Putting the fun back in the NFL, one rule change at a time

Written by :
Published on : May 25, 2017

 

In an about-face from the way the league has been operating in recent years, the NFL has voted to give its players a chance to express themselves. The league has spent years stifling their players’ creative instincts by penalizing them for end zone celebrations. Instead of embracing something that fans and players both enjoy, the No Fun League has been throwing flags and even fining players for putting a little soul in the game, but it appears that Roger Goodell and the powers that be have seen the error of their ways.

 

At the spring league meeting, the owners voted to ease restrictions on touchdown celebrations and proponents of common sense everywhere rejoiced. What was it about dancing in the end zone or celebrating a touchdown that irked all these owners so bad in the first place? Maybe they were jealous of the dance moves, or maybe they are so far removed from our meager plebeian society that they forgot how normal, non-billionaires have fun and express joy. Either way, they are starting to get their heads out of their asses and come around on this one. I, for one, can’t wait to see some of the pent up celebrations that people have been sitting on during these dark days of prohibition.

 

The obvious winners in this decision are the fans. If football fans wanted to see a bunch of soulless robots they would watch baseball. Pigskin aficionados like the unpredictable nature of the game and want their favorite players to surprise them in new and exciting ways, and with the game being damn near a century old, it’s time to get creative. That’s where celebrations on big plays come in. The players still aren’t allowed to do anything that might be seen as taunting (throat slash), or anything sexually suggestive, but they are allowed to do group celebrations and to use the ball as a prop.

 

 

The players who will no longer have to risk being fined for getting excited are winners in this too. By extension the teams also win because they won’t have to endure ridiculous penalties when players inevitably celebrate regardless of the rules. Guys like Antonio Brown are excited to get the whole team in on the fun and we should be too. I imagine Odell Beckham Jr has a few things up his sleeve and I’m sure Cam Newton will hop on whatever dance trend is happening and then beat it to death.  

 

While the rule change is definitely a step in the right direction, I’m not sure that the NFL went far enough. There’s still a few annoying things, like that you reportedly still can’t dunk the ball through the uprights like Calvin Johnson used to (despite what the below video says). Also, the 40 second play clock starts immediately after a touchdown, meaning that teams could risk a delay of game if the TD scoring player isn’t quick about his celebration. Think of the wonderfully choreographed masterpieces that we will miss out on. For a little more explanation on what is, and what isn’t allowed, check out this informative video featuring former Detroit Lions TE and TD celebrations pro, Joe Fauria.  

 


I say let these guys go to town. Maybe they could even work on dance numbers with predetermined music. The crowd would love it and so would the players. These guys got soul and they need to share it with the world.

 

Let them dance.

 

 


Roger Pretzel’s Haunted Dungeon Week 3 (Special Edition Mamma Pretzel Picks): Derrick Johnson Pick Six and Awakening of the Beast

Written by :
Published on : September 29, 2016

 

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

 

The lights have dimmed, the prisoners manacled, and the graves have been robbed.

 

Week 3 Special – Mamma Pretzel’s Choice: Derrick Johnson Picks Off Fitzpatrick, Rumbles His Way 50-plus Yards For The TD

 

 

Mamma Pretzel is a football fan, and I’m lucky enough that each year her and I head off to Ford Field to see a Lions game in October. As I was chatting about the NFL with her while going over the highlights Monday so I thought I’d hand over the reigns and give her a shot at picking this week’s highlight.

 

I was personally pretty giddy over LeGarrette Blount’s long run for TD on Thursday night, aided by a great Julian Edelman block and capped off with a goofy photo-op celebration with the “minutemen,” but that was rejected out of hand by Moms: “I’m not going to pick anything involving the damn Patriots.” I submit without comment. “Well, I guess it’s gotta be that one…,” she admitted after reviewing Derrick Johnson’s pick of Ryan Fitzpatrick, who then went on to follow his blocks cleverly, end the thing with a nice stiff-arm, and stumble/spin into the end zone. It turned out to be a compromise seeing as how Mamma Pretzel is a bit of a Jets fan and a real-deal believer in Fitzpatrick. Again, I submit without comment.

