The Ugly Truth Only Gets Uglier From Here

Well that was quick.

Less than a week ago, the Miami Dolphins were the feel good movie of the year; scoring king-sized kudos from even the hardest grading critics in the industry. Their offense was bringing disco back while their defense had achieved a James Bond rating for its ability to get its ass kicked for two acts before winning the final fifteen minutes. Add to that, their coach was the natty professor who had a knack for stealing the aces at winning time.

And then it all went dark last Thursday night when quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was thrown to the turf by Josh Tupou, the hulking defensive tackle for the Bengals. It was the kind of sum of all fears moment that hushes up 65,000 fans right quick. As Tagovailoa lay crumpled on the ground with his arms seizing up and his fingers pointing to the sky in a frightening gnarl as the result of his brain having been reduced to a pin cushion, shock prevailed.

That shock quickly turned to anger as the sports world focused its crosshairs on the Miami Dolphins organization. Players prayed in between cursing emojis and executives lashed out under cover of anonymity and then Baltimore Ravens boss John Harbaugh broke the seal by claiming that he was “astonished” at the Dolphins handling of their franchise quarterback. He was referring to the fact that Tua had been knocked out of a game briefly against the Buffalo Bills only five days earlier.

They’re not wrong, but that doesn’t mean I’m willing to accept their angst ridden diatribes as the kind of gospel that is actually going to change a damn thing. Because it’s not. The Dolphins followed the same blueprint as most NFL teams who send their players into harm’s way when it seems fairly obvious to those of us who don’t wear shoulder pads for a living that maybe they should keep them out. We would love to believe that our favorite teams abide by the Dalai Lama rules of fair play and responsible practices, but that’s not how the league works. Even with all the concussion protocols in place, the league still favors pennies on the dollar solutions to brain injuries; from pop-up tents on the sidelines that administer quickie in game evaluations, to a roaming herd of independent contractors signing off on player wellness with pencils.

For their part, the Dolphins front office only fed the fire by having their coach address the media last Friday. Mike McDaniel was clearly doing his best to stay out of social media jail as he came off in his usual awkward manner; now less charming seeing as how the subject matter was a frightening brain injury that leaves Tua Tagovailoa’s career in question. But here’s the thing. McDaniel never should have been the point man in this sordid mess to begin with. That responsibility has to go to someone who writes the checks in the organization, either literally or figuratively. Preferably, both.

When Mike McDaniel tells us he had every confidence that his guy was good to go on Thursday night, I believe he’s telling the truth. Any plus or minus I give to how much is actually true comes down to a couple of things: What Tua told him and how he looked, and the assurances of medical professionals. On both counts, I truly believe the coach would not have put the kid out there if he had any serious doubts. And if John Harbaugh wants to take time away from his Father Flanagan act, I would tell him the same thing.

As for all the sports talking heads and union poohbahs who are busy top hatting the Dolphins into a corner, here’s an illuminating observation to munch on. Heading into last Thursday night’s game, not a single one of these concerned individuals issued a peep of concern for Tua’s well being. So, I gotta ask. Is it a matter of doth protesting too much because they’re a part of the solution, or because they realize they’re a part of a much larger problem?

I know which one I’m going with.

 

Do You Believe In Miracles?! Well, Not Really . . But Humor Me

Dolphins vs. Ravens: Twitter reactions from Miami's Week 2 win

Sometimes, it’s better not to ask questions.

I asked myself if maybe it was time to put my annual “State of the Dolphins” post on ice, so as to spare myself the disappointment of yet another campaign full of empty promises. But why should I deny my loyal readers the chance to join me for the undertow party? So I said to myself . . . Self? Just write the damn thing. 

It was deep into the third quarter of the Dolphins game in Baltimore on Sunday when I realized just how much I suck as a sports fan. My beloved Fins were getting clobbered 35-14 and the Ravens were killing more grass than an unemployed pothead. Two games in and I was throwing in the towel; the one Rocky should have thrown in Rocky III. Down by three touchdowns, it was time to call in FEMA and start making excuses for next week’s loss . . I mean game (I mean loss) against the Bills. And then the thought ran through my head . . .

Waddle is tearing it up! 

Wide receiver Jaylen Waddle is so good, it doesn’t seem possible that he’s ours. He wasn’t our first choice, which makes the fact he’s ours that much sweeter. Anyways, that’s not why I was so excited about the game Waddle was having in Baltimore. Nope. I was pumped because he’s on my fantasy league team. I knew it wasn’t right to feel so good about a loss, but hey! It’s the kid’s fault!

That groan you just heard is Vince Lombardi crapping in his dead pants.

Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins: How to fix your NFL quarterback.

Heading to the fourth quarter, Miami found itself trailing by twenty-one points with Tua Tagovailoa at the helm. Now don’t get me wrong, this Tua fellow is an outstanding individual by all accounts. But here’s the thing. I don’t want my quarterback to be an exemplary individual with scruples for miles. I want my quarterback to be an asshole. Which is why I was coo when we tried to bandito Tom Brady. You put that dude in a phone booth at winning time and go pend your patent.

Heading into Year Three of Tua, the Dolphins have been just fine. Sort of the way a Buick or a hand-knit sweater vest or Nilla Wafers are just fine. It doesn’t help when Justin Herbert- the guy we passed on in the draft- is the best QB not named Mahomes or Kelly . . . even with fractured ribs. Miami’s Coulda Closet of QB’s includes everyone from Herbert to Brady to Watson. Even Baker Fucking Mayfield snuck into our rumor pile for a minute, and he’s more Mickey Spillane character than franchise quarterback.

