Monday, January 22, 2018

The Uber-Lame Conference Championship Round that No One Cares About

  • Uggggghhhhh everything about this weekend was terrible! 
Sad Tim Curry GIF

  • The awful, stupid, annoying, obnoxious New England Patriots are going to Super Bowl for the eighth time in Tom Brady’s 16 seasons as a starter. A 50% Super Bowl rate?? Come on.
Angry No Way GIF

  • The Jacksonville Jaguars jumped out to an early and were up by 10 when New England came storming back. As always, the Patriots’ got a little help from the officials (she said bitterly). Tell me more about how an offensive play can give a forearm to the head of the defender and it’s defensive pass interference.

  • Despite what Patriot fans and lazy sportswriters thinks, no human person “counted out” the Patriots after the first half. No one. Everyone knew they'd make it competitive. Don't try to play the “nobody believed in us” card while simultaneously crowing about all your records. 

  • I haven’t watched the Jaguars much this season, but every time I have, Myles Jack is doing something amazing. This strip/fumble recovery is incredible -- all in one smooth move. (I was so mad that Jacksonville didn’t score any points off this play.)

  • And when I say they didn’t score any points off of this, I mean that they ended up punting on their following drive. I’m not even addressing the fact that Jack doesn’t appear to have been touched after recovering the fumble and had a clear path to the endzone, but the refs blew the play dead.

    • Also:

    • Also:

    • But ho-hum, whatever. 

    • It’s painful for me to talk about the absolutely gorgeous defensive play that all but sealed the victory for New England. Corner Stephon Gilmore laid out (up?) to break up the Jaguars’ fourth-down prayer, but one can’t help but admire the beauty of the play.

    • Oh, look, Tom Brady is concerned with appearing arrogant. How cute. Brady said he wouldn’t complain about his hand pain during the game because he didn’t want to sound arrogant saying he was injured when he still had “a pretty good game.”

    • Bill Belichick, always so classy. Here’s him casually tossing aside his AFC Championship trophy. “Eh, another one of these dumb things?”
    Animated GIF

    • One corollary annoyance every time the Patriots win are the annoying talking heads who trot out the tired “See? Experience matters!!!!” line as if Tom Brady’s success is predicated on his experience (ya know, the guy who went to the Super Bowl three of his first four years playing?). It's not experience; it's just stupid Tom Brady.

    • Okay, normally people talking about commercials that play during big football games really annoys me, but this Taco Bell fake conspiracy action movie trailer is a pretty spot-on parody.

    • I cannot believe the Minnesota Vikings went 55 minutes without scoring in the booty-whipping they received from the Philadelphia Eagles. It was the season’s worst performance by far for one of the top defenses in the league. The gave up more points than they have all season; they gave up more yards than they have all season; and after setting a league record of holding opponents to a 25% third-down conversion rate (!) during the season, they allowed Philly to convert 71% of their third downs!! What happened??
    Philadelphia Eagles Shrug GIF by NFL

    • I was seriously stunned at the 38-7 outcome. It got out of hand quick. Honestly, the most interesting part of the game after the first quarter was watching Carson Wentz on the sidelines (as above). His swagger might even compete with the Pete Carroll robber baron strut because Wentz actually had a real cane.
    Doug Pederson Fist Bump GIF by NFL

    • I’m positively despondent because I can’t have the insufferable, cheating New England Patriots win their 54th Super Bowl. I just can’t. And hey, crazy things have been happening this postseason, but I really can’t work up a lot of optimism. I don't want to have to trust in Nick Foles! He doesn't even look like a quarterback.

    • Gah! He’s somehow even less convincing *in* uniform.

    • I don't have anything against Philly except their fans, city, and team, but it's hard to feel anything for the Eagles this year. I guess I like Zach Ertz and his superstar US Women’s Soccer wife. And I mean, I gueeeeess Foles being the starter in Philadelphia for three years, then getting traded, then coming back and leading them to the Super Bowl is mildly interesting. But that’s all I got for trying to force myself to care about the Eagles.
    Serious Cat GIF

    • That's a lot of emotions for the poor Vikings in the last seven days. And now they get to welcome the Eagles and Patriots to their city to watch them play the Super Bowl in their stadium. But hey, they’re the Vikings, so it’s still a little bit funny.

