Archive for September, 2010

Because my girlfriend is a superb lady, she agreed to battle me in NFL picks this year. Each week, I’ll present some sort of explanation for our picks, and at the end, the winner gets dinner from the loser. And no, I don’t like my chances.

While scouring through the thousands of replies from my dozens of non-computer followers, I got one that had me buzzing for the rest of the day:
-Via @StEvenES: what u think bout Mike Vick
Those six words sent me on a mini tweet barrage for another hour or so. To sum up my feelings in a nutshell:
1. The football fan in me LOVES seeing Michael Vick at quarterback.
2. The football nerd in me thinks that this is a shaky idea at best, and will probably fail miserably.

What’s that? You want to know why I feel this way? I thought you’d never ask!!

Football Fan Theory
Throughout his career, Michael Vick has had a healthy dose of “not that bad” mixed in with a fair amount of “OMFG, did you just see that???” I mean, did you see that pass he threw to DeSean Jackson? (I may or may not have made my friends watch that throw about 21 times. I’m ashamed to say that I lost count.) There are also other highlights (the TD run to end the game vs. Minnesota, the long run and flip in the game vs. St. Louis, and the run against Green Bay in Week 1.

This was actually the end of an exciting play!

He makes the game exciting, there’s really no other way round it. The Eagles have a number of great options around Vick, (Brent Celek, Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, LeSean McCoy) so there’s always the chance that they could put up a lot of points really quickly. The Eagles also seem to use a lot of shotgun, so there’s always the threat of that pesky “zone read” play that will give a defense fits. Of course, there’s the whole “story of redemption” that gets people excited as well. So, hey, what’s not to like about Michael Vick at quarterback?

Well, not that you asked, but…

This is a shaky idea at best. It’s probably going to fail.
I should probably save the “I’m probably the only black person who thinks that this idea might not work out” theory for another blog. Having said that, there have been plenty of ink devoted to statistical data on why the Michael Vick Experience just doesn’t make sense for the Eagles (KC Joyner has a very good read on the matter). Here’s a rundown of the Philadelphia quarterback situation since the end of last season:
1. Philly trades Donovan McNabb to the Redskins, and state that it’s Kevin Kolb’s time to shine.
2. Philly decides to keep Michael Vick around as (presumably) the backup.
3. Kevin Kolb signs a contract extension, giving him something like $12 million guaranteed.
4. The Packers knock Kolb out of the game with a concussion. Vick comes in and almost saves the day.
5. Kolb is held out of the Detroit game, and Vick comes in and plays quite well.
6. After telling everyone that Kolb would return as the starter once healthy, Andy Reid then pulls a John Kerry and goes back to Vick.
(I’m sorry if this is a little dizzying. I’m dizzy from just writing all of that.)

I’m not here to say that you should feel sorry for Kevin Kolb. He’s a grown man, and this is a business. As a team, you have to make sure that you’re giving the team the best opportunity to win. While it’s easy to say that Michael Vick has suddenly turned the corner, and is ready to play as a “developed QB,” how did the Eagles suddenly decide this after two games? Also, has anyone else told Andy Reid that he was playing the Detroit Lions? Also, Kevin Kolb played about a quarter and a half in Week 1. During that quarter and a half, Vick was randomly inserted from time to time. Of course, that’s going to definitely create some rhythm, and give Kolb some confidence, right? (No.) So why suddenly reverse course now? Also, as the football nerds will gladly tell you, Michael Vick has never completed more than 60 percent of his passes (the mark of an accurate passer, which happens to be, you know, important). Also, the “he just WINS GAMES” argument is mediocre at best. Yes, he has a record of 38-29-1 in his career as a starter. And the Falcons went to the NFC title game in 2005. But, uh, did you see his stats from that game? I know, I know, that was five years ago.

