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)
PSDC Funnyman And Brad Pitt Doppelgänger

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

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN

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)
PSDC Funnyman And Brad Pitt Doppelgänger

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

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN

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.

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; 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.

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 – McCaffrey And Supermodels

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

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

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN

OK, so everyone in SportsLand is up in arms today about Christian McCaffrey not playing in a Bowl Game to start his NFL Draft preparation. At least, I think they’re up in arms. Some of them could be up in legs, or hips, or spleens for all I know. I’m just saying they’re upset. I’m also saying that if you’re one of those who is upset, you should probably hold on tight, you wouldn’t want to fall from that great height on your high horse.

See, Here’s The Thing; I fully support these guys right to not risk their careers in what is ultimately one last money grab of their names and abilities by the NCAA. I’m not one who says “Pay all of these players!” because I believe that a college education s more than a fair trade for their abilities, and I sincerely wish that when i was in college, there had been scholarships available for people really good at eating breakfast for dinner, or quoting lines from “Cheers.” However, I’ve always said that when a team EARNS something extra such as a bowl game, the players should receive some form of percentage of that payment, because that’s above and beyond the agreed upon education-for-ability exchange. Similarly, the players who become stars should receive a portion of any jersey/merchandise sales with their names/number/likeness on them. That’s something not every player on the roster earns – in America, hard work and success = better pay, better opportunities and most importantly a far more attractive wife or husband. Which brings us back to McCaffrey, whose hard work and dedication has led him to the opportunity to earn millions of dollars at the next level, as well as dates with celebrity actresses and supermodels. Would YOU risk a shot with Kate Beckinsale, Eva Mendes or Tyra Banks for The Sun Bowl? You would? Seriously? You’re freaking nuts! I’ve kind of lost my train of thought here by thinking about supermodels, but my point is this: whether you agree with their decision or not, these guys “owe” nothing to anyone but themselves and their families.

Look, I love watching these guys play too, but I’m not about to put my viewing pleasure above their life choices. I allow no one to dictate to me what’s best for my family, and I’d never do the same to them.

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 Not-So-Silence of the Rams

By Reid Kerr
PSDC Offensive Cordinator

We had reached week fourteen in the NFL, and no coach had been fired so far. It was such an anomaly, I almost wrote about it in this space last Sunday. As bad as it’s been in places like Buffalo and Jacksonville, no one had pulled the trigger yet and it looked like everyone would be safe until Black Monday.

I should have known better.

The Rams fired Jeff Fisher Monday, one day after he tied Dan Reeves for the all-time lead in losses for head coaches.

You might think that would be either a sign of mercy, or of utmost frustration. You’d be right either way.

Since the Rams lost Sunday to the Falcons, then had to turn around and get Gilmered by the Seahawks three days later, you’d also would think seventy-two hours notice wouldn’t be the best time to dump your head coach, but that’s part of the magic of Jeff Fisher.

The NFL waited more than twenty years to bring a franchise back to Los Angeles, but Thursday’s pummeling was another night where most of LA didn’t bother to watch. Let’s face it, there’s other things to do in Los Angeles. There’s movies, shows, restaurants, the beach, and complaining about the Lakers to do, they don’t need the Rams. And for that matter, they don’t need a barely-adequate Chargers team, either, unless they’re going to combine both teams and make one good one. In the land of casual plastic surgery, LA would at least respect that.

I’m a little bit depressed about it, to be honest. I had about six Jeff Fisher jokes I was saving for the rest of the season. Learn from my mistakes, kids. Never save your best material.

So the Rams are the first team to drop their head coach, I’ll put the over/under at three additional coaches fired by the time Black Monday is done. And while discussing other people’s employment seems to be a morbid thing, that’s life in the NFL. It’s also life in television, as I remember from trips to Walmart when I couldn’t get through the checkout line without someone asking me about my TV news colleagues and if they had been fired. I’m certainly not going to feel bad about it at this point in my life.

On to the picks. Last week I went 3-3, and also 3-3 against the Las Vegas spread. I always enjoy being as accurate as a coin. For the season I’m now 57-32-1 straight up, and 36-50-3 against the spread.

Here’s the picks for week fifteen.  Remember, these are for the purposes of discussion only. As always, no wagering. And since last week, I was right at coin-flip level, I’m also going to flip a coin and see if I can beat that.

Detroit (+4) at NY Giants: Odell Beckham Jr. is making a living dropping easy passes and then turning around to make amazing plays. If he was a rapper, he’d have to pay Terrell Owens for sampling his career.
Pick: Lions to win it outright.
The coin says: Go with the Lions.

Jacksonville (+5.5) at Houston: The AFC South championship is basically a door prize, all you have to do to win is be present. And not be Jacksonville.
Pick: Texans to win and cover, which means I think they’ll win by six or more.
The coin says: Take the Jaguars. My coin may have been drinking, it seems.

