Roger Pretzel’s Cloudy Crystal Ball: NFC North Predictions

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Published on : July 29, 2015

 

With the rise of the Lions from laughingstock to “that team no one believes in,” combined with a schizophrenic Vikings squad and a Bears crew struggling to hang on to mediocrity, the NFC North has gotten a little goofy. Besides the Packers no other team is currently considered a viable Super Bowl threat.

But I’m a Lions fan, and the NFC North is my home sweet home, so I’ll be following it much closer than the guys who actually get paid to write about it. Granted, the people who get paid to write about it are professionals as opposed to a disgruntled old crank who talks to his cat.

Enough pretense! The visions are taking substance…

Minnesota Vikings:

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The good folks in Minnesota love Teddy Bridgewater, and I can’t blame a fan base hungry for a franchise quarterback, but I found it a little irksome that the media fawned over this kid from the get go. It happens all the time in a hype-fueled profession, but I wish some of these guys could be held accountable for their big mouths. At least put them in a dunk tank or something with Brett Favre throwing footballs over his shoulder at the target. I saw a lot of potential in Bridgewater, but I also saw a lot of kinks that needed ironing out. He can scramble and hit some good passes on the run, but for all those nifty highlights, there were costly interceptions as well.

The return of Adrian Peterson in purple and gold surprised me. I thought the reconciliation to this uncomfortably troubled marriage was possible, but I wasn’t counting on it. Hey, the crystal ball is cloudy after all. Now that AP is back in the game, I’m fascinated to see what happens. I don’t care how good he is: age and expectations are going to be a factor.

The crystal ball says:

Teddy’s gonna have a decent season, but he’s more of a long term threat than a breakout stud. Talking Heads will continue to praise him to high heaven until the last fourth of the season when they turn on him and ask whether or not he’s any good. He’ll stay the same, continuing to grow and improve unless he proves injury prone. Adrian Peterson will have a solid season, keeping his hyperbolic god-like status, but he’s going to be eclipsed on the stats sheet by some of the hungrier young guys.

Chicago Bears:

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Da Bears are hurting right now, and I think there’s an inevitable degree of soul searching going on in the organization regardless of the coaching change. John Fox is certainly going to liven things up as much as he can. Fresh blood will flow, the slate will be cleaned, but there’s no getting around the elephant in the room: Jay Cutler’s competency, commitment, and the club’s decision to stick it out with him. Personally, I’m not as down on Cutler as many people are, but I do feel that his remaining presence in Chicago has metastasized into an untenably toxic relationship. Even if they win a few more games this season with Cutler, the team’s long-term success is going to be in the hands of their next quarterback. And let’s not act like a break with the Bears would be bad for Cutler: he could gracefully transition to a lower-tier team and play with a squad that would actually appreciate him. Not the worst way to play out the rest of your career.

The crystal ball says:

Another abysmal year for Soldier Field’s finest. There’s little hope in restructuring and re-growing without faith in your lynchpin. Chi-town will spend a year taking its losses while John Fox settles in and shows off what he has to offer.

Green Bay Packers:

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Green Bay is easily the least fun team to pontificate on in the NFC North. Aaron Rodgers is currently in top form with a rock solid team behind him. I won’t be surprised if this group keeps on clicking and humming along together, giving opposing NFC North fans fits. The crew is well-oiled, well-managed, and has that “cool factor” of playing in an open stadium during the rudest of Midwest winters. You can certainly criticize The Pack when it comes to the league as a whole, particularly that they don’t deal well with unexpected loss, but in the NFC North, this is the team that everybody wants to dethrone.

The only real worry is keeping Rodgers healthy. We’ve seen in the past how this team has collapsed without its sometimes-mustachioed heart on the field. If I were Mike McCarthy, I would be spending an inordinate amount of time working with that O-line on QB protection.

The crystal ball says:

A clear division victory for The Cheeseheads, with Detroit and possibly Minnesota nipping at their heels. However, the entire house of cards collapses if Rodgers misses four or more games.

Detroit Lions:

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Like last season, Detroit has a great chance of giving the Packers a run for their money, but it’s not going to be easy. Detroit is currently a team full of potential and unanswered questions. I’d love to see the defense as dominant as it was last season, a tall order considering the loss of Ndamukong Suh. Yet the return of Stephen Tulloch and acquisition of Haloti Ngata are hard to dismiss. Of course I’ll be watching that offensive line closest. It’s the single factor in Stafford having as productive a season he did in his INT-happy, record-breaking slinger days, though he’s likely to have a more disciplined system that actually wins games this time around.

The run game is going to be the x-factor. I love Joique Bell, but he can’t carry the team like a Marshawn Lynch or a Jamaal Charles. He gets you three yards on a 3rd & 2, and punches his way into the end zone in short yardage situations, but he’s not going to break off 15 yard chunks with any regularity. And sure, there’s Theo Riddick and a very “maybe” George Winn. I’m hopeful for Ameer Abdullah, but I also think there’s a lot of bluster and hype for the second round pick.

