Tuesday Morning Tilt – Week 16 Edition

The Combine’s Joe Nicely discusses some winners & losers from the weekend in this edition of Tuesday Morning Tilt.

What’s up guys? Thanks for joining me here at The Combine! As I’m sure you all experience, the holidays throw everything off schedule, so this week’s edition is more of a “Tuesday Afternoon-ish Tilt”. Next Tuesday will be Christmas Day, so there won’t be a column up, but I will try to throw something together later in the week. Ok, enough scheduling talk, let’s look at some winners and losers from the weekend.

WINNERS

Chicago Bears – The Bears exorcised some demons Sunday, defeating the rival Green Bay Packers to clinch the NFC North Championship. This was another impressive accomplishment by rookie head coach Matt Nagy and his Bears team. I have to admit, I was one of the people that wondered what the hell Bears GM Ryan Pace was doing when he mortgaged Chicago’s future in order to trade up for QB Mitch Trubisky in the 2017 draft and to acquire Khalil Mack prior to the start of the season. I thought it was kind of weird for the Bears to be in “win now” mode when they had no chance of winning now, but after a home win against the Rams two weeks ago, the Bears have to be considered a legit Super Bowl contender.

Indianapolis Colts – The Colts stumbled into a great hire this past offseason. After New England’s resident prick offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels left them standing at the altar, the Colts pivoted to then-Philly coordinator Frank Reich. It appears that Reich was an underrated part of Philly’s success last season and he is doing a great job in Indy. Obviously, the return of Andrew Luck has played a huge part in turning things around and Colts fans have to breathing a huge sigh of relief after things looked touch-and-go with Luck just a year ago. A shutout of the red-hot Dallas Cowboys Sunday draws some attention to this Colts team that has been quietly solid over the past two months. As batshit crazy as Colts owner Jim Irsay is, he made a terrific move by firing Ryan Grigson and bringing in Chris Ballard.

DeAndre Hopkins – DeAndre Hopkins is having another great season and Saturday he became the second-youngest receiver in NFL history to catch 500 passes, with only Arizona’s Larry Fitzgerald doing it at an earlier age. It’s really unbelievable that Hopkins has been able to accomplish this feat with the true and utter garbage QBs he’s had throwing the ball to him over his career.

Here’s the list:

Matt Schaub

Case Keenum

Ryan Fitzpatrick

Brian Hoyer

Ryan Mallett

T.J. Yates

Brandon Weeden

Brock Osweiler

Tom Savage

DeShaun Watson

Forget 500 receptions, I don’t know how Hopkins is still in the fuckin’ league! Congrats Nuk, keep doing what you do and hopefully DeShaun can stay healthy for you.

 

LOSERS

Dallas Cowboys – This season has been a roller coaster ride for Jerry and the ‘Boys. After a slow start, a horrible-then-great trade for Amari Cooper, and impressive wins over the Saints and Eagles…the Cowboys did what they do best Sunday against the Colts: completely shit the bed just when everybody is getting on the hype train. The 23-0 beatdown in Indy proved a couple of things; 1.) Dallas isn’t “there” yet & 2.) Dak Prescott isn’t an elite NFL quarterback. After punching a couple of teams in the mouth, the Cowboys got a dose of their own medicine Sunday. The Colts ran freely against Dallas, while stifling the Cowboys run game. We saw that Dak is unable to carry the offense when needed. Prescott is a serviceable quarterback when things are going well and the run game is clicking, but when he is forced to throw when trailing, the offense falls apart.

Carolina Panthers – Ugghhh. What’s happened in Carolina? Cam Newton doesn’t look like the same quarterback lately and the Panthers have now lost a hard-to-fathom six games in a row. Last night’s loss against the division-rival Saints might be the final nail in Ron Rivera’s coffin. After losing to Denver in the 2015 Super Bowl, Rivera is now 23-23 in games since and is going to miss the playoffs for the second time in three years. We all know that “Franchise QBs” are hard to come by and Cam Newton’s prime years are slipping away.

New England Patriots – The Patriots have been declared “dead” several times over the years, only to eventually win the Super Bowl.  I wouldn’t be surprised if that happens again this year, but man…the Patriots look, for lack of a better word, old. I’m convinced that Gronk is held together with duct tape, popsicle sticks, and chicken wire under his uniform and while they’ve won Super Bowls without Gronk before, he plays a key role in keeping their offense humming. There were tons of un-Patriot like mistakes against the Steelers Sunday and it makes you wonder if the end is near. I mean this shit will end at some point right? Right?!?

New York Giants Fans – Congrats Giants fans, you’ve got a once-in-a-generation talent at running back, a top-10 wide receiver, and Eli Fucking Manning. The Giants organization’s loyalty to Manning is something we don’t see much anymore in the NFL and I’m starting to understand why. Football is an ever-changing animal and it really looks like the Giants are severely hindering their future by trying to hold on to the past. Yes, Eli won two Super Bowls for the Giants (though it’s debatable how much those can be attributed to Eli), but HE’S NOT WINNING ANYMORE SUPER BOWLS. I’m sorry Giants fans, I really am.