Tampa Bay (+7) at Dallas: The number one reason to let Tony Romo go this offseason was the talk this week about whether or not Dak Prescott should be benched. Keeping Romo is like getting married, but letting your long-time girlfriend keep living in the guest room. Bad ideas abound.
Pick: Cowboys to win, Buccaneers to cover, which means I think Tampa Bay will lose by less than seven points.
The coin says: Cowboys.

Pittsburgh (-3.5) at Cincinnati: The two trademarks of this rivalry are cheap shots by Vontaze Burfict and an injury to Le’Veon Bell. And at this point, Steelers fans are rooting against those, but Bengals fans are still hoping for both,
Pick: Steelers to win and cover.
The coin says: Bengals.

Green Bay (-6) at Chicago: My rule is, if Matt Barkley can make people forget about you, then you weren’t very memorable to begin with. And this rule applies to pro football, college football, and life in general.
Pick: Packers to win and cover.
The coin says: Packers. My coin likes Aaron Rodgers as both a quarterback and a commercial spokesman.

Cleveland (+10) at Buffalo: Marcell Dareus guaranteed a win for the Bills over the winless Browns this week. That’s not exactly Jimmy Johnson putting it in “three-inch headlines” the Cowboys would beat the 49ers, is it? That’s more like promising to not trip on a speedbump on the way into Target.
Pick: Bills to win, Browns to cover the spread.
The coin says: Browns.

I’ll also take Western Kentucky over Memphis in the Boca Raton Bowl, Tulsa over Central Michigan in the Miami Beach Bowl, and none of those teams to want to go home after spending a week in Florida in December. 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 – 12 Days Of The NFL Playoff Chase

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

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

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We’re back, friends and you! As we barrel headfirst down the home stretch of both Christmas and the NFL Playoff race, I’d like to take today and do a Here’s The Thing version of the Twelve Days Of Christmas. I’d like to, but I don’t have nearly enough time for that song, and it’s really difficult to sing that “ladies dancing” part without making cheap stripper jokes and snickering like a 12 year old. So let’s just talk about the playoff chase, shall we?

See, Here’s The Thing; While the eight Maids-A-Milking and I were studying the NFL standings page for Browns draft scenarios, I noticed something odd: there are lots of teams still alive for playoff spots. Now, for Cleveland fans this is a weird and confusing concept, but apparently it happens to other tams every year. While I personally am not 100% sold that this isn’t some completely made up conspiracy like the Loch Ness Monster or Scientology, let’s examine some of the different potential playoff teams. The Cowboys, Patriots, Chiefs, and Raiders are in. The Lions need Mr Miagi to come fix Matt Stafford’s finger, while the Packers want to go full Cobra Kai and sweep Stafford’s leg. The AFC North teams need one of them to be slightly less bad than the others. The Dolphins need Matt Moore to channel his inner Earl Morrall (Google it, Millenials). The Colts need all of their bad draft picks to not play like bad draft picks, and for Andrew Luck to play like good Andrew Luck. The Texans need and would be thrilled if Brock Osweiler just played like Bad Andrew Luck. The Bills and Vikings need wins and a lot of help, including as many Lords-A-Leaping as possible. (I don’t know what that means, either) The Saints, Bengals, Cardinals and Panthers need wins and a lot of other team’s plane crashes. The Browns? Well, the Browns need Wyoming QB Josh Allen to declare for the draft. Never heard of him? Not surprising, you’re probably following this mythical “playoff chase” thingee instead of the reality of draft preparation. Freaks.

Look, the mad dash of the final three weeks is going to be a blast. The playoff chase is always breathless, because unlike in the song, there’s only one golden ring to be had.

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 – December NFL Fans: Draft Nuts Group >>> Playoffs Group

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

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

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN

Good morning, fellow wanderers. As the NFL season rounds the quarter pole and heads into the home stretch, the screaming and emotion that you associate with racing fans as the horses thunder towards the finish line is exactly what you can find in football fans, in real life and especially across the internet. However, the excitement is divided among two very distinct groups of December fans: The Playoffs Group, and the folks we’ll discuss today: The Draft Nuts group.

