Thursday, October 31, 2013

week nine: judgment day

"It's all around town.
Here's ten cents,
For the mistakes he's made.
It's all word of mouth.
Oh, but they say,
That's the price you pay.

When you're in with
The wrong crowd?
Oh look at 
The mess you've made.
Staring you down,
Every time you show your face.

Ah, to hell with all the small town,
Small talk -- I've had enough!
It ain't their place to judge!
And man, I'm giving up.

So I said, if you can't live it down?
Might as well live it up!
You live and you learn!
Man, the world's gonna turn --
It ain't gonna stop for you.

And I said, if you can't live it down?
Might as well live it up!
Yeah, forgiveness is yours,
In the hands of the Lord --
Ain't nothing they can do!
Hell, live it up!"


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Happy Halloween everyone!  I trust that you'll be staying up to see our good buddy, Ol' Lar, Larry Moore, give what might be his final "scary ghost story" tonight on the 10pm Channel 9 news.  You have to enjoy those while they last; God knows I wish I had one more New Year's Rocking Eve with our good buddy, Ol' Strokey himself, Mr. Dick Clark.

This week's theme?  A blast from the past, if you will.  Hopefully you'll enjoy it ...

Last Week ATS: 6-7-0.
Season to Date ATS: 57-61-2.

Last Week SU: 8-5-0.
Season to Date SU: 71-49-0

"The Voice of Reason" Last Week: 5-8-0.
"The Voice of Reason" Season to Date: 52-65-3.

(Note: Mr. Reason does not pick straight-up winners.)

"Screw You Pete King" Upset / Week Last Week: Bango!
Season to Date "Screw You Pete King" Upset / Week: 3-7. 
This Week's "Screw You Pete King" Upset / Week: Another two-fer, because I love both prime time underdogs this weekend, to win outright.  Texans (+1) over Colts; Bears (+10 1/2) over Packers.

The Non-Jets, Non-Chiefs Wild Hairs:

(Note: all odds pulled from Danny Sheridan via USA Today.  Danny Sheridan: the Stevo's Site Numero Dos Official Games of Chance Handicapper!)

* Bengals (-3) 31, at Dolphins 20.  If the Bengals are a credible Lombardi threat, they win this game relatively easily.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: I miss quality TV show theme songs.  It sucks, it royally sucks, that our kids generation -- and possibly theirs as well -- is going to grow up never understanding how a great TV theme song, can make even the worst show, watchable for at least sixty to ninety seconds.

Don't believe me?  Can you name the TV show these theme songs came from?

(1) "Well we tease him a lot, 'cause we've got him on the spot.  Welcome back! Welcome back, welcome back, welcome back!"

(2) "Ain't we lucky we got 'em?  (Na na na na na) (Show Title)!!!!!"

(3) "So while you're here?  Enjoy the view.  And keep on doing what you do.  Hang on tight, we'll muddle through, (Show Title)!!!"

(4) "And we'll do it our way!  Yes, our way!  Making our dreams come true!  For me and you!!!"

(5) "As long as we've got each other?  We've got the world spinning right in our hands!  Baby, you and me?  We've gotta be, the luckiest dreamers who never quit dreaming!"

(6) "Sometimes you wanna go?  Where everybody knows your name!  And they're always glad you came!"

(7) "Well we're moving on up!  (Moving on up!)  To the East Side!  (Moving on up!)  To that deluxe apartment, in the sky!"

(8) "I might fall from a tall building; I might roll a brand new car!  'Cause I'm the unknown stuntman, who made Redford such a star!"

(9) "What would you do baby, without us?  Sha na na na!"

(10) "And if you threw a party, inviting everyone you knew?  You would see the biggest gift would be from me, and the card attached would say, thank you for being a friend!"

Your answers coming up ... momentarily.

* at Panthers 24, Falcons (+7 1/2) 21.  The "Shane Falco"ns last stand. 

"Leisure Suit" Larry Moore's announcement today that he is retiring next month after nearly 40 years of hosting the Channel 9 news broadcast, makes me immediately think of another thing from years gone by that sadly will likely never return: incompetent, inept, unqualified, and/or flat-out alcoholic drunk media personalities.

