Tag Archives: The Beatles

NFL16 Cherry Picks W12: Who Makes Your Playoff Final Four?

25 Nov

Minute Waltz Thanksgiving

Late-game INT aside, Bradford’s value to Vikes’ roster is unquestionable;

Lions Tahir Whitehead goes John Lennon (Here, There & Everywhere): 11 solo;

Cowboys’ Sean Lee goes Paul McCartney v. Redskins with 14 tackles, 9 solo;

Cowboys half-time show: Grotesque, in the contemporary Super Bowl tradition;

Steelers @ Colts: A proven back-up QB on roster is no luxury, it’s a necessity.

Minute Waltz Week 11

brady-8-28-09-k-allison-wc-cca-862mCards miss their Sun King, Tyrann Mathieu;

Likely less than ten 1000-yard rushers in 2016;

Tannehill = Rodney Dangerfield (“no respect”);

It’s “Future Shock” for the Green Bay Packers and the Cheesehead Nation who are now fast approaching Mediocre City;

Quarterback GWD totals are driving much of the excitement this 2016 season.

The Jell-O® Four: Proof is in the Pudding

For clothing, proof is in the wear…and the wash.

manningeli-wc-4m-aj-guel-10-10-10In the culinary creations (food), the proof is in the tasting…and then the digestion (Burp!).

For football teams, evidence of a championship caliber (SB) is found in week-to-week play.

At the two-thirds mark of this NFL 2016 season there’s been plenty of game action, mettle testing from which to glean who are those top (four) contenders for hoisting the 2017 Lombardi trophy. That all making it possible for some bold predictions.

Not the Super Bowl forecast, mind you. Picking those two teams at Week 12 would be like pre-season prophecies on the Big Game, which are about as valuable as four-day old turkey. Hash it, Honey!

Instead, it’s time to select your AFC – NFC Conference championship teams for the games that often prove more competitive than the Super (Snoozer) Bowl.

roethlisberger-9-9-12-wc-cca-j-beall-3-9mTime to cut through all the crap, i.e., playoff pretenders (NFCN, AFCS champ), and settle on the four juggernauts who are just one win away from the Big “Par-taaay (D.Heffernan),” teams that’re most likely to run the gauntlet and come out Top Dog. Woof, woof!

And because it’s possible that your (my) Conference picks will face-off earlier in the PS, consider THAT game to be the championship bout between the two best with its winner making the final four, or too possible that none of your chosen CC teams at W12 will even land a playoff spot (0-4), you could end up with some sizable egg on your face when the title tussles actually kick-off in mid-January. But no risk, no reward, like if you go all Rogers Hornsby with the picks (4-for-4).

What to look for in Conference championship combatants?

1) Balance (offense / defense team rankings);

2) 1st-Team All-Pro talent at key positions;

3) ‘In good’ with the Gods (at / below League average on injuries), and

4) Small point-margins in losses. How you lose is as relevant as how you win.

wilson-2-5m-11-11-12-l-maurer-wcJuggernaut Club cues: D-mettle and composure (GWD).

2017 NFC Championship: Seattle v. Giants
2017 AFC Championship: Patriots v. Steelers

Seahawks: It’s Carrolling Time.
Giants: Gathering of veterans (Eli)
Patriots: Bill, Tom & Pax Patriotana
Steelers: Big Ben Roethlisberger

cherries-ripe-chirak-wc-605k-6-24-7Cherry Picks Week 12

Titans (5-5) @ Chicago (2-8): 11.27 CBS 1:00: Bears win
Bengals (3-5-1) @ Baltimore (5-5): CBS 1:00: Cincy wins
Cardinals (4-5-1) @ Atlanta (6-4): Fox 1:00: Arizona wins
Los Angeles Rams (4-6) @ New Orleans Saints (4-6): Fox 1:00: Saints win
San Diego Chargers (4-6) @ Houston Texans (6-4): CBS 1:00: Chargers win
Seattle Seahawks (7-2-1) @ Tampa Bay Bucs (5-5): Fox 4:05: Seahawks win
Kansas City Chiefs (7-3) @ Denver Broncos (7-3): NBC 8:30: Denver wins
Green Bay (4-6) @ Philadelphia Eagles (5-5): 11.28 Disney 8:30: Pack wins

Record: 49 -58 -2

......NFL-symbol.wikiproject.6kbSteven Keys
NFL HunchLine
Photo credit: P.Carroll, wc, K.Allison, 10.6.14; T.Brady, wc, Allison, 8.28.9; E.Manning, wc, 10.10.10, AJ.Guel; B.Roethlisberger, wc.cca, 9.9.12, J.Beall; R.Wilson, wc, 11.11.12, L.Maurer; cherries, wc, Chirak, 6.24.7; NFL-symbol, wc, wikiproject
Posted: 11.25.16 @ 1:13pm EST; Copyright © 2016


NFL16 Cherry Picks W3: Whosit at QB? Whocares…with Belichick’s Brain

20 Sep

Sittin’ Pretty

It’s one of the rivalry weeks in this early going of NFL16 as the Redskins take on the Giants, Lions visit Lambeau, 49ers with flair for football fend-off distraction and head north to Seattle, Steelers head East to Philly and the enigma that are the Falcons fly West to face conundrum that’s become their nemesis, the Saints.

Should be a ratings bonanza, even with the self-serve, i.e., Kaep Krudesader & Company. When being different (anthem boycott) morphs into just more of the same old same old (finger-point, blame shift & Change-in-$pecie).

Biggest news heading into Week 3‘s slate: With Patriots starting QB and Tom Brady understudy, Jimmy Garoppolo suffering a 1st -half shoulder bang at what appeared behest of Dolphins well-traveled linebacker Kiko Alonso in Sunday’s win over the visiting Miamians, NFL standard-bearer New England is now down to one rostered field general. That’s rookie Jacoby Brissett (NCSU), with end Julian Edelman, a 3-year flash-QB at Kent State, ready as the emergency guy.

brissett-wc-5-5m-b-salama-10-24-15*On Monday the Patriots’ braintrust in Bill Belichick and OC Josh McDaniels had few answers for media folk on whether Jim could go for their Thursday night game in hosting 2-0 Houston Texans, and then whether another quarterback would be rostered.

