Sunday, December 16, 2018

The Nick Foles magic. Again?

Sure, many would scoff at the notion of Nick Foles being any sort of great quarterback. Hes knocked around the league for several years now and can't seem to even hold down a starting position.

But this is the same guy that stepped in for the Philadelphia Eagles last year and wound up leading them to a Super Bowl championship. The MVP of same, no less.

He probably never would have seen the field of play had not Eagles starter Carson Wentz gone down with a blown out knee last year. So ya gotta give credit where it's due. Foles stepped in, the Eagles took off and, presto, Lombardi trophy when it was all said and done.

This year, be it a Super Bowl hangover or whatever, the Eagles, with Wentz back, have floundered. They were a not-so-good 6 -7 heading into the Sunday night match-up against the LA Rams. Their playoff chances were iffy, at best.

Yet like last year, Wentz is out again. This time with a small fracture in his back. Will he be back this year? Nobody knows for sure.

A look around the NFC East, the division the Eagles belong to, doesn't exactly show a murderer's row.

The Washington Redskins, not that good to start with, were down to their third-string quarterback at last look, pretty much out of the picture.

The NY Giants are just gawd-awful.

The Dallas Cowboys had been showing a little life of late, then WHAM, they just got skunked by the Indianapolis Colts 23-0.

Enter NIck Foles again. He just led the Eagles to a victory over the (sorta) high-flying Rams -- in LA, no less.

So the Eagles are now 7-7, usually considered mundane, but also very much in the playoff picture.

Next week they go home to the "City of Brotherly Love", the ultimate misnomer, to take on the sometimes really good, sometimes not-so-good Houston Texans.

And then off to DC to face the Skins in the regular season finale.

Both games are definitely winnable.

If the Eagles can pull that off and wind up 9-7, even if the Cowboys sew up the division, they could sneak into the playoffs as a wild card.

And then -- who knows? Wild cards have gone on to win the Super Bowl before.

Could Foles and the Eagles -- gasp -- pull THAT off?

Probably not. After all, even if they make the post-season, their playoff road would involve going into Chicago against a resurgent and very good Bears team (especially defensively), down to the Big Easy to face Drew Brees and the high-flying Saints, maybe right back in LA for another go-round against those same Rams, or some combination of the above. And that WOULD be a murderer's row.

That's not even to mention who will survive the blood-bath in the AFC playoffs. The KC Chiefs, Brady and the Pats, under the radar but outstanding LA Chargers? And don't sleep on the Pittsburgh Steelers. Ya never know about those guys.

But wouldn't it be something if Nick Foles could pull off the "impossible" again?

Hey, nobody thought he and the Eagles could beat the Patriots in last year's Super Bowl either.

How did that turn out?

Carson who? 

Thursday, December 13, 2018

The almost KC Chiefs story

So there I was, all set to write another brilliant -- OK, maybe stupid -- post about the Kansas City Chiefs rolling into the playoffs with home-field advantage throughout after knocking off the LA Chargers.

I mean, c'mon. They jumped out to a 14-0 lead, and led 28-14 with under four minutes to go. At home. What could go wrong?

Turns out, plenty. Philip Rivers and Co. roared back for two late touchdowns, including having the cajones to go for a two-point game-winning conversion as time was expiring -- and made it.

Final score -- LA Chargers 29, KC Chiefs 28.

Yep, yours truly was ready to point out that KC had only lost two games so far this season, both on the road, against really good teams. A 43-40 nail-biter at New England way back on Oct. 14, and "whoever gets the ball last" 54-51 shoot-out loss at the LA Rams. The latter team is considered by many to be the best in the league. No shame in either of these losses.

For sure, KC was going to win over the Chargers and go to 12-2 on the season. True, they have a tough game in Seattle next week against a Seahawk team that lately thinks of themselves as contenders, then a mercy killing back home to finish off the regular season against the gawd-awful Oakland Raiders.

Arguably, Arrowhead Stadium, home of the Chiefs, is the toughest venue for any visiting team to play in. It's crazy loud.

