It has become de rigueur for writers to write essays about what their parents have done to them–those vivid, haunting moments when everything changed and a young life was damaged forever. Few people, though, tell the opposing stories, the unforgivable things that we’ve done to our parents: mom’s wedding ring dropped in the toilet and flushed; dad’s convertible wrapped around a traffic light; and worse, the disowning, that time-honored tradition of deciding in our twenties that our parents are too backassward to deserve our respect.

We make amends. We grow out of our snobbery. But what I did to my father on December 28th, 1975 was more unforgivable than any of the usual offenses.

They have arrived. The NFL playoffs. Back in September, thirty-two teams had their football eyes on the prize. High hopes. Expectations. Experts making predictions. Boneheaded waiters and balding fathers playing football prophet and talking shit.

The Eagles will take the NFC East.

This is the year the Ravens will put it all together.

The Raiders will suck ass.

The Pack will repeat and Favre will hang himself from a sycamore tree.

Blah, blah, blah.

It’s now come down to twelve teams. The talk is over. In the AFC, the Patriots, Ravens, Bengals, Texans, Steelers, and Broncos will be taking the field. In the NFC, the Packers, 49ers, Lions, Saints, Falcons, and Giants will be in the hunt for the Lombardi.

It’s a thing of pure beauty.

Almost more beautiful than Tamron Hall.

Almost.

Let’s see what’s doing.

 

 

The Moody Coach and Mountain Jesus: The AFC

The AFC had a crazy year.

The Bills started off the season winning and had their fans forgetting Scott Norwood. But then the Bills remembered that they’re the Bills and began losing—badly. Their fans quickly remembered Norwood and started choking on chicken wings en masse.

Al Davis took a dirt nap and, surprisingly, Raiders fans didn’t tag and burn the country to a crisp.

The Jets and their fat coach stunk up the field and the world was a better place for it.

The Colts slowly died, week after week, and finally disappeared with a whimper.

Three of the six teams playing in the tournament weren’t considered contenders at the beginning of the year. The Bengals? Most people didn’t even know Cincinnati had a football team. The Texans? For years people have been picking them to finally sink the Colts and take the AFC South, and for years they sucked dog ass and ended up watching the playoffs from their couches like the rest of us poor saps. The Broncos? Good, god. John Fox is as dull as a pair of house slippers and coaches the most boring game of football in the league’s history.  I bet he only fucks in the missionary position.

Most football junkies picked the Patriots, Ravens, and Steelers to make the playoffs. They are who they are, and it is what it is. Solid players. Great coaching. No mystery. One of these teams will be in the Super Bowl.

Wildcard weekend will see the Bengals take on the Texans and Pittsburgh travel to Denver. I like the Bengals’ story. They played tough all year, and we saw promising rookie QB Andy Dalton make a name for himself. He very well could be one of the league’s premier quarterbacks of the future, football smart, with a rifle for an arm. Going on the road and winning in the playoffs is a tall order. Especially with a young team that has no post-season experience. But I like Cincinnati and see them squeaking out a victory. The Texans are good, no doubt. They have a good defense. But they’re injured and don’t have any character. This is not a winning recipe. Sure, they might take this game, but it will end for them soon after that.

Pittsburgh and the Broncos. The story here is about Tebow and his Jesus-ness. He loves Jesus. Carries him in his backpack. Takes him to McDonald’s. Tebow’s positive god light has the whole team reading sappy Hallmark affirmations and running to confession. It’s a lame story that has the ESPN gang and everyone and their mother saying stupid things like “divine intervention.” And that the Donkeys are winning because of Tebow’s heavenly ways and have made the playoffs because “something else is at work.” It is, by far, some of the most ridiculous crap I’ve heard, in or out of sports, in my lifetime. The truth is, Tebow sucks as a QB, the teams he beat were shit or gave the game away, the Broncos made the playoffs because the AFC West is pathetic. End of story. The Steelers are beat up but should win the game easily and end the Second Coming.  Thank god.

