Miami Thrice Title Quest Diary – January 30, 2012

The two best teams in the East went toe to toe Sunday in a contest that quickly deteriorated from epic into a perfect example of sloppy, post-lockout ball. 

Miami and Chicago featured the following amazing combination:

– a rematch of last year’s Eastern Conference finals

– the two previous MVP’s in Derrick Rose and LeBron James

– two 30+ point scorers

– the first chance of the young season for either team to seize the upper hand in the East

Miami seized that upper hand, though somewhat reluctantly.  After a dazzling display of fast break jams, ridiculous shots (at one point LeBron drained a three from the stands with less than 3 seconds on the shot clock) and fantastic finishes at the basket (Rose put on a clinic) – the end of the game was downright awful. 

Holding the slimmest of leads, Miami proceeded to do everything they possibly could to give the game away.  Chicago, on the other hand attempted to hand the victory to Miami as much as possible.  In one sequence, Miami turned the ball over and then gave Chicago four straight offense rebounds and quadruple chances to score before they finally buried a shot.  The worst, however, was saved for when the game was on the line.

Derrick Rose, who has yet to miss a free throw this season in the fourth quarter, choked twice with the chance to take the lead (and then tie).  LeBron grabbed the rebound, was fouled and then proceeded to miss the two game clinching free throws.  Chicago immediately threw the ball away and Miami was able to put the game away once and for all thanks to the heroic free throws of 1 for 6 from the field Mario Chalmers. 

Sloppy, undisciplined ball.  Is this type of play symptomatic of the post-lockout NBA, where a grueling regular season was simply cobbled together on an unending series of back to backs?  The three best teams in the league (Thunder, Bulls, Heat) are all young enough to keep their legs under them despite the punishing grind.  Older teams have played inconsistently at best and downright terribly at worst. 

Yet how disappointed can one be with a game that featured LeBron (35 points) outdueling DRose (34 points) and Bosh (24 points) winning the battle with Boozer (10 points)?  A small moment must be taken to acknowledge the enormous contributions of CB in the last few weeks.  With Wade sitting, Bosh was absolutely superb – averaging 26 points a game and hitting the boards with more ferocity than he has ever displayed previously.  More than anyone on the Heat, Bosh was affected deeply by the loss to Dallas.  No one on the Heat – not even LeBron – wants a title more than Bosh.  He appears ready to earn one. 

As the Heat’s second best player. 

DWade struggled through another poor contest (4 of 16) in which he could not hit anything.  LeBron / Bosh barely missed (54% combined) while Wade seemingly could not hit anything.  At one point he missed a layup and seemed nearly beside himself with frustration.  He is off and has been all season, again begging the question: is something seriously wrong with him?  Could the rumors of plantar fascitis be true? 

At this point, LeBron and Bosh have been enough.  That will not be true going forward – Wade, and his injury, may well be the most important issue for the Heat this season. 

We’ll hold the discussion around LeBron’s fourth quarter choking for another time.



Week 1 Super Bowl Quick Hits

A few NFL news and notes from this past week:

1) Time to relax on the Peyton Manning situation – I have long tired of the daily updates on Manning’s status and the endless speculation as to where he might go…and if he gets there.  Are the Colts going to let him go?  Are they going to keep him and Andrew Luck together?  How does Peyton feel about that?  All of it makes me extremely uninterested.  Do the Colts know what they are going to do?  Probably.  My position: let it happen.  Whatever happens with Manning is going to happen regardless of how the media tries to force the Colts into a difficult decision.  Let’s figure out where Manning is going when he has been released, not before.  This week we should rightly focus on (*shudder*) Eli. 

2) The Giants are playing up the underdog card and it might go against them – All week long it seems like the Giants have been the pick to win, and in making them so the Pats have become extremely dangerous underdogs.  Can the Pats D play well against the Giants offence?  Probably not, but regardless of the players involved this will be a close game.  No one is predicting an offensive explosion one way or the other.  The Giants are the hotter team coming in, but they had to give their everything to beat the Niners.  Do not sleep on the Patriots and Tom Brady. 

3) Legacies can be made – This Super Bowl has the opportunity to be particularly special; Tom Brady can win his fourth and get some measure of revenge for the loss against the Giants.  On the other side, Eli Manning can cement is position as (yes it is true) the winningest Manning ever.  Overall, I want to see greatness triumph, and Tom Brady put his foot down as possibly the best winner to ever lace up cleats. 

