Potvin Newsly

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Sunday Spotlight: Irish American Football League

The Irish American Football League (IAFL) is an American Football League… in Ireland. That’s right, the name sums it up perfectly. No reason to needlessly lengthen this introduction.

The first American football game played in Ireland was in 1942. Two teams composed of U.S. servicemen competed in Belfast. The next game was in 1946, also a match between U.S. servicemen. This helped to ensure that Irish spectators really felt they were watching American football, and not some sort of second-rate, devastated-by-WWII, European version. Yes, the U.S. military ensured there was plenty of Americanicity to go around… And they probably impregnated a lot of women, too.

Then, in 1984, a breakthrough: the first Irish team was formed – The Dublin Celts. In 1985 they beat a “premiere” British League team in Dublin. Violence and looting ensued. The first Irish-on-Irish action also took place in 1985.

In 1986, the battle for the first ever Shamrock Bowl began. The Celts were a clear favorite to go all the way after winning the Jack Daniel’s Summer Bowl, but it was not to be. The Celts lost a heart-breaker to Craigavon Cowboys, 6-0. In 1987, 11 teams created what we know to be the IAFL. For the next five years, the Celts would dominate the scene, winning the Shamrock Bowl (the league’s championship game) four times, including three in a row from 1987-1989. Sadly, their overwhelming success landed them in the heart of The Troubles, and the team found itself stationed at the border with Northern Ireland. Equipped with only their pads and their helmets, the team was quickly shot to pieces by British machine gun fire. The Republic’s plan to reunite the island of Ireland through football had too quickly failed.

Sadly, Liam O’McNeill did not stand a chance
against Britain’s famed “Death on Wheels”

In 1993, a major shift in power occurred in the IAFL. Dave Curran, the coach of the Dublin Celts, left the (then) legendary team to coach the Dublin Tornadoes. The Tornadoes went undefeated in the following season, defeating Curran’s former team in the Shamrock Bowl. Despite this, many in Ireland still cared more about The Troubles.

The Tornadoes went on a tear. The team did not lose a game in three seasons and won three consecutive championships. In 1996, the era of their supremacy ended after they lost to a second-year team, the Dublin Lightning, 26-8 in the Shamrock Bowl. Many of the players committed suicide because of this defeat, and the Dublin Tornadoes were no more.

From 1997-1999, many of the teams left the league. The need for American football was waning as peace came to Ireland. Many did not think football really served a purpose beside pre-conditioning potential paramilitary troops. In 1999, only three teams competed in the league, forcing the league to look elsewhere for survival. In 2000, the Mount St. Joseph’s high school team from Maryland, USA, won the Shamrock Bowl, being both the first American team and the first high school team to do so. Their unquestioned dominance and tendency to run up the score “even when [they’re] not trying” lead to them being voted off the island of Ireland in a Survivor-like manner.

2001-2003 were rebuilding years for the league, which now has nine teams in its elite division. From 2003-2006, the Dublin Rebels won four consecutive league championships, including Shamrock Bowl XVIII, highly regarded as the best Shamrock Bowl of all time. In it, the Rebels defeated the Carrickfergus Knights 24-22. In the first quarter, a 75 yard reverse by Carl Faichney gave the Rebels an 8-6 lead, but two more scores by the Knights gave Carrickfergus a 22-8 halftime advantage. In the fourth quarter, trailing 22-16, Mark Kelly caught a 17 yard pass from quarterback Andrew Dennehy. Brian Dennehy’s 2 point conversation gave the Rebels a 24-22 edge. With little over a minute to play, however, the Knights drove to the Rebels’ 23 yard line and attempted a field goal. The kick was up… and good. But, the Knights had cheated. That’s right, cheated. They had 12 men on the field, which, according to the rules, breaks them. A penalty ensued and ultimately, a victory was had by the Rebels. Both sides proceeded to drink heavily after the game.

Above: Rebels QB Andrew Dennehy prepares to- What the fuck? Why is that guy wearing a powder blue helmet?!

In 2007, the Rebels again looked poised to capture the championship having tied for the best record in the league, but those damn meddling kids over at the University of Limerick took that away, thinking it’d be better if they won the Shamrock Bowl instead. What a bunch of self-centered assholes. Pfff… Vikings, go figure.

