Tebow and Punk: Don’t quit your day job… whatever that is…

Written by :
Published on : September 17, 2016

 

One is a Jesus-obsessed former college football star who couldn’t cut it in the pros. Now he’s switching to baseball, a sport he hasn’t played since high school and wasn’t very good at to begin with…

 

The other is a pro-wrestling superstar in his late 30s who’s sick of people telling him his sport is “fake.” Now he’s going off script and stepping out of the ring and into the octagon to fight in the UFC!

 

It sounds like the plot of a terrible 90s buddy comedy, but those are actually two of the biggest stories in sports right now, whether or not they deserve to be. Tim Tebow, the Heisman-winning Florida Gators quarterback, is taking a shot at baseball after he finally came to terms with the fact that his NFL career is over. And CM Punk, once one of the biggest stars in the WWE, made his much anticipated UFC debut on Saturday night. It went about as well as I expect Tebow’s baseball career to…

 

 

You may be old enough to remember the great Bo Jackson, an NFL Pro-Bowler and MLB All-Star who serves as the gold standard of dual-sport athletes. If you’re REALLY old, you may remember Jim Thorpe, who won two Olympic gold medals in track and field, and played pro football, baseball and basketball. I’m assuming the practice schedules were a little more flexible in those days…

 

Two problems here: The times have changed, and to be a successful pro athlete in this era, you have to be completely devoted to one sport from childhood until retirement. Also, Tim Tebow and CM Punk are not Bo Jackson and Jim Thorpe. Jackson and Thorpe didn’t fail at their primary sport, then try to arrogantly jump back into a sport they were mediocre at in high school. Jackson and Thorpe didn’t get a chance to go pro in a sport they had never tried because they were famous entertainers who played pro athletes on TV. At the end of the day, this is just one big publicity stunt. Well, two big publicity stunts, but you get the idea…

 

For as much credit as he gets for being a clean-cut, good ol’ Christian boy, Tim Tebow loves being the center of attention. For most of his adult life, he was a constant topic in sports media headlines. At Florida, Tebow was one of the most dominant players in the history of college football, winning a Heisman trophy and two National Championships. After stepping into a starting role his rookie year in the NFL, Tebow showed flashes of greatness (or at least goodness), and threw a game-winning touchdown pass in a playoff game, giving the loyal alliance of Tebow fans a lazy argument for why he should still be a starting NFL quarterback. But his somewhat encouraging rookie year was littered with red flags, none more glaring than his awful 50% completion percentage (which was followed up by an even more atrocious 46.5% in his second season with Denver).

 

 

After being traded by the Broncos, benched by the Jets, refusing offers to change positions or sign with a CFL team (because he takes too much pride in being a shitty NFL quarterback), Tim Tebow returned to his college roots by joining the SEC Network as an analyst. Four years removed from an NFL roster, and beginning to accept the fact that he sucks at football (He won a playoff game! And Rex Grossman went to a Super Bowl. Give it up Tebow fans), Tebow was upset that he was’t getting any undeserved attention, so he decided to arrange a publicity stunt and announce his intention to play major league baseball. So not only is Tebow’s arrogance level so high that he scoffs at playing in the CFL, or switching positions in the NFL, it’s so high that he thinks he can go pro in a sport that he hasn’t played in over ten years. The force is strong with this one.

 

Tebow insists this is not a publicity stunt and he is “all about baseball.” Of course any team that signs him would need to allow him to continue his broadcasting job on the side, and he’s already selling autographed bats on his website for $175 a pop, but those are just things that you do when you’re a minor league baseball player fighting for a shot in the bigs. Like he said, “all about baseball.”

 

TebowWorkoutBatting

 

In an attempt to boost ticket sales at Columbia Fireflies, or Brooklyn Cyclones games, and sell a few thousand “Tebow” jerseys during a spring training stint that will likely make Michael Jordan look like Ken Griffey Jr, the Mets have signed Tim Tebow to a minor league contract. Of course, the Mets official reason for signing Tebow was an “opportunity to associate with excellence.” They went to the World Series last year, but that’s nothing compared to signing a washed up college football star.