4) Has the Pro Bowl ever been more meaningless? – Now that the Pro Bowl takes place during the Super Bowl interim, it has become totally null.  None of the players on the Giants or Pats will take part and several of the best players in the league are not there (Brady, Manning, Cruz, Welker, Hernandez, Gronkowski).  Do the players from the Super Bowl not deserve a trip to Hawaii to represent the league?  Terrible choice by the league. 

One week to go. 


Picking an EPL Team – The Threequel

“I fell in love with football as I was later to fall in love with women: suddenly, inexplicably, uncritically, giving no thought to the pain or disruption it would bring with it.”

“I was unable to defend my team’s inadequacies to my father – I could see them for myself, and I hated them – and after each feeble attempt at goal and every misplaced pass I would brace myself for the sighs and groans from the seat next to me.  I was chained to Arsenal and my dad was chained to me, and there was no way out for either of us.”  – Nick Hornby Fever Pitch

As the above quote and trailer attempt to illustrate, falling passionately in love with a football club is not so much about the actual quality of play – or even winning and losing – but almost more about the experience.  In my life I have been to many different stadiums or domes to see a large variety of teams play and thus understand what Hornby discusses in his brilliant book.  He attempts to explain (but never apologize!!!) for his love of Arsenal.  Sure they suck at times and their fans are “dour” and stand in miserable cold rain for the entire season to watch 1-0 games – but under pain of death they would never want to be anywhere else. 

September 2008 – My dad and I flew down to LA to see USC play against Arkansas.  I had previous been to plenty of Vancouver Canucks games, or Vancouver Grizzlies games but I have never had a sports experience like the one at LA Coliseum.  The air was warm and the lights brilliant.  There were more people flooding into the stadium than I have ever seen before.  The final tally:  84,000 people watching a single game[1] , and what a game it was.  Sure the final score was 70-14 for USC – but this is nowhere near indicative of the experience I had in the crowd watching two of the greatest college athletes of the past ten years (Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush[2]).  A fan was born that day, and I have faithfully followed USC Football ever since, case in point: when Matt Barkley returned to the school for his senior season and a shot at the National Title I messaged everyone on my contacts list proclaiming “Christmas Has Come Early!”[3] 

Hornby has a similiar experience at Arsenal.  He is overcome by the experience of being a part of that dour crowd and their unabashed love of their football club.  The book is brilliant, unconventional and one of the funniest sports memoirs I have ever read.  It also convinced me I am not an Arsenal fan.  That’s right Bolton, you have company! 

Watching two games this past weekend (Arsenal – Man U / Liverpool – Bolton) made me realize something very important:

I cannot cheer for a team that gives less than 100%.  Liverpool looked lazy and slow, and allowed themselves to be brutally beaten by a Bolton team that attacked the ball with vigor and outran them all over the pitch[4]

My EPL team will always have to play hard – and avoid diving if possible[5].  Effort has always counted in my book and in soccer hard work on the field is especially important when any team can win on any given day. 

So who has the advantage three weeks into my quest? 

All I can say definitively is this: Bolton is out[6]

[1] The “Big House” at Michigan holds 14,000 more fans than at USC – or the entire population of a sold out Canucks game.  Mind blowing.

[2] This was before any kind of “scandal” at the school when the team lost their national championships and Reggie Bush’s Heisman. 

[3] Sorry again Grandma! 

[4] The answer is still no, Bolton!

[5] I am kidding, this is futbal after all. 

[6] Also Liverpool and Arsenal

Miami Thrice Title Quest Diary – January 23, 2012

“The Flu Game” had only been accomplished by one player in NBA History – until last Thursday. 

To be clear I do not refer to Kobe Bryant (who has never accomplished the feat and who had one of his worst games of the season against Miami) but rather to the man on the right: LeBron James

LBJ joins Michael Jordan as the only other guy to have such an amazing game despite what should have been a crippling ailment (and likely would have been to us mortals).  LeBron submitted an astonishing complete game with an overflowing stat sheet: 31 points / 8 rebounds / 8 assists / 4 steals / 3 blocks…while sick with the flu.  The stats are unworldly at the best of times, in the worst of times?  We are staring greatness in the face. 

