Thursday, November 12, 2009

Greek Week at G:TB

I hate the Titans more than any NFL team. I hate their flaming logo. I hate Jeff Fisher’s hick mustache/mullet combo and the inordinate amount of respect he gets despite having a 0.544 career record. I hate watching the ugly brand of football they’ve played for the past dozen years. I hated Jevon Kearse in his first stint with the Titans. I hated all the undue media fellation bestowed unto Steve McNair with his 6.9 ypa and Eddie George with his 3.6 ypc. I hate Derrick Mason, the worst 10,000 yard receiver of all time.

But my hatred for the Titans was truly born on January 8, 1999, the day when that which the mainstream media and other peckerless douchewads refer to as the “Music City Miracle” occurred. I freely admit that this hatred is stupid. Completely irrational. It’s just a game. The Bills couldn’t have won it all. The Titans are a bland franchise without a storied history, completely unworthy of my disdain. But I can’t shake it. I hated Bud Adams’ postgame comment that he had never seen anything like the “Home Run Throwback” play before. (Which is total horseshit. Unit M’s A-side intramural team ran that play in 1996. The Redskins ran it with Desmond Howard and Darrell Green, too.) I hate watching replays of that spot pass. It’s like the Zapruder film, you can’t really tell what happened. It always, and rightfully, appears on “Top 10” lists. And I know I’ll have to watch it multiple times before this weekend’s Bills/Titans tilt.



The team that plays in Tennessee doesn’t deserve to be called the Titans. To make my case I need to enlist the aid of Thomas Bulfinch, a Harvard-educated accountant who lived in Boston in the nineteenth century. In his free time, he summarized classic stories “in simple, condensed form for young or busy readers.” Kind of like what we do here at G:TB. Bulfinch’s most famous work, “Bulfinch’s Mythology,” was given to me by my grandmother when I was about 8 years old. Today I turn to this tome to take Tennessee’s Titans to task.

The Titans were a race of gods who begat, and were eventually overthrown by, Zeus and the rest of the Olympian gods. Jupiter ate all of his children, except for Zeus, who later tricked Jupiter into vomiting them up. Ripshit from exposure to digestive juices, Jupiter’s children got medieval on his ass and imprisoned Jupiter and the rest of the Titans in Tartarus. Homer said Tartarus was as far beneath Hades as Hades is beneath the earth. And from what Bulfinch has to say, being in Tartarus sucks. Thus being a Titan sucks.

The Houston Oilers were an original AFL franchise that was eventually overthrown and subsumed by the NFL. Then they were relocated to Tennessee, which sounds a lot like being banished to Tartarus to me, and renamed the Titans. But is this franchise sufficiently miserable to warrant the Titans moniker? I think not. The Titans have not experienced nearly enough suffering to qualify for Titan status. They should be stripped of the name and henceforth called something more fitting, like the Yokels, Bumpkins, Hillbillies or Inbreds.

But who has the right to bear the Titan burden?

There were a bunch of Titans, according to Bulfinch. The most famous one is probably Prometheus. He and his brother Epimetheus (but not his buddy Epididymis) were tasked with making man and animals, and providing them with various faculties like claws, strength, wings, and so on. Epi screwed up and gave all the faculties out to the animals without saving any for man. So Prometheus gave man fire. Apparently he wasn’t supposed to, and, as you probably know, he was punished by being chained to a rock where a bird would peck out his liver every day, and it would grow back every night only to have the whole bird pecking thing happen again. What you probably don’t know is that Prometheus knew some secret that would have gotten him off the rock, but he refused to drop a dime on his boy Jove (the stop snitchin’ movement started early) and he remains on the rock to this day. According to Bulfinch, “He has therefore become the symbol of magnanimous endurance of unmerited suffering, and strength of will resisting oppression.”

Sounds like the Bills to me.

Prometheus gave us more than fire. Pandora, the world’s first woman, was created to tell you about new music you like . . . er, rather to punish Prometheus and mankind for the fire incident. So without Prometheus we would be sitting around in the dark and not getting laid. Kind of like the Wheelhouse staff.

Pandora had a box (yeah she did!) that she wasn’t supposed to open. But she was a woman, and G:TB readers know that women never listen, so it’s no surprise that she opened it and all sorts of miserable shit poured out. Kind of like when Ralph Wilson opens his mouth at a press conference to announce a new coach. All that remained in Pandora’s box, much like a Bills fan’s heart, was hope.

But the Bills don’t deserve to be called Titans.

The Tennessee Titans are not the first Titans. There were the aforementioned Tartarus Titans, of course, but also the New York Titans, who later became the New York Je(s)ts. TR has previously summarized Jets misery in this space. The Titan name is more fitting for them than for Tennessee. Like the Titans of Greek lore, they briefly ruled the league (1969, clicks), and were then banished to the football version of Tartarus, losing games and sucking balls for eternity. Not only are they banished to a stretch of swamp off the Turnpike, said stretch is named for their cross-town rivals. And their fans are “the symbol of magnanimous endurance of unmerited suffering, and strength of will resisting oppression.” Tommy Bulfinch would approve.

