Friday, December 28, 2007

Week 17- Surrender

The last week of the NFL season is always marred with teams and players not giving it 100%. Some teams will rest their players for the playoffs and some players will rest their feet for the golf course.

This year, the league joined in on the whole “giving up” vibe. They decided to surrender to the fans and televise the Patriots/Giants game on regular TV instead of exclusively on the NFL Network. The league tried to get the cable companies to buy into the fact that the NFL Network deserves to be on basic cable just like ESPN, CNN and Telemundo. Cable companies, not being completely stoned, decided that a network that will only air 8 meaningful programs over the entire course of 365 days did not merit such status. Go figure.

So the NFL was faced with only 10 people being able to watch the possible historic Patriots’ victory. They decided to go in the completely opposite direction and flood the airwaves with the game by showing it on two national networks (CBS & NBC). Someone asked why would these networks agree to air the same game at the same time. The answer…because it’s football and even if they split the ratings for the games it will still get 5 times bigger ratings than anything else they could air at the same time. Football ratings are gold. The Hallmark Network would bump their programming quicker than you can say “Valerie Bertinelli stars in…” for a chance to air an NFL game.

Now that everyone can watch the game, the question on everyone’s mind is, “Will it be worth watching?” The fear is the Giants are going to sit their star players for most of the game thus letting the Pats roll to 16-0. The G-Men have absolutely nothing to play for except pride and pride don’t pay the alimony (see Strahan, Michael). Sure, the coaches and players will say all the usual things like “We are taking this like any other game,” “We’ll give it 110%,” and “We haven’t decide if we are going to wear shoulder pads.”

In reality, as soon as the Patriots get two touchdowns ahead, it’ll be time to fold like the French in ‘40. I don’t blame the Giants for doing this either. It’s not their job to keep the Patriots from going undefeated; there were 12 other teams just as responsible for this. The Giants need to think about next week and the game that really matters in Tampa.

So I fully expect the Giants to surrender on Saturday evening. But they are not alone in their capitulation. They will be joined by plenty of other teams this week in flying the white flag right after the coin toss. And then there are several others that should surrender:

Roger Clemens- The typical side effect of steroids is diminished testicle size, yet yours must be gargantuan to pull off this whole denial PR campaign. Eventually, you will be joining Peter Rose in an autograph session across the street from the Hall of Fame. Surrender now and they might let you keep your Cy Youngs and collection of retirement gifts.

Ricky Williams- save the NFL and the Dolphins the cost of administering your next urine test and just admit to your renewed marijuana use.

The National League- you haven’t won an all-star game in God know how long and all the good teams in the AL keep getting stronger. And it seems none of your teams (excepts the Mets) have the capability or desire to get much better. Surrender now and except your fate as a very good AAA league.

Arthur Blank- there is no disgrace for you in surrendering the Falcons. You have endured more than anyone can expect a poor billionaire to suffer.

Gary Bettman- you’ve cross-checked your league into irrelevance. Surrender you commissionership to Don Cherry who will restore the league to its toothless glory days and improve hockey’s sense of fashion.

Isiah Thomas- actually, I take this back. Never surrender. You’ve done so much already to get fired that some might say you are subconsciously trying to give up. Keep doing what you are doing and we promise someday, mercy will be granted to you, and you will be escorted out of the Garden.

Me-the term horrific does not adequately describe my picks this year. Living in the center of the gambling world has not helped me one bit. In fact, it has paralyzed me with too much information, proving the old axiom, “The less you know, the more you win.” (This is particularly true at the low limit poker table). I am have signed the official document declaring my unconditional surrender to the sports books.

Last week, I went 5-11, and 1-3 on my star picks. For the season, I am 111-118-10 and 23-31-3. My picks are in bold. The star indicates I feel so confident about this pick that you might want to stay away from the game.

