Thursday, January 12, 2006

A Loser Picking Winners, Week 19

Free Stuff Edition
(Because tomorrow is Friday the 13th and I'm extremely superstitious, I'm posting this Thursday night. Just and FYI.)

I've been meaning to write about this for a couple of weeks, but haven't gotten around to it until now. One of the many benefits of running this site is that I get craploads of free stuff. Every day. OK, that's not quite true. In fact, I hardly ever get anything, especially if it's free.

But my luck's changing. Right before Christmas, Jason Porter (no relation to Joey ... I think) of Tango-Entertainment asked if I'd be interested in some free DVDs in exchange for a review on this site. Big surprise: I said yes. In fact, I said yes before I even knew what "free DVDs" were included. Well, anybody remember "1st & 10"?

You know, the HBO series from the mid-1980's that ran for five or six seasons, and featured a much more svelte Delta Burke running a professional football team? It's kinda like "Major League" but without Willie Mays Hays. I finally got around to watching the first episode the other day, and my first thought was, "Wow, this is what people really dressed like in the '80s." Other than the tight-fitting clothes, the show was pretty good. And like my buddy Andy reminisced, "there's the added bonus of random nudity." Yep, there's nothing quite like unexpected boobage to keep a show interesting.

Anyway, as I work my way through the series, I'll periodically give updates, and if you're looking for sports-related DVDs, you should check out Tango-Entertainment.

As long as I'm plugging stuff, there's still time to get a "The Nation" tee shirt (see the ad at the top left). They're only 10 bucks, and since my buddy Andy started sporting his this season, he's actually talked to a girl. If that's not proof enough of the power of these shirts, I don't know what is.

Random Plugs For Things I Didn't Get For Free
OK, I admit it, I love science fiction. Other than being a nerd in my everyday comings and goings, I also love watching (and even occasionally reading) science fiction. Even if it's the worst movie ever made.

Anyway, me and my wife just finished up the Firefly series, including the movie, Serenity. It's by Joss Whedon, the same dude responsible for Buffy, and Angel, two shows that I never really got into (although I liked Titan A.E.).

Firefly started out on the USA Network, lasted about as long as a 2005 Keith Foulke relief appearance, and then, amazingly, became more and more popular as like-minded nerds used the internets to drum up support. So much support, in fact, that Whedon was able to make a movie. And now there's news that there could even be a sequel (this, my friends, is the awesome power of nerds).

So while it's a safe bet that most people reading this site could care less about my Sci-Fi interests (and that's assuming that they've made it this far down the page), if I can encourage just one person to watch the series, then it's been well worth it. Or something like that. And one more thing: I don't read much Sci-Fi, but I liked this book a lot. That's it on the Sci-Fi talk. I mean it.

... OK, raise your hand if you think Joey Porter rides the short bus to practice while wearing his helmet and mouthpiece. My first thought while reading this account was, "hey, when did the Steelers re-sign Lee Flowers." If Porter had busted out, "the Colts are paper champions," I wouldn't have been surprised.

Honestly, I could do without all the yapping. Especially after the last little get together resulted in a 26-7 drubbing. Are the Colts a "finesse" team? Uh, well, it sure as hell didn't look like it on November 28. Maybe if Bob Sanders wasn't flying around knocking people out all evening, I might have thought differently (which reminds me, maybe we should revisit my idea to use the Bus to run right at Sanders early in the game, just to slow him down a little bit).

And if you don't think all this trash-talking affects how teams play, Steve Smith said on PTI Wednesday that the Panthers were well aware of all the Bears' trash talking, and admitted that in fact, it does create extra motivation on game days. If you want more proof, just ask T.J. Houshmanzadeh how last Sunday's game worked out for him after a week's worth of blabbing.

I like Porter, and I think he's had a good season. Now I just need him to take it easy on the jabberin' and concentrate on playing tackling people.

