Sunday, December 31, 2017

The Detroit Lions season

Well OK, in a game that mattered not one whit whatsoever, and one that only the hardest of hard core fans of both Detroit and Green Bay paid attention to -- let alone anybody else -- the Lions dispatched the Packers 35-11.

Let's look back at the Lions' season regarding wins and losses.

The wins.

Over a pretty bad Arizona Cardinal team.
Over an even worse NY Giants team.
Over the Minnesota Vikings, but they were freshly down to their third string quarterback at the time.
Two over Green Bay, both without the services of Aaron Rodgers.
Over Cleveland? Please. The Campfire Girls could beat the Browns.
Two over the typically woeful Chicago Bears.
Over Tampa Bay, which appears to be in complete disarray.

That's nine wins, none of which came over a good team, or at least one that wasn't missing their starting quarterback.

The losses.

Down to Atlanta.
Down to Carolina.
Down to New Orleans.
Down to Pittsburgh.
Down to Minnesota after that third string QB, one Case Keenum, had a few games under his belt.
Down to Baltimore.
And then the killer. Down to Cincinnati to finally extinguish whatever playoff hope the Lions had.

Add it all up and what do you have?

The Lions beat the have-nots on their schedule, which was pitifully weak by normal league standards.

But notice they lost to every team with a record over .500.

The loss to Cincinnati in the penultimate regular season game was the proverbial dagger in the hearts of Lions fans. Most everybody expected them to win that game and go up against a severely depleted Green Bay team with an outside chance for a playoff spot on the line.

Yet it's difficult to feel much sympathy towards the ever-gullible Honolulu blue and silver faithful. I mean, c'mon. They HAVE to know this is coming. Why? Because it has EVERY year since the Ford family has owned the team -- and that dates all the way back to the John F. Kennedy presidential administration.

So OF COURSE the Lions lost to the Bengals. Just when one thinks the Lions have been the benefactors of every break imaginable over the season (they were), and nothing can go wrong -- be assured they will find a way to screw it up.

They remain, along with the Houston Texans, new Cleveland Browns, and the Jacksonville Jaguars, the only four teams in the NFL to have never made it to a Super Bowl, let alone win it. And while the Lions date back to the beginnings of the NFL, the other three are expansion teams. And don't look now, but Jax is pretty good these days.

On the Detroit/Cinci game, at least one head coaching job was likely at stake. Whether it was Jim Caldwell of the Lions, who is obviously not the answer to what ails them, or Marvin Lewis of the Bengals, who has stunk it up seemingly forever (15 years!!), somebody's gotta go. In fact, both of them should be given the broom. Todd Knowles in NY Jets land appears clueless, and Vance Joseph has run the Denver Broncos into the toilet. That's without even mentioning the foibles of such past coaches as Romeo Crennel, Lovie Smith, and the late Dennis Green. This Rooney Rule thing doesn't seem to be working out, Mike Tomlin of the Steelers aside.

So it's off to another year of oblivion for the Detroit Lions. Over 50 Super Bowls played, and they've never got there. In all those years, they have won a grand total of one -- count it -- ONE measly playoff game.

Quarterback Matthew Stafford, hailed as a hero in Detroit, continues to pass for bazillions of yards, but after a decade in the league, has a sub .500 record and is yet to win a playoff game.

How he somehow became the highest paid player in the entire NFL is a question for the ages. They're telling us Stafford is worth $7 million MORE than Tom Brady per year? REALLY? Only in Detroit could they come up with such a ridiculous notion.

But this is probably the greatest thing to ever happen to other potential free agents around the league. All they and their agents have to do is walk into a team's General Manager's office and say -- "Hey, if Matthew Stafford is worth $27 million a year as a perennial loser, then I'm worth at LEAST that". That would be a mighty hard argument to rebut in many cases. This salary cap thing could get ugly in the near future thanks to Detroit's version of the Georgia Peach.

Yet in the end, it's boiled down to what it always does.

Yes, the Lions found a way to come up short --again.

No, they won't be getting anywhere near sniffing a Super Bowl -- again.

And yes, they remain the same......old...... Lions.

It's just another year.


Happy New Year!!!

May your favorite college football team win, or have already won, their bowl game.

May the power hungry and egomaniacal politicians and religious zealots the world over find a way to stop the slaughter and other carnage of so many innocents.

May Democrats and Republicans finally sit down together, start acting like adults -- and try to work something out for the benefit of the people -- all the people -- not just their special interests, and what will get them re-elected by the mentally challenged, lock-stepping, hard-core partisans -- on both sides. On that note, may those ignorant masses wake up some day soon and finally see the wisdom in being open-minded and objective.

May the United States, arguably the richest country in the world, somehow see fit to house the homeless and feed the hungry. Millions continuing to perish from the lack of the most basic necessities is shameful to the nth degree.

May you and yours enjoy a year of health, peace, and prosperity.

May we go at least a few days without another high profile person being accused of devious sexual conduct, past or present.

And last but not least ---

May we go just ONE measly day without another moronic tweet coming from you-know-who.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Will Michigan be the goat?

It speaks highly to the football prowess of a conference when they can send eight of their fourteen teams to bowl games.

Conversely, it speaks lowly to the math prowess of that same conference when it has expanded to twelve, then fourteen teams, and still stubbornly calls itself the Big Ten.

Granted, over recent years, college bowl games have been breeding faster than your average herd of horny rabbits but, still, eight out of fourteen seeing some post-season cha-ching action isn't too shabby. Strike up the marching bands, turn the cheerleaders loose with their routines, and be happy.

And something quite unusual has happened in this bowl season so far. The Big 10 has gone undefeated.

Penn State beat Washington
Ohio State beat Southern Cal
Michigan State beat Washington State
Iowa beat Boston College
Purdue beat Arizona
Northwestern beat Kentucky
Wisconsin beat Miami of Florida

Only the Michigan game remains against South Carolina. Two teams with identical 8-4 records that will meet in the Outback Bowl on New Year's day.

Will the Wolverines be the goat that prevents their conference from a clean sweep in this year's bowl-o-rama?

Hard to say. We'll all find out on Monday.

And yes, every college football fan is well aware that the national semi-finals will take place on the same day. #1 Clemson in a rematch with #4 Alabama. And #2 Oklahoma squaring off against #3 Georgia.

But the game that is most interesting to yours truly will be the Peach Bowl. That will feature Central Florida taking on Auburn.

Let's not forget that UCF is the only undefeated team still remaining, but they were denied a chance at a national championship.

And let's also not forget that their opponent Auburn took down two #1 ranked teams at the time, in Alabama and Georgia.

So saying the UCF Knights have only prevailed against lesser competition will be a mighty hard sell if they topple the Tigers from Auburn.

Nothing against Auburn, but I fervently hope it plays out that.

Whether it's Clemson, Bama, the Sooners, or Dawgs that eventually become national champions a week later, somebody's gonna have some 'splainin to do as to why the only undefeated team in the field was never given a shot at the title.

Go Knights.

And Michigan?

Try not to screw it up.

College football bowl mania

So Ohio State blistered Southern Cal in the Cotton Bowl. And Michigan State trashed Washington State in whatever bowl that was.
Both these teams thumped the Michigan Wolverines this season, so why is it that....
The Maize in Blue gets to play in a higher profile game on New Year's day, the very same day the national semi-finals are taking place, and collect WAY bigger bucks than the Buckeyes or Spartans?

Sports Illustrated, and we know those genius prognosticators never get it wrong -- right -- has already laid out their predictions for the games that matter.

They have Clemson narrowly beating Bama again, and Georgia squeaking by Oklahoma.

In the Finals, to determine the ultimate champion, they've tabbed Clemson to stuff the vaunted Georgia running attack and beat them by a score of 21-19. How do you score 19 points?

Of course, given SI's track record, that likely means the Crimson Tide will thrash the Tigers, and the Sooners will send the Dawgs back to bow-wow land.

But it should be a pretty interesting day of football nonetheless.

New Year's day is always a good thing in several ways.

Throw out the old, not necessarily your long time significant other, but a thought, and ring in the new.

Sober up from the night before, if you were fortunate enough to wake up in your own bed -- or any bed -- in a room that didn't have bars for a door and a stainless steel toilet with no seat.

My favorite watering hole always has the same thing going on New Year's day. They call it the "hangover party", which, amazingly, starts at 9 in the morning. What kind of self righteous drunk is up and around at that hour?

Worse yet is the food that is the "special" of the year. Clams, oysters, and other slimy stuff out of the sea.

This is the LAST thing a person with a serious hangover wants to smell or look at, let alone eat.

Whatzamattuh you? Are you trying to make my first act of 2018 running to worship the porcelain receptacle on my knees? There's a constitutional amendment (sixth?, eighth?) against these sort of things. I think it's called cruel and unusual punishment. Good enough for the Founding Fathers is good enough for me. Bet they would have preferred a couple eggs, toast, and maybe some bacon instead of that slimy stuff after a rough night of overindulging.

And I'd also be willing to bet most sane people would much prefer coffee or orange juice over a double shot of tequila when their stomachs are a bit queasy. Yet the crazies are out there, that will do just that. Amazing. Hair of the dog? Even the most feral of wild dogs wouldn't partake in that sort of nonsense.

Nonetheless, the bowl games keep on coming, most of them of the garbage variety, but it will get right down to the nitty-gritty in a couple days.

Be safe and think. Sitting in front of the flat screen clicking away surely beats the heck out of hoping somebody will come through and bail your sorry butt out the that room with bars.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

The self-entitled Josh Rosen

As college football fans know, Josh Rosen is the quarterback of the UCLA Bruins. He's currently finishing up his third year.

It seems mind-blowing that so many "experts" consider him as the top NFL quarterback prospect -- if, and that's a mighty big IF he decides to declare for the draft after this year. More on that below.

So let's check out dear Josh's stats while he was at UCLA.

His pass completion rate was roughly 60%. Not too bad, but certainly nothing eye-popping. Let's say average.

Average yards gained per pass? About eight. Yawn.

For every two touchdown passes he threw an interception. Not so good.

And in UCLA's final game of the 2017 season -- the Cactus Bowl -- Rosen had to sit out with his SECOND concussion of the year. BTW, the Bruins were blistered by Kansas State in that game.

Add it all up and what do you have? An average quarterback who can't seem to keep his brain healthy.