Also, Michael Vick is not under contract next year (having said that, there might not be an NFL next year). The Eagles weren’t really re-building by any means, so this can’t be seen as a “win now” idea. What happens if he gets hurt? (As some people will have you believe, NFL players are broken in half ALL THE TIME) What happens when they actually play good teams? Did the coaches also notice the six sacks by Detroit, and the several almost vomit-inducing passes that could have been interceptions? My final argument against: Who is

I'm sure he's digging for a stupid play in this picture.

the coach of the Philadelphia Eagles? ANDY REID! When the game is on the line, and you need one play to make a difference…there’s a 99 percent chance that Andy Reid will call something that is just ridiculously mind-boggling. So…historically mediocre (with some doses of awesome) quarterback + a weak offensive line + an organization that loves to flip flop + a comedy routine of a coach? It just all equates to a really risky move.

Confused yet? I can’t say I blame you.

Anyway, I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t excited about the possibility of seeing Michael Vick under center for the remainder of the season. He does things that are exciting! I just hope that the Eagles don’t find a way to screw it up. Now, before I forget…here are my Week 3 picks:
(home team in caps)
CHIEFS (+2.5) over 49ers
RAVENS (-10.5) over Browns
Cowboys (+2.5) over TEXANS (Fall in love with the Moo Cows if you dare)
Lions (+10.5) over VIKINGS
PATRIOTS (-13.5) over Bills
SAINTS (-4.5) over Falcons
Titans (+3.5) over GIANTS
Steelers (-2.5) over BUCS
Bengals (-3.5) over PANTHERS
Eagles (-2.5) over JAGS
Redskins (-3.5) over RAMS
Colts (-6.5) over BRONCOS
CARDINALS (-4.5) over Raiders
Chargers (-5.5) over SEAHAWKS
DOLPHINS (-1.5) over Jets
BEARS (+3.5) over Packers
Last week: 7-9
Season: 14-18

The Lady’s picks:

Need help with your NFL picks? She's the one to call. No, really.


49ers (-2.5) over CHIEFS
RAVENS (-10.5) over Browns
Cowboys (+2.5) over TEXANS
Lions (+10.5) over VIKINGS
Bills (+13.5) over PATRIOTS
SAINTS (-4.5) over Falcons
GIANTS (-3.5) over Titans
Steelers (-2.5) over BUCS
PANTHERS (+3.5) over Bengals
Eagles (-2.5) over JAGS
Redskins (+3.5) over RAMS
Colts (-6.5) over BRONCOS
CARDS (-4.5) over Raiders
Chargers (-5.5) over SEAHAWKS
Jets (-1.5) over DOLPHINS
BEARS (+3.5) over Packers
Last Week: 9-7
Season: 15-17

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Football is back! I hope you’re entertained as we whip around the league for Week One of the 91st NFL season. You can find previous live blogs here and here.

All times Eastern
3:55 pm: And we are at the ManZone ¡EN VIVO!!! If football is not really your thing, don’t worry! We’ll also have “live look-ins” for the FIBA Championships Gold Medal Game, the men’s U.S. Open final, (Djokovic-Nadal) and the True Blood season finale (if we’re feeling adventurous).

3:57 pm: Just jumped to Atlanta-Pittsburgh. Matt Ryan, he of “yeah, he’ll have a bounce back year!” fame, just threw an INT in the fourth quarter, game tied at 9. But! Atlanta coach Mike Smith challenges the call. Drink!

3:59 pm: Did I just hear Sandstorm at Heinz Field?!!? In the words of Danielle from Bad Girls Club, “HOW DARE THEY???!!!?” (I actually like it)

4:01 pm: Making a cameo at the ManZone, @ZenLizzie! I’m also playing her in ¡La Liga! this week. Lots of death stares going on right now.

4:02 pm: The announcing team for Atlanta and Pittsburgh just spent about 30 minutes waxing poetic about the pick by Polamalu.

4:06 pm: Jeff Reed with a 34 yard field goal try to give Pittsburgh the lead. Of course he missed!!

4:08 pm: In Chicago!! Calvin Johnson makes a sensational catch. But, uh, he has to hold on to the ball throughout the catch. Mike Somebody in L.A. is giving some crap about “the entire process.” Le sigh.

4:10 pm: It’s final in Houston: The Texans beat the Colts, 34-24. So, obviously, the Texans are going to the Super Bowl!!!

