bobby the gook season 3, week 8

i know that the last two posts have been shitty, but like i said, life's been busy. i feel like i have a lot to say about the state of some teams today, so hopefully that'll kinda make up for it. i've gone back and figured out all of the records for fredo and i for the last two weeks and this is what we look like today. i'm 45-50-6 (.446) and fredo is 56-37-6 (.554). money wise, i lost 150 and then another 70 so i'm now at $1238 (-$192 on the year) and fredo lost 100 the first week for not making bets and then won 10 bucks last week thanks to a three team parlay. that puts him at $1330(-$100 on the year).i really don't know what to do about erik, so i just may disqualify him from the whole deal. erik needs to give me a good reason to keep keeping track of our side show. anyways, let's get on with it. home team in caps and numbers from caesar's.

TEN (-3) over hou (o/u - 41.5)
did anyone see the texans coming out and puttin' a whuppin' on the jags? i guess i should just say that is just how we texans do. not really, since i hate that team. however, i do like alot about the texans offense. especially the way andre johnson and david carr are playing with such inferior talent surrounding them. that defense, with your number #1 overall pick however, is still pretty bad and i can see them not really knowing how to contain the young/henry rushing express. plus tennessee is coming off the bye at home. i like the over a whole freaking lot here people.

PHI (-7) over jax (o/u - 40.5)
not that i am closing the book on the jags chances of making some noise in the playoffs, but if they lose this one, then the season is over for them. as for philly, the last time they got beat in a bad way (to the giants a few weeks ago), they responded with a good win against a quality opponent. i don't see anything different about this situation, and especially since they're at home, this seems like an easy pick. so i guess i am saying that the jags season is basically over.

CIN (-4) over atl (o/u - 44)
does anyone think that the NFL is not a better place with chad johnson running his mouth during the week? didn't think so. i know that michael vick had a "breakout" performance last week, but it seems to me that he has one of those every 4-5 games and then proceeds to spare everyone to death for a few weeks more. i want to...nay, i need to see that touchdown dance from CJ. it would also do my fantasy team some good as well.

NYG (+9.5) over tam (o/u - 40)
it's not that i think that the giants are any good. it's just that the gradkowski kid is going to a relatively tough place to play and as we all know, we shouldn't take crappy qbs on the road. the giants success this year completely maddens me by the way. i just don't see how they're going to keep this up.

sfo (+16) over CHI (o/u - 42)
admittedly, i don't like this pick a whole lot. the truly great teams always respond after lackluster performances, and i suppose that is entirely possible with the bears defense going against a bad team at home, but that's just a whole lot of points for a team that can move the ball pretty well.

ari (+3) over GB (o/u - 44.5)
the cards may have blown a game in an epic way against the bears two weeks ago, but they did cover the spread. i know that they're a mess, but i think that leinart can pull it together for his first win against a crappy team.

KC (pk) over sea (o/u - 38.5)
this one is off the board for some reason, so i'm just going to go with a pick 'em. do you like seneca wallace on the road? i don't either.

NO (-2) over bal (o/u - 37)
i'm beginning to think that there is some credence to the NFL conspiracy that won't let the saints lose at home.

SD (-10) over stl (o/u - 45.5)
just think, if someone not named marty shottenheimer were the coach of the chargers, they might be undefeated right now. the rams are a frisky team who will be challenging to pick against the spread for the rest of the way, but i just can't see the LT not having an epic day after last week's loss. like i said, the truly good teams always bounce back after tough losses and lackluster performances.

pit (-9) over OAK (o/u - 38.5)
the corollary to the truly good team theory is that truly bad teams always revert back to form after overperforming. granted, beating a cards team that was still a little bit on the ropes from a historic loss isn't exactly overperforming, but still they're the worst team in the league. however, i should say that i think that the steelers season is over. i'm starting to think that big ben should change his number to #13. he's supposed to start, but if i were the steelers, i'd make up some frak injury and put him on injured reserve so that he can work on getting his mojo back.