 

I know, this isn’t really a big deal. We shouldn’t get too excited, or too angry about it. Tim Tebow will look lousy in the minors, bat under .200, and hit one big home run that all his fans will overreact to. He’s a winner! He’ll get his name back in the press, where he likes it, and when the Mets decide it’s time to stop parading this failed football player around as a real baseball player, Tebow will say something like, “It was a humbling experience. I gave it my all and I have no regrets. I just want to thank my lord and savior Jesus Christ for giving me this great opportunity,” and it’ll all be over… But I can’t help but be a little irked when I see the updated version of Tim Tebow’s wikipedia page:

 

Screen Shot 2016-09-15 at 5.07.44 AM

 

Is he though? Is he?

 

While Tebow’s publicity stunt is disingenuous both on his and the Mets behalf, CM Punk’s publicity stunt is really only disingenuous on the UFC’s behalf. You may think it’s a bit odd that I’m referring to him as CM Punk and not his real name, which apparently is Phil Brooks. Well the UFC didn’t bill him as Phil Brooks, his real name, as they have every other fighter in UFC history, they billed him as CM Punk. After the UFC decided to sign a 37-year old WWE wrestler with virtually no martial arts experience to the most prestigious mixed martial arts promotion in the world, one would think they would start using his real name instead of billing him in his wrestling character nickname. But Dana White and the UFC have often embraced the publicity stunt aspect of their sport, which is why Dan Henderson is fighting for a championship at age 63 after losing his last 21 fights (note to self: fact check those numbers).

 

Despite the UFC treating this like a total sideshow, CM Punk went about his business the right way, unlike Tim Tebow. Punk did a few initial press conferences, “Yeah, I know people are going to think it’s a joke, but I’m taking this shit seriously, and I’m gonna put in the work.” Something like that, I’m paraphrasing… Then he went away for about two years, stayed fairly quiet, went out of character, took the shit seriously and put in the work, linking up with veteran trainer Duke Roufus who has led many UFC stars to victory. He did the necessary promotions leading up the fight, did a few TV specials, but for the most part, he stopped being a pro wrestler, and did everything in his power to become a pro fighter.

 

 

He walked away from making millions for pretending to fight other pretend fighters, to take on the challenge of actually fighting the best fighters in the world. For that alone, he deserves a lot of respect. Sure, he got his ass kicked and submitted in the first round without landing a single strike, so it may not have showed up in his performance, but he took the shit seriously! After his loss to Mickey Gall on Saturday, hopefully he learned he seriously shouldn’t be doing this shit.

 

Basically, Punk’s fight showed us exactly how Tim Tebow’s baseball career will go. In both Tebow and Punk’s case, they are being handed an opportunity to do something they have no business doing based solely on their fame. The difference is, Punk was inspired to challenge himself, Tebow was inspired to get his name in the headlines again. Where Tebow is only risking a few minor league strikeouts and spring training errors, Punk risked getting brutally beaten by a professional ass-kicker. So if I had to pick a winner of this publicity-stunt-off, I’d go with the guy who just got his ass kicked, CM Punk. But Tebow was once actually great at an actual sport, so he has that… I’m not saying wrestling isn’t a sport… but it is scripted television…

 

Either way, Jim Thorpe and Bo Jackson are probably rolling in their graves… Well Jim Thorpe is rolling in his grave. Bo Jackson is alive and well. He’s probably rolling in a deer hunting blind in Alabama. Or maybe Thorpe and Jackson are smiling down from heaven, knowing they are still the greatest multi-sport athletes who ever lived… Again, Bo Jackson is NOT dead, it just makes for a more dramatic ending.

 

 


Six Things Tim Tebow Can Do If His MLB Career Doesn’t Work Out

Written by :
Published on : August 26, 2016

 

 

Watch out, baseball. Tim Tebow is coming for you. The former Denver Broncos quarterback has invited major league scouts to a public workout he will be holding on August 30th in effort to jumpstart a professional career. Tebow hasn’t played baseball regularly since he was a high school junior back in 2004. The good news: there’s no shame in failure. And there’s still plenty of career options out there for you.

 

Sandals Resort Bartender

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Looking to switch careers? Why not try the island life? Spending all day on the beach mixing drinks sounds perfect for a retiree like yourself. Just don’t expect anything cool to happen. It’s still an island.

