The New Sports Rivalries

Written by :
Published on : November 6, 2016

 

 

Everyone knows about Yankees vs. Red Sox and Michigan vs. Ohio State. Those and many other old rivalries are classic. Important parts of the fabric of sports history. But what are the new beefs? The modern day feuds? We look in every major sport and highlight the contemporary era of rivalries.

 

Toronto vs. Cleveland

Hear me out, first the Cavs bounced the Raptors out of the playoffs last year and just a bit ago, the Cleveland Indians said goodnight to the Toronto Blue Jays. Maybe this rivalry is a little one-sided but be sure, Drake and all of Toronto are looking forward to their next chance to get revenge on Cleveland.

 

Patriots vs. Broncos

 

Want to win a Super Bowl? Chances are you have to beat one of these guys to do it. Things really started cooking when Peyton joined Denver. Manning vs. Brady part two. Featuring new team colors. Even with Peyton retiring, this matchup is still serious. I could easily see both franchises back in the AFC Championship game.

 

Detroit vs. Everybody

This attitude is almost out of control. And I’m part of the problem. The Detroit fanbase can be salty but it comes from a place of love. It just doesn’t always shine through. The vs. Everybody campaign has its merits, I like the galvanizing quality but it can get pushed into hostile territory that will leave us Michigan sports fans without any sympathy from anyone outside the state. NOTE, not really an issue in the Red Wing world. People hate us but that’s because we are awesome at hockey.

 

Russ vs. KD

It’s Batman trying to kill Robin. Kevin Durant and the Warriors are the favs in the west but don’t tell that to Russell Westbrook. This dude is looking to drop a triple-double in every game until he meets KD and company in the playoffs. Everyone wants to see that.

 

Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor

mayweather mcgregor

 

They have never fought. Probably never will. But they are rivals. No doubt about that. Since we may never get a pay-per-view, our only hope is that these two both meet in a Vegas nightclub and they fight on the dance floor. Video provided by iPhone.

 

Penguins vs. Capitals

This is more than just Alex Ovechkin vs. Sidney Crosby. These two crews have been battling it out for the last few seasons and it’s been some of the finest hockey you can watch. Not a huge fan of either team but the product they put forward is top shelf. But please, someone just put Crosby into the boards already.

 

Cavs vs Warriors

The best and most epic of the new school rivalries. They have met in back-to-back NBA Finals and a third meeting is inevitable. That win will end the argument until they met for a forth of fifth time. Right now, this is the greatest show on floor. Damn, that saying doesn’t really work in basketball.

 

All it takes for a new rivalry to be created is one great game. You can’t tell me the players don’t feed off that kind of stuff. Drop your favorite rivalries in the comments and let’s keep this conversation going.

 

Heated.

 

 


LeBron is King, and I finally have to admit it

Written by :
Published on : June 22, 2016

 

 

If you haven’t yet seen that Game 7 from Sunday, then you should go find it and watch it right now. Despite there being a total of only 4 points scored in the last four-plus minutes, it was one of the greatest basketball games I’ve ever seen. The outcome was not the one that would have pleased me the most but the game itself couldn’t have been better. It was a back and forth battle that was highlighted by a LeBron James triple double. He finished with 27 points, 11 rebounds, 11 assists, 2 steals and 3 blocks.

 

Although the game was close for its entirety, it was a tale of two halves. Draymond Green was the star of the first half, going 5-for-5 from the 3-point line and 8-for-10 from the field overall. He was killing it. The Saginaw, Michigan product was dominating the game. I remember wondering aloud with my fellow Michiganders here in LA, if the Cavs would be able to adjust and slow Draymond down in the second half. The Cavs did adjust, and they did slow down Draymond Green. He finished 1 assist shy of a triple-double, but did not impact the game in the same way during the second half.

 

View post on imgur.com

   

No, it wasn’t Draymond who made the biggest second half impact, it was everyone’s (myself included) favorite player to hate, LeBron James, who stole the show to end Game 7. It could have been Steph Curry but he was too busy throwing the championship trophy away with ridiculously ill-timed behind the back passes or missing shots. The Warriors were stifled by the defensive efforts of the Cavs, and LeBron James especially, and that’s why they lost Game 7 after leading the series 3-1. You can point to suspension of Draymond Green, but that was only for Game 5. No excuses for Games 6 and 7. In fact, I would say Andrew Bogut’s injury was a bigger factor than the Green suspension.

 

After losing the center in Game 5, the Warriors were not able to fill the void he left and were out-rebounded by the Cavs in both of the final two games by a total of 93 to 74. Despite the rebounding disparity, the Warriors had every chance to win this thing and they didn’t. It seems to me like Steph Curry wasn’t really himself out there and we will probably hear soon that he was much more hampered by injuries than he let on, but you can’t use that against LeBron James. It’s because of him that the city of Cleveland has its first championship in any sport since 1964. They should make a statue of him and it should be of this late game block on Andre Iguodala.    

 

 

That block says everything you need to know about LeBron James’ effort in these NBA Finals, and really the playoffs as a whole. It might have been Kyrie Irving’s late 3-pointer that sealed it up and LeBron never could have done it without his team, especially Uncle Drew, but it was the willpower, determination and other-worldly talent of King James that brought Cleveland a championship. He is the greatest player in the world, and after leading that outrageous series comeback against the team that set the NBA single season win record by going 73-9, LeBron now resides in an upper-echelon of basketball lore previously occupied solely by Michael Jordan. And he’s only 31 years old.