 
See, Here’s The Thing; You watch the NFL in a completely different manner once your team is out of it, and there’s no fooling anyone about being in the playoff hunt anymore. Now, while most of us knew our team was out of it everywhere but on paper all the way back to October 3rd, there are some that are just now coming around, and to them I say “Welcome to the gritty side of the tracks.” This is the side of NFL December that Patriot fans know nothing about. The side where we look each week to see who needs to lose. The side where we know more about the Strength Of Schedule tiebreaker than we do about what our kids want for Christmas or any of their friends’ names, especially that weird one with the purple streaks in her hair. The side where we can’t actually bring ourselves to root for our team to lose, but we’re not exactly crushed when it happens, either. The side where short term pain is endured for the potential of long term gain in the form of draft prospects who are all obviously the next Tom Brady … if we get them. (If they go to another team, they’re overrated busts) We in the Draft Nuts group feel sorry for you Playoff group fans, because all you have to root for is wins. We get to root for so many variables, and watch so many games with a purpose, that it makes your head swim to the point where excess drinking is not only acceptable but encouraged. Who’s the winner NOW?

Look, you can have your playoffs. I just know that the Rams-Falcons game effects the Browns in more ways than you can imagine, and that’s not crazy at all. Hey Draft Nuts Group – who has more fun than us, huh?

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 – Gamblicus Returns

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

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

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Great Googly Moogly Morning, friends and defendants! It IS a great morning! Not only because we’re alive, not currently in captivity, and most of our test results came back negative, but because this incredible day marks the return of one of our most treasured Americans to these airwaves: Gamblicus is here for Mortal Lock Friday.

See, Here’s The Thing; The greatest gambling mind of our generation graces this air every Friday. From the wagering advisor to the Caesars, to my bloodline, an end run around Grey’s Sports Almanac and direct to you, our loyal listeners and the people trapped in their cars with them, you get the most guaranteed winners anywhere, right here. So what does Gamblicus say this week? Well … I predict Washington and Clemson both win, thereby eliminating any of the ridiculous possibilities of Michigan and Ohio State getting in over the team that won their division and their conference, or several days of debating Wisconsin and Colorado, or insane people with guns shouting on talk radio about Oklahoma or Oklahoma State. (the insane people with guns will still shout on talk radio, it’ll just be about other topics like immigration and the contentious Fruit Loops Vs Lucky Charms debate) I predict the people who will argue about Navy and Western Michigan need a girlfriend. I predict that after smartly avoiding a work stoppage, there will be a major trade in baseball that causes everyone to go ahead and award the 2017 World Series to a team that will ultimately finish 4th in their division. I predict I will utterly destroy at least two dozen chicken wings. I predict the upset of the week in the NFL happens in Jacksonville. I predict road wins for the Cowboys, Eagles, Dolphins and 49ers. I predict home losses for the Jets, Bengals and Ravens. I predict that the Browns bye week will give me a relaxing Sunday afternoon, which I will ruin by putting up the Christmas tree and lights and doing an excellent Clark Griswold impression, except with more cursing in front of the neighborhood children.

Look, Gamblicus shows up, Gamblicus gives golden predictions, Gamblicus is right. These are facts. What you do with that information is up to you, friends and countrymen. Now go forth and double your holiday gift fund.

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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An NFL Thanksgiving in Las Vegas

By Reid Kerr
PSDC Offensive Coordinator

As the Lions kick the game-winning field goal, the woman next to me erupts in joy. She pumps her fists and screams, and runs about the floor of the MGM Grand Casino, high-fiving anyone who’ll raise a palm to her.

She’s not even a Lions fan.

It’s Thanksgiving Day, and I am an embedded reporter in a Las Vegas sportsbook. On today, the biggest family holiday of the year, the fifty-plus huge-screen televisions here in this Vegas casino are showing NFL games to a packed house of people who have either come here to flee their families, or brought them along so everyone can lose money together.

At nine a.m. on a Thanksgiving morning, they were already there, armed with astonishing amounts of information. They had magazines, newspapers, and gambling forms so full of complicated numbers they seemed to be the chemical formula for a linebacker, and they sat down to compile it all before making their wagers. They were all looking for the one thing to put them over the top and honestly, that strategy works about 48% of the time, which is exactly the correct ratio for everything.

15241243_660919507422401_4532970873563991461_nThe Lions won and covered the point spread, which made the woman from Charlotte, North Carolina, exuberant. I talk to her husband for a few minutes while she takes her victory lap, and find out he’s a huge fan but she’s never even watched an NFL game seriously before. They’ve left their kids with their family back home and came out to Vegas for a mini-vacation, and they’ve put money down on all three NFL games that day. They’ll be there a while, spending about eleven hours cheering together.

It’s a fun moment, but only half the people here are celebrating. A guy on crutches who seems homeless and is missing most of one of his legs drops his head and rubs his brow. Earlier he told me he had the Vikings, and when I asked him how much he bet, he said “two large.” I couldn’t imagine him having two of anything extra to lose.

But that’s the way it goes, there’s no winners without losers, even on Thanksgiving Day. There are a lot of homeless people here in Vegas who are wearing shirts and caps from various gambling events and poker tours. It seems like everyone’s got a system until you wind up sleeping under a bridge.