Losing @ New England and @ the LA Rams was one thing, but who was going to knock off the Chiefs at home once the playoffs started?

What's that? They've lost 11 of their last 12 playoff games, including the last 6 in a row at home?

Hah. Ignore it. A mere anomaly. This year is different. Fake news! Witch hunt! No collusion! Oops, those are somebody else's lines. Ahem..

Shoo-in Rookie of the Year and leading MVP candidate Patrick Mahomes will quarterback these guys to greatness this year. Already has and it's going to get even better. You just wait and see.

Yessirree, I was on the KC bandwagon and would root them on to the Super Bowl.

And then they blew that late 14 point lead, at home, which pretty much totally torpedoed my original idea.


Never mind.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Stupid QB contracts

Somebody please enlighten yours truly as to why one Kirk Cousins, currently the starting quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings, was given such an outrageous, see stupid, contract? The dude's been merely "average" for his whole career. This would include his college days at Michigan State, where he was WAY overhyped.

In the NFL, after being the same "average" for the Washington Redskins, the Vikings, normally a prudent team, signed this clown to a multi-year deal that will pay him $26,000,000 this year, $28,000,000 in 2019, and a whopping $30,000,000 in 2020?

This for a guy with a career record of 32-36? Oops, the Vikes just went down in Seattle on Monday Night Football. Make that 32-37.

What kind of insanity in going on here?

Not to be outdone, the Detroit Lions (granted, widely perceived as being somewhat of a retarded franchise over the decades -- and rightfully so), recently lost whatever little mind they ever had and gave QB Matthew Stafford a long-term deal?

One that will pay him, wait for it, $26,000,000, $29,000,000, $31,000,000, $30,000,000, and $23,0000,000 for the next five years?

This, for a guy that's been playing for a decade and never won a single playoff game? And has a history of choking at critical moments? His local press stooges have dubbed him "Captain Comeback" for sometimes pulling off improbable wins late in games. OK, but if he hadn't played so terribly for the first three quarters of said games, hence the Lions so often falling behind, this wouldn't be an issue.

All those mega-million lottery winner numbers for a guy who's record is 65-76?

Say what?

Sure, Mattie S, his lovely wife, and twin young-uns are happy. They'll have a bazillion dollars guaranteed coming in for the next several years.

But what could the Lions' "brain trust" -- and I use that term in the loosest way possible -- have possibly been thinking? They painted themselves into a salary cap financial corner just to lock this loser up until he's too old to play anymore? Huh?

Though now in his "prime", Stafford seems to be regressing. He's getting worse instead of better.

Even if the Lions' front office emerged from their collective coma, they couldn't trade him. No other team is going to touch that mega-contract for a career C- quarterback. So they're stuck with him. As are the Motown gridiron fans. A local scribe recently wrote Stafford could throw several interceptions every game, including a few "pick-sixes", lose them all -- and he'd STILL start for the Lions. That speaks volumes for them not having a young guy in the wings, supposedly learning, that can take over, which will have to happen eventually anyway.

It's not only short-sighted, but yes, incredibly stupid on the team's part.

Finally, there's the stupidity of some football pundits. They're already talking about Russell Wilson, currently the QB of the Seattle Seahawks, as a "lock" for the Hall of Fame?

Shut up. He's been pretty good, is mobile, and has a halfway decent arm. And yep, he's even won a Super Bowl.

But he also choked another Super Bowl win away in the waning seconds by attempting an incredibly bone-headed pass giving Tom Brady and the New England Patriots a(nother) gift Vince Lombardi trophy. The Pats didn't win that game. Wilson and the S-Hawks snatched defeat out of the jaws of victory.

True, a QB can't win a Super Bowl, or any other game, single-handedly. But Wilson has always had a lot of help. An unheralded but really good offensive line to protect him. A feature running back or two. Excellent receivers to throw to. And let's not forget about the "Legion of Boom" on the Seattle defense that so limited opponents. At least until recently, when it broke up for various reasons.

