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Instead Of Giving Away All Those Pizzas With Peyton Manning, How About Papa John’s Just Pay Their Employees?

In Media, NFL on September 21, 2013 at 10:22 am

By Jonathan Danielson

Before we even start, I want to apologize to you. I know I haven’t been around that much. We all haven’t. Chris got a new gig writing about the Steelers, the Jeffs are busy, Mimmo’s Mimmo, Kevin’s writing about copy machines, and we’ve all had big events pop up in our lives that took us away from this. From you.

And we’re sorry.

For me, I got a new job teaching college, so between an 800 mile move, lesson planning, grading, grading,  grading, and grading, I’ve been a bit busy. Who knew it took eight hours to prepare for a one hour lecture on Marduk and the Enuma elish?

Only by hour eight did I realize this "Marduk" was not the Marduk I was supposed to be lecturing on.

Only by hour eight did I realize this “Marduk” was not the Marduk I was supposed to be lecturing on.

Regardless, sometimes something will happen that makes me so angry, I have to try to make you angry about it as well.

And while the obvious topic would appear to be the Dodgers taking a classless swim at Chase Field, we all have to understand that the Dodgers are from Los Angeles, a place where it’s socially acceptable to OD on crack in someone’s bathroom at a dinner party. I saw Pulp Fiction, I know how these people think.

Besides,  John McCain pretty much summed up everything I would have written anyway.

"Dicks!"

“Dicks!”

So instead of the Dodgers buying the NL West, the thing that got me so upset is Papa John’s Pizza. Specifically, eight Papa John’s locations in Sacramento that decided to close their doors on payday, and leave their employees high and dry.

Per The Blaze, Papa John’s pizza shut their doors in Sacramento, and instead of paying  their employees for services already worked, they taped a note to the window that more or less said, “Sorry Charley, go ask the Government for help.”

Then, via their Facebook page, the Papa John’s corporate office more or less told these workers, “Man that sucks. Work with the people who just screwed you over to figure this out. Oh, and we’ll start up a relief fund.”

Let’s be clear, this is not Hurricane Katrina. This is not a terrorist event or a national disaster. This is fifty employees who, while working under the Papa John’s name, were stolen from by an individual franchise. These employees worked the hours they were supposed to work and they were not compensated for it. These are people making minimum wage during tough economic times, and instead of the corporate office stepping up and making it right by just cutting them a check for what is owed them and then dealing with their franchise later, they said, hey, we’ll set up some red tape. 

And, good luck paying your bills for the time being.

"Boy Papa, we sure look like robber barons at this point, don't we?" "We sure do Peyton."

“Boy Papa, we sure look like robber barons at this point, don’t we?” “We sure do Peyton.”

If Papa John’s can afford to offer half-off pizzas every time a local baseball team wins, or millions of free pizzas during football season, they can afford fifty checks that the franchise’s workers already earned. Lets do the math here : If minimum wage in California is $8 an hour, and the average Paper John’s worker works 30 hours a week, one check would be $240. Times that by be the fifty and that’s $12,000.

$12,000 may sound like a lot, but how much are a million free pizzas? While it might have been the individual franchise that failed here, they failed under the Papa John’s name. And somewhere, the buck’s got to stop.

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The Hot Mess Jets

In NFL on May 7, 2013 at 1:56 pm

By Chris Hallenbrook

In the week and a half since the conclusion of the NFL draft, a seemingly endless amount has been said and written about who “won” and “lost” on draft night(s), despite that fact that no championship has ever been awarded in the war room. Pundits have droned on about which picks were bargains, which were reaches, what players found good fits with their team’s system and who are automatic busts. But let’s be honest, we won’t know if any of that is right or wrong for at least two years, if not more. To assess the state of teams at the moment, we need to look at the longer term trends. On that front, let’s take a look at one team that hasn’t done itself any favors lately, the New York Jets.

After reaching the AFC Championship Game in consecutive years, it has been a long day’s journey into night for the Jets. The decline has been fueled in no small part by the franchise’s mastery of the art of the self-inflicted wound. This was perhaps most memorably, and most mockably, put on display last season with Mark Sanchez’s (in)famous “butt fumble” against the Patriots when he ran into the backside of his own lineman and fumbled the ball away for another Pats touchdown. However, the wounds that have been more damaging for the club’s long-term future have been inflicted not by the players, but by management.

At the top of this list is the Tim Tebow trade. While this trade could have been to the advantage of the Jets, it is clear now that Jets management never had a coherent plan for how to best utilize Tebow on the football field. As a result, his presence did little to make the team better, and they get nothing in return for cutting him, all this trade did was cost this team a 4th round draft pick and a 6th rounder. No big deal you say? They’re just mid-to-late rounders? The Jets certainly could have used this picks to acquire depth on defense, and let’s not forgot that Marcus Lattimore went to the Niners at the end of the 4th round. Sure the gruesome knee insure Lattimore suffered this past year makes it a chancy pick, but at #131 overall it is a calculated risk, and given the top two running backs on the Jets’ depth chart are Chris Ivory and Mike Goodson, it would have been a risk that could have aided the Jets’ offense far more than Tebow did.