I mean, look at all the TALENT!, our fine five county metropolitan area has embraced over the years:

* Dave Dusik, weatherdude, Channel 9 and 41.  Was fired by Channel 41 after beating the crap out of his wife in a drunken rage.
* Dan Henry, weatherdude, Channel 4.  Well known alcoholic who, I'm fairly confident, was a .15 every weeknight at 10:12pm.
* Don Fortune, sports dude, Channel 5 and 980 KMBZ.  The man affectionately known as "Don Fortunato" is most infamously known for having a car whose seats were "stained with cat p*ss".  Cuh-lassy!
* Tom Lawrence, anchor dude, Channel 41 and 4.  Anyone who ever saw Ol' Tom attempting to keep his eyes open on the Sunday morning Fox 4 news broadcast (no doubt after an all-night bender at Harrah's), is nodding their heads right now.
* Fred Broski, weatherdude, Channel 5.  Ol' Fred is sorely, sorely missed.  You have to love a guy who uses a weekend weather gig, to pimp his line of polish sausages.
* William "Action" Jackson, sports dude, Channel 5.  "Good evening to you folks, I'm William Jackson!" 
* Duke "The Duck Hat" Frye, sports dude, 810 WHB.  The man did remotes wearing a hat with a gigantic stuffed duck protruding out of it, that had a string you could pull on the side to make said duck quack.  (Pause).  Yeah, I think he did have mental issues.  Why do you ask?
* Don Harmon, weatherdude, Channel 4.  I actually knew Don personally, through various softball leagues at Longview.  One of the nicest guys you could ever meet, and his tragic loss still stings.  The Channel 4 morning show has never truly recovered from losing Don.  He still holds the top slot on the Funniest-News-Broadcast-Moment-o'-Meter with this classic clip.

And so many more, I don't have time to name.

Sure, we still have a few sleazy and/or shady folks in the local media (one of whom I mock each week in this post -- the all-around family man "Klassy" Kevin Keitzman), but with Ol' Lar stepping down, and "Mad" Jack Harry probably not far behind, there aren't many left.

Maybe Channel 5 weatherdude Gary Amble can get his sister a job.  Lord knows she's loony enough, to restore the insanity that has vacated the Kansas City media market.

* at Cowboys (-10) 35, Vikings 3.  You can all but write the Cowboys in as the four seed in a Sharpie at this point. 

You know what I miss?  Is the trifecta days from the 1990s in the NFC playoffs.  Every year, you knew you were getting at least one classic Cowboys / 49ers, Cowboys / Packers, or Packers / 49ers game in mid January.  Virtually all of them were memorable.  Green Bay gutting out an overtime win in a monsoon at Lambeau in 1996.  San Francisco scoring 21 points in the first three minutes, only to need a last minute stand to beat the Cowboys in 1994.  Alvin Harper's catch at Candlestick in 1993.  Terrell Owens' catch at Candlestick in 1998.

Even the regular season showdowns were epic.  Elvis Grbac's coming out party at Texas Stadium in 1995.  Chris Boniol's seven field goal game at Texas Stadium in 1996.  Dallas' goalline stand at Candlestick in 1996.  The Packers ending the Triplets era of glory at Lambeau in 1997, scoring 35 unanswered fourth quarter points to rally from a ten point deficit to open the quarter.  Jason Garrett's Thanksgiving Day miracle against the Packers in 1993.

Circle me giddy with glee that we're on a collision course for (slight chance) 49ers at Packers, or (extremely likely) 49ers at Cowboys, in the wildcard round.  And I guarantee you whoever the hell replaced Dick Ebersol at NBC, is drooling with anticipation at plugging that matchup into the Saturday night slot of said wildcard round.

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Your TV Theme Song Answers:

(1) "Welcome Back Kotter"
(2) "Good Times"
(3) "One Day at a Time"
(4) "Laverne and Shirley"
(5) "Growing Pains"
(6) "Cheers"
(7) "The Jeffersons"
(8) "The Fall Guy"
(9) "Family Ties"
(10) "The Golden Girls"

If you failed to get at least six of them?  You weren't a child of the 1980s.

Now back to the picks!

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* at Rams (+3) 16, Titans 14.  Thank God it's at the "Dome KC Taxpayer Money Built, So That St. Louis Could Prostitute Itself Out For a NFL Team Their Fans Don't Support"; if this was in Nashville, we'd be stuck with this as the FOX early game in KC.  (Although on second thought, CBS has the double header, so we only get one FOX game, and I'm betting FOX 4 grabs Eagles at raiders in the 3pm slot to air.)