    • Remember our old pal James Jones? I always did like him.

    • James was also laying it down on Tony Romo, whom he picked as his “Comeback Player of the Year” because Tony went to the NFC Championship on Sunday for the first time in his career. Brutal.

    • Don’t worry, everybody, I’ll watch the dreadful Pro Bowl activities and NFL Honors show so you don’t have to.

    • This Super Bowl is going to be so lame. Do you know who would make it so much better?

    Tuesday, January 16, 2018

    Divisional Round

    • The Atlanta Falcons, in the most predictable event of the season, underperformed when it mattered. They were terribly disappointing in their 15-10 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. You have Julio Jones, Matt Ryan, Devonta Freeman, Mohamed Sanu, et al. -- how do you only score 10 points?!? 
    Unimpressed Dance Moms GIF by Lifetime Telly

    • In Atlanta’s defense, the Eagles seemed to have some mysterious force at work for them that turned sure interceptions into catches.

    • WHY won't I learn? What is it about the Falcons that I can't accept? THEY'RE NOT PLAYOFF MATERIAL. Every year, I swear I won't fall for their regular season mirage, but I always do! This year is the last year I ever put any faith in Atlanta in the postseason. I'm done with them forever. For real this time.
    Over It Im Done GIF

    • I thought after their humiliation in the Super Bowl last year, the Falcons would be zeroed in on redemption, like when the San Antonio Spurs got their hearts broken in the 2013 NBA Finals and stewed on it all through 2014 to come back and dominate the rematch for the championship. But they didn't. 

    • The field conditions in Philly looked absolutely dreadful. The poor Falcons were slipping all over the place.

    • If you want to make an Atlanta fan cry, here's how close the Falcons were to winning the game on their last play. 

    • Look, the New England Patriots were going to beat the Tennessee Titans. We all knew it. They didn't need help from the refs … but they got it anyway. Why is it that controversial calls always, always, always break in New England's favor? Here's an atrocious offensive pass interference on the Titans that forced them to punt, even though the Titans player is clearly within the five yards of the line of scrimmage where interference is allowed. New England scored on the following drive to take a 14-7 lead. 

    • A few drives later, the Patriots false started on a 4th-and-5 punt. One official originally called it a false start, but another overruled him and called it defensive encroachment. Instead of punting, New England got a fresh set of downs and scored on the drive to increase their lead to 21-7.

    • And THEN, down 21-7, Tennessee has to go for it on fourth-and-1. The Titans had a terrible play call and were stopped, but should have been given an automatic first down for this face mask penalty. But no. Because Patriots.

    • If those calls get called correctly, it might have been 14-10 or 14-14 at halftime instead of 21-7. New England probably would have still won, but it would have been nice (and actually entertaining) to see how that game would have played out. Harumph.

    • Jacksonville coming out of Pittsburgh alive was the biggest surprise of the weekend. It sounds cliched, but it really does seem like this was a trap game for the Steelers, despite the Jaguars beating them 30-9 earlier in the season. Pittsburgh head coach Mike Tomlin, running back Le’Veon Bell, and safety Mike Mitchell all referenced their presumed rematch with New England in the AFC Championship Game ... before they even made it there. Even Steelers offensive lineman David DeCastro called the pre-game talk "stupid" and "embarrassing."

    Note to self: save the trash talking for your current opponent next time.

    • One of these quarterbacks won the game, and it’s not the one with five touchdown passes.

    • Myles Jack -- who is a linebacker!! -- had one of the prettiest interceptions I’ve seen in a while. Jacksonville's offense outside of Leonard Fournette is suspect, but their defense is formidable. 

    • Despite Jacksonville’s 21-0 early lead, the Steelers didn’t give up. They clawed their way back and put on a pretty spectacular performance outside of the first quarter. I hated the Pittsburgh call to go for it on 4th-and-5 early in the fourth quarter … until Antonio Brown caught this touchdown! What a throw! What a catch!