As for the game, it was the fates complying as Miami ran their dime store offense down the field for a less than giddy yup to make it Baltimore 35 Miami 21 with enough time left for Lamar Jackson and the Ravens to hang a Fifty Burger on the board. I was okay with my team having thrown a punch, I was more okay with Waddle leading my make believe team to the promised land.

And then . . . Baltimore 35 Miami 28.

A career best four touchdown passes for Tua and now my (real) team was counter punching the hell out of a lost afternoon. And then they had the ball back yet again, and im had decided to amscray from the possible. But no . . . of course not . . because there was plenty of time left for us to fuck it up in some Hitchcockian horror story . . . hold on . . what?

Baltimore 35 Miami 35.

When Justin Tucker hit a bomb to give the Ravens a three point lead, I breathed a sigh of relief because I hadn’t actually lost consciousness after all. But I wasn’t expecting what came next to, yanno . . come next. In fact, if I had to make a top five list of shit that I thought was going to happen in Baltimore on Sunday afternoon, it would have gone like this.

1) Giselle purchases the Dolphins and announces that Tom Brady will never get to visit.
2) Lamar Jackson scores on a 101 yard run. Which isn’t even possible.
3) Miami HC Mike McDaniel is arrested for stealing actor Jamie Kennedy’s identity.
4) Jimmy Hoffa’s remains are found in the end zone. By Geraldo.
5) Anything other than . . . .

Miami 42 Baltimore 35 . . with Waddle cradling the go ahead score for my real team and my make believe team.

Both!

From the ashes to the top of the heap in fifteen minutes and somewhere, Warhol was smiling. When it went final, I was left to wonder how they’re going to break my heart before the dealing’s done. Maybe the wake up call is next week when they take on a Bills team that is playing as if they stole Superman’s identity.

And I don’t care, because I will be Sebastian to their Mia(mi) if they’re going to be this damned interesting.

Mike McDaniel's path to Dolphins started with a lost hat

The new football boss Mike McDaniel wasn’t our first choice either. And the Boy Genius circa Yale University and the NFC Champion 49ers would say fuck it if you asked him how much that matters right now. No, seriously. That was the play he called with the Dolphins down seven late in the game. The “Fuck It” play was actually in the playbook, and it called for all offensive personnel to line up on one side so’s Tyreek Hill could win his matchup on the other.

Who knows? Maybe Miami hot-wired a road trip from Miami proper to January. Because none of these dudes was at the top of our wish list and yet, they dollar billed a penny opera ending into the kind of comeback dub that just might have playoff games calling on the back nine.

Jesus, this feels like a heist film penned by Zack Syder: Tua as the afterthought point man and Waddle as the chip on his shoulder weapons expert. McDaniel is the wanna be white rapper whose side hustle as a safecracker allows him the chance to strike it rich. And they’ll have to go through the mafia in Buffalo, the syndicate in Kansas City and maybe even that hot shot gunslinger on the left coast if they want to get to the desert. You can’t tell me Hollywood wouldn’t dig that script.

I’m liking it my damn self.

The “Catch ’22” NFL Season Preview (See what I did there?)

The Funniest & Most Awkward NFL Photos Ever Taken

Another NFL season is going longhand, so Imma provide some expert analysis on what to expect. And before you give me shit for calling myself an NFL expert, have you watched a football talk show recently? It’s like watching kindergartners recite Macbeth, only much less adorable.

When thinking up ideas for this post, I tossed with sharing my fantasy football experience. But you guys don’t want any part of that and neither do I. And I figure it makes little sense to prognosticate on the pigskin when my football knowledge can fit into Bethany Frankel’s bikini. Instead, I’ll stream the consciousness out of this fucker and hope for the best.

Let’s hit it! . . .

The Rams Super Bowl win in Los Angeles was the second time in as many years that a team hoisted the Lombardi trophy in its own stadium, with Tom Brady and the Bucs having turned the trick the season prior. In the first fifty-four years of the big game, not a single home team won it in their crib. So thank God for the Cardinals, who will return us to the old normal since they ain’t getting close to Glendale in February without tickets. If you have a beef with my expert opinion, please lodge your complaint here.

The Creme de la Creme of the league this year? Imma give you the top five:

Buffalo Bills: In a couple months, the temps in Orchard Park will be colder than Melania Trump’s diary, so for the love of all things Scott Norwood, let these people dream!

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: For exactly nineteen seconds, I was actually feeling sorry for Tom Brady, what with all that unhappy wife goss that’s been harshing his football mellow? But then I realized that feeling sorry for Tom Brady is a bigger sin than watching a Netflix reality show on Sunday.

Green Bay Packers: Aaron Rodgers is the smartest guy in the room. According to Aaron Rodgers. But he’s a great player and he’s the QB on my fantasy league team so I’m rooting for the dude.

Kansas City Chiefs: We’re looking at a solid decade’s worth of the Chiefs being in the title conversation with Mahomes under center. You’ll know their window has closed when he starts going bald. Which will be a depressing day in Kansas City, and for men everywhere.

Los Angeles Rams: Outside of Cincinnati, I’m hard pressed to find someone who hates these guys. If they win it again, that’ll change.

So now that I’ve got the top five Vegas favorites accounted for, I think you would probably sleep like a baby if you were to place a wager on the sixth highest ranked club. Because the Los Angeles Chargers are my choice to win it all in the desert next February. I utilized the Porpoiserean Theorem in order to reach this conclusion.