The Bills are no Titans. Unlike the Jets, the Bills never ruled. They never had an ignominious fall from deity. They were never stripped of godhood. They were always merely mortal.

The Bills could be Tantalus – fulfillment is within sight, but perpetually out of reach. Rooting for the Bills is a lot like rooting for Sisyphus. You know they’re destined lose in the end and hoping for success is pure futility. Ixion was fucking bumming too. He was chained to a spinning, flaming wheel and had to constantly yell “You should show gratitude to your benefactor!” But these comparisons aren’t quite right.





The Bills are like Tityus. He was a giant, but not a Titan. He also tried to assault some goddess so he was given the same punishment as Prometheus. The thing with the birds eating his perpetually regenerating liver – that’s the analogy I’m making to the Bills, not the business with the assault. O.J. is a killer, not a rapist.

When the Bills move to Toronto in a few years, they have to drop the Bills mascot. It makes no sense outside of Buffalo. Hopefully they’ll read G:TB and rechristen the team the Tityuses, or even better, the Tityii. We shall see.

This is supposed to be a preview of a football game, not a classics lesson. So here’s some incisive analysis.

The Inbreds welcome the Tityii to Doublewide Stadium with open arms and a gap-toothed smile. They have the league’s #2 rushing offense. Inbred RB Chris Johnson leads the league with 959 rushing yards, averaging an insane 6.7 yards per carry. He’s apparently the fastest guy in the league. The Tityii run defense is as impotent as Raffie Palmeiro, giving up more total yards on the ground than any other team in the league. Opponents average 173.6 yards per game on the season, 209.8 yards per game in their past 6 outings. Their Barry Sandersesque 5.1 ypc against is the 14th worst ypc against in NFL history. Let me say that again. The 14th worst yards per carry against IN THE HISTORY OF THE EN EFF FUCKING ELL. They give it up like Ashley Dupre.

John Fox should have been fired on the spot the second he allowed Jake Delhomme to throw a single pass against the Tityii. Jeff Fisher may be an Inbred coach, but he won’t screw this up. The only way he can lose is if he puts Chris Johnson on the bench. Because every time Johnson touches the ball he’ll score. I guarantee Johnson has a historic performance on Sunday, barring injury. Three hundred yards is not out of the question. I’m not kidding. The Tityii gave up 210 yards to 31-year-old Thomas Jones. You don’t think Chris Johnson can top that? Hell (Tartarus?), Johnson could get 200 yards with Vince Young chipping in another 100 yards rushing … by the end of the 3rd quarter.

The Inbreds have the worst pass defense in the league, statistically, but I don’t buy it. They played the Steelers, Texans, Colts, and Pats. That skews their numbers a bit. Ryan Fitzpatrick will never be mistaken for Roethlisberger, Schaub, Peyton, or Brady. The Tityii couldn’t score at will through the air against Mount Saint Mary’s girls quadriplegic team. And the Inbreds are fair to middling against the run. This will be ugly.

Final score: Inbreds 38, Tityii 10

43 comments:

TR said...

I may have a comment after I finish, but I've only read though Chapter 7 of your post so far.

Michael said...

Excellent work here. I much prefer to call them the Inbreds.

Anyone else here think that the Inbreds still win about 8 games this season with Vince at the helm? Highly possible when looking at the rest of their schedule.

Greg said...

Never have I read so scholarly an account of the trials of a football fan. Bravo Zoltan, bravo.

zoltan said...

This was to make up for the baseball to the groin video.

Like Michael, I too think that the Titans can win a bunch of games with Vince Young. Eight seems like too many though. I think they'll end up 6-10.

Mark said...

In other Tennessee related football news:

When I first heard about the armed robbery arrests of 3 UT freshman football players, my first thought was, "HAHAHA!". Then, my second thought was, "The only way this can get better is if Nu'Keese Richardson is involved...well, maybe it could be even a little better than that if Janzen Jackson is involved." Needless to say, I'm all smiles today.

Whitney said...

Nice work, Z. Though you always egregiously omit the Franck Reich game. It doesn't accentuate your point, but it's an integral part of the story between these two teams.

zoltan said...

One of those clowns was wearing UT football gear during the robbery. He'll likely get a Darwin Award nomination.

Whitney said...

And I thought Jupiter/Jove was the Roman equivalent of the Greek god Zeus. Maybe Bulfinch's took some liberties?

Is it kind of like the movie Excalibur which took some serious liberties with Arthurian legend? Because I took a college course on Arthurian lit and relied heavily on watching that film to gain my knowledge of the stories, much to my chagrin.

Geoff said...

I onlyread the longer GTB posts to find where the comments impugning some aspect of my sexuality will appear.

zoltan said...

Prometheus could have blackmailed Jove/Jupier/Zeus to get off the rock but he didn't.

Whitney said...

And I think you undervalue Jeff Fisher.

He may have a .546 winning pct, but that counts the partial (dead in the water) season in which he took over and went 1-5. Also counts the next season where he took a 2-14 to 7-9. Shouldn't count against him.