Finally, the Patriots and Ravens, the conference’s one and two seeds.  They have a bye this week and await the winners of the wild card round.  Brady and his receivers are flying high on offense, but they have a pitiful defense and this is why they’ll eventually lose. There’s nothing that their moody coach, Bill Belichick, and his massive football brain can do about it.  Prediction:  The Ravens—with Ray Lewis’ big mouth and Terrell Suggs’ piranha teeth—will go to the Super Bowl.  A nasty, swarming defense and an effective running game.  That’s the recipe.

 

Packing Heat and Killing Marino: The NFC

The NFC playoff picture is loaded with surprises. Who thought the 49ers, with their obnoxious coach, would be a second seed? No one. The Lions? Most of us thought that bloated pig Matt Millen had ruined the team for good. Guess not. The Giants? Hey, they’re a good squad, but the Eagles with their “dream team” roster were supposed to eat up the NFC East. Didn’t happen. The Falcons?  Well, that’s not too much of a stretch, but their spot was reserved for the Cowboys. And speaking of the Cowboys: I think it’s about time we bury these amateurs for good, or pray that their rich, hillbilly owner either splits or joins Al Davis. He’s looking more and more like good ol’ Al everyday. And that, my friends, is not a good thing.

Just win, baby.

The Lions are heading into New Orleans to get a beatdown like they’ve never experienced. It’s going to be ugly. The Saints have a lousy defense, but they have Brees and that ass-whooping offense. They’re deadly. They’re cool. They’re tenacious. Brees is a badass and I was thrilled to no end to see him squash Dan Marino’s single-season passing record. I don’t like Marino, just like I don’t like Mercury Morris, just like I don’t like Don Shula’s nose, just like I don’t like Miami’s pansy colors, just like I don’t like Miami, just like I don’t like the Heat and loved it when they got their asses handed to them in the NBA finals.

Shoo fly.

The Falcons are going into New York, where they’re going to get slapped around. The Giants are playing solid football coming off a perfect dismantling of the Cowboys last week. Watch out for the Giants. They can play spoiler.

I don’t have much to say about the 49ers. I can’t buy into them. I see a so-so QB in Smith, a good defense, and a cocky P.E. teacher for a coach. That being said, they’re not a second seed for no reason. But I’ll be smiling when they leave the field crestfallen. Especially Harbaugh.

The Packers are the Packers. They’re good. Real good. But like the Saints and the Patriots, they have a weak defense. I see them getting into a shootout or two. Probably not the way you want things to go (especially, against gunslingers like Brees and Eli Manning). But Rodgers is a pure killer and I see him taking the Pack to the Super Bowl where they’ll play the Ravens, win another championship, and Brett Favre will either be found dead or pack up his Wranglers and play in the CFL.

Let the games begin.

 

Like I wrote in my last NFL post no one knows how the season’s going to pan out. It’s a mystery. I yapped it up like every other football jerk predicting the winners and losers. So far I’ve nailed some of my pre-season predictions. Others not so much.

This year has been a bit different. There’s not a dominating team out there. Every week a new team is the best team. Last week it was the Giants. Before that it was the Jets. Then New England. Last night Vick and his Eagles beat the fuck out of the Redskins in front of god and everyone. I’ve never seen anything like it. It was nothing short of cruel.

So now Philly is the best team in the NFL. Next week some other team will take the headlines and the brilliant brains on ESPN will fill up their programs talking about how so and so team is heading to Texas to play for the Lombardi. It’s just the way it goes. Anyhow, folks, let’s see what’s up.

Dead Cowboys and Marching Saints

Most people figured the Saints would be at the head of the NFC pack and they are. Brees is way bad. Great arm. Great talent. They started off the season a bit shaky, but lately have been playing solid football. They took out Pittsburgh and are looking at taking out a few more teams on their way to the playoffs. I said they’d make the playoffs and the train would stop there. I might eat this one. We’ll see. Beads!

