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'The NFL Beat': ACL Edition

Art mirrors life mirrors NFL

By Alex Dunlap, 11:11AM, Sat. Oct. 13, 2012

'The NFL Beat': ACL Edition

Regular marchers to "The Beat" know that one-half of my double-life is compromised of pounding out quarter, eighth, and occasionally sixteenth notes.

This weekend, worlds collide. I have never attended an ACL festival that Alpha Rev has not performed, because honestly, I don't like paying to go to concerts when I spend 75 days a year playing them.

I do meet lots of bands, though. This is unfortunate, because these people are generally broke and slovenly. They also know I live in Austin.

Put the combination together, and ACL weekend for me is like being the only friend of a man who must move a piano. I have no choice. A friend is going to get stuck spending a Saturday moving a piano, and I am going to get stuck having to let these people stay at my house.

Chiefs at Bucs
ACL 2012 Band Comparison: Orange Sherbet
Both events will be taking place on the kiddie stage, dispensing snooze-inducing content. How can you think of Orange Sherbet without thinking about the Bucs awesome Dreamsicle uniforms of years past?

Raiders at Falcons
ACL 2012 Band Comparison: Trampled by Turtles
Falcons RB Michael Turner has proved that slow and steady (key word: slow) might just win the race. The old, slow Turner has been a welcome surprise to fantasy owners this season despite looking like what I have heard described as a "pug trying to roll uphill" nowadays. The Falcons deliver a soaring blast of four-part harmony in QB Matt Ryan, TE Tony Gonzalez and WRs Roddy White and Julio Jones that is sure to put stars in the eyes of the traveling Raiders.

Cowboys at Ravens
ACL 2012 Band Comparison: The Old 97s
Both the Cowboys and the Old 97s are based in the DFW area, and both travel around delivering performances that leave fans yearning for their respective heydays. The last time the Cowboys were good, Rhett Miller "was only 19."

Rams at Dolphins
ACL 2012 Band Comparison: The Punch Brothers
Two defenses that will line up and punch each other in the mouth make this comparison almost too easy. The Punch Brothers have an "it" quality to their sound that is hard to put a finger on, or to attribute to any one member. This enigmatically intriguing "whole" is most certainly greater than the sum of its parts. Moments of brilliant ownership of their chosen craft often come unexpectedly. I feel the same way about both the Dolphins and the Rams.

Lions at Eagles
ACL 2012 Band Comparison: Asleep at the Wheel
Which the 1-3 Lions are. Asleep at the Wheel (the band) is as much about the personnel as it is the product, and apparently so are the Lions. Matt Stafford is Detroit's version of Ray Benson, trying to hold together a flock of cultural misfits, and keeping the show on the road. This is a week where Willie is gonna have to show up on stage and save the day with a big encore.

Bengals at Browns
ACL 2012 Band Comparison: Tegan and Sara
Somehow, two canadian women emotionally laying out their shared struggles in harmony encapsulates this matchup perfectly for me. Especially when one has a much better voice than the other.

Colts at Jets
ACL Band Comparison: The Alabama Shakes
There is one obvious star in both performances this weekend, one is Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck and one is Alabama Shakes lead singer Brittany Howard. One I compare to Joe Montana, the other I compare to Janis Joplin. High, high praise. Not enough credit is given to either of their surrounding casts, though.

Patriots at Seahawks
ACL 2012 Band Comparison: Red Hot Chili Peppers
The "Tom Brady Era" New England Patriots almost seem as timeless as the Chili Peppers. Both have been churning out winning material for much longer than the shelf lives of their lesser counterparts would indicate possible. This is a terrible matchup for the Patriots, though, and every time I have seen RHCP at a festival I have been disappointed in the performance.

Giants at 49ers
ACL 2012 Band Comparison: Thievery Corporation
A heart pounding conglomeration of rhythm, intensity, and a bit of over-excited sloppiness led to the 49ers getting robbed of a 2011 NFC Championship by the Giants last season. Both are marquee events this weekend.

Bills at Cardinals
ACL 2012 Band Comparison: The band my friend tells me is great, but then turns out to sound like Sigur Ros meets dubstep. None of it makes sense to me, much less a mix of the two.

Vikings at Redskins
ACL 2012 Band Comparison: Quiet Company
A game, and a band, that will come out of nowhere for many. They shouldn't. Lots and lots of talent.

Packers at Texans
ACL 2012 Band Comparison: The Black Keys
The Packers have let another team into the ranks of the elite:

When I was young, and moving fast
Nothing slowed me down, oh, slowed me down
Now I let the others pass
I've come around, oh, come around ...

We'll see Sunday Night whether the Packers have let the Texans pass, or whether they are just now tightening up.

Broncos at San Diego Chargers
ACL 2012 Band Comparison: Neil Young and Crazy Horse
Peyton Manning is the NFL's resident rock legend, and the horse imagery that coincides with so much of what Young has created delves seamlessly into Manning's leadership of organizations with equestrian mascots. This is the headliner. An AFC West Showdown and a perfect ending to our NFL/ACL weekend here in Austin.

[Alex Dunlap (Follow on Twitter) is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and Founder of RosterWatch.]

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