Friday, April 20, 2018

ranking the chiefs tailgates for 2018 ...

"Got a text from you --
Is it really true?
All the stuff we did last night?

We shut down the bars,
Danced on top of cars --
Asked some girl if she'd be my wife.

Oh, and I got pictures
That I don't remember taking
That are so bad!

And oh, had to break
Into my own damned apartment --
How 'bout that?

They say the best?
Always come from the worst,
Baby ...

But oh!  It was crazy!
And oh!  It was amazing!
We blew all the money,
And crashed in your Mercedes!

We both got numbers,
But didn't get the names --
And the whole damned party?
Lost power!

It was?
It was?
It was?
Our finest hour!!!!! ..."


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Now that I've looked at the schedule for the Chiefs (because face it -- the games are the 1A reason to pay thousands of dollars to support this team), let's look at the 1B reason to be a fan of this club, and that is the homegating and tailgating.

Every year, I rank in reverse order from 20 to 1, which homegate / tailgate I am most anticipating.  (Note: tailgates (almost) always rank higher than homegates.)

So, since I have nothing better to do ... let's do this.

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For the record, as of now, I am planning on being in attendance at twelve Chiefs games: both preseason home games * , all eight regular season home games, as well as road trips to Seattle (what my tailgating group decided months ago we'd do as our annual roadie) ... and oakland.  

(Note: I'm going to that one with (at least) five raider fans that are friends.  What could POSSIBLY go wrong!)

I also am going to try to make the Rams game in Mexico City work ** .  And as always, driveable roadies are always in play at the last minute.  (This year there's only two: at those people, Week Four, on a Monday Night *** ... and at the Bears, Preseason Week Three.  That one is tempting.  Really, really tempting.)

Also, factors other than the opponent affect the tailgate rankings.  Those factors include (a) probable weather, (b) probable attendees, (c) kickoff time, (d) location of the homegate / tailgate, and (e) availability of a quality tailgating environment.  And yes, (e) matters.  There's a reason why tailgating at NRG Reliant is a f*cking blast, and tailgating at Paul Brown is non-existent.

With that said, here we go.

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(*: the dream died.  They're both on Thursdays, per chiefs.com.  Odds are I'll attend at least a half of each ... but still.)

(**: my boss is a STM as well.  She's going to Mexico.  I'm 50/50 ... because making three straight roadies in the six glorious weeks known as "Chrismukkah Season" is damned costly.  To say nothing of the family wedding I have to attend the last weekend in October ... and don't get me started again, on how furious I am, that "The Day I Live For" is slated for a noon kickoff on that Sunday.  Especially since FOX has the National Window that day, so moving back to 3:25 is a non-starter.)

(***: awesome note by Joel Thorman at AP today: there's a damned good probability Patrick Mahomes "Of The Chiefs" will have more wins inside the eighth layer of hell itself (2) than inside Arrowhead (1), when the Chiefs welcome the Jaguars Week Five.)

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20. at Falcons (Friday, 8/17, 6pm CT).

Type: Homegate.

Main Homegating Course: some kind of "dirty bird" (aka chicken).

Reason(s) for Ranking: I suppose if it is 95 and cloudless, the flat screen will be brought poolside to start the weekend.  But odds I pay attention after the first series, rather than commence "Friday Night Volleyball"?  Slim and none, and none is a huge favorite.

19. at Bears (Saturday, 8/25, noon).

Type: Homegate ... for now.

Main Homegating Course: Bear Brats.  

Reason(s) for Ranking:  My second cousins on my dad's side are Bears STM's.  (Or whatever the Bears refer to them as.)  He's already asked if I'm coming up for the only preseason game worth watching.  I'm considering it ... but honestly, this one probably won't be decided until a week or so before kickoff ... and even if we make the trip up, there won't be much of a tailgate.

And if I don't head up, I'll be floating in the pool, watching this one.  Which, actually, is probably preferable to paying to attend preseason football.

18. vs Packers (Thursday, 8/30, 7:30pm).

Type: Tailgate ... sort of.

Main Tailgating Course: whatever strikes my fancy on the menu at Score's.

Reason(s) for Ranking: if it's an awesome weather day, I might blow off a half day and head out early for a few beers in our tailgating spot with anyone who wants to join me.  Odds are though, Score for dinner and drink, then take in a half of the game.

17. vs Texans (Thursday, 8/9, 7:30pm).

Type: See Numero Eighteen.

Main Tailgating Course: see Numero Eighteen.

Reason(s) for Ranking: see Numero Eighteen.

16. at Browns (Sunday, 11/4, noon CT).

Type: Homegate.

Main Homegating Course: no clue at this point.  Might have to consult my friend Cooksey for some ideas ... because what the hell do you do with Brown?  Hash browns?  Ooh, that's an idea: corned beef hash browns for a breakfast themed tailgate!  That's your leader in the clubhouse six months out.

Reason(s) for Ranking: no game on the regular season schedule does less for me.  Also, this is when being able to watch on The Deck starts to get dicey.  Homegating is much funner on The Deck, than it is indoors.  #beermachine

15. vs "Super" Chargers (Thursday, 12/13, 7:20pm CT).

Type: Tailgate.

Main Tailgating Course: as always: Charger Chicken.  (And as always, the best one is always mine.  I'm telling you, Velvet Devil shiraz is one hell of a marinade, for a chicken boob.  (And one gigantic waste of money, given the cost of a typical bottle, if I'm being honest ... but again -- shiraz chicken boob.  #worthit .)

Reason(s) for Ranking: (stevo sighing in disgust yet again) why?  Why, NFL schedule dudes and dudettes, do you keep scheduling prime time games at Arrowhead in December?  Why?  I HATE the cold!  I get it from a television perspective (because Arrowhead does look awesome in prime time) but for the love of Christ, PLEASE!  Stop doing this to me us!

14. at Rams (Monday, 11/19, 7:15pm CT).

Type: Homegate ... for now.

Main Homegating Course: something Mexican.  Oh -- and Rams Ritas.

Reason(s) for Ranking: probably this will be the first indoor homegate.  Which means the cold is back.  Still, from this point forward, I have no true complaints.

13. at Patriots (Sunday, 10/14, 7:20pm CT).

Type: Homegate.

Main Homegating Course: Patriot Melts. 

Reason(s) for Ranking: it's the third highest rated for games there is no chance I will attend.  That's nothing to complain about.  Also, I am really intrigued by this game ... which I genuinely believe, eight months out, might be an AFC Championship Game preview.  I'm that high on the "Patty (Melts)" led Chiefs, to be brutally honest.  (That, or I'm just high.  It's 420 Day.  Bet carefully on that wager ...)

12. at Steelers (Sunday, 9/16, noon CT).

Type: Homegate.

Main Homegating Course: Steeler Steaks, Suds, & Spuds.  

Reason(s) for Ranking: there's only one game there's no chance I'll attend ranked higher.  That ... and let's face it, we're getting rolled 31-14, and the Beer Machine is going to be used and abused early and often on The Deck for this homegate.

11. at "Super" Chargers (Sunday, 9/9, 3:05pm CT).

Type: Homegate.  

Main Homegating Course: Take a guess.  (Charger Chicken should be your guess.)

Reason(s) for Ranking: here's to hoping this is a repeat of the 2013 opener ... when it was almost 100 degrees, and we moved the flat screen poolside, so we could watch our team cruise to a twenty plus victory in the water.

10. at those people (Monday, 10/8, 7:15pm CT).
Type: Homegate ... for now.

Main Homegating Course: bronco burgers.

Reason(s) for Ranking: odds are I won't be attending.  And if that is the case, damn, it's gonna be hard to get up and make my 8am reporting time the following day ... because there is only one game that usually drives me to drink more than the roadie at those people.  And that is the home game against those people.

9. at Seahawks (Sunday, 12/23, 7:20pm CT).

Type: Tailgate.