It goes like this . . .

a

The Miami Dolphins passed on Justin Herbert in the 2020 NFL Draft, allowing the Chargers to grab him one pick later. In his first two seasons, Herbert has thrown for more yards and more touchdowns than any quarterback in NFL history. Of fucking course.

b

The Miami Dolphins have also swiped left on Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees and Joe Flacco since the turn of the millennium. Those guys have combined to win ten rings while the Dolphins were busy scheduling tee-times.

c

Being passed over by the Dolphins is the football gods way of saying “You’re welcome!”.

NFL Memes (@NFL_Memes) / Twitter

In the AFC, I expect the following to happen . . .

The Cincinnati Bengals were an offensive line away from winning it all last year thanks to Joe Burrow, but Super Bowl hangovers for the runners up is a thing and I know this to be true because I read the science. And they have a mosh pit of talented rivals to contend with in the Ravens, Jaguars, Raiders, Dolphins, Broncos and Colts. You know what happens in a mosh pit? Nothing good.

  • Did you know? . . .Drug lord Pablo Escobar built his own prison? Which sounds super impressive until you consider that the Cleveland Browns do that every season.
  • Did you also know? . . . The league produces “Super Bowl Champions” merch for both teams before the game is even played? Then they ship the losing team’s duds overseas. Which means that in some remote village on the other side of the world, they tell stories about the greatest football team of all the time . . the Buffalo Bills.
  • Oh, and here’s one more . . . Brett Favre’s first NFL completion was to himself.

Meanwhile, in the NFC . . .

Everyone is chatting up the Los Angeles Rams, San Francisco 49ers and Green Bay Packers. Which means some other team is going to be representing the conference. The ‘some other team’ list is less inspiring than a QVC flash sale. We have the Eagles, Cardinals, Panthers, Saints, Vikings and Cowboys and If I’m being honest, I don’t see any of them making it to February.

The Cowboys bill themselves as ‘America’s Team’ which makes them the football equivalent of that MAGA hat. The Lions are like the EV people who insist that everyone has to be on board with them even though it makes little sense. The Falcons are too liberal and the Seahawks are too conservative . . . and I just won a bet that I could tuck politics into this post and get away with it. Woohoo!

Of course, no NFC representative means that Fox Sports will have to use a holographic roster for the Super Bowl. This could work out really well if they can get Rob Lowe to take a break from brushing his hair so he can play QB. Jamie Foxx as diva receiver feels totally right. Jeff Bridges as the ornery old coach trying to score that elusive ring before the lights go out?

Sold!

 

 

 

A Personal Football History

Marc and I not only love sports, we are also loyalists who relish in the joy of victory and hurt with the pains of disappointment. With one of my teams having unexpected success this year, Marc asked me to weave a story.

Growing up in southeastern Ohio in the 1960s, most people in my area were either Cleveland Browns fans or followers. The Browns were the closest team to us – a time long before cable – a time when an antenna delivered three television stations. The Browns were the weekly game that I watched, but I most enjoyed watching the upstart AFL games while rooting for Charlie Tollar, Billy Cannon, George Blanda, Charley Hennigan, and the rest of the Houston Oilers.

In 1968, the AFL expanded into Cincinnati. Many friends hooked up with the Bengals, others stayed loyal to the Browns. Me, the contrarian, latched onto the Miami Dolphins – a team with Flipper as a mascot – a team with my favorite Dolphin: Howard Twilley.

In the fall of 1971, I went cross-state to college where I would be around many Browns fans – but I stuck with the Dolphins. Before the 1972 season started, I told my friends that the Dolphins would not only win the Super Bowl, they would do so going undefeated (17-0). They laughed, then astonished when it happened.

After graduating in 1976, I went to a different corner of the state for my first job in the Cincinnati area. Already a Reds (baseball) fan – a lifer, I quickly gravitated to the local Bengals. Finally, an opportunity to root for nearby team.

At the end of the 1980 season, I suggested to a friend that we get Bengal season tickets for the following year because I felt something special on the horizon. We purchased them, and I still recall the ticket price per game – $9.75.

The 1981 season was unbelievable, finishing 12-4 and winning the division. Locals realized that most of the games were over by halftime. Those Bengals were more than good. They were very good! They ran their West Coast offense for many years before anyone knew that term. Plus, the defense was superb.

That season’s AFC Championship Game was a classic – and I was there. It’s known as the Freezer Bowl – the coldest NFL game on record with a raw temperature of -9F (-23C) and a wind chill of -59F (-50C). That was very cold, and I stayed the entire game to witness history.

The win gave the Bengals their first trip to the Super Bowl. My team lost that game, but I still say they were the better team.

I was still a season ticket holder in 1988 when the Bengals made their second trip to the Super Bowl. Two evenly matched teams hammering each other. The Bengals lost late in the game.

The Bengals would win a playoff game in 1990 before losing in the second round. Then came what Bengal fans call The Lost Decade – an era of ineffectiveness and a lot of losing. It took the Bengals 15 years to return to the playoffs. From there, they made it seven of the next 11 years – but losing every time – losing when favored. Finding a way to lose the game in 2015 that was ready for the taking – a win to break the streak. But no – a win didn’t happen. Losing marked the franchise and the city. Losing hung on the fans.

