Category Archives: NFL

Let’s Get a Few Things Off My Chest: Groundhog Day Edition

From time to time, I need to get a few things off my chest…this is the second installment of 2014.

• Last night’s Super Bowl, a 43-8 Seattle defensive annihilation of Denver’s historically good offense, was a bit of a surprise for all.  It wasn’t as much about what they did, but more so how they did it.  From the opening offensive play safety, to the Peyton Manning cold weather lob interceptions, to the second half opening kickoff return by Percy Harvin who managed to complete a game without injury for the first time this season, there was just a whole lot of weird (Russell Wilson’s consummate game management aside) going on.  Even “talk of the nation” and notable Stanford grad Richard Sherman was carted off the field in the early fourth quarter before he could have a fair shot at an Erin Andrews post-game interview reprise.  On the non-football end of things, the national anthem was delivered by an opera singer not exactly aligned with the pulse of the football viewing audience (Renée Fleming was stunning.  It just speaks to how different one of the world’s best classically trained singers is compared to your average pop star.  On the converse, it speaks to how good Whitney Houston is compared to other pop stars.).  The halftime show, featuring an admittedly exhilarating performance by Bruno Mars, managed to fit in a brief Red Hot Chili Peppers cameo that made no sense next to the retro Motown stylings of Mars.  The New Jersey winter weather, promoted as a major Super Bowl headline, was a non-factor during the game.  Again, there was just a whole lot of weird going on.  In many ways, I am glad that the New England Patriots sat this one out.

Pepsi Super Bowl XLVIII Halftime Show

• One Super Bowl moment lost in the shuffle of strange was a commercial for the new U2 song “Invisible.”  Released yesterday during the day as a free download for 24 hours, Bank of America, an at times challenging pillar of American big business, will donate $1 to (RED), Bono’s incredible organization attempting to put an end to the AIDS crisis in Africa, for every download.  “Invisible” is announced to be a track on U2’s long awaited (five years next month since their last studio album release, No Line on the Horizon) 2014 album (When? Who knows.  June, maybe?).  The song itself, although not cutting down any Joshua Tree’s as “The Fly” once did, is my favorite “first song from a U2 album” release since All That You Can’t Behind’s “Beautiful Day1” (sorry “Vertigo” and “Get on Your Boots”).  We can all hope that this will be a harbinger for the album to com

• I finally got around to see Frozen this weekend.  I usually try to be on the precipice of a pop culture phenomenon as the Disney animated feature and the “Let it Go” movement have become, but on this one I missed the reindeer ride.  Over two months after its original theatrical release, it was so well worth the wait.  A little late for its own post, here are a quick five things you need to know about Frozen:

1. The direction by Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee is outstanding and some of the best I have ever seen in an animated feature.

2. The songs by the Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez are classic and indelible melodies that will quickly find their way into your humming, whistling, and shower singing selves.

3. Kristen Bell has a gorgeous voice and plays Anna most beautifully.  Idina Menzel continues to be a vocal force.  In a career of musical hits, could “Let It Go” be her most beloved?

4. Olaf the snowman, performed brilliantly by Josh Gad, is the best comedic sidekick in a Disney animated feature since the Timon and Pumbaa tandem from The Lion King.

5. Frozen is a movie, that along with Tangled, would fit perfectly in the Disney animated feature renaissance row ofThe Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, The Lion King, and the underrated Pochahontas.  It’s physical form will someday reside on my DVD shelf.

Bill, Amy, and Seth

• Saturday Night Live said goodbye to Seth Meyers this week as he prepares for his new gig at Late Night, beginning later in the month.  As is SNL tradition, some old family members came by to honor his departure.  Amy Poehler, as she often does, said it best when she described him as “the heart of this program for the past twelve years.”  He will be missed.

• Mostly a teaser for what is to come, the exes arrived on Real World: Ex-Plosion this week in the last segment of the episode.  I will share some of my thoughts after the next episode.

Philip Seymour Hoffman

• And finally, I am deeply saddened by the tragic death of Philip Seymour Hoffman.  One of my first posts on this site was a “Five Things You Need to Know” on The Master.  I described him as “America’s (qualifying the nationality of Daniel Day-Lewis) best living film actor.”  I stand by what I wrote at the time.  There was no one better.  My heart goes out to his family and friends, especially to his three young children.  What a momentous loss.

David J. Bloom can be reached on twitter @davidbloom7 and writes about MTV’s “The Challenge,” pop culture, and the NBA for Bishop and Company.


  1. It’s just a great song. 

Let’s Get A Few Things Off My Chest: MLK Day Edition

From time to time, I need to get a few things off my chest…this is the first installment of 2014.