Let's have the Russell Wilson with a bust in Canton conversation maybe five years from now, depending on how he plays during that time. If he even stays healthy -- never a given.

But he's nowhere near Hall-worthy just yet.

So there you have Kirk, Matthew, and Russell. Not exactly on a par with Abraham, Martin, and John (at least one of which was a great American hero, the other two -- maybe not so much as things have turned out), as once famously crooned by Dion -- but the former are making a whole lot more money via.....

Refer to title above.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Detroit Lions and Arizona Cards. zzzzzz

I have an alternate theory as to why Rip Van Winkle slept for twenty years. Back in the day, he happened to catch the Lions and Cardinals playing each other. Watching those two teams play is about enough to put anybody into a deep sleep..

How boring are they? They could cause the sun to wink out.

One is left to wonder -- how in the world does either one of these teams ever beat anybody else?

Could it be that such other teams, upon taking the field with the Lions or Cards, and seeing the action, or more properly lack of same, become so bored as to lapse into comas?

Quick, drug check the announcers for this game. The only way they could find things to refer to as "exciting" would be if they were seriously high on something. Then again, folks of their ilk would likely rant and rave watching grass grow, paint dry, blue haired old women playing canasta -- well -- you get my drift.

The NFL says it's always striving for parity. Well then. Maybe the best thing they could do is pare sorry teams like the Lions and Cardinals right out of the league. Or at least not televise them. What's that? Even the Lions and Cardinals draw decent on-air ratings? That's probably because once people at home tune in, they're sound asleep after a few minutes, and hence can't grab the clicker and change the channel. Poor devils are put under faster than a submarine with a screen door.

And now a word from our sponsors.

You've probably seen that truck commercial. I think it's for GM products. The young man just surprised his significant other by buying his and her new pick-ups. A black one for him and a red one for her. Whatta guy.

So what does she do? Runs to the black one (his) and says, "I love it". By the time he tries to feebly protest she's already inside it saying, "I love it" again. Grabby little thing.

Any REAL man would say the following -- "Love it? Great, but guess what? You can't have it. That's one's mine. The red one is yours. And if that's not good enough for ya, I'll send it back and get you a used Yugo or Pinto instead. And you'll be happy. So either you get your butt out of MY truck or I'm heading back inside to nix the deal.":

Women. I'm telling ya.

Not as boring as a Lions/Cards game to be sure, but there's something about that "maintenance" thing that goes horribly wrong at times.

Or -- I could just be kidding.

About the fairer sex, of course.

I'll stand on my Lions/Cards take.

Whatta snooze-a-thon.

Who won the game? Beats me. Who cares? Somehow I'd managed to stumble outside for some fresh air to wake up before the sandman swept me under. When I got back in, I immediately clicked it good-bye.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Around the NFL -- and Eldrick Tont

Long tenured head coach Mike McCarthy got canned in Green Bay. It's also long been rumored he was at odds with one Aaron Rodgers. Of course the latter has been somewhat of a bust himself lately. For a so-called super-star, #12 has sure been stinking it up on the field recently.

But maybe this is what happens when a former great player starts shacking up with one Danica Patrick. Nothing exemplifies loser more so than dear Danica. All those years in NASCAR with nary a win. Many more in the Indy car circuit before that, with one obscure victory in Japan at a race most of the top drivers and teams didn't even show up for. And along the way, she likely wrecked more cars - hers and others -- than one would see in 15-20 demolition derbies. Maybe her losing ways are contagious. Alas, what a waste of sheet metal, millions of dollars, and a once really good quarterback.

Nonetheless, the Packers had been underwhelming this year to say the least. Losing at home to the lowly Arizona Cardinals likely sealed McCarthy's fate. The Cheesers, loyal at they normally are to their own, had likely seen enough. This guy's gotta go.

[Idle thought. If the fans indeed "own" the Packers, then who makes the decisions as to appointing the front office personnel, that hence has the hiring and firing power over head coaches? Do they have a caucus or something?

