Thursday, June 16, 2016

kickoff 2016 (two months early!) stevo's nfl coaches power poll, part dos ...

“I’ve been searching,
For a pot of gold –
Like the kind you find?
At the end of the rainbow.

I’ve been dreaming;
But it was in vain.
Ah, but now you’re here –
Can’t believe that you’re back again!

Now I know I can’t lose!
As long as you follow!
I’m gonna win!  (I’m gonna win!)
I’m gonna beg, steal or borrow!

As long as you follow …”

-- “As Long As You Follow” by Fleetwood Mac, the most underrated song this band ever did.  And that’s saying something.

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In case you missed it, here’s Part Uno of Stevo’s (Probably Final) NFL Coaches Power Poll, 2016 Edition.

(late 1980s nbc announcer voice) And now, the conclusion, to Coachapalooza 2016 …

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10 (14).  Jack “Of The River”, the evil empire.  Here’s the scary thing, Chiefs fans: “Of The River” is a damned good coach … and a damned good rebuilder.  oakland will always be the ass crack of America *, but they won’t be the laughing stock of the AFC for much longer.

(*: this is settled debate: oakland is America’s ass crack, and buffalo is America’s arm pit.  Which makes Detroit what?  America’s genital wart?)

9 (12).  Chuck “Strong” Pagano, Indianapolis Colts.  If, as I noted last year, he was ranked four spots too low?  He’s still four spots too low.  His team took the field in Week Seventeen still mathematically alive for the AFC KinderCare South  Division championship, despite starting 492 year old Matt Hasselbeck half the season!  Despite having no running game! 

You want to know what “dodging the proverbial bullet” is, Chiefs fans?  Realize this: if the Colts don’t blow that late lead in Carolina on that Monday Nighter in early November, and hold on to win (rather than lose in overtime)?

It’s KC at Indy to open the playoffs … not KC at Houston.

I was there in Houston.  I will NEVER forget the pure tears of joy streaming down my face, as “Holiday” by Green Day began blaring through the PA system at a (still very much filled up with Chiefs fans) NRG Stadium, that magical Saturday afternoon. 

And I was there two years earlier, a day after I turned 37, as the Chiefs – holding damned near the SAME EXACT LEAD IN THE SECOND HALF … p*ssed it away to the Colts, on a tragic Saturday afternoon. **

Which outcome do you think happens on January 9, 2016, if the Chiefs are at Indianapolis, instead of Houston?

(**: I guess this is where I note, I hate -- I f*cking hate! -- that the last time I saw a great friend who died too young .. and way too g*ddamned f*cking estranged from so many people who truly loved him -- for the final time, until I passed his casket four months later?  

Was at this game.  

I thought a lot of Bill over the last couple weeks, as I helped the Second Parents get the pool decks ready for the summer ... because his wife finally decided to begin to move on.

Sometimes moving on?  Means you let go of people.  I get that.  Jesus, do I get that.

But sometimes?  To move on?  You have to admit, in the words of "the coward", on Friday, November 22, 2009:

"Dude?  I f*cked up.  And I'm sorry."

Bill's wife took that first step this week, even if she didn't realize, how amazing that step was.  Trust me V -- we got it, and we're damned thankful for it.

Because the lesson is?  If someone matters to you?  Don't f*ck it up.  (Wo)Manhood up, Maturity up, and own your choices in life, no matter which side of the debate, you are on.)

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(Note: I will be attending the roadies in both venues this fall – Week Two at Houston, Week Eight at Indy.  Given the Chiefs record in road games I attend (it’s brutal)?  I apologize in advance.)

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8 (NR).  Hue Jackson, Cleveland Browns.  Your 2016 “Wayne Fontes Memorial” Head Coach.

In case you’ve forgotten … Hue Jackson is who I wanted the Chiefs to hire, when “Coach Buffoon” was fired three offseasons ago.  I think what he accomplished with the evil empire in 2011 is nothing short of phenomenal.  Entering Week 16 at Arrowhead?  The Chiefs controlled their own destiny in the AFC West, after opening 0-3, collapsing to 4-7, then 5-8 – still controlled their own destiny.  Exiting Week 16?  The raiders controlled their own destiny in the AFC West, after one of the most ballsy play calls you’ll ever see – a 55 yard bomb against the Chiefs best corner (Brandon Carr) to the raiders worst receiver (heyward bey) to open overtime.