In limited duty on Sunday in subbing for the injured Garoppolo, Brissett, who went 91st (3R) in the 2016 draft and hails out of North Carolina State where he guided Wolfpack for two seasons as a run-QB, taking to rabbit nearly 10+ per, did pass his first test in going 6 of 9 with 0 TDs but no turnovers.

If the Continentals lose any more quarterbacks don’t be surprised if these names get dropped into the Foxborough discussion:

Tim Tebow: Timbo’s doing the national pastime thing now (Mets) but the man’s always in football shape. Too bad for Tim he didn‘t push for tight-end a few years back when given a Patriots pass-key and that big muscles won’t help much in hitting those nasty curves: Odds on call: 1000 – 1;

Jon Manziel: Last I read, ‘Johnny Big Hands’ had re-enrolled at his former school, Texas A&M, for what, only god knows because “Skittles® and beer” will not be part of that fine institution’s classroom curriculum. Odds: 500 – 1;

Shaun Hill: The former Maryland Terrapin (See Also: S.Diggs) started W1 for the Vikes and got a win (0 TD) but got handed back his clip-board in favor of Eagles cast-off, Sam Bradford who sports a career 26-37 mark but warmed Minnesota hearts with a big win over their dreaded rival the green & yellow on Sunday. A bit long-in-the-tooth by QB standards (36, 17-18, 62 C%), nobody in NFL deserves one more shot like patient Shaun. Odds: 200 – 1.

brady-8-28-09-k-allison-wc-cca-862mMike Vick: Currently a free-agent, Mike seeks a 5th team to keep the dream alive. Though he’s lost a step, ever since Vick returned to NFL action in ’09 (PHI) after 2-year susp’n for dog-fighting he’s appeared a model citizen, supportive teammate and now qualifies for the wily-veteran tag. What a “long and winding road” a Patriots finish would be for Mike. Odds: 100 – 1.

But with Tom set to make his return in W5 (@ Browns) after serving his 4-game Deflategate susp’n, marking the official display of NFL’s open-for-business sign, the Pats are sitting pretty at 2-0 in an AFC not exactly brimming over with stiff competition and then Garoppolo not expected to be sidelined for extended time, rostering another QB doesn’t presently appear the highest of priorities.

Whomever handles quarterbacking duties for the football version of America’s Team (sorry, Jerry, but apart from apparel sales it’s not even close, not as long a B&B click), you can be sure Patriots’ genius-in-residence in Bill Belichick will have matters well in hand, knowing when to tune it up and when to let it ride.

Best Equation in W2

New Digs (USB) + New Diggs (9r-182-TD) = Vikes win (v GB (17-14)).

cherries-wc-cca-b-kua-6-1-08-3-3mCherry Picks Week 3

HOU (2-0) @ NE (2-0): 9.22 CBS 8:25 (GTW): NE wins
Cardinals (1-1) @ Buffalo (0-2): 9.25 Fox 1:00: AZ wins
Raiders (1-1) @ Titans (1-1): CBS 1:00: Oakland wins
Detroit Lions (1-1) @ Green Bay Packers (1-1): Fox 1:00: Packers win
Denver Broncos (2-0) @ Cincinnati (1-1): CBS 1:00 (GTW2): Tigers win
Minnesota Vikings (2-0) @ Carolina (1-1): Fox 1:00 (GTW3): Cats win
Los Angeles Rams (1-1) @ Tampa Bay (1-1): Fox 4:05: Buccaneers win
San Francisco 49ers (1-1) @ Seattle Seahawks (1-1): Fox 4:05: ‘Hawks win
New York Jets (1-1) @ Kansas City Chief (1-1): CBS 4:25: Chiefs win
San Diego Chargers (1-1) @ Indianapolis Colts (0-2): CBS 4:25: Colts win
Pittsburgh (2-0) @ Philadelphia (2-0): CBS 4:25 (GTW4): Steelers win
Atlanta Falcons (1-1) @ New Orleans (0-2): 9.26 Disney 8:30: Saints win

Record: 8 – 11

......NFL-symbol.wikiproject.6kbSteven Keys
NFL HunchLine
Photo credit: B.Belichick, wc.cca, D.Shankbne, 4.24.12; Belichick, wc, 8.28.9, K.Allison, DC; J.Brissett, wc, B.Salama, 10.24.15; T.Brady, wc, DC, 8.28.9, K.Allison; cherries, wc, B.Kua, 6.1.8; NFL-symbol, wikiproject.
Posted: 9.20.16 @ 6:07pm EST; Copyright © 2016

NBA.F16: Awesome v. Epic As Cavs & Wars’ Worlds Collide

1 Jun

Mind v. Matter

Dandy dust-ups from the past century:

Ford v. Chevy: In a car culture these titans owned the road

Hamburger v. hot dog: Battle over barbecue taste buds never ends

Edison (DC) v. Tesla (AC): Geniuses wrestle for the right to light.

Crawford v. Davis: Golden age film greats fight for fans hearts & minds

Lakers v. Celtics: Early, often and coast-to-coast, their war made the NBA

Mantle v. Mays: In the hero-era, their images held sway over card collectors

The Beatles v. Elvis: British invaders, the mop-top lads moved Mr. Swivel out

Pepsi-Cola v. Coca Cola: Begins brand loyalty but this one can get out of hand;

Catsup v. ketchup: Speech style stirred debate until Hunts® bailed on the Cat.

Tastes great! v. Less filing!: Same vats (Miller) but campaign kept its head.

The Simpsons v. Family Guy: “Brian” alone makes this cartoon call easy as pie.

NBA.F16 features a collision in basketball styles and celebrity cults that is sure to rank among the best in entertainment annals.

........James.K.Allison.wc.thm.11.21.14With tip-off set for 9pm Thursday nite (6.2) at Oracle in Oakland, defending champ Golden State Warriors takes on a familiar foe from 2015 Finale, the Cleveland Cavaliers, as Warriors seek a cherry-on-top for a record 73 win season while the Cavaliers try again to deliver a first Larry O‘Brien title trophy to the Forest City.

Two faces decorate the marquee for this dollar donnybrook: Reigning MVP (2) Steve Curry v. 4-time winner LeBron James, both smooth customers and maybe the two hottest commercial commodities across these Consumer States of America (CSA).