And this is where it gets completely nuts.

Rosen has made noises that if it looks like the Cleveland Browns might take him with the overall #1 pick in the NFL draft -- he might stay in school for another year.

Most teams, at least those with any functioning neurons in the front office, would howl in laughter at the very notion of making Rosen the first pick. But then again, we're talking Cleveland here, with the Detroit Lions the longest tenured sad-sacks in the NFL.

Like Eli Manning back in 2004, Rosen appears to be angling to get himself drafted by another team -- anybody but Cleveland. And oddly enough, the NY Giants, "duh brother" Jr.'s team, has the second pick. (How he somehow stumbled his way to two Super Bowl victories will forever remain a mystery of the ages).

Besides all the drawbacks listed above, there's the rub.

In order for Rosen to do some wheeling and dealing with teams regarding the draft, he needs an agent. But if and when he signs on with one, he officially forfeits any right to return to the college ranks. Those are the rules.

No pro team is going to listen to some punk college kid that thinks he can dictate how the draft works to his own advantage. In other words -- WHO DOES THIS SELF-ENTITLED PSEUDO PRIMA DONNA THINK HE IS?

And though yours truly isn't sure, it might well run afoul of NFL rules to talk directly with a potential draft choice anyway. The union most definitely would not approve. For better or worse, agents are pretty much a must these days, so somebody doesn't get bamboozled -- guess which entity?

It might be different if Rosen had truly lit it up during his three year college career. Let's say a 70% completion rate instead of 60%. And averaged, say, 12-15 yards per pass instead of a measly 8. And had 3-4 TD passes per interception instead of only 2.

But Josh Rosen hasn't done that. Good grief, as mentioned above, the dude is still recovering from his second concussion this year.

Huh. Come to think of it, that might explain things.

Only a guy with his brains semi-scrambled, who has been no more than an average QB in college for his three years, at a no better than average program, would deem himself entitled to "special" treatment.

Yeah, Cleveland sounds about right.

A perfect fit -- both ways.

The dumb and dumber adage lives on....

Monday, December 25, 2017

Detroit Lions/Cleveland Browns -- Co-chumps

To date, the Detroit Lions remain the only NFL team to go a woeful 0-16 during a regular season. This happened in 2008.

Others have been close. Just last year the "new" Cleveland Browns went 1-15.

True, the Lions have company in the winless season department. If one sets their wayback machine to the year 1976, they would discover the Tampa Bay Buccaneers posting an 0-14 record. But that was their first season in the league, and they were populated by aging cast-offs from other teams, and free agents that nobody else wanted -- the only players they could get. They were predictably truly terrible as a result.

But 0-16 remains the gold, or more appropriately horse manure standard for futility. Until and unless the NFL lengthens its regular season, which has been discussed (see two fewer exhibition games and two more "regular" ones), but yet to be adopted, 0-16 can be equaled but not surpassed.

This is not exactly a record a team would be proud to have.

But chances are very good, almost a lock, that the Lions will get a partner in the all-time chump department next week.

That would be the very same new Cleveland Browns, who aren't exactly new at all. When the original team, which was very good, multiple champions even, back in the pre-Super Bowl era, packed up and moved to Baltimore to become the Ravens after the 1995 season, Cleveland was without an NFL presence. Briefly. Because in 2000, when the league expanded again, Cleveland got another franchise. So they've been at it for the better part of two decades. And all the while, they've stunk it up, just worse some years than others.

As we know, the Browns currently sit at 0-15. In order to escape the infamy of joining the 2008 Lions as the ultimate league laughingstock, they would have to win next week.

But guess who their opponent will be?

The Pittsburgh Steelers -- in Pittsburgh. As this is written, the Steelers are 11-3 and playing the Houston Texans. Which they are predictably clobbering. So let's make that 12-3 going into their last regular season game -- against the woeful Browns.

While the Steelers have already sewn up the AFC Central Division title, they still have something to play for in their regular season finale.

Going into that game, they'll be tied with the New England Patriots for home field advantage throughout the playoffs. The only way they get that is by winning and hoping the Pats get knocked off. That's because if they finish with the same record, Bellichick and the Brady Bunch hold the tie-breaker, having defeated the Steelers in head-to-head competition just last week. That was a game the Steelers know they should have won, but let slip away, at home, in the waning seconds. 

So yeah, Mike Tomlin, Big Ben, and THAT bunch will likely rout the Browns. Even if they DIDN"T have anything to play for, and used their 2nd and 3rd stringers throughout, the Steelers would still be a good bet to spank Cleveland.

[BTW, the Patriots will be hosting the plankton-esque NY Jets in their season finale. Though it's conceivable the Jets could pull an upset, it's also theoretically possible Las Vegas will get a foot of snow and suffer temperatures of 10 below zero. It's safe to say that's not a very good bet either. So chalk that up as a win for the Pats, as well. Which means the Steelers will likely have to face them in Foxborough somewhere down the road to get to the Super Bowl. Choking that game away last week could very well come back to haunt them when it matters most.] 

Nonetheless, while the Lions were finally put out of their misery (again and what else is new?), they could get some back-handed good news in just another week.

They have a partner as the biggest chumps in the history of the NFL.

It doesn't rank right up there with getting to, much less winning a Super Bowl, but at least it's something. 

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Detroit Lions. Poof - again

You knew it was going to happen, because it ALWAYS happens. The Lions, their hypesters, and ever-willing snake-oil peddling local media will build them up to the also ever-gullible fans before and during the season -- only to see it come crashing down at the end. Again.

Despite having a ridiculously easy schedule and catching every possible break during the season, with various stars on opposing teams being injured when the Lions showed up to play them, the Motown puddy-tats have, mercifully, been put out of their misery. Again.

The primrose path was all laid out for them with two games to go. One wild card berth was still within their reach. Beat lowly Cincinnati, which had absolutely nothing to play for, having long been eliminated from post-season play, then face the Packers again at home with Aaron Rodgers shelved for the season, and the Pack with nothing to play for either.

Atlanta, Dallas, and Seattle were still in the mix, but the Cowboys and Seahawks had to play each other in Week 16. One of them was going to be eliminated. It was the Jones boys.

They also needed the Falcons to lose their last two games. They lost the first one against New Orleans and I wouldn't bet a lot of money they won't lose their finale against the Carolina Panthers as well.

But no. When the most important game of the season was at stake, against the usually terrible Bengals, the Lions got spanked. Again.

One more year of quarterback Matthew Stafford still not having won a single playoff game. One more year under the dubious cloud of Ford ownership, dating all the way back to the John F. Kennedy presidential administration.

Yet another season of build them (fans) up with hopes, hopes, hopes, only to let them down by playing like dopes, dopes, dopes.

You know what the really scary part is? They'll fall for the same schtick next year.

In the end, it can be summed up in words that have been repeated over the decades many times -- year, after year, after disappointing year. Again.

They are indeed ---

The same old Lions.

So many things change, but there are those that seem to be destined to always remain the same.

Merry Christmas!!

And the title of this post pretty much says it all. May Santa leave you plenty of goodies underneath your tree, may your favorite college football team win their bowl game, and may we get at least a brief respite from certain moronic tweets.

On a very sad note, my deepest heartfelt sympathies to my long time friend Lynn. She was awoken early on Christmas eve with the news her mother had passed away. Alas, coordinating funeral arrangements is not the way somebody should have to spend the holidays.

Love ya girl.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Caldwell/Lewis - somebody's gotta go

Between Jim Caldwell, head coach of the Detroit Lions, and Marvin Lewis, the same with the Cincinnati Bengals, somebody is overdue to get fired -- perhaps both.

Caldwell was put in charge of the Indianapolis Colts, a very good team built by his predecessor, and enjoyed one good year, even making it to the Super Bowl -- where he lost.

The following year, the Colts dropped off.

The next year, as Caldwell's system had taken full root, they totally went off the rails. So it was obvious he had to be deservedly fired. He took a good team and quickly led it into the sewer.

Then the owning Ford family of the Detroit Lions, in their cough, gag, infinite wisdom, somehow decided Jimmie C was the man to take over the long suffering Lions. In his four years at the helm, JC has posted a modest 35-27 record, not too shabby. Yet over those four years his team made it into the playoffs twice, losing in the opening round both times, by somewhat embarrassing scores.

It is also said that the doddering 90+ year old widow owner of the Lions -- one Martha Firestone Ford -- considers Caldwell a sort of teacher's pet. Or her "boy". Whatever.

But it has become quite apparent Caldwell has once again maxed out on the Peter Principle. He is definitely NOT the guy that will lead the Lions to the long-elusive "promised land" of a Super Bowl. They have gunslinger QB Matthew Stafford and little else on the team. A pretty good argument could be made that many of the Lions starting players wouldn't even make the rosters as back-ups on the better squads around the NFL.

And then there's Marvin Lewis in Cincinnati. He's been there for fifteen -- count em -- FIFTEEN years, and the Bengals still remain in sad-sack mode. True, they had a short run at being "pretty good" from 2012-2015, but they never got anywhere near sniffing a Super Bowl either.

How long ago was fifteen years? Dubya was still early in his FIRST term as Prez. The Middle East was relatively quiet. This was before W and his gang decided to blow it up over "weapons of mass destruction" that turned out not to exist. Tom Brady was still a relatively young quarterback for the Patriots. Tiger Woods was winning majors. The Williams sisters were newbies on the tennis tour, as was Kobe Bryant in the NBA. Danica Patrick hadn't yet crashed her first race car. Nobody had heard of people like Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), or the Kardashians (Trashbook), and Donald Trump was still at least a decade away from publicly insulting people via that pesky Twitter account. How long ago does THAT seem like?

Yet over all that time, Marvin Lewis managed to get the Bengals to the playoffs seven times. Like Caldwell's tenure with the Lions, the Bengals lost every single one of those playoff games.

Between them, they're 0-9 in the playoffs with the Lions/Bengals.

Cincinnati has long been eliminated from the post-season this year, and Detroit has but a very long shot at getting in.

Nevertheless, the Lions and Bengals will meet in Cincinnati for a game on Christmas Eve. The Lions HAVE to win it to keep their slim playoff hopes on life support, while hoping the Atlanta Falcons lose both their remaining two regular season games.

So here's the deal. Whichever coach of these two losers comes up on the short end of this game, should be fired. Period.

