Stadium News Today …

A fan in NYC has filed a lawsuit in Federal Court seeking $6B in damages and a court ordered return to NYC by the Giants and the Jets.  The suit alleges false advertising, deceptive practices and interstate wire fraud on the part of the two teams.  [It is the interstate wire fraud allegation that lands this in the Federal court system.]  The Giants have played their home games in New Jersey since 1976 and the Jets have shared a stadium there with the Giants since 1984.  Obviously, the Giants think that the suit is “without merit” and they swear that they will defend their position vigorously.  If there has been a response from either the Jets or from the NFL as a whole, I have not found it.

The charges in this suit have a patina of credibility only because the Giants and Jets call themselves “New York” but never actually play there and both teams have their practice facilities “across the river” in New Jersey.  That got me thinking about other NFL franchises where the team does not play in the city they claim in their team’s name.

  • Given where I live, the Washington Football Team – – or whatever they will name themselves in the near future – – would be guilty of the same egregious behavior.  The team’s stadium is in Landover, MD; the team’s practice facility is in Ashburn VA.

[Aside:  When Jack Kent Cooke owned the team and built the stadium, he tried to create his own locality name; he called the location of the stadium, Ral-John, MD, after his two sons Ralph and John.  The name did not stick.]

  • The Dallas Cowboys play their games in Arlington, TX and their practice facility is in Frisco, TX.
  • The Buffalo Bills play their games and have their practice facilities in Orchard Park NY – – a small suburb just south of Buffalo, NY
  • The San Francisco 49ers left town several years ago and moved to their new stadium in Santa Clara, CA which is much closer to San José than it is to San Francisco.

I cannot think of any other NFL team that would run afoul of a victory by the plaintiff in this lawsuit, but I have not gone to verify the mailing addresses of every team’s stadium and practice facilities.

Dwight Perry took note of this suit and its allegations and had this to say in the Seattle Times:

“A fan has filed a $6 billion lawsuit against the Jets and Giants for deceptive practices, on the grounds that they:

  • a) call themselves New York but play in New Jersey
  • b) claim to play professional football.”

Speaking of stadiums – sort of – I read a report that the city of Miami and the folks who own/operate the MLS team in Miami – – InterMiami – – have reached a deal for a new stadium for the team.  The stadium would be part of a larger commercial development project and would include:

  • The stadium that would seat up to 30,000 folks
  • A shopping mall
  • A park
  • A hotel.

The total cost would be about $1B and the team’s contribution to the deal would be the cost of the land which could be in the $35-50M range.  That seems like a hefty price tag for a project centered on a soccer stadium – – unless this means that soccer has finally arrived on a sound financial footing in the US.

Miami as a city must love to build stadium/arena venues.  The Dolphins, the Marlins, the Heat and the Panthers each play in their own venues; now InterMiami will have a new crib of its own too.

Yesterday, I said that the NY Giants seemed to be ready to stick with Joe Judge for at least one more season.  That changed overnight; Judge is out as the coach of the Giants and GM Dave Gettleman “retired” so the Giants will do a full restructuring of the football side of the house.  The plan is to hire a new GM and to have that GM go out and hire a new coach.  Frankly, that makes more sense than hiring a new GM and telling him to find a way to make nice with the existing coach whose record with the team is a less-than-laudable 10-23-0.

Just as Dolphins’ fans might be justified in skepticism about the capabilities of their owner to hire a new head coach as detailed yesterday, Giants’ fans should worry about the processes at work in NYC.  The last three Giants’ head coaches since ditching Tom Coughlin have lasted two years or less on the job and the results have not been pretty:

  • Joe Judge – – 10-23-0
  • Pat Shurmur – – 9-23-0
  • Ben McAdoo – – 13-13-0

The pressure will be on the new GM – – not just for hiring a competent and lasting head coach.  In addition, the Giants – – a team with significant talent upgrade needs – hold the overall #5 and #7 picks in the 2022 NFL Draft.  The new GM needs to get those picks right; the way Dan Jenkins would describe it; the picks need to be:

  • Dead solid perfect.

Finally, since I used an observation from Dwight Perry above, let me crib another comment of his from the Seattle Times:

“Point: Let’s expand the College Football Playoff field.

“Counterpoint: So we can have even more riveting games like Alabama 27, Cincinnati 6 and Georgia 34, Michigan 11.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………

 

 

Congratulations To The Georgia Bulldogs

After four decades of wandering in the college football wilderness, the Georgia Bulldogs became the national champions last night.  Using that construct, Kirby Smart as the leader of the Bulldogs would be analogous to Moses except Moses never got to live out his days in the Promised Land.  Congratulations to Georgia; they played an outstanding football game and beat a worthy opponent.  I will not be surprised in the least to see more than a handful of Georgia players taken in the NFL Draft in April this year surely to include:

  • Nakobe Dean
  • Travon Walker
  • Devonte Wyatt

Yesterday was Black Monday – – the day after the final NFL regular season game and the day where coaches get fired for failing to meet expectations notwithstanding any degree of realism contained in those expectations.  Before I get into who got fired and all that sort of thing, let me offer up a viewpoint that I do not think you will see anywhere else.  There are two NFL coaches who should get some recognition when NFL insiders vote to select the Coach of the Year and I doubt that either will get much attention:

  1. Rich Bisaccia – – Raiders
  2. David Culley – – Texans

Rich Bisaccia took over the Raiders’ job in a time of turmoil when the most common reaction to the announcement of his name as the interim coach was “Who the Hell is he?”  And all he did was to keep the team together such that the Raiders made the playoffs

David Culley played a 17-game schedule with a roster that had been gutted and left in the hot sun to rot.  The standings reflect the degree of “roster rot” but the standings do not reflect that the team played hard long after any glimmer of hope for a break-even season was extinguished.

The Broncos fired Vic Fangio after three seasons with the team; the Broncos’ record in the Fangio Era was 19-30 and there were no playoff appearances.  Fangio got the job in the first place because of his credentials as a Defensive Coordinator and a lot of that expertise carried over into his time in Denver; the Broncos’ defense was fine.  The problem is that the team never paired that good defense with anything better than a mediocre offense; in 2021, the Broncos only scored 19.7 points per game.  The Broncos also fired Offensive Coordinator, Pat Shurmur over the weekend but I really do not think that will solve the Broncos’ problems.  The team needs a serious upgrade at QB for any coach there to be fully successful.

The Vikes fired Mike Zimmer after 8 seasons with the team; the Vikes’ record in the Zimmer Era was 72-56-1 which looks pretty good until you look more closely and see that the Vikes were only 33-31 in the last 4 seasons.  Like Vic Fangio, Mike Zimmer was a “defense guy” when he got the job; over the past two seasons, the Vikes’ defense has been straight up BAD; this year the Vikes’ defense ranked 30th in the NFL in total defense and 24th in the league in points allowed per game.  The Vikes also fired their GM, Rick Spielman, over the weekend so this move represents a major housecleaning for the team.

The Bears fired Matt Nagy after 4 seasons with the team; the Bears’ record in the Nagy Era was 34-31 with two playoff appearances and only one losing season.  Like the Broncos, the Bears have a very good defense; they ranked 6th in the NFL in Total Defense last year.  Even so, the team finished with a 6-11 record and like the Broncos, they need a major upgrade at the QB position.  The Bears also fired GM Ryan Pace who contributed to the Bears’ problems at QB.  Pace traded up to take Mitchell Trubisky with the #2 overall pick and then traded up to get Justin Fields in last year’s draft.  Added to those “investments” are the draft assets traded away to acquire Khalil Mack making the goal of “fixing the offense” a significant challenge.

The Dolphins fired Brian Flores after 3 seasons with the team; the Dolphins’ record in the Flores Era was 24-25.  The Dolphins had a wining record in each of the last two seasons, so this move was a surprise to me.  Stop me if you have heard this before, but the Dolphins’ major weakness is at the QB position and firing the coach usually does not manifest itself into a significant QB upgrade; so, I do not get this move at all.  Several reports say that Flores lost a “power struggle” within the organization.  The Dolphins owner is Stephen Ross; he has owned the team since 2009; whoever gets the job will be the 7th head coach hired by Ross.  That alone should raise an eyebrow or two; and then, when you look at the list of his coaches, you begin to wonder about how he makes those sorts of decisions:

  1. Tony Sparano – – he was “inherited” by Ross when he bought the team
  2. Todd Bowles – – interim coach when Sparano fired in mid-season
  3. Joe Philbin – – replaced Bowles who went 2-1 as the interim coach
  4. Dan Campbell – – interim coach when Philbin was fired in mid-season
  5. Adam Gase – – ‘nuff said
  6. Brian Flores – – team started the season 1-7 and wound up 9-8
  7. ??? – – good luck to the “new guy”…

The Giants appear to be sticking with Joe Judge for at least one more season, but Giants’ GM Dave Gettleman is retiring making that management situation fluid indeed.  Judge is a polarizing figure to say the least; he talks tough but the play on the field does not match his rhetoric.  The NY Giants have been in the NFL since 1925; Joe Judge is the first head coach of the Giants to oversee 6 consecutive losses by double digits; if you think that sort of thing can or will be ignored by fans in NY, you are sorely mistaken.

