Viva Mario Blanco!
Back in the halcyon days of Da Good, Da Bad & DeMeco, I wrote:
Every time I hear the song "The Devil Went Down To Georgia," two things jump out at me. First, under the terms of the agreement, it was apparently up to the Devil to decide who won the competition. No judges were named, and no one else was mentioned in the song. Now, maybe your mental version of Bud Adams' spawn differs from mine, but I have serious doubts that ol' Lou Cypher would be unbiased in picking the winner. I mean, dude was in a bind (and way behind) or he never would have entered the contest in the first place. Regardless, I really can't see Satan saying "dang, ya got me...and, as I am a man of my word and not the embodiment of evil, I will honor the bet I made with you."
But that brings me to the second observation. Namely, the Devil WON the competition. That dude broke it down so it could forever remain broken. Johnny, on the other hand, played some 10-second snippits from standard bluegrass classics?? "Fire On The Mountain," "House Of The Rising Sun," and a variation on "Chicken In A Bread Pan?" Seriously? The Devil just rocked your face off, and you do some bluegrass covers? Who are you, Bill Monroe's retarded savant child?
In the comments to that post, someone (I think it was DeMecoShallInheritTheEarth, but I am not sure) noted that another flaw with the song was that a fiddle made of gold would be remarkably heavy and have terrible acoustics. I still feel like that's a great point. But, hearing the song this morning, something that I have never considered suddenly jumped out at me.
The Devil was "willin' to make a deal" because he was "in a bind" and "way behind" (apparently on his quota of stolen souls), right?
But he's The Devil. He's the Frank Sinatra of Hell. He's not punching a time-clock or hoping for whatever the Glengarry leads are for someone who steal souls. He is his own boss (within whatever limits God puts on him, I suppose (see Job 1:12 & 2:6)), and he reports to no one. I mean, it's not like there's a Lake Of Fire Executive Board than could remove ol' Azazel, ya know? Unless we're supposed to assume that he's a go-getter who demands excellence from himself at all times, there's really no way he could be "way behind." More to the point, even if he did demand perfection from himself, he still would not be "in a bind" if he fell short of his self-imposed goals because there is no one to hold him accountable for such failure.
Total rushing yards for Arian Foster in the 2011 NFL playoffs, the highest total for any RB in his first two career playoff games. The previous record of 278 was set by Duane Thomas of the Dallas Cowboys in 1970. Thomas played only four years in the NFL --- two with Dallas and two with the Washington Redskins --- amassing only 2,038 career rushing yards. (Foster has 3,097 already in three seasons. Because he's a bad ass.)
Rushing yards for Arian Foster against Baltimore, the first time that the Ravens have allowed a 100-yard rusher in a playoff game. The previous record against them was 91 yards by Eddie George of the Tennessee Titans in 1997. Oddly, both did it on 27 carries.
Arian Foster erased a record held by a Cowboy and a record held by a Titan on Sunday. Boo yah.
Rushing yards for Ray Rice on Sunday (2.9/carry).
Career playoff rushing TDs for Arian Foster (2 games) and Ray Rice (6 games).
Number of games out of 15 this season, including the playoffs, in which Arian Foster had 100 or more rushing yards.
The rating for an NFL quarterback if every pass that he attempts is incomplete.
T.J. Yates' rating on Sunday. And what does this tell us, aside from the obvious "T.J. had a bad game" thing? That QB rating is one of the dumbest widely-used metrics that was ever devised. Even with three INTs, it is absurd to say that the Texans would have been better off if every pass Yates threw had been incomplete. Yet that is exactly what the numbers would suggest. Remember this the next time anyone brings up QB rating in a discussion about QBs.
We've got armadillos in our trousers.
I was talking to tehGrindCrusher the other day about one of our favorite movies, 1984's This Is Spinal Tap, when he mentioned that he has a theory about the film (or, more specifically, about people who have seen the film):
Basically, your level of knowledge of Spinal Tap is a function of which quote you use when someone mentions the movie to you. So if you say to someone, "Ever seen Spinal Tap?" and they say, "Yea, loved it. 'This one goes to eleven!'" that's like entry-level knowledge of the Tap.
