Dec 23, 2008
So here we are looking ahead to the last Sunday of the NFL’s 2008 regular season. Some teams have surprised us in a good way (Atlanta, Miami, Baltimore), some have surprised in a bad way (Jacksonville, Cleveland, Seattle), and some, to quote Denny Green, “Were who we thought they were!!!” (Giants, Steelers, Lions, Raiders). Surprisingly, there wasn’t much in the way of off-the-field issues this season. Well, except for that little self-inflicted gunshot wound to Plaxico Burris. But that aside, up until two weeks ago, we hadn’t heard a peep out of Terrell Owens or Clinton Portis. And the rest of the usual suspects- Ocho Cinco, Pac Man Jones, Phillip Rivers, Larry Johnson, Kellen Winslow, etc.- have been amazingly quiet and issue-free this season. As a reward for this good behavior, I’ve decided to load up the sleigh and deliver some Christmas presents all across the NFL this year. And to help me with the shopping, I’ve brought Johnny B along for the ride. (He drives a big van, usually carries extra candy canes, and his hair smells like cinnamon, so he’s really the perfect holiday shopping companion.)
Smitty: Johnny B, you there?
Johnny B: I'm here.
Smitty: You ready to go?
Johnny B: I’m as ready as Rosie O’Donnell at a Vegas buffet.
Smitty: Disgusting. Let's do some NFL Christmas shopping! First of all, before we get started, Merry Christmas to you and the entire B family. Anything special going on in the B house this holiday season?
Johnny B: Merry Christmas to you and yours. We do Christmas here on the 24th, then to my Dad's that night. Then it's an exhilirating thrill ride up to Columbus for the wife's family.
Smitty: Sounds, uh, great. Not as great as taking in a special holiday donkey show in Tijuana whilst sipping Jack & Nog bombs, but whatever.
Johnny B: That's what we do at our Saylor Park Christmas with my Dad's third wife and my denounced step brothers the first Saturday after Three Kings Day.
Smitty: Three Kings? You mean Little Kings Day? Get all hopped up on cheap malt liquor and go to Western Bowl for a few frames?
Johnny B: Three Kings Day! Mexican Christmas... never heard of it? It's a lot like Kwaanza but the corn has pimento.
Smitty: I thought Mexican Christmas was Cinco de Mayo. Or is that their 4th of July? Whatev. You ready to do some gift giving? We've got 16 games, 32 teams, and, like Santa, we're on a tight schedule here. Slide your skinny ass down the chimney for the Rams at the Falcons. What's in the bag?
Johnny B: I don't know what's in the bag but I do know what's in the Three Kings Trinity cake. Guess who??? Baby Jesus!
Smitty: It looks like Baby Jesus is holding a dildo.
Johnny B: I asked Him to bring Mamma Squintz a gift from the top of her list. Another answered prayer.
Smitty: If he throws in a ball-gag and some nipple clamps, she can cross off the top three. So nothing for the Falcons or Rams? No, wait, I've got something for each. For Super Ginger Kid Matt Ryan, I've got a huge gingerbread house for him to chill in. As for the Rams, they simply get the 2nd pick in the draft. Again.
On to the Patriots at the Bills. I say hoodies all around to the Pats. They lose Brady and still might win the division.
Johnny B: Gingerhouse for a ginger kid. Priceless. For the Bills, I say Santa takes them back to the North Pole and we'll call them the Arctic Chokes.
Smitty: I hate artichokes. Actually, I'm not much of a vegetable eater, period. I guess that's why I couldn't carry on my relationship with my first wife after the accident.
Johnny B: And it’s why I had to step in and satisfy her with weekly bedside visits to the ICU.
Smitty: That’ll be an interesting conversation between you and God someday.
Johnny B: I hope to skip that conversation and talk to him about why he let hair metal die an untimely early death.
Smitty: Amen. Speaking of an early death, I’m going to the Bengals game this Sunday with the Plain White Rapper. We’re both super-stoked to see these two dead teams walking. Actually, I’m super-stoked to get outta the house for some guy time.
Johnny B: Uh, “guy time”?