Finally, apropos of the rumored “power struggle” in Miami, consider these words from Mark Twain:

“If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you.  This is the principle difference between a dog and a man.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………

 

 

Monday Morning Musings…

The Australian Open will begin a week from today; it has already become a soap opera.  The world’s #1 ranked player on the men’s side of the draw, Novak Djokovic, is an avowed anti-vaxxer; notwithstanding that fact, he was granted a visa to enter Australia but when he arrived last week, the government there sought to revoke the visa over Djokovic’s unvaccinated status.  To hear his family tell it, he was held under conditions that would violate the Geneva Convention if applied to POWs; in actuality, he was “quarantined” in a hotel.  Earlier today, a judge in Australia re-instated Djokovic’s visa – – so you would think the saga has come to an end.  Cue Lee Corso:

  • Not so fast, my friend …

After the ruling, a lawyer for the Australian Government said that  the Australian Immigration Minister “will consider whether to exercise a personal power of cancelation.”  According to the AP that would not only keep Djokovic out of the tennis tournament next week but could also bar him from entering Australia for 3 years.  I have no idea what all of this portends or means except for this:

  • The fat lady is still in her dressing room warming up her vocal cords.

Prior to the hearing earlier today, Brad Dickson assessed Novak Djokovic’s situation this way:

“Novak Djokovic will not be allowed to play in the Australian Open because he is unvaccinated. The news isn’t all bad for Novak. He just signed to be the new backup quarterback for the Green Bay Packers.”

Next item…  As far as I am concerned, last night’s game between the Raiders and the Chargers puts to bed permanently all cries of anguish and outrage and all postures of victimhood by members of Raider Nation over the “Tuck Rule”.  It took a couple of decades or so, but last night the Raiders got their make-up call.  There was a pass interference call made on a play where the ball was not within 20 yards of the contact that drew the flag; the Raiders’ receiver might have been able to catch the ball if he were actually the Marvel Superhero, The Flash.  Absent that condition, that was an incomplete pass, and the contact was not germane to the play.

  1. The “Tuck Rule” call led to the elimination of the Raiders from the playoffs in 2001.
  2. Last night’s pass interference in the end zone call put the Raiders into the playoffs in 2022.
  3. The books are balanced, no more bleating from Raider Nation fanboys.

That call got me to thinking about NFL officiating again.  There has certainly been an overabundance of complaints about the NFL officiating this year and there exists plenty of video evidence that makes the league and its officiating administrators admit after the fact that a call was blown.  I know from experience that officials make mistakes; but for some reason, there seem to be more bad calls than there have been in the past save for that abominable time with the “Replacement Refs”.

So, I wonder if protocols for officials related to COVID had any effect on their preparation and/or the makeup of the crews assigned to the various games.  I have exactly no information and have not read any reports saying that league protocols have been a problem for officials and officiating crews – – but I do wonder.  Officiating is a joint endeavor just as football is a team sport.

Enough about officiating and legal entanglements – – I hope.  Tonight, is the CFP Championship Game between Alabama and Georgia; this is the pairing I wanted to see in this game about 2 months ago.  I will not pretend that I have seen multiple games involving all the good college football teams this year, but I have seen plenty of college football and these are the two best teams this year.  I hope tonight will put a punctuation mark that is appropriate for this college football season.

Here is the line for tonight’s game:

  • Georgia – 3 vs Alabama (52.5):

This game is extremely important to Georgia coach, Kirby Smart, for a variety of reasons.  One reason is that Smart got the job at Georgia six years ago because of the job he had done as the Alabama defensive coordinator under Nick Saban for ten years.  In the six years Smart has been at Georgia, he has faced Alabama 4 times – – and lost them all.  His reaction when questioned about that record is simple and straightforward:

“I ain’t the only guy losing to Saban.”

[Aside:  Nick Saban has coached against teams piloted by former assistants at Alabama 26 times.  His record in those games is 25-1.]

Georgia’s fanboys will probably go berserk if the Bulldogs lose to Alabama again tonight, but they really should not.  Kirby Smart has built a program at Georgia that will be a solid contender for the CFP every year even if the CFP never expands beyond 4 teams.  Georgia has already won the SEC East 4 times in 6 years, and this is Georgia’s second trip to the CFP Championship Game since Smart arrived.

The Georgia defense was embarrassed in the SEC Championship Game won by Alabama 41-24.  I do not think that is going to happen again and I do not think Georgia will light up the scoreboard on the Alabama defense.  I like the game to stay UNDER; there are no other games from which to create a Six-Pack; so just put that selection on my tab.

Finally, John Simon was a critic of art, drama and film for various magazines including New York and National Review.  His characterizations of actors and actresses was often blunt and unflattering as per:

“Linda Blair, not a very talented or prepossessing  youngster then, is even less interesting now, though considerably more bovine; I doubt whether a post-pubertal acting style can be made out of mere chubbiness.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………

 

 

Football Friday 1/7/22

            Since this is the first Friday in 2022, it is appropriate that I set the year on a proper course and deliver the first Football Friday of the year.

[Aside:  And before I get any snarky emails from a former colleague in Pismo Beach, let the record show that I have no plans for “Tennis Tuesdays” in 2022.]

Here are the results of last week’s Six-Pack:

  • College:  0-1-0
  • NFL:  4-1-0
  • Total:  4-2-0
  • Money Line Parlays:  1-0  Net “profit” for the week = $116

Here are the cumulative results since the start of the season:

  • College:  14-20-0
  • NFL:  34-32-2
  • Total:  48-52-2
  • Money Line Parlays:  5-10  Net “loss: for the season = $minus-61

 

NFL Commentary:

 

In last week’s game against the Bears, the Giants net passing yardage was minus-10 yards.  Remember that in the NFL, yards lost on sacks is subtracted from the yards gained passing to arrive at the net passing yards.  I read somewhere that Ryan Leaf had a game with minus-19 yards net passing so I went to try to find the game.

I assumed that event must have happened during Leaf’s stint with the Cowboys because I recalled that those games were “less than successful”.  But I was wrong; that performance came in Leaf’s rookie year with the Chargers.  The game venue was KC and here are the pertinent stats:

  • 1 of 15 for 4 yards with 0 TDs and 2 INTs
  • Sacked 2 times for total loss of 23 yards
  • Net passing yards = minus-19 yards.

I mention the Giants’ futility because it was only 6 games ago when the Giants fired Jason Garrett as their Offensive Coordinator and installed Freddie Kitchens as the play-caller.  Last week may have been the nadir of the season for the Giants but here is stark reality:

  • In the 6 games since Jason Garrett was fired, the Giants have scored 5 TDs on offense.
  • In their last 25 offensive possessions, the Giants have scored exactly 1 TD.

There are situations where firing a coach – or a coordinator – resolves a problem.  Those situations are not commonplace; Jason Garrett was not the stumbling block for the Giants on offense this year; the problem is substandard play by too many players on the offensive unit.  There is no need to remind me; I know that QB, Daniel Jones, got hurt and is out – – but most folks who have paid attention to the NFL for the last 5 years know that Mike Glennon cannot be a team’s QB for weeks on end; it simply won’t work and that is what the Giants’ braintrust installed as its “backup plan”.  There is only one difference between Mike Glennon and Brock Osweiler and Paxton Lynch:

  • Glennon is still in the NFL cashing a check.

After watching the Steelers/Browns on Monday night and enduring the seemingly incessant focus on the possibility that this would be Ben Roethlisberger’s final home game, I came to appreciate even more a comment last weekend by Dwight Perry in the Seattle Times on the subject.  It was short and to the point – – which cannot be said about the broadcasters earlier this week:

“QB Ben Roethlisberger said “this could be it” — he’ll likely play his final home game Monday night after 18 seasons as a Steeler.

“If anybody knows it’s time, it’s a guy known as Big Ben.”

In 2021, the Saints set a record for defensive futility giving up 7042 yards.  That was in a 16-game season but now the league plays a 17-game season.  It does not appear as if any defense is going to threaten that total of yards allowed; going into the final week, the Jets have the most porous defense in the league giving up 6336 yards; I doubt they will give up 700 yards this weekend.

However, in future years, that number could be eclipsed and that is why it is important to focus on the “per-game” stats in situations such as these  Consider:

  • The Saints gave up 440.1 yards per game in 2012
  • A team giving up 7043 yards in a 17-game season would *only* give up 414.3 yards per game.

Speaking of bad defense, the Ravens have the worst pass defense in the league in terms of yards per game allowed – – 281.7 yards per game allowed.  Some might point to injuries as the source of this ignominy; others might criticize the defensive game planning.  I prefer to think about it this way:

  • The Ravens’ defensive backs are doing their part to demonstrate ways to counter the spread of COVID-19 by playing pass defense with social distancing.

Baker Mayfield will undergo shoulder surgery and will not play in the final Browns’ game this week.  He has been playing with an injured left shoulder for just about the entire season; his performance has suffered significantly.  There are “reports” that the Browns might “move on” and that Mayfield could be available to other teams looking for a QB.  Adam Kilgore covers the NFL as a whole for the Washington Post went so far as to write this earlier this week after Monday night’s performance against the Steelers:

“And then came Monday night.  Injured or not, eliminated from contention or not, supported by listless performances and shoddy play-calling or not, Mayfield delivered a declarative performance in the Browns’  24-16 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.  He removed any sheen of ambiguity about his future.  The Browns cannot sign Mayfield beyond the fifth-year option for 2022 they exercised back in April, and they need to explore moving on from him this offseason.”

