Friday, January 31, 2014

Super Bowl XLVIII Prediction Time

Oh well, the paralyzing snowstorm for MetLife on Sunday teased, then fizzled.

Maybe next cold weather Super Bowl venue.

Because you just KNOW there will be one, now that this one has gone so "well" - all things considered.

Here comes Boston, Philly, Washington, and certainly New York/NJ yet again with more bids in the future. And they'll get 'em, I'm sure. The days of warm/dome only for this event are effectively over. I can see a rough rotation in the future of 1 cold, for every two warm.

I'm gonna just have to let it go.

On to the game. Count this as a "broad strokes" analysis, which I accept will be assaulted as a "you obviously know nothing about football" approach by many. That's fine. Throw your opinion eggs and  tomatoes! It's what I'm up here for!

The Seahawks are the same team as San Francisco. Maybe a shade weaker, because I think Seattle thrives as a home-field trick pony for half the year with that incredible 12th man noise. Not that Seattle sucks away from home, but they are distinctly beatable.

Seattle, like the Niners, are a crazy-sick defense, with a good-but-still-not-there QB who can run around and make some plays. Seattle is a slight "minus" when it comes to weapons on offense when compared to the Niners: Davis and Crabtree trump anything Seattle has as targets, and Gore v. Lynch is a virtual push.

And Baltimore, FAR less dynamic offensively than Denver, beat the Niners, and were pulling away when the lights went out.

Sure, the seven highest scoring teams in NFL history are a collective 0-7 when it comes to winning the Super Bowl. Several didn't even make it to the Roman Numeral game. Offensive "dandies" tend to get punched in the face, and then curl up.

Will that happen to Denver and Manning? I doubt it.

Seattle has beaten the following scrubs this year out of conference - (with QB).

2-14 Houston (Matt Schaub)
4-12 Jacksonville (Chad Henne)
4-12 Buccaneers (Mike Glennon) * Down 21-0 at home.
4-12 Falcons (Matt Ryan)
5-10-1 Vikings (Christian Ponder)
7-9 Giants (E. Manning) * 40th ranked in Passer Rating among qualifiers. 40!

I'm not even throwing into that pile, twin meetings with the Kellen Clemens led Rams, the first one the Seahawks almost lost 14-9.

So if you are counting with me, that's 6 wins against QB's who might not start a game next year, and 4 coaches who got fired.

The cliche says "Defense Wins Championships". Reminder: that's a cliche. In the real world, history has shown that quarterbacks have to eventually win these games. With a big play, or a big drive.

Russell Wilson is going to have to win this game for Seattle, and I just don't think he's there yet. If Denver is down late (say -10 in the 4th) they will be a mortal threat all the way until 0:00.

The Saints were a similar defense to Seattle back when they beat Manning and the Colts. A disruptive turnover creating - and bounty paying! - unit that played fearlessly.

It still took Drew Brees going 32-39, a surprise on-side kick, and a 74-yard pick-six in the final 4:00 to slay Peyton Manning.

Defense won't get it done alone.

Final thought: the warmer it gets, the deader the Hawks are. Cold and wind were the best chance to hang on for a defense-led victory. Your small consolation, Seattle: you won't have the referees to bitch about for the the loss this time.

Denver 33
Seattle 20

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Football Writers Have Become The Biggest Useless Bitches On the Planet

So Marshawn Lynch has gone "Least Mode" in front of the microphones and cameras this week.

Good for him.

About time somebody was actually LESS accessible, LESS overexposed, or LESS cliched when it comes to the relentless hyping and marketing of players these days.

When Deion struggled to pry a few words out of Lynch, it turned out to be pure gold. Not just for Lynch gems like "I'm just all 'bout that action" and "Whole town's bidness gonna be up in the house" but also for how gingerly the normally high stepping Prime Time had to approach him.

But alas, the vaunted "Pro Football Writers of America" (PFWA) - which should be re-branded the People For Wonderful Answers - got their old man panties in a wad and fired off a letter to the NFL about it all.

“The Pro Football Writers of America, the official voice of pro football writers fighting and promoting for access to NFL personnel to best serve the public, is extremely disappointed in the lack of meaningful access to Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch at the Super Bowl XLVIII media day on Tuesday,” the PFWA said in a statement issued by president D. Orlando Ledbetter. 
“Several of our long-standing and high profile members were appalled by Mr. Lynch’s conduct and refusal to answer any questions. We find the statement that by the league that ‘Players are required to participate and he participated’ to be an affront to our membership. However, we are encouraged that the league will continue to closely monitor this situation.”
See. This is why John Clayton got stuffed in trash cans alot back in high school last week.

"The Marshawn Lynch thing was totally embarrassing for the organization I think because he went through the motions of answering questions non-football-related for six minutes and 21 seconds and bolted," Clayton said. "He didn't leave the area but he stood near the position where he was supposed to be and refused to walk back. I honestly think that he should get the $100,000 fine. He acted irresponsibly."

Yes, the seethingly ugly John Clayton, who provides nothing exciting or useful ever in his "reporting", wants Lynch to be docked well over double the average annual salary of the guy watching the game on TV. The same guy who willingly let ESPN make a promo of him, painting him as some loser in his mom's basement who mysteriously has a job doing television reports, is now acting all serious.