Main Tailgating Course: whatever Captain Verne and Kenny catch.

Reason(s) for Ranking: in all likelihood we'll be staying in beautiful Astoria, Oregon for most of this road trip, as some friend of a friend named Kenny and his brother Captain Verne have already reached out to see if we're coming.  Then make the couple hour drive to Seattle for the game, and fly home from Seattle on Monday.  Having said that ... freshly caught seafood.  Sweet Jesus.  I might gain twenty pounds on this road trip, and I'm not joking about that **** .

(****: my mom noted at Easter that I've put on some pounds lately.  Which is true: I weighed about 155 at this time last year, and I weighed in at 171 the other day.  Even my beer gut from my late 20s / early 30s is beginning to show again.  And I don't drink beer all that much.  It's funny how when you remove every stress / trigger to drink from your life, you regain a healthy appetite.)

8. vs Ravens (Sunday, 12/9, noon CT).

Type: Tailgate.

Main Tailgating Course: Rich and Rare Raven.  (We always do a fish fry for the Ravens.)
Reason(s) for Ranking: I'm guessing it will be cold.  Again: I HATE the cold.  (Which will seem like utter hypocrisy when we get to number one, but still.  I HATE the cold.)

7. vs "Super" Cardinals (Sunday, 11/11, noon CT).

Type: Tailgate.

Main Tailgating Course: open to suggestions.

Reason(s) for Ranking: the only reason it's this high, is because the Chiefs will go 28 days away from Arrowhead after this one.  Early November is dicey for the weather.  I just hope and pray it's as nice as it was the last time the "Super" Cardinals were here eight years ago.

6. vs Bengals (Sunday, 10/21, noon CT).

Type: Tailgate.

Main Tailgating Course: Bengal Bowls.  (Chilis / Soups).

Reason(s) for Ranking: should be a fun day.  

5. vs those people (Sunday, 10/28, noon CT).

Type: Tailgate ... hopefully.

Main Tailgating Course: bronco burgers.

Reason(s) for Ranking: every year this is a top two, if not the top, tailgate for me.  I'm just terrified I'm going to miss damned near the entire tailgate trying to get back from San Antonio that Sunday morning.  

4. at raiders (Sunday, 12/2, 3:05pm CT).

Type: Tailgate ... of some sort.

Main Tailgating Course: me?  (rimshot!)

Reason(s) for Ranking: me in the Black Hole.  (Pause).  Start praying now.  (Pause).  What?  (Pause).  Well, it wouldn't rank first on my list, but yes, that would be one helluva way to go ...

3. vs Jaguars (Sunday, 10/7, noon CT).

Type: Tailgate.

Main Tailgating Course: open to suggestions.  Because what goes with Jaguar?

Reason(s) for Ranking: odds are it's the last rock solid weather tailgate.  Is it asking too much for 80ish and sunny, for one last time in 2018, weather gods?

2. vs 49ers (Sunday, 9/23, noon CT).

Type: Tailgate.

Main Tailgating Course: not a clue.

Reason(s) for Ranking: home opener!  What else needs to be said?  Home!  Freaking!  Opener!  And frankly, this is the home game I'm most looking forward to on the field.  I can't wait to see Jimmy G and Patty M (coach don fambrough voice) throw down, show down, hoe down, on the field.  I can't wait to see "son of shanarat" and "Fat" Andy scheme against each other.  (Note: this is going to be one epically coached offensive game, between two of the brightest offensive minds in the game.  How this game did not wind up in prime time, I have no idea.  And please -- spare me the "they're both unproven quarterbacks" bullsh*t.  We're getting Jets at Browns Week Three in Prime Time solely and only because of the unproven quarterbacks they're each about to draft ***** .)
So, so ready for this day, uuh, already.

(*****: my preference for my 1B team, in order: (1) Josh Rosen, (2) Baker Mayfield, (3) trade the pick yet again.  I want no part of Josh Allen or Sam Darnold.  And the third slot is too high to take Mason Rudolph (who I really like, and think will be a solid pro in (hopefully) New Orleans and (not) New England) or Lamar Jackson (who just feels like an Arizona "Super" Cardinal at 15 at this point, doesn't he?)  Anyway, I really like Josh Rosen.  And Baker Mayfield.  Pick either of them and I'm happy, Jets.)

Which leaves just one ... 

1. vs raiders (Sunday, 12/30, noon CT ... for now).

Type: Tailgate.

Main Tailgating Course: raider ribs.

Reason(s) for Ranking: for starters, this is getting moved back to at least 3:25pm ... if not Sunday Night, come Week Seventeen.  

Secondly, this ensures that for the second time in four years, I won't be spending New Year's Eve in my traditional position on the couch, watching the ghost of Strokey Dick Clark (more commonly known as Ryan Seacrest), while consuming a few bottles of champagne.  Because with all of raider nation north descending south for this one, it means one hell of a NYE party at The Second Parents.

But mostly, because as much as I hate the cold (and godd*mn, do I f*cking hate it) ... I like closing at home.  Because of purely selfish reasons.  

My date of birth is January 3rd.  In 2019 (like 2018) it will fall squarely in the center of the week between the regular season finish, and the Wild Card games.  But on those years when January 3rd is in play for a game ****** , it's always cool to play at home on "your day" ... or as damned close to it as possible.

(******: gun to my head, my favorite Chiefs tailgate ever was my 39th birthday -- 1/3/16.  Which kicked off one epic week of Chiefs fandom and football.  The others in my top five would probably be Colts playoff game in 2003 (the last one of football as I -- and most of you -- had always known it to be), those people Thanksgiving Day 2006 (we won Tailgaters of the Game that day), "Super" Chargers 2011 (one epic Halloween), and the raiders in 2016 ("shot skis").  But I'm willing to consider about twenty seven others ...)

And also, because Week Seventeen is the end of another year of life.  It gives you the chance to reflect, to be grateful for what you did right (and who did right by you), and to seek out those you didn't do right by (and those who didn't do right by you, to seek you out).  

So here's to the season to come.  I'm more amped for this season than usual because, well, #mahomesofthechiefs and #mahomesofthebrave .  But mostly I'm amped because for the first time since I was 6, my team is wagering everything on who they think the best quarterback in the NFL is going to be.

They're not taking on someone else's flotsam, jetsum, and refuse.  

They're pushing every damned chip into the center of the table, on their guy.

This is gonna be fun ...

stevo's initial reaction to chiefs actual schedule ...

"Oh!  This is the start
Of something good --
Don't you agree?

I?  Haven't felt like this
In so many moons --
You know what I mean?

And we can build through
This destruction,
As we are standing on our feet!

So?
Since you wanna be with me?
You have to follow through,
With every word you say.

And I?
All I really want is you!
You to stick around!
I'll see ya every day!

But you have to follow through!
You have to follow through! ..."

-- "Follow Through" by Gavin DeGraw.

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Let's do this, because honestly, there's only one date on the Chiefs schedule that truly p*sses me off ... and said date shockingly?

Doesn't occur in the first seven weeks.

* Week One: at Los Angeles "Super" Chargers, Sunday, September 9th, 3:05pm CT (CBS).

Reaction: the Chiefs have not lost to these phonies, frauds, and abject imposters of a NFL franchise, since we rested every meaningful starter in the 2013 finale.  (And even then, it took the Chargers overtime and two missed Chiefs field goals, combined with a fake punt in overtime, for them to win.)  This is a great litmus test right off the bat.  I'm a firm believer in getting your hardest games out of the way -- especially on the road -- ASAFP.

The Chiefs first four road games?  (Especially the first two?)

Are the toughest four games on the schedule, if we're being honest.

Prediction: Chiefs 34, at "Super" Chargers 24.

Chiefs Predicted Record: 1-0 (Overall); 1-0 (Conference); 1-0 (Division).

* Week Two: at Pittsburgh Steelers, Sunday, September 16th, noon CT (CBS).

