Tag Archives: Washington Redskins

NFL17 Pre-Play: Nobody Bullied the Beav and No One Needles the NFL, Kaep Krew

9 Aug

If you’re an NFL fan or root for Colin Kaepernick, not always mutually exclusive mental states, and feed those foibles by perusing online sport sites, you’ll know it has become common in recent years for certain players to have developed a cult-like following amongst the media, junior scribes, in particular. Individually, five names have received more press than probably every player combined, excepting Broadway Joe, of course, since the National went on-wire in 1920:

1) Johnny Manziel
2) Tim Tebow
3) Michael Sam
4) Colin Kaepernick
5) Richard Sherman

At this posting only one of the five, Sherman, has a job with our nation’s new national pastime (When a home run derby is your showcase event of the season, there’s big trouble) and soon to become international funfest (See; London).

Of the other four, it’s possible Manziel and Kaepernick could get a call for a 2017 quarterback tryout as injuries begin to mount in the League on commencement of training camps and contact. But that’s becoming more doubtful as the recent rapid-signing in Miami of free-agent QB Jay Cutler and longer-than-expected list of somewhat suspect number (#) ones (Kessler (CLE), McCown (NYJ), Hoyer (SF), Taylor (BUF), Glennon (CHI), Siemian (DEN), Savage (HOU)) penciled-in for 2017 strongly suggests about both their desirability.

For Tebow, who last played with the Jets in 2012, the chance of an NFL return is nearly nil. Tim’s rather particular (prideful), shunning CFL and tight-end talk, a spot for which he was tailor-made. Same holds true for Sam (nil) who never made a roster after being drafted late in 2014 (7 / 249), having two tryouts (STL / DAL), an invite to a combine and a brief suit-up with Montreal (CFL). Mike does, for some reason, have his own page at PFR.com, sans the Alouettes.

None of those deactivated states has stopped certain media from alternatively appeasing (groupies) or depressing (fans of sport) readers with a steady stream of stories seemingly designed to persuade, cajole or bully the League, its owners and neutral fans into giving three of the four another shot at the big time.

But “Eddie Haskell” couldn’t bully “Beaver Cleaver,” Reid & Pelosi couldn’t bully Dan Snyder, his Washington Redskins and the American Indian rank & file (See; WP “9 of 10” poll (2016)) and nobody bullies the NFL to decide who it hires and who it doesn’t. An exception: Ray Rice and women’s advocacy. The ex-Raven’s rehab appears real but his stigma sticks: Video is video, thanks to TMZ (ugh).

If you think that’s a poor analogy, then you never knew Leave It to Beaver (1957-63). It’s impact on Americana made Vince Lombardi’s power sweep look almost happenstance. And if you don’t know the sweep (Kramer – Gregg) you’d best bone up. Start in State of Ohio, then find George Halas (IL) and go from there.

Michael Sam

When Sam told the nation of his homosexual orientation just prior to the 2014 NFL draft, likely hoping to forestall his stock drop to a level so low he feared being undrafted entirely, his act was lauded by captured media as socially significant. It might have been more accurately called a self-serving act of leverage. A League that would appear unwelcoming to the first openly gay pro football player, college skill-set aside, might suffer a consumer backlash, so the Suits & Skirts may’ve thunk. Sam gets the call late from a Rams club seeking a re-location vote, then a tryout from affable Jerry Jones who is always looking for new renters (AT&T). The NFL looked open-minded, Sam got his cup o’ Gatorade® and everybody felt a little cheated.

Colin Kaepernick

Sherman recently claimed Kaepernick is being blackballed on his race. But that won’t fly. The NFL’s composition is overwhelmingly African-American. Others claim jingoism is motivating CK’s critics, arising from what appeared an anthem protest on police brutality, suspiciously timed as the former 49er’s starter-string in San Francisco looked to’ve run out. But America was born on protest (Stamp Act 1765). Refusing to stand at attention for the flag ceremony is disfavored but not necessarily offensive to most citizens of these United States. What owners may’ve found abhorrent (Tuesday nite ESPN reports Giants’ owner John Mara likes the Milwaukee-native to suit-up somewhere in the NFL for 2017) were Colin’s racist white pig socks. It doesn’t have to be a forgiveable act but until Kaepernick takes responsibility, even a re-signing won’t make him legitimate.

What if nobody comes calling from the NFL, where does Colin go from there? Oprah? That’d be nice, for him, when he and his co-author get a book done (I don’t know Dick’s writing skills but he does like a by-line (See; SI.com)). And believing in something (faith) is not enough. Wisdom, and no small amount of courage, do both matter. Protest can be passionate, or it can be theater if it lacks heart & soul (truth). And he can forget about autograph shows, they’re pro-diversity and patriotic, but the NBA célébrité will always be welcoming.

John Manziel

Johnny Football: He never did earn that moniker. Jon thought talent was the trick. So did Todd Marinovich, “Robo-QB.” He could matriculate in a typhoon but made drugs his love. Manziel could’ve been the greatest college quarterback in history but made booze his squeeze. We don’t really know anything’s changed at this posting. For a run-QB who never learned to take hits in the pocket, THE pro skill, Johnny Skittles can’t afford to have fun being stupid any longer. Like Colin, Jon never respected the game, or the business. That won’t be tolerated, not by owners, players, coaches, real fans or the almighty Sponsors.

Tim Tebow

It’s curious, Tim may be the only NFL signal-caller to have, in his one near-full campaign under center (2014 Denver), compiled a better than .500 record (7-4), led the most captivating team win-streak in recent memory (6-0), won a road playoff game (@ Pittsburgh) on a GWD touchdown strike, yet, the next season, be ungraciously traded away (Jets) where, for one season, he finished his brief career in a non-QB job as a decoy flanker-back (?). Curious, indeed.

Tebow’s fandom is still vast, kept current with his baseball venture in the Mets minors, one most likely to end in the same fashion to that of his pro football career when (if) on promotion he meets that “wicked” major league curveball, known to derail & dash many a career (See; Bull Durham (88)).

Most scribes never did subscribe to the Book of Timbo, hence, never did promote his cause for return. Bart Simpson just won’t rock to Christian hip-hop. Like all run-QBs, Tim’s skill-set proved limited (47.9 C%). But other wily field generals have too relied heavily on stoking emotional fires to wins & careers, Billy Kilmer comes to mind (1967: 10g, 47.5%, 0-4, 6t-11i (16y)), and Tim, had he been NFL retained, would’ve most likely seen his skill-set progress at least in the manner of fellow flashman CK: Never top tier (Brady / Moon) but a sufficiency to roster. And then nobody put fans in the seats, stadium and home, like Tebow did. The reality for the NFL is that flash-QB, with all his shortcomings (rabbit, RIF-fail), is here to stay, given his popularity in college by great success (titles / Heismans) and facilitator of coach-lite: Just give the Kid the ball and count the wins.

