Joy: The NFL is Back

Barry Rothbard

It was the summer of rain. It was also the summer of Phish. I’m not talking about gufilta or tilapia. I’m talking about the best jam band of our generation that toured all summer and just released their first studio album in five years (Joy). If you were lucky enough to catch a Phish show this summer, you no doubt experienced a surreal journey of funk and rock. Unfortunately, the summer is officially over, and the two Phish shows I witnessed seem like a distant memory. And while the summer was one sweet journey, the NFL season thus far has helped me share in a different kind of groove. Phish said it, not me:

“You’ve got to run like an antelope: out of control.” This is the year of the running back thus far, and I don’t see it changing any time soon. Chris Johnson runs like a gazelle, Adrian Peterson may be the best running back of all time, and Michael Turner keeps doing his thang. Two running backs (Johnson and Frank Gore) eclipsed 200 yards on under 20 carries last week (each tallying two 75 yard plus touchdowns). And other guys like Fred Jackson and the Dallas running backs are churning out some serious numbers as well. The plethora of skilled and upcoming running backs, coupled with the lack of strong run defenses in the NFL (the so-called stout D’s of the Ravens, Steelers, Titans, and Giants look shaky thus far) make it apparent that running backs are going to keep putting up some out of control numbers.

“Oh, to be Prince Caspian, and float upon the waves.” The NFL has two Prince Caspians, and they’re sky high right now. Peyton and Eli Manning are the princes of the NFL and the best sibling combination in the history of sports. They are also two of the three best quarterbacks in the NFL right now (Drew Brees is king). The Mannings proved this weekend that they might not be flashy, they might not be fleet, but they flat out finish games. Brees included, Peyton (who will go down as the best quarterback of all time) and Eli (who will go down as the best quarterback in New York football’s history – sorry Jets fans) are more clutch than Rex Ryan at a P.F. Chang’s.

“I been around a while…” Brett Favre has been around for…a while. We’ve seen him win a championship. We’ve seen him completely tarnish his image. And we’ve seen him start out strong in September before (like, last year). Yes, the Vikes are 2-0. Yes, they have AP. And yes, they have a very, very good defense. But with Favre at the helm, the Vikings will not win the Super Bowl (or come close). Thus far, they’ve roughed up two of the worst teams in the NFL (the Browns and the Lions)-but so what? When Favre goes to Pittsburgh (week 7) then Green Bay (week 8) and then Chicago (week 16), his true colors will show. Teams will make sure they stack the line against Peterson, bring the house on Favre, and expose him for the fraud that he is. Even if the Vikes somehow manage to secure home field advantage, the old man’s arms and legs will give out by that time anyway.

“And it was alllllriiight.” What? You didn’t think I was going to end this with a shout out to my G-Men? Cause they’re allllright and then some. They gave up 251 rushing yards while only running for 97-and still won. Their best defender (Justin Tuck) got tripped and had to miss most of the game-and they still won. In Dallas. The only thing not to like about the Giants is Eli Manning’s wife (seriously, that’s all you could bag Eli?). They’re run defense will improve as it always does. Aaron Ross will come back from injury and their blitz will be unleashed to its full potential. And Mario Manningham’s party has just begun. Sorry J-E-T-S fans-the Giants run this town.