Fantasy Football Players – Perhaps the biggest “L” of the week went to those in fantasy football league playoffs. What a clusterfuck it was for all the “great” fantasy teams. You know what I have to say? Welcome to my world, motherfuckers! I’ve been living in my own personal fantasy football hell this season and it’s nice to have a little company from you Saquon Barkley, Melvin Gordon, OBJ owners. How does it feel? I’m hearing a lot of people complaining that after working on their fantasy teams all year, it sucks that it all comes down to one week. Hmmm, that sounds almost like…real football! Suck it up fantasy players. How do you think the team that loses the Super Bowl feels? This isn’t some new-age kid’s soccer league, there are winners and losers in fantasy football.

 

 

 

Tuesday Morning Tilt – Week 15 Edition

How Jerry Jones and defense won the week!

What’s up guys? Welcome to the Week 15 edition of Tuesday Morning Tilt, where we catch up on things from the week behind us. Some interesting things happened in the NFL over the weekend, let’s dive in!

You Were Right Jerry

Never doubt a billionaire with a plan. We all pointed and laughed at Jerry Jones when he gave up a first-round pick in the Amari Cooper trade, but ol’ Jerry is the one laughing now. Cooper is straight-out balling for the Cowboys. His latest single-handed beatdown of the Eagles was just another example of what a game-changer he has been. After starting out an ugly 3-4 before the Cooper trade, the ‘Boys are now 5-1 with the former Raider in the lineup.

There is bad news and good news if you are a Cowboys fan. The bad news is that Jason Garrett now has at least 20 more years of job security, which might not sound bad at the moment, but trust me…it is. The good news is that this will hopefully embolden Jerry to  do some more crazy shit! I guarantee you Jerry is talking some shit in the Cowboys offices right this moment and I bet he’s probably trying to sign Kareem Hunt as I type this. I don’t know the ins and outs of the Cowboys organization, but I do know that Jerry Jones does not give a fuck to pull the trigger on any player he thinks will help his team win.

Defense Isn’t Dead

Writers and TV personalities have been talking about how defense is dead in the NFL for years, so it’s nothing new. But this year it has started to look like they might actually be right this time. Then came Week 14. We saw some fight out of a couple of the league’s old-school defenses this weekend, as Chicago defeated the high-octane Rams, Baltimore took the Chiefs to overtime, and Monday Night Football was an ugly defensive battle.

Maybe now all the “football guys” can calm the fuck down. Some of these guys take it personal when a team scores 45 points. I bet Rex Ryan was jerking off while watching the Seahawks and Vikings last night, even though I didn’t notice any foot shots on the broadcast. Give me a break with this bullshit. I get so tired of being told what’s “real football” and what’s not by these assholes on TV. I’ll tell you what would make the game better and it ain’t bringing back the ’85 Bears defense…STOP THROWING SO MANY FUCKING FLAGS AND TAKING SO MANY COMMERCIAL BREAKS. There you go NFL, problem solved. We’re getting to the point that they are gonna run an additional commercial during the commercial break, come back to the ref’s throwing a flag, before cutting to another commercial. Just show us the damn game.

You’re Next Tomlin

I’ve talked extensively in this column about why Mike McCarthy needed to be fired. Well, since that asshole has been sent packing, I’m on to my next victim and who it is might surprise you. Does any coach in the NFL skate by easier than Pittsburgh’s Mike Tomlin? He’s like the AFC version of McCarthy. He always has a stacked offense and always underachieves.

Maybe I just miss things, but why does no one ever call him out? The Steelers just lost to the fucking Raiders for crying out loud and not a word from the media! It’s not like Tomlin is great in the locker room either, as the Steelers have had TONS of problems over the last few years. The Le’Veon Bell situation has been a nightmare, Tomlin has sparred with Antonio Brown this season, and does anyone remember his handling of the Alejandro Villanueva anthem mess? Enough is enough. With Big Ben currently being held together with duct tape and popsicle sticks, it won’t be long until Tomlin is truly exposed. I know that he looks like an awesome coach when the cameras show him patrolling the sidelines, but I’m on your ass from here on out Tomlin, you aren’t fooling me!

Sark Must Go

A couple of months ago I got shouted down in a group text for saying Atlanta offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian was horrible. I can see how a casual observer might have disagreed with me at the time. It was easy to look at Atlanta’s offensive stats and say that Sark isn’t the problem, but as someone who actually watches the Falcons on a regular basis, it has been fairly easy to see that this bastard may or may not still be dipping into the Vicodin. Nothing ever flows with the Falcons offense and things always seem to be just a little off. Sarkisian has been exposed as the season has wore on, as Atlanta has failed to top 20 points in five consecutive games. Let me say that again: THE ATLANTA FALCONS, WITH MATT RYAN, JULIO JONES, CALVIN RIDLEY, AND TEVIN COLEMAN HAVEN’T BEEN ABLE TO SCORE 21 POINTS IN FIVE STRAIGHT GAMES. You’re right guys, “Sark” is fuckin’ awesome!