Curry, coach Steve Kerr and the Warriors are darlings of the young set, their older siblings in journalism, Disney (ESPN) and not a small number of the ladies who may happen to drop in. Kerr’s Krew rely heavily upon the 3-pt shot, a tack heretofore unseen on Assc’n stage. When they’re turning the tres they set records and wow the crowd, but when they lay bricks the scaffolding can all come down.

Warriors best defense? The mind-game. Not the cruel kind, but in by-product.

It’s just one way in which 3-pt’er (’79) has gradually altered the game of b-ball: Inside action shifts to the high-post, less physicality even for mountain-sized men, 90s trend down in defense continues as tres-defenders opt-out in the risk-benefit balance and swings in momentum that can be seismic (GSW @ OKC G6).

To the last change, it’s not just an extra point the tres tacks on, it’s the psychological impact on the opposition that can demoralize and alter game plan. That’s not necessarily based on rational thought of the opposition but then in a sport where emotions run the gamut, who’s always rational? Coaches, captains try to fend off the heebie-jeebies but the current design of game can make it difficult, especially in final few.

.......Curry.3.2.11.wc.K.Allison.thmbCurry, Thompson, Draymond Green, Kerr and the rest of GSW must be commended for exploiting a shot that when made in bushels has, with a Freudian-like finesse, worked inside the heads of opponents. It can emotionally stifle a foes’ momentum, drain confidence while enunciating their own speech-in-swishery (Klay’s 3-pt mark), often running up the bill late in the session: Mind over matter.

In the other corner, the Cavs are, of course, led by Lego® LeBron, a team he, with owner Gilbert, built to their specs, though, 5th-year-point-guard-who-plays-like-shooting-guard Kyrie Irving does his best to pile points and tug the spotlight.

Earlier greats like Mikan, Russell, Cousy & Havlicek, Chamberlain & West, Big-O & Kareem, Magic, Bird, Jordan & Pippen, Shag, Kobe and Duncan, all sold the NBA product with lots o’ wins and titles galore, but no player has so completely embraced, mastered the role of corporate player as has Mr. James.

Still the favorite of most fans, young & old alike, LeBron guided his teams to enough Finals (6) and hoisted sufficient O’Briens (2) to legitimize his pitch to the public but carries himself with a dignity wrapped in a calm – cool -collected demeanor that should make him the envy of every marketing Cufflink in the land.

The crystal-ball reads pretty clear on this series.

Both squads are near full strength for this rematch of 2015 Final, Cleveland this time having services of their high paid, multi-skilled big-man-with-the-soft-shooting-touch in Love who exited early in 2015 playoffs. He, like his counterpart in Curry are both managing recent injuries that, if inflamed, could alter plans.

.......James.Love.Irving.wc.E.Drost.thm.10.1.14How to fend off the injury bug? Player regimen in nutrient supplementation at this point in the journey, including the Bs, ashwagandha, alpha lipoic acid, CoQ10, D3 and magnesium, all help with the blues, bruises, bones and boost. Then there are offerings to the Sporting Gods. Herbs & beer are tradition. Can’t be too careful.

On defense, you don’t get this far without knowing its value and how to employ it, at least most of the time, anyway, and then both benches are well stocked with capable talent but won’t make the starters too nervy.

Cleveland balances better on scoring, hold an edge on the boards and while Warriors are fleeter-of-feet they don’t utilize it to full advantage, often pulling up on the perimeter to launch the T-bombs (3-pt). Wars are slightly more proficient at the charity-stripe (.764 (.748)) and than can play big in close contests.

Warriors Keys

Prolific shooters in Curry & Thompson keep firing away, working through slumps that may befall. And having a back-up plan at the ready when the 3s start rattling the rim and ♫ clang clang clang ♫ like a San Fran trolley would be wise. Didn’t see one in the WC. Easier said than done but necessity’s the father of invention.

Cavaliers Keys

Avoid vesting heavily in 3-pt’er even as they’ve a panache (“25”), not let Golden showers of 3s (bad for sure but you gotta’ laugh) set their minds to worry, give ’em the Freudian slip, so to speak, utilize Kevin to his full potential (sure) to consistently impose their real strength: Power, in drive and rebound: Matter-a-fact-in-your-face, so to speak.

.......James.wc.4.27.8.K.Allison.thmThat’s where James mellow-mode, a corporate winner and fine with lesser foes, must give way to a controlled aggression in the Finals to put fear into hearts of men, not just those in blue & yellow but co-workers who need their minds set right too. Leadership, they call it.

Big shots (The Beatles) can afford big risks (♫ Getting Better ♫), Mr. James. Think of it in these terms, LeBron, “the (risk) you take is equal to the (market impact) you make.” Cha-ching!

Many in sportology will vacillate by keying on different players to rise to the occasion as the series evolves, hoping the roll comes up 7-11. I don’t play that game. The stars will perform and the support staff with shine depending on the circumstance (foes), their mood and level of moxie. That’s sport.

Who wins this NBA16 championship bout? Cavaliers most likely.

The interlude Cleveland’s enjoyed after dispatching Toronto with relative ease (4-2) can work a determent in dulling an edge, throwing a rhythm. That’s how it plays in football and rounders not infrequently. But in a sport like b-ball where the pace is grueling (soccer) and the post-season gauntlet runs long (NHL), more time off before a title round can heal wounds and re-charge draining batteries.

Rest gives an edge to the Forest City folk over a weary Warriors bunch who compiled 73 RS wins only to be pushed to 7G by a determined OKC bunch and escape by the “hair on their chinny chin chin(s).” Plus, the Ohioans should weather better those sure-to-come 3-point barrages than did the Thunder, possessing the men & methods to counter-punch on that point. At least that’s the arsenal it appears Cavs’ head coach Tyronn Lue n’ staff have at the ready.

