In a nod to Saints’ RB Mike “Hell’s” Bell, I’ve decided to set the 2010 NFL playoffs to the lyrics of AC/DC’s 1977 album, “Let There Be Rock.” Each line says something about someone, so read “analysis” like you would “recipient.” If you finish reading this and think to yourself, “Wow, that just filled a hole that I didn’t even know needed filling,” well, than you’re just as sick as the writers at Sports Casualties. All kidding aside, if the NFL is going to push another over-the-hill rock band on us – I’m looking at you Halftime Show – this should be the one.
The Line: On the day I was born/ the rain fell down/ There was trouble brewin’ in my home town/ It was the seventh day and I was the seventh son/ And it scared the hell out of everyone
The Song: Bad Boy Boogie
The Analysis: A dude with a French name hasn’t put himself on the map like this since Napoleon was carving up Europe. Pierre Garcon’s used to having the deck stacked against him. He attended that football hotbed Mount Union, fell to 205th overall in the ’08 draft, has parents from the Haitian isle. Hell, the guy’s last name means “waiter.” Seriously. Pierre probably had no business making it in life, let alone the National Football League. Now he’s one of the go-to guys for the greatest quarterback of all-time and 60 minutes away from landing the biggest diamond ring you’ve ever seen. Like the rest of his Colts, Quatre-Vingt Cinq sticks it to every Ochocinco with head-down grittiness and quiet determination. His glue hands hauled in 47 balls during the regular season – up from four a year ago – and humiliated the rest of the Jets secondary on Sunday when Revis Island put the clamps on Reggie Wayne. You’ve never seen 11 catches in an AFC Championship game before. Nobody has. And now Garcon, who’s quickly becoming the Wayne to Wayne’s Harrison, has Sean Payton’s henchmen floating the yeah-but-what-abouts all through the off week.
He’s a source of pride for his family, his country, his other country and the small hometown from which he hails. Writes reader Sarika Joshi via Facebook: “He went to my high school. I’m pretty happy with his development. He’s putting Greenacres on the map!” Somebody get Hallmark on the phone. God bless America and God bless Pierre Garcon.
The Line: Wanna tell you a story/ ‘Bout a woman I know/ When it comes to lovin’/ Oh she steals the show/ She ain’t exactly pretty/ Ain’t exactly small/ Forty-two, thirty-nine, fifty-six/ You could say she’s got it all
The Song: Whole Lotta Rosie
The Analysis: Really, you shouldn’t even have to ask. They even have the same dimensions. Jets coach Rex Ryan and his scrappy team burst onto the playoff scene like that dirty uncle at the family reunion. Nobody thought they belonged, nobody bought into their crazy talk, and nobody – nobody – wanted to see them once they snuck in. Just ask the Bengals’ Marvin Lewis, the guy who has the taint of two straight Jet’s beatdowns smeared all over his Coach of the Year trophy. New York wasn’t the most sexy team in the playoffs – they got by on hard-nosed defense, a grind-it-out ground game and bunch of guys just trying to make a name for themselves – but once Gang Green grabbed your attention, you just couldn’t take your eyes off them. It’s really too bad “Big Balls” wasn’t on this album. I would’ve given it to Ryan for his gutsy fourth down call against San Diego. How great would that have been?
The Line: I am hot/ And when I’m not/ I’m cold as ice
The Song: Problem Child
The Analysis: This line was up for grabs like a JaMarcus Russell post pattern, but Tom Terrifics’s epic stink bomb (3.7 yards/attempt, 3 INT) of a performance against Baltimore sealed the deal for the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year. Let me real off some numbers for you and see if you can find a common theme:
101.5, 74, 59.1, 149, 70.4, 49.1
If you said a) these are Tom Brady’s passer ratings in his final 6 games and b) there is no theme – in fact, I haven’t seen a splits like this since Two Face was in his prime, then you’d be correct on both counts. When Brady was on, he was inspiring comparisons to his record-setting ’07 campaign. When he was off… Let’s just say that Gisele hasn’t packed in the angel wings just yet. Just in case.
Brady should pass this off on his intramural league of a receiving corps, currently comprised of Sam Aiken, Jason Varitek and the decayed remains of Randy Moss. But Twelve, unlike his crankwad of a coach, is too classy for that. Plus, he doesn’t have the heart to tell the national media that just because Julian Edelman is a gritty, white guy doesn’t mean he’s the second coming of Ed McCaffrey.