Smitty: Fuck you, Bilbo. Chiefs at Bengals. You know what, I think I’m gonna shop for the Bengals like MFB does. I’ll go after Christmas and pick through the leftovers. Maybe get Carson Palmer a new O-Line made up of journeymen and a couple more late round draft picks.. Or I could just get them all gift certificates to Chuck E Cheese.
Johnny B: The Bengals are pathetic. But there not the only suspect questionable team out there. Smitty, I know you secretly love the Chiefs. But I've got a question for ya... What do you call 47 millionaires around a TV watching the Super Bowl? DING! DING! DING! The Kansas City Chiefs.
Smitty: The Chiefs haven't been to a Super Bowl since Van Buren was president. But at least they've been there, …and won it. Speaking of pathetic, the Lions travel to Green Bay, their final stop on the Quest for 0-16. I'm going to go ahead and get them what everyone else is asking for in Detroit lately– a bailout. I’ll give ‘em fifty bucks in one of them Hallmark Christmas cards with the sarcastic old cartoon lady on it. But in return, they have to agree to secede from the NFL and go play in Canada.
Johnny B: I’m going to get the Packers a six pack of I Told You So soda. You don’t trade a legend like Favre. Now what do they have to do up in Green Bay? Watch each other finger-fuck a block of swiss cheese? Go cow-tipping?
Smitty: I think they play a lot of Yahtzee and dance to polka music.
Johnny B: Which brings us to the Browns at Steelers. May Santa bring an ass-kicking to Turdlessburger this weekend. Not that I'm still bitter.
Smitty: I'm gonna ask Santa if I can borrow one of the mean, reject reindeer, fly to Hines Ward's crib, smash through his bedroom window and go hoof-first into his big-ass teef. Then I'll watch from a chair in a darkened corner as he's reindeer-raped. When it’s over and he’s lying there weeping, I’ll set down my glass of scotch, stand from my chair, shoot the reindeer, and remind him that “This never happened”. And no, I'm not bitter, either.
Johnny B: Sometimes I just don’t even know if you’re kidding. Do we need to take a break? I'm about as energetic as a Las Vegas whore at sunrise.
Smitty: You need some of that 5 Hour Energy shit that your buddy Braylon Edwards is peddling. Grab a Red Bull from the fridge and mix it with some vodka from the flask your wife's hiding in the linen closet (don't ask me how I know, I just do) and keep up. I’m gonna’ hit the fridge for some leftover KFC and a Coke. Meet you back here in ten.
(twelve minutes later…)
Smitty: Johnny, your not-so-secret favorite team, the Titans are at the Colts. Jeff Fisher gets what I always get him- a year’s supply of mustache wax. Which he never uses. I text him all the time, asking him to grease it up, 1800’s-style and pull the ends out. He’d look badass, like Daniel Day Lewis in The Gangs of New York. Didn’t he also wear his face fur like that in There Will Be Blood? “I drink your milkshake, Payton Manning, I drink it up!”
Johnny B: I haven’t seen that movie. I heard it’s good.
Smitty: Good but not as good as The Gangs of New York.
Johnny B: You just like that one because of Leo Dicaprio.
Smitty: He’s a cutie.
Johnny B: Is he a bear or a tink?
Smitty: A tink, definitely. But if put with another tink, he’d take the bear role.
Johnny B: I was kinda kidding.
Bears at Texans. Chicago fans want what they always want- a decent quarterback. But just because Cub fans are a-holes, I give them another year of Kyle Orton and a gift certificate to Nathan’s hot dog stand. And the Texans, they have to promise to never, ever, wear their all red uni combo ever again or they ain’t getting’ shit from Santa Smitty. Did you like the all-red duds? I was watching one of their big, fat O-linemen running and I could’ve sworn I heard someone yell, “Hey, Kool-Aid!”
Johnny B: I thought they looked like eleven used tampons running around the field. But, it beats the Browns all-brown Mr. Hanky look from last year.
Smitty: If it’s brown…
Johnny B: …flush it down.
Smitty: You….complete me.
Johnny B: You’re gay.
Smitty: The G(ay) Men are at the Vikings this Sunday. It’s a must-win for the Vikes. Hey, because I’m catholic, I know that Christmas is Jesus’ birthday. Does that mean that it’s also Purple Jesus’ birthday?
Johnny B: I don’t know.