OK, let me assume that Messr. Kilgore is right in his assessment and let me add the Browns to a list of twelve teams that might/should be looking to upgrade themselves at QB.  Here is my list:

  1. Broncos – – Bridgewater is good but an upgrade would be welcomed there
  2. Browns – – assuming Mayfield has worn out his welcome there
  3. Dolphins – – Tua’s lack of consistency is a problem
  4. Football Team – – Heinicke is fine as a backup to fill in for a game or two
  5. Giants – – if Jones is not the answer, the other QBs on the team are certainly not.
  6. Panthers – – the Darnold Experiment flamed out
  7. Raiders – – lots of fans think Carr is an impediment; not I; how about the GM?
  8. Saints – – is Winston the answer – – because Hill is not
  9. Seahawks – – could this be the “Russell Wilson Offseason of Discontent?”
  10. Steelers – – Roethlisberger is done; the backups there inspire little confidence
  11. Texans – – who knows what will happen there?
  12. Vikes – – has Cousins worn out his welcome there?

That is one-third of the league on my listing – – and I purposely left off teams with rookie QBs or ones where the young QB has not played enough to give the coaches aa solid basis for evaluation – – such as Justin Fields with the Bears or Trey Lance with the Niners. The important thing to note here is that there are not necessarily enough “quality QBs” to fulfill those teams seeking an upgrade and that leads GMs to “reach” for a QB in the Draft or to make a trade that is destined to be less-than-satisfactory.

Moving on to last week’s games:

Steelers 26  Browns 14:  Najee Harris won this game for the Steelers with 188 yards rushing and a TD.  I said above that Ben Roethlisberger is done; here is the stat line he produced in this game:

  • 24 of 46 for 123 yards with 1 TD and 1 INT.
  • That is 5 yards per completion and less than 3 yards per pass attempt.

As to Baker Mayfield’s performance in that game, forget the overall stats which were not particularly attractive; simply consider this:

  • Mayfield completed his first pass attempt for a 20-yard gain
  • He then threw 10 consecutive passes that were incomplete – – one of them was intercepted.
  • He took 9 sacks in the game – – not all his fault but a couple were totally his fault.

Bills 29  Falcons 15:  The Falcons led 15-14 at the half and then got shut out in the second half.  Josh Alen only had 120 yards passing in the windy snowy conditions of the game, but he also added 81 yards rushing to the Bills’ offense.

Pats 50  Jags 10:  Can the season end soon enough for the Jags and their fans?  Mac Jones threw 3 TDs in the game; Trevor Lawrence threw 3 INTs in the game.

Rams 20  Ravens 19:  Matthew Stafford played like the football equivalent of daredevil, Evel Knievel.  He threw for 300 yards and 2 TDs; he also threw 2 INTs – – one of them a Pick-Six.

Bengals 34  Chiefs 31:  JaMar Chase ran roughshod over the Chiefs’ secondary with 11 receptions for 266 yards and 3 TDs.  The Chiefs’ secondary could be their Achilles Heel.  Both teams’ offenses were clicking here; total offense for both teams in the game was 889 yards.

Raiders 23  Colts 20:  Derek Carr led a drive in the final 2 minutes to set up the winning field goas as time expired.  This was in improbable win for the Raiders; consider these happenings:

  • Raiders lost the turnover battle 2-0
  • Raiders lost a TD on a reversal by replay officials
  • Raiders allowed Jonathan Taylor to rush for more than 100 yards; Colts were 9-0 whenever that happened in 2021.

Bears 29  Giants 3:  Mike Glennon produced minus-10 yards of passing offense in the game (see above).  For icing on the cake, he also threw 2 INTs.  The Bears dominated in a game where they only produced 249 yards of offense.

Titans 34  Dolphins 3:  So much for that 7-game win streak for the Dolphins.  Tua was 18 of 38 with an INT in the game.  Meanwhile, the Titans – – without Derrick Henry remember – – ran the ball for 198 yards on 40 attempts.

Eagles 20  Football Team 16:  This game was a replay of the first meeting between the two.

  • Football Team runs out to a lead.
  • Eagles pitch a shutout in the second half and win the game

The Football Team had the ball 4 times in the first half and got a TD and 3 Field goals out of those 4 possessions.  Here are the second half possessions for the Football Team:

  • 3 plays and a PUNT
  • 6 plays and a PUNT
  • 7 plays and a TURNOVER ON DOWNS
  • 11 plays leading to an INT.

Bucs 28  Jets 24:  The Jets led 24-10 with about 7 minutes to play in the 3rd quarter but the defense could not close it out.  For the day, the Bucs gained 467 yards on offense and Tom Brady threw for 405 of those yards.

Chargers 34  Broncos 13:  The stat sheet for the game looks a lot more even than the result shown on the scoreboard. The biggest statistical difference is that the Chargers converted 9 of 15 3rd down tries while the Broncos were successful on only 3 of 11 attempts.

Saints 18  Panthers 10:  The Saints’ defense should be the ones doing the celebrating.  After the Panthers had 10 points on the board with 13 minutes to go in the second quarter, the Saints’ defense took over; here is what happened to the Panthers’ offense from that point on:

  • 3 plays leading to a LOST FUMBLE
  • 3 plays and a PUNT
  • 4 plays and a PUNT
  • 3 plays and a PUNT
  • 3 plays and a PUNT
  • 10 plays leading to a MISSED FIELD GOAL
  • 3 plays and a PUNT
  • 11 plays leading to an INT.

Cardinals 25  Cowboys 22:  The Cowboys’ offense was not very consistent here; it produced only 45 yards rushing for the game.  Kyler Murray put on a show here accounting for just over 300 yards from scrimmage and throwing 2 TD passes.

Niners 23  Texans 7:  Trey Lance was the QB here and the Niners amassed416 yards on offense.  His stat line was:

  • 16 of 23 for 249 yards with 2 TDs and 1 INT

Seahawks 51  Lions 29:  The Seahawks’ offense had been dormant for much of 2021 but they dominated here; the Seahawks ran the ball for 265 yards and threw for an additional 232 yards.  The Seahawks led 38-7 with about 14 minutes left in the 3rd quarter; the Lions “rallied” to make the score look less awful that the game actually was.

Packers 37  Vikes 10:  The QB matchup was Sean Mannion vs. Aaron Rodgers; it was not a fair fight.  The Packers’ defense loaded up to stop the run because they did not fear the Mannion-orchestrated passing offense.  The result was that the Vikes gained only 27 yards rushing for the game.  The Vikes had the ball 11 times in the game; here are the results:

  1. 5 plays leading to a TURNOVER ON DOWNS
  2. 3 plays and a PUNT
  3. 3 plays and a PUNT
  4. 3 plays and a PUNT
  5. 3 plays and a PUNT
  6. 9 plays leading to a FIELD GOAL
  7. 3 plays and a PUNT
  8. 6 plays leading to a TURNOVER ON DOWNS
  9. 8 plays leading to a TD
  10. 3 plays and a PUNT
  11. 7 plays leading to a TURNOVER ON DOWNS

The Packers dominated time of possession 38:33 to 21:27.

 

NFL Games:

 

This week, the NFL games are more than a little bit like Exhibition Games prior to the start of the regular season.  Teams that are in the playoffs may – – or may not – – play their regular starters for some or all the game.  Even teams out of the playoffs might want to “get a look” at some young players for purely evaluative purposes.  Some coaches may believe – – rightly or wrongly – – that the outcome of this one game is pivotal to their retaining their job for next year.  Making picks this week makes me realize why the Oracle at Delphi always gave cryptic answers to questions posed…

(Sat 4:30 PM EST) Chiefs – 10 at Broncos (45):  The Chiefs can still get the #1 seed in the AFC Playoffs, but they must win this game to keep that hope alive.  The Chiefs secondary had a bad day last week ( see above) but this week they are playing Drew Lock and not Joe Burrow/JaMar Chase.  Here is a trend you may find interesting:

  • The Chiefs have won 12 games in a row over the Broncos and Patrick Mahomes has never lost a game to the Broncos.
  • Last time Broncos beat Chiefs was in Week 2 of 2015.

I think the Chiefs will score – – and then score again – – and then score some more; I like the Chiefs to win and cover; put it in the Six-Pack.

(Sat 8:15 PM EST) Cowboys – 7.5 at Eagles (43):  Both teams are in the playoffs so I have no idea who will play and how long they might play for either team in this game.  Maybe you will be seeing Dak Prescott and Jalen Hurts play QB in this game – – or maybe it will be Cooper Rush against Gardner Minshew II.  The NFL flexed a meaningless game to the Saturday Nite prime time slot because the Cowboys for sure and the Eagles to a lesser extent virtually guarantee top shelf ratings.  Cha-ching!

Packers – 4 at Lions (44.5):  The spread opened on Tuesday with the Lions as 2-point favorites at home; by Wednesday morning, the line had moved to Packers – 3.5 and it seems to have settled in at 4 points for the balance of the week.

Bears at Vikes – 3.5 (44.5):  This is a meaningless game; both teams will be watching the playoffs on TV.  Maybe the semi-interesting story line is that both coaches are on VERY hot seats.  The Vikes will have Kirk Cousins back off the COVID-reserve list for the game; the Bears have The Troika of Mediocrity at QB on terms of Andy Dalton, Justin Fields and Nick Foles.

Pats – 6 at Dolphins (40:  These teams met in Week 1 and the Dolphins prevailed in Foxboro 17-16.  The Pats are in the playoffs and could possibly be the AFC East champs by Sunday night.  The Dolphins are out of the playoffs, and this could easily be a “payback game” for the Pats’ coaching staff.  I think the Pats take a lead here and then do not take their foot off the gas; I’ll take the Pats on the road to win and cover; put it in the Six-Pack.

