After enduring the summer heat, which often rose well above 100 degrees, and going through one of the driest summers I’ve seen here in the mid western states, it looks like we finally are getting a break from the heat.
For the first 22 yrs of my life, I grew up on a farm. I learned early on that when you live upon the land, and all the animals on the farm live upon the land, rain is extremely important. Indeed, it seems almost unfair that what is considered stressful in my world today, is so much different then it was 15 years ago.
The driest I ever remember it being, was when I was 8 and 9 back in 1987 and 1988. We went through a drought in Wisconsin where we had to buy a lot of food from stores for the family, because the garden wasn’t producing well. We had to buy corn, hay, and even oats for the farm animals.
To this day, I find that I by default, go back to the farm in my mind when we start getting dry, and it seems almost unfair that I have a job now where I need nice weather, and don’t need the cooperation of the land much at all to make a living. Almost like I am cheating the system while millions of farmers are sitting there praying for rain.
But I didn’t exactly begin this blog to talk about the weather, the rain, or the crops. I am writing this blog to hopefully try and accomplish 2 different things. I will not reveal these 2 things this early, because I’m afraid that I am not a good enough writer to captivate your attention for the rest of the blog if I tell you what the 2 things are at the beginning.
It is my day off from work, and miraculously I may not need to even make a trip in today to meet any customers, which is almost unheard of. I will absolutely enjoy this day, all by myself, sitting in the darkness of my basement, legs propped up on my computer desk, punching the keyboard. (I have not yet mastered the art of nimbly flying through the tabs on my keyboard without looking.)
1. Wake up from natural causes, instead of an annoying alarm clock.
2. Help get the girls dressed and ready for day care, strapped in their car seats and a few blown kisses later watch them disappear over the hill as mom drops them off and she heads on to her work.
3. Jog my normal 1 mile routine. NOTE: In 2 years at the dealership, I have gained 25 lbs. Enough of that. My new goal. Lose all of that by years end. Also, for those of you who have never tried it, take a morning jog. Breath in the fresh air. Yes, it takes discipline, but is well worth it. Amazing how much one can sort out in one’s mind during a morning run.
4. Take the trash out.
6. Go out and have some breakfast. That’s right. I never learned to cook. I would much rather eat someone’s cooking. One Big Pig Omelet, 3 cups of coffee and 4 pieces of toast later, and back to the house it is.
7. Start my random blog, with no real game plan, inspiration, or definitive ending in mind.
8. 9:20 AM. Contact the wife to see if we can hook up for lunch somewhere. Again, a lunch someone made for us.
9. Finish and post my blog, and pick out a good movie.
10. Pretty much watch movies and let my brain rest for the rest of the afternoon so I can be fresh for the rest of the week at work. Not a very creative day, or very eventful, but when you work so many long, grinding days, it is very rewarding for one little man.
In Sept of 2005, when we got married, while Shana was planning the wedding, I was planning the honeymoon. You guessed it. A 3 day trip to Lambeau Field to watch a Packers game. Yes, I even planned the wedding date and Honeymoon around the Packers schedule. I chose what had been one of the worst teams in the league the year before to watch them play the Packers because I didn’t want to see a loss on our honeymoon. The Cleveland Browns, 4 and 12 record the year before.
Guess what? They smoked Brett Favre and the Packers that day largely due to a rookie named Braylon Edwards, and some guy named Steve Heiden.
That was the last true vacation we have taken. Granted, we went to the St Louis Zoo on a Sunday Afternoon, a Football game at the Edward Jones Dome, several at Arrowhead Stadium, etc, but never a real vacation.
THAT BRINGS ME TO MY FIRST SUBJECT.
With me pretty much sheltered for the first 22 yrs of my life, and pretty much working none stop here in little ole Mid Missouri, my wife really not that much more experienced in the field of vacations and where to go, I would like to hear different opinions.
