So the exchange below happened to a friend of a friend, but when the email was forwarded on to me, I instantly thought it was post worthy. Oh, and this happened last night 1/18…
check this out. I had the coolest experience ever after work last night.
So I was just walking home from the bus after work tonight. Heading up Vallejo St. towards my apartment. This dark-haired guy in his early 30’s in a suit and his girl are up the street about 15 yards coming towards me. Got my 1980’s 49ers gold satin Starter jacket on.
I had worn it to work Monday, skipped wearing it Tuesday, then debated this morning whether to wear it again today. Kinda felt a little dorky, but I have been having way too much fun again being a Niner fan. So I chose to wear it again and stick out like a sore thumb in SF’s Financial District.
As we pass each other the guy turns and asks “Hey you going to the game Sunday?”. I take a couple steps and turn around, and say “You know I’m not sure, I went last Saturday (to the Niners epic win over the Saints) and it was incredible. I’m not sure, though – I don’t have tickets and need to get them.”
The guy pulls a pair of big, commemorative Niners tickets out of his suit pocket. I look up and realize it’s Jed York, the 49ers owner.
ME: “Jed?! No, I can’t believe it! Nice to meet you! How you doin’?!”
JED: “Nice to meet you, too. Love the jacket – love seeing that around town.”
ME: “You’ve got to be having so much fun right now, huh?”
JED: “Yep, it’s been incredible.”
ME: “I had such a good time at the game Saturday. Can’t believe this, you made my year, man – thanks so much.”
JED: “Absolutely, this is my wife Danielle by the way.”
ME: “So nice to meet you – I’m Marz Garcia. So, what are you doing here?”
JED: “We’re going to dinner at Firenze. Just heading over now.”
Firenze-by-Night is the most down-to-earth Italian place in North Beach. Great place, but nothing fancy. Real fun scene, though. Ferol and I just ate there a couple weeks ago. So cool that Jed would go there for dinner.
They were both so gracious and friendly – obviously I can’t be anything but a big fan at this point. Danielle got us a picture – attached.
Got home and checked and they’re 50-yard line seats. I could sell ’em for a couple thousand bucks but there is no chance. Called my buddy Carter who immediately booked his flight up from LA – and off we go on Sunday!
Needless to say, I am flying right now. One of those special moments when fate touches you. I feel so lucky.
The moral of the story: don’t be afraid to fly your colors!!
My body came back yesterday, but I think my head just finally returned from Tahoe this evening. It was a blurry three days up at the cabin, but I managed to sprinkle in some sports here and there. The majority of it came on Saturday morning/afternoon, as it was do or die for not only the Oakland Raiders, but also the West Sac Narwhals (you guessed it, my fantasy team). Here’s the recap of my weekend in sports…
Boring Morning Games – The scores may look close, but the 49ers-Rams and Jets-Dolphins definitely didn’t feel as close as your average 34-27 or 19-17 games. Neither had much meaning, other than the Jets being able to make a small claim toward a playoff berth. The Niners were also able to sew up a bye in the first round. The fantasy relevance was limited, with only Steven Jackson struggling to muster up 9 points. The Rams did a good job of wiping points away from my opponent though, putting up 17 against his 49ers Defense. I’d have much rather been watching the Lions-Packers. I opted to start Matthew Stafford for just the second time this season. The only other time was during Tom Brady’s bye week, and he turned in a dismal 12 point performance. Who would’ve thought, though, that it’d be the other Matt throwing for 6 TDs. But, when you’re in Northern California, you can’t expect to see any other NFC games while the 49ers are playing. Maybe I was just bored waiting for the game of the year….
Oakland Raiders Can End 9 Year Playoff Drought – The scenarios were many, but one was simple. Beat the Chargers, and get a Denver loss at the hands of Kyle Orton and the Kansas City Chiefs, and they’re in. Beating the Chargers isn’t usually a doable task, but Oakland beat them in pretty convincing fashion in front of a national Thursday night NFL Network stage IN San Diego. Throw in Orton’s return to Denver (he HAS to light it up against his old team, right?), and I was feeling like the chances were good. The Chiefs took care of business, even if Orton didn’t light it up. A 7-3 ballgame seemed like the perfect setup for the Raiders to get in. Ultimately, though, a porous defense and untimely turnovers – both Raiders staples this season – squandered away a golden opportunity. Oakland will miss the playoffs yet again, and Denver backs into the playoffs, riding a 6-22, 60 yard, 1 interception, and a fumble lost game by Tim Tebow. Sounds to me like a perfect script for a Denver upset against Pittsburgh next weekend. Too bad I wasn’t still 10 minutes from Nevada anymore!
Demarcus Cousins Demanded Trade From Sacramento Kings – This one caught me way off guard. I read the news on my phone, and quite frankly, I was many sheets to the wind at this point. The headlines, though, were crystal clear….
“Demarcus Cousins DEMANDS Trade”
“Demarcus Cousins SENT HOME For Good”
“Demarcus Cousins Has Played His LAST GAME In Sacramento”
By the time I got caught up on all the news, it was over. I just watched the Kings lose to the Grizzlies, but Cousins was back out there as if nothing ever happened. Albeit he came off the bench and played just 22 minutes, it’s amazing enough that he saw the floor at all. He struggled offensively, just 4 points on 1-5 shooting; but he grabbed 8 rebounds, including a game-high 6 offensive boards. I’m hoping it gets more back to normal in the next few games. Here’s a BIG reason why… Tonight, I was officially SOLD on Jimmer Fredette as an effective NBA player. He CAN get his shot off. He CAN create off the dribble. He CAN shoot 3’s from NBA range. OK, I suppose no one ever doubted the last one. Well to make up for that one, I’ll add that he CAN pass. Like Tyreke Evans, no one will ever be sold on him being an NBA point guard, but he can find the open man like one. So maybe two of those guys in the backcourt can equal one point guard. They’ve got another guy who can light it up with the best of them too in Marcus Thornton. If only they had a tall, quick, athletic, passing big man to round it out. Oh wait, they DO. It appears they’re on the brink of trading him though. If they end up shipping Cousins away, we’ll know it had to have been bad, because he’s a once in a decade talent, like a second coming of Chris Webber. Unfortunately, it took Webber a trade or two to really find his groove. Cousins has lasted longer in Sac than C-Webb did in Golden State, but it feels eerily similar. Who knows, maybe Demarcus gets reunited with John Wall in Washington for a few years, then he spends his prime in Oakland for the Warriors.
