Posts Tagged ‘American Football’

Today’s review is for a DVD I picked up for old time’s sake.  The movie is titled: “Diner” from 1982 and was directed by Barry Levinson.  This was his directorial debut and was one of four movies he made about life in his hometown: Baltimore, Maryland.  It’s is supposed to be a “comedy / drama”, but I didn’t find much to laugh about in the movie, so I guess it’s supposed to be a “black comedy”, which, in turn, means it’s “disturbing” and not funny.  Levinson is supposed to be a big deal producer / director, but I don’t follow that stuff (directors) much, so I’m not really bothered about it.  With the exception of Hitchcock and Spielberg, I don’t really “go” to a movie “because” of its director.  I guess I’m unusual that way, as it seems to matter to people I know (friends and family) a lot more than it’s ever mattered to me.  And, although I did see this movie during its original release, I have no recollection of the other three movies in the “Baltimore series”.
Anyway, this movie is kind of an adult / older version of a coming of age story.  I usually think of “coming of age” stories as teen-to-adult, not “Oh, shit!  I’m an adult.  Now what do I do with the rest of my life.”  Well, this is the latter.  It’s the story of six male friends (and the wife of one of the friends) who come together for the wedding of one of the other five (the friend played by Guttenberg).  The movie was a launching pad for some folks who later went on to have pretty well known careers for the rest of the ’80’s, including: Steve Guttenberg (the guy getting married), Daniel Stern (the guy already married), Ellen Barkin (his wife), Mickey Rourke (playing a macho hairdresser, unlike Warren Beatty in “Shampoo“), Kevin Bacon (as a young alcoholic with surprising intelligence jerk), Tim Daly (as the handsome guy in the group), Paul Reiser (as the “I have no idea why this guy is in this group of friends or this movie” character).
Now, you may be asking, why did this movie make Kevin’s list “for old time’s sake”?  Well, growing up, I used to follow the American football team based in Baltimore – the Colts – because I really liked their quarterback (Johnny Unitas) and one of their wide receivers (Raymond Berry).  The hooks (for me) in this movie are: before the Guttenberg character will marry his fiancé, she has to pass a test of knowledge about the history of the Colts and the NFL; the music played during the bride’s procession to the altar is the Colt’s theme / fight song; and, the wedding colors are Colt’s Blue and White.  The best line in the movie is when a female / spouse complains to one of the wedding guest characters about the wedding colors and he responds: “Hey, she should be grateful he doesn’t support the Steelers.”  For those of you who know little to nothing about American Football, the Pittsburgh Steelers colors are black and gold.  The “gold” has always looked more “yellow” to my eye, but it is supposed to be gold.  The fiancé narrowly fails the test, but he marries her anyway.  In my head, I can see a Steeler fan telling his fiancé their wedding colors will be Black and Gold…  Heck, I can see that now, let alone back in 1959!!
I don’t know if Americans “come of age” while sitting in diners anymore.  Perhaps they – diners – (like my own youth) are a thing of the past in these days of malls and franchise restaurants, but if you want to see a little slice of “Americana” as it was in earlier days (at least it is similar to how I remember late nights and early morning hours from my late teens and early twenties), then this is a pretty accurate snapshot and you should check out this movie.
Final recommendation: moderate recommendation.  A darker and more East Coast version of “American Graffiti“, without the cars / crusin’.  Good music, good writing and good character actors.
On This Day In:
2013 Judgement
2012 Stuck In My Mind
Life’s Hope
2011 Just Getting Up
Directions Please