Smitty: Purple Jesus gets gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Eli Manning gets twenty bucks to go get a decent haircut that doesn’t make him look like a nine year old. Whenever I see a head shot of him on tv, I expect them to pan down to show he’s wearing Garanimals.
Johnny B: I expect them to pan down to show he’s wearing footie pajamas.
Smitty: The Panthers are at the Saints. And speaking of haircuts, I’m hitching my sleigh to Jake Delhomme and the Panthers for the playoffs. I may even toss a little Sex Panther cologne under their tree. You down with the black cats?
Johnny B: I’m almost always down for some black-haired pussy.
Smitty: Raiders at Buccaneers. What do you get for the owner who’s got everything, except his sanity? How about a straightjacket for Al Davis with “Committed to Excellent care” embroidered on the back?
Johnny B: I’m getting Jeff Garcia an extension on his subscription to Playgirl and a movie pass to see Milk.
Smitty: Garcia’s not gay.
Johnny B: You told me he was.
Smitty: I tell you lots of things.
Johnny B: Tell me about the Seahawks at the Cardinals.
Smitty: I’m wrapping the Cardinals present right now- a brand new, state-of-the-art tourniquet to stop the bleeding. I mean, what the hell happened to thm? Did Kurt Warner’s deal with the devil expire early? My sources said it was good through at least mid-January. Maybe he missed a payment.
Johnny B: Speaking of the devil, Ray Lewis and his posse are beating people up again. I’m thinking of getting them an attorney for Christmas.
Smitty: Hmmm…Jaguars at Ravens. Ravens D-coordinator gets a wink and a nod from Santa Smitty ‘cause it’s now more obvious than ever that he’s the straw that stirs the drink in Charm City. Somebody please get him a head coaching position somewhere else so the Ravens can start sucking. As for the Jags, I’ll get them a signed okay from the commish to relocate to LA, or Portland, or Vegas. They weren’t selling out games in J-Ville even when they were good. Time to move on.
Johnny B: I’d move ‘em to Duluth. After touchdowns, they could sing “Du-luth, Du-luth, Du-luth is on fire!”
Smitty: Dolphins at Jets. If I’m the owner of the Dolphins, I put a lifetime contract under Bill Parcell’s tree. And a box of canollis. First year there as GM and he turns them from 1-15 to 10-5 and one win away from division champs.
Johnny B: If I’m the owner of the Dolphins, I’m sitting on South Beach with four breast-enhanced beach babes and sipping Waboritas til’ 4am every night.
Smitty: Your man-crush on Sammy Hagar always finds a way to make an appearance.
Johnny B: What can I say. He holds the key to my Three Lock Box.
Smitty: Sammy’s cool. At least he’s enjoying life. He’s not a bitter old man like Eddie or an insane vagrant like David Lee Roth. (Caution: foreshadowing) If Van Halen/Van Hagar was/were the Cowboys, I think Eddie would be T.O., Alex would be Marion Barber, David Lee would be Pac Man Jones, Michael Anthony would be Witten, and Sammy would be Romo.
Johnny B: Sammy would be the photographer for the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders.
Smitty: You’re right. So, Cowboys at Eagles. I'm getting Romo a new girlfriend. Jessica Simpson's hot but there are plenty of hot broads he can get his hands on. She's brought his game down from day one. Having her around is like carrying the cursed idol from the Brady Bunch's Hawaiian vacation.
Johnny B: I'm getting Andy Reid a WeightWatchers membership.
Smitty: Good call. Hey, Skins at Niners. The Niners get nothing for Christmas. Ever. I’ll get the Skins tickets to the presidential inauguration to see your homie Barack get sworn in.
Johnny B: I’m trying to forget about it and move on. I’ve got more pressing concerns. Like how I’m going to raise enough money to buy myself an Illinois or New York senate seat.
Smitty: It looks like Al Franken, Caroline Kennedy, and Jesse Jackson Jr may all be in the senate, joining Barney Frank, Chris Dodd, Harry Reid, and Nancy Pelosi. Yeah, this is gonna’ turn out just fine.
Johnny B: We can always move to Austrailia.
Smitty: How about New Zealand? They have four-day work weeks and get an average of twelve weeks vacation.
Johnny B: Sounds like a strong union contract.