 

Rock and Roll Church Preacher

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 19: Simon Le Bon of Duran Duran performs onstage at the Apollo Theater on July 19, 2016 in New York City.  (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)

 

Your commitment to your faith is well-documented. And you’re already selling autographed baseballs for $125 on your website. Why not put those shill skills to work for the Lord?  #TebowsTravelingJesusShow

 

Join the Coast Guard

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Serve your country proudly by keeping our coastlines safe from whatever. You may be too old for active duty, but you’re still eligible for the Reserves. That’s only two days a month, plus an additional 12 days a year. Totally reasonable.

 

Stepdad

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You really want to be a man? Then you got to be there for Megan. Because she’s a good kid with a lot of potential. And that asshole Terry is never going to change. So step up!

 

American GladiatorAmerican-Gladiators

 

Too bad this isn’t still a thing. You would have fit right in with Malibu, Nitro and the rest of the gang. If you really want another sports job, don’t go pro-wrestling. That shit will wreck you.

 

Kidnapping Victim

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You’re a smart guy. Just cooperate and this will all be over soon.

 

Just kidding, Tim. Good luck Tuesday. We’ll be watching.

 

 


Angelino in the Outfield (Episode XXII: Tex, Prince and A-Rod)

Written by :
Published on : August 12, 2016

 

 

 

This week Ichiro got his 3,000th career hit. Manny Machado hit three home runs in the first three innings of a game. Brandon Crawford had seven hits in a game. Yasiel Puig Snapchatted a sausage party in Des Moines. And Tim Tebow idiotically thinks he can play professional baseball. But I think the week will best be remembered for the emotional departures of Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez and Prince Fielder. Well, we’ll just see about A-Rod being done.

 

Of the three, Teixeira was the first to announce his retirement. He leaves the game with 404 career home runs. He won a ring in 2009 with the Yankees. He was an excellent fielding switch-hitter. But the injuries kept piling on and Teixeira had to end a career that would fall pretty far short of Hall of Fame caliber. Not that that’s all that matters. But since the question has been asked this week in the media, Tex’s career numbers look less like Albert Pujols and Miguel Cabrera (1-2 in his era) and more like Tino Martinez, Norm Cash and Gil Hodges. He’s even behind Keith Hernandez, John Olerud and Will Clark in his JAWS ranking (which averages career WAR and seven-year peak WAR). That and the fact that he endorsed Marco Rubio for President makes me say no. But I guess since Rubio finished a distant third, it’s only appropriate.

 

 So long, boys.

 

I could pour over the controversial and illustrious career of A-Rod. But with a guy that competitive and that historically self-important, you have to assume sitting on 696 career home runs will drive him even more insane and he’ll wind up on a Major League roster next year. If a Miami or a Tampa Bay will take him. If this is indeed the end for Alex (and his .203 batting average suggests it actually could be), then he retires as the second-greatest shortstop of all-time to Honus Wagner. He won three MVP awards. He was the first overall pick in the 1993 Draft. He’s the all-time leader in grand slams. He’s got over 3,000 hits. He’s a member of the 40/40 club. The youngest player to 300, 400, 500 and 600 home runs. Seven All-Star Games at short. And seven All-Star Games at 3rd.

 

But mostly I’ll remember his career for the huge contracts, the lying about PEDs and the stories of general personal shitty-ness that made Brian Cashman publicly tell him to shut the fuck up, even though he’s one of the inner-circle greatest players of all time. Didn’t he sue his own team and then not pay his lawyers? Doesn’t he have a painting of himself as a centaur over his bed? This fuckin’ guy. A-Rod plays his last game with the Yankees today. But whenever he’s actually done, he’s banished to Bonds-Clemens Island. Or more likely a fancy strip club/whorehouse made of cocaine and HGH.

 

 Prince doesn’t deserve this.

 

Let’s move on to Prince Fielder, who was easily the most likable of the three, but also happened to have the weakest career. Which isn’t really a knock when you’re being compared to Centaur Steroid Monster and the guy selling vanilla ice cream at the Hall of Very Good. Fielder has been a batting practice legend since he was 12-years-old when he hit one into the upper deck of Tiger Stadium. And he won the Home Run Derby twice. As an adult, not when he was 12. But his lousy defense probably knocked him down a few pegs and he’s retiring as the 94th-best first baseman of all-time (according to JAWS), behind guys like Kevin Youkilis, Derrek Lee and Carlos Pena. The eerie thing is, he’s also retiring with the exact same number of career home runs (319) as his estranged father – the one he didn’t like being compared to. Of the three players, I’ll miss Fielder the most. And we’ve lost too many Princes in 2016.

