Tag Archives: Cincinnati Bengals

The 2012 NFL Playoffs – The Definitive Dubsism Oddsmaker’s View

1) Green Bay Packers

Why They Can Win:

In this case, there’s three good reasons. First, just like in boxing, you are the champs until somebody beats you, and to get to the Super Bowl, an NFC team is going to have to pull that off in Lambeau Field in January. Secondly, the Packers have Aaron Rodgers, who is Tom Brady before the very mention of his name drove me another notch toward rectal cancer. Third, and most simply, the Packers offense as a unit may be the most formidable weapon in the entire league.

Why They Can’t Win:

In what will prove to be a theme here, the Packers can barely run the ball, and their idea of defense is simply to outscore the opponent. They can make that work, but it is also an approach susceptible to failure.

Odds of Winning: 2.5 to 1

2) New Orleans Saints

Why They Can Win:

To be honest, I don’t have a good answer for this.  Last season, the Saints had two major flaws, First, Drew Brees tossed picks at a  near Favrian clip. That got fixed. The Saints also did not have a realistic offensive option coming out of the backfield. That got fixed too.

Why They Can’t Win:

They have to go on the road to get past Green Bay, which is going to be a tall order.

Odds of Winning: 4 to 1


3) Baltimore Ravens

Why They Can Win:

The worm has turned 180 degrees from this time last year, at which point I said the following:

“If you know the difference between Target and WalMart, then you know the difference between the Steelers and the Ravens. The shopping carts are little cleaner and they roll a little straighter at Target, but you get better prices at WalMart. The Baltimore Ravens are WalMart, and nobody loves to save a buck more than a Hot-Pocket eating blogger.”

Well, the Ravens are now Target, and the Steelers are now Walmart.  Target is better.

Why They Can’t Win:

Ray Rice remains the main offensive weapon of this team, as Joe Flacco still has  consistency issues. Any team that can force Flacco to be the play-maker has a puncher’s chance.

Odds of Winning: 8 to 1

4) San Francisco 49ers

Why They Can Win:

The 49ers might very well be the most complete and balanced team in this field. Alex Smith finally looks like an NFL quarterback, Frank Gore continues to deliver, and the defense is one of the best in the league.

Why They Can’t Win:

Jim Harbaugh may very well be the NFL coach of the year, but he’s still a Rookie head coach. Most of this team has never been down the playoff road before, and the way they got manhandled by the Ravens just seems like too much of a warning sign there’s a demon out there which will present itself during a playoff game.

Odds of Winning: 12 to 1

5) Pittsburgh Steelers

Why They Can Win:

The Steelers are are still very physical and still have playmakers.  Ben Roethlisberger is one those guys that makes anything possible.

Why They Can’t Win:

Like the rest of the team, Roethlisberger is beat up. Rashard Mendenhall is gone for the duration. The one guy this team absolutely cannot win without is Troy Polamalu, and he is nicked up as well.  Without him, the Steelers become the Aluminumers.

Odds of Winning: 15 to 1

6) New England Patriots

Why They Can Win:

Because Tom Brady is still Tom Brady; one of the greatest quarterbacks in the history on the NFL, and he isn’t far enough past his prime to be discounted.

Why They Can’t Win:

To see the future in Foxboro, just look toward Indianapolis. Don’t look right this second, because you may notice the Patriots are beginning to get old before your very eyes.  They are the worst 13-3 team I’ve ever seen – they define over-rated.  They can’t run the ball and their defense couldn’t stop a Pop Warner team, yet somehow they are top-seed in the AFC.

All this team has is Tom Brady, and that’s just enough to hide the real defects in this team. There’s a reason I call this the “Manning Rule.”

Odds of Winning: 18 to 1

7) New York Giants

Why They Can Win:

Take a coin out of your pocket. This coin represents the streakiness of the New York Giants. Flip the coin. Heads, Giants win.

Why They Can’t Win:

That complete lack of consistency drives me batshit crazy. Flip that coin Again. Tales, Giants lose. Eli Manning is easily my favorite player to watch in the NFL; he is like a poker player who loses a shitload of $50 pots, and just enough $10,000 ones to stay above water.  This time, Eli is all in with two pair.

Odds of Winning: 20 to 1

8 ) Atlanta Falcons

Why They Can Win:

Matt Ryan is an up-and-coming young quarterback who has been compared to a young Peyton Manning, and the Falcons have one of the best receiving groups in the game, which means the Falcons are capable of hanging big numbers on anybody.

Why They Can’t Win:

Ryan lives up to the Manning comparisons.  If he does, expect the Falcons to fold because Manning has always been a terrible “big game” quarterback; Manning’s only Super Bowl win comes from Lovie Smith’s refusal to get Rex Grossman off the field. Eventually, I think Ryan will prove to be a “big-game” quarterback, I’m just not sold this is the year.

On the other side of the ball, the Falcons lack the pass rush or secondary to handle the lethal passing attacks in this postseason group.

Odds of Winning: 25 to 1

9) Houston Texans

Why They Can Win:

There is an inviolable rule about play-off football: never count out a team that can a) run the ball and b) play defense. This is the recipe the Texans used to get this far.

Why They Can’t Win:

The injury to Matt Schaub could be crippling. If Jake Delhomme is the answer, I don’t want to know the question.

Odds of Winning: 30 to 1

10) Cincinnati Bengals

Why They Can Win:

Andy Dalton and A.J. Green are going to be one the best QB/WR combinations in this league for quite some time. Not to mention, the Bengals can play a little defense as well.

Why They Can’t Win:

Because they are the Bengals. If you were going to spin a yarn about a NFL team with a curse, you’d start in Cincinnati. Even if you don’t buy that, winning three road playoff games and a Super Bowl with a rookie quarterback is the poker equivalent of hitting an inside straight three times in a row.

Odds of Winning: 35 to 1

11) Detroit Lions

Why They Can Win:

They can’t. Well, I take that back; everybody else’s plane could crash, there could be a plague of locusts, there could be a massive outbreak of food poisoning from the people who do all the NFL food handling.

Why They Can’t Win:

Even though they have Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson, I don’t buy this team and I never have.  This is a team that hasn’t even sniffed the playoffs in over a decade, hasn’t won a division title in nearly two, and hasn’t won a league title in over five.

This year’s version loves to act like a high-school junior varsity team. They run their mouths constantly. They have a complete lack of discipline, which comes from the coach on down. They implode the minute they face a challenge. They’ve been pretty good this season, but they have yet to show me they have the stones to make the move from good to great.

Odds of Winning: 50 to 1

12) Denver Broncos

Why They Can Win:

Two words: Tim Tebow.

Why They Can’t Win:

Two words: Tim Tebow.

Odds of Winning: 100 to 1

What We Learned From This Weekend In Football 11/5/2011 – The “I Can’t Believe This Is Happening” Edition

1) The Penn State Situation

I’m not going to get into the minutia of this disgusting affair now, if for no other reason than I want to see if somebody hits the nail on the head about why this played out the way it did. As horrible as this story is, there is also a very stinging indictment of American society contained in all of this. While we should all be foremost concerned with the well-being of the victims, and while we must reserve the hottest fires of hell for the perpetrators of these terrible acts, we must also take a hard look at how the society we’ve collectively created allowed this to happen.

In a few days when the emotion has settled off of this story, I’m going to revisit this point in detail.  Stay tuned…

2) LSU and Alabama are still the two best teams in the country

Don’t believe that? Which team not currently in the SEC could beat either of them? I’m waiting…I’ll be here all day…

3) The Tebow Question, volume 2:

I will be the first to admit that I was wrong about Cam Newton; I said he’d never make an NFL quarterback. To me, this begs a question about another son of the SEC, Heisman-winning signal-caller. What does Tebow have to do to to get all the Tebow-haters to change their minds? I’m suggesting he’s done anything worthy of that yet, but I’m wondering where the line is? I’m looking at a guy who has won two road-games with a team which barely has the talent to win two games period, so I’ve got to ask…

4) Speaking of Rookie Quarterbacks…Have You Seen The Bengals lately?

