WINNING & MUSING…VOLUME 1.22

Our first edition of W&M in 2022 is football heavy as usual, but that’ll change in the not-too-distant future. For now it is time to bid farewell to goal posts & penalty flags and say so long to QB sacks & onside kicks. Enjoy. 

Kudos to the Super Bowl Champion Los Angeles Rams. As a Steelers fan I wasn’t about to cheer for the Cincinnati Bengals, and I’m beginning to get a little uncomfortable with the sports media’s blatant attempts to position Cincy QB Joe Burrow as Tom Brady 2.0. The kid seems a bit too big for his britches (shout out to my late Grandma P.), so perhaps it’s best he was brought down a peg or two. Also, after wasting over a decade with the hapless Detroit Lions one can’t help but be happy for Rams’ QB Matthew Stafford (I bet Calvin Johnson wishes he would’ve gotten an opportunity to play football somewhere other than Detroit). The game itself was rather prosaic, although thankfully it wasn’t a blowout. I have no opinion about any of the commercials because I had company who is literally unable to STOP TALKING for longer than ten seconds at a time (it’s exhausting). I’m not going to crown the halftime show featuring nearly every old school rapper that hasn’t been shot yet as “the best EVER”, but it was sufficiently entertaining. That kind of music was never my jam back in the 90s, but if it was yours then you probably enjoyed the show way more than me. 

After an atrocious 1-7 record for each of us in the final week of the season, our Pigskin Picks of Profundity ended with yours truly scoring the season victory at 57-69, while Zach was 49-77 on the year. Although I wish we were more skilled prognosticators, as always it was so much fun doing these picks with my nephew, an annual tradition I’ve come to really appreciate.

In the wake of an ultra exciting weekend of playoff football a few weeks ago fans were calling the Chiefs-Bills clash that KC won in overtime one of the best football games they’d ever seen while lamenting the lame NFL OT rules that essentially allow a coin toss to decide the outcome. I don’t necessarily disagree with those sentiments, but I also have an alternative view. If I were in charge of the NFL overtime would follow the general idea of the current college football OT rules (more on that below), but let’s focus on defense. Y’all remember defense right?? We used to believe that “defense wins championships”, but that no longer seems to be true. Buffalo was up by three points in that game with thirteen seconds remaining. 13 seconds!! Yet they allowed Kansas City to get into field goal range with just a couple of long passes, which gave the home team an opportunity to execute the game tying field goal. While it is undeniably fun to watch great skill players & elite QBs throw haymaker after haymaker like what transpired between the Buffalo Bills & Kansas City Chiefs, let’s not get it twisted. The “Bills Mafia” can blame stupid overtime rules all they want, but the fact is that all their team had to do was stop the opposition from going 44 yards in 13 seconds and they failed. 

Congratulations to newly minted MLB Hall-of-Famer David Ortiz, who will be enshrined in Cooperstown this summer. Big Papi won three World Series with the Boston Red Sox, was a ten time All-Star, and had a .286 career batting average with 541 home runs in 20 seasons. Sadly, Ortiz’s moment was overshadowed a bit by hand-wringing over Barry Bonds & Roger Clemens not being selected in their final year on the ballot. I find it interesting that so many will passionately defend known defrauders of the game like Bonds & Clemens, yet they’re perfectly fine with Curt Schilling being excluded from the Hall of Fame. Schilling’s alleged mediocrity…6 time All-Star, 3 time World Series Champion, 3000+ strikeouts…is a weak excuse since we all know the real reason the powers-that-be don’t like him is because of his very candid political opinions. 

Y’all, I didn’t even keep track of college football’s bowl season while it was happening, but I did go back & check the numbers. Zach edged me by a couple of games in our Bowl-a-Palooza picks, going 18-19 while I was 16-21. Five bowl games were canceled altogether, while two games were played with altered matchups so those results were tossed aside. Between COVID, the transfer portal, star players opting out to prepare for the NFL Draft, & the coaching carousel, bowl season didn’t seem like very much fun this year. When the playoff is expanded something is going to need to be done to make the other games matter for fans and apparently players & coaches.