    • There were some inexplicable calls by the Steelers, especially going for the onside kick late in the game. WHY do you go for the onside when you have 2:18 left, two timeouts, and the two minute warning, and you’re only down by seven, and you’re facing a Blake Bortles-led offense?? On top of that, it was a pitiful attempt that only went about six yards. Terrible decision.

    • This is absolutely wild. Jacksonville defensive end Calais Campbell actually called the 45-42 final score last week!! 

    • The announcers kept saying things like “Jacksonville not going away,” and “Jacksonville’s hanging around.” It’s kinda sad but also funny talking about a team that way when they led the entire game. 

    • So Jacksonville was very affronted by the Steelers' Patriots talk and understandably so. After the game, the Jaguars were gloating and talking trash about Steelers and crowing about disrespect and so forth. And then....
    Maybe don't do what the Steelers just did to you.

    • Alright, so we’re going to have to cheer for the Jacksonville Jaguars against the New England Patriots next week. It could happen. Crazy things happen in this world. Anything’s possible. Any given Sunday. We just have to believe, no matter what all logic and experience tells us. Sigh. I guess I better climb aboard the Blake Bortles train.
    Yay. Let's go, Blake.

    • Okay, so that Minnesota Vikings-New Orleans Saints game. Wow. And I thought Willie Snead missing a wide open Alvin Kamara for a touchdown was going to be New Orleans' most heartbreaking moment of the game. But no.

    • What a crazy ending! With 25 seconds, one timeout, and down two points, it seemed like the Vikings would need a miracle just to get a chance at a long, last-second field goal. They got their miracle and ended up with a walk-off winning touchdown. 

    • It was kinda adorable watching the faces of all the Vikings. They’re all so conditioned to disappointment that none of them can quite believe that they actually won. Case Keenum and Stefon Diggs were so cute in the locker room: “Hey, I don’t know what happened!” “I don’t know what happened either!’

    • As with all epic sports moments, you should listen to the local radio call. To quantify how unlikely that ending was, MInnesota's win percentage with 10 seconds left was 2.6%!

    • I feel just terrible for Marcus Williams, the rookie safety whose whiffed tackle gave Minnesota the game, but the Saints wouldn’t have even been in the game at the end without Williams’ third-quarter interception. Luckily most people are being nice to him, like two little girls who wrote him letters and went to the Saints' facility the next day to drop them off.
    And the fans who greeted the Saints at the
    airport in the middle of the night.

    "Flew" like paid for their flights, I'm assuming. I don't think
    he actually piloted them all himself.

    • After his firing, my old-man crush Chuck Pagano took out a full-page ad in the local paper thanking Indianapolis fans for his six years there.  

    • Just a little reminder for Dallas Cowboys fans. I wouldn’t want them feeling left out this weekend.

    • Joe Buck looks more ridiculous each week. Why is he bleaching his hair like a 1990s boy band member?
    Just embrace it, dude, and go all grey.

    • The Vikings will play the Philadelphia Eagles, and the two quarterbacks are former teammates with an odd history.

    • Now, like all good Americans, I will be cheering for anyone but New England to win it all. Any of the other three teams would be A-okay by me. As far as my preference, I hate to say it, and I feel terribly guilty feeling this way, but … I think I like the Vikings the best. Ugh not only are they a despised division foe, but they’re also the team that took out poor Aaron Rodgers this season. I should hate them extra hard this year.
    The Force Awakens Traitor GIF by Star Wars

    • Once my Packers are back in their rightful place atop the NFC North, however, I’ll go back to despising the Vikings, I promise. 

    Monday, January 8, 2018

    Wild Card Round

    Image result for aaron rodgers
    • I’ll dispense with my bitter grumblings about the Green Bay Packers not being in the playoffs, but just assume my attitude throughout this and all future 2017 playoffs posts.

