PlayBook: Football Season Is Over

By Fraser Lockerbie

No more fun. No more games. Football season is over and life in February is cold for most sports fans.

February is a fine month for people looking to avoid high drama and for senior citizens who don’t know the score and can’t find the remote. It’s a slow month for sports, with the Super Bowl behind us and a month still to go before we descend into madness. Very few people will be satisfied with this meaningless drivel of midseason hockey and the only ones who are, are a handful of lifers from Detroit and Boston and a few Canadians who can finally watch 56 uninterrupted hours of some ritualistic bore they call curling.

For the rest of us this is a time of reprieve and deep-seated depression. The NBA talent pool has been spread so thin we scour these days to find a game worth watching and we’ve already been over the problematic nuisance of hockey being aired regularly on live TV.

We will all go crazy and weird in these dwindling days of winter with nothing to watch but Pro-Am Golf and the on-going conflict between supermodel wives, 260 pound running backs and a shirtless, dancing Rob Gronkowski. This is the kind of mudslinging that will always follow a close Super Bowl; it’s what we’re left with when the dust settles and a few sensationalist talking heads are still pulling air time having yet to pack their bags and be air-bound for Pebble Beach.

But fueling rumors, feuds and finger-pointing will never fully suffice or amply feed a full-grown and healthy sports addiction. No, we will need action; high-caliber, 8-cylinder action and speed. We will need speed and high stakes and a continually updated score. And maybe some good scotch and a working phone in case things get serious enough that we need to talk to someone who knows about these things and is not afraid to casually wager on their outcome.

We are sports writers, a mean and rare breed that will settle for nothing less. We are the wild and free children of the night. We like our music loud and our sports on TV.

But as it stands, Gisele Bundchen is still the most important thing happening in football right now and there is only one NCAA Basketball game on tonight, a likely lopsided affair between Harvard and Pennsylvania. I suppose we might watch the Lakers play the Knicks or the Clippers and the Sixers but in this football induced hangover facing the prospect that we will not see another meaningful game for another six months, basketball seems pointless.

This curling thing might catch on though. There seems to be a rock and some sort of hammer and a lot of kicking and screaming and running around. This guy in the middle is some kind of quarterback and the rest of his team are sweeping with brooms? Is this making sense? Can you bet on this? Are there odds? Its 9-4 now for something called Manitoba and without knowing a thing my money is on them.

This Week’s Lines:

Clippers (+4) over Sixers

The Sixers are still averaging just above nine point differentials, are 18-8 and have shown they can slow high-powered offenses. But Lob City? There is really no one on this team that can stop Blake Griffin driving to the basket. There is really no one on any team that can do that save that freak moment when Danilo Galinari just shut him down. That’s the only time that’s ever happened.

Lakers (-4) over Knicks

These are two powerhouse franchises struggling to make ends meet amid changes in personnel. The Lakers have an excuse; they got worse with the departure of Odom and the aging of Kobe, Derek Fisher and the player formerly known as Ron Artest. The Knicks? On paper they got better with A’mare Stoudemire, Tyson Chandler and Carmelo Anthony. In fact they arguably have one of the best front courts in the game but are 11-15 and fading fast in the Atlantic.  The Lakers are coming off a big OT win against rival Boston and they’ll be looking to build on that momentum as they sweep through the Northeast.

Jazz (+1.5) over Thunder

Then there’s the Northwest. The Thunder are clear frontrunners for this division but the Jazz, with an interesting assembling of talent, are lurking not far behind waiting for the boys in Oklahoma to stumble. This game line seems small, but this is a mismatch for the Thunder; Utah should be able to hang in there.


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