.....straight_shooter.thmbSteven Keys
Photo credits: S.Curry, wc.cca, 4.6.14, N.Salzman; L.James, wc, K.Allison, 11.21.14; Curry, wc, K.Allison, 3.2.11; Love-Irving-James, wc, 10.1.14, E.Drost; James, wc, 4.27.8, K.Allison; Straight-Shooter, produce-label.
Posted: 6.1.16 @ 11:56am; Copyright © 2016

NFL16: London Calling, Best Pack a Toothbrush & extra Jim-Jams, Mate

16 Apr

Word came down recently from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell that the League is still desirous of and actively perusing the prospect of assembling a franchise for London Town, England (“Roger Goodell: ‘Realistic’ Possibility” / 4.5.16 / CBS.com / J.Breech). The schematics, so to speak, are being drawn for review and an owners vote sounds a likelihood in the not too distant future.

When speaking at a Jaguars’ ticket holder hoedown in early April the National’s top cufflink-in-management was queried about where the issue stood in terms of development and decision to plant an NFL team in the land of fish n’ chips.

Roger stated it in pretty plain speak, laced with some specifics and sufficient non-committal: “I actually believe that a franchise in London is realistic.” The two keys according to Goodell: “Competitive(ness)” and “logistics.”

.....toothbrush.paste.wc.thegreenj.9.6.8.thmSomething tells me once logistics get ironed-out (travel (Brits expect extended stay), scheduling, conversions (metric), language barrier (sed-jo͞oəl (schedule)), etc.) the competitive issue will find resolution as well.

Securing a viable and committed investment group goes a long way to satisfying performance potential of a planned franchise. If it comes to fruition, like any expansion club, London will be given ample time and then some to find its winning way with the added challenges they‘d surely face.

Two issues likely not to be discussed, not in public, anyway:

1) Oil to Burn?

Why now, to propose this distant addition to the NFL family in a call that flies in the face of a depleting worldwide energy reserve (don’t let the price plunge fool you), a problem looming large even as most everyone is hiding heads in the sand? With no major shelf discovery in 45 years, a squeeze on oil-shale that red-flags trouble, an ever rising demand (China, etc.) and nearly no movement on the alternative front (hydrogen, solar), less travel aught be the norm.

......Goodell.8.30.12.wc.thmb.SSG.T.Wade.USMA2) Mexico City

You can figure why Canada has not been a place for NFL expansion as it has with pro baseball and basketball. No real good comes from trying to topple the Canadian Football League (‘58). No such issue in the land of Moctezuma. Maybe it’s Mexico’s vast soccer set-up and love of baseball that precludes the possibility of NFL presence but it’s hard to imagine a franchise could not succeed South of the border. No hablan inglese?

Nevertheless, and thank heavens for ‘nevertheless,’ the idea of any city outside North America joining NFL ranks is a tantalizing thought, especially as the design is taking shape in the capital of the world-spanning British Commonwealth upon which the “sun never sets (Xerxes I).”

♫ Everybody wants to rule the world ♫ but will settle for wanting everybody else to want what they want. An affirmation of ideals as it were. I like football and like it when others join in the fun. Not exactly altruistic but human enough.

I can’t speak for our colonial forebearers, early adversary (1776 & 1812) and since long-time Anglo-American ally from across the Atlantic, but it seems a serious segment of the British consumer public is responding to the NFL presence at Wembley Stadium these past dozen years. Otherwise the League would not be feeling as chipper as it does about the prospect of a permanent presence in the land of Ivanhoe, the Virgin Queen and the Sex Pistols.

......SexPistols.wc.Riksarkivet.1977.TrondheimOne of America’s most notable contemporary pop culture contacts with London comes by way of HBO host John Oliver. John’s not so much a comedian as he is a testy traffic-cop on trends, some of which most certainly do need an accounting (greed). But Benny Hill, he ain’t, and that’s a bloody shame.

Birmingham-born John boarded the recently crafted anti-Redskins bandwagon (2012) as a critic of NFL’s 80-yr old moniker, making it unlikely he’d be among that group of Onslowians who are receptive to London joining the NFL club. “Onslow,” the lovable & lounging Geoffrey Hughes character (d.2012) on the 90s hit TV and long-time PBS syndicated series Keeping Up Appearances, was seen to sport a Packers shirt and personified UK’s version of ‘(Jeremy) Six-Pack.’

Oh for those racy days of when “Mrs. Slocombe (Mollie Sugden)” and junior staffer “Mr. Lucas (Trevor Bannister)” traded barbs at “Grace Brothers” department store (Are You Being Served (1972-85)) (before the politically correct bullies like Oliver were building shopping malls-in-the-minds), selling discounted (cheap?) laughs on bawdy display to a consumer public that had discriminating taste but was rarely imperious.

Count me with Judy Garland (“Esther Smith (Meet Me In St. Louis (‘44))”): “If there’s anything I hate, loathe, despise and abominate it’s a bully.” Hear, hear!

Once it’s in the hopper (London locale), next big question is, what to name the NFL’s hottest new prospect now that the Rams are back in the City of Angels?

......spank.VanityFair.thm.wc.6.6.1903Far be it for me to tell Britannia, that small but clouty cluster of islands & cliffs jutting out from that last major oil deposit discovery in the North Sea (’70), one that gave birth to Shake-a-Spear (de Vere) and Dickens, Newton and Darwin, Mick Jagger and Petula Clark, who for near 300 years ruled the Seven Seas, imprinted their language on every major consumer good and diplomatic dossier on the globe and have “150 magazines devoted to spanking (“Dr. Fiscus (St. Elsewhere)”),” what logo they should choose to adorn their NFL uniforms, if & when awarded said team.

But with a history background, decades of experience in the gridiron game (a word the Limey‘s will need work into their lexicon) by viewership and fun play, and descending from a parentage vested in the commercial art and advertising fields, I feel well qualified to advise on the subject, take it or leave it.


The musings will start with the expecteds like monarchs (NFL Europe & WLAF), knights (of the Roundtable (Sir)) and probably wrap-up with the king of the jungle, the long traditional symbol in England, the lion. All terrific: Strong, relevant and about as common and non-inspirational as eagles and toothy mammals this side of the pond.



Not the “Full” kind like in the hit movie (‘97) but as in Field Marshall Bernard Montgomery, England’s most decorated and distinguished commander on land during WWII. “Monty” was winner of the decisive desert battles against Italian and German forces (Rommel) at both Alam el Halfa & El Alamein (2d), the Italian invasion and European theatre closing Battle of the Bulge (‘44). This one’d take moxie but then Nashville’s NHL franchise is called the Predators, so there’s that.

