The NFL hates the Buccaneers

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As is the yearly ritual, we have now officially entered the REAL Lying Season. The time of year leading up to the draft when all NFL teams are leaving the other teams guessing who is going to pick which player coming out of their free farm system. It’s a high-stakes game of poker, and you never want to reveal your winning hand before anybody antes up, amiright?

So imagine my surprise while perusing the league’s website the other day and seeing the following headline:

Lovie Smith: I’m comfortable making Winston face of Buccaneers

Whoa, waitaminit…Lovie said that? Out loud? In front of reporters? BEFORE the combine tests begin?

So like a fish who cannot resist trying to catch a fast-moving shiny object, I clicked the link. And enefel dot cawm actually repeated themselves by stating the Bucs were “comfortable making quarterback Jameis Winston the face of the franchise,”

The only problem with this article was that enefel dot cawm was stupid enough to include what Lovie actually said: “With the information we have right now, we haven’t taken him off of our list right now.

Notice the difference? Lovie says Winston is currently on their draft board (just like several other QB-needy teams), and actually implies that Winston could be dropped from their board. To me, it sounds like they are leaning more towards “drop” than “pick”. Meanwhile, enefel dot cawm is implying that the Buccaneers will make Winston the face of their franchise.

And when you read the visitor comments, many people point out that the website is just making shit up. So what does enefel dot cawm do? They double-down on their lack of journalistic integrity.

Why are they trying to ruin the Bucs’ hand in this poker game? Who knows. Maybe it’s because they want a pure pocket passer instead of another trendy scrambler to be the first QB picked. Maybe it’s because Lovie once pissed in their Cheerios. Maybe they simply hate the Buccaneers.

It couldn’t be because they just want more clicks…

…and this, ladies and gents, is why we watch football

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Yes, I thought about turning off the game when I thought the 49ers had it all sewn up. Several times, actually.

At half-time they were up by 21 points, thanks to a pick-six and what seemed would become a career day for Frank Gore. 49ers oozed confidence, while the Chargers just simply oozed.

Then the niner tires went flat. Coming out of the half, Gore couldn’t run anymore and added a chop block to nullify a TD, while Kaepernick seemed to lose more yardage on sacks than gained yards passing. If it weren’t for that 90-yard TD run by Kaepernick, the 3rd quarter would have had the new Santa Clara stadium declared a disaster area. Thank goodness there’s a fourth quarter, so that the disaster would be complete, right?

A total implosion like that does not bode well for a head coach who is live-interviewing for the Raiders. Then again, it would still be considered an improvement by Oakland.

But I don’t blame the coach. I don’t blame the players. I blame the tailgate ritual at their new stadium. That isn’t Keystone Light in those champagne flutes…

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So who would YOU draft?

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Well, after beating the 49ers yesterday the Raiders basically screwed themselves for the first over-all pick in the draft. Now we’ve got five teams sitting at 2-11. Three of those teams desperately needs a quarterback, and the experts are basically saying the two best who MIGHT declare for the draft are Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston. As a interesting side-note, current Heisman Trophy votes this year has Mariota absolutely destroying last year’s winner, Winston.

More glaring for the 2015 draft is the uncanny resemblance to the top-two QBs from the 2012 draft, Andrew Luck and RG3. Which would you choose? More importantly, which of them would you trade up for? Would you pull a Dan Snyder brain fart?

Like Luck, Winston is primarily a pocket passer with some mobility, he’s hard to take down, has a strong, accurate arm, and he’s coming from a pro-style offense.

Like RG3, Mariota can kill you with his legs. He has taken off running twice as often as Winston has this year, but racked up eight times as many yards as Winston. He’s an electric player, but he’s coming from a spread offense.

So a lot of draft-niks are saying Winston has more upside, he is a “cleaner projection” to the NFL than Mariota.

This is the part where I call bullshit. Ta-dah!!