Steven Keys
NFL HunchLine
Photo Credit: NFL-wikiproject, Ixnay-Beao; C.Kaepernick, wc.cca, 10.27.13, D.Hartwig; M.Sam, wc, ED.Drost, 8.23.14; Starlito-T.Tebow-L.Garrett, wc, 11.1.12; J.Manziel, Kyle-Field, wc, shutterbug459, 10.20.12; J.Marshall, Topps, 1970.
Posted: 8.9.17 @ 12:39a EST, edit 8.10; Copyright © 2017

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NFL17: A Patriots Peer, It’s Back To Top-Tier or These Packers Turn Flat-Beer

28 Mar

Pretendership: It’s an NFL station most Green Bay Packers devotees have never knelt before in prayer for guidance and delivery. Anyone rooting for the Acme club yet having no recollection of the play that made John Brockington and Lynn Dickey house-hold names in the badger state is probably in that blessed group.

But that’s for later.

For now, just imagine rooting for an NFL team, one that not only wins most of its regular season games but will have on display any given year a future Cantonese or two roaming the turf, that for most of your conscious life has been an NFL contender. Imagine that. Easy enough for New England Patriots faithful but for the rest of fandom it’s a little hard to picture even in the mind’s eye.

Twenty-five years of pretty much football bliss in Northeastern Wisconsin’s Fox Valley, thanks in large part to two men (GMs), four if you count the coaches (Holmgren / McCarthy), six if you include the QBs (Favre / Rodgers).

Sure, there were some struggles, a few 8-8s seasons, even a couple losing campaigns, but there was always an easy scapegoat to find (Ray Rhodes, Mike Sherman, Bill Schroeder) and soon enough the Good Ship Green & Yellow would find its contender course again and all was ship-shape.

The Ron Wolf and Ted Thompson Packers have never dominated the sport as did former Green Bay juggernauts under Vince Lombardi (60s) or founding father Curly Lambeau (20-40s) but playoff births have been nearly automatic since 1992 and the two Super Bowl victories (1997 & 2011) have given the period of prosperity a legitimacy that can only come with championships.

While the Patriots recent reign of championships is incomparable in this still newish century of play, it’s not hyperbole to write that it is actually the Packers, hang with me here, by way of a crafty continuity in success that’ve been the more impressive of NFL’s two most juggernautious franchises these past 25 years.

Sure, New England coaching genius Bill Belichick and his sure-to-be 1st ballot HOF quarterback extraordinaire in Tom Brady are likely the most terrific title tandem in the Super Bowl era (See also; Noll & Bradshaw, Landry & Staubach, Walsh & Montana), but the manners in which both Wolf and then Thompson engineered their respective coach – QB tandems-in-terrificness are the templates in ‘How To,’ 1) Acquire a diamond-in-the-rough bench-warmer (Brett (ATL)), and 2) draft a replacement (Aaron) for a living legend.

Just imagine, two consecutive GMs who respectively displayed an expertise in post-draft patience (Ron) and then prediction on player longevity (Ted), that player in Favre being, to Wisconsin sports fans, next to God, making it very risky business to draft any heir apparent in 2005 (Aaron).

Wolf’s persistence and then shrewd calculation in extracting Favre from Atlanta’s roster in trading a #1 pick (respectful enough to get their interest but not so generous to get ’em wondering) should be an example to every GM and fantasy fan, i.e., that post-draft follow-up can be of greater value than draft day doings.

And Thompson, in showing Brett the door by drafting the Berkeley Bear Rodgers in 2005, took one humongous gamble. To appreciate just how bold a move it was you have know just how popular was the man from Southern Miss.

Directly north up in Wisconsin, Favre was bigger than Lombardi had ever been, in part because every female sport fan in America’s Dairyland had become enamored with the dude. And that’s putting it mildly.

You think Tom Brady’s huge in 2017? He is, but Brett Favre was huger. Hell, Brett was bigger than the NFL. The Green Bay Renaissance that he and his team fashioned, back-to-back Super Bowls and plenty o’ playoff action, briefly put them in the America’s Team seat, after the Aikman Cowboys disbanded, a starry status that played no small role in facilitating formation of the still budding international game in the early 2000s (Mexico City (05), London (07)).

Consider that when “Onslow (Geoff Hughes)” dons Packers gear on the hit British TV comedy, Keeping Up Appearances (1990-95),” it’s not because of NFL rules changes or networks addition of female sideliners. It was Favre, plain & simple.

So if Rodgers doesn’t pan out when handed the offensive reins in 2008, Ted probably gets run out of paper-mill country on a rail, figuratively speaking, after hustling out the family dog first (See; Devine ‘74). But instead, the pan turned up gold and Ted will get a street named after himself, if he hasn’t already.

“Mississippi,” as Falcons Jerry Glanville referred to the rookie QB in smirk, had a couple good seasons left in the tank when he exited Lambeau: An injury-affected Jets campaign (10-6) and two seasons with arch-rival Minnesota, the first in 2009 which would be his best single statistical show and see the Vikes fall to the Bounty-gate Saints in the NFCC10-OT and finale when he dragged himself back for one more go before hanging up his Canton-bound cleats.

♫ Shades of Mediocrity ♫

Mercurial might aptly describe the 2016-17 Green Bay Packers.

Hovering around .500 to the midway, then going three (losses) in the hole, the Pack found some consistency the rest of the way (6 + 2PS) until getting stomped in the NFCC at Mercedes-Benz (Georgia) Dome (44-21 (24-0 H)).

The party isn’t over, not by a long shot, not while perennial MVP entry Aaron Rodgers has his legs underneath and maintains his pin-point passing precision. But some of the good-times have started to head for the exits and a few of those that remain are looking a bit green around the gills (gulp).

One of those always in attendance is the Green Bay defense. It’s a curiosity for even as they helped raise a Lombardi for head coach Mike McCarthy in 2011, it’s also a unit that’s looked wather wobbly since the Reggie White – George Koonce – Sean Jones – LeRoy Butler bunch broke-up.

Team ranks tell the tale. In 2016, the Green figured about where they usually do in the McCarthy era, 22nd in yards allowed per game (364), 21st in points (24+). In the NFCC17 those middling marks came home to roost as Atlanta feasted.

At the center of the defensive scheme has been The Hair, sack-minded linebacker Clay Matthews. Never a top tackler, perplexing for a middle-man, Clay’s numbers have been trending down since that Super season to the point where real value should be a real question for GB staff. He does make a fun soup commercial.

The run game, as party-goers go, hasn’t had much to say lately.

The weighty part of the ball-carry was spending most of its time at the buffet. But Lacy’s gone now and won’t find better eats in the greater Seattle metro, that is unless you really like salmon. And maybe that‘s the point. Bon appétit, Eddie.

Ty Montgomery (2y-SU) filled the void nicely in 2016, for a time, then faded late, 2010 draftee James Starks was not re-signed of , another 2d-yr. in big guy (6’1 255) Aaron Ripkowski (Sooner) will full-back just fine (4.4 – 2td), F/A pick-up Don Jackson (Nevada) had 10 carries last year while former Seahawk Christine Michaels was inked to a deal but has much to prove (9-GS from 2013 (4.3)).

Finding replacements, not mockery, is why the draft matters.

And then there’s Mike ‘What Have You Done For Us Lately’ McCarthy.

Coaching the Green Bay Packers, an early NFL entrant (1921) with accolades enough to fill a cruise liner (sink it along with its Captain in rough waters), is like riding a tiger: When times is good, everybody purrs, but when the champagne rarely flows, the big kitty pitches a fit and sometimes eats its own (gulp).

