Happy Thursday, friends. I'm an up-early, tired SOB today, after flipping between the Giants-Cowboys and Bill Clinton's speech last night. I had one thing on, and kind of watched the play-by-play of the other on Twitter. I like the Big Dog, and I like football too, so I wanted to catch some of both. It struck me how natural it felt to experience two events simultaneously, and how it's easy to forget that you couldn't really do that even five years ago. I'll be interested to see how the ratings looked for both things. The NFL played last night, instead of Thursday, because they didn't want to go up against the President's speech, but Clinton is a pretty big draw himself. I wonder how the ratings captures somebody like me, who watched both events.
In football news, the Cowboys had an impressive performance, and won 24-17 over the Super Bowl champion Giants. Tony Romo made key plays at big moments, and RB DeMarco Murray, WR Kevin Ogletree, and CBs Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne impressed for the Cowboys. The Giants got off to a slow start offensively, and were hurt by an early Victor Cruz drop on third down, and a fumble by rookie RB David Wilson.
Trailing 24-10, the Giants scored a TD with 2:36 remaining, and had two timeouts and the two-minute warning. On third-and-1, Murray ran for a first down around left end, but a holding penalty was correctly called, giving the Cowboys 3rd-and-11, and a strong chance for a stop. Romo hit Ogletree on a 13-yard slant to effectively end the game. Give Romo and the Cowboys credit for making the plays they needed to make to win a game.
Baby steps, y'all. I named a category today.
The Broncos announced five team captains yesterday - Peyton Manning, Chris Kuper, Elvis Dumervil, Champ Bailey and Wesley Woodyard. Woodyard becomes the second Bronco to be a game captain for games in each of his first five seasons with the team, joining Floyd Little. Dumervil is the only first-time captain. Mike Klis says that Willis McGahee was also named a captain, totaling 6. It's weird that he doesn't agree with the official site.
Here's a silly article from the official site about how the Steelers will have revenge on their minds Sunday night. It's going to be a football game played by professionals. The Steelers try hard in every game, and so do the Broncos.
At the DP, there's an article from Lindsay Jones in which both coaches say the revenge factor is noise.
The Broncos opened as two-point favorites, but the line has apparently been moving. The guy who wrote this article for the DP, Nick Groke, is trying to find a football reason for the line to move, and in so doing, demonstrates that he doesn't understand why lines move. Bookmakers want to set the line so that both teams in any game see even action, and they get to keep only the vigorish, which is the premium paid by those losing bets. If that happens, the bookie is guaranteed to make money, in the form of the vig on losing bets, regardless of who wins the game. The Steelers are nationally popular, and likely drew a lot of dumb money homer bets, so the line moved to entice more people to bet on the Broncos, to even out the exposure of the books.
Klis wrote an article about Peyton Manning that's typically Klis-like. Insight - Peyton Manning expects to lose a few games at some point this season. Freaking brilliant stuff, Mike.
My girlfriend recently started using Twitter, and she's getting the hang of it nicely. Yesterday, she tweeted me this article about how certain Broncos jerseys can't be worn in Greeley schools, because they share numbers with local gangs. The banned numbers are 13, 14, 18, 41, and 81, which means that non gang-affiliated kids can't rep Brandon Stokley, Peyton Manning, Omar Bolden, or Joel Dreessen.
Chris Kuper is the only Bronco on the initial injury report, which is nice, after a camp that was described by Pat Kirwan and Tim Ryan as the most physical that they visited anywhere. For the Steelers, James Harrison was limited, and ILBs Stevenson Sylvester and Larry Foote didn't practice yesterday. That's a starter and backup at the same position, so that may end up being significant.
The Steelers have wanker fans, and the reporters that cover them suck too. I'm going to be even lazier today than yesterday - google Steelers if you want some content about them.
Former Browns and Ravens owner Art Modell croaked at the age of 87. For the record, I like the word "croaked," and I find it funny, and I don't care if you think my use of it indicates that I'm insensitive. Nobody in Cleveland is likely to be shedding any tears for the guy, after he moved the Browns out of town over a temper tantrum, because he couldn't get a stadium built at the exact moment he wanted one. Trust me, Cleveland fans still hate the guy.
The Sanchize initially had a sad when Teebs was acquired. And to think I actually believed all the puff pieces that said he was thrilled about the move. The media be lyin', yo.
One of Florio's dudes think the replacement refs were competent last night. To the extent that I'm capable of evaluating that, i'd tend to agree. I don't think I'm that capable, though, and this PFT dude is no more capable than me. I suspect that, by and large, we're going to see more bad officiating than good, the larger the sample size gets.
Browns CB Joe Haden will apparently play until his suspension gets settled, if you want to have a fantasy about it this weekend, or whatever. Maybe DeSean Jackson or Jeremy Maclin has a harder time on Sunday than you were thinking.
That's what I have for now. I'm going to try to have that NFC East/NFC South article up later, but I got derailed on writing it last night, and it may be tomorrow. We'll see how it plays. In any case, have a good Thursday.