What a dick.

And he, along with many of these other pathetic dinosaurs sit in a closed room and elect players to Canton, and insist they are not biased.


Once upon a time, things were much simpler. Like below. Joe Namath would sit poolside, writers would come up for a quote or two, blue haired old ladies would get an autograph, and nobody acted like a bitch.

If the PFWA wanted to carp to the NFL's Brian McCarthy in private about Lynch, fine. But the moment someone pulled out his Smith-Corona to write that letter, he should have been beaten to within an inch of his life by whatever remaining NFL writers have any sense of dignity.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Mariana Gonzales Wins Media Day

What's better than a scantily clad TV Azteca reporter in a tight white knit dress and a fur cap?

The same smokeshow, in a series of selfies with her bare midriff. Man, hispanic language TV knows how to play the game.

I got one thing to say to Shelly Smith, in the immortal words of Steve Smith: "Ice up, son, ice up."

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Here, Let Me Save You Some Time Tonight...

If you want the President's State of the Union address boiled down to less than a minute, well here you go. Just remember: he's still got TWO MORE of these things! /

/krusty groan

Meanwhile, if only could have the lively back-and-forth zingers of the British House of Commons. And to think just because one guy quickly blurted "You Lie" at one of ours (proven: true), it was like a huge deal!

In Britian, David Cameron can call Gordon Brown "a phony" to his face, while imploring him to get some balls and "find a bit of bottle" while Brown returns fire, and it's just jolly old good political fun.

Maybe time to re-relinquish control of this place to our British forefathers.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Daily Poll: The Sherman Effect

Don't Get Rid of "Thug" Label, Just Make Sure It Fits...

Richard Sherman is not a thug.
He’s a punk. Jackass. Self-promoter.
It doesn’t mean thugs don’t exist, or that the word needs to be banned. Thug is a perfectly useful word that works for a variety of actors in the public sphere.
To me, in the sports world a thug is an irresponsible, self-absorbed, quasi-criminal, who you might even seem to think plays sports only for the millionaire, MTV cribs lifestyle it provides – not for the joy of the game, or any other high concept principle.
It helps to have some “thug” accessories, the trappings of inner-city street life that has been glamorized by rappers for years now. You know, tattoos, gold teeth, bling, guns, weed. Oh, and at least a few kids to a few different baby mommas.
Sherman ain’t the thug on that team, Marshawn Lynch is.
The same disregard and respect for others, led to him losing his driver’s license in New York state just ONE DAY after he got it, when he hit a pedestrian at 3 in the morning and just kept driving home.
Beast Mode, indeed.
He then racked up a weapons charge in California in the off-season, was suspended 3 games by the NFL, traded away by Buffalo for a mere 5th rounder, then picked up another DUI as a Seahawk in 2012 – a case that has been pushed back all the way until THIS spring! – all the while dodging the media this season to the tune of a $50,000 fine.
Sorry, but I wouldn’t let Marshawn Lynch watch my parked car from an office window, much less babysit by kids. Sherman, meanwhile, I’d hire to come over to handle the kids while I went out to a movie, tomorrow.
They’d probably have a blast.
If you hang out with people who have or would: 1. Beat 2. Stab 3. Threaten or 4. Kill somebody, you’re a thug.
Michael Vick was a classic NFL thug when he was a Falcon. A dogfighting, weed smoking, posse-having, money wasting wanna-be “baller” – not a genuine football player. Oh, he played football alright – but mainly just to finance all the rest.
Then jail happened. And you know what, he mostly left the thug lifestyle behind, and played a few of his best seasons ever as an Eagle.
Good for him.
Another black quarterback for the Eagles, had a rather long and very successful career as the anti-Vick. Responsible. Accountable. Embraced the corporate opportunities of being an NFL star, was never once in trouble with the law, and likely has most of his millions still in the bank.
Good too, for him.
And as much as some would like to make it a black/white thing, or a “racial coding” thing, let’s not forget the things that were said about white guys like Bill Laimbeer, Todd Bertuzzi, Richie Incognito and others.
A “thug” label in sports, is fuzzy around the edges, and subject to personal interpretation. It’s also sometimes a “phase” that athletes will move in and out of, depending upon their evolving level of maturity.
To retire the label “thug” in sports would be a mistake. Let’s just make sure to save it for the guys it truly fits.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Mattell's Electronic Football Game - FOR YOUR iPHONE!

Yes, they really did this.

Given the current awesomeness of video games in the digital age, it would seem absurd to "port" the most primitive pre-cursor of modern video game football to an iPhone.

But here you have it.

For those old enough to remember the original.... "bleep... bleep.. BLEEP... bleeeeeeeep" of this "game" (honestly, it deserves the most mocking of air quotes), it may bring back warm and fuzzy feelings of sitting around for hours, honing your button mashing skills.

Perhaps better yet, you should download this app to show to your kids, and their friends... JUST HOW MUCH LIFE SUCKED WHEN YOU WERE 11 YEARS OLD!

Then throw 'em outside, make them shovel the driveway, and give them $2 for their toil.

That'll teach 'em.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Sunday, January 19, 2014

AFC/NFC Championship Game Recap & Thoughts

AFC Championship

Man, that was sweet. 

