Building the Perfect Quarterback

Written by :
Published on : December 1, 2016

 

What makes a good QB? Physical gifts? High game IQ? killer instinct? Most would say the greats have all of these qualities. Let’s play Weird Science and build our own perfect quarterback by hacking up the existing NFL stars and stitching them into one marvelous creature. And then we can dress him and name him and teach him the playbook. Some quick guidelines, only current NFL players and can’t use any player twice. Alright, let’s start from the feet up.

 

Legs – Cam Newton

The one of best rushing quarterback in the league. He isn’t just strong and fast but he has shown some real illusiveness in the open field. With these wheels, my monster will always be able to roll away from pressure and scramble for drive-extending first downs.

 

Body/Frame – Ben Roethlisberger

This dude is a beast. A giant beast. He routinely shakes off pass-rushers and uses his body to help keep the play alive. This is an excellent frame to build on. Plus it doesn’t feature tons of tattoos so you can pick your own terrible ink. Bonus!

 

Arm – Matt Stafford

 

One of the strongest around. Can make all the throws. Even those side arm ones that Lions fans love so much. In terms of strength to accuracy ratio, Matt is top tier. I’d love to see all 32 starters line up and chuck the ball for distance. My guess, the deepest throws would be from Flacco, Newton and Stafford. Maybe Winston.

 

Heart – Tom Brady

Tom is the lion king. The roaring heart of a champion. He has the rings but that’s not what I’m talking about. Look at him on the sidelines when things aren’t clicking. He is pissed. He hates losing and he let’s everyone know. This is the muscle that pumps the blood of a winner. Plus, I hear he is a tender lover. Don’t ask how I know.

 

Head – Drew Brees

Calm, calculated and a master of the system. The perfect brain to run my Frankenstein. I just hope he doesn’t make my perfect quarterback do Wrangler jean commercials. What are we? Brett Favre? Who will sell any product, anyone has. Seriously, does Brett need cash or something?

 

Beard – Ryan Fitzpatrick

 

This is a no-brainer. This is also the only part of Fitzpatrick I’d let near my perfect quarterback. I was almost nervous putting him here thinking that the beard could make my QB throw interceptions but that’s crazy. Beards don’t do anything but make women think you’re cool. And sexy. And interesting.

 

This quarterback would be unstoppable. Unless he played on a team with no O-line and had zero running game. Because no one can succeed in that environment. Let me know how I screwed up in the comments below. There is no way you all agree with me.

 

Igor.

 

 


Roger Pretzel’s Haunted Dungeon Week 9: Aaron Donald Takes Down Cam Newton and “The Ghost Ship”

Written by :
Published on : November 9, 2016

 

Welcome back to Roger Pretzel’s Haunted Dungeon. In this spooky sanctum I’ve poured over all the replay tape to come up with my favorite NFL play of the week. Then it’s straight back to the projector to unspool a film you may have not been aware of…

 

The lights have dimmed, blood drips from the walls, and my hideous assistant has turned in for the night.

 

Week 9: Aaron Donald Gobbles Up Cam Newton For Big Time Sack

 

Week 9 proved to be a pretty glorious one in terms of highlights with a miraculous Lions victory, a great game for the Ravens in Baltimore, and Melvin Gordon starting to look downright freakish in San Diego. The Haunted Dungeon is always looking for a good sack, and while there have been a few good ‘uns in the 2016 season (I’m looking at you Khalil Mack) we finally got that monster QB hit we’ve been waiting for.

 

Aaron Donald’s second sack of the game came in the fourth quarter of a supremely ineffectual offensive effort for both teams. The big boy in 99 looks almost Suh-like as he pushes forward, pulls a little move, and then leaps out to smother Cam Newton and take him down. It’s a textbook power play that brings the oft-used word “explosive” to mind.

 

I’m not gonna forget this hit anytime soon. I don’t think Cam is going to either.

 

Week 9: The Ghost Ship

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Director: Mark Robson
Released: 1943

 

In week 1 of the Haunted Dungeon I made a little jab at Val Lewton for making movies in which you never really “see the monster.” In a way it wasn’t a fair thing to say because Lewton’s real genius efforts were sort of in a league of their own that had nothing to do with jump scares or rubber monster suits.

 

Lewton is primarily known as a producer for RKO, a studio that wasn’t Poverty Row, but wasn’t one of the big players either. He’d take wonderfully lurid titles thought up by company brass and then generally work those pulpy monikers into highly cerebral and atmospheric thrillers and horror films. Today he’s best known for Cat People (1942), but my very favorite Lewton films are the ones without any hint of the supernatural at all.

 

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The Ghost Ship is one of those films. The title evokes all sorts of eerie happenings and ghoulish goings-on, but in reality the film deals with something far more terrifying than ghosts or goblins: human psychosis.

 

Lewton was the king of atmosphere, and here he builds unbelievable amounts of suspense, dread, and foreboding with noir-ish cinematography and a ship captain (Richard Dix) who is mentally unstable and incompetent to such a degree that the lives of his entire crew are in jeopardy.

 

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The salty world of sailors is a fun one to dabble in and the depths of psychology involved really cut to the quick with a frightening combination of megalomania and cowardice interwoven into the nut-job captain. It’s a level of insight that goes far beyond the film’s b-picture trappings to make it worthy of Hitchcock’s brainier forays like Rebecca (1940) or Marnie (1964).

 

There’s also a nice device in one of the more visually interesting seamen, Finn the Mute (Skelton Knaggs), narrating the story through interior monologue. The effect comes off as cheesy initially, but grows more powerful and poignant as the picture progresses.

 

Ghost-Ship

 

If this is your kind of thing I also highly recommend the Lewton films Isle of the Dead (1945) and especially The Seventh Victim (1943).

 

I couldn’t find a trailer online but you can cop the whole flick here:

 

 


Roger Pretzel’s Haunted Dungeon Week 2: Kelvin Benjamin TD and Knightriders

Written by :
Published on : September 22, 2016

 

Welcome back to Roger Pretzel’s Haunted Dungeon. In this spooky sanctum I’ve poured over all the replay tape to come up with my favorite NFL play of the week. Then it’s straight back to the projector to unspool a film you may have not been aware of…

 

The lights have dimmed, the wine’s been poured, and the wolves have been fed.

 

Week 2: Cam Finds Kelvin Benjamin For Short, Bruising Touchdown

 

While last week The Haunted Dungeon looked at a determined play from young up-and-comer Derek Carr, this week we focus on toughness. The theme is no coincidence since many of us are now looking to patch up the injury-related holes in our leaky fantasy rowboats after a week two that was particularly hard on some dependable names. I managed to snag returning behemoth Kelvin Benjamin for a song in my league’s auction draft and he’s been paying dividends. This is a guy built a bit like linebacker, but happens to be a gifted receiver.

 

It’s 2nd and 9 so Cam’s got some wiggle room: why not throw it to the big fella short of the plane and see what he can do? It looked like a hard play to defend against with both ‘Niners’ edge-rushers committing to sack Newton on the play-action, but the pass defense looked limp. Benjamin takes some licks on his way to end zone, but if it were actually one dedicated tackler instead of two guys giving up against a veritable rhino, I’m not sure the end result would have been any different with Benjamin barreling into the end zone. I hope Kelvin stays healthy. He’s been my favorite receiver to watch in this nascent NFL season.

 

Week 2: Knightriders

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Director: George A. Romero
Released: 1981

 

George A. Romero is of course best know for the Night of the Living Dead (1968) and its two sequels, but the wryly political king of zombie terror has a few other oddball entries in his oeuvre from the blatantly violent low-budget statement against chemical weapons The Crazies (1973), to the ludicrously bizarre premise of a murderous helper-monkey capuchin in Monkey Shines (1988).