Reaction: I was nine the last time we won in the Steel City.  I'm guessing I could live to be ninety, and never see it happen again.  Also, how is this NOT in a National Televised Slot?!?!?!  Especially since CBS has the National Slot in Week Two?!?!?!?!

Prediction: at Steelers 31, Chiefs 19.

Chiefs Predicted Record: 1-1 (Overall); 1-1 (Conference); 1-0 (Division).

* Week Three: vs San Francisco 49ers, Sunday, September 23rd, noon CT (FOX).

Reaction: flashes of 2006.  Is an 0-2 Chiefs team going to limp home needing a must-win victory over the 49ers to save the season?  Or flashes of 2010.  Is a 2-0 Chiefs team going to march triumphantly home and dominate an inferior opponent to kick off a season nobody sees coming?

Or flashes of 1994.  Is this going to be one epic battle between two future Hall of Fame quarterbacks, to open the home schedule?

(Or, best yet, a rematch of 1997 -- a 44-9 ass kicking of Biblical proportions that gave us my favorite Patrick J. Summerall call ever: "Allen.  Standing up."

No matter what it is, I know I can safely predict this: I'll be wide, wide awake by 5am ... and saving spots for you on the grassy knoll north of the G30 sign by 6:15am.

(And please, weather Gods, give us one last epic day of summer for this one.  Please.  You've screwed us all spring; give us one 90 degree sunny day to close out September.  It's all I ask.  Thanks, your buddy, Stevo.)

Prediction: at Chiefs 38, 49ers 35 (OT).

Chiefs Predicted Record: 2-1 (Overall); 1-1 (Conference); 1-0 (Division).

* Week Four: at those people, Monday, October 1st, 7:20pm CT (ESPN).

Reaction: a Chiefs / those people game in prime time, is as predictable as me going to bed after five some odd cocktails, without another person in said bed.  (What can I say?  I may have (jay z voice) ninety nine problems, but at least a b*tch ain't one.)

Also, in case you didn't know?  I DESPISE those people.  But damn, I love the fact they have lost five straight to us.  Soon to be six.

Prediction: Chiefs 42, at those people 20.

Chiefs Predicted Record: 3-1 (Overall); 2-1 (Conference); 2-0 (Division).

* Week Five: vs Jacksonville Jaguars, Sunday, October 7th, noon CT (CBS).

Reaction: I'm honestly stunned this isn't in prime time.  Given FOX has the National slot, and the Sunday Nighter more that deserves its' prime time slot (Cowboys at Texans), we're stuck at noon I guess.  Let's hope this year's matchup goes as well as the last three matchups against this team have gone (Chiefs wins).

Prediction: at Chiefs 35, Jaguars 30.

Chiefs Predicted Record: 4-1 (Overall); 3-1 (Conference); 2-0 (Division).

* Week Six: at New England Patriots, Sunday, October 14th, 7:20pm CT (NBC).

Reaction: the "Fat" Andy Reid era Chiefs are 2-1 against the Pats.  2-0 in the regular season ... and neither of those games, has been within two touchdowns, of an outcome, in said regular season.  (The Divisional Round defeat in 2015 was 20-27.)

This is gonna be one fun ass game to watch.

Prediction: at Patriots 17, Chiefs 10.

Chiefs Predicted Record: 4-2 (Overall); 3-2 (Conference); 2-0 (Division).

* Week Seven: vs Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, October 21st, noon CT (CBS).

Reaction: if there is a "trap game" on the schedule, this might be it.

Prediction: at Chiefs 34, Bengals 24.

Chiefs Predicted Record: 5-2 (Overall); 4-2 (Conference); 2-0 (Division).

* Week Eight: vs those people, Sunday, October 28th, noon CT (CBS).

Reaction: my exact reaction?  Seeing this game, in this spot, unveiled last night?  Was dropping a certain word in different variations of said word, more than the former Cincinnati Reds manager did, in less time to boot ** .

This was the week I needed a bye, a road game, or ANYTHING other than "The Day I Live For".  I have a family wedding in San Antonio the day before this one occurs.  Just like seven years ago, before we hosted Miami.  (Please excuse the horrible formatting; I typed most of that linked bad boy on the flight home from Miami, trying to make the game against, uuh, Miami.)

I actually called multiple family members last night, to figure out travel plans.  I was told "you must attend the wedding".

I am assuming ... that is my gateway, into "last flight out" status on Saturday night -- avoid the reception, and get out at about 8pm Texas time.

But sh*t.  Who are we kidding?  Me missing an open bar?  It's not happening.

Really, NFL?  You couldn't have scheduled the bye at the g*ddmned midpoint for once?

Prediction: at Chiefs 42, those people 20 ... and I blow off the entire family wedding / reunion, by giving my someone my credit card, uuh, credentials, and putting on epic bender on my tab at the rehearsal dinner after-party.  (luke bryan voice) "been there, done that" ...

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(**: which was my exact reaction to Game One of the BuKCs / Celtics series.  (Pause).  Game Three tonight!  #fearthedeer)

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Chiefs at the Midpoint:

Overall: 6-2.
Conference: 5-2.
Division: 3-0.

Admit it Chiefs fans -- you'll take it.

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* Week Nine: at Cleveland Browns, Sunday, November 4th, noon CT (CBS).

Reaction: this isn't the "punch to the nuts" defeat that makes no sense, early November will deliver.

Prediction: Chiefs 17, at Browns 16.

Chiefs Predicted Record: 7-2 (Overall); 6-2 (Conference); 3-0 (Division).

* Week Ten: vs Arizona "Super" Cardinals, Sunday, November 11th, noon CT (FOX).

Reaction: I have a picture on my cabinet at work, of me tossing washers tailgating this game eight years ago ... and I'm in a short sleeve shirt and shorts.  If it wants to be 66 degrees again in mid November?  I wouldn't complain.

Also ... and man, it's really been seventeen years?  Wow.  But yeah, I can't reference a "Super" Cardinals matchup without giving you kids out there an important life lesson, and it is this: you can turn on every faucet and/or shower device known to mankind in a Super 8 bathroom ... you can even flush the toilet every ninety seconds to boot ... but if you're doing it right?  It is impossible to drown out the sound of 4am sex, in said Super 8 bathroom.

Oh, and this is the "punch to the nuts" defeat that makes no sense, the schedule will deliver.

Prediction: "Super" Cardinals 24, at Chiefs 20.

Chiefs Predicted Record: 7-3 (Overall); 6-2 (Conference); 3-0 (Division).

* Week Eleven: at Los Angeles Rams, Monday, November 19th, 7:15pm CT (ESPN).

Reaction: this might be my favorite game on the schedule.  It's gonna be a lot of fun to watch play out.  In the end, I think the Chiefs biggest offseason mistake (trading Marcus Peters), makes life just miserable enough for the Chiefs best offseason move (installing Patrick "Mahomes" of the Chiefs as starter).

Prediction: Rams 31, Chiefs 24 (Game in Mexico City).

Chiefs Predicted Record: 7-4 (Overall); 6-2 (Conference); 3-0 (Division).

* Week Twelve: bye.

Reaction: I don't mind the late bye, even if it's a month after I'd have preferred it.  I do mind -- and don't like -- rolling into the bye on a two game losing streak, with a road trip to the Bay area on tap.  I don't love the trend that could be setting up for the last five week.  But damn, do I love giving "Fat" Andy two weeks to prepare for what I think will be the Chiefs biggest game of the season (part uno).

* Week Thirteen: at oakland raiders, Sunday, December 2nd, 3:05pm CT (CBS).

Reaction: get ready Black Hole.  I'll be there.  As of last night, I'm going with great friends Rudy, Drey, and Sir Thomas (all raider fans).  This ... in the words of the late, great Mr. Hugh M. Hefner: "this is going to be something ... REALLY special!" ***

Prediction: Chiefs 41, at raiders 38.