 

Let’s go around the league.

 

The AL East

I don’t understand why the Yankees are pretending they can still go to the postseason this year. They’re 7 back in the division. They’re 4.5 back in the Wild Card. And three other teams in their own division are ahead of them. They have a 2.9% chance of making the playoffs. Also, they kinda traded away Aroldis Chapman, Andrew Miller and Carlos Beltran. That’s waving the white flag on 2016. So all that being said, why is Joe Girardi being such a bitch about A-Rod?

 

 Why are you being such a dick, Joe?

 

I know I said all of the things I said about A-Rod earlier. But there is such a thing as taking the high road and not creating a pity party soap opera so dramatic that it makes someone like me who doesn’t even like the guy actually consider him a victim. Even Fenway Park chanted his name, Joe. You’re a dick.

 

If pitcher Wins are your thing, Wade Miley is 0-2 with a 4.91 ERA since being acquired by the Orioles. But that’s somehow still an upgrade for the club. That’s how bad Ubaldo Jimenez (6.83 ERA) has been this season. Also, if pitcher Wins are your thing (and we have to talk about this because they really shouldn’t be), J.A. Happ leads the Majors with 16. I’m feeling pretty good about the Blue Jays.

 

I know I’ve bashed the Red Sox a lot this season. But I think that racist David Ortiz bobble head might end up being their own Brady Bunch bad luck tiki. They’ve had injury scares with Steven Wright, Mookie Betts and Big Papi, himself, after that hideous mini-statue was made public. And they like, can’t lose any of those guys. Not that the Tigers and/or Mariners would mind. But the bobblehead also kind of reminds me of something famed character actor, Chelcie Ross, would look at and say, “Up yer butt, Jobu,” before getting hit in the head with a flying bat. Just putting that out there. I feel like this entire paragraph was totally reasonable and valid.

 

The AL Central

Think being a manager isn’t stressful? This week, Indians’ manager, Terry Francona, as well as Giants’ skipper, Bruce Bochy, had to miss games with chest pain and/or rumored chest pain. That being said, Joe Girardi is still a dick.

 

 Terry needs to relax.

 

The AL West

I think this Jonathan Lucroy thing is working out in Texas. So is Beltran, for that matter. And they’d be the hottest team in the league (and 11-2 against the Astros this season) if not for the Seattle Mariners playing peek-a-boo with relevance once again. And I’m not going to say that Mike Trout could end up being the greatest player of all time. But he turned 25 this week and just look at some fun numbers of players Trout’s age.

 

 ABSOLUTE BEAST.

 

All-Time WAR Through Age 21

1. Mike Trout               21.5
2. Mel Ott                    19.3
3. Ty Cobb                   16.1
4. Al Kaline                  15.0
5. Rogers Hornsby      14.6

 

All-Time WAR Through Age 22

1. Mike Trout        29.5
2. Ty Cobb           25.9
3. Mel Ott             25.1
4. Ted Williams     24.8
5. Jimmie Foxx     21.0

 

All-Time WAR Through Age 23

1. Mike Trout            38.5
2. Ted Williams        36.4
3. Ty Cobb               36.2
4. Mel Ott                33.2
5. Mickey Mantle    29.5

 

All-Time WAR Through Age 24

1. Ty Cobb            47.2
2. Mike Trout        45.0
3. Mickey Mantle  41.1
4. Mel Ott              38.6
5. Jimmie Foxx     37.4

 

The NL East

Why would Bryce Harper need a working bat or neck when you have that rotation? This thing is turning in to a bloodbath. And I mentioned Ichiro becoming the 30th member of the 3,000 hit club earlier. But the best part about it is that he told ESPN he plans on playing until he’s 50. So I guess that first ballot induction in Cooperstown is gonna have to wait a while.

 

 3,000 is a big number.

 

The NL Central

The Cubs are in first place on my birthday? Why, that’s only happened in 1984, 1989, 2001 and 2008. Cubs with the best record in baseball on my birthday? This is a first. And since they’ve won 9 in a row and are up 12 games on the Cardinals, I almost don’t care that Tommy La Stella is embarrassing himself by not reporting to Des Moines. I’m sure the Puig videos didn’t make it any more enticing, but still.

