Here’s The Thing – Thank You For A Great Super Bowl, Stonecutters!

By Stephen Thomas (@15Stephen15)
PSDC Funnyman And Brad Pitt Doppelgänger

I’m Stephen Thomas with Here’s The Thing.

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So let’s see, what to talk about today … bowling? Cricket? Amazingly yummy kale recipes? Nah, I guess we’ll discuss that football game, The Super Bowl or whatever. I mean, bowling and cricket are boring and yummy kale recipes simply do not exist, so we might as well discuss the incredibly ridiculous Patriots comeback that may or may not prove Tom Brady is from another planet.

See, Here’s The Thing; What an amazing 4th quarter. As a football fan, there is no way you couldn’t have enjoyed that. (Well, as a football fan outside of Atlanta. For fans in Atlanta, it had to feel like a 45 minute colonoscopy from Edward Scissorhands.) I know, I know, the Patriots are Evil and they should take the field to The Star Wars Imperial March and Bill Belichick is obviously one of The Stonecutters, but for pure football entertainment, the 4th quarter was just about unmatched in Super Bowl history. The game itself was eerily reminiscent of Super Bowl 23; fairly dull for three quarters, then a flurry of activity and scoring in the final frame, culminated by a 90+ yard touchdown drive by one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game. Montana went 92 yards to beat the Bengals, Brady went 91 to send it to Overtime. I didn’t care – TRULY didn’t care and had no dog in the fight – and I was losing my mind watching what simply couldn’t happen, happen. No way does Matt Ryan lose a fumble at THAT moment, when the Patriots absolutely HAD to have a field-flipping turnover. No way do the Falcons continue to put a linebacker on James White. No way does Atlanta get pushed out of FG range after THAT catch by Julio Jones. No way does Julian Edelman catch that ball. NO WAY DOES JULIAN EDELMAN CATCH THAT BALL! (Yes, that one deserved to be repeated) No way do the Falcons continue to not blitz. Finally, after winning the overtime coin toss, NO WAY are the Patriots not scoring a touchdown. At that moment, game was ovah.

Look, I still can’t believe what I watched, and THAT is the mark of spectacular theater. The kind of incredible, breathless, mind blowing, unscripted theater that can only come from sports. Oh, and a yummy kale recipe involves replacing the kale with bacon. You’re welcome.

Find my Twitter, Facebook Fan Page, comedy schedule and buy my CD all on my website at MiddleAgedMarriedGuy.com. For Project Shanks, I’m Stephen Thomas, and that was The Thing.

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Here’s The Thing – Super Bowl Locks With Gamblicus

By Stephen Thomas (@15Stephen15)
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I’m Stephen Thomas with Here’s The Thing.

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It’s finally here, friends and inmates, the final Mortal Lock Friday before the Super Bowl! That magical Sunday when football fans gather with non-football fans to watch a game, have fun and become annoyed with the non-football fans after about 8 minutes of having to answer questions with “No, Johnny Manziel isn’t in this game,” “I don’t know why their uniforms don’t have more red in them,” and “I’m sorry no one is eating your broccoli, but I TOLD you not to bring it!”

See, Here’s The Thing; The biggest game of the year is also the last game until next fall, and that’s sad. However, Gamblicus is here to tell you exactly how to win enough money to do rich people stuff during the football break, and that’s happy and fun and drunk and naked and those are all good things. So let’s get to it! I predict Tom Brady and Matt Ryan throw for 8 touchdowns between them. I predict the over/under goes over by the third quarter. I predict I know four people who will lose money on the coin flip. I predict there will be one commercial that makes everyone cry, and one commercial that women think is gross while men laugh hysterically. I predict Taylor Gabriel will catch a 3 yard pass, and the announcers will mention that he, Alex Mack and Dion Lewis are former Cleveland Browns no less than 57 times. I predict Chris Hogan scores two touchdowns, and NO ONE mentions the teams he used to play for. I predict my chicken wing intake will rival the annual chicken wing intake of several former Eastern Bloc countries. I predict Julio Jones will be removed from existence by a Belichick scheme. I predict at least two Roughing The Passer calls cause FootballTwitter to use the phrase “Why don’t they just put these quarterbacks in a skirt?” I predict at least nine guys are referred to as “One of the most underrated in the league.” I predict the halftime show will suck, because all halftime shows suck. Finally, I predict Patriots 44, Falcons 31.

