Dexter Season 7: Premiere Review & Thoughts

September and October are pretty much my favorite time of the year. Football is back, hockey is (supposed to be) back, TV shows that I watch religiously each week are back for another season.. and  here in Australia, the weather is starting to warm up. It’s all coming up aces for Mackk.

6 seasons of Dexter have graced our TV screens so far and no doubt there have been highs and lows. Critics have been right to criticize Dexter in the past few seasons, as the plot seemed to be repetitive and fans grew tiresome of the same old present, just wrapped differently. We could go on and on about plot-holes, weird turns & story arcs, Deb falling in love with Dexter, the whole Lumen thing after Rita’s death etc but what’s done is done and nothing could prepare us for the season ending finale of season 6, where Deb walks in on Dexter during his kill of Travis Marshall. The shit is really going to hit the fan in season 7.

I was anxious all offseason. I couldn’t wait. We knew that Deb would have to find out eventually and there had been some close calls that teased us in seasons past. We wanted this day to come, we wanted the one “bad person” that Dexter would have to face to be Deb; his own sister. When it finally happened everyone was still shocked, but also a little excited as we knew it would flip the show on its head and put Dexter into deep, boiling, hot water. As we know the show is at its best when Dexter has to dig his way out to avoid being found out & arrested.

It’s like any sporting event; the best action is in the 4th quarter when a team has to rally from behind to win. It’s the classic underdog story.

From the opening scene of the premier episode “Are You…?”, it looks to be an emotional and thrilling season and hopefully one that provides us with the best material to date. However the writers at Dexter best save some of the good stuff for season 8 which has been confirmed that it will be the last and final season for HBO’s Dexter.

In my opinion, fair enough. As a fan you don’t want the show to end because you’ve followed the show for so long where it’ll be weird not having Dexter there every Sunday night. But you can only run a show for so long before it becomes unrealistically long, drawn out and diluted to the point people stop watching and it ends up getting cancelled. (See Scrubs , Lost and many other shows.)

Many fans and critics would say that the show should’ve ended 2 seasons ago. That this season should’ve happened post-Rita. I’m indifferent. The back story provided in the past 2 seasons has been like a long prologue for what should be the best season to date. You have to know when to quit and I applaud the executive producers and HBO for knowing when to say, “It’s been a great ride.”

The amount of awards and accolades the show has collected along the way is enough to have the team walk out with their heads held high, no regrets.

The season kicked off with a bang last Sunday, as season 7 of Dexter started with Dexter, racing towards Miami International Airport, as if he was on the run. He’s low on gas, stops at the gas station to re-fuel on the way, only to find all his cards declined. He opens a bag with passports, money and phones in it, grabs some cash that has been saved for a rainy day and continues onto the airport. Budapest is where he’s headed and the immediate viewer’s assumption is that everything has gone pear-shaped following Deb walking in on him. However, it’s merely a flash forward further along in the episode and a flash in Dexter’s mind, about running as soon as Deb has witnessed his kill. From there, we resume inside the church where we left Dexter at the conclusion of season 6. There Dexter stands, opposite his sister and standing over Travis in his serial killer uniform, holding a knife and trying to pick his jaw from the church floor, as his sister Deb has interrupted the kill.

Fans everywhere, critics, haters and casual Dexter-watchers were captivated and sucked back in to an outstanding first episode. Redemption time for many.. finally. A return to form of season 1 & 2.

We see Deb holding a gun, asking Dexter to step away. Dexter pleads with Deb, “Deb, it’s me,” as if to re-assure her that it’s not a dream.

Dexter tries to explain himself to Deb, lying about how Travis is the only one and that it was a ‘moment of temporary insanity.’ A classic self-defence story but Deb has a hard time believing it, wondering why Dexter has plastic sleeves, a set of knives, an apron and a change of clothes. “It’s a kit every blood spatter analyst carries with them,” Dexter later explains. Deb observes after Dexter’s story, “..it still doesn’t explain why he’s wrapped up like that.” Dexter tries anything and everything to get Deb to call off the dogs, including using the family card of his son Harrison and the death of Rita, as ways to shake Deb off his tail in the discovery that her brother is a murderer. After trying to get Deb to go home so he can finish off his killing routine, the 2 eventually agree to cover up the scene with a fire, make it the Final Tableau for the Doomsday Killer, an apparent suicide. We see Deb offer to get some fuel for the fire, linking her as an accessory to the murder and slowly, pulling her into Dexter’s dark world.

Honestly, with another season to go after season 7, the writers could’ve easily dragged this type of discovery for the end of season 7, then have the final season be the end game season, where Dexter has everything to lose and everything comes unravelled. But credit the writers, they went with the juicy content to start season 7 and had Deb grill Dexter where it made it believable and still, even after all his lies, she has an uneasy feeling, telling Dexter that it “Doesn’t feel right.” Dexter agrees with her, as if to reinforce the questions that would be circling inside Deb’s head over the next 24 hours.

The psychology that has been opened up by the writers after the one person who wasn’t supposed to find out in all this time, has now been exposed to this other side of Dexter, is fresh and exhilarating as a viewer. Dexter has now become even more sociopathic in his bid to try and cover up the real truth. He lies, but each lie falls flat when Deb digs deeper. Every word that leaves Dexter’s mouth, Deb questions. It’s the detective in her.