Chiefs Predicted Record: 8-4 (Overall); 7-2 (Conference); 4-0 (Division).

(***: that quote by the late, great Hef occurred in episode three of season nine of "Roseanne", the season that the reboot has basically said never happened.  So is it still OK to quote Hef, if in the show's evolved canon, he technically never said it?  As much as I am digging the reboot, this is the one thing that confuses me.  (everyone voice) One thing?!?!?!?!)

* Week Fourteen: vs Baltimore Ravens, Sunday, December 9th, noon CT (CBS).

Reaction: the ultimate trap game.  To say nothing of the fact that the only team in the National ... Football League to have never lost a game that counts at Arrowhead ... is your Baltimore Ravens.  This one could have huge ramifications for multiple playoff slots when this season is over and done with.

Prediction: at Chiefs 27, Ravens 24 (OT).

Chiefs Predicted Record: 9-4 (Overall); 8-2 (Conference); 4-0 (Division).

* Week Fifteen: vs Los Angeles "Super" Chargers, Thursday, December 13th, 7:20pm CT (FOX / NFLN).

Reaction: I believe this one will require One Arrowhead Drive to pay some royalties to Pat Riley, who trademarked "three peat" nearly, uuh, three decades ago.

Prediction: at Chiefs 30, "Super" Chargers 20.

Chiefs Predicted Record: 10-4 (Overall); 9-2 (Conference); 5-0 (Division).

* Week Sixteen: at Seattle Seahawks, Sunday, December 23rd, 7:20pm CT (NBC).

Reaction: I haven't missed a game that counts in Seattle since 2002.  That streak will continue.  (Note: it's not much of a streak; the Chiefs have only played there once in the last sixteen years (2010).)  Also, I believe the Chiefs will have little to nothing to play for here -- the West will be won, and a top two seed probably out of the question due to earlier losses to the Pats and Steelers.  And further, I believe Seattle will be in a "do or die" for a wild card berth here.  Throw in the fact that I will be in attendance, and the next time the Chiefs win two road games I'm at in the same season will be the first time since 2015 **** ?  This prediction makes sense. 

Unlike most things I predict.

Prediction: at Seahawks 27, Chiefs 21.

Chiefs Predicted Record: 10-5 (Overall); 9-2 (Conference); 5-0 (Division).

(****: provided you allow two victories over the same opponent to count.  In 2015 I went to Houston regular season (win), Minnesota regular season (loss), and Houston postseason (win).  If you require two different opponents, then I'm not sure it's ever happened for me.)

* Week Seventeen: vs oakland raiders, Sunday, December 30th, noon CT (CBS).

Reaction: I know making predictions eight months out is an exercise in futility ... and I know given who I am, and how I have lived my life at times, this prediction is either going to strike you as the most ridiculous thing I've ever typed ... or the most ridiculous thing I've ever typed.  But here it is: I am predicting that I will achieve a level of intoxication the weekend of this game, like I have never achieved before.  And I am fully aware I blew a .31 on a float trip ten summers ago ***** .  With raider nation north invading us for the game and New Year's?  This is going to be (barney stinson voice) legen ... wait for it ... dary.

Prediction: at Chiefs 30, raiders 17.

Chiefs Predicted Record: 11-5 (Overall); 10-2 (Conference); 6-0 (Division).

(*****: on a device taken out of commission because it notoriously under-reported your BAC.  I may suck at a lot of things in life, but my ability to sit in the sun and drink, while wondering where the hell I ditched the t-shirt at, is second to no one.)

I think that'll be good enough for the three seed, a three-peat as AFC West Champions, and an eighth attempt to do what has proven to be the impossible: win a f*cking playoff game at home.  I was 16 the last time that happened.  I turn 42 on Wild Card weekend this season.  That's ... that's a long damned time.

That's my initial look at the Chiefs schedule.  I'm sure I'll change my mind on a few of these when I do the schedule run and make my official picks in late August / early September.

Until next time -- (sgt. esterhaus voice) let's be careful out there ...

Saturday, April 14, 2018

stevo's nba playoff picks ...

"No, no!  Oh, no!
See you walkin' round like it's a funeral!
Not so serious?  Girl, why those feet cold?
We just gettin' started, don't you tiptoe, tiptoe ...

Waste time with a masterpiece;
Don't waste time with a masterpiece.
You should be rolling with me;
Tou should be rolling with me!

You're a real life fantasy;
You're a real life fantasy.
But you're moving so carefully --
Let's start living dangerously!

Talk to me baby!
I'm going blind from this sweet, sweet craving, uh huh!
Let's lose our minds and go f*cking crazy!
(Ah ya ya ya ya ya!)

I keep on hoping?
We'll eat cake by the ocean! ...

(Ah ya ya ya ya ya!)
Keep on hoping!
Cake by the ocean! ..."

-- "Cake By the Ocean" by DNCE

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Reason (Probably) Number One I thank God I'm not a parent (at least that I have been made aware of): I never have to explain to a ten year old what "cake by the ocean" means.

To say nothing of the second verse's intended meaning:

"God damn!
See you lickin' frosting off your own hands!
Want another taste?  I'm beggin' yes ma'am!
I'm tired of all this candy on the dry land!"

Sweet Jesus, those are some awesome, awesome lyrics ...

--------------------

But reason (in the ballpark for) number one I thank God I'm not a parent (at least that I have been made aware of)?

Forty Games in Forty Nights!

The Playoffs are here!  And they are real ... and honestly, they appear at first glance to be epically spectacular!

I mean, think back to six months ago when this (arguably best of my lifetime) NBA season began.  If I had told you that ANY of the actual realities about to be listed below would occur, how many would you laugh at?

1. The Spurs wouldn't clinch a playoff berth until the eighty first game of their season.
2. The Warriors wouldn't come within two weeks worth of games, of having home court advantage throughout the playoffs.
3. The Spurs and Warriors will meet in the playoffs ... and their series will be over before May arrives.
4. The Celtics would lose Gordon Hayward in the season's first minute, would lose Kyrie Irving with a couple weeks to play ... and would still come within a week's worth of games of winning the Eastern Conference.
5. The Cavaliers wouldn't be a top three seed.
6. The NBA would get what the NFL rigs the schedule to get every year, a "winner's in, loser's out" finale ... and inexplicably, not air said "all or nothing" finale on ESPN or TNT.  (Hence my bowling team's trip to Hooters for dinner on Wednesday night -- they have NBA TV.)
7. The West's seeds, three through eight (and the Nuggets, who finished ninth), would be separated by three games.
8. The East's seeds, six through eight, would be separated by one game ... and somehow, someway, if I read the way it played out right ...
9. The BuKCs (note: in the interest of full disclosure, they are my rooting interest) somehow, someway, keep their first round pick, which would have been shipped to Phoenix in the Eric Bledsoe deal, had they been set to pick 11 through 17.

To say nothing of ...

10. Between the NBA and NHL, there are five professional teams in the New York metropolitan area.  The only one to make the playoffs?  (Sh*t, the only one to come within ten games or fifteen points of making them?)  Would be the one playing ... in New Jersey (your Devils).

It's been a fun-filled crazy six months.

And yet now?

The real fun begins.

--------------------

The NBA gives you the chance to fill out your bracket, NCAA style.  Take advantage of it.  (If only because it's a free shot at a cold million bucks.) 

Here is how I filled mine out.

(Visual proof at the end ... because why give you the chance to "lick the frosting off your own hands" prematurely, right?  (Rimshot!)  (scott hall voice) Hey yo!)

--------------------

* Western Conference First Round.

1 Rockets over 8 Timberwolves in five.  I think the Wolves manage to win Game Four at home.  Otherwise, this looks like a collection of four 110-95 finishes that aren't even remotely close. 

