2022 Sammy Awards – Part 1

Greetings Manoverse, and welcome to the 2022 Sammy Awards!! It has been a tradition here since 2010 for us to welcome a new year by saying a fond farewell to the old year. We look back at the key moments, people, & topics that made the past 12 months what they were. We celebrate the highlights & allow ourselves to lament the lowlights. A wise teacher once said “Those who fail to learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them”, and we believe it is good to remember what happened and give those stories kudos or derision…whichever is appropriate. So sit back, grab some popcorn & your beverage of choice, and enjoy the world’s most irreverent fake awards show!! 

To host the festivities it is our pleasure to welcome one of our most underrated comedians. He has received multiple Grammy nominations, is known for working clean, and offers low key, relatable observations on topics with which we are all familiar. Please welcome to the stage Jim Gaffigan!!

After some hilarious opening comments from our host it is time to hand out some hardware!! To do the honors we are excited to welcome a beloved actor from the 1970s. He starred in one of the few romantic dramas about a blind ice skater, the 1978 classic Ice Castles, as well as Ode to Billy Joe, in which he hurls himself off a bridge after having sex with Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane from The Dukes of Hazzard. Give a rousing ovation for the very much alive (who knew??) Robby Benson!! And the nominees are:

Favorite TV Show

The World According to Jeff Goldblum 

Quirky actor Goldblum returned to Disney+ with fresh episodes examining topics like dogs, fireworks, & motorcycles. He doesn’t necessarily break new ground on these subjects, but does approach them from a distinct perspective. 

General Hospital

Yes, I still watch “my stories” (as my grandmothers used to call them). However, not only are there only four soap operas remaining, just one feels worthy of recognition. I’ve been a fan of GH since the early 80s, and still look forward to watching it whenever time permits (which is often enough since I have no life {I’m “producing” a fake awards show for God’s sake}). 

Cobra Kai 

The 4th season was released on NY’s Eve 2021, and in a pleasant surprise Season 5 came along just months later in September 2022. It’s still a compelling story for those old enough to have enjoyed the Karate Kid films back in the day, and I suppose it’s a good enough show to have attracted younger fans not as familiar with the movies. That being said, it feels like the upcoming season (which may not arrive for another year) should be the end unless they do some sort of time jump. It’s more difficult to get away with having 20-somethings portray high school students than it used to be. 

The Santa Clauses

This was a nice little holiday treat. Tim Allen returned for a six episode series on Disney+ in which Santa Claus (fka Scott Calvin) decides to retire, chooses a successor, and things go awry. Y’all should check it out while you’re still in the holiday spirit.

WWE Raw/NXT/Smackdown 

Am I as big of a wrestling fan as I used to be?? No. I ponder the question of whether the product just isn’t as captivating as it was in the heyday of Hulk Hogan & Ric Flair or The Rock & “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, or if perhaps I’m just not the same person I was in my youth. Either way, I still watch the shows, but don’t find them as interesting as I did once upon a time. 

and the Sammy goes to…..

General Hospital. For the second year in a row consistency wins. I still haven’t totally bought into the whole streaming thing, and I’m not sure I ever will. I like having new episodes to look forward to. I don’t really enjoy binging everything in a few days then having to wait months for my next fix. GH continues to be well written with a great cast. It may not be your cup o’ tea and that’s okay, but having grown up with the show the fine folks in Port Charles, NY almost seem like family. Dysfunctional?? Sure, but that’s fine. 

To present our next award we are happy to have two characters that underwent a bit of a makeover in 2022. In an effort to be inclusive or whatever…some kind of PC bullsquat…Green M&M was stripped of her lip gloss, high heeled boots, & long eyelashes, and instead given sneakers & a plain face, apparently to appease female gym teachers & golfers on the LPGA Tour. Not to be outdone, Disney decided to toss Minnie Mouse’s iconic red polka dot dress and pander to Hillary Clinton voters by putting Minnie in an unflattering black & blue pantsuit. We don’t play those kind of silly games here at The Sammys. We love women & embrace femininity, so we are happy to welcome to the stage OG Green M&M and Minnie Mouse!! And the nominees are:

Favorite App

Words with Friends 

Full disclosure…I became bored by Words in the latter half of 2022. I’m pretty sure that the plethora of challenges I received daily were from bots rather than real people, and I decided to step away for awhile. I’ll probably return soon enough. 