Crystal ball says:

Detroit has so much talent on the roster, but also has trouble putting it together. I see the defense not being as strong as last year, but staying damn close to that caliber thanks to the prior season’s proof of concept. The offense is going to pop more this year in the passing game, but the running game will remain blue-collar. Green Bay has a good chance of winning both games vs. the Lions, but the really exciting divisional games are going to go down with the Vikings. The division title will most likely go to Green Bay, but the Lions will make the wild card slot and head to the playoffs for the second year in a row.

 

 


FANTASY FOOTBALL: Impact Rookies

Written by :
Published on : July 25, 2015

 

Fantasy football is right around the corner, and with that the possibility of being crowned champion of your league. The pride and glory that come along with reaching the mountaintop and beating your friends and enemies at the game of fantasy football is something that not every one gets to experience, but if you’ve done it you know how thrilling it can be. Aside from the possible monetary benefits of winning, the year long bragging rights are more than enough to make every team owner want to field the best team possible. Nothing beats rubbing your victory in other people’s faces.

 

One of the more challenging parts of choosing which players are going to make the roster of your fantasy team every year is deciding which rookies to select in the draft, and which to shy away from. It’s always a difficult choice because it is impossible to know just how their college game is going to transfer to the big leagues. With that said, I’ve compiled a list of some rookies that are sure to have a positive impact in fantasy football this year.

 

Jameis Winston

 

It only seemed right to include the number one overall selection in this year’s NFL Draft as the first impact rookie. It’s obvious that he has an attitude and maturity problem and there’s a good chance that will come back to haunt him on the field at some point, but the fact is that this kid can straight up play football. He will start from day one and with the skill position players that he has around him in Mike Evans, Vincent Jackson and Austin Seferian-Jenkins he is sure to throw for some touchdowns this year.

 

Now don’t get me wrong, he is still a rookie quarterback and will surely have his struggles and interceptions, but he will be playing and will certainly put up numbers. It would be stupid to pencil him in as your starter but he could be a very good backup to have on your bench for the bye-week or should your starter go down with an injury.

 

Marcus Mariota

 

Mariota was selected just behind Winston at number two in this year’s draft and the main reason for his being on this list is somewhat similar to that of Winston. Simply put, he will be on the field from the get go this year, and as a quarterback that means he will have an impact. Unlike Winston, his supporting cast is not all that good, which means he is going to be doing a lot more of the work with his feet.

Where Winston has the edge as a passer, Mariota is far more athletic running the ball. He is going to improvise his way to success this year, especially since the offensive line down in Tennessee is probably going to have pass rushers collapsing the pocket for their rookie quarterback more often than not. Similar to Winston, he will be a good backup QB this year in case the worst happens to your starter.

 

Amari Cooper

 

Taken number four overall by the Oakland Raiders, Amari Cooper was the first wide receiver taken in the draft this year, and for good reason. He was a Heisman Trophy finalist last year and finished his three-year career at Alabama with 3,463 yards and 31 touchdowns. He is going to benefit from playing with Derek Carr, who broke franchise rookie records for passing attempts and completion percentage last year.

 

Considering the Raiders best options at running back seem to be Latavius Murray and the corpse of Trent Richardson, it’s safe to say they are going to be chucking the ball in the air just as much as last year. Having Amari Cooper as your number two wide receiver seems like a pretty safe bet this year.

 

Ameer Abdullah

 

Ameer Abdullah was selected in the second round by the Lions this year after using their first round pick on offensive guard Laken Tomlinson, who will surely help Abdullah flourish this year by paving the way in front of the shifty running back.  He put up a gaudy 4,588 rushing yards and 39 touchdowns during his four years at Nebraska and while his receiving numbers weren’t very high, that seems to have been an issue with the offense they ran, not his skill set.

 

The Lions still have Joique Bell on the team which means that Abdullah will be sharing the spotlight, but Bell is also coming off of a couple of offseason surgeries that will seemingly give Abdullah the chance to make his mark in training camp. I would watch how he does in camp but Ameer Abdullah should be a very viable option at running back in the 2015 fantasy football season.

 

 

 

 

 


Is Getting Arrested Really the Best Offseason Hobby for NFL Players?

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Published on : July 22, 2015

This time of year is by far the most boring for NFL fans. It’s the void between OTAs and training camp, and people are itching for some good football related news. Sadly though, this is the time of year when fans receive mostly bad news; that time when athletes just can’t help but get into trouble with the law or get injured, or even worse, both (I’m looking at you Plaxico Burress).

 

Like clockwork, year in and year out, the moment OTAs conclude, there is a rash of offseason arrests that put individual players’ personal lives and the collective livelihood of their respective teams at risk. Getting locked up is such a tradition that my friends and I have been running a fantasy football league for the last handful of years called The NFL Prison League. For the most part, all twelve of the teams are named after players who got arrested that very same offseason.