Mike’s got a monkey on his back clutching an NFCC runner-up trophy in symbol of GB’s disaster known as Cheese-Melt 2015. Packers 1st half lead frittered away and overtime nailed their coffin shut as the Seahawks returned to the Super.

Mike McCarthy has been suffering the “slings and arrows” of regional critics with no return trip to the Big Game. But the rather disappointing playoff runs, enabled by a rather terrific career regular mark (.651), is just part of a pattern he’s displayed since being hired to replace Mike Sherman in 2006. Some good years, a few pedestrian and patience, more patience.

There’s only one Bill Belichick, folks.

Mike’s big mistake was caving to pressure after the Melt to concede offensive play-call, a concession he…revoked (?) at last season’s midpoint. Trust then becomes an issue. But remember, MM turned Packers back into champions when all looked discombobulated, six (6) years after the guy who was prone to sideline temper tantrums left for the State of Washington.

It wasn’t easy filling Favre’s sizable shoes…wait…come to think of it, it actually was pretty easy for Thompson. But Brett was bigger than life and there’s only been one mobile pocket-passer the likes of Mr. Rodgers, a player who, as he will enter his thirteenth (13) NFL summer camp shortly, I’d give four (4) 1Rs in trade today if by some fluke he became free and I a GM in need.

Such a smooth succession in kingly QBs in Packerland in pass of the bejeweled scepter of signal-caller royalty, the Patriots (Belichick – Brady) have not yet displayed. Course, they haven’t had the need. When Tom retires, likely same time Bill hangs up his headset, we’ll see how they do it in Foxborough.

But the Pack are on the championship clock. They need to return to elite status in 2017 (12-4) or their royal carriage may turn pumpkin before anyone expects it.

Last season’s road to the Halas Trophy (NFCC) was not exactly strewn with pot-holes in serious contenders. It was more like the E-ZPass® highway.

The Atlanta Falcons were the real deal in 2016-17 yet may still feel the reel this upcoming campaign from their colossal collapse in SB51.

To write that the rest of the NFC was deficient would be an understatement.

Though much ballyhooed after a W1 loss to the Giants, the Cowboys much anticipated playoff turned Texas-sized soufflé in loss at home to Green Bay; G-Men and Lions proved pretenders, not because they lost in the PS which, by itself is no fraud, but in both getting shellacked; Seattle, never quite the same since losing SB49, gave one of those shellackings (DET) but then got one themselves (ATL); and while Tampa surged to respectability, Redskins never got rhythm, Vikes were extra-mercurial (6-0), Panthers licked their wounds all season (SB50 – L) and pre-season hopeful Arizona never got going.

Residence in the once vaunted North divsion, f/k/a Black & Blue, always boosts the Packers pre-season rank which sits just under Atlanta as NFC favorites, ahead of Seattle (Lacy ≠ Lynch), then Arian’s Cardinals sure to rebound, the Giants, Lions, Dallas who won’t surprise in 2017, D-Vikes, maturing Bucs and sometimes capable conundrums in Redskins, Eagles, Saints and Carolina.

Procuring a reliable run-game is not the challenge that is finding a top-flight, resilient pocket passer, but good ball-carriers don’t grow on trees, either.

Letting lunch-a-lot Lacy exit looks prudent now, but if McCarthy, Thompson and OC in former GB ball-carrier Edgar Bennett cannot in trade or late-April draft find that impactful runner(s) to spell Rodgers and give opposing DCs a ground-attack to diagram, and then the bodies to shore-up a defense that too often turns leaky in rough waters, Packers will continue to get bounced too early from playoffs, Mike will get pink-slipped with no contribution to anyone’s awareness and this era of exuberance will creep to a close, great QB, notwithstanding.

Steven Keys
NFL HunchLine
Photo credit: A.Rodgers-M.McCarthy, wc.cca, M.Morbeck, 9.9.12; Packers-print, wc, 1959; B.Belichick, wc, K.Allison, 8.28.09; A.Rodgers, wc, M.Morbeck, 12.7.08; Minnesota-Vikings-GreenBay-Packers, P.Loadholt-C.Matthews, wc, 11.14.11, M.Morbeck; M.McCarthy, TJ.Grant, wc, 8.11.07; NFL-symbol, wikiproject, Ixnay-Beao
Posted: 3.28.17 @ 11:39am EST, edit 11:01; 3.31; Copyright © 2017

NFL16: Red-Doggin’ the Media’s Roger Goodell Ruse

1 Aug

Ensconced in Boom

He’s become the whipping-boy of nearly every online editor & scribe in the land, a terrain now populated with more apps, acronyms (sabrmetrics), video & mock drafts than you can shake a latté stir-stick at, or, put another way, than there are sleazy storylines in a Taboola – Outbrain booby box that blight the bottom of every endless page.

Who‘s the poor chap? NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, that’s who.

With the 2016-17 kickoff slated for early September (9.8), matching February finalists Carolina and Denver, the Jamestown, New York native and Paul Tagliabue successor (‘06) will embark on his 2nd decade at the helm of America’s most popular & profitable wingding value (1920), not including vacation – conference destinations (Las Vegas / Chicago) and gastro-addictions (sugar).

.........Clifford.reddog.4.1.6.DoD.thm.wcAnyone who fancies him / herself to be that hip, happening kinda’ sportswriter, the one who loathes greedy owners but imagines a special kinship with the jocks as if in another life they’re more likely to be a 1st-round draft choice slingin’ TDs than hangin’ out on the yacht with the blue bloods, rags on Roger with a regularity rivaling today’s Pavlovian hand-held habits.

Which is funny because most of the higher paid scribes in pursuit of that journalism B.A. probably pledged on the same Greek row as did most of those money-maniacal NFL owners. Oh well, who’s always consistent anyway?

When that idea well runs dry, when you’ve already posted your position and all-time greatest rankings for the week or when you just want to release some pent-up frustration, not to worry, there’s always good ol’ smiling Roger Goodell to “kick around” in your column.

So why all the hate for just another rich guy, one of the 2% who run the world and keep us gerbils running on that consumer treadmill?

Maybe because Roger’s standing in the way, i.e., the friends (RG) of my enemies (Snyder) are my enemies, you might say.

Most of the griping on Goodell, which invariably leads to the feeble claim his job is in jeopardy and what a fine replacement so-n-so would make, is illusory, likely a ruse to cover the real purpose: Get a new Commissioner, check-mate Dan Snyder and get his beloved Redskins motif bounced outta’ the League.

A kooky call? The best heist is always an inside job.

Business As Usual

Nobody really expected that the NFL would make a determination on whether or not Peyton Manning actually used PEDs that were reported last fall to have been subject of a home delivered parcel to his wife Ashley a few years back.

.........Manning.wc.thm.3.1.13.Sgt.B.Peterson.USO.USMCUnless the lordly one had been giving blood samples in a testing protocol at the time of the package’s believed arrival (nyet) and that every molecule of said PED supply was tagged, tracked and accounted for, there was no possible way for any inquiry to make a sustainable determination, fact finding or certain conclusion on whether Pey-Dirt did or did not in fact partake in the prohibited performance enhancers his wife was reported to have received by mail.

That the Manning household did or did not receive the package in question was easy enough to establish by parcel company records which questioning (under oath?) could verify. But the usage question, i.e., who, how much and when, if such package was accepted, would necessarily remain open-ended, a dark cloud hanging overhead the SB50’s winning QB.

