Monday, December 28, 2009

Jim Caldwell is an idiot

The Indianapolis Colts used to be my most respected football team. Although I am a "casual" Steelers fan, I would almost enjoy watching the Colts more because of the way they played the game of football. Watching Peyton Manning dissect defenses is a sight to behold. But even more than that, Dungy, Manning, and Co. played with dignity and respect for their teammates, opposing teams, and the game of football. This past Sunday evening, new head coach Jim Caldwell, and supposedly the GM Polian, made the decision to rest the starters for the playoffs instead of going for what no team in the history of the NFL has done before: Go 19-0. This is one of the most boneheaded and disrespectful decisions that I've ever heard of in football. Possibly one of the worst calls of all-time, if only because of what was at stake. I can't stand Bill Belichick because of his miserable attitude (he literally looks like he drinks a glass of misery before every game), but we all know he does what it takes (and than some) to win. Caldwell doesn't know what trying to win even means. He's been riding the coattails of one of the greatest play-calling QB's of all time. This is probably the first time he's even had a significant impact on a game. I don't even know where to begin outlining why the decision was moronic, so let me just go down a list.

- Caldwell pulled Manning in the middle of the 3rd quarter to avoid unnecessary injury before the playoffs, and began pulling other starters before that. Huh? He clearly didn't give a crap about winning the game, so why risk Manning out there in the 1st or 2nd quarter to begin with? If it was to give the starters some playing time, why put them in after the half? Why was Manning playing in the 3rd and 4th quarters of games where the Colts were blowing out other teams earlier in the season? I guess if he was injured in one of those games it would've been ok in the twisted coaching world of Jim Caldwell. Which leads to our next point...

- Manning doesn't get injured! Sure, it could happen and to think otherwise is naive, but to sacrifice a chance at history under the pretense that you are protecting a guy who has played for 12 years and started 191 consecutive games without being injured is absurd. If it was a meaningless game it might make sense, but...

- THE GAME MEANT SOMETHING. It meant something to the players who up to that point had achieved what less than a handful of teams had ever achieved, and had a shot at doing something historic. It meant something to the thousands of Colts fans at the game who payed money to watch if not something historic, at least their team play to win. It meant something to the millions of Colts fans watching on TV or listening on the radio. It meant something to sports fans like me who was watching with the hope of witnessing another historic step (wasted two hours of my life. Thanks Caldwell). It meant something to the '72 Dolphins who are probably still recovering from the hangover from their annual celebration of their record remaining intact. Caldwell took the momentum his team had and gave it a flogging that would've made the Romans wince. I don't ever remember fans of a team as good as the Colts being so angry as they are now. The dejection of the starters on the sideline was painful to observe.

- who won the '94 Superbowl? '84? '73? ok, how about 2001? 1972? Oh, you only know the last one. Weird. It probably has nothing to do with the fact that this was the last team to have a perfect season... Even if the Colts end up winning the SB this season, no one will care three years from now. Teams win Super Bowls every year. Perfection would be something to remember.

- The Colts made a mockery of football. Forget the angry fans, forget the angry players, forget the screwed up logic. Caldwell threw that game. He played to lose, making an embarrassment of the National Football League. Losing teams have been know to do that in order to secure higher draft picks and it is universally frowned upon. Why? To steal from Herm Edwards in one of those awesome Coors Light commercials, "YOU PLAY TO WIN THE GAME." Caldwell put back-up QB Curtis Painter in the worst situation imaginable. He could've been put in any of the Colts blowout wins, but Caldwell decides that humiliating him in front of the home crowd while destroying their shot at history was a better course of action. Oh, and this game had playoff implications for other AFC playoff contenders beside the Jets. Ask the Broncos how they feel about it.

I could go on, but I'm tired of typing. Caldwell spit on history, on the fans, and on his own players who worked to get there. If they end up winning the Super Bowl, whoop-di-doo. No one will care in few years, and I'm sure it will be bitter-sweet for most Colts fans anyway. I'm hoping they don't though. As much as I like Manning, Caldwell and the management don't deserve it. As football people go, they are among the most pitiful.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Top 21 Films of the 00's

It's that time of the decade again. Everyone's top (fill in the blank) lists about (fill in the blank) are flooding everyone's blogs, inboxes, and that twitter thing. I guess a decade ago newspapers and magazines were the main sources of these lists. The internets changed everything. Now we are assaulted with a never-ending barrage of top everything lists we couldn't care less about, but still read to find what we do or don't agree with.

Now that we know how insignificant these lists are, here are my top 21 films of this decade. ("21?", you say. Yep, for a few reasons: Being different is trendy now, and I didn't want to cut out Memento.) It's a mix of what I enjoyed most and what I think are artistically the best. So even though I love a movie like The Village, I know that it really isn't that good of a movie, so I left it off the list. There is no exact science to my method though. Take it for what it is. Each has a reason for it's ranking that is no longer than a sentence.

1. Lord of the Rings Trilogy - epic and powerful; visually and emotionally stunning.
2. No Country for Old Men - intense, insightful, and perfect film about evil's relentless attack on humanity.
3. The Dark Knight - a thrilling, complex, relevant film noir that, like No.2, focuses on the sometimes seemingly hopeless struggle against evil.
4. El laberinto del fauno - fairy tale for adults that speaks to the power of childlike faith.
5. Cidade de Deus - action packed and brutal; a brilliant study of "hoodlums" and crime in the City of God.
6. Children of Men - a crying baby and shouts of "Cease fire!" will send a chill down your spine after one of the longest "uncut" shots in cinema history.
7. There Will Be Blood - relentlessly dark and brilliantly acted.
8. Slumdog Millionaire - a feel-good film that also brings the horrid conditions of India's slums to light.
9. Das Leben der Anderen - brilliant look at the value of human relationship.
10. The Hurt Locker - extremely intense film about soldiers in Iraq; one of the greatest war films ever.
11. Crash - a though-provoking parable on the effects of seen and unseen racism.
12. Munich - shows the impact of committing violence, both on the individual and on the nation.
13. A History of Violence - devastating study on the nature of violence
14. Lost in Translation - an exquisite and sad romantic comedy without your typical romance.
15. The Passion of the Christ - a brutally shocking and eye-opening depiction of the physical sacrifice of our Savior.
16. Michael Clayton - a corporate legal thriller not really about corporations at all.
17. Boy A - who decides who gets a second chance?
18. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford - beautiful cinematography and score.
19. Gone Baby Gone - Casey Affleck's second great performance in a row.
20. The Bourne Ultimatum - mixes action and intelligence in a style that has been ripped off multiple times since, but never duplicated.
21. Memento - Chris Nolan crashes onto the scene.