Better yet, kick both of them to the curb. Obviously, they are not capable of putting together and/or coaching up a team into anything remotely resembling a  championship contender. And they never will be. All that history doesn't lie. It is what it is/was, and it ain't been pretty.

With all the college bowl games going on, this NFL contest between two sorry teams could rightly be called the Firing Bowl.

How these two guys have continued to hang on to their jobs -- making millions -- would seem to be a question that ranks right up there with how the Pentagon charges $800 for a hammer, $600 for a toilet seat, and the politicians can't wait to give them billions in MORE money.


The amazing Minnesota Vikings

Like them or hate them, you have to give it up to the Minnesota Vikings this year. Few would have predicted the spot they're currently in.

They've already locked up the NFC North Division title. Three games ahead of the Detroit Lions with only two left to play will do it every time.

At 11-3, and likely to win their last two regular season games, who would have believed a 13-3 season was possible out of these guys?

Let's not forget when the season started the Vikes were already (still) without the services of their "starting" quarterback, Teddy Bridgewater. After just one game, down went #2, Sam Bradford. Poor Same has always seemed to be an injury waiting to happen.

So the QB duties went to, uh-oh, Case Keenum. Yep, the same CK that many had written off as a bust for his previous play elsewhere.

And then something strange happened. Keenum started lighting it up in Brady fashion. Who is THIS guy and what have you done with the REAL Case Keenum?

After just a couple more games, down went their feature running back Dalvin Cook. Surely that would spell their doom -- right?

But it didn't. The Vikes not only kept rolling along, but seemed to get better every week. Hats off to head coach Mike Zimmer and his crew. Whatever it is they're doing sure is working out well.

As this is written, the Vikings are in Green Bay, playing the Packers (already eliminated from the playoffs) who have decided to sit QB Aaron Rodgers for the rest of the season to let his broken collar bone fully mend. Probably a pretty good idea. The chances of the purple gang leaving Cheeserland with a win would appear to be very good.

Hang on, let me check. Yep, they're ahead 10-0 after the first quarter.

Next week they go back home to host the hapless Chicago Bears. Nothing's a lock in the NFL, but who in their right mind would bet on Da Bears knocking off the Vikings on the road?

Though they don't really have any "super-stars", Minnesota is definitely getting it done with a team effort. You won't see a running back gaining over 100 yards very often, or a receiver doing the same. But their defense is most definitely top notch, and they play smart in all phases of the game.

If the "probable" happens, and the Vikes indeed finish the regular season at 13-3, they would not only have home field advantage through the NFC playoffs, but guess where the Super Bowl will be held in February? Yep, the Vikings could become the first team to play a Super Bowl in their home stadium. You'd think after over 50 of them, it would have happened before -- but it hasn't.

Not to jinx them, but what other team do you think can go into Minnesota and knock these guys off? That's a mighty tall order.

Sure, the LA Rams are killing it with new head coach Sean McVay, but the Vikes already blistered them earlier in the year.

The Eagles? A definite maybe. They're much better than most foresaw they would be as well, but the loss of QB Carson Wentz has got to come back and bite them.

One of the southern teams like Carolina or New Orleans? Ya never know. Upsets happen.

But right now, the Minnesota Vikings appear to be in the proverbial catbird seat.

Old timers can vaguely remember when the likes of head coach Bud Grant and QB Fran Tarkenton made it to four Super Bowls, but lost them all.

How cool would it be for the Vikings to finally win one -- in their own stadium, no less?

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Kaepernick, Diddy, and reality

It's long been said that if one doesn't like the ownership of any particular sports team, they have two options. Either quit spending their money on and/or rooting for them, or buy the damn franchise and do it YOUR way. The first one is pretty easy. The second takes some serious bucks.

Recently, Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson has taken some heat because he is perceived by some -- guess what color? -- to be, shall we say, less than racially sensitive. Even though most of his players are of that very same color and making millions.

Perhaps tired of it all, Mr. Richardson has indicated, sorta, that he might be open to selling the Panthers.

And this is where it turns into a modern day Three Stooges episode. Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk.

Colin Kaepernick, former San Francisco Forty Niner quarterback -- yes the kneeler that has attracted so much attention -- evidently has expressed an interest in buying into the team. By most estimates, the Panthers could fetch well over two BILLION if Richardson indeed sold them.

Over his since aborted career, Kaepernick hasn't even made one hundred million, gross (no pun intended) pay. After taxes, living expenses, and probably no small amount of "bling", he might -- MIGHT -- be able to come up with 20-30 million.

This would be like walking into a Lamborghini dealership with a few rolls of quarters. Trust me, you not only won't be leaving there with a car, but would be the punch line of jokes among the salespeople for YEARS.

Enter Diddy, aka P. Diddy, aka Sean Combs as dear Colin's potential partner in such a deal. If he cashes in all his chips, he might be able to come up with a few hundred million, still WAY short of what the Panthers would be worth.

And here's the Moe, Larry, Cheese!! -- or calling Doctor Howard, Dr. Fine, Doctor Howard kicker.

Even if Combs and Kaepernick can enlist enough other investors with serious bucks to get them up to the $2,000,000,000+ the Panthers would sell for, and even assuming Richardson would sell to them -- certainly no given -- the whole deal would be subject to approval by the other 31 NFL owners.

It's a private club, like the Masons. Yours truly has long BEEN a Mason, even a Past Master of a lodge not far away. Yes, my mug shot's on the wall of posterity in sequential order with all the other guys that made it to the top over the last hundred years or so. Scary thought, I know, but dammit, I did the work to eventually claw my way up the ladder, earn it, and was voted in accordingly. Without breaking my vows, I can say the Masons are much more stringent on admitting new members than the NFL owners. In a lodge, after the plebe has been repeatedly thoroughly examined, the vote has to be unanimous among the existing brothers to grant him full membership. Even a single "no" ballot for a newbie is a disqualifier. Rare, but I've seen it happen. In the NFL, it only takes a three-quarters majority.

So what do you think the chances are that an elite club of stodgy old billionaires would be open to the idea of a guy that made his money in the "rap" genre, and continues to dress, talk, and act like an uptown pimp, would look kindly on such a man being admitted to their exclusive ranks?

Couple Diddy, Diddly, whatever, with a guy like Kaepernick. Say and think what you will about the NFL and its owners, but nobody would seriously doubt they've long been quite the patriotic, red, white, and blue bunch. This is why we see the giant American flags displayed on the field before the games. And the color guards of various military branches front and center. And the fighter jet fly-overs, which are actually nothing more than a waste of jet fuel.

Far be it from yours truly to judge Kaepernick's motives for refusing to stand during the national anthem, hence setting off a chain reaction, which went viral after a certain President added his two cents worth via his usual tweet-o-moronica.

Add in the fact that dear Mr. Kaepernick is currently in the process of suing the NFL for "collusion", because he can't seem to find a team willing to sign him, and the circus he would certainly bring to town -- imagine that -- and maybe it's just me, but in the whole scheme of things, I don't like his chances of being approved as a part owner by the rest of those folks.

Granted, despite the vast riches many NFL owners have made in other business ventures to get them to the financial point they are today, they sure appear to come across as downright foolish sometimes.

But does any sane person really believe the majority of these (perhaps out of touch with reality) tycoons, who are collectively defendants in Kaerpernick's ongoing law suit, looking to collect a massive monetary settlement from same, would welcome the plaintiff and his posse with open arms into their club?

Even the Three Stooges couldn't have come up with better slapstick comedy than that.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017


Yes, bowl games have already started and they'll continue to come fast and furious for the next couple weeks or so. Any more, because there's so many of them, a team has to be pretty bad NOT to qualify for one. In the end, it's all about the money. Even "garbage" bowls are a big payday for schools. Pack up the band and go play somewhere. TV and their long list of advertisers will be behind your school receiving a fat check. It's the American way.

No doubt, most attention will be paid to the Sugar and Rose Bowls on New Year's day. In the former #4 Alabama takes on #1 Clemson in New Orleans starting at roughly 6 PM (eastern standard time).

That will be followed by #2 Oklahoma tangling with #3 Georgia in the Rose Bowl in Pasadena starting at roughly 9 PM.

The winners of those two bowls will meet for the national championship a week later.

OK, everybody knows that -- right? So get on with it already, you might rightfully think at this point.

But the MOST INTERESTING bowl game will already be over before the four "titans" clash later on.

That would be the Peach Bowl, in Atlanta, set to go off at about 1 PM on the same day.

That will feature the Auburn Tigers taking on the Central Florida Knights.

It should be noted that a little over a month ago, that same Auburn team defeated the then #1 Georgia Bulldogs. A couple weeks later, they also knocked off then #1 Alabama. Back-to-back wins over #1 ranked teams -- both convincingly so -- is very impressive stuff.

Alas, Auburn would get drubbed in the rematch with the Dawgs for the SEC championship, which knocked them out of the Final Four.

But here's the kicker. Central Florida, though playing in a "lesser conference", is the only team in the Top Ten that remained undefeated through the entire regular season. Yet no way was the mysterious "committee" going to give them a shot at a national title. So they got relegated to the Peach Bowl.

Thing is, what if -- and it could happen, even though the odds-makers have Auburn as a 9-10 point favorite -- the Knights were to not only defeat the Tigers, but convincingly so?

Despite what happened between the above mention OU, UG, UA, and Clemson, UCF could proudly claim to be the only undefeated team at the end of the year. That, and having just defeated a team that knocked off two #1's a mere month before?

True, the media spin doctors would get busy burying it, and all eyes and acclaim would go to the "champs".

But if that scenario played out, it would be pretty hard to explain why UCF, schedule notwithstanding, including enduring the hardship of having a few games cancelled due to Hurricane Irma, wasn't even given a chance to prove how good they could be with the "big boys" in crunch time, given they just knocked one off.

I, for one, hope they trounce Auburn (nothing against the Tigers).

Because if there was ever a case to be made to expand the college football national championship playoff field to at least eight teams, this would be Exhibit A.

I mean, c'mon. What else are college football players at big time programs doing during the month of December? Studying for finals? Puhleeze. Most of these guys couldn't pass a seventh grade equivalency exam given 10 tries. Who's kidding who?