Losing continued – and many times ugly. 2020 delivered the bright light of a new young quarterback named Joe. One from an Ohio town 3 hours away. One from my home area of the state. The season had some bright spots but still many losses. One with Joe missing many games after a devasting knee injury.

Nonetheless, 2021 had a glimmer of hope. But they were still the Bengals, and we were Bengal fans. We’ve been there, done that. While hopeful, we waited for the other shoe to drop. That’s what Bengal fans do.

While some early games provided hope, some mid-season games delivered ugly reality checks. Facing a difficult closing schedule, the light of hope was a meager flicker. Suddenly, Cool Joe led a dismantling of the dreaded Ravens then beating the vaunted Chiefs. Suddenly, the Bengals were playoff-bound and hosting a first-round game. Then Cool Joe delivered! The team broke the 31-year streak and released the fans from bondage. The local radio call says it all!

The reward for winning round 1 was a trip to Nashville to face the top-seeded Titans. History shows that the Bengals have NEVER won a playoff game on the road. NEVER! Led by some guy known as Cool Joe, another streak was broken. The Bengals were suddenly the darlings of the NFL. (Video will say click to watch on YouTube – so it’s viewable).

Winning or losing this week in Kansas City doesn’t matter. With two streaks broken and Cool Joe leading the way like a seasoned veteran, the franchise, the city, and the fans are winners again. Bengals fans are hopeful again. Bengal fans are proud again. Bengal fans are believing again. The Bengals are relevant again. This is something young Bengal fans have never experienced. At least I’m a seasoned fan who has.

Can the Bengals win one more? Maybe or maybe not. Then again, why not! Why not us! After all, we have Cool Joe.

When Football Meets Festivus

Miami Dolphins 2020 Draft - 1st Round Draft Picks Since 2000 - The Phinsider

This Thursday night, the NFL will prove once again that professional football is playing chess while all the other sports are playing checkers. More fans will tune in to watch an event where no game is being played than will watch the World Series or NBA finals. From its humble beginnings, the NFL Draft has become America’s second most favorite sporting event behind only the Super Bowl. And the added bonus is that Tom Brady can’t win this one . . I don’t think.

The first NFL Draft took place in 1936 at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Philadelphia, inspired by an all out bidding war, a mayoral candidate out of Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota and the Brooklyn Dodgers. The NFL was comprised of nine teams at the time, with Stan Kostka- a star running back for the University of Minnesota- being the coveted prize. Rather than signing right out of school, Kostka decided to hold out. He even ran for mayor of his hometown before inking a deal with the Brooklyn football Dodgers for the princely sum of $5,000 dollars. When some owners cried foul, a selection process by which college graduates were chosen by teams was agreed upon, and the draft was born.

The presumptive top pick in the 2021 NFL draft- Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence- will sign a four year contract for somewhere in the neighborhood of $35 million when the Jacksonville Jaguars make their selection. And he won’t even have to run for mayor to get it.

I just figured out who Trevor Lawrence looks like | SECRant.com

The only Vegas lock is that Trevor Lawrence will be the first overall choice as God, Central Casting and Mattel intended. After which a quarterback feeding frenzy will ensue since the prevailing opinion is that getting the quarterback right is more important than electing a President. Don’t take my word for this, just ask 2016.

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Quarterbacks are the belles of the ballers, since every club dreams of plucking the next Tom Brady out of a bag of maybes. Of course, back in 2000, nobody knew Tom Brady was going to be Tom Brady, seeing as how he was selected with the 199th overall pick. But that doesn’t stop teams from trying, and usually failing. And this year, no fewer than five quarterbacks . . and perhaps as many as six or seven, will be chosen in the first round alone. It’s the Waiting For Godot Theory, where teams let Jesus take the wheel . . . so long as he can sling the ball, use complete sentences and stay out of trouble for at least ten minutes.

The Odell Beckham Jr revival tour: How a flashback to New York supremacy has left NFL wanting more | NFL News | Sky Sports

Historically speaking, wide receiver is another popular position even though the failure rate for first round receivers is higher than Snoop Dog was last Tuesday. Choosing a first round receiver is akin to buying the latest Apple product. You’re going to pay way too much for something you want but really don’t need. The Odell Beckham Jr. Rule states that a first round wide receiver should possess more playoff wins than hair colors in order to be worth the investment. The Browns did make a playoff run this year . . . after OBJ got injured and was out of the lineup, so there’s that.

NFL mock draft 2021 (4.0): Oregon's Penei Sewell prepares for a reunion and the 49ers make a surprise QB choice; trades and other first-round predictions - oregonlive.com

If you’re looking to maximize your Maximus, you gotta go big or you might as well go home. Offensive linemen are like the dorky girl in that eighties teen comedy who gets a makeover during the musical montage. When most of the popular girls- quarterbacks and wide receivers- have already peaked, the O-linemen are just getting started. If the Miami Dolphins selected Oregon left tackle Penei Sewell based entirely on the image above, I would be totally on board. He’s the winner of my Rick Ross Boss Award. I mean, he’ll beat the Jets twice just by fixing that stare on their asses!

NFL Draft Preview: Florida's Kyle Pitts headlines deep, but not elite, tight end class

Then there’s Kyle “The Unicorn” Pitts. He’s a tight end/receiver hybrid who is currently the “IT” player this football holiday season. He wins the Johnny Come Lately Award for this year’s event since he’s the new kid in town and everybody loves him most of all because there are only a couple days to the draft and not enough time to hone in on some other can’t miss prospect. The only critiques I can offer as far as this kid is concerned is that he doesn’t play quarterback, and he didn’t play for the U in Miami. I would be over the moon excited if Miami ends up grabbing him at 6, but please . .don’t tell Penei Sewell I said that.

