oh, no, it’s happening again :(

Why do we do this other stuff?  Why not.  If nothing else, football gives us a chance to relax from the deeper issues we post here at TAP.  Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to a third blog to post (one way or the other) about my opinions on the Internets outrage related to [insert anything here].

Either that, or jump over to our brother site.  Bask in the high quality website design.  Pay no attention whatsoever to the actual written content.  Either way.

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Unrelated photo of big huggable dummy bear.

oh, no, it’s happening again :(

Why do we do this other stuff?  Why not.  If nothing else, football gives us a chance to relax from the deeper issues we post here at TAP.  Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to a third blog to post (one way or the other) about my opinions on the latest Trump administration rumor.

Either that, or jump over to our sister site.  Bask in the high quality website design.  Pay no attention whatsoever to the actual written content.  Either way.

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Unrelated logo of organization with name worse than the Fourth Reich, run already, by idiots.

oh, no, it’s happening again :(

Why do we do this other stuff?  Why not.  If nothing else, football gives us a chance to relax from the deeper issues we post here at TAP.  Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to a third blog to post (one way or the other) about my opinions on the latest Israeli-Palestinian violence.

Either that, or jump over to our sister site.  Bask in the high quality website design.  Pay no attention whatsoever to the actual written content.  Either way.

Detroit Lions v New York Giant

Unrelated photograph of insane man.

oh, no, it’s happening again :(

Why do we do this other stuff?  Why not.  If nothing else, football gives us a chance to relax from the deeper issues we post here at TAP.  Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to a third blog to post (one way or the other) about my opinions on the latest FBI firing.

Either that, or jump over to our sister site.  Bask in the high quality website design.  Pay no attention whatsoever to the actual written content.  Either way.

J.E.T.S.

oh, no, it’s happening again :(

Why do we do this other stuff?  Why not.  If nothing else, football gives us a chance to relax from the deeper issues we post here at TAP.  Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to a third blog to post (one way or the other) about my opinions on NFL players kneeling or standing during the national anthem.

Either that, or jump over to our sister site.  Bask in the high quality website design.  Pay no attention whatsoever to the actual written content.  Either way.

the strange journey of the worst (but just possibly, eventually, the best) Super Bowl viewing ever

The Giant Octopus and Roger Goodell’s Manservant that is the NFL likes to claim the Super Bowl is the biggest game all year.  This is true if you ignore the World Cup final every four years.  It also ignores various one off potential annual events such as a royal wedding, the alien invasion ultimatum beamed from the surface of the Moon, non-existent presidential impeachment proceedings, a cat barking like a dog online, or competitive cheese grating competitions.

So you’d figure the only place the NFL wouldn’t want you to watch the game is on said surface of the Moon.  Otherwise catching your eyeballs is meant to be easy, so that you watch, and they make more money, right?  Nope.  I remain constantly astounded at how traditional media makes it as difficult as possible to watch their product.  If you want to understand why Netflix is eating the souls of traditional television, I give you this tale.

I am abroad for over one year.  I want to watch the Super Bowl.  After extensive research I determine only one local cable television provider is allowed to broadcast the game in this country.  To demonstrate the absurdity of this, I offer you the comparison that say Verizon would be deemed the only cable company in the US allowed to show the game.

I do not possess said cable company.  So my options are to troll a local bar at 4am, which is too much, even for me, or to watch the game online.  Thankfully, NBC Sports is offering and widely promoting that this Super Bowl is special and is going to be streamed online.  Great, done.  I test the NBC link, it works, I go to bed early.

I awake early morning and am ready to watch.  The link doesn’t work, NBC Sports shows a blank screen.  After much frantic research I get to the fine print of the NBC Sports help page where the answer to: “Why doesn’t your fucking player work like you said it would?”  Is answered by: “Oh, by the way, though we don’t say so clearly up front, if you’re not in the US, the player won’t work, thanks, and go fuck yourself.  Signed, NBC.”