Firing hue jackson after one season?  Is the single dumbest thing the raiders have done in twenty years.  And I am fully aware that in the last twenty years, the evil empire has:

* “traded” / fired Jon Gruden.
* hired “Sur” William Callahan.
* hired Norval Eugene Turner.
* hired Art Shell “Face”.
* drafted JaMarcus Russell number one.
* drafted Rolando McClain.
* hired “Drunk” Dennis Allen.
* hired Lane Kiffin.
* had the “al davis presser” where Lane Kiffin was fired with cause.
* had Barrett Robbins in Tijuana happen.
* had Brett Favre throwing 4 TDs in a half happen.
* have not posted a winning season since 2002.
* have gone 6-0 against the division … and finished .500 (2010).
* p*ssed away a division title at home in Week 17 (2011).

And as for Chiefs outcomes?

* seen a Pete for President 46 yarder as time expired to lose (1999).
* lost on a false start call on a wide receiver (2002).
* had tim brown tackled at the goalline to lose (2003).
* seen Morten Anderson kick a 30 yarder as time expired to lose (2003).
* seen the Chiefs overcome a 14 point deficit with 4 to play to lose (2004).
* lost on a Lawrence Tynes 41 yarder as time expired (2004).
* lost on a Randy Moss dropped pass in the end zone on 4th and goal (2005).
* allowed a LJ TD as time expired to lose (2005).
* thrown an INT to Jarrad Page as time expired to lose (2006).
* lost to a 1-10 Chiefs squad (2009).
* lost via four Carson Palmer INTs in his debut (2011).
* gave up 5 TDs to Jamaal Charles (2013).
* saw derek carr throw two pick sixes in the 4th quarter (2015).

And most thankfully for every person to ever draw breath?

* won on an incredible 80 plus yard run for a handoff, in which Chiefs S Eric Berry “lost his breath” while chasing said raider running back (2014).  Mr. Berry had tests after the game.

Tests that saved his life, as the cancer was discovered.

I can’t hate oakland anymore folks.  I’m sorry.  I’ll continue to try … but if they DON’T win that game in Week 11 2014, due to Mr. Berry’s (at the time) inexcusable (and in hindsight) completely understandable inability, to tackle a running back seven yards past the line to gain?  Is Mr. Berry’s illness caught in time?

That play cost the 2014 Chiefs the playoffs … but it saved the life of one of the not quite finest – but not yet greatest – to ever wear the Red and Gold.

Remind me again – who says there never has been, never is, and never will be, any such thing as coincidence?

(Oh, right – that’s me).

(Pause).

What?

(Pause).

Oh, the point?

Hue Jackson is a damned good coach.  And it pains me, to not be able to rank him ahead of “Fat” Andy.  Because I did rank him ahead of him, three years ago … and truth be told, Hue has done nothing to justify moving behind him, three years later.

But “Fat” Andy has proven, at least for now, he belongs head of Hue, in the Power Poll Rankings.

7 (3).  John Harbaugh, Baltimore Ravens.  This will be the season that defines Steve Biscotti’s reign as owner of the Ravens.  He (and many other owners) have always noted how much they admire the way the Rooney’s run things in Pittsburgh (and deservedly so). 

John Harbaugh has done NOTHING to justify unemployment, save for last season.  Just like Brian Billick before him, did nothing to justify unemployment, other than his final season.  Mr. Biscotti at least learned the lesson there – don’t let one god-awful season derailed by injuries – be the body of work; let it be the outlier.

But can he learn the ultimate lesson the Rooney’s get?  That two down seasons, mean its time to rebuild … and if you have a guy already in place who you can see leading the rebuild back to greatness, then why fire him for an unproven commodity?

(A lesson every Chiefs fan has been painfully acknowledging, since 1974.)

6 (13).  Mike Zimmer, Minnesota Vikings.  Why the Bengals are the Bengals: their two coordinators for the better part of this decade so far?

Are more respected, than their head coach, at least in this poll.

And it’s not like Marvin Lewis deserves disrespect.

Seriously – when Marvin Lewis is your coach, Hue Jackson (and Jay Gruden) coordinate your offense, and Mike Zimmer oversees your defense, and you STILL can’t win a playoff game?

The problem ain’t your coordinators.

5 (8).  Mike Tomlin, Pittsburgh Steelers.

It’s perhaps fitting, that his last three playoff chances, have ridden on his fate, with the Chiefs.