In the last few games Miami seems to have settled on a clear Sans Wade gameplan: LeBron and Bosh just win the game for them.  Chris Bosh has been remarkable of late, and has easily stepped up to carry the slack left by Wade sitting on the bench.  An interesting point was raised on ESPN Radio the other day – if Miami was just Bosh and LeBron would they be the favorite to win a title?  They most certainly would.  Wade and Bosh?  A second round exit at best.  Regardless of how LeBron plays as a closer, we can no longer debate he is the best player on the planet at this time.  His mid-range jumper has not missed all year and his newfound drive and focus have elevated his game and those around him to a whole other level. 

Forgetting about the slight blemish against the Bucks last night…Miami is playing tough and is the league’s elite team in a year that is sure to be a complete roller coaster.  It is incredibly difficult to get a sense of who is a legit contender because everyone is simply run off their feet with the condensed schedule.  Sure Miami lost to the Bucks, but it was a back to back game when they had handily vanquished the Lakers and 76ers in the previous 72 hours. 

So, now we come to the big question: can Miami win when Wade returns?  I think so, but it may not come without some hiccups.  Miami is undoubtedly James’ team now, even if Wade is called upon in the big moments at the end of games.  LeBron simply has it now, Wade has been hurt this season and has not played well at all.  When Wade comes back from injury, the offense (which is humming) will take time to reintegrate the seventh best player in the league.   

Should we be concerned about a few back to back losses?  In a season where it is title or bust for Miami, the little things should be unimportant.  The way LeBron is playing right now leads me to believe the Heat may be unstoppable. 

Even if Kobe is living in the gym now. 


“A Huge Day of Football” Quick Hits

The massive day of Football (of all kinds) kicked off on FOX with a right game of footie between Man U and Arsenal, and concluded on FOX with the Giants and my beloved 49ers.

Game 1: Man U vs. Arsenal – A strangely paced game that featured a lot of up and down the field by both squads.  From the outset, Arsenal was outclassed and looked like they would meet a surely meet defeat…then a different team emerged from the locker room and set a high bar for themselves.  RVP had a surefire chance on a yawning cage after Man U’s defender Smalling inexplicably fell over while carrying the ball but could not convert despite burying one chance in order to celebrate the 91st birthday of his grandmother, Arsenal was never fully in it.  Neither was Wayne Rooney though, he rarely touched the ball and his lack of effort on the pitch was clear.  He was involved in neither of Man U’s goals, and in his absense the continued rise of Danny Welbeck was very evident.  A great game for United (and the ageless Ryan Giggs) but one which came to blown chances for Arsenal. 

Game 2: Ravens vs. Patriots – Tom Brady returns to the Super Bowl despite doing everything in his power to lose to the Ravens.  He did not look sharp all afternoon and threw two costly picks – the second of which was purely because he got greedy and went for too much off a bad Flacco interception.  Even then, it took a bad, bad, missed field goal in the dying seconds (a chip shot really) for the Pats QB to have another chance at glory.  Immortality is on the line for Brady – should he win he surely must be considered the best all time.  As for the Ravens, they did everything they could to win but still leave many unanswered questions on the table, particularly at QB.  Running back…not so much.  The Pats have a chance for their fourth Super Bowl with Brady, but can he pull it together and get it done in prime time once again?

Game 3: Giants vs. 49ers – Eli Manning earned ever single inch he got against the 9ers.  He finished the game battered, smashed and victorious.  I have never hated anyone in sports as much as I have hated Eli Manning over the years and yet I begrudgingly have to show my respect.  Even if the 49ers had multiple chances to close this game and simply could not get it done.  The 9ers D played insanely well and was the only reason this contest went to OT at all.  Alex Smith simply played too much of a game manager role.  The player who took shots down the field against New Orleans was completely nonexistant today.  He dumped it off and took sacks, even when he had to take shots down the field.  Yet, ultimately, no player has ever single handedly sabatoged a season like Kyle Williams did.  If ever one was looking for the football equivalent of Andres Escobar’s own goal – this was it.  He muffed one punt (which led to a Giants TD), fumbled a handoff on a reverse, missed a long bomb (more Smith’s fault) and then, climatically fumbled a punt when one of the Giants got a finger on the ball.  Clearly this was a man who was also drawing a paycheck from the Giants, the NFL’s first sleeper agent.  How can you not take care of the football in that situation?  100% on Williams. 

