The Mirl
The Website of Eric Mirlis
Blog Archive #6 - January 31-February 6

February 6 - Just Kick the Damn Ball Off, Already!
Finally, Super Bowl Sunday is here. The most over-hyped, yet anticipated, events of the year takes place today and I
that loud sigh you hear is the American public showing their relief that we can finally stop listening to all the lip
action and actually get to the pigskin action. We have all sat around for the last two weeks listening to anyone who
can talk and get a TV camera to point at them give their analysis of the game. And, well, this is my website, so now I
get to do the same thing.

Now, let me get one this out of the way (again). I could care less who wins this game. I hate both teams. I'm a New
Yorker. All New Yorkers hate the Philly teams (and vice versa). And I'm a Jet fan. No self-respecting Jet fan will EVER
root for the Patriots, and will especially not root for their turncoat head coach. So, now that we got those
unpleasantries out of the way, here is how I see the game.....No one is beating the Patriots. I'm not much for
analysis, so I'll spare you the gory details on why I believe this, except for saying a few things I've seen.

First of all, it kills me to say it, but Bill Belichick is the best coach in pro football today. I'm not putting him that "Best
Ever" group yet, although if he wins today, he certainly deserves consideration for that. But he is a master at coming
up with game plans to shut down the strengths of his opponent and making them beat the pats with other weapons.
Give him an extra week and who knows what he'll come up with. I might even see him rolling the dice and saying,
"Let's see if Terrell Owens is healthy - beat us that way," and focusing on shutting down Brian Westbrook and the
other receivers instead. Andy Reid is a good coach. Hell, he has brought the Eagles to the NFC Championship Game
four years in a row, including this season's win, so he has to be to accomplish that. But Belichick is in a league of his

Second, the Pats have the best big game QB since Joe Montana in Tom Brady. He rarely makes silly mistakes. He
reads defenses and sees the field better than any quarterback in the game. There is a reason he has never lost a
playoff game. I like Donovan McNabb. I think he is a hell of a QB. But give me Brady in a big game any day of the week.
And this year, he has his best complimentary running back ever.

Number three is that back, Corey Dillon. Has there ever been a case where "change of scenery" meant so much to a
player and a team. Just goes to show how much wanting to win really means. Dillon goes from being a malcontent and
perceived locker room cancer in Cincinnati to team player and integral cog in the Patriots offense in one season.
Coincidence? I think not. Brian Westbrook is good and more versatile than Dillon, but doesn't have the teammates to
help take the attention away from him. In New England's offense, Dillon is a perfect fit and can carry the team if Brady
needs him to. Or he can just chip in with 100 yards like he usually does.

Fourth and finally, the experience factor is enormous. New England has been here before. They know what it takes to
win this game. Not only is Philly making its maiden voyage, but they also have had the distraction of Terrell Owens'
injury hanging around with them all week. To me, that is a huge edge for the Pats. They were able to focus on winning
more than the Eagles.

That's an edge in possibly the four biggest areas of the game (both Ds are good, so I would rate them even, and, while
Adam Vinatieri might be the best clutch kicker we'll ever see, David Akers isn't exactly a slouch). Add it all up and
here is the final score....
Patriots 31, Eagles 17

February 4 - Random Thoughts
The Home Alone version....