CLE (-2) over nyj (o/u - 37)
either there's some kind of injury for the jets that i'm unaware of or this is a trap. in either case, i don't want to be on the wrong end of this one.

ind (+3) over DEN (o/u - 39.5)
i must be crazy to take the colts against a possibly historic defense. but i just really can't buy that the broncos defense is going to be one of the great scoring defenses of all time when the only person who i think is really that good is champ baily. plus the broncos starting left guard matt lepsis is out which means dwight freeny has a carpool lane to captain kickass, jake the snake. pressure + plummer = lots of ints. one more thing: why oh why is joseph addai not starting yet? anyone who's watching can see that he's ten times better than dominic rhodes.

CAR (-5.5) over dal (o/u - 41)
bill simmons has this thing where he says take the panthers on the road and take the points at home which seems like a good theory, however, let's dissect the dallas cowboys situation a little shall we. last week, when parcells made the call and finally put romo in for bledsoe, i started to panic a little. the only conceivable way for this to work out is if romo threw 3 touchdowns and led the cowboys to an amazing victory. instead he crapped his pants and looked just terrible. i know it looked like the cowboys could move the ball a little better, but the important thing to take away from that loss is that romo is in no way ready to lead a team to the playoffs. in fact after the second int, i muttered to my roommate, "hell just put bledsoe in, it doesn't really matter anymore". this week, i imagine that there has been sports radio chaos. sports radio chaos is when there is a topic that is so polarizing and demoralizing to talk about for the sports radio shows that it drains the life out of all listeners. there is non stop second guessing of parcells, of jerry jones, and everything. the only thing that everyone can agree on is that the offensive line is terrible. no good can come out of sports radio chaos. parcells has started thinking about life after the cowboys and jerry is just fine with that since parcells hasn't done jack shit since his first season here. like i said before, the only possible way that romo was going to work was if he was tom brady and i think it's safe to say that he's no tom brady. i've been in a bad mood all week because of this: the cowboys season is over and they lose out to any team worth a damn the rest of the way. julius peppers is going to eat tony romo's spleen on sunday. bledsoe will probably end up having to come back in. do you see what i mean when i say that no good can come out of this situation?

before we get to the monday night game, let's talk a little bit about terell owens. fredo brought up the point that no matter what terell owens does on the sideline he's screwed. football is an emotional game and any number of players can be seen moving their hands excitedly while talking during the game. but according to all media, when terell owens does it, he's screaming. fredo brought up that this is actually somewhat racist, since if it were a white dude, he'd be praised for trying to fire up his team. even worse, if terell owens is sitting on the bench, not doing anything waiting to go back in, he is described as sulking. i'm not saying terell owens is a saint or anything, but for whatever reason, the media hates him. what is really bizarre about this whole thing is that the only people he's screwed over are other teammates. media people should love him for making their lives easier, but you get blowhards like joe theismann who can't stand it non-white players don't shut up and dance, so they villify him. terell owens is no worse than he was in his first few years in san francisco. and for the media to cover like they are, it's a hatchet job, plain and simple.

ne (-2) over MIN (o/u - 38.5)
this is a really good number. the patriots run seems to be coming together. besides which seems more likely to you? john madden going on and on about how good brady is and how the patriots are football par excellence or is more likely to be singing the praises of vikings defense. i'll take tom brady thank you very much.

bonus bets
$50 - KC
$25 - PHI
$50 - Ten-Hou over

$10 underdog parlay - SFO/NYG/ARI
$5 wild ass parlay - ne/ten-hou over/no/car/ind/sd


bobby the gook season 3, week 7

sorry this is so late. and it's going to be short. i've been awful busy and i still haven't figured out what to do about fredo not getting his picks in last week. i'll sort that out later. there's twenty minutes before the morning games kick off so i'm just gonna do my picks real quick and we'll discuss some of these issues later. home team in caps.