Colts – 15.5 at Jags (44):  For the Colts, this game is “Win And You’re In”; for the Jags this game is a merciful end to a reeking season.  If the Colts’ defenders really take this game seriously, they could well hold the Jags to single digits.  Having said that, take a look at these recent trends:

  • Jags are 2-2 against the Colts in their last 4 meetings
  • Jags are 2-27 against the rest of the NFL over that same time span
  • Colts won the first meeting of these teams this year by 6 points

There are reports that a group of fans in Jax plan to attend the game wearing clown costumes to show what they think of the Jags this season.  That may be the most interesting aspect to this game…

Jets at Bills – 16 (41):  The Bills will be the AFC East champs with a win here; they will be a wildcard team with a loss and a win by the Pats.  The Jets will be playing for “pride” whatever that means in a season where the Jets’ record is 4-12 and they have been outscored by 177 points.

Panthers at Bucs – 8 (42):  The Panthers’ season has collapsed; the Bucs are in the playoffs.  However, the Bucs’ performance last week against the sorry-assed Jets was not the kind of game a playoff team wants to have as a “momentum-builder.  I see Tom Brady and Bruce Arians setting this one up as a “statement game”; I like the Bucs to win big; put it in the Six-Pack.

Titans – 10 at Texans  (43):  A win for the Titans here will put them in the AFC Playoffs as the #1 seed meaning a BYE Week and home games until/unless they lose.  Seven weeks ago, these teams met and the Texans – – the Texans – – won the game 22-13.  That means the Titans’ coaching staff can chew on the players to put out full effort here.

Football Team – 6.5 at Giants (38.5):  This is the Dog-Breath Game of the Week.  To be most generous, both teams have “disappointed their fans”; to be more accurate, both teams stink.  It is possible that the Giants will give Jake Fromm his second start of his career; it simply has to be an improvement over his first start, right?  The Football Team carries a 4-game losing streak to the kickoff; the Giants are on a 5-game losing streak.  The Football Team is 3-5 on the road; the Giants are 3-5 at home.  This game is what I call an “AYE Game”:

  • Avert Your Eyes !

Saints – 4.5 at Falcons (40):  The Falcons are out of the playoffs; the Saints can still get in with a win here and some help.  Everyone says that QB is the most important position in the NFL; and with that as a “guiding principle” let me say that Matt Ryan is a better QB than either Taysom Hill or Trevor Siemian.   I’ll take the Falcons at home plus the points; put it in the Six-Pack.

Steelers at Ravens – 5 (41):  The Ravens are eliminated from the playoffs; the Steelers can still get in with a win here and some help elsewhere on the schedule.  Can the Ravens’ league-worst pass defense stand up to the clearly limited Steelers’ pass offense?  That is the question that makes this game interesting…

Bengals at Browns – 6 (38):  The Bengals are in; the Browns are out.  The Browns will start Case Keenum at QB; the Bengals might play Joe Burrow because their seeding in the playoffs is not yet determined.  If Burrow does not play, the Bengals will go with Brandon Allen.

Seahawks at Cards – 6.5 (48.5):  The Cards can win the division with a win here and a Rams’ loss.  For the Seahawks, this game is nothing more than a final paycheck for the 2021 season.  The Cards played well last week in beating the Cowboys – – but they had not looked even remotely close to “good” for several weeks prior to that game.  The Seahawks blew the doors off the Lions last week but still gave up 29 points to a team that only averages 18 points per game.  I think the Cards use this game to “get sharp” for the playoffs; I like them to win and cover at home; put it in the Six-Pack.

Niners at Rams – 4 (44.5): This is my runner-up for Game of the Week, and it did not miss that label by more than a nose.  The Niners need the win to get in the playoffs; the Rams need the win to secure the NFC West title; the Rams have won 5 in a row.  A key to beating the Niners is to stop their running game.  The Rams’ run defense ranks 6th in the NFL; the burden is on them.

(Sun Nite) Chargers – 3 at Raiders (49.5):  Call this the play-in game for the AFC Playoffs; the winner is in, and the loser gets to wallow in the shame of losing this one; in poker terminology, both teams are all-in for this one  This is the Game of the Week.  The Raiders are at home, and they have the better defense; they give up an average of 30 yards per game less than the Chargers.  I like home teams that have the better defense when they are underdogs; give me the Raiders plus the points; put it in the Six-Pack.

So, let me review this week’s highly uncertain Six-Pack:

  • Chiefs – 10 over Broncos
  • Pats – 6 over Dolphins
  • Bucs – 8 over Panthers
  • Falcons +4.5 against Saints
  • Cards – 6.5 over Seahawks
  • Raiders +3 against Chargers

And “just for the halibut”, here is a Money Line Parlay for this week:

  • Chiefs @ minus-500
  • Bucs @ minus-370
  • Pats @ minus-270  to win $109 on a $100 wager

Finally, comedian and social commentator, Mort Sahl, died late last year.  Here is one of his social observations about the evolution of American culture:

“In the Forties, to get a girl you had to be a G.I. or a jock.  In the Fifties, to get a girl you had to be Jewish.  In the Sixties, to get a girl you had to be Black.  In the Seventies, to get a girl you’ve got to be a girl.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………

 

 

Picking Nits…

Yesterday, I received 3 emails from friends alerting me that MLB Network will not renew Ken Rosenthal’s contract there and – in essence – fire him from his position.  Most stories on this matter say that Rosenthal is the MLB equivalent of Adam Schefter in that Rosenthal has real MLB inside sources through which he routinely breaks stories.  According to the NY Post, a major reason for this ”separation” is that Rosenthal wrote several less-than-flattering columns about Commissioner Rob Manfred last year when there was a stalemate about how to conduct the COVID-shortened 2020 season.

The common narrative on sports talk radio seems to be that MLB Network made a big mistake here because of Rosenthal’s stature in the baseball writers’ community.  I am sure that no one here will be surprised to learn that I do not think this is a big deal; here is why:

  • Ken Rosenthal is a serious journalist.  He tries to dig up as many facts as he can about situations and then he reports those facts.  Given his long-time association with baseball, his opinions based on the facts that he uncovers carry weight.
  • MLB Network is not a journalism enterprise; it never was and it never will be.  MLB Network is a 24/7 infomercial seeking to promote and advance MLB.  It is owned by MLB and the owners; it is a house organ; it is promotional in nature not reportorial.

MLB Network can and will carry out its specific “mission” with or without Ken Rosenthal.  They made no mistake there.

Ken Rosenthal will continue to be a senior baseball journalist who breaks stories as he writes columns in The Athletic and appears on various other TV and radio outlets.  His stature has not been diminished in the least; I doubt he will bear a grudge.

I believe this entire matter is full of sound and fury and signifies nothing…  [Hat Tip to Willie Shakespeare for that…]

The baseball story for today that I think is being underreported is the lack of negotiating by the leagues and the MLBPA to get a new CBA.  One report I read said that the two sides had not met for even an hour of negotiating time since the lockdown was put into effect.  I have no expertise in labor law or labor negotiations, but I feel confident in making this statement:

  • There is a low probability of progress if the two sides do not meet and actually negotiate.

Folks, I know that deadlines are the best way to “get deals done” but there are so many “problem areas” identified in this set of negotiations that I wonder if there is time enough to work them out before pitchers and catchers would normally report to Spring Training camps.  I am beginning to worry that Spring Training will be delayed; and if it is delayed significantly, that would delay the start of the regular season.

  • And if that happens, you can add another issue to the pile of ones needed to be resolved – – how long will the season be, and will player salaries be pro-rated?

Sigh…

Another story that has consumed far too much time on sports talk radio in the DC area yesterday was the announcement by the Washington Football Team that they will reveal their new team name and team colors and team logo on February 2nd, 2022.  Immediately upon opening the subject, one of the shows heard from a caller who had concluded that the new name will be the Washington Hogs – seriously.  He said that would be a link back to the “Glory Days” of the franchise which are important to Danny Boy Snyder AND that the team chose that day for the announcement because it is GroundHOG’S Day.  Some folks have far too much time on their hands…

I think there is another part of the team announcement that is more important than whatever they name the team.  After all, the team name will be what it is, and folks will either get used to it or mock it for a long time; that is a situation that will resolve itself.  However, the Washington Football Team demonstrated in its announcement that it cannot wean itself away from publicity stunts.

  • The announcement will be made to the public on The Today Show.

When you think of the intersection of sports, TV and “buzz”, how far down the list of possible intersections would you have to go to get to The Today Show?  All I can say is that the choice of venue by the team is better than The View – – but not by a whole lot.

There is one other item this morning that involves the Washington Football Team.  After the Eagles beat the Football Team at Fed Ex Field last Sunday and as Jalen Hurts was walking from the field to the locker room, a throng of Philly fans leaned over the railing to slap hands with Hurts.  The railing collapsed causing a bunch of fans to fall down to the walkway.  Hurts was not injured; he helped those fans to their feet and took photos with them.

FedEx Field is a dump.  It had all the charm of a cinder-block mausoleum the day it opened in 1997; even that iota of charm is long-gone.  But there is a difference between a lack of comfort/charm and railings that collapse.  And so, for PR purposes, the NFL and the Football Team have announced that there will be a full investigation of the incident with the obvious goal of seeing to it that nothing like this happens again.  However, since this involves the Football Team, it does bring two questions to mind:

  1. Will this investigation be as thorough as the one done regarding allegations of sexual harassment/assault in the Skins’ Front Office?
  2. Will there be a written report this time?