So why not expand the playoff field and let these precious "student-athletes", long a laughable term only the most gullible still buy into, play another game? Which they're raring to do anyway? The schools would make more piles of do-re-mi, and those that were unfairly shut out due to a numbers game -- like Central Florida -- would get the shot they deserve.

For the life of me, I don't see any downside to it.

"Little" schools in "lesser" conferences don't deserve a shot at a championship?

One need only harken back to the spring of this year, when tiny Gonzaga, a private school in the far northwest, made it all the way to the NCAA hoops final before finally succumbing -- barely -- to mighty behemoth North Carolina.

Consider that Exhibit B, and I rest my case, your honors.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Detroit Lions and destiny

The Lions' already slim playoff hopes took another hit when the Atlanta Falcons defeated the Tampa Bay Bucs on Monday Night Football. The Motowners do not control their own destiny and the window of opportunity remains just barely open a crack.

However, as is always the case in Detroit, they still have -- excuse -- LOL -- hope.

Let's take a look around the NFC conference at how the playoff picture is right now.

The Eagles are champs of the East.
The Rams champs of the West.
The Vikings champs of the North.

The South remains undecided, but it will either be the Saints or the Panthers.

Detroit's only shot, and it's a long one, is to sneak in as one of two wildcards.

Thing is, one of those spots is already taken. Between New Orleans and Carolina, one will win their division and the other is a mathematical certainty for a wildcard spot. That leaves only one opening.

These same two teams are both two games ahead of the Lions in the standings, so even if both lose both their remaining two regular season games and the Lions win out, they would be tied. But the Saints and Panthers have both defeated the Lions in the regular season, so either would get the tie-breaker. The Lions can't touch either one of them. Done deal. Period.

Also in the same South Division are the Atlanta Falcons. They are one game ahead of the Lions with two to play. Atlanta would have to lose both while Detroit won out for the Lions to leap-frog them. If they wind up with the same record, the Falcons also defeated the Lions in the regular season, so Detroit again would lose the tie-breaker.

But that's where things might get a bit tricky. Atlanta's last two games are @ New Orleans and home against Carolina. The Falcons looked anything but sharp against a woeful Tampa Bay team. They could easily lose both their remaining games against very good competition.

Meanwhile, the Lions travel to Cincinnati next week, where the Bengals have absolutely nothing to play for, and the only question seems to be if their head coach Marvin Lewis (who should have been fired years ago for incompetence) can hang onto his job for one more year.

Then the Lions return home for a date with the Packers. True, the Pack are a game behind the Lions in the standings, and it's still unclear whether they'll quit on the season and sit all-world quarterback Aaron Rodgers to let him fully mend from his broken collar bone. If so, the Lions have would have a huge advantage in the regular season finale. If not, with Rodgers having a couple games under his belt after coming off the injured list, who would dare to wager much money the Cheesers couldn't waltz into Detroit and knock off the Honolulu blue and silver boys? Entirely possible. And it would be just like the Lions to build their fans up to a fever pitch again -- only to choke (again) when it matters most.

[Idle thought on that. If the Packers decide to sit Rodgers, how unfair would that be to their fans? As by far the smallest market team in the NFL, team loyalty in Green Bay runs deeper than anyplace else. Because they don't have any other pro teams in town, the cheeseheads are fanatical about their beloved Packers. To boot, most have waited years, maybe decades, to even get tickets to a game. So if management decides to sit Rodgers, the thought here is it wouldn't play very well with their rabid fan base. They not only waited forever for an opportunity to get into Lambeau on game days, but ponied up HUGE bucks to be there. They want to see their star quarterback -- dammit. And who can blame them? Bottom line? If Rodgers wants to play, he will. If he's content with sitting, that's another story. But good luck explaining that to the fans, because the word will get out as to who's "decision" it was. Somebody would be mighty unpopular.]

Basically, there's one wildcard spot available, and four teams vying for it. Besides the Lions and Falcons, don't overlook the Seattle Seahawks and Dallas Cowboys, who have the same record as the Lions with two games remaining.

So a whole lot of things would have to fall just perfectly for the Lions to qualify for the post season.

Are they officially done yet? No. Will they be after next week? Maybe. Will it go down to the final week of the regular season with the puddy-tats still clinging to playoff hopes? Possibly.

But even if all the chips fall their way, which they have so far this season, the question would seem to be -- just who, pray tell -- would the Lions be capable of defeating in the post season? They haven't won a game all year against a team with a winning record (with the exception being when the Vikings were freshly down to their third-string quarterback -- which was avenged a few weeks later after he had a few games under his belt).

It would probably be better, and much more merciful, if the Lions just got beat at Cincinnati next week, to put an end to this charade for another year, once and for all.

Simply put, the Lions aren't very good, as usual.

But don't be surprised if they manage to bumble their way into the playoffs, because they've caught every other conceivable break this season.

And then they would be the usual cannon fodder in a playoff game. Another year for "wunderkind" Matthew Stafford, and still nary a single playoff victory.

On that note, somebody tell me one more time -- how did this guy, with a career losing record and yet to win a single playoff game -- let alone get anywhere near sniffing a, HAH, Super Bowl wind up being the highest paid player in the entire NFL?

One word. Puhleeze.

There's destiny, and then there's the Lions version of destiny. And it ain't been pretty for the last half century or so.

Year, after year, after year, and more years of yes.......

The same old Lions.

It's just one more.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Minnesota Vikings catbird seat?

Like it or not, much credit has to go to Minnesota Vikings' head coach Mike Zimmer and his staff for turning that club around into serious contenders. Despite losing their top two quarterbacks, Teddy Bridgewater and Sam Bradford, Case Keenum has stepped in and done a masterful job of keeping the proverbial ball rolling. Let's not forget they also lost a first class running back in Dalvin Cook. Plus, their defense is outstanding. They certainly appear to be the real deal.

As of today, Minnesota has clinched the NFC North Division title, with a very impressive 11-3 record. Few would have seen that coming.

Their two remaining regular season games are at Green Bay and hosting Chicago. The Packers, with a loss today, are pretty much toast this year. If they're smart, they'll shut Aaron Rodgers down and let his broken collar bone fully mend for the 2018 season, rather than risking a re-occurrence in games that don't matter anyway.

True, it's always tough to win in Cheeserland, but it would hardly be a big surprise if the Vikes marched into Lambeau and pulled it off.

The regular season finale against Da Bears, back home in Minnesota? It would be shocking indeed if the purple gang somehow found a way to lose that one.

So for the sake of argument, let's say the Vikes finish the regular season at 13-3.

Their only competition for home field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs would seem to be the Philadelphia Eagles. Like Zimmer, all due credit to head coach Doug Pederson and his crew for so quickly making the Eagles a really good team so quickly when few would have believed it possible.

Currently at an even better 12-2, they appear to be the real deal as well.

But there's the rub. Eagles QB Carson Wentz, who had been sensational all year, went out for the season with a torn ACL. Nick Foles, yep, the same Nick Foles that's never been very good in the past is now their QB. Chances of them going far in the playoffs? Maybe not so good.

The Eagles have the pleasure of their two remaining regular season games being at home, versus the Oakland Raiders and Dallas Cowboys.

Oakland is now officially zapped from the playoffs, so doesn't have much to play for. Plus, they weren't all that good in the first place. But the game against the Jones Boys from Big D could prove to be interesting. They're still in the "hunt". It could well be the Cowboys knock off the Eagles in Week 17. And unless I miss my guess, the Cowboys will have suspended running back Ezekiel Elliott back by then. A HUGE boost.

And if THOSE scenarios play out, entirely possible, if not probable, the Minnesota Vikings could not only wind up with home field advantage throughout the playoffs, but also hosting the Super Bowl in February, a venue that was decided several years ago. All of which would definitely be a first in NFL history. No team in the fifty year history of the Super Bowl has ever played one in their home stadium.

I, for one, would love to see that happen. Here's to Fran Tarkenton and Bud Grant from yesteryear. The Vikings made it to four Super Bowls in the distant past, but lost all of them.

This is not to say they'd be a lock to prevail over whichever team emerged from the AFC. Whether the Patriots, Steelers, or somebody else, whoever goes through the AFC gauntlet to punch their ticket to the Big Dance will be a formidable opponent indeed.

But it would be mighty tough to knock off the Vikes at home at that point. The catbird seat indeed.

Man oh man, these playoff (and Super Bowl) possibilities just keep getting more and more interesting.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Part III. The Lions

It's almost easy to foresee what may become of the 2017 version of the long suffering Motown puddy-tats. There are three possible scenarios. I'll get back to that.

First up, as has been noted in this space in the past, the Lions have been the beneficiaries of every conceivable break (aka dumb luck) to date this season. From scheduling to star players on other teams being injured when the Lions have faced them.

The schedule.

The Arizona Cardinals, a win, aren't any good this year.
The NY Giants, another W, are absolutely horrible.
They defeated Minnesota when the Vikings were freshly down to their third string quarterback.
(Of course that same guy, one Case Keenum, after a few games under his belt, promptly marched into Detroit and spanked the Lions on Thanksgiving day.)
They caught the Green Bay Packers with all-world QB Aaron Rodgers having recently suffered a broken collar bone. A win, but tainted.
Beating Cleveland? The Campfire Girls could beat the Browns.
Two games against the always woeful Chicago Bears.
Another versus the sorry Tampa Bay Bucs.
Next week it will be Cincinnati. If Marvin Lewis is still the head coach there, the Bengals will still be awful. He is, and they are.

Could it possibly have been any easier for the Lions along the way? It borders on the incredible.

It should be noted they have yet to defeat a team with a winning record, the above-mentioned first go-round with Minnesota aside.

Scenario #1 has the Lions defeating the Bengals to set up a showdown with the Packers in the final regular season game, quite possibly for a wild card berth.

But hang on. In Aaron Rodgers' first game back, the Pack has to go to Carolina, a team known for it's ferocious pass rush. Then the Cheesers have to face Minnesota, which is sailing along at the top of the NFC north division, and also possesses a top notch defense. Rough sledding indeed. Should the Packers lose either of those games, even if Rodgers stays healthy throughout, coming back so soon from his injury, Green Bay would likely shut him down for the year. What's the point in risking your star QB, though medically "cleared to play", when he probably isn't 100% fully mended? If that happens, the Lions would get the Packers minus Rodgers once again. Another unbelievable stroke of luck.