None of this matters, of course. Because trying to predict how a college player’s skills will translate to the next level is akin to teaching a cat how to wake you up in the morning without using their claws. It’s why your guess is as good as the so called experts who write up dozens of mock drafts over the course of a year . . each one wronger than Khloe Kardashian’s Instagram page.

As long as the Dolphins don’t select Stan Kostka, Imma chalk it up as a win.

The 4th-ish Annual Sorryless Super Bowl LV Preview?! (Results May Vary)

Myth-busting Patrick Mahomes vs. Tom Brady: The five worst Super Bowl 55 narratives for Chiefs-Buccaneers | Sporting News

In the week leading up to the big game, Tom Brady announces he’s a vampire, after which author Stephenie Meyer offers to write a three-part life story. The Chiefs file suit, claiming European products are superior to American made- thus giving Brady an unfair competitive advantage. The Bucs counter by asking for Mahomes to produce his birth certificate, claiming he is actually a Martian. The Chiefs quickly drop their suit as a result.

League news goes heavy metal throughout the week, with one standout headline after another.

  • Texans QB Deshaun Watson is traded to CBS where he will star in a reboot of a long running series on the network. When he asks which series it will be, his agent replies “It’s Elementary, my dear Watson,”
  • Aaron Rodgers announces he is retiring from football so he can host Jeopardy and drink scotch. Simultaneously.
  • The Jaguars announce they will be moving to London, but are rejected. “We already have football teams that kick the ball around and don’t use their hands,” explains Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
  • The Los Angeles Chargers are bought by the Kardashians for $2.6 billion. Their name is changed to the Vuittons and they are relocated to a more spacious locale: The Kardashians’ backyard.

The game is being billed as the sexiest matchup since Brad Pitt and Angelina’s first date. And the first thirty minutes live up to exactly none of that hype. As the half comes to an end, Tony Romo is shocked by the scoreless tie and remarks “Nobody saw this coming!”. To which Jim Nantz replies, “That’s what she said” and is promptly terminated by CBS which puts out a statement decrying the remark. The network assures its viewers that degrading remarks about women will not be tolerated. The halftime show’s opening act then begins its set with “Bitch goes down for a dollah”, after which the Weekend takes the stage and performs for exactly that long.

When the teams take the field for the second half, it’s Tuesday afternoon and Mahomes is still AWOL. So is the Chiefs offense, which accumulates minus 81 yards and is trailing 2-0 after the referees chip in to buy Tom Brady’s team a safety. Brady promises the officiating crew seats in his cabinet when he becomes President.

In the fourth quarter, Tampa Bay scores twice; first on a twenty eight yard pass from Brady to Julian Edelman. The referees come together to review the play after KC objects to the fact that Edelman does not play for the Bucs and is actually seated two rows up in the north end zone. The call stands and less than a minute later Brady is sacked and loses the football before he can pull it back in. Nonetheless, after another review Brady is awarded a touchdown for pain and suffering in what is deemed the “What the Tuck Rule”.

Kansas City replaces Chad Henne with actor Ryan Reynolds. Andy Reid will later admit he didn’t realize Reynolds was even on the roster. “He’s a great locker room guy and he always brings donuts in, so I wasn’t asking any questions,”. Reynolds then proceeds to throw for 311 yards and three touchdowns before accepting a lucrative offer to become the Green Bay Packers new quarterback.

Tampa Bay storms back and leads 37-21 with thirty five seconds remaining. On the cusp of winning his seventh title, Tom Brady takes the snap and is about to kneel down when he breaks his hip. The Chiefs recover and call a timeout. As Henne runs back onto the field, Mahomes makes an appearance. He explains that someone placed a tire spike in the parking lot of his hotel, blowing all four tires. “It only took AAA eight hours to respond, which is record time for those guys . . .”

Bill Belichick produces tape from a spy-cam he installed in the parking lot that reveals the culprit bears a striking resemblance to Tom Brady. The quarterback denies all charges, claiming he was in his cryogenic chamber at the time of the incident. Commissioner Roger Goodell settles “Deflate-Gate 2” and “Spy-Gate 3” by removing the Chick-fil-A concessions from both the Patriots and the Buccaneers home stadiums. The inimitable Jason Whitlock will later opine, “Brady and his former coach now have more gates than a posh California suburb,”.

Mahomes enters the game and promptly throws a forty two yard touchdown strike, after which the Chiefs complete a two-point play to close the deficit to eight. The KC wunderkid then recovers the onside kick himself and delivers yet another forty two yard score. He follows this up by running in the two point conversion to tie the game . . . with his eyes closed, while running backwards, and reciting poetry. In Mandarin Chinese.

The Super Bowl goes to overtime and the Chiefs win the toss. Mahomes tosses his third forty two yard score in as many throws and Kansas City becomes the first team to win back to back titles since Brady and the Patriots accomplished the feat in 2004. The Bucs ask for a recount. Brady asks to be driven to a blood bank. Chiefs coach Andy Reid asks for a double cheeseburger with fries and a Coke.

Heroes Of The Week!- Super Bowl Edition

Image result for Storm superhero

I was behind on my news munch this week so I had to run a hurry up offense in order to get this episode nestled onto its Friday morning doorstep. You could say I winged it, and that’s no guac. But I figured out a way to make this a Super edition by including a member of both the Niners and the Chiefs in my lineup. Yanno, in the name of fairness and world pizza.