The next wound is another blunder from the 2012 offseason, extending Mark Sanchez’s contract to the tune of an additional $40.5 million dollars, $20.5 million of it guaranteed. This was a puzzling move at the time, what with Sanchez already showing signs of being yet another USC QB bust and the Jets publically voicing concerns with the rate at which he was progressing. Now the move looks downright hideous given both Sanchez’s inept play and GM John Idzik acknowledging that the Revis trade came down to money. Revis was insisting on a raise of $4.5 million per year and just signed a 6 year deal with Tampa Bay, meaning that the extra money being thrown Sanchez’s way would have gone a long way towards keeping one of the best shutdown corners in the game in a Jets uniform. Instead, he’s in Tampa and the Jets secondary will have to move forward without a top talent who could have been an invaluable teacher for first round draft choice Dee Milliner. That makes this self-mutilation a two-for-one sale.

And then we have Idzik’s first draft, which, while marked with potentially excellent moves such as taking the aforementioned Dee Milliner at #9 overall, had a classic “you have got to be kidding me/leave it to the Jets” move in taking Geno Smith in the second round. Now admittedly I have not watched a lot of West Virginia football in recent years, so I do not consider myself qualified to speak to whether or not Pro Football Weekly was remotely near the mark when they called into question everything about Smith, from his talent to his leadership to his understanding of and commitment to the game of football. So let’s set aside that report and the claims that Smith is a diva. Instead, let’s simply focus on this offseason’s quarterback market. The Jets were far from the only team needing a QB going forward. The Bills had to acquire a new QB after cutting Harvard man Ryan Fitzpatrick, and with the ability to take any QB from the draft class they happily passed right over Smith. The Raiders passed on the draft entirely, instead making a trade to usher in the Matt Flynn era (although that may be a point for an entry on another franchise’s epic mismanagement). Most damning though when analyzing the Jets decision-making is the actions of the Kansas City Chiefs. Holding the #1 overall pick in the draft, the Chiefs had the ability to guarantee that they got their man to lead the franchise out the abyss. And yet they took one look at this year’s draft class and ran in the other direction, acquiring Niners’ veteran signal caller Alex Smith. Say what you will about Alex Smith, he’s a steady hand who isn’t going to lose you games, and a steady hand would be just what the doctor ordered for the Jets. The veteran Smith becomes an even more appealing option when one considers what the Cheifs gave up for him, a 2013 second rounder and a 2014 conditional pick. That’s right, the pick that was used on Geno Smith could have been turned into Alex Smith. Maybe Geno Smith has the higher ceiling, but what about the Jets’ recently history makes you think they are going to successfully nurture it out of him? So the Jets were the Jets and took the flashier player with more risk, and then, after having gone after a guy that every other QB needy team steered clear of, to add the icing to this self-destructive cake, what does Idzik do? He announces an open competition among all five quarterbacks who are left on the roster after the cutting of Tebow. (Why so many QBs on the roster? Who knows? But it makes the situation all the more comically absurd and apparently mismanaged.) So instead of creating an environment where Sanchez can help Smith adapt to the world of the NFL and warn him of the pitfalls that lie ahead, Idzik creates an environment where Sanchez and Smith have no choice but to view each other as obstacles and threats.

And there we have it folks. There may be a new GM in town for the Jets, and more coordinators coming and going then we can count, but when it comes to self-inflicted wounds, they are the same old Jets and there is little reason to believe things will improve in the near future. This is bad news for Rex Ryan, himself a symbol of the dysfunction, and one whose job security is minimal coming off a 6-10 season that many observers assumed would get him fired. My prediction: another losing season and the firing of Ryan, which itself won’t end the self-immolation of New Jersey’s #2 football team. So good luck Rex, and be sure to kiss Bill Belichick’s rings on your way out the door.

Why Are You Still Watching ESPN?

In Media, MLB, NBA, NFL on May 1, 2013 at 5:55 pm

By Jeff Gibson

Some people would consider it a character flaw I possess— the second anything becomes popular in America, I lose all desire to follow the masses in their blind passion for consuming mass-marketed garbage. Take Twilight, American Idol, Uggs, McDonalds, Sarah Palin, Bud Light lime, etc. Some people, like my girlfriend, claim I need to watch a movie/show before I dub it awful, or slip on a pair before I “hate”.

I wonder how they get people to buy this stuff. Courtesy zimbio.com.

Well, if you want to call it “hating” then I’m most definitely hating. I’m not sorry I can spot poop when I see it and smell it from eight feet away. I can judge it without having to eat it. I’m not a baby that has to put everything in its mouth to know what’s poop and what isn’t.

But I’m in my late twenties. I’ve got grey hairs on my chin.