Deb’s psychology in this isn’t to be overlooked in all this either as she tries to come to terms with what she’s just seen in the church. Hours later, the 2 get called in to the crime scene of the now burnt down and smoldering church. Dexter offers his forensic opinion, manipulating and leading the team at Miami Metro to believe his every word that it was a suicide. Deb watches Dex closely, trying to understand how easily he just lied, getting himself out of trouble like that and wondering, how many times has this happened before?

Deb then digs herself deeper into the mess as she goes to the press stating that Travis Marshall probably committed suicide because he knew “Miami Metro were closing in on him.”

Midway through the episode, she goes to old case files from the Ice Truck Killer case and struggles with flashbacks of her on Brian and Dexter’s table, wrapped in plastic. From there, her thought process begins to get going. Wondering how Dexter could be so well prepared for a moment of self-defence and rage, it simply doesn’t add up for her. By the end of the episode, the first episode provides us with perhaps an even better cliff-hanger than the one at the end of season 6. After Deb questions Batista’s sister and babysitter Jamie about Dexter’s whereabouts that night and his work hours (knowing for a fact she knows he told Masuka he was leaving work early to start early the following day), Deb goes to Dexter’s apartment to find evidence to back up her suspicions.

Meanwhile, (hours before, moments after the crime scene of the church) Detective Mike Anderson is killed after trying to help a man on the side of the road with a flat tire. Mike opens the trunk to get the tire iron, only to find a dead girl. The man, who turns out to be a mobster (Viktor), shoots and kills Mike. The team gets called to the scene, which starts to eat away at Dexter who needs to feed his dark passenger, especially after all the stress. The suspect who killed Mike, would be the perfect target for Dexter’s next kill. Hours later and we re-visit the airport scene, as the mobster is on the way to the airport with Dexter actually pursuing him to catch him and kill him. He’s 3 steps ahead of Miami Metro as always and buys a ticket at the airport under an alias, so he can take matters into his own hands by bashing Viktor’s head in with a fire extinguisher.

What’s interesting in this episode is Dexter’s careless desire to feed his need to kill, despite being under the microscope from Deb and others, he manages to find a lost baggage area of the airport, set up a make-shift kill room and transport the body, all in the name to help with his stress. Classic Dexter, always finding places that people should walk-in on, yet don’t. Another intriguing part of the episode was Dexter, questioning himself and trying to move on by killing another bad guy, thinking a kill would be all he’d need to ease the stress, try and put it behind him. It had him wondering if maybe now, he should run. Get away from it all.

Killing Mike Anderson off was also an interesting sub plot, as he didn’t for a moment trust the idea that the church fire and suicide of Marshall was legit. He didn’t buy it and it was right after he hung up on Deb regarding that, that Anderson is killed off and the mob-world of characters is seemingly opened up, ready for season 7. Having Anderson not there to be suspicious of Dexter, opens up the possibility of Quinn taking over that role, perhaps he later discovers Deb has something to do with the scene.

LaGuerta is another wildcard in this season, as she discovers a blood slide that Dexter forgot to take from Travis Marshall, once again opening up the curiosity for LaGuerta that Doakes wasn’t in fact the Bay Harbor Butcher. She was once likeable, but in my opinion grew to be annoying and irrelevant in seasons past. Maybe she too can redeem herself or perhaps she’ll be on Dexter’s table by the seasons end, just like Doakes (sort of was.)

After disposing of the body as usual on his boat, Dexter returns home to find Deb sitting there, with his knives, blood slides and mountains of evidence that uncover Dexter’s big serial killer secret. She simply looks at the blood slides and asks, “Did you kill all these people?” “Yes.” Dexter simply responds, honest and open with his sister discovering the truth. “Are you a serial killer?” Deb asks, to confirm what she already suspected. “Yes.”

And that’s it. End of episode 1, but not the end of the questions that will be thrown around all season long.

What an episode. And that was only with 1 murder being discovered by Deb. I didn’t want the episode to end and immediately looked for episode 2 trailers just to feed my Dexter hunger, much like he feeds his dark passenger. A well-written, carefully layed out episode and a very promising start for what should be the first season of the goodbye tour for Dexter. Now we wait until tomorrow night. What now, that the whole truth will have to come out and the true identity of Dexter will be finally revealed to Deb? How does Deb cope? How does Dexter evolve and deal with this? Does she try to understand or does she let the cop inside of her come out and turn her brother in? Does he try and change finally or does he try and take Deb out? Can he control his desires? Can he outrun what seems to be an end game that he’s talked about in seasons past, of the outcome being of him in a chair, facing the death penalty? What becomes of Harrison? What becomes of Louis and past characters that have had inklings of suspicion about Dexter?

The ideas and prospects that loom for Dexter are mouth-watering. To think how suspenseful and thrilling this season could be.. I cannot wait. I’m positive, optimistic that this could be the best Dexter season to date. Dexter and Deb are the core of the show and are finally, all that matter now. There will be the usual sub-plots to help carry the season and fill in holes but the main story is on the right track and if episode 1 is anything to go by, the other 11 episodes of season 7 should not disappoint in any way. By the end of season 7, Dexter will hopefully have us wanting more, rather than less.

Here are some clips on the season, for your viewing pleasure.

Season 7 Trailer

Season 7 Sneak Peak

Season 7 Behind the Scenes Look

Some predictions for Season 7:

1. Dexter & Deb will team up and be vigilantes together, whilst carrying on with their day jobs.

It will be the only way Deb & Dexter can repair their relationship, as they work through it together, using Harry’s Code as the main baseline, having Deb buy into what Harry taught Dexter and helping her realise there’s more than the law-way of doing things. In the end, Deb will have an understanding of Dexter and be there to protect him from the FBI.

