Thursday, August 07, 2008

Thursday Night Beer With Football on the TV

Yeah, it's preseason NFL games...but it's still football. I got my Husker season tickets this afternoon. My daughter looked at the TV this evening and said "fuh baw!" Yep, it's that time of year. Even saw Steve Octavien make a tackle on a kickoff for the Chiefs just now.

And finally the Brett Favre saga comes to it's sad conclusion...sad for everybody. Frankly, it's been a confusing mishmash of conflicting stories and tales that became an ugly divorce. When Favre announced his retirement back in March, I remember thinking at that time that Favre didn't want to retire. It really sounded like the Packers encouraged him to retire, since Aaron Rodgers seemed to be ready to take over.

So who's to blame? Well, everybody really. Favre made a decision and took it back. The Packers handled it badly as well by floating stories out there, especially with the tampering charge with the Vikings.

Perhaps it couldn't have been helped. Quarterback is a unique position in professional sports, in that there really isn't a good way for legends to bow out. At every other position on the team, players split time and take breathers. Not the quarterback. Sometimes you adapt your game, going from a speed receiver like Jerry Rice to a possession receiver. Baseball players move to first base or designated hitter. Not football's quarterback. The only position that might even be close is the goalie in hockey, and even goalies take an occasional game off. Not quarterbacks; they play every game until they get knocked out of the game. Literally. That's how Troy Aikman left the game. Others fade off on the bench as a backup... or spend their last seasons in some other uniform, such as Joe Namath with the Rams or Joe Montana with the Chiefs. So now it's Favre joining Billy C and the Jets. Hopefully the Jets don't try to involve Bill Callahan in the crash-course of the Jets offense for Favre.

I like the new attitude Bo Pelini is taking with the Husker defense, preaching "takeaways" instead of forcing turnovers. You don't have to look no further than 2003 Nebraska to see how a passion for going after the ball can transform a defense. That 2003 defense had a lot of question marks going into that season, and emerged with several NFL calibre players. Marvin Sanders says this secondary might have more athletic ability than that 2003 group. If that's the truth (and Sanders isn't blowing smoke), and he can get the secondary to play anywhere close to that 2003 bunch, a huge turnaround is in the cards.

Menelik Holt appears to be the first of the young receivers to step his game up. It also sounds like Niles Paul is also making his move as well. This is a storyline to follow...

KOZN-1620 AM's Kevin Kugler is in Beijing covering the Olympics for Westwood One radio, and has joined the blogosphere to share his experiences. Check out his picture of the smog he encountered yesterday. Be careful though Kevin... The Chinese government can make Steve Pederson look like a rank amateur in retaliating against those who don't follow the party line.

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