Replacement Refs Cost Packers the Game; Explode Twitter

I didn’t want to have to do this.  Everyone and their mothers has written something about the NFL and the replacement referee debacle so I didn’t really have much to add to it.  Until last night.

Twitter rightfully exploded after last night’s controversial call.  Comedian Patton Oswalt (and several others) revealed the next Adam Sandler/Kevin James flick (The Replacement Refs, rated PG-13). Others used the opportunity to make joke after joke about games being fixed and Ed Hochuli pumping iron.

Now,  I’m not going to lie here: I had money on Green Bay.  So I was pissed off.  Probably not anywhere near as pissed off as Packers fans (or Packers offensive lineman JD Lang according to his Twitter) but pretty pissed off . Then it just became a little bit surreal.  They really ruled that a touchdown? How the hell do millions of fat, drunk slobs at home know that was an interception and the goddamn referees don’t?

We all knew this was a shitshow. The refs have been awful thus far, getting penalties wrong and taking forever to arrive at that wrong decision.  But now we’re to the point where they’re actually costing teams games?  I don’t care if the Packers should’ve knocked it down, the fact of the matter is MD Jennings HAD THE GODDAMN BALL and, somehow, Golden Tate having one hand on it constitutes possession.  There were a million and a half penalties over the course of the night and they screwed up in egregious fashion not much earlier when they ruled a pass interference on Green Bay that was CLEARLY offensive pass interference. But the call at the end just took the cake.

The league and all these talking heads talk with a slight sense of wonder about how the players treat the replacement refs in a manipulating manner and the real question is “why wouldn’t they?”  These refs are TERRIBLE and easily influenced; you suck at your job as a professional if you don’t try to exploit these clowns.

Look, I don’t blame the refs.  The biology teacher and the insurance salesman aren’t fit to be NFL refs; they’re in way over their heads.  I don’t even blame Roger Goodell because he’s just the owners’ puppet, dancing when they wish him to.  I blame the greedy, can’t-be-rich-enough owners who refuse to make their product better by paying for the real goddamn refs who will only screw up slightly but not openly cost a team a game.  What now, owners? What now that your product is slow and aggravating?

And the sad part? The NFL owners don’t give a flying shit because you, me, and everyone else is going to continue to watch and they would sooner choke on their own shit than give more money to the real refs. Why would they if we keep watching the games and lining their pockets?

All I know is that this is EXACTLY what the NFL hoped wouldn’t happen.  Regular fuck-ups are fine but costing a team a game might not be something Goodell can just sweep under the rug.

Somewhere, Ed Hochuli is watching.  He takes in a set of curls and never stops smiling. “Soon,” he whispers to his biceps. “Soon.”


Week 2 NFL Thoughts: Welcome to the Irrationally Confident Club!

Week 2 in the NFL has passed and I find myself feeling drastically different thank I did in week 1. A win from one’s favorite team would do that. Not only that but a couple of legitimately interesting storylines have emerged and yours truly is gonna break them down.

Bills Turnaround? Look, I know you don’t care about the Bills. No one outside of Buffalo does. You know what though? I don’t care. This is MY space and I’m gonna do with it what I want. That said, the Bills looked GOOD against the Chiefs. Whether that is because they are figuring things out or because the Chiefs are terrible is another question. CJ Spiller went off again and has supplanted Fred Jackson (if the Bills are dumb enough to sit Spiller when Jackson comes back, I don’t know what I’m going to do) for the time being. Fitzpatrick still looks shaky and indecisive, which scares me, but he didn’t turn the ball over and was efficient enough(10/19, 178yds 2 TDs). THAT’S HOW WE DO IT AT HARVARD. The defense actually looked good until the garbage time but that was to be expected. The Bills should crush Cleveland on Sunday (I’ll be there) before they get annihilated by the Patriots in week 4. Speaking of those Patriots..

Bill Belichick is Sticking it to Wes Welker — Belichick is notorious for refusing to overpay and Wes Welker wants his dollar dollar bills, ya’ll. So it would seem that Welker is being phased out of the offense as evidenced by his 8 catches for 109 yards through the first two weeks. But he’s been targeted more than any other Patriot save Brandon Lloyd. And no matter how much Belichick loves him some two-tight-end sets, Kellen Winslow JR (SOLDIER!) isn’t a better option than the Mighty White. With Aaron Hernandez out of the picture for the next few weeks, Welker is going to get more targets unless Belichick enjoys hindering his own offense. Then again, he seems like a real prick so that wouldn’t surprise me.

