A Weekend of Thrills & Agony

January15/ 2013

It doesn’t have its own catchphrase name (yet), which sort of adds to its cache.  The second round of the NFL Playoffs has become a very manageable weekend for excellent sports TVing.  Two out of four were certified humdingers for the ages.  PLUS; there was a court stampede at AlphabetArena…. and The Annual Night of UstaBees down in Goldsboro.

When I say “a very manageable weekend” I mean it is easy to arrange one’s TV-viewing schedule.  CBS and FoxSports cooperate with one another with the TV viewer as the beneficiary of two days of back-to-back viewing of sudden-death pro football.  Four games in 36 hours “that matter” as much as any sports event matters in the grand scheme of things.

Four teams survive and advance.  Four sets of fans hang their coach and/or star player in effigy and (of course) blame the refs.  I know all the players make bazillions regardless, but their “thrill and/or agony” reactions this time of year are genuine, I think.

Aficionados of college basketball can make their case for the Elite Eight as being a comparable weekend but not to me.  College basketball has been Caliparied into (for me) just meaningless exhibitions of one-and-dones showing off for NBA personnel directors.  It is no longer “must see TV” for me.  Even Blondie scheduled her weekend gardening around the four games this past weekend.

The MLB playoffs have produced some nail-biters in recent years but there is no guarantee that all eight remaining teams will be in sudden death situations over a 36-hour weekend.   No, this annual alignment of “four games that matter” is a time to express thanks to the inventors of big-screen HDTV and that America is still a country where we have a choice of who we order our home delivery pizza from.

(So far its only a rumor that once he has confiscated our guns, the National Fool – Joe Biden – will be assigned to nationalize pizza delivery.)


OK….. I know many of you are only reading this to see what I say about “the Single Greatest Event in the history of the ESA / RBC / PNC Arena….. since the 2006 Stanley Cup Finals and maybe Scotty McCreary’s Hometown Concert”.

Yeah verily….. the modern day Moses of Wolfpack Basketball – Mark Gottfried – has indeed led the long-suffering, wilderness wandering disciples of Case, DT & V to within sight of the Promised Land.  Is a convincing January home-court win over the hated Cameronites (minus Ryan Kelly) really an Official “Look At Us America” Moment for the Brickyard Bunch?  Do sports fans all across the fruited plain now know (and fear) “that little finger thingie”?

How does a team convincingly whup the #1 team in America on national TV yet find itself ranked only 14th while the whuppee still ranks #3?   Simple…. the global media conspiracy to demean and denigrate all things Wolfpackian is still firmly in place.   Those hated UNC J-school alums who “control all the world’s media” have struck yet again.   Oh the injustice…. oh the unfairness of it all.

Regardless….. to the sane and “have a life” faction of WuffNation, we offer our sincere congrats for a very fine victory.   Coach Gottfried’s heralded recruits have behaved themselves admirably thus far.  So long as that is the case we will salute their achievements.   Under the iron fist of Frau we would expect nothing less.

Are there bigger hurdles ahead?  Sure but ya can enjoy the moment.


“We” like The Mannings.  “We” have always liked The Mannings.  Yes, we know it is now fashionable to viciously despise any/all athletes who dare to conduct themselves in a gracious and polite manner.  It the Tebow Effect.  The Era of Chip Hilton and Gil Thorp is over.  “Boy Scout” athletes are passé.   Tattooed Thugs rule.  All hail the influence of lunatics & losers on “social media”.

“We” also really really like Russell Wilson.  Russell is cut from The Manning Mold.  He is a clean-cut “yes ma’am, no ma’am” Chip Hilton “old-school” player .  This year he was a novelty in some far-away place called Seattle overshadowed by DC’s RG3 and Luck.  The casual fan in Omaha or Youngstown has not zeroed in on Russell yet.  If he can emerge from the shadows of “a far-away place called Seattle” he will gain “fame” and with that fame will come resentment and reprisal from the lunatics and loons.  Russell is simply too nice….. too clean-cut….. too “old school” to be heralded by the star-making rabble.   We don’t care….. We Like Russell.

NOTE:  Last Thursday, I conducted an informal focus group “about Russell” with 20+ semi-hard core UNC fans in Chapel Hill.   Among the 20 I polled, NOT A ONE had any thing but highly complimentary comments about Russell Wilson.  NOT A SINGLE  NEGATIVE WORD.  Sure, these were not the bottom-feeding rodents that infest “the fan boards”.  These were achievers, city-fathers and Good Neighbor Sams-types who, while being of the Tar Heel persuasion, can easily acknowledge the obvious admirable qualities of a former rival.

I’m certain, if the situation were reversed, the sane “have a life” faction of WuffNation would respond in kind.   Right, sane “have a life” wuffs?


Other than being “a weather-influenced” game, Ravens v Broncos was of humdinger quality.  I don’t like “weather-influenced” games but I am resigned that there will always be 1-2 this time of year.  Oh well.  Odds are Ravens v Patriots will be another one.

I don’t have strong feelings about Ray Lewis one way or the other.  He’s probably outgrown his U of M-thug heritage and that whole murder rap thing.   He is certainly no more a thug than LT was/is for sure.   Next year he gets to be another gangsta-suit wearing guy on a studio set.  Am I the only one who thinks “Luca Brazi Meets Shaft” when I see those guys?

That OHMYGAWD Hail Mary Heave by Flacco was “why we watch” the NFL.   IMO, did Payton “lose the game” with his interception in OT 2?  No, the game was lost on the Hail Mary Heave.   But that’s because I like The Mannings.   Manning/Tebow-haters will say otherwise.

Russell’s dramatic 4th quarter bring’em back in Atlanta was “all he could do”.   Maybe its best for The Legend of Russell that it fell short.   Now he has plenty left to do in future years.  Matt Ryan seems like a good guy.   Who ya reckon TO’B was pulling for in that game ?????

I didn’t watch the 49er’s v Packers except in bit & pieces.   I do like the whole Harbaugh Brothers thingy.  What are the odds of A Harbaugh Brother Roman Numeral Bowl?  We would get two weeks of non-stop interviews with Daddy Harbaugh.   No one ever accuses “the media” of not being predictable.

Koepernick / Kaepernick seems quite the odd duck.  I’m not predisposed to not like odd ducks so I’ll give him more time before I decide.  Who has more tatts – Koepernick or Josh?

Brady being Brady and steam rolling Houston was predictable.  Tom Brady isn’t as universally hated as “The Mannings” because he married a supermodel.  Marrying a supermodel gives one “cred” with the Tweet Mob.

With both Russell and The Mannings eliminated, I have no preferences from here on out.  Beyonce for Roman Numeral Bowl Halftime has a high hubba-hubba factor.  Is Beyonce the Tina Turner of the New Millenium?


Meanwhile in Goldsboro, the 2013 George Whitfield UstaBees & HushpuppyFest is now history.   Our dear friend George somehow found another coupla dozen deserving folks upon whom to bestow a humongous plaque.  No umbrellas this year.   George (finally) took Charlie Adam’s advice and streamlined his remarks allowing us to get home before midnight.  A very grateful audience thanks Charlie.

ESPN will probably never cover a George Whitfield UstaBees Honoring (& HushpuppyFest) but I’ll always go if I’m able.   Chip Hilton and Gil Thorp would be honored to be honored by George.  It’s a really nice occasion.  REAL “old school” and actually held in “an old school”.  Atta Boy George!

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