 

Knightriders is the only major non-horror project that Romero has helmed, but this story of a group of fringe bikers, putting on fully motorized jousting tournaments for the benefit of curious gawkers at Renaissance Fairs rates as one of the very best in Uncle George’s output.

 

The combination of outlaw cool mixed with the freedom and fun of the traveling circus is made even more fascinating by the performers’ dedication to living under a medieval code. Ed Harris may be “King Billy,” but that doesn’t mean The Black Knight, special effects legend and sometimes actor Tom Savini, can’t challenge him. To my mind, this is Savini’s finest performance in front of the camera with his cocaine-fueled ego dishing out heaping helpings of snark and petulance.

 

At two and a half hours it’s a little long for a genre flick for sure, but that allows Romero to explore plenty of interesting and unexpected avenues. While the obvious thrust is the difficulty of living a truly alternative lifestyle under one’s own rules, other concepts like the dilution of what’s cool and worthwhile when outside money is injected into a vibrant subculture, as well as the pitfalls of celebrity that come with being a corporate shill. Most impressively, Romero addresses the homosexuality of a troupe member, and the bald-faced and truly humanistic treatment feels downright revolutionary in an early 80’s movie.

 

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While there are no undead decapitations or cannibalistic disembowelings on hand, the choreographed motorcycle stunts have a gritty authenticity thanks to the lack of over-editing, and the whole film has a synergistic DIY feel both in its subject matter and production style.

 

They really don’t make ‘em like this anymore.

 

Trailer:

 

Full Movie:

 

Free in eight parts on Youtube. Disc available through Netflix. Streaming rental available through Amazon video.

 

 


Overreaction: NFL Week 2

Written by :
Published on : September 20, 2016

 

 

Week 2 is over. The 2016 season is officially off and running. Some would say it’s still too early to know anything about the identity of teams but those people have obliviously never met me. Listen up while I spout off wild, speculative snap judgements on all 32 NFL teams after only two games completed.

 

– The Bills are 0-2 and their season is already over. It was fun while it lasted Buffalo. Maybe they should have let Rock Star Bon Jovi buy the team a few years back.Well, better luck next time. Living on Prayer.

 

– The Jets offense is great as long as Matt Forte stays healthy and keeps moving them down the field. Without him, this team is doomed to be a sub .500 unit.

 

– The league office still hates the Detroit Lions. The conspiracy continues. In the 15-16 loss to the Titans, the Honolulu Blue and Silver were flagged 17 times for 138 yards. None worse than the two fantom calls that negated TD’s on back-to-back plays. Those calls completely changed the landscape of the game.

 

 

– The Titans are now 1-1 but this crew showed me little to make me believe in them. They exploited a super injury-weakened Lions D and scored some late points but that seems more situational than skill. It was mostly just smart play calling. I’m obviously still salty about this but this team sucks plain and simple.

 

– The Panthers got back on track in week 2 with a solid performance against the 49ers. Cam had 4 TD’s with two going to Kelvin Benjamin. This offense is even better than last year because Benjamin is back. Panthers look bound for another deep playoff run.

 

– San Fransisco blew out the Rams last week and no one knew what to make of them, but hanging with Carolina tells me they are more complete than most think. They leave the bottom of the barrel of last campaign and join the blurry middle of the pack.

 

– The Cincinnati Bengals cannot beat the Steelers. They melted down in the playoffs last year and failed again at Heinz field this Sunday. Marvin Lewis needs to figure a way to slay this dragon or else they might never get Andy Dalton that postseason win.

 

– The Steelers are legit. They score bunches of points and this is all without star running back Le’Veon Bell. If Big Ben stays off IR than the steel city boys are eyeing another division crown and maybe a meeting with the Patriots in the conference finals.

 

 

– Speaking of the AFC North, the 0-2 Cleveland Browns still suck. What’s new? Week 3 may see the Browns start their third QB of the year. Ouch. This team is done. Go hang out with the Bills. Your year is over.

 

– Baltimore is 2-0, sounds great but they barely came back against Cleveland and squeaked by Buffalo week 1. Two close wins against the worst of the NFL does not inspire confidence.

 

– Washington is 0-2 after losses to Dallas and Pittsburgh. Kirk Cousins is playing on the Franchise Tag trying to prove he is worth a big contract. So far, he hasn’t shown that moxie of 2015. Things better turnaround quick or the D.C. area may have to start rebuilding, again.

 

– The Cowboys got their first win with rookies Dak Prescott at QB and Ezikel Elliot at RB. This young team is lead by that great offensive line but I don’t see them going too far with all that inexperience running the show.

 

– Giants are looking good. I talked shit about them before but at 2-0 they are now the favorites to win the NFC East. The defense has played well and they have showed guts in two close contests.

 

 

– The Saints are winless. It feels like the same story every year with these guys. They can score lots of points and Drew Brees keeps it close but they can’t string the W’s together. No chance at the playoffs.

 

– The Miami Dolphins. A squad full of talent and names that never seems to be able to put it all together. Another slow start at 0-2 and Arian Foster is already dealing with health issues. Call the nurse, we have another dead team. Sorry not Sorry.

 

– The New England Patriots are undefeated and playing without Gronk or Brady. Their next two games are at home and untested rookie, Jacoby Brissett, may start at QB for the injured Jimmy Garoppolo. If the Pats are ever going to lose, it may be next week against Houston, but after that, they will probably run the table. As per usual.

 

– The Houston Texans will win the AFC South. They are 2-0 and the most complete team in the division. I’m sure JJ Watt can’t wait to introduce himself to Brissett on Thursday night.

 

– Kansas City Chiefs are a hard team to read. They beat the Chargers week 1 but lost to the Texans. They will hang around the Wild Card spot most of the year only to drop off at the end.

 

 

– The Los Angeles Rams are one of the worst teams in the league. It pains me to type that because they are now my second favorite. It’s a mystery how they beat Seattle but it was a 9-3 ugly affair. They should start planning their draft picks now.

 

– The Seahawks are 1-1 after that bizarre game with L.A. that saw injuries to Thomas Rawls, Tyler Lockett and Russell Wilson. Russ stayed in the game but was clearly ailing. Seattle will weather the storm and make a serious push for the playoffs.

 

– Arizona lost a close one with the Pats in week 1 and took their anger out on the Bucs in week 2. This is a solid team top to bottom. They will be hosting a postseason game. Hopefully Carson Palmer can last that long.

 

– Tampa Bay is 1-1. They have some nice pieces across the roster but don’t get too excited. They are not ready for prime time. Maybe they can finish second in the NFC South. No postseason though.

 

– Jacksonville Jaguars were a breakout pick from many talking heads in the sports world. I’ll admit they have many promising players but they still suck.

 

 

– San Diego Chargers are once again battling the injury bug. Already, key starters Keenan Allen and Danny Woodhead are done for the year. This trend will unfortunately continue because that’s what happens in San Diego.

 

– The Falcons sit at 1-1. Matty Ice leads an even attack that is more than effective but the lack of close out defense will limit Atlanta’s potential. No playoffs for you, one year.

 

– The Raiders have all the tools needed to make the postseason and they will finally punch their ticket this year. Move over Warriors, Oakland’s true love is going to the dance for the first time since 2002.

 

– The Colts can’t stop anybody so they will keep losing. They are 0-2 and have zero chance of winning their division.

 

– Broncos will be playing without DeMarcus Ware for a bit but it’s okay, that defense is still so nasty that they will be in every game. Look for Denver to have another serious playoff run.

 

 

– Green Bay is 1-1 after a win over the Jags and a loss to the rival Vikings. Jordy Nelson doesn’t look 100% and Eddie Lacy is still fat. I hope and pray the wheels fall off but they will probably turn it around all over the my Lions this Sunday.

 

– The Sam Bradford project is working in Minnesota. The Vikings beat the Packers which is all you need to do to win over the locals. The team is 2-0 but may have lost Adrian Peterson for extended time. I still see them in the hunt for a Wild Card birth.