 

He might not quite yet be Michael Jordan, but he’s getting there. And that’s just something I have to get used to, even if I don’t like it. Like Michael Jordan, LeBron James last step to greatness came by overcoming my beloved Detroit Pistons, who were the main early career roadblock to both of those all-time great NBA players. Because of that fact, I’ve never been a very big fan of either. I recognize the tremendous talent but that doesn’t mean I have to cheer for them always winning. But I’m now certain that they are the two best basketball players ever. Unlike Jordan, LeBron James seemingly runs the franchise too. He is the only person I’ve ever seen get their head coach fired while the team sat in 1st place in the conference, then pretty much pick out a successor, then go on to win it all.

 

I still don’t really like LeBron all that much, and I’m almost sure that he was totally full of shit for his manufactured emotional reaction to winning that Game 7 but I’m grateful for what he did in the playoffs this year. It was a sight to behold and I’m not sure I’ll ever get to see a comeback like that again. So here’s to you LeBron James. Thanks for the memories.

 

 

 


I Believe in the Cavs

Written by :
Published on : June 19, 2016

 

 

 

A beautiful, hope-filled mural has greeted Cleveland fans at each home game this NBA Finals. It will greet fans one more time as they fill up seats in Quicken Loans Arena and just outside at Gateway Plaza during the Game 7 watch party. But before I go any further, let me repeat two of the greatest words in the world to LeBron James and to Cleveland fans near and far: GAME SEVEN.

 

brinda - believe

 

It’s what we hoped for last year, and what we finally got this year – another chance for a title and our best chance to break the championship drought thus far. The journey has once again proven to be unpredictable, frustrating at times, and awe-inspiring at others. The Cleveland fans, organization, and players have all shared in this emotional rollercoaster that we can only hope will end with that windblown look of amazement and happiness that you feel when it finally comes to a stop… even when you don’t want it to. But it will tomorrow night when the winds of fate blow through the bay once more.  

 

This season has got me thinking a lot about fate, facts, conspiracy, and superstition. Many Clevelanders have blamed the drought on a curse. Many Golden State fans will blame their losses on conspiracy (Steph Curry’s wife included). But when it comes down to it, the forces at play here aren’t hiding behind the curtain. There is no Great and Powerful Oz with unexplainable magic who can grant our wishes. But what is at play is special and resembles magic in a lot of ways. The magic is in the numbers, in the performances, in the incredible athleticism of LeBron James, and yes, his team. He has proven he can do it all. And his teammates (well most of them) have proven that they can follow his lead.

 

GTY 540879300 S SPO BKO BKN USA OH

 

That call and response could be seen in Game 6 as J.R. Smith lobbed the basketball up as if to no one – just to have LeBron come soaring in for one of the most exciting alley-oops I’ve ever witnessed. Or as Kyrie Irving hit shot after shot to match LeBron’s insane efforts in Game 5. That same call and response triggered another appropriate reaction with the fans who fed off that energy and transferred it right back to the team with deafening screams of wonder and joy.

 

When LeBron James announced his return a couple of summers ago, the city responded with another mural, a massive mural downtown that confirmed hope had returned, not only for our sports teams, but for our city on the brink of a downtown resurgence. Sure, he is not the answer to all of our problems. He is not the only piece to this puzzle as the city continues to rebuild and redefine itself. But he is a symbol of hope, of inspiration, and the possibilities that are to come for our community, our people, and our sports teams. And come time Game 7, we are all witness to what could be the end of Cleveland’s second place past and a new era of success led by one of our own.

 

lebron wall

 

I pray the team slept well last night, just as LeBron and company did this past Thursday, fresh off a win. No, I don’t think there will be any more sleepovers this season (as I had mentioned and hoped for in my previous articles). And I no longer believe in my own conspiracy that Anderson Varejao is secretly trying to help the Cavs (unless it’s to demonstrate how to pull off a successful flop). But I do believe in what I see, in what fans see, in what my father sees, who is the biggest sports fan I know – which is hope, which is talent, and what is at many times unbelievably awesome to witness. I believe in the Cavs. I believe in LeBron. And I do believe that history can be made for Cleveland tonight, in epic fashion after trailing by three, with one more win. Believe it. We’re all in.

 

all in cleveland

 

And for all the Cleveland loving fathers out there, including my own, Greg Brinda, AKA @sirfranksnbacon, AKA The Dean of Cleveland Sports Talk, here’s to the best Father’s Day present you could ask for…that long awaited championship. You deserve it.

 

 


A Letter to the Cavs from a Grateful Fan

Written by :
Published on : May 28, 2016

 

 

Dear Cleveland Cavaliers,

 

Thank you for accepting the challenge, for fighting through matchup after matchup, for weathering the injuries, for your patience in times of mental and physical turmoil, for balling like some ballers, and for winning the Eastern Conference Finals.

 

Needless to say,  it’s been a long road. Yes, at this time last year we were advancing to the finals, but without Kyrie who went down in overtime, never to return in the 2014-15 NBA post season. Not to mention Kevin Love who endured a debilitating shoulder injury against Boston in round one. But the limited bench showed up and put on a performance that inspired the hungry Cleveland crowd, and even won two games in the finals. By the way, those finals wins were a first in Cavs history. Pushing, scraping, and Dellying our way to a game six, our luck and our energy finally ran out when Golden State took home the trophy.

 

It was a slow start to the 2015-16 season. Kyrie was still recovering. The wins were there, but not as fruitful as your typical cornucopia. It took a while before Stella Got Her Groove Back. But everything comes in cycles. As we lost Anderson Varejao to a torn achilles right before Christmas last year, we were gifted with a healthy yet rusty Kyrie as the holidays approached. With the New Year came new beginnings – and I’m talking big changes, as head Coach David Blatt was let go and Tyronn Lue went from highest paid associate to top diggity dog (but not the highest paid head coach of course). Could he live up to the challenge we asked? Or would LeBron be doing most of the coaching?

