The 75th Annual Sorryless NFL Awards Show!

Anybody can dole out an award for the best players and units and teams but it takes a truly demented individual with far too much time on his hands to come up with an awards show that is based entirely on the Seinfeldian Principle: Make something out of absolutely nothing.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that . . .

I Confused Aaron Rodgers Beating The Bears With Michael Myers From Halloween - YouTube

Michael Myers Smooth Stalker Award: This goes to Packers QB Aaron Rodgers, whose shadowy presence threatens the peace of mind of a small mid-western town every fall. Will he return? I kinda hope not, but that’s only because I would love to see him land in Vegas or Nashville. As creepy as this dude can be, he does provide great content and I would be fascinated to see if a change of scenery gets his skillset sizzling again.

Michael Jordan's legendary NBA Finals performances with the Bulls | NBA Highlights on ESPN - YouTube

The MJ Effect Award: After Tom Brady left New England following the 2019 season, I predicted the Patriots would become the football equivalent of the Chicago Bulls. With Jordan in the fold, the previously title-less Bulls fielded some of the greatest teams of all time and won all six of their championships, after which they reverted to their pre-Jordan sad sack ways. Once Tom Brady became the starter in 2001, the Patriots fielded some of the greatest teams of all time and won all six of their championships. In three post Brady seasons, New England has missed the playoffs twice and is no closer to Super Bowl contention than the Detroit Lions. I take that back . . the Lions are way closer.

Nicky Santoro by LJAstudios on DeviantArt

The Nicky Santoro Award: I know what you’re thinking. What in the hell does a vicious gangster whose reign was so messy that he was buried alive in a cornfield have to do with the NFL? Lemme ‘splain. Nathaniel Hackett was the bust of all bosses. He was handed a peach job out west with a club many considered Super Bowl contenders in the Denver Broncos . . . and he went 4-11. Hackett was such a disaster that Denver didn’t wait for the season to end before giving him a pink slip. If I were to offer up any advice to Aaron Rodgers’ former beer buddy, it would be this: Don’t try that again, and stay away from cornfields.

Split (2016) — The Movie Database (TMDB)

Split Personalities Are Exhausting AND Fun Award: The Miami Dolphins stormed out of the gates at 3-0, quickly becoming a chic Super Bowl sleeper. They proceeded to lose their next three games as Tua dealt with injuries and his first concussion. Upon his return, Miami reeled off five straight wins to move to 8-3 and steal first place from the Bills. More injuries and another Tua concussion resulted in five straight losses before they won their regular season finale to finish 9-8 and make the playoffs for the first time in six seasons. So if the pattern continues, Miami will streak to a Super Bowl victory. Which of course, ain’t happening unless M. Night is writing it.

Trevor Lawrence injury update: Jaguars QB listed as questionable in Week 14 - DraftKings Nation

House Lannister Head of Hair Award:  Honorable mentions go out to Alex Anzalone, Andreas Knappe and George Kittle for supplying medieval locks that would likely fetch them roles in Game of Thrones. But there was really only one choice to be had when it came to House Lannister and it’s the dude who successfully guided Jacksonville to the playoffs in his second season. Trevor Lawrence looks like a Lannister, and if he keeps balling the way he did in the second half of the year? He’s gonna be NFL royalty before too long.

Urban Meyer bar video: Keeps getting worse for Jaguars coach

Urban Meyer Was Even Worse Than We Thought Award: The Jacksonville Jaguars were a league worst 3-14 last year and to say they were a tire fire would be insulting to tire fires. Meyer went 2-11 before the team cut bait with him after he played a game of “Santa’s Magic Lap” with a woman at a bar who was not his wife. Enter former Eagles head coach Doug Pederson and Voila! . . . the Jaguars tripled their win total AND won the division. When reached for comment on his former team’s resurgance, Meyer said “I feel like an ass . .