 

– Carson Wentz looks good in two games. The Eagles are 2-0 and those monsters in Philly must be smiling. Just wait for some adversity and those cheers will turn to boos. The Eagles can’t keep this up.

 

– Bears are really bad. Jay Cutler is worse. And the schedule doesn’t get any easier. At least the Cubs are good.

 

Is it week 3 yet?

 

 


The Best NFL Touchdown Celebrations

Written by :
Published on : September 12, 2016

 

 

Your favorite NFL player has just punched their way past the pylons and into the end zone. Touchdown. Now comes one of the most entertaining moments of the game: what will the player do? Are they going to dance? Maybe mime some funny looking activity like giving birth? Or look for help from the fans or maybe a teammate? Who knows. But we all care. Certain athletes have signature moves like Cam Newton dabbin, Victor Cruz doing the Salsa or Newton impersonating Superman with his trademark shirt-rip. Wow, Cam has two signature moves. That’s great. Well, let’s really get into it. Here is my college thesis on NFL touchdown celebrations.

 

Cam_Newton_dab

 

The No Fun League has really cracked down on in-game celebrations of all kinds. Which is a mistake, but whatever. I won’t let that bum me out. Look, I’m doing my happy dance. But for background, the league will currently penalize a player for “excessive celebration” which the NFL rulebook defines as:

 

(d) Individual players involved in prolonged or excessive celebrations. Players are prohibited from engaging in any celebrations while on the ground. A celebration shall be deemed excessive or prolonged if a player continues to celebrate after a warning from an official.

(e) Two-or-more players engage in prolonged, excessive, premeditated, or choreographed celebrations.

(f) Possession or use of foreign or extraneous object(s) that are not part of the uniform during the game on the field or the sideline, or using the ball as a prop.

 

Why so serious? Anyway, let’s enjoy some of football’s best movers and shakers before they ban dancing and turn football into the town from Footloose.

 

The Ickey Shuffle

 

Ickey Woods’ little jig isn’t too complicated, but it’s fun to do and is super infectious. Just like a catchy pop song.

 

Big Joe Fauria’s Bye Bye Bye

 

This guy didn’t last too long in the league but his moves will last in my memory. Easily the best game of Fauria’s career, he recorded 3 receptions for 34 yards and 3 touchdowns. Plus he did a different celebrations each time. That’s not easy because maybe he had one move ready to go but there is no way he planned on three. His ode to NSYNC is still the best.

 

Jamal Anderson’s Dirty Bird

 

This is an all-time classic. If you don’t like this then I don’t know what to say to you. You probably hate pizza too.

 

Joe Horn’s cell phone stunt

 

What is this guy? A prop-comic? Believe it or not, this was groundbreaking in terms of end zone creativity. He is the Carrot Top of touchdown celebrations. Let’s get Joe on the horn and thank him for his contribution to the world of wacky stunts.

 

Terrell Owens

TO popcorn

 

Now we are getting to the real showboat champs. Get your popcorn ready because TO knew exactly what to do with his post-touchdown time, and he made for some of the most enjoyable moments to date. The best was back when Owens was a San Fransisco 49er and he ran to the center star on the 50 yard line (twice) after scores at Cowboy Stadium. There is a great recap of the event HERE. Terrell was bold and inventive with it and I love that.

 

Chad Johnson

All hail the king. My personal favorite. At one point while in college, I started writing down celebration ideas with the thought of contacting Mr. Ochocinco so I could pitch him my stuff. I got as far as reaching out to his agent. Needless to say we never worked together. He did fine without me. Remember his Riverdance? Or when he operated one of the broadcast cameras? That’s just one of many classics. Enjoy this weird video someone made highlighting his best.

 

 

The above guys can really cut a rug. No wonder NFL players do so well on Dancing with the Stars. Also, I didn’t mention things like spikes or dunks of the ball. Those are too simple so I excluded them from this piece. Sorry Gronk, practice your steps and maybe you can make it next time. And don’t even say Lambeau Leap to me. Lastly, there are some great touchdown dances in Any Given Sunday and BASEketball, if you haven’t seen them then do it. Did I miss your favorite? Leave it on my answering machine below.

 

Bust a move.

 

 


SBS Film Vault: Space Jam

Written by :
Published on : April 25, 2016

 

 

The Monstars, the Tune Squad, Michael Jordan and Bill Murray. How could Space Jam not be great? It’s got that sweet R Kelly song “I believe I can fly” plus Danny Devito lends his voice to the roll of of the villianous manager of the Monstars, Swackhammer. 1996 could only be so lucky. This was obvious pandering but it worked out so well. So let’s take another look at a perfect hybrid of NBA action and Saturday morning cartoons that was Space Jam. Hands down, Jordan’s best movie. Maybe the best thing he has ever done.

 

Plot

During a relaxing game of golf, hall of fame basketball player, Michael Jordan gets sucked into the cartoon world where he is recruited by Bugs Bunny to play a basketball game against the Monstars. A super charged group of aliens who mean trouble for the tunes. Jordan agrees to help Bugs and the others. Now, MJ must whip the Tune Squad into shape before the big game. But that is easier said than done.

 

Space-Jam 2
                                                                               Squad goals

 

Good guys

Besides Jordan, the Tune Squad is made up of Bugs Bunny, Lola Bunny, Taz and Daffy Duck. These are your starters with Michael as player/coach. On the bench is Elmer Fudd, Tweety, Sylvester, Foghorn Leghorn, Wile E. Coyote, Yosemite Sam and some other animated scrubs. Bill Murray Joins later.

 

Bad guys

The Monstars come from a place called Moron Mountain and are led by coach/evil space tycoon Swackhammer who will stop at nothing to trap the Looney Tunes and force them to be entertainment back on Moron Mountain. Swackhammer stole the athletic ability of known NBA stars Charles Barkley, Larry Johnson, Shawn Bradley, Patrick Ewing and Muggsy Bogues and transferred that power into his own team. Making a pretty lethal squad. Luckily for the tunes, they have Jordan.

 

monstars

 

The big game

At halftime, the Tune Squad is getting destroyed. MJ gives this great speech and all the tunes drink this secret potion they think is going to make them play great. It’s really just plain old water but the stupid tunes don’t know any better. I’m kind of surprised they went with a performance enhancing drug angle. But hey, it was the 90’s.

 

Let’s talk real basketball real quick. The Monstars literally have no bench. You think that fatigue would catch up to them in the second half. Also, if the ref (Marvin the Martian) called even a faction of the fouls that the Monstars routinely commit then they would all foul out of the game by the second quarter.

 

Also there is this insane Pulp Fiction reference where Elmer and Yosemite pull guns on the court. Totally illegal by the way.

 

space jam pulp fiction

 

Cut to the end of the game. It comes down to the last possession. Jordan gets the ball. Clock running out. He takes a dribble and…well I’m not going to spoil it. If you don’t know then go watch it.

 

There have been rumors about a Space Jam 2 with LeBron James but I don’t ever think that is going to happen. Maybe drop James and replace him with Kevin Durant or maybe Steph Curry. I know they will make (or remake) anything these days but I kind of hope they never make a part two. The original was a perfect storm of popular things colliding that trying to reproduce it will almost certainly be a failure. If one must expand the world of Space Jam, then can I suggest changing the sport? Make it soccer with Messi or football with Cam Newton. I’d pay to see that.

 

 

I believe I can fly.

 

 


Pro Football’s Changing of the Guard

Written by :
Published on : March 12, 2016

 

The NFL lost some of it’s all time greats this offseason. A handful of Pro Football’s best players at their respective positions decided to walk away from the game. Some before their time, and some who had long and fruitful careers before deciding to hang up the cleats. Whether too soon or at the right time, the game of football, the NFL and the sports world in general will miss them.