While Winston has a 24-17 TD-to-INT ratio this year, Mariota has a 38-2 ratio. Let that sink in for a minute: only two interceptions, and far more touchdowns. And he’s smart enough not to get in a position to get hurt, even while rushing in five times as many TDs as Winston.

And you say, “Wow, those Mariota numbers are so close to Griffin’s numbers during his final college year! Oh crap, RG3 is all but retired from the NFL now, I’d pick Winston!”

Yeah, not so fast, genius.

Fran Tarkenton knew more than two years ago that RG3 wouldn’t make it in the NFL. And it was primarily because of his character, his ego, his “me first” attitude…not his abilities, and not his injuries. And Fran certainly isn’t the first person to rip into RG3 about these things. Hell, Griffin’s coach has finally gotten in on the act.

By all accounts that I could find, Mariota does not suffer from an inflated ego. And he seems to be a member in good standing of society in general.

On the other hand, Winston certainly has some problems with his decision-making off the field. There have been sexual assault allegations, soda swiping, and the kid likes to use his vulgar mouth at high volumes in crowded spaces.

Consider this example: Russell Wilson runs like the dickens, and he makes time every Tuesday for sick kids at the hospital. And he has a Lombardi.

A person’s character is not inconsequential: that character translates to how good of a teammate you are, how hard you’re willing to work, how much you care about others and how much you want to succeed.

Winston doesn’t seem to embody those qualities. But he’s the “cleaner projection”? Bullshit. He’ll be riding the pine his fourth year, and then he’ll be out. That is, if he doesn’t end up in jail first…

So long TNF, and thanks for all the fish

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All good things must come to an end, and so it is tomorrow with the first Thursday Night Football game that is not being simulcasted on CBS.

Not that we didn’t know such a thing was going to happen…we certainly did, from the very beginning. It was pointed out pretty-much everywhere that we football fans would get such a gift from CBS for only the first half of the season, and the second half we pound sand while TNF goes exclusive to its walled garden of the NFL Network again.

But if you read some of the visitor comments for this article at nfl.com, you come to the realization that most people don’t have a clue about what is going on. They are complaining as if the network canceled Firefly a second time or something. Those greedy bastards! is a fairly common theme of the comments.

Of course, it didn’t help that nfl.com’s title of the article was completely untrue. It states, “Thursday Night Football moves from CBS to NFL Network“. There are several problems with that title, beginning with the fact that TNF is NOT moving to NFLN…they’ve been shown on NFLN for over FIVE YEARS now. CBS paid to simulcast a handful of games, that’s all.

I’ve never pulled punches against nfl.com concerning their ability to report or compose litterature, or more precisely, lack thereof. This is just another situation where they totally blew chunks. So it’s perfectly understandable that some fans are spitting mad…nfl.com made it appear as if something was being taken away from them.

In conclusion, I would like to thank CBS for filling my Thursday nights with joy this year. Now I need to find something else to do for Thursdays, because even after more than five years, I STILL have no desire to pay Comcast a king’s ransom just to watch TNF (and MNF). I’m still perfectly happy with my antenna.

Lord have mercy, ‘hawks dumped Percy

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Just before the 2013 draft, the Seahawks made a huge trade with the Vikings and followed by handing Percy Harvin a boatload of cash. After playing just…what was it, EIGHT GAMES TOTAL?…the Seahawks traded Percy to the J-E-T-S.

Such a dynamic player! Such a nightmare to line up against! Huge plays in the Super Bowl! And after the 2014 opening night game against the Packers was over, Russell Wilson declared, “Lord have mercy, we’ve got Percy!” Sounds like he was going to be THE playmaker in the attempt to repeat the Super Bowl, right?

Can’t say we didn’t see this trade coming, actually. Way before the honeymoon started (you know what I mean…the honeymoon you always wanted with a lover who needs hip surgery on your wedding night), this blog detailed the Seahawks possible future with Percy right after the trade. For example:

Harvin’s had two Head Coaches in his pro-career and fallen out with both. Will Carroll be the hat trick?

Looks like Percy has hit the three-pointer!