This begs another question. What does Andy Dalton have to do to get some love? Don’t look now, but the Bengals have won five in a row, led largely by Dalton’s  1,696 yards, 12 touchdowns versus only 7 interceptions.  I don’t know if you knew this, but rookie quarterbacks aren’t supposed to be able to U-turn a team from 4-12 to 6-2.

5) The San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers are 7-1. They’ve won six straight games. The last time that happened, the sex scandals were in D.C., not State College, Jim Harbaugh was quarterbacking the Colts, and the 49ers were still doing that Bill Walsh/West Coast offense.

Then the 49ers were as a “finesse” team. Now with Harbaugh as their head coach, the 49ers are more than willing to kick your ass.

There was that whole incident a while back when Harbaugh had some words with Lions coach Jim Schwartz. This past week, Niner tight end Vernon Davis got into a squabble before the game with several Redskins players, then later wide receiver Kyle Williams felt the need to throw his shoulder into the body of Washington linebacker London Fletcher.  This led to another fight, one that included a few choice words from Harbaugh himself.

Oh, and they’ve abandoned that pass-happy offense as well. Now, the 49ers are ranked 30th in passing yards and winning.

The 15 Worst Sports Owners Not Named McCourt or Wilpon

Editor’s Note: This article is a collaborative effort between Dubsism and Ryan Meehan from First Order Historians. Ryan also has his own blog, East End Philadelphia, which is featured in our BlogRoll and it is well worth the read.

Lately, all the attention for bad ownership has been focused on that shithead who owns the Los Angeles Dodgers and the horse-thief who owns the New York Mets. But the fires created by these two douche-nozzles are sucking the oxygen out of a room full of bad owners; these are guys who really should not be slipping under anybody’s radar.

There’s really three main types of owners who are bad for sports. There’s the “only in it for the money” guy, there’s the “I’m the owner so I know everything about this sport” guy, and there’s the “Incompetent and/or Insane” guy. Peruse the following list and remember, some owners may represent more than one type.

15) Jeremy Jacobs, Boston Bruins

This pick may be hard to understand considering the Bruins just won the Stanley Cup, and a great deal of you don’t give a rat’s ass about hockey. However, that recent victory still doesn’t hide the fact that for most of his nearly 40 years of ownership, the Bruins have had one of the lowest payrolls in the league despite the fact Boston is a Top 10 market. This would be like buying the best strip club in town and filling it with chicks who look like Tim Tebow.

It also helps to remember that before 2009, the Bruins went for a decade without winning a playoff series, largely because even when Jacobs had stars like Ray Bourque or Cam Neely, he never put enough of a supporting cast around them to make the team a winner.  In other words, Jacobs is the first on this list of what will prove to be a long line of cheapskate assholes.

14) Jerry Jones, Dallas Cowboys

Jerry Fucking Jones…where do we start?  The Dallas Cowboys are one of the most storied franchises in the NFL, and we’ve all had  that “America’s Team” bullshit rammed so far down our throats that little brown drops of it land in our shorts every time we sneeze.

We are convinced that at least half of all currently worshipped deities hate the Cowboys because the Gods keep fucking with them. You know they were sitting around in some big “God” club drinking whatever “God” type dudes drink laughing their collective “God” asses off when Tony Romo fumble-dicked that extra point hold against the Seahawks a few years back. The best part was that was a year where the NFC was weaker than no-alcohol beer as hell and the Cowboys were flying down the E-Z Pass lane toward the Super Bowl until Romo slammed the bus into the toll booth.

Even though they have tons of moments like that in their history, nobody ever seems to remember the Cowboys haven’t won shit in 15 years. That’s pretty much Jerry’s fault. Nobody ever seems to remember Jones has a long track record of making some of the stupidest decisions (Dave Campo, Chan Gailey, and Wade Phillips for openers…) because he IS the front office. Nobody ever seems to remember Jones is a megalomaniac who has a thirst for power rivaled only by Kim Kardashian’s thirst for B-grade jock spooge.

That amnesia on Jerry Jones completely escapes me since sports fans hate him more than groin kicks and flat beer combined. He’s the perfect guy for blue-collar America to hate because blue-collar America loves to blame all its problems on big money businessman, especially if they are obnoxious Texans who own sports teams.  Its like he’s a drunker, louder version of George W. Bush.

Bush gets blamed for everything from male pattern baldness to the terribly high lesbian ratio in the LPGA, yet Jones gets a free pass for screwing up the Super Bowl by selling tickets to seats that were not usable.  Plus, it’s a nuclear-powered level of hilarious that he worked his spotted, flabby ass off to get the Super Bowl in his very own building only to watch his team leave their season floating in the locker room shitter.  Hey, if they’re America’s Team, and America loves to hate, l then we’re just being patriotic.

13) Charles Wang, New York Islanders

It’s time to play a little game-show we like to call “Stereotype.”  You would think that an Asian guy who got rich building his own computer company would be good at math, right? Sorry, but if you were to assume that about Wang, you would be hearing a loud buzzer right about now and finding out about our lovely consolation prizes.

It takes a special kind of idiot to buy a sports franchise in an era of explosive growth and actually find a way to lower the value of the franchise, and Wang is that special kind of idiot.  Wang bought the Islanders in 2000, and since has found a way to wang himself out of millions through some seriously stupid decisions.

First, the fact he employed Mike Milbury speaks for itself. His nickname “Mad Mike” doesn’t really lend creedence to what a terrible general manager he was; were he in the NFL, he would have made Matt Millen look like a fucking genius. Hockey fans remember monstrous Milbury moves like inking an underachieving Alexei Yashin to a 10-year, $87.5 million deal, trading away star goaltender Roberto Luongo for a case of urinal cakes, and taking Rick DiPietro with the first pick in the 2000 NHL entry draft ahead of future stars Dany Heatley and Marian Gaborik.  To top it all off, it was Milbury’s idea to sign DiPietro to a franchise-risking 15-year, $67.5 million contract extension which at the time it was signed was the biggest sports contract in history.

Sadder still is the fact the atrocities committed by Milbury with Wang’s blessing aren’t even the worst.  My favorite Wang jerk-off move happens to be when he hired Neil Smith as general manager in 2006, only to fire him 40 days later and replace him with the backup goalie.

Things have gone so bad there is talk of this franchise leaving New York for Kansas Fucking City. Seriously, what could Kansas City offer over New York? More corn? Fatter chicks? A night life as exciting as spending an evening with your face buried in George Brett’s ass crack?

Not to mention, the NHL already failed in Kansas City. To find the old “Kansas City Scouts,” you have to look under “New Jersey Devils.”

12) Peter Angelos, Baltimore Orioles

Peter Angelos is Greek, and according to the Urban Dictionary, “greek” is a euphemism for anal sex. This is fitting, because nobody has butt-fucked Baltimore baseball more than Angelos has.

Before Angelos, the O’s were one of the most storied franchises in baseball; they had been to the World Series six times in the 25 years prior to Angelos. The O’s won three World Series Championships in that time.  Now in the nearly two decades of Angelos’ ownership, the Orioles have made only two post-season appearances.

The contract that exemplifies Angelos’ extreme dumb-assery was the deal he inked with Albert Belle. This gargantuan bank-buster made Belle the highest paid player in baseball. Despite the fact Belle’s career would be in the shitter two years later, due to the terms of the contract he had to remain on the Orioles’ roster for the final three years of the deal.

But the biggest “peter” Angelos has wedged into the collective anus of Balitmorians everywhere is the fact there are a ton of Hall-of-Famers who have no role within the Orioles’ organization simply because Angelos’ values his pride more than his franchise.

First off, I stand by the story. Every single word.