Worse, it appears fans can invest in the Packers -- buy "shares", but they aren't allowed to sell them. Sort of like the Eagles' oldie Hotel California. You can come, but you can never leave. What kind of fool would invest in a stock that they can't sell when it begins to tank? That's not only stupid, but probably illegal in the financial world.]

But MM gone. Ah, he's got enough dough to last several lifetimes. He'll be just fine.

I've long had a soft spot for the Chicago Bears. Though probably not Super Bowl contenders, it was nice to see them leading the NFC North Division. Then they went on the road to play the woeful NY Giants. Should have been a piece of cake win. But not so.

They needed a semi-miracle just to force overtime. And then something even stupider happened. After the Giants managed a field goal, the Bears got the ball. Match the field goal and the game goes on. Score a touchdown and they win.

On their ensuing possession, quarterback Chase Daniel managed to fumble three --count em -- THREE times. In the shotgun formation, one snap went between his legs. Beat him cleanly in the five hole. Another went through his hands and bounced off his face mask. So of course they lost. It put the "Duh" into Duh Bears.

Interesting how running back Todd Gurley of the LA Rams refused to score with his team already ahead by a touchdown over the Detroit Lions and time running low. He could have walked into the end zone, but chose to be put down at the 2 yard line. The announcers praised his "game management". By doing this, the Rams forced the Lions to burn the rest of their time-outs. And it worked out, cuz the Rams would go on to score a TD and secure the win anyway.

But what if -- they would have fumbled ala Daniel mentioned above? Instead of taking the easy 7 points and stretching their lead to 14 with under a minute remaining, the Lions would have gotten the ball only trailing by 7. Weirder things have happened than a team marching the length of the field in the last minute to score a touchdown. Had THAT occurred, and the Lions went on to somehow pull out another miracle win, Gurley would have been righteously roasted as an idiot. Hey, give me the seven points any time.

Eldrick Dept.

See the "Hero Challenge" played in the Bahamas. See eighteen of the world's best golfers get together to duke it out on a course that looked hard, but was yielding birdies -- and eagles -- like the average home-owner dishes out candy on Halloween.

See Spaniard Jon Rahm shoot 20 under par and claim the win.

See Eldrick Tont Woods -- sometimes known as Tiger -- flail away and finish one under par. A colossal 19 strokes behind. One stroke out of dead last place. Only Japan's Hidecki Matsuyama had a worse score, by one stroke.

See the TV folks continue in their Tiger, ahem, hero worship. Tiger this. Tiger that. They even had the gall to interview him when the match was over. The as usual shameless Woods gladly put his mug in front of the cameras again, and started yapping away.

Eldrick Tont said he didn't play "clean enough"

That's one way of putting it.

Another would be he stunk it up for 72 holes. You don't finish a whopping 19 strokes behind unless you're doing just about everything wrong. In any normal tournament, he would have, mercifully, been cut before the final two rounds of the weekend. But no, Woods got to play, and even collect a check, for his pitiful performance.

And since when do bottom-feeders get interviews on TV? Shouldn't those be reserved for the players that either won, or at least came close?

Did I mention shameless?

Yes, I get it. Like a certain President, Eldrick has his blind followers, who will remain loyal to him no matter how gawd-awful his results. They want him to win. They NEED him to win.

But guess what?

He ain't gonna win. Stick a fork in him. He had his decade of dominance, but it's been over and done with for another decade.

There's way too many hot shot younger golfers out there these days -- and new ones are popping up like weeds in a garden every year -- for Eldrick to make any sort of "comeback". Though they won't publicly say so, does anybody really think the young guns on tour these days consider Woods any sort of threat?

They just tolerate him, because they have to. But also likely dread being partnered with him in any given tournament because of the media circus and the throngs of idiots that continue to follow him around.

I, for one, can't wait until Eldrick Tont Woods shuffles off to the Geezer Circuit, sometimes known as the Champions Tour.