4 Thunder over 5 (the late, great mr. william grigsby voice) Jazz in seven.  This, honestly, was the hardest selection for me.  The Thunder have grousely underachieved; the Jazz have insanely overachieved.  (Still proud you fired Quin Snyder, mizzou fan?  Because clearly he was / is the problem with your hoops program.)  I ultimately picked the Thunder because (a) they're the better team, (b) they would host Game Seven, and (c) my nephew might disown me if I didn't pick them to at least see May.  They'll wake up on May 1st still very much alive, buddy.

3 Trail Blazers over 6 Pelicans in five.  I actually fear this pick; it seems like damned near everyone is agreeing with me, that the Pellies will put up a fight, but really have no chance of winning four times in seven nights and/or afternoons.  Also, at the risk of sounding racist, Anthony Davis never should have gotten any ink in a visible spot on his body.  Some people have the look and/or the body, to pull off the tats.  He doesn't have either.  (Neither do I, which is why I don't have any ... yet.  Although if I ever get one, this b*stard is going on the left side of my back, shoulder high.)

2 Warriors over 7 Spurs in five.  No Steph.  No Kawhi.  This honestly is LaMarcus Aldridge's opportunity that that f*cking "see you next Tuesday" scottie pippen had 25 years ago: step up and prove you have the stones to be "the franchise".  mr. pippen chose to sit out his moment.  (Made even more sweet by the fact Toni Kukoc drilled the three in mr. pippen's childish chicken sh*t absence.)  I don't think LaMarcus will be as cowardly as alleged all-time great scottie pippen was against the Knicks in that Game Three of the 1994 Second Round.  But I do think he'll fail to win this series.

* Western Conference Second Round.

4 Thunder over 1 Rockets in six.  The only team I watch more on the League Pass than the BuKCs, is the Thunder.  So yeah, there's some bias here.  (Especially the "if my brother, nephew and I are taking a quickie road trip the second weekend in May for some playoff basketball, I need either the BuKCs or Thunder still alive to watch" bias.)  But I actually love this matchup for OKC ... because someone is gonna take the leap in this postseason.  And that someone isn't Melo (who'll never make it) or Russ (who's already there, IM(N)HO).  I cannot wait to see Paul George emerge as "the franchise" over these next two months.  Because he's going to.

2 Warriors over 3 Blazers in seven.  Steph.  Dame.  With Beard / CP3 or Russ / Melo / George awaiting the winner.  Jesus, I might not get twenty hours sleep the two weeks this series is underway.

* Western Conference Finals.

4 Thunder over 2 Warriors in six.  It takes a great coach to somehow, someway, figure out how to win a (hootie johnson voice) toonumunt, with great players whose styles don't necessarily gel.  Ladies and gentlemen, we have two of the best on display in this projected conference final -- the very well known Steve Kerr ... and the criminitely underrated Billy Donovan.  The Thunder should have won in this spot two years ago.  They won't choke away the series in Game Six this time.

Western Conference Champs: 4 Oklahoma City Thunder.

* Eastern Conference First Round.

1 Raptors over 8 Bullets Wizards in seven.  Don't sleep on the Wiz.  (Literally -- don't sleep where someone has, uuh, wizzed.  It's like, wet and stinky, and the person in that spot before you was probably drunk and/or has no control of his or her extremities.)  But seriously, Washington can win this series.  I damned near picked them to.  If John Wall is at 90%, this is gonna be an instant classic. 

5 Pacers over 4 Cavaliers in five.  No, I am not drunk.  (Pause).  What?  (Pause).  Well the dude I used to buy from is currently serving two to five in Jackson County's finest, so no, I'm not stoned either, but thanks for asking.  I really love this matchup for the Pacers.  Because I really don't like this Cavs team.  At all.

3 76ers over 6 Heat in four.  I'll just simply use one of my favorite quotes my dad drops from time to time, to sum this one up.  "This is going to be an ass kicking of Biblical proportions."  If Miami keeps a single game within ten, I'll be stunned.

7 BuKCs over 2 Celtics in six.  This is heart, not head.  (Although to be fair, neither of those things is exactly firing on all cylinders inside of me.)  Also, the BuKCs beat the Celtics twice in three matchups pre-Kyrie injury (but post-Hayward).  They match up well here.  If this is the Fortress On Fourth's last playoff run (and it is; the new arena opens in October), then at least let it see May for the first time since (gulp) 2001 ... and let it get at least one shot, at exercising the screw job, that Game Six of that 2001 Eastern Conference Finals was.

* Eastern Conference Second Round.

1 Raptors over 5 Pacers in five.  Better team wins.  Also, Indy has far better things to focus on as a metropolitan area in mid-May, than the NBA playoffs.

3 76ers over 7 BuKCs in seven.  I have to admit, thinking of watching Ben Simmons and The Greek Freak going at it seven times in twelve or thirteen days, has me ... uuh ... "cake by the ocean" happy.

Also, I never pick my rooting interest to win it all.  I'm a jinx.  I've done it once.  I never will again.

* Eastern Conference Finals.

1 Raptors over 3 76ers in seven.  It's like the Bizarro 2001 Eastern Conference Playoffs all over again -- Philly / Toronto / Milwaukee being the axis the East swings on.  Only no Ray Allen, no Vinsanity, no AI this time around.  This series has epic potential.  I have the home team winning every game.

Eastern Conference Champions: 1 Toronto Raptors.

* The Finals.

4 Thunder over 1 Raptors in seven.  An awesome series on paper that nobody will tune into until Game Five because New York, LA, Chicago, or pick a metropolis in Texas or Florida isn't involved ... and will win two nations over, by Game Seven, with its greatness.

NBA Champions: 4 Oklahoma City Thunder.

Enjoy the playoffs folks!  God knows I intend to ... 

Friday, April 13, 2018

(lloyd christmas voice) so you're saying there's a chance?!?!?! ...

"He came from somewhere back in her long ago;
The sentimental fool don't see trying hard to create,
What had yet to be created.

For once in her life?
She musters a smile,
For his nostalgic tale.

Never coming near what he wanted to say --
Only to realize?
It never really was.

She?
Had a place in his life.
He?
Never made her think twice.

And as he rises to her apology,
Anybody else would surely know?
He's watching her go.

But what a fool believes he sees?
No wise man has the power
To reason away!

What seems to be?
Is always better than nothing!
Than nothing at all ..."

-- "What a Fool Believes" by the Doobie Brothers.

--------------------

We're about a week away from learning what the Chiefs official path to Super Bowl ... whatever the hell roman numeral we're up to, will, uuh, officially look like.

Wednesday, we saw where the baby steps, the training wheels, the worthless exercise that frustrates the sh*t out of all of us, yet is a necessary part of the season ... Wednesday we got the preseason "schedule" for the Chiefs.

Only without official dates, and official times.  Only a "date range".

We know the Chiefs will be out of town the third and fourth weekends in August, visiting your Atlanta "Shane" Falcons and your Chicago Bears (and former offensive coordinator Matt Nagy.  Also, I love that the game that actually somewhat possibly matters in preseason, will see a Patrick Mahomes "Of The Chiefs" / Mitchell Trubisky battle for at least a half.  These two will (hopefully) face each other at Soldier Field next fall ... for probably one of at most three career matchups that count * .)

The fourth game -- as always it seems, is the Packers at home, no doubt on Thursday August 30th.  (Any Packers fans interested in going?  My ticket is up for grabs!)

It's the first game -- against your Houston Texans, that intrigues me ... and should intrigue you ... in a very, very, very good way, for the next week or so, until the dates and times are made official.

--------------------

(*: the thing I hated the most about the Chiefs giving up the home game against the Lions to London three years ago ** , is that it is now highly probable Matt Stafford will NEVER make a career start at Arrowhead.  Are you f*cking kidding me?  Half the fun of being a season ticket member is the opponent!  Mr. Stafford hosted the Chiefs in 2011 (a 3-48 Chiefs loss best remembered for Jamaal Charles' first blown (al michaels voice) knee injury), faced us in London in 2015 (a Chiefs ass-whipping that opened ... well, read ** for what it opened), and we travel to Detroit next year.  He is not scheduled to face the Chiefs at Arrowhead until 2023.  I will be p*ssed if I never get to see Mr. Stafford play at Arrowhead in a game that counts.  Doubly so if said game occurs after Mr. Stafford's career "counts".)

