Eight days. That’s it. That’s the schedule. Does that work for trying to cultivate a regular audience? Will it work if I try and do this next season, with weeks in the NFL generally following the same seven day pattern (though that was tested this year) as they do for the rest of us? No, no of course it won’t. But it does work right now, as we reach the end of the playoffs staring down a potentially agonizing two week gap before the Super Bowl. I haven’t been able to decide whether or not I want to be writing these before or after the week’s games, and with Buffalo now about to face off against Kansas City for the AFC Championship, I am entering into a superstitious meltdown.
If this were still the regular season, or even just not Buffalo’s first serious playoff run in my entire conscious lifetime (the first few years don’t count), I would be happy to talk about last Saturday’s game, as much as it did nearly give me a heart attack in the first half which drew to a close 3-3. The second however saw Buffalo’s defense continue to hold Lamar Jackson and the Ravens to only 3 points through the three quarters he was in the game (hopefully his removal for concussion protocol was a largely precautionary one. Also I may have been too quick (<-link, the website theme needs work) to question the theoretical generosity of Buffalo fans towards those not of Josh Allen’s complexion in my first column. Unlike 74 million people in this country though, I am not so spitefully stubborn as to refuse to admit when I’ve been wrong) and the rest thereafter, along with a record-in-the-playoffs-tying 102 yard pick-six.
Buffalo’s play from that point in the game forward, was jubilant. There’s no other way to describe it, they were hyped like I have never seen players on a field before (the fans in attendance too, beating the absolute shit out of the empty bleachers in front of each of them) and it was a thing to behold. Hopefully they’re able to carry that energy forward into this week’s game against the Chiefs, which, I am man enough to admit that I just got up and went to the bathroom to be assured that I wouldn’t wet myself as I write the rest of this sentence which forces me to contemplate the team’s looming trip to Kansas City. Mahomes (should he play) is scary good, and they’re a scary team, one of the few to beat us in the regular season, and I need to be done thinking and/or writing about it. We’ll check in next week.
Oh, I guess I forgot to mention, we’re pretty deep into
Obligatory Sports Talk
So, old men, huh? While in the AFC we’re down to two of the youngest stars in the league (from a much wider field, the oldest QB in the AFC divisional rounds was 25), the NFC has been a showdown of what the League and the networks would have us all believe are titans, but I see more as a bunch of quadragenarians being forced to finally accept that yes, the kids are on the lawn, and the rake isn’t quite so scary when you can be tackled to the ground and broken into a million pieces like some Humpty Dumpty-esque egg. It was likely the last we saw of Drew Brees on Sunday, and honestly, though I did throw some shade at him last week, for the most part I really just can’t muster much of an opinion on the guy, I see him as the epitome of bland as far as personalities go, so, whatever really. It’s Brady who draws more of my ire, not just as a Bills fan but as someone who’s been trapped amongst the very apparently one-sided love affair New England has had with him over the last decade-whatever.
I can’t talk too much shit at the moment, because he is winning, but I do have to return to one my my favourite moments from the fall season, the Buccaneers’ 20-19 loss to the Bears on Thursday Night Football back in October. TNF is a strange beast, a primetime broadcast featuring frequently questionable matchups, helmed by two of the more divisive announcers in the league, Joe Buck and Troy Aikman. I’ll have more words for them at some point in the future, but what needs to be highlighted during this game is how the production team behind them was on point. There sadly isn’t a clip of this that I can find anywhere on YouTube, but what I’m talking about is the following absolutely transcendent sequence of events:
Tom Brady is pissed. I don’t remember why exactly, I mean they were losing, but he was mad at the O-line or something and he’s stomping around all mean-faced, and then sits down on the bench to pout.