Instagram 

In less than three years I have posted over 12k memes on Insta. It’s usually the first thing I do when I wake up. Weird?? Kind of sad?? Yes & yes, but atleast I’m honest.

Amazon Music 

I’d rather listen to music than watch television most of the time. I am very moody when it comes to the tunes I enjoy. What I’m into might change on a daily basis. However, I’ve never been unable to find what I’m looking for on Amazon Music. It’s $10/month well spent.

Pic Stitch 

I take a lot of photos whenever I attend a social event. I might take a hundred pics but end up with 35 good ones by the time I filter out blurry or repetitive shots. This app allows me to be even more efficient by stitching together two or more photos so that out of the original 100 I end up posting maybe 15 or 20 to social media. 

TextArt

I’ve segued into creating my own memes!! Sometimes I see a quote I like or an existing meme that just seems too busy, so I take the basic concept & create a better version the way I want it. Perhaps I missed my calling as a graphic designer. 

Air Brush 

I see memes or picture quotes all the time that just need something unnecessary erased out of them. It’s not always as tight & precise as I’d prefer, but it is usually adequate for my purposes. 

Infinity 8 Ball

I went thru my Spades phase, but now I’ve moved on to billiards. Thus far I’ve played over 1400 games and have fallen just below a 60% win rate. 

and the Sammy goes to…..

Amazon Music. After being nominated a couple of times in the past Amazon Music finally earns the prize. You may use Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora, iHeart Radio, or any of the plethora of music apps available, and that’s cool. I’m sure they’re all great. For me Amazon has been a reliable & functional tool that’s become an indispensable part of daily life.

To present our next two awards it is a pleasure to welcome a former NFL punter and current ESPN & WWE commentator whose charisma & liveliness infuses any program he’s part of with more of an energy boost than you’ll get from the entire Starbucks menu combined. Get up on your feet for the inimitable Pat McAfee!! And the nominees are:

The Thrill of Victory Award

Georgia’s National Title

In January the Georgia Bulldogs destroyed Alabama to claim their third National Championship. They’ll have an opportunity to add to the trophy case soon. 

The Super Rams

On February 13, 2022 the Los Angeles Rams beat the Cincinnati Bengals to win their second Lombardi Trophy.

Golden St. Is Golden Again  

After a couple of lean years the Warriors returned to the top of the mountain in 2022, defeating the Boston Celtics in six games to win their 7th NBA title and the fourth since 2015.

LIV Golf

Don’t look now golf fans, but the PGA Tour has some competition. It is in its infancy & needs better television deals, but stalwarts like Phil Mickelson, Sergio Garcia, & Dustin Johnson joined up, seduced by huge money & shorter tournaments with no cuts.

Kansas Wins The Madness 

It was a Battle of Bluebloods when the Kansas Jayhawks defeated the North Carolina Tar Heels to win their fourth National Championship. 

Novak Djokovic

Still one of the top tennis players in the world, Djokovic won at Wimbledon for the 4th consecutive year.

and the Sammy goes to…..

Los Angeles Rams. They couldn’t follow up this season, but on that February night in their home stadium the Rams rose to the occasion late in the 4th quarter. It was nice to see QB Matthew Stafford achieve success after a dismal decade+ in Detroit.

He’s just so damn entertaining that we asked Pat McAfee to stick around & hand out the next prize as well. It looks like he’s made himself comfortable. And the nominees are:

The Agony of Defeat Award

Big Ben’s Retirement

After 18 years as the quarterback of the Pittsburgh Steelers Ben Roethlisberger was gently pushed into retirement. His arm strength had noticeably diminished & his unique escapability had virtually disappeared with no help from a porous offensive line, but the disappointment of his last couple of seasons doesn’t detract from a memorable Hall of Fame career. 