You know another thing I miss?  Is old school owners.  We lost another one with the sad, tragic passing of University of Kansas alumnus K. S. "Bud" Adams, Junior last week.  Ol' Bud was a throwback to the good old days, when owners simply didn't give a sh*t about their fans, and did whatever the hell they wanted to, in order to make an extra dime of profit.

Turn your back on a city that supported you for half a century, to move to a state with no professional franchises, and no viable stadium to play in?  What the hell!  Why not!

The world needs more Bud Adams / al davis / Art Modell / Robert Irsay / Georgia Frontiere / William V. Bidwell types.  I fear we're down to two: 95 year old Ralph Wilson, and the ageless Jerry Jones.  Men who don't give a crap about anything but the almighty dollar.  Everyone needs someone in life to despise, someone that you feel superior to because of their lack of class, ethics, or decency.  Men like K. S. "Bud" Adams, Junior, filled that need to perfection.  You'll be missed dude.  You will be missed.

Well, maybe not in Houston.  But definitely he'll be missed everywhere else.

* at Redskins (+1) 24, Chargers 23.  Here's how weird this season is turning out to be: the entire AFC West could be .500 or better at the end of play Sunday afternoon, and the entire NFC East could be under .500, at the end of play Sunday afternoon.

Which is the next thing I miss: a NFC East that was the NFC Beast.  This is how powerful the NFC East was for a solid twenty years, from 1989-2008:

* Won five out of six Super Bowls, including four straight (1990 Giants, 1991 Redskins, 1992 Cowboys, 1993 Cowboys, 1995 Cowboys).
* Participated in seven Conference Championship games in the 2000s (2000 Giants, 2001 Eagles, 2002 Eagles, 2003 Eagles, 2004 Eagles, 2007 Giants, 2008 Eagles).
* Sent multiple teams to the playoffs 17 times in those 20 years (1989 Giants, Eagles; 1990 Giants, Eagles, Redskins; 1991 Redskins, Cowboys; 1992 Cowboys, Redskins, Eagles; 1993 Cowboys, Giants; 1994 Cowboys, Eagles; 1995 Cowboys, Eagles; 1996 Cowboys, Eagles; 1998 Cowboys, Cardinals; 1999 Redskins, Cowboys; 2000 Giants, Eagles; 2002 Eagles, Giants; 2003 Eagles, Cowboys; 2005 Giants, Redskins; 2006 Eagles, Cowboys, Giants; 2007 Cowboys, Giants, Redskins; 2008 Giants, Eagles).
* Won 39 playoff games in those 20 years, an average of two wins a season.  (Or a nice way of saying, NFC East teams tended to win at least once, when they reached the postseason.)

Since then though ...

* In 2009, both the Cowboys and Eagles made the playoffs.  However, the last three seasons, only the divisional champion has reached the playoffs (2010 Eagles, 2011 Giants, 2012 Redskins).
* Only the 2009 Cowboys (who faced the Eagles in the wildcard round) and the 2011 Giants (who went 8-8, then stunned the world by winning the Super Bowl) have won a playoff game, in the last four years.
* Only the 2011 Giants have reached a Conference Championship game.

The National ... Football League, is a much funner place, when the NFC East, is the league's best division.  Let's get on that guys.  Stat.

* at raiders (-2 1/2) 27, Eagles 17.  The raiders win this one, they get to .500, and could very well be tied for the last seed at the midpoint.  Their next five: at Giants / at Texans / vs Titans / at Cowboys (Thanksgiving) / at Jets.  That has a "7-6 at worst" whiff about it, and they close with three straight against the division: vs Chiefs / at Chargers / vs broncos.  Circle me intrigued Bert.  Circle me intrigued.

One thing I don't miss, is the revolving door of raiders head coaches.  Ever since Art Shell was dumped after the 1994 season, the raiders have employed:

* Mike White (1995-1996).  Mr. White's raiders opened 8-1 in 1995 (their only defeat being the James Hasty overtime touchdown at Arrowhead), and closed 0-7, to miss the playoffs.
* Joe Bugle (1997).  He was apoplectic from game two on.
* Jon Gruden (1998-2001).  The exception to the rule.
* "Sur" William Callahan (2002-2003).  Believe it or not, Huskers fans, yours isn't the only program "Sur" William laid waste to.
* Norval Eugene Turner (2004-2005).  Years two and three in a row of at least 11 losses.
* Art Shell Version 2.0 (2006).  Year four in a row of at least 11 losses.
* Lane Kiffin (2007-game 4 2008).  Years five and six with at least 11 losses.
* Tom Cable (game 5 2008-2010).  Year seven with at least 11 losses, before a .500 season got Cable fired.
* Hue Jackson (2011).  How'd that Carson Palmer trade work out for ya?
* Dennis Allen (2012-present).  Probably won't be given enough time to prove himself.