So I guess my recourse is to what?  Go get wasted in a local bar and get into a cage fight with an intoxicated Eagles fan who’s throwing batteries at the likewise intoxicated Pats fan down the bar?  Or, that I should purchase this other one singular cable company just to watch this one game?

Does anybody actually do that, switch cable providers just to watch one game?  Is that what they’re angling for?  Because if not, I don’t quite see the benefit to NBC, or the NFL, or to any Giant Octopus organization gained by denying my eyeballs the opportunity to easily watch the game and thus their advertisements.  If this happened to me, it likely happened to millions of others when you consider the NFL wants north of 100 million worldwide to watch this game.  That’s not a minor rounding error in eyeballs.

I thought, for a brief moment, to just go back to bed.  I did not, because I’m a sucker, and because I really, really wanted to catch this game.  It was important.  For you see, even though folks were calling for a Pats blowout, I anticipated a good game.  Also, while I’m abroad, some kind folks are watching my precious, precious doggies.  They live in Jersey.  They are Eagles fans.

I can’t stand the Eagles.  I love my team.  So do my dogs, they told me so before I left.  But my team is out of it.  So when my doggy host family says to me, gee, are you okay if we put Eagles bandanas on your dogs like we do with our dogs?  I essentially have no choice.  I have to go along with it.  They’re awesome people, so sure, go ahead.

And so my precious, precious doggies have Eagles bandanas (oh god, please help me) on during the Eagles’ underdog win over the Falcons.   And so my precious, precious doggies have Eagles bandanas (oh god, please help me) on during the Eagles’ underdog win over the Vikings.  And after going 2-0 with a backup quarterback?  Well, by that point they’ve got it in their heads that my dogs are the key.

As long as the bandanas are on my dogs, my precious, precious doggies (oh god, please help me) the Eagles’ have an underdog win over the Pats.  So I have to catch the game.  Because I think it’ll be good, and because I’m texting the host family and me Ma during the game.  It’s expected, I have to be a part of the experience because my precious, precious doggies are apparently more important than Jason Peters’ ACL.

So what do I do?  I get the game via radio.  I hang out in my flat for three darkened early morning hours and listen to the game via internet radio like it’s 1937.  During this time, I’m texting me Ma and the host family via WhatsApp.  I get bombarded by incessant pictures of my precious, precious doggies wearing Eagles bandanas.  My oldest is smiling widely in most of these pictures, my youngest is apathetic and asleep.  It’s all good, I miss them.

And I follow along via the radio while they have the live broadcast back home.  They see it, I hear it, and we’re texting within seconds of one another with our wows and surprise at what ends up being one of the great Super Bowls of all time.

I get Kevin Harlan to call the game, and he’s quite good.  Then I get Boomer Esiason as the color and he’s constantly reminding the audience why HE would have called the play differently, thus reminding said audience why Boomer is relegated to a radio vice television existence.  They also have Mike Holmgren to do analysis, which was news to me as I thought Holmgren was either (a) dead or (b) in the toll booth business.

It was my worst Super Bowl ever, loser that I am.  I’m in some dank, lifeless, stale flat alone with cheap beer in the early hours of the morning listening to a game on the radio and texting home and my precious, precious doggies have Eagles bandanas on.  It was one of those: “You’ve wasted your fucking life” moments.

Except that it wasn’t.  Halfway across the world I could connect with family, my host family, and my dogs.  I followed the game with the same level of emotion as if I’d seen it on a screen.  When poor, poor Tommy got strip sacked I screamed out loud with giddy joy.  I was there, and in it.  I’m not an Eagles fan, I hate them, but man did I ever want to see the Pats go down.

And I wonder, years down the road, if the bizarre nature of my viewing experience, and all those wonderful texts, and what a great game it was, will in the end be the greatest Super Bowl I’ll ever live through.

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Oh man, was this ever sweet.  Must have been the bandanas.

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]

Kick Video

“Yes, yes, praise your evil name!”

Kick Video

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

Kick Video

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

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

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.