Okay, so let’s talk overtime. The current college football OT rules allow each offense to have the ball starting on their opponent’s 25 yard line, meaning they’re essentially in field goal range already. No matter what Offense A does Offense B gets the ball (also on the opponent’s 25 yard line). The wildcard is what does Offense A do with the ball?? At worst they’ll have an opportunity to kick a 41 yard field goal (unless they turn the ball over). That’s not a chip shot, but it’s more than makable in most circumstances. At best they’ll score a touchdown & put the pressure on the opposing team’s offense. Now here’s where it gets weird. If both teams trade matching scores and there is a second overtime, any TD must be followed up with a 2 point conversion instead of an extra point. Then, if we make it to a third OT, the teams just alternate 2 point plays (that start on the three yard line), which is basically a football variation of penalty kicks in soccer. I despise the two point conversion rule for overtime. In contrast, the NFL does have a kickoff (after a coin toss, with the winner of that always choosing to receive…obviously), and if Offense A scores a touchdown the game is over. If they score a FG or don’t score at all Offense B gets an opportunity. If Offense B matches what Offense A did then it becomes sudden death, and if the teams are still tied at the end of 10 minutes the game ends in a tie. My proposal would be a hybrid of the two differing systems, and would ideally be implemented on both levels…college & pro. Give Offense A the ball on the 50 yard line. I’m not usually a proponent of minimizing special teams, but in this case I believe it works best. The offense isn’t already in field goal range and has some work to do, while the defense has a legit opportunity to do their job. No matter what happens Offense B will get a chance to possess the football. Unlike the current college system I would have a time clock, but, as opposed to current NFL rules, I’d bump the extra period back up to 15 minutes (I don’t like ties but can live with the theoretical yet unlikely possibility that it could happen). No team would ever be forced to attempt a two point conversion unless they choose to do so. 

I would be remiss not to mention the retirement of Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Thankfully it wasn’t a surprise, and it was time. I don’t know if all the blame belongs with offensive coordinator Matt Canada, or if Big Ben just didn’t have an arm anymore, but the offense had become painful to watch. I enjoy an occasional screen pass, and realize “bubble screens” specifically have become part of football, but I just don’t believe throwing the ball five yards or less downfield constantly is productive, especially when defenses are expecting it. To be clear, I am aware that the Steelers’ offensive line was abysmal this past season & needs a major overhaul. I’m not completely sold on the receiving corps either: Chase Claypool, Diontae Johnson, & JuJu Schuster aren’t nearly as great as they believe themselves to be. Aside from those issues though, an aging quarterback with zero mobility & a weakening arm simply doesn’t bode well, especially when the AFC boasts young guns who can move like Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Lamar Jackson, Justin Herbert, & Joe Burrow. Roethlisberger was never fast, but he always had tremendous escapability that allowed him to scramble & extend plays. That escapability had noticeably diminished, and when combined with a poor offensive line & questionable play calls the Steelers offense was doomed. So, as the Steelers & all the fans prepare to move forward, right now I want to give one last shoutout to Ben Roethlisberger. It has been a joy to watch you, from the moment I gathered with co-workers at a local sports bar on that spring day 18 years ago & watched my Steelers draft you with the eleventh pick, thru two Super Bowl victories, all the way to a bitterly decisive playoff defeat at the hands of the Kansas City Chiefs last month. More importantly, it has been delightful to see you evolve from an impetuous young man into a mature & responsible husband, father, leader, & adult. People still like to bring up the past & criticize you for mistakes made 15 years ago, but I’d tell those people to clean their own house first. None of us are perfect, and you’ve gone thru your battles very publicly. From a football perspective I wish you’d have gotten atleast a couple more opportunities in the Super Bowl, but so many factors play into that. You got us two Lombardis & provided many other great memories. I don’t know if coaching or ownership or anything football related is in your future, but as a fan I sincerely hope to have you as part of the Steelers organization in some capacity down the road.

POINTS OF PONDERATION…..EPISODE 1.22 

A semi-regular attempt to address some of life’s minutiae that might otherwise be overlooked…..

I keep seeing people repost this diatribe on social media about being fully vaccinated and not knowing “what’s in it” just like they didn’t know what was in the vaccines they took as kids, the secret recipe of KFC chicken, various medications, or assorted personal hygiene products, and the whole thing is asinine. It completely misses the point, and also includes outright lies. At the end it notes that the proud poster is vaccinated because: 

  • “I want to do something other than just staying locked in my home”. Well, you know what, if you’ve been locked in your house the past two years that’s largely your fault. Most folks with common sense & critical thinking skills resumed a fairly normal routine awhile ago, with certain obvious precautions & limitations. COVID is a thing. It’s undeniable, and it has altered our lives…perhaps forever. But let’s simmer down on the histrionics. If you want to go out & live a little there’s not a whole lot that’s totally stopping you. 
  • “I want to travel & hug people without fear”. First of all, turn off the TV. Stop letting the news media scare you. Secondly, if you face restrictions of any kind blame the businesses & government entities needlessly imposing those rules.
  • “To not die from Covid-19”. I personally know multiple people who were fully vaccinated & boostered and still died 🤷🏻‍♂️. 
  • “To hug my loved ones”. No one is stopping you from doing that. The only roadblock you face is your own irrational fear.
  • “To not have to do tests to go to a restaurant, etc.” Vaccine mandates are stupid, and more people are figuring that out every day. I personally refuse to support any business that imposes such restrictions. This isn’t Nazi Germany.
  • “To live my life”. Let me say it a little louder – No. One. Is. Stopping. You. And to the extent that you are facing roadblocks to the usual freedoms, those will not go away even if COVID were to be eradicated. This whole situation hasn’t been about our health & well-being for awhile. The powers-that-be now have a clear understanding of just how easily the masses can be controlled by fear & manipulation, and it’s our fault for letting that happen. Do you honestly believe they will ever give up that control??
  • “For Covid-19 to be an old memory”. That’s not going to happen. It’s here to stay. There will always be spikes & new variants. Maybe one day the talking heads will become bored by it all, but that isn’t going to be anytime soon. 
  • “To protect us”. That “vaccine” isn’t protecting jack squat. Its main benefit is the false sense of security provided to those who happily submit. That’s fine if it helps you sleep at night. 