2. Someone from Miami PD gets killed and Deb wonders if Dexter had anything to do with it.

Before this episode, I would’ve said maybe Masuka, his intern Louis or Quinn gets killed from some nutjob. But it ended up being Mike. I can still see Quinn or Louis getting killed off, most likely by Dexter. I can see a department man hunt for Dexter, which Deb gets tangled up in and possibly LaGuerta gets killed because of this hunt, much like the Doakes ending.

3. Dexter will hook up with some hot girl who gets naked, only to send Deb into a jealous & weird rage.

I wonder if the step-sibling romance will come into play again & if it does, no doubt it will become a point of contention when Deb gets jealous as Dex has a love affair with a girl, only to have Deb scare her off (or kill her) which leads to Deb confessing the weird truth about her feelings for Dexter.

Notes:

-I wonder if Dexter’s step-kids will ever make an appearance again? Will most likely be there for a reunion of sorts in season 8, would be my guess.

-Looking forward to seeing what happens with Australia’s Yvonne Strahovski (from Chuck) throughout the season. We know she’ll be helping Miami PD with an old case and she was a suspect in the killing of her partner, which has Dexter intrigued of course. Do they hook up?

-The sooner they get rid of Louis, the better. I can’t stand him, and the writers probably are doing that on purpose, for a reason.

-I may have just eaten a whole bag of Skittles while writing this. I should probably see a dentist this week. 

 

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2 Minute Drill: Week 7 in Review:

What a weird and ‘off’ week it was in the NFL in week 7 action. But that’s the NFL for you. Any given Sunday, shit can happen. Or maybe it was simply a case of a lot of players had their attentions elsewhere.. maybe say, on the release of Battlefield 3? I would say the probability of that is 94%. I would also say I’m not qualified to make probability assessments, as my math teacher will tell you.

Story of the week was no doubt the Kansas City D shutting out the Raiders & Tim Tebow coming back vs. Miami after 55 minutes of crappy, un-NFL play.

Time to huddle up, and get this game winning drive going before week 8.

1st and 10 at the 20: What does this Tebow thing mean for the Broncos? No doubt he played well in the final 5 minutes, but it also leaves more questions than answers. He and the offense sucked for 55 minutes before getting lucky thanks to a variety of factors – the Dolphins D, great playcalling, and of course, luck. Not taking anything away from him, but he was hardly the hero people are making him out to be; any person who watches football would recognize that. You play hard for 60 minutes and things go your way.

How about those Chiefs? Or should I say, how about Carson Palmer & Kyle Boller, showing how not to play QB. Sheeesh. What a fail. But give credit where credit is due. The Chiefs have turned their season around. Initially, they were headed for a top 5 draft pick next April. Now, if they win on Monday Night Football vs. the Chargers, they’ll be tied for the lead in the AFC West. Their D shut the Raiders out last week and they haven’t allowed a point since the second quarter against Indy in Week 5. Pretty good for a team with this guy as coach..

Catch along the sidelines, out of bounds, 20 yard gain. Arian Foster is carrying the Texans. The kid is insane. No doubt, fantasy players will be picking him #1 or #2 in fantasy league next season. 100 yards on the ground and 100 receiving yards? Wow. This isn’t college, that’s not supposed to happen. But it did vs. the Titans as they killed them 41-7. Meanwhile, on the opposite sideline last week, CJ only rushed 10 times for 18 yards. He’s at 2.9 ypc this season, looks bad and despite his Oline, just isn’t playing good right now. But at least he got paid, right?! Right now, CJ2K is a prime candidate for our “Check the Carton Award” for ’11.

2nd down, 1 minute left, ball at the 50 yard line. How ’bout those Lions? First Shake Gate, now Ankle Gate. What is going on? Surely a gate salesman must be making a killing off the Lions weekly headline-stealing ways. 2 home losses, maybe the road will provide some redemption this week as they travel to the gateless Colorado wilderness to take on Tebow.

Think the Bucs are the NFL’s favourite team to embarrass on an international stage? The whipping boy, if you will. The Bucs are 0-2 across the pond. There was 35-7 slapping that the Pats gave them back in 2009 and then in week 7, they got bent over and given a reach around by Cutler and Bears. Think Raheem Morris & QB Josh Freeman are looking forward to never seeing Big Ben and Wembley ever again? It would probably serve them well to either avoid the trip altogether or learn how to win consistently like the Packers do.

Speaking of the Packers, no doubt they’re the best team in the NFL. Undefeated since about week 16 of last season, they’re on a roll like a fat kid rollerblading down a hill in San Francisco. Aaron Rodgers is well on his way to Peyton status, putting up impressive numbers and even cornier commercials. Watch your back Peyton.. oh wait, you can’t turn around because of the neck thing.. that’s right. My bad.

1st down, ball on the 40, 50 seconds left. Vikings rookie QB Christian Ponder looked more like a seasoned vet in his first start vs. the Packers last week, and faces another test vs. the Panthers stingy pass defense & fellow rookie QB Cam Newton.  He was one of 6 different QBs starting last week, and was one of the more impressive ones of the pack. His numbers don’t tell the full story (13/32 for 219 yards, 2 TDs & 2 picks) but it’ll only be a matter of time before he has the city of Minnesota fully behind him, much like the rookie QB on the opposite sidelines this week in Newton.