 

Some say Tyronn has stood his ground. And it’s undeniable that LeBron has had a significant impact on how the team has arrived to where they are today. I’m sure it was a little of this, a little of that. A lot of healthy eating, a lot of hard work, and a little partying in between – hence LeBron’s Prince Halloween costume. RIP Prince.

 

LeBronAsPrince

 

But after witnessing the heartwarming energy of the fans last year and hearing those echoes of hope continue to ring throughout The Land and across the country this year, I am sure that our faith has not faded. Our trust in our team is strong. We believe we can win because we’ve seen it, and we’ve seen it done well. We’ve also witnessed how a fan base can truly uplift or deflate their hometown heroes or sworn enemies depending on who’s turf we’re meeting on. And when we say ALL IN, it’s not because basketball is all we have, it’s because we’re giving one hundred percent just like our guys.

 

It’s an energy, connection, and love that breaks borders, boundaries, and bloodlines. But what we have in common is where we’re from and who we are playing for. We have pride in our team and our team embodies the spirit of our city. A city that we love and a city that deserves a championship. After all, we are all fans. Even LeBron is a fan. And he knows the power of the fandom, united. He even acknowledged the power of the Toronto fan base – which included Drake giving high fives at the end of the game. Not sure Lowry cared about Drake…But don’t feel sorry for Toronto. They played well. They still have hockey, sort of.

 

Drake raptors

 

It was great to see Mr. Cavalier, aka Austin Carr, stand with the 2016 Cleveland Cavaliers to hoist that Eastern Conference Championship trophy above their heads. He’s been there since the beginning. He’s almost seen many a championship. But something tells me that this year is history in the making and I’m so happy he’s a part of it.

 

Whether it’s OKC or Golden State, I believe we are ready to take on either team. My dad, aka @SirFranksnBacon, aka the Dean of Cleveland Sports, Greg Brinda, recently quoted sworn Starfleet enemy, Khan, on his post game show, “Revenge is a dish best served cold.” But if we play OKC we’ll have home court advantage, which means our fans will have a say in these first two games. Don’t worry. We won’t underestimate either opponent. We’ll have to make adjustments accordingly, but there’s a sense of calm and confidence that eases my fears. I’m not used to that feeling, and I’m not even sure of what to think about that right now, but I’ll take it.

 

ATLANTA, GA - MAY 20:  LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers reacts in the final minutes of their 97 to 89 win over the Atlanta Hawks during Game One of the Eastern Conference Finals of the 2015 NBA Playoffs at Philips Arena on May 20, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

 

Just like the original Goonie, Mikey, preaches to his team from the depths of the Oregon coast, Don’t you realize? The next time you see sky, it’ll be over another town. The next time you take a test, it’ll be in some other school. Our parents, they want the best of stuff for us. But right now, they got to do what’s right for them. Because it’s their time. Their time! Up there! Down here, it’s our time. It’s our time down here. That’s all over the second we ride up Troy’s bucket.”

 

And we’re not riding up Troy’s bucket until we have a championship.

 

 


Anderson Varejao – The Spy With Shaggy Hair

Written by :
Published on : March 11, 2016

 

 

 

I know what you’re thinking. Anderson Varejao is pissed. He got traded by the Cavs and now he wants revenge. So what does he do? He signs with the enemy – The Golden State Warriors. The team that unfortunately took home the NBA Finals trophy after a tough fought, six game battle. How could the team that he spent 12 years with just up and let him go like that? Especially when LeBron actually likes the guy. But how could you not like Anderson Varejao? That lovable smile, the gorgeous hair, and did I mention his amazing rebounding abilities?

 

He was Tristan Thompson’s mentor dognabit! And although some people might find this hard to believe, I think Cleveland grew on him. I know it’s no Brazil or Barcelona, but Clevelanders embraced him…so much in fact that on February 21st, 2006 they tried to break the world record for most people wearing a wig in a single venue. They were wearing the Anderson Varejao wig…20,562 of them! If that’s not love then I don’t want to know what love is. P.S. I sleep with my wig on every night. Just kidding. No, I’m not.

 

varejao Wig

 

I do honestly believe that he enjoyed living near the beautiful Great Lake of Erie, in a city with a booming medical-based economy. For a guy that has dislocated his right shoulder, torn a tendon is his right ankle, broke his wrist, suffered a blood clot in his lung, nursed some back problems, and most recently tore his achilles, it’s smart to play in a city with excellent medical care, fantastic Slavic food, hard-working individuals, lots of bowling alleys…you get my point. And yes, assume that I too love Cleveland.

 

Which leads me to my next point. Why did the Cavs get rid of him? I’ve talked to my father, long-time Cleveland sports radio personality, Greg Brinda, who admits that Varejao is a bit fragile. After all, he did miss most of the 2014-15 NBA season with his last injury. So given his track record and the fact that the Cavs kind of dominate in big ball basketball with a variety of effective power forwards and centers (even with Mr. Cement Hands, MOSGOV!!), the Cavs could actually use someone like Channing Frye, an experienced…wait! Another power forward/center?!! I guess he’s a superior perimeter shooter, but if it were me I probably would have traded for Kevin Durant. That could have happened, right?

 

Frye Varejao

 

Okay, so let’s get to the real reason why the Cavs traded Varejao to Portland who then released him, leaving him to sign with either the San Antonio Spurs, The Oklahoma City Thunder, The Atlanta Hawks, or yes The Golden State Warriors. So basically, Andy (I’m calling him Andy now), got his pick of the best kitty litter in town. Wow! Lucky him! Or was it luck at all? Maybe this was part of the Cavs’ ploy all along. And maybe, just maybe, Andy was in on it the whole time. Let me ask you. If you were nearing the end of your career, were prone to injuries, and wanted to be an effective component in helping your team win, why wouldn’t you sign with the enemy to gain valuable information that could be used to help the Cavs win? And then there’s the fact that Golden State really wanted him. So maybe Steph Curry’s looking for our secrets. Even better!

