For you movie buffs, a friend of mine started a movie vodcast called MovieSpit. Here’s the first episode.
Charity Plugs (Be Good!)
Secondly, if you’re going to make one charitable donation this holiday season, help my buddies at the hospital raise money for their medical mission to the Philippines in January.
Here’s the link – It’s really easy to donate.
There’s also two toy drives I’ll be participating in:
The other is through my boy Shaun Frank and Archbishop Molloy. He’ll be collecting toys all week, and I’ll be happy to forward them to him before I leave for Chicago next weekend.
I’m also hosting a food drive of my own this year. Every year I donate food, but not every year do I rally the social media troops to help. Shouldn’t be that way.
A Dream Job and the Nightmares That Go With It
1-0 so far, 10-6 in Week 13, 117-75-1 overall.
When the camera cut to the owner’s box in Carolina last weekend, Ernie Accorsi didn’t look too retired. Sure, he wasn’t in his usual tunnel spot or patroling the field or anything, but the sight of the former executive reminded me that I had always wanted to read “The GM” by Tom Callahan, a biography of his last season, 2006.
Callahan admonishes the reader in the prologue that the book is really “the biography of a job” and not necessarily a biography of him. Callahan follows the appropriately tumultuous 8-8 Giants season (you remember, Tiki retiring, Strahan maybe-retiring, media shitting on Eli even though 6 of the 13 losses from 2005-6 happened on last second or overtime field goals the defense didn’t stop. That shit.) as a sidebar to the plethora of seminal NFL moments and stories Ernie was a part of. Even to the avid football fan, one can’t help but marvel at just how much a part of history Accorsi is: The end of Johnny Unitas, The Colts moving out of Baltimore, The Elway Trade, The Manning Trade, The Drive, The Fumble, saving Kerry Collins from himself, Belichick’s Time In Cleveland, Paterno’s assistant, George Young’s assistant, and working in the league office.
Apart from accomplishment, I don’t think enough credit is given to Ernie Accorsi for innovating the central nervous system around which all successful NFL teams are built today: GM-Coach-QB, all else coming second. To have this realization and have the balls to pursue it at a time pre-salary cap, pre-Bill Walsh, and pre-passing league, it was pure genius.
The Eli Manning trade, and I know those poor poor poooooor Chargers fans only got Philip Rivers and a bunch of high draft picks as compensation that their bumbling arrogant GM mismanaged to put the team where it is now, is Accorsi’s vindication. He let Elway get away because Jim Irsay, politely regarded in NFL circles as eccentric, blocked him. He wasn’t letting Manning get away. Accorsi rarely got the last laugh in his career, mostly because of egomaniac owners’ decisions, but he got his here, and I think Eli will exceedingly conscientious with the ball and have a great statistical game here. Giants 28, Chargers 24. This should be a better game than people are expecting.
Badge of Honor
SPTKF has had its mild brushes with mainstream media in its menial existence. I wound up drunk on CBS’ TV affiliate in Cleveland dressed in full Giants gear trashing Eric Mangini on-camera after this shootout loss to the Lions. I had Carl Banks stomp me out on twitter for bashing the Knicks. I’ve been blocked on Twitter by Bill Barnwell for reasons I still don’t understand. A fictional character getting at me in cyberspace is new.
Apart from the embarrassment of conversing with a cartoon character in a venue visible to most of my friends, more embarrassing is the astonishing number of GROWN MEN I know who play Pokemon. Let’s put it this way: one of my bosses asked me last Christmas for advice on what video games to get her eight year old son for Christmas, and despite my being single with no children, nieces or nephews, was able to contact one of these guys and get advice on the exact version to buy. I’m a pretty avid gamer, and I think that should NEVER happen. Aside, from being juvenile, corny, and slow, Pokemon is exactly the kind of game that holds video games back in a consumer swamp. It’s repetitive and exterminator-like nature, where you go collecting and killing everything with no real advancement of a story or point to drive home, is just acceptably addictive enough to drive a consumer empire. Several franchises are guilty of this: Final Fantasy XI, World of Warcraft, Starcraft. They don’t advance the art form.
Speaking of catching them all, the Lions and Eagles figure to do plenty of it with their high-flying offenses and piss poor secondary. I don’t think either team will want to play time of possession against the other. When you can score 40 on any given week, why not this week? Both teams will light it up, but I’ve seen nothing to suggest the Lions can win a big road game in December. Eagles 44, Lions 34.
Adrian Peterson decided to make the NFC North race less interesting by putting up 211 against the Bears and setting up the winning field goal with defenders literally grabbing on to whatever limb they can. It seems like a slow down week for Peterson here. Against an unfamiliar opponent on the road with those 35 carries on him and a defense that’s played better of late, I think the Ravens should have an easy time here. Ravens 23, Vikings 16.