    • If I was only going to watch one half of the a Kansas City Chiefs-Tennessee Titans game, I wish I would have chosen the second half. I turned it off at halftime, when the Chiefs held a 21-3 lead. But…

    • I will say that Chiefs fans have very good reason to be angry at the refs. It was a terribly officiated game and several big, game-changing calls went against Kansas City. Chief (heh) among the head-scratchers: the Chiefs sacked Titans’ quarterback Marcus Mariota while he was standing in the pocket, forced a fumble, and recovered -- but the refs blew the play dead because of “forward progress.” Huh??
    Confused The Lion King GIF

    • Then, in the fourth quarter, the Titans were down 21-16 when they scored a touchdown, making it 21-22, and they went for two. The Chiefs again sacked Mariota, forced the fumble, recovered the ball, and returned it for their own two-point score!! Except that the refs CALLED THE EXACT SAME THING, saying that Mariota’s “forward progress” was stopped. Oh, and like the previous call, it’s not reviewable (though far, far less egregious). So instead of 23-22 Chiefs, the game ended at 22-21 Titans. In both instances, the refs blowing the whistle too early took two legitimate fumbles away from the Chiefs. Normally with bad calls you say you don’t really know how the game would have turned out if if they had been called correctly, etc., but I think it’s pretty fair to say that the Chiefs definitely would have won if both -- or even one! -- of these calls have been correct.

    • Normally, I’d rub it in because the Chiefs are such an easy target, but I do actually feel bad for them because they got robbed, so I won’t. 
    Andy Luck GIF

    • I doubt Marcus Peters was feeling this way toward the refs by the end of the game.

    • Kansas City deserves some of the blame in that they gave Kareem Hunt, the league’s leading rusher on the season, only five carries the entire second half!!

    • Oh well! One of the weirdest and coolest highlights from Tennessee’s comeback was Mariota’s touchdown throw to … himself. How weird is that?! (Interesting rule detail that I didn’t know before: the passer's "entire body" has to be past the line of scrimmage for it to be an illegal forward pass, which is why Mariota's pass to himself counted.)

    • With starting running back DeMarco Murray out with a knee injury, Titans’ backup Derek Henry did more than okay -- he rushed for 156 yards and a touchdown!

    • The Atlanta Falcons dispatched the young whippersnapper Los Angeles Rams 26-13. Julio Jones was just six yards shy of having a triple-digit receiving day. Did you know that his name is not Julio?? His name is actually Quintorris Lopez Jones. Huh. He’s a very good receiver, as you can see here when he catches Todd Gurley.

    • Atlanta running back Devonta Freeman really wanted this touchdown, but his offensive lineman Alex Mack wanted it more, and he made sure Freeman got in.

    • (I’m going to say something stupid: I think the Falcons are going to win the Super Bowl. Because I never learn.)

    • I was really happy for the Buffalo Bills and the Jacksonville Jaguars making the playoffs, but not so much when I had to watch a game that featured both of them. Jacksonville knocked out Buffalo 10-3, and the game wasn’t as interesting as the score makes it sound. 
    I think I deserve credit for working a second Gone with the Wind gif
    into a football blog in the same season.

    • Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles had more rushing yards (88) than passing yards (87)!! IN A PLAYOFF GAME. 
    But, hey, he's making $19 million next year, so I guess the joke's on us.
    Or, more accurately, on the Jaguars.

    • Also, have we discussed that there ain’t no way in hell this guy is 25 years old?

    • Listening to Tony Romo trying to be nice while watching Tyrod Taylor and Blake Bortles quarterbacking was probably the most entertaining part of the game. 

    • The single, lone highlight of the game came on Aaron Colvin’s interception. What concentration!

    • I so wanted the Cinderella story for the Bills, but maybe they can try again in another 17 years.

    • The New Orleans Saints won, but I am so wildly impressive with the Carolina Panthers’ defense holding them to just 41 yards rushing! (Sure, sure, the 376 passing yards by Drew Brees sorta offsets that, but still… they held a team that has Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram to 1.9 yards a carry.)

    • Why wasn’t the late Carolina interception reviewed?? Aren’t all turnovers reviewed? Wasn’t that a big thing a few years ago when they said all scores and turnovers would be reviewed? I thought it was incomplete. The Saints, up 31-26, decided to go for it on 4th-and-2, and Drew Brees threw an interception. It would have been better for the Panthers if they had not intercepted, because it set them back about 16 yards from where they would have been if the Saints had turned the ball over on downs. BUT it looked to me like the Carolina player might not have had possession on the interception (it was ruled an interception and then a fumble), but who knows because they didn't review it!! No one know what the hell a catch is anymore, but the refs are definitely sure that's an interception?