 

Steph Curry wants in on our secret plan. He wants to know what LeBron does before each game. How does he get that toned, muscular physique? How is he so versatile on the court? Sure, Steph is great at shooting threes, he’s versatile, good in clutch situations, but he’s small.  And when you mix in that CHILDISH mouth guard chewing habit, he looks like a junior-higher out there with his other small ball sidekicks.

 

steph mouthpiece

 

The Warriors won’t admit that they are scared. They have a great record. Right now, they are playing better than the Cavs or really any NBA team. And Curry is on track to get the MVP. Let me say that again…for right now. And with the recent firing of Coach David Blatt, I’m sure they think the pot is a stirrin’ in Cleveland. But deep down, they don’t want any surprises. They want to know what’s coming. And they want to grow…literally. So Andy will tell them: Salmon is out! Fuck salmon and all lean proteins! It’s all about the Barkley diet: Taco Bell for breakfast, lunch, and dinner! LeBron only works out once a week with a light jog and pilates. And Kyrie and Kevin Love? They are both on a similar meal plan and exercise regiments, but Kyrie substitutes pilates for Zumba and Love likes this new thing called Pop Pilates (it’s pilates to top music hits). Varejao will get them to believe this silliness, and hopefully the Warriors will begin to fizzle out.

 

But the truth is, it’s probably the other way around. The Cavs need to know the Warriors’ secrets. Now I love the CAVS! They are my team! But let’s be honest, they are not on track to beat the Warriors. And as my dad (aka @SirFranksnBacon) put it, “The Warriors are a fine-tuned machine. They are firing on all cylinders…not a lot of warts.” They play great defense, they obviously play superb offense, make clutch shots, and most importantly they have freakishly excellent team chemistry. CHEMISTRY. The only way the Cavs will stand a chance of beating the Warriors in the Finals is if the Big Three (LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love) are consistently playing GREAT together. And since Coach Tyronn Lue took over with his fast-paced game approach, the Cavs defense has been lacking. That cannot happen when they get to the playoffs, let alone the Finals. Every member of the Cavs team needs to be on the same page, firing on all cylinders, with high-quality oil in the engine, if you know what I mean (#Gatorade).

 

cleveland big 3

 

So what’s the secret to the Warriors’ chemistry? That is what Andy is there to find out. I like to imagine that he just got home from a sleepover with his Warriors teammates. He’s thinking about the fun night that he just had…

 

Dream Sequence:

After hours of choreographing a dance to Informer and various hits from Jock Jams Volume 1, they make nachos with shredded beef, Velveeta, some diced tomatoes, chives, and sour cream. Then they watch Practical Magic and play Dream Phone. I can see Andy now, sitting across from Andre Iguodala. They are giggling as Andy answers the Dream Phone and gets his clue. “He loves pizza but he hates corn dogs!” They laugh, put on their pajamas, and turn on a scary movie. Probably The Exorcist. They all hold tight to their sleeping bags. Steph Curry bows out early. Says he has to put his daughter to bed, but really he’s just scared and maybe peed his boxers a little. As he’s tucking in little Riley, the bed begins to shake. He screams for his life! As his daughter tries to comfort him, Draymond Green peeks out from under the bed, smiling. “Got you this time, Stephy!”

 

“That wasn’t funny!” Steph yells, fighting back tears of horror. But Andy knows what to do in this situation. It’s time to play with each other’s hair. He’ll show them how he gets his curls to look this good. They brush, they braid, they laugh, and slowly fall asleep to the slower rendition of Cyndi Lauper’s, Girls Just Want To Have Fun. Together they dream of winning another championship, everyone except Andy who will wake in the middle of the night, lie beside Steph Curry and whisper into his ear, “Cavs Win,” softly, gently, until Steph’s pleasant dream turns into a horrifying nightmare.

End Dream Sequence

Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James, right, and Anderson Varejao, from Brazil, hug as the leave the floor late in the fourth quarter of a first-round NBA playoff basketball game against the Washington Wizards Sunday, April 22, 2007, in Cleveland. Cleveland won the first game of the best-of-seven series, 97-82. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)

 

Andy will return home a few times this spring to coordinate the necessary bonding time that the Cavs need. Mo will be back, hitting threes like a boss. J.R. Smith won’t let the pressure get to him. Mosgov’s hands will become agile and coordinated. LeBron will show up to practice in his impressive Prince Halloween Costume to lighten the mood. The Big Three will be musketeering it up! Boobie Gibson will even perform his latest hip-hop hit, All In C-L-E, as the Cavs gear up for Game 7 of the Finals. They’ll laugh together. They’ll cry together. And by God, they’ll win together.

 

 


SBS NFL Picks Against the Spread: Week 2

Written by :
Published on : September 17, 2015

 

 

Well, my week 1 for NFL Picks Against the Spread didn’t go quite as well as I had hoped. I came away with 7 wins, 8 losses and 1 push. Which is ok, but I strive for greatness and will use the lessons learned about teams to push up my win percentage this week. There are some nice divisional matchups coming up that are going to make it a little tricky. Surely, there will be some surprises and some upsets, but with a few big underdogs, I’m confident that I’ve got a full helping of winners here for you guys.

 

Winning picks in italics.

 

Broncos at Chiefs (-3): Chiefs

Both of these teams came away with wins last week. The Broncos won at home in underwhelming fashion and the Chiefs won on the road against a disappointing Texans squad. Arrowhead Stadium is one of the hardest places in the league for opposing teams to play, and with Manning’s arm looking about as weak as previously rumored, watch the Chiefs defense to get all over him.