The Eagles Can Only Get So Many Fluke Wins — I don’t care that they’re 2-0. They didn’t deserve to win week 1 against the Browns (THE BROWNS FERCHRISSAKES) and didn’t deserve to beat the Ravens on Sunday. Their defense is keeping them afloat but Vick is a turnover machine who is too stupid to slide or duck out of bounds to protect his body. Which is important because this team is NOT winning with Nick Foles. There is no way in hell this team can keep overcoming Vick’s turnovers (6 interceptions, 2 fumbles lost in 2 weeks) especially with a schedule that has no pushovers. Plus, they’re coached by Andy the Walrus whom Philly fans are hoping will finally be fired. If Vick keeps averaging 4 turnovers a game, trust me, it won’t be long before these clowns are losing.

Jay Cutler Cares Just Long Enough to Be a Total Prick — Jay Cutler always looks really disinterested. Particularly after he’s just thrown another interception and has to wait on the bench awhile before throwing another. Occasionally, though, he shows that fire. Granted, it’s not the good kind of fire. More like the “berate your teammates and then half-heartedly shove one of them out of anger and frustration” kind of fire. He really strikes me as the kind of guy who calls his offensive linemen “fat fucks” when they screw up. Just a feeling. People are high on the Bears this year but to be fair to Jay, the offensive line is a total shitshow and may or may not get him killed. I understand they finally have a legit #1 receiver in Brandon Marshall but if Cutler doesn’t even have a chance to find him what’s that gonna matter? Looking forward to many more stories about him going off on a teammate before being called out publicly following an awful loss.

The Replacement Refs Suck But Get Used to It — Steve Young put it best during last night’s Monday Night Football post-game show when he basically surmised that the NFL doesn’t care about the effect these replacement refs are having because you’ll watch anyways. And he’s right. Is anyone going to actually not watch football just because these guys take 28 minutes to make a call? Hell no. We’re going to sit there and stuff our fat faces while we bitch and moan about what’s happening but forget about it the second the next play starts. The NFL knows the replacement refs blow but they don’t want to (and won’t) pay the regulars to come back so just get used to a total clusterfuck from the refs. Besides, it’s not like it matters; you’re going to watch anyways. You could basically substitute the whole movie previews scene from this South Park episode with the current referee situation and it would be spot on. “Pass interference on number…28, no 99. What’s it matter? You’ll still watch, fuck you!”

San Francisco is Unquestionably Your Super Bowl Favorite — After walking into Green Bay and pretty much controlling the Packers followed by a truly stifling performance against Matt Stafford and the Lions on Sunday night, this team has to be the favorites. They just beat the shit out of people defensively. They don’t give up big plays and consistently pressure the quarterback. And everyone questioning Alex Smith? Not so much these days. Completing 70% of your passes for 429 yards, 4 TD’s and no interceptions will do that. Add in Frank Gore giving the finger to those who thought Kendall Hunter would fully supplant him (the two still share carries) and the offense is legitimately formidable. The Bills have them in week 5 and I already want to curl into a ball and drink.

I’ll be back next week to give you my thoughts on week 3 which will undoubtedly feature 3 more Michael Vick turnovers, a shootout between Eli Manning and Cam Newton, and Christian Ponder being put in a full body cast after facing the 49er defense.

New on TheFarmClub — NHL Lockout? I Am Disappoint.

It’s up now on The Farm Club:

I have no problem admitting this: I get irrationally mad at stuff I shouldn’t. Fly off the handle at video games?  Absolutely.  Upset when my sports team loses?  You betcha. Cut me off in traffic? I WILL EAT YOUR SOUL.

On Saturday night, at 11:59 PM EST, the National Hockey League’s Owners locked out the player’s association.  On what should have been a good day for me – my Michigan Wolverines won handily against cupcake/baby seal UMass, Michigan State lost to Notre Dame, and my beloved Buffalo Sabres had re-signed highly skilled midget Tyler Ennis – ended up with me being more upset than I probably should’ve been. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t hurling furniture, rampaging GTA-style, or anything like that. I wasn’t even ANGRY. I was disappointed.

Read the whole thing.

New on TheFarmClub — Why Do We Like Sports?