Far be it from a guy who once attended a 2007 Giants-Panthers preseason game in Giants pajama pants and elicited “Gi-ants Paja-mas” chants in the 4th quarter (And not for nothing, I see PJ pants everywhere at games now. You’re welcome.), but if there’s some way I’m going to “get serious about my loungewear” as the JCPenney ad describes this gem of a Christmas gift idea, I don’t believe this is the way.
Of all the things I hear perennially on TV, radio, and the internet around Christmas time, WFAN’s “Sexy Hoodie Footie” pajamas commercials, read invariably by middle aged white guys who have more experience covering themselves with the back half of a newspaper than with a live woman, are the worst. Just creepy, man. In the 21st century, pajamas are exclusively a waist down thing, people. Wear your own shirts. You don’t need a full uniform to go to bed.
Of all the fanbases in the NFL, you would think the last one to go to sleep is Packer Nation, but that’s exactly what’s happening. With Aaron Rodgers confirmed to be out, and the Packers without a win since he’s been injured, tickets at Lambeau have become startlingly cheap. Not even the 4-12 Favre-led Packers in 2005 had this problem. Randall Cobb becomes active next week, Rodgers won’t be rushed back, but at least the defense is shored up and prideful enough to hold the fort in December. Falcons have the better quarterback, but putting a dome team out in the December cold that’s essentially packed it in is a problem. Packers 20, Falcons 17.
Speaking of creepy bedroom material, Rex Ryan HAS to get his team to bounce back at home against Oakland or the only thing hot will be the seat under his ass. One might think the Jets are prone to have another multi-turnover game here and snowball into elimination at full speed, but I think the Jets will glue this game to the ground and eek it out in a borefest. Jets 17, Raiders 13.
It’s Good To Be King
Less than a handful of times in a decade, the perfect player hits the perfect position in New York sports and blossoms. Their consistency combined with their personality, and a dash of quiet confidence that specifically makes you a star in New York. It’s long been said that a New York athlete has to be passionate, borderline nuts. I disagree. All the great athletes that have made it in this town are those you could envision living the life here as well as excelling. Jeter could scoop in any exclusive night club. Eli could be seen taking in Broadway and the wholesome stuff. Tuck is a sports nut who frequents the other New York teams like a fan (even rocking a Rangers jersey during the playoffs).
Fashion Avenue belongs to Henrik Lundqvist, and it will for at least the next seven years. A Swedish transplant with Hollywood looks (What?…) and otherworldly talent, Hank/The King has been the rock of Madison Square Garden through an abysmal Knicks decade and two coaching changes on his own team. If there’s one athlete you need to see in person in New York City, it’s Lundqvist. He’s the only guy who is the best in the world at what he does playing here. I’d love for him to win one here, and be part of forever.
Robert Griffin III is in a similar crucible of otherwordly talent, big media markets, and lofty expectations, and it’s far from the fashion show Hank has put on. There is another side to the car fire Griffin is in now, and he has to decide how to conduct himself and best approach it so that he comes out a true leader on the other side. As a rookie, everyone saw his talent and patted him on the back and labeled him a leader out of sheer semantics. He’s the quarterback, and he’s good, so….yeah… that only holds up for so long. It’s already decided that the Redskins are going to make Griffin part of the long term plan even if it means axing the Shanaclan. The Redskins are going nowhere this season, and they’re going to lose tomorrow Chiefs 31, Redskins 20, but that doesn’t mean Griffin can’t build with the guys he knows are staying and start next year fresh. Ask the other quarterbacks in your division if every season is Subway sandwiches, Adidas commercials, and roses. On the other side of the ball, I can’t believe how many people are picking against the Chiefs. 3-game losing streak yeah, but it’s two against Peyton and one where they sustained a ton of key injuries all in the same game. You really think Andy Reid can’t beat up on a bad team he already saw twice last year WHEN THEY WERE PLAYING WELL? C’mon. The Chiefs’ schedule is soft, but they HAVE talent and they HAVE coaching. Give them some credit, will ya?
A Steak Worthy of Our Triple Main Event
I know what you’re thinking. You’re a grown man. You’re a grown man, you don’t live with your mother, and you want steak. God damn it, a steak would be fucking wonderful right now, wouldn’t it? WOULDN’T IT?!?!…ahem, excuse me. You want a steak, butaekltha;edadDAMMIT I WANT ST….
….gimme a minute….
