The Daily Banter: Concluding the Inconclusive -- Maybe The "Other" Football Isn't THAT Bad

PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 23: Landon Donovan of the United States celebrates with teammate Edson Buddle after scoring the winning goal that sends the USA through to the second round during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Group C match between USA and Algeria at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium on June 23, 2010 in Tshwane/Pretoria, South Africa. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Since being baffled at the United States victorious tie against England in their respective first match during this year's World Cup, I've actually surprised myself. Not only have I made it a point to watch each American match, either at work or at home while my car was being repaired, I've watched most matches that I could. I can't say that I'll ever be a fan of soccer, purposefully looking through the TV guide to find MLS matches on cable -- if they even exist. But at least I can see things a bit more clearly.

The excitement for the World Cup is understandable. Matches without the Americans is interesting enough. Each goal being so critical that it stands on good reason to believe that if you score a single goal, then you're chances of winning increase exponentially. So when a team threatens to score, you can see the excitement because of the rarity of scoring in the World Cup. Of the 44 matches played so far, 26 ended with at least one county going scoreless. And only 12 have ended with the winner scoring a goal differential of more than one.

I doubt I'll be a soccer fan as a result. But at least I can see the excitement.

+ THERE'S SOME DISCUSSION about the Baltimore Ravens signing Marc Bulger, proving to some Bengals fans that Cincinnati still isn't doing all it can to improve the roster. Bulger signed with the Ravens on Wednesday on a one-year $3.8 million contract. Bulger, some argue, is a far better option as a backup quarterback. While it's really hard to compare the two quarterbacks in any meaningful way, considering that J.T. O'Sullivan really hasn't had the chance for any significant production, let's take O'Sullivan's career numbers and compare them to Bulger's average over the past three seasons.

  O'Sullivan Bulger
QB Rating 69.9 70.9
Completion % 56.4% 57.5%
TD% 3.5% 2.5%
INT% 5.1% 3.2%

Of Bulger's previous 30 starts, for the Rams, one of the worst teams in the league during that span, as won five starts. O'Sullivan has only won two of eight career starts; considering that the San Francisco 49ers finished 7-9 that year, that argument doesn't bode well at all.

In the end, we do need help at backup quarterback. It's true. But if anything else is true, if the Bengals need to, they can just shove the football down the opponent's throat.

+ I DON'T KNOW ABOUT YOU but I don't see the need for an 18-game season. I don't mind reducing the preseason from 4-5 games to a two-game preseason. Concerns with an 18-game schedule includes the likelihood of records being broken and players having shorter careers. Now people are taking the records and complicating the idea even more.

+ The Dayton Daily News' Carlos "Big C" Holmes writes that the Bengals have a dangerous backfield. Oh yea.

+ CBSSports.com's Pete Prisco lists no Bengals in his top-25 NFL players. Before you get mad, if you get mad at things like this, think of it this way. We know our team is damned good and will challenge the division as repeat champions. Yet, no single player on our team made his top-25. What does that say? We're a complete team, depending on no single player. If Palmer struggles, we run the football. If Benson and the running game struggles, we open up the passing game. If the offensive struggles, then the defense will beat the living crap out of you. Either way, win, win, win.

+ You know it's back to slow-offseason time when the NFL.com blog actually points out that DeAngelo Hall visited SeaWorld. For real?

+ Veteran quarterback Mark Brunell made nearly $52 million during his NFL career. On Friday morning, Brunell is expected to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

+ Remember Golden Tate breaking into a doughnut shop stealing maple bars? The chain, called Top Pot Doughnuts, already has a marketing agreement with the Seahawks. However their new slogan is now: "Irresistible ... but please wait until we're open."

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