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Eugoogly: Teddy Pendergrass

Posted by Andrew Unterberger on January 14, 2010

You ever heard of Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes? [….] Some things just always play well. A little ‘old school’ is what this team needs.” – Stan Ross, Mr. 3000

Not that I was really the biggest Teddy Pendergrass fan or anything. Even if I saw him looking like he does in the picture above walking around his home streets of Bryn Mawr, PA (about ten minutes from where I grew up, incidentally), I wouldn’t have recognized him, unless I was just confusing him with Baron Davis. And when it came to his solo career, I only know one song, and that’s only because that song was sample by a 90s hip-hop song I like more. Still, I felt legitimately bummed about Teddy’s death from colon cancer when I saw it in the news today–moreso even than the demise yesterday of the more recently-newsworthy Jay Reatard. Part of it’s the hometown connection–when it comes to forming allegiances with the Philly music scene, it’s really a choice between The Roots, G. Love and Special Sauce, Man Man and 70s soul, a decision that never really kept me up at nights. Part of it’s the fact that he inspired my favorite line in Twista’s “Slow Jamz”: “And when I come over and bend ya ass / You be bumpin’ Teddy Pendergrass.” And part of it is Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes.

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Eugoogly: The 2009 Philadelphia Phillies

Posted by Andrew Unterberger on November 5, 2009


The Philadelphia Phillies lost the World Series tonight. They fell to the New York Yankees in convincing, albeit not embarrassing, fashion, getting closed out in a Game Six in The Bronx. It’s fairly unfortuante, very sad, and maybe a little disappointing, but the tragedy of the situation has long passed. The Yankees did Phillies fans a mild favor by putting the game out of reach fairly early–getting the game to 7-1 by the fifth inning, and at least saving us the heartbreaking late-game histrionics that have come to characterize Phillies losses of late. You could argue that the series was over even before that, with closer Brad Lidge failing to hold a late Phillies rally to tie Game Four in Philadelphia, after which point the Yankees went up 3-1, unlikely to drop three straight (and two in their own ballpark). For those of us with even slightly pragmatic tendencies, the result here was not a surprise.

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Eugoogly: Jim Carroll and Patrick Swayze

Posted by Andrew Unterberger on September 14, 2009

Nothing much to say. Just a couple of essential YouTubes.

R.I.P. Jim Carroll, 1950-2009

R.I.P. Patrick Swayze, 1952-2009

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Commercial Break / Eugoogly: Gidget, The Taco Bell Chihuahua

Posted by Andrew Unterberger on July 22, 2009

Taco Bell

Back in the day, Taco Bell was a second-class citizen in the world of fast food. We knew they existed, sure, and occasionally we even patronized their establishment (albeit under duresss), but we never really thought of them as being in the same leagues with the McDonalds, Wendy’s, or even the Subways of the world.The franchise’s primary claim to fame was being the only restaurant available in the post-apoclayptic world of the 1993 Sylvester Stallone classic Demolition Man. Then in 1997, a tiny little chihuahua named Gidget entered the picture, and suddenly, everyone and their mother was running for the border.¬†With a mere four words–“Yo quiero Taco Bell,” which took about an hour to join the ranks of “Where’s the Beef?,” “You Deserve a Break Today” and “Time to Make the Donuts” in the ranks of truly iconic fast food catchpharses–Gidget was a national sensation. Soon she was trapping Godzilla, appearing on late night talk shows and even cameoing in Legally Blonde 2. The campaign was ended in controversy over racial stereotyping in 2000, but in her three years at the top, Gidget was Hallie Eisenberg, Wendy Kaufman and Lil’ Penny rolled into one. And Taco Bell would never be the same.