The camera focuses in on him, and as they cut to commercial, cue this song:
What I love about this so much, besides everything, is that things like this don’t happen in a vacuum. Someone in a production meeting at Fox earlier that week had to say, “So, on Thursday when Tom Brady is playing the Bears there is a decent chance that it’s all going to go sideways, and if it does, we are going to light him the fuck up.” This was broadly agreed to, and then expertly executed. The music was surprisingly well selected for this whole game as I recall. Early on, after a successful long field goal, they played A Tribe Called Quest’s “Can I Kick It?” (to which a haplessly oblivious Joe Buck commented, “Can you dig it?”) while going to commercial, followed by deployments of That Fleetwood Mac Song (it was that week) and then some Van Halen (also that week). It’s a small thing that most people probably don’t notice, usually because it’s not this well done, but it’s an interesting little corner for creativity in what is an otherwise as dictated by its nature largely by-the-numbers broadcast. Hopefully we’ll see more of that, the League has been experimenting with some interesting flourishes of production style this season, but I don’t recall seeing any games that followed it reach quite the same heights in this particular regard.
Credit where credit is due GEICO, this is how you make a commercial:
It was however pointed out to me by one of my roommates that this has been done before:
I appreciate the ambition of GEICO and Tag Team to return to a previously executed concept, and then blow its predecessor out of the water. The Hershey’s ad is a mercenary enterprise, all dancing extras and CGI’d product shots, whereas the GECIO one has a lived-in, joyous energy that immediately connects across its 30-second window, no small feat. Plus that song. Scoop! Chocolaca-chocolaca-chocolaca-choco-scoop! Chocolaca-chocolaca-chocolaca-choco-scoop!
A Dream I Had the Other Night
I’m not normally someone who’s prone to those “realising you’re naked in public” dreams, but I have now had a series of “mask nightmares”. This one involved me returning to my office (a thing that’s not happening for the foreseeable future) and thusly incorporated another common theme of places being familiar but not at all laid out the way they’re supposed to be and also those places often having turned into very tall buildings which are seemingly unstable. These are undeniably to an extent based in reality (the mask part, not the tall unstable buildings), as literally yesterday I left my house and walked all of ten or so minutes (it was around 8pm, there were few people on the street) to Star Market, got as far as triggering the automatic door and thought, “Something feels wrong………………… HOLY FUCKING SHIT I’M NOT WEARING A MASK. HOW MANY PEOPLE DID I WALK PAST? DID THE NEIGHBORS SEE ME? WITH MY BEARD THE WAY IT IS (untouched since last March) AND GOING AROUND NOT WEARING A MASK I MUST LOOK LIKE ONE OF THOSE DUMB FUCKING FASCISTS WHO WERE IN THE CAPITOL LAST WEEK HOLY SHIT HOLY FUCK I HAVE NEV-okay well no I’ve been more embarrassed-BUT I HAVE RELATIVELY INFREQUENTLY BEEN SO EMBARRASSED” and then I had to like power-walk home while turning my head away from people to hide my shame.
What Else Am I Watching?
As of the time this should go up, I and I hope most of you will be watching the inauguration. As of right now, well, I think we all know what our fears are. Twelve members of the National Guard were removed from service at the event due to extremist ties, so my hypothesizing last week that the inaction of police at the capitol was due to cowardice more so than the more frightening possibility of entrenched ties to white nationalism may be incorrect. I hope it all goes smoothly, and the two are then hurried to separate underground bunkers where they are kept safe and hidden for the next four years.
I can’t believe I’m saying that. How the fuck is it that this is where we are? That’s a rhetorical question don’t get me started on the inconceivably heinous fucking ideology behind the whole conservative ethos going bac… okay I said don’t get me started. The point is though, I’ve really only been a relative adult for two inaugurations (technically three, but it doesn’t really count when it’s the same guy) to this point, Barack Obama’s in 2008, and Idiot Fascist’s in 2016. Obama’s I don’t really remember. I remember the election, the results, the immediate and gracious concession and acceptance speeches, and from there it was all ceremony and bureaucratic procedure that I didn’t really pay attention to. You know, the way it’s supposed to be. Trump’s was of course memorable only for the debate over the size of the crowd (or rather lack thereof), a fitting symbol of his blustering, impotent term as president.
With any luck, Biden’s won’t be memorable but for the fact it was marred by a hideous man throwing an unseemly temper tantrum, enabled and participated in by a Christo-fascist movement fomented by him and his equally despicable supporters in Congress.
And with that, thanks for watching and thanks for reading and for at least one more week I get to say
LET’S GO BUFFALO!