Orioles’ owner Peter Angelos and Hall of Famer Cal Ripken, Jr. have taken turns denying parts of my report from last Friday, the gist of which was that Angelos recently declined to hire Ripken to help his wonderful team.Both declined opportunities to comment before I went with the story, and that’s fine.

Both dispute that Angelos told Ripken he didn’t want Ripken to receive credit once the team returned to prominence — a detail confirmed by three sources — and that’s fine, too. But now that both are in such talking moods, I have a few more questions, mostly for Angelos.

  • Why isn’t Ripken already working for the Orioles?
  • Why isn’t Brooks Robinson involved with the team?
  • Why isn’t Frank Robinson?
  • Why is a franchise with such a glorious history not taking better advantage of someof the greatest natural resources the game has to offer?

Funny, I don’t think it’s because the Orioles have all the answers.

A number of former Orioles — including Hall of Famers Jim Palmer and Eddie Murray —serve the club as paid broadcasters, but the O’s need to draw from their tradition inways that go beyond Boog Powell cooking ribs on Eutaw Street. It’s damning — and a direct reflection on Angelos’ tone-deaf ownership — that Hall ofFamers Ripken, Brooks Robinson and Frank Robinson are nowhere to be found at Camden Yards.

What else can you say? Angelos is that kind of guy as described by Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in Full Metal Jacket – “He’s the kind of person who would fuck somebody in the ass and not even have the common courtesy to give them a reach-around.”

11) Joe Lacob and Peter Guber, Golden State Warriors

Granted, The Warriors have been a doormat of the NBA for two generations now, and granted, they just bought the team from Chris Cohan, a douchebag worthy of this list in his own right because under Cohan, they missed the playoffs every year from 1994 to 2007. That’s the longest drought in NBA history. The single shining moment of non-suckititude came in 2007 when they upset the #1 playoff seed Dallas Mavericks.

Lacob and Guber get on this list for being David Stern’s poster-children in his attempt to cut the balls off the NBA player’s union. Something stinks about the way these two fuckwads got into the ownership ranks. The “sale” was rigged; it included $150 million in league loans to get it done and the league forced multiple small percentage owners to raise the cash for the “sale” after the supposed bid was completed in July 2010. The whole reason these two exist are to be more of Stern’s stormtroopers against the union.

10) William Clay Ford, Detroit Lions

You’ll notice a theme developing here; one of a franchise having success until it was purchased by a hemmorhoid with a big wallet. Picture a time when the Lions weren’t a dingleberry on the anus of the NFL. You’ll have to set the Wayback Machine for the 1950’s, when Lions arguably were the most successful team in the league. They appeared in four NFL Championship Games, winning three.

Then, in 1964 William Clay Ford purchased the Lions and they have not been in a championship game since. In the 47 years Ford has owned the Lions, they have a single playoff win. Even the Bengals and Cardinals have more than that. That’s fucking pathetic.

Right now, the Lions fins themselves digging out of a hole dug by the steam-shovel of suck known as Matt Millen. Lets’ make one thing clear; we don’t have an issue with Millen as a broadcaster.  He was simply the prototypical shitty general manager.  He took a franchise that was already in the shitter and kept inventing ways to keep shitting on it. By the time he was done, the Lions’ franchise was like the Matterhorn of shit.

Watching Millen manage was like watching a retard masturbate. His eight-year jack-off-to-nowhere spree as head of the franchise led to the worst record in the history of the modern NFL (31-97 / .319), yet it took Ford until a month into the 2008 season to fire his ass.  Billboards were actually being erected in Detroit, some which simply said “Fire Millen.” Others had a picture of what the Lions’ Super Bowl ring would have looked like, captioned with  “Not this MILLENium.” Not like it mattered, English has been spoken only as third language in Detroit ever since they burned the city to the ground in the 60s.

Plus, the only time people read billboards is when they are on their way to work. Since nobody in Detroit has a goddamn job (because Ford also sucks at running a car company) the only people that noticed were the national media.

9) Daniel Snyder, Washington Redskins

It’s no fucking wonder that a guy who is the chairman of the board and majority owner of a chain of amusement parks would make watching the Redskins a roller-coaster of nausea. Snyder purchased the Redskins in 1999, and since then its been far more down than up on the Redskin roller-coaster.

In fact, there’s been no up; 1999 was the best season the Redskins had since their last Super Bowl win in 1991.  It’s no accident 1999 also happens to be the best season they have had during Snyder’s tenure. Snyder loves to spend like the proverbial drunken sailor, but he also gets drunken results.  He’s replaced a Pro Bowl quarterback (Brad Johnson) with an aging head case (Jeff George).  He pumped a Potomac River of money into a washed-up Bruce Smith and a way past primetime Deion Sanders.  He thought Richie Pettibone, Norv Turner, Jim Zorn, and Steve “ol’ Ball Coach” Spurrier were NFL head coaches.

If you have any question as to how football-clueless Snyder is, just  look at the last eighteen months.  In that period, he signed Donovan McNabb (only to trade him to the Vikings for a ham sandwich, a move made much more hilarious by the fact Snyder is Jewish), made virtually no improvement in quite possibly the most active offseason free agency period in the history of the NFL.  Of course, there is no need to improve on a team that in a single game elevated Michael Vick’s status in white America from “degenerate dog killer” to “allowed to doggie-fuck my daughter.”

Now Washington should actually be a good team, not one that needs a minor miracle to beat a shitheap franchise like Detroit. The franchise has a prime location (there’s a lot of money in DC), they have a huge, new stadium, and they have a ton of history. Not even the liberal cry-babys who bitch about everything don’t give a fuck about this team, otherwise you’d be hearing their bitching about that “racist” nickname somewhere other than Rachel Maddow’s penis.

The really messed-up part is that Snyder has done incredibly well with the Redskins from a business standpoint; the Redskins are the second-most valuable franchise in the league. Of course that success doesn’t keep him off this list as he has stooped to such extreme ass-hattery like suing his very own season ticket holders to ensure that the Redskins remain profitable.

8 ) Al Davis, Oakland Raiders

For those of you under 30, you may not believe there was a time when Al Davis wasn’t a batshit crazy Cryptkeeper look-alike and the Raiders were not the laughing stock of the NFL.  In an 18-year span during the 70’s and 80’s, the Raiders won 13 division championships, made 15 playoff appearances, and took home three Lombardi trophies. This is the era when the Raiders were the winningest team in all of professional sports, and love him or hate him, Davis was a respected and visionary leader who helped build the AFL into a league so successful the NFL couldn’t beat it so they joined with it.

But somewhere along the line; somewhere right around 1992, it all went wrong. Horribly, horribly wrong.

Since 1992, the Raiders have had just five winning seasons. Their 2002 Super Bowl crushing at the hands of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers led to a stretch of seven straight season in which the Raiders never won more than 5 games, and they have yet to have a winning season since then.

How can this happen? Simple. Davis is destroying that which he built. You could call it “suicide by head coach and draft pick.”

Rather than list the rash of terrible draft picks the Raiders have made in the last decade, let’s focus on the most telling.

“JaMarcus Russell is a good quarterback” – Al Davis

Davis drafted JaMarcus Russell in 2007, and he got glowing reviews from a lot sports “experts” at the time, despite the fact there were some warning signs he would become “fat and lazy.”

JaMarcus Russell, moments before the fire department had to use the "jaws of life" to get Mylie Cyrus out of his throat.

Other NFL scouts literally shattered bones in their haste to jump off the Russell bandwagon once they heard him talk about how much he was going to “relax and eat” after the draft.

Not Al.

Other teams thought it was sheer insanity to pay roughly the gross domestic product of Australia to a completely unproven rookie.

Not Al.

Most other owners would have seen their big-money rookie fatting up like a Christmas goose, especially since that rookie holdout made him miss all of training camp and several weeks of the regular season.

Not Al.

Most other owners would realize that when his big-money rookie has cheeseburgered his way into being JaMarcus the Hutt, that’s nobody but the big-money rookie’s fault.