And now your heroes . . .

Heart of Gold- Richard Sherman is going to be a first ballot Hall of Famer whenever he decides to hang up his cleats, but in the game of life he is already there.

In November, Sherman wrote out a check for almost $7,500 to the Cabrillo Middle School in Santa Clara, California that wiped out all lunch debt owed to the cafeteria. A month prior to that, he wrote a check for over $20,000 to the Tacoma Public Schools in Tacoma Washington to clear all lunch debt there as well. Since 2013, Sherman’s organizations- The Richard Sherman Family Foundation and Blanket Coverage Foundation- have raised more than $1.5 million dollars to provide students in low income communities with school supplies and clothing.

This dude is already super.

A real Life Saver- For all I know, this might have been Timothy Prather‘s first rodeo. But you’d never have known it from the way the nine year old sprang into action to save his little cousin. Timothy was enjoying a night out at the rodeo when his three year old cousin Connor began to choke. Welp, Timothy knew exactly what to do thanks to a first aid poster he’d taken notice of in the cafeteria at Ramer Elementary School in Tennessee. He applied the Heimlich and dislodged the candy from Connor’s throat. This story had me wondering how many adults know how to apply this life saving move.

Image result for Melvin Marlett

Take this job and shovel it- Remember kids, my heroes run the gamut. They don’t need to score the real world headlines to make mine. They just need to show me some kind of wonderful, and when they do it in the quiet? That’s butter. Fed Ex driver Melvin J. Marlett of Manistique, Michigan supplied the flavor recently when he was delivering a package to Jodi LaFreniere. The kindergarten teacher wasn’t home but the motion sensor on her security camera resulted in a notification text, and when she checked out the video footage, there was Marlett . . shoveling her front stoop. Of all the random acts perpetrated in this crazy world, kindness always works best.

 

Commander and Chief- Derrick Nnadi was a hotshot Florida State prospect a couple years back until a forgettable workout at the league Combine left his pro career in doubt. But the defensive tackle worked his ass off to overcome that blip, and now he finds himself sixty minutes away from a Super Bowl ring.

Nnadi’s hard work on the field is in keeping with the great good work he’s doing off of it. The league honored him as the Kansas City Chiefs Community MVP of the Week back in September for providing a shopping spree to the family of one of the victims of the Virginia Beach mass shooting. That’s his hometown, and it’s where his heart will always reside. He’s pretty good at dishing up these shopping sprees to school kids, having done it last summer in his adopted hometown of Kansas City as well.

“As my father says . . we don’t receive . . we give . .”

When the universe listens- Seven years ago, Georgina Laurie had just lost her husband Dennis and life no longer seemed worth living. She slipped into a depression from which it seemed she might not return.

“A year prior to that, I’d had a stroke, so my whole life completely changed and I couldn’t cope with that,” recalls Laurie. “I got really depressed, really down and I really couldn’t see there was a way forward in life for me.

It was on the night when she began thinking about the end of her life that she was able to find a new beginning. She noticed the card for a suicide prevention hotline called Samaritans by her bedside cabinet and gave them a call. She had no intention of being talked down from the ledge her life was balancing on, but that is exactly what happened. So inspired was she, that this grandmother from the UK later made the decision to become a volunteer for the organization. So it was that Georgina overheard a conversation her fellow volunteer Des McCarthy was having with someone who called into the hotline recently. Des was comforting the person on the other end of the line and the words . . well, they brought Georgina all the way back to that fateful night. And that’s when Georgina realized that Des- her mentor and fellow volunteer for the last four years- had been the voice that talked her down from that ledge once upon a time.

There are no coincidences.

 

 

 

 

The Sorryless Super Bowl Preview: LIV For Today Edition!

Image result for Super Bowl LIV Chiefs vs 49ers

So another football season is in the rear view and now we’re left to contemplate whether the Cleveland Browns should maybe try another line of work. And if you’re gonna ask me for a top five takeaways from NFL ’19, you know Imma provide . . .

1- Antonio Brown played exactly one game while grabbing more headlines than a newspaper delivery person.
2- The league uses more cameras than the British press and yet they still can’t get calls right.
3- Contrary to the popular belief that the game was going the way of flag football, defense still matters.
4- The New Orleans Saints must have done some really bad shit in their previous lives.
5- The Miami Dolphins were the most fascinating 5-11 team in NFL history. (I had to).

The New England Invitational has been put on ice as Tom Brady and Giselle shop for homes in more temperate climates and Bill Belichick contemplates yoga. We won’t be bogged down with Fill in the blank-Gates, avocado ice cream recipes or Live PD feeds of owner Robert Kraft walking out of massage parlors. This year, we get actual football!

And we get an historic match-up with the Chiefs making it back to the big game for the first time since Nixon was shopping for tape recorders; while the 49ers are looking to score their sixth Lombardi trophy and their first since Clinton was shopping for cigars. So of course, I had to pull one of my all time favorite NFL photographs: Chiefs legend Len Dawson tugging on a smoke in the locker room. That, is some old school shit right there.

Image result for len dawson smoking

Speaking of old school, San Francisco is bringing some of that flavor with a defense that Cersei Lannister could’ve used. Kansas City will bring its master gunslinger and a posse that could have been peeled right off the pages of the old AFL, with an ability to score from the locker room.

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What’s that you say? Give us some top five trivia, Marco? N’kay . . .