What I’m saying is that it takes time to learn to spot poop. We’re not born knowing most marketing campaigns are designed to trick us. And that’s why marketing campaigns for poop are so profitable when executed correctly. Meaning, the least intelligent audience with the most disposable income is selected for consumption. Teenagers.

Jeter being mistaken for Robert Pattinson. Courtesy withleather.com

Well, unless you consider professional sports. But there are “teenagers” in professional sports. Most people call them bandwagon fans. I call them Yankees fans, Red Sox fans, Celtics fans, Heat fans, Giants fans, Patriots fans. Like poop, they’re easily identifiable. They’ve got on brand new gear, but didn’t wear a glove to the game and spend every inning gossiping about the cute boy wearing an Affliction t-shirt that went home with them last night. Or they’ve got a blue and white Giants hat on, flat-billed of course, and when you ask them if they’re wearing it to be ironic, they mug you and claim they’ve been a Giants fan their whole life. You smell poop. So you ask them what they thought of JR Phillips. You try players a bit more well-known. Robby Thompson? Royce Clayton? Alright alright. An easy one. Will Clark.

“You think you’re smart because you know all the coaches, bro?”

Poop again.

You shouldn’t be surprised to learn I hold zero respect for All-Star games, in any professional sport. They’re popularity contests. And who are the voters? The same “fans” who don’t even know three players on their favorite team but will spend their entire welfare check on an authentic Patriots jersey of a player their team will waive next season. Did I mention they’re not even from Boston? Nor the East Coast?

Even if these “fans” are informed, they get shafted by the mainstream sports entertainment outlets who interview “experts”, aka “reporters” on their own payroll, to provide pre-chewed fluff to boost ratings. Touting the same players over and over and over again. Even my girlfriend knows who Tim Tebow is. And she can throw a football farther than him.

Pop-quiz. How do you profit off of two bored individuals bombing a marathon and killing innocent people? Or a gay basketball player fighting to simply be himself publicly? Ask ESPN, their ratings skyrocketed after these events, after they dubbed cowards pointing cameras and pundits spouting hate “heroes”. No, heroes help others. These selfish people earned profits for your corporation — maybe I should have included this network in that opening list up above, right between Sarah Palin and Bud Light Lime. The same network that allows one of their reporters to ask Golden State Warrior guard Steph Curry, arguably the best player in the history of the NBA to get shafted out of an All-Star appearance, whether the team can compete in the playoffs without their “All-Star” David Lee. How misinformed can you possibly allow your staff to become before a player calls you out on it? Can’t prove it either, see ESPN doesn’t like to leak anything online that proves how awful they are. At least they inspired Curry, judging by how he played the following game.

I have a better acronym for this broadcasting network. BS.

I wonder how they sell this stuff. Courtesy usatoday.com

At least with Twilight, American Idol, and all that other BS, there are myriad alternatives. In the sports broadcasting world, there are few to none.

TNT, CBS, NBC, FOX, ABC (nope, owned by Disney, same parent company as ESPN). If you think these networks are decent alternatives then that’s like believing the Angels lineup is dangerous. Hint: you’re misinformed and watching too much BS. But it’s not your fault. Just like it’s not teenagers’ fault they buy into the misinformation, the garbage dubbed entertainment (in middle school I owned a KORN t-shirt, seriously). They don’t know any better. But come on, not all of us are still teenagers. Are you? (Put the vampire fan fiction down).

We don’t have to continue this nonsense.

You can start by turning the channel away from BS and other networks that show clear biases in their sports coverage even though they claim otherwise. It won’t be as easy as telling your girlfriend you’re not going to the new Twilight premiere, but let’s face it. If you’re a real fan of your team, then you’ll tell the networks they aren’t important if they’re going to tell you that your team is not important.

If you’re at a bar and BS is on. Ask them to change it to a local channel. Support your local affiliates and your local affiliates will support you, eventually. It may take some time and energy, but seriously, when was the last time BS aired the Oakland A’s? Or the Golden State Warriors? The Colorado Rockies? The Sacramento Kings? The San Diego Padres? The Seattle Mariners? The LA Kings? The Arizona Diamondbacks? The Portland Trailblazers? The Oakland Raiders? And when they did, they had two broadcasters covering the game that couldn’t tell the die hard fans the difference between Jamarcus Russell and Marcus Allen, before touting the BS’s favorite to win for the duration of the game.

Joe Buck wondering why his microphone is made of wood.

If you’re a fan of the teams listed above, maybe it won’t take much energy at all. You don’t need some network based out of Maryland to tell you which teams are good and which aren’t.

Highlights? Please, you can find highlights on MLB.com, NBA.com, NFL.com. Are you that lazy, that truly American, where you have to have highlights spoon-fed to you? We’re not the society depicted in WALL-E, not yet. Hooray for the internet!