Ten head coaches in twenty years.  (john davidson voice) That's incredible!  To compare that track record to successful franchises, since 1994 ended:

* The broncos have had three (Shanahan, McDaniels, fox).
* The Steelers have had two (Cowher, Tomlin).
* The Patriots have had three (Parcells, Carroll, Belichick).
* The Giants have had three (Reeves, Fassel, Coughlin).
* The Packers have had four (Holmgren, Rhodes (for one year), Sherman, McCarthy).
* The Colts have had five (Infante, Mora Sr., Dungy, Caldwell, Pagano).

Perhaps not coincidentally, of the staged since 1994, these six teams have won 12 of them (out of 19), and have been one of the two participants 20 times (out of 38 possible slots).

* at Seahawks (-16) 45, Bucs 3.  Your "Good Times Game O' The Week"!!!!!  And yes, this game is so awful, you get both the opening ... AND closing credits.

(Pause).  Oh, sorry.  Fell asleep at the wheel there.  The blast from the past … uuh, yeah!  Both these teams used to be divisional rivals of the Chiefs!  Yes, your Tampa Bay Buccaneers were a member of the AFC West (for one season); the Seattle Seahawks were for many seasons.

Nostalgia.  You gotta love it.

* Ravens (-2 ½) 31, at Browns 28.  Smells like a field goal either way.  If the Ravens are returning to the playoffs, they have to win this game.  I think they will.

And that brings us, to this week’s …

… Nick Bakay Memorial “Tale of the Tape”!!!!

This week’s matchup, and it’s a doozy … hang on, let me do this properly.

In this corner, weighing in from 1986, off an album named after the song, and the last album this artist ever saw truly smash the charts***, ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Lionel Richie, and “Dancing on the Ceiling”!!!!!

(crowd going ape-sh*t crazy!!!!!)

And in this corner, weighing in from 1975, off the album “Once Upon a Rhyme”, a song by an artist whose concert many moons ago inspired “The Ex” to be conceived, please welcome David Allan Coe and “You Never Even Called Me By My Name”!!!!!

(crowd going ape-sh*t crazy!!!!!)

This week’s Tale?  What’s THE best song, at Tailgating?

You know how this works.  Two contenders.  Seven Questions.  One undisputed champion.

(***: true story: the very first CD I ever bought, was "Back to Front", Lionel's first "greatest hits" effort, in 1992.  "Dancing on the Ceiling" was NOT on the CD.  Circle me furious with regret, Bert.)

Question One: this song plays after a Chiefs victory.

“Dancing on the Ceiling”: yes.
“You Never Even Called Me By My Name”: no.
Advantage: Lionel Richie.

Question Two: this song is the family anthem of Ron, Ray, and their crew.

“Dancing on the Ceiling”: no.
“You Never Even Called Me By My Name”: yes.
Advantage: David Allan Coe.

Question Three: this song is GUARANTEED to play, during Tailgating.

“Dancing on the Ceiling”: yes.
“You Never Even Called Me By My Name”: yes.
Advantage: push.  We are all winners here.

Question Four: this song inspires GUARANTEED sing-along from all parties present.

“Dancing on the Ceiling”: no ... although if it was up to me ...
“You Never Even Called Me By My Name”: yes.
Advantage: David Allan Coe.

Question Five: this song is an original from the artist who made it truly famous.

“Dancing on the Ceiling”: yes.
“You Never Even Called Me By My Name”: no.
Advantage: Lionel Richie.

Question Six: either the song or the artist, references or has suffered, for lack of a better term, spousal abuse from a wife.

“Dancing on the Ceiling”: yes.
“You Never Even Called Me By My Name”: yes.
Advantage: push.  We are all losers here.

So, go figure – tied up at 2-2-2, entering the final Question of Great Significance.  As always, “push” cannot win Question Seven.

Here we go!

Question Seven: is “the greatest country and western song ever recorded”, thanks to Steve Goodman’s third verse.