 

Kansas City had their way defensively with the Jets at Arrowhead on Sunday. Fitz threw a whopping six interceptions, with this one being the final straw late in the fourth. While it was a lost cause for sure at that point, I love the focus by Johnson, as well as the dedication of Jets WR Quincy Enunwa rushing back only to take the rough stiff–arm to the mask that sealed the play. The Chiefs continue to have one of those maddening hot/cold defenses. At their best they are easily in the league’s top three, but that’s not always the team we see on Sunday. Thanks Mom! See you in October.

 

Week 3: Awakening of the Beast

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Director: Jose Mojica Marins
Released: 1970

 

Brazilian director and horror personality Jose Mojica Marins, better known by his top-hatted and long-taloned persona “Coffin Joe” is still working today, but he’s best known in the States for a duo of shockers made in the 1960’s that are lurid, stylish, and sport some great titles: At Midnight I’ll Take Your Soul (1964), and This Night I’ll Possess Your Corpse (1967). The flicks are good fright fare with a combination of dreadful tone in the menacing character of Joe himself, and the general theme of the madman subjecting beautiful scantily clad women to torture by all manner of creepy-crawlies. Spider on midriff? Check. Snake around thigh? Check. Marins also has a legitimately threatening presence as an actor, imbuing these two films with a sense that violence can happen to anyone at any minute.

 

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Awakening of the Beast is sometimes considered the third installment in a trilogy along with the aforementioned films, but given Marins’ scattered and varied output, most of which involves Coffin Joe, I don’t find the assessment to be appropriate. More Roger Corman exploitation cheapie than spook show, Marins uses the hoary old MacGuffin of psychedelic drug use as an excuse to stage skits involving all manner of deviant sexual behavior (S & M, bestiality, and incest all get at least passing attention), and like many other good examples of the “freak out” genre this one switches over from black and white to candy color for a phantasmagoric orgy of sex and violence once the LSD properly kicks in.

 

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Laughably sensationalist treatment of drug culture and cheap thrills and chills aside, Marins using his own Coffin Joe character as a kind of mock-documentary host/educator instead of boogeyman bad-guy is the most fun to watch, and the picture’s crowning achievement.

 

This extremely NSFW opening scene gives you a taste of what Joe/Jose is serving up in Awakening of the Beast:

 

 

This one is pretty hard to get a hold of today, with no easy streaming options I could find, but it looks like Amazon sells DVD copies for pretty cheap. Both At Midnight I’ll Take Your Soul, and This Night I’ll Possess Your Corpse are available for free in their entirety on Youtube.

 

 


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

Written by :
Published on : September 22, 2016

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Week 2: Knightriders

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Director: George A. Romero
Released: 1981

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Trailer:

 

Full Movie:

 

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

 

 


Roger Pretzel’s Review ‘N Brew: Week 5

Written by :
Published on : October 16, 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 5: Nick Foles Pops a Little Flip to Tavon Austin for a Speedy 5 Yard TD

 

VIDEO: HERE

 

The St. Louis Rams are getting really fun to watch, and I’m a sucker for any successful trick play. You don’t see many of ‘em in the NFL because defenses are generally too good at reading perceived trickery, but Green Bay gets caught here as Foles puts the lightest touch on the ball, forwarding it into the hands of an accelerating Tavon Austin. The decision to cut inside instead of pushing outside towards the pylon is a gutsy one that pays off. As the play takes off it’s simply way too late for safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix who realizes the situation with a half-hearted tackle attempt. Unsurprisingly, the Rams couldn’t pull off a win against the behemoth that is The Pack, but they’ve snagged some good upsets so far this season and I’m definitely starting to develop a crush on them.
 

Week 5: 1989 Giacomo Conterno Barolo Cascina Francia

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This beer is really weird for a lot of reasons. First, it’s not carbonated. Second, it’s a deep purple color. Third, it cost a couple hunney just for the one bottle. Still, I’m a journalist and it’s my job to be there for you, the reader, and experience the world so you don’t have to. No, I don’t work for Vice, but yes, I am fearless and have a certain amount of cred when it comes to alcoholic beverages. Do you feel me?