Bryce Harper Owns The World

I’m not a huge baseball guy, but we have some great baseball minds on staff here at The Combine. I’ve gotta talk to them about this Bryce Harper thing, because my mind is blown. I’m pretty sure I read something the other day that said Harper turned down a 10-YEAR $300 MILLION OFFER from the Washington Nationals! What the actual fuck?!? Doesn’t Harper stay on the disabled list like half the time? I know he’s a great player, but damn, turned down $300 million stone-cold. The disparity between NFL contracts and MLB contracts continues to fry my brain. Football players really are getting paid peanuts in comparison to baseball players (and basketball players, for that matter) and have much shorter careers. More proof that NFL owners have the sweetest gig in professional sports! If any of you have kids that want to play sports, don’t even let them touch a football!

Tuesday Morning Tilt – Week 14 Edition

Green Bay finally decided to move on from Mike McCarthy and Browns fans should be very nervous!

Welcome back to Tuesday Morning Tilt here at The Combine! There’s no new Dwight Howard developments, so I guess we’ll have to make due with what we’ve got. As we head into Week 14 of the NFL season, some coaches seats are getting hot and one cat that was long overdue got stone-cold ejected after a brutal loss. No point in beating around the bush…away we go!

Mike McCarthy Fired in Green Bay

Congratulations Packers fans, you are minus one huge asshole on the Frozen Tundra this week! I lost my cool about Mike McCarthy in this column a few weeks ago and now here we are. After losing to the Arizona Cardinals at Lambeau Fucking Field, Green Bay decided enough was enough and sent McCarthy packing. The fans have known this guy was an idiot for years and management finally woke up after losing at home to the Josh Rosen-led juggernaut that is the Cardinals offense.

How do you have a losing record with Aaron Rodgers at QB?!? Serious question…when was the last time you watched a Packers game and came away saying, “Boy, that Rodgers really sucked today. He blew that one for the Pack!” The answer is…almost never, because Rodgers is awesome. Another question… when was the last time you watched a Packers game and came away saying, “Jesus, McCarthy is fucking terrible! Aaron Jones gained 70 yards on five damn carries, why the hell are they playing Jamal Williams?” The answer is…almost every week for the last two seasons.

I don’t give a damn what coach Green Bay hires, they will win 10 games next year if Rodgers is healthy. Ok…maybe not with Jeff Fisher, but any other coach they could possibly hire wins 10 games. Ok…maybe not John Fox, he fucking sucks too. Ok…any coach other than Jeff Fisher or John Fox will auto-win 10 games with Green Bay next year. Since Fisher and Fox probably won’t get the job (although more idiotic things have happened in the NFL), let’s take a look at the five guys that would be the most awesome choices:

#1. Jon Gruden: How amazing would it be for Gruden to just totally troll the Raiders in this spot? Oakland gave him a 10-year, $100 million contract with almost total control of the organization less than a year ago and Gruden has spent his every waking hour since taking the job blowing up the Raiders roster by trading every decent player Oakland had. He has put once-promising QB Derek Carr through psychological torture that would break the most hardened CIA operative and has been in full-blown tank mode since Week 4. What if he left Oakland with this huge dumpster fire that he created, in order to go coach Aaron Rodgers in his old Green Bay stomping grounds? Raiders owner Mark Davis might commit suicide if this happened.

#2. Kliff Kingbury: The recently fired Texas Tech coach is an offensive genius. He’s also perhaps the best looking football coach in history. I need this to happen just to see how many chicks Kingsbury and Rodgers could nail in the great state of Wisconsin. These two bros would be snapping necks and cashing checks in the NFC North, until Kingsbury gets caught banging Danica Patrick and the whole operation goes off the rails.

#3. Bruce Arians: I always mention Bruce Arians for every head coaching job, just because I think he’s an awesome dude.

#4. Jim Harbaugh: This is the only potential candidate on this list that could legitimately get the job. Things haven’t worked out for the Michigan man at his alma matter and Harbaugh might be better suited to the NFL game. It seems like an eternity ago, but he did take the lowly Niners to three conference championship games in four years. Would there ever be a better opportunity to come back to the NFL than the Green Bay Packers with Rodgers at QB? I would love to see what kind of crazy shit this milk-drinking bastard would come up with in the cheese capital of the world.

#5. Matt Nagy: What better way to give the ultimate middle finger to your oldest rival than to steal the best coach they’ve had in decades? The Bears are a storied franchise that has had some terrible head coaches over the last several years. I think it was pretty much universally agreed upon by Bears fans that even though Lovie Smith took them to a Super Bowl, he still sucked. The guy that was coaching in the CFL before getting the job? John Fox? Give me a break! It seems like Chicago has finally found a keeper in first-year coach Matt Nagy, who has made great strides with the Bears QB of the future Mitch Trubisky. The Packers could rip the heart out of an entire city by luring Nagy to Lambeau.