“Dancing on the Ceiling”: nope.
“You Never Even Called Me By My Name”: hell yes.

Advantage, and winner of “Best Tailgating Song of 2013”: “You Never Even Called Me By My Name” by David Allan Coe.  

Thanks for playing!

* at Patriots (-6 ½) 34, Steelers 21.  This is the Steelers season.  A loss drops them to 6-2 2-6 and four back of the Bengals.  I guess this is the point where we thank the Steelers for participating in the 2013 National … Football League season, and ask them to please pick up their commemorative “We Got Our Asses Kicked By the Jets AND raiders!” t-shirts as their lovely parting gift.

This one, I don’t have to miss anymore, hallelujah, thank yo – hang on, let me close that sentence properly. 

(tamarick vanover voice) I love you Lord Jesus!!!

Sunday mornings in college in the fall meant three things for me on the weekends I didn’t come home for a Chiefs game:

(1) Get the Stevo Chili Con Queso dip going in the crock pot.  But in order to do that, I had to …

(2) Drive the five minutes to Tom Thumb on Collins and Green Oaks, to grab the beef, Velveeta, fresh pico de gallo, and the secret ingredient that makes it so much better than anyone elses.  (Fine, it’s not a secret ingredient; it’s cilantro.  Still, I don’t know of anyone else who puts cilantro in a cheese dip.  Trust me gang, it’s really good.) 

And then once I’d shoved the items in the car, it was to head back towards the apartment, except keep heading west when I got to Randol Mill, all the way to where Green Oaks ends for the first time at Eastchase.  Keep driving straight in, take a right in front of Target …

(3) And walk into the Dunkin Donuts, to grab a large coffee for everyone who’d stayed over the night before.

I am not a big coffee drinker.  I don’t remember the last time I drank coffee at work, or for breakfast, or for any reason.

But I LOVE me some Dunkin Donuts coffee.  God, that is good stuff.  And I know, I know, you can buy it and make it yourself, but it never comes out right.  Either I don’t put in enough coffee grinds, or too many; either way, I never get it right.

But Dunkin Donuts sure as hell does.

I used to love that cup of Dunkin Donuts coffee.  Totally started the week, and the football day to come, off perfectly.

Folks?  Dunkin Donuts is finally here in our fine metropolitan area.  And there is NOBODY happier at that development, than me.

* at Texans (+1) 24, Colts 20.  Call me a dreamer, say I’m a little na├»ve, but I think your Houston Moo Cows are the team that’s going to go on a 7-2, 8-1 run to close the season, and steal a wildcard.  6-3 might be good enough; 8-8 might get you the six seed in this year’s AFC. 

And as one of the 70,000 plus who sweated out that victory over Case Keenum and one helluva decent Texans squad?  I want NO PART of that team, in early January.  

(Pause).  Oh, the thing I miss?  Well, here you go!

The last couple weeks after bowling, my teammates Penny, DeHart, myself, and anyone else who wanted to tag along, has ducked into Hooters for dinner.

Wednesday is 10 wings any style and fries for less than $6.99.  It’s insanely cheap, and ridiculously good.

And every time we head in there after bowling (which is just about every other week; we also hit up Oklahoma Joe’s or wherever someone else invites us to join them at as well from time to time), I cannot help but think back to how I used to spend my Wednesday nights seven years ago.  And six years ago.  And five years ago, until I joined this bowling league.

Team Trivia Night.

Some would say that it was a total fluke, a random “what are the (blanking) odds” occurrence.  Me?  I wouldn’t say that, because I don’t believe in coincidence.

It was a Wednesday in mid-August, 2006.  I was sitting in the recliner on our old back deck; my next door neighbor Chris was on the couch.  I was a few Bud’s in after a hard day at the office, and Gregg walked out, handed me the phone, and said it was Dusty.

Turns out Dusty needed some help financially, I was able to help him, and so he offered to meet me halfway at Hooters, since he had some coupon or something for some wings, and figured that’s the least he could do for my courtesy and consideration.  I said fine, sure, whatever’s clever.

So we got there, got him what he needed, we ordered a pitcher and the wings, and a guy came walking around, asking if we were there for the trivia. 

Trivia?

By the time October rolled around, we were up to 10-12 people every week.  And pretty much every Wednesday for the next couple years, we ruled the Overland Park Hooters.  In case you doubt me, here’s the recap of our final championship, in September 2008, that landed us in the citywide finals.