Look, this is it for football until the fall, so breathe it all in, folks. Here’s hoping you have an amazing Super Bowl party … hey, on Monday let’s talk about The Draft.

Find my Twitter, Facebook Fan Page, comedy schedule and buy my CD all on my website at MiddleAgedMarriedGuy.com. For Project Shanks, I’m Stephen Thomas, and that was The Thing.

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Here’s The Thing – Super Bowl Prop Bets

By Stephen Thomas (@15Stephen15)
PSDC Funnyman And Brad Pitt Doppelgänger

I’m Stephen Thomas with Here’s The Thing.

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It’s Super Bowl week, friends and inmates! The one day a year when people of all races, religions and creeds gather together, clog their arteries, ruin themselves for work the next day, and most importantly root against the Patriots. It’s also the best time of year to gamble away your family’s savings, not only on the game itself but on silly, ridiculous prop bets that no sane person would risk anything on.

See, Here’s The Thing; Super Bowl Prop Bets should be renamed what they really are: the gambling version of Heisenberg Blue, for junkies who are WAY past redeemable. Since people seem to be willing to give their money away on anything, I’m going to make up some of my own prop bets this year and see how much money I can take in. Sure, everyone knows you can bet on silly things like the length of the National Anthem, the coin toss and who will score first in the game, but did you know you can also wager on whether the first play is a run or pass? Or who the MVP will mention first in his postgame interview? or what color Gatorade will be dumped on the winning coach? I propose that you can now bet on whether or not the first injury of the game will be a leg, an arm or a testicle. How many cheerleaders will get run over on the sidelines, and will any of them be impregnated by Gronk? FYI, the over/under of how many chicken wings I’ll eat during the game is currently set at 312. How many people will I punch for talking the entire game and only watching the commercials? Will there be nudity during the halftime show? Will that nudity be on screen or just me at my party? The over/under on how many people at my Super Bowl party wearing Cleveland Browns gear is set at 1.5. (If you’re smart, you’ll take the under) Finally, it’s +250,000,000,000 that I will have sex the night of the Super Bowl. THAT, my friends, is what’s known in Vegas as a “Sucker Bet.”

Look, it’s your money, and Gamblicus will be here Friday to tell you exactly how to gamble it, but just remember: Prop bets are coin flips. Allocate your cash accordingly.

Find my Twitter, Facebook Fan Page, comedy schedule and buy my CD all on my website at MiddleAgedMarriedGuy.com. For Project Shanks, I’m Stephen Thomas, and that was The Thing.

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Here’s The Thing – Norm Peterson Saves The World

By Stephen Thomas (@15Stephen15)
PSDC Funnyman And Brad Pitt Doppelgänger

I’m Stephen Thomas with Here’s The Thing.

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Well I want to say good morning to you, friends and inmates. So I will. After all, it’s my two minutes of airtime, and I’m a free man as long as my wife isn’t here to tell me what to do, so I’ll do what I want: GOOD MORNING, FRIENDS AND INMATES. It’s a glorious morning in my part of the world, as I’ve been exchanging Cheers quotes with friends all morning on Twitter. Why does that make it a great morning? Well…

See, Here’s The Thing; My Twitter, my rules, my fun. Besides the fact that Cheers is the greatest sitcom of all time and I will fistfight you in the town square at high noon if you disagree don’t come AT me … sorry, got a little worked up there. My point is, for a guy who thrives on chaos and despises order and routine, the unpredictability of Twitter is a Godsend. For SportsTwitter fans, this chaotic existence holds true to the highest magnitude. The fact that complete strangers can jump into your sports conversation with intelligent witty comments is endlessly fascinating to me. The fact that complete strangers usually jump into your sports conversation with misspelled, vulgarity-laden stupid comments is endlessly entertaining to me. For example, yesterday I had no idea when I woke up that I’d end up being on the butt end of a comment including the phrase “Boo! Ass(bleep)! Boo!” Now I ask you, how can that NOT be one of your best days ever? Some people get so frustrated on social media and I don’t understand it – if someone else wants to be an aggressive moron, that’s just more fodder for my Fun Machine! Point out their idiocy! Egg them on! Most of the time, their own words make them look like a far bigger doofus than anything I could say, so I give them all the rope they want to hang themselves, then sit back and enjoy the show. As that wise old sage Norm Peterson once said “Is any of this going to raise the price of beer? No? Then what do I care?”