Here is what we have in mind. We will be taking the 2 girls with us. Ella is 4, Anna is almost 2. We do not want the city life for this one. Rather, what we prefer, is about 8 or 9 days of nothing. Preferably west. Mountains, lots of woods with tall trees, lakes or rivers, and lodging in cabins. Sights that are breath taking. High altitudes, wildlife, etc. Maybe even some boat rides every so often.
We can take a vacation to a large city some other time. At this point, we want a quiet peaceful getaway from it all. So quiet that I can hear a bear walking from a mile away, a fish jump from 2 lakes away, and possibly even snow flakes touching down on the mountain tops high above. Dream Vacation
It will have to be within the U.S. and we’re thinking somewhere in Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, etc. Any ideas are welcome.
This vacation would probably be sometime in November or December of this year, and although everyone tells us we need at least one a year, it will probably last us for 5 or 6 more years.
With the heat letting up a little, and the smell of the leaves turning to rich colors, the nip of the chilly air in the mornings, comes the familiarities of something else. FOOTBALL. That’s right. That time of the year when Training camps open, cuts get made, hold outs hold out, free agents get picked up for one last chance in the NFL, undrafted players get a chance to shine, and all the boredom of the last 7 months during the off season washes away with the first kickoff of the 2012 NFL season. It is during this time that I ever so slightly put things like my job, family, and many other things on the back burner during Sunday afternoons, pop some popcorn, sit back on my recliner, and watch the magic happen. It is during this 4 or 5 month magical time that all is forgotten.
Who cares about the the political votings, the Todd Akin (talking with his foot in his mouth) incident, or the health care topic? I got football, and that’s what makes everything balance out right.
In short, my love for football, dates back to when I was still Amish, on the farm, was not supposed to have a radio, but somehow always did, and through this, on a small farm out in the middle of nowhere Wisconsin, with the introduction of our “English” milkman, acquired my first radio, heard Brett Favre’s first comeback, and became hooked for life.
If there is any reader who wishes to convert me to any other team, give up. I may have been raised Amish, but my football roots go deep. Besides, the Bears, Lions, and Vikings, don’t give anyone a reason to like them. As a matter of fact, are they still playing? If they are, I heard the Bears are thinking of Cutlering their QB, cleaning out Ur’s locker, and replacing Lovies Myth.
I will do my usual predictions for the upcoming season of football. For the teams or players who are sorta in the middle, nothing too spectacular, I won’t even contemplate on them. My predictions are based upon my gut feeling. My second sight. Or my intuition. Last year I didn’t get a chance to blog my predictions, because I was in the thick of filming the show, Amish: out of Order, but if you wish to see how I did the year before, it was posted back in the fall of 2010.
THIS BRINGS ME TO MY SECOND SUBJECT.
I am in 5 different Fantasy Football Leagues this year. Down from 8 last year. (All 8 suffered, BTW, because of the amount of filming I was doing during the season) I have owned my own League now for 7 years. My point here is this.
If for just this one blog, I can get your undivided attention off of me personally, the Show, “Amish: Out of Order”, and whether or not it is coming back on, and discuss with me, the game of football, I would be dearly entitled to you! As a matter of fact, I will probably take a lot of your advice on who to start in my leagues this year. I even have visions of next year having another league with strictly just my most active football fanatics that I meet because of this blog.
So here we go. My BOLD predictions for the 2011/2012 NFL season.
The Redskins. There is a lot of chatter coming out of the Redskins camp about RG3. Yes, from what I have seen, I do think he is talented. As a matter of fact, the difference between a HOF QB and an average one, oftentimes is not that big. Dedication, determination, will power, Mental state of mind, competitiveness, Discipline, and work ethic. Often it is not nearly as huge of a difference between a Tom Brady vs. a Matt Leinart, (Many people compared Leinart to Brady when he was coming out of college) As it might appear on paper. One is disciplined and has committed to this game and perfecting it for a very long time, and quite possibly, one has a back up plan just in case being a QB in the Pro’s doesn’t work out.