Smitty: Speaking of contracts, I’m getting Jay Cutler an extension on his contract for Christmas. The donkeys have melted down and will now probably miss the playoffs but it’s not his fault, their defense su-ucks.
Johnny B: The Broncos at the Chargers, eh? The Broncos are my other favorite team but you’re right, their defense is horrible. I’m getting them a new D-Line for Christmas, just in time to beat the Chargers this Sunday night.
Smitty: That’s it, Johnny. We’ve made it through our shopping list and, in the process, the Week 17 matchups. And as a sign of my appreciation, a couple gifts for you. A Denver Broncos cheerleader and a bottle of Cabo Wabo tequila.
Johnny B: Good Lord. And for you, two Corona cans and a salute for another year in the books.
Smitty: Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.
Dec 10, 2008
Myths about MFB, Lovie, Bucco Bruce, The Hasselbeck Code, Fisher's Ferret, Bounties, Hoodies, and a Power Crystal
So I’m listening to a local sports talk show while driving the other day and Bengal Bob or Who Dey Steve or Delhi Dave or whoever the guy’s alter ego was, says something I’ve heard oh, about 12,489 times over the past few years. He says, and I quote’ “Mike Brown’s a good businessman but he doesn’t know anything about football.” It was at that point, I guess just due to years of repressed stern disagreement, that my brain had finally had enough. I started seeing blue and pink spots, tore the steering wheel clean off its mounting and careened headlong into a side-of-the-road fruit stand. Actually, I just muttered “what a moron” to myself and jammed my banana smoothie back in to the cup holder, but you get the idea. The point is, can we please invoke a moratorium on the whole “Mike Brown is a Good Businessman” theme? I mean, Jesus, people, it’s not only not true, it’s false (whatever). It’s borderline blasphemous, annoyingly egregious and downright insulting to bonafide businessmen everywhere.
Why is he a good businessman, because he negotiated a lopsided deal with Hamilton County and the City of Cincinnati? We’re talking about negotiations with the likes of Bob Bedinghaus and Jim Tarbell, etal. Anyone could’ve distracted those groups by rolling out a brightly colored ball of yarn and some tinsel and written their own ticket. Oh, and beating the IRS in court, you say. Um, Mike Brown didn’t beat the IRS, his attorney, James Malone, beat the IRS. You think Mikey Boy with his speech impediment and monotone delivery is eloquent enough to sway a high level judge? Whatev.
Since when could someone inherit a business, fail miserably at one of the two main goals of that business, and be referred to as a good businessman? Uh, never. Unless your name is Mike F. Brown (more on the “F” later)> The two main indisputable goals of any professional sports franchise are to a) make a healthy profit, and b) win games, if not championships. While MFB has succeeded with a), he’s been horrible at b). Now, some will argue that ultimately, making money is more important than winning, so MFB has succeeded at the more important, and most important, goal of his business. I can’t and won’t argue with that but I will contend that the two goals are not exclusive of one another. Plenty of owners accomplish both goals with the understanding that winning often parlays itself into more revenue (see: Kraft, Robert; Irsay, Jim; Rooney, Family).
Obviously, the bottom line of any company, hell, any household for that matter, is affected by two things: money coming in and money going out, MFB limits the amount of money going out better than any owner in the history of owners but he does a terrible job of maximizing money coming in. Think of it this way: If your wife tells you that the checking account is getting frighteningly low and the household budget is in the red each month, you have three choices- 1) cut expenses, 2) work hard to get a promotion, raise, bonus, etc., 3) cut expenses and work harder for more money. MFB’s mindset is to cut expenses to the bone. This doesn’t make him a good businessman; it merely makes him an unimaginative tightass. On the flipside, someone like Cowboys owner Jerry Jones (and about 29 of the 32 current NFL owners) has the mindset to work harder, win more games, expand the fan base, market to new client bases, and increase demand to he can raise prices and increase revenue. It’d be one thing to give MFB a pass on this because, well, who are we to say how he should keep his business afloat but that’s not what we’re talking about. What we’re talking about is increasing profits. MFB cuts to the bone to increase profits, not to make ends meet. Hell, in today’s NFL, the negotiated television contracts combined with the negotiated salary cap have set up the owners to the point where they are guaranteed a healthy profit for the year before they even roll the tackling sleds out for training camp.