-The most expensive price for a ticket to the first Super Bowl was $12. Which is about what you’ll pay for a beer at this year’s game in Miami.

-The game was originally called the AFL-NFL Championship Game. Chiefs owner Lamar Hunt coined the term Super Bowl after the Super Ball his daughter played with.

-Commissioner Pete Rozelle sketched the design for the Lombardi trophy on the back of a cocktail napkin.

-17 million Americans will call in sick next Monday.

-The Patriots have appeared the most times. The Lions/Texans/Browns/Jaguars have never appeared. And the Miami Dolphins are the only team in NFL history to complete a perfect season with a Super Bowl win. (Yep . . had to).

Of course, the game will be the thing for the small fraction of the population that doesn’t tune in simply to get drunk, bet the spread or watch commercials. So Imma dish up my prediction on how the LIV Bowl will play out. This is for entertainment purposes only, because if you place a wager based on what I write? Seek help . . imeejiately.

The league agrees to cancel the first half so they can fit in all of their musical commitments. With the extra time, the teams decide to take in a Miami Heat game. At halftime, Patrick Mahomes takes part in a contest in which he can win $1,000 dollars for each shot he makes from half-court. Twenty minutes later, the Heat hold a press conference in which they introduce the Chiefs quarterback as their new owner.

When the game finally begins, Mahomes is unable to lift his arm thanks to all that balling. As a result, the 49ers sack him twelve times on one play even though the league maximum is one sack per play. A replay review proves inconclusive so the league dials up Bill Belichick who delivers video evidence that proves San Fran should be credited with twelve sacks. After three quarters of play, the Niners lead the Chiefs 4-0 thanks to two safeties and a Travis Kelce touchdown that is overturned on account of the fact that coach Andy Reid threw the pass. It’s the most bizarre turn of events since this happened.

During the two hour concert that takes place between the third and fourth quarters, Jimmy Garoppolo is suspended after making a porn in the visitor’s suite. Joe Montana suits up and throws three touchdown passes, because he is still Joe Fucking Montana. With two minutes to go and the 49ers up 32-0, Patrick Mahomes gets the feeling back in his right arm and leads the Chiefs on a furious run. He tosses four touchdown passes in forty two seconds to close the gap to 32-28.

When San Francisco’s Robbie Gould misses a fifteen yard field goal that would have put his team up by seven with nineteen seconds to go, the team trades him back to Chicago. After a delay of game penalty pushes the Chiefs all the way back to their own one yard line with three seconds left, Twitter blows up with #fortyninereasons, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer calls it for the 49ers and NPR reports on rumors of an important game being played in South Florida.

Mahomes steps back to pass as a wave of burgundy and gold converge on him, sending him back through the tunnel and all the way to the parking lot. While simultaneously signing autographs for fans, paying the $150 parking lot fee and evading the 49ers monstrous pass rush, Mahomes flings a pass back into the stadium. The ball travels three hundred and sixteen yards and lands in the arms of Chiefs wide receiver Sammy Watkins in the end zone for the winning touchdown as time expires. The Chiefs donate the extra point to the New York Stock Exchange.

The Vatican heralds the Chiefs three hundred and sixteen yard TD winner as proof of God’s existence. Trump tweets a pic of himself clapping with hands that appear to have been photo-shopped. Ricky Gervais blames the foreign press.

After the game Las Vegas installs the Chiefs as the prohibitive favorites to win the 2021 Super Bowl, as well as the next five Super Bowls after that. Joe Montana announces that he is coming out of retirement to become the Miami Dolphins new starting quarterback (Of course I had to!)

 

 

 

A Love Scenario For My Favorite Team

The following is a simple thank you to my beloved Miami Dolphins. For being the most relevant 5-11 squad in the history of the league. They somehow out-won the mighty Patriots down the stretch by going 5-4 after that 0-7 beginning; capped by an upset victory in the final week to knock New England off its perch. Last night may have been the end of the Patriots dynasty, and maybe I’m being a tad bit hyperbolic . . but I like to think this wonderful bunch of miscreants played a small part in the final breaths of a dynasty.

Thank you to Monika for suggesting Justin Herbert in the starring role as Miami QB. Not sure if it’ll work out this way, any of it. But who cares? All I know is that I found reason to believe inside this lost cause of a season. And while there is a long road ahead, there is a lot more hope involved than I had bargained for at the get. Sometimes, a season can be that way; it can give you something you never saw coming. Where one minute you’re throwing your arms up in disgust, and the next, you’re uttering that most magical of sporting refrains, and meaning it.

Wait till next year.

New Orleans 2024- Brian Flores sits in his makeshift office inside the New Orleans Superdome and scratches out an idea, whittling it into precise measurements as if a master carpenter. He is a craftsman of sorts, having built the foundation of a championship club from the rubble of obsolescence along with general manager Chris Grier.

It’s as if the moment Flores walked in the door, those couple decades of mediocrity that preceded him hitched a ride to someplace else. He paid scant attention to the collective shrug that accompanied his introduction as Miami’s field boss in February of 2019. And he paid little mind to the vitriol heaped on his club due to the clumsy maneuvering that led to a mass exodus of their most talented players in the name of draft capital. The overpaid suits said it was morally reprehensible that a football organization left its players in harm’s way by fielding a prohibitive skeleton crew.

Their criticism was temporarily vindicated when Flores’ Dolphins team lost his first game 59-10 to the Baltimore Ravens. It reached Chernobyl status when they began the season 0-7. The critics were only too delighted to break out their “Told You So” material, to which Flores responded with three simple words: We’re not tanking.