Antonio Brown 

We’ve known for awhile that the former Steelers wide receiver is mentally unstable. After an acrimonious departure from Pittsburgh a few years ago Brown bounced around a bit before seeming to find a soft landing spot in Tampa. He even won a Super Bowl ring with the Buccaneers. However, that relationship crashed & burned late in the 2021 season, with our last image that of Brown taking off his jersey & leaving in the midst of a game. Since then he has engaged in sophomoric online shenanigans implying he’s been gettin’ busy with Tom Brady’s now ex-wife and been accused of domestic violence as well as improper conduct toward a woman in Dubai. 

The Olympics 

Another year, another Olympic Games no one cared about. This time it was in Beijing, China. I would literally rather sit in a dark room staring into space than watch the Winter Olympics in Communist China with no spectators in the stands because of a disease they created. Actually I probably did some of that while this was going on.

MLB Lockout 

The start of the baseball season was delayed by a week thanks to yet another disagreement between owners & players. Two notable outcomes: universal DH & an expanded playoff format. Designated hitters became a thing for National League teams in 2022, which I hate. I always liked that there were differences between the American League &  National League. Both leagues also added an extra wildcard team to the playoff bracket, which I didn’t mind.

Coach K’s Swan Song 

In 4+ decades as the head basketball coach for the Duke Blue Devils Mike Krzyzewski won more than 1000 games, 15 ACC tournament titles, and 5 National Championships. His teams made the NCAA Tournament nearly every year & played in 13 Final Fours. Coach K also won three Olympic gold medals. He’d announced before the 2021-22 season that it would be his last, and the Blue Devils won 32 games. Unfortunately they lost Coach K.’s home finale to North Carolina, lost the ACC title game to Virginia Tech, and fell once again in the Final Four to the Tar Heels. I’m a sucker for storybook endings and was pulling for him to finish on top.

Phil Mickelson 

All the sudden my man Phil has become the black sheep of golf. It started with his controversial defection to LIV Golf last spring, accompanied by disparaging comments about PGA leadership. Mickelson skipped The Masters & the PGA Championship. At age 52 & clearly past his prime I can’t be too hard on the guy for being seduced by the huge money & reduced schedule offered by LIV, but it may have cost him the legacy he’d built during a fantastic three decade+ career. 

Brady’s Gone!! Nevermind, He’s Back 😖

Y’all know I despise Tom Brady. He’s like an evil serial killer in a slasher movie that won’t freakin’ die!! I thought our long nightmare was finally over when Brady announced his retirement back in February. Remember the Bible story about Jesus battling Satan in the desert for 40 days?? Imagine if Satan had won. That’s what it felt like when Brady ended his retirement after 40 days. Yes…he did that, and you can’t convince me it wasn’t on purpose. His decision proved costly, as he ended up divorced, but on the bright side (atleast for him) he’s led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to the playoffs, and if the dude wins yet another damn Super Bowl I might just have to look into this soccer thing. 

Washington Commanders 

After years of pressure from the PC Police the Redskins nickname was finally scrapped a few years ago. After that they were awkwardly known as the Washington Football Team for a couple of seasons because apparently it’s harder to name a sports franchise than anyone realized, even though this change was on the cusp of happening for a long time. At any rate, the powers-that-be narrowed the field down to a few choices, including Armada, Brigade, and Defenders. Commanders is better than any of those, although I preferred Red Wolves.

Flores’ Lawsuit 

Former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores filed a lawsuit against the NFL in February alleging racial discrimination in hiring practices & that Dolphins’ ownership had asked him to tank games to get higher draft picks. To my knowledge the suit has not been resolved, but Flores landed with the Steelers as a defensive assistant (they should elevate him to defensive coordinator).

LIV Golf

Don’t look now golf fans, but the PGA Tour has some competition. The problem?? It is funded by the rulers of Saudi Arabia, a country well known for human rights violations & other nefarious activities, in a transparent PR attempt to change the narrative. Think of Michael Corleone trying to make The Family legitimate by giving a bunch of money to The Vatican in The Godfather Part III. Same kind of thing, only without murder & mayhem (we hope). 