So that was a painful showing on MNF, for the players, coaches and everyone watching. Lists were being created about “Better things to do than watch MNF” and in the end, it was Del Rio’s men who outlasted the Ravens. The Jags won on the back of Josh Scobee’s leg and some good D that forced Joe Flacco to struggle. Although, it wasn’t just him putting the ball on the ground. Maurice Jones-Drew dropped and fumbled the ball more times than he had yards and Flacco couldn’t get a 1st down until the 2nd half. If Flacco doesn’t turn it around, he’s a real candidate for the “313 Check the Carton Award for 2011.”

With the Pro Bowl voting underway, the game and selection process is as irrelevant to actual play of players during the season as ever. Years ago, you knew if a guy went to 7 Pro Bowls, he was good. Now, an overrated lineman and household name RB like Chris Johnson will get selected, even though they don’t deserve to, snubbing a more worthy & deserving candidate. Early candidates for the popularity contest include Steve Smith, Wes Welker, Drew Brees, Cam Newton, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Calvin Johnson, Matt Forte, Arian Foster and that’s not even getting into the defensive players. But guessing who goes right now is as silly as the voting process itself where voting should be done at seasons end.

3rd down, ball on the 30, 30 seconds. Think Curtis Painter is making Bill Polian and Jim Isray’s job easier about firing Jim Caldwell. Or maybe Isray should fire Polian for such shitty GM work. Just goes to show that building around 1 player all these years, never quite works out well in the end. No doubt the Colts have good players, but without their QB to operate the machine, the machine and system have fallen apart. When the Saints can hang 63 points on a NFL-caliber team like the Colts, is it saying more about the Saints ability to score or is it saying more about the Colts problems?

The Chargers screwed a W against the Jets with Plaxiglass nabbing 3 TDs, the Panthers could get on a 3 game winning streak, the Bills head to Toronto this week for more fun, Big Ben is ballin’ with a worn down Steelers team and..

TOUCHDOWN. Now onto our weekly awards.

313 Week 7 Awards:

So another week is again done & dusted as we hit the halfway point of the 2011-12 season. Before we jump onto week 8, here’s a quick recap on week 7 NFL action. What we liked, and what we didn’t like so much. (This is a quickened version of what will hopefully come a weekly roundup, earlier during the week.)

Offensive Player of the Week:

DeMarco Murray, RB – Dallas Cowboys

Anytime a guy can just come off the bench, put his helmet on the right way and then proceed to scamper for a franchise-best 253 yards, breaking Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith’s team record.. it’s a pretty good day and definitely award-worthy. Murray did just that in week 7 vs. the Rams, with a 91 yard TD run on his first carry of the game. Blame the Rams, credit the Cowboys and Murray.. whatever way you look at it, spin it or dissect it; it’s an impressive outing. Congrats DeMarco.

Defensive Player of the Week:

Brandon Flowers/Kansas City Chiefs D

You could argue that it’s all about individual performances that should go here but I have the blog so nah nah eat my shorts. The Chiefs D shutout the Raiders, a divisional foe and intercepted the Raiders 6 times on the day, harassing the Raiders offense with new QB Carson Palmer AT the Black Hole. Hard to do at home, at all let alone on the road in a hostile environment. But they did, and Flowers ended up with 2 picks (1 for a pick 6) on the day, shutting down the Raiders vertical passing game and adding 3 tackles on the day. An honourable mention to Chiefs LB Derrick Johnson, for his 13 tackle effort in helping the Chiefs shutout the Raiders. A couple of huge plays lead by Johnson in the 2nd quarters, thwarted the Raiders only real chance to score. A fantastic group effort.

Special Teams Player of the Week:

Red Bryant, DE – Seattle Seahawks.

Big Red gets the award this week, after showing up big time on Sunday in a loss to Cleveland. Look like his big offseason finally paid off. Blocked field goals are a rarity in the NFL, so when it happens twice some recognition needs to be shown to the big guy who got it done for his team (as much as possible without playing RB.) Bryant blocked a 24 yard chip shot and a 48 yarder, as well as adding 4 tackles, a half sack on D as well as an ejection for getting into it with Browns TE Alex Smith. Quite the eventful outing for what Hawks fans have dubbed a recent draft “bust.”

Coach of the Week:

Gary Kubiak, Houston Texans.

You could put Ron Rivera here, you could put Todd Haley here or even Jack Del Rio for his team’s gritty win on Monday Night Football, whilst being on the hot seat and most likely, the chopping block. But it was Kubiak against the Titans who enjoyed a nice offensive outing on the back of Arian Foster. A 41-7 win over the division rival Titans and the Texans look set to enjoy a playoff berth and maybe some postseason success, with the Colts, Jaguars and Titans falling behind the times in the AFC South and the Texans reaping the benefits.

Rookie of the Week:

Cam Newton, QB – Carolina Panthers

Once again, I could put a few young guys here. There are a few rookies deserving, Von Miller in Denver, Murray in Dallas and Ponder in Minnesota making his debut. But this week, it was again Cam Newton who lead the Panthers to  their 2nd victory over the Redskins, earning himself this award and the Panthers game ball. While statistically he wasn’t eye-popping, he still managed to throw for 256 yards for a TD, completing 78.3% but also (and this is a big also) rushing for 59 yards and 1 TD. On one of those rushes, he managed to avoid the entire Redskins defense after being flushed out of the pocket, and turn it into a gain of 25 yards before stepping out of bounds. With his feet doing the talking, he managed to still ignite Steve Smith and help the Panthers put up 33 points on the day.

Headline of the Week:

‘Blame Sparano for Tebowmania.’

 Quote of the Week:

“Glad to report my genitalia are in stable condition and expected to make a full recovery!”