All of the (legit) vaccines we received as children…mumps, polio, measles, et al…are mentioned, saying that the poster’s parents “trusted the science”, and as a result they’ve never suffered thru or transmitted any of those maladies. It fails to mention that the COVID “vaccine” doesn’t prevent a person from getting or spreading COVID!! For God’s sake people…think before you post!! I’ve lost a lot of respect for those who I believed to be reasonably intelligent folks that I now realize are gullible sheep. 

My experience with dating apps:

  • She’s gorgeous & has her shit together. She’s WAY out of my league.
  • Okay, she’s kind of cute. Her profile reads like a list of ransom demands though, and I’m vaguely frightened 👀.
  • Gives off a chill vibe?? Check. Attractive?? Check. Seems like someone I’d be interested in getting to know?? Check. It’s too bad she lives 100+ miles away 😕.
  • Super hot. Lots of cleavage. Double entendres galore. Probably a dude. Or a cop 👮🏻‍♂️.
  • Oh, cool…finally, a woman in my local area!! She’s three decades my senior, has a cigarette hanging from her mouth, & sounds like she might be mentally ill. Vaguely reminiscent of Abe Vigoda with notes of Rosie O’Donnell & a hint of Phyllis from The Office 😬.

#IGiveUp 

So, Academy Award nominations have been announced. First, The Sammys are still way cooler than The Oscars. Second, I won’t be watching…haven’t seen the show in years. Bunch of pretentious windbags besmirching what should be one of the highlights of their professional lives by spewing ignorant, out of touch, woke garbage, and rarely do the movies that interest me & the ones that critics adore intersect. Having said all of that, I do have a few opinions. The only Best Picture nominee I’ve seen is King Richard, which won the Sammy Award for Favorite Movie. I might eventually check out the updated West Side Story, but didn’t see it on the big screen. It blows my freakin’ mind that Kristen Stewart has been nominated for an Oscar. Seriously…she has the disposition of lukewarm tap water. Never in a million years did I ever think such a succubus of charisma could possibly win an Academy Award. On the flip side is Will Smith, who has always had charm & personality to spare. Though it weirds me out a bit that The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air has gone from gettin’ jiggy wit it to being nominated for an Oscar I hope he wins. Not only is he someone I’ve actually heard of, but his performance in King Richard is truly excellent. I’m kind of surprised that Ben Affleck didn’t get a Best Supporting Actor nod for The Tender Bar. The movie isn’t that great but his performance seemed award worthy. I’ve seen some comments opining that the latest Spider-Man flick should’ve been nominated for Best Picture, but come on now…we all know that’s not how Hollywood rolls. God forbid they recognize a good film that Joe Sixpack actually enjoyed.

Full disclosure…I’ve never listened to Joe Rogan’s podcast, but recent events have piqued my interest and I might have to give it a whirl. 25 years ago who could’ve predicted that (with the exception of the late great Phil Hartman) Rogan would be the NewsRadio alumnus that’d have the biggest (pop) cultural impact?? One could have made bank on that prop bet. 

Thoughts on relationships…

Ladies, some unsolicited advice: no guy is going to invest much effort in a woman who seems to hate men. I’m as jaded as anyone, but at some point cynicism becomes really unattractive, so perhaps you might want to consider toning it down. This is when the “unfollow” button comes in handy. Sometimes people are going thru some stuff, and I understand that, but it doesn’t mean I want to go thru it with you. I no longer want to be “a good guy”, “like a brother”, or a “cool friend”. What’s in it for me?? I’m not going to let someone unload all their drama, seeking validation, counsel, or a sympathetic ear, then later that night some other guy with washboard abs & deep pockets gets to see her naked & drill her like an oil field. That’s called being used, and it’s not okay. It has become tedious. I have one sister…that’s all I need or want. If the dude with cool tatts & a big schlong isn’t also willing or capable of meeting your emotional needs then perhaps you need to reevaluate your situation. This drive thru is closed.