Throughout the season my phone rings at all hours. My facebook inbox is full of notes from football heads from all over the globe. But it’s my email that gets hit the hardest. Vicious, drunken utterances on how my picks for the week suck, how I suck, how my girlfriend sucks (I don’t even have a girlfriend), how I don’t know a damn about football, how the Steelers (I’m a Steelers fan) come from some stiff hillbilly state and that if I was a true tree-huggin’ liberal then I’d be a Seahawks fan. Or a Saints fan. Or a Niners fan.

I write them back.

Fuck off, I tell them.

The only thing from Seattle worth my time is Brad.

That I like Reggie Bush, but I like his ex-girlfriend more.

That I would never be a Niners fan because my uncle would turn in his grave or may surge with life, find me chowing down at In-N-Out and do me in mid-bite.

Most of the notes come from old friends. Bastards that feel they can write anything, say anything to me. One of them I call Lips because Lips has no lips. All you see is teeth. He looks like a mummy. He looks like Fire Marshall Bill. He packs my email to the gills.

I grew up with Lips.

He’s knows everything about me.

My mother’s name.

My therapist’s name.

The drugs I did.

The food I like.

He calls me Weed.

Weed,

I read your latest bullshit on The Nervous Breakdown. Really, loser? The Cowboys? They suck. Tony Homo? He’s a fag. And do you really like Rodgers or are you trying to bang some slut from Wisconsin? He’ll take GB nowhere. The Packers are nothing without Favre. They’re nothing with that old man. Brett needs to go back to the sticks and do whatever it is those people do. You’re wrong about the Bears. Watch. They don’t need Obama. They play in a weak division and will take it easily. The Colts are rebuilding this year. Kind of like your ex-girlfriend with the plastic tits. Ha! I say the Saints and the Patriots in the Super Bowl. Fuck your stats, Mexican, the Saints are going back. Mail me some cash and I’ll put in your bets. Later.

That’s how it went.

That’s how it’s still going.

For the bones have been thrown.

The smoke has cleared.

The playoffs, people, are here.

In the NFC the Saints, Seahawks, Eagles, Packers, Bears, and Falcons. This translates into three birds of prey, one pious fucker, a fuzzy mammal, and a…what is a Packer? Well, in this case the name comes from a meat packer. Lovely. Packing meat. Nevermind. In the AFC, the Patriots, Jets, Steelers, Ravens, Colts, Chiefs made the grade. Need I translate again? Right.

As I wrote before, you never know how the year is going to pan out. Some folks thought the Cowboys would be in the hunt. Nope. They weren’t. And they’re not. They suck. The Titans, who I thought would be solid this year, were shot out all season long. Same goes for the Chargers and the Vikings both of which were favored to go into the playoffs with the Super Bowl in their sights. No go. It’s a wrap.

The Chargers, who in recent history don’t lose in December and go into the playoffs gunning, got their asses handed to them and now they’re sitting at home watching the playoffs with the rest of us saps. Brett Favre and Vikings? What can you say? Well, you can say that they stunk up the field from coast to coast. Their coach got canned and Brett Favre’s life and his limbs imploded right before our football eyes. He needs to split and leave us and the game of football alone. Please, Brett. I like you, bro, but please go the fuck home and stay there.

Please.

There’s no need to mention (but I will) that most of us predicted that the Lions, Panthers, Bills, Cardinals, Browns, Bengals, Niners, etc, would have shitty seasons. We’ve come to expect these atrocities to occur when these horrific teams take the field. And they did. I should mention that the Bills played tough this season and they’re record did not reflect the character of that team. But to hell with the rest of them. They offered nothing to professional football, its fans, and should consider joining a pee-wee league.

Okay, enough of that. Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty.

The Wild Card Round

First up was the World Champion Saints against the Seahawks who farted into the playoffs with a 7-9 record. People bitched and complained that a team with a losing record shouldn’t get into the playoffs. But the rules state that the team that wins their division gets a ticket in. Period. So the Seahawks were in and hosting the champs. No one gave Seattle a chance. No one. Not me. No one. I settled in with a carne asada burrito and witnessed Seattle do the unthinkable: They won. It was one of the biggest upsets in playoff history. Matt Hasselbeck played lights out. That bald bastard threw four TD passes to Brees’ two. The Saints made a run, but in the 4th quarter Marshawn Lynch punched and pounded his way for a 67-yard touchdown that buried the Saints for good. It was one hell of a run.

My phone was ringing off the hook as the Saints were marching out.

Seahawks fly into Chicago.

Next up was the main event: The Colts against the Jets. This one had people talking. Peyton against Fat Ryan and his Jets. I’m no fan of either of these teams, but I like Manning and because of Jabba Ryan and his obese macho talk I now loathe the Jets the way I loathe T.O. So, I was pulling for the Colts. C’mon, Manning! C’mon, baby!

But it didn’t happen.