 

Patriots (-1) at Bills: Patriots

Both the Bills and Pats were very strong last week, and the Bills defense neutralized a Colts offense that was one of the most explosive in the league last season. That said, the Patriots are going to continue to play angry and stick it to Roger Goodell, one win at a time. Even though it’s a divisional game and they are on the road in Buffalo, with the Bills only getting 1 point, the Patriots are the right pick.

  

Titans (-1) at Browns: Titans

How about that Marcus Mariota guy? He looked very, very good last week as he led the Titans to a week one win against the top pick of the draft in Tampa Bay. The Browns on the other hand, are looking like they will be as bad as I thought they were going to be. Mariota is going to pick that defense apart and get win number two in Cleveland by a wide margin.

 

Texans at Panthers (-3): Panthers

The Panthers didn’t look great last week, but still managed a 21-9 win on the road in Jacksonville. They welcome a Texans team that lost by 7 on their home field last week. I see the Panthers winning this one with some help from a couple of broken plays that Cam Newton extends with his legs.

 

Cardinals (-1.5) at Bears: Cardinals

The Bears put up a very good fight against the Packers and had a real chance to come away with a huge win last week. Then reality set in, of course. This week they welcome in a Cardinals team that beat the Saints last week, but lost their starting running back in the process. Carson Palmer looked pretty sharp in his first game back from injury and I think he will overcome the 1.5 points being given to the Bears, while passing the ball all over them. Cardinals win.

 

Chargers at Bengals (-3): Bengals

The Chargers had a huge second half last week to overcome a Lions first half 21-3 lead, and get a 33-28 win. While the Bengals destroyed the lowly Raiders for the entirety of the game. Both of these teams are good and will probably be battling each other for a wild-card berth this year. With the Bengals being at home, I think that gives them the advantage and they beat the spread.

 

Lions at Vikings (-3): Detroit

For one half of football, the Lions seemed like they could be one of the best teams in the league, then they were severely out-coached in the second half and lost. They now head to Minnesota and play a team that didn’t look for good for any sustained period against the 49ers. The Lions defense and offensive line will want to prove that they aren’t as bad as they looked in that second half last week.

 

Buccaneers at Saints (-10): Buccaneers

I think the Saints win this one at home straight up. I just can’t resist the urge to take the 10 points that the Bucs are getting here. I think Jameis has a much better game than last week and does enough to keep this one close.

 

Falcons at Giants (-2.5): Giants

The Giants should have won their game last week against the Cowboys, but they at least did enough to cover the spread. They are going to be heartbroken after that division loss last week and are going to come out strong at home against the Falcons. Look for them to win by a touchdown and for Odell Beckham Jr to have a few big plays.

 

49ers at Steelers (-6): 49ers

Neither of these teams looked all that great last week, but the Steelers defense still looks like a work in progress and they remain without Le’veon Bell for one more game. They win straight up but the 49ers keep it close enough to cover the spread.

 

Rams (-3.5) at Redskins: Rams

The Redskins are bad and are going to get murdered by Aaron Donald & Co as that Rams defense gets all over them. Enough said.

 

Ravens (-6) at Raiders: Raiders

The Raiders got a big scare when Derek Carr went down with a hand injury against the Bengals. He was back to fully practicing this week and should be good to go at home against the Ravens. If he wasn’t playing then the Ravens would be the easy pick, but with Carr and Amari Cooper on the field, I think the offense keeps it close enough to cover the spread.

 

Dolphins (-6) at Jaguars: Dolphins

There might be a point sometime soon when the Jaguars are decent, but they clearly aren’t there yet. The Dolphins defense and offense is going to continue to improve, especially against the Jags this week. Add to that the fact that there will probably be more Dolphins fans up in Jacksonville, and it should work out essentially like a home game for the ‘Fins. They are are going to beat them up and run them out of their own stadium.

 

Cowboys at Eagles (-5): Cowboys

The Cowboys had an inspiring comeback win against another division rival at home last week.  This week they travel to Philly to take on an Eagles team that was less than inspiring against the Falcons. This will be another NFC East slugfest that is decided by less than the 5-point spread being offered up by Vegas. Take the Cowboys

 

Seahawks at Packers (-3.5): Seahawks

The Seahawks aren’t getting any favors from the schedule makers by having to travel to St Louis week one and then into Green Bay for week two, but luckily for them, the Packers defense looked pretty awful last week. Look for Marshawn and the Seahawks to keep it very close, even if they don’t pull out the win.

 

Jets at Colts (-7): Jets

Don’t get me wrong, I think the Colts will win this one at home, but it’s another case of me not being able to look past the points being given by Vegas. The Jets looked pretty good against a bad team last week and with a defense that is supposed to be strong, I think it stays close enough for the Jets to be the pick here.

 


Last Week’s Record: 7-8-1

 

Season Record: 7-8-1

 


Eric Wedge Needs Another Chance

Written by :
Published on : September 9, 2015

 

When looking at the problems surrounding his old team, former Mariners manager, Eric Wedge, can feel at ease that his managing was not the issue. The team hired Lloyd McClendon to replace him last year, and they still stink. During his time running the organization, Jack Zduriencik hired three different managers and they produced five losing seasons with only two winning ones. For that reason that Zduriencik was fired on August 28th.

 

The men he hired to run the team never had a chance to succeed because Zduriencik never provided them with good players to work with. Poor drafting was a big culprit, as demonstrated by disappointing first round picks, Dustin Ackley, Nick Franklin, Danny Hultzen and Mike Zunino.

 

The brains behind the Mariners roster, Jack Zduriencik

 

When he resigned, Wedge criticized Zduriencik and you have to wonder if that is why he is currently unemployed. The fact is that no boss wants their employee ripping them in public and it’s not a good look to show prospective employers. Another reason teams might be shying away from Wedge is his losing record (774-876). I don’t believe he should be punished for that because the man can straight up manage. He masterfully rebuilt the Cleveland Indians and had them one game away from the World Series in 2007.