Really, really sweet.

Peyton Manning, in a big game, against his own “El Guapo” - Tom Brady - and he carves ‘em up for 400 yards.

I have no real reason for liking Manning so much, other than that I just appreciate athletes who are flat out bad-asses in their sport. It doesn’t hurt if they are funny, self-effacing, and also the epitome of sportsmanship and class.

And Manning is now certifed with his 3rd appearance on Super Sunday.

I don’t care if he loses it. It would be a bitter disappointment for him, sure. But I am more realistic as a sports fan: it’s hard to win a Super Bowl. To judge a player’s greatness only on rings, is stupid.

A Manning choke - or just any loss for that matter - against the Patriots, would have unleashed a Low Football IQ Caller Parade on Monday on the radio. Thank god that’s been cancelled.

He was a little lucky at times - the slippery fish snap early, then that seeing-eye floater later - but mostly awesome throughout. Picking the right plays. Then picking apart the Pats secondary.

Yes, noted. Aqib Talib.

Nothing for sure says he would have made a difference. Manning did not have Julius Thomas in that first meeting, and the Patriots had Gronk. That, plus when the forecast showed high 50’s and sunshine, we all should have simply said: “Game over.”

This was going to be Peyton’s playhouse.

And it sure was.

Both Thomas boys ran wild. Moreno and Ball ran fast and hard when needed. And even though they had to settle for field goals a few times when they could just TASTE a touchdown on their lips, the Broncos kept doing what they do.

Most importantly, when the Patriots finally score a TD to make it a somewhat uneasy feeling with about 9 minutes to go, the Broncos went PASS-PASS and connected to Julius Thomas for that backbreaking big gain down the left sideline.

And I flat out loved how the administered the final choke out. 4th and 2, about 1:20 left. Broncos up 10, understood that being up 13 was not much different, and so they just decided to ram it ahead and take three knees. Many coaches would kick the FG, hand the ball back, and play another minute of defense.

Maybe John Fox had seen too much of Brady’s miracle comebacks this year and decided, “screw that. Not this time!”

A record setting offensive juggernaut of a team, with a Mount Rushmore quarterback whose career was nearly ended by a trillion neck surgeries, is going to the Super Bowl.

Justice, was served.


NFC Championship

Meanwhile in Seattle, that game left me absolutely rocked in my chair.

I may be over-reacting, but that might be the single best NFL playoff game I have ever watched. It had everything.

Pulsating atmosphere. Check.
Thumping, bruising, big boy football. Check.
Almost no post whistle nonsense. Check (Great work, Mean Gene Steratore & Co.)
Thrilling, game swinging, big plays. Check, check, and check.

Colin Kaepernick running like a gazelle on the open plains.
Wilson re-animating the very essence of Fran Tarkenton.
Marshawn Lynch, going Beast Mode.

That TD run was nothing short of electric.

A deft side-hop cut into the hole.
High step upon contact (intentional?)
Vision to cut to open water.
Raw speed to pull away from defender angles.
Finishing balance to find the endzone.


Haymaker, haymaker, haymaker.

Niners and Seahawks, toe to toe.

I was aghast at some of Pete Carroll’s “tactics” if you can call them that.

A timeout just to go for it on 4th and 7? In a tight game like that? Unreal. He got bailed out because they made it.

Going for 4th and goal after instant replay failed, yet again?


To wit: what makes anyone think 4th and goal against a monster defense like the Niners that had TWO goal-line stands last week is at all, a “good” idea? 

More critically, with 8 minutes left in the game, you are down to assuming the other team might only have 1 possession left. They may not, but in the final 1/8th of the game, the math was compelling to just take those undeserved 3 points and tiptoe away.

Field goal puts you up six. Kaepernick will now be in “pressure” mode, throwing more, trying hard to get all the way into the end zone. And even if he gets the Niners into the endzone, you are now only down 1. Meaning, FG WINS you the game, instead of being down 4.

As it turns out, DJQB Hip Hop threw a pick anyway. Which nobody - including myself - could have assumed would happen. But things happen in a football game. Your next FG is a 9-point spread. Be ready to take that 9 point lead if “something” (like a fumble) does happen.

Instead, the Niners were given a chance to march down the field, and would have had 4 throws into the endzone from the 18 yard line to WIN the game.

Plus, they had 2 timeouts, allowing for anything they want short and underneath.

The Seahawks were in a VERY precarious situation. And then Richard Sherman happened, with a little bit of magic from a nobody named Malcolm Smith. One of 53 guys on a T-E-A-M with a job to do, and he did his wonderfully on that play. Being present, alert, and ready to snatch victory, as it hung in the air.

Smith did not instigate a taunting penalty after that play, to avenge some mythical “trash talk” that might have hurt his feelings. Smith did not act like a classless jackass on national TV. 

And that’s part of why you have no idea who he is.

Welcome to sports in the modern, internet, viral age.

Now, one last thought on replay.

It failed.

Yes, IT did.

Don’t argue that replay is good, it’s the restrictions and rules that are screwed up. The point of having instant replay is to avoid having fallible humans make honest mistakes that change outcomes of games, and perhaps someday (gasp!) costs a team a trip to the Super Bowl.