Not Al.

Most other owners would realize when the head coach says the big-money rookie sucks, he probably sucks.

Not Al.

When Lane Kiffin dared tell Al that JaMarcus Russell was as much an NFL quarterback as Jayne Russell, Al told Kiffin that Russell didn’t suck…he did.

“He is a great player. Get over it and coach this team on the field. That is what you were hired to do. We can win with this team.”

Then he did Kiffin the best favor he possibly could by firing him.

The beauty was that off-season proved to be a delicious one, Russell showed up at camp so fat he exerted his own gravitational pull. He was putting Shake N’ Bake in his Gatorade. When he wasn’t gasping for air or sweating bacon grease, he was showing his “commitment to excellence” by snoozing through team meetings, or just skipping them to go on a bling-gasm in Las Vegas.

Finally, even Al had to see his big-money rookie was just big.  Four sets of  “back-titties” big.  Before being released, rumors were that Russell was well over 300 pounds, far above the 255 he weighed in his prime just 3 years prior. It takes a lot of prime rib to get that far away from your prime in only 3 fucking years.

But the Kiffin thing takes us back to Al’s relationships with his head coaches in the past 20 years.

Al hired Bill Callahan, a head coach who inspired so much trust in his players they accused him of ” sabotaging the season.” To regain their trust, Callahan said the Raiders were “the dumbest team in America in terms of playing the game.” We must admit we really don’t understand that motivational technique, but it worked since Callahan was the last coach to post a winning record in Oakland and the last to lead the Raiders to the Super Bowl.

Then it starts to get scary. Let’s look at the lowlights…Al hired Norv Turner as coach; the Raiders went a combined 9-23 in his two seasons. Al hired Art Shell twice, the first time went OK;  the second brought a franchise-worst 2-14 record.

Then, Al hired Lane Kiffin, threatened to fire him on a weekly basis, and when he finally did, it was a great moment in “Crotchety Old Man” history; Al held a press conference during which he put his “Kiffin Bitch List” on an overhead projector! You read that right, it was the dawn of the 21st century, and in the shadow of Silicon Valley,  and Al is using the same technology as your Dad’s 5th-grade teacher.

Then, Al  hired Tom Cable, a man who most famously broke the jaw of his assistant coach with a sucker punch, then threatened to kill him.

The thing all of us can see that Al can’t is the Raiders have massive trust issues. Al doesn’t trust his coaches to make good draft selections, Al’s players don’t trust his coaches, the fans don’t trust Al’s “commitment to excellence” enough to purchase season tickets, and even those of us who don’t give a fuck about the Raiders don’t trust their franchise not to suck.

What this all comes down to is Al Davis is old and he’s lost it.  Nobody like hearing that because it reminds us all our time is coming; it’s disturbing to know someday we will all no longer be able to control when we do and do not shit ourselves.  Most people who are lucky enough to live that long don’t run their own professional sports team.  Even though Al Davis is now the kind of boss that walks into your office and gives you the choice of lancing a boil on his back or letting him drop his band-aid into your coffee (and you MUST drink it), he’s still just an old man who needs to retire so we don’t have to keep watching him shit his pants.

7) Tom Ricketts, Chicago Cubs

Tom Ricketts is the CEO of of Incapital LLC, a Chicago, an investment bank that packages corporate bonds for retail investors.  He’s also the son of the guy who founded Ameritrade, so if you the typical blue-collar American who gets off on o hating people who are born into money, this is a good place to start.

The Cubs suffer from a lack of real direction, and this is partially Ricketts’ fault.  He took over the Cubs in the beginning of 2009, inheriting the Alfonso Soriano contract, which might be considered a good deal if the entire planet’s economy ran off of how much money we could all light on fire all at once.  Since then, the Cubs have grown one of the highest payrolls in baseball, and have one of the worst records.  They’re in a market that is extremely critical of all of their sports teams, and radio is brutal even when your winning.  Just ask the last season’s Chicago Bears.

Since Meehan is a regular guest on a Chicago Cubs internet radio (insert shameless plug for ivyenvy.com here) you might expect him to have more of an opinion on Ricketts. But the truth is, unless the Cubs go on a five game winning streak, the guy’s a fucking ghost.  (Editor’s note:  The Cubs didn’t win five in a row this season until last week.)  To be quite honest with you, if Meehan’s producer hadn’t attended a press conference with Ricketts a few weeks back http://ivyenvy.com/?p=6034, he might fall into that same level of “does he exist” along with Sasquatch and Oprah Winfrey’s heterosexuality.

Let’s just put it this way, Ricketts and his family believed in 2009 the Cubs were worth 900 million dollars with a relic of a stadium that’s falling apart and countless personnel and financial issues, and he hasn’t done much to change it.

6) Mike Brown, Cincinnati Bengals

Sometimes taking over the family business isn’t as easy as it looks. But when you get handed the keys to an organization built by a legend and you fuck it up beyond belief…that’s how you end up one of the most hated owners in sports.

Welcome to the world of Mike Brown. When the legendary Paul Brown passed away in 1991, Mike Brown assumed control of the Bengals. Since then, the Bengals’ record is a cesspool-worthy 124-211-1, with a single playoff appearance.

If the cavalcade of losing wasn’t enough to make fans want to piss in his hollowed-out skull, Brown continues to give the Bengal faithful all the reason they would need to want to drag his lifeless corpse around Paul Brown Stadium.

For some reason ESPN has continued to report on the Cincinnati Bengals situation.  For the longest time, it was a complete fucking mystery why the World Wide Leader gives a tire-squished shit about the Queen City Kitties. But we finally figured it out.

ESPN is betting on curiosity…curiosity as to what will finally kill the Cats’ owner.

Will it be his ability to pinch a penny so hard he can make Abe Lincoln fart? Brown is notorious as cheapskate asshole. The Bungles have the most understaffed scouting departments in the league and he simply does not spend money on free-agents.

Perhaps, it will be his colossal stubborn streak. If there’s anything we’ve learned in the past, it’s that Mike Brown is one of the most stubborn owners in professional sports, and that also makes him exceptionally stupid. He steadfastly refuses to hire a general manager, which may explain this team’s terrible record.

He refused to grant Carson Palmer a trade, thus forcing Palmer to call Brown’s bluff and retire, thus forcing Brown to eat his value and not reap any of the benefits of such a trade.  Granted, Palmer is also a total dick; he made it no secret that he thought Ohio sports fans were weak and simple since Day One.  But when you consider all of the bullshit he had to put up with during his tenure with the Bengals, one can clearly see Brown is a dick of a higher order.

Not to mention Brown was the one who kept letting Chad Johnson act like a jackass, all the while believing that Chris Henry was going to turn his life around only to see him die by falling out of the back of a truck.

These issues are just the tip of the Brown-hating iceberg. Anyway you slice it, Bengals’ fans strive to ensure Brown knows they hate him, ranging from boycotts to erecting billboards to an anti-Brown website, fans in the Queen City have been nothing short of creative in their efforts.

What it comes down to is that Brown isn’t really a big dick; he’s actually a tiny, little dick who can’t get out from under the shadow of Daddy. Brown has been for years trying to prove to the sports media and the fans that on his watch the Bengals won’t take any shit from anybody and that you’d better do what he tells you if you know what’s good for you.

Typical pathetic little raisin-sac bullshit.

But in the end, it’s obvious nobody thinks Brown matters so nobody pays any attention to his false pride largely because nobody gave a fuck to begin with. After all, if you know you can’t finish higher than 3rd in your division for the next decade, then what the fuck difference does your pride make?

5) David Glass, Kansas City Royals

Glass may have been a great business executive, but he’s a shitty owner. In ten seasons as owner of the Royals, his team has finished and in that time – they have finished with a record above .500 just once, have lost 100 games or more four times, and have averaged nearly 95 losses for every season of the Glass regime.