– Packers lineman TJ Lang, tweeting after the game. Lang was stomped in the groin area by Vikings defensive end Brian Robson during an altercation.

Not-So-Great-Play of the Week:

Curtis Painter, QB, Colts.

Painter will probably be blamed for a lot of things.. the firing of Caldwell, the extended period of time that Peyton is out for, World War 3, Tim Tebow, Jersey Shore, constant world hunger and Fergie. But one thing he does deserve, is a down right slap upside the head for this play:

http://www.nfl.com/videos/auto/09000d5d8236989f/Painter-fumbles-snap

HE TOOK A SNAP TO THE FACE. TO. THE. FACE.

At least if you’re going to fumble the ball, make it worth while. Do what David Carr used to do.. run around in your own endzone for a while before going into turtle mode or do what Romo does when he fumbles.. tries to run with it before blaming the rookie centre. Come on Curtis, you’re better than that. You’re making Peyton upset and when Peyton gets upset, he makes more commercials. Noooo!

Surprising Team of the Week:

Jaguars defeating Baltimore on Monday Night Football

Disappointing Team of the Week:

The Lions Losing to the Falcons. I really, really, really don’t like Atlanta.

Bust of the Week:

Philip Rivers, QB, San Diego Chargers

And so that’s it for another week of awards and accolades. Now it’s onto week 8 of NFL action. Good luck to all your teams this week! Until next time, keep it crispy.

 

NFL Players: Nicest vs. Meanest, Who Wins?

Sports Illustrated recently polled 287 players and 272 players respectively, on who were the meanest and the nicest players in the NFL today. Before we check out the results, considering there are 15 on each poll, imagine 2 teams of nice vs. evil, good vs. bad, going head-to-head in a Pro Bowl-type match. (Well, not the Pro Bowl because no one cares about that game but some form of exhibition game.) That begs the question though, who would win, mean or nice?

Would the nice team be so friendly, it’d mess with the mean guys heads and psych them out or would the mean players be way too mean and beat the crap out of the nice guys?

The majority of the nice players are on offense, full of QBs, RBs & WRs. Conversely, it’s quite a contrast to what the majority is on the Mean Team. Mainly defense, especially linebackers and linemen. Wonder why? Maybe because it’s what they do – be the aggressor, the attacker; even if a few do take it a little too far at times.

Funnily enough, one team had the 2 top ranked (or polled) players. Pittsburgh Steelers – James Harrison & Troy Polamalu. Weird and kind of suspicious.

So, do nice guys always finish last? Or do mean guys finish last because they keep getting penalized?

I’ll let you think about that, but in the meantime here are the results:

Meanest:

1. James Harrison – Pittsburgh Steelers

The often outspoken linebacker was quoted in the infamous “Hitman-Men’s Journal” article as saying, “If that man (NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell) was on fire and I had to piss to put him out, I wouldn’t do it. I hate him and will never respect him.” Numerous hard hits (giving him the name “Hitman”, incidents on & off the field have caused this linebacker numerous All-Pro honours, a DPOY award in ’08 and a bad ass rep, to go nicely with his 2 rings.

2. Ray Lewis – Baltimore Ravens

The heart & soul of the Ravens for so long, he killed a guy. (And it wasn’t Dustin Keller..)

3. Ndamukong Suh – Detroit Lions

Half man, half beast. Some say he only eats the flesh of college kids, others say he line dances with the elderly every Wednesday night. All Jake Delhomme knows it that it hurts to get your helmet twisted by Suh. Some will say he’s dirty, some will say he plays hard. Either way, don’t piss him off & don’t challenge him to a line-dance-off. It won’t end well for you.

4. Richard Seymour – Oakland Raiders

You saw what he did in that Pats-Raiders game in week 4 right?

Nuff said. He plays hard, he plays with passion. See: Suh. (Above.)

5. Richie Incognito – Miami Dolphins

Originally drafted by the Rams, he’s a nasty kid to play against. Frequently ranks as one of the dirtiest players to play against. He’s been known to headbutt players, chop block, abuse officials & often gets fined by the league for his play. Protect the eyes, because he’ll come after you and probably snack on your ear at halftime.

6. Terrell Suggs – Baltimore Ravens

Something about these Rex Ryan taught players that have a common link. Either way, Suggs is one bad ass mutha. Whether he’s wearing a mean shirt poking fun at Steelers or sacking your grandmother, don’t make eye contact with him.

7. Harvey Dahl – St. Louis Rams

Known to push the limits, even after the whistle, most guys don’t like to play against him. He’ll get under your skin and in your face.. literally. Plays hard, blocks late in plays.. good player to have on your team, annoying player to play against.

8. Hines Ward – Pittsburgh Steelers

Some call him dirty, some call him a classic WR who likes to get in there and help his team with the run blocking. He takes cheap shots, but for the most part he’s a hard hitting WR who plays hard, pushes the limits and is a player you’d hate to face but love to have on your side. Much like a few of these players on the list.

9. Laron Landry – Washington Redskins

Hard nosed, built, hard hitting safety who’s still making a name for himself with hits like this, game in & game out:

10. Olin Kreutz – New Orleans Saints

From the Bears comes Kreutz. A veteran of multiple awards who gained some street cred for breaking the jaw of fellow OL Fred Miller back in’05 during an off-field incident. It only takes one incident and your whole image can be changed/marked for your career.