 

Luckily for all of us, the game is in good hands. Those who decided to walk away this offseason will be passing the torch to the new generation of superstars, who will make sure that our Sunday afternoons are still full of joy and wonder. Let’s take a minute to reflect on the great players we are losing and see which players will help us forget about them.

 

intothesunset

 

 

Megatron shutting down

 

This is especially hard for me to process. Calvin Johnson is a future hall of famer, despite what some people might say. He played for nine seasons and for more than half of that period he was the undisputed best wide receiver in football. He consistently faced double and triple coverage and still caught almost everything thrown in his direction. I’ve never seen someone of his size have that kind of speed, agility and body control. You don’t earn the nickname Megatron for nothing and while I’m sad to see him go, the next big star wide receiver is nothing to sneeze at either.

 

I really think Antonio Brown is going to be the one to carry Calvin’s torch for years come. I’ve already thought that he is the best wideout in the league for a year or two now. He has a knack for making eye popping plays just like Megatron, and with LeVeon Bell’s rash of recent injuries, I see him as the most important part of that Pittsburgh Steelers’ offense. He’s lucky to have had the same quarterback for his entire career and their chemistry is something to behold. If I were a Steelers fan it might even be enough to feel better about Calvin Johnson’s early retirement, but at least I’ll still get to see someone making unbelievable catches every week.

 

 

The Sheriff has turned in his badge

 

I think we all knew that Peyton Manning was going to retire after he and his Broncos won Super Bowl 50. It shouldn’t be surprising, especially when you consider that he wasn’t exactly propelling his team to victory in that game, or the playoffs for that matter. It was the Broncos’ defense that was the driving force behind that championship run and anyone with cursory knowledge of the game could tell that Manning was struggling out there. Like Megatron, injuries had begun to wear away his ability to stay on the field for a full season, but unlike Megatron, those injuries had also begun to take a huge toll on his ability to make plays. For most of the last two decades he was the best QB in the league but it is now evident that his arm can’t keep up with his beautiful football mind. There’s not a more perfect time to walk away and that’s exactly what he did, but don’t fret, the game is in good hands.

 

It’s kind of fitting that Peyton would be handing the torch off to Cam Newton, the losing QB of Super Bowl 50. Cam gets a lot of criticism from people because of his attitude or the way he carried himself after losing the big game, but you can’t deny this kid’s talent. It took me a little while to come around, but now that he has fully developed his pocket passing, it’s clear that he isn’t going anywhere and we should expect him to be one of the best quarterbacks in football for years to come. Last year he had 35 passing touchdowns to go along with 10 on the ground, and only had 10 interceptions. Expect to see him in a few more Super Bowls because he is finally putting it all together and that should be scary for defenses around the league.

 

 

Charles Woodson’s next phase

 

Man, what a career this dude has had. He was the first and only defensive player to ever win the Heisman Trophy and won a National Championship with the Michigan Wolverines that same year in college (1997). In the NFL, he won AP Defensive Rookie of the year (1998), Defensive Player of the Year (2009), was selected to the Pro Bowl nine times, and won Super Bowl XLV with the Packers. He literally has nothing left to accomplish, as a player at least… I think the next phase of this amazing player’s life should be a foray into coaching. With few years as an assistant he can eventually ascend the ranks and become a head coach. First in college, where he obviously wins the College Football Playoff, then into the NFL where he wins a Super Bowl. After that he will transcend his earthly vessel and rise to the heavens as the greatest soul ever to participate in the sport of football, on any level. They’ll probably rename the Lombardi trophy after him. But until then, let’s see who will be filling the void that Chuck is leaving.

 

There were quite a few different players that I had to choose from here but I decided that Chuck Woodson would be handing his torch off to Arizona Cardinals defensive back, Tyrann Mathieu. I put him at the top of the defensive back totem poll because of his knack for making big plays and his ability to play all over the field. In the Cardinals aggressive, hybrid style defense, he is asked to play both cornerback and safety and he excels no matter where he’s at. He can play the run, he can rush the passer, he can play man, he can play zone. There’s really nothing that he can’t do in that defense, or any defense for that matter. There might be some defensive backs who are slightly better in coverage but there’s none that can to the variety of things that he can. It’s a shame that he tore his ACL in week 15 last year and missed the Cardinals’ playoff run because he could have been a difference maker. But he’s only 23 years old and will be making a difference for many years to come.

 

 

So long, Beast Mode

 

Oh Beast Mode, the NFL is really going to miss you, but not as much as I will. Marshawn Lynch was always a unique personality but just as unique was the talent he displayed out there on the football field. Fellow SBS sage, Roger Pretzel, talks a little more about his demeanor here, but I’m here to reminisce about his ability to run through an entire defense and leave them in his dust. I’ve never seen someone get swallowed up by tacklers only to come out on the other end of the pile and keep running the way that he did. He won’t go down as the best running back ever, but if you ask me, he’s the best tackle breaker ever to carry the rock. Fans in Seattle will be left wanting more from their now departed running back but at least NFL fans as a whole will have a new back to look forward to.

 

When the Rams, who at that point were still in St Louis, drafted Todd Gurley with the 10th overall pick in last year’s draft, I was both surprised and relieved. Surprised because he was still coming off of an ACL tear that was going to make him miss at least some of his rookie season, and relieved that he didn’t fall to the Lions. I was scared that they would jump on the chance to draft him because of his high level of potential despite recovering from such a serious injury. I was an idiot because I now realize that my team, and every other team in the league, would be very lucky to have this guy. He won the offensive rookie of the year award and was selected to the Pro Bowl in his first season with the Rams. It’s obvious that this kid is going places. I can easily see him being the best running back in football next year and beyond.

 

newdawn

 

As the sun sets on one group of legends, the dawn of a new age of NFL superstars is upon us. While there’s nothing wrong with remembering all of the good times that these now-retired legends brought us, we shouldn’t be sad. Life goes on, and with the talent that these young badasses have, it won’t be long before we are forget all about those old fogies. So pour out a little liquor for guys like Megatron and Beast Mode and get over it, because next season will be here soon and then it’ll be time to move on and enjoy some highlights from the new kids on the block.

 

 


A Look Back at My “Ten Bold Predictions for the 2015 NFL Season”

Written by :
Published on : March 3, 2016

 

 

 

Back in mid-August, I wrote a piece giving ten bold predictions I expected we would all see happen during this past NFL season. In this article, (which can be found here) I mentioned all of the obvious predictions like, “Who will win the Super Bowl?”, “Who will win MVP?”, as well as some other more “out there” ideas. So with the Denver Broncos winning Super Bowl 50 about a month ago, (spoiler alert: I didn’t get that one right) and thus concluding the 2015 NFL season, I figured now would be a good time to check back into that crystal ball and see how my picks turned out.

 

1. Adrian Peterson wins the rushing title

Result: CORRECT

 

I got off to a good start here as AP led the NFL with 1,485 rushing yards, edging out Tampa Bay’s Doug Martin. While drafting him didn’t help me win my fantasy football team this year, I had a feeling Peterson would come back strong this year after being suspended for much of last season and he helped the Vikings earn their first playoff spot since 2009.

 

2. The New England Patriots will finish 2nd in the AFC East

Result: WRONG

 

Well this took a quick turn. I think what makes this worse is I predicted Miami to win the division. Gross. Let me explain my rationale here though. At the time this article was published, Tom Brady was still set to be suspended for the first 4 games and I figured with Jimmy Garoppolo under center for those games, a 2-2 start was the best case scenario for the Patriots. If that were the case, New England finishes 10-6 instead of 12-4 and who knows what happens seeing as how the Jets also finished 10-6.