 

Some years are worse than others to be sure, and this year has paled in comparison to the heinous offseason that was 2014, when the Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson and others’ arrests for domestic violence left a stain on the league and the players themselves. Not to mention that whole Aaron Hernandez is a ruthless murderer thing.

 

This summer has been relatively quiet, with the notable arrests being Green Bay’s Andrew Quarless, who I still can’t believe the Packers haven’t cut, and only days ago Tennessee’s Justin Turner, who will certainly be handed his walking papers and given a stiff prison sentence if the violent crimes he is accused of turn out to be true.

 

With the first rookies reporting today, that leaves about a week until the veterans report to camps, meaning they are almost to the finish line. There is so little time until work starts and it would be a shame if somebody’s favorite player were to get arrested at the last minute and risk missing some, or all, of next season. To help these misguided millionaires make it through the next week unscathed, I’ve compiled a list of relatively safe hobbies that they can enjoy until its time to hit the field.

 

Competitive Mooing

 

I already know what you’re thinking. This can’t possibly be a real thing, right? Wrong.

 

In the rural recesses of our great nation, where dairy and beef reign supreme, some people spend their time imitating our bovine friends’ vocal expressions.

 

And the result is pretty damn hilarious….

 

With so many of our favorite football players coming from America’s heartland, I’m sure there are a few who would be well served by taking up competitive mooing as a hobby. It’s a safe, family friendly way to pass that last week until it’s time to hit the field once again.

 

Falconry

 

The earliest accounts of this hunting sport/hobby date all the way back to the year 2000 B.C. and it should be said that if your favorite player decides to take it up in his spare time that it will take a certain amount of time and dedication. It is highly regulated in order to make sure that these majestic creatures are properly preserved and taken care of.

 

If a players does decide to take the leap and put the required time into becoming a falconer, then its safe to say that this new hobby will make them even more of a bad ass than they already are.

 

I mean, just look at how cool it looks to have this beautiful bird of prey under your command….

 

English Heritage - 5th July 2008 **Free Picture Usage** Michael Raphael entertains the crowds with a falconry display at Audley End House.  The show formed part of the Food and Falconry event which gave visitors the chance to meet the Victorian Gardener, plant their own seeds and watch incredible falconry displays. (event takes place from Wed 6 - Sun 10 Aug & Wed 13 to Sun 17 Aug).    Come back for more Food and Falcons next week or let the kids have fun and try out life 'Below Stairs' from Weds 20th August. Pic - Richard Marsham Richard Marsham RMG Photography 23 Millfield Littleport Ely Cambridgeshire CB6 1HN Tel : 07798 758711

 

 

Extreme Dog Grooming

 

I’ll start this one off by saying that I don’t necessarily condone making your dog look like Yoda or every member of the Muppets combined, but it does look pretty hilarious. I might catch some flak from PETA for even suggesting this, but that won’t stop me from sharing these hilarious pictures with you.

Dog_Muppets

 

Apparently there are contests held by the National Dog Groomers Association of America, among other organizations, and from what I understand they are highly competitive. So if your favorite player decides to try their hand at this hobby they had better bring their A-game.

Dog_Yoda

 

 

Ghost Hunting

 

This hobby might present the risk of heart attack, but as far as I know there has never been a direct injury or death related to ghost hunting, so why not try it out.

 

In order to get into ghost hunting you’re going to need to get some equipment first. You’ll need audio recorders, cameras, EMF meters, infrared thermometers, and video cameras among other things. All of these tools will help you in your quest to uncover spirits that have lingered on this plane past the expiration of their physical shells, and with the salaries these players are making, buying this stuff shouldn’t be a problem.

 

The other thing that you will need in order to get into this hobby is a good old fashioned haunted house. So if you’re ready, hop in the Mystery Machine and head out in search of life after death.

 

1280px-The_Haunted_House_Das_Geisterhaus_(5360049608)

 

 



SBS Stadium Series: The Grateful Dead Takeover Soldier Field

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Published on : July 10, 2015

The first installment of the ScoreBoredSports Stadium Series doesn’t involve a sporting event, but revolves around a cultural phenomenon that took place in historic Soldier Field on 4th of July weekend, 2015. Fare Thee Well: Celebrating 50 Years of The Grateful Dead was an event for which thousands and thousands of people traveled from around the world to witness. For one fateful weekend in the city of Chicago, the spirit of the 60’s was alive and well as the greatest American Rock band took the stage one last time for 3 magical nights of music.