That is WHY you have replay.

But replay fails, time and time again. 

It fails because replay can’t envision, cover, or be written in a way that entails every complicated rules situation that may arise on a pro football field. The only way it MIGHT be able to achieve perfection, is to say “every single play is subject to replay, and the game will be stopped and re-started an indefinite number of times, in order to make sure no wrong calls are made.”

Otherwise, replay shall fail, and fail, and fail again.

Sorry. It’s fact. It’s science.

The concept of replay is flawed from the start. It’s central conceit is that we can identify a certain subset of plays (TD’s and turnovers, for example) that will comprise the crucial game changing errors, and allow them to be corrected.

But games hinge on anything, and everything. Calls that are made, and not made. Rules that are mis-applied (like Steratore’s 5-yard running into call, not roughing call on the punter) and things that are simply missed.

But the people seem to like replay in sports.

And the people have spoken.

It’s like Obamacare. You wanted it. You got it. Have fun.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Vegas Golf Recommendation: Paiute Resort

With CzabeVegas 2014 only 67 days away and counting down quickly, many of you who don't currently play golf on trips to Vegas, but would like to start doing so, ask me for advice.

So with that in mind, I figured I would start posting some occasional recommendations based on first hand experience. This post, is about Paiute Resort, just about 25 minutes north and west of the strip.

First thing about golf in Vegas: it's not cheap.

Not relative to other warm weather destination cities like Myrtle Beach, etc. This is because money comes to Vegas, and people lose that money. Quickly. So the "mental economics" of the tourist gambler/golfer, goes like this: "Sure, $200 for (insert course) sure seems steep, but if I play craps/blackjack/whatever for 5 hours, I'll lose at least $400, so at least I'll get some time out in the sun."

And the market can bear it. So go with it.

The second thing about golf in Vegas is that a number of the cheaper courses are what you could call "target golf" layouts. They might look good in the few glory shots on the course website, but they play a lot differently.

These are courses crammed into nearby housing communities, and designed to use the least amount of water as possible.

Less water, means less grass. Which means more desert, more rocks. Less Titleists in your bag at the end of the day.

Look at the photos below. The top photo is Paiute, and the bottom photo Badlands.

Nothing against Badlands, but having played it, its the equivalent of hitting your golf ball over a relentless pile of rocks, all day long. It may be your favorite course out there, but not mine. Sorry.

Paiute is nice in that you can see the hole "envelopes" are significantly wider, so that when you spray it a bit, you are still on grass, and not in a pile of rocks and scorpions - or somebody's backyard.

It's a 3-course facility that has almost equally great layouts, although the "Wolf" 18 is positioned as the "elite" layout. I've played 2 of the three, and I don't think there's any dropoff from "The Wolf." Great big clubhouse, two great driving ranges and short game areas. Great staff.

They just do it right. And most of all, the greens are always fantastic. That is the ultimate factor for any avid golfer when it comes to the question of "are we coming back to this place."

The answer at Paiute - an emphatic "yes!"

The most encouraging thing about Paiute is that you may have heard it suffered almost devastating flooding over the summer. Video of that is below.

8 News NOW

If you listen to my interview with GM Chad Gunier, he explains the massive effort to get the courses back up and running. And I'm thrilled to say they are "back, and better than ever!"

Lastly, if you want to see me and the dummies knock it around Paiute, the video below is from 2010. Great times. I highly recommend it. Rates vary by month, and of course, day of the week. But I can  honestly say Paiute is absolutely the best "bang for the buck" places anywhere in Vegas.

Paiute Golf 2010 - The Wolf from Steve Czaban on Vimeo.

This Video Now Makes Me Think The Seahawks Are Going to Totally Kill the Niners

Because even though "Seahawks" don't even exist - they are a fictional amalgamation of various raptors, drawing mostly on Osprey's which are the best prey birds of the open water - any kind of hawk is freaking BAD ASS!

Sure, some of this footage is shaky, but overall, there's little better in the way of "Bird Porn" than this!

Enjoy, bird nerds!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Shock Discovery: Cubs Organization Finds Internet Is An Un-Friendly Place

Well, now, what did they expect?

You roll out a "nobody-asked-for-this" mascot for the first time in team history since the equally horrifying Cubbie "Squirrellbeast" of 1908, and you are going to get mocked.

You will get mocked for the fact this mascot is your team's best signing this winter.

You will get mocked for naming him something cute in reference to the ballpark.

You will get mocked for the mere fact that you suck, have always sucked, and yeah, mascot.

You should also expect photoshoppers far and wide to go creatively crazy, and you should expect Deadspin to organize a nice single stop shop for everything perverted, disgusting, hilarious, funny, and "inside-baseball" reference-y people come up with.

This was going to happen, people. C'mon.

Nobody in that big conference room with the Cubs, when reviewing final proofs of what "Clark" would look like, how he would dress, and what um... problems.... might arise from this version spoke up to say: "Yeah, uh... HE'S GOT NO PANTS!"

Simple rule: give a animal human-like legs. Give him pants.

No exceptions.

Oh, I understand that modern sports marketing departments for pro sports need a little "tool" like this in their kit. They need someone in a suit, making minimum wage, to go out and knuckle-dap kids in the hospital with horrible diseases that will likely cancel their 10th birthday.