Novak Djokovic

While it is true that Djokovic won Wimbledon for the fourth straight year, he was unfortunately prohibited from competing in the Australian Open & U.S. Open due to draconian & misguided Covid restrictions. He stood strong in his steadfast refusal to get “vaccinated”, a decision that cost him some money but perhaps saved his life.

and the Sammy goes to…..

LIV Golf.  Is it a real threat to the PGA Tour?? I don’t think so. I am reminded of the original USFL, which briefly seemed like a solid alternative to the NFL. They too made a big splash by signing Heisman Trophy winners Hershel Walker, Doug Flutie, and Mike Rozier, as well as QBs Jim Kelly & Steve Young. But the USFL made some missteps & only lasted a few seasons. LIV has wooed enough PGA stalwarts to grab our attention, and there’s certainly enough cash behind the effort. However, I’ll be surprised if the whole thing is anything more than a memory five years from now.

To present our next award we are pleased to welcome one of the most underrated actors of his generation. He has appeared in blockbuster films like Ghostbusters, Crocodile Dundee, and Turner & Hooch, and is a beloved holiday icon who played a pivotal part in saving hundreds of lives on Christmas Eve in Die Hard. He then went on to star in one of the most cherished sitcoms of the 1990’s, Family Matters, a show that might’ve only lasted a month instead of airing for nine breathtakingly hilarious seasons if not for his star power & skills as an actor. It is indeed an honor to welcome Reginald VelJohnson to present a very special tribute.

Duffer-Herrell Lifetime Achievement Award 

Bruce Willis 

Moonlighting.

The Christmas classic Die Hard (and it’s plethora of sequels). 

Look Who’s Talking

Striking Distance.

Armageddon.

The Whole Nine Yards.

Those episodes of Friends when he ended up dating Rachel.

That album he put out in the late 80s.

Bruce Willis has done a little bit of everything in his amazing career spanning more than four decades. Sadly that journey seems to be over, as it was announced back in March that he is retiring due to aphasia, which is an inability to comprehend or formulate language because of damage to specific brain regions. Willis is 67 years old, which in the 21st century means we thought we had many more years to enjoy new performances. I had even read rumors of one final Die Hard, which would’ve been great, especially if it was a good movie on the same level as the first three. Sadly that won’t be happening. Of course in the grand scheme of things that’s not really important. Bruce Willis is still alive, and that’s what matters to his loved ones. For the rest of us we’ll always have his body of work. Is he the greatest actor that ever graced the big screen?? No, but who cares?? Years from now our grandchildren will be telling their grandchildren about a decent actor who made a memorable impression and entertained millions. Each December, along with George Bailey, Ebenezer Scrooge, Ralphie Parker, and The Whos down in Whoville, Detective John McClane will continue to be a key player in Christmas celebrations everywhere. That’s a damn fine legacy, and for that The Sammys are proud to recognize the contributions of Bruce Willis to popular culture. 

This seems like a good place to pause. Please stay tuned for Part 2 of the 2022 Sammy Awards. 

Winning & Musing…Volume 3.19

Wow…it’s been awhile citizens!! Several months since the last edition of W&M anyway. For some reason your Humble Potentate of Profundity just hasn’t been very productive for awhile. I was in the hospital for quite a few weeks in early summer, but if anything that provided me even more time to write than unusual…which didn’t happen. The malaise started before that all occurred anyway, and has continued since I got back home in July. However, football season has provided me a bit of an endorphin boost so perhaps we’ve turned a corner.

 

 

 

 

I’ll give credit where credit is due…the New England Patriots did the right thing by releasing receiver Antonio Brown less than two weeks after signing him. Admittedly I am among those who felt like Brown ending up with the Patriots was a fiendish plot cooked up by he & his slimeball agent Drew Rosenhaus. After  weaseling his way out of Pittsburgh Brown simply didn’t like that he ended up in Oakland where the Raiders aren’t going to be playoff contenders anytime soon, so he forced his way into “freedom” and the Patriots picked him up in a heartbeat. I assumed Brown would put the batshit crazy act to bed & conform quickly to “The Patriot Way”, but with sexual misconduct allegations swirling around the team quickly cut bait. The truth is they don’t need him and will likely do just fine in his absence. But y’all want to hear something funny?? If New England wins yet another Super Bowl (ugh) Antonio Brown would get a ring even though he only played in one game, and Dan Marino might be found curled up inthe fetal position somewhere weeping gently.  The NFL should seriously consider revising those rules.