The NFL gets the rematch it wants – Giants and Patriots. 

I hate Boston teams.

I hate Eli Manning.

Awful 49er’s offense led to this defeat, and they should have won the game.  Twice defensive backs smashed into each other taking away sure interceptions.  Alex Smith had a chance to cement his legacy and did – as a third tier NFL QB, a captain checkdown in the Joe Flacco mold.  Too many times he played it safe, and he let down the defense. 

Another Super Bowl with no one to cheer for.  I will err on the side of greatness and hope that Brady can destroy the Giants. 


Choosing an EPL Team II: The Empires Strike Back

Choosing an EPL Team II: The Empires Strike Back[1]

 Last week I set out on a quest to choose an EPL Team.  Almost everyone is in contention[2] and I laid out most of the criteria I want to use in determining which squad I will follow, possibly for the rest of my life.  Yet, I realized that I needed to reflect on why I chose my teams in other sports.  In all my critical analysis I forgot the most important aspect and reason for sport fandom: the emotional connection to the team. 

Why I love the Vancouver Canucks – Why would I love any other hockey team when the greatest team ever plays in my hometown? 

Why I love the San Francisco 49ers – Growing up in a hockey crazy town did not leave much opportunity for other sports, primarily football[3].  So why the 49ers when the Seahawks are closer?  In a word: tradition.  The 49ers were always a deep team with a history of playing their hearts out.  As a kid, you always want the good guys to win – not the evil Cowboys.  Additionally my all-time favorite player Steve Young played for the team in my formative years and my best friend’s favorite player was Jerry Rice and we got to watch them play in the ’94 Super Bowl where Young passed for an NFL Record 6 touchdowns.  Year in and year out I have followed the 49ers through their ups and downs (and the Jeff Garcia / Trent Dilfer / Jim Druckenmiller eras.  Loving this team through the down times has made the good times all the better (Note: Also true for the Canucks), especially since they now may win the title this season. 

Why I love the New York Yankees – My grandfather, father, and brother all love the Yanks.  As a family we grew up loving the Yanks; one of the first pictures ever taken of me features me in a Yankees hat.  In 2010 we got to see a game in the “new” Stadium for the first time.  My dad did not want to leave[4] and the atmosphere was incredible.  Completely made me realize I had actually been a secret Yankee fan for my entire life.  Was I brainwashed from birth?  Absolutely.  Do I love every single minute of it?  Absolutely.

Why I love the Miami Heat – As I have extensively written on this topic, I love Miami because of the way the team came together as an epitome of sacrifice and teamwork for the sake of victory…and yes, at this moment I am fighting through the crippling pain of the fact that two of my teams lost after leading their respective finals.  Still hurts so damned much.  Anyways, sorry, what was I talking about?

This weekend, I ended up watching two EPL games (Chelsea over Sunderland – Torres played hard but just could not catch a break / Man U – smacked Bolton around) and a highlight show in which I saw the epic contest between Swansea and Arsenal, as well as Blackburn and Aston Villa. 

Thus, it appears several factors can be amended to my original post – geographic location / tradition / brainwashing / superstars wanting to win through sacrifice[5].  More to consider.  More to consider. 

Am I any closer to choosing an EPL team?  No.  Have I definitively eliminated Bolton as a contender? 







[1] Alternate title ideas: The Return of Man City; Arsenal Part Deux; United Rises.  All more terrible than the last.

[2] Except Bolton. 

[3] Unless you want to cheer for the BC Lions (who I do, in the CFL) who play in the eight team Canadian Football League. 

[4] Had they let him throw a sleeping bag down in the bleachers that is where we would have stayed.

[5] Who are we kidding?  In the EPL they just pay to win…wait a minute this sounds like the Mia…

Miami Thrice Title Quest Diary – January 18, 2012

Have the Heat set themselves on the right track sans DWade?

By now it should be completely obvious that in order for Miami to win they have to be led by their Superstars.  DWade has not played well all season, and continues to sit out while the Heat desperately need wins forcing LeBron and Bosh to play out of their minds on a nightly basis.

Following three straight losses, Miami finally turned it around in the second half against San Antonio.  LeBron and Bosh took the challenge head on and ended up pulling out an incredible run that put the Heat over the top in a desperately needed victory. 