 

3. Ray Rice will be back in the NFL

Result: WRONG

 

I took a loss on this prediction as well and I still am a little bit surprised about it, especially once Greg Hardy put an NFL uniform back on. Now I fully understand the severity of what Ray Rice did and I don’t by any means condone it, but after being suspended for all of last season, I figured someone would be willing to take the chance and may have needed a veteran back. The Cowboys made the most sense to me when I made the prediction, fittingly, they wound up being the ones to sign Hardy.

 

4. Jameis Winston and Amari Cooper win NFC/AFC Offensive Rookie of the Year

Result: WRONG-ish 

 

So the AP Offensive Rookie of the Year Award went to Todd Gurley, and rightfully so as he finished third in the league in rushing yards. However, I feel like I should get half-credit or something because Jameis Winston won the Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year at the same NFL Honors Award Show. Amari Cooper had a solid rookie year with Oakland as well.

 

5. Leonard Williams and Landon Collins win AFC/NFC Denfensive Rookie of the Year

Result: WRONG

 

Kansas City corner Marcus Peters won this award by a landslide after leading the NFL with 8 interceptions and helping to make the Chief’s defense one of the best in the league. Leonard Williams was third in the voting, and according to Mel Kiper Jr should have won, so I guess I had someone in my corner.

 

6. The Carolina Panthers will have the biggest increase in wins from 2014

Result: CORRECT

 

By finishing 15-1, Carolina easily had the league’s best record as they narrowly missed perfection during the regular season. Following a dreadful, 7-8-1 record last year, (granted they still made the playoffs in an embarrassing NFC South) I figured at least 11 wins was very realistic for the Panthers. Instead, Cam decided to put up video game numbers and they won 15. Either way, a win for me.

 

7. The Dallas Cowboys will have the biggest drop off in wins from 2014

Result: CORRECT

 

I knew the loss of DeMarco Murray would hurt this team…well I guess the loss of Tony Romo and Dez Bryant for much of the season didn’t help either, but regardless, I knew this team wasn’t duplicating its 12-4 season from 2014. While I didn’t predict 4-12, the Cowboys still had the biggest drop off in the wins column.

 

8. Peyton Manning will retire following the 2015 season

Result: To be determined…

 

Despite Peyton’s best efforts, the Denver Broncos won the Super Bowl last month after he had an absolutely miserable regular season. Easily his worst professional season, and one that even caused him to miss a stretch of games late due to injuries. Peyton came back just in time for the playoffs and looked rather pedestrian in the process. However, because of an absolutely dominating defense, Denver made it so Peyton could ride off into the sunset a now two-time Super Bowl champion. The question still remains as to whether he will take that ride or jump back into the saddle with another NFL team.

 

9. Aaron Rodgers will win MVP, again

Result: WRONG

 

After a 6-0 start to the season, the Packers fell flat after their bye week and never really turned it around. Aaron Rodgers never looked like himself. While his stats were nowhere near, say Peyton’s, they weren’t what we have come to expect from him. Again, a 31 touchdown, 8 interception season isn’t anything to sneeze at, but he had his lowest QB Rating since becoming a starter in Green Bay. Cam Newton wound up dabbin’ his way to the NFL MVP Award in what was a fantastic year for him.

 

10. The Green Bay Packers will defeat the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl 50

Result: WRONG

 

Ugh, this one is right up there with picking New England to lose the AFC East. First, allow me to defend myself a bit with my reasoning here. Jordy Nelson tore his ACL just days after this article was written, which certainly hurt Green Bay going forward. For Indianapolis, Andrew Luck missed most of the season as well, but frankly they were better off without him (record-wise) as Hasselbeck wound up winning 5 games for the Colts, while Luck finished 2-5 on the year.

 

Overall Record: 3 CORRECT, 5 WRONG, 1 WRONG-ish, (1 TBD)

 

So there you have it. Not the best showing, but with only 90% of precincts reporting (a little election pun for you), I still have a shot to steal one more if Peyton would just make up his damn mind. So help me out, Peyton. Grab a few of those Budweisers you were talking about after the big game, open another Papa John’s Pizzeria, and just enjoy what retirement has to offer: Growing thick beards, Wrangler commercials, and copper sleeves for aching joints. Hey, it’s working for Brett Favre.

 

 


I Didn’t See That Coming: A Recap of Super Bowl 50

Written by :
Published on : February 9, 2016

 

Well damn, I was way off. I had the Carolina Panthers winning by 14 points in my picks but it was the Denver Broncos who came out two touchdowns ahead in Super Bowl 50. It wasn’t a barn burner but we got to see the best defenses in the league do their thing. Not one touchdown pass, but sacks, picks and turnovers became the new cheering points. It was actually kind of refreshing to watch old, bruising football, the traditional way. Here are some quick thoughts on the big game.

 

Cam Newton is still the man

 

There are a lot of haters out there and they pick apart everything the guy does. Cam didn’t have much to say to the press after the loss but I can understand. He was upset. He really wanted to win and he doesn’t want to answer a bunch of questions about it. Newton shook hands with other players after the game because he respects his opponents and that’s what I think is more important. This dude is a stud and he will be back in the Super Bowl soon and he will probably win it the next time. So don’t feel bad for him.

 

The Halftime Show

 

Some folks favorite part. Bruno Mars came in and rocked the place. That’s SBS writer Phred in the top right playing guitar. Yup, ScoreBoredSports reppin at the Super Bowl. I dig the outfits too. Can’t argue with black and gold. Then Beyonce arrived. Wow. B killed it. And she wore the hell out of that Michael Jackson looking number.

 

 

Oh yeah, Cold Play was there too. But let’s skip ahead to the second half action.

 

Peyton Manning gets his second ring

 

Peyton did just enough to help the team win. Mostly handing the ball to C.J. Anderson and throwing for a massive 141 yards. He did connect with Emmanuel Sanders six times for 83 critical yards. He now has as many rings as little brother Eli. And with that, balance is restored to the Manning household. Daddy Archie may even let Peyton carve the turkey this next Thanksgiving. All jokes aside, Peyton has had a great career. I’m sure the whole Manning squad will be enjoying this one for a long while. Free Papa Johns for everyone!

 

Von Miller and the defense

 

The MVP was all over the field and all over quarterback Cam Newton. His speed off the line is unstoppable. Miller made Brady’s life hell last game and he did the same thing here. There doesn’t seem to be a offensive tackle that can keep up. Von leads a brutal unit that has carried the Broncos all year. I was rooting for Carolina but it’s hard to be mad at guys like Miller and Ware. They really earned it. Hats off.

 

It was a good game, a we had an excellent party and I hope everyone enjoyed themselves. The only sad part is now football is over. But hey, only 79 days till the NFL Draft. April 28th can’t come soon enough.

 

 

Happy Football Christmas everyone!

 

 


Super Bowl: The Greatest American Holiday

Written by :
Published on : February 7, 2016

 

The moment we have waited a year for is finally upon us. Today is Super Bowl 50, featuring the Caroline Panthers and Denver Broncos, and that means that we get to celebrate my favorite holiday. That’s right, I consider the Super Bowl my favorite holiday. Some people like Christmas, or Halloween or even Thanksgiving, but for me the Super Bowl has always been more fun and than all of those put together. You get food, excitement, surprises and sports, all in one commercially saturated, corporate sponsored package!

 

I’m especially excited for today’s game because of some of the great storylines we are going to get to see unfold before our eyes. First off, these are two of the top defenses in the league which means that this game should be a competitive one. The Panthers have annihilated the competition in these playoffs so far with stellar performances by their offense, defense and special teams. I have to believe that they are definitely the more well-rounded team, but one thing that the Broncos have on their side is that defensive line. They are straight up nasty and if Von Miller can explode off of the line like he did against the Patriots then I think he could have the single biggest impact of any player in the game.

 

 Von Miller was all over Tom Brady in the AFC Championship Game.

