. Bobby Petrino probably had the most infidel moment of the year by ditching the sinking ship that is the Falcons with the season still left, after his first year! And unlike those aforementioned, Scott Skiles didn’t say anything dumb or do anything disloyal, he just got fired at Christmas time.

And who can forget about Michael Richards aka Kramer and his wonderful diatribe at the “Laugh Factory.” As you still wonder why so many still want to say “nigger” (because folks, “nigga” is the same thing for your information).

With all of these things and much more in store, what was truly the Most “F--- Up” moment of the year? What stunned you the most, what was the one that you will never ever forget in your life, and always highlight that event as truly representing of the “F--- Up” award? Well, here it is, the most “F--- Up” moment of 2007:

Tragic deaths happen every year, and this list is more about the outrageous and the ones that would make you laugh or make you shake your head in total disbelief, without the thought of someone’s death. Through those deaths are truly more of an unfortunate situation, it would defeat the spirit of “Now That’s F--- Up” columns. Because no death is more important than the other.

So, without further ado, the “Now That’s F--- Up” story of the year is the Jena 6 story. Lots of events vying for the top spot, but the Jena 6 truly represents the criteria looked for in the ultimate “F--- Up” story of the year. It represents a situation where the main focus didn’t cause the situation himself, herself, or themselves, and did not do anything in a stupid way to deserve what they have received. It is a situation where a ridiculous charge could have been placed on all of them, and still lingers on the heads of some of the charged individuals, where that charged could be attempted murder. Compared to their white counterparts who received barely a slap on the wrist, the young black males convicted needed America’s most powerful to support them, to give this story the national attention that it needed. Racism still exists in this country in 2007, and it truly is on the level of “F---- Up”.

So, there it is, the 2007 most “F----“ Up story. May God bless you on the New Year, and hopefully, your story won’t be considered among the list of “Now That’s F--- Up.”

16-0, Complete! 19-0? We'll See

It started at the Meadowlands and it ended at the Meadowlands. From “Spygate” to an unblemished perfect slate, the season began in an explosion and ended in complete satisfaction. The New England Patriots, whether you loved them or not, and whether you say they haven’t done “anything” yet since the Vince Lambrodi trophy won’t be given out to early next year, had the greatest regular season in their sport’s history, and arguably, in all of sports.

As the weeks progressed and the steady hate of this team (already there before the season started) mounted as time continued to elapse over the season’s course, the Patriots displayed a sense of character, commitment, and composure that few in sports have ever shown, let alone the history of the National Football League. And everything was thrown at them (until they get into the playoffs, where it won’t be just the kitchen sink, but the bathroom tub, household appliances and even the roof will be tossed in their direction).

But did they ever whither?

Did they let the Indianapolis Colts still hang on to the title of best in the AFC after they were outplayed for much of the game back in November?

Did they back down when disappointing teams such as the Baltimore Ravens and the Philadelphia Eagles made it their season’s Super Bowl and had them on the ropes?

And did they succumb to all the attention and the week in, week out grind of hearing about 16-0 at the last game of the season in the biggest media market in the world, where the proud franchise playing against them was hell bent on representing the other 28 teams in the league and not let a record be set against them?

No, they didn’t, and that is what makes them special.

Yes, they are just one lost away from the whole season, a regular season that may not ever be seen again in NFL history, from everything going down the drain. As the great Cris Collonsworth mentioned in last night’s historic simulcast telecast of this historic game, “they wouldn’t even be in mentioned as one of the great teams in NFL history.”

They are right now however. Never has there been a team, especially in this decade, where you can hit them with your best shot, play your best game, and have your players play out of their socks, and still not get them rattled or most importantly, defeat them. There willingness to never given up and their determination to not be stopped until the job is done is a testament to what this team and organization is truly about.

One play from last night, before the recorded setting touchdown pass and reception of Tom Brady to Randy Moss that gave the Patriots the lead and perfection for good, highlighted the unparalleled fervor of this team. A third down play in the early stages of the third quarter, and the Giants did what they did for portions of the night, get to Brady. The pressure was on, Brady was dead for rights, the sack was Osi Umenyiora’s for the taking. All of a sudden, despite Umenyiora draping all over his back, Brady somehow managed to muscle himself off of the Ginats defensive end and get off a floating pass in the air that Moss almost caught for a third down conversation.

Despite the Patriots resulting in punting on the next play, the resilience shown by Brady that play is the paradigm for how on every single play, the New England Patriots give it their best effort, whether successful or not. And that persistence played off on that 50th touchdown pass to Moss for the receiver’s 23rd touchdown reception. After missing the previous deep ball to Moss, the Patriots saw that Giants cornerback Sam Madison was ailing on that play. With him out of the game, Brady went right back deep to Moss, beating a clueless and incompetent James Butler to place the Giants as their final scalp.

Their ability to overcome adversary, and their relentless persistence once again payed off. Unlike the Ravens game, where the luck was on their side, the Patriots didn’t need massive mistakes or fortuitous fortune. Instead, they earned every bit of their record setting win last night. They got smacked in the face in all phases of the game, offense, defense, and special teams. But what did they do that they have done all season long? They smacked right back, and their opponent couldn’t get up from that.

It will be a weird and stunning feeling that will be felt around the league and in the sports world if the Patriots, with this legendary season of theirs, somehow will have that all negated if 16-0 isn’t 19-0.

All great teams only earn the mantel of “great team” if they win it all, and the Patriots have not won it yet.

The pressure will continue to mount as the second season is upon us, as great teams are made at this period, not the regular season. And even if they are at home until the Super Bowl, the usual bitter ailments of winter will get worst. The bad weather (or in this case, real football weather as they say around the game) will continue to conflict with what they do best, and that is pass the football. The Jets showed this a few weeks ago, and all of the teams in the playoffs are better than the Jets, even if Mangini and company know the Pats just about as well as anyone, and wasn’t going to get humiliated as that 24 point spread thought they would be.

But if there is any team, in the history of football, who can withstand anyone’s best shot and overcome it, the team owned by Robert Kraft, managed by Scott Peoli, controlled by Bill Belichick, operated by Brady, and led by Teddy Bruschi, Mike Vrabal and 50 other guys, is the one who can do just that. They have done it all season along, admit the Spygate, admit the classless respect for the rest of the league’s teams by running out the score, admit Brady’s reckless comments of “destroying” every team in league, they have withstood all of the challenges.

Two weeks time, however, all of the events from week one in September to Saturday night are insignificant, because one lost will change everything. The auora of invisibility will be gone, the embarrassment will be there, and the pain of such a defeat would be worst than blowing the 21-3 lead they had against the Colts way back in January.

The season started and ended at the Meadowlands in perfection. The regular season that is.