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The entrance to Soldier Field

 

This was my first time attending an event at Soldier Field and I must say that the stadium itself was quite impressive. The Greco-Roman architecture that comprised the original stadium before its 2003 renovations and still surrounds the outer walls is quite breathtaking, with Doric columns that tower over the grounds and create an imposing façade that immediately catches the eye, even from miles away. With the renovations, the stadium now looks like some intergalactic spacecraft landed right in the middle of the Roman Forum. You’ve got to respect that they were able to preserve the original stadium, the oldest in the NFL, while adding some modernity to the scene.

The grounds surrounding the stadium provided a perfect setting for the freaks of all shapes and sizes that attended the show to set up shop and sell their wares or just relax and enjoy some pre-show libations. Once inside the stadium, Solider Field continued to impress, with friendly staff and service, and a field that allowed you to get an amazing view of the entire record breaking 70,000-plus crowd that was in attendance.

On the approach to the stadium you could see the hippies and music lovers flooding the streets of Chicago, and every venue had become ground zero for jam bands that came to play the city on the same weekend as the guys who started the whole jam scene some fifty years ago. On every street corner there was a multitude of tie-dyed shirts and long hair. Everyone had a smile and a kind word for passers by, and the feeling in the city was palpable. A nervous excitement was overtaking the crowds as the final performance by these legendary musicians came nearer.

The long trek from the hotel to the stadium provided the opportunity for all types of trouble and fun. The first order of business was to find the infamous Shakedown Street, the historic semi-sanctioned marketplace famous for popping up in the parking lots of whatever stadium or venue the Dead happen to be playing at. It’s the perfect place to buy a much-cheaper-than-stadium-price beer, handmade Dead-themed crafts and shirts, or whatever illicit substance might tickle your fancy.

Aside from the music, Shakedown Street is what the Dead show is all about. It’s the shining example of what this community is all about. In the days that Jerry was still with us, The Grateful Dead did hundreds of shows a year and there were people who literally lived on tour. Moving from parking lot to parking lot and setting up shop in a centralized location were everyone could meet, have fun and earn a living by working whatever hustle they wanted. All while being close to the music they loved and lived for. The band and authorities turned a blind eye to the unlicensed selling of Dead related merchandise with the understanding that no one was getting ripped off and it was free promotion for the artists.

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South Parking Lot Shakedown Street

 

The current Shakedown Street is a shadow of its former self, as those old-heads who ran things have moved on or passed on, but that doesn’t mean the spirit of Shakedown is dead. Vendors were allowed to go about their business for the most part, that is until the final day when I heard rumors of vendors having all of their stuff seized by what was described as the copyright police. There was less of a centralized Shakedown Street at Soldier Field this year, and for the first two days we hung out at the walking path between the Stadium, the parking garage and the south parking lot (Where we finally discovered the other, larger Shakedown Street on the final day). There were people everywhere and the familiar smells filled the air as we sat on a grassy hill drinking, smoking and watching all of the beautiful people.

This is where you meet all of the interesting characters that define the experience of going to a Dead show, and there were people from all different walks of life congregating in the same place and bonding over this special music and experience. Whether a sixty-year-old biker, a forty-five-year old accountant, or a nineteen-year-old dreadlocked runaway who smells like he hasn’t showered in a month, everyone is here for the same reason. To have a good time and listen to some music.

Almost twenty years to the day since Jerry Garcia last played with the Grateful Dead in this very same venue, many people claimed that this was the closest feeling to being at those shows with Jerry. It was a real Grateful Dead show. Not Furthur, not The Other Ones, but The Grateful Dead. Strangers stopping strangers, just to shake their hands and everyone loving everyone. The collective individualism of the community was going strong, as everyone flew their own special freak flag but accepted one another as members of the same wild fraternity. Like we were all on the same side, regardless of where we came from before this weekend, or where we were headed after.

As the start of the show approached on that Friday July 3rd, the stadium was absolutely electric. People discussing which songs would be played and when, people sharing memories of shows passed, people being people. No pretension, no judgment, just love.

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Fireworks for the 4th of July

 

And when those lights went down, and The Grateful Dead finally took the stage and began to perform Box of Rain, the crowd exploded and everyone could feel what a special weekend we were all in for. Chills went up and down my spine and I got goose bumps as that familiar feeling began to take hold. Everyone began to dance and sing aloud. People sang along so loudly that you couldn’t always hear the band members singing. But that didn’t matter. These songs weren’t just the band’s to sing. They belonged to all of us. In someway or another, every one of these songs had affected our lives and they were uniquely special to each and every one of us.

For a venue that is normally home to adversarial events such as football games, this one weekend was all about harmony and love for your fellow man. I can imagine how great football would be in this historic building and would certainly love to go back for a game, but I don’t know that anything can equal the feeling of what this weekend was. Young and old, rich and poor, all these people on the level and completely immersed in what was happening around them. It was a truly beautiful experience, in a truly beautiful city, in a truly beautiful stadium and I think I can speak for everyone who was in attendance when I say thank you to the City of Chicago and to The Bears organization for making us all feel at home for three fateful days in July 2015.