One Last Thought – Were there ANY College Football Bowl Games on New Year’s Day? I thought New Year’s Day was supposed to be about Bowl Games…? I swear, when I was a kid, roughly 6 of the best 7 of all 15 bowl games were on New Year’s Day. If I remember my weekend correctly (which I certainly don’t), NONE of the 35 Bowls were played on Sunday. What the HELL?! Oh well, Sunday was for BBQing. I broke out my new smoker and probably served up the best trio of Tri-Tip, Pork Loin, and Smoked Salmon this side of the Rocky Mountains. Yeah, I said smoked Tri-Tip… It’s California. I can’t find a brisket to save my life out here. One day, smoked Tri-Tip is gonna be a nationwide phenomenon though. It’s gonna be the Tim Tebow of barbeque… no one thinks it can be that good, but all it does it WIN.
Man, were there a lot of knee jerk reactions this weekend. I had my share of knee jerk reactions to those knee jerk reactions. I had no other choice since I spent the majority of the weekend off the grid in spectacular Yosemite National Park. I had some spotty reception, and there was a TV in the tavern, but for the most part, I spent the weekend oblivious to what was going on in the world. The 20 minutes of sports I did catch was the SF Giants getting beat by the Astros, 5-0. I had no idea, until Sunday afternoon, once I touched back down in the California Central Valley, where there was reception again, that the 49ers – Raiders game was riddled with brawls and shootings. Well, you can’t say the Niners didn’t overreact to the incidents. So here’s my feelings on that, along with some other things….
49ers – Raiders Violence: Why wouldn’t these two fan bases wanna brawl? Both their teams sucks donkey balls, despite plenty of means to be a contender. They’ve both been deep in the postseason numerous times, but these times are hard for Bay Area football teams. It’s no surprise that fans would want to distract themselves from the garbage going on the field. But it doesn’t take a CSI cast member to see that the fights in the stand weren’t merely Raiders vs. 49ers fans. It was one group of dudes against another group of dudes. There was plenty of red on gold violence, and silver and black evil (which we call crime). For the 49ers to subliminally claim that Raider fans were to blame is ridiculous – much like their management of the franchise over the last decade. I’m the #1 apologist for Raider fans… I won’t claim responsibility for any of them, but it’s not that serious. The incidents that occurred at Candlestick Point this past weekend had very little to do with football. Yet, the 49ers’ brass wants to suspend all future preseason games against the Raiders. Alright man, if you’d rather fork over the cash for a charter flight and 50 hotel rooms in San Diego, go right ahead. I’m pretty sure a few extra security guards would be cheaper.
Raiders Grab Terrelle Pryor: Of course they did. Everyone knew the Raiders would go after Pryor, but it almost seemed too obvious. Now the naysayers are bantering about how soon he’ll be moved to wide receiver. Yet Pryor, along with agent Drew Rosenhaus, and according to them, Raiders management, all insist that Terrelle will remain a quarterback. Whether or not that comes to fruition, it’s a low risk – high reward move for Oakland. Because let me put it this way… IF TERRELLE PRYOR PLAYED NEXT YEAR AT OHIO STATE, WOULD YOU SAY THAT HE WOULD GO LOWER THAN THE SECOND ROUND?! ….DIDN’T THINK SO. So to give up a third round pick next year for a flier on Pryor, I’m with it. Especially when I think about how they would burn the pick next year. The Raiders have become a team that takes who they want, when they want. They reached on guys like Mike Mitchell and Demarcus Van Dyke, but that’s who they wanted, so it didn’t matter what pick it was.
Earthquakes Give A’s Home Field Advantage In Yankee Stadium: A 5.9 earthquake struck the East Coast yesterday, and so did the Oakland Athletics. Two violent aftershocks were reported, but were later discovered to be Brandon Allen home runs. The first baseman, acquired from Arizona for Brad Ziegler at the trade deadline, has immediately stepped into the starting first baseman role. Though he was expected to hold down the corner until Conor Jackson came back, Allen has remained at first – while Jackson has found his playing time in the outfield. The A’s have played as good of baseball as any team since the all-star break – unfortunately they’ve been too far out of the race – but a few newcomers have of all 90 of us fans excited for the future. There’s not a lot left to play for… but a sweep, or even just a series win, in the Bronx would do wonders for this team. The Yanks were clearly shaken by the earthquake earlier in the day, but that’s just business as usual for the Northern California A’s squad.
Matt Holliday Gets Earf*cked By A Moth: I had a giant moth land on my forehead today at the office, so I can relate. This story would have never caught my attention if I didn’t have a moth run in this morning. But my moth was way bigger than Matt Holliday’s. He had one burrow into his year. That’s some horror movie type stuff. I caught the interview with Holliday on ESPN radio this afternoon. He sad he felt a bug going crazy inside his ear. The doctors couldn’t see anything, but finally they broke out the light and were able to see something moving around in there. They tried to pull it out with tweezers, but kept only getting pieces of the wings. Holliday described the wings as basically flaking off. After some time, the doctor was able to grab the insect by the body and pull him out of Holliday’s ear. Nucking futs.