Admirals (Drakes)

.....Drake.bowl.wc.thm.J.Boehm.LobsterthermidorThere are the Admirals of Milwaukee (AHL) and Norfolk Admirals of the Eastern Coast Hockey League but the British admirals that ruled the liquefied waterways shaped the course of history and made Rule, Britannia! the song of the seas. Nelsons (Horatio (Vice – Trafalgar)), maybe not, but the Drakes might sail. Not in reference of the Canadian rapper, not necessarily, but Sir Francis Drake (Vice) who after lowering his privateer flag went on to scuttle the Spanish Armada (1587 (Cadiz)) and foil it’s invasion (’88): Raiders, Buccaneers & Drakes, aye, matey!


A British title more suited to Walter Camp football than Sir (knight), “Duke” was nickname of our most famous movie cowboy (J.Wayne) and is currently burned onto the official NFL game ball (Wilson®), a tradition that began in 1941 at behest of Bears’ owner / coach Halas to honor Giants’ owner Tim Mara’s son, Wellington “the Duke” Mara who himself was named after Field Marshal Arthur Wellesley, the Duke of Wellington, most renowned for his victory over Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo (1815). No hazard in choosing the Dukes design.


Post-war, outside the realm of science (TV (Baird), jets (Whittle), computers, economics (Keynes), fibre, physics, internet (Berners-Lee), lava lamp (Walker)), no persons, event, creation of British origin has had more impact on these United States than their greatest export, The Beatles. More than symbol of an era, their music and personas set the standard, sometimes went way-out & wild but were always in control.

The four ‘mop-top’ lads from Liverpool dominated the scene in the 60s and individually stayed relevant into the 80s. But their influence went beyond music even before they became social advocates. The hair, cloths, manner, it all worked into the cultural and commercial fabric, Sinatra / Elvis fans aside.

.....JFK.stamp.5.29.64.FBEP.tmUnpretentious (John only stated a truth: “bigger than Jesus (‘66)”), ever evolving, innovating, setting trends and never following, The Beatles were the quintessential non-conformists, a way that can exact the highest price (11.22.63), though, the foursome would freely discuss the strong influence American blues and early rock n’ roll had on their music. I sometimes marvel that any other music made it onto the radio, making The Kinks, The Seekers, Peter Paul & Mary, Spanky & Our Gang, Dionne Warwick, Herman’s Hermits, The Guess Who, Simon & Garfunkel, The Fifth Dimension, Burt Bacharach and the like, that much more amazing.

From their Hamburg days to the slim suits set by betters Epstein & Martin, Misters Lennon, McCartney, Harrison & Starr would lead the British Invasion in 1962 (Love Me Do), landing by air in a ‘64 campaign of music, money & merriment. From 1963 until their break-up in ‘70 they reeled off #1 hits like nobody‘s business to help a still grieving America (JFK) find comfort in a rocking new beat that both energized and waxed poetic. Through their transformations from leather jackets to chicken-slacks to hippie-hair, no other English good or services compares to their body of work and cultural impact.

Churchill inspired on USA tour post-WWII but Great Britain never had goodwill ambassadors quite like The Beatles, likely never will again. After comment controversy, fired mostly by organized Christian conservatives, their kids and hate-groups (Ku Klux Klan) in US South, the big band conducted their diplomacy almost exclusively in studio record and interviews but the sway held swag and the sounds still resonated with music lovers, media and corporate keens.

.....Lennon.wc.1969.thm.R.KerwoodAnd though resented by some music lovers in later generations for their talent, success, visceral vibes and ♫ feelings ♫ that are largely lacking from their own toe-tappers and angry rappers, the foursome’s relevance will last as long as humans make music or beam their broadcasts to worlds beyond.

Because of that it is a word / image in reference to The Beatles and their large legacy that should adorn the helmets and all appurtenant for any English entrant into the NFL field of frolic. Anything else would seem, so-so.

Their hint-on-helmet would also be the coolest thing since John Lennon worked distortion into the opening of “♫ I Feel Fine (‘64) ♫,” which was the coolest thing since Judy Garland sang “♫ clang, clang, clang went the trolley ♫.”

How then would The Beatles translate into the commercial design?

To the colors and logo the possibilities are many. And that’s for another day.

On the team name, your instinct has you pursuing Beatles vast library of songs hoping to find a perfect fit. You won’t, not for a football moniker. And then the copyright question comes into play. Some are fun to consider, impractical as they be: Day Trippers, Rocky Raccoons, Yellow Submarines, Nowhere Men, Eleanor (Rugbies), Revolutions, Paperback Writers, Walruses, Mean Mr. Mustards.

......Beatles.heads.thm.2.7.64.JFK.LOCThe name: London Beats

The band’s name itself is reference to the new ‘beat’ sound of the late 1950s and early 60s. Add in the football meanings and it works the triple entendre, i.e. beating / besting (there’s a pun, Pete) your opponent in score and into a bloody pulp, figuratively speaking, of course.

There is an Anglo-American band of some prominence by the name LondonBeat who scored a #1 pop hit in 1991 with “I‘ve Been Thinking About You,” and were the NFL – London group interested in the Beats name, might have a British copyright claim on the tag (See; patent lawyer (US), solicitor / barrister (UK)). Even if not, it’s likely contact would be in order and handshakes made.

.....macroecono.lamcasinoroyal.2011.wcSteven Keys
Photo credits: London-bus, wc, 6.26.12, BH.Spier; Toothbrush, wc, thegreenj, 9.6.8; Goodell, wc, 8.30.12, SSG.T.Wade, USMA; SexPistols, Riksarkivet, wc, 1977; Spanking, wc, VanityFair, wc, 6.6.1903; FrancisDrake-bowling, J.Boehm, Lobsterthermidor, wc; JFK-stamp, 5.29.64, wc; Lennon-guitar, 1969, R.Kerwood, wc; The-Beatles, wc, 2.7.64, JFK-NYC-UPI, wc; Macroecono-lamcasinoroyal, 2011, wc.
Posted: 4.16.16 @ 7:34pm, edit 4.17 @ 12:58am; Copyright © 2016

NFL15 Cherry Picks W10: Cat’s Meow

12 Nov

Eating Crow Down at the Watershed

You might not think it, but crow’s not all that bad. Tastes kinda’ like…chicken.