 

Another great storyline of today’s Super Bowl 50 matchup is the battle of these two quarterbacks. The are both highly skilled players but they couldn’t come off any more different. On one side you have Cam Newton, who ended the regular season putting up some ridiculous stats and hasn’t slowed down in the playoffs. He was also awarded the NFL MVP Award yesterday, which really has to irk all those closet racists out there who call him a “thug” and a showoff for his celebrations and in-game swagger. That stuff really pisses me off because it’s kind of a double standard, especially when you consider that no one bats an eye at Aaron Rodgers’ dumb ass “discount double check” garbage, but all those people will have to eat crow if Cam pulls this one off.

 

 Cam dab’d his was to Super Bowl 50.

 

Opposite the newly anointed MVP, is someone who represents the old guard in the NFL, future hall of famer, Peyton Manning. The former MVP, is a shadow of his former self these days, as he has lost considerable arm strength due to neck surgeries and injuries and was even benched for performance reasons earlier this season. It’s seem like during these playoffs has has really bought into coach Kubiak’s system though. He is no longer trying to play like his old self, but has accepted his limitations and because of that, the offense led by the running game has excelled. Although it is not yet official, it looks like this will be Peyton’s “last rodeo” and that makes him all the more dangerous, despite what his body has to say about it.

 

 After the AFC Championship, Peyton Manning was overheard telling Bill Belichick that this might be his last rodeo.

 

This has the makings of an all time Super Bowl classic and these teams are about to put it all on the line as they battle each other in the biggest game in all of sports. So make sure you don’t blackout by halftime because this really is the best holiday and you don’t want to miss a second of it. Would you pass out before opening your presents on Christmas or before eating the turkey on Thanksgiving? Maybe if you were an idiot, but you’re not. So go get another plate of BBQ or a few more chicken wings and strap in, ‘cuz this year’s Super Bowl is about to be one wild ride.

 

 


ScoreBoredSports NFL Staff Picks: Super Bowl

Written by :
Published on : February 4, 2016

 

 

 

Super Bowl 50 is nearly upon us. All I can see in my head is Ace Ventura whispering those magic words that the game is almost here. I love it all: the food, the commercials, the half time show. And sometimes the game is even fun. Not two years ago though. Seattle killed Denver from the first snap. That was one the most lopsided contests I’ve seen in a while. Well maybe the Panthers ripping the Cardinals in the NFC Championship was close a second. Never send a bird to do a cat’s job. Back to the main event. What time is it Ace?

 

 

 

We have the epic showdown of the Denver Broncos versus the Carolina Panthers. A clash of new and old. Cam Newton versus Peyton Manning. The Panthers look solid and seem poised to bring a trophy back to Charlotte. And I like how the Panthers decided to let South Carolina also have a NFL team by cutting the word “North” from their name. That was sweet of them to include their weird little brother. One the other side, we have Peyton. Most would say the greater Manning even if he has less rings than his weird little brother, Eli. That can all change February 7th, 2016.

 

Going into the the big game, we have a three way tie with in the picks with Ryan, Treasure and yours truly. To ensure we don’t end tied, we have each writer also guess the final score. If we are still even, then closest score without going over will be named champ. Standard Price is Right rules. I have the Panthers winning big. I think Cam and the boys will be able to run and that will open up chunk plays through the air or scrambling when the pocket breaks down. Denver’s defense looked great against a one dimensional Patriots offense but that won’t be the same case against Carolina. If I win the playoff picks, I promise to take my girlfriend out to a fancy dinner. Doesn’t that sound nice. Go me!

 

Here is ScoreBoredSports staff picks for the Super Bowl:

 

Super Bowl

 

Wow, everyone has the Panthers winning. I didn’t see that coming. I hope they win so we don’t all look like fools. More importantly, I hope they win by 14 points. Also, no one tell Peyton. It might crush him to find out that no one at SBS thinks he can win even with that killer defense.

 

Conference Championships

Divisional Round

Wild Card

 

And don’t forget about our party we are hosting here in Los Angeles.

 

SB50Flyer

 

 

 


Roger Pretzel’s Review ‘N Brew: Conference Championships

Written by :
Published on : January 27, 2016

 

 

 

In this little corner Roger Pretzel will review his favorite play of the week along with a thoughtful review of what beverage he was imbibing at the time.

 

Conference Championships: Kurt Coleman Picks Carson Palmer in End Zone After Carolina Gives Up Ball

 That’s so pretty.

 

VIDEO: HERE

 

 

All right guys, after these Conference Championships I’m officially excited for the Super Bowl. We’ve got Denver, whose defense threw Tom Brady around the field like a rag-doll all day, against a Carolina offense that racks up points faster than a hobo eating a ham sandwich. Both these games were packed with stellar plays, but one in particular tickled my mercurial fancy.

 

With only a ten point differential in the game, Cam launched a ball he probably shouldn’t have, getting picked off by Patrick Peterson for a substantial return and great field position. He might’ve taken it to the house too had Ted Ginn not been able race back for the tackle. The Cardinals defense had come through to give AZ a much-needed break from the hard charging Carolina offense, and a great shot at narrowing the score gap.

 

But the very next play Palmer gives the ball right back, as Kurt Coleman goes up big for a full extension, two-handed catch that would be one of two interceptions for the Safety on the day. It’s not like John Brown could’ve gotten that ball anyway, what with some excellent Carolina coverage in the backfield. It was a long day for Arizona, and this is just one example of how they were thoroughly manhandled on both sides of the ball. Simply put, Carolina looks like a championship team to me.

 

Conference Championships: A Bunch of Stuff Your Grandparents Drink

 

Your Grandpa called this week and wanted me to come over and help him move the big ladder “back into the damn garage.” I promised I’d come over on Sunday to help him and watch the games.

 

After the minute-and-a-half it took to return the ladder to its proper place we settled in for some well-earned relaxation and football goodness. Your Granddad offered me a drink, and I was much obliged. One lead to another, and soon we were telling tales and getting cheerful. Here’s a recap of what your grandparents keeps on hand for guests.

 

I.W. Harper Whiskey:

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We got things started off right with the hard stuff. He broke me off some ice cubes that tasted like the nasty plastic tray they came from into my souvenir ballpark cup and then poured out a generous dose of the brown stuff.
“Whoo –whe, That’ll get yer ticker started,” your grandfather told me as he slugged a good deal of his back. “When I was a pup we used to make our own, but this grocery store business tastes a might better’n what we was used to.” I thanked your Grandfather and downed my glass, noticing that the telltale bottle of I.W. Harper was from the 1970’s. Tom Brady got sacked, and we both hooted and hollered.

 

It was about that time that your Grandmother came in. She snagged a pack of Tareytown smokes out of the freezer and glared at us. She packed the cigs against her palm, and then lit one up as your grandparents glared at one another. I felt very uncomfortable.

 

“How you doing Roger?” she asked in her thick accent, leaving the room before I could answer.

 

See also: J&B Scotch, Canadian Club, Wild Irish Rose

 

Schlitz Beer:

schlitzisaac

 

When we finished the bottle of Harper your Grandpa said he’d “go to the icebox and grab us some cold ones.” I assured him he didn’t need to get up, but he insisted, shuffling all the way out to the garage, moving aside the tall ladder, and pulling out a couple sixers of Schlitz. I asked your Grandfather why he kept the beer in the garage when there was a minifridge in the living room where his wife kept her cigarettes, but he simply told me to “shut up, and mind my own damn business.” The beer wasn’t the tastiest, but it was cold as the dickens, and Tom Brady was mounting a comeback, so I fixed my eyes on the blue light of the cathode-ray tube.

 

I think we both cheered when New England failed to complete the game-ending two-point conversion. That’s when the trouble really started. You’re Grandma burst into the room, waving a broom at me and shouting at your Grandpa in Italian.

