Monday, November 29, 2010

Four Down Territory

By Kenny Bloggins

1)  The NFL RedZone channel is incredible.  It changed NFL football for me, and anyone who watches it will tell you the same thing.

2)  The Randy Shannon era is over in Miami just four years after it began.  He recruited so well that I thought they'd be back in a big way shortly after his arrival.  But, despite the talent he brought in, he went just 16-16 in a crumby ACC and never even earned a trip to the ACC title game.  That's not acceptable at Miami.  Neither is losing to South Florida, which doesn't have one player who had the opportunity to play at The U.  That's why Shannon was fired just hours after the Canes fell to South Florida.  As one writer put it, "he squeezed 7 wins out of an 11 win roster."  The team will be loaded with talent and poised to make an ACC title run for whichever coach takes the reigns in Coral Gables.

3)  Reason #38 why I hate fantasy football:  When you watch game highlights, you're lucky if they even tell you who made a crucial interception - likely because INTs and defense in general are devalued in fantasyland.  But if you watch a game in reality world, you'll note that INTs change games.  I want to know all about those playmakers.  So stop feeding me stats about the backup tight end in Seattle and get back to actual football.  Defense has become an afterthought

4)  Watching the refs review a play "under the hood" is just comical in this digital age.  It reminds me of a scene from like 1928 in a silent film.  It won't be long until we're making fun of the fact that "refs used to go under a hood to review plays." 

*  Fantastic "Best Bet" and insight posted in Johnny Downtown's Weekly Picks.  I didn't get the sense the Vikes would beat the Skins in D.C.  Johnny knew what would happen and why.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

NFL Week 12 picks - Johnny D

By Johnny Downtown

3-1 Last week. Brings our total to 7-8-1. Things are looking up and I am super confident coming into this week. Last week's recap:

KC -8 over Arizona - WIN - Chiefs romp after the prior two disastrous games
Giants +3 over Philly - LOSS - Misread this one bad. Should have been even more of a blowout.
GB - 3 over Minnesota - WIN - Liking taking candy from a baby.
Best Bet - TB +3 over San Francisco - WIN - More of an indictment on SF than anything else.

On to this week:
  • NY Giants -7 over Jacksonville - I may regret it, but I think the Giants put the beatdown on Jax this week after two bad losses.
  • Green Bay +2 over Atlanta - The GB steamtrain continues to roll on.
  • St Louis +4 over Denver - The Denver collapse continues and St Louis wins straight up.
  • Minnesota +2 over Washington - BEST BET - Always love first game with a new coach and Washington is doing it all with smoke and mirrors.   

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Heavy Metal - The Most Heated Rivalry In Sports

By Kenny Bloggins

Ohio State vs. Michigan gets all the media attention and glamour, but nothing compares to the Iron Bowl. I never miss this game, and find it perplexing that I have to "sell it" to people. Trust me when I tell you that if you watch a single football game all season it should be Auburn at Alabama this Friday at 2:30pm EST on CBS. The hatred and intensity are unmatched, year in and year out.

Moreover, this year's installment of the Iron Bowl is arguably the biggest and most important meeting in the history of the storied series. Consider that you have the defending National Champs (Bama) and the reigning Heisman Trophy winner (Mark "The Rhino" Ingram) lining up against this year's potential undefeated National Champs and the clear favorite in the Heisman race, Mr. sCam Newton. When's the last time that happened? You can bet Nick Satan will spend every waking hour trying to foil Auburn's dynamic offense and knock Auburn out of the BCS title game. So watch this heavy metal game end to end and tell me where you think it ranks. Go full volume and savor the sound of helmets shattering.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Blatant Lane Violation

By AC Philthy

: the act of violating : the state of being violated: as

a : infringement, transgression; specifically : an infringement of the rules in sports that is less serious than a foul and usually involves technicalities of play.

Years ago, a wise man aka Kenny Bloggins introduced me to a theory that changed my life. Put simply, there are certain acts that are clear lifestyle violations. These include, but are not limited to, naming your dog grooming shop The Garden State Barkway, having a personalized license plate, finishing your spouse’s sentences, and ordering the spring chicken at a steakhouse. In fact, this blog and blog entry may be violations in themselves. Regardless, here are some tips to keep you in good standing as a human being.