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Eugoogly: King of the Hill

Posted by Andrew Unterberger on November 19, 2008



All right, so I’m pretty late with this, since it’s already been a couple weeks since FOX announced that it would be cancelling King of the Hill after the end of its 13th season. But then again, King of the Hill never was a show of particularly much urgency. The show’s pace was generally as lethargic as its down-home locale and conservative bent would dictate, without much in the way of major plot arcs, unforseen character transformations or mutations in the show’s style. Similarly, after its 1997 debut, it never really peaked or waned in popularity, just trucking along like the rapper Common–never dominant, but always in the discussion. I imagine the reaction of many to the news that King of the Hill would be removed from the FOX lineup–if indeed, it could even really be considered news–was something along the lines of “that show is still on the air?”

Not to say that there isn’t a place for King of the Hill on TV–there is, and it’s called syndication. I probably say this more than I should, but like no other show in the past 20 years, the Hill family were made for re-runs. It should be played eight times a day on three different channels, and it is–I couldn’t even tell you what times and channels they’re on, but there’s rarely a week that goes by that I don’t up flipping past at least one episode. Meanwhile, the show’s been long enough that you could conceivably watch every episode that’s aired for about half a year without catching a repeat. I’ve probably seen over a hundred, hundred fifty episodes of King of the Hill, but unlike peer shows like The Simpsons and South Park where there are episodes I’ve seen enough quote beginning to end, I doubt there’s a single episode of King of the Hill that I’ve seen more than three times. Consequently, I’m not sure if you could really say that there are any “classic” King of the Hill episodes–the kind that rise above the rest to have a reputation all of their own–the way you would with those shows.

But the flipside to that sort of lack of classic material is that, unlike with Simpsons or South Park, there are no cringeworthy episodes of King either. In fact, whereas I can barely make it through a modern day episode of either of those shows, I don’t think I’d even realize it if I was watching a King of the Hill episode that had been made in the last few years. You’re not going to find people who say things like “Oh, the fourth season of King of the Hill, that was the real peak of the show, it was all downhill from there.” There’s no real way to tell the difference between seasons of the show, except that the early episodes were maybe slightly cruder (though not to the degree that early SP or Simpsons eps were), and occasionally when watching re-runs of the early episodes, I actually remember watching them when they were on the first time around.

In any event, despite a consistency that should bely averageness, there’s no real denying that King of the Hill was a great show. Most live action attempts at King of the Hill‘s general plot line would probably look disarmingly close to The Bill Engvall Show, but Beavis and Butthead mastermind Mike Judge was brilliant at making simple plots work on multiple levels, and pulled off the tricky act of making the Hills’ behavior often mockworthy without ever actually seeming like it was mocking them. Meanwhile, it was a show whose numerous pleasures were so subtle that they could only really be identified in retrospect.¬† It was a show that spawned catch phrases without you even realizing it, that had countless guest stars without ever really drawing attention to their presence, and that built rich, involving characters, even though if hard pressed to actually describe them, you could probably only identify a couple defining characteristics.

There was a tremendous supporting cast, from Hank’s friends (mumblingly brilliant Boomhauer, paranoidly clueless Dale and loveably miserable Bill) to his neighbors (I always secretly suspected that Khan Souphanousinphone was the show’s greatest achievement, especially in the episode where he sings “She Blinded Me With Science”) and his family (the story of how Hill patriarch Cotton lost his shinsin the war was a definite high point). But the heart of the show to me was always about Hank and Bobby. It’s a cliched set-up–conservative father doesn’t understand modern son–but it wasn’t so much that Bobby was just too young for Hank to understand him, he was an unintentional threat to just about everything Hank stood for with his lazy disposition, foolish antics and ultra flamboyant demeanor. Hank clearly loves and wants to get along with Bobby, but is so perplexed by everything about him that it usually takes him a while to figure out how. IITS friend Victor Lee says the relationship is virtually identical to the one he has with his father, which to me at least says everything that needs to be said about the show’s brilliance.

At the very least, I always appreciated that Peggy was a world-class Boggle player. Very underrated game, that.