Heads-up. Cable companies won’t make it easy. Most sports television packages come with local and ESPN together, without an either/or alternative. So write to the cable companies, call them and tell them to stop supporting the BS. Stop hiring Joe Bucks and Tim McCarvers to spout out nonsense to more informed viewers (demand the local broadcasters get to move networks with their teams, especially for the playoffs!). You’d think the local companies would want a package that excludes the bigger companies, that way they could hold a bigger share of the market, in turn growing, possibly becoming a powerhouse sports network the West Coast desperately needs.

But I’m no business savant. I’m just a fan.

All I know is BS is BS.

And I’ll never root for Boston.

NFL Draft: I Have No Idea Who These Guys Are

In NFL on April 26, 2013 at 6:23 am

By Kevin Wolfman

I haven’t watched much ESPN lately. This is because Comcast decided to “modify” (read: reduce) my available channels without giving any prior notice. They also decided to keep charging me the same amount as before. Comcast is terrible.

"Don't blame me, I'm just unqualified to work here!"

“Don’t blame me, I’m just unqualified to work here!”

Anyway, the point is that I’m watching the NFL draft via NFL TV’ live Web feed, and I have no idea who these guys are. The first seven picks were really big guys, and the eighth pick was a small guy with a big smile who looks pretty fast on the highlight tapes they just showed. The Jets are about to make their selection at #9, and all I can wonder is, Will the first average-sized guy finally come off the board? And which average-sized guy might it be? Let’s raise our voices and argue about it for money!

6a00d83451b84f69e201156f6f9666970b-550wi

“LOUD NOISES!”

This is what the NFL draft has become: a months-long obsession over athletic strangers, where Mel Kiper Jr. argues 8 hours per day with Todd McShay, who I’m guessing was hired specifically so Kiper Jr. would have somebody to argue with besides his hair stylist. 95 percent of the viewers of tonight’s draft don’t have a clue who Luke Joeckel or Ezekiel Ansah or Tavon Austin is. All they know is they each make Mel or Todd drool (never both).

OK, the Jets just picked a guy named Dee. Why not a guy named Aaa, or Bee, or Cee? Sounds like they’re settling to me.

Clearly unexceptional in every way.

Clearly unexceptional in every way.

Everybody knows the NFL Draft is, in the end, an epic crapshoot–just a few years ago, the first overall pick was spent on an overweight Purple Drank distributor. We spend hours of time, and millions of dollars, doing our best to evaluate these “prospects” on tape. And we kind of still stink at it. What’s funny is that the 95 percent of tonight’s viewers don’t know anything about these guys besides the fact that six of the top 10 picks are, in the erudite and sensitive words of one of the talking heads on NFL TV, “fatties”–but their mock drafts were probably just as accurate as Kiper’s or McShay’s.

Yesterday I saw a full seven-round mock draft. It got the first 2 picks right, then missed the third. Clearly, the entire draft-prediction business is a sham. But hey, it’s worth it for the entertainment value, right?

...right?

…right?

I don’t know how Mel and Todd got their jobs, but for their sake, I hope the bosses at ESPN never stop sipping the hype sizzurp.

Never forget.

Never forget.

Fantasy Football Angst Flattens Treasurer’s Bill

In NFL on March 20, 2013 at 6:19 pm

By Jeff Gibson

It’s envelopes like this one — those that taste bitter when you lick them even though the reason has nothing to do with toxic glue or the bleached paper — that make you consider how much time you’ve wasted into the whole fantasy football crapshoot. (Note: my girlfriend is somewhere nodding her head.)

It’s envelopes like this one — a champion’s check neatly tucked inside — that make you consider what could have been a great season. If it wasn’t for Scam Newton’s slow start. Or your overestimation of any Cardinals’ quarterback to get Larry Fitzgerald the ball, even occasionally. Maybe then you’d have at least broken even.

But you didn’t break even. Perdiste todo. Your team stunk and you know it. That’s what you get for naming it “Twinning!”.

Tom Brady and Justin Bieber’s hair #thingsbetterthanyourfantasyteam

It over-performed and made you think for a few weeks you had a decent shot at a playoff push. If it wasn’t for those damn replacement refs giving the game to Hawks, then your Green Bay defense would have given you enough points to push you past your division rival, giving you the division you rightfully deserve.

This doesn’t get old.

That game was six months ago.

And you’re still holding on to it.

Just like the pot.

Not that pot. The league purse. The booty. You’re the dude who agreed to collect everyone’s money. The guy they all trusted wouldn’t blow it in Vegas. The sucker.

Admit it. You know nothing about football. You can’t fathom how a call on the field can’t be overturned when there were in fact two calls on the field so therefore no call on the field. You don’t grasp why garbage time scoring plays aren’t given as much attention in the review booth as when it “matters”. At least baseball umps can’t completely control the outcome of a game.

Hey. Forget the refs. That’s not really what bothers you. What bothers you is that these envelopes should have been given out weeks, even months ago.

It’s that time of the year when you should be getting your bracket together or your celebrity league big board organized, but instead you’re licking stamps. You’re hoping Venmo.com is going to help next year. Then those certain league mates won’t have an excuse not to pay up before the draft. It’s an easy fix. How did you not think of that years ago? But that’s not what bothers you either.