• I have never been a regular viewer of network Late Night television (SNL is the exception) and struggle with the traditional monologue/guest/guest/lesser known guest format, but this may have to change (at least through the DVR access point).  I watched the Jimmy Fallon Best of Late Night Primetime Special last week and was thoroughly entertained and impressed.  He does some hilarious things, especially with any form of musical parody, any collaboration with Justin Timberlake, and any time the Roots are involved (I never would have known that the band I struggled to connect with on those spring days on Foss Hill at Wesleyan would become the house band of The Tonight Show!).  I am all in on Jimmy as the host of The Tonight Show and am ready to see what Seth Myers will do with Late Night.  In the branches of the Lorne Michaels tree of comedy prosperity I trust.

Here are some of my favorite Jimmy Fallon clips:

An a cappella version of “Can’t Stop”:

The “Sesame Street Theme” with childhood instruments:

A lip sync battle between Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Stephen Merchant:

The “History of Rap” performed by Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon:

The “Reading Rainbow” theme sung by the Doors:

• Yes, yesterday’s Patriots AFC Championship game loss to the Denver Broncos was a disappointment (and a crushing blow to a potential Super Bowl hosting party gig), the grieving period will be short-lived.  As a lifelong Boston sports fan, I have both experienced my share of devastating losses (I am looking at you 2008 Super Bowl, 2003 ALCS, 2010 NBA Finals…I could go on) and thankfully, an embarrassment of the richest successes beginning with the first time Brady and Belichick combined forces almost twelve years ago.  The 2013-2014 New England Patriots overachieved amidst a who’s who of best player loss to injury (Gronk, Wilfork, Mayo, and most recently, Talib), free agency (Welker, Woodhead) and incarceration for murder (the increasingly vile tale of Aaron Hernandez).  The defensive offsides penalty had already been thrown on much of this free play of a season, so to even be within one win of the Super Bowl was something to celebrate.  Yesterday, the best football team won.  As Bill Belichick’s full calendar of 2014 draft preparation already shows, it is time to move on to next season.

• The Oscar nominations woke up the West Coast Thursday morning with some surprise inclusions, notable omissions, and endless questions about what the rationale behind the decision to have Chris Hemsworth (“a super hero amongst us”) announce them could have been.  My strongest lingering takeaways:

The Academy dug The Wolf of Wall Street.  With acting nominations for Leonardo DiCaprio (an on the fence possibility going in) and Jonah Hill (considered to be even further on the outside looking in), Martin Scorsese’s eighth directing nomination, and a Best Picture nomination among the field of nine, there is a renewed momentum for this relative latecomer to the awards season party.  After his Golden Globe win and facing a field that does not feature once thought to be juggernaut competition from the likes of Tom Hanks and Robert Redford, I think he has a legitimate shot at winning his first Academy Award.

Speaking of Tom Hanks, his exclusion from the Best Actor race is the hardest omission for me to stomach.  His performance in Captain Phillips (nondescript New England accent aside) was vintage Hanks and deserved to be recognized.

I was most pleased that Paul Hewson, Dave Evans, Adam Clayton, and Larry Mullen were nominated for Best Song, but it made me uncomfortable when Cheryl Boone Isaacs had to say, “You may know them better as U2.”  Would she have had to similarly qualify the Beatles or the Rolling Stones?

I have six movies to see before the March 2 ceremony in order for me to have fulfilled my viewing quota in the six major categories (Best Picture, Best Actor and Actress, Best Supporting Actor and Actress, Best Director).  Those movies are, in order from “I want to see you” to “this matinee feels like a chore”: 1. Her (always on my list), 2. Dallas Buyer’s Club (I am all in on the “2014 Year of McConaughey” train), 3. August: Osage County (my all-time favorite stage play but not sure about the film version), 4. Nebraska (“Will Forte!”), 5. Philomena (one of those trailers that does not inspire, but the words from mouth that I have heard have been universally praising), 6. Blue Jasmine (I am not sure I want to have a relationship with Woody Allen pictures going forward).

• The second episode of Real World: Ex-Plosion may have been slightly more tolerable than the first, but I am still struggling.  Any chance that Doug will return for more tomfoolery?

• Sherlock came back to US audiences last night and was a most welcome return.  Perhaps as a consequence, it took me two sittings to get through the second episode of the more melancholic and morose True Detective.  I couldn’t help but think that I had already watched the true detective.

• In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, this lullaby of hope never loses its power.  It’s also by Paul Hewson, Dave Evans, Adam Clayton, and Larry Mullen:

Finally, welcome back Captain Rajon Rondo.  We missed you.