    • The refs didn’t improve on the Panthers’ final drive, calling a controversial intentional grounding penalty when Cam Newton may or may not have been outside the pocket. The call meant a 10-second runoff AND a loss of downs. Ouch.

    • I am very bummed that Carolina’s exit means that I won’t get to watch dreamy Luke Kuechly until next season. I don’t know, Luke, maybe with your newfound free time we could, like, hang out or something?

    • Not a great week for the NFL fans who have weak stomachs when it comes to watching men’s brains get churned into mush. Travis Kelce, Tyrod Taylor, and Cam Newton all took big, big hits (none dirty) that had them stumbling unawares on national television. Mercifully, neither Kelce nor Taylor was allowed back in the game. (Though Taylor’s injury came on the last Bills drive of the game, so who knows if they would have tried to get him back in.) Newton, however, conveniently "cleared" the concussion protocol before the Panthers' next drive. Despite what the announcers tried to say, that wasn't an eye injury. 

    • Seattle recently was fined $100,000 for violating the concussion protocol. Cam Newton came back in, threw a touchdown, and brought the Panthers to within five seconds of winning a playoff game -- I’m sure Carolina would be more than happy to pay $100k for a postseason victory. You want teams to take care of their players, but the Newton situation is a perfect example of why they don’t. They wouldn’t have had a chance at the win with Derek Anderson. 

    • I don’t really have any feelings on Jon Gruden’s 10-year, $100 million coaching contract with the Raiders. I will say no other announcer would ever pull up a highlight clip on his cell phone and then hold the phone up to the camera, though, so I can appreciate his flair.

    • My other thought is that, with Gruden gone, who could we get to take his place on the Monday Night Football broadcast????

    • There are so many changes going on with the Green Bay Packers, and I don’t know if I can handle it!! I like stability!! Ted Thompson has moved to an advising role, and they’ve promoted Director of Player Personnel Brian Gutekunst to GM and promoted Russ Ball to Executive Vice President/Director of Football Operations. We still need a DC though!

    • The Packers lost Senior Personnel  Executive Alonzo Highsmith to the Cleveland Browns, where he’ll reunite with former Green Bay scouting director John Dorsey. Highsmith enjoys a respected reputation with both players and other NFL executives. He was viewed as one of the possible options to replace Ted Thompson as GM, but Highsmith apparently didn’t think that was likely, saying of Cleveland: “It feels good to go somewhere that you feel like you're trusted.”
    Uh Oh Oops GIF

    • There are a lot of shake-ups going on around the league. The Chicago Bears have hired the man behind that smoking Alex Smith offense in Kansas City, and the Detroit Lions beat out other teams to hire the defensive coordinator of a team known for having a dreadful defense. Thank God for the NFC North!

    • 8 new playoff teams usually would mean 'wow, there’s a lot of parity in the league!' But really it means, 'wow, a lot of stars got injured this year.'

    • Here's every team's playoff chances through the season. Hmm, what happened after Week 5 for the Packers??

    • This year, it’s Super Bowl LII, but I think we should call it Super Bowl Lil’ and see if it catches on. 

    • I still haven’t decided which team to lend my considerable support to this postseason. Let’s roll through the remaining options:
    Minnesota Vikings
    • FOR: The Super Bowl is being held in their hometown, which is pretty neat; they’re really, really talented. 
    • AGAINST: It’s the Vikes, so lol obvs no.

    Atlanta Falcons
    • FOR: I love Julio Jones; I like Matt Ryan, despite his weird ostrich neck; they’ve never won anything; people keeping on being mean to them about last year.
    • AGAINST: Are you kidding me? After what the way they choked last year? Hell no!

    Philadelphia Eagles
    • FOR: Carson Wentz seems really great.
    • AGAINST: Carson Wentz will not be involved.

    Tennessee Titans
    • FOR: Did you see Marcus Mariota’s adorable apology to the media because he was in a bad mood after losing?? Tennessee is a cool state, I imagine; Titans haven’t had anything nice happen to them in a while.
    • AGAINST: They’re obviously going to lose at the first opportunity when the refs aren’t constantly screwing over their opponent.