Falcons. I said these dudes were going to be knocking people around this year and they are. They beat the Ravens and if they get into the playoffs with home-field advantage then watch out. Hotlanta. No need for Ron Mexico to be on their roster.

I said Tampa would suck all things nasty this year and I was wrong. They’re playing pretty good football and have stunned us all.

The Panthers are dismal and I was right. So were you.

The Cowboys. Huh? No one predicted this disaster. No one. Hell, I don’t know what to say. What’s to say? They’re just no good? Their dull frumpy coach (who’s been fired) simply can’t lead a team? Tony Romo is a handsome devil, but a shitty QB when it comes down to it? Who knows. It doesn’t matter. People are crying and laughing over this one.

I said the G-Men would be good if they didn’t shoot themselves in the foot like they did last year. They haven’t so far and are right in the mix even though the Cowboys handed their ass to them this past weekend. Jon Kitna? That praying jackass must have called up Jesus before kickoff.

Eagles. Speaking of Ron Mexico, Vick has the Eagles looking sharp. I said they’d have a horrible season and I was wrong. They’re at the top of their division with the Giants. Last night they blew up the Redskins 59-28 on Monday Night Football. It was sick. Sick. Sick. Sick.

I thought McNabb and the Redskins would have an OK season, but I don’t know if they’ll recover after last night’s shellacking. I’ve always liked McNabb, think he’s a class act on and off the field, but he may want to go the way of Favre. Just saying.

The NFC North has the Pack in the lead. I figured this. So have millions of others. No stretch there. They beat the Jets who’s arguably the best team in the AFC. That’s a keeper. Good defense, great QB in Rodgers. Cheeseheads stand up and shout. Lambeau Calling.

Brett Favre and the Vikings. Another bust. I was wrong, said they had a shot at a good season. Like the Giants last year the Vikings have shot themselves in the foot down after down, game after game. I dig on Favre, but he needs to hang up his cleats, stop leaving naughty messages on some hussy’s cell, and go back to the swamps for a freshly dipped country-fried fritter with all the fixins’. It’s over, homie. Sorry.

The Bears are winning. I said they wouldn’t. I was wrong. Da Bears. Fucking Obama must be thrilled. I’m not.

Detroit. I’m always right on this one. Everyone is. The best thing about writing about the Lion’s woes is the opportunity to blame their pathetic football ways on Matt Millen who’s a bloated human turd. But I’m tired of writing about Millen and his cheapness. We all know how he single-handedly dismantled that poor franchise. Damn you, Matt.

In the NFC West the Seahawks are in first place. Who cares. They’re Seattle. I said they’ll lose and they eventually will. If I’m wrong find me and punch me in the throat.

The story in this atrocious division (if there is one) is the Rams and Bradford their rookie QB who’s led the team to some impressive wins. I said they’d stink up the field this year and even though they have a losing record they’re not rolling over when Sunday comes around. Hey, hey.

And what about the Niners? I never, ever, bought into Singletary’s bulging eyes and his silly tough-man speeches. He blows as a coach and his team sucks big ones. Everyone employed by this franchise will be watching the playoffs and the Super Bowl with my pathetic ass. Enough said.

Ok, the NFC is done.

Manning and T.O’s Big Teeth

Indy is winning again. And again. Manning is a football god and barring no bizarre injuries they are playoff bound as usual. There’s nothing else to write here.

I said the Texans would have a horrible season and they are. Same goes for Jacksonville.

The Titans now have Moss who’s been on three teams this year. I don’t know. I thought they’d have a better record. But we’ll see. They have Moss to stretch the field, Chris Johnson who’s a punishing running back, but I don’t think that means a damn at the end of the day. They can’t beat Indy so it’s a wrap.

Jets. Well, they have a loud-mouthed coach, Tomlinson, and a cute QB. They look good and have won a couple of games in OT. They’re not dominating teams, but they’re winning and that’s all that matters. Namath probably couldn’t care less whether they’re playing lights out or struggling. Hey, and where is Namath by the way? At the bar? Tonguing Suzy Kolber? Regardless, they’re tough and playoff bound.