11. Jared Allen – Minnesota Vikings

The Cowboy himself is a wild animal. He loves to hunt, was a roadie for Motorhead when he was younger, once blindsided Johnny Knoxville in Jackass 3D, loves to sack QBs and he’s a blue collar boy from Texas who likes his mane longer than most. With the handlebar mo, he rocks the Metrodome and opposing QBs with his determination, his high-energy motor and his sometimes borderline dirty play. He walks the line, and that’s what makes him great. One of the best DE’s in the game, he’s entertaining to watch and a pain in the ass if you’re playing against him.

12. Steve Smith – Carolina Panthers

One of the few offensive players on the list (which says a lot) Smitty carries a chip, plays with passion & uses every pound of his body to make plays. His competitiveness & fire is what makes him the great player he is, sometimes that fire can ignite and get out of hand and his teammates (twice) can cop it or the other team can. Just last week, he took care of Malcolm Jenkins by the face mask..

Players have taunted him, before and during the game & it never ends well. A fired up Smith is what the Panthers like, and what opposing teams fear.. and yet they still do it. Hard not to like the little guy. Just don’t call him little to his face.

13. Jerome Harrison – Detroit Lions

Unless he’s related to James, not sure why he’s on here. (Unless Lions fans just wanted to win at something.. hah, can’t use that joke anymore. Fail.)

14. Cortland Finnegan – Tennessee Titans

Fancypants is just on here because he “scuffled” with Andre Johnson. He’s more of a bitch than a mean player.

15. Shawne Merriman – Buffalo Bills

Not as bad ass in recent times (mainly due to unproductive/injury-plagued seasons), but the guy has the nickname “Lights Out” for a reason. Still a threat to cause some pain on the field, if not off the field, even if he is ‘roided up most of the time. Either way, he’s scary to look at & he probably cut someone off in traffic once which makes him mean.

Nicest:

1. Troy Polamalu – Pittsburgh Steelers

He has nice hair. It’s soft. A mean guy doesn’t have soft hair.

2. Drew Brees – New Orleans Saints

I don’t get why he is on here. He cured cancer? No. He played QB in a city that had a hurricane. Oh ok.. cool story.

3. Peyton Manning – Indianapolis Colts

If the NFL had a version of the Lady Byng Trophy for Gentlemanly Conduct and Nice Play, he’d probably get it every season. That and he plays for the Colts, was coached under super nice guy Tony Dungy and makes awesomely ridiculous (and lots of them) commercials. Some may call him a douche, but they’re most likely Pats fans.

4. Larry Fitzgerald – Arizona Cardinals

He’s quiet, humble & he’s smart. A good choice for the list. Plus he gives to charity which although a lot of players do, he seems less douchey about it and more horse-like.

5. Matt Hasselbeck – Tennessee Titans

I don’t know why he’s on here. I think players just named QBs of small-town football teams. Maybe because he’s bald & everyone felt sorry for him?

6. Tim Tebow – Denver Broncos

Yeah.. is he really that nice?

7. LaDainian Tomlinson – New York Jets

One of the great RB’s of our generation, he’s a quiet and humble man beneath that famous dark visor & helmet and lets his play on the field do all the talking. Have to admire athletes like him, a refreshing change from what we see when guys like Chad Ocho Cinco & Terrell Owens yap it up, steal the spotlight. Unselfish is what is when you keep your mouth shut. No mouthing at the officials, no chirping at the other team, just go out and play football.

8. Tom Brady – New England Patriots

He’s Tom Brady, not Tom Cruise. I find that just because he’s a QB, doesn’t make him nice. I’m sure he’s frightened small children before. I’m sure of it.

9. Jeff Saturday – Indianapolis Colts

Maybe it’s because he’s a centre, maybe it’s because he’s a Christian, maybe it’s because he was coached under Dungy, or maybe it’s because he plays with Manning. Personally, I think the reason he’s so nice.. how can you NOT like a guy with those eyes..

10. Nnamdi Asomugha – Philadelphia Eagles

Aso is a great corner, but an even better philanthropist. Off the field, he spends most of his time helping in education and in the community. He has the Asomugha Foundation, aimed at providing shelter for orphans and widows in need in Nigera as well as teaming up with selected students across the Bay Area and taking them on tours to colleges across the country. He’s a regular guest at the Clinton Global Initiative. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clinton_Global_Initiative)

His list of community service and accolades in trying to make the world a better place are too long to list here, but he’s a good guy. He may not be the nicest person on the field, but he’d be up there and as soon as the pads come off, you know he’s out there helping provide to others what they’re not as fortunate to have as he is.

11. Aaron Rodgers – Green Bay Packers

Why isn’t Rodgers #1? Srsly. This is a guy I’d have a beer with.

12. Calvin Johnson – Detroit Lions

A quiet achiever in the NFL, much like Pavel Datsyuk with the Red Wings. CJ is an underrated player in the league (much like Datsyuk) and yet is one of the league’s best at what he does, in a freakish, I-can’t-believe-he-just-did-that-OMG-my-pants-are-wet-and-on-my-head-where-did-I-put-my-finger-it-smells kind of way.

13. Tony Romo – Dallas Cowboys

Really? Hah.. nice joke guys. Who’s at 14.. seriously?

Is he on here because he almost married Jessica Simpson?

14. Donovan McNabb – Minnesota Vikings

He has a nice smile and apparently smells like apricots. Apart from that, he had to put up with the T.O saga and didn’t smash T.O in the face, even when everyone else would’ve turned a blind eye if he did. He put up with Vick and Kolb coming in & basically taking his job from him in Philadelphia & all with a smile and no trash talk, taking it in stride. Then he survived the benching in DC, only to move to Minny where he’s no doubt copping more crap and all this & he’s still a really nice guy. Hard not like a guy who just won’t quit & just won’t let all that get to him.