It’s been a disappointing offseason out here in Northern California for the two storied, but recently troubled Bay Area football teams. While many teams are out making aggressive moves, taking advantage of the unusually wide open free agent pool, the San Francisco 49ers and the Oakland Raiders have not only stood pat, but they’ve both seemed content to lose their players.
I’ll start with the Niners, since I care less, and they seemed poised to be bigger players in the free agent market. Their lone acquisition is a guy who doesn’t even exist according to ESPN. I tried to see what this Madieu Williams guy is all about, but he doesn’t even have a player profile on espn.com. Word on the street is they’ve also signed David Akers, but I don’t know if kickers count, so I won’t bother to confirm that. On the other side of the coin, the 49ers have seemed to lose another player each day. Granted, for the most part, they were considered expendable, though I’m not sure why in many cases. They let Nate Clements walk – he went to Cincinnati. Takeo Spikes’ run in SF was widely considered to be over, so he headed south to San Diego. However, Manny Lawson, David Baas, and particularly Aubrayo Franklin, seemed to still have a place on this roster. Instead, they sat on their thumbs while those three departed for the Bengals, Giants, and Saints, respectively. The one guy they bothered to re-sign, and thus give a seventh chance, is quarterback Alex Smith. Jim Harbaugh is the savior, so surely he can be the one to tap Alex Smith’s unharnessed potential, right? The sole consolation on the West side of the Bay is that the Niners haven’t let go of any of their core players. Frank Gore, Patrick Willis, Vernon Davis, and Michael Crabtree are all still there. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same thing about the team across the water in the biggity-biggity O (that’s Rappin 4-Tay in Playas Club for anyone who missed it)
Over on the warmer side of the Bay, the Raiders have also stood on the sidelines while other teams took their players. They actually voided the contract of possibly their best player, Nnamdi Asomugha, so that at least softened the blow when he ultimately signed with Philadelphia. At least we knew he wasn’t coming back. After that, at least the losses of Bruce Gradkowski and Thomas Howard to Cincinnati and Robert Gallery to Seattle won’t be crippling the team necessarily. They did re-sign Michael Huff and Sam Williams, among others, as well as throwing about $50 million at Kamerion Wimbley to keep him in Oakland. But, all of that can’t overcome the loss of tight end Zach Miller. I wasn’t the hugest fan of the guy, but there were more than a few games when he was the only guy producing on the entire team. Obviously a few other guys have to deliver in order for the team to move the chains, but more often than not, the guy with the ball when it crossed the first down marker was Miller. With the unestablished receiving corps that consists of Louis Murphy, Darrius Heyward-Bey, and Jacoby Ford, the nimble tight end was almost always the guy to find some open space for whatever quarterback the Raiders have in dodging uncontested pass rushers. Part of me wants to find solace in the fact that Al Davis isn’t out there throwing money at whoever the best players on paper are, but the majority of me wonders if they can overcome the loss of such an integral part of their offense (if you can call it that).
Jim Harbaugh is going to be the 49ers new coach for the next five years. Great signing for a guy who is forever embedded in California going all the way back to High School, to coaching Stanford, and now his newest job as the 49ers head coach. Solid move by the coach for choosing the Niners over the Dolphins. It was a great move to stay where his family is, and even more so because he decided to go with the NFC West over the AFC East. I think he liked beating Pete Carroll so much in college in Pete’s last year at USC, he wanted the chance to do it twice a year in the pros. I’m not a big Niners or NFC fan, so that’s all I have to say about that, maybe By will have a post on it sometime later breaking it down, because it is the biggest thing they’ve done since they beat the Giants in the playoffs.
The Raiders fired Cable a couple of days ago as Mceezy already told us. I’ve let the feelings I had on the firing set in a little more over the last couple of days, because originally, I was pretty mad since the Raiders players seemed to respect Cable so much. Now, I’m not quite as mad as the initial shock of the announcement. I’m thinking that Al hired on Hue Jackson as the OC last year, because he wanted to groom him into the next HC. Hue improved the offense by leaps and bounds this year by actually getting them into the endzone last season. I remember last year, we went through a three game stretch where all we managed were field goals, and watching the offense was painful more times than not. They might have scored a TD in that three game stretch, but it was a defensive one.
Anyways, my theory goes like this. Al was going to roll with Cable this year, and see how Hue did with getting the offense functioning like a real offense again. Both were reasonably successful, so no changes were made for the first half of the season. Al probably would’ve kicked Cable to the curb if had a crappy record at the bye week, but that wasn’t the case. Since they were still in the hunt, Al decided to let the year play out and waited through December to see if Cable could get them to the playoffs. He didn’t, and when Cable emphatically said after the season finale win over the Chiefs “we aren’t losers anymore”, that probably pissed Al off more than anything, and was the final straw in a tenure that had him switching QB’s, punching assistants, and receiving battery charges from ex-girlfriends. If they don’t hire/promote Hue Jackson who has the players respect already, then it will be another one of Al’s crazy decisions that I will never understand. The players overall were outspoken against the firing, but I think having a familiar face leading them next year would negate some of that negative energy. So the moral of this rant, if Al hires Hue then I’ll believe he really had a plan. If Al hires someone else, he’s should be checked back into the insane asylum.
The A’s new ballpark. The Oakland City Council approved spending ¾ of a million dollars into looking at a site in downtown Oakland for a new baseball only park for the A’s. I’m not really sure what this means, but I know there isn’t going to be a stadium anytime soon. I think this was a counter to San Jose trying to find a place to put the A’s, which Lew Wolff has longed for. It’s sad that the MLB still hasn’t concluded their research to decide where is the best fit for the A’s new park if there is one, after only two years of research. If they put me on that committee, I bet I could figure it out faster than two damn years!