A little gamey, and that road-kill diet they ingest, not…too…appetizing (eek), but you gotta’ do what you gotta’ do, right, if you’re gamer. When it’s time, dig in.

This writer fed on a plate of the caw cuisine after predicting Pack would devour the Panthers in Week 9 action and leave North Carolina with victory in hand.

.....Rivera.6.10.11.R.Paraglide.wc.thmBut the Cats proved me and a few others wrong in whoopin’ the perennial juggernaut, 37-29, sealing the deal early with a killer quarter (24-2Q), looking a true playoff contender in 2015, at home (GB) and on the road (SEA).

And what of reigning MVP man, Aaron Rodgers (25-48, 369, 4-1i)? So “The Beatles” had a couple bad songs (“(AR) having a bad day…is kinda’ like a bad Beatles song”). On that, Hey Jude rates NHRA (drags) and Revolution 9 pure sound-collage, oh my gosh.

But the Fab Four were game-changers and had more hits in one year than 98% of bands will record in a life-time. All meaning, Rodgers is game for alot more chart-busters before it‘s all through. That’s a certainty.

.....Newton.9.28.14.wc.K.Allison.thmAnd Camster-the-Hamster (15-30, 297, 3-1i), he’s still scrambling’ up field (9-57, 1t) but made his connections (air) when needed, due in no small measure to a seasons-long, stout Carolina O-line (13sk (8g)) that stymied GB’s pressure (0sk) long enough to give the 5y QB time to breath, while his counter-part was hurried & harried (5sk).

One should wonder if this win could be the watershed event in the Rivera – Newton – Kuechly era, catapulting Cats into a better bracket and be sign that championship hardware is on the not too distant horizon?

Better not bank on it.

I’m not buying into Carolina, not yet. That last part is called covering yourself.

....Kuechly.1.28.14.Sgt.A.Martinez.wc.thmTeam ranks at midway are good, just outside top-ten in key defensive measures (#13 yapg / 11 papg) and in or hovering near T10 on that side of the ball that’s been their weaker half, offense (#12 ypg / 4 ppg). Of Cats eight Ws, only GB currently has winning mark (SEA / IND .500) but they came through a tough stretch in W6-9 with flying colors, besting both NFC’s 2014 top dogs (GB-SEA), though both at BofA.

The remaining slate will test their mettle.

Majority of Carolina’s contests are roadies with five consecutively against what can be called formidable foes, including three intra-divisionals: @ DAL, @ NO, ATL, @ NYG, @ ATL. Cats want Super respect? They’ve gotta’ keep earning it.

A few bumps in the road wouldn’t hurt, handle some adversity before vesting heavily and do-or-dies (PS) come into play. Same goes for Cincy, one of three remaining perfectos. The Patriots, they’ve proven their worth and then some. When they’re undefeated there’s little doubt about their juggernitiousness.

If Ron & Co. get through the formidable five (11.26 – 12.27) no worse than 3-2, vesting-in-full could be in order. Oh yeah, and don’t overlook the closer (TB): Never embark the post-season off a loss. Mood matters.

MVP Watch

1) Tom Brady
2) Andy Dalton
...Brady.8.28.09.K.Allison.wc.thm.DC3) Aaron Rodgers
4) Julio Jones
5) NaVorro Bowman
6) D’Qwell Jackson
7) Reshad Jones
8) Telvin Smith
9) Cam Newton
10) Steve Gostkowski

Good Spot (W9)

Antonio Brown

The Pittsburgh end and 3-time Pro Bowler had a $100,000 game v. Oakland (17r-284y – 2c-22y). There are more than a few NFL offensive rosterees that take a paycheck in similar amount and total those numbers for an entire season.

Marcus Mariota

Titans’ rookie QB comes off a 2-week injury-out to lead his team to an OT win in New Orleans (28-39, 371, 4t), running the final drive like a seasoned vet, going 6-6, the last a 5-yard loft to Tony Fasano for the game-winning TD. It’s a wow.

Bad Spot

“They have a (DC) with a history. I’ll leave it at that (NFLN / 11.8).”

....Zimmer.9.20.14.wc.MN-NG.thmComment made by Vikings’ head coach Mike Zimmer and directed at Rams’ DC, Gregg Williams, in post-game presser following Vikes OT win over STL (21-18) where their quarterback Ted Bridgewater was knocked unconscious in a run – slide in what was reported by some an a dirty hit by STL safety Lamarcus Joyner.

I’ll trust in NFL’s assessment of film, whether validating the UR flag on Joyner or over-turning (looks possible). But there’s one certainty from this unfortunate play: We cannot expect defenders to anticipate slides during play or tailor tackles when QBs initiate a slide five yards or less prior to contact, not at those speeds.

And don’t forget, Mike, Adrian has a “history,” too. Old wounds (Bountygate) are not to be ‘opened’ with acrimony unless new, damning evidence comes to light or a ‘repeat performance’ has been established. It’s all part of giving second-chances, a new life that most everyone deserves at least once in their lives.


Curious Quote

“I take full responsibility for this frustration and the inaction that has occurred. Use my resignation to heal and start talking again (“University” / SI.Wire / 11.9).” Words of Tim Wolfe, former President of the University of Missouri.

The reports of campus racism, attendant university policies and threat of football boycott aside, it’s nice to see someone “take…responsibility” in action (“resignation”), not simply words, even if his was merely a matter of timing and golden parachute (K) / peer-support (new gig) likely lets Tim down easy. Such statement today (“(ITFR)”) too often has no serious ramification for speakers, self-imposed or otherwise.

And like that NFL defender who can’t be expected to change course ‘on a dime,’ neither can US government, as part-time regulator of our greed and corruption, can’t be expected to prevent, find and punish purveyors of all prejudicial expressions. What they can do is create a system of redress and an environment where ignorant, mean-spirited people don’t feel at ease and, in rare case, might even find courage to grow.