(**: * is mostly true ... but ** is more true: how EPIC would that day have been?  Chiefs / Lions in a game that honestly wound up defining the next three months for the Chiefs (they refused to lose) ... then a couple hours to recover and/or keep prepping ... for Game Five in New York of Royals and Mets.  Which begs the question: would the parking nazis have forced us to leave?  If we fans simply headed out in an orderly and/or celebratory fashion after the game, got the tailgate going again, and set up shop with a TV, a couch, and a fresh round of beers ((luke bryan voice) "been there, done that"), would security have actually forced us to leave?  I say not only no, but hell no.  #whatmighthavebeen)

--------------------

The date range given for the Texans preseason game is "August 9th through 13th".  (Or, for the "calendar challenged" in this life, Thursday through Monday.) 

The Royals have an off day (as of today) on Thursday 8/9.  They host the Cardinals on Friday 8/10, Saturday 8/11, and Sunday 8/12.  They host the Blue Jays on Monday 8/13.

Officially, Chiefs fans?  We have an eighty percent chance of a Double Header Day this summer.

Eighty.  Bleeping.  Percent!

(Fine, fine -- technically, it's seventy five percent; given that the national TV games have already been announced, you can remove Monday the 13th from the list of possible game dates.  But still -- three out of four ain't bad!)

And really, if we're being honest here?

I think We know the odds are better than that.

Because -- of all things -- the preseason finale, that there is very little chance anyone reading this will watch for more than ten minutes ... let alone attend in person *** .

--------------------

(***: I went to last year's preseason finale for two reasons: (a) Tom, Nicole, Jeremy and Andrew came in for the game (vs Titans -- their team, and yes, we're going to Nashville next year when the Chiefs play there, if only to ensure the last time the Chiefs played in Nashville NEVER happens again), and the last great weekend of summer at The Pool, and (b) Patrick Mahomes "Of The Chiefs" started.  Other than a game with the Titans and/or Mr. Mahomes involved, I don't believe I've been to the preseason finale in fifteen years.  And hell yes, I'm proud of that.)

--------------------

Because if you're the Kansas City Chiefs, do you honestly want to have both of your home preseason dates on a Thursday?

Be brutally honest with yourself, and ignore everything that is vile and wrong with preseason (which is pretty much everything save the tailgating ... and the first half of the third game) for a moment. 

If the preseason opener is at 7pm on Thursday August 9th to avoid the Royals?  The Chiefs are drawing 40,000, tops. 

(And I'd wager all $1,432.56 available in my checking account, on the under ... and throw in the $200.00 overdraw BofA (damned near) freely avails its account holders to boot ... and immediately double said checking account and overdraw amounts, by betting said under, on 40,000 attendees.) 

And yes, I know -- 60,000 some odd of us have already paid for the "privilege" of being there, but at least 25%, 30%, of that figure won't be due to work obligations.  (I would be in that 25% to 30%.  Ditto in all likelihood for the finale this preseason as well.)  That's souvenir, food, and (most importantly) booze revenue the Chiefs don't want to miss out on.

On the other hand, if kickoff is at noon Saturday the 11th, or kickoff is at 7:45 that Saturday evening?

Well, let's think this through -- because the only question that matters is this:

Who loses? 

--------------------

* The Royals don't lose.  That game against the Cardinals would sell out within 48 hours of the Chiefs game date being announced.  (And given how this season is going, Toby Cook would welcome that gate revenue.  To say nothing of the souvenir, food, and (most importantly) booze revenue, the Royals would get that they otherwise wouldn't.)

* The Chiefs don't lose.  They'll draw at least 25-30% more than they would for a Thursday game.  Which of course means more sales inside the stadium.  And look it, I get it -- the Chiefs aren't losing money this year.  Neither are the Royals **** .  But every little bit counts, because ...

* The vendors don't lose.  Archie will be busy floating from right field at Kauffman to the northwest end zone corner at Arrowhead ***** ... and I guarantee you he won't complain once.  He'll make more on that day than he would in a normal week.  (And yes -- it does frighten me, that I not only know the name of my beer vendor at Arrowhead ... I seek out his section(s) when I got to Kauffman.)

* Major League Baseball doesn't lose.  I don't have a pocket schedule yet, and I'm too lazy to look up the TV listings for August (is the game on FSN or FS1 / FOX), but I would guess the Cardinals will be in the thick of the NL Central / NL Wild Card race six weeks out from the postseason.  You think FOX or FS1 wouldn't mind adding an extra game at noon ... or moving a historic rivalry into prime time, on that Saturday?

* The National ... Football League doesn't lose.  Sh*t, they might be the biggest winners!  They get to actually put pics out there on Twitter and Instragram and whatever the hell else the kids use nowadays, that show a mostly full stadium at kickoff!  For preseason football! 

And in the rarest of rarities?  Involving professional sports?

* The fans not only don't lose, we're the biggest winner!  We get one epic day to celebrate all things Kansas City, celebrate all things Truman Sports Complex, celebrate the two things in this city that ensure civic pride (or disgust) no matter what: our professional sports franchises.  We get one epic day to (crystal lampett on "38 the spot" voice) "hang with our buds doing what Kansas City does best: tailgating!" 

Believe me -- as someone who once used to host a tailgate every summer that ostensibly celebrated my addition to booze ... but in reality was started to make sure that for at least one day every year, we all ****** got together to just celebrate what really matters in this life -- our relationships with each other, no matter how f*cked up, flawed, and fatal they may be(en)?

I can get behind one (hopefully not last) epic Double Header Day!

And I hope you can too.

On Saturday, August 11th, 2018.

--------------------

(****: yes, on paper, they will both lose money.  But they won't.  Trust me.  This is what I am paid to do for a living: find every loophole imaginable to turn a profit into a loss on paper.  And I cannot say this about a lot of things in life ... sh*t, save for my ability to sit in the sun and drink, while wondering where the hell my t-shirt wound up?  This might be the only other thing I can say this about ... I am DAMNED good at my job.)

(*****: don't remember if I've noted this or not ... but I "upgraded" back to my old digs for 2018.  Get ready Section 132.  I'm officially back!  Although not in black.  Especially on raiders day.)

(******: "It's a long day, but it's worth it!"  I did not make that comment at a Double Header Day in (I believe) 1999, back when we had one every August.  (Thank you, Carl Peterson and Herk Robinson!)  But one of this site's (surprisingly decently sized) loyal readership did.  I am guessing that I did not make that comment on camera, to be broadcast to our fine metropolitan area, because I was the one there at the "interview" without a shirt on, and Channel 9's Karen Kornacki was so smitten with staring at the awesomeness that (isn't) me, she could(n't) stop drooling long enough to stick the mic in my face.  Also, if you cannot make fun of yourself?  You really need to brace for the entirety of humanity laughing at you.)

--------------------

So Royals?  Chiefs?  MLB?  NFL?

Let's make this happen.

There's two ways to make this work.  I'm fine with either option ... although I prefer one over the other.

Option Uno:

(1) The Royals graciously move their first pitch time from 6:15 to high noon on Saturday, August 11th. 

(2) The Chiefs then schedule kickoff against the Texans for 7:30pm on that Saturday, with the permission to flex back in half hour increments as needed to accommodate the baseball game's outcome, and the need for (at least) three hours between games to allow people only attending one game to enter and/or exit.

(3) Gates open at 8am for tailgating, because that seems reasonable.

This is the option ... I do not prefer.

But I'd be perfectly cool with.  It's how these days tend to work -- Royals before Chiefs.  (Although arguably the greatest one, at least in terms of significanceWent Chiefs first.)