It was a slow-moving game. Both teams couldn’t move the ball. Good game for true football fans, but a bore to those who want to see some action. The Colts had the game wrapped up, but Blair White—a rookie out of Michigan State—couldn’t hold onto a Manning pass that would have pushed the clock down to a nub for Vinatieri to kick in the winning field goal. But it didn’t happen that way. White dropped the ball, the Jets got it back, and Sanchez and his crew marched down the field and won by one point.

Dead Colts.

Jets board their plane and head into Patriotville.

Damn.

I was 0-2.

On Sunday I opened the day with a three-mile jog in the freezing desert morning. I was chugging like Rocky determined to redeem myself after being blasted with emails and phone calls on how much my Saturday picks came up lame. I lost an Andy Jackson in the Colt game to a running buddy of mine. He hates football, thinks it’s for jerk-offs. He bet me because he wanted to prove his point that anybody can win a football bet whether you know anything about football or not.

“You have a fifty-percent chance,” he said confidently. “I’ll take the Jets. I like their helmets.”

“Helmets. Great. You’re on.”

I handed over the cheddar pissed.

The Ravens took the field against the Chiefs. I wanted the Chiefs to win, but I knew the Ravens would take it. But what I didn’t know was that they were going to dismantle the Chiefs to the tune of 30-7. I didn’t pay attention to Kansas City this year so I didn’t know what they did or how they did it. Apparently, they had a great running game all season long. Apparently, it wasn’t enough to beat the Ravens. Their running backs did look impressive at the beginning of the game. Fast strong fuckers hitting the holes like missiles. But then the Chiefs turned the ball over five times and watched the game turn into an ugly movie. Now they’re at home eating BBQ.

The game of the day was the Packers against the Eagles. Mr. Rodgers against Michael Vick, aka, Ron Mexico. I picked Green Bay to have a great season. I think Rodgers is a fantastic QB and if the Packers front office makes the right decisions they have a QB that could bring them the Lombardi. I also picked the Eagles to have a horrible season. I didn’t see Vick coming off the bench and having a good year. He was headline news all season long especially after his historic performance on Monday Night Football where he single-handedly beat the Baby Jesus out of the Redskins. Anyhow, these two teams took the field in Philly. I wanted the Pack and after the smoke cleared Green Bay was moving on and the Eagles weren’t.

Cheeseheads unite.

Mr. Mexico has left the building.

So now that’s left us with the Ravens/Steelers, Jets/Pats, Packers/Falcons, and the Seahawks/Bears. One of these teams will hoist the Lombardi. That is a sure bet. The Saturday games start with the Steelers/Ravens. I’m a Steelers fan so you know who I’m pulling for. I don’t like the Ravens. Not many people do. These two teams hate each other and this will be yet another ugly fight. A brutal yet beautiful way to open the weekend. Can’t wait. Pack/Falcons is the late game. Falcons have a great record at home and I picked them to make a serious Super Bowl run this year. I nailed it and here they are with home-field advantage. So what. I’ll take the Pack. Rodgers. Rodgers. Rodgers.

Sunday opens up with the Seahawks/Bears game. The Bears should take this one. They’re at home and I don’t see Seattle pulling out another miracle win. But one never knows. They took out the Saints and they can take out Da Bears which really would be fine with me because that means I don’t have to see and listen to Mike Ditka’s Eddie Munster hair and stupid dog eyes yapping it up in some mob suit. Next up is the Jets/Pats game. Geezus. I already told you how I feel about the Jets and their bloated coach. Fuck him and fuck them. Go Patriots. Brady, don’t let me down you handsome prick! Kick their ass! Period. I’ll be watching this one with a pile of chicken wings on my lap.

I might even ditch my root beer for a bottle of hooch for this one.

Well, that’s it. Four games of pure football heaven. I’m drooling and you should be too. So, order your submarine sandwiches. Fill up your coolers with beer and Sprite. Fire up the grill and let the games begin.

Cheers, folks.

Have a good one.

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.

Super Bowl Sunday. February 7, 2010, 2:00 p.m.

If the hereafter has a switchboard, it’s jammed today.

There are prayers going out to the saints, for the New Orleans Saints. St. Jude might be getting a break this afternoon. He heard pleas for four decades, I’ll bet, for that lost cause of a football team.

My own grandfather requested divine intervention for his home team, year after year. Some weekends, I sat within earshot of him and my uncles as they shouted and prayed. Lord, the noise! Dear Blessed Mother, the fumbles and fouls! In my smart-mouthed youth, I might have asked aloud why they continued to cheer every season for such losers. I am almost certain I, too, muttered the slur, The Ain’ts. All involved, please accept my apology.

TNB Headquarters could not be more excited about this year’s Superbowl.

That’s not entirely true.  We could be more excited for plenty of reasons.  One of them would be if there actually were a TNB Headquarters.  Especially if it was someplace cool, like New Orleans, or Branson, MO.

But, while there are plenty of things more exciting, the game promises to be a good one.  For the first time in a decade, the Superbowl is a match-up of the two top seeds in each conference — the Indianapolis Colts, representing the AFC, and the NFC’s Saints, from the aforementioned Big Easy.  And both teams have offenses that sportswriters often describe as “high-voltage,” which is a fancy way of saying “electric,” which is a fancy way of saying “good.”