I’m not sure who will end up coaching the Green Bay Packers next year, but it sure as hell won’t be Mike McCarthy…and for that Packer fans can be thankful this holiday season. Unfortunately, Cleveland Browns fans should start getting really, really, nervous. I’m afraid that if McCarthy comes to town, you will have years of Baker Mayfield being completely wasted. Here’s my advice to the Browns organization: DON’T HIRE THIS FUCKING IDIOT! There you go Cleveland, I tried to help. In my opinion, the perfect job for McCarthy would be the L.A. Chargers. The Chargers are so used to underachieving with a great quarterback that McCarthy could get in a nice five or six years on the job before anybody even noticed that he was there.

Tuesday Morning Tilt – Week 13

Joe Nicely digs into the Cleveland Browns, Dwight Howard, and Thanksgiving in an all-new Tuesday Morning Tilt.

What’s up guys? Welcome to Tuesday Morning Tilt here at The Combine, where I talk about some interesting things that happened over the weekend, both in life and sports. Couple of real cool topics this week, let’s dive in!

No Pressure Cleveland

I can’t believe I’m actually saying this, but I think the Cleveland Browns have finally found their “Franchise Quarterback” in Baker Mayfield. The brash rookie was dealing Sunday against the Bengals, destroying Cincy and giving the Browns their first road win in like 27 years or something. There are a couple of things I want to dive into here, but the most important message I want to get across is…DON’T FUCK THIS UP CLEVELAND!

The Browns have drafted and drafted and traded and drafted and signed free agents, pretty much everything you can think of in their seemingly eternal search for a QB to build around. Mayfield looks the part and appears to be a legit long-term solution. The question now is what to do once you’ve found your savior QB?

It gives me some hope for the future of the Browns that they were willing to fire Hue Jackson mid-season. It seems that Cleveland GM John Dorsey and the front office realize what they have in Mayfield and decided they didn’t want Jackson screwing him up, not even for the rest of this season, and sent him packing. Smart decision.

The decision on who to hire as Jackson’s replacement will be the most important one the Browns organization makes in the next decade. They have “their guy” at the QB position, but as we’ve seen with players like Jared Goff and Mitch Trubisky, the right coach can make all the difference in the world. Do the Browns go with a young, offensive wizard that’s never been a head coach? Do they go with a veteran coach that knows the ropes and can provide a steady presence?

The thing that makes this coaching search different than the many the Browns have went through in the past, is that this time the Cleveland job is actually desirable. Coaches that are available or even unavailable, have to look at the Browns job as a great opportunity. Cleveland not only has Mayfield, but they have surprisingly drafted really well the past couple of years. Players like Myles Garrett, Denzel Ward, and Nick Chubb are legitimate talents that a new coach can build around. Assuming the Browns don’t keep interim HC Gregg Williams (they shouldn’t), let’s take a look at five possible Cleveland coaching candidates.

1. Lincoln Riley – Let’s go ahead and get this one out of the way. Riley is currently the head coach at the University of Oklahoma and mentored Mayfield to the Heisman Trophy and becoming the number one overall pick. It makes sense. Sean McVay’s success with the Rams has NFL teams willing to take a chance on younger coaches. Riley is 35-years-old and would certainly be an exciting hire that’s familiar with offensive concepts that should allow Mayfield to flourish.

2. Freddie Kitchens – Kitchens was brought in as a running backs coach for Cleveland this past offseason and was promoted to interim Offensive Coordinator when Jackson and Todd Haley were fired. He has done well with the Cleveland offense and Mayfield. The Browns have averaged 28 points per game since Kitchens was promoted and Mayfield has looked unrestrained and confident with the playcalling. It’s a small sample size and Kitchens has no head coaching experience. He comes from the Bruce Arians coaching tree, which brings us to our next possibility…

3. Bruce Arians – Man, I love Bruce Arians. He’s one of the few NFL head coaches that actually seems like a good dude that you could hang out with. Arians loves Cleveland and has already publicly stated that it’s the only job he would come out of retirement for. He’s had tremendous success with QB’s throughout his career, including Big Ben, Andrew Luck, and Carson Palmer’s renaissance in Arizona. Arians is 66, so it would limit the window for success to possibly 3-4 years.

4. The “Hot” Coordinator At The End Of The Season – These are the guys that pop-up every year and fill a ton of coaching vacancies in the NFL. They are coordinators who really stand out and perhaps help their team make a deep run in the playoffs. You’ll here names like Josh McDaniels and John DeFilippo talked about. You will also probably here about coaches that are connected to both the Chiefs and Rams. Keep in mind that Browns GM John Dorsey came from Kansas City.

5. A Coach That Is Currently Coaching An NFL Team – We all know that the NFL is the ultimate recycling bin. Once you’ve been a head coach, it makes it easier to get another gig. While Cleveland fans probably don’t want an also-ran, this offseason could see some long-tenured coaches part ways with their teams. Baltimore’s John Harbaugh has stayed successful, but appears to be close to ending his run with the Ravens. Ditto for Mike McCarthy in Green Bay, though I don’t know why you’d hire a guy that can’t win it all with Aaron Rodgers.