Finally, here is an interesting perspective from author/humorist, Don Marquis:

“Bores bore each other too, but it never seems to teach them anything.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………

 

 

The CFP Semi-Final Games

This is what I had planned to write about yesterday before the “Antonio Brown Saga” took center stage on the US sports scene:

  • Unfortunately, the semi-final games of the College Football Playoff (CFP) were “Meh!” and nothing more.

The first game – – Alabama/Cincy – – had a chance to be an important game regarding the hierarchy of college football.  Cincy was 13-0; they had a win over Notre Dame in South Bend in early October; beyond that, their schedule was not particularly challenging to be very polite.    But Cincy had dominated most of their opponents beating five of them by more than 30 points.  They were – by record – the most accomplished team in the so-called “Group of 5” football conferences in recent years and the CFP Selection Committee put them in the CFP semi-finals to take on the #1 seed, Alabama.

If the Bearcats had even played Alabama to a close game, it would have been foundationally shaking for college football; could it be that the “little guys” really were close in capability to the “big guys” and merely lacked recognition and exposure?  That question did not come into focus last Saturday because at the end of the first two possessions by Alabama, there was no doubt as to the outcome of this football game.  The final score of 27-6 does not indicate the level of dominance that Alabama showed in those moments after the ball was snapped – – no matter which team did the snapping.

Soon after the opening kickoff, ESPN showed a Cincy fan in the stands proudly/defiantly holding a large sign that said:

               Power 5  =  Opinion

                13-0  =  Fact !

While his sign may be correct in the broad sense, his Bearcat team was not up to the task of making a game where he might have been tempted to display the sign more than once.  For the record, here are a few more FACTS from that game:

  • Total Offense Alabama = 482 yards; Total Offense Cincy = 218 yards
  • First Downs Alabama = 26;  First Downs Cincy = 13
  • Average gain per rush Alabama = 6.4 yards  Average gain per rush Cincy = 2.8 yards
  • 3rd down conversions Alabama = 5 of 13;  3rd down conversions Cincy = 2 of 12.

The game was an organized ass-kicking without the score being run-up on the loser.  What this showed is that the AAC Champ did not belong in a game with the SEC Champ with any sort of prize on the line; Cincy looked like one of the lower-tier SEC teams against Alabama.

Last year in the COVID-shortened college football season, Cincy went to the Peach Bowl and played Georgia to a tight game losing 24-21 after leading 21-10 at the start of the 4th quarter.  Some folks pointed to that game and said it proved that Cincy was an elite team notwithstanding the fact that the Bearcats lost the stat sheet and a two-score lead in the 4th quarter.  This year’s CFP loss has not brought out a significant degree of cynicism about Cincy’s place on the national stage.  I think the fanboys and the media need Cincy to be a narrative for hope among the lower ranks of college football; here in Curmudgeon Central, the recognition is that popular narratives are rarely driven by truth.

The other game – – Michigan/Georgia – – looked to be the more interesting of the contests because it pitted Michigan’s strong running game against Georgia’s Front Seven on Defense.  That never really materialized as a dominant feature of the game because the Bulldogs ran out to a 27-3 lead at halftime and rendered the Wolverines’ run game moot.  Georgia also dominated the game when it mattered; the Bulldogs converted 8 of 15 tries on third down and then converted another 4th down try to maintain possession.

This loss – lopsided as it was – does not indicate that the Big-10 and/or Michigan does not belong in the CFP landscape.  This loss merely indicates that Michigan played a better team last Saturday and could not keep up.  Michigan beat some solid teams this year including Ohio State, Penn State, Iowa and Wisconsin; that is a very different “strength of schedule” than the one Cincy brought to the field last weekend.

My anticipation was for Michigan/Georgia to be a close game; I took Michigan +8 points in last week’s Six-Pack; I never expected this to be a laugher for almost three quarters of the game.  Georgia simply was dominant here.

Back in mid-October – – after Alabama had lost to Texas A&M – – I remember saying that I thought the best two teams in the country were Georgia and Alabama and that I hoped to see them face each other twice this year.  My wish will come true next week; Alabama beat Georgia in the SEC Championship Game on December 4th and the two teams will meet again next week on January 10th for the National Championship.  This is what the CFP was supposed to do – – pit the two best teams in the country against each other in a final game to determine the national champ on the field.  They got it right this year!

Finally, as we head into 2022, Dwight Perry had this message for football fans in New York:

“For New Yorkers who missed seeing the ball drop in Times Square on Friday night, the Giants and Jets play on Sunday.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………

 

 

Another Antonio Brown Saga…

Happy New Year, everyone…

The year got itself off on karmic trajectory yesterday when Antonio Brown had a meltdown on the Bucs’ bench, took off his pads; disrobed down to his waist, threw his gloves and shirt into the stands and “pranced” off the field  waving to the fans.  Had this happened after the final whistle signaling a Bucs’ victory, this is no big deal.  The problem is that it happened in the third quarter of a game where the Bucs trailed the Jets.  I presume that there has been something like this in the annals of the NFL – – but nothing comes to mind.  Not even Terrell Owens’ antics reached this level of oddity.

I found three notes in my email inbox this morning and all of them basically asked the same question:

  • Is this the end of the line for Antonio Brown?

My answer is that this probably ends his NFL career – – but we sadly may not have heard the last of Antonio Brown.  Let me explain and try to look at how we got where we are…

Antonio Brown came to the NFL in 2010 out of Central Michigan; he was a late-round pick by the Steelers.  He stayed in Pittsburgh through 2018 and was producing Hall of Fame numbers there.

  • He was selected for the Pro Bowl 7 times
  • He was a first team All-Pro 4 times
  • He had more than 100 receptions in 6 consecutive seasons
  • He led the NFL in receptions and in yards receiving twice.

And then it came apart at the seams starting with him live-streaming on Facebook from inside the Steelers locker room after a big win for the Steelers.  I am not sure why that was in violation of “NFL policy” but it was, and it seems to have set in motion the dismantling of Brown’s Hall of Fame career.  The Steelers fined Brown and he “accepted” the fine but clearly did not recognize what he was doing.

During the 2018 season, Brown got into a verbal tete á tete with Ben Roethlisberger at a practice and wound up throwing a ball at the QB and walking out of the practice.  That display got him benched for a game and that season was Brown’s last one in Pittsburgh.  After his departure, there were multiple reports that this sort of erratic behavior had been noted by the team and the players for several seasons; those two public incidents were not the only “issues”.

Jon Gruden in Oakland needed a WR and talked himself into taking on Brown who had earned the label “mercurial” at that point.  Gruden even said that he had coached Jerry Rice with the Niners and that he thought Antonio Brown was Rice’s equal – – at least.  Well, at least Jerry Rice never had a problem with the helmets that the league used…

In the interest of player safety, the NFL changed the specs on the helmets that players would wear in future games.  Call it PR if you must, but this was a player-safety initiative and it had at least some buy-in from the NFLPA.  Antonio Brown wanted to wear his own helmet and the league would not let him do that; he took that news like a spoiled brat.  He quit practice and even tried to disguise his old helmet as an “approved model”; as you might imagine, that did not work.

Later in the offseason of his discontent, you may recall his “frostbitten feet”.  He bought himself a cryogenic therapy machine and went into it barefoot and got frostbitten.  So, he then had foot problems and head problems because he still demanded to be allowed to play in his old helmet.  As the season was ready to start, it seemed as if all was quiet on the Antonio Brown front; he had a new helmet that he could tolerate and his feet were healed – – but before he could play for the Raiders, he threatened to punch out Raiders’ GM, Mike Mayock.  Even with all that, Brown was ready to play in the Raiders’ opening game until out of the blue, he asked for the Raiders to release him.  In doing that, he voided about $30M in guaranteed money that the Raiders would have owed him.  Really, he did that.  The Raiders must have seen the handwriting on the wall, and they did what Brown asked them to do and released him.

Next in line as a team ready “rehabilitate” the supremely talented WR would be the New England Patriots.  That residence lasted exactly 1 game; Antonio Brown was accused of sexual assault and rape by a woman in Florida.  Bill Belichick probably saw that the rest of that season would be dominated by news of and questions about Antonio Brown causing what for Belichick would be those “dreaded distractions”; so, he released Brown after a game.

The NFL suspended Brown for 8 games for violating the league’s personal conduct policy, but Brown signed on with the Bucs in mid-season and helped them win last year’s Super Bowl.  For a change, the last offseason produced no head-scratching revelations about Brown or any of his behaviors until the middle of this season when he tried to present a forged vaccination record and earned himself a 3-game suspension from the NFL.  Note here that the Bucs did not discipline him for pretending to be COVID vaccinated even though their coach is a two-time cancer survivor with a compromised immune system.  And then Brown did his walk-off routine in the middle of a game yesterday.  Bruce Arians wasted no time after the game to say that Antonio Brown was no longer part of the Bucs’ organization.

So, is Antonio Brown finished?  Well, let me ask that question differently.

  • Mike Tomlin, Jon Gruden, Bill Belichick and Bruce Arians have given up on Antonio Brown.  So, what other coach/coaching staff might look at that history and say to himself/themselves, “No problem; we got this covered; bring him on.”?

There are two answers to that query:

  1. If a coach is as secure in his position as someone like Tomlin or Belichick, he might take a shot at this problem-child.  Maybe someone like Andy Reid or Pete Carroll?
  2. If a franchise is so desperate to win, it might take a flyer on Antonio Brown.  Maybe the Jags or the Jets or the Lions?