 

There’s no way the Mariners problems should be held against him because the issues with the team were out of his control. He deserves one last shot to manage a major league club. One that is ready to win now.

 

Joe Maddon did it for the Cubs. Wedge can do it for some other team.

 

If he could step into the type of situation Joe Maddon did in Chicago this year, with a team that is ready to win, then I think he could really make something happen. The Cubs will make the playoffs this year because they finally found a manager that knows what he’s doing. If another team with some good pieces in place hired Wedge, they could do the same. He knows how to lead. He commands respect. He gets things done and he knows how to develop players. He can win.

 

We can’t hold his losing recored against him because he was either managing rebuilding projects with the Indians or leading a terrible team with the Mariners. It’s time he is judged on what he can do with a good squad.

 

His teams will never get outworked and he will never get out managed. They will play fundamentally sound baseball and will be disciplined. He calls it like he sees it and will hold his guys accountable when they don’t perform up to his standards. As a result his players will get better and the team will win.

 

They could use this kind of passion and leadership in Boston or Detroit.

 

Two teams I can think of that could use Wedge’s services are the Red Sox and the Tigers. They both have young talent and can win now, they just need the right manager. Something they do not have at the moment in John Farrell and Brad Ausmus, respectively.

 

These teams, or any team in need, would be better for hiring him and he would immediately command respect in the clubhouse. The players would want to play for him and it would be an absolute joke if he didn’t get another gig after what he had to endure in Seattle. He has put the time into his craft and he knows what to do. It’s time for him to get another shot and prove that he can get it done.

 

 


Fantasy Football Saints, Sinner and Sleepers: WR Edition

Written by :
Published on : September 3, 2015

“Here we lay bare the souls of those who play the game for our entertainment. We praise the saints, condemn the sinners, and root out the sleepers who can help your fantasy football team stay on the righteous path.”

 

The third installment of Saints, Sinners and Sleepers will explore the wide receiver position heading into the 2015 NFL season. These are the best of the best, the worst of the worst and some of the most underestimated in their field. The following players can help you gain entry into the pearly gates of a fantasy football championship, or send you to the seventh circle of a losing season. Heed the words you are about to read, and know that it is truth.

 

Saints

There’s going to be a lot of this going on with Antonio Brown.

 

Antonio Brown-  For the last two seasons, Antonio Brown has ranked in the top two in league for receiving yards (1,698 and 1,499) and was third in touchdown receptions last season (13). Coming into his 6th season in the league, he looks to build on his already strong relationship with quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger and improve on his stellar numbers from last season. He completes the Holy Trinity of Saints in Pittsburgh and like the other two, is going to have a huge season in 2015. Despite his rather small frame (5′ 10″, 186 lbs), he is able to win battles against larger defenders and is a threat all over the field, whether it be in space on a short bubble screen or catching the deep ball after blazing past opposing defenses. Saint Antonio is going to continue to prove this season that he is one of the best pass catchers in the league.

 

Dez Bryant- On a personal level, I find it very hard to call Dez Bryant a saint; his attitude and tendency to cause drama on the field and in the locker room are big turnoffs for me. That said, this guys is a unique talent, and after ranking in the top three in receiving touchdown for the last three seasons, including leading the league last year (16), his status as one of the best is secure. He caught 51 more passes than the next closest receiver on his team last season, and considering they didn’t add any special talents at the position this offseason, it’s hard to see that changing. Saint Dez’ physical ability are on a level that hasn’t been seen since Calvin Johnson was healthy, and he brings the hammer of God down upon any DB who is unfortunate enough to try to break down and tackle him in space. Add that to his ability to win contested catches in the air, and it’s easy to see why he is one of the best young talents in football.

 

Calvin Johnson- Saint Megatron has been getting slept-on hard this year in fantasy football and I just don’t understand it. This is a guy who missed three games last season, and was used exclusively as decoy in another two, yet he still managed to 1,077 receiving yards and 8 touchdowns. Now he has to have a chip on his shoulder after hearing all the talk of him being washed up at the ripe old age of thirty. This is the first time in a few seasons that the future hall of fame receiver will come into the season healthy, and from reports out of Lions’ training camp, it sounds like this saint still has plenty of miracles up his sleeve. Look for Saint Megatron to get back to his dominating ways and make jaw-dropping plays all year long. If there are doubters now, there will be plenty of true believers by the time January rolls around.

 

Sinners

Thinking about all those drops he had in college.

 

Devin Funchess-  I still can’t believe how much the Carolina Panthers paid to move up and draft Devin Funchess. I had high hopes for the tight end turned wide out when he was at Michigan, and although he did provide the occasional big play, he routinely dropped balls and hurt his team. Sure, he has some size (6′ 4″, 236 lbs), but he is not very fast and has hands of stone. He and the team would probably benefit from a move back to tight end, but that may not be feasible due to his lackluster run blocking. This sinner is bound to enrage the fanbase in Carolina more often than not, just as he did in Ann Arbor. While the loss of Kelvin Benjamin for the entire 2015 season makes it tempting to consider allowing this heathen to join the ranks of your team, but he is beyond salvation and should be cast out.

 

Sammy Watkins- I expected Sammy Watkins to be very good last year… if he got drafted into the right situation. It turned out that he wound up in Buffalo. True, the Bills are in a much better place than last season but Rex Ryan is now running the team and he is known for a few things; good defense, strong running game and poor quarterback play. I’m still not sold on the Bills’ newly named starting QB, Tyrod Taylor, who will likely be benched at some point before November. The addition of other offensive weapons in Charles Clay, Percy Harvin and LeSean McCoy, make sure there’s no chance Watkins sees anything near the 128 targets he saw last year (no receiver has ever gotten that many targets in a Rex Ryan offense). Lastly, he has become somewhat injury prone and has been in and out of practice this summer while recovering from hip surgery. Sammy Watkins is a sinner of circumstance, but a sinner nonetheless, and you should beware.