I get it.

They need this because the alternative is someone like Alfonso Soriano, who makes $18 million a year, and might show up late, or not at all.

Instead, you pay some intern $100 and send him out into the community. I know. I collected that $100 cash when I was "Hoops" the Bullets mascot for 3 awful appearances back in the late 1980's.

My first appearance was the Inner Harbor in Baltimore. In June. HOT.

My second appearance was at some rich kid's birthday party in Great Falls, VA. Annoying.

My third and last appearance was a parking lot "kids-fest" at RFK. In July.

I nearly passed out, and was kicked in the shins REPEATEDLY.

My proud sister, and likely horrified father. "My son, is a MASCOT?"

My dignity, and health, was worth more than $100. I stopped volunteering for those gigs, and my mascot career, was over. Never made it to "the bigs". Never did an actual game. Sigh. Oh well...

As for "Clark"? Well, the Cubs should have never even acknowledged the photoshopping, because all it did was cement the story as a legit news story in various cable outlet's left-hand rundown.

Our own such outlet here in Washington, D.C. actually had some idiot producer put the penis-i-fied version of Clark - ON THE AIR.

As they say: "Good job, good effort."

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Hilary Duff Has Optioned Hockey Player Husband to Minors

Awwww, say it ain't so!

Former Disney teen queen Hilary Duff has split from her former hockey-player husband Mike Comrie (yep, that guy you've never ever heard of..) after just three years. As my friends at "What Would Tyler Durden Do?" put it...

"Three years and one kid remains the average life expectancy of a Hollywood marriage, lesbians included."

This all came about 2 days after they INSISTED that everything was super-cool, and then of course asked for "privacy" during this transition phase when they will remain "best friends".

How is it that divorcing celebrities always say they will stay "best friends?" Is there a bigger lie in the world than that? Really. You are getting divorced. Best friends, don't need to get divorced. Even if you both wanted unlimited extra-marital "strange", then "best friends" would say "okay, just don't tell me about it, and don't play any home games."

I've always really like ol' Hil (with ONE "L") and her "look." Fantastic smile. Impeccably high cheekbones.

She once had a "hit" song called "Wake Up" which was one of the most sophisticated musical opuses ever written, not like I have it on my iPhone as a video.

(/throws iPhone into toilet).

Oh well. She's somebody else's account to manage now. In the meantime, look how nice she cleans up!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

All Heavyweight Championship Sunday

Excited, everybody? I hope so.

Not me. I'm going to be weak-kneed, nervous wreck watching these games next weekend.

I know, I know. You are only supposed to be nervous when it is your team in a massive stakes games like these.

I'll be nervous because I simply can't stomach the thought of either the Niners or the Pats in the Super Bowl.

Much less both.

And there's a very real chance of just that!

What do I have against them?

Nothing, except that both teams are so damn good right now, it's unfair.

Un-fucking-fair. I'm calling it. Like a little 10 year old kid.

Harbaugh has somehow made me kind of like Petey "Rah Rah" Carroll. Nobody is a bigger front runner than Jim Harbaugh. When he wins, he's kissing beat writers on the head. When he loses, he's giving you the 1000 yard stare, and perfunctory answers.

Sunday, Fox explained how Harbaugh still wears cleats on the sideline as a coach.

Of course he does. What an ass.

His move of running 30 yards onto the field to complain to Carl Cheffers about getting a replay on the Vernon Davis TD call was classic idiot. Like they weren't going to review that.

He's impossible to like, unless you are a Niner fan. I bet brother John hates his guts, and that mom and dad just tolerate him.

He's an amazing coach, though. Holy shit, amazing. I'd want him coaching my team. Any day. He's the first coach to reach the Conference Championship game in each of the first 3 years as a head coach.

And he did it with a bunch of guys Mike Singletary couldn't figure out how to make a ham sandwich out of.

I respectfully hate his guts. Oh, and the Niners now have an extra 2nd round pick because Alex Smith was so good for Kansas City, and Colin Kaepernick isn't even really good just yet.

I have a feeling the Seahawks are our last hope to prevent about 4 straight Super Bowl trips for the Niners.

And the enemy of my enemy .... is my friend.

Go Hawks.

And then we have the Patriots. This will be their 8th AFC Championship game under Belichick and Brady. They've already got a shelf of Lombardi's from this run, and had two more stolen from them by the Giants while pulling two lucky horseshoes out of their asses.

There is absolutely no reason why any one team should have this much success over that long a span. And I'm not even a guy who still holds a grudge against the Pats for Spygate. I mean, they cheated like fuck. And got caught. And haven't won a Super Bowl since.

But they are still relentlessly incredible.

Every year, the football gods throw all kinds of ridiculous injuries at the Patriots, just to make it fair.

And it's still never enough.

Tom Brady had his knee blown up, and they still went 11-5 with a one-time-use, backup QB, who they traded for a 2nd round pick - and the guy hasn't been any good since!

This team extracts talent from every little crack and crevice of a 53 man roster like no one else. Random guys. Other team's castaways. Little white dudes.

How sick would the Pats be if Vince Wilfork was still upright and healthy, and just one of their now famously injured or incarcerated tight ends were available?