But if they say something like: "If you think I'm going to go in front of a festival crowd and do a free-form jazz odyssey," then you have made a friend for life. Or, "I do not, for one, think the problem was that we were flat; the problem was that there was a Stonehenge monument on stage that was in danger of being crushed by a dwarf!"
I think that's a great test for any cult-classic film, really. It seems like most films that have achieved some level of fame have a line that, when quoted, immediately signifies that the speaker has only a very basic level of knowledge of the film as well as a quote that tells you, hey, this person KNOWS this film. Off the top of my head, some of these pairs are:
Office Space: "Sounds like someone has a case of the Mondays!" | "What am I gonna do with 40 subscriptions to Vibe?"
Clerks: "I'm not even supposed to BE HERE today!" | "I don't appreciate your ruse, ma'am."
Tombstone: "I'm your huckleberry." | "It's true, you are a good woman; then again, you may just be the antichrist."
Pulp Fiction: "Mmm-hmmm . . . that IS a tasty burger!" | "'Garçon' means 'boy.'"
Hackers: "Mess with the best, die like the rest." | "The pool on the roof must have a leak."
Back To The Future: "Why don't you make like a tree . . . and get outta here!?" | "He's an idiot. Comes from upbringing. His parents are probably idiots, too."
The Big Lebowski: "The dude abides." | "He's a good man, and thorough." (Alt: "Obviously you're not a golfer.")
True Romance: "It ain't White Boy Day, is it?" | "We now return to Bullit, already in progress."
Current Franchise Playoff Records (Career).
J.J. Watt's Line From The 2011 Postseason.
14 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 4 QB hits, 4 TFL, 1 pass defended, 1 INT, 1 TD.
Jacoby Jones yards per punt return on Sunday, with 6 returns for 4 yards. And how much better would we feel if that was just 5 returns for 4 yards, if it meant he hadn't tried to field the first punt?
(Hint: Much better.)
Sacks allowed by the Texans' offensive line Sunday. The line, obviously, deserves a ton of credit for this. However, give a little love to Yates as well, as he avoided at least two would-be sacks, busting out a sweet spin move on one. If you needed any proof that he's far more mobile than Matt Schaub --- note that I said "more mobile," not "better" --- that should have done it for you.
Sacks allowed by the Ravens' offensive line Sunday.
Career touchdowns for Joel Dreessen, good for fifth all-time in Texans history. That's strange enough in and of itself, but look at this:
In addition to Corey Bradford having the longest reception in team history (81 yards, not for a TD, against Buffalo in 2002), he also has a ridiculously high TD%. But, then, Bradford had decent enough speed and was (theoretically) a deep threat for David Carr. (I'll pause while you convulse with laughter. All good? Good.) Dreessen, on the other hand, is a backup TE who catches 1.3 balls per game for his career.
Also strange? Bradford and Dreessen both wore 85 for the Texans! Cue the spooky music!
What's that? There's no room in the budget for spooky music? Damn.
Completely Random And Utterly Meaningless Thing I Noticed While Researching The Previous Item.
Unnecessary Archer Quote.
"No! Not in Deliverance. In Gator! How can you not see that?!"
The Five Best Fictional Sports Ever Invented.
There are any number of books, movies, and television shows that feature a made-up sport or game as part of the plot. Whether it's Eschaton from Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace1 or Baskiceball from "How I Met Your Mother" or even Laserball from The Fifth Element, fictional sports and games provide everything from comic relief to explanation for how or why a character has a certain skill set.
Some of the fictional games, however, are more than plot points; they are inherently awesome. In reverse order, here are the five coolest:
- Quidditch (Harry Potter series). I'm not talking about the bastardized form that dorky college kids try to play; I'm talking about the game as it appears in the film. People flying on broomsticks, playing a mid-air lacrosse-style game while defensive players smash a large iron ball at you, with a winged, sentient ball that is worth 15 times as many points as a regular goal. Tell me you wouldn't watch this.