Cherry Picks Week 10

Bills (4-4) @ Jets (5-3): 11.12 NFLN 8:25: NYJ wins
Dallas (2-6) @ TB (3-5): 11.15 Fox 1:00: Dallas wins
Cats (8-0) @ Titans (2-6): Fox 1:00 (GTW): TEN wins
Chicago (3-5) @ St. Louis (4-4): Fox 1:00: Bears win
Saints (4-5) @ Redskins (3-5): Fox 1:00: NO wins
Miami (3-5) @ Philadelphia (4-4): CBS 1:00: Eagles win
Cleveland (2-7) @ Pittsburgh (5-4): CBS 1:00: Pitt wins
Jaguars (2-6) @ Ravens (2-6): CBS 1:00: Baltimore wins
Minnesota (6-2) @ Raiders (4-4): Fox 4:05: Oakland wins
New England (8-0) @ NY Giants (5-4): CBS 4:25: Pats win
Kansas City (3-5) @ Denver (7-1): CBS 4:25: Broncos win
Cards (6-2) @ Seattle (4-4): NBC 8:30 (GTW2): AZ wins

Record: 41 – 45

Steven Keys
NFL HunchLine
Photo credit: C.Newton, wc.cca, 9.28.14, K.Allison; R.Rivera, 6.10.11, wc, R.Paraglide; L.Kuechly, wc, 1.28.14, Sgt-A.Martinez; T.Brady, wc, K.Allison, 8.28.08, DC; M.Zimmer, 9.20.14, MN-NG, wc; cherries-ripe, Chirak, 6.24.7, wc; NFL-symbol, wikiproject.
Posted: 11.12.15 @ 2:17pm; Copyright © 2015

NFL15 Cherry Picks W9: Wide-Open NFC

6 Nov

Arizona Rising

Wild & woolly, topsy & turvy: Adjectives to describe the National Football Conference this 2015 campaign. The American Conference has been a bit woolly itself (BAL, SD (2-6, ypg #1)), though, not quite as wild as it’s senior partner.

...NFC.wc.NFL.Enterprises.thmIt’s been a strange ride in the NFC these first eight weeks of play, taking fans on turns and down exits on nobody’s road-maps in last summer’s training camps. As things stand at Week 9, most playoff slots are wide open and Halas trophy up for grabs.

I count seven teams that’ve seriously underperformed: NYG, PHI, DAL, DET, CHI, NO & SEA. And of the five teams that’ve carved out what could be called decent records, only two, maybe, three inspire much confidence to get very far in the post-season, if past performance is any indicator.

Arizona Cardinals (6-2)

.....Arians.9.8.14.wc.thmb.FF.SwamiGets the top nod, winning W8 in Forest City against a sometimes spirited Browns team, 34-20, working a killer quarter (3Q 14-0) to break it open. Of their two losses, one was a nail-biter versus intra-rival Rams (22-24) who save their best for the best, the other a roadie in Steel City. Tough schedule ahead but best coach in the biz (Arians) who sweats bullets every time his savvy but knee-banged QB (Palmer) takes to field.

Green Bay Packers (6-1)

Best title for Green Bay Press-Gazette morning edition 11.2.15, that didn’t make press: ‘Clock Cleaned: Pack Falls Back in MT Time.’

Aaron Rodgers having a bad day (11-24, 77y, 0) is kinda’ like a bad Beatles song. Even so, it’s still The Beatles. And it’s still Rodgers, who may be the Best in Show.

The NFC front-runner got spanked by Broncos (29-10) who, even at 6-0, hadn’t made many converts. Sunday GB faces 7-0 Cats who did not want to face a chagrined Green Bay squad. If Pack don’t return from Carolina with a W, Mike best be careful when he “let(s) the dog out (See; Devine).” Serious about their football in Fox Valley, those murderous thugs in ‘74 were an ugly, extreme case of cruelty and stupidity. But let it run free, Mike (if you got a dog): Cam showcase, but Pack wins at Carolina.

Atlanta Falcons (6-2)

Lost in OT to divisional Bucs in W8 (20-23) and arch-rival Saints in the Big Easy (21-31). New guru Quinn has instilled a verve (#11 ypg / 13 ppg D) and Matt Ryan matriculates with the best, including favorite targets Jones and new run guy in 2y Freeman. Remaining slate so-so with next 3 critical stretch (SF-(b)-IND-MIN).

Carolina Panthers (7-0)

Last unbeaten in NFC, their South division is most competitive. No team they’ve beaten currently has winning record, but victims Seattle (27-23) brims with talent and Saints (4-4) gelling (27-22). Late slate a challenge with 4 of 6 on road. Camster-the-Hamster’s key on offense but posts 1-2 PS mark. Gulp.

.....Newton.9.28.14.wc.K.Allison.thmOn the one hand, watching Cam’s presser persona and a return to rabbit under pressure, does not show the emotional fortitude to put him in top class. On the other hand, can’t say he’s had sufficient weapons on offense or a dynamic coaching set, either, both which weigh on the first hand.

The stage is set. It’s all there for Carolina franchise this Sunday. Cats have had bigger games (SB38) but this one could set tone for next 10y. Too bad it’s against a ticked-off GB squad rolling into Charlotte, though, that’s the big test they need. Pack have had trouble in past versus run-QB (See; Kaep (x2)), would be mistake for RR to play on that past. Pack will win but if it’s close, a poised Newton can start step-up in class.

Minnesota Vikings (5-2)

Surprise riser in NFC, the D took a turn upward as expected with Zimmer’s arrival (papg #2 / yapg 7), a DC in Cincy (‘08-13), ATL (‘07) and Big D (‘00-06). It’s offense that’s been [?] in Land of 10,000, ever since departure of Favre (‘10) who made his MIN mark in short order. Soph QB Bridgewater is pocket poised (64.5) but drives too cautiously on the learning curve (6t-5i) while ‘All Day’ keeps churning out yards.

Hit the Ground Running

The SAS’y one on Disney sport network (ESPN) is driving hard to the hoop for Cam Newton to take the coveted MVP prize.

Andy Dalton, who led nifty comeback in Pittsburgh (11.1) and played a blinder against division rival Cleveland on TNF (31-10, 21-27, 3td) is gaining votes, while the almost always terrific Aaron Rodgers took a step back at Mile High.