4:15 pm: Rashard Mendenhall with the walkoff touchdown run! Steelers win! And now we have to look at those hideous shirts these guys are wearing on the sideline.

4:16 pm: Actual commentary from the TV guys: “They just kept pounding it, and pounding it, and pounding it…” Drink!

4:22 pm: David Garrard’s “nimble feet and elusive moves” got him…2 yards. NFL: Feel the Hyperbole!

4:24 pm: On to Istanbul! Team USA beating Turkey by 17. Of course, had we lost, we could have just nuked the bastards. And finally, you can say “the world champions of basketball!” and mean it!

4:27 pm: And we’re off to Philly! Where Aaron Rodgers promptly pulls a Brett Favre to evade the rush and complete a pass to James Jones. Lusting for those Eagles unis, by the way.

Just wear these all year, guys. OK, thanks!

4:32 pm: Arian Foster had about 491 yards today. The sound you hear is everyone in America breaking their neck to get him on their fantasy football team.

4:34 pm: The Lady just gave me a random high five. Why? Because she just unlocked the ultimate mode(??) on Monsters vs. Aliens. Hey now, we all have a passion!

4:35 pm: Matt Moore left the Panthers-Giants game with an injury. The ailment? Too much hanging out with Jake Delhomme, obviously.

4:37 pm: A Michael Vick sighting! Drink! And the patented boo birds from the fans at the Linc. Football season is back in full effect!

4:41 pm: On to Seattle! I think this is a good example of a good uniform choice (San Francisco) and a poor one (Seattle).

4:43 pm: Frank “Don’t Call Him Al” Gore with a couple of first downs. Should I brag now that I got him in the 3rd round of the ¡La Liga! draft?

4:45 pm: False start penalty on San Fran. Drink!

4:48 pm: I’m wondering who will have the truck commercial with nudity. Because let’s face it: No one cares about the towing capacity.

4:51 pm: Quick college note: The Associated Press has the Gamecocks ranked at 13. Because, you know, that’s justified and all. (Who am I kidding? I’ll take it!)

4:58 pm: The smack talk is on level 12 here at the ManZone. Currently it’s Fancy Pants 93, Stars and Bars 90.

5:03 pm: We’ve been watching the Eagles-Packers game for about 10 minutes. I think Aaron Rodgers was sacked about 84 times in that span. Super Bowl contenders, eh?

5:05 pm: Yes FOX, I definitely wanted to see a slow mo replay of Leonard Weaver getting his leg violated!!!

5:08 pm: That sound you hear is Philadelphia calling to see if Donovan McNabb is available. Wait, too soon?

5:12 pm: New wrinkle to the drinking game: Any time you hear the phrase “the decision” OR just “decision” in general. You know, just to make LeBron a part of your football viewing.

5:18 pm: There’s a free trial of NFL Sunday Ticket. On the Game Mix channel, they just play music for the games that are already over. Melanie Fiona is a great anthem for the NFL!!

Hey Panthers fans, just listen to Melanie Fiona. That'll make the Trent Edwards crap job from today a little better, no?

5:21 pm: On to St. Louis! Darnell Dockett botched a chance to pick up a loose ball. Hmmm, maybe he should stop tweeting so much.

5:25 pm: Random, yet relevant tweet: lamest smack talking board ever http://twitpic.com/2nvfoy @itsjordylive Courtesy of @ZenLizzie

5:29 pm: Alternate weird sequences: Stewart Bradley staggered around like he got knocked out, while Ryan Grant played hot foot on the sideline to the locker room.

5:35 pm: The Eagles have a grand total of zero passing yards thus far. Honestly, I think Eagles fans would go for A.J. Feely at this point.

5:37 pm: Although Jordy Nelson dropped that ball, it was well behind him.

5:45 pm: Joe Buck just said, “Kevin Kolb FUCKING SUCKS today” in a very nice, politically correct way. That’s why they pay him the big bucks!

5:48 pm: Took the lead in my ¡La Liga! matchup, 99-93. I’ll pretend not to care about the fact that she has Phillip Rivers playing tomorrow night. Somebody give him the ebola virus!