- BASEketball (BASEketball). Basketball played with baseball-ish rules. Also, gratuitous boobs and a reason for Reel Big Fish to exist. (Random trivia: when Coop catches Reggie Jackson's homerun as a kid, he is right-handed; when he's an adult, he's left-handed.)
- Questions (Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead). Yes, I know I'm a word dork, but I love this game. Two players face off and, in essence, have a conversation that consists entirely of questions. The rules are straightforward: 1. No statements (questions only). 2. No repetition (you can't ask the same question twice). 3. No hesitation. 4. No rhetorical questions. 5. No synonyms (i.e., if I ask "why?" you can't respond with "what for?") 6. No non-sequiturs (questions must progress logically from the previous question).
- The Running Man (The Running Man). I'd make a joke or two here, but, honestly, we're probably not more than a few years away from this being a reality show on CBS. Still, I'd watch it. (Interestingly enough, I think a person could craft a solid argument that having this show on television would do more for deterrence than the death penalty as current instituted does.)
- Calvinball ("Calvin & Hobbes" series). Quite simply, the greatest game ever created, and it's one that every kid under the age of 10 has played many, many times. Calvinball is a nomic --- a self-modifying game --- and the only rule is that the game may never be played with the same rules twice, though I suppose a second rule (which violates the first one) is that players have to wear Zorro-style masks and "no one is allowed to question the masks."
The 2011 Drunkies.
So, it seems like guessing/naming the award winners if something that weekly columns are supposed to do. I've never done it before, and I certainly don't care enough about teams that aren't the Texans to consider them in the awarding of . . . um . . . awards, so I guess I'll just name the inaugural 2DH Texans-centric Awards (a/k/a "The Drunkies.") The winners can expect their certificates, printed on medium-quality paper, to arrive in 4 to 6 weeks.
Most Valuable Player.
Johnathan Joseph. OK, this was a hard one. I almost gave it to Arian Foster, but, when push came to shove, I had to give it to the guy who transformed the Houston secondary. The 2010 Texans' pass defense was almost historically terrible, and every single pass made your heart leap into your chest. Joseph's presence changed all of that in an instant. Honestly, was there a single WR that you feared this year? No. And why? Because you knew that Johnathan Joseph was back there, ready to shut people down. To paraphrase Tim, whatever Joseph is being paid right now, it's less than he's worth.
Offensive Player of the Year.
Arian Foster. This was the easiest pick of all. Even with how well Ben Tate started the season, Foster quickly demonstrated that he's an elite back with vision that most RBs would kill for. I love Arian Foster, and I want to hang out with him, feeding ducks and discussing the early works of EPMD.
Defensive Player of the Year.
Brian Cushing. You probably figured that this would also be Joseph, what with his being the MVP, but it's not. Where Joseph was the most valuable to the team, Cushing was a defensive monster, week in and week out. His play in the middle covered up the NT weaknesses, his sideline-to-sideline play was instrumental in the mid-season winning streak, and he was the heart and soul of the Texans' defense the entire year. I fully admit that I was wrong about drafting Cushing, and it's one of those rare time that it feels great to have been so wrong.
Offensive Rookie of the Year.
T.J. Yates. It's impossible for this award to go to any other offensive rookie. Yates went from not being active on gameday to starting the Texans' first two playoff games ever. His game in Baltimore was not good, but I find it very hard to hold it against a rookie QB for wanting to throw to Andre Johnson. This is still Matt Schaub's team, as it should be, but I like the idea of Yates as your opening day starter in 2014.
Defensive Rookie of the Year.
J.J. Watt. Sure, Brooks Reed had a great season, but Watt was a monster from Day 1. I mean, sacks, fumble recoveries, blocked passes, blocked field goals, pick-6s . . . Watt did it all, and had an amazingly positive attitude about all of it. I look forward to seeing him in a Texans uniform for a long time.
Least Valuable Player.