 

Dwayne Bowe- I don’t understand how this sinner keeps getting starting wide receiver jobs in the NFL. He hasn’t gained 1,000 receiving yards since 2011, and hasn’t had more than 5 receiving touchdowns since 2010. Last year he had ZERO receiving touchdowns (no wide receiver on the Chiefs had one) and as a reward he got $9 million in guaranteed money from the Browns. I know it seems like I’ve used this recurring segment to rag on the Browns players (except for Duke Johnson), but I feel a responsibility to warn fantasy football owners about just how bad this team is. Regardless of which sinner is throwing the ball to Bowe, you can expect him to continue his sinning ways and drag down your entire team.

 

Sleepers

Look for Kamar in an end zone near you in 2015.

 

Kamar Aiken- Don’t feel bad if you’ve never heard of the former UDFA out of UCF; a couple weeks ago I hadn’t either. Breshad Perriman’s injury could be the best thing that ever happened to the speedy 4th year receiver, who is currently listed as a starter for the Ravens. With guru, Marc Trestman, running the offense in Baltimore, look for Aiken to get a good amount of balls thrown his way. He is a sleeper in the truest sense, and is barely being drafted in most leagues. If you can get him in the last few rounds or even better, as a free agent, you could be getting the biggest steal in your entire league.

 

Jeff Janis- The second year receiver out of Saginaw Valley didn’t see the field much in 2014, but with Jordy Nelson out for the season with a torn ACL, that’s going to change. You can believe that fans in Green Bay and around the league will be hearing this guy’s name much more often now. There’s nothing that an under-the-radar wide receiver should wish for more than the chance to have a future hall of fame QB throwing them the ball (just ask every no name who’s ever been lucky enough to land in New England). Aaron Rodgers is arguably the best in the game and he has the ability to make everyone around him better. Janis has already impressed in the preseason, and with Randall Cobb’s week 1 status in doubt, he could be a very busy man when the Packers head to play the lowly Bears in the Windy City. Look for big things out of Mr. Janis this year.

 

Markus Wheaton- The 3rd year receiver out of Oregon State was a bit of a disappointment last season after he only accumulated 644 yards and 2 touchdowns, but don’t give up on him just yet. The Steelers and their quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, still believe in him, and you should too. The offense in the Steel City is going to be very good and with Martavis Bryant missing the first 4 games of the season for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, this could be the perfect time for Wheaton to fill the void and have his breakout. He will be going pretty late in most drafts, if at all, and with the way that the Steelers are going to be scoring points this season, there’s a very good chance the Wheaton puts up the numbers that I thought he would last year. Take him late and reap the rewards.

 

 

 



The 9 Funniest Sports Movies. Ever.

Written by :
Published on : June 25, 2015

The Internet loves lists, we love sports, and everybody loves funny movies. So we felt it was only right to have a countdown of the 9 funniest sports movies of all time.

Why 9, and not 10? Because it’s my list and I can choose whichever arbitrary number pleases me.

As for the movies, these films are the greatest of their genre and they have the ability to uplift, entertain, inspire, and most importantly make people laugh. They are about the underdogs, the outcasts, the naturally gifted, the hopelessly talentless, the improbable, the odds and the defiance of those odds. If that isn’t special, I don’t know what is.

But enough talking about it, and let’s get to business. Here are my 9 Funniest Sports Movies. Ever.

The movie "Slap Shot", directed by George Roy Hill. Seen here of the Charlestown Chiefs hockey team, the Hanson Brothers. From left, David Hanson (as Jack Hanson). Steve Carlson (as Steve Hanson), Jeff Carlson (as Jeff Hanson). Initial theatrical release February 25, 1977. Screen capture. Copyright © 1977 Universal Pictures. Credit: © 1977 Universal Pictures / Courtesy: Pyxurz.

#9. Slap Shot (1977)

This hilariously violent and vulgar film stars Paul Newman as Reggie Dunlop, a player/coach with the Charlestown Chiefs, a team that just found out that local mill will be closing and 10,000 workers will be laid off.

In an attempt to save the team from a similar fate, Dunlop resorts to fighting with other teams as his go-to strategy for winning games. And it works..

By far the funniest thing in this film is the above-pictured Hanson Brothers. These spectacle wearing man-children leave more than a little to be desired when it comes to intelligence and actual game-skills, but they more than make up for it with bare-knuckled savagery. Some of the jokes in this film would have a hard time making it to screen in today P.C society but it is undeniable that this movie is still as funny as they come.

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#8. Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006)

As someone who isn’t an actual fan of racing I may be way off base here, but Talladega Nights so hilariously captures the general air of white-trashiness that surrounds the world of stock car racing. Will Ferrell’s portrayal of Ricky Bobby, a lowly pit crew member who is thrust into the drivers seat and onto stardom, is as close to his Old School/Anchorman greatness as he ever got again.

Ricky comes to consider himself untouchable, only to have everything, including his hot racing groupie wife, his under-appreciated teammate and best friend Cal Naughton Jr (John C Reilly), and his badass racing skills taken from him in a flash by his own arrogance and a French Formula 1 driver named Jean Girard (Sasha Baren-Cohen).

In the end Farrell and Reilly, who just do too good a job at caricaturing the hilarious mentality of the NASCAR world, carry this movie all the way to finish line.