So when the League released statement earlier this week (7.27) clearing Peyton, claiming to’ve concluded, found that Manning did not use subject PEDs, it threw most of us for a loss, throwing a flag on the play.

On that day Roger finally does hang up his Commissioner’s key, this funny finding will rank near the top as one of his poorest calls and should rightly earn him a small, swift kick in the shin (figuratively speaking) like the one little Kurt Russell gave Elvis Presley (It Happened At the World’s Fair (‘63)). Ouch!

.......package.emojione.12.21.15.wc.thmThe special handling shown Peyton, Broncos & GM John ‘I ain’t playing in Baltimore’ Elway and the League (SB validation), in opposite of a just but max penalty meted-out in Deflategate, smacks of favoritism, standard dilution and no small amount of arrogance for thinking fans would swallow the ‘strange brew.’

Should this awkward result and curious Commissioning work a black mark on Goodell‘s record? As it would’ve been nearly impossible, were Peyton to have in fact engaged the suspected PED supply, that any evidence of their use could’ve been obtained (short of a Manning admission), NFL’s silly extension of that state to a finding of innocence speaks more to misguided policy than corruption. If we fired everyone for making a bad call, 90% of the nation’s jobs would come open within the week.

65 Clifford Red Dog Trap

Because last May’s Washington Post poll (90% of aboriginal Americans are not offended by Redskins’ motif, < 10% answered yes) has not swayed the bully bunch to the side of public opinion, even as that revelation makes any sort of vote seem likely to just amplify its findings, and then that the legal process can only end up in one place (SC) where its current moderate but conservative-leaning majority bodes well for Dan Snyder’s embattled trademark, it’s now imperative for the anti-Redskins side to create a turnover.

When the PC playbook flops (nobody likes a bully) what’s the Coach to do? Call the old red dog (blitz), that’s what, and take out the QB. Hello, Roger.

.......Clifford.reddog.wc.WH-L.Bush.4.9.7.S.Craighead.thmThe media mantra to oust Goodell actually began taking discernable shape in 2012 (See; Nike NFL) and might just be masquerading under a different banner as another ‘means to an end’ to get that Redskins logo retired.

Readers might say (I‘m an optimist), ‘Stevo, c’mon, remember Bountygate, the Rice – Palmer incident and Deflategate? Those are the reasons why Roger Goodell is in bad with most everybody.’ Wrong.

I remember the 2010 NFCC, subject for Bountygate. Still cringe at the over-unders Saints defenders laid on Brett Favre, the most exciting QB since Namath & Staubach laced ‘em up, the 2d ambush perpetrated post-Warner the week prior. In truth, most ‘everybody’ was fine with the bans Goodell handed those sorry Saints in question, excepting the homers and a federal jurist, of course.

The knockout punch Rice put on fiancée Palmer in 2014, it’s etched in the mind, thanks to the sleazoids at TMZ whose video drop inflamed the story to a state where Roger, who hit no one, took more flak than the crook. And while I’m on the topic, why does SAS’y still have his job (“don’t provoke”)? Right, it’s Disney.

And if there was an 11th Commandment it could’ve read like this: Thou shalt not impede an on-going investigation, even if thy sandals hurt or the sheep & sand are driving you crazy. Tom Terrific destroyed his cell phone in the Deflategate audit. Not so terrific. Penalty fits the misdeed. Besides, real Pats fans aren’t losing sleep. They know Tom benefits from the extended R&R (18y).

.......Silver.11.21.14.K.Allison.wc.thmbThe dubious effort to remove Roger stands about as much chance of success as the Vikings’ new US Bank Stadium does of going the entire 2016-17 season without a glitch. Why make the lines simple and construction cool (outdoors) when you can complicate it and beg for problems? Ask the rich guy (Zygi Wilf).

One can’t really think a Commissioner should be treasured anyway, unless one has just ‘fallen off’ that proverbial ‘turnip truck,’ or favors an asylum, so to speak, one that’s run by the trustees (players).

As for the NBA Commissioner, the standard is gold, not Silver.

Ousting an owner in dementia (Sterling) whose babble is secretly taped in-home and moving an All Star game that pulls in about as many viewers as Lone Ranger re-runs from a State whose political majority has gone “extreme,” well, those aren’t exactly tough calls. Add in what appears a lack of concern over the dicey co-mingle of sport & gambling and you’ve got nearly no standard at all.

Back to Roger.

They don’t pay the man enough. Big money must be great ($40M) but you can’t take it with you. Oxidative stress is America’s #1 health concern.

Other jobs are stressful but even the President of the United States, with all the important hats the Chief Executive must wear, does not suffer the vilification from press and army of anonymous trolls as does this Commissioner.

But Raja’s got some backers:

......Nooyi.wc.1.23.8.thm.Davos.WEF1) Owners: Roger’s been so good for the Big Wheels, growing buyers & revenue sources, that he’s moved into Rozelle territory, the man who made the NFL America’s #2 religion and the only one showing a growth spurt;

2) Fans: Put aside grudge-holders (NE, NO, etc.) and online nasty-boys and 9 of 10 fans (all genders) are practically jumping outta’ their skin for September kickoff. That’s called customer satisfaction;

3) Sponsors: Their resilience in face of anti-Redskins flash-mob has been nothing short of amazing. Usually as skittish as a major sportswriter, the Suits & Skirts (Indra Nooyi (PepsiCo)) have backed Dan & Roger to the goal-line, show no sign of buckling and have absolutely no interest in validating a racist logo.

And the players, their opinion on Goodell will turn on who asks the question, how it’s framed, respondent’s length of NFL tenure and assurance of anonymity.

NFLPA members are naturally suspicious of those sitting across the table in CBA negotiation. But they’re no dummies and make their choices, i.e., assumption of risk (concussion) for big benefits incurred. Most appreciate the challenges RG faces in his many duties, including DD greeter and disciplinarian who must enforce rules to ensure NFL viability and their own job success as rosterees.

The red-dog tactic will not take down Roger Goodell. He’s got a stout offensive line and even with a furious on-rush he won’t rabbit. No run-QB, Goodell’s a mobile-manager who matriculates with the best of ‘em and likely will remain under center, suffering the “slings and arrows” of a petulant and perfidious press as long as he enjoys suiting up for the action.

......NFL-symbol.wikiproject.6kbSteven Keys
NFL HunchLine
Photo Credit: R.Goodell, wc.cca, 8.30.12, SSG-T.Wade, USMA; Clifford-RedDog, wc.cca, 4.1.6, DoD; P.Manning, USO-USMC, wc.cca, 3.1.13, Sgt-B.Peterson; package, emojione-project, wc.cca, 12.21.15; Clifford-RedDog, WH-L.Bush, 4.9.7, S.Craighead; A.Silver, wc.cca, 11.21.14, K.Allison; I.Nooyi, wc.cca, PepsiCo, 1.23.8, Davos, WEF; NFL-Wikiproject.
Posted: 8.1.16 @ 10:53am, edit @ 4:45 EST; Copyright © 2016

NFL16: Draft Dogs & Ponies, Number Nomens and Write-In Roger Goodell

2 May

Nobody primes the pump like the NFL. Even in their off-season they’re on.