For, Four, and FORE!
Know how to play golf. You don’t have to be Craig Stadler AKA The Walrus (another all-time great nickname) out there but you need to be prepared. Put it this way, if President Obama knocks on your door tomorrow morning and says we have a tee time in 30 minutes you need to be able to grab your crap and go. This means you have to own clubs, know the rules, and be able to dress the part. Replacing your divots and raking the traps are optional.
Craig Stadler or Mike Holmgren?

Have a go-to drink
Allow me to clarify this because it is important; you should have a go-to drink that is not beer or wine, nor require a mixer of any kind. You should be able to honestly enjoy said drink at any moment of any day. You never see guys in suits with salt-n-pepper hair talking about something important with a vodka cranberry or Miller Lite in their hand. Let’s make this easy - think about the coolest room you have ever been in… it probably had a mini bar with several decanters nestled atop of it… those decanters were probably filled with scotch, vodka, or gin. Pick one.
Rumor has it I should be watching this show…

Respect the process
Every kid must go through the rite of passage that is selecting the sports teams they will root for their entire life. They are making a decision at 7-years old that will haunt them the rest of their life. Its fate and that is not to be messed with. I speak from experience as I once purchased a Brian Westbrook Eagles jersey for my nephew who was destined to become a Giants fan. The battle was lost and now a jersey lies dormant. He made his choice and now he must live with Eli-face for eternity. (Enter the mind of a VaGiants fan for a moment: THE GROUND CAN’T CAUSE A FUMBLE! THE GROUND CAN’T CAUSE A FUMBLE! OH CRAP.)
For five minutes of enjoyment visit

Know when to hold them…
Remember the poker craze of 2003? ESPN started airing the World Series of Poker and everyone anted up. Hell, I didn’t even like poker all that much but I found myself in a basement in 10 other dudes, cigar smoke, and cheap beer on more than one occasion. Which brings me to my point; you should know how to play poker, especially Texas Hold ‘Em. Now I don’t want you to be one of those people that go to a casino and sits in the poker room for 10 hours at a clip, those animals need a hobby. That being said, you should be able to watch the movie Rounders and not feel inadequate, play in a charity poker tournament, or just bs with friends and family.
“In my club, I will splash the pot whenever the f#$k I please.”

All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely tailgaters
There are distinct rules for attending sporting events of any kind. I have created a list for your review:

1) Don’t wear a suit to a game
We get it, you are important… too important to bring a t-shirt and a pair of jeans to work to change into. May you spill a beer on your trousers you uppity turd.

2) Own season tickets to something
This shows the world that you are not afraid of commitment, which is important.

3) Tailgating is part of the game
This is pretty much self-explanatory. The last game I didn’t tailgate for was Pandemonium in Piscataway in 2006. While the game turned out okay, my absence at the flip cup table probably led to the slow and painful fall of RU football ever since.

4) Don’t complain about parking
Really? You are a grown up that has probably taken a Microeconomics course and passed with a C. Venues make money on parking and beer and break even on everything else. It is a fact of life we all must live with.

5) Tip the beer guy/gal
Think about it. Do you want to switch places with the guy walking up and down stairs for two hours with 30 pounds of plastic and ice strapped to his back dealing with tool sheds that have already violated rules 1-4? Didn’t think so.

Now this is more like it.

Wishing you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving… and for multiple injuries for the Cowboys.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

NFL Week 11 picks - Johnny D

By Johnny Downtown

Running late today. Quick recap from last week:

Houston +2 over Jacksonville. LOSS - on a Hail Mary so don't feel too bad, although I am staying away from Jax for the rest of the year.

Buffalo - 3 over Detroit. LOSS - Buffalo wins but only by 2. This is why I would never bet professionally.

Philadelphia -3 over Washington. WIN - Um, sort of a blowout, huh?

Miami +1 over Tennessee. BEST BET.WIN - An easy one, although Miami became quite a mess after this one. Still, I'll take it, Best Bets are now 2-1.

On to this week:
  1. KC -8 over Arizona - the Chiefs exercise their demons from the past two games and romp.
  2. Giants +3 over Philly - Vick comes back to earth plus the world is on Philly now.
  3. GB - 3 over Minnesota - Aaron Rodgers destroys Favre and the "Fire Chilly" chants apex.
  4. Best Bet - TB +3 over San Francisco - I'm a TB convert this week and not buying Troy Smith
And John P, I haven't forgotten about my promise. Coming this week.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

I Hate New York

By Aimless Rambler

Like most things in my life, I have given this very little thought.