i just did my picks and i realized that i'm taking mostly favorites on the road. that seems like stupid idea. so i'm changing most of them to home dogs.
KC (+5) over sd (o/u - 39.5)
jax (-9) over HOU (o/u - 39)
BUF (+6) over ne (o/u - 36.5)
ATL (+3) over pit (o/u - 38)
MIA (-6) over gb (o/u - 40.5)
phi (-6) over TAM (o/u - 43)
NYJ (-4) over det (o/u - 43.5)
car (+3) over CIN (o/u - 44.5)
CLE (+5) over den (o/u - 31.5)
IND (-8.5) over was (o/u - 48)
min (+6.5) over SEA (o/u - 41)
OAK (+3) over ari (o/u - 40)
DAL (-3) over nyg (o/u - 45)

50 bucks on the eagles
50 bucks on carolina
$10 parlay jax/ind-was under/phi
$10 parlay jax/phil/nyj/dal

here are fredo's bets
green bay

$50 SD (-5.5)
$10 car/ne/den


random quick hits

i am seriously turning into the worst blogger of all time. what can i say, i've got a PhD to earn. i think we all see the writing on the wall. i've got some serious thinking to do about a hiatus after football season ends. if you have any feedback, please leave me a comment and i will promptly ignore it. anyways, here are some things worth mentioning.

1) steve lyons hates mexicans. this happened a while ago, but one of fox's play by play guys got fired because of some racially insensitive comments he made. here's what went down according to the toronto star:
In the second inning of Friday's game between Detroit and Oakland, Piniella talked about the success light-hitting A's infielder Marco Scutaro had in the first round of the playoffs. Piniella said that slugger Frank Thomas and Eric Chavez needed to contribute, comparing Scutaro's production to finding a "wallet on Friday" and hoping it happened again the next week.

Later, Piniella said the A's needed Thomas to get "en fuego" - hot in Spanish - because he was currently "frio" - or cold. After Brennaman praised Piniella for being bilingual, Lyons spoke up.

Lyons said that Piniella was "hablaing Espanol" - butchering the conjugation for the word "to speak" - and added, "I still can't find my wallet."

"I don't understand him, and I don't want to sit too close to him now," Lyons continued.
to make things stranger, piniella has attempted to defend lyons, saying that the joke was misconstrued. i'm sure ian, our resident journalism correspondent will have something to say, but here's the deal. there is a good possibility that is was a misconstrued joke. and there's a good chance that lyons probably isn't a racist. however, in these times, how could you be so bad a broadcaster to say something like that. there are plenty of examples of borderline cases, but i feel that this exchange definitely goes beyond the cateogry of borderline. if you need to be funny then fine, be funny, but to say something like that right after brennaman got done praising piniella for being bilingual is just not something i think a good broadcaster can do.

the great part of all of this is that lyons was horrible anyways, so now we only have to deal with tim mccarver's banality and incoherence on fox. will someone at fox just pay 1 million dollars to tony gwynn or someone who can bring something to the table please?

in related news, lyons also works as a part time broadcaster for the dodgers, and in their infinite wisdom have decided to retain his services. and the dodgers' brass wonder why latinos in LA have turned on them in favor of the angels.

2) U2 is launching some kind of wacky internet scavenger hunt/publicity stunt. i hate to say it, but moves like this really make me think that U2's relevance is coming to an end. what really sucks is that i had a little faith after their appearance in the leonard cohen documentary, I'm Your Man (which is pretty great by the way), but this coupled with their horrible horrible, horrible...i can't stress horrible enough here people...collaboration with green day. a new single from their new album is due out in november, so let's hope that it's better than this crap.

3) giving credence to my roommate's theory that the sun never sets on phil collins, genesis is planning a reunion tour. which is actually something that i would be quite interested in seeing. however, my guess is that like all concerts, tickets will be unaffordable. i wonder if they'll be able to work in a prog-rock version of against all odds.

4) seriously, humans suck...