But if, a big IF, Rodgers and the Pack get through that two game gauntlet against good teams, while the Lions are, as noted, feasting on more bad ones, Scenario #2 comes into play.

With the Lions and Packers both having 9-6 records and a wild-card berth possibly on the line, people in Detroit would be worked up to the proverbial fever pitch when the Packers came-a-calling in Week 17.

And you just know what would happen. With their entire season on the line, the Lions and their fans would be left gasping in frustration/disbelief/shock/horror -- take your pick -- after the Packers and Rodgers came to Ford Field and knocked them off.

It would be a fitting end for just another year of the same old Lions story. Up, up, up, they go -- hype/hope city all the way -- only to crash and burn one more year. Down, down, down they plummet when it matters most.

However, if they get that far, Scenario #3 is possible.

The Lions actually stumble and bumble their way into the playoffs. As a commenter on this blog once noted, even when they win, they look bad.

And that potential playoff game would be on the road with a -- gasp -- winning team. Which the Lions have proven all year they can't hang with.

That's when their primrose path, dumb luck, and all the other breaks not of their own doing suddenly come to a simultaneous screeching halt.

Can you spell b-l-o-w-o-u-t?

Know why?

Because as sure as the sun (and new lovers) are hot, ice (and exes) are cold, and it gets dark at night, the Lions's season is going to end ugly again, whichever of the three scenarios plays out.  The ever-gullible Motown faithful can root, root, root for their Honolulu blue and silver boys to get to a (cough, gag, choke, barf, puhleeze) Super Bowl every year, with their always super-homerish media peddling their usual snake oil every step of the way, but the chances of that happening are about as good as Anderson Cooper and Rachel Maddow deciding to get married and have a bunch of kids. Some things just aren't meant to be. It's the natural, or perhaps unnatural order of things.

And hey, while the players turn over every year and the coaches occasionally change, it's still the Lions and the Ford family that owns them -- right? An "estate planner" was recently named president of this NFL franchise by the doddering old widow that still owns them? One who admitted he knew nothing about pro football? Really? What does he do? Make out the last wills and testaments for the players?

Well, there you go. It's the Lion way. Always has been.

What's one more year on the already half century plus scrap heap of futility?

Friday, December 15, 2017

Part II. The Pistons

The Pistons.

Sure, they got off to a fast start this season, but does anybody really seriously believe the Detroit hoopsters are anywhere near contenders?

It seemed almost inevitable they would come crashing back to earth -- and they have -- having lost 7 of their last 8.

Only because the Eastern Conference of the NBA is such a weak sister when compared to the West, will the Pistons likely hover around the playoff cut-off line. They might get in as a seventh of eighth seed, only to get blown out in the first round of the post-season by a club like Boston or Cleveland.

One must remember this is the same franchise that gave Andre Drummond a "max" contract. That's right. He's getting paid roughly the same amount of do-re-mi that players like Lebron James, Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, and James Hardin are making. The latter are super-stars. Meanwhile, Andre Drummond is basically useless more than 4 feet away from the basket -- on either end of the floor -- offensively or defensively. No decent jump shot, continues to shoot free throws like a blind man, a pitiful defender away from the rim, and his ball handling skills could be likened to those of a bull elephant trying to play the piano.

Only in Detroit could a guy like Stan VanGundy be the president of basketball operations and head coach at the same time, with two -- count-em TWO -- general managers in between. So who's in charge of who? Nobody seems to know.

And what give with dear Stan taking all the blame for the Pistons' poor play? Hey, there comes a time to call a spade a spade. Stan's not playing the game. The players are. So if they're stinking it up on the court, then just say so.

The Pistons even have a guy named Reggie Jackson on their roster. What? No Willie Mays, Bob Gibson, or Mickey Mantle? Maybe they'll find a way to get a couple of those next on the payroll. Don't put it past them. Sheesh.

Relatively new owner Tom Gores overpaid for the Pistons to late owner Bill Davidson's widow Karen. She was no doubt happy. And as part of the deal, Gores acquired a world class facility -- the Palace of Auburn Hills, which had been completely paid for by his predecessor out of his own pockets. This arena was/is located in a prime location. A crime free suburb with easy in and out access, and the interstate I-75, that fed into other major highways just a couple blocks away. Further, Mr. Gores invested somewhere around $10-15 million bucks of his own money to provide this already superb venue with a few upgrades.

So what did he do?

Turned right around and moved his team back to Detroit. Yep, the same crime-ridden, blighted metropolis it's been for decades. Where he has to, incredibly, pay RENT. Does this make sense?

Fair enough that the brand new sparkling Little Caesar's Arena, originally built for the Detroit Red Wings, is in the "Fox" district, which is pretty much like the "Green Zone" in Iraq America carved out after invading same over WMDs that turned out not to exist. Oops. (Hey, what's a few billion bucks and a few thousand lives -- right?) It's safe alright, once one gets there, but wander just a block or two outside the perimeter, and folks will find themselves right back in very dangerous territory, where the "natives" remain, shall we say, restless, perhaps even life, limb, and car threatening.

Meanwhile, nobody seems to know what will become of the Palace. Sure, it might still a host a rock or country band here or there, but chances are the magnificent facility will go to seed in the future. And that's a colossal waste whose blame will fall squarely at the feet of the above-mentioned Tom Gores. Given his evident wrong-footed approach and botching of the whole scenario in recent times, one is left to ask the question -- how in the hell did this guy get so rich to begin with?

But then one has to remember only one thing.

It's Detroit.

That city is just about enough to make anybody go off their proverbial rocker.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

The sorry state of Detroit sports. Part 1. The Tigers

So Ian Kinsler of the Detroit Tigers is the latest to leave town. A good glove, decent bat, average speed, but overall a steady player.

Remember the Tigers could't keep Max Scherzer. He's since won a couple Cy Young awards for the Washington Nats. Same with young Rick Porcello. He departed the Tigers and promptly won the same award for the Bosox the following year.

J.D. Martinez, a terrific slugger, if a bit of a liability in the outfield, got traded off for "prospects".

No other team is interested in dinosaur Victor Martinez. Fat contract, but can't play a position, and you can time his base path speed with a sundial.

Miguel Cabrera, former slugger supreme, is getting older and constantly battling health issues. But the Tigers are on the hook for his bazillion dollar contract -- and who else would want an aging slugger in obvious decline at such a ridiculous price?

Just last year, young starting pitcher Michael Fullmer, won the Rookie of the Year. Really? Sure, he started out strong, but towards the end of the season was getting shelled like Pearl Harbor on 12/07/41, finishing up a not-so-good 10-12. That doesn't say much for the other rookies around the American League. He's being dangled as trade bait too. Will anybody want him -- and at what price?

Justin Verlander trotted off to Houston mid-year, where he promptly won a World Series. Beyond him, the Tiger starting rotation was shaky, to say the least.

Their bullpen remains flat-out pitiful, unless you're an opposing hitter. Then you love it when those guys come in and start pitching batting practice.

There's "rebuilding", and then there's "totally blowing it up". The Tigers would seem to fit into the latter category.

If you thought they were bad towards the end of the 2017 season, this once proud, but with precious few results over the years, franchise is most likely going to get downright embarrassing in the near future. 100+ loss seasons could easily become a reality.

While other teams around the league were already much better, and continue to find ways to improve their personnel, the Tigers have become a no-talent zero.

Worse, they recently hired Ron Gardenhire, an "old school" by the seat of his pants manager by any measure, while the rest of the teams, at least the smart ones, turned to modern statistical analysis (sabermetrics) years ago. Typically, Detroit remains far behind the times.

This is not only going to get ugly, but referring to the Pearl Harbor bit above, may indeed turn out to be an era "that will live in infamy".

Monday, December 11, 2017

Tom Brady's Miami jinx

Few would doubt Tom Brady is indeed the GOAT (greatest of all time) at the quarterback position. Five Super Bowl rings, a couple others he got to but came up short, four MVPs, and he long ago blew past all Joe Montana's career passing statistics -- by a mile.

If he plays a couple more years, entirely probable, Brady will likely be #1 in ALL the pro quarterback stats.

But he's always seemed to have this little problem playing at Miami. As in, a career losing record there.

Going into Monday night's game, he was only 6-7 in the current home of the Dolphins. And let's face it, the Dolphins haven't been particularly good in recent times.

Yet sure enough, the Dolphins slew the Patriots again, 27-20. Even in the absence of Rob Gronkowski, beast tight-end supreme out serving a one game suspension for a cheap shot on a Buffalo defender a week ago, the Pats were heavy favorites to win. I mean, c'mon, they were 10-2 going in, cruising along, and what did Miami have to offer? Jay Cutler? Please.

But down they went again. This is what happens when your team is out-rushed by a wide margin, out-passed by an even wider one, and the opponents more than double your total yards gained over the course of the game. Throw in a couple turnovers, while the other guys had none -- and there you go. You EARNED that big L.

It also might very well have larger implications for the Patriots. Instead of improving to 11-2, as most thought they would, this loss puts them a game behind the Pittsburgh Steelers, who seem to be on auto-pilot for the playoffs as well.

True, both teams have three regular season games yet to play, and anything can happen and sometimes does, but if the current situation holds until the playoffs start, the Steelers would have home field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs. That means if both teams advance that far, the Pats would have to travel to Pittsburgh, a formidable place to play indeed.

Had the Patriots won the game against Miami, the Steelers might have had to go to Foxborough down the road, also a very tough venue to win at. No doubt, Big Ben, Mike Tomlin, and that crew would much prefer to get the Pats at home rather than on the road with a whole bunch of marbles on the line.

So it just might be that this seemingly inexplicable loss to an obviously inferior team could wind up costing the New England Patriots big time before all is said and done this season.

Jinx indeed.

We'll see.......

Sunday, December 10, 2017

NFL chuckleheads

You gotta love Terrell Suggs of the Baltimore Ravens. Or laugh at him. No stranger to personal fouls and other goonish behavior himself over the years, Suggs was asked what it would take for the Ravens to defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Sunday night game.

Stop right there. The Ravens aren't going to beat the Steelers -- especially in Pittsburgh. Forget that. If there's a way to blow the game -- they'll find it against their long time nemesis.

But dear Terrell spoke right up and said, "We have to stop #23."

Just one little problem with that.