6. Bob Wylie – Because Bob Wylie RULES! If the next coach Cleveland hires doesn’t keep this national treasure on the staff, it’s instant bad mojo for them. SET HUT!

 

Dwight Howard…

Ok, what the actual fuck??? Let me be clear in saying that I don’t care what Dwight Howard or anyone else does in their private relationships, but this is some wild shit! I honestly had to Google what cisgender means and I’m still not sure I understand.

What I find interesting about this whole thing is, what kind of effect has Howard’s private life has had on his playing career? It seems like forever ago that Howard was thought to be a once-in-a-generation talent. This guy was the Defensive Player of the Year for three consecutive years and took the freaking Orlando Magic to The Finals! Howard was a defensive beast and posted roughly 20 points, 15 rebounds, and 3 blocks per game in his last season in Orlando.

The Magic traded Howard to the Lakers in 2012 and his career was never the same. In what should have been a dream pairing, he clashed badly with Kobe Bryant and never flourished in L.A. Howard headed to Houston after just one season with the Lakers. He has since played for FOUR OTHER TEAMS, for one season each!

What happened? Has Howard kept moving from city to city in order to limit the chances of him being outed or exposed? Did Kobe know what was up all those years ago in L.A.? Has the emotional weight of this secret crippled Howard’s play on the court? I have so many questions! Mostly because I’ve always been curious how a player that was that great and dominant in Orlando, became just another “good” NBA center.

This is just another reminder that we really don’t know these people. From MJ’s massive gambling habits to Tiger’s serial womanizing, we have no idea what these guys are doing off the playing field. It kind of makes you appreciate Charles Barkley’s honesty years ago when he came out and said, “I am not a role model.”

 

The Giving of Thanks & The Not Giving of Fucks

Of course, last week was Thanksgiving, which means the holidays are upon us. Is there a more stressful time of the year? It’s crunch time fellas. Remember when you used to look forward to the holidays? Nowadays it’s just an impending sense of absolute dread.

We went to my wife’s sister’s house for Thanksgiving this year. It’s about a three-hour drive. Traffic was, of course, ridiculous. So we get there and everything is great. We have a six-year old daughter and my wife has two sisters that also both have small children, so it really is cool when they all can get together and play. We eat, turn on the football game, the kids are having an amazing time, and then…I hear those fateful words from one of the women… “So, what are we gonna do about Christmas?” The mood immediately changes on a dime. My wife, her mom, and sisters all instantly morph into fucking high-priced litigators. Everyone has an idea about what should happen for Christmas, but we never know what will happen for Christmas until roughly 11:42pm on December 23rd. I used to chime in with my thoughts, but I’ve evolved into knowing better and not giving a fuck. I’ve accepted the situation and try to make the best of it. I try to keep my cool, but I always know deep-down inside that I have a Christmas Vacation-level holiday meltdown coming.

 

 

Tuesday Morning Tilt – Week 12

Joe Nicely gets some things off his chest in an all-new edition of Tuesday Morning Tilt

Welcome back to Tuesday Morning Tilt here at The Combine! To those of you that are joining me for the second or third time…some people never learn. If you are checking out Tuesday Morning Tilt for the first time…I apologize in advance.

The Saints Are Marching As The NFC South Crumbles

Holy hell! Are the Saints awesome or what? Everybody on offense is a threat to score at any time. Drew Brees looks like he’s been sipping from that Tom Brady fountain of youth, Alvin Kamara is the most explosive player in the NFL, Michael Thomas might be the second-coming of Jerry Rice, and Mark Ingram is a sidekick that has a Heisman Trophy at home. I think a ton of NFL coaches are horrible, but Sean Payton is a dude that has compiled a Hall of Fame-type resume while coaching the NEW ORLEANS FREAKIN’ SAINTS. I guess there are kids now who only know the Saints as being an excellent franchise, but those of us above a certain age remember the “Aints” days and the paper bags. It’s been an amazing turnaround for the franchise and the city of New Orleans. It certainly looks like they will be a handful in the postseason this year.

Speaking of coaching…did anyone catch the Panthers game? Fresh off receiving a Week 10 ass-kicking at Pittsburgh, the Panthers traveled to Detroit and lost to the lowly Lions in Week 11. Carolina scored with just over a minute to go to pull within one, but instead of kicking the extra point, “Riverboat” Ron Rivera tried to live up to his nickname and went for two. It actually should have worked, but Cam Newton missed a wide-open receiver in the end zone. Cam catches tons of shit from people (lots of it unwarranted) and I’m not trying to pile on, but man…it’s year eight and you’re Cam Fucking Newton, smart as hell and probably the most athletically gifted QB to ever play the position, what’s the problem? Maybe it’s not fair to always expect more from Cam Newton, but it feels like his greatness should be unquestioned by now and instead he still makes a lot of head-scratching mistakes.

