08 February 2012

Move over, Maru. Hello, Anfield Cat.

Maru, King of the Kittehs, the adorable Scottish fold with the doting Japanese owner, got upstaged by a cat in England.

This guy wandered onto the pitch at Anfield, 11 minutes into a match between homestanding Liverpool FC and Tottenham Hotspur.  "You'll Never Walk Alone" certainly applied to "Anfield Cat," who ended up providing the sole highlight of a goal-free draw.

This isn't the first small, furry creature to wander onto a soccer pitch during a match, but he may be the tamest.  I'm not sure what scared Anfield Cat more, U.S. keeper Brad Friedel's attempt to shepherd him, or the 45,000 fans who decided to serenade him.  He was only too happy to end up in the arms of the steward who escorted him to safety.

If his behavior doesn't convince you that he's no feral cat, perhaps his "official" Twitter feed will.  Or maybe one of its emulators.  My guess is that Anfield Cat is a community cat, someone who lives outdoors but gets fed, petted and possibly sheltered by people who live near Anfield.  At least one of his daily handlers has stepped forward.

Oh, and here's a better call of the same event from Ian Darke.  Who said Darke couldn't call games?

05 February 2012

How Eli Manning can become 'elite.' And a Super Bowl prediction

What happens tonight in Indianapolis won't change my opinion of New York Giants QB Eli Manning, whose career has been no less a scramble than the one he pulled on that famous pass to David Tyree four years ago.  The Giants can win by 30 points, and he can throw for 500 yards and four touchdowns -- but even that won't make him an elite quarterback.  On the other hand, a loss won't make me think less of him.

What will put Manning among the elite is a 12-4 regular-season mark next year, followed by a win in next year's playoffs.  The Giants have done each during his tenure, but not in the same season.  If Manning does both next year, I'll call him elite.  If he keeps playing like he has recently, his chances are good.

But I can't call him elite just now.

As for tonight's game: the Giants have looked like one of those "teams of destiny," but in the last two weeks, they've been too busy talking about it.  Shut up and play, already.  Patriots, 24-16.