New England –14.5 at NY Giants

Buffalo at Philadelphia –7.5

Carolina at Tampa Bay +2

*Cincinnati at Miami +3

Dallas +9 at Washington

*Detroit at Green Bay –3.5

Jacksonville +6 at Houston

New Orleans at Chicago +2.5

Pittsburgh –4 at Baltimore

*Seattle +3 at Atlanta

San Francisco +10 at Cleveland

Tennessee at Indianapolis +6

Minnesota –3 at Denver

San Diego –7.5 at Oakland

St. Louis at Arizona –6

Kansas City at NY Jets -6


Save This Page

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Week 16- Miracles Can Happen

Last Sunday, I sold my left kidney and right lung.

Sure the fatheads at the AMA might say this was a “risky medical procedure.” But, I figure if I don’t drink too much and keep my breathing shallow, I should be fine for the next 5 years. I did not sell these seemingly vital organs for the usual black market rate of 500,000 Chinese Yuan. No, I sold them for something far, far more valuable… a single Dolphin victory.

Laugh if you like. I would join you if the sutures still didn’t hurt and I had the air capacity. Unless you are a Tampa Bay Bucs fan from 1976-77, you have no idea the stigma that is attached to your favorite team serving up an O-fer. In a 1-15 season, your team just sucks; but, after an 0-16 season, all other fans look at you like you are John Merrick (the Elephant Man). Sure they will say, its okay, you don’t look that bad wearing your Cleo Lemon jersey. But as soon as they leave you, they’ll pray to every god in the universe that they never befall such a tragedy.

Parents would purposely go out of their way to make sure their child was not a Dolphins fan for fear of the ridicule they would face. The quality of cheerleaders trying out for the team would suffer because how would a woman be able to further her career as a “dancer” or “middle level manager at Hooters” with the stigma of the Dolphins on her resume. Wayne Huizenga would have been forced to sell the team to competent ownership!

I saw the future of an 0-16 season for the team I grew up loving and I just couldn’t let that happen. So I made the trade. I met some guy who goes by the name of Bones because he wears gorilla femurs around his neck. (That would probably explain his hunchback.) He promised me he could make miracles happen in the exchange for these organs. I thought about his claim for a moment mulled over asking him to use his powers for world peace or a cure of illness, but then I thought about a crying Jason Taylor. I ripped open my shirt and said “Go at it! Just, be careful, I have sensitive nipples.”

I am not sure what Bones did to Matt Stover’s right foot to make him miss or to Rich Camarillo’s legs to make him run so fast. All I know or care about is that the Dolphins won a game. Infamy has been staved off. I can wear my aqua and orange jumpsuit with pride for at least one week.

As an extra bonus, Bones threw in the Dolphins getting Bill Parcells to right the ship for the future. I just hope I live to see it..seeing how I have only one lung and kidney.

I think the other reason the Dolphins won is because of the balance of nature. When one thing rises, another must fall. The Dolphins won, and my picks plummeted. Last week, I went 5-11, and 0-3 on my star picks. For the season, I am 106-107-10 and 22-28-3. My picks are in bold. The star indicates I feel so strong about this pick because Bones has wagered my organs on these games.

Pittsburgh at St. Louis +8

Dallas –10.5 at Carolina

Cleveland –3 at Cincinnati

*Green Bay –9 at Chicago

Houston +7 at Indianapolis

Kansas City at Detroit –4.5

Miami at New England –22

*NY Giants at Buffalo +3

Oakland at Jacksonville –13

Philadelphia at New Orleans –3

Washington at Minnesota –6.5

*Atlanta at Arizona –10

*Baltimore at Seattle –10

NY Jets +9 at Tennessee

Tampa Bay at San Francisco +7

Denver at San Diego –8.5


Friday, December 14, 2007

Week 15 - We Need More Reports

Yesterday the long awaited Mitchell Report came out which was baseball’s in-depth, non-bias investigation into how many Yankees they could accuse of steroid use.