Atlanta continues to struggle despite an all-star team on offense. Offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian has his backers…I’m not one of them. The Falcons have had as many injuries on the defensive side of the ball as any team in recent memory. With a Thanksgiving Day showdown against New Orleans looming, it looks as though Atlanta will once again enter the offseason saying, “Wait ’till next year.”

Just when Tampa Bay thinks it’s out, Jameis Winston pulls them back in. The former number one pick came off the bench to spark the Bucs in a failed comeback bid against New York. Winston has already been announced the starter for Week 12. Every time it seems that the Bucs are finally ready to close the book on Winston, he flashes enough tantalizing ability to keep the team on the hook. With a huge team-option year on his contract coming up this offseason, it appears that Winston will be playing for his future in Tampa for the rest of the year.

 

The Future is Now & Monday Night in…Mexico City?

Last night’s Kansas City vs LA Rams game was everything. It lived up to the hype in every way imaginable, breaking the record for the most points ever scored on Monday Night Football. Before you “Defense is dead!” assholes even start…JUST DON’T! Yeah, I have tons of problems with penalties that are being called on defensive players. I think you should be able to actually hit the quarterback and a little contact won’t kill wide receivers. What we saw last night wasn’t a product of horrible defense (we saw some great defensive plays), but instead was a master class in offensive play-calling and execution. For those of you that think offense is getting out of hand, let me present Exhibit A: The New York Jets.

In addition to the unbelievable play on the field, the game was made even better by an electric, Super Bowl-type atmosphere in one of America’s greatest football stadiums, the LA Coliseum. The game was originally supposed to be played in Mexico City, but was canceled due to horrible field conditions. Can you imagine last night’s game being played in Mexico?Perhaps the solution to this problem would’ve been…don’t schedule games in fucking Mexico City?!? That’s not a knock on Mexico, I don’t think there should be games in London either. Give it a rest Goodell. The NFL has tried this “taking the game international” bullshit for years, to no avail. There was an NFL Europe league that failed miserably years ago and now the NFL is probably handing out a free pair of Jags tickets with every fish & chips purchase on the streets of London…it’s just not gonna work, Roger.

I’m not one of these assholes that thinks life doesn’t exist outside of America. There’s a huge international market for basketball and I think that’s great! They should put NBA teams all over the world. Have a U.S. conference and a world conference with the winners of each playing in The Finals every year. However, football is a different animal. It’s a uniquely American sport that our citizens grow up with and develop an emotional attachment to. Let home teams play in front of their hometown fans and if those hometown fans aren’t buying enough tickets, then let the team move, but don’t outsource the sport in an attempt to find yet another revenue stream. Our BILLIONS of dollars aren’t enough for the NFL? Give me a break.

 

Weekend Mood Swings

Well…I didn’t get to travel first-class to go talk to an NFL GM or be the guest of honor at some cool brewery, but it was actually a pretty damn good Friday night. I got a chance to go see golf personality David Feherty live in my hometown of Knoxville at the beautiful Bijou Theatre. His show is called “Off Tour” and it’s basically just Feherty bullshitting for a couple of hours, telling jokes and great stories about life and golf. It was an amazing show and if you ever get a chance to see Feherty live, go check him out.

My beloved Vols suffered a beatdown Saturday at the hands of the Missouri Tigers. It’s our third straight loss to Mizzou. Yes…I died a little inside when I typed that last sentence. We play Vandy in our final regular season game this Saturday and must win to become bowl eligible. I’ll be placing a large emotional hedge bet this week and will be either financially or psychologically bankrupt after this game.

Some weekends, by the time Sunday rolls around, I just don’t even want to leave the house. The Red Zone Channel and DFS have made it increasingly difficult to for me to even walk outside after 1:00 pm on Sunday afternoon. I guess I’m old-school, but I still pay for things with cash quite often. That’s about to change for one specific type of purchase. I get pissed off every time I order a pizza and pay the delivery guy with cash. How do they always forget how to count all of a sudden? It’s always the same bullshit routine when you pay, no matter the delivery person. You hand them the cash and they turn into Forrest Gump…unable to do basic math…fingering through wads of one-dollar bills completely mystified, like they’ve never seen American money before. I know your game pizza guys! You motherfuckers can count just fine and you’ve definitely got a five tucked away somewhere in that stack of ones and twenties. Just give me my change and I’ll take care of you, there’s no need in trying to slow-roll a tip out of me…I’m just trying to get back to the couch!

 

 

 

Tuesday Morning Tilt

What’s up guys? I’m back with a second edition of Tuesday Morning Tilt. I’d like to thank all 14 of you that read last week’s debut column! Entering with big goals this week, as we shoot for at least 20 readers! Probably won’t get there…but we’re all about positive thinking here at The Combine.

For those of you that are checking out TMT for the first time, I take Peter King’s beloved Monday Morning QB format and turn it into something that is completely unprofessional and nowhere near as good. Let’s go.