In 2013, he needed the Chiefs to beat the Chargers in the finale.  The Chiefs sat everyone worth mentioning … and still almost won.  (They lost in overtime after Ryan “Suck”up missed a 41 yarder as time expired … and San Diego faked a punt for a first down, in overtime.  In the Chiefs defense?  (a) They had nothing to play for – no matter what, they were the five seed, and (b) it screwed our true second bitter rival, so more power to us! #sorryoakland #youretoosorrytobearivalanymore).

In 2014, he needed the Chiefs to lose in Pittsburgh … which we bent over and took, in Week Sixteen, one of the ten most pivotal games in franchise history (during the regular season).

In 2015, he needed a Chiefs win (or a Jets loss) to clinch an improbable playoff berth … and damned if both my team didn’t oblige – via a no-show in Buffalo (Jets), and a far (the late, great ted knight voice) too close for comfort Chiefs win over the evil empire.

It’s also probably fitting, his offensive coordinator in most of those years?

Is “Coach Hobo” (aka Todd Haley) … who is going to coach one of these thirty two teams that occupy the League, next year.

I just hope and pray, it isn’t the San Diego / Los Angeles / Insert Destination City Here “Super” Chargers.

4 (5).  Bruce Arians, Arizona “Super” Cardinals.  From this point on?  It gets impossible.

The Top Four this year?  Are four of the top five from last year.

And not a single one of them, did anything to discredit their ranking.

If anything?  They all strengthened it.

(The only one of last year’s top five to “tumble”?  Was John Harbaugh, from three to seven.)

I choose to keep “Fat” Andy above Bruce Arians, solely and completely because the Chiefs playoff victory left no room to doubt, who was the better team on the field that day.

Bruce Arians’ playoff victory?  Also left no room to doubt, who was the better team on the field that day… but they still gave up the Hail Mary, that forced overtime.

If the Jamaal Charles fumble in Week Two doomed the Chiefs season (and it did, ultimately)?  At least that was completely unforeseen.

Aaron Rodgers nailing a miracle Hail Mary pass as time expired to force overtime?

Happened not even six weeks earlier.

That’s Coaching Failure 101, to prevent the second occurrence.

Other than that?  (jose voice) I got nothin’, yo.

3 (4).  “Fat” Andy Reid, Kansas City Chiefs.

When you see (and if you’ve followed along, you know who the two remaining coaches are), when you see who numero uno is?

Every Chiefs fan will agree, that guy is better than our guy.

After all – that guy?  Beat our guy, in a Super Bowl.

It’s defending numero dos over “Fat” Andy, given the fact that “Fat” Andy’s team took numero dos’ team to the woodshed and gave it the business twice last season **, that I’m scrambling to defend.

(Pause).

Do I really have to say it?

(Pause).

Fine.

Brian Hoyer!

2 (2).  Bill O’Brien, Houston Texans.

I know of at least ten friends at that playoff game with me – all of them considered family.  Mona.  Russ.  Ryan.  The awesome Alyssa.  Tyler.  Ron.  Michelle.  Anthony.  Jaimmie.  Miranda. 

I can guarantee you, all ten of us, saw that outcome coming.  (After all, why else spend $500 plus / person on a weekend gone incredibly great?)

I can also guarantee you, I’m not the only one, who could not figure out why the Chiefs couldn’t put those people away, no matter how much we threw at them.

I can also guarantee you, the same ten people?

Thought the same godd*mned thing, four months earlier, in the season opener.

Bill O’Brien has made chicken salad out of chicken sh*t everywhere he has been.  Penn State?  Bowl eligible despise the Paterno scandal.  Houston?  Two straight nine win seasons with “Worse Than 2012 Chiefs Crap” under center, including (a) being the first team out (2015), and (b) winning the damned division (2015).

Let that sink in, Chiefs fans – Bill O’Brien won a division, after opening 2-5 … with Brian Hoyer under center.

I both personally love (Josh McDaniels) and hate (Scott Pioli) that the Belichick coaching tree is a “failure” in most eyes.

Folks?

Bill O’Brien came from Belichick’s Patriots.

Saved Penn State football.

And somehow, has overcome the rot-gut stench that is his GM (Rick “32 GM” Smith), to post back to back winning seasons, with a home playoff game thrown in.

I defy you to find me even two coaches listed previously, who could win a division with Brian Hoyer, Ryan Mallett, and other assorted crap at quarterback.

In fact?

I can only think of one.

1 (1).  Bill Belichick, New England Patriots

If you want to argue he’s the greatest ever?

Even this blinded Chuck Noll defender, will at least have to consider the motion under advisement …

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