 

“You know I don’t understand no goddamned eye-talian,” your Grandfather informed her. I got up to leave, finishing the last of my Schlitz. They both yelled at me to sit back down in unison. “You too! Sit down for chrissakes, will ‘ya woman?” Your Grandmother scowled at us and left the room again.

 

See also: Grain Belt, Falstaff, Rainier

 

A Jug of Carlo Rossi:

Jug DSC01359

 

But a moment later, your Grandmother returned with a jug of Carlo Rossi and two small glasses. Before I could protest she poured me out a healthy belt telling me it was good for my heart. She helped herself to a glass and we all settled in to watch the Arizona/Carolina game.

 

During the commercials your Grandma asked me all kinds of questions without waiting for an answer: “When are you going to have children? Why did that nice girl leave you? When are you going to get a real job?” I was actually quite thankful not to be able to get a word in edgewise. She also kept making me eat these cookies that had really pretty wrappers but tasted like almonds and cardboard.

 

Grandpa kept knocking back his Schlitz cans and Grandma kept refilling our glasses. The room was turning blue from all the Tareytown smoke, and I was actually getting a little nauseous but your Grandparents didn’t seem to mind.

 

During the second half your Grandparents were getting loose! They told me all about their experiences during the war, and how they met later in America. They told me lots of funny stories about your parents and they even started dancing with each other each time the Panthers scored a touchdown.

 

On the cab ride home I thought about how much I like your grandparents. You should probably give them a call sometime.

 

See also: Shitty Chianti in a Straw Wrapped Bottle, A big bottle of oxidized Merlot, “I don’t have any wine.”

 

 


Roger Pretzel’s Review ‘N Brew: Week 15

Written by :
Published on : December 26, 2015

 

 

In this little corner Roger Pretzel will review his favorite play of the week along with a thoughtful review of what beverage he was imbibing at the time.

 

 

Week 15: DRC Blocks Field Goal, Amukamara Retrieves Ball for Great Position

Dominique-Rodgers-Cromartie

 

VIDEO: HERE

 

It was a squeaker between the Panthers and the G-Men Sunday, despite New York’s dismal showing in the first half. Rodgers-Cromartie’s big block went a long way in adding fuel to a comeback fire that was ultimately put out calmly by Cam Newton and Graham Gano, but in terms of a game’s turning point, it doesn’t get much more “play of the week” worthy than this.

 

It’s not wildly unusual to see a field goal blocked in the NFL, but it is rare to see one go so far backwards. Who better to send the ball flying in the opposite direction than Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie? Gunning around the edge from the outside, he makes a perfect leap for the ball that involves leaving Gano totally untouched. It’s pretty amazing to see how he jumps horizontally across the field instead of vertically toward the kicker. Roger Pretzel Sr. hates it when commentators use the term “athleticism” when referring to big playmakers but it’s hard not to think of that hoary catchall term in this context. Perhaps “freakish” (the new “athleticism”) is what I’m looking for…

 

Bonus: All Kinds of Shenanigans Between Odell Beckham and Josh Norman

 

VIDEO: HERE

 

I love a rough and chippy hockey game. When tensions run high and the players start scrapping, you begin to see a skill set and sport-dynamic that feels so genuinely unique to hockey. However, when it comes to my NFL football, I have no use for the pissing matches and sissy swings that come when the pot bubbles over. It’s simply not needed in a game that is inherently violent enough. As a football player, you’re gonna make a much bigger statement by catching a big pass, making a big (legal) hit, or denying a receiver with outstanding coverage.

 

My sympathies lie with Josh Norman considering it seems like he takes the brunt of the damage as Odell throws tantrum after tantrum. I’m of the mind that the rules make pass defending the most difficult job in the game, as you’re not even allowed to touch these dainty WR’s. I’ve knocked Becham Jr. in this column before for being a bratty diva, and once again he’s back behind the fighting side of my pen. If he really is the NFL’s new darling receiver he better muster up some maturity quickly.

 

Week 15: Athlete Vanity Wines

It’s one thing to shill a product for endorsement money, but you know you’ve gone beyond mere Peyton Manning status when you buy your own winery and put out a vanity label for mass consumption. Like many other celebrities in that hallowed club that contains Drew Barrymore and Dave Matthews, athletes like to unwind with a glass as well.

 

But it always seems like once those egghead vintners take over the production process, the liquid version of that athlete’s soul is lost in the process. Below are the tasting notes of a few famous athletes’ wines, and what variety should actually represent them.

 

Jeff Gordon:
Jeff Gordon Cellars – Carneros Chardonnay 2012

 photo jeffgordon_zpsbebngntl.jpg

 

“This luxurious chardonnay has a deep yellow, almost straw color with hints of light gold. Initial essences of Meyer lemon, vanilla bean and poached pear show through, followed by a wisp of crème brûlée. The wine has a nice, smooth mouth feel with plenty of balancing acids that carry along flavors of green apple, melon and cream. The long, vibrant finish dazzles the palate”

 

This sounds like one soft-ass fruity chardonnay to me. When I hear vanilla bean, poached pear, and smooth mouth feel I do not think of Nascar.

 

What Jeff Gordon’s Wine Should Actually Be: Chablis

 

 photo chablis_sbs_zpscihz6im0.jpg

 

I was tempted to go with a dry Riesling for Mr. Gordon because of the petrol flavors they often contain (get it?), but I decided that #24 may stay chardonnay… as long as it comes from Chablis. The region’s flinty soil adds a nervy, raciness to the fruit, and a dynamic acidity that seems quite appropriate for the tight turns, and calculated daring of the speedway.

 

Wayne Gretzky
No 99 Estates – 2008 Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon

 

 photo gretzkywine_zpscmmeo9ut.jpg

 

“2008 Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon showcases the warmth and ripe black fruit flavors of this vintage. It is rich with concentrated black berry fruit, and harmonious blending has resulted in excellent balance and complexity. The use of French and American Oak barrels adds structure to this very drinkable wine.”

 

You might say this wine is a little like Wayne himself in the sense that it’s BORING. But I jest. Let’s not forget that Gretzky is the “Great One,” and as such surely deserving of something more majestic than a lame new-world quaffer.

 

What Wayne Gretzky’s Wine Should Actually Be: Savigny-les-Beaune Premier Cru (Pinot Noir)

 

 photo savignylesbeaune_zpsb4xumtdl.jpg

 

Now we’re talking! This appellation matches Gretzky note for note in elegance and sophistication. The foundation of Gretzky’s legendary greatness was turning hockey into a thinking man’s game, and this here is some truly profound fermented grape juice. I like to picture the Great One counting the money he’s made from No. 99 Estates while sipping a big ‘ole glass of this instead. He’s in front of a fireplace playing chess with Steve Yzerman. Soft hands: soft tannins.

 

Greg Norman
Greg Norman Estates 2012 Shiraz – Limestone Coast

 photo gregnorman_zps4wuije2o.jpg

 

“The 2012 Greg Norman Estates Shiraz is an attractive dark crimson red color in the glass. On the nose, rich chocolate and coconut mocha notes from the oak maturation underpin distinctive black cherry, mulberry and blackberry jam aromas. The medium bodied wine is soft and elegantly structured showing a spectrum of rich dark fruits including cherry, mulberry, blackberry, and boysenberry flavors on the palate. These flavors meld with fine cedar and chocolaty oak adding persistence on the long finish.”

And sometimes you just nail it.

 

What Greg Norman’s Wine Should Actually Be: Greg Norman Estates 2012 Shiraz – Limestone Coast

 

 photo shiraz-main_zpsxcnbdj01.jpg

 

Yup, Greg Norman actually puts his money where his mouth is and plays golf just like he makes wine. Growing up “The Shark” was the first celebrity I was aware of having his own line of wine, not to mention his own line of clothing. And coming up in the ‘burbs in the late 80’s and 90’s you were more likely to see that goofy rainbow-patterned shark outline on some old dude’s polo than you were to see any teenager with a pair of J’s.