He was parodied for this, but he never minded that too. All he concerned himself with was drawing up a game plan that would give his fledgling outfit a fighting chance. And just as importantly, changing an organizational culture that was equal parts Caddyshack and Animal House.

Five years to the date when he was named head coach of the Miami Dolphins, he’s sixty minutes away from the Holy Grail of professional football. His opponent- the Arizona Cardinals- present myriad complications for Flores and his defense. But they’ve been up to the challenge all season, and on through January in wins over the Vegas Raiders and then, the defending Super Bowl champion Ravens.

There is irony in that Baltimore was the team Flores beat to get his squad to the Super Bowl for the first time since ’85. But he hasn’t got time to dwell on it with MVP Kyler Murray next up on the docket. Later today. About ten hours from now, to be exact, as evidenced by the bustle of doors and chatter that is making its way to his office now. His guys, come to keep their coach company.

“Hey coach,” Justin Herbert says as he sticks his head in the door whilst munching on a power bar.

“What’s up ten?” Flores says, referring to his quarterback’s number.

“We’re here to kick ass and chew bubblegum . . .” Herbert smiles.

“AND WE’RE ALL OUTTA PATIENCE!!!” The guys whoop and holler as Herbert leads them to the field. Flores grins as he moves out of his chair for the first time in several hours and stretches out before moving towards the tunnel of the North end zone. His Dolphins will be the ‘home team’ today- dressed in their dark aqua old school threads out of the time of Shula and Marino. And it’s appropriate, since the feeling is of yesterday once more.

“I can’t believe we’re actually here . .” Justyn Ross, their third year wide receiver out of Clemson says as he looks out over the field.

“Not yet JR . . .not yet,” Flores says.

A Momentary Lapse Of Season

Miami Dolphins

We learned something about ourselves inside that darkest of nights. We learned that the cause was not lost, and that it hadn’t even been missing. And once seen, it could not be unseen. It possessed us with a most magical ability. We believed in tomorrow . . .

What a difference two months makes.

Exactly two months ago in this very spot, I penned a bad romance of a love letter to my favorite team in the world, the Miami Dolphins. There was no need to read between the lines since I was as brutally honest as a Jim Bob Duggar paternity test. The Dolphins were all set to rewrite history . . in crayon, and the only reason I wasn’t doing somersaults is because I am on a strict somersault diet. But I was all chips in on a losing hand because I was under the impression that less would equal more in the long run.

A funny thing happened on the way to NFL ignominy. The Dolphins stopped sucking.

By winning their third game of the season, the Dolphins would basically have to get Tony Soprano to serve as their draft point man in order to score a top three pick right now. Say adios to quarterback Joe Burrow and defensive end Chase Young- the top studs at their respective positions. A couple more wins and not even Tony Soprano will be able to un-fuck the situation.

And guess what? I’m kinda loving the zeitgeist of these formative moments that are busy trashing the temporal sensibilities- like standings and draft positioning. Because what Brian Flores is coaching up in South Beach is a bulldog mentality that doesn’t give a blessed fuck about gutted rosters and tank jobs.

Because maybe all this worrying I was doing about getting a top name in the NFL draft was for naught. Maybe it doesn’t matter one little bit whether we draft first or fifth . . or wherever. Maybe what matters more than that is what’s going on, right now. What Brian Flores is doing with the skeleton crew of a band that started the season 0-7 but has gone 3-2 since. He isn’t winning coach of the year, but he’s damn worthy of getting someone’s vote, out of principle. It would be a fitting apology, after Flores got trashed for presiding over what many sportswriters were calling the biggest sporting abomination of all time. Which is hyperbole at its most hypocritical when you consider all the real world shit the sports world has thrown at us.

This might sound strange, but this team is the most fun I’ve had in a very long time. Because that country club mentality which had worked its insidious vines into the heart and soul of a franchise for the better part of two decades is withering just a little bit. It’s by no means dead and gone, but it’s no longer being allowed to retrench itself. Because maybe they’re figuring out that most prized possession of all; more vital than a blue ribbon prize in the NFL meat market. Maybe they’re figuring out a culture that transcends big names and splashy acquisitions.

Ask the Steelers what culture means, because they pretty much wrote the book on it. They lost their star quarterback, running back and wide receiver in one calendar year and yet they’re standing at 7-5 after beating the Browns today. The Steelers have had three head coaches in the past fifty years. In that same span of time, there have been five Popes. Enough said.

And look at those Browns, with all their big name talent- including quarterback Baker Mayfield, who oh by the way . . was the first pick in the draft a couple years ago- who are busy making vacation plans for January after falling to 5-7.  If ever there was a cautionary tale when it comes to falling in love with top picks and big names? They are it.

If I had to choose one word for this season, it would be perspective.

Lamar Jackson beat the stuffing out of us in the opener, but he’s done that to a lot of really good teams since. And it’s worth noting that thirty teams overlooked him in the draft. And okay, putting up a thirty seven burger on this Eagles team isn’t nearly as impressive as it might have seemed back when everyone- including yours truly- was penciling them in as a playoff team. But it still counts.

And so what if they’re not the worst team of all time, destined to take home the top prize for their futile efforts? And so what if they’re light years away from having a legitimate shot at knocking off guys like Mahomes and Jackson? All that really matters is their allergy to the canvas, because they refuse to lay down on it. And it’s not much, not really.

Not yet.