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January 12, 2009

[Business Day One] Keep Your Money In The Bank

football on a pile of moneyI heard a phrase once that has become one of my favorites.

“Bookies don’t ever quit because they run out of money.”

The Ravens won, despite being a 3 point underdog. The Eagles won, despite being a 4 point underdog. The Cardinals won, despite being a 10 pointer. The Steelers won, as expected, only by 11 points instead of the 6 Vegas suggested.

Of all of those games, I only saw the Pittsburgh-San Diego tilt playing out as it did. Did anyone with a mind in their head see the Cardinals defense suddenly get stout? A healthy Brandon Jacobs not a dominant part of the game plan against Philly? The Ravens/Titans game, which played out like twin brothers getting into a fistfight, could’ve gone either way. But I didn’t think Joe Flacco would handle a somewhat loud Nashville crowd with an AFC Championship berth on the line.

I’m sure the money in Vegas agreed with me, which is why the house won a bundle and a lot of men will be explaining to their wives that the $200 a plate restaurant suddenly lost their Valentine’s Day reservations.

Gambling is an ugly business, and an even uglier one when you lose. I’m willing to bet (or maybe I’m not) that a lot of unhappy people are sitting bleary-eyed at their desks right now. I pity them but do not empathize. These are the playoffs of one of the weirdest years in recent NFL history. You all should’ve known better.

Cut your losses, get some nachos, and watch the rest of the games with no action on them. You’ll recoup some of the years you just lost this weekend.

December 29, 2008

[Business Day One] Unsurprising Surprises

Filed under: Business Day One,Football — Tags: , , , , , — Serpico @ 10:16 am

Week 17 is over and the playoff picture is now in place.  As crazy as this season was, this final week was (fortunately or unfortunately) the most predictable and least surprising.  Come, walk with me:

-The Patriots won, as expected, and went 11-5.

-The Jets lost, as expected, as did the Jaguars, meaning the Patriots missed the playoffs as expected.

-The Gods of Sport gave the Chargers their win to make up for the ballyhooed missed call in Week 2.

-The Eagles stomped the Cowboys, forcing them to miss the playoffs and setting up what will be a hilarious offseason in Dallas.  As expected… and prayed for by me.

I know plenty of people smarter than me, and more prescient, but I saw this all coming.  And I think you all did too.  Even in a bizarre season, where Favre is in New York and Peyton stunk for two months and Tom Brady can’t walk, fate tends to work itself all out.  And now here we are, with the start of a boring playoffs about to begin.  A playoffs where the favorites (Giants and Titans) are ball-controlling, power running teams that don’t commit turnovers and keep plays in front of them on defense.  Sure, we have Atlanta and Baltmore in the playoffs behind rookie quarterbacks, and that’s all well and good (Ryan for Heisman!).  But these playoffs will be what we think they’ll be.

Also, Eric Mangini is being fired right now.  The surprise is that Rod Marinelli was fired from Detroit too.  What a world we live in where I thought Rowdy Rod’s job (as coach of an 0-16 team) was safer than the Man Genius’s.  Meh.  At least there was one surprise this weekend.

December 24, 2008

Is It March Yet?

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , , , , — Willis @ 3:15 pm

So it’s holiday time and most of us have finished worrying about gifts and fantasy football, but there are a few people still out there with last minute shopping and still in the running to win their league Super Bowl (sorry, NFL) Big Game. To those people I say good luck. For the rest of us, we shall prepare for the future. 

What happens in the near future to prepare for? Well, there’s the NFL playoffs, the Super Bowl, baseball spring training, and March Madness and other march tournaments. But if you’re like me, you can’t wait another 3 months for some tournament action. So I’ve scoured the internet for some interesting sport or nerd tournaments and this is what I’ve found:

  • Paul and Storm have set up a Geek Madness tournament. They have realized that Obama might be our first geek president (he’s on YouTube, he was on Twitter, and he carries a blackberry) and therefore he may choose a Secretary of Geek Affairs.
  • WIRED magazine is running a Sexiest Geek contest. And I have to post this because they say “Every geek’s a little bit sexy, somehow. Maybe it’s the glasses, the hot talk about black holes or the Asperger’s-like obsession with sci-fi, science or gadgets.” 
  • Think that you are the best Madden player around? Perhaps you’d like to find a tournament where you can prove this fact. Try looking at Get Your Tournament.
  • Don’t worry, I don’t think anyone around here is nerdy enough to want to play in a Star Craft tournament or even watch the matches happen.
  • There’s another tournament going on right now. One that I am not a part of (but should be). It’s the Sports Blogger of the Year tournament at Busted Coverage. I’m not going to complain that we didn’t make the cut (we were on the bubble, I promise) but Fire Joe Morgan made it and they no longer blog.