King of the Hill

R.I.P. King of the Hill, 1997-2009

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Eugoogly: Commerce Bank

Posted by Andrew Unterberger on November 9, 2008

C u when you get there


All right, so this isn’t really within in the realm of stuff I tend to write about on this blog, and for my non-mid-Atlantic brethren here, it’ll probably be downright meaningless. But I had become extremely attached to my Commerce Bank since I started having semi-independent finances some four or five years ago. I went there today to cash a check, and my bank was gone–replaced by a TD Bank, the Toronto-based banking coporation that recently brought Commerce under their umbrella. I remembered hearing about a year ago that such a changing of the guard was imminent, but I hoped it was one of those things that would just sort of go away once I forgot about it. Not so, unfortunately, and it appears that Commerces all over have been replaced. Bummer.

I guess I don’t really have much of a point of comparison with other banks to really be objective in my putting Commerce on a pedestal, since I’ve never belonged to another bank. But I can’t imagine there’d be too many other banking franchises as friendly, aesthetically pleasing, and supremely efficient. Commerce was founded back in the 70s as the banking world’s answer to fast food, and it showed-everything was quick, easy and extremely unstressful. And there were the added perks of the bank refunding your ATM charges from other machines, providing automatic coin-counting machines (with free fisbees as prizes if you guessed near the correct amount!) and uh, free dog treats if you brought your mutt on a banking field trip. Their blue-and-red color scheme was all class, and their logo of choice–that big red “C,” which I even have a piggy bank shaped like–could barely be more iconic.

Of course, what most people will really remember Commerce by, the way it most left its mark on the outside world, was the free pens. They weren’t the most long-enduring of pens, but they were nice-looking enough, they were clicky, and you could grab one or two of ’em every time you went there without so much as attracting a dirty look from the security guard. My apartment is littered with the things, at a certian point in my college career I just stopped buying new pens altogether and figured I could always swing by a Commerce and find some official business to fake on the way to class if I needed something to write with. One of my friends would rely on their friends in a similar fashion, but he didn’t even belong to Commerce–he’d just walk in, grab a handful of pens, and walk back out. It’s terrible to think that once my last current Commerce Bank pen runs out of ink, I’ll never be able to rely on just finding one of those dark-blue beauties just lying around the apartment anymore.

Of course, they still have the free pens at TD North, and they presumably perform their pen functions just as well. But with a dark-green, pine-tree looking base, and without that big red C, it’s just not the same. Oh well. Hope they still have the Fast Cash $60 option at the ATMs at least.


R.I.P. Commerce Bank, 1973-2008

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Eugoogly: Michael Crichton

Posted by Andrew Unterberger on November 6, 2008

“I call it, ‘Billy and the Colonsaurus’…”


Guys like Michael Crichton, you just sort of assume that they’re never actually going to die. I guess it’s largely because despite the fact that I’ve read a good deal of the guy’s books, I had no idea who he was or what he looked like–he could’ve been a 475 pound black dude with dreads, or a petite waif of a girl writing under a male pen name for all I knew. But I think it also has to do with the fact that the guy seems like more of an institution than an individual–a part of mainstream culture that produced vaguely suspenseful, vaguely science-themed books like a factory every couple years or so. But, sure enough, it appears that Crichton died yesterday of cancer, at the age of 66. Guess we’ll never get that Jurassic Park III novelization after all.

Back in middle school, only two authors of note existed in my world–John Grisham and Michael Crichton. I’m not really sure why, since the only thing I cared about less than the law in middle school was science, but I guess their books always showed up in my middle school libraries, and it was usually a safer bet to read junk like Airframe or The Partner than whatever literary “classics” surrounded them. I think I liked most of Crichton’s books, but I don’t think I even remotely understood them–I remember getting to the numerous plot twists in a book like Rising Sun and thinking to myself “Oh, so that’s why [x] is [y]! Wait a minute, [x] was supposed to be [y]? Let me read that last chapter again.” Not only could I not tell you what the hell Congo is supposed to be about (smart monkeys?), I don’t think I could have told you even after I finished for reading it the second time. Still, something had to get read during those study hall periods and empty Language Arts classes, and at least these usually had a chase scene or two.

