The Dark Knight Rises Preview to the 2012 NFL Season

The NFL 2012 season kicked off Wednesday night,  and what better film to help us dissect the coming season than The Dark Knight Rises, the best film of the year so far? So with apologies to Bill Simmons, from whom I ripped off this column structure, here’s a look at the 2012 season using quotes from TDKR:

 “It doesn’t matter who we are… what matters is our plan.”
To the Super Bowl champion New York Giants. Every year they let seemingly key pieces depart. Mario Manningham, Jake Ballard, Brandon Jacobs. GM Jerry Reese always finds a way to replace them. I’d be willing to bet that Martellus Bennett, David Wilson, and Reuben Randle end up paying decent dividends in the future.

“You are as precious to me as you were to your own mother and father. I swore to them that I would protect you, and I haven’t.”
To the Washington Redskins. Mike Shanahan is the loyal butler Alfred with Robert Griffin III playing Bruce. Shanahan’s zone-blocking schemes require continuity for success. Coupling the injuries this unit’s already encountered with the fact that they’re not that good to begin with means RGIII may have to run a little more than he’d like to. Also, might help a little if Trent Williams doesn’t get suspended for using marijuana. 4 game bans tend to hurt continuity.

On a somewhat related note – the expression on Michael Caine’s face when he realizes he’s sitting across from Bruce in the cafe is one of my favorite movie moments ever. It was especially effective after the amount of time Caine spent on screen was smaller than the size of a tangerine.

“How can you move faster than possible, fight longer than possible without the most powerful impulse of the spirit: the fear of death.”
To the Houston Texans, who have to feel pressure to not waste what might be their best (and possibly last) chance at a championship. Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson are nearing the end of their respective prime years, and it’s impossible to predict how long Arian Foster will be effective what with the short shelf lives of most running backs. If they want to win this year, they better pull a Bruce and climb without the rope.

“You fight like a younger man, with nothing held back. Admirable…but mistaken.”
To Peyton Manning. What’s left to prove? Is lifelong nerve damage worth another championship?

“Ah yes…I was wondering what would break first…your spirt, or your body?”
To poor Larry Fitzgerald, a supreme talent forced to yet again play with a shit QB. Would a Fitzgerald-induced hostage situation at the Arizona facilities really surprise anyone at this point?

“Oh boy, you are in for a show tonight, son!”
Tom Brady. With Brandon Lloyd as his new weapon and about 80 sick tight ends on the roster, Tom’s probably getting a chub rock thinking of how many points he’ll put up this year. This one also applies to Andrew Luck, who I think is going to have an absolutely bomb year.

“Remember where you parked?”
To Jim Harbaugh and the San Francisco 49ers, who try to return to the land of the NFL’s elite. How long can they get away with Alex Smith at QB?  By the way, did anyone else think it was funny that after the League of Shadows stole all of Batman’s armory, Morgan Freeman and Bruce were able to hide the Bat just by THROWING A TARP OVER TOP OF IT?

“Or perhaps he’s wondering why someone would shoot a man before throwing him out of a plane?”
Bane’s surprisingly sensible analysis of the CIA agent’s interrogation tactics reminds me of the New York Jets decision to trade for Tim Tebow. You’ve got a pretty shitty QB in Mark Sanchez.. Then, you go out and acquire an equally shitty QB loved by millions of people worldwide despite his obvious lack of ability to play the position. Why? Does Rex Ryan have an evil plot to corrupt Tebow with the allure of NYC’s finest hookers and blow?

“There’s a point, far out there when the structures fail you, and the rules aren’t weapons anymore, they’re shackles letting the bad guy get ahead. One day… you may face such a moment of crisis. And in that moment, I hope you have a friend like I did, to plunge their hands into the filth so that you can keep yours clean!”
“Your hands look plenty filthy to me, Commissioner.”
John Blake’s big “fuck you” to Gordon goes out to everyone in the NFL who continues to look the other way on player safety: Roger Goodell, the teams themselves, and every rabid fan screaming for injury inducing hits.

Tell me where the trigger is! Then… you have my permission to die.
No NFL parallel here. This was just my favorite line of the movie. So let’s say this one applies to…shit, I don’t know…Eli Manning? Sure.

“I like your new girlfriend Mr. Wayne!”
For Chad Johnson. Let’s hope he picks a less head-buttable chick this next time around.