But of all the issues that need to be investigated, baseball players increasing the size of their craniums and decreasing the size of their testicles is the least interesting to me. I believe there are far more pressing and important topics that need to be addressed. So Senator Mitchell, if you are done with your bloodhounds, I would like to borrow them for the following blue-ribbon investigations:

The Moss/Welker Report. I care less about Spygate than I do about how the Patriots were able to get the best wide receiver in the game for a 4th round pick and get the best possession receiver in the league for a 2nd and 7th…and from a team in their own division. Either something fishy is going on or the Dolphins and Raiders are just plain dumb! 95% chance that it is that later.

The Backbone Report. Investigation into the disappearance of Bobby Petrino’s backbone. It must be gone because how could he have slithered out of Atlanta like that. I think they will find it in the same location as Nick Saban’s.

The Compromising Photos Report. An immediate investigation needs to be launched on what damning evidence that the following have over their employer. This is the only logical explanation on why they still have a job:

Matt Millen –GM for the Lions

Isiah Thomas – Coach of the Knicks

Randy Mueller – GM of the Dolphins

Gary Bettman – Commissioner of the NHL (it’s a professional hockey league in case you were not familiar with it.)

Brian Billick- offensive genius for a team that can’t score.

Bryant Gumbel- for his play-by-play work on the NFL network.

The guy who gave out all those home loans to people who couldn’t afford it.

The Toothless Smile Report. An explanation is required for the fact that hockey players, who fight in their sports all the time, often come across as really nice guys in the media; while, players who fight in any other sports come across as total jerks. Maybe there is something sympathetic about a guy in need of dental work, which explains our affinity for the British.

The Bizarro World Report. This might be beyond any mere mortal to investigate, but how did the traditionally “clinically depressed” town of Boston end up with a first place baseball, football, and basketball team at the same time. It might be Boston’s screw you revenge to the rest of the country for not voting for John Kerry.

The Parenthood Report. It amazes me when I see all these celebrities with young children go to every party, event and premiere. Brad and Angelina seem to be literally everywhere in the world and, yet, are supposed to be great parents of 4 little children. I know parents who have not left their zip code in months. So are these celebrities just the most time-efficient people in the world or do they just pick the best nannies?
I feel an asterisk should be placed next to their “Best Mommy and Daddy in the World” mug.

The Energizer Bunny Report. How the hell has that bunny kept going for over 20 years!

Speaking of investigations, there should be a report explaining why for the first 12 weeks of the season I was picking at below 50%, but for the last two weeks, my winning percentage is up to over 70%! Last week, I went 11-5 (again), and 1-2 (not again) on my star picks. For the season, I am 101-96-10 and 22-25-3. My picks are in bold and that star indicates I feel so strong about it that I will not cooperate with investigators if I am wrong.

Cincinnati –8.5 at San Francisco
Arizona +4 at New Orleans
Atlanta +13 at Tampa Bay
*Baltimore –3 at Miami
Buffalo +6 at Cleveland
Green Bay –9.5 at St. Louis
Jacksonville at Pittsburgh –3.5
NY Jets +24.5 at New England
*Seattle –7 at Carolina
*Tennessee at Kansas City +4
Indianapolis –10.5 at Oakland
Detroit +10.5 at San Diego
Philadelphia +10.5 at Dallas
Washington +5.5 at NY Giants
Chicago +10 at Minnesota

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Five Things That Will Happen in the Thursday Night Game

Broncos @ Texans

1. You will fall into a hypnotic trance to the droning voice and monotone play by play calling of Bryant Gumbel. Do not watch this game while driving.

2. Jay Cutler will throw for 3 TDs and more than 250 yards, giving every fantasy football player a self-induced concussion from knocking his head against a wall from not playing him. I will be wearing a helmet for this very purpose.

3. There will be 127 split screen shots of Mike Shanahan on the Bronco sideline and of his son, Kyle Shanahan over on the other side for the Texans. This story angle will be beaten dead by the middle of the 2nd quarter, revived with electric paddles during the half, and then beaten to death again for the 4th quarter.

4. Sage Rosenfels will look decent for the first 2 ½ quarters, then throw an inexplicable interception that will make Texan fans smack their collective forehead and say “Oh, I forgot, Sage Rosenfels is playing tonight.”