Bills safety Damar Hamlin released from Cincinnati hospital, returns to Buffalo for further treatment - ABC News

Homecoming Of The Year Award: Yeah, we’re only ten days into 2023 but I gotta believe there isn’t going to be a better homecoming than the one Damar Hamlin made yesterday when he returned to Buffalo. One week after going into cardiac arrest in the first quarter of the Bills game against the Bengals, Hamlin bid adieu to his adopted city of Cincinnati and returned home. Ironically, both towns share the nickname “The Queen City”. And now they’ll have joint custody of a young man whose fight rallied a country with three simple words.

Love For Damar

Going Halfsies On The NFL Season: Now Streaming On WordPress!

The Three Stooges Football 8x10 Glossy Photo | eBay

We’re at halftime of the 2022 NFL season and what have we learned?

Player safety still matters to the league, the network talking heads and the players . . even if it’s more lip service than a Botox clinic. Meanwhile, instant replay is the biggest oxymoron since reality television was invented. Officiating resembles a pledge drive for Kim Jong-un, Jerry Jones should marry the sound of his voice and for such a quarterback driven league, how comes I only trust Mahomes and Burrow at winning time?

Colts Punt

As for what yours truly learned? Not much.

I predicted the Arizona Cardinals wouldn’t be the third team in as many years to win the Super Bowl in their home stadium and at 4-6, it looks like a pretty good bet. But really, saying the Cardinals won’t win it all is like saying Vladimir Putin won’t win a Nobel Peace Prize. There’s no limb to go out on here.

I agreed with Vegas on the Bills, Bucs, Chiefs, Packers and Rams because I am a simple man. How’d that work out? Glad you asked . . .

  • Bills- They’re a Netflix docu-series in cleats, which means that falling in love with them might kill you.
  • Bucs- Tom Brady looks forty-five years old and so do his teammates.
  • Chiefs- He is to contending status what Tom Cruise is to box office.
  • Packers- I’m glad Miami didn’t trade for Aaron Rodgers because that would have been SO Miami.
  • Rams- They won it all last year after which they turned into a Dario Argento flick.

I thought the Bengals would have a tough time getting back to the big dance after last year’s near hit. A hat tip to the inimitable George Carlin. . . yes that’s right.

After Cincy sent me a ton of threatening emails, I backed off on doubting the Bengals . . pretty much. But that doesn’t mean I wasn’t right about the Dolphins and Ravens being in their way. Rather than leaving well enough alone, I tinkered with the idea the Jags, Broncos, Raiders and Colts would be . . . wait for it . . . good! You’d have been better off pushing all your chips into FTX. And I haven’t mentioned the Jets surprising 6-4 record until right now because I believe in Elvis Santa more than I believe in New York.

American Rhetoric: Movie Speech: The Wizard of Oz - The Cowardly Lion on Courage

In the NFC, I really didn’t like anybody. A half season’s worth of games hasn’t changed my mind either. The Eagles are solid if not spectacular, the Cowboys are the kind of product you would peddle on Shark Tank, the Seahawks are more fake than a Florida Man tan and the Vikings and 49ers have great uniforms . . but I feel as if the conference is Reservoir Dogs to the AFC’s Pulp Fiction ; fun to watch but not my first option. If I had to choose my favorite, Imma go with my Wizard of Oz meets Jimmy the Greek fever dream wager and place exactly no money on the Lions to shock the football world. And I haven’t mentioned the Giants surprising 7-3 record until right now because I believe Tupac is tending bar at the Tropicana more than I believe in New York.

How to Watch Chargers vs. Dolphins on November 15, 2020

If you thought I’d conveniently forgotten my pick to win it all, don’t be silly. In spite of their lackluster performance thus far, I’m sticking with Justin Herbert and his dreamy hair to carry the Chargers to the promised land. This phone conversation might explain why . . .


“Yo, it’s Miami!”

“Hey baby, wassup?”

“Who’s LA to you?”

“Just a friend baby . . just a friend . . . I promise,”

“That ain’t what I’m hearing. I heard you’re talking about LA all the damn time!”