5:55 pm: In Seattle, Pete Carroll thought that his team connected with the crowd. What the hell does he think this is, a Lady Gaga Concert?

5:57 pm: Finally, a TAINT by Alex Smith, taken to the end zone by Marcus Trufant!! (Touchdown after Interception) Drink! Isn’t Trufant older than Favre?

5:59 pm: We’ll end this segment with a random, yet relevant tweet: OK, can we now agree it’s Andy Reid and not Donovan? (Courtesy of @Locs_n_Laughs)

Goodness gracious. This blog EN VIVO is going to have to take a water break. Hope you enjoyed this space thus far…

Breaking news: I’m a little into football. OK, you’ve been warned. You’re welcome!

I thought about doing a blog with my “thoughts” on the past weekend in college football. But, since it’s

Yeah, yeah. Important college football game in September, blah blah blah.

already Wednesday, I’m sure that you’ve taken the time to actually get a recap from “professionals” who are “actually paid to provide opinions on college football.” So, anyway, no “extensive” college football talk this morning.

There’s one thing I’ve learned in my 20 years of watching football: You can’t really predict anything. Sure, there are trends, loads upon loads of statistical data, and that terrible thing called “a gut feeling.” When it comes to picking NFL games, (especially when the spread is involved) you’re likely going to over-think the entire process, which will result in you making ridiculous choices (like taking New Orleans at -6.5. Obviously, you could look at the fact that the home team in the Thursday night opener usually wins, and wins convincingly. But! Did you watch that NFC Championship game? Wait a minute. Here I am, over-thinking).

Since the important thing to remember here is that this is only a game, it’s important to make things fun. Well, what’s more fun than challenging your girlfriend to a pick ’em challenge? Before you go screaming, “That’s not FAIR!” let me give

See, if they had done NFL picks together, Al and Tipper wouldn't be divorcing each other!

you some background:
1. We’ve filled out March Madness brackets three times. I’ve lost all three.
2. On more than one occasion, I’ve lost to my girlfriend in H-O-R-S-E. Yes. Insert “you call yourself a man?” jokes here.
3. When I asked her if she wanted to do NFL picks against me, she laughed and said, “Why do you keep wanting to be emasculated by me?” (OK, she didn’t say that. But she could.)
So, obviously, this is a mismatch. As in, I probably have no shot. But that’s why they play the game! You never know! We’ll go all 17 weeks, with the tiebreaker being a fight in a UFC cage slapping contest (that’s legal in South Carolina, you know). Anyway, here’s a look at our Week One picks:

Background: We’re picking games against the spread. Which means…even if the Vikings lose tomorrow night, as long as the lose by less than 6.5, (which obviously, half points are not possible) I still made the correct call. You can go ahead and pull your hair out so I don’t have to; I’d appreciate it!

(Home teams in CAPS)
-Me: Minnesota, Miami, Detroit, TENNESSEE, NEW ENGLAND, Carolina, (I guess this is the upset special?) Atlanta, Cleveland, JACKSONVILLE, Indianapolis, San Francisco, Green Bay, ST. LOUIS, Dallas, NJ JETS, (yes, you may notice that they play in New Jersey) San Diego.
-The Lady: Minnesota, Miami, CHICAGO, Oakland, Cincinnati, Carolina, PITTSBURGH, Cleveland, JACKSONVILLE, Indianapolis, San Francisco, Green Bay, Arizona, Dallas, NJ JETS, San Diego

We have our picks up on ESPN’s Pick Em page if there is any doubt that we are being honest. I’ll post the picks on an entry before the games are played each week, as if that matter because this could turn out to be quite epic. If you want to see how you stack up against us, you can join by doing one of the following:

-Go to the ESPN Pigskin Pick ‘Em page, search for and join the group “Le Battle Royale!”
-Leave a comment here or e-mail me, (tbfilesblog[at]yahoo.com) and I’ll send you an invite
-Leave a comment each week stating that you got all your picks right. Who am I to try and argue?

So, be on the lookout throughout the season as I finally try to beat my girlfriend at something. Unfortunately, I really mean that.