Look, we don’t have to agree on sports, it’s not worth fighting about. We only have to agree that Cheers is the greatest sitcom of all time. That? Well, that’s worth dying over. I will cut you. Try me.

Find my Twitter, Facebook Fan Page, comedy schedule and buy my CD all on my website at MiddleAgedMarriedGuy.com. For Project Shanks, I’m Stephen Thomas, and that was The Thing.

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What We Know In The NFC Championship Round

By Reid Kerr
PSDC Offensive Coordinator

And then there were four.

After a really good weekend of Divisional games, we’re down to the Championship Round for the NFL. There’s only three games left in the season, so what have we learned so far?

Well first, this is a great time for quarterbacks. We’ve got an amazing final four. I know it’s shallow to say that because it doesn’t show enough appreciation for the defenses, backs, line play, etcetera, but come on. We’ve got the best four quarterbacks in the league all still standing.

And while we’re at it, this year shows there’s no price too big to pay to get your franchise quarterback. Look at the four remaining teams and you’ll see three Super Bowl winners and a guy who’ll probably be the MVP. Look at the bottom of the league and you’ll see teams who desperately need quarterbacks, and they try and they fail about every other year. Look at Houston hurling millions at a guy they had never worked out, just in hopes he’d be the best quarterback the Texans have ever had, which is to say he’d be slightly better than average. The Jets had four quarterbacks on the roster this year, and might do four different ones next year until something sticks. If you have a Pro Bowl guy taking the snaps, you’ve always got a chance. And if not? Forget it.

The only thing more important than quarterback might be the overall philosophy of these teams. The organization is all on the same page, from owner to coach to assistants to scouts to popcorn vendors. There’s a long-term buy-in there from three of them, and Atlanta is well on their way too. The teams still playing are, for the most part, always there. Their team philosophy is well understood, and has been for quite some time.

Basically if you can imagine the team name fitting into the sentence “The (Blank) Way,” they know what they’re doing. The Patriots Way. The Packers Way.

Ever try it with a bad team? Can you define “the Jaguars Way” without stammering for a moment and then just letting your voice trail off?

Speaking of locker rooms and attitudes, just a reminder, kids. Post-game complaints are whiny. They put the “loser” in “sore loser.” Travis Kelce blamed the Chiefs loss on a holding penalty, and called out a referee who’s going to be working the Super Bowl. Kelce also committed one of the dumbest after-the-play penalties I’ve ever seen in the playoffs, and plays in an offense that couldn’t make a two-point conversion from the twelve if you gave them six downs to do it. So calling out the ref for a fairly obvious penalty is a pretty weak argument.

And please, that “you never played the game so you can’t criticize me” argument is beyond lame. The NFL is a public entity, it’s not a secret society. The reason these players can buy houses and cars and mistresses is because people who never played the game at the highest level are willing to shell out thousands of dollars for seats, shirts, jerseys, socks, caskets, and anything else the NFL is willing to slap a logo on. If that means you have to answer questions once in a while from a guy who went to college and actually went to class, then that’s a small price to pay for league minimum wage.

And finally, we learned bad teams are willing to take some chances. We saw no major retreads in the coaching hires, and lots of (sometimes very) young, hungry assistant coaches working their way up the food chain, earning one of those thirty-two gigs.

Of course, the success rate on those young coaches is somewhere around thirty percent, but one of them could be the next Bill Belichick, just as soon as they get fired from this first job and land another one.

On to the picks for Sunday. I was 1-3 last week, and also 1-3 against the spread, which makes me 5-3 straight up, and 4-4 against the spread in the playoffs. I’ll need to get lucky this week to stay on the sunny side of the street.

Here’s the picks for Championship Sunday. Remember, these are for the purposes of discussion only. As always, no wagering.

Green Bay (+5.5) at Atlanta: This game might come down to two or three defensive plays, quite possibly because those are the only plays made defensively in this entire game. Aaron Rodgers may be the most exciting quarterback in decades, but magic runs out in Green Bay eventually. Or at least Don Majkowski did.
Pick: Falcons to win and cover, which means I think they’ll win by six.

