American Football

Tuesday Tithbits: 3rd December

Mark Webber smuggling himself into the FIA Hall of Fame!
(Twitter: Jean Todt)

Also in that shot of past WEC champs, you can see a familiar F1 face in Martin Brundle, plus Mark’s 2015 co-champions Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley, who, like most Kiwis, was obscured from world view.


The last month of the Sporting Reviews

So as we now tick into December, my plan remains unchanged for the future of these daily pisstakes.

I’m still planning on posting until the end of the month/year, then use everything I’ve put together over the last 10 months as a sort of portfolio or educational tool, and see if I can get any full-time work.

In the highly likely event that it doesn’t work, I’ll probably keep this going in some limited capacity.


Mark Webber inducted into the FIA Hall Of Fame

Fortunately he wasn’t inducted as part of the inagural class of “Unluckiest Formula 1 drivers of all-time” alongside Jean Alesi, Rubens Barrichello, David Coulthard and Felipse Massa.

Having started in 2017 by inducting every Formula One World Champion (Including Sir Jack and Alan Jones), and recently every former World Rally Champion, the governing body recognised 29 Endurance Racing World Champions dating back to 1981, ranging from the days of the World Sportscar Championship (Which ended in 1992), to the current World Endurance Championship that began in 2012.

Of course, Mark won the title alongside Brendon Hartley and Timo Bernhard with Porsche back in 2015.

Some of the other inductees include the legendary Jacky Ickx, who was a 2x runner-up in F1, won Le Mans a then-record 6 times, and more pertinent to Australia, won the Bathurst 1000 with Allan Moffat in his first go in 1977.

As I said earlier, 1988 champion and F1 wizard Martin Brundle was also there, and Fernando Alonso, who had already been inducted as a past F1 World Champion, making him the first driver to be included twice.


The last Group 1 of the year

The Kingston Town Classic at Ascot, and many people think the reason it was named after The King was because the folk at the WATC all had a bender one night and decided to name the race after one of the icons of the turf.

Nope, the connection is simple – In 1982, after his 3rd Cox Plate and running 2nd to Gurner’s Lane in the Melbourne Cup (Miracle Mal went too early), Tommy Smith decided to bring The King over to Perth for what was then the Western Mail Classic, back in the days when the Perth Carnival was throwing out as much money as the Melbourne Spring.

By default, that makes him the best horse to ever race in this part of the universe.

Long story short, he got stuck 4 wide the trip, and still proved too good – Malcolm Johnston talk about in this 2015 interview with Wes Cameron (The replay kicks off at 12:37).

It was his 30th and final win from 41 starts, and it turned out to be his final start altogether, as injuries denied The King a proper farewell, and he finally retired in 1986.

25 years on, the race was officially renamed The Kingston Town Classic, having been known throughout history as the Marlboro 50,000, the aforementioned Western Mail Classic, The Rothwells Stakes, The Winfield Stakes….

And who could forget the great Beat Diabetes 2 Stakes, and the Fruit ‘N’ Veg Stakes.


Suliasi Vinivalu moving from the Storm to the Queensland Reds in 2021

It’s like the opposite of Will Chambers, who funnily enough, also made the move to rugby this offseason.

Chambers left the Reds after 2011 to move to the Storm, and now big Suli is going from the Storm to the Reds.

Given his heritage, he’s going to slot straight in to the Wallabies line-up.


Australians in the NFL: Week 13


Mitch Wishnowsky (49ers) lost to the Baltimore Ravens 20-17 @ M&T Bank Stadium

It promised to be a brutal game between the two best teams in the league, and the driving rain provided a brutal backdrop.

The 49ers scored on the opening drive when GOATroppolo went for it on 4th and 2, and hit Deebo Samuel, who ran it in for a 33 yard touchdown, but Lamar Jackson and the Ravens hit back and led 17-14 by the half, with the Niners originally tying the scores again by providing another highlight – Raheem Mostert strapping an outboard motor on and running 40 yards for a touchdown.

With the scores tied at 17 after 3 quarters, the Niners drove downfield in the 4th quarter, and with 6:33 to go, faced a 4th and 1 at the Ravens’ 35, which would’ve been a near impossible field goal in the conditions, so, averaging 6 yards a carry, Kyle Shanahan went for it.

By passing.

The pass batted away at the line of scrimmage, the Ravens got the ball and never gave it back, pounding the rock downfield, setting up the win with a 49 yard field goal from the historically accurate leg of Justin Tucker as time expired.

As for Mitch, because of a combination of the weather and several other things such as fumbles and missed field goals, he only punted twice for the game, the second of which was returned by De’Anthony Thomas, which ended up in Ravens’ territory, starting a drive that was eventually turned over on downs.

Just highlighting how wild the NFC is, the 49ers went from the 1st Seed to the 5th seed after this Week, and are now right up against it to win the nFC West from the Seahawks.

Both their losses have been from field goals as time expired… Brutal.

Lachie Edwards (Jets) lost to the Cincinatti Bengals 22-6 @ Paul Brown Stadium

It was a battle of the Bungles vs the Jests, and for all their improvement, Gang Green are still that bad, that they give their own fans gangrene.

In a hilariously true story, the Jets are 0-4 against winless teams in 2019; Lost to Buffalo Week 1, lost to 0-1 Cleveland in Week 2, 0-7 Miami in Week 8, and now they’ve been absolute shit stomped by the 0-11 Bengals.

After this game, in which he punted 6 times, Edwards now leads the league in punts, with 69 (Giggity) in 12 games…. which actually isn’t a good thing at all.