They had this entire offense that Belichick built around the concept of "You can't guard two TE's like these dudes! We are going to KILL people with this scheme!"

Then had to change it all.

And... boom. Here they are again!

When are these assholes going to go away?

They are ruthless gangsters. Trading Richard Seymour the week before the season began (first round pick, thank you!), benching Wes Welker for a half because he clowned Rex Ryan, or this week putting Brandon Spikes on IR because he tried to use snow (Snow! In New England!) as an excuse for missing a meeting!

They cut Tiquan Underwood - WHILE AT THE SUPER BOWL!

Other franchises reach for the Patriots' magic trinkets like boy-coach Josh McDaniels, or supposed GM-guru Scott Pioli, only to watch them morph into complete turds under their own roof.

Sure, the Pats will someday suck again when B&B are retired and gone.

For many of us, it can't come soon enough. But I know it simply won't come soon enough.

And I'm gonna have to look at these guys, and hear Super Bowl stories about these guys... AGAIN! For two weeks? In New York City?

Shoot me now.

Peyton, this would be a really great time for you to not choke, for once. (Okay, for twice in your life).

Go Broncs.

Excited for this upcoming epic Sunday? Not me. I'm already ready to puke.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Some Simple Do's and Don't's: Let's Start With Dinner...

I have some unsolicited advice for Jay Gruden as we welcome him to town, and hope earnestly that he can turn around this listing, wayward ship of bad football. And it's as simple as "Do This, Don't Do That..."

Don’t have dinners with the owner. You don’t need him as a friend, and neither does he need you as one. He’s your boss. Have your next fancy dinner, at the Super Bowl, the night before the big game.

Do have lunch with your quarterback. Let him know that even if you have to break his balls at times over fundamentals or execution, that you do have his back, and that you are both in this to make each other wildly successful, rich, famous and winners.

Jay Gruden, Dan Snyder, Bruce Allen, and Co. celebrate hiring at Morton's, somewhere in DC.

Don’t go out and purchase any wide receiver in free agency. We’ve got Garcon, who dominated the league last year with a QB who, some claim, had a “bad” season. You can make do with young, hungry, no-names filling out the Y and Z positions.

Do invest heavily on the defensive side of the football. Good defense not only wins in the NFL, but good defense shows up in all weather, is indifferent to supposedly “bad” match ups, and can be applied consistently as long as players give maximum effort.

Don’t waste any timeouts in the 2nd half just to avoid a 5-yard delay of game penalty. If you carry all 3 time-outs to the 2-minute warning every game, no matter what, you will add two wins to your season total vs. teams that don’t.

Do be aggressive on going for it on 4th down and less than 3. The league is slowly waking up to the understanding that the old school worship of almighty “field position” is silly and counter-productive. Get the ball. KEEP the ball. Score. That’s how the game is won. Period.

QB Jay Gruden and team rocking' the Zubaz style pants for the Arena League 
Don’t even think about going away from the gold pants. Especially don’t think about those horrifying Zubaz from your Arena League playing days with the Storm.

Do make an effort to reach out to the fan base, in whatever little ways you can. The last guy wasn’t just bad at winning games, he was so cold and distant, many of us are still in Redskins fan therapy over it.

Don’t just let Bruce Allen and the scouting department have their way with draft decisions and free agency. You are a football junkie, who knows this game, and knows what kind of athlete can make it. Get in there and fight, when you think it matters.

Do accept the fact that as a coach, you are always going to be biased toward players you think can play better, or are convinced just haven’t reached their potential. Thus, Allen’s job will sometimes be to save you from yourself on these guys.

Don’t set expectations too high. A lot of us would love it, if you did nothing but quietly undersell the potential for the upcoming team, and upcoming season, only to be pleasantly surprised once play starts.

Do remember that as fans, we might just start calling for your head at the first 2 game losing streak. Don’t take it personally, or seriously. It’s just that we’ve been through a lot these last 14 years.

The start of something big. We had no idea, at the time.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Snicky du Jour: Amy Adams

If you like Amy Adams - and she might just be my new "World #1/#1 for reasons I don't care to argue about with you people, she just damn HAS IT in my mind! - and if you like vintage late 70's looks in clothing and hairstyles, then you are going to FLIP for "American Hustle."

If you like Amy in these stills, she'll positively knock your 70's tube socks off when you watch her in action with Christian Bale and Bradley Cooper and his man perm.

Nothing against Jennifer Lawrence, whose character is intentionally white-trash-ified in this movie, but Adams flat out smokes her in this flick.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Lindsay Vonn's Midriff Wins Gold Anyway

Sad news that Lindsay Vonn won't be competing at the Winter Games in Sochi.

We'll always have two things.

1. The above Under Armour commercial that shows off her lovely abs in a tantalizing apres ski setting.
2. The scintillating Gold Medal winning run from Vancouver, four years ago.

Enjoy both. (Just not the first one, too much!)

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Pressing Your Luck

Of all the things that makes the NFL supreme among sports viewing products, is the fact that falling behind means almost nothing. Sometimes, even falling behind by a lot.

All three early winners trailed at halftime. Which got me to thinking.

I wonder what the typical “comeback rate” is for each of the four major sports. Has anybody ever tried to calculate that?