Prior to his purchase of the Royals, Glass was the CEO of Wal-Mart. This is where he earned the reputation as one of the nation’s premier executives. In business, the Glass model was rather successful; reasonable products at dirt-cheap prices. That’s the same approach Glass has used with the Royals, and while the team’s revenue has increased every year, on the field performance and the player salaries have not.

This makes Glass the perfect representative of the parasitic effect silly things like “luxury taxes” in baseball have. They actually make it possible to be profitable and terrible at the same time, which is a cancer on the world of sport, not just baseball.

4) Jeffrey Loria, Florida Marlins

Very few people have shown the ability to drive a franchise over the brink, and this turdpipe has done it twice. Of course, what should we expect from a guy who made his money as an “art dealer?” I bet it isn’t even “real” art, I bet it is that “Elvis on black velvet” crap you see being sold at abandoned gas stations hanging on a chain-link fence.

There’s no coincidence in the fact that he owned two teams long rumored to be on the contraction block. His refusal to put any money in the Montreal Expos guaranteed their sale to MLB so they could be reborn as the Nationals and so he could buy the Marlins. His dismal leadership immediately placed the Marlins in a “build a new stadium or face the consequences” dilemma; and Miami knuckled under…the new ball park opens next season.

3) Bill Bidwill, Arizona Cardinals

The Bidwill family has owned the Cardinals for close to 50 years.  In that time, have one exactly four playoff games. Three of those came a few years back when the Cards made that miracle run to the Super Bowl.  Just the fact he is holding an NFC Championship trophy is proof a blind squirrel can occasional find a nut.

A common comparison is that the Cardinals are the Clippers of the NFL; it would be more accurate to say the Clippers who are the Cardinals of the NBA. The Cards have been the model were the model of dysfunctionality  in the sports when the Clippers franchise were still the Buffalo Braves. The comparison stems largely from the fact these are both franchises that have had to move twice because of horrid ownership decisions.

2) James Dolan, New York Knicks and New York Rangers

James Dolan’s reign as the owner of the New York Knicks and Rangers has been an exercise in following the Steinbrenner model with the Yankees of the 80s; money does not cure bad decisions.  Since 1999 when Dolan took control of both franchises, fans of both teams would be well within their rights to join the paper bag squad.

Dolan has pumped a river of money into the Rangers; they have the highest average salary  in the NHL, yet they have only made the playoffs four times and have not once been past the semifinals.  There’s a school of thought which believes the blame should fall on general manager Glen Sather, but the people who think that rode to that school on the short bus.

First of all, Dolan refuses to fire Sather despite his blatant incompetence. Second of all, Sather doesn’t control the Knicks, who have exactly the same problems, which makes Dolan the common thread.  Dolan has overseen the Knicks through nearly a decade full of seasons of fewer than 40 wins, to go along with just two playoff appearance, despite having one of the top payrolls in the NBA.

Then’s there whole Isiah Thomas fiasco. Insert your own rant on that mess here.

1) Donald Sterling, Los Angeles Clippers

Sterling is possibly the best example of a guy being both a genius businessman and a complete shit-stain in the Fruit of the Looms of the sports world.  There’s so many ways to look at the sporting idiocy that is Donald Sterling. There’s the numbers:

  • 31 – Number of seasons he has owned the Clippers
  • 2 – Number of seasons they have finished with a winning record
  • .341 – Team winning percentage in those seasons
The problem is that the Clippers and Sterling are like a really bad marriage of really bad people; they deserve each other. As mentioned earlier, this franchise began its trail of tears in 1970 as the Buffalo Braves. By 1981, the team had already failed in Buffalo and moved to San Diego where they were also failing. This is where Sterling comes along and buys the team for a pittance.
The Clippers spend the next two seasons in San Diego struggling to draw 4,500 fans.  In 1984, Sterling makes the one good decision he ever made with the Clippers; naturally, it was a business decision. He moves the team to Los Angeles, which is the sole move that allowed the value of the Clippers to rise from$12.5 million back in the summer of 1981 to an estimated $350 million today.

That is Donald Sterling’s sports resume in  nutshell; great for the bankbook, lousy for on-the-court performance. The team has been a  joke for over three decades, but Sterling keeps laughing all the way to the bank.   Sterling has faithfully followed the model of keeping the payroll at “paying in recyclable cans” levels of cheap to maximize profit while never once giving a damn about the won-loss column. The Clippers have finished in the Draft Lottery so many times they’ve seen more balls than an Ava Devine gang-bang.

What do porn stars and the Clippers have in common? They both dribble before they shoot.

I know it won’t come as a shock to read that a miser like Sterling might also be just a bad human being. What kind of guy heckles his own players?  We can’t imagine this would be productive under any circumstance, but of all of the sports where this would be a bad idea, basketball would have to be the worst.  To top it off, of the all players not to piss off,  you might think Baron Davis would be in the top five.   For that matter, how sweet would it have been if Rasheed Wallace had ever played for the Clippers?  He would have killed Sterling.  Just picture ‘Sheed “keeping it real” by yanking Donnie Boy’s bow-tied ass out of his seat and dribbling his head off the scorer’s table for about five minutes.

I’m not sure there is a more telling commentary of Sterling complete level of tone-deafness than this:

It is actually fitting to use Blake Griffin in this ad. He is only half black, and this attempt by Sterling to reach out to the black community was completely half-assed, if for no other reason that Black History Month is in February.

But of all the stories, allegations, accusations and observations, this is my favorite:

“While ignoring my suggestions and isolating me from decisions customarily reserved for general managers, the Clippers attempted to place the blame for the team’s failures on me,” Baylor said in the declaration. “During this same period, players Sam Cassell, Elton Brand and Corey Maggette complained to me that DONALD STERLING would bring women into the locker room after games, while the players were showering, and make comments such as, ‘Look at those beautiful black bodies.’ I brought this to Sterling’s attention, but he continued to bring women into the locker room.”

There you have it, fifteen owners who haven’t been getting the attention they deserve. Like we’ve said, just because the world is fixated on the antics of the Frank McCourts and Fred Wilpons of the world, these guys still need to have the light shone on them; there’s no better disinfectant than sunlight.

Stay tuned to Dubsism and East End Philadelphia for more up to the minute advice on how to be undeniably awesome.

-J-Dub and Meehan

Dubsism on Cubsism

First, let me define the concept of Cubsism. Named for the Chicago Cubs, Cubsism is an ideaology that permeates a sports franchise. It is characterized by the ability to be essentially viable while remaining an exercise in futulity on the field.  It is named for the Cubs because no other franchise in sports embodies it nearly as much as the Chicago North Siders do.

A microcosm of most recent century of  futility of this franchise lies in the last eighteen months. Look at what has happened before and after the sudden retirement of Lou Piniella last summer.

Usually, when a team makes a change at manager, the idea is to change the culture of the clubhouse by changing the leadership. Sometimes, when you make a change, the team doesn’t respond. That’s what happened last year at this time. Why? Because Lou Piniella was a respected “baseball guy.”

Just a few weeks ago, the rumors began circulating that new manager Mike Quade and general manager Jim Hendry will return next season in their respective positions. The logic is that Hendry is the guy who made the decision to hire Quade, knowing that  Quade was never intended to be a long-term solution. The thought was Quade would be a bridge until the Cubs found an established manager when the team is ready to  contend.

The problem is Quade should have never been the Cubs manager in the first place.  There’s so many reasons why, and they all illustrate the concept of Cubsism.

Go back to the day Piniella pulled the plug. Not the day he walked for good; rather go back to the day he said he was leaving at the end of the year. While every sports writer rejoiced at the thought of not having to write another “fire Lou Piniella” column, they all missed the main point.

Why let a manager appoint himself into a “lame-duck” status? To that point, the team was certainly going nowhere; they were lifeless and unmotivated, and now they are playing for a manager who has decided to fall on his own sword. There was nothing left to inspire the team to play hard; to not look they rolled over and died. What is to be gained by that?

