Last cut is the deepest

Its hard to believe that its nearly time for the NFL season to start seriously again, but this time next week, we’ll be looking at the opening game, and Kate and I will be gently teasing each other, as its Kansas City, against New England, so that will be fun! Its just a shame that its 2 days before we could have watched it together, and stirred each other up together, but such is life. The likely possibility, given New England wont be playing on the Sunday, is that I will get to see the Buffalo Bills, play the New York Jets, 2 teams that pretty much seem to be throwing away their seasons before they even get started. Yes, strictly the Bills are my team, but I’ve seen so much awful right wing, racist stuff written by their fans on social media of late (mostly about the anthem stuff), that I find it hard to get involved with them, in truth. Oh, and not to forget, the Monday night game, and my one chance this autumn to see the gorgeousness that is Jon Gruden! Swoon!

But why now, why the blog title, you ask? Well, tonight marks the last round of pre season games (other than the one in Texas, cancelled for obvious reasons), and after that, the huge squads that the teams currently carry, have to be trimmed back drastically. Most of those getting the chop will be players we’ve never heard of, but some of whom will either be plucked up for practice squads, or selected when injuries start to take their toll on teams. There will also be a number of relatively ‘more famous’ players who will be cut, for salary reasons. Again some will be plucked by other teams, some will get picked when injuries strike, but for a few, that will be it.

Before I sound too sorry for them, lets just remember what crazy salaries these people earn! In some cases, cutting 1 player cuts $6 million from a wage bill! But yes, for those young men, its still a tough time, if you’re the one thats cut. And thats on top of those who should have, but never got called to a team this summer…whistles innocently…

No, I’d have made a lousy cheerleader, even when I was young, lol! 😛

The video, you could say, as so often, there is a clue in the title. This is pretty much the original version of the song, Cat Stevens, from 1967! Yes, I really am that old, I was 9 then!

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On New Years Day (plus one)

Today, strictly one day late, due to New Years Day falling on a Sunday, is one of the great Los Angeles (well, Pasadena) traditions, the Rose Bowl parade, and college football game.

I know, I know, but the great beast that is the NFL takes priority on a Sunday, so this has had to wait until today. Maybe one day I’ll get to see the parade live, or even visit the Rose Bowl, but the former wont be this year, and the latter, in terms of going to a game, no time soon, I suspect? I might see the Stadium later this year, but it wont be one of the priority places to visit, so…? I have no idea how practical that is by public transit, anyway?

Mind, compared to what travel must have been like for Michigan, for the first ever game, in 1902, its probably a whole lot easier nowadays. I assume 2 or 3 days by train, just to get out to California, and the same again, to go back afterwards. Now you could do the flight in a matter of hours! The current famous Rose Bowl wasnt apparently used until 1923 (Thanks, Wikipedia), but only once since then, in 1942, has it not happened there. Yes, that pesky WW2 forced it East for one year!

By tradition nowadays, its the champion of the Big 10, against the champion of the Pac 10, but it doesnt always happen. Commercialization, and nowadays the College Championships get in the way of that. So this year, we do have the Big 10 champions, Penn State, playing USC who didnt win the Pac 10, but beat the champions of that conference! They were in the College Championships, but anyway… I like many others suspect Penn State should have been among the 4 in that championship too!

Oh, the NFL? Well, Buffalo were as awful this season as I expected them to be, as were the Los Angeles Rams. Now seems there will be a second team in LA next year, the Chargers seem to be moving up the coast to join them. Not that they will improve the quality of the teams in the city, but anyway… Thankfully, from a Harlow point of view, the Kansas City Chiefs made the playoffs, and in fact, won their division in the end. More due to the Raiders having major injury issues, but all the same… its something!

OK, video time. A very apt piece of U2!

A game of 2 halves

Its funny, when I went to bed last night just after 11.00, the Kansas City Chiefs were winning 31-10, and I not altogether unreasonably assumed, that they were going to be in the next round of the play offs, something that delighted the ‘Brooksie’ in me. When I got up this morning, and checked the score, I thought I needed a new pair of glasses, or something! All I could see was that the Colts had won 45-44! Even more amazing, I read that Kansas actually led by 28 (38-10) before the collapse set in. Just proves that in this world, expect nothing!

But remarkably, its only the 2nd largest playoff comeback in history, the largest, at 32 points, was in fact even more incredible, and from the team nearest to the other end of Brooksie’s life.