Also before the weekend, I wanted to post an update about the Patriots status about making the playoffs this year. And while I’m at it, why not just cover the whole AFC East. (more…)

December 16, 2008

The Patriots Still Have A Chance!?

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , , , , — Willis @ 10:40 am

With only 2 more weeks left in the 2008 NFL regular season, now is the time to start planning the playoff match ups. Well, the New England Patriots (my home team) are 9-5 and have a bit of a tough road ahead.

How tough? Tough enough that it may be out of their hands. Boston.com (Boston Globe) blog writer Eric Wilbur outlined most of the scenarios:

If the Patriots go 2-0 over their final 2 games:

  • The Pats can win the AFC East if they win their final two games against Arizona (at home) and Buffalo (on the road) and both the Jets (at Seattle) and Dolphins (at Kansas City) lose next weekend (the Jets and Dolphins play each other in Week 17).
    The Pats can win the AFC East by winning their final two games against Arizona and Buffalo and the Jets and Dolphins both go 1-1 over their final two games.
  • If all three teams win next weekend, and the Pats beat the Bills in Week 17, the Jets-Dolphins game on the final Sunday of the season has to end in a tie for the Patriots to win the East.
  • If the Patriots win their two remaining games and the Ravens lose one of their next two games (in Dallas next week and at home vs. Jacksonville in Week 17), New England is in as the wild card. Print the shirts.
  • If the Pats win out, and the Colts manage to go 0-2 vs. the Jaguars and Titans, the Patriots are in, however unlikely that scenario might seem.

If the Patriots go 1-1 over their final 2 games:

  • If New England loses to either the Cardinals or the Bills, they need Baltimore to drop both of its remaining games to win the wild card.
  • The Patriots would need this nifty little scenario to win the East: Dolphins lose to Chiefs AND Jets lose to Seattle AND Jets-Dolphins game ends in a tie. Like those odds?
  • There’s one final possibility here, albeit a very confusing one: If either the Jets or Dolphins lose their last two games; and if the Patriots lose to the Cardinals and beat the Bills; and if the Ravens beat the Cowboys and lose to the Jaguars; New England and Baltimore would have the same record (10-6), and the same record within the conference (7-5) — which is the first tiebreaker in a wild card scenario since the teams did not face each other this season. Complicating matters is that, if our math is right, they would also be tied in the next tiebreaker — record against common opponents. So that means it could come down to strength of victory.

Now what Mr. “Professional Blogger” Wilbur fails to mention are some of the less mainstream methods the patriots are taking to gain a playoff birth:

  • Patriots “Diamond In The Rough” Randy Moss has been sent to the Arabian deserts to find a genie in a lamp. Where they will wish for a pair of Jets losses.
  • Belichick has been reluctant to use it due to the disastrous effects it had on Brady earlier this season, but he has 1 more Monkey Paw wish remaining.
  • I’ve gotten word that there are a couple personal ads looking for some lonely virgins who enjoy rituals to meat someone in Foxboro, MA.
  • A letter has been sent to Diddy, asking him to say that the Patriots will be in the postseason. Perhaps this is putting too much faith in commercials, but every avenue is being covered.

This is all that I have uncovered, but if you have heard anything, please post in the comments or let me know via contact form.

This is very important for the Patriots because they could very well miss the postseason for the first time in six years even with 11 wins. And teams like Arizona and Denver could get in with an 8-8 record. Yes the very same Denver team that the Patriots destroyed 41-7 earlier this season. And the very same Arizona that will likely get destroyed on Sunday.

Whatever path that Patriots follow, I guess I have to root for the Cowboys on Saturday. Ugh.

December 10, 2008

[Business Day One] Midweek and Exhausted

It took an exhausting long weekend in Las Vegas to prevent me from writing on Monday, and for that I apologize. I could’ve theoretically gotten my column together on Tuesday, but I was so jetlagged that I slept until 2 in the afternoon and didn’t know my name when I woke up. I’ll try to make the wait worth it, America.

Here are the thoughts I cobbled together during the past week and a half.

# As I mentioned last Monday, I’m at a point where I no longer believe that any off-season move, no matter how impressive on paper, could help the Yankees. A Mecha-Ty Cobb could be constructed and signed to a ten year, fifteen cent contract and I’d be certain that no good would come of it. I call it The Pavano Mindset. Anyway, CC Sabathia is about to sign on the dotted line and I couldn’t be more terrified for him. He’s going to show up to training camp 200 pounds overweight, or he’ll suddenly decide to play in Japan this year, or he’ll be crushed by falling space debris. I just know it, and I’m sorry in advance for the Sabathia family. This is my life as a Yankees fan.

