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


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