behold Itzpapalotltotec’s divine power

Belichick: “Yes Itzpapalotltotec. Yes! We shall decorate my basement with the blood of our foes. You shall have your fill. Praise!”  [draws ceremonial knife]

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“Yes, yes, praise your evil name!”

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“Yes, oh yes, I give thanks for your divine blessing.”

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“Yes, yes, please give me your powers!”

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“Yes, yes, your darkness knows no boundaries!”

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we ask the most charismatic quarterback of all time for his opinion on the issues of the day

TAP: “Smokin’ Jay, what’s your take on Trump, whether player x, y, or z has sat, knelt, or bent during the national anthem, whether vegemite is fit for human consumption, the current internal body temperature of Colin Kaepernick, elves, the latest on how NFL players are the only humans to ever get concussions, Kardashians, or Roger Goodell’s love of fine wine and cheese?”

Smokin’ Jay: “DOOONNN’T CAAARE!”

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the problem of dominance

If the allure of sports is a great competitive game, then it’s going to be a strange NFL season. In a league built for parity the year begins with probably the most lopsided situation in perhaps all of league history. The defending champs were 14-1 last year when starting Tom “The Quack” Brady.

In the offseason they put the pedal down by adding a bunch of no name scrubs like Brandin Cooks, Stephon Gilmore, and Dwayne Allen. They managed to lose almost nobody except their battering ram in LeGarrette Blount. They will miss him, but it’s not fatal. Nobody else added enough talent to match this let alone catch up. Bill Belichick still sacrifices to the Aztec demon god Itzpapalotltotec every night before bedtime. So you know his genius will still be in play each and every week.

Who’s going to compete with all this? The Raiders are distracted by slot machines, the Chiefs are led by a guy who will never (still) win a Super Bowl, and the Steelers are just a few bad games away from complete self destruction. On the other side of the house I suppose you could argue that the Giants, Cowboys, Seahawks, or Packers could keep up? But each of these teams has deep flaws.

The Giants have no running game and a lunatic star wide receiver. The Cowboys don’t have a defense, their paramount offensive line lost two key dudes, and 1/3 of their team is currently incarcerated. The Packers are led by Mike McCarthy. The Seahawks still have no offensive line to protect Russell Wilson’s brittle bones and allow Marshawn Lynch’s seventh replacement to gain yards.

Everybody wants to know if the Patriots can go 16-0 again. I truly think they can. So it might be a boring season. That’s the problem with dominance. It’s boring. It’s for this reason that NFL parity is supposed to exist, that and to keep the cap low so owners can buy their eight boat.

This is why I find the NBA or women’s college basketball so boring. You have to admire Connecticut and the Warriors for their raw talent, but it’s just so darn boring because you know nobody can beat them.

Well, I suppose we’ll just have to admire it. Because I’ll guarantee you this, you’ll never see this again. Never again in NFL history will one team, one coach, one quarterback dominate in so clear a manner. The planets will never align like this again. So, I guess, enjoy the show. While you still can.

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“Yes Itzpapalotltotec. Yes! We shall decorate my basement with the blood of our foes. You shall have your fill. Praise!”  [draws ceremonial knife]

chasing cash off a cliff

One of the best metaphors ever created since sliced bread was invented is the idea of dangling a shiny object in front a cat. As in, showing a plate of sliced meat to Ralph the Butcher is like dangling a shiny object in front of cat.

If you’ve ever actually seen this behavior in our feline friends, it’s hilarious. I don’t have cats, but both my brothers do. Some people use laser pointers, but I prefer the shiny object because it doesn’t require a computer chip.

You take said shiny object and journey it around the room and the cat literally becomes unhinged from reality. If I offer a dental chew to my doggies they’ll go insane and depart from reality while they eat it. But if I scream or drop a hand grenade next to them, they’ll put down the chew for a moment if for no other reason than to determine what’s going on and assess potential dangers. The cat isn’t like that, they’ll just uncheck from the universe. My unfamiliar with cats brain attributes this to the singular possessive mindset they must have had when hunting live animals.

Anyways, it would seem lately that NFL owners have had Los Angeles dangled in front of them like a shiny object. Dean Spanos has decided that after fifty years of San Diego football he’s going to chase the cat toy up the road to LA. The NFL is a business first and a sport second. And so it’s of course all about the level of Spanos’ international gold reserves. But you have to get past the initial figures to determine what’s actually going on.