Lets go back to this same weekend, 21 years ago, when Houston (Oilers, now the Tennessee Titans) visited Buffalo for a wild card game. The reason this was even more incredible, is that the starting Quarterback for Buffalo, was not the big star, Jim Kelly. It was his back up, Frank Reich, because Kelly had been injured the week before…against Houston, in a game they went on to lose 27-3.

So maybe it wasnt the biggest shock in the world, when Houston took a 35-3 lead. Game over, you would think, and despair for a Buffalo fan like me? Well, maybe it should have been, but if I told you that the next time Houston scored, it was to tie the game at 38-38! Overtime, and after an interception, Buffalo scored a field goal, and won the game. Reich also went on to win the next 2 games at QB, taking them to the Superbowl, by which time Kelly came back…and they lost! Who knows, if Reich had continued…?

Last night for me, it was the other side of the tale though, and believe me, it came as a nasty shock this morning. But as they say, the game isnt over till the fat lady sings, so…

The video, what the losing teams should do,

Cold for Cats (or Packers at least)

Anyone in the mid west, or the north eastern corner of the US at the moment? Yes, I know its ferociously cold, plenty of snow in places, and you have my sympathies, I know what its like. Thankfully only briefly, about 11 years ago, when I was introduced to the temperature of minus 25, in North Dakota (daytime) and Minneapolis (about 7am) when crossing the US by train. I’ll never say never again, but its not high on my ‘must do’ list, despite my hope to visit Nome some day!

The blessing in both cases, was that shortly after, I could get back on the train, in the warm, and continue the journey. The train journey overnight to Pennsylvania was delayed by about 6 hours, by the time it reached Pittsburgh, I think the line literally froze or something! But anyway, I was warm, and safe on a train, so…

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, with the famous snowfest in Philadelphia, the NFL doesnt stop for bad weather. There is in fact a night game in Philly tonight, and it wont be warm! But even more than that…late tomorrow afternoon, San Francisco are visiting Green Bay, in the first round of the playoffs. The forecast high, is about 1 degree! And no, my European readers, I dont mean Centigrade! The wind chill factor will mean it feels like about minus 18. By the end of the game, that figure will be in the high minus twenties!

Seriously, I dont know how they play sport in those sort of temperatures, but they will. Back in 1967, in a frozen Green Bay, they played a game called the ‘Ice Bowl’, yes, it was that cold! Tomorrow, its suspected will be even colder, eek! But, however sorry I feel for the players, they arent the ones who get the most sympathy from me. At least they get to run around the field, though I doubt that will get them very warm at that temperature. No, the ones who have my true admiration, for their possible insanity, are the fans who will sit in the stadium and watch for several hours! I mean, I went to a Baseball game in Rochester, in April, and was frozen by the end. The temperature then, was 40! Some chill factor (no idea how much), but even so…

Rather you than me, Packer fans!

Oh, and ‘Miss Brooks’ would like me to mention that Kansas City are playing tonight in Indianapolis, and wishes them well. I know, they arent even in Kansas, but…

The video, well, it almost matches the blog title at least. Not just Squeeze, some Kenny Everett lunacy too

Somewhere over the rainbow

At the start of the week, in which 107 years ago, Louise Brooks was born, lets focus on a few things Kansas. Fortunately her birthday will be on Thursday, and given that I’m off on Thursday, there are absolutely no prizes for working out what that nights blog will be about!

But for tonight, lets focus on other related matters, even if strictly Kansas City isnt in the state of Kansas, its pretty close by, and most from the eastern part of the state (which includes Cherryvale, of course) would probably support the KC teams as ‘their’ team anyway.

Before the start of the NFL season, people expected the Chiefs to be better than last year. Not hard, they were the worst team in the league last year. New coach, new quarterback, and hopes of a better season. But seriously, if anyone had said they would be 9-0 at their bye week, this week, no, no one would have believed you. But facts are facts, that is where they are, last unbeaten team.

No, I’m not really a fan, but I guess they are the second team I look for, because of the whole Kansas thing. Especially as my first team are Buffalo, which is of course quite close to Rochester, where Brooks closed her life. Same thing with the Royals in baseball, I keep an eye on them, just because.

Oh, and somewhere that really is in Kansas, the Kansas State Wildcats. Not altogether surprisingly, they arent matching last year, but given the loss of Klein, its not the biggest shock of all time. But yesterday, they met, and beat handsomely, the 25 ranked Texas Tech, by 49-26. So no, they arent going to a big bowl this year, but they are playing with pride.

Oh, the video, well yes, the clue is in the title. But its not Judy Garland, its another who was lost to this world at far too young an age, Eva Cassidy.

4 days from now, you might get the OMD video, but you might not! 😉