5) ...but sometimes sports don't. go tigers.


bobby the gook season 3, week 6

i'm still trying to get my head over this cory lidle thing. i mean seriously, cory lidle was the definition of mediocre athlete. 7 teams in 9 years. yet he dies in a horrific accident and the networks can't get enough of it. granted he spiced up the whole deal by crashing a plane into a building in the post 9/11 era, but i can't help but think that if he weren't a new york yankee, the media just wouldn't give a damn. anyways, it's just as well, as it was a slow week for our little game here. there were three pushes last week, which may not seem like a lot, but in terms of this game, where fredo and i only end up disagreeing on a handful of teams, it makes all the difference. both fredo and i went 6-5-3 last week. so if those three pushes are different by one point, either of us could have been 9-5 or 6-8. in any case, no ground made up for me, but on a positive note, fredo and i came in third this week in our local pool and won fifty bucks. good times. anyways, on the season, fredo is 44-26-5 (.587), while i am 34-36-5 (.453). erik beat us both (i can't explain it) and went 7-4-3. so in that matchup, erik is 28-24-5 (.491) and i'm 26-27-5 (.448).

fredo went really nuts in the vegas portion of the game and ended up pulling $250 out of his ass by wagering 300 bucks on the broncos at the last second, to not only get out of the red but also to win a bunch of money. this after three previous rounds of betting to make up for his poor initial bets. fredo made 1000 bucks worth of bets and only came out ok on his very last bet. which leads me to think that fredo is not taking this part very seriously, since we would never bet so much in order to try and get in the black. maybe we'd bet enough to break even, but we'd never ever bet 300 bucks on the monday night game right before we leave vegas. so i'm going to apply a new rule, a spending limit. we are limited to 200 bucks a week. to reiterate, we must wager at least 100 dollars, but no more than 200 dollars. if fredo wants to go crazy and bet on the sunday or monday night game, he can, but he can't go apeshit and try to make up with pretend money. anyways, i broke just plain even. so on the year, i've still got $1458 (+$28 on the year), while fredo is at 1670 (+240) on the year. i'll go ahead and let him keep his ill gotten gains from last week, but from now on, 200 bucks is the limit. anyways, let's get started on the picks, i've got a busy weekend ahead of me and i need to knock these out. as always, point spreads and over/unders from caesar's and home team in caps.

CORRECTION (10/13/06, 5:30PM) - i'm terrible at math apparently and fredo actually didn't make any money as he broke even as well. so that puts him at 1420(-$10) on the year. i also did some thinking and decided that putting a cap on wagers doesn't make sense. so i'm just going to mandate that all wagers be in before the start of the sunday night game, which is usually 5:15PM PDT.

cin (-5.5) over TAM (o/u - 43)
that gradowski kid looked ok last week as tampa covered the spread. however, his name is still gradowski and he was just playing an ordinary saints defense that needed a punt return for a td from reggie bush to pull it out. never take crappy qb's on the road, and even though this is a home game for the bucs, cinnci is coming off the bye and they really needed it for chad johnson to get completely right.

WAS (-10.5) over ten (o/u - 39)
it's tempting to take the titans after they played the colts so tough last week and washington looked so bad. however, the more i think about it, the more i think that the titans really just suck and their defense just caught the colts on a bad day and i think that their offense had about as good of a day as it can have. the line started at 9, so i'm inclined to think i'm right about this one.

DAL (-12.5) over hou (o/u - 43)
i don't want to talk about it.

DET (+1) over buf (o/u - 40)
this could go either way, but the way i figure it, the lions aren't so bad that they'll go 0-6. although i have to say that this is the best chance they have for a win so they better make the most of it.

sea (-3) over STL (o/u - 45)
i really don't have a clue on this one. and i know i should take the points, but here are my arguments. first, the rams are overachieving while the seahawks are underachieving, and i think that things will balance out this week. second, hasselbeck has had a couple of weeks to figure stuff out with deion branch. third, the rams are on a three game winning streak and seriously, that seems to be about the ceiling of what a team of their talent can do. lastly, the rams win last week was very iffy and were it not for brett favre being 74 years old, they might have lost to a bad packers team.