As you may recall, I wrote a blog about forming a fantasy football league. Well, it turns out that I am actually able to accomplish something that I set out to do! We had the draft for the first ever season of La Liga de TBF. And since this is a hyper sports blog, why not give some player highlights from the draft?!!? We ended up going with eight total teams, which gives me less to write about, really. Anyway, here are the conferences, each team’s first pick, and my choice for the “sleeper” on the team.

Note: Obviously, the names of the team owners are being withheld for their privacy. Translation: I did not ask to put their names in this blog because I’m too lazy for that.

That's right! La Liga is werewolf and vampire friendly!

Jacob Black Conference (Believe it.)
Dixieland Stars and Bars
-First pick: Adrian Peterson (5th overall). Obviously, you might be thinking, “Adrian Peterson went fifth overall?!!?” Don’t worry, I thought the same thing.
-Sleeper: Eddie Royal (11th round). With Brandon Marshall gone, who else will Kyle Orton throw the ball to? Just two years ago, he had 90 receptions.

Tega Cay Filet Mignons
-First pick: Ray Rice (7th overall). Getting a guy with 2,000 yards “from scrimmage” (that’s a stupid name for a stat, by the way) is usually a good idea. And this league rewards a point for each reception!
-Sleeper: Well, this is not really a sleeper. But how in the world did Calvin Johnson, Brandon Marshall, and

No Matt Millen, you cannot join this league!

Michael Crabtree (all #1 receivers) end up on the same team? Who drafted this team, Matt Millen?

Don’t Succop my Garcon Poupon (best team name WINNER)
-First pick: Chris Johnson (2nd overall). Well, at #2, this is a value pick. Unless, you know, his body breaks down.
-Sleeper: Matthew Stafford (10th round). I know, I know, a second year QB shouldn’t be a sleeper. However, it’s usually the guys that aren’t getting any attention who end up surprising some people. That, and, well, um, yeah. He was the top (for real) pick in 2009!

Team Hosti
-First pick: Drew Brees (1st overall). Hey, why not go with the Madden cover boy as the first pick? Don’t answer that.
-Sleeper: Victor Cruz (NY Giants, 16th round). When you purposely go for the guy “that made the Jets look bad on Hard Knocks, this takes the cake for all sleepers.

Also, the winner of this league gets to marry Bella. Wait a minute...

Edward Cullen Conference
Awkward Turtles
-First pick: Peyton Manning (6th overall). No argument here. Before that terrible T.A.I.N.T. (TD after interception) in the Super Bowl, people were ready to say he was the best ever. So, uh, that would make him a smart fantasy choice, right?
-Sleeper: The combo of Joe Flacco and Anquan Boldin. Also: Chris Cooley. Who else will McNabb throw the ball to?

Team Fancy Pants
-First pick: Andre Johnson (3rd overall). At least it wasn’t Andre Rison!

There's also a "best hair" category for this league. And this guy will not win that award.

-Sleeper: Vince Young (14th round). I think I heard all the ESPN fantasy nerds jumping around, screaming, and giving each other high fives once this pick was made. 14th round! 26-13 as a starter!

Team BAIKMAN
-First pick: Tony Romo (8th overall). Matthew Berry hearts this pick.
-Sleeper: Steve Breaston (16th round). I know, Kurt Warner’s gone. But I think that Larry Fitzgerald may finally be getting that Madden curse, and Breaston caught 77 balls in 2008. And, round 16? Even 60 catches would make this a solid sleeper.

Team Kasprzyk
-First pick: Aaron Rodgers (4th overall). ESPN the Magazine labeled him as “the people’s choice.” Michael Lombardi thinks that the Packers are a lot like last year’s Saints. Yeah, that’s worth a top pick.
-Sleeper: Matt Forte (7th round). You know, last year, Matt Forte was a first round must. I know, thanks a lot, Jay Cutler!!!

And that, my friends, is the team lineup for La Liga TBF! I will have a separate page up that will have team standings and results. Also, there will be an elaborate celebration for the winner. Be on the lookout for that!