I like to compare the NFL to McDonalds. It’s a unique product, widely loved and consumed, part of the fabric of America, with a brand name that makes it nearly impossible for one of its franchises to fail. Outside of having to fund a rabid cocaine habit or a serious gambling addiction, it’s basically impossible to fail with a McDonald’s franchise. Mike F. Brown’s like the owner of the shittiest McDonalds in town. Sure, he makes a healthy profit but the coffee’s always cold, the floor’s always sticky, the drive thru is mind-numbingly slow, the workers always seem to screw up your order, and the bathrooms smell like a homeless guy with four cats lived in it for the past week. But people begrudgingly go there because it’s the only McDonalds in the neighborhood and they need their weekly Big Mac fix (or McRib, depending on your part of town). If he just hired better management, spent more to get better front line help and put the needs of his customers first, he’d make a much larger profit. Why cut back and piss off your loyal client base when you can spend a little more, make a little more, and improve your image? Especially when your client base is not only paying for your product but also paying taxes to pay off your building for you.
Side note: If MFB actually did own a McDonalds, it wouldn’t be more than three months and Ronald would be asking to be traded and Mikey Boy would be trying to rehabilitate the Hamburglar, right?
MFB was handed a golden goose by his father and instead of taking care of the goose, feeding it well, giving it a good life and putting it in a healthy environment where it can yield the most golden eggs, he’s got it leg-shackled to a pipe down in the basement, feeding it month-old bread crumbs under the flicker of some failing fluorescent lights while blasting propaganda messages and German death metal through an old loudspeaker. He has not been an adequate caretaker of the goose. Nor has he been an adequate businessman. A good businessman would know his or her own limitations, react to customer feedback, reward productive and loyal employees (Willie Anderson), weed out poorly producing an malcontented employees (Cinco and Henry), feed revenues back into the company to increase product quality and productivity, look for innovative ways to get a leg-up on the competition, and strive to help improve the overall good of the community in which the business resides. That’s not Mike F. Brown. Never has been, never will be. Oh, and the “F”, it stands for “Fucking”. (Because it fits and it flows beautifully)
Now that we’ve debunked the MFB “good businessman” myth, whaddya say we shoot down some other commonly accepted falsehoods around the NFL?
Bring on the matchups….
Saints at Bears-
Myth: It’s been widely reported (at least amongst my friends) that the mother of Bears head coach Lovie Smith was a huge Gilligan’s Island fan and named her son after Thurston Howell III’s wife.
Reality: Surprisingly, this is not true. His real birth name is Lovie Lee Smith and he was named after his great aunt Luvana. Lovie grew up in Sandy, Texas with his parents and three brothers- Ginger, Mary Ann, and Skipper.
Buccaneers at Falcons-
Myth: From almost the time it was initially unveiled, the Bucs original logo, Bucco Bruce, was thought to have been a tribute to a band of gay pirates that roamed the Caribbean in the early 1800s.
Reality: Actually however, the logo was the creation of then Tampa Times cartoonist Lamar Sparkman who was commissioned to design a logo that didn’t look too much like that of the other “pirates” in the league. You may recognize some of Sparkman’s other works such as....
Seahawks at Rams-
Myth: Recently, it has been rumored that the terminology used by Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck in this commercial was just jibberish and had no meaning whatsoever.
Reality: Well, while it’s true that it is not actual terminology from the Seahawks playbook, it does have meaning. Its code formerly used by Matt and his brother Tim when they were younger and chasing tail. This particular code was the one Matt texted to Tim when Tim first introduced Elizabeth (now his wife) to the family. It decodes as follows: Change Right (Republican Hottie), A Right (Nice Ass), Two Jet Dancer (Nice perky tits), Fake Forty (You should definitely get her drunk by spiking her drink), at Shallow Cross (in the back of your XR7).
Bills at Jets-
Myth: It’s been a common belief that Fireman Ed, the fan wearing a Jets-themed fireman helmet who starts the J! E! T! S! cheers during the Jets home games, is an actual NYC fireman. In reality, the clown’s name is Ed Anzalone and indeed he…..Wait a minute, I’m getting way off point here-
Reality: J! E! T! S! Suck! SUCK!! SUCK!!!
Titans at Texans-
Myth: Titans head coach Jeff Fisher has a pet ferret named Pastorini that he keeps in his mustache.