Concussion reports, Redskins wrangle, TMZ video drops (Rice), bad boys running amok (“Johnny Trouble”), grudge-holder grumble (Brees) or having your Face (Brady) suffer blemish of discipline (Deflategate), none of it seems to throw the National Football League off its stride.

The League’s bottom-line, top-line and everything in between grows like their assets swim in a pool of Miracle-Gro®.

Behold, NFL Draft16 (April 28 – 30). And note the capital ‘D.’ A big Deal.

First held in Philadelphia in 1936 as a conception of Bert Bell to level the playing field and keep the League fiscally fit, Eagles selected University of Chicago inaugural Heisman winner Jay Berwanger as the first #1 (Never signed with NFL and only 28 of 81 draftees did (Wikipedia)). In decades that followed, the serious football fan would tune into radio, read the hometown daily and then take in their local TV sportscaster who’d list off the names of the new hopefuls.

When draft-day took to cable in the 1980s on Disney (ESPN) it kicked-off in AM and telecast tailed-off soon thereafter. Most followers had a clue on their team’s roster needs and put their trust in their team’s selection. That trust is, for the most part, still afforded but the presentation has, in the words of former Rams / Cowboys’ executive Gil Brandt, succumbed to a clear “overkill” in shill.

......Goodell.8.30.12.wc.thmb.SSG.T.Wade.USMAToday the Draft is a full-fledged showcase that’s gone primetime on TV, internet and anywhere else sports information gets powerized.

But draft watching is not for every football fan.

Teams must replenish inventory but the valuation of selectees is too amorphous, hazy to vest heavily. But then the whole dog & pony show, from pre- (mock), to DD to post-party analysis seems mired in minutiae, i.e., bores the bejeebers.

One thing I’d like to see in post-draft coverage is that first moxified draftee who negotiates to have his planned digit displayed on his first team jersey, rather than that trite #1. ‘Make me happy, have it ready, Dude.’ If I missed it, kudos.

That upwards of 60% of 1Rs (up it by 5-10% for each next Rd) will have only marginal or zero impact on the NFL operation is a fact not lost on most fans whose curiosity peaks when all’s done and they peruse their own team’s post-draft tally to discover what the Suits & Staffers needed in roster-fill.

Celebrity-watch and fantasy fulfillment will bring in most of the draft viewership. Affirmation by association. Conformity never had it so good.

Even so, nationally unknown Big Men on Campus donning caps & gowns to graduate to their Big Payday (on the cusp, anyway) juxtaposed against the Big Cufflink Roger is harmonious enough but hardly the stuff of “must see TV” for the core element, i.e., fans of ‘tumultuous merriment (sport).’

As long as target-markets in kids, fantasy gamblers and host-City businesses keep cheering the Draft presentation the League can dial-out the static and will keep coming in loud & clear throughout the 50 and beyond (See; London, etc.).

And as the boredom red-lines for those who’d rather watch on-field matriculation than draft day speculation, the event pulls in respectable ratings. Credit NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for much of the show’s success, the whole blooming NFL gestalt, for that matter.

Hoopla and worker-mgmt ménage never resonated with such ♫ harmonious ♫ notes as it does on Draft nite. It’s a win-win for the NFL and getting winner by the year, though, the Nike deal is looking a gobbler (‘These Colors Run’). Goodell carries it off like a pro, better than the 2016 Presidential candidates.

.......NFL.Draft.4.22.10.RCMH.NY.M.O'Leary.thmWavering between maverick and loose-cannon, Mr. Trump exudes arrogance, tapping into voter frustration to further a mission-in-greed while Ms. Clinton cuts many of the same deals with corporations, captured by her own extreme element and jumps any PC Bandwagon rolling by, having made nary a peep about Redskins’ moniker pre-2012 (Nike NFL) in all those years residing in our nation’s capital, DC.

Both leaders could take a lesson in tactic & temper from gridiron Goodell.

Case in point, 2d Circuit’s recent reinstatement of NFL imposed penalty on Tom Brady and his Patriots for their actions in the Deflategate matter, overturning the trial District Court’s prior voidance of the 4-game susp’n and draft pick ding.

If 2d Circuit remains the ruling, Roger wins the legal battle and looks a leader who enforces the law (rules) showing no favorites, even when the offender (Brady) is practically a League logo. If NFL had lost the appeal or Team Brady miraculously gets a reversal (SC), Roger would still win as that result would’ve been good for business yet he’d have given it his best effort: Due diligence.

After ethical grounding, if there’s one character trait a Commissioner, a President, a leader must manifest it is strength, and the wisdom, the heart to exercise it when necessary, regardless of popularity polls. And that’s the lesson.

Though he came under heavy fire during the Rice – Palmer matter, some of it justified for the extremes in penalty imposition, some of it false for its hypocrisy, i.e., his critics variance in reactions to the videos, one wonders with the dearth of top-quality Prez prospects, a void that makes NFL’s sorry signal-caller state seem just so much over-inflated fodder (no pun), whether Goodell may one day throw his own hat into the political ring for the Commander-in-Chief job?

Roger was raised in politics, his father Charles Goodell (1926-87) serving four terms in Congress from the State of New York, leaving that office to fill the vacancy created when Robert Kennedy was assassinated on June 6th, 1968, having been appointed by Governor Nelson Rockefeller to fulfill the term (1971). Like Rocky, Charles was one of the last liberal Republicans in Nixon era and lost his bid to keep the Senate seat when the liberal vote was split in benefit to conservative James Buckley (Wikipedia).

........Goodell.Swann.Craig.Elway.Petraeus.wc.SS.B.Lail.thm.2.1.9The Commissioner is a registered GOP‘er. His stands on abortion, immigration, taxes, economics, jobs & energy, the latter two still suffering the pseudo-silent treatment from the candidates, are unknown to this writer. Whatever position he plays on issues there’s one vote he should count on: DeMaurice Smith (NFLPA).

It’s because of that apparent ability to reach across the aisle to one’s adversary, coupled with the opposite ability to find the strength to sometimes do the necessary but unpopular deed, that Mr. Smith’s support for a theoretical future Goodell candidacy might be reasonably inferred.

No background will fully prepare one for the many difficult duties and mental – physical challenges that the U.S. Presidency presents to its holder day in, day out for at least four years. Too often critical of their performance, when we’re separated from our own self-interests it’s easier to understand the toll that the job takes on the White House occupants (See: Hair-color change).

If any job will provide smidgens of similarity in experience it might be Commissioner of the biggest game in town, the NFL. In peace-time, the major media attention the post and its subject territory (League) receives, and then the often thankless nature of the job where success can be measured by the critics you create, are both states President Obama understands all too well.

To trade-in a $40M a year job to try to become the biggest quarterback on the planet (Chief Executive), a job heavy with headaches and so small pay it’s practically a volunteer position, seems unlikely. But that’s just what might make Roger Goodell well suited to the White House.

Careful what you wish for, Don. Once you’re in this there‘s no walking away.