So far this year, the Rebels seem determined to recapture the glory, having gone 2-0 and having outscored their opponents 82-0. However, those damn UL Vikings are also 2-0, though their victories do not look as impressive. But perhaps both of these teams have another, more troublesome opponent to worry about than themselves. That’s right, I’m obviously talking about the Cork Admirals, who in two games have outscored their opponents 164-0. They sound like they’re twice as good as the Dublin Rebels! We’ll I’ve got news for you, folks, the Rebels are squaring off against the Admirals today (April 20th)! I’ll be sure to post the winner once I bother figuring out who it is. My guess? Uh, the Admirals trump the Rebels, 82-41.

But the real winner is the people of Ireland, who have finally found a way to be violent towards each other without setting everything on fire. See you at Shamrock Bowl XXII, Land o’ Ire!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Sunday Spotlight: Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate

[This post originally part of the Potvin Spotlight series.]

The rivalry between the University of Georgia Bulldogs and the Georgia Institute of Technology Yellow Jackets is sometimes referred to by the moniker Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate. But do these schools really hate each other? You be the judge.

Georgia was founded in 1785, 100 years before Georgia Tech was founded. Due to this lack of a clear cut in-state rival, Bulldog fans had to take their aggression out on natives and slaves. However, due to westward expansions and the south’s defeat in the Civil War, there were soon no slaves or natives to be overly aggressive against. Unto whom could they fulfill their violent, megalomaniacal fantasies of continued power?

That’s easy! Just start another in-state school to rival the one you already have; now you’ve got Georgians hating Georgians, and rightly so. They only people worthy of hating a pure blood Georgian is another Georgian. And thus it is conversely true: the only person worth a Georgian’s time to even bother hating is someone cut from the same cloth.

With UGA in Athens and Georgia Tech in Atlanta, the schools were a mere 70 miles apart, and the stage was set for an epic rivalry to grow.

Below: A map of the state of Georgia showing the locations of UGA and GT.
Georgia Bulldogs and Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets Locations in Georgia
You had to see this one coming…

The hostilities began over the school colors. Georgia, whose colors were old gold, black, and crimson, removed old gold from the school’s officials colors, stating that old gold was too similar to yellow, and yellow symbolized cowardice. Georgia Tech then began wearing old gold uniforms as a metaphorical slap-in-the-face to UGA. Georgia officials then stated that white symbolizes those who nurture and embrace defeat. Again Georgia Tech responded by adding white to their uniforms. To this day, Tech’s colors are old gold and white.

More hatred came to the Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate rivalry during WWI, when Georgia mocked Tech for having a football team during the war. Most of Georgia’s players were serving in the armed forces at the time, and the school failed to field a team. Georgia Tech officials released a statement saying “It’s not our fault there’s a war on.” To this, Georgia officials famously responded with a letter that only read “Fuck you guys.”

When Georgia renewed its program in 1919 after the war had ended, the students staged a parade which featured a float shaped like a tank that read “UGA IN ARGONNE” followed by donkey draped in yellow that read “TECH IN ATLANTA”. Burn. Georgia Tech responded by burning down Georgia’s campus in Athens, killing several hundred students. Wicked burn.

In the 1970s the rivalry escalated to new heights as school pranksters tried to out do one another. The first such incident occurred in 1973 when some Tech students stole the bulldog statue in front of the UGA student center. Georgia students responded by stealing Georgia Tech’s Ramblin’ Wreck, a golden colored 1930 Ford Model A sports coupe clad with cheerleaders. The following year, Tech students kidnapped Uga III, the Bulldog’s mascot, a bulldog. Though his body was never found, it was rumored that he was rolled up in a carpet and thrown off a bridge, but not before some students split a bottle of malt liquor with him. Georgia students, enraged, set together a plan to kidnap all of the yellow jackets in the state. The plan failed miserably and ended in many painful stings. Georgia students then decided to retaliate by enrolling in Georgia Tech and, using their natural abilities, lowered the school-wide GPA.