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Thank you!

Remember When Ndamukong Suh Kicked Matt Schaub in the Testicles?

Written by :
Published on : July 10, 2015

I’m not gonna lie: I was pretty bummed when Ndamukong Suh decided to leave the Detroit Lions for sunny cocaine-fueled Miami. The man certainly made the right business decision accepting the astronomical purse offered him by a ‘fins team that seems comfortable making financial decisions that make me nervous even as a casual observer. Still, I can’t help but look over at my Jimmy Sexton voodoo doll every once in a while with a little sadness, recognizing that money is still a far more powerful force than my competency in the dark arts.

What I like most about Suh is his stellar conditioning. This is a dude who can be trusted to take care of himself and always be in perfect shape for gameday. He seems impervious to injury and only misses those Sundays that he’s not allowed to play.

That’s right. The other side to Suh’s stardom and work ethic is that “dirty player” brand. It’s one he’s tried to quell in the last season or two, but is still unable to shake completely. As I Lions fan I would vociferously defend the big fella, tilting at windmills with the rose-colored glasses of team pride. But now that Suh’s joined the fish, let’s take another look at some of those contentious plays with a clearer head.

The Stomp Heard ‘Round the League:

This is the one that’s going to hang over Ndamukong’s career for all eternity. No matter what he’s done since or does from here on out the word “dirty” will always be associated with him for this Thanksgiving day booting administered to Evan Dietrich-Smith. It’s a pretty stupid move: if you’re going to do something so blatantly wrong at least make sure you hurt the other guy. I do like how he smashes Dietrich-Smith’s helmet into the turf several times before the stomp though. That’s some Jim Schwartz era football for you!

$25.5 million signing with $985,00 base salary guaranteed for 2015/16

Suh Rips Cutler’s Helmet Off:

Meh, nothing to see here folks.  Say what you will about his perceived attitude and a few mounting seasons’ worth of INT’s, but Cutler is one tough hombre and I’m definitely in the camp that believes the league treats QB’s like dainty glass ballerinas. That said, if Suh ever hits Stafford like that I’m going to demand a 78 game suspension straight from the shaky red-taped fist of Roger Goodell himself.

$23.485 million base salary guaranteed for 2016/17

Suh Kicks Matt Schaub in the Nuts:

It certainly looks to me like Suh went the extra distance in putting foot to crotch. This one’s pretty nasty, and not fairly nasty as in Nick Fairly murdering twenty-five Coney dogs. Poor guy, as if Matt Schaub needed any other grief in his life.

$16.985 million base salary, of which $8 and a half million becomes guaranteed on the fifth day of the year for 2018/19

Suh Pushes Cutler:

Vicious sure, but not very dirty. I mean, how hard can you really push a guy, even if it is in the back of his head? Like I said, Cutler’s strength is in his toughness so I don’t feel too bad for the guy. If this happened to RGIII the ensuing injury would get Suh suspended for three games and keep Griffin laid up for the rest of the season and half of the following one.

$18.985 million base salary, of which $9 and a half million becomes guaranteed on the fifth day of the year for 2019/18

Suh Rips Jake Delhomme’s Head Off:

This one’s intense. This one actually kind of scares me. I’ll take this over the stomp any day as Suh’s dirtiest play. He goes from egregious facemask to pulling Delhomme’s melon back and forth as if he were a ragdoll. They should have called the cops.

And, yes, It keeps going with this crazy contract until 2020.

Suh Misses a Field Goal:

Not a penalty or dirty play. I just added this one because I wanted to, and because of the fact that I don’t have a Jason Hanson jersey, but I’ve always thought about getting one.

Anyway,

It’s a bananas amount for a defensive tackle, but Suh may very well be worth it. Yet, from now on I’m going to take a closer look at all the contentious plays involving number 90, and I’m sure my opinion will be quite different than it was when he was in a Honolulu blue jersey. It certainly makes things a lot easier for me.


Fireworks go Boom

Written by :
Published on : July 9, 2015

In the immortal words of Katy Perry:

Just own the night like the 4th of July, ‘Cause, baby, you’re a firework, Come on, show ’em what you’re worth”

Two NFL players took these lyrics to heart over Independence Day weekend. New York Giants’ Defensive End Justin Pierre-Paul and Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Corner Back CJ Wilson both lost fingers as a result of firework-related accidents. You heard right. Injuries due to explosions from firecrackers. That is insane. What Looney Tunes world are we living in?

In the case of Wilson, he lost two fingers on one hand. That might be enough to end his two-year career. Where he mostly served as a backup. Wilson hoped to make the starting roster this summer but those chances just went up in smoke.

Pierre-Paul initially only suffered nerve and tissue damage to his hand but later decided to amputate his right index finger in the name of speeding up his recovery. Which is important because JPP has not signed his contract and the Giants have pulled their long term offer. So on top of losing millions, he may be looking for a new team if things don’t work out.

