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Tuesday, 7 October 2014

NFL #MusicMonday: The Master of Puppets Edition

Few things in life make me happier than some hard driving music. I’m a self-confessed metal head that enjoys dabbling in all genres of music. At the end of the day though, I prefer screaming guitars, double pedals on my bass drums and grungy looking dudes spitting fire on stage.

Who better to profile here than Metallica? I’ll say right off the bat I’m not the biggest Metallica fan, especially Lars Ulrich, but that’s a different story for a different website. However, for the past 30 years they have been the face of metal for many Americans and it’s a place they earned by continuously producing at least one or two monster hit songs every decade in which they have been active. 

They are probably inextricably linked with baseball via Mariano Rivera, but when you think of the violence and speed of the NFL, there are plenty of songs that serve as a great soundtrack for all of the gridiron action. Plus they're huge Raider fans. Which makes perfect sense, who else but a metal band would be fans of the Raiders?

I tried to include tracks from just about every decade and album and it gives this week’s #MusicMonday an interesting feel and serves as a tour through their ever-changing but signature sound. Let’s hit it!  

Through The Never - Album: “Metallica: The Black Album” 1991

To borrow a phrase to describe the action this weekend, It ain’t over ’til the fat lady sings! Rarely do we get treated to a weekend with so many games coming down to either the final play or the final few minutes, ironic given how lopsided the two primetime TV games were this weekend. Eight games were decided by a touchdown or less with two going into overtime and another ending on a field goal as time expired. Now if only we could get some of these nail-biters to unfold on TNF, SNF or MNF. Speaking of close games…   

…And Justice For All - Album: “…And Justice For All” 1988

Maybe I’m just seeing things in brown and orange colored glasses, but the Browns’ monster comeback victory may have been the most important win for the franchise since William Green ran wild against the Atlanta Falcons in 2002. Things seem to have fallen into place for Brian Hoyer and barring injury, there is no way he is losing the job as the starting signal caller. 

The head coaching job search looked like a debacle after the unexpected firing of Rob Chudzinski and Mike Pettine has to feel vindicated after hearing all of the chatter about being the Browns’ fifth choice to lead the team. Are they playoff bound? I’m not drinking that kool-aid yet, but I like what I see thus far.

The Memory Remains (w the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra) - Album: “S&M” 1999

“Heavy rings on fingers wave
Another star denies the grave”

After their beating on Monday Night Football at the hands of the Chiefs, the stories wondering if the end of the Belichick-Brady Era was happening before our eyes hit the papers, sports magazines and online publications in a tidal wave of scrutiny. Then the stories came pouring in about how unhappy Tom Brady was with the direction of the team and the atmosphere in New England. Maybe it’s all true. Maybe the window is closed on the Patriots and maybe Brady is legitimately unhappy now (what has Belichick done to give Brady any offensive help since the Randy Moss years?) but I know better than to bet the house against Brady. 

Brady surpassed 50,000 passing yards, becoming only the sixth player to do so, en route to completely demolishing the Bengals who looked like they were early contenders for the AFC crown. Point here is, I’m not ready to declare anyone in Foxboro dead.  

Some Kind of Monster - Album: “St. Anger” 2003

I don’t like having the debate about the best quarterback in NFL history. So many factors go into it that it’s become a fairly pointless argument, not too different from arguing who is an “elite” quarterback. Who cares?

Here’s what I do know about Peyton Manning: his greatness is visible on the field every weekend and he has the absolutely bizarre numbers to back it up. He now has 503 career passing touchdowns, placing him second to Brett Favre’s 508. He has more touchdowns than Hall of Famers YA Tittle and Dan Fouts. Combined. No matter the receivers, running backs, or linemen in front of him, he is as reliable as a Swiss watch. Have there been better quarterbacks? It’s entirely possible that there have been, but who would turn down 60,000+ passing yards, 500+ touchdowns, three Super Bowl appearances and a Super Bowl win?

Sad But True - Album: “Metallica: The Black Album” 1991

“I'm your truth, telling lies
I'm your reasoned alibis
I'm inside open your eyes
I'm you
Sad But True”

Where do we start with Jets? Their most memorable highlight thus far in the season is probably this clip from yesterday’s game. Geno Smith looks lost on the field and is a near lock to make two bad plays for every good one. Maybe he shouldn’t miss team meetings the day before games? The defense, the side of the ball Rex Ryan used to hang his hat on, is a sieve. The coaches don’t seem to have the ear or trust of the players and it shows everywhere on the field. Time to hit the reset button in the Meadowlands and send everyone responsible for this mess packing.

Ride The Lightning - Album: “Ride The Lightning” 1984

You got me Cowboys, you really got me. I was sure that after a such a tumultuous offseason that included losing your best defensive player and surgery for your quarterback, you would be a flaming pile of rubble in a nice stadium with a really large television. Whatever changed, it changed for the better. You found an offensive identity that is reminiscent of the 1990s Cowboys, your defense looks solid enough to keep games close, and dare I say your young guys like Dez Bryant are becoming on field leaders. I don’t even know who you are anymore.

Special Dedication 

For Whom The Bell Tolls - Album: “Ride The Lightning” 1984

“Take a look to the sky just before you die
It is the last time you will” 

Normally I dedicate a song to the Monday night participants but I think this game tonight will be a complete laugher. Instead of wasting my time with that, I’d like to rehash the absolute carnage that took place over the weekend in college football. Four teams in the top six of the AP Poll lost which is the first time that’s happened since before most of the kids currently playing were even born. 

It seems appropriate that in a year where there might not be a clear-cut number one or number two, that we’re finally (kind of, sort of) getting a playoff system. 


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