Speaking of San Jose, how does the San Jose Hornets sound? It wouldn’t be possible till 2014 (when CP3 is gone), but Larry Ellison easily has the funds to buy the Hornets from the league and the wherewithal to make that move happen. He might do it just because he got punked when he was trying to buy the Warriors. It would be a pretty bold move to try to steal them away to San Jose, especially since the Warriors have as strong a fanbase as any in the league. I wonder if he’d just do it to take money and value away from Lacob and Gruber who bought the Warriors? Probably, because I think this guy HATES losing at anything, and I’m sure losing out on buying the Warriors is still eating at him. Five NBA teams in California seems like a little much, especially when three are in Northern California. I guess we will see how it all plays out, but I thought it was an interesting rumor nonetheless. The Kings are the most likely to move of the current teams here, so maybe there would still only be four teams in Cali if Ellison bought the Hornets.
The Lakers shenanigans leading to losing. I always love when Lakers fans start panicking after a few loses. I’m sure if I was a fan of theirs I’d be a little worried, but seriously, they still have the third best record in the west, so stop bitching Laker Nation. Even though their players are missing practices because of their IPhones, Ron doesn’t like the way Phil yells at him, and Odom is convincing teammates to sign waivers to be on his reality show, they shouldn’t be worried. They’ve gone through much worse with Kobe and Shaq, so they will right the ship. Last year just before the playoffs started, they played some of their worst ball of the season, and that sure didn’t seem to stop them from winning a championship. December and January isn’t the time to worry about the Lakers. This is a team that has been to the finals three years in a row. Sometimes you probably get bored during the season. I think that’s what is happening here more than anything…
Looks like we both need to re-evaluate how we are making these picks. We got one right out of ten last week, setting the lowest week total of wins since I’ve started doing this. Just like New Orleans picked itself up after Hurricane Katrina, we will have to do the same. We just need to hope that this turnaround happens a little faster than the real life one. This losing streak is showing me that no matter how much you think you know going into a game, you don’t really know crap compared to those lines makers. Just like the Geek and Sammy we have proven that we are good a pickin losers so far. It can’t be this bad for the rest of the year can it!?! I doubt it, so on to the picks.
What is the writing equivalent to being so ashamed, that you can’t even show your face in public? Would it be, being so ashamed that you wouldn’t want to let anyone read your words? Because that is how I feel after three consecutive, embarrassing weeks of football picks. If you fancy my words, or my humor, or perhaps lack there of, I appreciate your loyalty to me. But please, I beg of you, please do not read my picks for … *gasp* my picks. After going 1/5 last week, it absolutely dawned on me. I suck at this. I suck at this bad. Do I give up? No. But I am not cruel enough to wish bad upon our readers, so I hope you all either run as far away as you can from my picks, or simply pick the opposite. My picks should have yellow caution tape surrounding them. With that said, here are this week’s losers …
Last Week (Chappy 0-5, By 1-4) Overall (Chappy 8-14-1, By 6-12-2)
Week one didn’t go bad, but it didn’t go all that well either. I went a less than impressive (2-3-1), while By kept it mediocre with a 2-2 start. Now that we’ve seen a whole week of football action, we are experts and shouldn’t miss another pick for the rest of the year, right!?! I’m still shocked that By called that Texans game. I actually could see the Colts winning the next nine games without anyone noticing. I don’t buy TMQ’s argument that this is Armageddon because the Texans won, but do agree it would be hilarious if Houston ended up playing in the Super Bowl in Jerry Jones billion dollar stadium. Anyways, this should be another fun week, and I’m excited to win the money back that I lost in week one, so here are our picks for week 2!
What a roller coaster opening week for me. I hit the ground running like a Chris Johnson breakaway, after my prediction of the Texans upsetting the Colts came true. I began imagining myself hoisting up the “I Told You So” trophy after that one. Unfortunately that image shattered immediately, as the Houston/Indy game didn’t equate to the biggest upset of the day. The biggest upset of the day went to me. Because I was so damn upset at my 49ers! What a waste of one and a half hours of a beautiful Sunday afternoon. As you can guess, I stopped watching midway through. Anyway, to brighten up my mediocre week, let me just say, “How about ‘dem Cowboys, huh!?” I wanted to stay away from the Jets/Ravens game, but ultimately couldn’t resist. I originally wanted to take KC over SD, but couldn’t pull the trigger on another significant upset. Lesson learned, always go with the gut. But like Chappy said, we learned everything I needed to know about all the teams after the first week, and ala Vernon Davis, I predict we win on all of our picks the rest of the way! Continue reading
I was too disappointed to post something yesterday, plus my computer crapped out with some Trojan virus on Friday. I’m the one to blame for that since I didn’t ever buy one of those virus protectors…. Anyways, now that I’m a little bit more calm and collected, and at work with a working computer, I can actually assess what happened to the bay area teams. This was supposed to be the year of hope for both franchises, since their divisions suck, and they both made solid offseason moves, but in week one, they were huge disappointments having everyone in the bay saying nothing has changed. Neither team was in their game at the end of the half, which was very disturbing to see both of them give up on both sides of the ball when the game was out of hand. Usually you like to get a couple positives going for the next game during garbage time, but there wasn’t even much of that to draw any hope from. A grade of an F- for both of these franchises to start the season. Actually, I’ll give them an incomplete to start the year since they didn’t even finish all their assignments for week 1.