The Line: Dead or Alive/ I got a .45/ And I never miss
The Song: Problem Child
The Analysis: Ray Lewis. No, no – only kidding, Ray. We kid because… we think you may have shot somebody. But seriously, we’re taking this one in metaphorical stride because that’s what Bon Scott and the Young brothers would’ve wanted (let’s just say that their “guns for hire” aren’t the Smith & Weston type if you catch my drift).
Cardinals QB Kurt Warner would probably swear off these 11 words – he’s a big fan of psalms and puppies – but they speak volumes about his up and down (and up) career. One of the most accurate passers in the history of the league, Warner capped off his Hall of Fame run with one of the great displays of accuracy and precision that the Packer’s defense has ever seen. Warner joined the ranks of Simms and Walton when he smoked Charles Woodson and Co. to the tune of 29-33, 379 yards and 5 TD in the first round.
Kurt couldn’t help the fact that his skull never quite cooperated with him or that his run at Miami was derailed by a Card’s D that gave up 90 points over two consecutive weeks. Still, even in his down years (remember that stint in New York?), Kurt was always on the mark – his career 93.9 passer rating would land him a solid A in any higher learning instistution. He’d probably really appreciate a commemorative Bible verse. He’ll get a debaucherous one-liner instead.
The Line: Gee I was happy as a man could be/ To0 far gone to escape/ Power of love, don’t pull me off / Just write on my grave
The Song: Overdose
The Analysis: To the City of Brotherly Love: just because your team turns it on in November and December every single year, doesn’t mean you have a snowball’s (like the one’s you chucked at Santa) chance in hell to win a Super Bowl. The surging Eagles strung together 6 big wins from Nov. 22 to Christmas weekend, teasing their perennially embittered fan base like a tipsy Tri-Delt only to have their wings clipped off in midflight by their own coach. The Eagles are a cold weather team with an opportunist defense, an aging QB, and a young hoss in the backfield, and yet Andy Reid still shows absolutely no interest in running the football. If a power running game was a winning lotto ticket, Reid would glue it to a football and tell DeSean Jackson to go deep.
The Eagles, who finished 22nd in the league in rushing, ran 13 times for 56 yards in their rematch against Dallas two weeks ago, and surprise of surprises, the Cowboys D teed off on D-McNabb, sacking him four times for 22 yards. Hmmm… 56 minus 22… Doing the math. That’s 34 net rushing yards. LeSean “The other ‘eSean” McCoy carried five times. Just write on my grave? How about “Death by Air.”
The Line: And in every bar/ There was a super star/ With a seven-year itch.
The Song: Let There Be Rock
The Analysis: Three lines written for the long-suffering crazies on Bourbon Street who were no doubt partying to the wee hours of Monday morning after Saints kicker Garret “Ice Cold” Hartley erased 44 years of paper-bagged faces and rotating Heath Shulers. Running back Reggie Bush showed up in the New Orleans locker room the next day sporting a pair of Shugga Momma Kardashian’s jet black aviators and told The Monroe News-Star the following:
“These are my, ‘I’m-tired-because-I-just-got-to-bed-two-hours-ago-and-I’m-going-to-hide-my-eyes glasses.’ I’m pretty tired… But it was fun. Just seeing everybody in the streets screaming and honking their horns was great. I’m not sure that goes on in too many cities. It took an hour in traffic to get to the restaurant.”
Sure, some will be rooting against destiny’s child come Super Bowl Sunday, but these people are either Colts fans or puppy killers. You know about Katrina, you know about New Orleans’ love affair with their Saints, and deep down, you know you really want this team to win.
The Line: See a blind man on the street/ Looking for something free/ Hear the kind man ask his friends/ “Hey, what’s in it for me?”
The Song: Dog Eat Dog
The Analysis: The staff at Sports Casualties has always abided by an overriding maxim: if you can take a shot at Phil Rivers, take a shot at Phil Rivers. Words to live by. But this time Wolfpack dodges a bullet at the expense of teammate LaDainian “From the One!” Tomlinson for another year of fowl sideline body language, sulky attention hogging, Vulcan death-gripping ball hogging, and every other kind of hogging. Darren Sproles, thank you very much, has had enough. Of Tomlinson’s 12 regular season TDs, 10 came from within the opponent’s six yard line, and six – SIX – came from less than five feet out. LT couldn’t find a 20-yard run if it came up to him and said, “Hi, I’m 20-Yard Run. Nice to meet you.” And against the Jets two weeks ago he notched 24 yards on 12 carries. Hey. But he had a three-yard reception.