James scored 33 points and notched 10 assists, while Bosh put up 30 points and grabbed 10 boards.  Despite being plagued by critiscm about their late game collapses (against the Clips and Warriors) they finished the game against a presumptive Western Conference contender with power and strength.  This was one of the first times all season that we have seen the Heat come from behind with a frightening rally – especially without any contribution from Wade. 

Miami has their formula for victory, but is it sustainable? 

Can the team really rely on getting thirty plus from two players for the rest of the shortened and very intense season? 

Last night LeBron again looked like the guy who destroyed Chicago and devestated Boston; Bosh again showed his ability to step up when the team needs him most.  Tomorrow night the battle against the other LA goes down…now if they can just keep Kobe from scoring 40 plus…


NFL Divisional Round Quick Hits

Still recovering from the incredible 49ers victory, but here are my thoughts on this week’s games:

Saints vs. 49ers – With one throw, Alex Smith justified his number one selection and joined the 49ers Pantheon of last minute TD thrower (alongside Joe Montana to Dwight Clark and Steve Young to TO).  Given that some foolish people (Editors Note: Me) picked the 9ers to be in serious contention for Andrew Luck, this victory is all the sweeter.  San Fran has a great young core, and Alex Smith showed his true self in the final minutes when he not only called his own number on a gutsy third down TD run, but also showed his great arm.  Smith is more than a game manager, and in many ways the 49ers are a better version of the Trent Dilfer Ravens.  They can run, play incredible defense and have a QB that takes care of the football and does not turn it over.  New Orleans, meanwhile, struggled a little on Offense and anytime Drew Brees has to throw the ball more than 60 times it is not a good thing.  New Orleans must hate playing the NFC West out of the dome (first Seattle and now San Fran!).  I believe that the 9ers have what it takes to make the Super Bowl and they will be a tough out for whomever they play next.

2) Broncos vs. Patriots – And thus begins Bradymania.  Tom Terrific threw six td passes (nearly breaking Steve Young’s immortal record and sending me into serious cardiac trouble territory) and this one was never close.  The Tim Tebow movie will end with the touchdown against the Steelers, followed by the Coda – defeated the following week by the eventual Super Bowl Champs, New England.  The defense looked good for the Pats for the first time all season.  Their scheme was excellant, and I have no doubt it will be equally as good for the Ravens.  They looked pretty Super yesterday. 

3) Texans vs. Ravens – A closer game than this one had any right to be, the Texans should have won this one.  This was their game, the Ravens were simply not that strong.  Yet, Houston lost due to their inexperience at QB and the pressure they were facing.  The Ravens had simply been there before.  TJ Yates gave the Texans more than they had any right to expect but you cannot win with 3 ints  even with Foster showing why he is probably the best back in the NFL.  Maybe next year, Houston.  Maybe next year.

4) Giants vs. Packers – Secretly, we all knew this was going to happen.  The Packers had to play a bad game, and like the Patriots of last year, they chose the worst possible time to do it.  They were genuinely awful today: dropped balls, could not cover anyone, turnovers, taking no advantage of the Giants turnovers…etc.  The Giants (who I would like to point out would not have made the playoffs at all had  Jason Garrett not iced his own kicker agaist Arizona) are now the hottest team in football thanks to a couple of weeks in which they played against some truly terrible defenses.  Not next week.  Next week they play a real team, on the road, that has already beaten them.  Next week they come to the only team that played more inspired ball this weekend.  Next week, they come to San Fran.

It Is Time: Choosing an EPL Team

The time has finally come for me to come to “the decision” – choosing an EPL Team to support with all my heart.  After years of dancing around the periphery of the league and trying in vain to follow the scores I need to choose a squad to stick with for the rest of my days. 

Why now?  Why choose an EPL Team while three of my other teams are in the playoffs or deep into their seasons?[1] 

In the past few months I have become increasingly interested in the Premier League thanks to the incredible efforts of the Men in Blazers podcast – probably the funniest ongoing Pod out there – and the die-hard support my buddy Whisper Winnett shows to his beloved Hotspur Tottenham. 