In football and basketball, there are three different scoring denominations (technically four, if you count the XP in football). So I’m not sure how you would create the “comeback metric” for lack of a better word.

My first thought was to make it based on the multiple of the highest scoring denomination possible. So, a three-goal lead in hockey, or three run lead in baseball, would equate to a 3 TD lead in football.

But that would be stupid. Being down 21 in an NFL game, at ANY point in the game, is almost always a death sentence.

So maybe we could reverse engineer this so called “comeback metric.”

I am pretty sure we (and by “we” I mean, somebody with waayyy more time than me!) could calculate exactly the number of times since the NFL merger teams that trailed by 21 points came back to win the game. We could even break it down by decade, to see if the “mortality rate” of 21-0 has declined as the “passing era” in the NFL gained pre-eminance.

So once we get the verifiable "mortality rate” of being down by 21 in the NFL, we can then use that number (my guess: 6%) and find the similar scoring position of “nearly fatal” in other sports.

So what is the 6% of teams come back and win when trailing by (calculate number) in baseball? Hockey? Basketball?

Oh sure, I hear you snickering. “How in the f*** Czaban, could anyone find all the times a team in basketball came back from being 20 points or more down?

Ummmm. Nerds?

I don’t know. But I think it’s be a neat, cool, perhaps useful statistic to dig out. In other words, at what point are you basically “dead” as a team in a game?

Which brings me to the other most amazingly stupid thing that still persists in the NFL.

Wasted 2nd half timeouts, and clock management.

I won’t belabor what I have written and talked about for years and years now, but you people saw what Andy Reid did on Saturday afternoon.

I am pretty sure I have never, ever, seen a team have the 2 minute warning to get their shit together, and THEN burn a timeout - ANY timeout, much less their FINAL timeout - with the clocked stopped reading 2:00.

Watch this league long enough, you’ll see everything.

It was 4th and 11! Taking a 5 yard penalty makes it 4th and 16. There is no material down-and-distance, available-plays-to-call difference! Alex Smith hit a streaking Dwayne Bowe about 30 yards down the right sideline, and ONE foot too far wide on the boundary to end the game.

Timeouts in the 2nd half are coupons for :40 of game play. I simply don’t believe using one to avoid a delay of game penalty, or because (gasp!) a wide receiver is lined up wrong, is ever worth :40 of game time.

Even when you are rolling, and expect to win going away, as I am sure the Chiefs did.

I felt truly awful for Alex Smith after this game. He lost his #1 running back on the first drive of the game. His backup left later in the 4th. The Chiefs lost two big pieces in Flowers and Houston in the 2nd half.

They had a 38-10 lead, and that corpulent idiot with the mustache and the pithy post-game quip of “the time is yours” couldn’t noodle out a way to win that game.


I did love how the networks held a long shot of Reid waddling off the field. Slowly and alone. I wish somebody could have run up and slapped a “Kick Me, I’m Stupid” sign on his back.

With ONE timeout in your pocket, you force the Colts to run TWO honest running plays (where things CAN happen) and agonize over a pass/run choice on 3rd down, and if that’s unsuccessful a PUNT.

In other words, there would have been plenty of tight assholes in blue still left on the sidelines.

And the play calling, my god. Really? This game is what makes me say I could be an “average” play caller in the NFL if given a fully immersive year of training.

So here is a quiz. You are up 38-10 with 13:39 left to play in the game. Do you…

A. Run the ball at least 2x as many times as you pass?
B. Be Andy Reid?

The first series after this mark, really ignited the Colts. It went like this…

First down sack.
Disastrous SACK-FUMBLE by lethal predator Robert Mathis.

The following possessions went as follows for dunce cap Reid and the Chiefs.

Pass (INC)

Pass (INC)

Pass (Scramble)
Pass (INC)
Pass (INC)

But hey, even after this much STUPID, you are STILL up by 10. That’s when the Colts go 12 plays 90 yards for TD, and all of a sudden it’s 41-38.

Yada, yada, yada, and then Andy Reid uses his last timeout coming out of the 2 minute warning.

Friday, January 3, 2014

"Hey Barry! While We're Young!"

Up to six hour rounds.


He'd fit right in on Tim Finchem's money league.

Snicky du Jour: Blake Bortles Girlfriend

Somebody told me "you gotta check out that UCF QB's girl!"

/to the internet!

Ohh. Yeah. Lovely.

Those QB's get all the bomb-tastic little blonde numbers, don't they?

Her name is Lindsay Duke. She's now "internet famous."

Oh Yeah, You Will Freeze To Death, And It Won't Be Pretty

I mean, she's pretty. Of course.


But pretty.

That game she was at also wasn't as cold as what it'll be on Sunday night at Lambeau. So, in other words, "Good luck, Lucy" in showing off your lady-bits like that for more more than 2 minutes at a time.

Because freezing to death ain't no picnic. In fact, I'd rather be burned alive at the stake, ala Joan of Arc, than be allowed to code out in the cold.