Fantasy Football Gave Me A Chubb-y This Week

I told you guys how I got lucky and won in my fantasy league last week due to a late Gronk scratch. Well…that win streak came to an end real quick. I was playing the youngest guy in our fantasy league this week and of course he’s always got a stacked team, because he’s the only guy in the league without kids and actually has free time to research this shit. I never beat this dude, but I’ve got Nick Chubb on my team and was holding my own when Chubb broke a 92-yard TD run. I WAS LOSING MY FUCKING MIND at this point! As any self-respecting fantasy football veteran would do, I immediately started talking shit via our league group text. Then, of course…Alvin Kamara, Devante Adams, and Zach Ertz absolutely destroy my ass and I lose, which drops my record to a warm and cozy 3-7. By the way, when did Cleveland start celebrating every Browns victory like it’s the fucking Super Bowl? I’ll give them a pass on the win that broke the long losing streak, but we’re past that point now. Your supposed to win some games Cleveland, you don’t get a damn parade for beating the Falcons at home.

Emotional Hedge Bets and Shopping With The Girls

For those of you that don’t know, I’m a long-suffering Tennessee Volunteer football fan. There hasn’t been much to cheer about the last few years, so I’ve developed the habit of making “emotional hedge bets” when my Vols are playing. It’s a pretty simple concept…I put a small amount on the team that Tennessee is playing, if the Vols lose, I get a little monetary reward to soften the blow of the loss and if Tennessee wins I’m happy to pay. It’s a system that works well for me in my warped, football-fan mind. Those of you that follow college football probably know that it’s been another down year for my Vols, which has led to a pretty decent little nest egg this season. Well…this past Saturday, Tennessee was hosting the Kentucky Wildcats, one of our hated rivals that also happened to be ranked #17 nationally. Kentucky was a 4.5 point favorite over Tennessee…a lock if I’ve ever seen one. So, I decide to put my entire season’s worth of emotional hedge winnings on the Wildcats. It was a 3:30 kickoff and I put my bet in fairly early in the day. After I get the bet down, my wife tells me that our daughter desperately needs “winter clothes” and that we’re going shopping. Those of you that are fathers know that clothes shopping with your wife and daughter is it’s own special kind of torture, but as an added bonus this little excursion would be taking place during the game that I had tons of money on. Of course…the Vols play inspired football and win straight up, costing me my entire “emotional hedge” bankroll. This crushing loss/uplifting victory is going on while my wife and daughter are feverishly spending my hard-earned money on ridiculous items my daughter apparently “needs”, like shoes and a jacket. Don’t they know I could put that money in action for the Vols’ last two games of the season? I could practically guarantee that we win out by losing the right amount of money!

Keeping Up With The Kowboys

I’m not sure exactly why, but I’m utterly fascinated by the Dallas Cowboys. I think it’s kind of similar to those horrible reality shows that my wife watches on E! and Bravo. The Cowboys are my Kardashians. I would legitimately pay a large sum of money to watch an uncensored, no-holds-barred reality series that focused on Jerry Jones and the behind-the-scenes operations of the Cowboys year round, like Hard Knocks but dialed up to 20. I’m convinced that Jason Garrett has video of Jerry Jones killing puppies or something. Every time this entitled prick seems on the verge of losing his job, he somehow miraculously pulls out a win, like he did against Philly Sunday night. I sympathize with Jerry Jones, because I think I would probably act the same way Jones does. If I were an old, out of touch billionaire, I’d totally build awesome stadiums with bars and dancers everywhere and give huge, salary-cap crippling contracts to players that were “my guys”. I also really appreciate that he was the one owner that called Roger Goodell out for being a total fucking failure at his job when the commissioner’s contract came up for renewal. Jerry’s heart is in the right place and he’s willing to do anything to help his team win, but he’s always waaaay off base with his attempts to help the franchise. The Patriots got Josh Gordon in a trade for peanuts, the Eagles gave a third-round pick for Golden Tate. Jerry knows that the Cowboys need a wide receiver, so he gives up a first-round draft pick for…Amari Cooper?!? I bet Jerry’s the type of grandpa that would buy his grandson a gold Rolex watch for his eighth birthday. It’s a nice gesture and shows you he really cares…but what the fuck does an eight-year old do with a Rolex?

Put Another (Bologna) Log On The Smoker

I didn’t get to try any fancy beer or take any trips this weekend. I did get the chance to go over to a buddy’s house Sunday afternoon to watch football. Several of my friends are into the bbq thing. They have fancy smokers and Green Eggs. They perfect recipes and processes for smoking ribs and other things. I am totally cool with this, as I do none of the work and don’t invest any time or money, but still get to eat some awesome food from time to time. This Sunday my buddy smoked ribs, but he also smoked something called a bologna roll. I’m not sure how popular this stuff is outside of the South, but basically it’s a huge slab of bologna that’s about the size of a football. My friend injected this thing with jalapenos and smoked it for hours with hickory wood. It was amazing! It was also something that my cardiologist could build a vacation home on. I’m pretty sure I’ve got a heart attack coming any day now. If I somehow survive, I’ll see you here next Tuesday morning.