Personally, I think Antonio Brown has worn out his welcome around the NFL.  His physical talent got him tolerated by the Steelers for several seasons and enticed three other franchises to sign him on – – but there’s a limit.  My opinion is that Antonio Brown has gotten himself so far out on a limb that even a football naïf like Danny Boy Snyder would not take him on.  I think Brown is toast as a football player.  However, he also appears to be someone in need of a life-coach; the trajectory of his life – – not just his football career – – at the moment is pointed in a destructive direction.

Finally, since today’s rant is all about football, let me close with this quip by comedian, Phyllis Diller:

“The reason women don’t play football is because 11 of them would never wear the same outfit in public.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………

 

 

Bad Ads 2021

In the final days of the year, many folks take a moment to reflect on the events of the past year and consider changes in their lives to make next year better than the previous one.  Here in Curmudgeon Central, there is a variant on that sort of retrospection.

A lot of time here is spent watching sporting events on television; as a consequence of that behavior, lots of ads for various products and services are foisted upon my person.  A few are humorous/entertaining; many are tolerable; and some are downright BAD.  At the end of each year, I take time to look back on the really Bad Ads from last year and naively hope that next year’s crop of ads will not contain as many bad ones as the past year did.  But of course, that hope never materializes in the New Year…

To set the tone here, allow me to begin with an observation from George Orwell”

“Advertising is the rattling of a stick inside a swill bucket.”

Who am I to argue with George Orwell…?

If  you ever try to read the fine print contained in the latter parts of a TV ad or try to understand the sped-up speech at the conclusion of a radio ad, you may never have gotten through the process in real time.  Therefore, let me give you a generic summary of any and all of them that you can keep in mind the next time you see or hear this sort of thing:

  • “Whatever you just saw/heard about the product or service represented in this advertisement is not nearly as beneficial for you as the ad may have led you to believe the product or service is.  Since that is the case, these disclaimers are here for our protection lest you try to sue us for a jillion dollars at some point down the road.”

There are companies that run dumb ad campaigns, and you can count on them every year as much as you can count on death and/or taxes.  Old Navy will always produce an ad around Holiday Time showing people clumsily dancing around in clothing that no one should be seen wearing in public; they did it again this year.  Lexus will do an ad with their cars having a large red ribbon on the roof sitting in a driveway; they did it again this year.  Mercedes Benz will try to convince you that Santa uses their vehicles to deliver presents to kids; they did it again this year.  However, all the “Bad Ads” were not in the “old reliable category”; this year we had some new nonsense added to the soup.

Have you noticed that just about everything you might consume as a dietary supplement these days comes in the form of “gummies”?  A friend pointed it out and I started noticing that you can have a laxative gummy and hair/skin supplement gummies; and an ashwagandha gummy to relieve stress.  I asked my friend what ashwagandha is and his response was that he did not know but thought it might just mean that it tastes like ass.  Good enough for me…

Speaking of foul-tasting things, Power Ade started putting numbers on their bottles because they say, “There’s power in numbers.”  I would be more highly motivated to buy Power Ade if they made that swill taste better.  Hmmm…  Are they adding ashwagandha?

Mike’s Hard Lemonade announces on each can that it is “gluten free.”  If anyone who has an actual gluten allergy needs to be told that a liquid concoction containing seltzer water, lemonade and alcohol does not have gluten, then that moron is doomed to many bouts of digestive system distress.

A competitor in this product space had an equally stupid ad campaign.  Bud Light Seltzer figured out that the Bud Light logo/name made people think it was beer, so they hired Nick Mangold to “block it out”.  Two questions here:

  1. If you think it needs to be “blocked out” perhaps you should redesign and relabel the brand?
  2. Do you think the people who created this ad and the people who accepted it to market their product were blockheads?

In case you were wondering, the answer to both queries above is “YES!”

  • [Aside:  This is not exactly an ”ad” but I have a dictionary app on my phone and the app needs to be updated about twice a month.  Are there that many new words being added to the English language?]

There was an ad for Behr paint where the folks removed all the furniture from their house because it might detract from one’s view of the color of their paint job.  I have an important message here for the execs at Behr paint who green-lighted this ad:

  • The people in this ad are buttholes; if they are your spokesthings, I will definitely look elsewhere for my paint simply because I prefer not to become a butthole.

Mattress First tried to tell me that all my problems were due to “Junk Sleep”  Whatever that is supposedly explains why some doofus left his laptop on the bus – – actually on top of the bus as portrayed in the ad.  And that is supposed to convince me that folks who work for Mattress First will give me sound advice on which mattress to buy…  Seriously?

DirecTV Streaming has ads with Serena Williams wherein she morphs with movie characters to do nonsensical things like fight off malicious tennis ball shooting robots and or play tennis against 10 opponents in “The Matrix”.  How is that supposed to get me to want to subscribe; all I would want to do is watch Serena Williams play real tennis.

Subway has an ad where Tom Brady makes a cameo appearance.  Given all I have read about Brady’s fanatic focus on his diet and nutrition, I somehow doubt that I might spot him and/or Giselle in line waiting for a 12-inch tuna sub there.

There is an ad for Applebee’s encouraging folks to use this restaurant as a date-night destination. So, I must conclude that Applebee’s has identified a target audience comprised of  eleventh graders whose dates do not like pizza?

Chipotle informs me that they make “real food” using “real ingredients” in their “real kitchens”.  Actually, I would be more impressed if they managed to make tasty food that was good for you out of imaginary ingredients in kitchens that only exist in the seventh dimension.

I will just leave you with these words and you will know immediately which advertising ne’er-do-well I am referring to:

  • “We have the meats!”

Now just to be sure there is no misunderstanding, I do not care what the ad says, but there are thousands of people and places that “Out Pizza the Hut” on a daily basis.

If I counted correctly, there are 22 potential side effects to watch out for if you take the drug, Keytruda.  And after that litany, the screen says that these are not all the possible side effects.  That leaves me to imagine if it is possible that taking Keytruda might cause me to develop a second set of nostrils in the middle of my forehead…

To prove that I am not the only person who finds some ads so stupid that they need to be called out, here is a Tweet from humorist and social critic, Brad Dickson:

“It’s probably not PC to say but the commercial for the Hug Project where Cox mails you some kind of vest that you hug while Facetiming to simulate actual touch has to be the stupidest thing ever. It’s pet rock level dumb.”

Premium Plus adult diapers claim a nighttime advantage over other brands.  Premium Plus absorbs 6 cups of liquid as opposed to others that do not absorb 4 cups of liquid.  Excuse me, but if you are passing more than 4 cups of liquid at night – – 4 cups is often called a “quart” – – you may have a more serious medical condition than simply bed-wetting…

Coors Light declares itself as the official beer of no longer wearing a bra.  A woman takes a beer out of the fridge and then removes her bra without removing her top and tosses it aside.  Whatever…

Modelo tries to convince me that some guy had “fighting spirit” and that is what got him to achieve his status as a tattoo artist and graffiti creator.  I seek neither status, so I have no reason to want to try your beer that is somehow associated with that guy.

Subaru had a series of ads wherein dogs were “driving” Subaru vehicles around in various environments.  Those ads went far beyond the level of stupid/obtuse and approached the level of ludicrous/thick-headed…

The GMC Denali has a driver assisted mode that takes over driving the vehicle.  So, what does the ad for this feature show the driver and passengers doing with their now abundant “free time”?  They are rhythmically clapping to “We Will Rock You”.  At least the driver of the vehicle is not a dog…

Lincoln had an ad where a guy drives home and finds his property covered in snow from a snow-making machine on his roof.  He lives in a desert setting with palm trees.  So, the message I take away here is that if you buy a Lincoln Aviator – – which is a gas-guzzler – – it is expected that you will adopt those habits and perform environmental disasters in all walks of your life.  Sign me up…

Let me interrupt this litany to ask a simple question:

  • If Red Bull gives you wings, how come I never see anyone with wings flying around overhead?

Liberty Mutual has not completely weaned itself from Limu Emu and Doug; based on some of the new “characters” they have tried to introduce, maybe that is not all bad.  The dumbest one was the guy standing in front of the Statue of Liberty dressed up as a cell phone that is set to vibrate which makes him gyrate as if afflicted by St. Vitus Dance.  Only thing it made me wonder was if  he fell into the water behind him would the phone short out and electrocute him.  I was hoping…

Progressive insurance shows exactly no interest in moving on from Flo and her colleagues who have achieved stratospheric levels of annoyance.  I can say categorically to the folks at Progressive that if I never again hear or see anything about “Flotection” it will be three weeks too soon…

When something – anything – is advertised as “new and improved”, it can only mean that the product sold previously under that label was not good enough.  And then, you need to recall that the previous not-good-enough product was advertised as being something you did not want to live your life without.  So, now you are supposed to take seriously the ads for the new and improved product…

Experian’s “BOOOST” ad with some dude and his pet cow riding a roller coaster that gets stuck upside down is about as stupid as can be.

There is an ad for the laxative Colace that I just saw for the first time last week.  The ”slogan” at the end of the ad is, “#2 should be easy to do.”   Color me disgusted…  And if anyone even suggests putting this ad in juxtaposition with the Charmin Toilet Paper bears, they should be consigned to Dante’s Seventh Level of Hell.

It took Verizon about 15 years to come up with a recurring ad character more annoying than the “Can-You-Hear-Me-Now” Guy.  However, they achieved that feat this year with the new lady pitchperson who was all dressed in red for the Holiday ads.  The  poor woman must have some sort of physical deformity because she looks as if she has a baseball bat up her butt when she walks.