The Raiders had everything going for them coming into the game, even their “Taking it to them” t-shirts they wore all of training camp. The temperature was mild (77 degrees), and it was surprisingly un-humid in Tennessee. If it was humid, I can only imagine what the score could’ve been. The Raiders had a chance to pull within 14 at the end of the half, and chose to only be down by twenty after kicking a field goal instead. With the ball at the 15, and a yard to go on fourth down we really needed a touchdown. Cable’s fat ass called in the kicking unit, and it felt like we were mailing it in before the half. If we really wanted to be in this game, we don’t go for a field goal when the offense is struggling, and actually has the ball in the redzone for once. Three points wasn’t going give us that boost of confidence we needed going into the locker room. I would’ve been much happier seeing them go for it, and not get the first down, even if that meant we scored zero points on that possession. The most worrisome part of the day was easily the o-line. We couldn’t figure out the no name Tennessee defense. They knocked Campbell down every time he dropped back, and made me hesitantly think, maybe Jamarcus wasn’t completely the problem. Campbell’s line looked familiar for Raiders starting QB’s over the past few years two fumbles, one pick, and one garbage time TD. I might finally be jumping on the fire Cable bandwagon. He seems to have the respect of the players, but what the hell is wrong with our o-line. Isn’t that your specialty Tom!?! If you can’t get your team to be good at what you are supposed to be good at (former o-line coach), then how are you helping this team improve!?! He already gave up the offensive play calling to Hue Jackson, so shouldn’t he be more responsible for other things like coaching the offensive line. The one silver lining is that they played a Tennessee team that is supposed to be pretty good, and a team that was on fire to end last season. If they can’t show up against the Rams, I’m going to be very worried about this team. There was one part of the game that I found entertaining, the Titans mascot ate a cheerleader!
The 49ers had an even worse day than the Raiders. They couldn’t even get a touchdown, and looked terrible in every facet of the game against a team that both By and I predicted to having a good shot at that #1 pick next year in our Doin Lines picks. Coach Singletary thought it was a good “wake up” call for the team, and hopefully he’s right for their sake. If losing to the Seahawks isn’t a wake up call, then I don’t know what this team expects to do this year. Maybe their players were partying in the Castro District a little too much over the offseason and that made them soft, or maybe Vernon Davis is taking to curling more than football… Ok, ok, Vernon was one of the few guys that played well. Seattle played off their 12th man, and somehow looked like the 2007 Seahawks that were perennial playoff contenders. They do have a great home crowd, but the 49ers should’ve made this one at least a little close. It’s sad that they can’t even pin this all on Alex Smith, because every part of their game plan was executed poorly. The scariest part for the Niners is that this isn’t a good team, and preseason this was one of the games I had inked in a W. At least the Raiders got beat down by someone that has playoff aspirations. It’s only one game, but both of these teams have a lot to work on before they are considered anything near a playoff caliber team.
I’ve been impressed with the revival of Entourage this season. For the last couple of seasons, I thought the show was heading downhill, but this year they got Vinny on a drug binge, making bad choices, and dating a porn star. Excellent twist to what was getting to be a repetitive series. Speaking of things reviving themselves, and the true reason for this post, the NFL is bizzniizzzizzaacckk! This means that every team has hope again (including my Raiders and the overly optimistic prediction I made about them making it to the AFC Championship), but this also marks the beginning of gambling season, and the return of Doin Lines! Even if you aren’t betting on spreads, lets face it, there’s plenty of $10 bets thrown down on games amongst friends. I found myself enjoying keeping track of how I did against the spread last year, and ended the season doing surprisingly well considering I was way below .500 for awhile there, and had pondered giving up posting my picks out of sheer embarrassment. My comeback was strong, and ending 49-45-3 on the season, which made me want to see how I could do in my second year of keeping track. At points during the season, I was much more into making these picks correctly than keeping track of my fantasy teams. Not to say that I didn’t care about fantasy, but of all the fantasy seasons, football is the least attractive to me. It’s too much of a crapshoot, and everyone talks endlessly about their “squad”, which is more of a turnoff than a girl with a butterface. Instead of picking ALL of the games, we decided to each pick the top six or so games that we believe are either mortal locks, or very watchable. I did say “we” right!?! Well, this season, By has decided to join me on the adventure of posting picks, so I don’t feel like such an addict doing all these lines by myself! By also had a couple quick thoughts before we get started.
Before I reveal my picks, I must say I’m excited to hear that Entourage is back on the radar in terms of “must see” programs. There was a point in my life where I looked forward to watching Entourage as much as I looked forward to watching a football game on Sunday, but then it slipped. But from what Chappy just wrote, and from what friends have mentioned, Vinny addicted to hard drugs, Sasha Grey, plus the return of Carla Gugino (who is one fine woman) equals the return of Entourage! I have catching up to do …
Being the resident 49er fan on staff, I must be the one to say … “It’s a celebration b**ches!”
If you haven’t heard, the 49ers just inked an extension with their best defensive pla … check that … best player in Patrick Willis! I’m pleased on several levels here … for one, P-Willy deserved a new contract as he’s emerged as an elite player, one that opposing teams have to develop a game plan towards neutralizing every week. Two, it’s good to see the 49ers organization reward a player for his hard work and dedication. Since Willis arrived in SF, he’s led the team in tackles in each of his first three seasons, and has been selected to the Pro-Bowl every year. He is one of the best defensive players in the NFL today, and now, he is paid like one. To the tune of $50 million over five years with $29 million guaranteed. Woot!
So all 49ers fans unite, and let us raise our glasses and toast! Here’s to P-Willy heading a top-five defensive team in SF for the next five years … at the very least!