 

 It’s a happy birthday for Brido.

 

The NL West

When Clayton Kershaw went down on June 26, the Dodgers were 8 games back of the Giants. So I can’t really downplay how amazing and improbable it is that they climbed back within a game of first place. And that’s why you might actually see Corey Seager walk away with the Rookie of the Year and the NL MVP this year. Right now, I’d give it to Kris Bryant or Daniel Murphy. But enough people are bringing his name up to make me think he’d actually win if the voting was held today.

 

Give Seager all the awards.

 

I will say that I’m not sure whether or not Puig will play for the Dodgers ever again. Even though Josh Reddick has hit .125 since joining the team. Puig may be lighting up the PCL, but apparently everybody hates him about as much as Joe Girardi hates A-Rod.

 

Oh, and the Giants are still the worst team in the Majors since the All-Star break. Jeff Samardzija has come back to Earth. So has Johnny Cueto. And Will Smith has a fucking 13.50 ERA since being dealt from Milwaukee. And that’s without me even mentioning that only one team (Pittsburgh) has scored fewer runs in the second half.

 

And since the Rockies have fallen off their wasn’t-gonna-happen-anyway Wild Card run, it’s only really worth mentioning David Dahl, who is their new Trevor Story. I almost wish his last name was ‘Chapter’ or some shit, so idiots on TV could stumble all over themselves to make that fuck-awful joke again. But Dahl has yet to go O-fer in his young career, starting with a 17-game hitting streak, while hitting .365 with a 1.013 OPS. Looks like the STORY has a new CHAPTER!

 

 How I looked when I heard Tim Tebow wanted to play baseball.

 

Okay. Should I even waste my time on Tebow? Because he played high school baseball and looked muscle-y in a cage? Just know that he didn’t get drafted. Even Michael Vick got drafted. And he hadn’t played baseball since 8th grade. Tom Brady, Russell Wilson, Dan Marino, John Elway, Daunte Culpepper… all drafted. And it’s not like there weren’t baseball scouts in Florida. He also hasn’t played baseball in 11 years. Michael Jordan hadn’t played in 13 years, was a much better athlete and only hit .202 in the minors. Plus, Tebow is 29. You know who else is 29? Andrew McCutchen. That guy is usually awesome. This year he’s hitting 50 points below his career average. Because baseball is hard. And Tebow has absolutely no chance.

 

That’ll do it for this week. If you need more baseball, check me out on “Comedians Talking Sports” with Joe Kilgallon in all the podcast places. Until then, Adrian Beltre needs 117 hits. And the Cubs’ Magic Number is 38.

 

 


NFL Quarterbacks who just got Paid

Written by :
Published on : March 20, 2016

 

 

Boy, oh boy, it’s a good time to be an NFL quarterback. It feels like almost every team is looking for a starter and is willing to pay handsomely for one. The apparent lack of quality arms has seen some teams shell out huge contracts for players who are mostly backups. And speaking of backups, you need one of those too. You can’t build a great team without at least preparing for the idea that your star QB may get hurt. Plan accordingly and that injury may not sink your playoff hopes.

 

Below are not the quarterback elite. That’s the whole thing about this. We understand when Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers gets a fat extension but some organizations are so desperate that they will sink their fortunes in someone a little less proven. Let’s take a look at some the big money deals that have been inked so far:

 

Case Keenum

 

The Los Angeles Rams got him for 1 year/$3.6 million. He is supposed to start. I don’t know much about him. I know I don’t want him on my team, holding the ball every play. Not a great beginning for the LA franchise. Maybe they can still go out and sign someone. What is Tim Tebow doing?

 

Sam Bradford

The Philadelphia Eagles gave Sam a 2 year/$35 million deal. With $22 million of it in guaranteed money, including a $11 million signing bonus. This guy has never played well or stayed healthy for a full season. But teams keeping thinking he can be the guy. Maybe he can. Probably not. He is becoming the new Matt Flynn.