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#7. White Men Can’t Jump (1992)

Billy Hoyle (Woody Harrelson) is a street ball hustler who takes advantage of his non-assuming, good ol’ boy Caucasian looks in order to make the ball players of Los Angeles underestimate his game. When fate brings him together with Sidney Dean (Wesley Snipes) a working partnership, and eventually a friendship, is born. Together they set off to run the courts of LA, and make some money in the process.

There are a ton of yo-mama jokes and an almost never ending amount of overly dramatic slow-motion basketball scenes that are hilarious in their own right, if not only for the fact that they look so ridiculous.

The colors and fashion, and Rosie Perez, of this film are so perfectly 90’s. It takes me back to that era while making me laugh, and as someone whose formative years occurred in this time period, I can still remember renting this VHS from the Blockbuster video.

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#6. The Bad News Bears (1976)

This film starring Walter Matthau created an entire genre of sports comedy that would be copied, repackaged and remade many times in the future. The Mighty Ducks, The Little Giants and The Ladybugs would all go on to copy the formula of The Bad News Bears. But none of these other films are as good as this mid-seventies classic. It’s funnier than all those movies if merely for the fact that its much more R-rated than its future, kid-friendly imitators. And sometimes that’s enough.

Matthau’s character, Morris Buttermaker, is coaxed into coaching a team made up from all the worst players of a highly competitive little league, and he inspires his team by showing up drunk to games and practices, and just generally not caring about the whole thing.

After acquiring a couple of ringers (a necessary step in any sports comedy) they make it all the way to the championship game, only to lose to the obviously better team. In the end coach Buttermaker is kind enough to make them feel better about the loss in the only way he knows how, by letting them drink his beer (something that I’m sure the Hollywood of today would never let happen on the screen).

 

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#5. Happy Gilmore (1996)

Happy Gilmore (Adam Sandler) is an unlikely hero who has always had the dream of playing hockey. There’s just one problem, he’s not any good. He does, however, have a hell of a slap shot, which he parlays into an unlikely, but successful golf career, with a little guidance from perhaps the greatest on screen mentor ever, Chubbs Peterson (Carl Weathers).

Happy is violent. He curses and drinks. And could care less about the traditions or etiquette.

He is there to win and doesn’t care who he pisses off along the way.

Oh, and its hilarious.

For me the comedic highlight of the movie is a fight in which Bob Barker beats the hell out of Happy. Much of the humor is crude and violent, and is balanced out by golf environment that is supposed to be so refined and proper. Adam Sandler is at his peak in his first film after his debut in Billy Madison, and he would never again make a movie this great.

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#4. Kingpin (1996)

Woody Harrelson stars as Roy Munson, a once promising bowling champ who loses his good hand due to the negative influence of Ernie McCracken (Bill Murray), who takes the title of sleaziest sleazeball the moment he steps on screen.

Fast forward a couple decades and Munson has developed the kind of questionable morals and bleak outlook that can only be acquired through a lifetime of disappointment and shattered dreams. Munson eventually stumbles upon Ishmael (Randy Quaid), a previously undiscovered bowling prodigy who also happens to be from Amish country. Roy’s plan is to have Ishmael bowl in a big tournament and help them both win some money.

Ishmael’s kindhearted ignorance of modern society, along with some questionable influence from Munson, creates an opportunity for both slapstick and shock humor. The journey they undertake together proves to be one of self-discovery for both Roy and Ishmael, as they learn more about themselves and the world around them.

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#3. The Sandlot (1993)

What a great film this is. Not only is it one of the funniest sports movies ever, it also happens to be one of my favorite overall movies ever. It’s just that good.

Its amazing that The Sandlot can make me feel so nostalgic despite the fact that I didn’t grow up in a small town in middle America during the 1960’s and I wasn’t in love with the game of baseball during my youth in the way that I am now (I was a football kid). There’s just something totally relatable about the kids on the sandlot that makes you feel like it have been you or me out there playing for the love of the game and nothing else. The jokes may be juvenile at times but that doesn’t make them any less funny.

This is the second baseball movie on the list, and before I re-watched Major League it was actually the first. Despite being leapfrogged by Major League, this movie makes a very strong case for being higher on the list; the fact of the matter is that Major League is just a funnier movie. With that said, I absolutely love this film and it does a great job of giving the viewer the feeling of being a kid playing sports with your friends in the summer.

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#2. Major League (1989)

This is an amazing film and would probably be at the top of most people’s list. With late 80’s/early 90’s stalwarts like Charlie Sheen, Wesley Snipes, Rene Russo and Tom Berenger it’s pretty easy to see how this movie was such a home run (get it?). This movie provides constant laughs and the uplifting type of story that everyone who has ever been on a bad team dreams about living out, on and off the field.

Battling against their own ineptitude and a money-hungry new owner who wants to move the entire franchise to Miami, this motley crew of players, who includes washed up veterans, ex-cons, and a voodoo practitioner, must turn themselves around and save the team. By going from laughing stock of the league to winning the division in dramatic fashion, raise attendance to levels at which the owner can’t justify moving the team.

The laughs alone are enough to raise this movie up, but the solid sports-related plot puts it in the top 3.

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#1. Caddyshack (1980)

When the idea for this list was in its earliest stages, I knew immediately which movie was at the top. Caddyshack is not only my favorite sports comedy of all time; it is also one of my favorite overall movies of all time.

Caddyshack stars three of the greatest comedians of all time: Chevy Chase, Bill Murray and Rodney Dangerfield, whose performances help create one the most genuinely funny films ever. I’m not even going to try to list some of the hysterical things in this movie; if you don’t know them off the top of your head, you need to go and watch this film right now!

This movie has all of the necessary components of an all time epic sports story. Rag-tag group of underachieving but loveable characters? High Stakes? Antagonist who you just love to hate? With of these elements there’s no better film I could think of to top this list, and for that reason, Caddyshack takes the title of the funniest sports movie ever.

 

 


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