The whole reason San Diego apparently wasn’t in the Chargers’ future was that taxpayers wouldn’t subsidize a man worth north of $2B in building a stadium. But, in order to relocate the Chargers to LA, Spanos has to fork over a relocation fee of $650M to the league. When you combine that with the essentially free $300M that the NFL offered him to stay in San Diego, one comes up just a few bucks short of a pretty sweet billion dollar stadium in San Diego. And yet he moved anyways. Why?

Because he thinks LA is a shiny cat toy.  Spanos, alongside former Mr Universe contestant, breaker of thumbs, and jai-li extraordinaire Stan Kroenke are betting that LA will give them substantially more long term gold than San Diego or Saint Louis ever could. Well, I’m going to speak to the future here and say that both of them have made terrible mistakes. It’s not going to work.

1) This has been tried before

Once upon a time the Rams and the Raiders occupied LA. They both left within a few years of each other. Why? See (2) and (3).

2) These teams suck

If you were to journey into the ancient Chinese wilderness, you’ll eventually encounter (after 13,437 years of mystical travel) the ghosts of Confucius and Sun Tzu who will be getting messed up on baijiu in a tent. Among their many limitless levels of knowledge will be a stone table with the Chinese character for mediocre on it. Beneath this character will be chiseled in stone the team logos for the Rams and Chargers. This is a team that gave Jeff Fisher a contract extension. Fisher is the man who can throw a six sided die and land on the number 8, 50% of the time. Then there’s the Chargers who have wasted one of the more talented quarterbacks in history with Philip Rivers. When they acquired Rivers, Spanos might as well have hired an assassin to break his legs, it’s the same thing.

3) You might care about LA, but LA doesn’t care about you

Do folks care about Jennifer Lawrence or Lord Leo? Good for them, but guess what, they don’t care. Does Spanos care about LA? Good for him, but guess what, LA doesn’t care. LA cares about LA. LA cares about LA things. I don’t know what people in LA do all day? Maybe they shop or get their hair done or go hang out at the beach or whatever. But I’m pretty sure it’s not getting passionate about football. They probably think it’s a game for people less cool than they are. Like folks who would eat McDonalds over In-N-Out. There’s probably a bunch of people in LA who love football. But enough to fulfill the financial obligations of two separate teams? I think not. A delicious stat from this 2016 regular season was that NFL ratings within LA actually went down. Even with the Rams in town, less LA citizens watched football this year.

4) History matters

The Cleveland Browns are less talented than a few college football teams. But their fan base cares and is dedicated to the team in a way that makes it a perpetual ongoing Greek tragedy. It’s not called the Factory of Sadness for nothing. Yeah, there’s less to do in Cleveland, but also the team’s been there forever. It has a history associated with Cleveland. The Chargers have no history in LA. The Rams do, but it’s not that much after all those years in Saint Louis. It’s for this reason that at this very second, there are likely more Raiders fans in LA than Chargers and Rams fans combined. When the Raiders move to Las Vegas, it’s going to stay that way. Football crazy LA citizens will be happy to commute to Vegas to drink, gamble, and actually watch a competent team. They’ll not be interested in an equivalent journey time sitting in traffic to watch a terrible LA team.

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You’re in trouble Dean.

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PS, this is the worst sports team logo since the 1337 Manchester Alley Rats, which was nothing more than a charcoal picture of dead plague rat.

do not watch this debate

Ponder if you will this typical suburban scenario.  There’s these two folks who live down the road from you, we’ll coincidentally call them Don and Hil.  They’re both running for president of your development’s homeowner’s association.  You kick yourself every time you remember that you were foolish enough to buy property that had an active association.  You got cited last year for the length of your garden bush’s fronds.  You had to look up the word fronds in your dusty dictionary to determine what you were being sited for, yeah that’s right, the freaking dictionary.

Don is retired and used to run the town’s largest real estate firm.  He made a whole truck of money but his company had a reputation of mixed success with questionable business practices.  He lives at home with his much younger trophy wife and he dotes on his kids and grandkids.  Don’s generally a likeable guy who will chat with you while you walk your dogs.  But he only ever talks about himself and tends to yell a lot.  He also randomly picks pointless fights with others in the neighborhood over shit nobody controls, like where the town holds its 4th of July fireworks display.

Hil is vice president at a local insurance firm.  She’s hardly ever home as she travels a whole bunch, and in any case lives alone as her estranged husband is never around.  The rumors say he lives in Thailand.  Folks who know folks who work at her firm say she’s efficient, works hard, and generally does a decent if mostly average job.  She hardly knows anybody in the neighborhood.  When she talks to people it’s generally very brief and reserved, and she’s then on her way to somewhere else.  She’s filed multiple complaints via the current homeowner’s association leadership about how her neighbors keep their homes.  Nobody really knows why, since she’s never around that much.