Long story short, It is way too early to tell how RG3 will do, but for this year, I predict a 7 and 9 season at best, probably 6 and 10.
The Patriots. Despite the New England’s woes in the last 2 Superbowls against the same team, the Giants, you could look at history of Superbowl losing teams, and assume that NE will be a dismal 9-7 team this year, barely squeaking into the playoffs, and losing in the first round. I, however, predict that this will be one of the best, if not the best, New England Patriot’s teams we have seen yet. I would be shocked if Brady doesn’t throw 40+ TD’s, around 4800 yards, the Patriots go 13-3, possibly even 14-2, and make it to the Superbowl again. (I will have my Superbowl predictions later)
The Colts. A lot of people are counting the Colts out for this season. Assuming that Luck needs at least a year under his belt to start meshing in Indy. (Sorta like I predicted for his fellow Rookie, RG3 above) I, however, think he has a stellar year, throwing about 26ish TD’s, the colts make the playoffs as a wildcard team at 10-6, and win the first wild card round.
The Jets. There is not more chatter in any one teams facilities then the New York Jets. Who will be their starting QB? How will they use Tebow. First and foremost, let me say that I love this guy. I would go see him play anytime if he was in this area and the starting QB. He is entertaining to watch, has more compassion when he plays then almost the whole league put together, and is competitive on top of that. Unfortunately, this is also probably why he is still in the league playing, and has a current roster spot with the Jets. Let’s face it. This guy was absolutely horrible most of last year. Without the Bronco’s defense, he would have Gone something like 3-8 instead of 7-4.
I do feel that because he is entertaining, stands up for what he believes in, and has a ton of followers, is largely why he is in the running as a QB for the Jets. Make no mistake about it, I love this guy and what he stands for. However, with him, Rex Ryan, and all the media distractions in New York, can they win? Tough one. I figure they go somewhere around 8-8, miss the playoffs, and rumors will start in NY about getting rid of the REX. Normally, I would predict that midway through this season, Tebow gets released, and his name fades out, but I’m not exactly sure he is the sort of person to just fade out. In other words, he doesn’t follow the “Normal” pattern. I, however, predict he stays all season, but if Rex Ryan goes, so does Tebow.
The Lions. Why couldn’t the lions repeat their success from last year? Not much has changed on their roster or and major coaching changes. For the world they should be a 12-4 team. Not so fast there you Band Wagon Jumpers of Motor City. Without having any statistical backing, or any justification, I simply think it will be much harder for the Lions to play up to expectations then it was last year playing from behind, and exceeding what they were projected to do. In other words, Pressure catches up to them, and although Stafford has another great season, they fall to a 8-8 or if they’re lucky, 9-7 record, and miss the playoffs.
The Broncos. With Peyton Manning, a stiff defense, a good offensive line, several good WR, all signs point to the Broncos being the team to watch. I’m not buying it. Although Manning is back, shoulder surgery a thing of the past, I do not ever again anticipate seeing Manning being what he was in Indy. Make no mistake about it, He will be great. Peyton Manning is the epitome of the QB I was talking about earlier when I mentioned the little that separates a HOF QB from a Matt Leinart.
I think, if Manning can stay healthy, the Broncos go 10-6, make the playoffs in a wild card tie breaker, and get demolished in the first round of the playoffs, causing the Bronco faithful to question if Manning might have gotten slightly over paid.
Bears. I do think the Bears will have a good season. As much as it hurts me to say so, I wouldn’t be shocked if they went 2-0 against the Packers, going into the playoffs with a 11-5 record and winning the division. Sleeper alert. Jay Cutler.