(Note: those of you who know me best?  Ranking a Royals World Series championship win over losing to "those people" at home?  Pains me.  Not because the Royals won ... but because "those people" won.)

Option Dos:

(1) The Chiefs schedule kickoff against the Texans for high noon on Saturday, August 11th.

(2) The Royals graciously push back first pitch from 6:15pm to 7:45pm on that Saturday, with permission to flex back in ten minute increments as needed to accommodate the football game's outcome, and the need for (at least) three hours between games to allow people only attending one game to enter and/or exit.

(3) Gates open at 7am for tailgating, in accordance to stated Chiefs parking regulations.

This, believe it or not ... is the option I do prefer.

And not just for the extra hour the Chiefs would give us to tailgate.

Because on Saturday August 11th, the Royals are honoring the 1985 Champs, in the season long celebration of Season Fifty in Kansas City.  THAT is the event that day, that deserves top billing, over a meaningless preseason game that (most) of us will ditch by halftime because (russ the bus man voice) "the beer's colder and cheaper at The Bus!"

(Especially if both Mr. Mahomes and Deshaun Watson are yanked after one meaningless series apiece.)

--------------------

No matter what, we should know by this time next week whether I'm just a dumb f*ck fool who believes in whatever the impossible is ... or if I am what I probably should have chosen as the theme, since after all, it would perfectly describe what Saturday, August 11, 2018, would be, if all things align right:

"Oh I could hide,
'Neath the wings,
Of the blue bird?
As she sings.

The six o'clock alarm?
Would never ring!

But six rings!
And I rise!
And wipe the sleep?
Out of my eyes!

My shaving razor's cold,
And it stings!

Cheer up, sleepy Jean!
Oh, what can it mean!
To a day dream believer,
And a homecoming queen! ..."

(-- "Daydream Believer" by The Monkees.)

--------------------

We really need this day.  Just one day.  Saturday, August 11, 2018.  One last epic call for the ages.  I mean, think of all it could inspire! 

* Jasson not ducking out for a weekend on the lake! 

* "bts" showing up rocking a t-shirt as a turban!  (Note: was this really ten years ago now?!?!?!  And I'm still waiting for that picture ...)

* "The Voice of Reason" actually enjoying more than one adult beverage!  In a 24 hour span!

* "The Crush" doing, uuh, "Crush" things!

* My brother doing, uuh, brother things!  (Note: we drink in my family.  I swear, it's true.)

And set aside you and me ... or dig deeper!  Because ...

* Just think of the Beer Pong Tournament Draft!  (I mean, Clint has to go first overall ... but trust me, "Twin Peaks" would be a sneaky steal in the six, seven, eight spot, assuming it's a sixteen person draft, eight teams involved.  Not that I've partnered with her at all over the last ten years, (verne lundquist voice) no sir!) 

I mean, sweet Jesus, that alone would be epic!  Sh*t, that draft might draw better ratings than Round Seven will next weekend for the actual Draft!  Just imagine the (rush limbaugh voice) "talent on loan from God" for that bad boy! 

* Because in all honesty, would I even get drafted? 

(That's a serious question, actually, given that I'm not a big beer drinker.  I'm guessing -- just like growing up! -- I'm the last "kid" picked ... and somehow live up to your very, very low expectations.  But still.  "Beer Pong Tournament Draft".)

* To say nothing of the tournament itself!  Wrestlemania IV has NOTHING on (potentially) us!

* Imagine the spirited debate amongst many of you attempting to calculate what ounce I'm actually up to, almost eight years after we last did it!  (As of August 2011, it was 460,001 (harrison ford in "clear and present danger" voice) and change.  I am truly frightened to think of what it's up to now, given the last four years of my employment at, uuh, "former employer".)

* And Mixology!  You give Tyler a few months to get a ten hour playlist together?  He will not fail us!  (He certainly hasn't for many, many 3:25 and prime time kickoffs, the last five years.)

And -- of course! -- the piece de resistance:

* will Uncle Bill show up, tin cup in hand!

Chiefs?  Royals?  MLB?  NFL?  Almighty God Above?

This HAS to happen!

If only for the last one.

Because ANY time there is a chance can happen?

It HAS to happen!

Right?

("teammate for life" voice) Right! ...

Monday, April 2, 2018

stevo annual tradition: my dream 2018 chiefs schedule ...

"Hello!
Here I am,
Here we are --
We are one!

And I've been waiting
For this night to come ...

Get up!
Now it's time
For me
To take my place!

The makeup running down my face;
We're exiled from the human race --

You're in the psych!
You're in the psycho circus!
You're in the psych!
You're in the psycho circus!

And I say?
Welcome to the show!!!! ..."

-- "Psycho Circus" by KISS.

--------------------

Every year I do this -- take the known opponents, and plug them into how I want to face them.  With the actual schedule allegedly coming out in (approximately) two weeks, it's probably time to get on the record with what Stevo wants to see, when the Chiefs portion of that schedule is unveiled.

I'm not going to take a stab at preseason, because (a) unless it's a perfect tailgating day * , or (b) a Double Header Day is involved, I don't care.  Given that (b) hasn't happened in preseason in over a decade, and that if (a) occurs, I'll probably be floating down the Elk or Niangra instead, let's just move on to the games that count.

(*: I define a perfect tailgating day as low to mid 90s, without a cloud in the sky, and just enough breeze that you stop sweating once the t-shirt comes off.  I'll stack my definition of a perfect tailgating day against any of y'all's.  Also, in case you doubt I've mellowed out as I've aged, "low to mid 90s" used to be "105".  (Pause).  Yeah, it might be time to move back to my adopted home state.)

Here then is how I want the Chiefs path to the playoffs to unfold in 2018 (and my rationale / reasoning behind it, where applicable).

Week One: vs San Francisco 49ers, Monday September 10th, 9:15pm CT (ESPN).

Call me a dreamer, and say I'm a little naive (believe me, I've been called worse), but what a great, awesome way to truly start the Patrick Mahomes "Of The Chiefs" era!  In prime time, against a rapidly rising 49ers team, with the eyes of the nation focused on One Arrowhead Drive.  In addition?  You're damned right the Royals are home that day.  I can think of worse ways to spend one last awesome day of summer than enjoying a true Double Header Day for the first time since ... the opening to the 2010 season.

Make it happen, NFL Schedule Dude or Dudette.  Make it happen!

(Note: it won't.  Hence "dream" schedule.)

Week Two: at Pittsburgh Steelers, Sunday September 16th, 3:25pm CT (CBS).

I'm a very firm believer in getting your toughest road game out of the way ASAFP.  This is the hardest game the Chiefs will face home or away this season, or at least it looks that way 158 days out from Kickoff 2018.  It's also the one game on the schedule I'm writing off before it's even played.  We haven't won in Pittsburgh since 1986.  I was nine, almost ten.  Sadly, that's not even close to the longest stretch of futility of my Chiefs fandom.  #bringlamarstrophyhome

Week Three: vs Baltimore Ravens, Sunday September 23rd, noon CT (CBS).

The Ravens have never lost at Arrowhead.  They routed the Chiefs in Week Fourteen 2006 ** , the 2010 Wild Card Game, and in Week Five 2012.  If that statistic doesn't change this fall, it's not a good sign for the Chiefs season.

(**: this is the game where I was so irate afterwards, that not only did I nearly break my foot kicking the light pole in G30, but a friend of a friend I didn't really know simply walked up to me and handed me a freshly rolled joint, noting "you need this more than I do".  I'd like to think I've mellowed out a bit when it comes to Chiefs football ... save for when it involves (general lee voice) "those people".  I'll never mellow out when it comes to those people.)

Week Four: at Seattle Seahawks, Sunday September 30th, 3:25pm CT (CBS).

This is the one road game I know I'm attending this fall.  Which reminds me, I need to get going on obtaining a valid passport, to put the other one I want to attend, into place ...