The answer is absolutely nothing.  There’s one thing the Cubs have seemingly forgotten about their fans is that they live on hope. They have little other option; the Cubs have given them nothing else in over a century.

Flash forward one year, and the Cubs find themselves in essentially the same position. The Cubs collapsed early, fingers were pointed, and it looks like another change is coming somewhere in the leadership chain of the Cubs.

I don’t know how much hope that inspires in Cub fans, because I don’t know what the changes are going to be. Suffice it to say the Cubs are likely to make what I call a “Cubs-Type Decision (CTD).”

CTDs are the heart of Cubsism, and Cubsism is caused by four contributing factors, all of which have a long association with the  Cubs.

1) Leadership and a fan base that doesn’t understand the difference between “good” and “great.”

This point is exemplified by Quade. He was a terrible hire not because he is a terrible manager, rather there was a much better and completely obvious hire, and he was already in your organization.

Face it, Chicago. Mike Quade was the “good” hire; Ryne Sandberg was the “great” hire.  He was perfect for the job; let’s review why.

Sandberg became a Cub hero in the 1980′s being the best second baseman of that decade and arguably one of the top five at that position ever.  Sandberg became the Wrigley fixture Cub fans latched onto as a transition in to the Harry Caray-less days after 1998.  Sandberg was one of the smartest players in the game, and few played the truly complete game he did. Not only that, but Sandberg is not some Hall-of-Fame guy who thinks he should be able to blow into town and get the manager’s job on his name alone. Whether in his playing days or in his managerial career in the bus leagues, Sandberg has never been a guy to trade on marquee value, although he clearly could.

But instead of waltzing into the Cubs front office and saying “The fans that you need to keep want me in the dugout; I will be by before the Winter Meetings to pick the keys to my office,” Sandberg had spent the past four seasons prior to last year managing in the Cubs’ farm system. In fact, few managers in the minor leagues have built the reputation Sandberg has, and due to his humility, most of that has happened well beneath the radar. Sandberg has clearly “paid his dues” all while showing himself to be a cerebral skipper who can get his players to think before they act (Carlos Zambrano, I’m looking at you…)

In other words, he was the perfect man for the Cubs’ managerial job. How could the Cubs possibly entertain the idea of doing anything other than hiring the perfect candidate to end all perfect candidates? Because they are the Cubs, and they make Cubs-Type Decisions.

2) Terrible player/personnel decisions

In case you need a refresher, let’s review a few of my favorite CTDs:

  • Trading Lou Brock to the Cardinals for Ernie Broglio (future Hall-of-Famer for washed-up pitcher)
  • Trading Rafael Palmeiro to Texas for Mitch Williams (3,000 hit/500 home run guy for a relief pitcher whose stay in Chicago wasn’t as long as some people who change planes at O’Hare Airport)
  • Drafting Josh Hamilton as a Rule 5 player, then promptly trading him to Cincinnati for a small amount of cash (3-time All-Star and reigning American League MVP for a few dollars when the Cubs were one of the richest teams in the league)
  • Trading Sergio Mitre and Ricky Nolasco for Juan Pierre (one serviceable starting pitcher and one on the verge of becoming an ace for a “legitimate leadoff hitter” for a guy who in his ONE season as a Cub got caught stealing 20 times in 78 attempts).
  • Letting Greg Maddox go to free agency (deciding a guy who would go on to win 355 games and 4 Cy Young awards wasn’t “the kind of pitcher who could help us long-term”)
  • Trading Dennis Eckersley for three minor-leaguers (Once in Oakland, Eckersley becomes the dominant closer of his era)
  • Trading Bill Madlock for Bobby Murcer (a solid defensive third-baseman who also would win four batting titles for a slugging outfielder whose career decline began immediately after this trade)
  • Trading Bruce Sutter for Leon Durham and Ken Reitz (another dominant closer for two “bags of magic beans”)
  • Trading Lee Smith for Calvin Schraldi and Al Nipper (another dominant closer for two “bags of magic beans”)
  • Trading Manny Trillo for Barry Foote and Ted Sizemore (a second baseman who still holds the record for most consecutive chances without an error for one of the great mustaches of all-time )

3) Belief in the “quick fix” for decades of problems

The Fukudome era...only slightly racist while being completely futile.

Just in the past dozen or so years, I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve heard (insert new phenom and/or big free-agent signing) will change the fortunes of Cub nation…Kerry Wood, Todd Hundley, LaTroy Hawkins (even if he was only supposed to save the bullpen, I still can’t believe I just wrote that), Mark Prior, Nomar Garciaparra, Alfonso Soriano,   Kosuke Fukudome, Milton Bradley, blah, blah, blah…Look at the knob-slobbing happening for Tyler Colvin, Darwin Barney, and Starlin Castro. How much you want to bet at least two of those names are on this list in five years? Doubt that? Just look back at what Cubs fans were bleating about Geovany Soto and Ryan Theriot…

This is the same reason Cubs’ fans always love deals like Carlos Silva for Milton Bradley. Remember, they loved Ernie Broglio for Lou Brock, too…

4) A fan base ignorant of the fundamentals of the game

Picture it…Chicago, sometime in the late 90’s. I’m at Wrigley taking in a summer afternoon affair against the Dodgers. It’s the top of the ninth inning, the score is tied and the Dodgers have a runner on third with one out. The Dodgers hit a long fly ball into left field, and the family seated in front me (resplendent in their Cubs gear) is wildly cheering the out, completely unaware the Dodgers had just scored what would prove to be the  winning run on the sacrifice.

That family is the Cubs fanbase in a nutshell.

Having said all that, the next time you are looking to explain a franchise’s long term dysfunction, refer back to the four points of Cubsism. It runs rampant in professional sports; it takes little to see it.

Now for the fun part – here are ten franchises we have identified as having a very high Cubsism rating. Remember that Cubsism is not a short-term affliction; to be on this list a franchise must have shown a track record of futility for decades or have a generally dismal record with only the fleetingest glimpses of non-suck.

The Ten Most Dysfunctional Franchises In Professional Sports

#10) Minnesota Vikings

What can I say about the Vikings that I haven’t already said? Go over to the tag cloud on the right, click on the “Minnesota Vikings” tag, and you will see that I’ve written the Vikings’ football miasma time and time again. But that’s because there’s so much to write about. Even in their heyday in the first half of the Bud Grant era, this team simply couldn’t push the sled over the hill. Over the past half-century, this team has had more talent and more opportunities and has less to show for them than any other franchise in the history of professional football.

There’s a simple reason for this. Pro football is a quarterback driven league, and the Vikings historically have had no idea how to handle that position. In 1967, the Vikings traded future Hall-of-Famer Fran Tarkenton to the New York Giants for a bag of magic beans. In 1969, Joe Kapp led them to an NFL Championship, threw 7 touchdown passes in one game, and the Vikes let him walk after that season. There’s Tommy Kramer, who earned the nickname “Two Minute Tommy” for many late game come-from-behind victories. Kramer, who was the first quarterback to throw for over 450 yards in a game twice, also ended up with a drinking problem. The Viking’s ham-fisted handling of the situation led to the demise of his career.

If those three were the bricks in their quarterback wall, the Vikings’ mortar in that wall has been an amalgam of over-rated talent (Daunte Culpepper, Brad Johnson, Wade Wilson, Rich Gannon, Jeff George),  somebody’s else cast-offs (Gary Cuozzo, Bob Berry, Gus Frerotte, Bob Lee, Norm Snead) and a bouquet of faded roses from days gone by (Warren Moon, Randall Cunningham, Jim McMahon, Brett Favre).