It’s that you had to flatten the bill of your Red’s hat and be a dick about it.

“Hey, what’d you call me? Oh, well, that’s fair.”

You didn’t want to have to be a dick about it. But what bothers you is that they made you be a dick about it. How many texts does it take to get friends to pay you back? How many hints/nudges/reminders? Maybe you should write an article about it. Maybe that would help.

Yeah, but then you’ll get everyone who owes you coming out of the woodwork. Your buddy in Portland who never paid years ago because he started a super sweet rock band. Your commissioner’s buddy, his buy-in you’ve just considered a wedding present at this point. No, no way he even remembers that he owes. It’s a foreign concept to you. It’s like a plague or something with your generation. Like flaking. Monetarily flaking.

Maybe it’s too little for them to care. How much is too little to care about though? Five bucks? Sure, it’s like a favor. Twenty bucks? Mehhhh. Okay, twenty and over is a reasonable some to pay back promptly. But this is you we’re talking about here.

Are you the only one who pays your debts? Our country doesn’t set a very good example.

Hell, you could go back to flattening your bill. Just all the time. It’s in fashion these days. Maybe you’ll fit in. Remember to act all tough though. No one will know the truth.

Like how you spend more time on your outfit than you do your game.

Wes Welker And The New Pope: A Plot Uncovered

In NFL on March 17, 2013 at 7:14 am

By Jeff Weyant

Is there a connection? *cue lightning strike and thunder clap*

“Wes Welker,” for many New Englanders, is no longer a proper noun denoting a specific human being. It’s a curse word that may or may not refer to the person who may or may not have left the Patriots organization and then may or may not have joined the team that may or may not be quarterbacked by Peyton Manning who may or may not be known as The Person Who’s Delaying Tom Brady’s Universal Acknowledgement As Man’s Greatest Achievement. To put it another way, most Patriots fans are wondering just how in the hell this happened.

Luckily, I have a perfectly reasonable and obviously incontrovertible explanation that will withstand whatever perspicacious force one might bring against it.

To begin, did anyone notice that the announcement of Welker’s organizational shift (naturally by Adam Schefter) came just minutes before white smoke appeared atop the Vatican, signalling that the conclave of Cardinals had elected a new pontiff? I did. And that’s when the wheels started turning.

Remembering everything I’d learned from Dan Brown’s masterpiece The Da Vinci Code, I rushed around Paris and London with an attractive French woman, scouring the catacombs of churches and the mansions of elderly weirdos in an effort to uncover the origin of such an amazing confluence of events.

The first clue was the one already mentioned above, that the two events were reported on Twitter, humanity’s bastion of truth and wonder, at nearly the same time. And it’s relevant that Welker’s deal was reported before the election of a new pontiff, because if Jose Mario Bergoglio was declared pope and then Welker left New England for Denver, people would have caught on too quickly. The Vatican is run by highly intelligent individuals who understand the complex rules of cat-and-mouse, cloak-and-dagger politics and so they ordered the information in such a way as to throw off the scent of amateur gumshoes. Fortunately I’m a professional, having schooled myself early on in life with the legends and myths of Philip Marlowe and Harry Potter, two of the greatest sleuths of the last one hundred years.

One used wands and magic, the other cigarettes and women. They’re basically the same person.

My mind racing, it occurred to me that Tom Brady, Welker’s former best friend quarterback, was raised as a Roman Catholic and that he and his current wife, Gisele Bündchen, were married in a ceremony that was, according to the tireless journalists at E! and People, “intimate” and “private” and “Catholic.” It then occurred to me that Tom Brady, eighteen months earlier, had a child out of wedlock with Bridget Moynahan, a practice frowned upon by the Catholic Church. Furthermore, the new pope is the first ever Jesuit. Tom Brady is not a Jesuit. The Church, it seemed to me, was moving in a new direction, and perhaps Brady was going to be left behind?

Now came a flood of revelations, bombarding my faculties like a squadron of eagles hell-bent on tearing apart my brain: (1) Brady leans Republican in his political affiliations but refuses to admit this publicly, much to the chagrin of the conservative hierarchy, of which the Catholic hierarchy are life-long council members. And as everyone knows, if you can’t affirm something publicly, private affirmation is useless (I believe credit for this belief is owed to Plato or maybe Bart Simpson). (2) Brady dances like this, which is quite obviously an affront to Catholic honor and nobility. It’s an action which aims to single-handedly overturn everything St. Peter worked for when the founded the Church some two thousand years ago. A grievous slight indeed. And (3) Denver has a larger population of Hispanic Catholics than Boston, and since the election of an Argentine bishop is clearly an affirmation that Hispanic Catholicism is the future of global Catholicism, it only makes sense to empower Denver and weaken Boston, right?