 

Brock Osweiler

 

You know, Peyton’s backup. Oh yeah, the Houston Texans gave him a 4 year/$72 million contract with $37 million guaranteed. Part of that $37 is a $12 million signing bonus. Not bad for a guy who just won a Super Bowl ring for holding a clipboard. I’m being mean, Brock could become a great player. The only problem is we just don’t know yet but that contact says differently. For example, Joe Flacco, who has won the Super Bowl for his Baltimore Ravens just signed for 3 years/$66.4 million. Flacco is a proven commodity. Osweiler is not, even if he is 6’8”.

 

Mark Sanchez

With Peyton Manning retiring and Brock Osweiler moving to Houston, the Denver Broncos needed to do something. They picked up the phone, called Detroit and asked about Mathew Stafford. The Fords just laughed and hung up. So Denver got the next best thing: Mark Sanchez! I’m kidding. It’s an insult to Stafford that I mention him in the same breath as Sanchez. Both were drafted in first round of 2009. Matt 1st overall and Mark 5th and that’s where the similarities end. Denver acquired Sanchez through a trade with the Eagles for a draft pick. Last year Sanchez signed 2 year/$9 million deal. Denver will pay him $4.5 million this year. So Sanchez didn’t exactly just get paid but if he plays decently then another sizable contract is coming his way.

 

Kirk Cousins

 

Cousins played great in the second half of last season but Washington still wasn’t sold enough to give him a multi year deal. Instead, they slapped him with the franchise tag which will net Kirk around $19.7 million for the year. If he performs well in 2016, then he can expect a massive contact.

 

 

There are still quite a few teams that need quarterbacks. Browns, Niners and the Jets all come to mind. Will RGIII and Colin Kaepernick find new homes? Maybe Brett Farve will come out of retirement? Only time will tell. The only thing we know for sure is these signal callers are ballers with the checks they cash. And from the looks of it, the money train isn’t slowing down. Damn, is it too late to switch majors?

 

Cha-ching.

 

Contract info from spotrac.com


Roger Pretzel’s Cloudy Crystal Ball: NFC East

Written by :
Published on : August 27, 2015

 

There is no other division in the NFL in which the specter of injury looms so heavily over every team. Dallas has its brilliant but weary O-line protecting a fragile veteran QB, Philadelphia has built a winning crew that can sustain injury up to a point, the Giants are looking to rebound after two seasons of a seriously depleted squad, and Washington has brought a curse upon itself for not changing its unfortunate and offensive image.

 

Sweet crystal ball: murky and jumbled though your whispers may be, illuminate our way!

 

Dallas Cowboys:

 photo dallascowboys_zpsl1ytzif4.jpg

 

There was a brief period of time where I didn’t totally hate the Cowboys. I moved away from general knee-jerk disdain and grew to recognize their brilliant offensive line. I also realized that Tony Romo is a solid, likable, and hardworking quarterback, and even thought that Jerry Jones’s desperate ramblings became amusing, endearing even. Then along came Dez Bryant. The dude is by far my least favorite NFL superstar. He’s the epitome of a diva and I hate his whininess towards referees, as well as his frequent fights with coaches and teammates. I will never deny that he is a fantastic talent, but as a human personality, I’m just kind of grossed out by his ego and sense of entitlement. He is Calvin Johnson’s evil twin, no doubt about it.

So here we are in 2015 and I think that Jerry Jones knows in his wizened coal-black heart that last year was the ‘boys best chance at making a run for the title in a long time, and the best chance they’ll get for quite a while. Romo is good for another couple of seasons as long as he stays healthy, but that surgically repaired back is one hell of a sword of Damocles hanging over the entire organization. That previously mentioned O-line is the key to keeping things regular, but even they’re starting to show signs of wear and tear. Should they falter, this will prove very problematic for Darren McFadden.

 

The crystal ball says:

 

The crystal ball likes Dez much more than I do, predicting a stellar season for a big time receiver in his prime. Romo will hold down the fort, thanks to that crucial offensive line that will suffer only minor injuries, and remain more or less intact through the season. Darren McFadden will show promise at first and then eventually disappoint. Dallas has a shot at the wildcard spot but she’s still a leaky boat holding herself above the surface in a division that is returning to its highly competitive ways.