The Bills are horrible. Period.

I said the Dolphins would have a bad season and they are. Marino? Buler?

The Patriots are doing what we all expected them to do: win. Brady’s healthy and throwing the ball with gun-accuracy. The running game is solid. And despite their defense being young Belichick’s defensive schemes will win more games than not.

I predicted the Ravens to be kicking some football butt this year and they have so far. They’re at the top of their division and are looking at tearing up the Patriots in the playoffs once again. It could happen. I’m not a Ravens fan, but what I do like about them is that they could give a rat’s ass about Indy, the Steelers, Saints, and Brady’s cleft chin. They’ll bring it. It makes for good football. (I won’t engage in my traditional rip on Ray Lewis’ dull jock ways in this post. There’s a lot of football left to play. Next time.)

I’m a big Steelers fan, but I’m not convinced they’re that good. Sure, they have a winning record but they look out of sync, out of whack. The Patriots just kicked their ass in their backyard. It was brutal. So, I don’t know. Ben looks rough. Their defense is vicious, but have been giving up big plays in the second half. Pittsburgh Nation is nibbling at their nails no doubt.

Most predicted the Browns to have another losing season and they are. They’ve showed some light (beating the Pats convincingly), but in the end they just don’t cut it.

And the Bengals…heh. Like Robin Williams said in Good Will Hunting: “How ironical.” On paper you’d think these striped bastards would be taking teams out. But no. They have Ochocinco. So what. They have Palmer chucking the ball. Who cares. They got T.O and his stupid face in the off-season. Doesn’t mean shit. What does mean shit is that they suck shit and it tickles me when I see T.O and his huge choppers slumber off the field having lost yet another game. There is a god.

I said the Raiders would reek. We’ve come to expect this. Al Davis is a dreadful owner and needs to take a dirt nap ASAP. But they’re in first place. First place is first place. Living in Southern California I have a lot of friends that are Raider fans and have been getting hate e-mail from these misfits all season long:

“Raiders dickhead! What bitch? What are you gonna say now? Fuck your Steelers! Raiders, baby, Raiders! Deal!”

“Next time I see your Mexican ass me and my boys are going to jump you, paint you silver and black and teabag you!”

Lovely.

Chiefs have proved me wrong so far and are sharing first place with the Raiders. But they play in a perfectly awful division and I see them falling apart in the stretch. Watch.

I wrote that the Broncos would stink and they do. Like Singletary, I don’t buy into their coach. I don’t care about last year’s quasi-success or that he’s a Belichick disciple. The Broncos will have losing seasons for years to come.

Lately the Chargers have started off the season slow and pick it up heading towards the payoffs. I see this happening again. They’ve dominated this weak division for years. The Raiders will eventually lose and so will the Chiefs. Look for San Diego to squeeze out yet another division title and go into the playoffs.

Whew.

That’s it, folks. Football. It’s a disease. For all you Cowboy fans out there: my condolences. For you spoiled Indy fans: keep smiling and save your cash for that playoff seat. For you Jacksonville fans: pray for the Jaguars to pack up their bags and head for the smoggy and stuffy land that is Los Angeles. There’s a lot of football left to play, but we’re almost there. So don’t stop now, baby.

Ciao.

Thank you Mother Nature.

For the seasons are changing. Fall is right around the corner bearing two gifts. For one, my summer depression will soon hit the woe-is-me road for next year. And two, the 2010-11 NFL football season is here!

To hell with baseball!

And lawn bowling!

And Tiger Woods and that soft hobby that has delivered that horny misfit big cash, a divorce, and copious amounts of classy take-home-to-meet-momma beaver!

I mean enough already!

Tiger!

Is this all right with you? Huh?

Good then.

Bring on the blitz!

As you know this is prediction time, folks. Everyone and their dope man knows what’s going to go down this year.

