Friday, September 10, 2010

Sam the Ram needs to take 5 this year.

I've never seen a franchise that needs to go 5-11 more. But that's how I feel about the 2010 St. Louis Rams. The last 3 years have been horrible. Unwatchable. Depressing. But....I trust GM Billy Devaney and Head Coach Steve Spagnolo. I believe in 39 Steven Jackson as he has matured into a leader of this team. And from the pre-season I believe that Sam Bradford will make enough plays to get yards and touchdowns from broken plays. That alone will get us into each game and at least make each game interesting. And maybe win some of those games.

I see the Rams going 5-11 with wins over the Cardinals, Seahawks, Lions, Buccaneers, and Browns. That would do enough to show me the Rams are moving in the right direction. It won't be pretty, but at least it is football.

Here are my lovely pre-season predictions:
AFC: New England, Baltimore, Indianapolis, San Diego, Cincinnati, NY Jets

NFC: Washington, Green Bay, New Orleans, San Fransico, Minnesota, Dallas

Superbowl: Indianapolis over Green Bay

Many of the picks I read online are raving about the Ravens. I disagree. All winter leading up to the draft we heard about how this is a quarterback league and how much of a passing league this is. Yet, the "trendy" picks of Baltimore, NY Jets, even Cincy and Atlanta were all running teams last year. Everyone naturally assumes that young quarterbacks get better each year. That is too large of an assumption for me.

Aaron Rodgers looks great. And since I feel the NFC is wide open I find it hard to believe the Saints will just march back to the Superbowl. I feel if Green Bay focuses on defense they will make up for the shootout in Arizona and let their offense shine in the playoffs.

Then there is my doomed pick of the Colts.

Historically, Superbowl losing teams fall apart. Losing the big game has an effect the next season. The team either falls apart mentally, or one injury breaks everything apart (Brady '08, Warner '02). What is different for me is Peyton Manning. All he does is win. He leads. He doesn't allow for a letup. And I've heard from several experts that with a healthy Bob Sanders and other improvements the defense is actually better.

Improved Defense and Peyton Manning equals a Superbowl for me. Hard for me to think anything otherwise, even with the Superbowl letdown.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Jump up and touch the sky

One of my goals in life is to never become stagnant as a music fan. I don't want to be the guy that 20 years from now still only knows songs from the 90's and spends his days trying to tell people how underrated the band Live is. I feel like since I got out of college I've been able to do that through bands like Coldplay, The Killers, Snow Patrol, Ben Folds and U2. But as I look at these bands I've come to a conclusion: they represent myself as an "adult" music consumer. They bring melodies, harmonies and energy but not the raw energy and game changing music that I found with Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Stone Temple Pilots and Soundgarden.

Which leads me to ask: what band would be 15-year-old me's favorite? What band might change the way I look at music? I might have an answer.

30 Seconds to Mars is a band that certainly caught my ear on the radio. But that's not what everyone sees first. Lead singer/song writer Jared Leto is an established actor. You might remember him as Angel Face in Fight Club. (I wanted to destroy something beautiful). Well, he should drop the acting gig, cause his music is electric for me.

The first thing I notice is that the music grabs me. It's not just 4 chords of distorted guitar or some riff in drop D tuning like you hear in all the anger rock. Alright, I can get into this music. Then the lyrics. Leto is on a mission to fight for the human spirit. His latest album is called "This is War" and has absolutely nothing to do with war, and everything for fighting for the voice of youth and the spirit and love they bring. Hmmm...I think I'm starting to buy in. Then I saw a video of their live performances.

It is clear that 30 Second to Mars and their fans have a spiritual experience at their shows. That's what sealed the deal for me. I believe music has a very spiritual element to it as well. (Although Leto and I differ as to the source of the spirituality) I want to be in a crowd that has a common purpose and that purpose is greater than "I need to let off all this anger." Yes, I think I would like a 30 Seconds to Mars crowd. (Coincidentally, when they came in concert this past May I was at a Pearl Jam concert. Got to wait your turn new guys)

Below is a video that shows it altogether. I encourage you to give it a watch (since I can't embed official videos) If you can get by the emo teens and the pink mohawk you will see a phenomenon. The type of phenomenon 15-year-old-me was looking for. The type of music current-me is thankful to have.