15. Brian Dawkins – Denver Broncos

Former team mate of McNabb, Brian Dawkins is a long time vet, long time good guy. Has been nominated for the Walter Payton Award of the Year & after Dawk signed with the Broncos in ’09, an Eagles employee who was a ‘gate chief’ at Lincoln Financial Field was fired by the Eagles after he posted on his Facebook page expressing his disappointment in the Eagles. Dawk announced that he would give his two allotted game tickets for the Eagles-Broncos game to the guy, saying, “I felt it would be a good thing, to reach out to that individual and just let him know how much I appreciate it.” Classy guy, future HoFer no doubt.

So there we have it. 2 contrasting lists, 15 very different players of different levels.

Personally, I think getting 2 teams like this together, to compete against each other is genius. There’s a movie plot in here. Evil vs. good, angels vs. demons.. who doesn’t love a good face-off?!

Considering this idea would never reach Goodell’s desk (unless I mail the proposed blueprint & slip it inside his birthday card) here is an idea worth sharing if you have the time. Potentially go into Madden, create 2 teams, add these players in, simulate the game between the 2 & see what happens..

I know, it’s borderline insane. And I know this is way too much analysis for a fluff piece, but I might as well get some ludicrous ideas into your mind while you waste your time reading this blog, like how the uniforms could be that of red and black for mean, white on white for nice. Halo on the helmet, horns on the other.

Now that, that would be cool.

So what say you? Agree/disagree with some of these selections? Would you add in any other players or take some out, on your own list?

Let us know!

Sources:  

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/mul…ontent.12.html

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/multimedia/photo_gallery/1110/nfl.poll.nicest.player/content.15.html

Ohio University Marching Band Party Rocks

I love the song Party Rock Anthem by LMFAO.

So anything to do with that song, I’ll generally like. I mean who doesn’t love to shuffle?

Everyday, you’re shufflin’. Go out to pick up the morning paper off the front lawn in boxers, a Red Wings t-shirt and you hear that song.. can’t help but shuffle. (Much to your neighbor’s amusement as more than your dance skills reveals itself.)

In the supermarket, trying to decide between beef and chicken in your stir fry.. song booms over the PA and pretty soon you’re shufflin’ into the dairy aisle thinking about some of that sweet custard later on tonight.

So naturally, when the Ohio University Marching Band performs the hit by LMFAO, it’s worth checking out and when I did.. I was not dissapointed at all.

Check out the moves.. and in sync. Amazing. Epic. All you need to do is hear the response from the crowd to know that they had scored a big touchdown on that play.

Well done Ohio University. You have mine and many other’s attention now.

Maybe the NFL should take a leaf out of the NCAA’s book, or at the very least look into an idea like this, rather than showboating old, washed-up performers (*cough* Madonna *cough*) that no sane person would want to see.

(Other than Bruce Springsteen & Prince, which were 2 fantastic half time shows. Kudos NFL for getting 2 out 6 or so right.)

Enjoy.

The 313 Things to Watch: NFL Week 4 Edition

Welcome to our 1st installment of what will be a weekly edition of “The 3-1-3 Things to Watch” feature. Every week, I’ll feature 7 “things to watch items.” Why 7? Because 3+1+3 = 7. Duh.

Week 4 in the NFL and we have 3 undefeated teams and 5 very, very defeated teams sitting at 0-3.

As usual, we’ll be watching our teams face off and hope for a W. But on a NFL-wide scale, here are some other notes and headlines that might be of interest to keep an eye on this weekend.

1. Can the Eagles offensive line keep Vick’s uniform crinkle-free?

After the game in week 3, Eagles QB Michael Vick, frustrated with being knocked around vs. the Giants, let it all out at the post-game press conference by “critiquing” the way the referees officiated the game, before later offering an apology of sorts to the officials and going back on what he said about getting hit after he’d released the ball. Either way, it’ll be interesting to see if the VP of Officiating Carl Johnson & his crew listened & if his offensive line mates took it upon themselves to make sure that no defender even got the chance for a late hit on Vick. Even though suffering a broken hand in the loss vs. the rival G-men, Vick plans to play. You can bet your house Reid will make sure there’s more protection there than a Presidential appearance at a Condom Expo in Mexico.

2. The Rivera Show Returns for revenge to Solider Field

While he might not say as much, former Bears defensive coordinator, now Panthers head coach  Ron Rivera had this game marked on the calendar as soon as the schedule was released. Rivera was fired from Chicago, although technically he was ‘not rehired’ by Bears head coach Smith in favour of linebackers coach Bob Babich, despite an outstanding unit that ranked as one of the best under Rivera. You can bet that Rivera will be more than ready to taste the sweet, sweet tears of Smith, as will Panthers tight end Greg Olsen who was traded by the Bears this offseason, after seeking a trade. Relationships were stretched and the Panthers have benefited from the move with OIsen becoming one of rookie QB Cam Newton’s primary targets in offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski’s offense. With both the Panthers and Bears standing at 1-2, this game is vital to each team’s season. (Heading into week 5 is a lot easier at 2-2 than 1-3, as Captain Obvious points out.)