The campaign kicks off in earnest.

Don walks about the neighborhood accosting folks even when they don’t want to talk.  He’ll lay his hand on their shoulder and speak to them anyways, about three inches from their faces.  He makes disparaging remarks about Hil, other neighbors, The Zoo, and random cereal brands.  He makes no promises on what he’d specifically do as association president other than that he’d “liquidate” the existing association order.  Folks find this appealing as they’re sick of the association being in their faces about what color their damn shed is.  But Don also talks about how he’s going to “demolish” city hall and “kill all those fuckers”.  Folks don’t really like or understand this as the local mayor, Zelda, is an extremely popular and competent grandmother of five.

Hil covertly compiles the demographic details of every member of the neighborhood and then hires a Pilipino based data analysis firm to produce a multi-hundred paged detailed report on an effective campaign strategy.  When the neighbors discover this, they’re naturally concerned that their lives are being looked at in such a matter.  Hil denies everything, but one of Don’s friends later finds a half-burned copy of the report in the neighborhood park dumpster.  Hil’s plans for the association are fairly sensible, but are presented in an arrogant, aloof, and sterile manner.  Folks who speak with Hil on the street get upset because they think she talks down to them when they say they don’t understand her plans, or want to complain about the way she filed complaints against them last year with the association.

They debate at the association contractor office tonight.

You can’t stand either of them.

So, do you get in your car and drive 15 minutes to watch the debate?  Only if you’re an idiot.  Instead, you sensibly decide to stay home and watch the game surrounded by your family and dogs, and some beer.

Do not watch this debate.  Neither of these people should be president.  In fact, none of the four Democrat losers or 37 Republican morons who competed against them in the primaries should either.  God I hate both these political parties, so very much.  It’s a sad and troubling time for our democracy, folks.

But it seems tonight’s debate is set for record viewing numbers.  I think folks are watching it only to see the horror show on display.  Like how if a blimp blew up over your home, you wouldn’t be able to look away.  Both these idiots have negative approval ratings of like 87%, and presidential debates aren’t about substance.  So it can only be voyeur awfulness that draws people.

Well, I’m not going to take part.  I won’t be voting for either of them.  So who cares.  I’m out.

Sigh, why can’t Monday Night Football have a decent game on tonight?  We get the Falcons, a former Super Bowl contender who have apparently faded into irrelevance faster than their host city.  And we’ve got the Saints who are a team on hospice care until Drew Brees’ career dies and Sean Payton has his contract terminated.  And you know what, I’ll still take it.  I’ll watch this garbage game, and not flip the remote.  You bet.

You should too.  Please.

schizophrenic behavior is never okay

I don’t care what anybody says, both those women were concussed. Alexandra Popp had her skull split wide open. Morgan Brian’s eyes looked like she was strolling through the Land of Chocolate with Homer Simpson. Neither of these players should have gone back into the game.

If this was the NFL, it’d be front page news today. The outrage. The mass hysteria. But because it’s women’s soccer, it’s somehow okay.

To their credit, many media outlets (SI, NY Times, Post) who hammer the NFL with glee do have articles this morning questioning the wisdom of allowing two very clearly injured players back onto the field. But other imperial bomb throwers (ESPN) don’t have a word about it at least a dozen articles deep.

You’ll see this line on this shitty blog again and again, I originally stole it from South Park:

“Either it’s all okay, or none of it is.”

If the sports media is going to demolish the NFL over concussions they need to demolish women’s soccer over concussions. Anything less is schizophrenic behavior from a media that chases an issue based on click value, not actual value.

And thus: NFL is popular = concussions issue sells, but women’s soccer is not popular = concussions issue does not sell.

I’m of the mind that everything in life has risks, even driving yourself to work. Sports have risks that need to be managed. Concussions happen. Life happens. And the sports leagues, NFL, FIFA, etc, can work the issue to make it better.  Without sacrificing the core of the games.

Clearly last night needs to get handled better by FIFA. It was not okay. I guess the point of this post is there’s progress to be made to lessen the risks, but the media treats the issue differently depending on what sport’s being played. This schizophrenic behavior serves nobody, nor the issue at hand.

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I kept waiting for the ambulance to come out; and ten minutes later they’re back on the field; these two players are real warriors, admirable; but they should have been made to sit down