Halloween tropes make sports scaryWritten by Matt 'Shaggy' Culbreath | | email@example.com
“Why are chain saws so ubiquitous in horror movies?”
It was about the third inning when I gave up on Game 1 of the World Series. The Boston Red Sox had already opened up a 5-0 lead over St. Louis by that point (would have been 8-0, if it weren’t for Carlos Beltran robbing a grand slam away from Big Papi), so instead of subjecting myself to two of the most insufferable teams in baseball, I instead flipped on an old classic horror film to watch while I folded laundry: “Evil Dead 2.” I really wanted to watch “Army of Darkness,” but that was all .. the … way … over .. in … the … DVD … cabinet … and it wasn’t on Netflix. “Evil Dead 2,” however, was. So I watched Bruce Campbell stumble around in a haunted cabin for an hour and a half. (For the record, the ballgame didn’t finish until 11:30 that night, so I made the correct call.)
The infamous chain saw in Evil Dead 2 is nothing new to horror films, in fact, it rebooted the whole idea from back when “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” was released in 1974. Loud, graphic and an efficient killer, the chain saw single-handedly invented the slasher film by overloading the senses and making every toolshed in America a nightmare waiting to happen.
And, because my mind wanders to these types of things while I fold laundry, I considered those terms “loud, graphic and efficient” in regards to the NFL. Which team is the chain saw of the league? For that matter, who’s the hatchet, or the zombie, or any number of tropes in the ephemera of horror movies? Since it’s Halloween, let’s run through them all.
Starting with our original question: Who is the chain saw of the NFL? Clearly, the Denver Broncos. They’re loud, they’re gory, they show no mercy. They’ve scored 298 points this year, far and away the highest total in the league. Yeah, Indianapolis managed to get in their way last week, but every good horror villain gets killed off once, right?
Locally, the Cleveland Browns have got to be the Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow, because their offense keeps losing its head. It was going to be Trent Richardson, but he got traded away. It was going to be Brian Hoyer, but he tore his ACL. They were willing to give Brandon Weeden another go, but he’s straight garbage. Now it’s the Night of the Living Backup, Jason Campbell, who was already leapfrogged once for the starter spot, and has already been with four teams in his short career.
The Detroit Lions are akin to a favorite tool of the horror hero: the sawed-off shotgun. Deadly, but inaccurate, and likely to shoot your own foot. Yes, when Matthew Stafford hits Calvin Johnson for a touchdown pass, it’s awesome. It’s primal.
Megatron making that catch in triple-coverage last week in Cincinnati? That’ll be in someone’s nightmares for years. But four dropped passes by Reggie Bush? Three by the now-released Tony Scheffler? Two by Brandon Pettigrew? Stafford’s QB rating has been pretty decent this year, but the rest of the team has got to step up.
Let’s get this out of the way: Both Jacksonville and Tampa Bay are the two kids who go into the abandoned cabin/toolshed/outhouse to make out before being brutally torn asunder. You know, running off right after they read from a dark, mysterious book written in a long-dead language. Ugh, those kids are the worst.
The “Cat That Jumps Out At The Hero Just To Scare Him (Before the Actually Scary Thing Happens)” is the New York Giants. Not that the Giants were expected to make a whole lot of noise this year, but it’s been a Dumpster fire for the Blue Man Group this season. I know they managed to finally get a win on Oct. 21, but when your only win is against a one win Minnesota Vikings squad, you’ve got problems. (Minnesota, for the record, is Freddy Kruger. Really scary a while back, but really a one-trick pony that everyone figured out.)
And the murderer that you never expected? Apparently that’s Kansas City. Still unbeaten, but look at who they’ve beaten: only one team that has a winning record this far into the year. Kansas City is tearing through the kids at Camp Crystal Lake right now, but wait until after the bye week, when they face Leatherface twice, not to mention two games against the San Diego Chargers (who I’ll call the Evil Dead of the NFL, having found new life after their initial run) and a game against Indianapolis as well. It’s possible that the Chiefs won’t even make the playoffs, just as it was possible to make a scary movie without Jason.
Matt “Shaggy” Culbreath is sports director for 1370 WSPD. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tags: 1370 WSPD, Army of Darkness, Blue Man Group, Boston Red Sox, Brandon Weeden, Brian Hoyer, CLeveland Browns, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, Evil Dead 2, Freddy Kruger, Halloween, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville, Jason, Jason Campbell, Kansas City Chiefs, Leatherface, Netflix, New York Giants, NFL, St. Louis Cardinals, Tampa Bay, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Trent Richardson, World Series