Pittsburgh (+6) at New England: I don’t know what the big deal was about Antonio Brown’s live video from the locker room. That’s pretty much what everyone outside of the immediate Boston area calls the Patriots.
Pick: Patriots to win, but Steelers with the points, which means I think the Steelers will lose by five or less.

I’ll also admit here that I’m hoping for the exact opposite of those results, but you root with your heart and bet with your head. I’ll be back next week to talk about the exquisite ridiculousness of the Super Bowl, but until then, good luck, everybody.

- Reid Kerr talks a lot, as his wife always reminds him. Reid’s second book, “I Hate It Here: A Love Story,” is out now on Amazon.com. You can always tweet questions, comments, and angry messages to him at @reidaboutit.

Here’s The Thing – Countdowns Are Cool

By Stephen Thomas (@15Stephen15)
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I’m Stephen Thomas with Here’s The Thing.

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Did you know it’s 19 days until The Super Bowl? I do, because countdowns are something that I love. I am a red blooded American male and a sports fan, which by law means I love bacon, cheerleaders, steak cooked rare, beer in mass quantities, and knowing exactly how many days until my next opportunity for bacon, cheerleaders, steak cooked rare and beer in mass quantities. Plus, counting backwards is cool.

See, Here’s The Thing; I love looking forward to “the next fun thing.” I’m a happy go lucky guy most of the time (I’m also a happy go naked guy, and perhaps not coincidentally, the two often overlap), so I spend a great deal of energy having fun in the moment. However, I also know that anticipation can be a close cousin of fun, so I have numerous countdowns in the calendar of my phone. For example, it’s only 26 days until Pitchers and Catchers report to Spring Training, which means it’s only about 32 days until people get bored with Spring Training and start being excited that it’s only 75 days until Opening Day. It’s also 75 days until The Final Four begins, and you have to grumble about losing your office March madness pool to a lady who made her picks based on which team’s animal mascot would win in a fight. 134 days until the NBA Finals are scheduled to begin, which means about 148 days left for me to answer every sports taunt with “Cavs: NBA Champs, baybee!” (Hopefully they renew that for me) Did you know it’s only 41 days until the NFL Combine? It’s true! 41 days until middle aged and old men watch young men run around in their underwear for a week, and somehow no one thinks it’s weird and creepy and borderline NAMBLA-esque! After that, 51 days until NFL Free Agency, and 99 days until The NFL Draft, where middle aged and old men write names of young men on note cards, pass them around, and we sit glued watching it on our TV’s for three entire days. I’ll bet you didn’t know all that. I’ll bet it’s because you have a life.

Look, I could sit here and pass along countdowns all day, but it’s only five more days until I get to go home. That’s my favorite countdown.

Find my Twitter, Facebook Fan Page, comedy schedule and buy my CD all on my website at MiddleAgedMarriedGuy.com. For Project Shanks, I’m Stephen Thomas, and that was The Thing.

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Here’s The Thing – DraftTwitter And Testosterone Fights

By Stephen Thomas (@15Stephen15)
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I’m Stephen Thomas with Here’s The Thing.

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Well joyous greetings to you, friends and inmates. Another glorious day of sunshine coats the Earth, we’re all above the dirt and breathing and most of us don’t have angry squirrels attacking our genitals. In other words, it’s a good day. You’d never know that if you’re an NFL fan and currently reading DraftTwitter, though. You’d think we’re 4 hours into The Purge, and you’re the best friend that everyone just knows isn’t going to make it to the end of the movie.