# Watching sports in Las Vegas is odd. I watched Boston College get pasted by Virginia Tech at the Caesar’s Palace Sports Book. People who had no affiliation with either school were cheering wildly in one direction or the other. It was unsettling in a way and cheapened the experience. I watch my sports at my house (where I cheer loudly), at friendly sports bars (where a hundred people cheer loudly), or at the stadium (where 50,000 people cheer loudly). And most of those people are hooting and hollering because they love one school or hate the other. Not so in Vegas. People are cheering for their money. They might as well be cheering for Australian rules football or curling. It’s all the same to them, I think.

# Three teams at 8-5 in the AFC East is an interesting proposition. I don’t believe the Jets are going to make it into the playoffs. I really don’t. Just a gut instinct.

# Speaking of playoffs, I’m 10-4 and a #2 seed in my fantasy football playoffs. This is Year 4 in my league, and I’ve finished in second, first and third in my first 3 years. Here’s hoping for continued success.

# I wish John Daly would stop playing golf and get himself some help.

March 9, 2008

Minus Their Super Brother, Rockets Still Smashing

McGrady is resting

It had all been going so well for the Houston Rockets. They were making a solid playoff push in the hellacious Western Conference, undefeated for the past month. Under first-year skipper Rick Adelman and a still-stingy defense left over from Jeff Van Gundy, the Toyota Center was rocking from the opening tip to Rafer Alston’s dribbling out the clock. Houston’s win streak didn’t exactly catapult them up the ladder but it did solidify them as a team to contend with, especially in a season where the playoffs might end up looking like hockey’s: an utterly chaotic grind, no one safe, duck and cover. Even Tracy McGrady was getting his proper love. The cousin in Vince Carter’s grand and unnecessary shadow, McGrady is going on four years with his third team, and as option #1A on the Rockets, the 28 year old was hitting his prime in stride, piloting Houston to a 12th straight victory with a 110-97 dub over the Bulls. The very next day, according to the entirety of the voices covering the NBA, their beatdown of Chicago became the high point of the season.

See, that day franchise center and all-around tall man Yao Ming went down for the season. (more…)

January 23, 2008

Send Me Questions Too!

Filed under: Baseball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , — Willis @ 11:59 pm

Since I’m a no-good, unimaginative hack, I am going to take the same questions Serpico answered, and answer them myself. This isn’t the first time I’ve done something like this. But before I get into the letters, I have to get something off of my chest.

The New York Football Giants are a terrible football team. Ever since Serpico was a wee lad, the giants have been terrible. Remember in 1995 when the Patriots were terrible. They were a 6-10 team, but the Giants were worse — 5-11. Or how about 1997 when both the Patriots and the Giants won their respective divisions. The Giants were worse due to losing in the wild card round.

All I’m saying is that Serpico doesn’t like terrible teams — He actually stopped caring about baseball when the Yankees didn’t have the best record in baseball this year. How can I prove it? He had to email me on the deadline to fix his fantasy baseball lineup for a playoffs week. So I have an answer for Serpico: Follow the Patriots. You are a fair weather fan and we all know it. Just find the biggest band wagon, grab your instrument, and hop on.

Now for the actual questions. (more…)

October 26, 2007

Mudville Revisited

Filed under: Baseball — Tags: , , , , , — Sean @ 12:00 pm

Sad Tribe Fans
Yes, the opening of the World Series kicked up a storm of questions, from “Is this Sox team the greatest World Series offense of all time?” to “Is calling Jeff Francis an ace like calling Subway a delicacy?” That’s all well and good, and at the end of the day the team that wins four games latest in October earns the right to all the glory the sporting world can bestow.

But go back to Cleveland. Despite my sick Red Sox fever, I can’t help but feel pangs of regret for the losing diehards, the Cuyahoga crazies, consigned and resigned to another snowy winter of woe. It’s going to be the 49th consecutive year where family members’ holiday conversations will center on we-need-to-improves rather than here’s-how-to-defends. After twenty seasons, you begin to lose count; after forty, you simply can’t forget. Every year, new Clevelanders reach that twenty year mark, and hope drains from them like blood out a cut fish.

This season is especially brutal. The Indians scratched and clawed their way to a 3-1 series lead, punctuated with a seven run fifth inning in a 7-3 beatdown over Boston. The Indians, boasting a powerful lineup with Grady Sizemore, Travis Hafner, and Victor Martinez, and anchored by two solid aces in Fausto Carmona and C.C. Sabathia, were knocking on the pennant’s doorstep.
Then the other shoe fell. (more…)

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