As Tavon Austin crossed the plane I pounded my first glass of Barolo. My palate was immediately assaulted with the raging scent of red fruit and violet flowers. I then enjoyed a velvety mouth-feel and texture that lingered as it traveled all the way down to my crap-factory. I grabbed a handful of crackers and smeared a generous portion of Delice de Bourgogne on them, wolfing that shit down like I was a pissed-off lumberjack at breakfast. The cheese provided a beautiful compliment the faint vanilla note I was getting from the beer.

 

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I was a little weirded out that I was supposed to drink this stuff at room temperature, but as I took a deep belt straight from the bottle, I started to appreciate the soft fruity flavor. Hell, soon enough I was feeling so warm and good that I was even laughing at those Direct TV ads with Andrew Luck mumbling in his thick caveman voice.

Even though I’m an armchair scholar in spirited beverages I’d never had anything quite like this before, so I decided it was time to get to the bottom of it and ask a real beer expert about this bottle of Barolo I had just finished. I reached out to Serge DuVernier, one of the premier tasters in the field of beers and beer offshoots. Below is a transcript of our interview.

 

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Roger Pretzel: Why are the Lions so terribly bad this season? Huh? Answer me that genius… (Inaudible mumble)… Gimme another glass’a that shtuff ya jerk…(gulping noises)… Will you hold me?

Serge DuVernier: Barolo is one of Piedmont’s most well known and most appreciated wines around the globe. It ages very well and is comprised of 100% Nebbiolo.

RP: Whash Nebbiolo?

SDV: Nebbiolo is a classic Italian grape.

RP: I need to lie down. D’you wanna get shom buffalo wings? Here’s a ten shpot…

So there you have it. In my travels around the globe I’m constantly delighted to find myself learning new things everyday. This week’s fascinating takeaway is that people give grapes names. Until next week, I remain your faithful imbiber.

-Roger Pretzel

 

 


Roger Pretzel’s Review ‘N Brew: NFL Week 1

Written by :
Published on : September 18, 2015

 

 

In this little corner, Roger Pretzel reviews his favorite play of the week, as well as the beverage he was drinking at the time he watched it. Take a seat, get comfortable, and let’s replay the tape. This is Review ‘N Brew.

 

 

Week 1: Cary Williams Crashes into Nick Foles for the Sack, Fumble, and TD.

 

Link for video: HERE

 

Williams enjoying his TD

 

The ‘hawks are certainly hurting without Kam Chancellor, but if they keep that front line flying like this, they might as well let the dude sit out a few more. Cary Williams explodes off the right side, completely unguarded due to some blown coverage, sacks Foles, strips the ball, and returns it himself for the touchdown. It was a key play late in the game, and you can see how much it shook up Nick Foles as he’s slow to get up. Now if only Seattle could have kept it together for the rest of the game this would’ve been the backbreaker.

 

 

Week 1: Budweiser in a Metal Can That is Shaped Like a Bottle

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Has anyone ever drunk out of one of these things when they weren’t at a sporting event or a Kid Rock concert? Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate that you’re getting a full 16 ounces, but you gotta imagine the only reason these were invented was so that Budweiser could get their marketing message across without allowing unruly humans to shatter massive amounts of glass in dangerously overcrowded venues. Still, there’s a decent amount of aluminum that goes into these things so I’d rather not have some dude in a Slipknot t-shirt chuck one at my face, especially if it was a quarter full.

 

Budweiser’s current slogan is #madeinamerica which is awesome considering they’re owned by InBev, a massive beverage conglomerate based out of Western Europe. Here’s a final fun fact for you: Budweiser is partially brewed with rice, so next time you throw back gulp after gulp of that refreshingly chilly pisswater, just remember that our most American beer is owned by Belgians and made with a grain that would make any self-respecting German brewmeister hang his head in shame.

 

Until next time…

 

 


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