On Fridays, when the weather turns cold, a few of us hit up the Brooksider, to do Team Trivia.  It’s fun.  It’s enjoyable.  We’ve won a few times.

But it just isn’t the same.

I miss Team Trivia night at Hooters.

* Bears (+10 ½) 34, at Packers 24.  If my preseason pick to win the NFC Norris is gonna get it done, they need this one.  Otherwise they’re two back at midseason, with two tough divisional losses as well.  Also, this line is patently absurd.  Chicago’s covering at a bare minimum.

* Byes: Giants, Lions, 49ers, “Super” Cardinals, Jaguars, “my little ponies”.

The “Klassy” Kevin Keitzman Tweet O’ The Week:

Sadly, Ol’ “Klassy” Kev’ didn’t have much to say this week worth commenting on, so instead, I want to focus on another person whose Twitter account I follow religiously (pun intended).

And no, it’s not Reverend Sharpton, although I do follow the man that is arguably the biggest hypocrite walking the planet that doesn’t have a last name that begins with a J.

Because the only person who can match Reverend Al’s hypocrisy … is the Reverend Jesse Jackson.

(Pause).  What?  (Pause).  Oh, you thought “last name begins with a J” referred to them?  Ha!  That’s hysterical!  It’s also true, but still!  (stevo laughing uncontrollably.)  (chris matthews voice) I don’t know about you, but I just felt this thrill go up my leg, with that last comment, Ms. Non-Existent Stevo’s Site Numero Dos Editor Dudette!  That’s three Tommy Points for you, my non-existent friend!  Enjoy that whiskey sour and Winston menthol!

Anyway, it’s not Reverend Jackson’s Tweets I want to focus on.  It’s his wall.  Because it is EPIC!

Here, you judge for yourself:



What stands out to you first?  I’ll tell you what stood out for me: he’s taking the rock to the hole against Marvin Gaye!  Hang on, let’s do this right.

(dick vitale voice) I mean, are you kidding me!  Are you kidding me!  That’s awesome with a capital A, baybee! 
(mike patrick voice) Holy cow!  (lights a parliament)

Or is it the sweet-ass afro the Reverend is rocking?

Or possibly the headband?  I mean, that is totally mid-1970s!

Or is it the smug, arrogant grin on this pompous ass’ face, in his actual profile pic in the center?

No matter your preference, you gotta admit – that is one sweet ass Twitter account picture thingy.

“The Voice of Reason”’s Reason:

Here’s the Judgment Day with Judgment Ray picks:

(10/31 editors note: I left my iPhone charger at work, and that's how I can upload the Judgment Ray picks, uuh, pic, to this post.  I plan to do that tomorrow.)

Here’s “The Voice of Reason”’s predictions, and – holy crap!  A prepared statement!  Wow!  He didn’t mail this week in!  I’m … I’m … oh hell, just read it.

As always, unedited except for font and size:

Cin -3 (I’m going opposite this week on Thursday night.  I never take road favs in primetime)
Atl +7.5 (No way Atl is this bad, even with injuries)
Dal -10 (Never good when Cassell gives you a better chance to win than the two 1st rd picks on your team)
NYJ +6 (They are much better/luckier at home)
StL+3 (They could be a sneaky good team in the 2nd H)
Buf +3 or ML (this is the easiest game on the board)
Wash +1 (SD may be the hardest team to read in the league)
Oak -2.5 (I still believe in Chip Kelly, but his QB situation is a disaster)
TB +16 (I’m sure Sea will win by 30, but I will always take 16 pts in the NFL)
Cle +2.5 (Is Jasson Campbell for real)
NE -6.5 (NE should get better in the 2nd half of the season)
Hou +1 (This is a weird line, so I’m going Hou)
GB -10.5 (It’s Josh McCown!)

Voice of Reason’s Reason:

For a number of reasons, it’s been a while since I wrote anything of substance.  Since the Chiefs are through 8 games, it’s time for the Voice of Reason to throw out some midseason awards.

Offensive MVP:  Jamaal Charles.  This is pretty obvious.  He is the best offensive played on the team and it’s not even close. The runner up may surprise you.

Runner Up: Dwayne Bowe.  I know this goes against conventional wisdom, but he is really opening up the offense.  He garners a TON of attention from DBs and trust me on this because I watch the coaches tape on the NFL App every week.  If it wasn’t for Bowe, Avery, McGrath, McCluster, etc wouldn’t be even close to as open as they are a lot of times.

