Battle of the Network Stars

Written by :
Published on : July 2, 2017

 

Welcome to the new Battle of the Network Stars. For those who don’t know, this is a revival of the vintage series from ABC Sports dating back 1976. The show ran until 1988 and normally had two episodes a year. It was hosted by the great Howard Cosell and featured a three way battle from the stars of ABC, NBC and CBS. This was the original Dancing with the Stars.

 

And because TV won’t let anything die, this sports reality vehicle is back! This time with special guest coach and NFL great, DeMarcus Ware. Plus former UFC champ, Ronda Rousey. With Mike Green and Joe Tessitore doing the commentary. This version of the show has dropped the network teams and instead grouped the contestants by the types of roles they have played. Crews like: TV cops, TV lawyers, TV politicians, TV doctors, primetime soap stars, TV mom and dads, TV kids, and etc. Each airing of the 10 episode run will pit two crews against each other in a gauntlet of events. There are even some folks who are returning for their second round of Battle of the Network Stars. Talk about a throwback.

 

AJ MICHALKA, TRACEY GOLD, DAVE COULIER, BRONSON PINCHOT, DEMARCUS WARE, TOM ARNOLD
                                                                               Team TV Sitcoms

 

The events are just like back in the day. We still get to enjoy track, swimming, kayaking, basketball, soccer, tennis, the famous dunk tank, archery, golf, obstacle course and the the tug of war. It’s like some crazy decathlon for non-athletes. Half the fun is seeing who fails what. But then an endearing thing happens, you see one of the stars overcome in a situation you thought they had no chance in. It’s totally uplifting. And it gives you a little hope that maybe, just maybe, we can all find some inner strength someday.

 

I’m most looking forward to seeing team sci-fi which is Lou Ferrigno, Vinnie Jones, Charisma Carpenter, Kevin Sorbo and Jill Wagner. Team TV lifeguards also looks intriguing. The roster includes David Chokachi, Brande Roderick, Parker Stevenson, Nicole Eggert and Gena Lee Nolin. Rescue me. ABC is all in on this the retro game show thing. Beyond Battle, they also brought back The Gong Show while still enjoying Family FeudJeopardy and Wheel of Fortune. That’s a lot of old shit for one network. I’ve got a new idea for you ABC, how about show where celebs do my laundry. It could be called White Wash.

 

CORBIN BLEU, JOEY LAWRENCE, NOLAN GOULD, LISA WHELCHEL, KIM FIELDS, RONDA ROUSEY

 

Let’s all just be happy that there are finally some sports to watch. The dark days are over. Battle of the Network Stars is on Thursdays this summer on ABC.

 

TV time.

 

 


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?

 

 


How John Elway Revamped the Broncos and Built a Champion

Written by :
Published on : February 12, 2016

 

 

 

The two Broncos teams that appeared in Super Bowl 50 and Super Bowl XLVIII may have had many of the same players, but they were very different teams. Two years ago Peyton Manning and the offense had one of the most prolific units in recent memory, and they got demolished in the Super Bowl, by a score of 43-8. The Seahawks team that put such a hurting on them boasted a stifling defense that brought down the hammer on the NFL’s most high-flying offense. It was a battle of number one vs number one, and defense won in a big way.

 

The Broncos’ executive vice president and general manager seemingly took note of that Seahawks defense because just two years later, they used a nasty, attacking defense to put a hurt on the Carolina Panthers. Super Bowl 50 was once again the battle of a top offense and a top defense and the result was the same. In football, as in life, you must always be adapting in order to survive. In just two years, John Elway transformed the entire identity of his franchise, from head coach down, in order to not only survive but thrive, and win the greatest prize in all of sports. Here’s how it went down….

 

Shoring up the Defense

 Ward and Ware were two monster free agent pick ups.

 

After that crushing Super Bowl XLVIII defeat at the hands of the Seahawks defense, John Elway made it a point to fix the defense the following offseason. He added not one, but three, lynchpin type players to the Broncos defensive unit during free agency, in pass-rusher DeMarcus Ware, cornerback Aqib Talib, and safety TJ Ward. He also added first round cornerback Bradley Roby in the draft that year.

 

With an almost completely overhauled secondary and a potential hall of famer rushing opposing QBs along with a still improving but not-as-yet-godlike Von Miller, the Broncos had almost completely remade that part of their team. John Elway saw what the best teams in the league were doing in order to reach the next level and successfully emulated that. He should be given a ton of credit for the work he did in building that defense, but he wasn’t quite yet done with his overhaul of the team.

 

A New Coaching Regime

 Gary Kubiak did it!

 

Following the Broncos 24-13 divisional round playoff loss to the Colts last year, John Elway and former head coach John Fox decided that it would be best for coach Fox and the Broncos to mutually part ways. Elway was clearly not pleased by another year without advancing past the divisional round (in three of four years in Denver they had lost in that round), and felt that he find someone else to take them over the top. What a ballsy move that was. John Fox had 46-18 record in his four seasons in Denver and had taken them to the playoffs every year, including a Super Bowl appearance! I, for one, thought that the move to fire John Fox was bat shit crazy, but I was wrong.

 

John Elway brought in his old pal from back in the day, Gary Kubiak. This was another move that left me scratching my head. I never really thought of Gary Kubiak as a bad coach, but I certainly didn’t see him as a Super Bowl winning head coach. He had a 61-64 regular season record and 2-2 playoff record in his previous NFL stint with the Texans, and never seemed to me to be someone who was able to get the most out of the talent on his team. I was wrong about that, my bad. With the help of new defensive coordinator Wade Phillips they turned this Denver Broncos team into a defensive powerhouse that took the pressure off of the offense and controlled games all season long.