These bizarre events underline an ongoing issue with pro athletes where stupid recreational activities nearly cost them everything. Some may remember in 2006 when Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger, with no helmet, got into a nasty motorcycle accident. Or in 1985 when Houston Astros Pitcher Nolan Ryan got his hand bit trying to pet a coyote. There are countless other examples of this reckless behavior. When are these Millionaires gonna learn?

Here is a list of things you should NOT do if you play pro sports:

  • play with fireworks or explosives of any kind

  • sword fight

  • race cars/motorcycles/jet skis/camels/anything

  • run with scissors

  • re-shingle your roof
  • goof around with handguns

  • walk on hot coals
  • wrestle a gator

  • fight Batman

  • Skydive or bungee jump

  • swim after eating

  • go anywhere with Pac-Man Jones

This may seem like a lot of restrictions but no fan wants their favorite player to blow up. So stay safe. And if all else fails, make someone in the entourage light the fuse.


Warren Sapp: Scumbag

Written by :
Published on : June 27, 2015

Once upon a time Warren Sapp was just an opinionated clown who didn’t know what he was talking about; a hotheaded antagonist who got his kicks from happily skipping through the opposing team’s warm up session, getting into altercations refs and opposing coaches, and pretty much making a fool of himself. And for a while it was pretty funny.

This is the same man that claimed that the NFL was a “slave system” because he was fined $50,000 for running into an official before a game in 2003. Well Mr. Sapp, that same “slave system” helped you garner contracts worth an estimated $72.6 million between 1998 and 2004, so save us your sob story and claims of discrimination. A normal person would kill for the opportunity to earn that much money by doing something that they love. I suppose you would also suggest that it’s the system’s fault that you squandered those riches and had to file for bankruptcy in 2012.

Warren’s ludicrous claims about the structure of the NFL system and his money problems aren’t really the focus of this discussion though. What we are really here to talk are his alleged legal transgressions of the past few years. Transgressions that cement his status as a true scumbag, not just a loud mouthed buffoon.

Let me start by saying that in accordance with the foundations of our legal system, Mr. Sapp is indeed innocent until proven guilty (except for the crimes that he actually pled guilty to). But that’s not to say we can’t go over his alleged crimes and transgressions as evidence of his questionable character.

We will begin all the way back on February 6, 2010, the day before Super Bowl XLIV. Sapp was partying at the Shore Club Hotel in Miami Beach. An argument ensued with a female and she later alleged that Sapp choked her and threw her down. Upon further investigation, improprieties were found in the alleged victim’s account of the incident and the charges were dropped. While there was no further legal action, the damage was already done to Sapp’s public image and broadcasting career, and he was immediately terminated from his position at NFL Network.

After a couple of years the dust settled and he was given another broadcast gig at NFL Network. That is, until 2015, when the Super Bowl festivities and the month of February proved to once again be his Achilles heel.

This time Warren was charged with solicitation and assault on February 2nd for paying two women $300 each to perform sex acts and then roughing them up after an argument over the money. He wouldn’t get off the hook so easy this time, and later pled guilty to both charges in exchange for the completion of two separate counseling programs and payment of restitution to both victims. After all of this one would think that he would want to keep a low profile and stay out of trouble, but it seems that he just can’t help himself.

In what is becoming a common theme for the hall of fame defensive linemen, Warren Sapp was arrested on three counts of domestic violence after an April 28th, 2015 incident with his girlfriend at what the media has called a Las Vegas resort (in reality M Resort is 20 minutes outside of the city in Henderson); the same girlfriend who stayed with him after he was caught with two prostitutes. What a way to repay her for her dedication to him.

The latest incident featured Sapp throwing a drink in his girlfriend’s face, biting her finger, throwing a belt at her, and stepping on her face with his 300lb-plus frame. If that doesn’t scream scumbag I don’t know what does.

The media usually gives people at least one chance, if not more, when it comes to things like this. After the charges in 2010 were dropped, Sapp was given a second chance and after a few years he regained a place in the broadcast media world. Now he has begun to display a clear pattern of violence against women it’s hard to believe that the public will be so forgiving. And they shouldn’t be.

Warren Sapp faces up to 18 months in jail for his current charges and if you ask me he should serve every single day. There is no excuse for domestic violence and it is clear that he needs to be punished severely. No matter how you spin it, this man has a problem, and someone of his large physical stature presents a very real threat to the women around him. He could easily do great harm to most full grown men and the harm he could bring to a woman, should he keep on this path, could be deadly. He has grown into an abusive criminal, and there’s nothing funny about that. All we can do is hope he gets locked up and take solace in the fact that we will probably never have to hear his baseless, idiotic rants or see his stupid face on TV ever again.


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.