The Saints will kiss the Lombardi once again.

Watch out for the Ravens.

The Raiders will blow as usual.

Keep an eye on the Packers.

So on and so forth.

The truth is no one knows what’s going to happen. That’s the beauty. It’s a long season full of cheers, jeers, and unpredictability. What you can count on is that weird shit is going to go down. Bad luck. Dumb luck. Fluke injuries and victories. Some teams will be sickened one month into the party and other teams will bite and claw for 16 brutal weeks and play their best football as soon as the playoffs hit.

One never knows.

Except for me.

Here we go.


The NFC

The South

The Saints took the pie last year and it was a happening sight. Some say they have a good shot at getting back to the big game. History says there’s a good chance they won’t even make the playoffs. They’re defense is sketchy, but they have Brees and a very dangerous offense to boot. They’ll put on a show no doubt. I say they make the playoffs, but it stops right there.

Falcons have what it takes to battle New Orleans for the West. They have a solid young QB in Ryan, a good running game, and a good defense. With Ron Mexico and the Dirty Bird (thank god) in their rearview mirror, Atlanta is one of those teams to keep an eye out for in 2010.

The other two teams, Carolina and Tampa, are horrible. If you see either of these teams on your team’s schedule then have a party at your house that day. BYOB.


The East

The Cowboys are the favorites to take the division. They have Romo, Austin, Bryant, Witten, a frumpy-looking coach, and all of Texas. That’s good eats. Cowboys fans span the globe and I met one the other day who barked in my ear for what seemed forever (she’s lucky she smelled good or it would have been intolerable) how the Cowboys were snatching the Lombardi this year.

“You’ll see,” she said, blowing a cigarette hit into the L.A night. “All you haters will see. Hot-ass Romo in the middle of the field talking about going to Disneyland or some shit like that. Just watch.”

“He’ll be fishing in the middle of the ocean when that trophy is raised.”

“Kiss my ass!”

I understood what that chick was talking about. The Cowboys are a good team and I expect them to be at the top of the conference at season’s end. Last year the Vikings dismantled them in the playoffs and I’m sure this year they’re looking to rewrite that nightmare.

Look for the Redskins to do a little better this year. Which is not saying much. Owner Dan Snyder (a bona fide football putz) signed McNabb and hired Mike Shanahan as the new head coach. You know, the one with the eye. The one with the Super Bowl rings. Their hope is that Shanahan will conjure up some of that Denver magic. I don’t see it. It’ll be more of the same for the Redskins: dish out a lot of fast cash for veteran players and high-profile coaches and keep losing.

It should be easy for the Giants to have a better season than last year. They ate themselves last year and just need to clean up their act. They have the talent. Saying that, their defense needs to pick it up and put the ball in Eli’s hands. If that happens then the Giants fans should have something to cheer about.

Philly ditched McNabb for Kolb and they’ll soon learn that, sure, the dance with Donovan may have run its course, but his replacement is simply not ready to lead the team to any semblance of success. Good defense. Bad offense. They’ll suck this year.


The North

Brett Favre and the Vikings almost made it to the Super Bowl last year but they blew it big time. But if Peterson can hold onto the fucking ball and the receivers can get healthy one never knows. Favre is a veteran and if he knows one thing it’s football. Minnesota fans should be optimistic.

I like the Pack this year. I think Rodgers is a kickass QB and will probably get a Super Bowl ring before he hangs up his cleats for a gig calling games for ESPN. If that offensive line can block for him and that defense can hold their own then watch out. Really.

Da Bears? Fuggedaboutit. Even if Obama gave them a you-can-believe speech before every game they’d lose more games than they’d win. Look for this to happen in 2010.

The Lions? Well, I will never pass up a chance to rip on Matt Millen so here it goes: yeah, I know that bloated jock pig is not on their payroll anymore, but his short-sighted, dimwitted, boneheaded vision of football cursed that franchise (they didn’t need any help) for all eternity. He ripped out their hearts and shitted on their puny dreams because that’s all he knew what to do. He was incapable of doing or knowing any better. Sorry Detroit. Truly.