 

 

If Pirates’ ownership doesn’t fire the manager, general manager, coaching staff, & anyone else they can get rid of as well as trade every player possible from their miserable team this offseason then the entire Pittsburgh fanbase should unite in filing a class action lawsuit for malfeasance.

 

 

 

 

One of the most unpredictable factors when prognosticating games or entire seasons is injuries, and there have been some doozies lately. It already looked like my Steelers were in for a rough year, but now it could get exponentially worse after a season ending elbow injury to QB Ben Roethlisberger. I like young Mason Rudolph well enough, but it would have been nice to see him get another year or two of experience before taking over the starting job. Guys like Rudolph are oftentimes referred to as “the quarterback of the future”; well, for Pittsburgh the future is now. Can they still be a playoff team?? I don’t know. I’m the sort of person who expects the worst case scenario and enjoys being pleasantly surprised, so we’ll see. The news isn’t quite as devastating in New Orleans, as QB Drew Brees will only miss about half the season with a thumb injury. That means that  Brees will be back for any kind of playoff push, but it’ll be interesting to see what position the team is in upon his return. Back in the pre-season I predicted great things for the Saints, but that idea is looking shaky at best right now. I didn’t have high expectations for the Jacksonville Jaguars, but losing QB Nick Foles to a broken collarbone for half the season limits the team’s potential even further, despite the early success of rookie signal caller Gardner Minshew. The Foles injury combined with Andrew Luck’s retirement seemingly makes the AFC South the Houston Texans’ for the taking if they perform up to their capabilities. Then there is Carolina Panthers’ QB Cam Newton, who is currently out with a foot injury. He may only miss one game, but I kind of get the feeling that he might be in & out of the lineup all season long, which would undoubtedly have a negative impact on the team’s playoff hopes.

 

 

Speaking of MLB…..

I honestly haven’t paid much attention all season, for various reasons, but the playoffs will begin soon so I suppose I’ll watch some of those games.  I have zero interest in a Yankees-Dodgers World Series, although I’m sure the TV folks and a large portion of baseball fans would love it. I could root for any AL contender except the Yankees, while the NL field is much less appetizing.  A Twins-Nationals or Indians-Brewers World Series would probably be considered disastrous for television ratings, but I think I’d actually prefer such an unexpected matchup.

Winning & Musing…Farewell Football

You might think it is a bit weird that we are wrapping up the football season before The Super Bowl even kicks off, and perhaps it is, but that’s one of the things we’ll talk about, as well as tying up a few other loose ends in the inaugural 2019 edition of W&M. Enjoy.

 

 

 

 

As a lifelong Pittsburgh Steelers fan I feel obligated to chime in on this Antonio Brown brouhaha. A couple of years ago Brown went on Facebook live from the locker room during a playoff postgame speech by head coach Mike Tomlin, and that was the first indicator to me that there might be an issue with his ego & attitude. Then, several months ago, a friend of mine suggested I check out a show on Animal Planet called Tanked, on which AB was a guest who was having a custom fish tank made for him. During that program I got a little more exposure to his arrogance. No one seems to be talking about the details of Brown’s falling out with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, and I was always taught that there are three sides to every story…one side, the other side, & somewhere in the middle is the truth. Big Ben probably isn’t blameless. He has his faults, as do we all. However, given the preponderance of the evidence and the fact that Brown essentially quit on his team in the midst of a must-win scenario before the final game of the season I will not be heartbroken if the Steelers pull the trigger on a trade. Having said that, I hope that they are smart enough not to give the guy away for anything less than a first round pick, and it would be smart to send him to an NFC team. The vindictive side of me would like to see him go to a terrible team like Arizona, Tampa Bay, or Detroit, but that might be asking for too much. I’d be remiss to ignore Tomlin’s part in all of this drama. It is my personal belief that the Steelers have severely underachieved with him at the helm. That may seem a bit harsh since he has led the team to two Super Bowls and one championship, but most Steelers fans agree that the team should have won two or three additional Lombardi Trophies in the past several years. The Antonio Brown controversy has reinforced the general impression that the team lacks discipline and that Tomlin doesn’t run a tight ship. However, those calling for him to be fired are wasting their energy because that’s just not how the Steelers do things. They haven’t fired a head coach in a half century.