 

 


Deflategate and the Patriot Way

Written by :
Published on : June 19, 2015

 

Let’s face it; Bill Belichick is not a nice guy (or at least he doesn’t show it). He is not likeable. His presence doesn’t inspire the people in the way that a Vince Lombardi would, and you surely won’t find many people outside of New England to sings his praises. He is monotone, flavorless and boring. Like Eeyore on Xanax, he seems like his whole face is going to droop right off his skull in every post-game press conference. But for what he lacks in people skills and likeability, he makes up for with the only thing that really matters. Winning.

 

In football winning is all that matters and Bill Belichick has done that consistently over his last fifteen years as the Patriots’ head coach. He is widely regarded as one of the best in the game and no one can deny that every squad that the Patriots put on the field, even when no one knows the players names, is among the best coached groups in the league, year in and year out. He has continually shown that he is willing to do whatever it takes to win, and that’s why no one should believe what he has to say about the team’s most recent equipment related antics.

 

In an NFL season that has been marred by controversy its only fitting that it would have come to an end in this fashion. From the Ray Rice domestic violence saga to Ndamukong Suh’s controversial suspension, and the even more controversial repeal of that suspension, there seems to have been a constant black cloud hovering over the 2014-15 season. Never one to disappoint, the league saved the best for last it seems, as The Patriots, once thought of as the new “America’s Team”, were revealed to be up to their old tricks with the latest controversy, aptly named deflategate. In Nixon-esque fashion, everybody’s favorite curmudgeon, the grumpiest of gusses, Patriots’ head coach Bill Belichick, finds himself once again at the center of a scandal involving a violation of NFL rules, even though his team was already widely considered the best in the league.

 

Breaking or bending the rules is one thing (as they say, if ya ain’t cheatin, ya ain’t tryin), but the fact once again remains that the Patriots were probably the best team in the league regardless of if they were cheating or not. Like the typical evil villain he has become, Belichick can’t help himself but to do everything within his power to put his band of helmet clad henchmen in the best position to succeed. He doesn’t need to keep doing the things he does, but he does them anyways. It’s maniacal and inexplicable that he continues to foster a culture within the organization that allows for things like this to happen, or that owner Robert Kraft continues to look the other way.

 

Maybe Kraft doesn’t have any choice but to look the other way? Maybe he is under some type of undue influence at the hands of his championship winning head coach? Maybe Bill Belichick is hiding his true identity and powers from the rest of the world?

 

That’s right, as previously rumored, Bill Belichick is indeed the dark lord of the Sith, Darth Sidious aka Emporer Palpatine. He is a diabolical genius bent on complete domination of the galaxy, and he must be stopped.

 

For more evidence look no further than what he has done to former-America’s sweetheart; the clef-chinned California boy, Tom Brady. Darth Belichick has used his mastery of the dark side  to corrupt the once wholesome, yet insecure and unsure paduwan learner and turn him to the dark side, using him as a pawn in his evil plan to bring the entire NFL under his control. Through his manipulation of the young man’s good intentions, and his masterful coaching ability, The Dark Lord of the Sith has made his quarterback more powerful than he could have ever imagined, while also dragging Brady down to his level and making him into his own personal Darth Vader. Dispatching him throughout the football galaxy to do his bidding and quell rebellions among such factions as The Colts of Indianapolis and The Bronco’s of Denver, he has turned Tom Brady from Anakin Skywalker, the hero everyone loves, into Vader, the ultimate villain. Where once he was a new hope, he is now the phantom menace.

 

Under the Tudorship of Darth Belichick, Darth Brady has himself become a master of the force. Together they have flourished and the rest of the NFL has felt their wrath; all have at some point or another, bowed to their power. In their time together, Brady has grown into the best quarterback of our era, and arguably of all time. A four-time Super Bowl champion, ten-time pro-bowler, and two-time MVP, Tom Brady has been the gold standard of NFL quarterbacks for the last fourteen years. Like Peyton Manning and Brett Favre he is headed to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and hell, he deserves it, but I think it is safe to assume that the repeated infractions, and the teams willingness to be evil will leave a dark stain on the legacy of coach, quarterback and the entire Patriot’s organization.

 

Now I’m not actually claiming Bill Belichick and Tom Brady are fictional characters from the Star Wars universe (though I’m not entirely convinced otherwise), but it illustrates my point that they have become the supreme villains of the NFL. First it was spygate, with The Patriots videotaping opposing teams defensive signals during the game and even videotaping The St Louis Rams walkthrough prior to Super Bowl XXXVI. The organization and coach Belichick himself both received stiff penalties in the form of the loss of a first round draft pick and a $500,000 fine for the coach.

 

Now the allegedly innocent infraction involving under-inflated footballs used by the Patriots during the first half of their unrelenting beat down of the Colts in the AFC Championship game, has cemented the reputation of the Patriots as a dirty team and organization, in the hearts and minds of both fans and players alike.