 

New York Giants:

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I think it’s pretty easy to get hyperbolic over New York’s potential this season, but I’m afraid that’s more from what’s expected of them than actual evidence. Sure, Eli’s too good to keep playing so poorly, and it’s easy to write off the last two seasons because of the mass of injuries sustained by Big Blue, but that’s also the lazy approach. Like many, when it comes to analyzing the Giants, I want to have my cake and eat it too. Yes, I think a healthier team will win more games, but I’m still dubious that this is a club that’s going to sweep back into the division.

I’m not particularly concerned about the stories surrounding Eli Manning’s contract, but regardless of what he purportedly wants, the fans and coaching staff need to see his ratio of INT’s to TD’s drop precipitously. He’s certainly proved it can go either way. I also didn’t like how Jason Pierre-Paul dealt with his team following that unfortunate sparkler accident. It looks like he’ll be returning to the Giants, and will play before the first half of the season is out, but his cagey statements from the hospital and seeming lack of interest to meet with the team’s officials had me seriously doubting his return to New York, or anywhere. At least JPP can rest assured that he won’t go down in history as the NY Giant guilty of the stupidest unnecessary injury of all time…

 

The crystal ball says:

 

Eli will bring his pick numbers down to below Andy Dalton levels, which will be considered a victory. There will be lots and lots of speculation as to whether or not Tom Coughlin keeps his job. He will, while chomping angrily on his gum the whole time. Jason Pierre-Paul will come back. He’ll do fine. Odell Beckham Jr. and Victor Cruz will be frustrated with the heavy coverage they receive from defenses that aren’t particularly scared of the run game. The Giants improve, making them a viable threat, but not as much as expected. THEN things will get crazy with Eli’s contract!

 

Washington Redskins:

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It’s pretty obvious to me that the central cause of the Washington’s woes over the last few years have been due to a longstanding Native American curse brought on by owner Dan Snyder’s absolute refusal to change the franchise’s name and image in the face of good taste or common decency. RGIII is constantly nursing a bum knee or sitting concussed on the bench; relegated to selling sandwiches alongside a once obese pedophile. Now, Niles Paul and Junior Galette are out for the whole damn season. It doesn’t seem fair, and it shouldn’t be… Unless you remember that this team is named after a derogatory term coined during the genocide of an entire population. Feel free to write Dan Snyder a letter telling him how you feel.

Thanks to the curse, we’re left with an extremely weak offensive line supporting a glass-jawed QB. However, the defensive line is really interesting, and I think it’s the best thing the ‘skins have got going for them. There’s a good pass rush to be had there, and a good defense overall if the secondary can hold up. I don’t care if it’s Kirk Cousins or Colt McCoy, but either of these dudes will fare better than Griffin.

 

The crystal ball says:

 

More deserved suffering for a team with a shamefully behind-the-times character. RGIII will continue to fail and the Redskins will focus more on a mediocre ground game because of it. Fans can expect some joy through the defense, and some excitement when either of the backup QBs start airing it out to DeSean Jackson, the most electric offensive weapon this team has.

 

Philadelphia Eagles:

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Chip Kelly is the closest thing the NFL has to a mad scientist. He’s a singular coach in that his megalomaniacal vision for his club’s success is less predicated upon individual player performance and more so on the crazy scheme in his head. I mean that as a compliment. The Foles/Bradford trade wasn’t about Foles’ merits or deficiencies on the field; it was about Sam Bradford working better in Kelly’s vision.

So Bradford and Murray are going to be the experiment and the gamble. Both are players that fit with Chip Kelly’s Eagles (trademark registered), but both are also injury prone. Unlike other teams in the NFC East, Philadelphia has a deeper bench. Mark Sanchez works well in this offense and Ryan Matthews and Darren Sproles can certainly help take some of the pressure off of Murray. All the meticulously planned and thought out offense in the world can’t cover a weak defense that ranked near the bottom of the league last season. If things looked as exciting for the Eagles on the other side of the ball then they would be a true Super Bowl contender.

 

The crystal ball says:

 

The ball likes the Eagles this year, and thinks they’re the frontrunner to win the division, thanks in part to a cushy schedule. The mad scientist has the offense that he wants and I think it’ll come through for him. The defense will improve incrementally but there’s going to be plenty of shootouts to keep Bradford’s throwing arm in shape. Finally, I’m proud of myself for having made it this far without making a single Tim Tebow joke.

 


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