 

 

Zach edged me out in our college football Bowl-a-Palooza picks. He went 25-13, while I was 22-13.  I limped to the finish in our Pigskin Picks of Profundity, going 1-4 in the final week to finish the season 51-56. Conversely, Zach ended on a strong note, going 4-1 in the final week to end the season 47-61.

 

 

Congratulations to the Clemson Tigers for winning their second national championship in three years. I must confess that I watched very little of the title game because the Alabama Crimson Tide began to bore me to tears quite awhile ago, so I’m not sad at all that Clemson beat the snot out of ‘Bama by four touchdowns.

 

 

I am cautiously optimistic about new West Virginia Mountaineers head coach Neal Brown. After a few successful seasons at Troy (a 1-AA school that plays in the Sun Belt Conference) Brown comes to Morgantown after the sudden departure of former coach Dana Holgorsen. I can’t blame Holgorsen for bolting. Sure, Houston isn’t in a “Power 5” conference…but they will be, and probably sooner rather than later. Since the school is situated in the fourth largest city in America and the state of Texas is one of the top recruiting areas for elite athletes one must assume that the Cougars are a sleeping giant. There is also the fact that Holgorsen never seemed to feel totally comfortable in the Mountain State. He just never really fit in here, unlike beloved former coach Don Nehlen, who came to West Virginia in 1980 from Ohio and never left, even after he retired in 2000. Holgorsen will undoubtedly be happier in Houston and likely lead his team to great success. Meanwhile, Brown has made a good first impression and seems to quickly be fitting in just fine. Will that translate to winning on the field?? Who knows?? The truth is that no matter who the coach is the Mountaineers can probably expect to average 7 or 8 wins per season and play in a run-of-the-mill bowl game each December, but perhaps every once in awhile the stars will align, the dominos will all fall just right, and they could sneak into a Big 12 title game & maybe even the playoff. They’ve been that good maybe about a half dozen times in my 40+ years on the planet, so there’s always hope.

 

 

I’m not going to analyze my NFL Preview in detail. By now we all know I said a lot of crazy things that turned out to be completely wrong. In the NFC I only predicted 2 of the 6 playoff teams correctly, while I did a little better in the AFC, getting 4 out of 6 right. I placed way too much faith in my Steelers. Not only did they not get to The Super Bowl…they didn’t even make it to the playoffs. I nailed two of the Top 5 picks in this spring’s NFL Draft (Tampa & Arizona), and the 6-10 Denver Broncos & Cincinnati Bengals fell to 10th & 11th in the draft order only because so many other teams were even more inept, so I’m at peace with those choices. I had the Seattle Seahawks in that bottom five, but they actually went 10-6 and made the playoffs. I assume most pundits thought the San Francisco 49ers would be much better than 4-12 with the 2nd overall draft pick, but injuries destroyed their season. I really thought the Oakland Raiders & NY Jets would be rather decent this season, but they landed high draft choices as well.

 

 

As far as The Super Bowl goes, I just can’t get excited about it at all. I make no secret of my longstanding hatred of the New England Patriots, so cheering on the Los Angeles Rams would seem like a no-brainer. However, I’m not all that enthusiastic about the Rams because let’s be honest…they really shouldn’t be in the game. I don’t want to go off on a loquacious rant about officiating, but the blown call that cost the New Orleans Saints a trip to The Super Bowl was quite possibly one of the most egregious mistakes I’ve ever seen in any sport. It is inexcusable incompetence and the entire crew should be fired. The NFL needs to have some sort of mechanism in place to prevent or atleast correct such critical errors, even if it means almost total eradication of human judgment. Having said that, I suppose I will watch atleast some of “The Big Game” and pull for the Rams.