See, Here’s The Thing; For fans of the NFL Draft, DraftTwitter is a necessity that everyone seems to hate. Kind of like if you were told you must eat Brussels Sprouts to survive. You’d do it, but you’d try to wrap them in something that tastes better than Brussels Sprouts, like bacon, or old coffee grounds, or gasoline or wolf puke… No one is ever happy in DraftTwitter. Ever. Reading DraftTwitter, you’d think the world was ending, there was a giant Space Ark with less than a dozen seats remaining, and who gets those seats was being decided by an all out fistfight to the death over completion percentages, fluid hips, hand size and the phrase “Pfft do you even watch film, bro?” For a bunch of people who seem to realize there is NO way you’re going to get everyone to agree with you on any player in the draft, they get viciously angry when everyone doesn’t agree with them on every player in the draft. Honestly, I’ve had more luck figuring out why my wife is mad than why some in DraftTwitter are mad, and the times I’ve apologized to my wife without having a clue as to why numbers in the thousands. How can this be changed? I don’t think it can. Simply put, a bunch of sports guys simmering in testosterone will always want to fight. Over ANYTHING. The NFL Draft, women, donuts, women, merging on the highway, women, whether Die Hard is a Christmas move, women, more donuts, women, or even chicks; it’s always going to be a chest beating contest, and the question “Who knows more about football” is what the kids would call a trigger issue.

Look, debate in DraftTwitter all you want, I’d rather do something more productive, like argue about politics. Now if you’ll excuse me, it really is a nice day. I’m going to go enjoy it.

Find my Twitter, Facebook Fan Page, comedy schedule and buy my CD all on my website at MiddleAgedMarriedGuy.com. For Project Shanks, I’m Stephen Thomas, and that was The Thing.

Here’s The Thing – These Jokes Are Golden

By Stephen Thomas (@15Stephen15)
PSDC Funnyman And Brad Pitt Doppelgänger

I’m Stephen Thomas with Here’s The Thing.

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I greet you today as I always do, friends and inmates. With a smile on my face and a song in my heart. Of course, after the news of yesterday that song is “Yellow River” by I.P. Freely, but that’s mostly because I’m basically still 12 years old. Finding it difficult to write about sports today without inserting all kinds of peepee jokes, but let’s give it a go, shall we? (Hehe … “go”)

See, Here’s The Thing; I’m having trouble saying or doing anything today without it leading to a weewee joke for several reasons. Number one … HAHA! “NUMBER ONE!” OK, last one of those, I promise. Number….FIRST, because as I said I’m an overgrown child at heart, and jokes about peepee and poopoo are right about my level. (Side note: a solid fart noise will NEVER not make me laugh, and if you don’t agree, we likely can’t be friends) Number two (STOPSTOPSTOP!) with the way the world is today, subtlety has been lost on many. You can’t dance around the point, even in a joke. You have to feed the information directly to people, with a steady, strong stream right in their face. Drown them in it, you understand? Comedy these days seems to only have an impact when people have paid good money to have the flood of jokes come directly at them, and most comedy clubs are successful when multiple performers can shower the audience with what they want, not just one guy. Let me tell you something else I’ve learned in over 21 years of comedy: If you can make jokes so straightforward they somehow break the language barrier, you are golden. I mean, let’s say if you can make those who speak (as a random example) Russian fall to their knees, thoroughly enjoy the comedy you’re spraying at them, and pay to come back for more, you have a chance to be one of the most powerful people in the free world. Seriously, gather all of your joke streams and push them together into one headed directly at your target, and urine for a treat.

Look, tomorrow we may mo e on to something different, but for today (even though I’m not Chinese) I play joke, I put peepee in your Coke.

Find my Twitter, Facebook Fan Page, comedy schedule and buy my CD all on my website at MiddleAgedMarriedGuy.com. For Project Shanks, I’m Stephen Thomas, and that was The Thing.

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The Biggest of NFL Disappointments

By Reid Kerr
PSDC Offensive Coordinator

The Wild Card weekend wraps up today, and while there’s plenty of time to celebrate the twelve teams that made the playoffs, there’s twenty others who have already cleaned out their lockers and headed off for vacation. Some have known for weeks their season would end January first, and some just found out Sunday night. And while places like Dallas and Oakland experienced better than expected seasons, I tend to settle in on the more morbid questions.

Who was the most disappointing team?

Perhaps it’s my nature as a Buffalo Bills fan, but I can appreciate anguish. Note I’m not talking about the worst team, Cleveland definitely had the worst record, but wasn’t the most disappointing. The Browns are headed in the right direction, although they’re moving about as fast as that old man character that Tim Conway used to play.

Yes, kids, I know that’s not a timely reference. Just YouTube it, and thank me later.