Here's the best, most detailed, and scientific first hand account of what it's like to NEARLY freeze to death. A word of warning, however: if this stuff gives you nightmares, you best not read it.
There is no precise core temperature at which the human body perishes from cold. At Dachau's cold-water immersion baths, Nazi doctors calculated death to arrive at around 77 degrees Fahrenheit. The lowest recorded core temperature in a surviving adult is 60.8 degrees. For a child it's lower: In 1994, a two-year-old girl in Saskatchewan wandered out of her house into a minus-40 night. She was found near her doorstep the next morning, limbs frozen solid, her core temperature 57 degrees. She lived. 
Others are less fortunate, even in much milder conditions. One of Europe's worst weather disasters occurred during a 1964 competitive walk on a windy, rainy English moor; three of the racers died from hypothermia, though temperatures never fell below freezing and ranged as high as 45. 
But for all scientists and statisticians now know of freezing and its physiology, no one can yet predict exactly how quickly and in whom hypothermia will strike--and whether it will kill when it does. The cold remains a mystery, more prone to fell men than women, more lethal to the thin and well muscled than to those with avoirdupois, and least forgiving to the arrogant and the unaware.
Okay, so enough of that macabre nonsense. Back to low morals Packer girls in bikinis!

Enjoy the game, if you are going. If "enjoying" at -4 will even be possible. They did it back in the Lombardi era at the Ice Bowl, when nobody had invented Gore-Tex and mircofiber moisture-wicking-anything!

So suck it up!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A Sensible Start

Merry Happy New Yearika, everyone!

Let's try to keep our resolutions firmly in tact for at least a week, okay?

You know how they say "out with the old.... " well, the Redskins did exactly what I said they were going to do with ol' Mike Shanahan.

Fired his ass.

I said it while many of the "professional" media covering this team were still trying to concoct scenarios to keep him around. Or reasons why he deserved that one last season.


He was not just trying to get fired, but his players played like they didn't give a shit. Contrast that to the emotional psuedo-championship the Jets celebrated by doing just enough to keep the Chief Foot Fetishist around for at least one more year, and the chances of Miracle Mike sticking around had bled out to exactly zero.

I'd say the 20-6 drubbing by the Giants (minus Eli Manning in the 2nd half) was one of the most eyeball bludgeoning football games I've watched stem-to-stern in many a moon.

And Kirk Cousins' mythical trade value - you know the one Shanny crowed might be a first rounder if "he lights it up out there" and don't worry anyway, because "his value can't go down" - took a beating like George Zimmerman booing loudly at a Snoop Dogg concert.

So the Redskins, and Dan Snyder, and Robert Griffin III all did the right thing.

The Skins moved on from Shanahan's disastrous reign of error, replete with paranoia, leaks, wasted timeouts, shop worn excuses, and unproductive grudges.

Snyder only issued a statement, brief and without rancor. No personal appearance given, none needed.

And Griffin - the guy who some idiots keep saying to me on the radio "needs to do fewer press conferences" and to "stop filming Subway commercials" pulled a very nice, very deft move.

He declined to speak to reporters while cleaning out his locker, saying he wanted to speak face-to-face with the coaches first. Hell, that might have even been true. Best of all, he then looped back by phone for a press conference, to answer questions, give praise for the coaching he got (poor, as it ultimately was, in my opinion) and most importantly NOT give ESPN any video to feed into the great hype machine known as modern cable TV sports.

Brilliant. /slowclap

This is not "starting over" as some people are saying around here, usually with a groan. To start over, implies there was something worth continuing, that now must be painfully re-assembled.

Not here.

Shanahan had run this thing utterly into the ground. I am confident in saying we "start" at 4-12 next year, and work our way up from there.


Bruce Allen has been given the "final say on football matters" which has some people skeptical and nervous. The skeptics say this smacks of him being just another, more polished version of Vinny - the owner's errand boy on any and all ill-advised free-agent signings and draft-day gyrations.

The merely nervous point to Allen not being from the "football side" of the GM ascension ladder, so why should he have final roster say?

Me? Meh. I am fine with it.

For one, Allen is likely no worse than any other GM league wide. How can I say that, you ask? Well, look at how the Chiefs thought they had a "score" with  getting Pats mastermind Scott Pioli.

How'd that work out?

Meanwhile, "respected" Joe Banner of Eagles fame, just shit-canned his own coach Chud in Cleveland after just one year.

In short, I think GM's are over-rated.

Besides, I don't think Allen is going to be running roughshod over the football wishes of the new coach, and the scouting department. I think he may only be needed on 3-4 calls per year to "break a tie" on a player, and my hunch is those players will likely be on the lower end of the roster.

What the Redskins did was the "least invasive" approach to turning around this team. And I applaud it. They didn't even get rid of all of Shanny's staff, which is another sign that Snyder and Allen are playing more chess than checkers these days.

Let's start by getting a new coach, and let's give it two years.

This team needs 1. Structure 2. Better Players 3. Time.

No four or five year "plan." But two. That's reasonable.

I think there's a good chance that a young, hungry coach, with a sensible Allen and hard working personnel men whose draft boards will not be treated as mere wall decorations in the war room - coupled with a healthier RG3, energized by a new coach he can trust and without that guy's SON calling the plays - might put a real charge into the product we see on Sunday.

Call me a nutty optimist if you will. But I do think better days are ahead.

This team's sensible, minimalist reaction to a disaster season, was really the only Christmas present I needed.