Packers. Look for the Packers to start off slow, possibly starting the season 3-4, because of a lack of running game, because of too many changes on defense, DB’s leaving a lot to be desired, and a pass rush that’s non existent. I see them after the midway point starting to mesh on defense, and riding into the playoffs as the NFC north’s second seed behind the Bears with a 10-6 record. Of Course, when have I ever been correct on the Packers. I also thought when they replaced Favre with Rodgers, Rodgers would be a bust, McCarthy would be laughed out of town, and they would bring Favre back as a hero. Partly kidding. However, when I try to decipher the Packers, I can’t predict them logically, because of my love for them, so here I’m wrong more times then not.
The Cowboys. This is arguably the toughest division in the NFL. However, I predict that if Romo can stay healthy, the Cowboys could be someone to be reckoned with this year. Jerry Jones and Jason Garrett begin to Gel, figuring out who is running the team, etc, and they squeak into the playoffs and actually win a playoff game for the first time in a while. 11-5.
The Seahawks. This team is my “Gamble” pick for this season. I honestly am on the rocks here. Largely because Pete Carrol’s history in the NFL isn’t that great, and they are already having a QB controversy in Seattle right after nabbing Flynn from GB and giving him a huge payday. I honestly think this team can go either way, with little chance of landing in the middle. Either they lose the first 3 games or so, and Carrol loses control of the team, which means they lose the season, and go 4-12, or they come out of the gate swinging, win 4 out of 5, and never look back. Because of their stiff defense, I will go with the latter, saying that they come out strong, win 4 out of the first 5, settle upon Flynn because he is winning, and Mesh well together. I will put them in at 10-6 beating out the 49ers for the division title. I know this is a huge stretch, considering the 49ers look as good as ever, and this is probably the biggest gamble I predict for 2012. (This obviously was written before they announced Russel Wilson as Starting QB, so if I may, I predict He makes it for 7 games before being replaced by Flynn)
Now for my 2 sleeper teams. I predict that the Houston Texans will win their division, probably with a 12-4 record, and make it all the way to the AFC Championship game, where they will be beat out narrowly by the Patriots.
In the NFC, it will be the Eagles. Much is riding on this theory. Like Vick staying healthy, and Andy Reed making the team play as a team instead of individuals. However, I put the Eagles in the NFC Championship with a wild card Packers team, where a strong defense by the Packers shows through and rolls past the Eagles. (Again, wishful thinking. Feeling a need for revenge here after being forced out of the NFC playoffs so many times by Reed, McNabb, and the Eagles.
Players set for a big year. Quarterbacks. Tom Brady, Andrew Luck, Matt Ryan, Tony Romo, Phillip Rivers, Aaron Rodgers, and Jay Cutler.
Running Backs. Matt Forte, Arian Foster, Reggie Bush, Steven Jackson.
Wide Receivers. Desean Jackson, Jordy Nelson, Pierre Garcon, Steve Smith. Carolina.
And now for the division winners.
Patriots, Texans, (bye weeks)
Chargers, Ravens. (wildcard) Colts and Broncos. Sorry Steelers Fans, but 9-7 won’t make the wildcard round.
NFC: Cowboys and Falcons (Bye Week)
Bears, Seahawks. (Wildcard) Packers and Eagles.
And for my Superbowl pick. Same as last time, will be the Packers and Patriots. I have the Packers going into the Playoffs with all the momentum, much like in the 2010/2011 season, rolling into the Superbowl, and with all the momentum, Brady and the Patriots lose their 3rd Superbowl in a row to the Packers 28 to 36.
I feel non too confident in some of them, mainly looking over it, do I actually think the giants, Steelers, Saints, and the 49ers will miss the playoffs. Guess we’ll see.
However, I make my bold predictions and will certainly be proven wrong in some of them. And of course, there are always break out players that nobody, not even there own coaches seen coming.
In practice, a player may look barely average, barely squeak his way onto a starting roster, but when the real game starts, that is what separates the average player from a Hall of Fame player.That is where unforeseen, undrafted stars are born. That is only a small portion of what captivates me during football season.