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.

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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)
PSDC Funnyman And Brad Pitt Doppelgänger

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.

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.

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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Here’s The Thing – And The National Championship Goes To…

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 a new year, a new day, and we have a new National Champion in college football. Good to be back with you in 2017, ladies and people who lie to the ladies on a regular basis. I’ve recovered from my holiday eggnog coma, at least to the point where I can confidently discuss the National Championship Game, draw certain conclusions from it, and fight on Twitter with anyone who disagrees. In other words: I’m fine.

See, Here’s The Thing; What. A. Game. Clemson and Alabama put on a classic, the kind of game that makes me feel bad for people who don’t like sports. Not as bad as I feel for people who don’t like bacon, though. Actually, I don’t feel bad for those people, I feel mad at them. You don’t like bacon? What are you, some kind of psycho nutjob? You should be on multiple No Fly lists, you maniac. What was I talking about? Oh yeah, Clemson. An amazing show by both teams, that literally went down to the last second, as well as the last ounce of energy for many of the guys on the field. The amount of hitting in that game was NFL level, and you could see most of those guys were running on empty by the third quarter – which is what made the incredible athletic display of the 4th quarter all the more impressive. Champions are made when the tank is on “E,” when guys find just one more play, just one more burst, and multiple champions were made last night. Deshaun Watson, Mike Williams, Wayne Gallman, Hunter Renfrow, Dabo Swinney and Ben Boulware for his postgame “I don’t kill zombies to survive, I kill zombies because I LOVE IT” level interview, all took their respective games to another level after Alabama punched them in the mouth early and appeared poised to run away with the title. It’s that type of transcendent effort that separates the good from the great, and the great from the Champions. What we saw last night was championship level, all the way around, and I am grateful for having been able to watch.

Look, if you don’t like sports that’s OK, but you’re missing out on some fantastic, unscripted human drama. Congratulations Clemson, it’s Awards Season and you’ve won a great one.

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.

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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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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.

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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 – Gamblicus Is Santa

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

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

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN

If everybody’s working for the weekend, well then everybody’s made it, because the weekend is here! (Also, you should negotiate a pay raise) Yes, I do know that’s an ancient song reference. No, I don’t care. Hey, do you want to stand here and quibble over whether I’m “old” or “really old,” or do you want Gamblicus to give you the best gambling tips in this and most of the other galaxies?

See, Here’s The Thing; It’s Mortal Lock Friday, which means our old friend Gamblicus will pop his head out and see if we’re going to get six more weeks of winter. No wait, that’s not Gamblicus. I apologize, that’s Bill Murray. Anyway, why don’t we take a look and see who’s going to win what in the world of sports this weekend? I predict the number of shirtless guys and guys dressed as Santa in the stands in Buffalo will be greater than the number of points scored between the Bills and Browns. I predict the hype about Matt Moore and his “gunslinger” mentality heads to new York and suffers the same fate as most gunslingers in The Old West: shot in the back while sitting in the outhouse. I predict that those who are upset with LeBron James resting for a game in December are those who have taken multiple days off this year for great reasons like “I just can’t even” and “How can I be expected to work when Chloe’s life is in turmoil?” I predict Draymond Green kicks a guy in the nuts. (OK, that one is a gimme) I predict a major free agent baseball signing in Cleveland. I predict the upset of the week comes from the Not For Much Longer San Diego Chargers. I predict the Panthers, Saints, Bengals and Colts keep their flickering playoff hopes alive. I predict a road win for the Patriots, a home loss for the Texans, a growing “What if Matt Barkley is the guy at quarterback” movement in BearsTwitter, and a complete and utter annihilation of two dozen bacon-wrapped chicken wings on my couch. That’s right, Daddy’s home.

Look, if Gamblicus had ever been wrong there might be cause for hesitation, but as sure as it’s the weekend, he’s right. Go forth and gamble, degenerates!

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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