Below: A Victim of Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate
Ramblin’ Wreck of Georgia Tech
Hey, I’m not trying to pick favorites or anything, but I’d rather be in this car than hanging out with Georgia’s bulldog. Nothing against dogs, but, c’mon. Just look at this juxtaposition of the Uga (the Georgia mascot) and a close-up of one of those cheerleaders:
Georgia’s Mascot, Uga VI Close-up of Georgia Tech Cheerleader’s Good Assets

Hate is also practiced through time honored traditions. A famous Georgia Tech rallying cry is to shout out four times over the question “What’s the good word?” to which a crowd of (now) energized Yellow Jackets respond “To hell with Georgia!” despite the fact that they too are Georgians. (It has been suggested that this fact eludes them, but I doubt it.) The fourth response is set to be “Piss on them!” which, if they are referring to Georgians, means they wish to piss on themselves. This has lead many to believe that Georgia Tech fans inspired Marco Fiorito’s critically repulsed film 2 Girls 1 Cup.

Georgia currently leads the football series 59-38-5 (or so some say), and are on a 7 game winning streak against their in-state rivals as of this past year’s 31-17 victory over the Yellow Jackets. Georgia Tech hopes to change the trend by bringing in ex-Navy coach Paul Johnson, famous for his use of the triple option. If this does not work, Georgia Tech plans to poison the Athens water supply.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Archie Manning Had Sons Switch Teams

NEW ORLEANS, La – From his Garden District home in New Orleans, Archie Manning allegedly told close friends that he arranged for his sons, both NFL quarterbacks, to switch teams in Week 17 of the 2007 NFL season.

The source, who spoke under condition of anonymity, told reporters about the underground “trade”. “Archie had a bunch of us over for a barbecue one night, and over a couple of beers he mentions something about how well Peyton’s been doing since Week 17. We all asked him ‘What are you talking about?’ because, you know, he’d been doing pretty bad, and the Colts even lost their playoff game.”

At this point, the source said, Archie Manning knew he had slipped up. “I guess he figured that he’d already let the cat out of the bag, because he started telling us about how he had Peyton and Eli switch teams right after Week 16.” Apparently, no one, not even the players or coaches, were keen to the difference.

Giants coach Tom Coughlin has since been reached for comment, saying, “I thought Eli sounded a little less dumb lately, but then again I figured he was just coming into his own. I guess it was just too good to be true.”

Running back Brandon Jacobs also noticed a slight difference in “Eli” but again attributed it only to improved effort. “When he stopped throwing picks, I was like ‘Damn dawg, nice game.’ I shoulda [sic] known it was Peyton the whole damn time.”

Others, however, claimed they had an inkling that something had happened. Wide receiver Amani Toomer told the press, “I know something was up when he started throwing perfect spirals, hitting his receivers in stride and stopped holding onto the ball for so long.” Toomer did not, however, consider that Eli had switched teams with brother Peyton. “I just figured he had some robotics shit put in his arm; you know, like the Six Million Dollar Man,” Toomer said.

The unnamed source told reporters Archie Manning arranged for his sons to switch teams when he saw the Giants were going to play the unbeaten Patriots in Week 17. “He said something like, ‘I knew Peyton would have a better chance at beating them than Eli would.’ Then he said he was so damned impressed with how Peyton played with the Giants that he decided to keep him in on the New York squad for the rest of the playoffs.”

Although Archie Manning could not be reached for comment, most football experts are acknowledging that the allegation is “probably true.” “Just look at how different Eli played before and after Week 17 – The differences are astounding,” said former quarterback and ESPN football analyst Steve Young. “In my mind, I just think there’s no way a player could turn himself around like that so quickly. In addition to that, look at how poorly the Colts performed in the same time period. ‘Peyton’ looked nothing like himself, and that’s probably because he was Eli.”

Michael Irvin, a former commentator on ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown, commented on a Dallas radio show that he’s certain the two players switched. “That nigga [Peyton Manning] can play some muthafuckin’ football now, fo’ real. That other nigga [Eli Manning] sucks mo’ dick than a Goddamn Jenna Jameson. I mean, them niggas had ta switch. It’s obvious, yo.”

The NFL is reportedly set on investigating the case. Commissioner Roger Goodell told reporters Friday, “We will find out if these allegations are true, probably after the Superbowl. I don’t want to bother the teams right now, as they’re still preparing for the big one. But after the Superbowl, you can bet that we’ll look into it. Unless you’re a player – No betting for them.”