... And then there's the good cop, Ben Roethlisberger. Yesterday he stated that even if the Steelers played their A-game, the Colts would have to bust out a B-minus game for Pittsburgh to even have a chance. Now that's more like it. Let the other team think you've already given up. I suspect people find Ben's veracity on this subject about as believable as Tom Brady talking about being disrespected (genuflect). Although I guess an argument could me made that Brady was actually being serious.

It looks like Nate Washington will be the fourth receiver Sunday, and that's fine by me. I know he hasn't even dressed for a game since the Tommy Maddox-inspired Jags game in October, but Lee Mays hasn't dressed for a game since last January. And now that I think about it, what do you think Mays has been doing for the last four months? I didn't hear of any other teams giving him a look, so who knows what kind of shape he's in at this point. He might look like Buster Douglas a few years after he knocked out Mike Tyson, for all we know. Alright, it's probably not that bad, but I'd be very surprised if Mays is (a) in decent shape, and (b) if he worked at all on improving his pass-catching skills (an ability, by the way, that's not all that marketable once you're no longer a professional football player). After learning of the Mays signing, my first thought was: "Huh, Chris Doering must've gotten tired of re-signing with the Steelers only to get cut four days later."

I saw this on NFL Network the other day and I found the clip at Steelers Nation. It's hilarious for a couple of reasons. First, it shows Cowher doing the "Who Dey" chant in the locker room after the game, but after three "Who Dey's," he doesn't know what to say, and looks like the kid at the school musical who forgets the words to the big number that wraps up the show. And the only thing funnier than that is watching Joey Porter on the sidelines, in between oxygen mask breaks, telling the Bengals fans that he's tired of whippin' their ass. Now it's this kind of trash-taking -- you know, after the game is well in hand -- that I find extremely amusing.

If you're looking for a good omen, check this out. Some dude doctored up Tecmo Bowl and played the Steelers vs. the Colts, 2006 Playoff Edition. Not surprisingly, Pittsburgh won 49-16 (9.5 point spread be damned). And the Bus ran for 201 yards ... on 12 carries. OK, maybe this wasn't ever really about the game, but more of an exercise in reliving the past while also willing your team on to victory. Whatever, I'll take it. (And by the way, if you want another hint that this "game" probably was fixed, consider this line: J. Tuman, 5 catches, 100 yards. Yeah, right. That's like Cedrick Wilson catching a touchdown pass or something.)

The whole Chad Johnson-putting-coaches-in-headlocks-during-halftime thing was mentioned a couple of days ago, but it still hasn't been confirmed. Johnson even held a press conference to deny it, but that didn't slow up Boomer Esiason from saying the incident did in fact happen. And then he went on to lambaste Johnson for being a selfish prick. I don't like Deion Sanders all that much, but I can't fault the guy for leaving CBS primarily because he hated working with Esiason.

I honestly don't know what to make of this. It's too bad if it did happen, and the fact that all these rumors are swirling right after a heart-breaking playoff loss -- Cincy's first in 15 years -- makes it even sadder ... or maybe weirder is a better word. I re-watched part of the second half last night, and there were a couple of shots of Johnson sitting by himself on the sidelines looking off into space, T.O. style. Of course, that's how he looked after the first Cincy-Pitt matchup too, so I don't know if you can read too much into it (well, unless he was passing out halftime headlocks during the first game too). I guess we'll get a better idea of where things stand when Johnson and Drew Rosenhaus hold a press conference to demand more money, and the Bengals subsequently cut him.

Finally, here's something that I found pretty surprising: Of the remaining playoff teams (and rosters), UNC is the best represented university. Better than The U, Florida State, The Ohio State University, and even William and Mary.

On to the picks:
Season: 114 - 140 - 6
Last week: 2 - 2
Earnings to date: - $4000

Week 1 picks Week 10 picks
Week 2 picks Week 11 picks
Week 3 picks Week 12 picks
Week 4 picks Week 13 picks
Week 5 picks Week 14 picks
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