He did have flop seasons of 5-11 & 4-12 later on, mostly because McNair got old & hurt, Billy Volek played, and the defense went from stalwart to . . . just wart, I guess.

But he has also skippered this team to their best seasons in franchise history. Three seasons of 13-3 and a 12-4; even the awesome Bum Phillips, with Earl Campbell, Dan Pastorini, White Shoes, Mike Renfro (worse mullet/stache than Fisher), Ken Burrough (#00), and Elvin Bethea, only reached 11 wins in his best season.

And he came within a foot and a half of being a Super Bowl winner. For that snake-bitten franchise, that's as good as it gets for them.

He still looks like a NASCAR driver, but I think he's done one of the better head coaching jobs in the NFL in the last 20 years.

zoltan said...

Whitney is an Inbred apologist.

Whitney said...

Thanks go out to all my good friends at G:TB checking in to see how I am with my town under several feet of water. (Actually, I'm just pretending one of you cared enough to check in.) This Nor'easter is crushing us. I just had to drop my girls off at my folks, and I had to park a block away and wade to the house with them.

Anybody else affected?

Geoff said...

Yeah, my blue blazer got pretty wet walking from my house to the car. I may have to get it dry cleaned.

zoltan said...

It's merely spritzing here, but Hymen's flight in from Dallas is delayed.

Mark said...

Nor'easter? Isn't what's left of Hurricane Ida the system affecting you Whit?

cgormley said...

Random stupid titans story. I ran a half marathon in Nashvegas couple years ago and it ended at the 50 yard line in the titans stadium.

The titan cheerleaders were there to cheer us at the end and give out finisher medals, that's right finisher medals. Feeling like being ass, I hugged several of them. The look of disgust on their faces when a nasty sweaty stinky runner hugged them was priceless.

Michael said...

Another name that isn't a name: Creighton guard P'Allen Stinnett. really?

TR said...

I had no idea Gregg Easterbrook wrote for our column. Where's the creepy cheerleader reference and the mockery of coaches who punt?

Whitney said...

Yep, Mark, this is Ida remnants. But that bitch has decided to hover over us since Wednesday night, and it's supposed to rain until tomorrow night. This water town can't take more than a few inches of rain. 6 or 7 blocks from my place it's 4 feet deep with dead vehicles everywhere.

zoltan said...

I realized at some point that I was Easterbrooking and I felt toolish. But I am used to toolishness and so I soldiered on. There are no creepy cheerleader references but there is a drawing of three naked ancient Greeks. Full frontal creepiness.

TR said...

No sweat, Z-Man. Teej and I were just saying the other day that we needed more sketched cock on this site. Good job taking care of that.

Greg said...

"Z-Man and the Teej" sounds like it could be a "totally awesome" radio morning show.

zoltan said...

TJ said you asked for "stretched" cock, but I refused to deliver on that.

TJ said...

Sunny and 70 in San Diego, but, uh, this is a major U.S. City, right? It's easier to get a cab in fucking Latham, NY.

TJ said...

From the "Ms. Lippy's Car is Green" file:

Billy Wagner owns a farm in Virginia that raises alpacas?

David Klingler once threw for 716 yards in a game?

Navy has carried the ball 602 times this year...and only fumbled six times.

And I was sure I knew who held the record for most wins by a college qb, a record that Colt McCoy will tie and break in the next two weeks. But it's not Phillip Rivers. Guesses?

Whitney said...

Ron Powlus. Oh, I thought you said "most wince" by a college qb. Yuk yuk yuk.

zoltan said...

I thought Billy Wagner raised alcantaras.

Is the winningest QB Staubach?

rob said...

Jay Barker

TR said...

Barker's a good guess. You're in the right conference.

zoltan said...

It has to be one of those old-timey guys.

TR said...

It's not Z-Man. Schedules were shorter then, and no conference championship games.

zoltan said...

But aren't all the unbeaten streaks from old-timey teams? Like Oklahoma in the 1960's? Their QB must have had a ton of wins.

Geoff said...

I believe he the qb in question went to UGA in the early 2000s.

TR said...

And it's not Eriz Zeier (sp?)

Mark said...

David Greene, he of the great record and terrible arm.

And Whit, I feel your pain. We had a similar problem with a tropical storm that stalled out above my beach town last August. Flooded my street and many of the houses on it (and plenty of other streets too). I think i may have even posted a few photos of my flooded street here at G:TB.

Geoff said...

Well we all have stories...

Greg said...

Yeah, I got a rash.

Mark said...

File that under: "Things Greg has yet to talk to his girlfriend about."

TR said...

This Rutgers performance is impressive and surprising, even though they've had the Bulls' number the last three years.

Mark said...

Sager just touched on a pretty neat story: Former Heat 1st rounder and Hurricane star Tim James willingly enlisted in the Army a few years ago and is now stationed in Irag detecting and disarming IEDs.

TJ said...

Jay Cutler has thrown three of the worst picks I've ever seen tonight.

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