Two of his books I will go to bat for, albeit for very different reasons. Unlike the majority of kids my age, I was too afraid to watch Jurassic Park the movie, so the book was my first real experience with the phenomenon. Ironically, I think the book ended up being much, much scarier. It was a dark, intricate, and unbearably suspenseful read, especially because a healthy number of the main characters actually ended up dying, as opposed to the movie where it’s pretty much just Samuel L, Newman, and the “Clevah girl” dude that bite it while everyone else escapes by helicopter at the end. Like all of his books, I skimmed over a lot of the sci-talk gobbledygook, but the chase: bio ratio was far closer to my specifications than in most of his other books, and I still feel like I could re-read it today and at least enjoy it, if not find it as mind-blowing as I did when I was 13.

And then there was Disclosure, whose movie I also had not seen since it hadn’t been on TV or anything and I probably couldn’t have gotten my parents’ approval for renting. The book itself was pretty good, some interesting gender discrimination stuff, a couple clever plot twists, and the tech-talk was more about cool new computer technology and shit than chaos theory or molecular biology or whatever such shit cluttered most of his work. But anyone that age who read Disclosure will certainly remember it more for the initial sex scene, which at that point in my life was undoubtedly the hottest thing I had ever read, at least that I could find in my English class library. Even though I hadn’t seen the movie, I at least knew to picture Demi Moore as the Meredith character in the book, and that was an aggressive, explicit and surprisingly detailed sex scene. I think I could’ve probably re-written that part of the book from memory when I was in 8th grade.

I stopped reading Crichton in high school, and soon I stopped reading fiction for my own enjoyment more or less altogether. Still, go back to my room in my parents’ house, and there remains a shelf with a stack each of Grisham and Crichton. Now I’ll probably never be able to bring myself to disrupt it–a shrine to the man who, at the very least, gave me a handful of the best suspenseful and sexual thrills of my borderline-adolescence.


R.I.P. Michael Crichton, 1942-2008

(“I didn’t know he was Terminal” is the best the Celebrity Death Pun & Conundrum Society has come up with for this one thusfar)

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Eugoogly: Cub Fan Optimism

Posted by Andrew Unterberger on October 5, 2008

Well you better get ready for a brand new season

True story: I nearly wrote a playoff preview/prediction column for this blog. I actually wrote most of an Angels/Red Sox analysis before I realized three things:

  1. No one cares
  2. The MLB playoffs are kind of impossible to predict for anyone
  3. I was pretty tired anyways

But really, how can you say that the superiority between two baseball teams can be decided by a five-game series? It’s a 162 game season, one in which teams barely ever win even 2/3 of their games, and you think that a series that small between a 92 win team and an 88 win team is anything more than a coin toss?

The beauty of regular-season baseball is that you can’t rely on just one player or one hot streak–you have to have a full, balanced team, which plays consistently well over the course of an insane number of games. Which is why the Cubs and the Angels–two teams with depth at nearly every position, a uniformly strong starting rotation and well-stocked bullpens, despite having no obvious MVP candidates–were the two best teams in the regular season this year. Unsurprisingly, it’s also why they might be the first two teams to get bounced from the playoffs this year–because in a five-game series, depth and balance doesn’t really mean shit. Not that the Cubs couldn’t put out a pretty formidable starting nine, but the difference in ten regular-season wins comes from being able to play Reed Johnson in the outfield when Fukudome or Edmonds are slumping, of being able to trot out Ted Lilly as your 4th starter when Zambrano’s stuff is off, or to have Carlos Marmol to slip into your closer role while Kerry Wood is on the fritz–stuff that in such a small-sample series, doesn’t matter nearly as much.