3. Can Roddy White overcome his stone hands vs. the Hawks?

Going into week 4, Atlanta Falcons receiver Roddy White leads the NFL in dropped passes with 4, including a huge late, game-changing drop vs. the Bucs in week 3. QB Matt Ryan found White and would’ve had a clear path to the endzone had his hands not been made of brick. While White is known as one of the better WRs in the NFL, he certainly needs to work on the one stat that will keep him from being a great receiver. Although he led the NFL in receptions last season with 115, he only dropped 3 passes. Can he rebound vs. the Seahawks? There should be plenty of opportunities for himself and Ryan to make some plays, it’s just a matter of if he can hang onto the ball long enough to complete those plays. Week 4 is the perfect time for White to turn things around.

 4. Can the Pats D do a 180 degree turn and match their offence?

In week 1 action vs. Miami, QB Tom Brady (with his long locks flowing in the wind) threw for 517 yards and 4 TDs, including the memorable 99 yard TD pass to Wes Welker. Week 2, he threw for 423 in another W. Then came Buffalo. With Brady leading his team 21-10 into halftime, it all was looking like a 3-0 start for the Patriots. Then came the halftime adjustments from Buffalo and the major LOLFAIL from the Patriots D. There are major problems with the Pats D, no doubt. To date, they’re giving up 468.7 yards per game. All you had to do was listen to Boston sports talk back radio after the game last week to know that the hot topic was defence (& Tom Brady’s luscious hair. Meow). Enter, the Oakland Raiders. The Raiders are looking rejuvenated under Hue Jackson, with Darren McFadden leading the NFL in rushing after 3 weeks. How will Bill Belichick contain Run DMC when the Pats D missed some big opportunities in wrapping up Bills RB Fred Jackson, late in the 4th quarter last week. It’s concerning, and it’s just one of the many questions in this game including, how will former Pats Super Bowl winning defensive lineman Richard Seymour play going against his old team for the first time since getting traded? Another question is, who will get more TDs and touches? Welker or Run DMC? Either way, it’s an underrated matchup worth checking out in week 4.

5. Romo’s Ribs: Meet Ndamukong Suh

I can just see it now. Romo drops back (with one of the few non-fumbled snaps) and as he plants his foot, he scans the field. As he looks, completely unaware, Lions defensive tackle and man beast Ndamukong Suh has beaten his man. Boom. Romo is down, Suh lays a vicious hit that we’ve all seen before and all that is left is Romo laying on the turf yelling, ” NN DAM U KONG!” (Had to do it, I’m sorry.) Anyway, last week it was DeAngelo Hall talking trash about Romo’s ribs. This week, Suh has been quoted as saying, “That’s not my style. If I’m coming in from that side and I accidentally hit it, then so be it. That’s not my problem. That’s not my issue to deal with. I’m going to continue to play. I’m not planning on putting my helmet in his ribs or anything of that sort. I’m going to go after the ball. The ball is the most important. That’s the only thing that can really hurt you.” Suh is licking his chops, even if it is to get into the head of centre Phil Costa & QB Tony Romo to cause a few miscues. No doubt, it’s a matchup to watch for and a game that is definitely game of the week. The Lions face their toughest test yet (you can read Ash’s write up on the game here) and no doubt, it will be a game that will answer a lot of questions for both teams.

6. The Jared Allen Bowl

What a game. Two 0-3 teams going head to head, Jared Allen facing off against the team that traded him.. will the Vikings blow ANOTHER halftime lead? Talk about must-watch-TV. In all seriousness, something has to give this weekend, for one of these 2 teams. Both 0-3, both having 2 very different seasons so far. During the week, Chiefs WR Dwayne Bowe blamed the shortened preseason for the Chiefs start slow start. (Read here, via Yahoo Sports’ Doug Farrar.) He could’ve put it on injuries, but put it down to “lack of timing”. Ok Dwayne. We’ll just see if the defending AFC West champs figure out a way to get things moving, finally. With the Vikings coming to town however, that train might take a little longer to depart, especially with the Cowboy himself bearing down on QB Matt Cassel, trying to once again show the Chief’s Clark Hunt and then GM Carl Peterson, what a mistake they made when he traded Allen back in the offseason of 2008.

 7. Ryan faces off against the Purple Machine he built

I could probably put a few other items here. Curtis Painter facing off against the Bucs on MNF. Ryan Fitzpatrick going against his former team the Bengals after 3 fantastic wins. Or even asking the question of why several RBs in this league have gone MIA. But instead, I’ll choose to focus on a great matchup. The overrated Jets and their head coach Rex Ryan travel to Baltimore for the 1st time since Ryan landed the head gig in NY. This will be a game worth watching featuring 2 teams who are emotional and highly physical; funnily enough, 2 characteristics of Ryan. There will be a lot of grudges facing off in this game. Rex Ryan, Jets defensive coordinator Mike Pettine, Bart Scott, Jim Leonhard and recently, Derrick Mason are all former Ravens who wouldn’t mind a nice bit of payback in their former home stadium. But it’s not just the Ravens D and all the familiar faces that will be playing, that will be a key to watch this week. The Ravens offense has exploded in 2011, with Joe Flacco throwing a career best 389 yards vs. St Louis last week in a 37-7 trouncing, thanks to a little help from new fantasy waiver-wire pickup Torrey Smith. Smith is a legit concern for the Jets D.  If he consumes the coverage of Revis Island, it can potentially leave some other opportunities open for Flacco to expose Ryan’s current D that he’s created in New York. You can bet that when this game is all said and done, it will be bittersweet for a few players and leave a bad taste in a few others.

So that’s it for this week’s edition.. our first edition. Remember to keep an eye on these few story lines during this fine Sunday afternoon of pigskin watchin.’ Until next week, good luck and enjoy.