......NFL-symbol.wikiproject.6kbSteven Keys
NFL HunchLine
Photo credit: R.Goodell, wc, 2.1.9, Sgt.B.Lail; Goodell, wc, 8.30.12, Sgt.T.Wade, USMA; NFL-Draft, wc.cca, 4.22.10, RCMH-NYC, M.O’Leary; Goodell, 7.10.8, wc, Sgt.B.DelVecchio; Afghan; NFL-symbol, wikiproject.
Posted: 5.2.16 @ 3:11pm, edit 5:47 EST; Copyright © 2016

Inking Kaep Krusader & RG3: ‘Strange Destiny’ or ‘Experiment(s) Perilous?’

6 Apr

It’s a strange destiny that has brought me to this new life, a new home (“Ben-Hur (C.Heston)” speaking to a gathering in celebration at the house of his adopted father Counsel “Quintus Arrius (J.Hawkins) (Ben-Hur (‘59))”).

Or…

Life is short, art long, decision difficult and experiment perilous (Hippocrates & “N. Bederaux (Lukas)” in movie by the same phrase (Experiment Perilous (44)).”

Rome would prove a strange place for “Judah” to call home.

Formerly enslaved on a charge of attempted murder upon the Governor (his jailed sister “Tirzah” the true culprit) then freed for saving the life of an Admiral (“Quintus Arrius”), the City was capital of the vast Italian empire and base for the army which occupied his own land of Judea.

Likewise, the Forest City on the banks of Lake Erie, even with it’s industrious people who ♫ rock ♫ the cradle in the State that theoretically gave birth to pro football (See; Canton, AAFC, NFL, etc.), could not have been where Bob Griffin even imagined a residence 4 years back when his newborn NFL career took it’s first baby steps in our own nation’s capital, DC.

I’m the metaphor guy, what can I say?

.....RG3.Baylor.8.15.9.wc.Caesarscott.thmBut like the charmed chariot racer and Christian convert “Ben-Hur,” Cleveland’s newest add-on at the quarterback spot in the former Heisman hoister and Redskins’ hopeful (2y, $15M), Rob too may find his new home provides the place where he can re-charge his battery to power a similar rebirth in spirit and success, sans any grizzly bone-crushing horse-trample (See: “Messala (S.Boyd)”). Ouch!

The Brownies and their Super Bowl starved fans sure hope so. It’s been a downhill ride ever since Bernie Kosar (‘92) and then the original team left town for the Crab Cake City in 1995.

What may be more surprising than where Bob has ended up is how last season played-out in DC, or more correctly, didn’t play-out for Washington’s former starter as he didn’t take nary a snap in Redskins regular slate.

After starting summer camp fit & ready to re-prove himself (All-Pro ‘12), Bob got concussed in a pre-season contest where Detroit coach Jim Caldwell apparently had his felines go full-tilt and Bob got his bell rung hard. The Sporting Gods were not all too pleased with Lions’ decision-making and as they will often do sent bad karma the offender’s way in-season (1-7 start, W13 L-GB, Calvin exit, etc.).

.....Cousins.7.31.12.wc.cca.K.Allison.thumbThat’s all it took for coach Jay Gruden to insert the man who’d prove to be the season long #1 in Kirk Cousins who made most of his opportunity by leading ‘Skins to a 9-7 mark, NFC East title, playoff birth and Fatty Arbuckle-wide stats.

So girthy were the digits (70C%, 29t-11, 4166y) that KC & Agency have been engaged in an off-season duel of contract-swords with owner Dan Snyder over how much coin the new franchise face will collect. Corked tips, of course, nobody wants blood.

Considering that Kirk played for relatively (pro) peanuts his first 4 years ($2.5M) and that we’re presently and likely to remain in a seller’s market for pro-style NFL signal-callers for some time, the man from Holland, Michigan who’s set to turn 28 in August should get a princely sum.

Ask Bob about Kirk’s situation and he’d likely not begrudge his former ‘mate the moolah and the same opportunity to succeed as he received in 2012-13 when hope was springing eternal for the former Baylor Bear.

.....Manziel.8.2.14.ED.Drost.wc.thmb.headThe Browns signed the now well-rested if a bit rusty RG3 to a widening QB klatch in Cleveland that no longer includes Jon Manziel who unfortunately probably disdains the java brew, benefits & all.

So where does Robert stand (sit) in the depth chart?

Checking in with Ourlads.com “NFL scouting services,” Bob sits at #2 behind last season’s early starter Josh McCown (1-7, 64C%, 12t-4i) and ahead of Austin Davis (0-2, 59.6C%), Connor Shaw and Pat Devlin. Johnny ‘Uh-Oh’ Manziel (2-4, 57.8C%, 7-5) was released in March, maybe on his Tebow-esque techniques (2-4, 57.8C%, 7t-5, 37ra-230), sans the wins, but more likely on as his juvenile and addictive mental states.

Josh is bit toothy, set to turn 37 in July and has not made the most of his chances in five stops (18-39, 59.5C%, 73t-63i) AZ, OAK, CHI, TB, CLE). But he’s always had good size (6’4), mechanics and must be saying the right things because coaches keep giving him a shot. In his defense, the teams he’s led have been short on top talent. Cleveland in 2016 is not much different.

All that means Bob has a good chance of becoming Browns 20th (+/-) starting QB (10 HCs) since post-Kosar. On opposite end of success spectrum, Packers have had just two, Favre and Rodgers (Flynn 6gs). But that’s anomaly cheese.

.....Jackson.8.12.8.wc.K.Allison.thmWhether or not Bob earns the starter’s job in autumn, and I’m confident Browns’ brass expressed it as such and Griffin agreed, it will likely come eventually. Whomever gets the nod in September the pressure to win will be high at FirstEnergy Stadium, as unrealistic an expectation as that my be with the current roster.

The Browns have more holes than a nightshirt come April (I’ll be damned if I can’t find a pair of quality long-johns anywhere at any price anymore) and first year head coach Hue Jackson will have his hands full.

Hue will need to utilize every bit of offensive know-how in strategy and development to get the Brownies scoring game in gear. In 2015 Cleveland ranked 25th in ygpg (331.9), just two spots behind the QB-set Packers (#23 / 334) and 30th in ppg (17.4), topping the terrible Cowboys (17.2) and 49ers (14.9). Browns didn’t fare much better on the D-side where returning DC Ray Horton will be expected to shore things up (CLE ‘13 (TN ‘14-15)), coming in at 27 (379 / yapg) and 29 (27 papg) in the key components.

Will Cleveland draft a QB in May? Best guess, no, late Rd possible, of course. Instead expect them to plug top picks elsewhere, especially that the collegiate QB talent pool’s been rated shallow this time around. Rated, not necessarily reality.

If & when Bob does happen to win the starter’s job, big question on most minds will be what style of quarterbacking will he and his coaches implement?

.....RG3.LBoyd.MGreen.USMC-NY.wc.4.26.12.thmWill he work in the office, behind the line of scrimmage, refine his read skills and learn to love the pocket or will he go back on the road and revert to the run mode that served him well at Baylor and his rookie campaign when he scampered for 800+ and led Redskins to 10-6?

Wise answer: The former, no matter the learning curve. His knee can’t handle the latter, not for long, anyway.

The prediction: Something in-between, a half-measure which’ll prove impotent. But life’s full of surprises and maybe Hue has one or two up his sleeve.

Old dogs, new tricks

Bob’s still fairly young in NFL terms (26) but like Shane (A.Ladd) said, “Man has to be what he is, can’t break the mold…the brand sticks.” That’s a high drama and flowed from a situation much hairier than Bob’s, but it does hold true most often for mature athletes, as well.