ATL (-3) over nyg (o/u - 42)
the giants play the run pretty well (86.5 ypg, 9th in the NFL) but the falcons defend it even better (69.3 ypg, 2nd in the NFL). this is going to be a pretty low scoring affair and the falcons are at home so i'll take mike vick.

phi (-3.5) over NO (o/u - 46.5)
seriously, i'm not going to talk about it.

car (+3) over BAL (o/u - 33.5)
i think that this is the week that the panthers start to show that this might be their year while i think that mcnair is going to continue to regress. i'm not sure if billick has pulled jamal lewis out of the starting lineup, but he should.

NYJ (-2) over mia (o/u - 36)
the dolphins will be better with harrington under center, but crappy qb on the road...as they say in new york, fuggedaboutit.

sd (-10) over SFO (o/u - 42.5)
i'm ready to admit defeat in my prediction about the chargers. they're looking awesome and will probably make it to the AFC championship game. fredo and i can hopefully put this ugly chapter of our relationship behind us and be BFF again. LT is going to go buckwild against the niners.

kc (+7) over PIT (o/u - 36.5)
i don't like this pick a whole lot. who knows what damon huard is going to be like on the road. but i don't think that pittsburgh as currently constituted is a whole touchdown better than the chiefs.

DEN (-15) over oak (o/u - 36.5)
vegas finally got an oakland point spread right. i know that's a lot of points, but on the road, against a clearly superior in every way (even at qb) there's no way the raiders cover.

chi (-11) over ARI (o/u - 39)
leinart looked just fine last week even though the cards lost. however, that bears defense is pretty effing awesome. leinart is a rookie after all, and unless he's captain america, i just don't think leinart is going to be able to get anything going against the bears. as we said last week, why would we stop riding this gravy train?

i'm pretty tired right now, so i'll get my money picks in later.


sports quick hits

it's been a while since i've done this, but that's a good thing, because that means i'm making progress towards my degree. anyways, let's get it going.

1) cory lidle may have died and possibly killed 3 other people when he ran his plane into a 50 story building in NYC. apparently he took the yankees' ALDS loss to the tigers pretty hard. no word on whether steinbrenner is going to fire torre or cashman because of this. man i'm dark sometimes.

2) in yesterday's TMQ, we learned that the NCAA is going after william and mary for their inclusion of feathers in their logo. the official nickname is "the tribe". as pointed out by easterbrook, this is but one example of the hypocrisy that is the NCAA. florida state can keep their mascot and logo, the seminoles, but william and mary can't keep feathers in their logo. let's see, this is ok:

but this is not:

let's see, what could possibly be the difference between florida state and william and mary? could it be that florida state is a football factory, while william and mary is an actual university? as we're often fond of saying here at the ragin' asian, follow the money.

3) the convenience store chain 7-11 has paid the white sox a lot of cash to start all of their home games at...take a wild gues...7:11PM. that's right, we've found a way to sponsor the time of day. next up, sponsorship deals for the virtues of hard work and determination..."today's valiant effort by the seattle mariners brought to you by verizon wireless, can you hear me now?"

4) someone mentioned to me that hockey season started...umm, what is hockey again?