There IS no #23 on the Pittsburgh roster. Perhaps he was referring to running back Le'Veon Bell, who wears #26. Hey, if Suggs and his teammates are busy trying to chase a phantom player, no wonder they've historically struggled against the Steelers. It would appear head coach John Harbaugh and his staff have a bit of work to do -- like -- explaining to chuckleheads such as Suggs who's who on opposing teams.

While briefly in a local watering hole, shortly after the Detroit Lions game, a Latino gentleman I never met before, having evidently watched the game there, made a comment to yours truly regarding the Motown puddy-tats. To wit: "Even when they win, they look bad". To which I replied, "Truer words were never spoken, amigo". His drop-dead gorgeous female companion seemed to think that was funny for some reason. Always happy to put a smile on a woman's face, especially a beauty like that one. Wow, lucky man.

Forget the sad-sack Lions taking on the equally woeful Tampa Bay Bucs. I was much more interested in the Philly/LA Ram game. You know, two GOOD teams going at it. And it turned out to be quite the exciting game, not decided until the closing seconds. As you know, the Eagles prevailed and locked up the NFC East division title with three games left to play.

Alas, starting Eagle QB Carson Wentz went out with a knee injury, severity and possible length of absence unknown. If he's officially zapped, so are the Eagles' chances of going far in the post-season. Ask the Green Bay Packers, a  pre-season pick to be a Super Bowl contender, how things have gone since Aaron Rodgers went down with a broken collar bone. They just barely -- BARELY -- got by the Cleveland Browns -- in overtime.

Nonetheless, the always breathless announcers, who never saw a player or coach that wasn't the greatest at something, had Wentz right up there as a possible NFL MVP candidate.

Fast forward to the Baltimore/Pittsburgh game. Now it's wide receiver Antonio Brown who just might be the MVP.

Pick any two teams, even bottom-feeding ones, and the play-by-play guys will figure out a way to make a case for an MVP on at least one of them -- maybe both. Talk about chuckleheads. Have they no shame, or have the "politically correct" gods they all seem to worship these days turned whatever brains they once had into borscht?

Since when is it so wrong to just tell it like it is?

The Cleveland Browns stink, from ownership on down to the lowliest assistant -- players included. Period.

Detroit Lions' fans seem forever doomed to lifetimes of idiocy thinking their team in going to be contenders every year.

The difference between the Browns and the Lions? In Cleveland, the people know and accept the fact their team sucks.

And yes, Colin Kaepernick, whether one considers his "kneeling" cause to be righteous or offensive, committed career suicide by doing so. He may or may not be a capable NFL quarterback -- opinions vary -- but the chances of any team offering him a contract -- especially after he sued the league for "collusion", are virtually nil, nada, ain't gonna happen. Only a chucklehead thinks this guy is going to get another shot. Forget that. With apologies to Mr. Spock of original Star Trek fame, may dear Colin live long and prosper, but the man made his bed, and he's going to have to sleep in it. It's only, ahem, logical. Sorry for the lame play on words.

Interesting how Sports Illustrated came out with their "Sportsperson of the year" issue and featured two co-winners.

J.J. Watt and Jose Altuve, with respective articles singing their praises. Both of which play(ed) for Houston teams, the Texans and Astros respectively. What are the chances of that happening?

It appears even the chuckleheads at SI can't pick a winner and stick to it.

But the chucklehead of the year award should rightfully go to Danica Patrick.

Years ago, the hero-makers anointed her the greatest thing to happen in Indy car racing. Problem was, despite having first class gear, she couldn't win squat.

Never fear, it was on to NASCAR, and even more acclaim. Plopped into another top-flite car, with pit crew to match, Ms. Patrick was nothing more than a wreck waiting to happen every week. Her main sponsor -- Go Daddy -- finally went. It had to get tiresome, not to mention expensive, building her a brand new $400,000 race car almost every week. And that's not even to mention how many other drivers she "took out" along the way. The total carnage was well up into the multi-millions. She never won anything on the NASCAR circuit either.

It seemed her main claim to fame was an occasional foot-stomping hissy fit on pit row.

Now finally, mercifully, dear Danica has decided to retire from that venture. Or she couldn't find anybody else with deep pockets and shallow common sense to keep throwing their money away on an obviously futile enterprise doomed to destruction from the onset.

To all of which, no doubt the other drivers on the NASCAR circuit breathe a sigh of relief. The wrecking machine with an attitude is finally gone. Whew!

No doubt, some will find a way to make Danica a hero, despite being a loser her whole career.

Hard to say which is/are the bigger chucklehead(s). Her, or those folks that will continue to worship her.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

The great American implosion

Well OK. They were supposed to announce this year's winner of the Heisman Trophy at 8:00 PM, But we knew that was a lie. A show which should have lasted no more than 5 minutes is dragged out to an hour.

All they had to do was say, "Here are your three finalists. Bryce Love, a running back from Stanford, Lemar Jackson, a quarterback from Louisville, and Baker Mayfield, another quarterback from Oklahoma".

"And the winner is, envelope please..." -- whichever. Make that two minutes. Who wants to slog through almost an hour of talking heads spouting their usual nonsense about stats and supposedly greatest this or that, with a ridiculous amount of commercials mixed in along the way, when what has long since been decided was available for announcement when the show first started?

Thing is, the Heisman is awarded to the best AMERICAN college football player every year.

So why is it brought to us by ----

Nissan? A Japanese auto company?

NASCAR stands for NATIONAL Association of Stock Car Automobile Racing -- not INTERNATIONAL.

So why have Toyota cars and motors been allowed to infest it?

Same with Indy racing and Honda trying to run Chevy out of business. Why do they put up with this obvious anti-American onslaught?

Here's a good one. While catching a brief glimpse of the annual Army/Navy football bore-a-thon, a stat popped up that the Navy quarterback had only thrown two passes ALL YEAR.

So what, pray tell, is the point of their wide receivers even bothering to split out and take their positions? They're never going to touch the ball anyway. That would be a little bit like making future Navy ensigns participate in ten mile runs -- only to assign them to confined quarters on submarine duty. Hello?

Go back to auto racing. Roger Penske, forever a Chevy man, recently bailed to Ford in his NASCAR entries. What's up with that?

Joe Gibbs, a deeply religious man, red,white, and blue American through and through, long ago sold out and became a Toyota guy. Almost a century ago, the phrase "say it ain't so, Joe" came to light. That had to do with Shoeless Joe Jackson and the Blacksox scandal. (He was later totally exonerated, but nobody wants to remember that part). Gibbs should hang his head in shame. Say it ain't so Joe indeed.

American sports fans need only pay attention to what companies are sponsoring so many of their events and even TV shows.

Toyota, Nissan, Hyundai, Kia, and their ilk are seemingly everywhere. Very few sightings of Chevy, Ford, Pontiac, Chrysler or Dodge. Oldsmobile went out of business long ago and the Buick Open golf tournament vanished into the ether as well. True, at last look, Cadillac was still a proud sponsor of the Masters at Augusta National. Could it be that even those stodgy old curmudgeons might some day sell out to Asian influence? Hey, it was a men's club since its inception way back in the pre-WWII days. But they caved to the incessant nagging of the fairer sex a couple decades ago, and admitted a few.

Same with the Citadel, another name for a fortress. Their walls have been breached like those of the Alamo way back in 1836. Everybody wants to "remember the Alamo", but nobody wants to talk about the Citadel getting p-whipped. At least Davy Crockett, Jim Bowie, and Will Travis went down fighting.

All the while, lady reporters have been given access to men's locker rooms, but not vice-versa. Little girls have even infiltrated the Boy Scouts, amazing, but also not vice-versa. Fraternities are under siege to admit female members, but sororities face no such pressure from their male counterparts.

How is it that the NAACP can stand for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, when the public at large has long been chastised that "colored" is a word they aren't supposed to say anymore? How does that work?

Finally, how is it that the United States, the only country to ever detonate nuclear weapons on civilian populations -- twice -- now has the audacity to declare others a "threat" if they were ever to obtain the same technology?

When one looks at the bigger picture over the years, they are left to wonder -- what, pray tell, other than massive hypocrisy and selling out to the highest bidder (patriotism be damned), has been going on here?

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Roger Goodell's victory lap

So after all the wrangling, the NFL Commish got re-upped for another five years. Is anybody really surprised? Even the amount, reportedly $200 million -- roughly 40 mil a year -- isn't totally out of line.

I mean c'mon. If he's going to be the head honcho of the league, shouldn't he at least be paid more than any low-life player?

Want to gripe about something? Try Matthew Stafford, of the perennially, and still sorry Detroit Lions being the highest paid player in the entire league. It's outrageous and, only in Detroit could they find a way to foist that off on their long suffering paying fans. To boot, Tom Brady of the Patriots, arguably the best QB of all time, with a hand full of Super Bowl rings and MVPs, makes SEVEN MILLION dollars LESS a year than Stafford -- who is yet to win a single playoff game and has a career losing record? How the hell is that even possible?

While it is true that Goodell and his minions have likely botched a few things over the years, particularly their waffling and flip-flopping on disciplinary issues, there is no denying the league has prospered under his leadership. A decade ago, when he first became top dog, the NFL was roughly a $4 billion dollar a year industry. Now it's up somewhere around $16 billion. Show me a financial adviser that can quadruple your investments over ten years, and I'll show you a guy/gal that will be in high demand.

Any talk of the NFL recently"slumping", due to whatever reasons, is purely hogwash. Boycotts? Get outta here. The stadiums are still packed, even for the sad-sack teams. TV ad rates have never been higher, with companies climbing all over themselves trying to get air time, price be damned.

Not long ago, one Jerry Jones, owner, president, general manager, and head bottle washer of the Dallas Cowboys, was dissatisfied with Roger Goodell. This likely had something to do with the Commish bouncing Jones's star running back Ezekiel Elliott for six games. Something about "conduct unbecoming" and "detrimental" to the league. Though EE was never even charged with a crime, much less convicted, he and his union lawyers finally gave up the court battle and swallowed their medicine, deserved or not. JJ said shortly thereafter that he would be coming for Roger with "everything he had".

Evidently, Jones didn't have much, let alone sway with the other billionaire owners. The rest of them voting to keep Goodell on for another five years pretty much says it all.