    Pittsburgh Steelers
    • FOR: My grandfather’s favorite team; Antonio Brown is really good; I’m becoming a JuJu Smith-Schuster fan; Le’Veon Bell is good; I trust them in playoff games.
    • AGAINST: I’ve always hated their colors -- who thought yellow and black would look good? The AFC North just kinda bothers me; I still haven’t quite gotten over the Ben Roethlisberger-being-a-rapist thing.

    Jacksonville Jaguars
    • FOR: Aww, so happy for them! Glad they’re not a joke anymore; their defense is very good and fun to watch; the half-matte helmets are cool and should become a thing.
    • AGAINST: They are still a joke with Bortles; Jalen Ramsey is as obnoxious as he is talented; their offense is honestly painful to watch.

    New Orleans Saints
    • FOR: Alvin Kamara + Mark Ingram.
    • AGAINST: I think the whole come-back-from-a-devastating-hurricane-to-win-the-Super-Bowl-and-everybody-loves-Drew-Brees Cinderella plot story has kind of played out; head coach Sean Payton seems like a real jerk. 

    New England Patriots
    • FOR: GTFO
    • AGAINST: Literally every reason that exists in the universe.

    • If we were to have a Super Bowl of Looking Good in Tuxedos, there would be a three-way tie.

    Tuesday, January 2, 2018

    I Never Did Quite Make it to Acceptance

    • If the Green Bay Packers had intentionally been losing in order to secure a better draft pick, I could have accepted the season. The part I’m having a problem with is that they’ve actually been trying to win. The Packers ended up with their first losing season since 2008 and were swept by the Detroit Lions for the first time in more than a quarter-century.

    • The 35-11 game was not as close as the score indicates. A three-score game implies that the Packers had a remote chance of victory.

    • There are a lot of frustrating players on the roster. Brett Hundley will have a beautiful throw (usually dropped by a receiver), and then follow it up with a ghastly interception or foolish fumble. Jamaal Williams is a good runner; not great at catching the ball. Trevor Davis is speedy returner, who makes absolutely terrible decisions every time -- if he reversed every single one of his decisions, he’d be pretty good
    Green Bay Packers Football GIF by Fanatics
    This is Trevor Davis' face when he's 10 yards deep in the endzone and the coverage
    team is on top of him. "This would be a good time to make a run for it!"

    • Honestly, no other team would ever keep Richard Rodgers on its roster. Who is our tight end coach? Why can none of our tight ends block?? 

    • Good news for Jason Spriggs! The backup offensive lineman left last week’s game with what looked to be a very serious knee injury. Fortunately, he avoided an ACL tear. He did dislocate his kneecap (ow), which is a significant injury, but far better than an ACL injury. (I’m not sure this is good news for the Packers, however…)

    • When a former offensive lineman is calling the game, you get an unusual amount of love for offensive line play. On Sunday, announcer Mark Schlereth couldn’t get enough of Green Bay left tackle David Bakhtiari, calling him the best pass protector in the league (rightly so) and saying he “dispensed justice all season long.”
    Put that on your resume.

    • I’m convinced that the Packers always overestimate their offensive talent because it’s going up against the Packers defense in practice, which would make anyone look like the Patriots. “Brett Hundley looks amazing in practice!!!”

    • Defensive coordinator Dom Capers is out in Green Bay -- along with the defensive line and inside linebackers coaches -- much to the delight of fans who have been calling for Capers’ head for ages. I can’t say I’m sorry -- in the last two seasons, the Packers defense has been 30th in opponent completion percentage and 31st in quarterback rating. I don’t think Capers has had a lot to work with, in the secondary especially, but the results have under him have been unacceptable.

    • Enough with the “Jordy Nelson is no good anymore” hot takes. He obviously lost a step after tearing his ACL, but he still found a way to lead the league in touchdowns the next year. It’s not really fair to take his Brett Hundley-driven statistics as the measure of his play.