With all this clear in my mind, still something was missing, some variable in the equation that was unknown. I tried and re-tried the calculus over and over again and still something was wrong. Sure, Brady angered the Vatican on multiple occasions. Sure, Denver seems like a fitting place to assign allegiance if you’re the Pope. But that wasn’t enough to satisfy my analytical faculties. I felt like I was overlooking some important aspect of the situation. What could it be?

PEYTON MANNING PLAYS FOR THE DENVER BRONCOS.

And suddenly all was revealed.

If you’re the Vatican and you want to stick it to one of your high-profile members, what better foil to Tom Brady than Peyton Manning? Aside from on-the-field associations, Manning has every trump card over Brady: Manning has a stable family, a wife and two kids, no out-of-wedlock children, and the sort of comedic, southern drawl that puts people at ease and gives everybody the impression of a devout and faithful father. To that end, he prays a lot (you might even say religiously), before games, after games, during games, and he’s the kind of Christian who tries hard to not display his devotion, avoiding the public eye when he affirms his faith. In addition, Manning has donated thousands of dollars to Republican campaigns over the years, including those of John McCain and George W. Bush, and is not shy about admitting his political affiliations. And, finally, Manning is rumored by many to be God Himself.

And so it all makes sense. The Catholic Church wants to move in a new direction, tired of European Popes and their Eurocentric outlook. So they look to South America and grant the papacy to a famous Argentine, a Jesuit no less. And from there a chain reaction occurs: Tom Brady’s transgressions are no longer overlooked because of his athletic prowess and the New England Patriots and their quarterback lose favor with the Vatican as a deal is worked out behind closed doors – by the same Cardinals who elected Pope Francis – to send Wes Welker from the Patriots to the Broncos where Peyton Manning, The Chosen One, commands a Christian army baptized originally by Tim Tebow, a clear signal as to the future of Catholicism on planet Earth.

My mystery solved, my work done, I lay down in the nearest bed with a cold sweat. A fever raged as the last 22.5 minutes of effort took its toll on the physical cage we call a body. Thankfully, after five minutes of deserved relaxation, the worst was over and I arose from my humble pallet to dictate the revelations contained herein. Because the truth couldn’t wait – I had to tell the world what I knew!

But what the world does with that truth? It’s out of my hands.

The Man in the Red Jersey

In NFL on March 8, 2013 at 7:17 am

By Chris Carosi

It’s a lot easier to decide what is “good” for an NFL franchise as a whole. One can access the skill and value of players objectively from a reasonable point-of-view and make educated choices based on that. For example, “Joe Flacco is overpaid.” That’s just one.

“Haha, yeah I was thinking about tattooing on my rear end, ‘My solid gold toilet is being made by Dwarves, bitch.'”

For a player, it’s a little fuzzy. Who is to say a player will succeed or fail in a certain system? How can one really with 100% certainty say a guy belongs in a particular franchise based on the past? How much of a player’s success is based on their individual merit and how much is based on the coaching staff or surrounding players? Can you drag and drop players with similar skill into a system and have it work?

This is why a GM makes more money than you and I. Professional football is a game of 22 role players on the field essentially, so filling the roster gaps with the best available skill fit for the coaching system and for the right value is difficult stuff. Add to this the nature of the game itself, which constantly shifting and evolving.

49ers GM Trent Baalke and coach Jim Harbaugh discuss the market value of Dockers.

There are examples of the good, the bad, and the weird with quarterbacks. Some players can walk into any team and simply pull the team with them like a magnetic force (Peyton Manning). Some have success with the right formula, fizzle out, get a big contract and then disappear (Daunte Culpepper, Jake Delhomme). Some have success, get a big contract with another team, fail miserably, get a second chance with the right system and supporting cast, and have success again (Kurt Warner). Some just practice really well and get passed around like a crumby bicycle and never get their head above mediocre (Kyle Orton).

Kurt Warner probably was huge in coaching Eli Manning though. Oh yeah, he’s touching his butt in this picture also.

And some are Alex Smith. The jury is out, has been out, on this guy for a long time now. It’s clear that the entrance of Jim Harbaugh and staff found whatever it was about his game that could be developed to a high level, and simply coached it exceedingly well to fruition. Alex Smith was on his way to these past playoffs, no doubt. He had a 70% completion rate before suffering his concussion last season, with a quarterback rating of 104.1. He was on pace for his best season ever before going down.

The entrance of Colin Kaepernick was a little bit of  a surprise. To me, it spoke more about the excellent coaching in San Francisco than Kaepernick’s skill.  To take a quarterback of a different skill-set and building the offense around that. Basically, it seemed like Kaepernick was just a better athlete and so they just plugged him in and went with it. Of course, it didn’t seem to work in Super Bowl XLVII, but that’s another article. We’ll see what he can do with a full off-season and mini-camp as starter.

“Coach, even if you get out-coached by your brother and have a tantrum on the sideline over a holding call tonight, you should know that we are definitely cooler than the Ravens.”