Not to be outdone, T-Mobile has introduced a cast of characters in their ads who exhibit enthusiastic idiocy – – as if that is some sort of ideal state of mind…

I saved for last some ads and comments on the ad campaign for USAA.  I am not a mind-reader, but some of the decisions made by various folks involved in this ad campaign make me wonder:

  • USAA is for the military community and their families.  I am not part of the “military community”, but I would certainly think that anyone who is in the service or who has been in the service knows of USAA’s existence; so, informing them of the existence of USAA as something for them seems pointless.  Moreover, telling me about USAA is equally pointless since I cannot join even if I wanted to.  So, why spend the money to produce and air those ads?
  • Rob Gronkowski appears in a couple of ads for USAA where he tries to “sign up” even though he is ineligible.  Were he to be successful in his endeavors – he is not – he would be in a position where he could be charged with fraudulently obtaining benefits from the government and that is a felony.  So, my question here is very simple.  Who convinced “Gronk” that this was a good way to “advance his brand”?
  • In one specific USAA ad, a member named “Martin” is happy to get rapid response and service from USAA after his home and his truck were damaged in a hailstorm.  That is a good message until you look at the scene portrayed in the ad and notice that the truck was damaged because it was parked outside the garage attached to “Martin’s” house.  Ergo, “Martin” is a moron for not putting his truck in the garage when a hailstorm was on its way…

All these horrid ads infested the airwaves this year leaving me to wonder why the Budweiser Clydesdales have been sent to Elba.  I guess those ads are considered too high class these days.  Sigh…

I began today with an observation about advertising by George Orwell.  Let me close with another observation, this time by author Stephen Leacock:

  • “Advertising may be described as the science of arresting human intelligence long enough to get money from it.”

Happy New Year to all.  The past two years have been overly “eventful”; my wish for 2022 is for it to feature a modicum of “tranquility” with a side order of better advertising on my sporting events.

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………

 

 

Football Friday – – On Thursday 12/30/21

The scheduling is totally off kilter this week so here on a Thursday is a significantly truncated version of Football Friday.  As usual, I shall begin with the outcomes of last week’s Six-Pack.

  • College:  0-0-0
  • NFL:  4-2-0
  • Total:  4-2-0
  • Money Line Parlays:  1-1  Net ”profit” for the week is $298.

And those results bring the cumulative results from the start of football season to:

  • College:  14-19-0
  • NFL:  30-31-2
  • Total:  44-50-2
  • Money Line Parlays:  4-10  Net “loss” for the season is $minus-177

College Football Games of Interest:

(Sat 3:30 PM EST) Cincy vs Alabama – 13.5 (57) :  This is an important game for the pecking order of college football.  Perceptions could change dramatically with a Cincy win – – or even a nail-biter with the Bearcats losing in the final minutes.  Most folks expect a blowout; I think Alabama is the better team – – but Nick Saban has not been whining much in the last week or so and his teams play a lot better when he whines about how good the upcoming opponent is…

(Sat 7:30 EST) Georgia – 8 vs Michigan (45):  I have had nothing but positive things to say about the Bulldogs’ defense this year and I take none of it back.  Nevertheless, I think that line is fat.  I’ll take the Wolverines plus the points in the CFP semi-finals even if I think Georgia will win the game; put it in the Six-Pack.

NFL Commentary: 

            The NFL expanded to a 16-game schedule in the 1978 season; this year marks toe inaugural of the 17-game season.  And this “expansion”/ “lengthening” reminds me of a handicapping challenge at the horseracing track.

  • “The Four Horse” is undefeated against this level of competition at 1-mile over the past 18 months.
  • Today’s race against this level of competition is at a distance of 1 1/16 miles.
  • Can “The Four Horse” hold on for an extra sixteenth of a mile?

Come Monday night in the NFL, there will be the completion of 16 games for all the NFL teams.  We will be able to look at the standings and see which teams would be in or out as of the “16-game schedule”.  But what is going to happen to those standings with an extra “sixteenth of a season” on tap for next weekend?

The NFL is absolutely not paying me a farthing to put it that way – – but the reality is that the games this week – – and next week too – – should pose some significant drama for the league to trumpet to its “broadcasting partners”.

So here is a summary of last week’s action…

Dolphins 20  Saints 3:  The  Dolphins lost 7 in a row earlier this year and now are on a 7-game winning streak.  Tell me that is something you see in any random year…  Last week, the Dolphins feasted on a Saints’ offense missing two starting tackles and the team’s 4th string QB – – Ian Book.  It was a mismatch; Book was sacked 8 times.  Here is how former Washington Times columnist and NFL historian Dan Daly saw the game:

“You watch a QB all night with BOOK on the back of his jersey, and all he makes you think of is Chapter 11.”

Bengals 41  Ravens 21:  The Bengals now lead the AFC North by a full game – – plus the tiebreaker over the Ravens who are in second place there.  Joe Burrow lit up the Ravens’ secondary to the tune of 525 yards and 4 TDs.  The Ravens remain in the playoff picture – – but not as prominently as they did a month ago before they went on their current 4-game losing streak.

Bills 33  Pats 21:  It was a convincing win for the Bills, and it puts them atop the AFC East based on the divisional record tiebreaker as of this week.  Josh Allen had a great game here throwing for 314 yards and 23 TDs.

Jets 26  Jags 21:  These are two bad teams going nowhere in 2021 – – and perhaps for the next several years as well.

Falcons 20  Lions 16:  The Falcons kept faint playoff hopes alive by winning here but it was not a convincing win considering that the Lions at 2-12-1 kept the game within one score using their backup QB for most of the game.  By the way, the Lions “covered” in this game and that brings the Lions’ record ATS (against the spread) to 10-5 for 2021.

Texans 41  Chargers 29:  The only thing to say here is:

  • “How the Hell did that happen?”

Rams 30  Vikes 23:  With this win the Rams took over first place in the NFC- West and guaranteed themselves a playoff slot.  The Vikes are a game behind the Niners and the Eagles in the NFC wildcard race.  Jimmy Garoppolo has a torn ligament in his thumb so the Niners will need to see what they have in high draft pick, Trey Lance, starting this week.

Eagles 34  Giants 10:  This game was 3-3 at the half and it looked as if the Eagles could not get out of their own way on offense for the entirety of that first half.  Whatever the Eagles’ coaches said to the team at halftime needs to be bottled and patented because the team came out in the second half and simply embarrassed the Giants for 30 minutes of football.

Raiders 17  Broncos 13:  It was not a pretty win, but the win keeps the Raiders as potentially relevant in the AFC wildcard chase.  The Broncos are not mathematically eliminated with this loss but their status this morning is the moral equivalent of elimination.

Bears 25  Seahawks 24:  The Seahawks led 24-14 at the start of the 4th quarter and gagged the game away.  Nick Foles quarterbacked the Bears for the win by throwing for 250 yards and 1 TD in the game.  By my calculation, the Seahawks are now eliminated from the playoffs as are the Bears.

Colts 22  Cards 16:  That is the third loss in a row for the Cards and it moves them out of the lead in the NFC West.  The win puts the Colts squarely in the middle of the AFC wild card race – – with a not-so-minor development this week:

  • Carson Wentz tested positive and went on the Covid Reserve List and is not expected to be available this week.

Jonathan Taylor kept his streak alive; for the 9th time this year, the Colts have won when he rushed for 100+ yards in the game.  When he fails to do so, the Colts’ record is 0-6.

Bucs 32  Panthers 6:  The wheels are coming off the Panthers’ wagon about now.  They do not have a franchise QB – – even when all their QBs are healthy – – and it shows.

Chiefs 36  Steelers 10:  The Steelers spotted the Chiefs a 23-0 lead at halftime and – unsurprisingly – had no real chance to overcome that burden.

Cowboys 56  Football Team 14:  This was a complete and total ass-kicking from start to finish.  The Cowboys were significantly better on offense and on defense and on special teams.

Packers 24  Browns 22:  The Packers had 4 INTs in the game; and yet, it came down to a final possession by the Browns to decide the outcome.  In addition to the 4 INTs, the Packers’ defense managed to sack Baker Mayfield 5 times.  This win belongs to the Green Bay defense…

Titans 20  Niners 17:  Even with the loss the Niners remain in the NFC wildcard race and would be the 6th seed if the season ended today.  Unfortunately for Niners’ fans, there are 2 more games to play with Trey Lance at QB.  Here is my take on that situation:

  • If he were ready for meaningful NFL action, Kyle Shanahan would have had him under center before it was dictated to Shanahan by injury.

Before I get to this week’s games, let me do a curmudgeonly look at the Bottom Quarter of the NFL – – the eight teams I think are the worst:

  • Ranked 25th – – Football Team:  They were awful against the Cowboys and had two defensive tackles throwing punches at each other on the sidelines.
  • Ranked 26th – – Seahawks:  Is Russell Wilson trying to make his departure from Seattle less traumatic for fans there?
  • Ranked 27th – – Lions:  This team plays hard and plays opponents close; not every team on my list can pretend to make that statement.  The roster needs a significant talent upgrade
  • Ranked 28th – – Texans:  Somehow, they have won 4 games this year with a roster that has been gutted like fish.
  • Ranked 29th – – Jets:  The roster is a mess.
  • Ranked 30th – – Giants:  The roster is also a mess.  Not a great day to be an NFL fan in NYC…
  • Ranked 31st – – Panthers:  What started out as a competitive and promising team in September has become a sorry sight in December.
  • Ranked 32nd – – Jaguars:  Who else?  Fans there may delude themselves into believing that a new coach is all they need.  Wrong…

NFL Games: 

Raiders at Colts – 8 (45):  This could have gotten serious attention as the Game of the Week  until Carson Wentz came down as covid-positive.  For the Raiders, I believe this is an elimination game; the Colts are much more likely to be in the playoffs but their hopes of winning the AFC South evaporate with a loss here.  I expect there to be a lot of Jonathan Taylor running the ball in the game; how well can the Raiders’ defense handle that?