Once a flash-QB, always a flash QB.

There’s a stubbornness, an arrogance-in-athleticism, fed by the occasional burst of brilliance or playoff run, that will likely inhibit the conversion from run-under-pressure to cool-as-cucumber in the pocket. Those hunker skills are honed over time, a process starting in Jr. High when you learn to brave the first hard hits and fight natural instinct to rabbit. It’s a long, painful, educational process, not something you just pick-up spending a few extra hours in the film room on Wednesday before your next shoe-wear photo-shoot. Only those dedicated to the switch will survive and thrive. Maybe that’s Bob.

.....Kaep.2.3.13.wc.cca.Au.Kirk.thumbAnd it’s why Denver might be wiser to take a pass on the Colin Kaepernick deal, Super defense aside. But then maybe finding, fashioning that elusive good fit ain’t exactly keeping John Elway awake at nights anyway, feeling his oats & all after piecing together a team that made one of the best championship runs in NFL annals.

After letting Peyton retire (showing him the door?), arguably greatest QB in history, one I believe wanted to be ‘wanted back’ for one more, hopefully healthy and celebratory season in Broncos blue & orange (It’s just not the same on the links), and then parting ways with a ready-man starter in Brock Osweiler who should’ve been reminded that he will not be passing to J.J. Watt in Houston colors, the Mustangs seem…content.

Denver’s defense has Kaep Krusader déjà vu-ing “all over again (SF 2012-14).” And he’s got some call to feel cocky: He’s been there before (two NFCCs (SB47)), is not careless with the ball (brass love that) and he’s presently shopping his services in a seller’s market for established QBs.

But while Kaepernick will do his best to bust through brick walls, he’s so cautious, slow-to-read routes he won’t easily thread-the-needle (59-C%), is dealing with the #2 franchise in negotiation wherewithal (GB #1) and tenses-up in the red-zone (See; SB47 & NFCC14). Guy’s still a project of sorts and then not exactly made from the Denver Broncos‘ mold of quarterbacking.

Broncos clearly have the edge here, budget or not. Kaep & Co. are well advised to give some ($) now to make the deal, then make it up later, if he can win over the guys in the locker-room who already got their rings (SB50). Keep in mind new Denver QB in Mark Sanchez has guided teams to Conference games himself (Jets), though, like Colin (10-14 post-NFCC14), has looked more like a caretaker-QB (PHI 4-6) than a take-care-of-business field general (See: Patton).

What’s more, the run-around routine won’t often catch Ds off guard anymore.

.....Newton.2011.wc.thm.Pantherfan11Sure, their ‘athleticism’ will see they break off a 80-yarder now & then (See: Mariota), and it’s most successful adherent to date in Cam Newton did lead Carolina to only their 2d Super Bowl (50) last February, garnering the MVP in the process.

But Carolina got thumped like San Fran (SB47), before the lights went out.

Camster-the-Hamster is a special player. His size (6’6”) and not yet fully unrealized pass potential will extend his tenure beyond most (See; Young, Vick, Tebow, Manziel), that is if his ACLs can take the add’l tackles to which run-QB subjects himself. And like other flash-men, Sir-Runs-Alot is plagued by the same foible: Red zone funk: An indecisiveness wherever advanced reading skill is required (SB50). A deficiency Elway and Jackson may compensate but never overcome: Old dogs, new tricks.

And it’s why a setting like Cleveland is a good fit for RG3.

If Browns’ front-office can muster the patience, a rare virtù these days in any operation, a mindset that allows Bob to develop his own patience in the pocket, and then fashion an O-line that can protect (53sk 2015), find a pair or two of go-to hands that can assist and a ground-man who “run(s) to daylight (See; NFL Draft.16),” this “experiment” can be less “perilous” and more profitable for the history-laden franchise on the lake.

.....macroecono.lamcasinoroyal.2011.wcSteven Keys
MacroSport
Photo credit: Ben-Hur, Berti-Heston, MGM, 1959, wc; R.Griffin, wc, 8.15.9, Caesarscott; K.Cousins, wc, 7.31.12, K.Allison; J.Manziel, 8.2.14, ED.Drost, wc; H.Jackson, wc, K.Allison, 8.12.8; RG3-Lboyd-Mgreen, wc, USMC-NY, 4.26.12; C.Kaepernick, wc, 2.3.13, Au.Kirk; C.Newton, wc, Pantherfan11, 2011; macroecono, lamcasinoroyal, wc-11;
Posted: 4.6.16 @ 3:05pm EST; Copyright © 2016

NFL16 Wild Cherry Picks: Veni, Vidi, Vici

8 Jan

‘I came, I saw, I conquered’

The NFL playoffs.

They mark a new beginning in the championship campaign of conquest, a whole new season, in fact (0-0), and you could even say afford an extension of the holiday season if your team happens to get its ticket punched.

....winter.wood.2007.wc.NinoBarbieri.thmIt’s when the crème de la crème get mettle tested by the fiercest foes and not infrequently the worst weather Mother Nature can doll out (See; SEA @ MIN (-0°?)).

For the player, his body tells him it’s time to settle for winter, catch up on sleep, reacquaint w/friends & family, read the mail, walk the dog, anything but more football. But the contract, bills to be paid and desire to be the best drive him onward in hopes of greater glory.

Which team can prove Julius Caesar, conqueror of the vast playoff landscape of combatants that lay ahead?

Some teams clearly have a leg up on the competition in weaponry, positioning and the art of field tactics & technique.

....RomanLegion.wc.StoriadItalia.1979.Mainz.tmHome-field and 1st-Rd byes, deserved as it they are, give a decided advantage. And while all 12 invitees are endowed with the spirit and physical skills to take the VLT (Vince Lombardi trophy), only a handful are cloaked in that garb of destiny.

Panthers at 15-1 and bye-ing time to polish their armaments and fine-tune strategy look best suited to wear the victor‘s laurel. But their lack of battlefield experience (1-2 Rivera – Newton – Kuechly) and atypical command tactic (Camster-the-Hamster (run-QB)) makes them a questionable conqueror.

In Mark Antony fashion, Seattle sent strong message to Arizona (36-6) that they are not ready to relinquish their tight hold on National Conference supremacy.

And Caesar Augustus that rules from New England always shapes the map.

Roll Call

Patriots: Coach (Bill), player (Tom) and sports success story of 2015, injuries all around are taking heavy toll on the Empire as the ranks are in depletion.

Seahawks: The thumping they gave rival & riser AZ, run-game modifications that work and 3-year playoff prowess all make them NFC’s team-to-beat;

....Rodgers.wc.cca.M.Morbeck.08.thumbPackers: Early loss of catch-machine Nelson was either underestimated or has proven a too frustrating fill-in. Mobility & quick-release are Rodgers’ keys.

Broncos: Pey-Dirt’s back in the saddle and will be given ample opportunity to work off rust and find the end-zone;

Steelers: Trademark Steelers D must’ve run afoul of Patent Office politics and been revoked because it’s been lesser in 2015 (#21 / 11). And with Williams hobbled, Big Ben must, as he often does, carry offensive load;

Panthers: Cats are 1-2 in recent PS and have not faced the toughest of slates. Keeping Cam pocket poised or letting him rabbit-at-will is Rivera’s big call.