What does work, what has worked, for Alex Smith is the confidence of those around him. The patience he’s dealt with in his career is very rare in the NFL. It’s interesting that the 49ers stuck with him as long as they did, and that he managed to achieve success so far along the line, after four or five years of mediocre play. And while they did experiment with some other dudes like Tim Rattay, Ken Dorsey, Shaun Hill, and J.T. O’Sullivan–Smith just stuck around and stuck around and eventually got kind of good.

Alex Smith will keep the red jersey on as he moves east to the centre of BBQ guzzling known as Kansas City, where quarterbacks have gone to slaughter as steady as a slaughter can ever be. Which is appropriate given the awesome brisket served all across KC. It’s clear that this is the only thing I know about Kansas City. The Chiefs haven’t had a steady and solid quarterback since Len Dawson. The MVP of Super Bowl IV. They drafted and traded Rich Gannon. And Joe Montana played there for two years past his prime. Remember that?

My first memory of the Steelers in the playoffs is Smokin’ Joe picking them apart past his prime.

Since Montana, who retired in 1995, the title of Chiefs quarterback has been filled by such excellence as:

Steve Bono, Elvis Grbac, Trent Green, Damon Huard, Tyler Thigpen, and Matt Cassel among others. And yes, all of those guys look exactly the same.

To be fair, the Trent Green era was pretty competitive. They had Dick Vermeil coaching and they had that one playoff game against the Colts where no team punted, but who will remember Trent Green? He was a good backup for the Rams. Just like Cassel was a good backup for the Patriots, and Grbac was a good backup for San Francisco. The players one remembers are further back, in the Schottenheimer era: Derrick Thomas, Christian Okoye, and… damn I’m blanking

So technically speaking, Smith breaks the mold. The Chiefs aren’t trying to groom a good backup into a starter (finally). They are trying out a guy-that-was-a-decent-starter-who-lost-his-job-to-a-younger-more-skilled-dude-due-to-injury. So we actually can say that things are looking up for Kansas City. And maybe Smith will have chemistry with Dwayne Bowe. And maybe the passing game will help the running game, and all of a sudden we have a competitive team again.

Speaking of contracts, Bowe is now the third-highest receiver in the league. He could have a great year if the Chiefs offense comes around. Or it could be terrible.

And if there’s a time for the Chiefs to make a move, they do it now. They’re only two seasons removed from a division title, and the AFC West is very vulnerable. Manning’s Broncos are very good, but he won’t last forever. The Chargers are terrible and the Raiders seem stuck in cement. The NFL rarely works out to what it looks like on paper. If Alex Smith is as good a leader as it might have seemed in San Francisco, we’ll be swimming in hot wings in KC!

Don’t Ask, Don’t…You Know What, Just Don’t Ask.

In College, NFL on March 5, 2013 at 10:19 am

By Jonathan Danielson

During the Super Bowl, San Francisco 49er Chris Culliver told shock jock Artie Lang that gay players were not allowed in the locker room. “We don’t got no gay people on the team,” Culliver eloquently told Lang. “They gotta get up out of here if they do.”

"The only thing worse than my comments was my coverage in the Super Bowl."

“The only thing worse than my point-of-view was my coverage in the Super Bowl.”

In an age when Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell has been repealed, and the Obama Administration is asking the Supreme Court to overturn Prop 8, California’s anti-gay marriage measure, it’s easy to understand how Culliver’s comments did not go over well. The backlash was actually so bad, you would think NFL executives would quickly take notice to it, and to the changing winds of the times. That they would quickly realize the days of freely expressing anti-gay and bigoted views, as well as implementing policies shaped by that mindset, would no longer be tolerated or go unnoticed.

Instead, during last week’s NFL Combine, prospect Nick Kasa told ESPN Radio in Denver that teams were inquiring about his, and other potential players sexual orientation. The University of Colorado senior said that, during the extensive interviewing process, teams asked questions like “Are you married?” as well as “Do you have a girlfriend?” and “Do you like girls?” To make matters worse, the executives also supposedly asked all of this with a straight face.

"Are you, or have you ever been associated with the Homosexual Party?"

“Are you, or have you ever been associated with the Homosexual Party?”

Only a day before Kasa broke news of the inquisition interview process, did Mike Florio of NBC Sports tell Dan Patrick on his radio show that teams were clamoring at the bit to ask Notre Dame star, Manti Te’o, about his sexuality following the now infamous Lennay Kekua scandal/hoax/hilariousness. Apparently team owners, presidents, and general managers think it’s not bad enough to be duped online by a dude pretending to be a girl who doesn’t exist, but that Te’o had to be a homosexual as well. And apparently, nothing is worse than that.

This type of thinking at the upper levels and locker rooms of professional sports, regardless the sport, needs to stop, and needs stop now. If this were the interviewing process for any other company or corporation, this business would be sued, and sued quickly for breaking the law. If this was how employees treated other coworkers at the workplace, the offending employee would rightfully be fired. Just because the NFL is a giant, multi-billion dollar operation, doesn’t mean they get to get away with acting however unprofessional and backwoodsy they want. This is the wrong side of history, and it’s not like professional sports hasn’t been on the wrong side of history before.