The West

I don’t have anything to say about this crappy division so I won’t.


The AFC

The South

One word: Peyton. The Colts are still the team to beat in this division and the entire conference for that matter. Peyton is a football god and he’ll take his team into the playoffs without a doubt. Like the Saints, if the defense can hold their own then it’s on. It’s on regardless. Peyton. Say it again: Peyton.

Jaguars. I like the quarterback and have a good friend that hails from Jacksonville. He’s a crazy fucker that builds muscle cars and like me thinks that Amy Hempel is the bomb. Other than that I have nothing to say about Jacksonville.

The Texans were supposed to have a solid year last year. They didn’t. They won’t this year either.

Vince Young has turned his shit around. I thought the man was dead in the proverbial water. But hey. The Titans have the talent to do some damage this year. They have a vicious running back in Chris Johnson and a smart coach that sports a disgusting croissant-like mustache. I’ll be there to see it when they line up against the Colts. And you should, too.


The East

The safe bet is that the Patriots will again be in the Super Bowl hunt. Brady. Brady. Brady. Moss is returning for one last dance. Oh, and Wes Welker is back and the moody coach in the hoodie will be mumbling at the podium. Enough said.

The Jets have gobs o’ players returning to the team after a solid year last year. Sure, their obnoxious coach has a foul mouth and has the class of a road apple, but he has his team believing they can win. Maybe his verbal prowess can stop Tomlinson from being a post-game pussy and get him to just run the damn football. We’ll see. Sanchez needs to keep up his chops of last year or it’s a bust for New York.

The Dolphins shocked a few people last year when they ended the season at 7-9. One would think they’d be better this year. But because I inherently loathe the Dolphins I say they’re going to stink up the field. Let’s hope.

The Bills are perfectly horrible. Again, if you see the Bills on your team’s schedule chalk it up as a win.


The North

The defense-heavy Ravens should be in the fight once again. The Ravens have a thing for playing spoiler and I can see them making the playoffs and knocking off a team or two with a better record. Last year they smacked around the favored Patriots on national TV. It was a pure ass whooping. It’s what they do. I find Ray Lewis to be an utter bore with his lame two-bit sermons, but the man is an animal on the field and has the power to will his team to victory. I’ve seen it happen one too many times.

Roethlisberger’s off-the-field shenanigans have suspended that super genius for four games. If the Steelers can get passed this mess with a couple of wins they’ll be all right. Ben is still a good QB and the Steelers are, well, the Steelers. They know how to win. I look for them to make a run for the playoffs this year.

The Bengals should have an explosive offense this year with the acquisition of T.O and his big teeth. Let it be known that I think that man is a perfect asshole and hope he takes a short slant route right into Ray Lewis’ helmet and his world fades to black. Ray, I already told you that you bore me, but for the love of god, homie, if you have a love for humanity and god the way you claim that you do then you’d take that degenerate out. You have at least two chances this year. Put it to good use, dog.

Forget about the Browns once again this year. Most do.


The West

The Chargers have dominated this cheap division for some time and should have no problem taking it again and go into the playoffs. Good QB. Gates. Sproles. So-so defense and a coach with great infomercial skin. What else can you ask for? A Super Bowl ring? Oh.

The Broncos? Last year they came out of the gate punching and kicking and then petered out when it counted the most. I don’t like Orton. Nothing personal, but he’s not a leader. They’ll be watching the playoffs with you and me.

The Raiders stink but should have a better season than the Chiefs who stink even more. Like last year, pay no mind to either of these pathetic teams.

Whew. That’s it, folks. Lame utterances and fast picks void of solid ESPN research. Straight gibberish. Just the way it should be. Now, it’s time to call my dope man and find out what he thinks. So fire up the grill. Break out the hooch and the brauts. See you at the stadium.