Giants at Bears – 6.5 (37):  The Giants arrive at the kickoff on a 4-game losing streak and neither Jake Fromm nor Mike Glennon looked particularly competent last week against the Eagles.  The Bears are hardly a juggernaut, so I am loathe to take them needing a full TD margin to collect the win.  Watch the game if that is the game in your viewing area – – but bet on this one with extreme caution…  This is my Dog-Breath Game of the Week.

Bucs – 13.5 at Jets (45):  The Bucs lost several key players – – Lavonte David, Chris Godwin and Mike Evans – – last week.  Leonard Fournette is questionable for this game and Coach, Bruce Arians, tested positive for Covid-19.  So what?  They are playing the Jets…

Falcons at Bills – 14.5 (44.5):  So many angles for this game:

  • The Bills could easily suffer a letdown game after beating the Pats last week to take over 1st place in the AFC East.
  • The weatherman says the high for Sunday will be 31 degrees and there should be snow showers in the afternoon.  The Falcons are a “dome team”; those are not “dome conditions”.
  • This is pretty much an elimination game for the Falcons.

The spread has been this high all week – – long before the weatherman could give a credible forecast.  So, how come?  Well consider that in the 8 losses so far by the Falcons this year, 5 of those losses have been by 18 points or more.  When they lose, they often lose embarrassingly BIG.  On the other hand, the Bills have been an up-and-down team all season long; they have looked like Super Bowl material in some weeks and a team about to pocket a high draft choice on other weekends.  This is a hunch, but I think that line is fat even in blustery winter weather on the shore of Lake Erie; I’ll take the Falcons plus that pile of points on the road; put it in the Six-Pack.

Cards at Cowboys – 6 (50):The Cowboys are flying high after putting 56 points up against the Football Team last week.  Meanwhile the Cards appear to be in self-immolation mode.  Putting all that into perspective, the Cowboys are not as good as they looked to be last week, and the Cards are not nearly as bad as their record over the previous 3 games might indicate.  Having said all that, the Cowboys are on a positive trajectory and the Cards are “reeling” to say the least.

Panthers at Saints – 7 (39):  Notwithstanding last week’s debacle, the Saints can still make the playoffs – – with lots of dominoes falling just right.  The Panthers are toast for 2021 and it will be interesting to see the patience level that owner David Tepper has with a coaching staff and team that started out very strongly making it appear as if there would be significant improvement over last year.  The key matchup here is the Panthers’ OL against the Saints’ DL.  I wonder how much “max-pressure defense” the Seahawks’ braintrust can tolerate.

Eagles – 3 at Football Team (45.5):  On one level, the Eagles’ chances to make the playoffs are simple and straightforward.  If they win out, they are in the playoffs; no doubt about that.  The Eagles dominated the Football Team a couple of weeks ago running the ball for more than 220 yards in that game.  If the Football Team cannot devise ways to avoid a similar rushing outburst, the Eagles will win here and be on the cusp of a playoff slot.

Chiefs – 5 at Bengals (50).  This is clearly the Game of the Week.  The Chiefs have wrapped up the AFC West race and the Bengals lead the AFC North by a game after last week’s win over the Ravens.  I see an offensive shoot-out between Patrick Mahomes and Joe Burrow in this one.  I like the game to go OVER; put it in the Six-Pack.

Jags at Pats – 15 (41):  The spread here opened the week at 17 points; that number actually attracted enough Jags money to erode the number to this level.  The Pats’ defense should befuddle both Trevor Lawrence and the Jags’ play caller; the only question in my mind is how badly will the Pats’ offense abuse the Jags’ defense.  I’ll take a flyer here and pick the Pats to run it up on the sorry-assed Jags; yes, I’ll lay the points; put it in the Six-Pack.

Dolphins at Titans – 3.5 (40):  The Dolphins have won 7 in a row; I think that comes to a grinding halt here.  It will be a low scoring game because both teams have excellent defensive units.

Broncos at Chargers – 6 (46):  Both teams are teetering on playoff elimination after both teams stunk out the joint last week.  The Chargers loss to the Texans by 12 points was beyond ugly; the coaches have had plenty of reason to chew on the players for that stinkaroo.  The Broncos are not in great shape either; their hope will be to run the ball against an anemic Chargers’ rushing defense.

Texans at Niners – 14.5 (46):  The Texans refuse to roll over and play dead even when they are on the losing end of a big spread.  The Niners are going to have to deal without the services of Jimmy G for at least a week due to “ligament damage” in the thumb of his throwing hand.  I am tempted to take the Texans with that many points.

  • “And lead us not into temptation …”

Lions at Seahawks – 7 (43):  The Lions are 2-12-1 in the standings, but they are 10-5 against the spread.  The Lions are talent-deficient, but they do play hard for coach Dan Campbell.  Frankly, I think the Seahawks have figuratively tossed in their jock straps for the season, but the Lions have not.  I like the Lions plus the points here even on the road; put it in the Six-Pack.

Rams at Ravens – 3.5 (46):  It looks as if Lamar Jackson will be available for the Ravens this week.  Is that spark along with the urgency of potential playoff elimination enough to lay points against the Rams?

(Sun Nite) Vikes at Packers – 6.5 (49):  The Packers can have the only BYE Week in the NFC playoff schedule this season but to make sure that belongs to them, they need to keep winning; to me, that means the Packers will not take their foot off the gas.  I like the Packers to win and cover here; put that in the Six-Pack.

(Mon Nite) Browns – 3 at Steelers (41):  Both teams have outside chances to make the playoffs; I will be surprised if either of them actually makes it there.  This is possibly Ben Roethlisberger’s final game in Pittsburgh – – or anywhere else in the NFL for that matter.  Maybe that emotional spark catches on with others on the field…?

So, let me review the Six-Pack:

  • Michigan +8 against Georgia
  • Falcons +14.5 against Bills
  • Chiefs/Bengals OVER 50
  • Lions +7 against Seahawks
  • Packers – 6.5 over Vikes
  • Pats – 15 over Jags

And for your amusement, consider this Money Line Parlay:

            Finally, let me close here with Brad Dickson’s comment about the passing of John Madden earlier this week:

“John Madden just arrived in Heaven.  It took longer because he traveled there in a Winnebago.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………

 

 

Rest In Peace, John Madden

John Madden died suddenly yesterday at the age of 85.  No immediate cause of death was reported.  To say that he had a flamboyant persona would be a significant understatement; John Madden commanded attention.

He is most deservedly in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  His coaching career in the NFL consisted of a 10-year span with the Oakland Raiders where he accumulated a record of 103-32-7.  His teams were better than .500 in every season and the Raiders were in the playoffs in 8 of those 10 years.  In 5 consecutive seasons from 1973 to 1978, the Raiders were in the AFC Championship Game, and they won the Super Bowl in 1976.  After coaching, he began his broadcasting career that spanned 3 decades.  Personally, I believe that the broadcasting team of Pat Summerall and John Madden as the voice of professional football on television was a significant part of the explosive popularity of the NFL in the 1980s and 1990s.  As a testament to his broadcasting abilities, he was hired on at some point by every network that had NFL games to air.

Rest in peace, John Madden…

There is an Op-Ed in today’s Washington Post by Charles Lane about the upcoming Winter Olympics in Beijing.  While I think he misses one important point, I believe the piece is worth reading because what he says is fundamentally correct.  Here is the link.

The problem with the argument that Americans should not tune in to watch these Games because they are being held in a country that is repressive and dictatorial misses the point that lack of eyeballs here in the US will not change the hearts and minds of the rulers in China.  Here is what a “TV-boycott” of the Winter Games will do:

  • It will financially hurt NBC who has already paid the IOC for the telecast rights.

Charles Lane suggests that this will “teach a lesson in the costs of collaboration” with such repressive regimes.  Maybe so, but not for a while; the NBC deal with the IOC runs through the 2032 Olympic Games which have not yet been sited.

I have no dog in this fight; I am not an investor in NBC.  However, I am a believer in taking actions that have direct effect whenever possible.  In this case, the idea of “reading a book” instead of watching the Olympics does not have any real effect on the folks that Messr. Lane perceives as the “bad guys”.  The IOC is – and has been for years – corrupt to its core.  The Chinese government exercises its governance in ways that have no parallel here in the US.  Those institutions can be disliked and opposed – – but a TV boycott of the 2022 Olympics is an impotent gesture at best.

Having said that, I will probably watch about 15 minutes of the TV coverage of the Games next year for a reason that Charles Lane does not cite in his piece.  I do not find the events in the Winter Games to be entertaining.  So, at the bottom line, Charles Lane and I will behave in the same way – – but for very different reasons.

Finally, let me close today with a view of the Olympics offered up by screenwriter John Ridley:

“If the Olympic Games ever served a true altruistic purpose, they have long since outlived it.  Yeah, the pursuit of athletic excellence, sportsmanship and international goodwill is pretty noble.  But the modern Olympics are at best a vehicle for agitprop; at worst, a scandal magnet.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………