Not that it isn’t a little eerie that both the Cubs and the Angels seem to be just a teensy, tiny, every so slightly bit…well, I’m not gonna say cursed, but maybe just predisposed to losing? The Cubs’ every-infielder-commiting-error thing in Game 2 was downright weird, as was the Angels seeming unwillingness to hit extra-base hits or put up extra-run innings in either of their first two. Everyone says that the Red Sox “have the Angels’ post-season number,” but what the hell does that even mean? It’s not like they’re really outplaying the Angels in any significant way, they just seem to be getting the breaks where the Halos aren’t. Is it really an issue of “mental toughness”? A cracking under the pressure? Or is it just that these teams have really bad fuckin’ luck? Hard to say, but I’ll generally pick the latter.

Anyway, point is, while I really do feel for Cubs fans, maybe they shouldn’t take this quite so hard. I know winning a World Series would be nice and all, but even with these dispiritng final games, can anyone really question that this was the best team in the National League this year? Yeah, history might not remember it as well as whoever wins the pennant, and lord knows I wouldn’t be too happy about the Phils getting swept (or losing in five, which is still an all-too-real possibility), but how mad or heartbroken can you really get at a team for losing three games out of five when, during the regular season, the Pirates could’ve beaten the Cubs three times out of five if a couple of breaks had just gone their way? The Boston Celtics could’ve played 20 best-of-five series with the Milwaukee Bucks last year and won 18 or 19 of ’em, if not all 20, but that’s just not the way baseball works.

It sucks that it hasn’t happened for the Cubs so long, and that shit certainly seems to break against them more often than not, but this is why having a cynical attitude about your long-suffering team might ultimately not be such a bad idea. But this year, Cub fans didn’t just hope for the best, they sort of expected it–going into the playoffs, the Wrigley faithful seemed to think that finally, the team was good enough to make a run at the World Series. Truth is, though, any year the Cubs made the playoffs was a year when they were good enough to make a run at the World Series–just ask the ’06 Cards, the ’02 Angels or the ’97 Marlins. Meanwhile, only a half-dozen times in the last 30 years has the team with the best regular-season record won the World Series, and the Cubs didn’t even have that. Just because they padded their regular season with a couple extra wins and could put out a marginally better roster than they did last year certainly wasn’t reason enough for the fanbase to assume that this season, the odds were significantly in their favor.

Or if you don’t buy that, how about this–even before game one, even without any sort of history or curse, the Cubs might not have even been the better team in their series. Yes, I’ve already said that the Cubs were the best team in the NL this regular season, and yes, the Dodgers didn’t even have one of the ten best records in baseball this year, but keep in mind that they spent nearly their entire season without leadoff man Rafael Furcal or closer Takashi Saito, most of their season without team MVP Manny Ramirez, and all but the last couple months without a full-power Derek Lowe. Now that all those parts are in full working order, and the team doesn’t have to resort to young’ns like Clayton Kershaw or Andy LaRoche, washed-up Plan B’s like Angel Berroa or Juan Pierre or sudden team albatrosses like Andruw Jones or Brad Penny (and imagine what the team would have been like if those two had bothered to show up), it’s entirely possible that this is now the strongest team in all the National League.

For the Cubs, it seems glib to say that there’s always next year (or, as so many oh so clever TV pundits have put it, there’s always the next hundred years), but you know what? In this sport, there is always next year. There’s no reason to think that the Cubs won’t be in the playoff hunt come next October, and then they’re just a couple rolls of the dice away from the World Series they’ve been craving for so long. And when it happens, don’t go in expecting a World Series (something that I definitely think won’t happen again this lifetime), and don’t go in expecting the team to fall on its face. Don’t expect anything at all. My dad put it best: In other sports, what you do in the playoffs is what matters. In baseball, you just have to get to the playoffs. Expect anything else, and you really only have yourself to blame.

