This popped up on the YouTubes right as I was beginning my several-week eggnog bender, so thank you to reader Brian from scenic Corvallis, Oregon, for bringing this to my attention. Now, last time we checked in on a great moment in local advertising, we were marveling at Joe Flacco's Pizza Hut jersey and wondering if the wearing of such a garment eliminated any chance the Ravens QB had at winning a Super Bowl. This time around, I'm on the other side of the predicting fence. Behold (above) Vince Wilfork, his adorable family, and his robot house cleaner Roomba, a work of commerce and art that will probably secure the Patriots the Vince Lombardi trophy.
In terms of athletes acting in local advertisements, this is basically A Few Good Men, and is up there with Michael Vick's Woodbury Nissan commercial as one of the greatest acted local ads I have ever seen. The only problem with this clip is how little Bianca Wilfork features. This is probably due to the notoriously opinionated lady needing more time to send withering text messages to Tom Brady about his on-field performances.
In celebration of the NFL's release of the all-22 and end zone film for the 2012 season, each week we'll be bringing you the best in offensive- and defensive-line play. For the winners of last week's Trenchies, click here.
The Deacon Jones Award for Excellence in Pass Rushing Cameron Wake, Miami Dolphins, and Aldon Smith, San Francisco 49ers
There were more important games this past Sunday, and there were better ones, but for the guy who writes this post every week, it doesn’t get much better than Dolphins-49ers. Miami’s defensive front seven is one of the best in football. The 49ers’ offensive line is the best. And each defense can claim one of the best four pass rushers in the league, each with a style uniquely his own. It was those two guys who defined Sunday afternoon, and they did it in the way they always do.
The conversation about Defensive Player of the Year, and about the league’s best pass rushers, has mostly been limited to three players: Aldon Smith, J.J. Watt, and Von Miller. Mostly, this is a product of sack totals, where those three, in that order, lead the league. Coming off a three-sack game against San Francisco, Cameron Wake is fourth on that list with 14.0 on the season, but understanding just how good he’s been requires more than that total. According to Football Outsiders, only Clay Matthews had more quarterback hits than Wake in 2011, only Tamba Hali had more hurries, and no player drew more holding penalties.
This season, Wake is the league’s most productive pass rusher when it matters most. According to Pro Football Focus, on third and fourth down, no player has more total or per-rush pressures than Wake, who barely edged out Von Miller for the top spot. In situations where he can pin those ears back, no one has been better, and that’s because in a lot of ways, Wake is the classic pass rusher.
This week's podcast started with mixed emotions. For as much joy as I had for Ephraim attending his good friend Chester Pitts's wedding, it just wasn't the same without him in the studio. Colors just seemed less bright, ya know?
We powered through though, and after asking what the vibe was like in Houston following Monday's loss, we talked some J.J. Watt, Vince Wilfork, the uniquely developed games of the league's young pass rushers, and the dearly departed Cam Cameron. But mostly, we talked about the Dirty Bird. Inspired by this week's great touchdown celebrations, I asked Ephraim about his all-time favorites, totally forgetting his time with the famed 1998 Falcons. You'll hear the heartbreak in my voice when I learn he never Dirty Bird–ed — mostly because that means there's no video.
In the run-up to Monday Night Football this week, there was a lot of talk about the chance for Patriots-Texans to be a showcase. In front of a national audience, one of the best defensive players in the NFL was afforded a chance to show the football-watching world just how vital he is to his team’s long-term success. If the AFC powerhouse to which he belonged was going to make a run, he’d certainly be part of it, and that run would start in Foxboro.
That’s pretty much how things played out. The only difference is that the player in question wasn’t the one most people would have guessed. Vince Wilfork, at age 31 and in his ninth season in New England, was absolutely dominant against Houston on Monday. With Wilfork in the middle of the Patriots’ defense, the Texans’ revered running game was rendered useless, and the 325-pounder even added his 15th career sack with a strip of Matt Schaub.
Wilfork’s impact is nothing new. For a while now he’s been the most impactful member of the New England defense, and he’s got more than a few Pro Bowl trips to show for it. Not often, though, does he have a game that causes everyone to take notice. What came as a surprise when Wilfork sacked Schaub wasn’t that it happened, but that it had only happened 14 times before. The whole thing — Wilfork’s game and the relative lack of stats — was enough to start a Twitter conversation (credit to ESPN The Magazine’s Kevin Van Valkenburg for starting it) about Wilfork’s chances at getting to Canton, and, for that matter, the chances for any of the players who’ve had careers that mirror his.
Everybody has their faults. Some people are kleptomaniacs. Some people walk onto uncrowded subways and stop directly in front of the doors. There are even some who use nail-polish remover during cross-country flights. And some people (hi there) cheer for the Patriots despite having no good reason to do so. My name is Chris Ryan. This is my confession.