I’ve actually watched a lot more of the Olympics than I thought I would. I never understood curling until this Olympics, nor really cared to in the past. I guess I thought it was more like shuffle board, but it isn’t quite as simple. For some strange reason I caught myself watching some stones getting thrown around on the ice in Vancouver, and I would’ve never guessed who happened to be in Vancouver as an honorary coach! He is also an avid curling fan. Give up? San Francisco 49ers tight end, Vernon Davis. His presence didn’t speed up the painfully slow paced event, but he joined the booth crew to help announce one of the matches between Switzerland and the USA. Not sure if we won, because I didn’t make it through the grueling 3 hour match, but we were ahead at the time I turned the channel. Vernon went on to say a few interesting things like “I love curling.” “I’ve tried to get teammates to come out and play with me, but they usually just laugh.”
As an honorary coach some people are actually angry at Vernon for not leading the curling team to a better record (USA is 2-7 Men’s and Women’s combined). Really, you want to blame Vernon for not doing well when he didn’t even arrive at the games until yesterday!?! It’s funny that their first two wins happened to come right after Vernon delivered a pre-game speech to inspire them to victory. He even said that the atmosphere last night was like being at a 49ers home game. Really, THAT exciting?!? Or are 49ers games only selling 5,000 seats a game? I wouldn’t blame Vernon for our shortcomings in curling, since he’s NOT even playing. I blame the popularity of the sport within the US. Maybe we need some NFL players on our curling team, so we can take home the gold next time around. I’d definitely watch every match of team Davis, Gore, and Willis! Could you imagine Patrick Willis walking down the ice sweeping huge holes in the ice making those rocks go wherever he wants it to go? I’m sold, sign them up Vernon!
I had to scan youtube for some Vernon curling action. I think it’s safe to say in this clip he looks happier than a pedophile on Halloween. I actually think he looks more passionate about curling than he is about football! We could have another Bo Jackson on our hands!
The day before the Super Bowl we were made aware of the players that were going to be enshrined into Football’s Hall of Fame. Obviously there were two of the best offensive players of all-time in Emmit and Jerry that were a lock to get in. It was pretty cool to see how choked up they got when they were named to the HOF! You could truly tell that they were genuinely honored by the induction from their interviews, and the anti-Jordan speech will surely come at the ceremony. I’m a huge fan of the professionalism that Emmit and Jerry showed on and off the field, getting it done without being pre-madonnas. I have to admit I didn’t like Jerry for much of his hayday in a Niners uniform. Mostly because I was surrounded by Niners fans, and was constantly reminded of how good he was. Not to say that I liked the Cowboys or Emmit, but since they did shut up the Niners fans up here and there, I didn’t mind them nearly as much! All that changed when Rice went to the Raiders and helped us get to the playoffs. Too bad his work ethic and love for the game didn’t rub of our young guys like Jerry Porter, but oh well.
The thing that gets me about the Football Hall of Fame, is the voting. I’m not sure exactly what the selection process is, but I feel like there’s a ton of guys on the ballot that are as deserved as the guys that got in. I understand if you don’t let a guy like Tim Brown in, because it’s his first year of eligibility, but if he doesn’t make it next year that’s NOT cool. If for some reason Chris Carter and Tim Brown don’t get in, I won’t feel the HOF is a valid achievement. They were easily top 10 recievers of all time, and if they didn’t play in the same era as Rice, they would be close to the top all time receiver. So here’s my list of guys that should have gotten in over Rickey Jackson who wasn’t even the best linebacker on those late 80’s Saints teams; Tim Brown, Chris Carter, Charles Haley, Eddie George, Shannon Sharpe, and Kevin Greene. I’d say one of the biggest snubs was Haley, since they seemed to pick out of a hat on who to let in. The guy was flat out dominant for the Niners and Cowboys and has five rings!?! He was an integral part of the defenses that won those Super Bowl’s, and I feel that he was better than John Randle that DID make it in. I’d say that Dick Labeau and Floyd Little shouldn’t have made it in, but I never really saw them play since their careers ended before I was born. Based solely on their numbers I wouldn’t have voted for them, if I had actually had a vote. I guess you could give Labeau some credit for his coaching career after playing, and built up the Steelers defense to the way it is today. I think the NFL needs to make an eligibility length like there is with baseball’s HOF, because if these guys haven’t made it in on their first 20 tries, they shouldn’t be elected in. Seems like a fair rule to me, especially because I made it up. Another thing that bugs me about the NFL enshrinement, is that they are required to elect 5-7 guys each year. Instead of just picking out of a hat, they should consider just allowing the best to get in no matter how few or many guys it happens to be. I feel like some of these inductions are rendered meaningless, since they weren’t even the cream of the crop in their era!
This offseason, the other two California football teams will have many different decisions to make, but the most important one will be the same. Do we give our former #1 pick another year to become the franchise QB we need, or is it time to cut ties and move in a new direction? The 49ers and Raiders each had a number one draft pick within a three year span. They both took potential franchise quarterbacks, but neither has panned out to this point. Though there are plenty of pros and cons for both dilemmas, I think the answers are pretty simple. One is favorable and one is not. Let’s take a look at how both QBs got to the point they’re at, and the potential outcomes moving forward.