bobby the gook season 3, week 5

as ll cool j once said, don't call it a comeback. actually, you shouldn't because i'm still far behind alfredo, but i enjoyed quite a day in the football sun last week as i went 12-1-1. that's right, i was one away from the mythical perfecto week. but no complaints from me, just the quiet satisfaction that i kicked some major ass last week. not that fredo did bad per se, as he went 8-6 last week. fredo can be satisfied that he's been much more consistent than me thus far. but he can't be satisfied with me shaving 5 games off of his lead (by the way, the fact that i used the word "shaving" in this post will guarantee that this blog is going to get about 500 more hits than it normally would thanks to all the pervs doing searches for porn). anyways, i goofed last week as fredo actually went 8-5-1 in week 3 and not 7-6-1. anyways, the corrections bring our current standings to me: 28-31-1 (.466); fredo: 38-21-1 (.633). he's still got a double digit lead, but if i just keep going 13-1 every week, i should be able to catch him fairly soon. but seriously, last week kept this thing interesting for at least another week. erik, was pretty average at 7-6-1 as well. in our little side pissing match, erik is 21-20-2 (.488) and i'm 20-22-2 (.455). so it turns out that last week only just made up for the 2 win week that i had last week.

even more interesting was our vegas portion of game, where i would have won big if the browns had covered but they pushed so i only won a couple of individual bets for 30 bucks and missed all of my parlays. that adds $20 to my season total bringing me to $1458 (+$28 for the year). fredo went with the "more is more" approach and made a ton of bets. it backfired a little and he had a rough morning with his crazy bets and lost 85 bucks, but as you can see in the comments section of last week, he did some clutch gambling and got back up to +$30 on the strength of the chicago bears big victory. that brings his total to $1420 (-$10 overall). but that doesn't change the fact that dammit, i just kicked some effin' ass last week.

anyways, there's a real interesting board this week so let's get on with the show. the point spreads and over/unders are from caesar's and the home teams are in caps. let's get going.

IND (-18.5) over ten (over/under - 48)
ughhh, i hate these big point spreads. i hate giving up this many points, but the titans gave up 45 points to the cowboys, who have a pretty good offense. you figure that the colts probably have about the same caliber offense, if not better, so i'm basically betting that tennessee can't score more than three touchdowns, which seems like a safe bet to me.

NYG (-4.5) over was (over/under - 46)
is it me or does this line seem fishy? or perhaps i should say the line is more like a lobster since you use TRAPS to catch lobsters. why would the giants be favored over the skins who had a good win against a decent jaguars team? i guess there's home field, but the whole home-team-after-bye-week worked out pretty well last week with KC, so i'll put this to the test. p.s. clinton portis is at it again.

MIN (-6.5) over det (over/under -39.5)
not that i like this one that much, but i won't pick the lions, especially not on the road.

NO (-6.5) over tam (over/under - 35)
to paraphrase erik's latest bon mott, "hi, i'm bruce gradkowski, starting qb of the tampa bay buccaneers." and let's not forget how sorry jon gruden is.

stl (-3) over GB (over/under - 47)
i hate not taking favre as the home dog here, and i still haven't jumped on the st. louis bandwagon yet, but the packers actually didn't play the eagles that close in the first half. the score should have been 21-6 at halftime were it not for the buckhalter fumbles. remember when you could always feel good about betting on favre at lambeau...yeah, me neither, that was such a long time ago.

NE (-10) over mia (over/under - 36.5)
ok, bear with me as i take you through my completely convoluted logic. this is basically a must win for the dolphins. if they go 1-4, their season is completely over. the NFL wants and needs nick saban to succeed. the patriots however, are yesterday's news. sure they beat up on the bengals, but i think the bengals are set up for a late season slide where they'll show themselves as what they truly are, a middle of the pack team. i don't know if the dolphins are going to win. after all, nick saban won't say whether he'll start harrington or culpepper until game time. oh god, i just talked myself out of this. if we think that harrington is going to revive this team, we need to use the same kind of analysis as we should with culpepper. and that is, he is what he is, a very mediocre quarterback that will probably be out of football in a few years. gimme the pats here.

CHI (-10.5) over buf (over/under - 34.5)
what's with all these big freakin' point spreads? ummm, i just don't know about this one. on the one hand, i can see buffalo just pounding the rock with mcgahee which would be good for my fantasy squad. anyways, running the ball seems to be what you need to do with the bears since it is very clear to me that you can't pass on the bears. but then again, i'm starting to wonder if chicago is going to turn into that team whose train you just keep riding the whole season long.