If you’ve ever wanted to be a frequent steakhouse visitor, but feel like the prices are too high for an average guy like you to go often, or feel it’s just an unnecessary expense, Puerto Madero on Horace Harding Expressway is for you. A long-time staple of my neighborhood that I never really got into until last year, the Argentinian steakhouse can give you a near-Luger experience for the same amount of money you spent on that shitty date you were on last week (Remember when she inexplicably stayed in the car as you left it for the valet, and you realized you had to explain to her what valet parking was? UGH, I’m never dating again.). Latin steakhouses do the combo thing, which most “traditional (crispy white people)” steakhouses don’t. Wan’t a black sausage, skirt steak and short ribs all on the same entree? Fuck yeah, you do, and for $26, no less.
Now that I can’t concentrate, it’s the perfect time to pick the three big games.
Colts at Bengals – Pecking order in the AFC comes out of this game. The Broncos are totally spanking the Titans at home (Broncos 41, Titans 20), the Patriots are totally spanking the Browns at home (Patriots 37, Browns 13), so the winner of this one is on the inside track to the 3 seed with a head to head win. The perception of the Colts has been an in-season roller coaster that some teams don’t see in a decade. They were picked by everyone to fall back to Earth in the preseason, looked like the best team in the NFL when they spanked the Niners in their building, fell completely apart against the Rams at home while generating talk that they could somehow blow their division title, and have now ascended with a season sweep of the Titans to 8-4 with some glaring holes. They won’t be able to run the ball against Cincy’s front, and without Reggie Wayne, Luck’s passing performance has suffered in ways I didn’t think were possible with the draft class they had last year and the moves they made this year. Perhaps it’s just the Bengals time to go deep in the playoffs. They’re balanced enough to absorb what Indy can do at home and control the game both on the ground and with their defensive front. Bengals 24, Colts 17. Kudos to Marvin Lewis for keeping this defense playing at a high level in spite of major injuries.
Seahawks at Niners – As possibly the final American nonbeliever in the Seahawks (they’ve played a patsy home schedule, don’t have a great offensive line, and shouldn’t be able to play from behind with those mediocre receivers), this has all the makings of a let down game. Seattle just put forth a dominant performance at home and now have their toughest road game of the year on a short week. I think the Niners are salivating to get this one, will jump on the Hawks early to negate their pass rush, and control things just enough to eek it out. It won’t be easy, but Seattle can totally be had on the road playing from behind. Fortunately for them, the next time they may be doing that is in the Super Bowl. Niners 27, Seahawks 24.
Panthers at Saints – Home field advantage will, however, be in full effect in New Orleans, where the other team on a short week will look to rebound from their worst offensive performance of the Drew Brees era. Carolina’s gritty and tough, but they don’t have the gear of explosiveness that the Saints have, and these home dome games are where it gets exhibited to a demoralizing extent. That doesn’t mean Carolina won’t whip on them in the second meeting at home. You might even see some trick plays out of the Panthers (I mean, think about it. They win this game, and they win the division.), but the bourgeoisie prevails Sunday night. Aren’t you glad you waited all day? Saints 31, Panthers 21.
Dolphins (+3.5) at Steelers – Ugh. Tough one to call. Total uniform mystique game: If the Dolphins look at the Steelers and go “whoa those are the Steelers”, they’re going to lose, but if the Dolphins look at the Steelers and go “this is a shit team and we should beat them”, they’re going to win. Miami’s been playing good enough football of late to take this one, so I’m going to ride them for now. Dolphins 21, Steelers 20.
Rams (+6) at Cardinals – Six seems a little much, right? Arizona’s played very well at home, but divisional games always tend to be a bit closer, and I could see Arians pulling the reigns in with even a moderate lead to keep Palmer hot for the bigger games down the road. Keeping him functional is the only thing that’s going to get Arizona in the playoffs. I could care less how well their defense is playing, even if it got them to this point. Cardinals 27, Rams 17. You know what? Rams +6 is a sucker’s bet. Arizona should take this one comfortably.
Bills (+3) at Buccaneers – Buffalo has been an abysmal road team this year (1-4), and a warm weather game out of their element against a team that has found considerable balance on offense in the past month is no place to turn it around. Bucs 24, Bills 20.
Thanks to some smart waiver wire pickups, I finished with the best record in my fantasy league this year at 9-4.
What did that get me? Two things:
1) My entry fee back. Whew! Broke even this year.
2) The privilege of being 20-point underdog in my first fantasy playoff game
Steve, thankfully, is pulling for me and picking Ravens-Vikings for his tie watch. I’ll need all 5 quarters of AP in that one.
I’m going with Miami-Pittsburgh. It seems like a close one to call, and would have some awful offense down the stretch to keep it close.