And still Tom ‘Terrific’ Brady (7-0) looks the MVP favorite at midway.

.....Gurley.wc.11.30.13.Thomson200.thmBut a new, unexpected name has emerged in the race for accolade: 2014 1st-Rd (#10) rookie running back Todd Gurley of the St. Louis (stb, LA) Rams.

The numbers on TG? Suffice to write, they’re big (See; PFR.com).

Even though Gurley’s success has come largely against defenses in the lower tier (yapg: CVD (30), SF (28), GB (23), PIT (20)..AZ (4 (146y))), it’s crystal clear this man can motor in the pros. So impressive it’s hard to keep him out of early MVP muse, even with the opening injury bye in missing games 1 & 2. But maybe that strengthens his case: Impactful.

Barring the unexpected, it’s Brady’s trophy to win, with Dalton, Rodgers & Newton ready to grab it if Tom loses his grip, but if Todd keeps this up, that ROY trophy just won’t seem big enough

Good Spot

Kansas City Chiefs (3-5)

On brink of pseudo-elimination, KC played a blinder at London’s Wembley in W8 action, crushing the toothless Lions, 45-10, inching closer to respectability in a Conference with still plenty of opportunity for post-season slotting.

Oakland Raiders (4-3)

“Just Win (Enough to build on), Baby!”

....Carr.D.9.27.15.wc.E.Drost.thmPollyanna take: Draft calls finally pay dividends, Derek Carr is maturing (15t-3i) in a pocket that’s coalescing (8sk) and defense is holding most leads.

Pragmatic view: If there was a season to blossom, 2015 is it. When NFL std-bearer New England does well, the “whole world smiles.” Add in perennials like Denver, GB, Cincy (regular) and regional reps in AZ and Carolina and things A-okay. But quick glance at the standings and it’s easy to see, quality of competition in the pro circuit is way down, which opens the door for that franchise on the cusp of turning the corner, who possess a sound game-plan and can avoid the injury bug. That could be the Raiders, and Rams & Vikes, too. Time tells.

Brady Quinn

The former Notre Dame – NFL (‘07-13) quarterback chimed in on the injury bug this season, some feeling it higher rate than normal (not my sense). Quinn believes the illicit use of “HGH (PEDs),” banned under the CBA and subject of rather ineffectual, random blood testing, may be the cause.

Not qualified to address injury-PED relationship myself, what is widely known fact is that the use of performance enhancing drugs is detrimental to human health, that the NFL/PA drug test policy is insufficient, affording ample opportunity for players to skirt rules to cheat the game and that union Executive Director DeMaurice Smith is not best man for the job.

Bad Spot

Jim Caldwell: Pink-slip processing

The house-cleaning in Detroit began in earnest at mid-mark. No surprise there.

With the Lions record standing at 1-7 after going 11-5 in 2014, both GM Martin Mayhew and team president Tom Lewand were dismissed on Thursday.

....Caldwell.wc.9.19.10.Sgt.JL.Small.thmBut half-measures, i.e., ousting Mayhew – Lewand, retaining Caldwell, often fail to turn the tide (See; Breaking Bad). Having written that, with Lions playoff chances nearly nil, even in wide-open NFC15, the remainder is now a rebuilding – salvage project, not so much in player personnel but strategy & psyche, making Caldwell’s retention somewhat prudent, if not very bold. For while Jim compiled a nifty 11-5 in ’14 and a couple dbl-digit runs with Colts (SB44), the fall in Detroit has been so pronounced, it may be too steep a climb back up with him in the lead.

Caldwell will get a couple, maybe three games to get the ship back on course.

Chuck Pagano & Company

Pooh-pooh those who decided to bench Matt Hasselbeck (2-0) when Luck got A-OK from MDs to return from injury. Don’t mess with mojo. It’s a sport thing.

Seattle Seahawks (4-4): Boom to Bump

Hawks escaped Dallas with a razor-thin victory Sunday evening (13-12) but most apparent to this viewer was that Seattle’s defense is…different. Not exactly boom to bust but no longer the formidable force it was the past three seasons.

Had Cowboys not shot themselves in the foot in their opening 2H drive, one that was matriculating with surprising ease and looked set to take the lead (10-6) but stymied by a motion penalty, two batted balls at line of scrimmage and settled for a field-goal, Seattle’s season might be on the brink and Dallas’ salvaged.

Curious Quote

Packers‘ coach, Mike McCarthy: “That’s a humbling loss (@ DEN, 29-10). I haven’t had my ass kicked like that in a long time (NFL Network / 11.2).”


Cherry Picks Week 9

Pack (6-1) @ CAR (7-0): 11.8 Fox 1:00 (GTW): GB wins
Redskins (3-4) @ New England (7-0): Fox 1:00: Pats win
Dolphins (3-4) @ Buffalo (3-4): CBS 1:00: Miami wins
Rams (4-3) @ MIN (5-2): Fox 1:00 (GTW2): STL wins
Jaguars (2-5) @ New York (4-3): CBS 1:00: Jets win
OAK (4-3) @ Steelers (4-3): CBS 1:00: Pittsburgh wins
Giants (4-3) @ Tampa (3-4): Fox 4:05: Buccaneers win
Falcons (6-2) @ San Francisco (2-6): Fox 4:05: ATL wins
Broncos (7-0) @ Indianapolis (3-5): CBS 4:25: Colts win
Eagles (3-4) @ Dallas (2-5): NBC 8:30: Cowboys win
Chicago (2-5) @ Chargers (2-6): 11.9 ESPN 8:30: SD wins

Record: 37 – 38

...NFL-symbol.wikiproject.6kbSteven Keys
NFL HunchLine
Photo credit: NFC, wc.cca, NFL-Enterprises.LLC; B.Arians, wc, 9.8.14, FF-Swami; C.Newton, wc, 9.28.14, K.Allison; T.Gurley, wc, 11.30.13, Thomson200; D.Carr, wc, 9.27.13, E.Drost; J.Caldwell, 9.19.10, wc, Sgt-JL.Small; cherries, Hispalois, Spain, wc, 7.2.12; NFL-symbol, wikiproject.
Posted: 11.6.15 @ 2:38pm; 2.7.16 edit (pic); Copyright © 2015