Week Five: vs Arizona "Super" Cardinals, Sunday October 7th, noon CT (FOX).

There's no way Sam Bradford will still be upright and ambulatory by Week Five, right?  (Rimshot!)  Hey yo!  I am on fire folks!  Please, try the veal!

In all seriousness, this is the one game on the schedule that terrifies me.  We all know the Chiefs are going to sh*t the bed at home to at least one inferior opponent, and probably in a way that defies all logic and reason *** .  This is the worst team on the home schedule, on paper.  (Which in and of itself is frightening; the "Super" Cardinals are a legit wild card threat, if not the best threat to the Rams ascendency to the top of the NFC West.)  Circle me scared early, Bert.  Circle me very scared.

(***: going back the last dozen or so years, you have (2017) Bills Week Twelve and Titans Wild Card game; (2016) Titans Week Fifteen; (2015) Bears Week Five; (2014) Titans Week One; (2013) Colts Week Sixteen; (2012) Pick a Game, Any Game, No Really -- Any Game; (2011) Miami Week Nine and those people Week Ten; (2010) raiders Week Seventeen and Ravens Wild Card game (already linked above in Week Three); (2009) those people Week Fourteen; (2008) raiders Week Two; (2007) any game involving "Brokie" Croyle; (2006) Ravens Week Fourteen; (2005) Eagles Week Four; (2004) Texans Week Three.  (Pause).  Yeah, I really do need to start posting recaps again ...)

Week Six: at oakland raiders, Sunday October 14th, 3:25pm CT (CBS).

For what might be the final time ... Sioux Falls, here I come.  Because once your team moves to Vegas, we're road tripping it out there every year, instead of to The Garage in raider nation north.

Week Seven: at Cleveland Browns, Sunday October 21st, noon CT (CBS).

The Browns are going to cost someone a wild card berth via an upset win at The Factory of Sadness this fall.  I pray it's not the Red and Gold (who usually find a way to lose in Cleveland ... or come within a dumb f*ck helmet toss, of doing so).

Week Eight: bye.

I have a family wedding in San Antonio the last week in October **** .  Whatever you do, NFL Schedule Dude or Dudette, please, I beg, I implore you, do NOT do what you did this past season, and slate those people at Chiefs on this weekend.

Also, I would predict the Chiefs to be 5-2 entering the bye, on the schedule above.  With anything worse than 4-3 being an abject disaster.

(****: which means that yes, once my cousin Zach gets married, I am the last one standing in my generation of my family that either (a) isn't / hasn't been married or (b) is shacking up with his baby mama.  And to think people actually question whether or not I am sane.  No -- really.  People actually question if I am sane.  Last time I checked, I ain't the one in my family with three kids within 2 1/2 years of each other.)

Week Nine: vs Los Angeles "Super" Chargers, Sunday November 4th, 3:25pm CT (CBS).

Either the Chiefs or the "Super" Chargers are winning the West.  Here's the first of two potentially epic showdowns in the final half of the season.

I thought about scheduling this one for prime time ... only in this exercise in futility, (a) I'm saving another divisional rival for the Thursday nighter, (b) I'm saving a second divisional rival for a Monday nighter, and (c) Week Ten involves a prime time game not comprised of a divisional rival.

To say nothing of (d) my preferred season finale, which wouldn't stun me seeing it moved to prime time as the last game standing, based on where things stand in the AFC West 158 days out.

Also, the astute amongst you will note, I only have the Chiefs playing two division games in their first eight.  Which means December will be loaded with divisional matchups.  (Pause).  You're damned right I think Mr. Mahomes will be better in December than he will be in October ...

Week Ten: vs Jacksonville Jaguars, Monday November 12th, 7:25pm CT (ESPN).

The Chiefs have lobbied for years to host the game on Veterans Day.  For once, it happens.  Plus, this is a fascinating matchup between two teams that will probably be favored to repeat as divisional winners ... but face really stiff tests from pretty much every other squad in said divisions, if health is good for all participants.  (Seriously, the AFC South is not the joke it's always been anymore.  When the Colts with a healthy Andrew Luck are all but assured last place, that's saying something.)

Week Eleven: at Los Angeles Rams, Sunday November 18th, 3:25pm CT (CBS).

Game played in Mexico City.  I hope to be there.  Because I cannot wait to see former Chief now Ram Marcus Peters square off against former Ram now Chief Sammy Watkins.  That's gonna be fun.

Also, based on past history, this is the week this game will be played.

Having said that, brace yourselves, because it's REALLY short week time ...

Week Twelve: vs oakland raiders, Thursday November 22nd, 7:25pm CT (NBC).

Every year I do this exercise (and we're at pushing 20 years ... which reminds me, the Stevo NFL Coaches Power Poll is due in the next few posts, I would think ...), I always schedule those people at the Chiefs on Thanksgiving Night.  And it has happened once, in 2006, the first prime time Thanksgiving game.  (It helps that the Chiefs won, which was the tiebreaker that made the Immaculate Fourfecta work.)

This year?  Frankly, those people are no longer relevant or good enough, to justify the prime time real estate that the Thanksgiving Night game is.  So I'm subbing in the raiders instead.

And given what a party raiders week is once all of raider nation north arrives from Sioux Falls, sweet Jesus, what a week long party, this would be.

Week Thirteen: at New England Patriots, Sunday December 2nd, 3:25pm CT (CBS).

I have the Chiefs at 8-3 entering this one (L's to Steelers, "Super" Cardinals, and Rams).  This one could have ginormous (I guess that's a word?) ramifications for the playoffs.  Also, just like the Chiefs usually sh*t the bed once a year at home to an inferior opponent?  The Patriots usually do too.  Let's hope this is it.

Week Fourteen: at those people, Sunday December 9th, 3:25pm CT (CBS).

You're damned right I scheduled our (ok, my) most hated rival for two of the last four games of the season.  I'm guessing I'll find a way to be there for this one.  Assuming I don't miss kickoff because I just can't bring myself to leave one of Colorado's finest dispensaries ...

Week Fifteen: vs Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday December 16th, noon CT (CBS).

The only non-divisional game in the last four.  Also, arguably the easiest of the last four.

Week Sixteen: vs those people, Monday December 24th, 7:25pm CT (ESPN).

This is, to put it mildly, "The Day Stevo Lives For".  I have said for pushing thirty years that "I can live with 1-15 every year, so long as the 1 is those people at home".  (A statement that nearly became reality ten years ago.)

I DESPISE the ... do I dare even say the name?  (fidelity ad guy voice) Why not?

I DESPISE the denver broncos.  I detest EVERYTHING about them.  (Especially their fans -- one in particular ***** .)

Let's just say, I will not be sober, when kickoff occurs on donkey Day.

(*****: if I ever get around to posting the bests / worsts of the 2017 Chiefs season, without question -- (allard baird) without question! -- the certain winner of "funniest moment" will be when that said fan and I ran into each other in the security line entering the Redskins game.  I cried the whole walk up to my seat, from laughing so damned hard at the utter bullsh*t that five minute encounter nightmare was.)

Which leaves us the finale, and damn, it has potential ...

Week Seventeen: at Los Angeles "Super" Chargers, Sunday December 30th, 3:25pm CT (CBS).

I can easily envision 10-5 Kansas City at 11-4 Los Angeles (or flip the records) as the last game of the 2018 NFL season.  And given that we haven't lost to the "Super" Chargers on the road since a meaningless (for us, not for them) finale in 2013, I'll take my chances on the road, with a third straight division title on the line.

So there's the dream schedule for 2018.  It's about as doable as possible, given the opponents we're going to face.

Up next if this goes according to plan, I begin to say goodbye to four Chiefs I really didn't want to lose -- 11, 91, 56 ... and 22.

ranking the chiefs tailgates for 2018 ...

"Got a text from you -- Is it really true? All the stuff we did last night? We shut down the bars, Danced on top of cars -- Aske...