    • Nelson, for his part, is very realistic and self-aware. He knows he’s not the same player he was before his knee injury, and he knows that there probably isn’t enough money to go around for him, Randall Cobb, and Davante Adams (who just signed a four-year, $58 million extension). He understands that his role is changing as Adams becomes the number-one receiver. Said Nelson, “I have no problem with it. I’m happy for Davante. He’s put a lot of work in and grown so much ... I was in that same situation six years ago or whatever with Greg (Jennings) and Donald (Driver). So I’m not mad at all. I’m happy for him, I’m happy with the way he’s developed, I’m happy with the way he’s grown as a football player, as a person, everything.” You don’t hear a lot of professional athletes talk like that.
    Green Bay Packers Football Post GIF
    Because Jordy's not like other athletes. 

    • I love how much Davon House loves Green Bay. House had an injury-plagued season and is again facing free agency. When asked if he wishes he hadn’t played through some of those injuries, he responded, “Why not? Last year during this time, I was wishing I could be back here. Now that I’m here, I’m glad I played.”

    • I really don't care about James Harrison signing with the Patriots after being cut by the Steelers, but you just know New England and Pittsburgh are going to meet in the playoffs and there will be some BS, last-minute play by Harrison that will end up winning the game or some nonsense like that. Because it's the Patriots, and that's how it always works.

    • Twitter must think I like football players whose initialed first names end in J.

    Do I talk about JJ Watt too much??

    • Someone on Twitter threw out the idea that if a football player wins you your league, you should donate to one of their causes. With Todd Gurley’s last couple of weeks winning a lot of his owners their leagues, several of them did contribute to Shriners Hospital for Children in thanskgiving for Gurley’s blowing up the box score. Pretty cool!

    • Philadelphia's punter forgot to take his warmup pants off.

    • That was the highlight of the Eagles-Cowboys game. No, really.

    • The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been in a giving mood. Defensive tackle Sealver Siliga was eating with friends late on Christmas Eve at an Applebee’s. Before paying, he asked the manager how many employees were still at the restaurant, and left a $1,000 tip to be divided equally among all 10 employees there. Then, the offensive line -- apparently sick of getting crappy presents from each other -- decided that instead of exchanging gifts, they’d pool their money and give it to the training, equipment, and cafeteria staff as Christmas bonuses.

    • I worry so much about Andrew Luck. It is NEVER a good sign when a player goes to Europe for treatments.  

    • I didn’t think the Cleveland Browns had a chance to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers, but then the Steelers decided to rest all their starters and there was a glimmer of hope left!! Cleveland kept within striking distance the whole game and were down 28-24 when they got the ball back with 4:30 left. They picked up some big yards and ended up facing 3rd-and-6 at the Pittsburgh 31-yard line at the two-minute warning. They pick up four yards on the next play. It’s 4th-and-2, everything on the line. DeShone Kizer takes the snap, the Steelers pressure, looks like Kizer’s going to be sacked -- but wait! He escapes! He slides left, has a man opens he throws and --

    • Oh, the poor Browns. What’s to be done about them? They were so close to getting their first and only win of the season. How epic would it have been if they won their last game to avoid the ignominy of 0-16? And the poor receiver was inconsolable, as you can imagine. Here’s Kizer trying to comfort him.

    • It was uncomfortable having to depend on the Atlanta Falcons in order to bounce the evil Seattle Seahawks -- that’s never a position you want to be in. Fortunately, Atlanta handled the Panthers 22-10, which automatically knocked the Seahawks out of contention. It wasn’t necessary, but it was still a lot of fun to watch Seattle also lose to the Cardinals on a missed last-second field goal. Muahhahaha! This was the real celebration on new year's eve.

    • The most fun story of the day was the Buffalo Bills. They beat the Miami Dolphins, but needed the already-eliminated Cincinnati Bengals to beat the Baltimore Ravens, who were playing for a spot in the playoffs. Here’s the Buffalo locker room watching the end of the Bengals-Ravens game:

    • We’ll have to trudge through the postseason without the Packers, which is a real downer. I feel as sad as Randall Cobb in his post-game interview. My solace comes from the fact that the Cowboys and Seahawks also are sitting on their couches. I’m now taking applications for which team to cheer for. I’m open to any team except for the Kansas City Chiefs, because they’re too boring, and the New England Patriots, for obvious reasons.
    Image result for tom brady bill belichick