 

A Change in Offensive Philosophy

 By focusing on the run game, the Broncos minimized mistakes and let the defense take control.

 

It became clear in 2014 that the world would never get the Peyton Manning that they knew and loved back. The Peyton we were left with was a shadow of his former self. Years of injuries and normal wear and tear had left his arm strength severely inhibited, and that was not only obvious to opposing defenses but also to the untrained eyes of fans all over the world. In 2015 we watched Peyton Manning fall apart before us. He was still dealing with injuries as always but it was becoming obvious that he couldn’t play through it like a younger version of himself could. It was his worst statistical season since his rookie year and it seemed as though he was still trying to do too much with the limited physical abilities that years in the league had left him with.

 

In the third quarter of the Broncos week 10 loss the Chiefs, Manning was replaced by Brock Osweiler. He didn’t see the field again until he replaced Osweiler in the third quarter of the Broncos week 17 matchup. Peyton came in and led the team to a 27-20 victory against the Chargers, helping secure the top seed in the AFC playoffs. But this was not the same Peyton Manning. He had bought into the system and was no longer trying to do too much. By allowing the run game to become the focal point of the offense, Manning minimized the mistakes that had plagued him earlier in the season. As a result the defense became the standard bearer of the Broncos Super Bowl run and everything came together perfectly.

 

The Von Miller Effect

 The MVP.

 

Every champion needs an x-factor and for the AFC Championship and Super Bowl the Broncos had Von Miller. Through those two games, he destroyed the opposition and was unblockable. Against New England and Carolina he racked up 11 tackles, 5 sacks, 2 pass defenses, an interception and 2 forced fumbles. The fumble he forced against Cam Newton in the Super Bowl was recovered for a touchdown and helped the Broncos grab momentum early on. He was the most versatile player on the field; he rushed the passer, played the run and covered tight ends and receivers in the pass game. There was no other player as deserving of winning the Super Bowl MVP Award and now the Broncos better pay him his due this offseason.

 

 

It only took the Broncos two years to return to the Super Bowl but when they did they were a totally different team. John Elway had a vision for the team he wanted to build and deserves a lot of credit, along with the player and coaches, for executing that vision and creating a champion.

 

 


Roger Pretzel’s Review ‘n Brew: Week 8

Written by :
Published on : November 4, 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 8: DeMarcus Ware Strip-Sacks Aaron Rodgers For the Safety

John Kuhn tries to recover the fumble that eventually became a safety.

 

VIDEO: HERE

 

The Broncos defense makes its second Review ‘n Brew appearance of the season with another stripped ball, this one leading to a safety.

It’s not like Aaron Rodgers never gets sacked, but it’s quite rare to see him make a mistake under pressure. This time DeMarcus Ware jumps past the offensive line and gets to the QB mid-bootleg, resulting in the pigskin bouncing on the turf. Danny Trevathan makes the smart play to push the ball into the end zone, and Packers center Corey Linsley and tight end Richard Rodgers make a noble effort to get the ball back out, but ultimately Rodgers trips in the end zone surrounded by four or five Broncos D-men.

 

Week 8: All Those Gross 40’s You Used to Drink in High School/College

 photo forties_zps4cl7cbg9.jpg

Freshman year of college, I drank a lot of beer and malt liquor in forty ounce bottles. In retrospect, I can’t really figure out why, but I guess it was kind of the perfect portion for an inconsequential amount of cash. By the time sophomore year rolled around I had upgraded to better quality beer and cheap red wine sold in enormous jugs. I couldn’t imagine drinking any of these today, but here are their rankings based on my gloriously intoxicated memories.

Olde English “800” – C+
In preparing for this piece I was interested to notice the “imported” claim on the Olde E label, but as far as I can tell, it’s imported all the way from the Pabst Brewing Company. When you’re young and dumb I feel like this is the most well known malt liquor, but it actually tastes kinda nasty. It’s got that fruity sweetness that sticks in the back of your throat, making for what feels like a thick gullet film that hangs on for a while. People love this shit, but it was never for me.

Balantine XXX Ale – B
I love how this is touted as “America’s largest selling ale.” I fell hard for the Balantine when I first discovered it, but then got burned out on it quicksville. It does have the benefit of being a real-deal ale as opposed to a malt liquor, and has a very pleasant robust taste as a result. However, it also has the craziest, most intense, aftertaste you’ll ever find in a forty-ounce beverage. Basically drinking a pot of this is a battle between how delicious it starts and how gnarly it ends. Pro tip: crack one at the beginning of the night and then move onto something a little milder as the evening ends.

Colt 45 – A-
This here’s the belle of the ball. Sure it’s a malt liquor, but the flavor is pleasant and light in comparison to its colleagues. It’s cloying, it’s sweet, and lord preserve you if it gets warm, but out of all the drinks in this ballpark, its the least likely to make you gag. By the end of my forty phase this was the only one I could regularly stomach. Its mellow profile reminds me a cheap lager, and it also reminds me of linoleum floors, cruddy dorm furniture, and the couple friends I made that year that I’m still pals with to this day.

St. Ides – D+
Oh man, this one will hurt you. It’s the monster under your bed. It’s every lie you’ve ever told. When you stare into the St. Ides, the St. Ides stares back into you. It’s also barley wine strength at an 8.2% ABV so it will royally fuck you up quick without you noticing it. That’s why hobos drink it. It is a hellacious sauce that I would have given an “F” to, but I realize I would probably still drink it if it was the only thing available on a desert island. Therefore, this should be the official beverage of the 2015 Detroit Lions.

 

 


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