Note to Percy: your new coach punches a cement wall when he gets pissed off. You have soft, supple skin.

Triplette and his crew are totally trippin’ again, man

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Prime-time games have mostly sucked this year, with the majority of contests being decided by double-digits or even by dozens of points. We still watch because it’s still football, and ratings are excellent regardless. Most of the attention is on sub-par TNF games, but honestly we’re not seeing close contests for almost all night games so far, which leads me to this week’s edition of…

Conspiracy Theory ( dum-dum-daaahhhh… )

The theory is: the officiating crew handling the MNF game between Redskins and Seahawks received a communique from the league office that another prime-time blowout would be unacceptable.

A lot of scribes have been talking about bullshit penalties that were called against the Seahawks, two of which negated two Percy Harvin TDs. But not many have touched on flagrant fouls against the Redskins that were NOT called. For example, spinning the ball on the field after converting a 1st down late in the half: that’s taunting and pretty fucking obvious…several Seahawks signaled they wanted a flag, but officials only picked up the ball. Or how about the intended receiver, Garcon, grabbing Sherman by the hair and forcing him to the ground while the ball was in the air…that’s one of those so-called “points of emphasis” penalties that are supposed to be called this season, but obviously not for this game. There were a couple of helmet-to-helmet hits, such as AFTER Wilson slid. In all, the Redskins were called for only three penalties for 30 yards.

In all fairness, Triplette and his crew has a long history of suckage. Even his Wiki page only details the idiocy of his reign of bad flags. But the league thinks that he’s still good enough to officiate playoff games.

But Triplette and his crew usually make only one or two major blunders in a game. The Redskins vs Seahawks game was different: most viewers lost count of 1) the number of bad calls levied against the Seahawks, and 2) the number of blatant non-calls for the Redskins.

I’m not going to come straight out and say Triplette was ordered by his bosses to call the game to keep it close. And it would probably be bad form to suggest maybe he was paid a little extra…

Coin toss and OT rules only suck when YOU don’t win

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Mark Kiszla of the Denver Post is blaming this week’s Broncos loss on the “pure, dumb luck” of a coin toss. He said, “Unlike the Super Bowl, the only difference Sunday between the Broncos and Seattle was a flip of the coin.”

Hey Mark, Seattle won the coin toss for the Super Bowl, but that time they deferred…and they got two points. Damned coin tosses. But I digress.

Kiszla thinks, “NFL overtime rules are stupid.” A few years ago, he would have been absolutely correct. But thanks to the modified “sudden death” overtime rules instituted for the playoffs in 2010, and then applied for all games during the 2012 offseason, he’s dead wrong.

The Broncos stole a bunch of piggy banks a few months ago to upgrade their defense, in order to have a defense capable of holding their own against a team like the Seahawks or 49ers or Saints (should the Broncos make it back to the Super Bowl again, that is). All this vaunted defense needed to do was to force a punt, a turnover, or hold the Seahawks to a field goal, and their offense gets to have possession of the ball. And we all know how well Manning can engineer a two-minute drill ending in a touchdown with surgical precision.

But because Manning didn’t get to touch the ball in overtime, even the new rules are stupid. And because that vastly-improved defense couldn’t stop a touchdown drive by what some idiots call a “game manager quarterback who needs a step ladder to see over his own linemen”, overtime puts a premium on the coin toss…so naturally the coin toss deserves the blame.

Except that overtime put a MUCH higher premium on the coin toss in the old days, simply because a team only needed to get close enough for a field goal to end the game.

The modified sudden death rule was implemented to make overtime competitive and more fair than before. If the other team’s defense allows an 80-yard touchdown drive on first possession, maybe they deserve to lose.

Another issue is that during the regular season, there is only ONE overtime period. If a future first-ballot Hall-of-Famer quarterback gets an opportunity to tie the game with a touchdown, the probability of the game ending in a tie increases dramatically.

Besides…where was all this crybaby complaining from Denver when Tebow ended overtime against the Steelers with a single touchdown play? It was totally unfair when you WON, wasn’t it?