It’s up now on :

“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: being a fan is an exercise in masochism. Far more often than not, fans of any one team will experience heart-break and let down far more than they experience moments of joy and triumph. To those on the outside looking in, being a sports fan is insane. I’ve been told by friends that they don’t care for sports because it’s pointless; a waste of time, energy, and money. I’ve also been asked why I continue to support my teams when they do nothing but let me down. Surely there are better things that could be done with our time, right? Right as they may be sometimes, they just don’t understand.”

Read the whole thing.

The Week The Big Ten Imploded

For a few years now, the Big Ten conference has been teetering on mediocrity.  For the most part, the conference was a let down and even the mighty Ohio State sturggled when faced with competition from outside the conference (ESS-EE-SEEEE SPEED). But this weekend was about as bad a weekend as the conference could have had.

The biggest disaster: darkhorse National Championship contender Wisconsin lost to Oregon State. The same Oregon State team that Wisconsin beat last year 35-0.  The same Oregon State team that lost to friggin’ Sacramento State. They held Heisman candidate Montee Ball to just 61 yards on 15 carries in the Badgers’ 10-7 loss. The loss was so bad the Badgers fired their offensive line coach.  It was his second game! Nothing says “meltdown” quite like firing a position coach after his second game. HEADS GOTTA ROLL. After barely beating Northern Iowa in week 1, we probably should be worried about Wisconsin especially as the potential flag-bearer for the Big Ten.  But with the mediocrity surrounding the Big Ten, they probably still have a great shot to run the table. BCS CONFERENCE WUT

The next biggest disaster: Nebraska fell to UCLA.  Taylor Martinez, hoping to establish himself in the Heisman race and get Nebraska rolling heading into the Big Ten slate, managed only 179 yards passing and no touchdowns (he did have one rushing).  The Huskers defense was atrocious, giving up 653 yards of total offense to the Bruins.  Granted, UCLA is now 2nd in the nation in running but that’s partially because of their efforts against a terrible Nebraska unit replacing a ton of star power from an only-okay defense of last year.  They’ll get a couple of cream puffs to recover against (Arkansas State and Idaho State) before hitting the tough stretch against Wisconsin and Ohio State.

Disaster the third: Iowa loses to Iowa State 9-6.  I never have any idea what to make of the Hawkeyes and this is just another one of those results that leads me to believe they’ll be awful before they go and upset someone like Michigan or Michigan State.  James Vandenburg continues to struggle in this offense, throwing for just 129 yards. It doesn’t help that Iowa is down to its water boy at starting running back (seriously, google “Angry Iowa Running Back Hating God”). This team will probably Jekyll and Hyde its way to a 7-5 record.

Not so disastrous: Michigan beats Air Force 31-25.  Look, I know it’s Air Force. I know Michigan was hyped to the moon this season.  But breaking in a new defense against a triple option attack probably isn’t going to produce pretty results. Watching the game, a stream of profanity poured from me as the Wolverines failed to make a stop. But looking back, Air Force just does this to people.  When the defense goes up against a typical Big Ten defense, then we’ll have a fair idea of where this unit sits. I’m just happy to have been able to watch a full game knowing that my team was still in it, let alone winning.

Not so disastrous unless you’re a Penn State fan:  Penn State lost a heart-breaker to Virginia, missing a last-second field goal that would have given the much-maligned Nittany Lions the win. Considering they were 10-point underdogs coming into the game, it’s a moral victory, right? Not so much. Scott Norwood watched this game, saw missed field goal after missed field goal, and muttered “I know that feel, bro” to his television.

The rest of the Big Ten slate was uneventful: Illinois got blown out but who cares? It’s Illinois. Northwestern beat Vandy, Indiana routed UMass (who has Michigan next), Michigan State Juggalo’d Central Michigan, and Ohio State beat Central Florida.

Thankfully for the Big Ten, they reach the portion of the schedule where they can club baby seals like UMass and Idaho State before they start bludgeoning each other. Can’t wait for another BCS bowl ass-whipping for the Big Ten.

Leaked Transcript of Latest CBA Talks

As many hockey fans know, the current collective bargaining agreement between the NHL and it’s Players’ Association comes to an end September 15th.  From the way the talks are progressing, the league is heading towards its 4th labor stoppage and 3rd under Gary Bettman’s watch in the nearly 20 years he’s been on the job.

It was learned that talks between the two sides had ceased a few days ago and, after you read the transcript of the last talks that our covert ninjas managed to acquire, you’ll understand why.