Defensive MVP:  Derrick Johnson.  He is the QB of the defense.  Watching him call plays/audibles has been a thing of beauty this year.  He’s finally blossomed into the leader that he needs to be.  While Hali and Houston are certainly the players with the flashiest numbers, they are not the MVP…or runner up.

Runner Up:  Eric Berry.  It’s hard to even call him a safety anymore.  He’s a CB, S, ILB, OLB, Rush End…pretty much whatever he damn well pleases.  I’ve heard he doesn’t really have an assignment on most plays and it’s so true watching the tape.  He reads the D or goes where DJ tells him or where he thinks he’s most needed…and it works.  It’s been extremely impressive to watch.

Rookie of the Year:  Marcus Cooper.  Ummmm, yeah.  Is there even another candidate?  Not one that’s a player.

Runner Up:  Bob Sutton.  Since there are no other rookies doing anything of substance, I’ll go with a rookie defensive coordinator.  His 4th quarter play calling is as brilliant as anything we’ve seen at One Arrowhead Drive in quite some time.  They’ve given up fewer than 100 points through the first 8 games and I certainly don’t expect that pace to continue in the second half of the season, but they’re good…and going to get better. 

Newcomer of the Year:  Alex Smith.  He certainly hasn’t looked fantastic and amazing throwing the ball, but he had an above average pocket presence and has moved the ball with his legs when he’s needed to.  Plus, he brings a winning demeanor that hasn’t been seen in quite some time behind center.

Runner Up:  Sean Smith.  Yes, he’s been lit up a couple of times this season, but with the rules favoring WRs, so have a lot of other DBs. Bottom line is that he’s shored up the CB position after the loss of Brandon Carr and last year’s Stanford Routte debacle.

Bottom Line: The Chiefs won’t finish the second half of the season 8-0, they’ll probably end up 5-3 with a final record of 13-3.  The second half schedule is much tougher than the first half schedule.  But so is the schedule of the other contenders in the AFC West.  I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see the AFC Road to the Super Bowl go through Arrowhead Stadium.  And if that’s the case, look out.  This team has a different feel than any Chiefs team I’ve ever watched in my lifetime. 

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(editors note: when Mr. Reason informed me he was doing a mid-season review, it fit perfectly.  I'd planned to do mine during the bye next week.  The only thing I take issue with, is his Defensive MVP runner up.  Nothing against Eric Berry, but he isn't the unsung hero, that makes the front wall what it has been.  A reason to (mr. hoduski voice) stay tuned, next week ... I guess.)

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“The Poem”:

There is no poem this week, due to the Chiefs being on the road.

“The Tailgating Plans”:

There are no tailgating plans this week, due to the Chiefs being on the road.

“The Flashback” – Chiefs vs Bills:

Obviously, the one game at Buffalo most Chiefs fans remember will be from twenty years ago come January, the 1994 AFC Title Game.  The closest the Chiefs have come to glory since Super Bowl IV; the last of four straight Super Bowl appearances by the Bills.

The blowout last year comes to mind.  The 2005 loss that cost the Chiefs a wildcard berth.  The Chiefs haven’t won in Buffalo since the Royals were the defending World Series champions (that would be 1986, for those of you younger than 25).

But the game I remember the most, is the season finale from 1996.

For both teams, the game had meaning.  The Bills, at 9-6, needed to win to host a wildcard game the following weekend.  (They had already clinched a berth via tiebreakers).  The Chiefs, at 9-6, need to win to accomplish not just that (the winner of this game was hosting the 1996 4 v 5 seed matchup), but they had to win to get in.  Otherwise they would need a Colts or Jaguars loss, due to tiebreakers (Colts via head to head the week before; Jags due to conference record).

This was the final game for Steve Bono in a Chiefs uniform.  Our ol’ pal Dick Gannon had left the Colts game the week before with a season-ending injury, and while Bono rallied the Chiefs, the Colts held on goal-to-go to eke out a 24-19 victory at Arrowhead.

For as much as I’ll defend Steve Bono (he NEVER should have been benched), this game is why he is so reviled in Kansas City.  This was a mail-in job of the most pathetic order.  Here are Bono’s numbers from his “performance” that day, and you tell me – (oskar schindler voice) you tell me! – if he mailed it in:

14/28, 138 yards, 0 TD, 2 INT.