R.I.P. Cub Fan Optimism, 2007-2008

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Eugoogly: Total Request Live

Posted by Andrew Unterberger on September 17, 2008

The 90s: Now officially over

James Horner’s “Southhampton.” Most people probably think that the first video to top the charts on MTV’s soon-to-be-flagship video request program was something by Backstreet Boys or N Sync, but I remember when the show started as Total Request, a VJ-less, half-hour night-time program, part of the channel’s new nightly lineup with Artist Cut, Say What? and Rockumentary Remix. And at the top of the charts on the first night was James Horner’s instrumental piece, still piggybacking off the endless pop culture overflow of Titanic’s monstrous success. Well, to be honest, it was either that or Hanson’s “Weird,” I can’t remember entirely for certain. But either way, who could’ve possibly predicted at the time that this afterthought of a video request program would help dictate the next half-decade in pop music?

Total Request Live, or TRL, as it would be come to be known, will be closing its doors in November. The last bastion of MTV’s olden days of actual music video playing, the show is nonetheless at least partly responsible for its own demise. Back when TRL debuted, music videos still constituted the majority of MTV’s programming, but as the show ballooned in popularity, MTV execs apparently came to realize that its core demographic was starting to skew a little bit younger. And maybe the kids didn’t really care about getting to see full music videos (TRL only played videos in their entirety for the first few months) as much as they cared about cute guys, teen princesses and screaming a whole lot. There are other contributing factors, of course–the rise of reality TV and YouTube chief among them–but really, it was only two or three steps between TRL and The Hills to begin with.

Still, it’s hard to begrudge the show too much. Back when it started, I was as into it as anyone. Nothing much else was happening in pop music in 1998, anyway–post-grunge had become totally stagnant, hip-hop was the sole property of the Bad Boy family and big beat had failed miserably to cement its Next Big Thing status. Hanson was already entering the awkward years, and the Spice Girls were about to break up. We needed something besides the Lilith Fair to occupy us, at least until the new millennium. In the form of the teen pop explosion–the boy bands and the blonde starlets–we got it. And TRL, now in a mid-afternoon timeslot, perfect for kids like me just coming home from middle school, was the perfect conduit to bring this emerging pop front to the masses.

And in TRL host Carson Daly, we got…well, I’m still not really sure. The popularity of TRL was in no doubt at least somewhat related to its host for nearly a half-decade, and he managed to parlay it into both a late-night talk show gig and a fling with Jennifer Love Hewitt, but you’d be hard-pressed to explain exactly why. He wasn’t charismatic, he wasn’t particularly good looking, he didn’t seem that knowledgeable, and not only did he not seem very interested in the music or people he was dealing with, at times he seemed downright contemptuous of them. The best explanation you really could proffer about Daly’s popularity is that at the very least wasn’t an egghead like Matt Pinfield or Tabitha Soren, or a complete mess like Kennedy or Jesse Camp. He was more like Dave Holmes, Camp’s Wanna Be a VJ mroe stable runner-up, except thinner and more vacuous. And really, stable, thin and vacuous was all a show like TRL needed.

I will say this for Daly, though–it never felt the same after he left. The show’s urgency had already started to fade with the demise of the Max Martin era, and once Daly stopped showing up, turning the reins over to the even less remarkable talents of hosts like Damien Fahey and Vanessa Minnillo, TRL’s already limited credibility turned to nil. And without a burgeoning pop phenomenon for it to hang its hat on (in another era, the Jonas Brothers and Hannah Montana might’ve been the answer, but this time another channel got to them first), TRL felt lost at sea, an island of music video programming surrounded by miles and miles of dating shows and reality TV. It was only a matter of time before it was swallowed whole.

The memories from those first couple years, though, are enough to sustain TRL’s legacy amongst just about anyone who was still in grade school at the time. The N Sync and Backstreet Boys battles. KoRn’s “Got the Life” becoming the first video retired on the show after spending 65 days on the countdown, despite never climbing above the #3 spot (and the video’s follow-up, “Freak on a Leash,” finally becoming the first metal video to achieve pole position). That time a grassroots movement somehow catapulted New Kids on the Block’s “Hangin’ Tough” to the #2 spot. Britney Spears denying her much-rumored affair with Fred Durst to Carson Daly (“He got no nookie”). Tom Green crashing the party with his “Bum-Bum Song” video. During these formative years, you almost felt like you had to watch the show, because you never knew what seismic pop event you might be missing if you didn’t.