“You know who my bae is, so why mess with the stress?”

“Can’t you see I’m breaking my back out here!”

“And I love that about you. Don’t you know that?”

“I don’t see LA beating Buffalo. Hell, I don’t see LA in first place but guess who is?”

“You are,”

“Damn right. And Imma prove everybody was wrong about me . . .”

“You do that baby, you do that,”

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.


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 . . .


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.


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.


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?





What If? (The Tuck Rule Game)

January 19th marked the twentieth anniversary of the iconic “Tuck Rule” playoff game in which the New England Patriots defeated the Oakland Raiders 16-13 after the refs (IMO) totally blew the call on a Tom Brady fumble that would have all but sealed the win for the Raiders. Instead, the Patriots came back and won and then went on to win the Super Bowl.

Well, I’m here for a What If? 

Fresh off their 13-10 victory over the Patriots at Foxboro, the Raiders beat the Steelers and then dominate the St. Louis Rams, winning Super Bowl XXXVI by a score of 31-14. The “Greatest Show on Turf”, led by MVP Kurt Warner, is denied a second straight title and head coach Jon Gruden inks a ten year contract with the champs two days later.

The Pats trade Brady to the San Francisco 49ers during the offseason for a second round pick, with which they select RB Clinton Portis.

The Raiders repeat as champions the following year, defeating the Philadelphia Eagles 48-21, as regular season MVP Rich Gannon also nabs the honors in the big game by throwing for over three hundred yards and four touchdowns. “The Commitment to Excellence is back baby!” Coach Gruden exclaims in the victorious locker room.

The trajectory of the league having changed forever after the outcome of “The Tuck Rule” game, Oakland’s success results in the construction of a brand new stadium in the bay area and the Raiders never end up leaving for Vegas after all. Jon Gruden goes on to win a third title in 2007 over the Tom Brady led 49ers, after which he retires from the game. The Raiders brand, having been restored to prominence, remains a perennial contender, appearing in two more Super Bowls and winning one with head coach Jim Harbaugh.

As for the New England Patriots, they don’t exactly fade into oblivion. Led by Drew Bledsoe and Portis, they win Super Bowl XXXVIII over the Carolina Panthers. They lose to Brady and the 49ers the next season and then, after a lost season following Bledsoe’s premature retirement in 2006, the Patriots use the third pick in the 2008 NFL draft on quarterback Matt Ryan. Matty Ice leads New England to their second title, defeating the Falcons in Super Bowl LI. In the first ever overtime game in a Super Bowl, the Pats score a touchdown to win it after Matthew Stafford stages a furious comeback from a 28-3 deficit that ties the score at the end of regulation.

Ripples of the “Untucked” call abound . . .

  • The 49ers never select Colin Kaepernick, who instead ends up in Detroit. His taking a knee during the national anthem does not result in a media frenzy since, well, he plays in NFL Siberia.
  • In the real world, the 2007 Patriots went undefeated in the regular season before being upset by the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII. In the “untucked” world, no team comes close to an undefeated regular season.
  • Since Gruden was never traded to Tampa Bay, the Bucs never win a Super Bowl. By 2014, with attendance at rock bottom, the Glazer family is threatening to move the team to Vegas. Donald Trump steps forward with a promise to build “the greatest stadium in the history of sports!” and keep the team in Florida. The league begrudgingly agrees to bring Trump in, after which Trump drops his political ambitions and begins discussions to move the team to Vegas. His plan is to build a 45 story multi-use facility which will house the world’s biggest mall as well as a football stadium. “You are not going to believe your eyes when you see the stadium I build! And yes there will be a mall, and every time the league objects to it, that mall is going to go higher! And the league is gonna pay for it!” he says.
  • The Dolphins still never get their quarterback right.