 

Shiraz fits Norman like a driving-glove with its new-world jazziness and robust fruit flavors. I feel like every time Norman suits up in the clubhouse before 18 holes he tips that weird hat and winks at himself in the mirror. That’s basically what a good glass of Shiraz is.

 

Mike Ditka
Mike Kitka Wines – Coach’s Blend 2011 – The Champion

 

 photo ditkawine_zpsrydf9kqy.jpg

 

“The Mike Ditka 2011 “The Champion” Coach’s Blend has remarkable flavor intensity. It’s well-balanced, with flavors of blackberry and cassis, with a hint of cayenne pepper; lingering tannins, leading to a persistent finish.”

 

In reality, Mike Ditka is to wine what the current Chicago Bears are to winning, but I get it: the dude owns a line of steak houses and you gotta crush something besides chilly domestics when you’ve got the porterhouse in front of you. Still, the big guy should be ashamed to front a Napa blend of mostly merlot and cabernet sauvignon under his name. This time around it’s the coach that needs to show more hustle.

 

What Mike Ditka’s Wine Should Actually Be: Zinfandel

 

 photo Zinfandel-Sign_zpsdtq7vmld.jpg

 

Stop beating around the bush, Mike. You wanna make this steak dinner the real deal? Then you gotta start serving a wine that actually reflects your character. Say what you want about Mike Ditka, but the dude has never been mostly merlot, noble and august as that grape may be. Ditka’s the grinder. Ditka’s the snarling heart in the depth of a windy Chicago blizzard. Ditka is zinfandel, and he’s California zinfandel at that. Huge, burly, and mega-fruity, this is the real wine of second-class steak joints with delusions of grandeur.

 

Try it out, coach. Then hit me up.

 

 


Who will win this year’s NFL MVP Award?

Written by :
Published on : December 15, 2015

 

 

With the 2015-16 NFL Regular Season wrapping up, we finally have a good idea of who all these teams and players actually are. It’s been a crazy year that has been full of surprises, jaw-dropping plays and sadly, some even more jaw-dropping mistakes from players and refs alike. As the playoff picture begins to come into focus, let’s take a look at which players have been absolutely indispensable to their teams and have a leg up on everyone else in the race for this year’s NFL MVP Award.

 

Tom Brady

 Brady is used to being in this conversation.

 

Nothing new here. The quarterback from New England has been consistently present in this conversation for the last decade or so, and this year seems to be no different. While his rival of old, Peyton Manning, has fallen apart before our eyes, Tom Brady has put together one of his more impressive seasons yet. Through 13 games he has amassed 4,138 passing yards, 33 touchdowns and only 6 interceptions, while completing 64.2% of his passes. The dude is unstoppable and seems to be showing no signs of slowing down. Sure, he has the best tight end in the game catching balls for him and keeping defenses occupied, but without Tom Brady, the Patriots go nowhere. There is no player more valuable to that team.

 

Cam Newton

 “What’s that you say? Playoffs? Yes please!”

 

Here’s a new face in the NFL MVP race. It’s not really all that surprising that the quarterback of a 13-0 team is on this list, but I feel like most people give the defense and running game the most credit for the Panthers’ success. While those two things are very big reasons for the Panthers continued greatness this year, Cam Newton has really stepped his game up over the last month or so, and catapulted himself into the MVP debate. He is coming off of a 38-0 dismantling of the division-rival, Atlanta Falcons in which he completed 71.4% of his passes, and he also has two games over the last month where he threw for 5 touchdowns. The Panthers would still be good without him, but there’s no way they would still be undefeated.

 

Russell Wilson

 16 touchdowns and 0 interceptions over the last 4 games. That’s nothing to sneeze at.

 

Like Newton, Russell Wilson, and the Seahawks as a whole, have really turned things up in the last month. With the exception of a 39-30 win over the Steelers three weeks ago, the team has been dominating the opposition and that’s very much the result of Wilson’s excellent play. He has completed a ridiculous 75.6% of his passes over the last 4 games for 1,171 yards, 16 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. Along with some help from the defense, Wilson has put the Seahawks firmly on the path to the playoffs and they now sit in the 1st wildcard spot. If he can keep playing like this, there’s no reason that the Seahawks can’t go to their 3rd Super Bowl in a row.

 

Who wins?

This is a really tough question. It’s hard to look past Wilson’s ridiculous numbers recently, and Tom Brady is the best qb in the game, but I think I have to give it to Cam Newton. This could change over the final three weeks of the season, but if the Panthers end up going 16-0, which is looking very likely right now, then I think Cam is a lock. Even if they drop 1 or 2 games before the playoffs, I still think it’s Cam’s award to lose.

 

 


Champ and Chump Week 13

Written by :
Published on : December 12, 2015

 

 

It’s that time again ladies and gentlemen. Time to see who got their names in the paper and whose stat sheet became crumpled up paper. We had some championship performances as eight NCAA teams took home conference titles, where I correctly predicted seven of the games. But enough about my success, let’s see this week’s Champ and Chump.

 

Champ: Christian McCaffery

32 carries for 207 yards and 1 TD, 4 catches for 105 yards and 1 TD, an 11-yard touchdown pass, and 150 return yards.

Christian and his new hardware

 

As a sophomore, McCaffrey led the Cardinals to the PAC 12 Championship and helped them clinch a spot in the Rose Bowl. The son of former NFL wide receiver Ed McCaffrey, Christian is paving his own road as one of the best. He literally can do it all as Stanford’s “Mr Everything.” Earlier this year he broke the NCAA record for all purpose yards in a game and has earned himself a spot on the Heisman Trophy ballot. While it will be hard to beat Alabama running back Derrick Henry, I think McCaffrey just may be the most exciting player in college football.

 

Honorable Mention:

Blake Bottles and Allen Robinson- Blake finished 24-36, 322 yards with 5 touchdowns and no turnovers while Allen finished with 10 catches, 153 yards and 3 touchdowns in a win over the Tennessee Titans.

 

Cam Newton- The Panthers remain undefeated, led by MVP candidate Cam Newton. He finished with 380 total yards and 5 touchdowns in a come from behind win against the Saints 41-38.

 

Chump: Detroit Lions/Jim Caldwell

Another heartbreaker for Detroit

 

Looking for their first season sweep of the Green Bay Packers since 1991, the Detroit Lions were just seconds away from keeping their slim playoff hopes alive. However, as time expired Aaron Rodgers heaved the ball as high and as far as he could. Turned out to be just enough as Packers’ tight end Richard Rodgers brought down the ball without a Lion defender all that close to him. On the previous play, Detroit tackled Rodgers around the Green Bay 30-yard line after a couple laterals only to have a face mask penalty called on Detroit. A free 15 yards, and one more shot at a miracle, Green Bay made the Lions pay for it and added another chapter to Detroit’s seemingly never-ending tragedy as a franchise.

 

Dishonorable Mention:

ACC Championship refs- I hate to be one to criticize refs and say they cost a team the game but here is another prime example where they absolutely may have. North Carolina had scored a touchdown to get within 8 points with just over a minute left. They recovered the ensuing onside kick only to have the refs flag them for offsides. No North Carolina player was actually offside, nor was it close.

 

Special teams in the Dallas/Washington MNF game- The first 58+ minutes of this game saw a combined 18 points on 6 field goals only to have 17 points scored in the final 90 seconds or so. First, DeSean Jackson runs backwards 20 yards on a punt before fumbling, which leads to an easy touchdown. Then on the kickoff, a Dallas player face masks a non-ball carrier after a 40 yard return. Washington ties the game back up, only to kickoff and allow Dallas to return the ball some 40+ yards and line up for a game winning field goal.

 

 

 

 


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