CAR (-8) over cle (over/under - 37.5)
the browns suck.

nyj (+7) over JAX (over/under - 37)
one, i haven't taken an underdog yet, and two, that was a real bad loss for the jags i think. i mean the jets just lost to peyton manning, but two, i think that the skins showed last week that the jags defense has some problems.

kc (-4) over ARI (over/under - 39.5)
i've said this before and i'll say it again. i think that when it's all said and done, matt leinart is going to be a decent NFL quarterback. but not this week.

SFO (-3) over oak (over/under - 40)
dear northern california, i hate your attitude and i hate your football teams.

PHI (-2) over dal (over/under - 43.5)
i know, i know....i feel like a traitor believe me. but here's the deal. first, as you might guess, i'm going with the jinx here. second, from what i've seen, the eagles are actually really kickin' some ass. fredo and i were discussing this and what is getting lost in this whole T.O. returns thing is that philly has the best qb in the league going, and dallas has drew bledsoe. it's seems to me pretty much all other things in this game are equal, and if you had to bet on either mcnabb or bledsoe, who are you gonna take? that being said, i am really looking forward to the game. it's going to be a complete circus which i always feel is amusing to watch. and i am going to be rooting like hell for the cowboys. on a side note, one thing i'm not looking forward to is the shots of the crowd. fredo confirmed this for me, but last week during the monday night game, every time i they showed the crowd, i had the same thought, "jesus that is one grotesquely obese person". fredo thought that the women were pretty ugly as well, which is strange when you consider that the cheerleaders are some of the hottest in the leauge, but geez, philadelphia, take a look in the mirror before you go out and maybe don't eat that second cheesesteak you fat effer.

SD (-3) over pit (over/under - 37)
everyone is talking about how big ben's problems have been at the heart of how the steelers have played this year. maybe we're just seeing what happens when a team overacheives one year and then regresses back to the mean. san diego on the other hand, really needs to let philip rivers start throwing the ball. i don't think he's that great, but i know for sure that he won't be good if you only let him throw only dump passes to the fullback. i think that this comes down to LT vs. the pittsburgh defense. and since i heart LT, i'll take the chargers.

bal (+4) over DEN (over/under - 33.5)
denver's defense looks great to me, and they are the home team after the bye. but i don't like the prospect of jake plummer against the ravens' defense. seriously, jake plummer can just suck it.

bonus time
since it's the weekend of the red river shootout, i'm going to make an exception to the no college betting rule for this game only. texas is a 4.5 point favorite over the sooners. mack brown - vince young = same old mack brown. give me 50 bucks on the sooners. hunnamanoo maneck maneck! my NFL bets:
CAR (-8) - $50
kc (-4) - $50
PHI (-2) - $50 (that one kills me)
IND/ten over (48) - $25

$5 anti-crappy team parlay - CAR/SFO/stl/MIN
$10 parlay - SD/PHI/kc/NO
$10 parlay SD/PHI/ARI/NO

only two underdogs this week. i'm a wuss.


the NFL and Katrina

i realize that this is probably a little late, but i wanted to put some time and thought into this subject and i wanted to see what other columnists had written about last week when the saints and their return to the superdome a year after it was basically destroyed by hurricane katrina. and after everything that has transpired so far, i think it is safe to say that the NFL's and the saints' organization's taking advantage of the situation is nothing less than a complete affront to common decency. perhaps sports journalists should bear some of the blame as well, but all in all, celebrating the return of the saints to the superdome is like celebrating the return of the enola gay from hiroshima.