Meanwhile, Tom Brady and the 49ers make four Super Bowl appearances, winning three. They deny the Patriots back to back titles by beating them in Super Bowl XXXIX. They lose to the Raiders in Super Bowl XLII. They come back five years later to defeat the Ravens in Super Bowl XLVII and they cap off Brady’s career with a win over the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV. Patriots head coach Bill Belichick makes waves after Brady retires when he says the following during an interview with WEEI in New England:

If I have one regret, it’s trading Tom after the 2001 season. I love Drew and Matt, but I feel as if I left a few Super Bowls on the table when I made the decision to trade Tom. 

Belichick is fired the day after the interview and replaced with offensive coordinator Josh McDaniel. When Brady is asked for his thoughts, he is a bit more succinct.

I think the tuck rule game changed everything.

The Someone Of Lost Causes

Brian Flores defends race discrimination lawsuit against Giants, NFL in CBS Mornings interview: 'This is bigger than football' -

Just when I think life as a Miami Dolphins fan couldn’t get any shittier, it somehow proves me wrong.

I realize I’m being selfish about this, but isn’t that what sports fans do? Don’t we take the most personal shit and somehow find a way to make it all about us? Never mind that a forty-year old man with decades worth of achievement laid out in front of him is probably going to be remembered for a very different reason now.

Because its a solid bet that Brian Flores has coached his last game in the NFL after he filed a class-action lawsuit against the league in general and three teams- The Dolphins, Broncos and Giants- specifically. Flores is alleging racial discrimination in its hiring practices. If history has taught us anything, it’s that you don’t buck the establishment for free. All it’s going to cost a coach who acquitted himself quite well in his three years at the helm, is everything.

As a fan, I was sold on him. Flo was straight forward, no-nonsense and results oriented from the get. He lost his first seven games as head coach, presiding over what looked to be an historically awful team. After which he was somehow able to muster a 5-4 record down the stretch; with a quarterback room that left a lot to be desired and a roster that had been depleted as the result of a rebuild. So from the nadir of that forgettable start, Flores went 24-18. It wasn’t enough to save his job.

Owner Stephen Ross explained the firing as having been the result of Flores not getting along with others. As far as arguments go, this one borrowed from the league’s current preach, which is focused on collaboration. Flo wasn’t down with that, so the owner can follow up the question as to how you fire a guy who was clearly coaching the fuck out of a pretty average roster with, “Yeah but . . .”. And he’ll win that argument thanks to guys like McVay and Shanahan; smart guys who don’t just win the field but win the front office too.

And I don’t buy it.

I don’t buy it because Bruce Arians won it all last year and there ain’t many peeps in his front office who send him bouquets on the regular. So excuse me for not holding it against Brian Flores for not gifting his co-workers with peach pie every morning. Smart, driven people don’t care about emulating Mister Rogers.

If I had a scorecard with which to judge things so far, Coach Flores is ahead on points in the early rounds. He’s the buttoned up guy. He’s the one who coached his team off the mat of a 1-7 start to finish 9-8 this year. And while he didn’t get the best out of his supposed franchise quarterback, maybe there just isn’t a best to to had.

Ross on the other hand, engenders no such goodwill from yours truly. To this point in his tenure as Dolphins owner, he’s provided far more doubts than benefits. In his thirteen years as boss, his teams have gone 96-113 with three winning seasons (2 of which were under Flores’ watch). He’s also gone through six head coaches in that time, so excuse me for not buying his line about how the Flores firing was about his desire to maintain a consistent dynamic through all branches of the organization.

None of this means Flores will win his lawsuit. The sad fact is, his charges regarding racial discrimination will likely go nowhere. Even with the Belichick texts and proof of the sham interview with the Giants. Because Flores isn’t just up against Ross, he’s up against the other thirty one owners too. And he’s up against a league that didn’t really lose even when it was proven that they were criminally negligent as far as concussions were concerned. Oh, and don’t forget the sponsors, who love to spout on about equality and fairness but who love to get paid even more than that.