My mission is clear, I need to objectively evaluate the Premier League Teams using a set of criteria and then sort it out March Madness Style[2]

The evaluation criteria:

1)      The team should be competitive[3] – While my new team does not have to be atop the standings, I am not sure I want to risk my newfound faith on a squad facing relegation.  This by no means eliminates mid-table teams or even the current top squads.  When you first begin to follow a team, while losing can endear you to the team for life (’94, Vancouver Canucks) watching them win (1994 San Fran 49ers) can create and cement a deeper bond to carry you through the darkest of times.[4] 

2)      Will I get to see a lot of games? – A major factor: in Canada, we usually only get one EPL “Game of the Week” on Saturday.  If I never get to see my team in this game, how can I possibly root for them? 

3)      Youth must be served – The team should have a good contingent of young talent that will help me stick with them and be assured of excitement for years to come[5].  Great players cycle in and out, but having a couple of up and comers can raise the pitch for a few seasons at least.

4)      “Will I look good in their kit?” – This was submitted by my amazing and beautiful girlfriend and seconded by Whisper Winnett.  Red may not be the best color for me…orange definitely is not[6].

Additionally, Whisper Winnett gave me the following brilliant advice (follow him on twitter!  @madadub for fantastic insights and frequently sustained brilliance):

“For me it was sort of a few factors.  I wanted a team where I started with no huge opposition to them as a club or their players.  I wanted to really get behind them.  Also, someone who was competitive but not the top 2.  Part of cheering an EPL Team is the highs and lows.  But really, biggest factors were players.  Tottenham had a few guys I really liked, like the style so that led me to them.  Then I started to learn more about other guys on the squad.  Of course now the squad has changed over the year but its been fun to see them struggle and succeed and stick with them.  It is good to have a team you can root for that others around you that talk footy don’t support – so you can chirp them.”

I also asked him if I can respect John Terry as a footballer, but not as a human being[7].  He responded “normal with athletes.”  Brilliant advice to take under consideration. 

  A lot to think about, this will definitely be a long process.  Each week I will update with the “standings” of my quest. 

I may end up a Chelsea fan, I think I might be sick. 


[1] The San Fran 49er’s; Vancouver Canucks and, ahem, Miami Heat. 

[2] Is there any better style?  I challenge you to show me a better format – take note NCAA Football. 

[3] Goodbye Blackburn and Bolton!

[4] Scott Raab says much the same in his brilliant book The Whore of Akron in which he carries around a ticket from the 1964 Super Bowl, won by his beloved Cleveland Browns.

[5] Major Advantage: Man U and Man City. 

[6] Two strikes Bolton. 

[7] Facing serious racism charges, yet he remains the Kobe Bryant of the EPL.  Even when the rumors of horrible, debauched things threaten to overtake him, he somehow manages to escape.  Perhaps he is a magician.  Now I wonder if he and Kobe ever met, maybe they would kill each other. 

Why We Are All Tebowing

Tebowmania has hit an all-time high thanks to his inspired performance against the Steelers in the Wild Card game this past Sunday.   Forget the 9,000+ tweets per second after the victory, or the fact that for once, the Broncos completely removed the shackles around Tebow and just think about how much he looked like a genuine NFL player. 

The final throw he made, on the first play of overtime, could not have been better placed.  He hit Thomas in stride…after first recognizing[1] the safety creeping up to the play the run.  It was a gutsy play call, a gutsy throw and an even better run after the catch.  Tebow put his team in a position to win, and then he played like a man with nothing to lose.  His job was on the line and he responded brilliantly.  Has he earned the right to be a full-time starting NFL QB?  Maybe.  He deserves a shot and a full off-season of working with the Broncos coaches will help him immensely. 

I know he will not beat the Patriots this weekend; Brady and the boys will be ready.  Yet…(and this may be the biggest “yet” in NFL History) I want him to.  I just want to see him succeed….and I think I know why: Tim Tebow represents all of us.  He represents anyone who has been told they are not good enough, strong enough, smart enough, tough enough or skilled enough.  Despite every single knock on him he has succeeded by employing: the charisma of a cult-leader, the resilience of a two dollar steak and refusing to lose. 

We want to believe in Tebow because we want to believe in ourselves.  No matter what anyone says or thinks we too can be successful.  While not all of us are built like linebackers playing quarterback, we too have been knocked but hope, like Tebow that we can get up again[2]

[1] Tebow hit Thomas clean in the numbers and it was off to the races – Thomas later admitted to being unaware the game was over, he thought it went college football style. 

[2] I did indeed just date myself.  Thanks Chumbawumba.