Friday, December 9, 2011

NFL Picks Week Fourteen: You Know, Nassau Coliseum Is Kind of Fun

Don't get me wrong. Let me state clearly that Nassau Coliseum, for all its history, is not a nice building. It is old, it is crumbling, it feels like the concourses are part of a disused bowling alley from 1987 and it is a woefully inconvenient place to get to if you have no car to take you there. But you know what? Sitting in a seat and watching a game there is really a pretty good time. I won't lie, it helps when stubhub enables you to get seats with a view like this at half the price, but despite the fact that the place is, in many ways, highly decrepit, it's actually a pretty good time. The place has character, it's intimate, and it's kind of cramped in that "just like Fenway Park but without the charm and still somehow good" kind of way.

Don't ask me how it works. It just works.

I've only been there twice now, but I'm starting to like it a little more than I did the first time, though I wouldn't mind it if the pulled pork sandwiches were served a little quicker. I ended up missing most of the second period while waiting for the enormous line of five people to trim down. It did enable me, however, to talk to a charming group of 18-year-olds who decided to call the ice girls "sluts" as I walked by. This led me into a long half-sober dissertation to them about how if they want to go pursue women sexually, how can they criticize women, in principle, for doing the same thing. This stumped them for a half second, but then they eagerly told me that they were "sluts" because they worked for the Islanders, not because they were dressing scantily. This ignores the fact that a) they are wearing outfits required by their job, not by choice and b) it is completely different from their previous argument of, "Yeah, but they're sluts because... you know, look at them, they're sluts."

Once I realized a moment later that they were not yet alive when Wayne's World and Jurassic Park came out I decided the conversation was over and happily took my sandwich back to my seat. This was also after the woman behind me in line asked me if she could have my pickle when I asked them not to put one with my sandwich.

So my point is, the game was really pretty fun, and it had a particularly awesome end when the Blackhawks won in overtime despite blowing a two-goal lead in the second period. That particularly satisfied me of course considering I consider myself something of a Blackhawks fan after working for them (though the Devils are still my team) and living in New York rather than Chicago does not afford me very many opportunities to see the Hawks. This year I am fortunate enough in that they play in all three New York-area arenas during the course of the season, and with the NHL's impending realignment for the 2012-13 season that will continue.

But until next season it was almost never the case annually, and my chances to see the Hawks were few and far in between. This must have been rough on the Hawks fans that live in the New York area, which given the roughly 50/50 crowd at the game last night, must be a fairly large number. Throughout the arena -- and in particular the men's room -- there was a great deal of loud humming of "Chelsea Dagger" by The Fratellies, which if you're unfamiliar, is the Blackhawks' goal song, much to the ire of rivals.

Now, however, every team in an opposition conference will visit every other team's building once per season, which means the Hawks will play in the Prudential Center, Madison Square Garden and Nassau Coliseum every single year. It's a whole new world, and frankly, a refreshing one considering previously I've had to travel with some frequency to see my Blackhawks. In fact, last night I came to a stunning realization that I've now seen the Blackhawks in six different NHL arenas which, bizarrely, is more than I've seen the Devils in. I've only managed to catch New Jersey in four different places and that includes the Brendan Byrne Arena where there is no longer any hockey team.

Chicago on the other hand I have seen in the United Center, Madison Square Garden, the Prudential Center, Nassau Coliseum, Joe Louis Arena and the Verizon Center. My hope now is that I will add a seventh arena to that list this March because the NBA lockout is over, which means that with the release of the NBA's 2011-12 schedule I can look for schedule quirks that allow me to knock out multiple teams in one shot. Direct your attention to March 16 when the Blackhawks visit the Stars and the next night the Mavericks host the Spurs what should be a dandy of a game. Having never been to the American Airlines Center -- or outside of the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport while in Texas for that matter -- this is looking like a pretty sweet trek.

But more details on that one when it arrives. For now, I will simply get on with the football picks for the weekend. Before I get to those, yes, I know I didn't get them in before Pittsburgh and Cleveland last night. Yes, I'm going to still say I had Pittsburgh before the game because what sober person wouldn't take the Steelers at home against the hapless Browns?

Got it? Great. Here we go.

Last week: 13-3-0 (That's more like it)
Season: 84-87-10

PITTSBURGH (???) over Cleveland
NY Giants (+3) over DALLAS
Houston (+3) over CINCINNATI
DETROIT (-10) over Minnesota
New Orleans (-4) over TENNESSEE
Philadelphia (+3) over MIAMI
NY JETS (-11) over Kansas City
New England (-9) over WASHINGTON
CAROLINA (+3) over Atlanta
Tampa Bay (-2) over JACKSONVILLE
Indianapolis (+17) over BALTIMORE
DENVER (-4) over Chicago
San Francisco (-4) over ARIZONA
Oakland (+12) over GREEN BAY
SAN DIEGO (-7) over Buffalo
SEATTLE (even) over St. Louis

Have a good weekend, everyone.


  1. I would have enjoyed the pickle story! Also, I had fun! And to me the place was just right! and apparently I love !!!!!

  2. I was unaware that you loved exclamation points so much. I only use them ironically. This complicates things. Also, the pickle story was a little weird since I'm pretty sure the woman was drunk.