2005: The 49ers were coming off a 2-14 season and held the first overall pick. There was plenty of talent available, but SF’s biggest need was at Quarterback. The choice came down to Alex Smith or Aaron Rodgers. In the end, Smith was heralded as the better athlete, and more intelligent. Now, for every Ronnie Brown, Braylon Edwards, or Demarcus Ware they passed on, there was also a Cedric Benson, Pacman Jones, or Mike Williams that would’ve been worse. But, since Rodgers was the only other guy they were going to pick, he’s the only one it’s fair to compare with. To this point, Rodgers has thrown for more yards and touchdowns on less attempts than Smith, while throwing less interceptions as well. Smith got off to a rough start in his first year, throwing 1 TD pass to 11 interceptions. In 2006, he looked to be coming into form, completing 58% of his passes and connecting on 16 TD passes to 16 INTs. Last season was derailed by a shoulder injury, however, and when he came back this season, Shaun Hill had beat him out for the starting job. Smith, however, replaced Hill in Week 7, and had an up and down final 11 games to end the season. He finished with his best ever TD to INT ratio at 18:12. He also completed over 60% of his passes. The problem, though, is he still has yet to live up to his potential, and the 49ers are left to question whether he ever will. I can’t say with confidence that he will, but the chances are much better than his Oakland counterpart. Smith’s shoulder probably still caused him some discomfort early this season, but he should be back to full strength by now. The reason I see him getting better is his intelligence. While there certainly are exceptions based on physical gifts, the best QBs, like starting pitchers in baseball, are the smart ones who figure out the game and learn to play within it. I think Alex Smith can only get better the more he plays.
2007: The Raiders were coming off a 2-14 season of their own and held the first pick also. Also in need of a franchise QB, Al Davis couldn’t resist the size of LSU’s Jamarcus Russell, and despite new Head Coach, Lane Kiffin’s objections, selected him with the #1 overall pick. While I never really questioned the Niners’ selection of Alex Smith, I knew this one was doomed from the start. We all knew Russell could throw a ball across the Bay from his knees, but how does that translate to playing QB in the NFL? What he made up for in physical tools, he lacked in the mental department. Three seasons later, he has alienated himself from teammates and fans, something that’s hard to do in Oakland. The combination of bonehead plays, lack of accountability and complete lack of pocket presence has lead many to question his future as this team’s quarterback. He was given the keys to the franchise this year and repeatedly drove the wagon off a cliff, with an untimely interception, sack, or fumble. In his three year career, he’s completed just 52% of his passes for a lowly 65.2 QB rating. He’s also thrown just 18 TD passes to 23 INTs. Those numbers would all surely be lower if 90% of his passes weren’t dump off passes to backs. When he was replaced by Bruce Gradkowski this year, the rest of the team clearly elevated their level of play. It looked as if they felt they had a much better chance with anyone other than Russell out there. Now, whenever Russell gets into the game, it’s the result of an injury to another QB, and he is inevitably greeted with boos from the Raider Nation. Russell has shown no signs of getting better, and even worse, his drive and desire to get better have been called into question far too often. The Raiders need to make a decision, but if I know Al Davis, Tom Cable will be far more likely to be shown the door. My only hope is that the Raiders at least pick up a new QB who could challenge, and ultimately beat out Russell for the starting spot.
I made it through my first published season here on Doin Work (minus one week when I was gone). I have to say that I’m pretty happy with the results considering I made myself pick a few here and there just because I knew they’d be on TV and interesting. I found that when I was a more avid gambler, I never really won or lost much, which probably wasn’t a bad thing! This season pretty much reflected that. I went (3-2-1) last week bringing my season record to (45-42-3). Unless this week goes terribly wrong, I should end the regular season above .500. I’m extra scared of this last week of the season, because you never know which playoff teams will rest guys. It’s almost like betting on pre-season games… Obviously the teams that need to win to get in are full throttle, but the teams that are already in and have a limited need to win this week are kind of scary. Kind of like wondering what the new year will bring tomorrow scary. As always the home teams are in bold.
Buffalo (+8) Over Indianapolis
Will Peyton be pouting on the sideline again this week?
With headliners at the franchise quarterback spot, we have a hall of fame duo of Fitzpatrick versus Painter. If you aren’t already extra excited about this one, you might be the type of person that needs to cancel their Antiques Roadshow on the DVR, so you can re-watch this epic battle over and over for weeks to come. I forsee this being a battle for which QB can keep his rating over 50! I know that the Bills have locked up last place in the AFC East, and the Colts have locked up the 1st seed in all of the AFC which might make some think it’s a meaningless game. I guess I’ll agree, but it DOES look like a good game to bet on. The Colts laid down for the Jets last week with a pissed off Peyton strolling the sidelines, so I think the Bills can cover this one. Speaking of the Jets, if they make it in the playoffs, they are the luckiest potential playoff team out there. They play the best team in the league (Colts), who rest guys, and then another playoff team (Bengals), that will likely rest up for their first round match up. Talk about a cake walk schedule at the end of the year against playoff teams! The Bills will be playing all their starters, and whether they play good or not it shouldn’t matter too much since they should easily beat the Colts 2nd team.
Texans (-8) Over New England
The Texans have a shot at making the playoffs for the first time in their franchise history (8 years). I figure they are going to give it everything they have, and pull out victory. They’ve been playing very well as of late, and have given themselves an opportunity to make some history for themselves. Andre Johnson has been nothing short of unstoppable, and pulling in over 450+ yards in the last three games has him atop the league leader board in receiving yards. The Patriots on the other hand, will be a guessing game on what Bellichick will do. He’s been very evasive on what his plan is with his players and their playing time. My guess is he doesn’t play his starters for that long, and that would mean the Texans could put up huge points on a very weak 2nd defensive unit from New England. I see the Pats going into pre-season mode. If they rest Brady, Moss, and Welker for most of the game, this one shouldn’t be all that close as the Texans run the score up in their home finale.