Pity, unlike McCarthy, there's not a way to fire Tiger too.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

The disappearing and lunacy of boxing

Since maybe the time of WWI, up until maybe the 1980s, boxing was a big deal in America. Over the years people gathered around their radios, black and white TVs, and later on even big screens set up at movie theaters or other venues to watch the action between two notables slugging it out.

The early days were "for free". Then somebody figured out a lot of money could be made by charging people to watch it. And they came, for years. Cha-ching. Your truly included.

All along, there was a lot of back-room wheeling and dealing, shady characters, and even shadier shenanigans afoot that most people knew little, if anything, about going on.

Without a doubt many pugilists became very famous for their skills and prowess in the ring. 

Jack Dempsy, Gene Tierney. Joe Louis. Ray Robinson. Jake LaMotta. Cassius Clay/Mohammed Ali. Joe Frazier. George Foreman. Ray Leonard. Marvin Hagler. Tommy Hearns. Roberto Duran. And Mike Tyson, to name a few.

And then the "sweet science" seemed to quickly lose favor, at least in the public eye. People don't pay near as much attention to boxing as they once did. 

Perhaps it had something to do with the lunacy of pro "wrestling". Sure, we all knew it was pre-choreographed, aka "fake", but the characters in these productions became fan favorites -- or enemies. Good guys and bad guys. A very old theme that has always worked on the idiots. Throw in a lavish production, replete with outrageous costumes, nicknames even comic books of old would have been ashamed of, a few pretty girls prancing around, and -- presto -- next thing ya know you've got a hit on your hands. Plenty of dough too. Oh lord, did the money roll in. 

Nowadays "mixed martial arts" has taken center stage. Unlike wrestling, this is the real deal. People really do get hurt in the octagon. About the only thing that's illegal is biting, or punches/kicks/strikes to the groin area. 

In boxing, when a contestant gets knocked down, the opponent is instructed to go to a neutral corner while the referee checks on the fallen, and begins giving him a "count". Even if he pops right back up, he has to take a "standing eight". 

Not so in MMA. When somebody goes down, the opponent will try to further beat him to death until the referee stops it, lest he might actually kill they guy. Did I mention "real deal"? 

Sometimes it's ludicrous. Like when Floyd Mayweather took on Conor McGregor. Some called it a "fight". But it was no such thing. It was pitty-pat boxing, hands only, Mayweather style. Had this taken place in an octagon with the aforementioned "no holds barred" rules, Mayweather would have been beaten into submission within a minute, not emerge victorious after another of his bore-a-thon performances. 

True, they both made a ton of money off those willing to pony up the ridiculous pay-per-view price. Did I mention idiots?

Fast forward to the present. Does anybody even know who the boxing heavyweight (or any other weight class) champion of the world is these days? Oh wait, that's right. It depends. There's so many different sanctioning bodies around nobody can keep up with them all. Did I mention shady characters and shenanigans?

Turns out, a couple guys named Deonte Wilder and Tyson Fury will be duking it out for some kind of title(s) on December 1. Unless it's called off, of course, due to a last minute injury, another one of those pesky drug results testing positive at the eleventh hour, or somebody's grandma taking deathly ill -- the same one that supposedly died a few years back. 

Nonetheless, these two brutes have impressive records indeed. Wilder is 40-0, with 39 KOs. Fury is 27-0 with 19 KOs.

Something's gotta give.

Time out. How perfect are the names Wilder and Fury for a couple of behemoths set to try and beat each other's brains out in a boxing ring? Yet is appears those are their actual birth names. Go figure.

Thing is, like boxing across the rest of its spectrum, few even know who these guys are. And most could probably couldn't care less.

So why, tell me WHY, are the powers that be going to charge potential viewers $75 to watch the, ahem, fight, on TV? Did I mention lunacy?

Sure, I get it, at least by their twisted reasoning. Because these guys are the best of the best, both undefeated, and it's a, double ahem, classic showdown. Did I mention SUCKERS?