Living in the New York area for coming up on eleven years, its finally time to get it out. New York, I hate your teams. I LOATHE them. I am so sick of the radio programs, the newspapers, making small talk on whether the Giants are Superbowl contenders. I don’t care. The nicest thing I can actually say about the Giants is compared to all the teams in the NFC East, they are all pretty dislikeable.

So I’ve been thinking. Why? Why this anger directed toward New York? What has New York ever done to me? Well, a lot as it turns out. Yes, growing up in Chicago, with the ‘second city’ moniker probably put a little chip on my shoulder against all things New York. But I don’t hold the same animosity towards LA, which painfully overtook Chicago as the second largest city sometime in the 80’s (hurtful). Shouldn’t I dislike their teams with equal vigor.

The answer is no. Only New York teams. And I think I’ve figured it out. At formative times in my life New York teams played a pretty big role in my sports watching – and the fact is the teams were just not very likable.

I think New York is the champion of the All Unlikeable All-Stars:

1. The 1986 New York Mets. So much talent, it’s almost a crime they only one one World Series.


2. The 1986 – 1991 New York Giants. You have to recall that this was a period the Bears should have won winning multiple Super Bowls. And while a bunch of those playoff losses were to the Redskins – it was the Giants that won two during that time and were much more arrogant and dislikeable than both the Redskins or the Niners (remember when San Francisco had a football team?)

3. The 1992 – 1998 New York Knicks. Thank you Pat Riley (and Jeff van Gundy) for single handedly trying to destroy basketball. While the Pistons invented modern thuggery – the Knicks really embraced it and took it to the next level (well done!) Here’s a thought – how about trying to beat a team at basketball rather than just beating them up.

4. 1998 – present New York Yankees. I’m a little late to the Yankee hating party. I was actually always sort of indifferent to them, until they signed Chuck Knoblauch. First, he came from the Twins, who I already couldn’t stand and signed with the Yankees. If I recall correctly the Yankees had finally won the World Series the year prior (I suppose I could have looked that up) and they go out and sign the best 2nd baseman in the league. While I’ll defend their right to sign whoever they like, it doesn’t mean I have to like them, and I don’t. The evil part of me really enjoyed watching Knoblauch lose it. I know that’s not nice, bad…bad rambler – this guy is a person, a real human being – show some compassion. I mean it’s not like he choked his wife or something. Oh, my bad. And A-rod. Well that’s just too easy, it’s not even worth the effort.

So that’s pretty much it. For me the interesting thing is that for all these New York teams, the players that are so unlikeable, it’s not like they are some obscure player that played a bit part. No, New York teams choose these people to be the face of the franchise; Holy Bad Judgment Batman

Toothless and De-clawed: The New Look Wolverine Defense

By Kenny Bloggins

Rich-Rod's offense is more explosive than I ever imagined (ranked 5th out of 120 teams in yards per game). But, as a lifelong Michigan fan, I'm sickened by what I'm seeing from the defense. I'll excuse DT Mike Martin from these comments because the guy is a manimal, much like Brandon Graham was last season. I can't say enough about Martin, who's still a junior, but that's where the pleasantries end. To be honest, every other guy on the defense should lose his scholarship, but not until after defensive coordinator Greg Robinson is shown the door. Better yet, give the guy an actual pink slip to mimic his defense's aggression.

I'm well aware that Robinson won two Super Bowl rings as D-Coord with the Broncos and a BCS title as D-Coord with the Longhorns, but it's just not working at Michigan. His talent pool is young and has been ravaged by transfers and injuries, but there's simply no excuse for his defense ranking 100th out of 120 in total defense and 114th in passing defense. Their alarming (non)performance puts them behind steel-trap defenses such as: Hawaii, Utah State, Ball State, Western Michigan and Duke (and I'm pretty sure Wojo plays linebacker for Duke).

Not to beat a dying Wolverine, but consider the following point totals put up by Michigan opponents:

Penn State: 13 vs. Illinois, 3 vs. Iowa, 24 vs. Kent St., 22 vs. Temple, 41 vs. Michigan

UMass: 26 vs. Stony Brook, 10 vs. Richmond, 13 vs. New Hampshire, 37 vs. Michigan

Looking forward to playing the #7 Badgers this weekend. They put up 83 points on Indiana last week without the reigning Big Ten Player of the Year (RB John "Cassius" Clay). Hopefully Greg Robinson is fired in the tunnel at halftime.