Chiefs: Like Cats, another so-so slate but KC too balances like a top (O/D) and QB Smith looks for his first Super (10y) after 2012’s chance slipped away (SF).

....Dalton.wc.emeybee.9.17.13.thmBengals: The monkey on Cincy’s back is so big (PS 0-5 Lewis) it could buckle their collective knees if they fall behind in early going but this year’s squad has a cool confidence and determination that bodes well.

Vikings: “Baby It’s Cold Outside (Loesser)” is theme in Land of 10.000 (frozen) Lakes. Good thing it’s a 1:00 start. Will Peterson’s back injury warm and can 2y-QB Teddy move-the-chains and forge TDs to match a potent ‘Hawks offense?

Redskins: NFC Cinderella favorite for NFL’ers who appreciate commercial art and history (See; logo). Run-game quirky but hosting befuddled GB a blessing.

Texans: AFC’s underdog favorite for having turned injury-lemons into lemonade. Coach O’Brien, JJ Watt and their QB crew now seek February champagne.

Cardinals: Were on the march until Seahawks stymied. Bruce Arians is not one to panic nor placate his troops so expect a donnybrook in divisional.

....cherries.B.Kua.wc.cca.thumb.6.1.08

Wild Cherry Picks 2016

Chiefs (11-5) @ Texans (9-7): 1.9 ESPN 4:35: KC wins
Steelers (10-6) @ Bengals (12-4): CBS 8:15: Cincy wins
Seattle (10-6) @ Vikes (11-5): 1.10 NBC 1:05: Hawks win
Pack (10-6) @ ‘Skins (9-7): Fox 4:40: Green Bay wins

Record: 97 – 98

Steven Keys
NFL HunchLine
Photo credit: Julius.Caesar, wc.cca, AV.Domaszewski, 1914; winter.wood, wc, Nino.Barbieri, 07; RomanLegion, StoriadItalia, 1979, wc, Mainz; Packers.cheer, wc, M.Morbeck, 9.26.10: A.Rodgers, wc, 2008, M.Morbeck; A.Dalton, wc, 9.17.13, emeybee; cherries, B.Kua, wc, 6.1.8; NFL-symbol, wikiproject
Posted: 1.8.16 @ 3:06pm EST; Copyright © 2016

NFL15 Minute Waltz: “Gang-Way!”

14 Dec

Look Alive!

It’s what sets hearts aglow and spirits a rockin’ more than any other holiday treat.

.....QuietMan.wc.Republic.1952.thmThe lights, they’re terrific. Strung on the Christmas tree, draped on shrubbery or the candled menorah, the glimmer & glow is a joyous sight to behold.

Religious ceremony and family bonding, be it Christian, Jewish, Muslim or Hindu (Ganesha) during this time of year is a central component to the lives of 100s of millions around the globe.

The buying & gifting habit, like the succulent & savory holiday foods & drinks we ingest with glee, has spread worldwide as it were an army of missionaries or political ideologues spreading the word. “Hail, (consumerocracy)!”

But it’s the holiday music, pop and religious chart-busters, which imbue us with the spirit of the season like nothing else can. Everyone has their favorites and everyone, it seems, has gotten into the act, be it bands, solos or symphonies.

......Crosby.wc.RoadtoSingapore.1940.thmThere’s Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, Percy Faith and his orchestra, Lena Horne, Burl Ives, Eartha Kitt, Johnny Mathis, Andy Williams, Doris Day, Peggy Lee, Dean Martin, Elvis Presley, John Lennon, Rod Stewart, The Chipmunks and even super actress Angela Lansbury joined the fun.

Some of my topper tunes:  Jingle Bell Rock (Beal & Boothe)), Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas (Martin & Blaine), Winter Wonderland (Bernard & Smith), and sound-tracks to both TV specials Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (Marks & Laws ‘64) and A Charlie Brown Christmas (Guaraldi ‘65) : Toe-tappers and heart-string tuggers.

And every year there are a handful of holiday songs selected from the hundreds of choices by corporate programmers that, for whatever reason is a mystery to the listening public, come on like gang-busters.

...NFL-symbol.wikiproject.6kbIn Holiday 2015 it’s Toyland (Herbert & Brumer), I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm (Berlin) and Marshmallow World (Sigman & DeRose) that’re getting the super spins and charging hard into our hearts.

NFL’s no different.

These teams are definitely on the holiday hop, pushing through the crowded field of contenders and shouting, ‘outta’ the way, we’re coming through!’ And are they ever, for now. Remember, this is 2015, where nothing is as it appears.

Fans had their backs turned on these teams and for good reason.

Some started slow as molasses but then warmed up to find their groove, others jumped out of the blocks, fell behind but have now found their second wind and are pushing through to the front.

New York Jets

.....Jets.11.17.68.Heidi.HoF.wc.thmAn early pace-setter (4-1), Jets lost steam (1-4) with their W7 trip to Foxborough (L 23-30) but got it back (3-0 (O: #9 / 10; D: 5 / 9) and will be tested with their final three (@ DAL, NE, @ BUF) as they battle PIT and KC for the wild card.

Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers are the rollercoaster in 2015: Lose a few, win a few and so on. Consistent in being inconsistent. But more recently they’ve been riding upward (4-1 (O: #2 / 5; D: 23 / 10)), besting rival Cincy as Dalton went down with a good remaining slate (DEN, @ BAL, @ CVD).

Seattle Seahawks

......Wilson.wc.12.29.13.L.Maurer.thmbLooking now like the Super Bowl Seahawks we’ve come to know the past few years after starting similarly to the Steelers (up & down), this is a team nobody wants to face come January (O: #5 / 6; D: 2 / 3). It’s the Carroll-ing time of year.

Kansas City Chiefs

Chiefs are clear front-runners for this season’s bipolar-award winner: The lows are lowly (1-5), the highs are simply splendid (7-0). When all-purpose RB Jamaal Charles went out (W5 – ACL), all looked gloomy. But one door closes, another opens up and it’s leading the Kansans to a land of opportunity with slightly favorable schedule.

.....Cousins.7.31.12.wc.cca.K.Allison.thumbWashington Redskins: 6-7: Have gone 3-3 the last six which is actually a good rate for the NFC East in 2015
Philadelphia Eagles: 6-7: Coach Kelly was getting cat-calls but Philly’s 2-0 since, making Chip chipper
Oakland Raiders: 6-7: Recent road win @ Titans and Denver are keeping them in the AFC playoff hunt
New York Giants: 5-7; This was posted pre-MNF and I’ve tabbed Miami, but I’m all wet in 2015

Steven Keys
Macro Sport
Photo credit: NY.Jets.plane, wc.cca, aeroprints, 6.27.14; TheQuietMan, 1952, Republic, wc; B.Crosby, RoadToSingapore, 1940, wc; NFL-symbol, wikiproject; NY.Jets, 11.16.68, HoF, Heidi.game.program, wc; R.Wilson, 12.29.13, L.Maurer, wc; K.Cousins, 7.31.12, wc, K.Allison; macroecono, lamcasinoroyal, 2011, wc.cca;
Posted: 12.14.15 @ 1:45pm EST; Copyright © 2015