David J. Bloom can be reached on twitter @davidbloom7 and writes about MTV’s “The Challenge,” pop culture, and the NBA for Bishop and Company.

Let’s Get a Few Things Off My Chest…Episode 1

From time to time, I need to get a few of things off of my chest…this is the first installment…

• In a span of just a few days last week, Britney Spears announced that she will not be returning to the X Factor (not a surprise, she was a disaster), that her engagement to Jason Trawick was off, and that she may be signing on to headline her own Las Vegas show.  All of this is troubling news for a person who seemed to be mounting a promising career comeback.  I wish her the best.

• For all you Celtics doubters out there, Avery Bradley’s return has finally allowed the Danny Ainge offseason roster blueprint for success to take flight.  Rotations are crisp, players seem to understand their roles from night to night, the bench has been reinvigorated (especially Jeff Green, Sully, and Courtney Lee and Jason Terry at least in the M.L. Carr role off the court, his on court play has left something to be desired), and the defense seems to finally be coming around (even without KG on the court).  Speaking of defense, please watch Avery Bradley play on ball defense.  I was at the Rockets game the other night and his work on James Harden was simply incredible (James Harden by the way is even more of an offensive stud in person).

• I hope Rajon Rondo “adapts” because he is just too special of a player to be missing games every few months because of his uncontrolled emotional tomfoolery (although his arm grab of Kris Humphries in KG’s defense remains a season highlight – Humphries has been pretty much MIA in Brooklyn ever since).

Rajon Rondo after the Kris Humphries altercation

• Brian Billick may be the worst football color analyst I have ever heard.  His comments this weekend in Atlanta was either comically inaccurate or painfully obvious.  Why is it that the NBA seems to find incredible on-air talent (Barkley, Jeff Van Gundy), but the NFL coach or player transition yields so few breakout stars?  Thank goodness Ray Lewis will be joining the media ranks next year (and hopefully immediately after Sunday’s game).

• This year’s Golden Globes ceremony were quite enjoyable.  Tina and Amy could not have been more wonderful as hosts (although why they couldn’t have been more active in the latter half of the show is an awards show conundrum – no offense, but is anyone pining for a Jeremy Irons intro?) and the program had its share of memorable moments.  I was struck by the elegance of Daniel Day-Lewis, the grace of both Ben Affleck and his beautiful wife Jennifer Garner, how Bill Clinton was the biggest star in the room, and how uncomfortable Quentin Tarantino makes me feel.  Jodie Foster’s speech was something special, but to say I fully understood it would be a house of lies (congrats Don Cheadle on your unexpected win!).  Also, what was going on with that Mel Gibson stuffed animal hamster moment besides creepiness?  Here is my highlight of the night:

• The Oscar nominations had their share of omissions (Ben Affleck and Kathryn Bigelow for Best Director) and pleasant surprises (Beast of the Southern Wild had a nice go of it), but one point of true disappoint are the zero nominations for The Dark Knight Rises.  It may be an imperfect motion picture that to many (of which I am not one) did not live up to The Dark Knight, but Christopher Nolan’s epic trilogy conclusion deserves some sort of recognition.

• Speaking of Christopher Nolan, excitement for Interstellar has officially begun.

• Wednesday nights (and my week for that matter) are just not the same without The Challenge.  I would love the suits at MTV to finally create a seasonal structure for this unofficial fifth professional sport (a fall and spring season perhaps).  Why hasn’t this happened yet?

The Challenge...you are missed
The Challenge…you are missed

• Girls is back (season 2 premiered on Sunday night while simultaneously winning some Golden Globes) and if you haven’t joined the party yet, it is time.

• The NBA Countdown pre-game show on ESPN featuring Michael Wilbon, Jalen Rose, Magic Johnson, and Bill Simmons has wrestled the “best pre-game show” crown from Inside the NBA (still struggling when Shaq expresses himself verbally).

• FInally, here is an assignment if you have cable: do a search for Fuse network or Funny or Die’s Billy on the Street and sign up for a season pass.  You will not laugh harder over a thirty minute period than watching Billy’s incredible on the street games and conversations.  For now, here is a “Quizzed in the Face” from a recent episode:

David J. Bloom can be reached on twitter @davidbloom7 and writes about pop culture and the NBA for Bishop and Company.  He writes weekly TV columns on Afterbuzztv.com (next up, Fox’s “The Following”) and his weekly THE CHALLENGE: BATTLE OF THE SEASONS Power Rankings can be read on Derek Kosinski’s ultimatechallengeradio.com.