Jordan Berry (Steelers) defeated Cleveland Browns 17-10 @ Heinz Field

Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens was seen during the week wearing a shirt that said “PITTSBURGH STARTED IT,” which, like a good leader, he pinned on his daughter.

Well based on this game, PITTSBURGH ENDED IT.

I think the current records of both the Steelers and Browns are fairly indicative of the set-up of both franchises.

The Steelers lost their best wideout (Antonio Brown) and best running back (Leveon Bell) preseason, then lost Ben Roethlisberger to injury, to be replaced by Mason Rudolph, The Red Nosed QB, and Devlin ‘Duck’ Hodges.

They’re now 7-5.

The Browns have more talent than The Jackson 5… and because of how utterly inept they are as a franchise from top to bottom, they’re 5-7.

Cam Johnston (Eagles) lost to the Miami Dolphins 38-31 @ Hard Rock Stadium

Hahahahaha, Philly.

The one week their offense finally gets it together, the defence gets shredded by a Dolphins team that at one point in this season, was actively tanking, and looked like the most inept in the history of professional football.

The difference is Ryan FitzMagic is now absolutely established at the helm.

But screw all that, the Iggles also got beaten by one of the best executed trick plays ever seen, which funnily enough, looked like a play called ‘The Swinging Gate’, which became infamous thanks to the ineptitude of the Indianapolis Colts, only that this was known as ‘Mountaineer Shot’, and was absolutely hilarious to see.

What made this example of special teams porn so hilarious was that it was the punter Matt Haack throwing the touchdown pass… TO THE KICKER (Jason Sanders).

It was the first time since 1977 that a kicker had caught a touchdown pass, and the first time since 1964 that a punter had thrown a touchdown pass to a kicker.

Yep, the NFC East really does historically suck balls.

Adam Gotsis (Broncos) defeated LA Chargers 23-20 @ Mile High

After Drew Lock made a spectacular debut for the Donkeys, they still found ways to let the Chargers back into the game, and with with 8 seconds left and the scores tied at 20, the Broncos were anchored on their own 28-yard line, needing a jumpball pass interference to have any hope of getting downfield and scoring.

The Chargers being the Chargers, they gave it to them, and Brandon McManus, with the aid of the thin air, easily hit the game-winner from 53 yards, as the team formerly known as the San Diego Chargers found another heartbreaking and downright hilarious way to lose.

Dear god, how much can a team and 2% of their remaining fanbase suffer through?

Adam ended up playing a relatively small 12 snaps in a low-key night.

Michael Dickson (Seahawks) defeated the Minnesota Vikings 37-30 @ CenturyLink Field

This week has been a superb week for Special Teams play in the NFL – The Falcons nailing 3 onside kicks in a row, Mountaineer Shot, the Panthers recovered an onside kick and the Seahawks capped it off by executing a very successful fake punt in the 4th Quarter.

Michael selling it beautifully

Although I’m pretty sure that drive ended in a fumble which the Vikings turned into a touchdown.

There was another wild moment which put the Vikings up 14-7, when Russell Wilson had a pass deflected back to him, which he tried batting back beyond the line of scrimmage, only for Anthony Harris to swoop on it for a Pick 6 touchdown.

The Seahawks then scored 24 unanswered points, they’re now 10-2, and lead the 49ers in the NFC West thanks to that victory a couple of weeks ago, giving them the head-to-head tiebreaker.


Arryn Sipposs’ minor role in Auburn beating Alabama in the Iron Bowl

About 7 years ago I remember Arryn Sipposs running around for St Kilda, before like many Aussies, he took the punt, went over to the US and entered the College punting ranks, becoming the staring punter for the Tigers in 2018.

So long story short, Auburn led their arch-rivals in the annual Iron Bowl 48-45 with 1:17 to go, they had the ball after Bama missed a field goal, and faced a 4th & 4 on their own 26 yard line.

Auburn coach Gus Malzahn sent the punt team on, including Sipposs, and then caused chaos by sending starting QB Bo Nix back on the field to make it look like they were running a legal offensive play, since they had 7 players on the line of scrimmage, and 5 as offensive linemen.

Sipposs was in position as a receiver (Against Bama’s No.1 corner), so he could potentially move back into punting position once Bama didn’t have their return man on the field, pinning them deep without any timeouts.

In the utter confusion, ‘Bama coach Nick Saban scrambled to swap the punt team with the defensive unit, but the damage had been done- The Crimson Tide had 13 players on the field (Including the returner), the flag was thrown, 5 yard penalty, 1st down, game over, Saban cracks the sads –

TIDE ROLLED.


The Max Duffy update – Kentucky defeated Louisville 45-13

Thanksgiving weekend is the annual rivalry weekend in the College game, and the two major schools in Kentucky played off for the Governor’s Cup, which the Wildcats regained last season in a 56-10 blowout.

In pissy rain, the Cardinals scored on their opening possession but missed the PAT, the Wildcats got the ball and responded with a touchdown to take the lead, and after leading 17-13 at the half, blew their eternal rivals out of the quarter for the second year running, with 4 second-half touchdowns.

With all the scoring, Duffy only punted the ball twice, the second was an inch perfect pooch punt in the 3rd Quarter that pinned the Cardinals at their own 4 yard line.

A big end to the year for the Wildcats by winning their last 3 games, they finish the year 7-5, and with that winning record are Bowl eligible, meaning they will be featuring in one of the 300,000 different Bowl games which have sprung up throughout December (The matchups will be announced next Wednesday).

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