Look, no one can deny that this guy is one of the all-time greats (if you, like me, measure greatness in regular season yards from scrimmage), and I would cut Tomlinson some major slack here if he wasn’t such a me-first cat who said things like this:
“I wasn’t happy. No one is going to be happy with the least amount of touches in my career. I don’t know any running back that would be happy with that. Absolutely I wasn’t happy with not touching the ball as much as I thought I would.” (as reported by NFL.com’s Adam Rank)
“Hey, what’s in it for me?” That’s LT for you, and unfortunately for the Chargers, the answer is a cool $5 million in 2010 for a 31-year-old running back.
The Line: Done took to drinkin’ whiskey
The Song: Go Down
The Analysis: Because I wanted to include every song on the album and because Sports Casualties is entertainment for the whole family, we’re cutting out the goods and dedicating this succinct Bon Scott lyric to all our friends over at the NFL’s party planning committee. Just when I think we’ve reached a divine threshold for uncomfortable halftime performances, Roger Goodell’s media arm goes out an gets us an act with a combined 129 years of living experience. And there’s only 2 guys left in the band! Look I’m a big a fan of The Who… of 1965. But by my enlightened count, Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend hit their collective peak some 39 years ago with “Who’s Next,” and, um, two other bandmates that are no longer with us (OD and old age, in case you were wondering). I, for one, have “done took to drinkin’ whiskey” at the very thought of Geriatric Who. Just tell me somebody’s thought of the (Saint’s slogan) “Who Dat?” angle. Please, for the sake of high comedy, tell me somebody is onto this.
The Line: Disillusions and confusion/ Make me want to cry/ All the same, you lead your games/ Tellin’ me your lies
The Song: Hell Ain’t A Bad Place To Be
The Analysis: To all the heart-warming storylines and potentially historic scenarios: damn you for stringing me along like this. Nevermind the euphorically apocalyptic, universe-imploding possibilities: particularly a Green Bay-Minnesota showdown or a Norv Turner-Wade Phillips Battle of the Wits. We knew these were long shots at best. But just three days ago, I had my heart set on Vikes-Jets and all the glorious narratives said matchup entailed. You had the underdog plots and the tormented fan bases. You had the Rize of Sanchize and the 40-Year-Old Version. You had Sexy Rexy, and Shonn “Correct Spelling” Greene. You had the Revis Island. The state of Wisconsin. Four’s New York ties. The hopes and dreams of Kiln, Mississippi. And the rug pulled out from under you for being so naïve. Remember that Holy Night you caught your pops in a red fat suit and fake beard? This is a thousand times worse.
The Line: There ought to be a whole lot more/ You get nothing for nothing/ Tell me who can you trust
The Song: If You Want Blood (You Got It)
The Album: Highway to Hell, 1979
The Analysis: The answer to this question is not “Brett Favre with two minutes left.” Let me give some background for this bonus bit. The year is 1979 – two full years removed from “Let There Be Rock” – and our Australian metal gods are about to break it big. Really, really big. Like Super Bowl big. The band released “Back in Black” a year later and became the AC/DC that you know today – the one on t-shirts, the one filling stadiums, the one that perhaps never reached its full potential. You see, the group would lose Bon Scott – its original singer, the “old guy” if you will – in early 1980 because he just couldn’t help himself. Done in by years of hard living and bad decisions, the frontman finally made a mistake that cost him it all. He should’ve had a whole lot more… I hope you see where I’m going with this. Come two Sundays from now, we’re all going to tease ourselves into thinking that Colts-Saints is as good as it gets. But really, it’s just all we have left, the only game in town. Brett came a long way, but his 40-year-old legs couldn’t outrun a gunslinger’s mentality or his penchant for self-destruction. In the end, Number Four got nothing for nothing. It’s a real shame.
To Brees, Manning, the city of New Orleans, the ghost of Johnny U and all those that continue on: Sports Casualties salutes you.