--Yes, that's right. Home alone. Keri is in Puerto Rico for a friend's wedding this weekend, so I'm home by myself for
the first time since I moved in almost two years ago. No chicanery is in the cards, though. Today's highlight was
laundry (yeeha!!!!). Just lots of errands and stuff around the apartment before the Super Bowl Sunday.
--Speaking of the Super Bowl, please, I'm begging, just kick off already! I can't take the hype any more. If I have to
hear one more Terrell Owens update, I might throw something at the TV. Actually, this is the exact reason I'm
avoiding SportsCenter this week.
--I've always been a proponent of skipping the off-week before the Super Bowl. The over-hype is one reason. The
Sunday off with nothing to do is another. I've always been curious whether I was in the majority in this thinking,
though. Your thoughts?
--I've been asked who I'm rooting for in the game Sunday. My answer? No one. I hate Philly teams and, as any Jet fan
will say, I hate the Patriots. Let's hope it's a good game and call it a day.
--Towards the end of the football season, it was suggested to me that I should spend this weekend in Jacksonville
with a rental car and acting as a car service for the weekend, since there are basically no cabs in the city. Man, I'm
happy I didn't do that, though. It could have been profitable IF the traffic wasn't so bad. From what I've heard, the
entire city is already gridlocked. And it's only Friday.
--No NHL news yet, but they are keeping the facade up by continuing to negotiate. As I said a couple weeks back, just
cancel the season already. If the players haven't caved by now, they aren't going to. And we know the owners aren't
changing their mindset any time soon. It's time to move on.
--Two weeks to pitchers and catchers reporting. I bought my first fantasy baseball magazine the other day. I'm ready to
--Of course, when spring training is underway, that means spring is just around the corner. We've only had one storm
here in New York so far this season. Let's keep our fingers crossed that we don't have another. It was like a spring
day outside today and it is supposed to be even nicer tomorrow. Can't wait.

That's all for now. I haven't decided whether to put up my Super Bowl preview tomorrow or Sunday yet. It might be too
nice out tomorrow to be in front of the computer. Or I might be so bored with Keri away that I do extra. We'll see.

February 1 - After All That........
Now, I'm NOT going to miss the Super Bowl.

I've been bumped from the game in Houston this weekend. I have no issues with it. I knew what was going on behind
the scenes at all times (it isn't my issue, so I'm not going to go into it here), so it really is no big deal to me. And I get
to watch the Super Bowl, so it is far from a catastrophe. In fact, when I got the call from ABC telling me, my response
was this - I struggled with the decision to work or not in the first place, so now my decision was made for me. I
couldn't lose either way (outside of the paycheck, of course). And since I'm not losing the game in Cleveland next
week, it really turns out to be a win-win situation for me. So, bring on the Bowl!!!!

Of course, now I have a different issue to deal with. Keri is away for the weekend at a wedding in Puerto Rico. We've
lived together now for almost two years and this will be the first time I sleep here without her, so it is going to be
strange (actually, it might be even weirder for the cats). I need to fill up my weekend with plans to make the time go
faster, though. I guess I'll get to find out what she goes through while I'm away for football every weekend from
September to December.

All I know is that my weekend plans were going to be interesting either way. At least I don't have to get on a plane

January 31 - A Very Tough Choice
I had a very difficult decision to make today and really struggled making it. And my conscious decision is to do
something I've never done before - miss the Super Bowl.

Yes, you read that right. I'm going to miss the Super Bowl on Sunday. Why? Because ABC called me this morning to
work for them on Sunday in Houston at the Lakers-Rockets game. It is the first time I've had to make a decision quite
like this. I mean, it's the Super Bowl!!!! I have a feeling this is going to be a good one, too, so I really wasn't sure what
to do.

I consulted friends. I thought about it and weighed both sides. Keri is going to be away at a friend's wedding in Puerto
Rico for the weekend, so that was a major positive for working. I had no plans yet to watch the game, so that was
another. We have a DVR, so I can watch it when I get home (that night if something amazing happened, the next day
if I find out it was worth watching, never if the game really sucks). The more I thought about it, watching a football
game was the only reason NOT to go. The way the flights work, I'll get to watch the first quarter in the airport, so
there was yet another positive.

So, the more I thought about it, the more sense it made to miss the Super Bowl. I really never thought I would ever
decide to do that. Most (but not all) of the friends I talked to have never missed the game. I haven't either. I guess
there is a first time for everything.

It's funny. At one point, I investigated the possibility of working the game in Jacksonville. I end up working this
weekend. Just a different game. Now, I hope the Super Bowl is terrible. Of course, with my luck, it will be the best one
ever. It can go either way. I'm sure I won't regret my decision, though. In fact, I already have another game with ABC
on the schedule just a week later. I'll just look at it as short term sacrifice for long term gain.

Of course, the paycheck doesn't exactly hurt.