And even though they fired their coach and general manager, San Francisco can’t realistically be disappointed with two wins from that talentless grease fire of a team. The only way they could be a playoff team would be if they played the Rams every week.

Disappointment doesn’t come from low expectations, it’s the hangover from high hopes dashed. It’s the difference between hoping your team can fight their way to .500 ball, and starting to plan your Super Bowl Party in August.

For example, the Bengals went from 12-4 to 6-9-1, and finally ended their string of first-round playoff losses. Cincinnati fans had big expectations this year based on past regular season performance, and the Bengals disappointed at every turn. This was a team where fans couldn’t even take extra points for granted.

After five weeks, Minnesota was 5-0 and the team to beat. Vikings fans were crazed, but injuries caught up with them, and eventually Sam Bradford remembered he was Sam Bradford. On their way to 8-8, the Vikings not only lost four of their most important offensive players, they lost their offensive coordinator and head coach at various times during the season. The only way it could have been worse was if the injury cart ran through a barricade and wound up frozen in an ice floe.

Two years ago the New York Jets were playing for a playoff spot in the final game of the season. That was the year Jets fans and Ryan Fitzpatrick will tell stories about for some time to come, because this year’s team stunk. They went from 10-6 to 5-11, fired five assistant coaches and let Chan Gailey retire. The Jets had four quarterbacks, none of which could throw their way out of a paper bag. After being six points from the playoffs, the Jets fell apart like the last few seasons of “Dexter.”

For my money, the most disappointing team in 2016 was Carolina, from 15-1 and MVP to 6-10 and SOL. Injuries derailed them early, and while Cam Newton wasn’t as bad as it seemed on paper, him complaining about getting hit so much didn’t help to rehab his public image after an awkward Super Bowl performance. If you’re a Panthers fan, you go from thinking you’re at the beginning of a dynasty to watching your offensive line getting turnstiled, Kelvin Benjamin sleepwalking through games, and your MVP superstar getting leveled every other play because he doesn’t know how to slide.

On to the picks. For the regular season, I wound up 69-40-1 straight up for a winning percentage of 63.2%, and 45-62-3 against the spread, which is 42.3%. Both of the numbers would fall into the “crying shame” category for me, so I really need to make my reputation back in the playoffs.

Here’s the picks for Wild Card Sunday. Remember, these are for the purposes of discussion only. As always, no wagering.

Miami (+10) at Pittsburgh: This is the first playoff game the Steelers have ever played with Roethlisberger, Bell, and Brown all healthy. Not so fast, Ndamukong Suh says.
Pick: Steelers to win and cover, which means I think they’ll win by more than ten. And I really hope I’m right here, because I think the Steelers are our only hope of keeping the Patriots from romping through the AFC Playoffs.

NY Giants (+4.5) at Green Bay: This one’s a question of what we’ll see. Is this the Giants team that beat Dallas twice, or the one with the atrocious offense that’s either a touchdown to Odell Beckham Jr. or a rush for a yard and a half? And is this the 4-6 Packers, or the team riding a six game winning streak with a running back wearing a weird number? It’s defense against offense, Rodgers against Manning, State Farm against DirecTV.
Pick: Packers to win straight up, but Giants with the points, which means I think they’ll lose by less than five.

I’ll also take Alabama over Clemson, “The Goldbergs” over “The Big Bang Theory,” and winter in Texas over winter in Kentucky, because the snow won’t kill you in Texas. Good luck, everybody.

- Reid Kerr talks a lot, as his wife always reminds him. Reid’s second book, “I Hate It Here: A Love Story,” is out now on Amazon.com. You can always tweet questions, comments, and angry messages to him at @reidaboutit.

The Black Monday That Wasn’t

By Reid Kerr
PSDC Offensive Coordinator

The NFL is a league of quick turnarounds, and I mean that both coming and going. Half of the teams that made the playoffs last season are out this year, including both Super Bowl teams. Hello Dallas, Atlanta, and Oakland. Goodbye Denver, Carolina, and Cincinnati.

It’s a quick-trigger league for most franchises, and Black Monday is a famous part of the NFL year. The day after the regular season concludes, teams fire coaches, general managers, coordinators, and anyone else they can find to blame for their season. However this year, we didn’t even get to Black Monday. We had a whole Black December, followed by a Black Last-Sunday-of-the-regular-season where everybody got fired before Monday even arrived.

