Michael Rand started RandBall with hopes that he could convince the world to love jumpsuits as much as he does. So far, he's only succeeded in using the word "redacted" a lot. He welcomes suggestions, news tips, links of pure genius, and pictures of pets in Halloween costumes here, though he already knows he will regret that last part.
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WAITING FOR AARON
(SCENE: Two Packers fans, Vincent and Earl, sit at a tavern, drinking Miller Lite, munching on popcorn. ESPN is on the TV. Aaron Rodgers’ status for Sunday is called “uncertain.”)
EARL: Man, what are we gonna do?
VINCENT: Nothing to be done. Gotta ride it out, then run the table.
EARL: I suppose so. Flynn and Tolzien might have to beat the Falcons, though. Think they can do that much, they’ve looked okay sometimes and Atlanta is pretty bad.
VINCENT: Listen to yourself. You’re not making sense. Flynn and Tolzien are thieves! They are stealing money from us. The Pack can’t win without Aaron. We gotta wait for him, then win out.
EARL: Whatever, I’m gonna head home.
EARL: Ah, you know what, one more won’t hurt. (EARL orders another beer, begins to doze off.)
VINCENT: Hey, wake up, dummy. SportsCenter just said they’ll have an update from Green Bay.
EARL: Huh? I was just resting my eyes. Did they say anything about Aaron? Is he coming back?
VINCENT: Dunno, they didn’t say. Hey, I ever tell you the one about Dan Devine’s dog and the preacher?
EARL: Can’t recall.
VINCENT: Oh man, it’s a good one. Gotta hit the can first, though. (VINCENT goes to the rest room, returns.) What were we talking about?
EARL: Rodgers coming back this week?
VINCENT: Yeah, if he doesn’t I’m gonna be almost suicidal, I tell you.
EARL: How do you think Aaron will do when he comes back?
VINCENT: Can’t say definitely, since he’ll probably have some extra padding on his collarbone, but probably 4-5 touchdowns, 400 yards. Then he can ramp it up as he gets healthier.
EARL: Sounds right. You hungry?
VINCENT: Yeah. My old lady’s got me eating rabbit food because we’re supposably (sic) at a high risk for diabetes because of our diet.
EARL: Yeah, I’m gonna order a pizza. Get some veggies on it, make it healthy.
(A loud yell is heard from near the pull-tab booth. LUCKY has pulled a $300 winner.)
EARL: Figures. Lucky gets Favre’s autograph when he sees him at the airport, and now this.
VINCENT: Yeah, but he owes Paulie something like $500 for working on his car, so that money’s good as gone.
EARL: Yeah, like Paulie needs it. (PAULIE is sitting at a table by the bar’s only window, wearing a Realtree Clay Matthews jersey, eating chicken wings and drinking muscatel.)
VINCENT: Why’s he drinking wine?
EARL: Doctor said he’s gotta get off the beer. That’s his compromise.
VINCENT: Smart man. Hey, they’re talking about the Packers now, shut up.
(Ed Werder reports that Rodgers will practice in a limited capacity, and that no decision has been made for Sunday’s game.)
EARL: Well, there you go.
VINCENT: There it is. Maybe they’ll know more later on tonight. Might as well order another round.
Born out of a series of Tweets by commenter @RandBallsStu, an idea by your humble proprietor and a sick thirst to rile up Packers fans for no good reason, we present, "The Increasingly Lost Season." In this series, which is now in its second year, Stu will give a brief recap of the Packers' misfortunes as they tumble back toward Randy Wright-esque putridity (even if that probably isn't true). Stu?
What happens when two bitter NFC North rivals face off, even when one is a flat-out disgrace and the other is sticking with a struggling Christian Ponder? In an increasingly lost season, the answer is “the same old same old.”
As predicted in this space last week, the Packers were once again unable to defeat Eli Manning when it mattered and saw their season continue to fall apart. Although NFL rules prohibit the questioning of any of Dear Leader Ted Thompson’s wise and capable decisions for the greater good, the ongoing embarrassment of having zero competent backups to actor/quarterback Aaron Rodgers continues to be apparent to those who dare engage in Thoughtcrime.
Now, they have another week of starting “quarterback” Scott Tolzien as Rodgers heals and lines up voiceover work, and get to play another team heading in the wrong direction, the Minnesota Vikings. Of course, unlike Green Bay, Minnesota seems to have come to terms with its bitterly disappointing 2013, and is focused on building for a better, brighter future. The Packers and some in their misguided fan base think that, just because they’re not mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, means they are in the hunt for another division title. “After all, Aaron’s coming back,” they might say.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but he’s not coming back. Hollywood is his pack of cigarettes, and Green Bay is his abandoned family, looking to scrape enough money together to put some dollar store gifts under a tree that’s actually just cases of Old Style returnables stacked in a haphazard, moldering pyramid. Oh, sure, he’ll come back. Keep telling yourself that.
Will they be able to end their losing streak against the injury-riddled Vikings? In an increasingly lost season, the smart money’s on “don’t count on it.”
From Syncweekly.com and an interview with former Eagles player Shawn Andrews:
Andrews says teammates and support staff went out of their way to suck up to the former Syracuse University two-sport star, and McNabb enjoyed being in the limelight and abiding by a different set of rules than the rest of the players.
“I could be sitting in the players’ lounge with a group, having some laughs, and he’d get his say in so the attention can shift,” Andrews says. “He was the type of person that had everything in the world he could want, but that still wasn’t enough. He wanted the attention on him. There was a whole lot of that behavior. He wasn’t just that way with me. I’m thinking, ‘Every day I strap on my shoulder pads and helmet, I’m here to protect you.’
“[McNabb] was a big part of it — he was a big part of my issues there. Bully is a strong word, but he was degrading to me and spread rumors. It’s bothered me that I haven’t really spoken about it.”
The rumors regarding Andrew’s sexual orientation spread around the Eagles’ facility and beyond. Andrews says he received a text message from his stylist one day. The woman worked for several teammates and players on other teams. She warned Andrews that he should be more careful when talking about his personal life with teammates. That was a red flag for Andews, since he rarely talked to his teammates.
McNabb responded on his radio show, calling Andrews' allegations "unbelievable."
Finally, a Monday Night Football game that delivers. The Panthers' victory over the Patriots was great from start to finish -- the kind of game that someone without a rooting interest in either team could enjoy. The Panthers are legit. The Patriots are resilient. It was 1 million times better than watching Sunday's Vikings game.
We include in this glowing review the game's final play -- controversial, to be sure, but a call that we thought was simply great. In case you missed it (video above), Tom Brady's final desperate pass was intercepted in the end zone. An official threw a flag initially, presumably for Luke Kuechly's coverage of Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski, but after a conference the officials picked up the flag and ruled no penalty. Game over.
We saw it live. We've watched the replay half a dozen times. Was Gronkowski held? Of course he was. Is there any way in the world he is able to stop his momentum before being held and adjust to a ball underthrown by at least two yards? No. The above explanation by Gerry Austin makes perfect sense.
That same play could unfold 100 times, and Gronkowski would not be able to make a play -- held or not -- and catch the ball 100 times. That's our subjective viewpoint, and surely others see it differently, but that's also the nature of pass interference -- one of the most subjective important rulings in all of sports officiating.
Too often an offense is bailed out. Not on Monday, with a great call to end a great game.