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday Morning Tilt

What’s up Combiners? Welcome to the first and possibly last edition of the Tuesday Morning Tilt, the article where I shamelessly rip-off Peter King’s beloved MMQB format. Instead of top-notch writing and insider NFL info, I’ll be talking about sports topics that matter to REAL sports fans. Things like my shitty fantasy team, my near-misses in DFS, how bad my favorite team is, and what coaches are horrible. You know…things that actually mean something.

Why Tuesday instead of Monday? Because I’m usually 14 beers deep by Sunday afternoon and in no shape to start writing. Plus…let’s be honest, you are probably gonna be reading this at work, while you are supposed to be working. Mondays suck enough as it is and are usually the one day of the week when people actually have to do some real work while at work, no need to bug you with my “Hot Takes” on Mondays like everyone else. So, Tuesdays it is.

My Nightmare Fantasy Season Continues

I actually experienced a tiny bright spot this week in what has been a long, cold, dark fantasy season. I rang up a victory to bring my record to a solid 3-6. You know how I won? The guy I was playing against had Gronk, who was a late scratch Sunday. That’s it, that’s the only way I was able to win.  I don’t know why the Patriots even try to play Gronk during the regular season anymore. His body is basically that of a partying, beer-chugging Frankenstein at this point. New England should just keep Gronk in some sort of party bus-style cryogenic containment unit during the regular season and roll him out healthy-ish at the start of the playoffs every year. Problem solved.

DFS Bust Of The Week

The Carolina Panthers are legendary trollers of the DFS community and they got me again this week. Upon seeing that Torrey Smith had been ruled out, I stuck rookie burner D.J. Moore in pretty much all my DFS lineups. He was cheap and playing a Tampa Bay defense that is roughly equal to a decent high school football team’s defense. So of course, Carolina being Carolina, they decided to go away from a player they spent the #12 overall pick on and instead ride a guy named Curtis Samuel. What the actual fuck Carolina? It’s not bad enough that Cam steals every goal line TD from everyone…you are scheming the ball to Curtis Samuel when we’ve got a sweet value play locked and loaded on DraftKings? I think the Panthers equipment manager scored a TD in this game, but D.J. Moore had one catch and one rushing attempt.

My Head Coaches Trading Places Idea

I’m nowhere close to being a great football mind, but every week I wonder how some of these NFL coaches keep their job. There are some good ones in the league…McVay, Payton, Belichick, etc., but man there are also tons of horrible coaches. You don’t have to necessarily have a bad record to be a bad coach. Take Green Bay’s Mike McCarthy for example. Great career record, always makes the playoffs. But is he really a good coach? This lucky bastard has coached the Packers since 2006 and has basically had two quarterbacks for the entirety of his tenure: Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers. With these two generational talents at the NFL’s most important position, McCarthy has been to ONE Super Bowl!!! Meanwhile, we’re giving Marvin Lewis shit for not winning a playoff game with the damn Bengals. This for an organization whose owner is so tight that the team has to practice at the nearby University of Cincinnati when it rains.  I wish fans could vote every season on which two coaches have to switch places for a year. I’d love to see McCarthy’s smug-ass coaching Andy Dalton in Cincinnati, while Lewis just turns over the Green Bay offense to Rodgers and coaches the defense to a Super Bowl victory.

A Lapsed College Football Fan

I was born and raised in Knoxville, TN, which means one thing…Tennessee Volunteer football. I grew up in the golden era of UT football, Peyton Manning, Jason Whiten, Al Wilson, just to name a few of the greats. We were really good every year. I was 18-years-old when we won the 1998 National Championship. We’ve pretty much sucked ever since. Had a string of horrible coaches. Our last head coach, Butch Jones, is literally a damn intern at Alabama now. I can’t make this shit up! I didn’t know what I had until it was gone. I took winning for granted. I’m now officially a bitter college football fan. I hate Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State and all the rest. I don’t want to see them on my TV or talk about them due to the pain it causes me. While the talking heads are discussing who will get into the Playoff, I’m over here trying to grind out a bid to the fucking Belk Bowl. So, I don’t wanna talk about college football until my team is good again…and like any self-respecting college football fan, I continue to bounce back and forth between if that will be next year or never.

Closing Thoughts Of The Week

I guess this is the part where I tell cute little stories about my travels and talk about different fancy beers and coffee. Well, you guys are totally out of luck on that. I never travel unless my wife makes me. I hear about other people’s trips though, because apparently all of my wife’s Facebook friends are fucking world travelers that live exciting lives. I think Facebook’s sole purpose is to keep husbands and fathers broke, because you are trying to give your family the same experiences that other families post on Facebook. So because I’m always broke from trying to keep my family happy and the fact that this site pays me in DK Crowns, I don’t get to drink fancy beer and coffee. Nope…it’s Bud Light and Folgers Classic for old Dad. I did step out of my comfort zone when I went to a friend’s house over the weekend and sampled some Coors Light. Slightly watery, with only a hint of metallic undertones. If I get a second week of Tuesday Morning Tilt, I hope you guys will check it out, as I continue to fight the good fight for REAL sports fans. Next week I might try something really exotic and pricey, like a Sam Adams.