There are six coaching vacancies in the NFL, with different levels of job attractiveness.

Denver didn’t kill Gary Kubiak, but he wasn’t going to stick around and wait for that to happen. The Broncos are easily the best job opening with a world-class defense and good receivers, plus John Elway ready to go out and make deals. This one is the gold standard of opportunities, and it’s only come open because coaching football is simply not good for the nervous system.

Jacksonville is a better team than their 3-13 record, especially if reports of Blake Bortles playing through a separated shoulder is accurate, because that would explain why he stunk like a trunk full of fish in Tijuana in mid-summer. A horrible division, decent receivers, and some cornerstones on defense make this a nice fit for someone who doesn’t mind spending time overseas.

The Rams canned Jeff Fisher because, well, he was Jeff Fisher, and now it seems like they’re trying to make a love connection with Saints coach Sean Payton. The Chargers also fired Mike McCoy, mostly so they can use his salary to buy boxes and packing tape. These two franchises certainly seem like they’ll be tied together in LA, because if the Chargers move as expected, they’ll be competing for the same audience. And that’s an audience that’s already shown they won’t support two teams, or even just one bad team. You only have to look at the Lakers and Clippers to realize that. Both teams need to bring in a big name as head coach to stay relevant. I’d rather have the Chargers right now than the Rams, but both are rebuilding efforts with some nice pieces in place.

The Bills fired all the Ryan brothers they could find, mostly because management felt they didn’t get enough wins out of their “talent.” If you’ve ever watched a football game in your life, please do me a favor and tell me where that supposed “ten-win season” was supposed to come from, based on Buffalo’s roster full of hot garbage. The Bills got eight starts from their last four years worth of first-round draft picks, and no one seems to understand the chain of command in Buffalo. It’s been since 1999 the Bills made the playoffs, and things may be as bad now as they’ve ever been.

But it could be worse. The 49ers made it two straight years with the firing of a first-year coach, by canning Chip Kelly and general manager Trent Baalke. Their list of coaching possibilities is simply a post-it note with the word “Anybody” on it. Four head coaches in four years, and a roster that undermines the word “awful.” No quarterback. No receivers. No run defense. No hope. Somehow they were in a Super Bowl four years ago, and now they’re a clown autopsy. Good luck to whoever takes over in San Fran. And whoever takes over after that, too.

On to the picks. Last week I went 5-3, and 4-4 against the Las Vegas spread. I finish the regular season with a record of 69-40-1 straight up, and 44-62-3 against the spread. Just for the purposes of discussion, if I had wagered a hundred bucks on every one of those games this season, this morning I would be more than two thousand dollars in the hole, and living in a dumpster. That’s why the best advice you can give to anyone considering a career in gambling is just to walk into a casino and look around. Those casinos look like they cost a lot of money, right? Exactly.

Here’s the picks for the first half of Wild Card weekend. Remember, these are for the purposes of discussion only. As always, no wagering.

Oakland (+4) at Houston: If there’s a better argument against an 18-game season than this playoff quarterback matchup of Osweiler versus Cook, I don’t know what it is. Perhaps if a team had to start Brandon Weeden in a Super Bowl.
Pick: Texans to win and cover, which means I think they’ll win by five or more.

Detroit (+7.5) at Seattle: Richard Sherman used the media to announce he was boycotting the media. I saw full coverage of that on ESPN-I, the sports irony channel.
Pick: Seahawks to win and cover.

I’ll also Alabama to win and cover against Clemson at –6.5, Myles Garrett to be the first pick in the draft, and the Jets to draft four more quarterbacks. Good luck, everybody.

- Reid Kerr talks a lot, as his wife always reminds him. Reid’s second book, “I Hate It Here: A Love Story,” is out now on Amazon.com. You can always tweet questions, comments, and angry messages to him at @reidaboutit.

Here’s The Thing – NoL! It’s GambliChristmas!

By Stephen Thomas (@15Stephen15)
PSDC Funnyman And Brad Pitt Doppelgänger

I’m Stephen Thomas with Here’s The Thing.