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Today the San Francisco Forty Niners won their wildcard playoff game against the Green Bay Packers by 23 to 20!  Go Niners!!
While I am obviously happy with the result, I am increasingly frustrated by watching the “game”.  Not just this game – all NFL (National Football League) games.  It really seems to me as if the refs (League?) have decided not to play the games by the rules.  The most egregious of these “no-calls” is pass interference.  Basically, a defender is allowed to butt/jam an offensive receiver once during the first five yards from the line of scrimmage (where the play starts).  After that, anything but “incidental” contact is considered “pass interference” until the ball touches the offensive player.  There are also a couple of ancillary rules, for example, a defensive player must “play the ball”.  This means the defender cannot watch the offensive player and then knock the ball away while making no attempt to see where the ball is.  Another rule is that both players have the right to catch the ball once it is in the air.  This also means an offensive player cannot strike the defensive player while the ball is in the air.
What is actually happening is that both teams’ players are now fighting each other in and after the 5-yard zone and before and after the ball is in the air.  And the Ref’s are letting them (the players) “play on”.  “Letting the players, play” is TV commentator speak for players breaking the rules and the refs doing nothing about it.  It has gotten so bad that at least one team (the Seattle Seahawks) coaches their team to “play aggressively” (i.e. ignore the rules) because they “know” the refs won’t throw a flag on every play.
The problem, of course, is the coaches are correct because the League allows it, not because the refs won’t do it.  In reality, if the League instructed the refs (and advised the teams) that these tactics are in violation of the rules and penalties should (will) be enforced from the start of each game, then the refs would comply, the coaches and players would recognize the rules are being enforced and they would then stop breaking the rules.
Now before any Seattle fans get all bent out of shape by my comments, let me just say: I’ve noticed over the last few weeks that the Niners have begun to play the same “aggressive” game.  I am not excusing my team, just as I am not accusing the Seahawks, in specific.  My accusation is against the NFL.  You either have rules and throw flags when the rules are violated or you get rid of the rules which you don’t want to consistently (and fairly) enforce.  It seems like a simple choice to me…
On This Day In:
2013 Spoiling For Fame?
2012 How Many?
2011 Too Tired To Chat Much
2010 I Must Be Crazy!!

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The Receiver

The senses keen;
The muscles loose;
The wait, the acceleration;
The break, the freedom,
Jumping, extending;
Touching, holding!
Running! Racing!
Free!  Free!  Free!

[This was part two of my reminiscing about playing pick-up football games at the park, back in my teens.  

On offense, the players know the intent of the play.  The wide-receiver stands away from the fray.  His job is to elude one man (sometimes two), catch the ball, and then run to the end zone for the score.  Sometimes, it happens that way.  More often than not, it doesn’t.  But running free – ball in hand, away from the defense, remains the “dream” of every receiver.

For the defenses “view” of the play, see yesterday’s “Glory Days (Part 1)“.  —  KMAB]


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The Linebacker

Slow, precise, close;
Waiting, anticipating, reacting.
Accelerating, moving, hitting;
Crashing, recoiling, falling.
Rising, smiling, knowing.

The waiting, the thrill, the movement;
The hit, especially the hit;
The rising, especially the rising;
The knowing, especially the knowing:
Especially the knowing.

[Back in my teens, I used to play a lot of pick-up football down at the park.  Because you played with the number of guys who were there, you typically had to play both offense and defense.  On defense, I liked to play linebacker.  Defense is very reactive.  You never really know what the offense will do, but sometimes it doesn’t matter.  If you can get “in the zone” where you are reacting practically as fast as the offense is moving, you can (in essence) seize the initiative and become the aggressor.  When this happens, time slows down and the tackle becomes effortless – an extension of your life force.  And when you stand up, you feel as if you were born to this act – the tackle – and could do it all day.

By the way, the title to this post comes from the song “Glory Days” as performed by Bruce Springsteen.  The song is about adults living in the past or perhaps just longing for their youth – depending on your mood.  I’ve always found the song amusing as I’ve been both the listener and the teller of these same “tall tales” about way back when.  Tomorrow, the offensive side…  —  KMAB]


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Players must execute.  They can’t depend on emotion to win.  It doesn’t matter how much you want to win the game.  Everyone in the NFL is intense.  It’s foolish to think we can out intensity them.  The bottom line is: Can we execute a series of plays almost flawlessly?  Only through repetition and experience with those plays can each player complete the necessary assignments.  If you want something too badly, you can throw yourself out of sync trying to make a play that isn’t really achievable.  It’s not the attitude or the personnel that does it.  It’s how well you do things.  Don’t count on heroics.  Count on execution, on the things we have practiced and are good at.
   —  Bill Walsh
Former 49er Head Coach
As quoted in “The Genius“, written by David Harris

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The critical factor whenever people work together, is that they expect something of each other.  It’s not just that the coach expects a lot of the players —  it’s the fact that the players expect a lot of each other.  We establish a standard of performance here where each man is an extension of his teammates.  We prepare for every contingency and through all of this there is a single thrust — sacrifice for your team because you infinitely care.  You are truly a Forty Niner when you aid and assist each other, when you believe in each other.

—  Bill Walsh
Former 49er Head Coach
As quoted in “The Genius“, by David Harris


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Well, there’s something to be said for consistency…

So far, since I’ve started making predictions about the Super Bowl on this blog, I’ve picked the wrong team winning three times on the run.  The only “really” bad part of all this is that this time, it was my favorite team – the San Francisco Forty Niners – which I picked (and who lost).

Congratulations to the Baltimore Ravens for the victory!

The pain is still too fresh to offer much more analysis.  So I won’t bother…


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