By MUSE Editor Chris Gambon
Every Sunday I wake up at around 12:55 P.M. to indulge in the great American tradition that is the National Football League. Without fail I drag myself to the couch, brush the sleep out of my eyes and settle into my armchair for the better part of eight hours. Every Sunday. Without fail.
This past Sunday as I allowed my mind to wander while watching Frank Gore destroy the ranks of Detroit’s run defense, music begin to drift into my living room from the depths of my apartment. Normally I wouldn’t tolerate such an intrusion on my scared Sunday tradition, but immediately indentifying the music as Galaxie 500’s On Fire, I let it slide, encouraged it even.
As I listened to the lead off, “Blue Thunder,” I flipped the channel to see the New York Giants taking on the Buffalo Bills. I watched Ryan Fitzpatrick lob a bomb downfield to wide receiver David Nelson, and it hit me; Ryan Fitzpatrick, the quarterback of the Buffalo Bills, and Galaxie 500 are one in the same in my mind.
Before I launch into a long and nonsensical explanation, let me do away with the obvious. Ryan Fitzpatrick and all three members of Galaxie 500 are alumni of Harvard University. Regardless of their performance at their respective professions, they will be considered a class above their contemporaries. Fans will see everything they do, from moving in the pocket created by an offensive line to covering Joy Division songs, as “smart.”
Ryan Fitzpatrick came to the NFL at a time when there were very few quarterbacks left with genuine football I.Q. Fitzpatrick flew under the radar as Buffalo’s quarterback for a full NFL season before getting credit for bringing the team to a 4 and 2 record. Now, I know your argument here will turn to examples along the lines of Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees and Tom Brady. Considering where loyalties lie, I’ll forgo addressing Tom Brady for the sake of an unbiased argument. It is hard to deny that Rodgers and Brees are great quarterbacks. They are. Few quarterbacks can throw the ball with the speed and agility that these two quarterbacks do. Fitzpatrick brings something different to the game. While he is capable of putting the ball in the air with the kind of accuracy that Rodgers and Drees enjoy, Fitzpatrick runs an offense as effective as that of Green Bay or New Orleans without the huge game breaking plays those offense are notorious for.
Buffalo has been having a breakout year in a division the where they are competing for a playoff spot against the likes of the Patriots and the New York Jets. Fitzpatrick has shown an ability to assess game situations with insight found in very few quarterbacks and effectively march his team up and down the field. Buffalo is a team that does not have a large amount of weapons, but Fitzpatrick has brought out the most effective parts of the team’s offense. He knows the largest threat he has against opposing defenses is running back Fred Jackson. Fitzpatrick relies on Jackson as much as he does on his own arm. Playing against the Patriots in week three of the season, Fitzpatrick was able to lead his team back from a 21 point deficit by outgunning and outrunning one of the best quarterbacks of the last ten years.
Fitzpatrick is an offensive machine. Buffalo’s defense is nothing special, and Fitzpatrick does not have an overwhelming amount of places to throw the ball. He finds ways to get the ball up the field with very few instruments for doing so at his disposal. He runs a simple yet precise and effective offense.
I discovered Galaxie 500 at a time when I had become completely disinterested with finding new music. I saw that a remastered box set of Galaxie 500’s three albums was being released, and decided to give the band a shot. After acquiring the band’s discography through extremely legal means, I forgot about them for the better part of a year.
When I finally ended up giving them a listen, I knew that I had discovered something that was great not only because it was simple, but because it remained unique in its simplicity.
Frontman Dean Wareham loops various guitar parts and is flanked only by bassist Naomi Young and drummer Damon Krukowski. Wareham layers simple melodies, which allow for Young and Krukowski to build complex rhythm parts on top of poppy guitar licks. Galaxie 500 took the capabilities of a three-piece outfit and explored their limits. The band delivers complex and meticulous numbers with a guitar, a bass guitar and a drum kit.
In three or four years, Galaxie 500 put out three albums that stand out as some of the best music that came out of the late 1980s and early 1990s. Ryan Fitzpatrick has a chance to take his team to the playoffs with not many weapons at his disposal.
Did I mention they both came out of Harvard?