Yet in reality, most people wouldn't tune in if it was shown for free on network television, unless it was in prime time and nothing else decent was on. Who's kidding who?

Worse, even if one was still one of the few boxing fans around, if they couldn't afford the $75, they probably wouldn't even find out who won the dang thing unless they went on-line and did a search a couple days afterwards. TV, radio, and the papers will likely make no mention of it.

It's sad boxing has come to this. Oh how I miss the heady days of Iron Mike biting Evander's ear off.

Or Ali being too chicken to give buy my grill (I did, love it) George a rematch. That rope-a-dope thing was only going to work once. Wasn't this the same Ali that called himself "the greatest"? And he got beat up by Leon Spinks -- LEON SPINKS -- in his prime?

Ah well, It is what it has become.

But once upon a time, it (boxing) was a big deal.

Alas, no more.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Michigan needs to shut up

The University of Michigan is a first-rate school in many aspects. Academically and athletically. Undergrad and post-grad. Countless numbers of their graduates have gone on to achieve great things in the various aspects of life. My own dentist went to their dental school, and he's the best one I've ever had. They've even got their own world-class hospital.

But it would seem they have an ongoing problem. Arrogance. They just don't know when to shut up, especially the jocks.

Running back Mike Hart became instantly (in)famous for his "little brother" comment towards cross-state rival Michigan State back in 2007. The Spartans would own the Wolverines on the gridiron for the next decade.

Back in the early 90's, it's basketball team featured the Fab Five -- all freshmen. Oh lord, could they talk trash. But in two years together, they would always come up short in the end.

And it would seem they're constantly over-rated. Even this year, it's football team was talking smack. It was all about the "revenge tour". Last year they had suffered losses at the hands of Michigan State, Penn State, and Wisconsin. So they were out to "get" them this time around. Sure enough, they knocked them all off. Thing is, none of those teams were nearly as good this year as last. For various reasons (graduations, pro draft, etc) they had collectively regressed.

Nonetheless, UM had improbably risen to #4 in the national rankings. Talk, and there was a lot of it, was about getting into the national championship playoff. All they had to do was complete their revenge tour and knock off those pesky Buckeyes of Ohio State, which has owned them as well for over a decade. And c'mon, OSU had got clobbered by lowly Purdue to the tune of 30 points worth, PURDUE!!! So how tough could they be?

After that it was off to the Big Ten Conference championship game for a rematch with Northwestern, whom they had already beaten on the road this year. Glory was within reach.

Yet as to how tough could the Buckeyes be? Turns out -- plenty.

The Wolverines were absolutely hammered, embarrassed, humiliated, on the losing end of a 62-39 beat down. Wasn't this the same UM that was supposed to have one of the best defenses in the country? And they gave up 63 points? The Buckeyes were going through them like water through a screen door on a submarine.

UM was roughly a 4 point favorite going in -- and got blistered by 23? As in over three touchdowns worth?

So much for completing the revenge tour.

And that Big Ten title that seemed almost automatic? Gone. They won't be playing in that game. That honor was transferred to Ohio State, also a one conference loss team. But by virtue of their head-to-head victory over UM, that "tie" is obviously broke.

Poof went any national championship aspirations. After being lit up like that on national TV, forget about that #4 ranking as well. The Wolverines could easily tumble out of the top ten, and deservedly so.

So yes, once again, off they'll go to some bowl game that will mean absolutely nothing except a cha-ching for the schools and a chance for the marching bands to strut their stuff in a faraway place. No doubt, it will be hyped to the max like most things Michigan, but in the end a win or a loss will be of little consequence.

Maybe it wouldn't have made any difference if UM showed a little humbleness for a change. As in play and win first. Talk trash if you just have to -- after it's over. Not before.

You'd think they'd learn, but they never do.

And they wonder why so many people around the country consider them arrogant, pompous, blue-blooded gasbags that can never seem to back up their words with actions.

Well duh. For supposedly turning out so many great minds, UM can sure be dense sometimes.

Especially the jocks.