Incredibly enough, the Chiefs led from virtually the opening snap, until midway through the 4th quarter.  3-0.  6-0.  6-3 at the half.  9-3.  9-6 after three.

The Bills scored the last seventeen, to win 20-9.

Incredibly enough, that STILL didn’t seal the Chiefs fate.

Because all the Chiefs needed, to still make the playoffs, and make a trip to Three Rivers Stadium the following Sunday, was for Falcons kicker Morten Anderson to hit a 22 yard field goal as time expired, to beat the Jaguars.

Needless to say, he didn’t make it.

Ten years later, a needed Jaguars defeat would also factor into a Chiefs team trying to sneak into the last wildcard slot at 9-7.  That one?  Went much, much better.

The Jets Best Guess:

* at Jets (+6) 24, Saints 20.  Yes, I am fully aware the Jets lost by FORTY last week.  Yes, I am fully aware the Saints are 6-1, the Jets are 4-4.  

And yes, I have been drinking.  Thank you, Captain Obvious.

But yes, I think the Jets are winning this game. 

And speaking of confidence, the final “Things I Miss That I Wish Could Return To My Life, But Never Will” moment of the post … is Saturday morning gambling shows on USA or WGN.

Any sports fan my age (I’ll be 37 in exactly … hang on, carry the four … 64 days.  Yikes!), remember them.

“Big” Al McMordie.  The great Wayne Allyn Root.  “Two Time AFC Coach of the Year” Ron Meyer.  The immortal Jack Price and Stu Feiner.  Larry Nest.  Jim Feist. 

Men of class, of grace, of dignity.  Men who’d sell their mother into a sex trafficking ring, to win a three team teaser.

Was there ANY better way to spend a Saturday morning as a 14 year old football fanatic, than to learn what these men of loose morals, bankrupt ethics, and degenerate addictions thought, of some meaningless Cardinals / Browns game to open December?

I’d argue not just “no”, but f*ck no!

“Big” Al McMordie has always been my favorite.  I don’t know why. 

Actually, that’s a total and complete lie.  I mean, seriously -- click on his site.  The dude just oozes arrogance.  Oozes greed.  He looks sleazier than a used car salesman.  (I know, I know – Major League Baseball is run by a used car salesman.  But at least Allan H. Selig has the decency to not use “Big” as his “B” word nickname.)

Normally, I hate arrogant, condescending people … but not when they’re gamblers.  I want an arrogant pompous ass sitting next to me at a blackjack table.  Because they’re the players that won’t screw you over.  They know their sh*t, they know they’re good, they know why they’re there – to win.  Give me five stuck up pricks and stick me at first or third, I’ll play at your table all night, and I’ll buy a round or two.

It’s the table with the “we’re just here to have fun” crowd, where you get clobbered.  (Note: I may or may not be jonesing for a casino excursion this weekend.  I’d wager on “may”.)

“Big” Al, is one smug, selfish, arrogant blanking jackass of a prick.

But I’ll dial his 1-900 number, any Saturday he appears on my television screen.

The Chiefs Prediction:

A lot can change in a year.

A year ago today, the Chiefs were staying in their hotel in San Diego, with a 1-6 record, about to play their Thursday nighter at the Chargers.  They had yet to have a lead for a single moment of actual game time.  I'd cycled through four people in the "dumb f*ck decision to buy a second seat' seat -- "The Crush" for the Falcons, D for the Chargers, Laurie for the Ravens, Jose for the raiders.

Go figure -- no one used that ticket, the rest of the year.

Exactly one year earlier?  The Chiefs beat the Chargers at Arrowhead, on Halloween night, on one of the flukiest, most "un(blanking)believable!" plays of all time.

If there's anything I've learned over the last year of my life, it is this:

Forrest Gump was right.

Sh*t happens.

The National ... Football League, is not a marathon.  It's a sprint.  You race to the finish, not plod along 26.2 miles.

You "live it up", because what other choice do you have?

I think Sunday is going to be ugly.  I concur with my "Voice of Reason" -- this IS the easiest game on the board.

Live it up folks.  Mercury Morris, Don Shula, and Bob Griese can rest in peace; they're record is safe.

* at Bills (+3) 13, Chiefs 6.

Pray I’m wrong guys.  Pray I’m wrong …

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