Listen, I’m not defending Brian Flores out of some need to come off as socially just. I’m on his side because as a human being, I’m watching a man put his livelihood on the line here. And I just don’t believe he would do such a thing unless there was an ugly truth that too many people already know about and too few people will stand up to.

As far as the allegations that Ross offered to pay Flores $100,000 per loss back in 2019, that there might force Roger Goodell to actually put some time in at the office, seeing as how the league has taken to canoodling with sports books under his watch. The shield doesn’t want to come off as a glorified version of professional wrestling, after all. And if there is any kind of evidence to prove Ross went there?

Not even Winston Wolfe would be able to save him.

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.

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.





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.







The NFL Double Issue Edition!


Football Players in Action

The NFL season is more than halfway cooked and the more things change, the more the Patriots still look like the favorites to fuck up a lot of Super Bowl parties come January. I mean, does anybody else see the irony here? A league that prides itself on parity has the most prolonged dynasty in sports history.

Despite the specter of that long national football nightmare moving into yet another decade, it’s been a fairly entertaining NFL season to this point. The Cleveland Browns are winning . . on TMZ.  The Oakland Raiders are actually winning on the field. The Titans, Seahawks, Steelers, Colts, Panthers and Lions have been plucky. The Packers, Cowboys, Eagles and Bills have been lucky. And the Jets? Still suck.

If sports ain’t your thing, here’s an alphabetized list of teams complete with a cocktail party anecdote or observation for each. You’re uh . . welcome?

Arizona Cardinals- Investing in semiconductors is the same difference.
Atlanta Falcons- There is a Chick-fil-A in Mercedes Benz Stadium. Chicken Jesus doesn’t do business on Sundays, and this year? Neither do the Falcons.
Baltimore Ravens- Lamar Jackson is to quarterbacking what Jimi Hendrix was to acoustic guitars.
Buffalo Bills- The fan base is known as “Bills Mafia”. They guzzle beer, smash tables and have a guy named Pinto Ron who has a condiment fetish.

Because . . sports fans!

Carolina Panthers- The peeps in South Carolina take great pride in the fact that the Panthers play in North Carolina.
Chicago Bears- True story. Bears fans traveled to Nashville once, and drank the town dry.
Cincinnati Bengals- If Kandahar ever gets an NFL team, they’re perfect.
Cleveland Browns- The NFL version of Apple TV’s “Morning Show”- flashy, big name cast with little payoff.
Dallas Cowboys- Sugar Daddy Jerry Jones, built them a $1.2 billion dollar crib (Arlington taxpayers forked over $325 million). The Boys have a grand total of three playoff wins there since 2009. Only Congress offers up a weaker bang for the buck.
Denver Broncos- Unless you live in Colorado, the Denver Broncos will never come up in casual conversation. If you live in Colorado, just use lots of four letter words.
Detroit Lions- Motown legend Marvin Gaye once tried out for the team.
Green Bay Packers- They are the only publicly owned franchise in the league.
Houston Texans- They became only the second expansion team ever to win their first game when they defeated the Cowboys in September of 2002. It remains the high point.
Indianapolis Colts- In 1983, the franchise packed their shit on Mayflower vans and left Baltimore in the middle of the night. It doesn’t get any more Paul Simon than that.