So if I'm Roger Goodell, I think about a Trump tweet or text moment, specifically aimed at Jones down in Big D. To wit ---

Still loving these Manhattan penthouse offices you will help pay for over the next five years. Sorry, LOL, to hear your Boys aren't doing so well during the current campaign. But hey, you've still got that giant video screen/scoreboard over the field in your palace -- right? It's something, even if your team isn't this year. But that's just kind of the way it goes sometimes, ya know? Ya win some, ya lose some. Know what the really bad news is? I'm much younger than you are and get to hold the hammer over your shyster head the next time you or one of your boys crosses a line I don't approve of. I will do my darndest to be fair and equitable in such matters, but you really should consider toning down your uppity language regarding me. I'm the boss -- not you. The others owners said so. Other than that, y'all have a nice day and this is nuttin' more then a liddle bidnuh to be taken care of. Surely you understand that.

And if not, in the immortal words of Rhett Butler, frankly, dear JJ, I don't give a damn.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

The absurdity of the Ball family

Once upon a time a man named LaVar Ball was a jock. Pretty good, as the averages go, making it to college and getting a (short) look by the pros. Nah, not good enough. And he sired three sons along the way.

Recently, dear LaVar has said his sons, ahem, potential, was worth -- wait for it -- a BILLION dollars. Of course, nobody, especially the movers and shakers in athletics took him seriously. Far from it. Even the major shoe and apparel companies weren't willing to enlist his boys as clients and give them freebies, let alone mega-bucks.

LaVar was unhappy, so he founded his own company. The Big Baller brand. You have to give the man credit for having large cajones indeed by daring to introduce such a laughable concept. Pity he seems to remain woefully short in the firing cranial neurons department.

True, like the late Mohammed Ali, such black and racially slanted bluster will always get its followers. Keep talking smack, no matter how ridiculous, and the fools will look up to you as some sort of hero. Some still even maintain Ali was the "greatest" of all time. That is utterly absurd. He was defeated by Joe Frazier, beaten up by Ken Norton, who was robbed of an obvious win in their rematch, and even lost to Leon Spinks. LEON SPINKS!! In his later years, Ali was absolutely destroyed by Larry Holmes, before he finally whimpered out with a loss to Trevor Berbick. Six defeats, many of them convincingly so, is hardly the stuff of "greatest".

But back to the Ball family.

Daddy's oldest son Lonzo was predictably taken high in the draft by the LA Lakers. Sure, he's still a rookie, but so far he has some rather impressive stats as well. As in the worst shooting percentage in the entire league. Ditto for free throws. His foul shot attempts more closely resemble that of klutzes like Shaq, Wilt, or the Detroit Pistons' Andre Drummond than that of your usual run up and down the court guard. Is dear Lonzo a bust yet? Maybe not, but he certainly appears headed in that direction.

And now dad has pulled his second son, one LiAngelo, out of UCLA, a premier basketball program, before he's even played an official game for them. Remember, dear LiAngelo got busted in China for being a common thief. Dad thinks the prudent thing to do is take LiAngelo out of any chance at a higher education, so he can train for his "future" NBA career.

That would seem to beg a question. What team in their right mind would draft this kid if he got bounced out of college before ever playing a game, and with the circus daddy would surely bring to town if an NBA team took a chance of him? Good luck with that.

There appears to be one more Ball child still in the high school pipeline. What's his name again? LiAbility? LaCivious? LeThug waiting to happen? Beats me.

But if he came from the same daddy and even remotely wants to follow in his diddy-bopping, trash-talking footsteps as to the litany of the absurd and vastly self-overrated, then his chances of success in a sane world probably aren't very good either.

Here's an idea. Keep him out of China, or any other foreign country. Couldn't hurt.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Final Four football predictions

#1 Clemson vs #4 Alabama in the Sugar Bowl.

While the Tide back-doored their way into the playoffs, and their aura of greatness persists, real or imagined, they ain't what they used to be. Indeed, Auburn showed them to be vulnerable and a few of their games against less than quality competition were much closer than they should have been.

True, Bama is loaded with bigger, stronger, faster five star recruits from top to bottom, but what they don't have is brains.

Nick the -ick (fill in your own blank) Sabin gets to face off with his nemesis Dabo from Clemson once again. We know how the championship game turned out last year.

On the other hand, though it was a head scratcher, Clemson's earlier loss to a not-so-good Syracuse team was probably the best thing that could have happened to them. It woke them up and got them refocused. Since then, the Tigers have looked, well, formidable. Leshaun who? He's gone and Clemson is everybody bit as good as they were last year.


Though it's hard fought for three quarters or so, the defending national champs pull away towards the end of the game and slay the muscular, if dim-witted beast from Tuscaloosa once again and move on.

#2 Oklahoma vs #3 Georgia in the Rose Bowl.

Who would have ever imagined two teams like the Sooners and Bulldogs would wind up in Pasadena? Definitely a first.

Both appear to be on a roll, hence making it into the Final Four to begin with.

The Okies are Big 12 champs and the Dawgs kings of the SEC.

OU had an impressive win earlier in the year, waltzing into Ohio State and putting a thumping on the Buckeyes. But they were equally perplexing when an unranked Iowa State team came-a-calling in Norman and put a beat down on them. They feature quarterback Baker Mayfield, a front runner for the Heisman this year. When they're on their game, they're really good. But will they be on their game against....

Georgia. The Dawgs were rolling right along, even #1 in the country at one point. But like Alabama (also #1 at the time), they got kicked to the curb by that pesky Auburn. Thing is, Georgia came roaring back to avenge that loss in the SEC championship game, trashing the "other" Tigers. Tit for tat indeed, but when it mattered most, they were up to the task.

Prediction. The high-speed finesse of Oklahoma butting heads with the brute force of Georgia.

I think the Sooners eventually wilt under what the Dawgs will bring all game long. Like the Clemson scenario mentioned above, Georgia getting beat earlier by Auburn made them tougher and better in the long run.

And that would mean it will be Clemson and Georgia facing off for all the proverbial marbles.

Of course, like Sports Illustrated and my late father, yours truly seems to have this uncanny knack of always getting his predictions wrong.

But it should be a couple of pretty good games to watch nevertheless.

Hey, what better way to sober up, at least temporarily, than kick back and watch four really good teams slug it out on New Year's Day?

The play that wasn't called

Well, OK, it was ONLY the, as usual, terrible Cleveland Browns. They have long been the NFL's version of Murphy's Law. Between botched draft choices, a woefully incompetent front office hiring pitiful coaches, and even the play on the field -- if something can go wrong -- it WILL go wrong with the Browns.

But they got jobbed in the game earlier today against the Los Angeles Chargers. Here was the scenario....

With about a minute left to play in the game, the Chargers were ahead 19-10. It seemed like a lock -- a two score difference.

To nobody's great surprise, the Cleveland quarterback made yet another Murphy decision and threw a pass directly into the hands of a Charger defensive back for an easy interception. Game over, right?

Not so fast. It shouldn't have been.

Upon further review, the Charger defensive back indeed went to the ground -- but he was never touched by an opponent. In college ball, going down is the end of a play. Not so in pro ball. The play remains "live" until the ball carrier is touched.

See the intercepting defensive back, in celebration mode, get up and run all the way back into his own end zone, surrounded by teammates whooping it up. And THERE he took a knee.

Translation? If the refs had followed the rules, that constituted a safety. Two points for Cleveland.

The score would then have been 19-12, and the Chargers would have had to kick it back to the Browns for one more shot.

And though it seems unlikely -- it's the Browns, remember? -- they still would have theoretically had the chance to quickly march down the field to score a touchdown. An extra point would have tied it and sent the game into overtime. A successful two-point conversion would have -- OMG -- even conceivably given them their first victory of the season.

But nobody noticed, or cared, because it's Cleveland. If their coaching staff on the sidelines had the semblance of even a vague clue, they would have thrown the red flag and demanded a review of the play. But because they remain clueless, they didn't.

In the whole scheme of things, does it really matter much?

Probably not.

But dammit, the rules are the rules.

The least the on-field officials, and those mysterious "guys in the booth" can do is follow them correctly.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Three locks and a maybe

After quite the day of exciting college football action, the Final Four has been set in stone. Well, at least three of them.

As noted in my previous post a mere couple hours ago, Oklahoma is a lock as Big 12 champs, finishing up on a high note by demolishing TCU.

One loss Georgia avenged that very setback to Auburn earlier by pummeling the Tigers in the SEC championship game. Count the Dawgs in.

Already #1, Clemson absolutely pounded Miami for the ACC crown. That means U, U, yes U, can slink back to South Beach, South Park, Little Havana, or whatever it is you call home with your heads hung in shame. U just got punked. So yes, Clemson has most definitely punched their ticket.

Three in and one to yet be decided. And that's where things get interesting.

Ohio State barely -- BARELY -- hung on to down previously undefeated Wisconsin in the Big 10 -- actually 14, go figure -- conference championship game. That means the Badgers are out. Many have been looking for a reason to deny them a shot all year and now they have one.

So who will be the fourth and final team invited to the big dance?

Remember, Alabama was sitting at #5 going into today's action, and they were idle.

Auburn, which handily defeated the Tide just a week ago, went down in flames to Georgia, as mentioned above.

The "committee" is faced with the tough call of deciding whether to put two SEC teams into the Final Four (Bama and Georgia), which would mean the Big 10 gets shut out entirely, or elevating Ohio State back into the picture.

Let's not forget that OSU was thoroughly beaten in their own house early in the season by the very same Oklahoma. No shame there. But later getting woodshedded by an unranked Iowa team to the tune of over four touchdowns worth is a glaring flaw on their record.

So, therefore, ergo, and thus, yours truly suspects it will boil down to what I've predicted all along.

Yep, that pesky Nick Saban and his Tide are going to get another shot. Even though they couldn't even qualify for their own conference championship game, and sat back twiddling their thumbs while the other big boys were killing each other on Saturday.

Maybe they deserve it. Maybe not. And the Big Ten folks and fans will scream "NO FAIR" at being left out.

But somehow it just doesn't feel or smell right.

That's not even to mention Central Florida, which went undefeated all year, but was never even in the conversation for a title shot. A lesser conference, you say? Maybe so, but how do we know the Knights couldn't compete, and possibly defeat some of those same Final Four "big boys" on the national stage if they're denied the chance to do so?