“Peace has cost you your strength! Victory has defeated you!”
To the Green Bay Packers. After cutting through the rest of the league like a buzzsaw all year, the Pack were thoroughly dominated by the Giants in the playoffs. Why spend the whole year being dominant only to flame out in the playoffs when you could just as easily be average for most of the season and turn it on in December/January, when it counts?

“Who are you pretending to be?”
“Bruce Wayne, eccentric billionaire.”
To the new fake refs, pretending to be real refs.

“We both know that now I have to kill you. You’ll just have to imagine the fire.”
To Sean Payton. What if the Saints started 0-4 and then just hired Payton back, only they gave him a fake moustache and a phony sounding name like Herb Blargenton?

“I learned here that there can be no true despair without hope. So, as I terrorize Gotham, I will feed its people hope to poison their souls. I will let them believe they can survive so that you can watch them clamoring over each other to ‘stay in the sun.'”
To the Buffalo Bills, who provided their long suffering fans with about 8 games of hope before ultimately shitting on them.

“This city needs Bruce Wayne, your resources, your knowledge. It doesn’t need your body, or your life.”
This one’s for Mike Vick, who thinks it’s a good idea to attempt a 40 yard run on every busted play. Receivers covered? Take off downfield. Pressure in the backfield? Take off downfield. IRS agent knocking at your door about unpaid taxes? Take off downfield. If Vick keeps gambling with his legs, he’ll get hurt. It’s a simple equation. Please Mike, for your own health, stay in the pocket and use the arm God gave you. We’re worried about you.

Look, I’ll be honest: I only give a shit because you’re on my fantasy team.

“A hero can be anyone. Even a man doing something as simple and reassuring as putting a coat around a little boy’s shoulder to let him know that the world hadn’t ended.”
To Greg Schiano, new coach of the Bucs, for signing paralyzed former Rutgers DT Eric LeGrand as an undrafted free agent. Not to go all Jerry’s mom on you, but how could anybody not like this story?

“Never steal from someone you can’t outrun, kid.”
To Maurice Jones-Drew, who attempted to get more money out of the Jaguars by holding out. Only problem? He had no leverage. Now he’s A) missed all of camp with a new coaching staff, B) won’t start the season, C) won’t make any more money, and D) was fined up the ass. Other than that, it all went according to plan.

Another thing: Anne Hathaway didn’t get enough credit for how good she was. I’ll tell you where she won me over: She’s telling Bruce she’s leaving town when he drops the, “There’s more to you than that.” She responds with, “Sorry to keep letting you down.” Now, she started saying it in her usual, bitchy Catwoman tone, but halfway through her voice cracks and she can’t keep up the facade. Then she asks Bruce to run away with her. Underrated scene. Without Hathaway’s performance Selina’s redemptive arc rings hollow.

I’m Gotham’s reckoning, here to end the borrowed time you’ve all been living on.”
To Norv Turner. How does he keep getting jobs? If Norv ever bought a Lexus he’d promptly crash it into a tree before the dealership gave him two new ones.

So that’s what that feels like.
Congratulations to the Dallas Cowboys, who finally defeated the Giants on opening night. It was only a regular season game, and it was the first game of the season, but I’m sure that’s more than enough reasons for their fans to act like they just won 18 Super Bowls.

Why did Bruce use his Batman voice during this part, even though he was alone? I’ll go a step further – why did he use it around people who knew his identity? Right before he was about to fly off to his presumed death, he used it when talking to Gordon. Did he just like it that much?

 It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.”
No NFL parallel here, I just want to talk about the ending. It was note-perfect. In all the years and all the iterations of Batman, no one has figured out a way to give Bruce Wayne a happy ending. Not only that, but Nolan did it plausibly within the world he constructed. That’s a pretty impressive accomplishment. Some critics said that Nolan took the easy way out by not killing him, but I disagree. He meticulously built a dark, grim world tinged with the slightest hint of optimism. To pay off that optimism at the end was pretty satisfying.

Oh, you think darkness is your ally. But you merely adopted the dark; I was born in it, moulded by it. I didn’t see the light until I was already a man, by then it was nothing to me but BLINDING!”
To Ndamukong Suh. Seems like the type of thing he’d say as he’s stomping a running back’s nutsack at the bottom of a pile.

I know exactly who he is; he’s The Batman.”
This one goes out to Tom Coughlin. He’s the Giants’ Batman. Every year the fans call for his head, and every year he puts out good teams.

Thanks for reading. Check me out every Monday for the Monday Morning Rinse – a recap of the previous weekend’s slate of games.

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