Monday, September 17, 2007

Patriots Are SICK!

Wow! What a complete demolishing of the San Diego Chargers by the New England Patriots last night. What a fantastic home opener. All the new players proved how great they are and how much they can add to the team. I don't think anyone is saying Randy Moss is washed up anymore, and linebacker Adalius Thomas is sure living up to his hype. The final score was 38-14 and it felt like an even bigger margin.
I really needed this game to feel good about the Patriots again. Before the game we got to hear former players Steve Grogan and John Hannah talk about "videogate" in the Gillette Stadium clubhouse and they made me feel much better about the whole mess. Plus all the fans had a great sense of humor about it - lots of "you're on Candid Camera" and "In Bill We Trust" signs throughout the stands. Grogan said, Belichick broke the rules, got caught and penalized - end of story; there is no way winning championships can be attributed to extra info from video. Hannah thought this might end up being a great thing for the team - bringing them together and making them feel like underdogs again. He was right.
For the first time ever - Bill Belichick was introduced after the team came out game. He got a huge ovation and even waved to the crowd. That is something he did in warmups and at the end of the game too. I've never noticed him acknowledge the crowd himself before. This whole experience seems to have really humbled him and brought the players even closer to him. The coach seems almost human now. There were so many smiles and hugs on the sideline - it seemed like we had just won a playoff game. Belichick even used the word "awesome" three times in his post game press conference. I don't believe I've ever heard him say that. He talked about how the great the fans are and how good his team is -- NOT usual Bill speak. Plus the players seemed much more emotional too - Brady talked about how Belichick is the best coach in NFL history, while Bruschi said "This is the most satisfying [win] because I've never been in a situation where people have doubted what we've done..."
This team is the best Patriots team ever - and after a week of being called cheaters, they are fired-up to rip apart any team that gets in front of them. Plus, Rodney Harrison and Richard Seymour will be suiting up in a few more weeks too. I love it.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

New England Patriots: Cheaters?!

What is going on in Patriot Land? First we had the shocking news last week that All-Pro, stand-up guy and team leader, safety Rodney Harrison was caught using an NFL banned substance, human growth hormone (HGH). Now Coach Bill Belichick - the football "genius" - has been cheating? Possibly for years? He stands accused of having his staff video taping the opposing coaches during games to steal their signals to the defense.
The Harrison situation was disturbing enough. I found myself making excuses for him because I really like the guy. Heck, he broke his arm in Super Bowl 38, and stayed on the field! That is one tough player. But for the last couple seasons, he's been an injured veteran, just trying to heal. This wasn't steroids. And he came clean as soon as investigators asked him about it - there were no claims of not realizing what he was taking or "tainted" substances like so many other NFL players claim when caught with something in their system. Plus there is no testing done for HGH - so its use must be very prevalent. If you could take something to extend your career, keep pulling in money for your family and you wouldn't get caught - that is awfully tempting. If Harrison was on another team - I'd be saying he's a dirty, cheating, scumbag. But he's on my team, and I still like him. For the first time I can understand how San Fransisco Giants fans can still cheer for Barry Bonds.
With all this coming to light just days before the start of the season, plus all the attention about new receiver Randy Moss not playing or practicing in preseason and the surprise of New England's best defensive player, Richard Seymour, being placed on the PUP list (physically unable to perform), which means he is out until at least six weeks of the season - I was concerned heading into the opener Sunday against the Jets.
The Patriots killed the Jets, rather easily. But now all the stuff about cheating and being previously warned about such things... very disturbing. I think this really tarnishes Belichick's reputation and he can't blow this off with some "it is what it is" crap. If this proves to be true, there is no doubt it is cheating. For the first time in this "dynasty" era, it is getting tough to be a Patriots fan.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Tesla: Live and Kicking

Lori and I saw Tesla last night at Avalon in Boston, with about only 500 other people. Tesla is one of those bands who never got as big as they should have. They are fantastic song writers and killer performers - but they have no shtick, no act - and they were wrongly lumped in with 80's hair bands. They are so much better than that. They are currently supporting "Real to Reel", a two-disc collection of their favorite songs, so the show was a very cool and eclectic mix of covers (ranging from Aerosmith, and Led Zeppelin to Joe Walsh and Sly and Family Stone) and their own songs. So while there were many Tesla songs I missed hearing, and I forget they even exist until I pull out their first few releases and realize there are no songs I skip over, it was an excellent night. They played for over two hours - a very fun and energetic show that really showed off their top-notch musicianship and the down to earth attitude of the whole band. It also didn't hit me till last night just how upbeat and optimistic so many of their songs are ("Love Song," "Changes," "What You Give," "Way It Is"). Certainly not stereotypical metal heads, though they did give a shout out to Headbangers Ball - which gave them their first attention back in 1986. It was in fact after seeing the video for "Modern Day Cowboy" on the Ball that I bought their debut release - Mechanical Resonance and became hooked for life. The guys seemed to genuinely be enjoying themselves on stage and making up the set as they went along at times. Probably the best review they could get is that Lori, who said she didn't know a single Tesla song and got dragged to the show because I have no friends - loved them.
And my new found success with opening bands continues - the openers were Poets and Pornstars and I really liked their straight-ahead, balls-out rock and roll. Even bought their CD, hell for $10 you can't go wrong.
Tesla Set List:
Walk Away
The Way It Is
Modern Day Cowboy
Hang Tough
Got No Glory
Thank You
I Wanna Take You Higher
Heaven 9/11
Love Song
What You Give
Into The Now
Comin Atcha Live
Seasons of Wither
Gov't Personnel
Freedom Slaves
Heaven's Trail
Rock Bottom
Song and Emotion
Edison's Medicine