#9) Chicago Cubs

This past winter illustrates the Cubs quite nicely. If Major League Baseball were the block you grew up on as a kid, the Cubs would be that rich, childless older couple who always had a new Cadillac in the driveway and a lawn covered in dog shit. The Cubs go out and look for a landscaper who can clean up the mess that is their lawn, their nephew Ryne Sandberg shows up as member of the family who is the perfect candidate and wanting the job, and the Cubs give the job to the paperboy because as child  little Ryno farted in their house once 30 years ago.

#8 ) Oakland Raiders

Let’s face facts. The Raiders have become the North Korea of the NFL and Al Davis it’s Kim Jong-Il. Davis has sunk into some sort of self-deluded alternate reality that has him believing he can get a coach better than Tom Cable and that JaMarcus Russell was an NFL quarterback. Finally they stopped drinking the Kool-Aid, or Purple Drank in the Russell case, but there have been so many other bizarre tales emanating from Oakland that all have one thing in common: Al Davis has total control of this organization, as it clearly mirrors his dysfunctional personality. This is why Cable is no longer the head coach, and why they had to promote from within; nobody else will take the job.

#7) New Orleans Hornets

The Hornets seem to have all the characteristics of franchises on this list. Some teams are owned by morons, failed in more than one city, failed in cities where a team in the same sport already failed, are on the verge of being assumed by the league, have a history of making terrible player personnel decisions, or have just plain sucked forever. The Hornets have it all.

#6) Atlanta Thrashers

The Thrashers are dangerously close to being the second Atlanta-based NHL team to head for Canada. Thirty years ago, the Flames ditched Dixie for Calgary, and now the rumors are swirling the Thrashers may be heading to the garden spot known as Winnipeg. Honestly, this may be more of a reflection of the city of the city that its teams; Atlanta is a shitty sports town.  The only franchise in that city that has ever drawn a reasonable number of fans are the Falcons (don’t talk to me about the Braves, I’ve seen playoff games at Turner Field with less than 15,00 people in the  ballpark), but in the last decade you could have put an NFL franchise in Bettendorf, Iowa and it would fill a 65,000 seat stadium. But on the other hand, the Thrashers have never done anything of consequence.

#5) Los Angeles Dodgers

Thanks to their ownership of the Dodgers and their divorce which is threatening to become the ugliest in the history of California, we have to care about Frank and Jamie McCourt. Their dysfunction has totally spilled over into the operation of the team; they are hundreds of millions of dollars in debt while clinging to a grasp on ownership which is becoming ever so tenuous, especially now that Major League Baseball has cut them off from any new lenders.  This is only going to get worse, stay tuned if you get off on train wrecks.

#4) Cincinnati Bengals

Does life imitate art, or does art imitate life? Does a city imitate a franchise, or does a franchise imitate a city. Cincinnati is a city that takes every good thing about it and totally fucks it up somehow. Take a deep breath while I list the examples….

First there’s the food. I love chili, but that shit they call chili in Cincinnati…well, I don’t know what the fuck it really is, but I know what it isn’t.  Chili. Want to know how I know that? Ask any real American whether chili has cocoa, cinnamon, and allspice in it. Know what they are going to say? FUCK NO!  More importantly, it doesn’t even taste like chili. It tastes more like a fetal cow that before it was brutally aborted was stuffed full of the world’s worst gingerbread cookies.

Then there’s the only show about Cincinnati that ever mattered; WKRP in Cincinnati.  I didn’t get what a great show this was when I was younger; it wasn’t until my adult years when I realized that this show ruled because it had characters that you worked with every day. Look at the list:

  • Mr. Carlson: the “boss” who only is the boss because he’s “juiced in;” in his case, Mommy owned the damn station.
  • Herb Tarlek: Who doesn’t work with an idiotic sales guy?
  • Venus Flytrap: The prototypical “smoove brotha.”
  • Dr. Johnny Fever: The stoner.
  • Bailey Quarters: Every office has that one chick who you know could be totally hot if you could get rid of her big, dorky glasses and “tomboy” wardrobe, more importantly, you know she might be a freak in the sack if the time was right.

But then they fucked everything up with Jennifer Marlowe. Leave it to Cincinnati to get a big-titted, blond character all wrong.  First of all, they are always leaving the viewer with the impression that she is either independently wealthy, or has some big-time connections, yet she’s answering phones at the 14th-ranked radio station in a shithole like Cincinnati.

Then there’s the whole matter of her hair.  Look at that shit; theres so much industrial strength hair spray in that mess it has become some sort of razor-sharp, rock-hard, bleached cotton-candy winged beehive of death. Like if that woman were giving you a “trouser-friendly kiss” and she suddenly jerked her head in the wrong direction, that hair could slice through your junk like a fucking light saber.

Let’s take this back to sports, and let’s start with basketball. Remember the Cincinnati Royals? They are the most-moved franchise in professional sports. They began as the Rochester Royals, who moved to the Queen City in 1957. In 1972, the shipped off to the midwest for nearly ten years of splitting time between Kansas City and Omaha being known as the Kings. Then came the 80’s, the  decade when the Kings headed west for the greener pastures of Sacramento. Six months from now, they will probably be in domicile #6, Anaheim.  This franchise is drawn to crappy cities for sports, and there’s a reason why Cincinnati is on the list.

Then’s there’s baseball. Forget about the “Big Red Machine,” forget about the current young crop of promising Reds. Cincinnati is where Joe Morgan made enough of a name for himself that he was able to spend over two decades torturing our ears as a broadcaster and for that crime against humanity, there is no forgiveness.

But let’s get this back to the Bengals. Some people in Cincinnati are fans of the Cincinnati Bengals. But many, many more are not. It is really hard not to understand why. Take the currently unfolding Carson Palmer situation for example. No wonder the guy wants out; he’s stuck in the only NFL hell for quarterbacks worse than Minnesota. The Bengals share many characteristics with the Vikings in this area; namely you can drop all their signal-callers into a few distinct buckets.  There’s the over-rated talent (Akili Smith, David Klingler, Virgil Carter, Greg Cook, Jack Thompson, John Reaves), somebody else’s cast-offs (Jay Schroeder, Jon Kitna, Gus Frerotte, Scott Mitchell, Neil O’Donnell), B-students they tried to move to the head of the class (John Stofa, Dewey Warren, Sam Wyche, Wayne Clark, Turk Schonert, Jeff Blake, Ryan Fitzpatrick), and legitimate, top-flight NFL quarterbacks (Ken Anderson, Boomer Esaison).

In 2005, Palmer was on the verge of ending up in that last bucket.  Four years ago, Palmer was primed to join Peyton Manning and Tom Brady at the top of the NFL quarterback list. He was remarkably poised; his downfield touch was perfect, he led the Bengals to their first winning season in fifteen years. He had that moment in time where he could effortlessly slip the rush and flick the ball downfield at 30 yards.  He was oozing confidence, he was getting the ball to nine or ten different receivers a game. It seemed as if this was the the dawn of a new era of Bengal football; the vision of Palmer leading the Bengals 10+ wins a year suddenly didn’t seem ridiculous.

Then came that knee injury against the Steelers in the playoffs. I watched that moment (while recovering from a major leg injury of my own) and I wanted to puke.  Not just because at the time I had a heightened sensitivity to that sort of thing, but because I knew that was the beginning of the end.  It had to be, you don’t stay that snake-bit as a franchise without having those course-defining moments.  The football gods really want to forgive the Bengals for shit like the “Ickey Shuffle,” but then they draft Akili Smith. This is why bad shit always happens in Cincinnati. Chad “Ocho” Johnson went batshit crazy, Marvin Lewis’ balls fell off, Palmer’s elbow turned into tapioca pudding, and Chris Henry learned the hard way the beds of pickup trucks don’t have seat belts.

By education, I’m an engineer, which means I have a big background in risk management and failure analysis, which is just a nice way of saying “recreating the scene of the crash.” In that field, the first thing you learn is that all disasters are not the result of one cataclysmic event; rather the are the culmination of a series of small events that link together. Take one link out of that chain, and the disaster is likely averted.  But the Bengals can’t figure that out; in fact, they keep adding links thinking the longer the chain, the further away they are from that one link on which they blame all their troubles.