Reality: There is no animal living in Jeff Fisher’s mustache. But he does have a pet ferret. During the season, it lives with Mama Squintz, usually taking warmth inside her girdle and occasionally heading south to forage for crumbs stuck in her pubic hair.
Packers at Jaguars-
Myth: Everyone in Green Bay is fat and lives on a steady diet of cheese, sausage and Krispy Kremes.
Reality: This is a completely overblown stereotype. Our studies show that at least seven people in the Green Bay area are not, I repeat, not morbidly obese.
Chargers at Chiefs-
Myth: Due to the disappointing season in San Diego, the natives are restless and fingers are being pointed. A local fan group which calls itself The Current, has started circulating negative talk directed at quarterback Philip Rivers. On their official web site which doesn’t exist, the claim is made that Rivers is nothing but a quick-tempered red neck with a bad haircut and a weakness for roasted possum.
Reality: Rivers is actually a pretty decent red neck quarterback with a quick temper, bad haircut and a weakness for roasted possum.
Niners at Dolphins-
Myth: Before the game winning two-minute drive against Cincinnati in Super Bowl XXIII, Joe Montana lightened the mood in the huddle by pointing out John Candy sitting in the stands.
Reality: It’s true. Damn the Niners, Damn them straight to Hell!!!
Lions at Colts-
Myth: If the car industry bailout does not get through Congress, the Ford family will be forced to sell the team. On the list of prospective new owners is Detroit native Robert James Ritchie, aka Kid Rock.
Reality: William Clay Ford is on record as saying that he will never sell the Lions, bailout or no bailout. Ford says the Lions are “part of the Ford family and have a special place in our hearts, just like the Tempo, the Festiva, and the Pinto.”
Redskins at Bengals-
Myth: The name “Redskins” is a derogatory term used since the European colonization of America to describe native American Indians, referring to the reddish tint to their skin. The Native American community continues to be outraged by the use of this term by a major sports franchise residing in our nation’s capital.
Reality: The term “Redskins” hasn’t been hurled at anyone as a racial slur since about 1792. In fact, in 1933, George Preston Marshall, the owner of the team, which was then located in Boston, renamed it the Boston Redskins in honor of the head coach, William "Lone Star" Dietz, an American Indian. When the team moved to Washington in 1937 it was renamed the Washington Redskins. George Marshall clearly did not consider the name disparaging. Marshall also owned one of the original ABA teams, the Blacksburg Blackies, and also a fledgling Texas League baseball team, the El Paso Beaners.
Vikings at Cardinals-
Myth: It’s been widely reported in the blogosphere that Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner sold his soul to the devil this past summer in return for one more MVP type of season.
Reality: True, but this is not the entire story. Warner actually sold his soul, a couple of rare Mick Jagger-autographed copies of the Stones’ Beggar’s Banquet album, and a case of Shiner Bock. Apparently Shiner Bock is very hard to find anywhere east of the river Styx.
Steelers at Ravens-
Myth: The Ravens defense has a bounty out on Hines Ward.
Reality: Roughly ten different NFL defenses have a bounty out on Hines Ward.
Patriots at Raiders-
Myth: The secret to Bill Belichek’s success lies somewhere within his hoodie. Some even claim that it contains the contents of the briefcase from Pulp Fiction.
Reality: The hoodie is simply a fashion statement. Belichek’s success comes from a power crystal surgically implanted into his navel which harnesses an incredible amount of wisdom and positive energy which he then transfers to his team.
Broncos at Panthers-
Myth: Broncos head coach Mike Shannahan wears dentures.
Reality: Surprisingly, no dentures. He just grinds his teeth a lot. But he does have a lazy eye and knee-buckling halitosis.
Giants at Cowboys-
Myth: Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has had several cosmetic surgeries, including an earlobe reduction.
Reality: Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has not had any cosmetic surgeries. He stays young by dancing with former child actors.
Browns at Eagles-
Myth: The brass at ESPN and NBC are seriously regretting the scheduling of the Browns for so many prime time games this season and are vowing not to get caught up in the same type of hype over a similar team next season.
Reality: ESPN and NBC are already internally committed to four prime time games each for the Texans, Dolphins, and Cardinals in 2009.