You would frown too if your defense continually surrendered 18 yard runs up the gut on 3rd and 15 or 80 yard TD passes on 4th and 30.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I ruined football for my son

By Johnny Downtown

There are certain things, as a parent, that you are supposed to protect your kids from. Evil internet predators, cereals with too much sugar, the Victoria Secrets catalog (for different reasons with boys vs girls) and the flu are a few that come to mind. Well, I would like to add another one to that list and may even consider contributing to a PSA for it. Listen to me closely - DO NOT LET YOUR KIDS PARTICIPATE IN FANTASY FOOTBALL. I can assure you if you do, it will ruin the way they watch sports and discuss it with their friends. I'm considering pushing for legislation to require children to pass a test or actually get a license before they are allowed to participate. It is that damaging and here's why:
  • They will believe that Matt Schaub or even Tony Romo is a better quarterback than Peyton Manning. Those garbage numbers piled up during blowouts hold more weight than they should. 
  • True story - this morning I was talking to my 8 year old son about the Eagles-Redskins game last night and started to tell him about Michael Vick's otherworldly performance. His first question - how many fantasy points did Vick get? 
  • True story #2 - My son is a New York Giants fan and he is already trying to figure out "how" he is going to be rooting for his team on Sunday when they play the Eagles. He has the Eagles defense on his fantasy team so he is hoping the Giants score a lot, but, also throw a lot of interceptions.
  • The concept of defensive players is lost on my son. He only sees defense as a "team" that gets points for sacks and turnovers. 
Now I am not trying to sell you on "when I was your age, football was pure, we enjoyed it solely for the beauty of the game". Because that is so not true. Fantasy football may not have existed in the 1980's but picking games with a point spread did and I was knee deep in that when I was 8 years old. I can remember thinking, I hope the Raiders (my team) allow the Chiefs to tie the game, go into overtime and score a touchdown so they can cover the 5 point spread.  But at least then it was still a game concept and not a tale of individual performances.

Do I play fantasy sports? Of course I do - two NFL, two NBA, 1 NHL and 3 MLB. I enjoy the competition and strategy but I truly believe I have the proper perspective on it. I wish my son would just watch the games and then go out in the backyard and pretend he is Drew Brees or Adrian Peterson. Not ask me for an Arian Foster jersey because he is the leading RB in the fantasy universe.


Saturday, November 13, 2010

NFL Week 10 picks - Johnny D

By Johnny Downtown

OK, so last week was a complete bust. I was 0-3-1 which pushed the season record to 2-5-1. A quick recap:
  • Buffalo +3 over Chicago. PUSH. I'm still not impressed with Chicago one bit and not much to say when there is a push.
  • Minnesota -8.5 over Arizona. LOSS. This was closer than it actually was. Minnesota was down 14 late and rallied. Your typical Favre make a mess and then rally to get out of it. Some times you just have to accept that a team is just not what it was the year before (See 2010 Cowboys and Bengals). 
  • Seattle +6.5 over New York Giants. LOSS. Um, sorry about this one
  • Atlanta -8.5 over Tampa Bay. LOSS. Do I have to accept TB as a contender? Because it will never happen. I'm still not buying it so I'll stay away from them completely going forward.
On to week 10:
  1. Houston +2 over Jacksonville. All I can say is it is a gut feeling on this one. Never believe in Jax and Del Rio when things are going well.
  2. Buffalo - 3 over Detroit. Win # 1 for Buffalo at home. I like Fitzpatrick and Steve Johnson and don't believe that Shaun Hill is healthy. Can you imagine an entire game with Drew Stanton? UGLY.
  3. Philadelphia -3 over Washington. I think Washington is close to complete chaos with the McNabb/Shanahan nonsense and Philly will continue to roll. Vick looks like a top 5 quarterback and man does he have a lot of weapons.
  4. Miami +1 over Tennessee. BEST BET. Some times you can just see Monday's headlines. "Pennington just wins and never gets enough respect". "Parcells and company just know how to push the right buttons." Moss is a non factor and Miami wins by 10.
OK, don't leave just yet. I want to issue you all a challenge. You make your four picks for the week and post them in the Comments section here. If you beat me, I will do a write up on this blog promoting anything you like. Even if it is just me writing a few sentences as to why you are such a great person. What the hell, we'll see how it goes.

Johnny D