I haven’t intentionally watched the show in years, of course. But I kind of hoped it would always be there, just in case. When the next big pop explosion comes, who’s gonna let the kids know? Are we really willing to entrust Lauren Conrad and Pete Wentz with that kind of responsibility?

R.I.P. Total Request Live, 1998-2008

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Eugoogly: Tom Brady’s 2008 NFL Season

Posted by Andrew Unterberger on September 8, 2008

Well golly gee

Before Sunday, it was entirely possible that Kansas City Chiefs safety Bernard Pollard enjoyed travelling to the city of Boston, had great appreciation for the city’s culture, and even counted some of its citizens as friends or well-wishers. Now, it might be a good idea for him to stay off the East Coast altogether, lest a slightly discplaced member of the Nation spot him and a car bomb find its way into the undercarriage of his Jeep. Yesterday, Pollard unofficially ended the New England Patriots’ chances of a return visit to the superbowl, and arguably destroyed any post-season plans of any sort, by putting a hit on Tom Brady’s left knee in the Pats’ season opener–one which not only took him out of the game, but forced him into season-ending surgery. At the very least, Pollard can count on a very nice gift basket from Trent “#2 QB in the AFC East” Edwards come Christmas time.

Now, we here at IITS spent a good deal of time and energy last year railing against Mr. Brady and his fascist co-horts’ attempts at a complete NFL dictatorship, and their vanquishing at the hands of the NFC’s Rebel Forces last February 3rd remains the pop culture high point of the year for us. All that said, I was surprised to find myself more than a little bit disappointed at the prospect of an NFL season without Tom Terrific. It’s not often that pro sports gives you a team that you can despise so unreservedly, and rooting for the failure of a team you hate can be almost as much fun (and often far more rewarding) than rooting for the success of a team you love. And since this will surely set up much failure for the Pats in the weeks to come, and I figured I’d practically be bathing in the schadenfraude.

But this almost feels too easy, y’know? I wanted to see Brady’s season be nullified by weeks of underperformance, weighed against too-lofty expectations and brought down by the nagging self-doubt of “hm, maybe I’m NOT the greatest to have ever played this game after all.” I wanted seven sacks in one game. I wanted a breakdown in communication with Moss, until he became disillusioned enough with the Pats’ well-oiled machine that he quit on them like he quit on the Raiders. I wanted a humiliating first-round play-off exit, at the hands of David Garrard or Matt Schaub or some other upstart QB that would confirm to Tommy these guys are the future, and you are the past. Instead, he gets a season of watching the games from his (presumable) mansion on his (presumably) 227″ HD TV while Gisele rubs his back and whispers “That’s OK, baby, you’ll get ’em next year.” It’s just too easy.

On the plus side, I am looking forward to the Matt Cassel era in New England. Cassel, whether he appreciated it or not, has had just about the sweetest job in the world for the last decade–playing backup under QBs at the top of their game (Palmer, Leinart, Brady), collecting championship rings and Bowl titles while the #1s get pummelled on the field, and always having the option of claiming “hey, I could do this too if it was me out there, but what’re ya gonna do?” Now the Pats are actually calling his career-long bluff, and no matter what the results are, they’re almost guaranteed to be fascinating. Despite my love for the man, part of me is sort of hoping that Peyton goes down for the year sometime soon, to watch Sorgi and Cassel, the two men that have come to be synonymous with the term garbage time, scramble to keep their respective should-be contenders even viable in the playoff hunt. How often do sports fans just get handed sociology experiments that delicious?

Maybe I’ll just have to find some other player and team to bitch about this season. Here’s betting that the Eagles-Cowboys game next Monday gives me a pretty good back-up.

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