For the Dallas-Washington game, the sportsbook filled up quickly. The Cowboys are still America’s Team, which means people will line up to root for and against them. I see a guy in a Romo jersey sitting down front, cheering at every play. Later I see a guy with a Dak Prescott jersey, so I tell him if he wants, he can go take the other guy’s seat.

Cowboys fans are everywhere. There’s a couple wearing Claiborne and Witten jerseys, who came to town to get remarried for their Thanksgiving trip. Sitting in front of me, a couple from Scotland are Facetiming their friends back home to tell them how awesome Dak Prescott is. It’s very funny to me for some reason, although I can’t exactly explain why.

A guy from Indianapolis in a vintage Franco Harris Steelers jersey tells me he made plans to come here after a buddy broke up with his girlfriend, so they could have a boys’ weekend. Since the trip was booked the relationship rekindled, and now it’s a bachelor party weekend. I get the feeling he doesn’t think it’s a good idea, but no one’s turning down a trip to Vegas on moral principles. As a Steelers fan he hates the Cowboys, but he still bet them to win.

At the back of the room cheering on Washington is Chris from Los Angeles, wearing a Redskins hat, garish red and gold shoes, and an authentic Sean Taylor jersey. He looks like the Redskins threw up on him, but he’s a hardcore fan who grew up watching the team with his dad. He couldn’t make it to the family gathering, so drove four hours to Vegas to support his team as a family tradition. And hopefully win some money, of course.

As the Cowboys-Redskins game rages on, I notice the cheering feels different, maybe even more pure. These cheers aren’t from the hearts of fans, they’re from the wallets of gamblers. And they know it’s a shallow thing to do, but they don’t care.

During the Steelers-Colts game that night, I meet two guys in their mid-sixties from New Jersey who come here for Thanksgiving every year. And judging from the slips in front of them, they bet a lot. I get the feeling this is a regular occurrence in their lives. I ask why they didn’t just go to Atlantic City, and they laugh at me.

And I am scared to ask for any more details.

After a long Thanksgiving Day spent watching football in the midst of the heavily invested, a couple of things stand out to me. Las Vegas is a different plane of existence where the rules of reality just don’t exist, and it means something different to everyone. I’ve met people here who came here for the holiday because there’s nowhere else they’d rather be for the holiday, and some who just showed up to be around other people on a lonely day of the year for them.

Also? Before ten in the morning, listening to Phil Simms is even more intolerable than usual.

For tonight’s game, the Cowboys are favored by four, and I’ll take that easily over the Vikings. Sometimes you just have to let Sam Bradford be Sam Bradford. I’ll be back Sunday with the rest of the picks. 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.

(This article originally appeared in the print edition of the Tyler Morning Telegraph.)

Here’s The Larry King’s Things

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

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

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN

Good day to you, friends and neighbors, and here’s hoping this 24 hour rotation of the planet bring you joy, laughter and artificially generated endorphins. As I write this, I’ve been away from home for two weeks, with one more to go. I realize that’s not a terribly long time, but being separated from my family always makes a little crazy. OK, craziER. Shut up, you.
See, Here’s The Thing; I’ve always been accused of being a bit weird and off-kilter, and I take it as a compliment. My Life Coaching philosophy has always been “Normal People Suck,” so I wear being called crazy like a Boy Scout Merit Badge. To that end, let’s go Larry King style today and just run off a pile of random, unconnected “crazy” thoughts on sports … and maybe a few other topics. The AP Poll in college football is a quaint relic of a bygone era that’s no longer useful or necessary, like a home phone, local TV news or Charo. Tom Brady and Drew Brees might collect an NFL paycheck and a Social Security check at the same time. BALTIMORE MARYLAND! YOU’RE ON THE AIR! The Warriors trading Klay Thompson is about as likely as me winning the Sexiest Man Alive contest … or coming in third … or receiving a single vote. Episodes and Review: With Forrest MacNeil are the two funniest shows on TV that you’re probably not watching. FLAGSTAFF ARIZONA! YOU’RE ON THE AIR! Overcooked yellow squash has the same gooey consistency as undercooked bread pudding, both of which I hate like Hitler. The Browns have the worst record in the NFL, but are not the worst team. This may be the first MLB offseason where owners actually stick to their claim they won’t spend like newly divorced guys in Vegas. People protesting to overturn the results of a democratic election are incredibly stupid. People painting swastikas on things and telling immigrants & minorities to “get out” are even stupider. My current Top 4 is Alabama, Ohio State, Louisville and Clemson, and at least two are in serious danger of missing the playoff. How’s THAT for crazy?

Look, you may not agree with what I’ve said today, and that’s OK. It just means you’re normal. Now, refer back to what I said about normal people, then ponder if you want to change your mind. VALENCIA CALIFORNIA! YOU’RE ON THE AIR!

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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