for those of you who don't pay attention to these kind of things, let me give you a quick summary of what happened. two weeks ago in the week leading up to the saints first home game in the superdome since hurricane katrina, the game was hyped up by the league as a way of showing off how new orleans has rebuilt itself. the ESPN announcers of course, went over the top with this angle and could not stop talking about how the saints were a beacon of hope for the ravaged city. they especially hammered home the point that the superdome, which we most remember as the make shift shanty town for the displaced of new orleans was now all shiny and new and full of people in the city that had rallied around it as a symbol of its survival. espn's TMQ has gone so far as using the moniker, "the United States Saints" when referring to the team (although i can't tell if he's being sarcastic). mayor ray nagin probably summed up public sentiment about the saints when he said
Psychologically, the Saints mean everything to this community right now. We need them now more than ever -- at least until we get back on our feet.
how does this make any sense whatsoever? you wannna know what would really lift people up psychologically? if someone would spend the money to clean up the poor neighborhoods so that people could start with the process of rebuilding their lives. and by all accounts, the only place that is fixed up are the downtown areas and the nice nieghborhoods that didn't have that much damage to begin with. i've heard first hand accounts that the most damaged neighborhoods still look like war zones.

however, peter king's column from two weeks ago is most instructive however as we learn:
The federal and state governments poured $180 million into a new roof and massive rehab at the Superdome.
while king uses this as a warm and fuzzy story, we as american citizens should be offended by this. how can it be that the freakin' saints get 180 million dollars to fix the superdome, and the people in the 9th ward can't get the debris removed from the streets? the disconnect between this and what actually happened is amazing to me. and the NFL has been ruthless in taking advantage of the situation to generate profit for themselves.

nothing would have been worse for the saints, and by extension the league overall than the saints having to relocate to baton rouge, where they played some games last year, or to another city. attendance would have been down, the saints would have probably eventually relocated and football starts to resemble more a business and less like america's favorite and most important sporting institution. so somehow, they con the state and federal governments to use funds that should clearly be used to fix the levees, clean up the streets, and get people back on their feet, to instead fix a stadium for a completely troubled franchise. furthermore, they encourage people to spend money on season tickets instead of say donating to organizations that would help to rebuild the city. the saints have sold out every home game. so not only does the money from the government go the profit margins of the NFL, but they also get people to spend their own money on the saints as well, who by the way sucked worse than any team in the league last year (although i must admit they look ok this year, but trust me, the 3-1 saints...that's not gonna last.). this is the definition of ludicrous.

that's enough of the emotional stuff, let's talk sociology. this actually shouldn't be that big of a surprise. the NFL has co-opted other causes in the name of trying to make more money. most recently, they've turned themselves into the support the troops league, especially with the over the top honoring of pat tillman. in many ways, the NFL has perfected the process of manipulating the public's perception of the league into something that is nothing but pure goodness. by selectively choosing these causes (katrina, pat tillman) and then distilling them into simplistic notions of helping people, when in fact no one is getting helped, it is able to associate itself with the core values of those who consume most of its product: dumb guys who don't read the front page of the newspaper and only read the sports page. the end result is a brand that is even stronger than ever and can generate more revenue than ever.

even more masterful is it's manipulation of the press via PR blitz into turning the return of the saints into feel good event of the year. i can't find a single columnist who was angry about the situation. even tony kornheiser, the most cynical of sports columnists wrote
It will take years and years for it (New Orleans) to come back whole again. But the great elixir of sports, the great shot of adrenaline that sports gives you, is in those few hours when you can lose yourself -- and put your worries aside -- and if you get lucky your team wins and you go home happy. The problem in New Orleans, of course, is that not everybody has a home to go to. Still, nobody walking out of that Superdome on Monday night felt anything but hope. It's a script that was perfectly written and a moment that was perfectly lived.
can you think of a better commercial for the NFL? neither can i.

anyways, what i guess i'm trying to say is that NFL is trying to say that they are helping someone, when in fact they're just really helping themselves. if they really wanted to help out new orleans, they could have just used the money that was used to fix the superdome to help out those folks that are still homeless in the 9th ward. but instead, they're gong around promoting the idea that "hey look how the NFL saved the city from ruin!" which really just means that they're essentially just saying very loudly, "what about me?"