Jacksonville Jaguars- Like the car, they’re expensive and rarely worth it.
Kansas City Chiefs- They have more offensive weapons than the US Army and a weaker defense than the French Army.
Los Angeles Chargers- Most peeps don’t realize they left San Diego. And most of those peeps live in Los Angeles.
Los Angeles Rams- Warren Beatty remains the coolest player to ever don a Rams uniform. And I know it was a movie, but it still counts.
Miami Dolphins- They’re not the worst team in football.
Minnesota Vikings- Unless you live in Minnesota, the Vikings will never come up in casual conversation. If you live in Minnesota, just bring the sausages, cheese curds and beer. 
New England Patriots-
 Before the Russians started rigging elections, they re-calibrated a middling football coach named Belichick and created a cyborg named Brady. The idea was to create a hatred of the red, white and blue. Those Russians are crafty.
New Orleans Saints- Charlton Heston starred as an aging Saints player in the film Number One. 
New York Giants- 
Jimmy Hoffa wouldn’t be caught dead in the Giants end zone.
New York Jets- Haven’t appeared in a Super Bowl since Joe Namath was wearing pantyhose on purpose.
Oakland Raiders- Will relocate to Las Vegas next year . .  move back to Oakland in 2030 . . relocate to Germany in 2035 . . . move back to Oakland in 2042 . . . relocate to Mars in 2050!
Philadelphia Eagles- Their former digs- Veterans Stadium- housed jail cells. And if you ever attended a game there, you understand why.
Pittsburgh Steelers- They haven’t returned to the Super Bowl since Bane blew up their fictional stadium in Dark Knight Rises. Not a coincidence.
San Francisco Forty 49ers- Joe Montana was chosen with the 82nd pick of the 1979 NFL draft. It worked out alright.
Seattle Seahawks- They aren’t the first pro football team to go by the name Seahawks. That would have been the Miami Seahawks, who did their business back in the ’40s.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers- See my suggestions for Broncos and Vikings. After which, feel free to mix and match.
Tennessee Titans- The designers of their uniforms imagined Masters of the Universe having sex with Ross Department Store.
Washington Redskins- No team matches its locale so perfectly. They’re corrupt, inept and divisive as fuck. 

As for the NFL season, there’s still time for the resistance to thwart the Evil Empire. And if Sam Rothstein were to ask me for a top ten best bets to take down Darth Vader Inc., Imma go with these . . .

1- Ravens: They kicked the shit out of New England last week so they get the top spot.
2- Chiefs: They’ve got Patrick Mahomes.
3- Packers: They’ve got Aaron Rodgers.
4- Seahawks: They shouldn’t be doing what they’re doing, but they’re doing it anyway.
5- Texans: They’ve got Deshawn Watson.
6- Eagles: Because they kicked the shit out of New England in the Super Bowl . . what, five minutes ago? It seems like it. And I still love Carson Wentz, even if I think he’s got to step up big time.
7- Browns: There’s a better chance Drew Carey plays center for the Cavaliers and leads them to the playoffs, but hey . . this is a top ten and I need warm bodies.
8- Cowboys: Yes, I put them below the Browns because they piss me off and I’m not even a fan. All that talent and they can’t beat Kirk Fucking Cousins . . at home?
9- Raiders: Because Jon Gruden deserves some props from those clowns (me) who said he was a mistake. His Raiders play hard, they came together after the Antonio Brown debacle and they’re fun as hell to watch. And while I really don’t think they’ve got a chance to sustain over the rest of the season . . who wouldn’t want to see Gruden and the Raiders back in New England in January? Almost twenty years hence from the “Tuck Rule” game that began the Patriots dynasty.
10- Dolphins- Again, this is a top ten list and since I can only come up with a legitimately serious top fourish, why not Miami to put a cap on it? Because I believe they have as much a chance to win it all as the Vikings and Bills. And that might be none at all, but that just makes it equal. And I cannot and will not include the Saints on any list after how they carried on after the NFC title game last year. The same franchise that brought us Bounty Gate . . . railing on about a bad call? Nope.

Up until a couple weeks ago, Miami was destined to go down as the worst pro football team of all time. I even wrote about it, somewhat excitedly at that. Because I wasn’t so much interested in the ignominy of a possible 0-16 season, as in the idea that my team actually had a brain trust in place that wasn’t an oxymoron.

History is toast now that the Dolphins are on an actual winning streak. And maybe we blew our chance to score Joe Burrow in the draft- a kid who happens to be the latest QB du jour. And I don’t care right now, because all I know is that Brian Flores has a gutted roster playing as if it’s the Super Bowl. So let the Jets and Skins, the Bengals and maybe even the Falcons dog it out for the top spots in the draft. Because maybe my team has something they don’t have.

A plan.