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We’ve reached the end of another week, and we’ve also reached the end of waiting for Christmas my naughty and nice friends! OK, I have no nice friends. We’re all on the Naughty List. In fact, we’re most likely the ones labeled “Ringleaders” on that list. That’s OK, as Billy Joel once said I’d rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the Saints. To that end, let’s talk some gambling!

See, Here’s The Thing; It’s a Christmas visit from Gamblicus, everyone! He doesn’t come down your chimney though, he just barges in the front door, demands bourbon, and in return gives you the greatest sports gambling tips this side of a manger. So let’s get to it! I predict Navy puts up 50+ in their game against Louisiana Tech. I predict Troy and Ohio will play one of the Top 3 most exciting Dollar General Bowls of all time, as far as you or anyone else knows or cares to research. I predict you’ll watch the Aloha Bowl, gaze wistful upon the sunshine, and start planning a family trip to Hawaii that will never materialize. I predict the Dolphins lose to Buffalo, muddying the AFC Playoff picture and giving Rex Ryan an excellent excuse to be obnoxious at his press conference. I predict the upset of the week comes in Chicago. I predict that at 0-14, this Browns season has me missing DirecTV’s Super Creepy Rob Lowe commercials. I predict road wins for the Chargers, Titans, Colts, 49ers and Bengals. I predict double digits wins for the Cowboys, Chiefs, Steelers, Seahawks and Saints. I also predict a double digit win for the Patriots, but only because a triple digit win seems slightly unrealistic. Slightly. I predict Cam Newton will literally be hit on the head with a sledgehammer during game play, but after further review, no targeting penalty will be called. I predict it will be cold in Green Bay, but the announcers won’t mention it, because they rarely do. Right? Finally, I predict that unwrapping a locked up #1 overall pick will be the best thing Cleveland experiences this entire season.

Look, I don’t care how many wise men there are, Gamblicus is the wisest of all. So go win yourself some gold and frankincense. Oh, and Happy Holidays to each and every one of you.

Find my Twitter, Facebook Fan Page, comedy schedule and buy my CD all on my website at MiddleAgedMarriedGuy.com. For Project Shanks, I’m Stephen Thomas, and that was The Thing.

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Here’s The Thing – Zuzu’s Petals

By Stephen Thomas (@15Stephen15)
PSDC Funnyman And Brad Pitt Doppelgänger

I’m Stephen Thomas with Here’s The Thing.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN

Today is the Winter Solstice, officially the shortest day of the year. Which is good for me, because it means technically I’ll waste less daylight messing around and attempting to work the word “fartknocker” into an NFL Playoff analysis. (It’d be easier if the Jets were still alive) At any rate, it means that from here on out, the days get longer and things get brighter.

See, Here’s The Thing; As a sports fan, we always want to believe that the future is brighter, that better things are coming, that free pizza and Jell-o shots are on the way. Of course, for those of us who root for the Browns or the 76ers or the Washington Generals, seeing things getting better is easy, because outside of the team plane being hijacked or an alien bursting from our chest while we reach for the nachos, it can’t get worse. can it? (You know what, if it can, don’t tell me) The essence of sports fandom is believing that the best is yet to come, that our favorite team is improving, that they can make that miracle run through the playoffs and hoist that championship trophy. Sometimes, for teams like the Cleveland Cavaliers and Chicago Cubs, it’s a long, tortuous slog that ends up in an indescribable pile of glory. Other times, for teams like the Cleveland Browns and the Philadelphia 76ers it’s a long, tortuous slog that ends up in an indescribable pile of torture and slogging, not to mention curse words that heretofore did not exist. We HAVE to hold onto our optimism, or we end up in a George Bailey spiral of anger and self-loathing. Whether it’s a player returning from injury, or a super high draft pick on the way, or simply that the team announced that Bacon Wrapped Cronuts are coming to the concession stand starting next game, there is always a reason to stay positive. It doesn’t mean everything is rainbows an unicorns, be realistic, but much like the hours of sunlight will increase after today, we must believe that tomorrow is going to be better.

Look, be a realist all you want, but remember: Zuzu’s petals are alway there, in your pocket, in some form. Slow down and look, I promise they’re there.

Find my Twitter, Facebook Fan Page, comedy schedule and buy my CD all on my website at MiddleAgedMarriedGuy.com. For Project Shanks, I’m Stephen Thomas, and that was The Thing.

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