Gary Bettman: Good to see you, Don.  (Bettman notices that Donald Fehr has brought along player representatives Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin) Didn’t know you were bringing company today. How are you, boys?

Crosby: Can you not talk so loud, Gary? I’d hate to get another headache.

Ovechkin: I am here to fight for the Motherlan..err the players!

Moving in for a hand shake, Ovechkin accidentally hits Bettman knee on knee.

Bettman: Alex! Be more careful next time. I’d hate to suspend you.

Both Ovechkin and Bettman crack up laughing.

Crosby: Guys, seriously. Oh God, does anyone have Advil?

Bettman: Okay guys, if you wouldn’t mind having a seat, let’s get this show on the road. Here’s the long and short of it: the owners are losing money. So much so that they have to sleep in cardboard boxes.  So how about you guys give back some of that money?

Fehr: Whoah, whoah, whoah.  I saw James Dolan roll up to the last meetings in a gold-plated Ferrari. What’s that about?

Bettman: Please, that’s from the Knicks. And besides, he’s too busy ruining them to really be taken seriously here. Now make with the money.

Fehr: What about all this “unprecedented growth” you’ve been speaking about the last few years? What about our new television deal with NBC Sports?

Bettman: How do you think Phoenix still has a team? And Florida for that matter?

Fehr: Because you are too stupid and proud to admit they’re total failures. I’m pretty sure more people show up for Montreal Expos games.  Just retract them, Gary. 

Bettman: (whispering) Look, if I do that the owners will have me killed. Why do you think I fight for them when they’re clearly greedy for more money than they need? So just give back the money already!

Fehr: Why would I do that? These guys have a limited opportunity to be fairly compensated for what they do while these owners will keep making money for a long, long time.

Bettman: (mumbling, looking directly at Crosby) Some of them have a more limited opportunity than others..

Crosby: Gary! I thought we were friends? You told me if I ever needed anything from you or the league, just ask!

Fehr: Relax, Sid. Why don’t you go lay down. Gary, the fact of the matter is that you’re asking the players to fix the problem instead of cutting dead weight. Or better yet, why not adopt the system the MLB uses? Let the big guys support the little guys through revenue sharing. Everyone wins!

Bettman: Get out of my office and don’t come back until you’re ready to make like Walmart and ROLL BACK THOSE PRICES.

Will one side cave? Will things get resolved so we can all have our hockey without the threat of a lockout for once? Tune in next week: Same lockout time, same lockout place!

Making Teenagers NHL Captains is Stupid

Yesterday, the Colorado Avalanche named Gabriel Landeskog their captain.  At 19 years, 286 days old he is the youngest captain in NHL history (just 11 days younger than former youngest captain Sidney Crosby).

I’m certainly not old, depending on your perspective (I’m 26), so this isn’t a “you damn kids!” arguement.  But at 19 years old, you’re still not even a person. You’re generally an asshat who says and does dumb things.  Hell, I am just now getting the hang of not saying or doing something idiotic in front of people.  I get being “mature beyond your years” or whatever but you’re still 19. You’re going to want to say something awful or light something on fire or chase tail like any other dumbass teen.  I mean, look to the right. Look at that hair. Real leaders don’t have hair like that.

Usually, teams who name young players as captains do so in part because that player is their best. But Landeskog isn’t the Avs best player; Matt Duchene is. He’s older than Landeskog (21) but still probably cares more about impressing some girls in the stands at practice than being a leader or anything like that. Which is kinda what he should do because he’s a kid. Score goals and sleep with girls. There’s time to be old and grizzled later.

Plus, isn’t part of being a leader and captain having the experience to know how to lead your team through the tough times? What the hell does a 19 year old know about going through adversity and tough times? You only see that shit in football when a kid comes from some crazy war-torn country and has to hide under a pile of dead bodies to avoid being killed like he was in the Walking Dead or something. 19 year old athletes probably can’t even spell “adversity” and they sure as shit don’t face any because they’re rich teenagers with young phillies at their beckoning call.

I don’t care how much of a “natural leader” a kid is or how “mature beyond his years” (read: boring) he is, the fact of the matter is that he’s still a stupid kid who has a lot more learning to do before he should be leading anyone anywhere other than his idiot friends into a Denny’s at 3am.

Go with the veteran who has actually been a professional for more than a year or two and knows what stupid things to not do.  Or at least to not get recognized doing it.