5. And for strictly recreational purposes, Denver will cover the 1-½ points they are getting. (Even though I think they will win outright, I am too much a scary cat not to take the lousy point and a half.)

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Week 14- Save the Dolphins

After overcoming the one obstacle that could have prevented a place in football infamy, the Miami Dolphins are speeding down the HOV lane on their way to the imperfect season. Their offense has not scored a touchdown in three games. Their defense just game up 40 to a team that scored just 3 the week before. Fingers are being pointed at everyone in sight, blame is spread around like fertilizer on a farm, and there is a real chance their new coach’s first year will also be his last.

But this does not have to be. I’ve spent the week shut in a basement watching tapes of Dan Marino’s Greatest Hits and the NFL Film’s documentary on the ’72 Dolphins. This has inspired me to come up with some ideas the Dolphins can employ to ward off the inevitable and win that one game needed to make the season a tolerable failure, instead of an ultimate catastrophe.

So, Mr. Huzienga, Mr. Mueller, and Mr. Cameron, here are some tips, free of charge:

Flood the field before everyone of your games. The game you had the best chance of winning was played in 3 feet of muck in which no one could stay upright. The key is to bring your opponent down to your level, since you have no chance of rising to theirs.

Punt on third down. Your third down conversion rate is abysmal. You can totally fix that by just eliminating third down. Plus it gets your offense off the field quicker. This helps since your offense has clearly been an impediment to scoring.

Videotape the other team sending in signals. Heck it’s working for the Patriots. (Oh come on Belchick, I was only kidding. You are a great coach and I wish you were running the Dolphins, or even better the CIA.)

Blame the officiating. You may not be able to technically win the game, but by blaming the officiating as the cause of your loss, you can at least enjoy that moral, “the game was stolen from us” victory that the Ravens are celebrating after Monday night.

Immediately try a field goal as soon as you get in range. Once you get inside the 40-yard line, even if it is on first down, immediately line-up for a field goal try. Why risk losing the ball on a turnover and getting zero points. And don’t come back to me saying “but a touchdown would be better.” It would be better if this blog won the Pulitzer Prize, but both that happening and you scoring a TD have an equal chance of occurring.

Spike the other teams Gatorade with drops of Visine. I think it was the great Vince Lombardi who once said, “The only way to stop the run is to give the runs.” This is expert advice usually found only on the Fox pre-game show.

Pick a lucky fan to play running back for the 3rd quarter. You are down to your 6 or 7 string running back. I think any person who can stand upright might help you now. Plus, it’s a way to give back to the paying for their hospitalization.

Send typical Miami drivers to drive near the opposing team’s bus on way to the stadium. It’s a miracle your own team makes it to and from home games driving in Miami (see Zach Thomas). Why not take the home field advantage and extend it to the home roadway advantage. Even if the deranged Miami drivers don’t run the bus off the road, they would scare the living hell out of the team leaving them catatonic for the game. This is just like Miami residents are after a rush hour commute home.

Schedule a game against Notre Dame. Seriously, this might be your only hope.

Don’t discount my advice so easily. Last week, I went 11-5, and 2-1 on my star picks. For the season, I am 90-91-10 and 21-23-3. My picks are in bold and that star indicates I feel so strong about it that I will donate the victory to the Dolphins, but not the money that comes from betting the pick.

Chicago at Washington –3
*Carolina +11 at Jacksonville
Dallas –11 at Detroit
Miami at Buffalo –7
NY Giants +3 at Philadelphia
Oakland at Green Bay –10
Pittsburgh +11
at New England
*San Diego –1 at Tennessee
St. Louis at Cincinnati –6.5
*Tampa Bay –3 at Houston
Arizona +7 at Seattle
Minnesota –8 at San Francisco
Cleveland –3.5 at NY Jets
Kansas City at Denver –6.5
Indianapolis –9 at Baltimore
New Orleans –4.5 at Atlanta