Jacoby Jones. Even before his absolutely shittarded attempt to field a bouncing punt in Baltimore on Sunday, Jones had failed to live up to the three-year, $10.5M contract that he signed in the offseason. With Andre Johnson missing all or part of 11 games, Jones did not manage to net 5 catches or 90 receiving yards in a single game this season. (He had 4 grabs v. Pittsburgh, and he had 87 yards on 2 catches against Tampa Bay.) He had only two TDs the entire season. He finished the year with 31 catches for 512 yards and 2 TDs. That was a DECREASE of 20 catches, 50 yards, and 1 TD from 2010, despite the fact that Andre played 14 games last year.
Jamie Sharper Award (Best Texans LB).
Brian Cushing. See above.
Seth Payne Award (Best DL).
J.J. Watt. See above.
Mario Williams Award (Best Pass Rusher).
Connor Barwin. I'll admit to being really scared that the pass rush would die once Mario went down against Oakland. Barwin, however, was a beast, turning in the third-best single-season sack total in Texans history and dominating down the stretch when we needed him most. His play, plus the emergence of Brooks Reed, is why I am totally comfortable moving Mario back to DE (with Smith at NT) in 2012. But that's a story for a separate post.
Aaron Glenn Award (Best DB).
Johnathan Joseph. See above.
Chester Pitts Award (Best OL).
Duane Brown. Whether you go by PFF's number (0 sacks allowed) or STATS, Inc.'s (2 sacks), Duane Brown had an amazingly good year. His improvement from his rookie year to 2011 has been nothing short of fantastic, as the Kung Fu Panda has blossomed into one of the best (and most underrated) tackles in the league.
Jay Foreman Award (Most Surprising Performance At A New Position).
Glover Quin. Technically, I can't call this a surprise, I guess, as I was firmly in BFD's camp that Quin had the tools to be a very good safety. That said, even I was a little shocked by how quickly he picked up his new role. Danieal Manning gets a lot of credit, and rightly so, but I really liked what I saw out of Quin this year.
Ahman Green Award (Least Impressive Performance By A Free Agent Acquisition).
Bryant Johnson. I know that he caught the TD against Tennessee, but 6 catches for 90 yards and 1 TD? You're telling me that the Texans couldn't have gotten that level of production out of Jeff Maehl or some other young WR? (Trivia: The Arizona Cardinals took Bryant Johnson in the first round of the 2003 Draft . . . and Anquan Boldin in the second.)
Random '90s Rap Video.
Number of safeties recorded by the Texans in their 10-year history: Brian Cushing and the uber-cost-effective Zac Diles in 2009 and Seth Payne and Jimmy McClain in 2002.
Career interceptions for Glover Quin. What makes it interesting? They all came in the same game against the Titans in 2010.
Number of Houston Texans players who have returned/recovered a fumble for a TD: Petey Faggins, Kevin Walter, Charlie Anderson, Bernard Pollard, Dominique Barber, Anthony Maddox, Antwan Peek, DeMeco Ryans, Jamie Sharper, Wade Smith, Mario Williams, and Kenny Wright. No Texans player has more than one.
Number of Texans players who have scored at least one TD (regular or postseason) in any way, shape, or form for the Texans. This includes the franchise's only blocked-punt TD (Kevin Williams, 2002), Avion Black's only career TD (a punt return in 2002), 9 guys with INT TDs, 6 guys whose only TD was a reception, and 3 guys whose long TD was a rushing score.
Marijuana Pepsi Sawyer Inexplicable Decision Of The Week.
TXT MSGS Of The Week, All-Grungedave Edition.
I have more faith in Lindsey Lohan staying clean, sober and celibate than I do in Jacoby holding on to the ball.
I blame Evan.
1 It just feels like there should be a footnote here, preferably one that goes off on some obscure tangent. So, um . . . oh, I know! Speaking of fictional sports in famous books, I've always felt that Brockian Ultra-Cricket had untapped potential as a gameshow. For one thing, people are always going to be willing to watch two idiots bash one another with sporting equipment. For another, the convoluted rules of Ultra-Cricket would allow the show's creators to tweak outcomes if needed, which is always a concern among show producers.
Mainly, though, I just want to see people hit one another with cricket bats.