The little things

I’m the kind of NFL fan who would watch when the NFL Network broadcast a replay of teh 1981 Dallas Cowboys/Atlanta Falcons playoff game. In that game, the Falcons gave up two touchdowns in the last five minutes and lost 30-27. The Falcons have hosted a total of four playoff games and this is the only one they’ve lost. The game turned on two unusual plays. At the end of the Cowboys’ first touchdown drive, Danny White rolled right and had no pressure at all. In the key gesture of the game, he pointed to the left side of the end zone. His intention, we later found out, was to have Drew Hill go to that spot. Instead the Falcon defenders drifted that way and White hit Hill for the touchdown. Hill was double-covered, and another receiver was wide open in the right corner of the end zone.

Three plays later the Falcons had a third and four situation. They were one first down from clinching. The coaches called a sweep to the left. Before the snap Steve Bartkowski pulled Ed “Too Tall” Jones offside, at least from my point of view. Jones managed to jump back and slide across the line, directly in the path of where the play intended to go. Instead William Andrews went to the right, and danced a lot before being brought down for no gain. The Cowboys got the ball back and scored the winning touchdown with less than a minute later.

I find that replay more fascinating than most of the NCAA basketball I’ve watched over the past couple of weeks, and probably enjoyed it more than 99% of the baseball that I will watch over the next six months. I will ravenously devour statistics on a daily basis.

The White Sox put up a pretty good show today. Unlike 2007, their offense was potent. Just like 2008, the bullpen blew it. Octavio Dotel started his 2008 campaign by giving up three runs. In the top of the ninth Joe Borowski showed how useless the save stat is by giving up a homer and holding the Sox from getting any closer. Mark Buehrle got five outs and gave up seven runs.

It’s not a good sign that my team as a whole has 44 at bats and one walk. It’s worse that I know this. I’m glad that I don’t get Yahoo’s stat tracker all year. If you can’t wait a day to get your stats, well, as Jermaine from Flight of the Conchords says, I’m not surprised.

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