San Francisco (-7) Over St. Louis
There is no game on the slate I feel more comfortable picking. The Niners desperately want to end the season 8-8. They had a few unlucky breaks this season that kept them from being within reach of a playoff spot, but Singletary won’t let them lay down for the final game of the year. He’s instilled a strong sense of pride, that this organization was lacking since Mariucci left. The Rams desperately want to lock up the #1 overall pick. Tanking this game would give them just that. It’s hard to pick the Rams in any situation, but here it would be plain ridiculous as they seemed to have taken the last seven weeks off after nabbing their sole win of the season. The only buzz in St. Louis is: What’s up with Holliday?Did the Cards sign him yet? The 49ers do have a lot of weapons aside from Frank Gore now. Crabtree and Davis are good complements to Gore, and have shown that they can efficiently work within the passing game. Problem for them is Alex Smith isn’t the answer at QB. I think even if they still only had Gore and Patrick Willis, they could cover the spread without breaking a sweat. Mark this as a lock on your gambling slate!
Chicago (-3) Detroit
Speaking of not messing with draft pick chances, why wouldn’t the Lions lay down for one more game to secure the #2 pick in next years’ draft? I tried to answer this question, and figured that since there isn’t one reasonable answer, this has to be a safe pick. The Bears pretty much sucked for most of the year, whether it was Cutler, injuries, or bad coaching they looked like cubs not bears more often than not. Cutler has a chance to hit 30 interceptions for the season if he can throw four this week, but I think they’ll end this year on a high note as much as I don’t want to see it. A two game winning streak might give them a little confidence going into next year. I’ve tried to look at any possible bright side for them to this season, and there aren’t many. Last week, when they looked pretty good against the Vikings most likely was, their brightest moment of the year. It also gave me hope that the Vikings could get knocked out of the playoffs sooner than later, and end all of the Favre talks for a few months, until he decides if he wants to keep playing! I could never see Detroit beating the Vikes, so the Bears must be halfway decent. This is my 2nd favorite pick of the week!
Oakland (+10.5) Over Baltimore
The Charlie Frye era in Oakland hasn’t been anything to write home about. I hope this era will mercifully end at the conclusion of this season. He played bad last week including 3 interceptions against a pretty bad Cleveland Browns team, but the Raiders play surprisingly better at home, and keep it close. Last season they ended Tampa Bay’s playoff hopes with an upset victory that had people hoping that Jamarcus had finally taken the next step. Sadly Raider Nation was given some false hope, and he regressed into oblivion. Frye did have a bright spot last week as he threw for 333 yards. If he can keep from throwing picks in the redzone, they should at least cover the spread. Hopefully they’ll come back with a heavy dose of Michael Bush, since he looks like their best running back. Baltimore’s playoff hopes hinge on a few things happening, but they need this win to get in. I think they might be watching what is happening in the other games more than the one they are in, and get upset. I’m not sure why, but I just don’t see why everybody likes Flacco so much. He’s more hot and cold than a bi-polar Texan without his gun. There’s always at least one WTF kind of upset game each week, and I’m predicting it will be this one!
Tennessee (-4.5) Over Seattle
The Titans played really bad against SD, or it could be that the Chargers ARE that good. I’m thinking that was the case, so there’s no reason not to pick them this week. I’m sure they’d love to end the year at 8-8 giving them plenty of hope for next season in the rejuvenated Vince Young era. Not relying on old man Collins to lead the way can only do wonders for this team. I see Chris Johnson getting his 128 rushing yards this week to get to 2,000 rushing yards on the season. I’m betting he will break a couple 50+ yard runs, that is unless, the endzone is too close when he breaks them! The Seahawks are a team that regresses each week, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that they’ll get blown out. Forsett still isn’t getting enough touches! When will this change? I guess not for this season, since they’ve all but mailed it in. Watching them play it’s amazing that they’ve even won 5 games this year. Julius Jones is not as good a play maker as Justin Forsett, get it right over there Jim Mora Jr.
Philadelphia (+3) Over Dallas
I’m not sure why, but lately I’ve become somewhat of an Eagles fan. Maybe it’s because they are on Fox every week or it might have something to do with one of my favorite college players (Desean Jackson) coming into his own in Philly. He’s been making a huge difference every time he gets the ball. Mcnabb looks like he’s moving into the been there done that mode, which he has, and has to be pretty comfortable playing that role by now. He also looks like he loves his latest crop of offensive weapons that he’s been given. Celek has even been making huge strides, and even though Mcnabb couldn’t quite make good on his promise of getting him into the pro bowl, Celek still had a great season either way. I keep waiting for Dallas to fall apart at the hinges, but it keeps not happening! It’s that empty feeling of hoping that your getting something for Xmas, but in the end you don’t get it. That’s how I feel every time I watch the Cowboys hoping for a loss. Maybe it’s more rooting for Romo to fail. Maybe it’s disliking Jerry Jones. It’s just fun to them fail I guess. I’m sure both these teams will be playing everybody, so if they happen to meet in the playoffs they will have home field over the other team. Let’s hope Romo fumbles another field goal attempt!
We hear about the Raiders moving back to LA. We hear about the 49ers moving to Santa Clara. We hear about the A’s moving to San Jose. Here’s one you probably haven’t heard. The 49ers have revealed a potential interest in moving to *gasp* Oakland? That’s right, the more spacious side of the Bay has a few things the Southeast corner of San Francisco does not; namely multiple freeways and BART access. Like all these discussed moves, however, the Niners to Oakland is purely talk at this point. If the scenario were to evolve, we’d likely see the Raiders and 49ers sharing a stadium, like the Giants and Jets in New Jersey. What’d be interesting is how many San Francisco and Marin County fans would make the trek to the East Bay. I’ve met more my than my share of folks who avoid Oakland like the plague. The ironic part is, in my opinion, Candlestick Park is in a far worse location than the Oakland Coliseum. The only SILVER lining to all of this is the possibility of seeing a new stadium built in Northern California, since two teams may just be enough to get it done. Let’s just hope the A’s don’t get any ideas about trying to share a ballpark with the Giants!