When was that again? I’m sure there was some time or another when team owners were against breaking the status quo, and it took a defining moment and person to stand up for what was right. To stand up for the rights of others in their position. When was that again? If only I could remember…

42-movie

I’m sure it will come to me.

When it’s all said and done, Gay Rights is a Civil Rights issue. This is about letting people love whomever they love, and be attracted to whomever they’re attracted to. It’s about not having that issue be an issue, or be any bearing on whether that person can perform the duties essential of their job, whether that job is at a desk in an office, or throwing a football in front of millions of people. If that person, regardless of their race, religion, or sexuality, can do that job better than anyone else, nothing else should matter. Now it’s time for the NFL to get with the times and hire based on that, and only that.

NFL Mock Drafts Are Just Stupid

In NFL on February 15, 2013 at 10:27 am

By Jonathan Danielson

Since the NFL season officially ended when Joe Flacco said he was going to Disney World, every sports journalist on television or the interwebs has become obsessed (like they do every year) with mock drafts. It’s as if every sports writer and broadcaster nationwide puts on their magic fortune-teller hat every January, then think they can see into the future, and the seven rounds of picks that lay there.

On ESPN, Professional Mock Drafters Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay spend their whole life trying to predict who will get taken when, and by whom, months before the draft order is even set. I would be mad at them for this, but really I’m just envious, because who wouldn’t want to get paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to watch football , then go on camera and play make-believe.

Kiper and McShay hard at work the day before the draft.

Kiper and McShay hard at work.

NFL Mock Drafts, or just mock drafts regardless of the sport, are absolutely worthless after guessing who will be taken first. It’s like your March Madness Brackets, in that one upset screws up your entire order, and then all that time and effort was for naught.

Here’s an example:


1. Kansas City Chiefs: Luke Joeckel, OT (Texas A&M)

There is no doubt in my mind that Joeckel will be the first player to come off the board. His sheer size, strength and speed make him the obvious pick for new head coach Andy Reid and his team’s need at protecting the quarterback. Then again, Kansas City also has a lot of questions at quarterback, so I also wouldn’t be surprised if they took Geno Smith from West Virginia instead. Smith is like a faster Donovann McNabb, and a more collected version of Michael Vick. Smith is the obvious choice for the Chiefs with the number one pick. 

2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Bjoern Werner, DE (Florida State)

This is a no-brainer for the Jags. The team has serious needs for their defense, and picking Werner will help shore-up their inability to stop the opposing team’s running game. Then again, the Jags also have questions at the quarterback position. Is Blaine Gabbert really the franchise player of the future, or could they already admit their mistake, if it was a mistake, which I’m not sure if it was, and draft another QB while they still have the luxury of taking anyone at the position, sans Geno Smith if Kansas City surprises everyone (except me) and takes him.

What I’m saying is I could definitely see the Jags drafting Werner, but I could also equally see them drafting Smith, if he’s available, but if he’s not I could just as well see USC’s Matt Barkley being a legitimate pocket -passer for the team. But I also wouldn’t be surprised if NC State’s Mike Glennon becomes a dark horse and jumps this high, or if Arkansas’s Tyler Wilson becomes a dark-dark horse, and surprises everybody, including me, except I just said it.  

3. Oakland Raiders: Manti Te’o, ILB (Notre Dame)

The smart money would have the Raiders talking Joeckel or Werner if available, or even Smith or dark horse Barkley, or dark-dark-horse Wilson, but Oakland will undoubtedly surprise everyone, even me, except I just said it, by reaching way back in our projections and continuing the trend of taking extraordinary high-risk players with personal issues. There is no question this is the path the Raiders will take, unless those other guys are available and they draft conservatively, which I could also see, and if they do that, they would probably take Utah’s Star Lotulelei (DT), Florida’s Sharrif Floyd (DT), Texas A&M’s Damontre Moore (DE), or Georgia’s Jarvis  Jones (OLB). 

4. Philadelphia Eagles: Luis Zendejas, PK (Arizona State University)

Zendejas was the place kicker for ASU from 1981-to-1984, and last played football for the Birmingham Barracudas of the CFL in 1995. He’s really the only person I’m sure will be available at this pick. 

See what I mean? It’s like how fantasy sports are Dungeons & Dragons for jocks, mock drafts are pretend futures trading for fans whose teams were so miserable during the season, they have nothing better to do than think about next season. And what about these professional mock drafters, like McShay and Kiper and everyone else? Well, they’re nothing more than Merril Lynch traders playing around with the hopes and dreams of those beaten down investors. It’s all fun and games until the bubble bursts, and your house gets foreclosed, and you find yourself sleeping under an overpass near a Circle K and strip club, and I don’t even know what the means. What was I talking about?

Oh look, Bleacher Report has the Cardinals taking Eric Fisher out of Central Michigan. Wait, what was I doing again…?

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