 

It doesn’t matter that the Patriots put the final nails in the coffin in the second half of that game, after the balls were re-inflated by the officials. All that matters is that The Patriots are once again the bad guys. And you know what? I don’t think they care. They know they have lost the benefit of the doubt, and Belichick and Brady can have all of the press conferences they want. It wont change anything in the eyes of the fans outside of New England. Even after Belichick tried vainly to get scientific with his defense (Bill Nye promptly confirmed that he didn’t know what he was taking about), nobody is buying it. The simple fact is that these guys are great at everything having to do with football and are willing to cheat and get dirty in order to give them an extra edge in any given game. It doesn’t even matter if they were personally involved in the under-inflation of those 11 game balls, the damage is done and they are destined to go down as a couple of shysters with a handfuls of super bowl rings.

 

 


5 Things Lions Fans can do to help the team get better

Written by :
Published on : June 18, 2015

The Detroit Lions are coming off one of their best regular seasons in team history. After finishing 11-5 the cats returned to the playoffs only to have their hearts broken by the Cowboys (and Refs) in the Wildcard round. Looking forward, the team has lots to be excited about: A league leading Rush Defense, the all most complete return of the Coaching staff, and continued development of Matt Stafford gelling with the rest of the Offense.

But what can us fans do to help the team? Most folks would say “nothing” and that it’s in “Coach Caldwell’s hands” or “it’s GM Mayhew’s Job” but those folks would be WRONG. Here is a list of the top 5 things Lions fans can do to help the team improve and maybe even get the 2016’s Super Bowl.

5. Keep our boys out of trouble.

The NFL regular season is hard enough with a full roster. But trying to manage a squad racked with suspensions and non-injury related issues makes it even tougher. Since parting ways with Titus Young, the Honolulu Blue and Silver have avoided any real Police issues and this trend needs to continue for the team to succeed.

Here’s where you can help. Leave the Lions alone! Don’t buy them drinks, don’t fight them at clubs, don’t talk to their girlfriends, wives or mistresses. Just stay away and don’t instigate shit. If you own a Michigan area Strip club, please be discreet about player activity. Help keep our boys on the field and out of jail.

4. STOP with all the negativity.

These are not the “same old Lions”. That phrase needs to be retried. In one year as Head Coach Jim Caldwell successfully changed the culture in Detroit. For the first time in a long time, there is something to really root for. So act like it. That means don’t boo Matt after he throws one incomplete pass. And please quit being so rotten to other fans, Lion or otherwise. It all just reinforces an outdated Thug image we are desperately trying to shed.

If the 2014 Lions’ season taught us anything, it is that our boys are always in the game. Stafford has shown a great ability to lead the team back late in games. Something that all great QB’s do. With our D playing well and all the weapons on Offense, our squad should NEVER be counted out. So no more “here we go again”. That stuff is history. If you need proof; go watch the 2014 games versus Atlanta, Miami, and New Orleans.

3. Find a good luck Charm.

This may seem silly to the causal sports fans but there is nothing silly about it. Athletes in every sport believe in practice, routine and a little luck. Us fans need to adopt the same policy. So go out and find a rabbit’s foot, maybe custom made Lions t-shirt, or a vintage Barry jersey. Then watch the games the same way every week. Pick a bar, a buddy’s house, illegally stream the content, whatever just do it the same each Sunday.

This goes for snacks and viewing buddies. Don’t suddenly stop ordering Little Caesar’s Deep Deep Dish Pizza when the Football Gods have grown accustom to the tradition. And it should go without saying, but don’t watch football with Bears, Vikings or Packer fans.

2. Cheer like Crazy.

Seems like a no-brainer, but Home Field Advantage in the league is major. And the louder the stadium, the better. Force opposing offenses to deal with the noise. Make them waste time outs or rack up False Start and Delay of Game Penalties. All of these little things can add up to a serious bonus for the hometown squad. Just look at 2014 Super Bowl Champs Seattle and their “12th Man”. No coincidence that they won it all and have the loudest fans.

Lions went 7-1 at home in 2014. Which is great but a Championship squad wins all 8. So get loud Detroit. And if you aren’t at the game, you still gotta scream. The players can hear you no matter where you live. Get hype. Every neighbor on my street knows I’m a Lions fan. Cause I let the TV know what’s up. Remember, it’s all our jobs to Defend the Den.

1. Transform into a Mega-fan.

Following on the heels of #2 on the list, step up your support of the team. What if all Lions fans went to ALL games home and away? Imagine the insane crowd at every stadium for 16 weeks. That just might be enough to vault our boys through the playoffs and to a ring ceremony.

So I’m asking all Lion fans, please quit your jobs, open as many credit cards as you can and follow the team around the country. Also, get your Passport ready cause we need support for our return trip to London to play the Kansas City Chiefs. Who cares about debt when you can finally wear one of those stupid hats that says “Detroit Lions – Super Bowl Champs”


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