That doesn't feel right either.

Want a reason to expand the national playoff to at least eight teams?

I give you Central Florida as Exhibit A.

Working on the Final Four

Despite their mysterious loss at home to Iowa State a while back, Oklahoma has just punched their ticket into college football's Final Four. As Big 12 champs, culminating with a resounding defeat of TCU -- they're in. Lock city.

That's one.

Auburn, formerly #2 in the country after dispatching that pesky Bama, is decidedly out. This what happens when Georgia, whom the Tigers smacked down earlier in the season, avenges itself with a woodshed whupping over the same Auburn team in the SEC championship game.

Count the Dawgs in.

That's two.

With #5 Alabama sitting at home twiddling their thumbs, the rest gets pretty interesting.

If Wisconsin defeats Ohio State, game currently underway, there will be no holding them out of the Final Four, despite how so many over the season keep looking for a reason to do so. Big Ten champs with an undefeated record? They'd be a lock as well.

But -- if the Buckeyes prevail, do they get elevated into the Final Four, even as a two-loss team? In effect leap-frogging Alabama which only had one? Hmmm.

Go back to Georgia. Before the game against Auburn, the Dawgs were ranked #6. They're the SEC champs and Bama didn't even make it to the conference championship game. Is it indeed a lock that a #6 jumps over an idle #5? Hmmm again.

In the ACC conference championship game, also currently underway, #1 Clemson is tangling with the Miami Hurricanes. If the Tigers win, they're a no-brainer to head back to attempt to defend their national title. (Despite their equally head scratching loss at lowly Syracuse a couple months back.)

But what if they lose? Chances are they'd drop out.

One way or the other, by hook or by crook, yours truly suspects that pesky Nick Sabin and his crew are going to back door their way into the Final Four again, even though other teams are slugging it out while they do nothing.

We shall see.

Stay tuned for an update later.....

Thursday, November 30, 2017

The Tiger Woods show

Welcome to the greatest spectacle on earth (or at least in American sports), boys and girls.

Yessirree, step right up and get your peanuts, corn dogs, and cotton candy. You thought circuses were a thing of the past? Not so. One is still very much alive and well.

That would be the Eldrick Tont Woods (sometimes known as Tiger) show.

Sound the trumpets, bring on the dancing girls, and all ye peons fall to your knees in awe. Yep, the almighty Tiger has made his triumphant return to golf. Again, for the umpteenth time.

Many have said this supposedly monumental occasion has been "long awaited".

There are others, including yours truly, that considered it "long dreaded".

Nevertheless, there was the, ahem, honorable Eldrick participating in a mini-golf tournament called the Hero Challenge. Indeed, hard as it is to believe, some actually still consider Woods some sort of hero. Crazy, I know.

And sure enough, when the first round was over, the fawning media went right back to their old tricks. An interview with Tiger. Then another one, while totally ignoring the players that had fared better on the course. My stomach was starting to get a bit queasy.

They screamed to the heavens that, OMG, Tiger was on the leader board at three under par. Nevermind that in a meager eighteen man field it's pretty hard NOT to be on the leader board, and he was in a modest eighth place.

Yet here's the thing. This particular field included eight of the top nine rated golfers in the world. You know, studs like Dustin Johnson, Justin Rose, Jordan Spieth, Rickey Fowler, and Matt Kuchar.

So here's a question. How, pray tell, did Eldrick, who was ranked roughly #1200 in the world, belong in this tournament in the first place? 1200? Did anybody know the rankings even went down that far? They probably otherwise wouldn't, except the rankers had to find a way to keep Eldrick in the conversation.

Even if ET Woods finishes dead last -- and he might very well crash and burn like the Hindenburg over the next few days -- he'll still zoom up all the way to -- wait for it -- inside the top 1000. Well glory hallelujah and call the adoring masses to prayer to give thanks. Meanwhile, I'm reaching for the Pepto to try and quell the growing unease in my abdomen. Urp.

But that wasn't enough for the pseudo hero-worshipers (see TV folks) trying to resurrect their fallen idol.

Oh no, they had to show the public another huge dose of Eldrick "highlights", over and over and over. See Tiger drive. See Tiger putt. See Tiger strolling up the fairways. See everything Tiger, ad nauseum, and then in slo-mo a few more times.

And that did it. I had no choice but to run to the throne, get on my knees, and do a little worshiping of the porcelain receptacle myself. Barf.

Here's the last questions. What does it take for supposedly otherwise semi-intelligent people to finally understand this guy isn't any good any more?  And why do they keep trying to make him a hero, when he's obviously proven he's anything but in so many ways?

Woods has about as much chance of coming back to the tour and winning anything, much less being dominant, as I have of becoming Mr. Universe next year.

True, anything's theoretically possible, save perhaps a certain president acting his age, but let's just say the odds aren't exactly good for any of these things to happen.

The moral of the story?

Stick a long overdue fork in dear Eldrick. Good grief. If his ex Elin had succeeded in rightfully taking a divot out of his head with one of his own clubs when the poor lass discovered the breadth of her husband's infidelity, we wouldn't even be having this conversation. And his legendary back problems would be the least of his worries.

Like it or not, the dude's done, and has been -- heavy on the "HAS BEEN" -- for quite some time.

Much like Humpty Dumpty, there just ain't no putting that critter back together again.

One can only wonder how long it will take before the media allows him to mercifully -- for objective sports fans -- slide into the oblivion he has so long deserved.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

More dumb things

Interesting TV ad. Call this Senator (pick one) to thank them for everything he/she has done for you during their time in office. Right.

But they don't list a phone number. How dumb is that?

UVerse is an amazing system offered by A.T.&T. Yours truly subscribes to it. Besides throwing in a free DVR, pretty handy, they've figured out a way to have thousands of TV channels, your phone(s), and computer(s) all come through the same little cable into your domicile. Did I mention amazing?

But here's the thing. They also say in the unlikely event such service is disrupted for any reason, punch up a certain number on your phone or go online to a specific site for assistance in restoring it.

Well gee, that's great, except for a couple minor details. If the service is out, your phone won't work, and your computer will be incapable of going online. Who's the genius that came up with this idiocy? Anybody home A.T. &T?

And buyer beware. Yep, you can get the first couple years at a cut-rate price. See bait. But when that offer runs out, it's hammer time in your wallet.

On to sports.

Michael Crabtree of the Oakland Raiders and Aqib Talib of the Denver Broncos evidently don't much care for each other. But as you've likely seen on replays, they went nuts during a recent game with their childish little feud. For this lunacy, they were originally suspended for two games, but that was subsequently reduced to one. These clowns should have been suspended for the rest of the season, obviously without pay, and made to take anger management classes. And a quick trip to the woodshed, with their head coaches brandishing "switches" to light their ignorant butts up wouldn't have been a bad idea either.

And how dumb do you have to be (hello Michael Crabtree) to try and throw punches at an opponent when he still has his helmet on?  If I was Talib, let the fool hit me in the face mask with his fist, rather than trying to duck and run. In fact, lean into it. Who do you think would get the worse of that encounter? Can you say broken fingers and/or hand? Stupidity at its finest, both ways.

So Eli Manning of the NY Giants has been benched, and many are in an uproar about it. Hey, this guy's been stinking it up for the last couple years, and has always been grossly over rated. It remains absolutely confounding how the Giants were able to knock off the undefeated New England Patriots in the Super Bowl a few years ago. It was sort of like the "Miracle on Ice" team the USA had way back in the 1980 Olympics. They defeated the might Soviet Red Army team in the semi-finals.

Tell ya what. Let either of those games be played ten more times, and neither Eli and the Giants nor those American college kids would win a single one of them. They'd all be blow-outs. A couple of flukes if there ever was.

It's reminiscent of the late Mohammed Ali defeating George Foreman in the "rumble in the jungle" a few decades ago with the "rope-a-dope" tactic. You'll notice Ali never gave big George the opportunity of a rematch. The "grill" man wouldn't have fallen for the same ruse again, and Ali knew it, so he took the cowardly way out and didn't give the big man another chance. Even though Ali himself, after having first being defeated by Smokin' Joe Frazier quickly got a re-match. And after getting pummeled by Ken Norton Sr. in their first go-round got another chance as well. He lost that fight too, everywhere but on the (likely rigged judges) scorecards. Smart moves by Ali. Dumb for the boxing world to tolerate such obvious shenanigans. Either man up or get out.

Same thing with Roberto Duran and Sugar Ray Leonard. First time around, Duran thumped Leonard thoroughly. In the rematch, Duran has been known ever since as the "no mas" guy that quit. So who knows? Maybe he had some serious stomach problems or internal bleeding going on. But Leonard walked off into the sunset, never offering a rubber match and was somehow anointed a hero. Duran has been equally shamed over all the years since. They fought twice and each one once. It's dumb to consider one so much better than the other, especially given Leonard's silver-spoon treatment throughout his career while Duran was clawing his way to stardom from the ghettos of Panama. And while the latter was likely the greatest lightweight of all time, he had to take a big leap into the next weight class up to face Leonard in the first place.

Interesting how the NFL is trying to buy it's way -- see major donations to "worthy" causes -- out of the players kneeling during the national anthem snafu. Sure, the league can easily afford to throw a few million at one entity or another. Chump change. What will be even more interesting is if the league stipulates that by doing so, every single player must stand. If even one takes a knee, the deal's off. No free money. What do you think the chances are of THAT happening -- either way? You just know there will be at least one idiot that has to take a "stance" and foul up the whole works.

Hey, this whole thing has been overblown since the start. If players don't want to stand -- who cares? It's not like it's taking money from or otherwise hurting anybody else -- except their precious "feelings". You'll notice said players haven't demanded others take a knee. So who is anybody else to tell them how to act when their First Amendment rights of "freedom of expression" clearly grant them the right to protest in such a manner? This has been top to bottom dumb since that former San Fran QB took a knee in the first place. Did I mention -- why would any sane person care? If you don't like it, by all means feel free to boycott the NFL. That is your right as well, but shut up. Don't those howling the loudest have anything better to concern themselves with? If not, three words. Get a life.

And just when you think it can't possibly get any dumber ---

Enter the tried and true folks at the Accuweather Service.

They have fearlessly predicted the northern parts of the USA will get colder as Christmas and the New Year approach.

Well dang, bet you'd have never thought of that.