#3) Phoenix Coyotes

How bad do you have to be when a even a small Canadian city that has done nothing but bitch for for fifteen years about losing the NHL doesn’t want this franchise?

Point the finger anyway you like — at the City of Glendale, the NHL, Matthew Hulsizer or the Goldwater Institute — but the bottom line is no one wants the Phoenix Coyotes.  Or more to the point, no one wants to pay for them.  Hulsizer wants to own the Coyotes but he either can’t or won’t fork over the US$170 million the NHL wants for the franchise it bought out of bankruptcy over a year ago.

Dissect this. The Coyotes were led by Wayne Gretzky, the most mythic figure in hockey, and they still couldn’t turn out fans in a city crammed with northern transplants. To understand what that really means, imagine a baseball team owned by Babe Ruth in 1940 that drew sixty thousand fans a year.  Epic fail.

#2) New York Mets

What else can you say? New York hasn’t seen a mess like this since Ground Zero; an economic terrorist like Bernie Madoff is on the verge of turning one of the “big-money” franchises into a pauper for the next quarter-century, and it couldn’t happen to a better organization. The Mets have pissed away every advantage they’ve had in baseball thanks to a couple of greedy mental pygmys like  Wilpon and Saul Katz. Not only did these guys get caught with their hands in the Ponzi Scheme cookie jar, they have the unmitigated balls to somehow get Bud Selig, Major League Baseball commissioner, to buy that bullshit “too big to fail” argument that got us into that fucking Bush/Obama bailout. This is exactly why Big Brother Bud (who also happens to be drinking buddies with Wilpon) just gave the Mets’ owners $25 million to help the team with financial woes.

Yeah, that doesn’t totally smell like the Bush/Obama two-stage bailout in which drinking buddies/cronies/contributors weren’t bailed out of their bad decisions courtesy of the public coffers. These buttloafs make a series of bad decisions, and every person who has ever aimed a buck at Major League Baseball gets to pay for it.  Nothing says dysfunctional like rewarding bad decisions.

Here’s the best part; Selig is pumping money into a liability that ranges anywhere from $400 million to over a billion, depending on who you talk to and who decides to file a lawsuit.   Wilpon and Katz could be deep-sixed financially if a lawsuit filed from victims of the Bernard Madoff rules in victims favor. According to the New York Times, the victims are seeking upward of $1 billion from the Mets and related business partners through trustee Irving H. Picard. The victims claim that Wilpon and Katz ignored warnings about investments made with Madoff and acted only through self-interest.  The Times also has reported that the Mets are in over $400 million in debt, so even if they get hit on the lawsuit, they won’t be able to pay the tab. That means Major League Baseball gets stuck with it.  Wilpon and Katz already have blown through the $75 million allocated as general credit to teams in need of financial assistance, but their cratering situation threatens to take an even bigger bite.   Selig should have cut these guys off a long time ago.

In the meantime, until Selig grows a pair and starves these guys out like he is doing with the Los Angeles Dodgers ownership situation, the fact is the Mets will remain a financial dumpster fire.  The proof will be evident on the field; this team can’t sign new players considering they sucked more than the new girl at the Tijuana donkey show last year. It ain’t easy getting players to come to a team with no money that consistently fails to make the playoffs.  This will lead to the Mets ballpark looking levery year ike the Sahara Desert by the time August rolls around.

#1) Los Angeles Clippers

This is just a team that gets to be on the list for sheer shitty. They’ve only had 4 playoff berths in a nearly 30-year history in the best basketball market in America. They might have good players, and a star like Blake Griffin, but their management and  coaching just flat out sucks, and it always has. Not to mention owner Donald Sterling celebrating Black history in March should tell you all you need to know.

Jay Cutler Isn’t the Only Quarterback Who Quit Yesterday

Yes, its true…while Culter’s “injury” is getting all the talk today, another NFL signal-caller has punched out on his team. However, in this case, nobody should blame him. According to ESPN, Carson Palmer says his time with the Cincinnati Bengals is over.

Carson Palmer will ask the Cincinnati Bengals to trade him and will contemplate retirement if he does not get his wish, according to several sources.

Palmer, the No. 1 overall pick by the Bengals in 2003, was unavailable for comment as he and his wife, Shaelynn, were awaiting the birth of their third child.  A  Bengals spokesman had no comment. The team has Palmer under contract through 2014. Palmer has become the object of fan frustration in the past two years and sources said he has grown frustrated with the team’s inconsistencies. The Bengals finished 4-12 in 2010.

Sources familiar with Palmer’s plan and mindset said he is financially secure for the rest of his life and willing to follow through and retire.

Let’s be honest. This marriage has been over for a while. To me, the addition of Terrell Owens always seemed like a couple that decided having a baby would solve all their problems. In and of itself, that move wasn’t the complete train wreck I thought it would be, but at the end of the day it suffered the same fate of every other “fix-it baby.” It didn’t fix it. There’s an old saying that winning fixes everything, and lately the Bengals haven’t been doing much of either.

Sometimes to understand where you are, you have to look at how you got there. From their inception, the Bengals were happily mediocre until the hit their heyday in the 80’s when thanks to two Super Bowl appearances The Bengals moved to the good side of the NFL Monopoly board. Sure they weren’t Boardwalk, but Marvin Gardens with a hotel still brings a nice bit of change. But then came the 90’s and a string of “savior” draft picks; such colossal busts like Ki-Jana Carter, Dan Wilkinson, Akili Smith, and David Klingler doomed this team. Now, it is clear Marvin Lewis and “Savior” Palmer can’t bring back the Marvin Gardens days.

Since the Bengals have already decided to keep Lewis, it is time for Palmer to take his talents elsewhere; it not like there isn’t some talent left in him. Palmer isn’t far enough past being a Number 1 overall pick of the 2003 draft, and even though he suffered a major knee injury in a first-round playoff game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at the end of the 2005 season, and an elbow injury in 2008 so severe he considered the “Tommy John” surgery, Palmer hasn’t missed a quarterback start in the past two years with Cincinnati. He has thrown for 22,694 yards, 154 touchdowns and 100 interceptions; the Cincinnati Bengals have won two division titles with Palmer, but they are 0-2 in the play-offs.

Palmer is under contract through 2014; Palmer is owed anywhere between $11 and $14 million for each of the remaining years on his current deal. But that shouldn’t be a problem as the Bengals should be able to get plenty in return for Palmer because even though his stock isn’t as high as Boardwalk, he ain’t Baltic Avenue either.

Great Moments in the History of Paper Bags

If you are of my ethnic construct and age, you likely know the term “Paper Bag Test.”  Sports has a “paper bag test” all its own, and it is just as unflattering. In this case, the paper bag was used to hide being a fan of a dreadful organization. The following is a list of the great “paper bag” teams of all time.

11) New Orleans Saints

Granted, the Saints won the Super Bowl last year, but it’s impossible to create a list of “Paper Bag Franchises” without including the team whose fans invented the idea of using the  bag to show their disgust.  The rumor is that a Saints’ fan was inspired by The Gong Show’s Unknown Comic, and used the shtick to protest the Saints’ 1-15 season by adorning a bag.

10) Detroit Lions

Where do you start with the epic failure known as the Lions? Other than the Barry Sanders era (in which they were supremely mediocre), they have largely defined failure for a half-century. After going a decade without making a playoff appearance, the Lions sank to an 0-16 mark in 2008.  Frankly, the whole city ought to wear a bag.

9) New York Knicks

This another team that doesn’t stink right this minute (wait, let me check the standings…), but that’s largely because they don’t have Isiah Thomas and Stephon Marbury repeatedly captaining the HMS Knick-tanic into the iceberg.  Don’t forget it was just a few short years ago the Knicks were so bad often started booing before the end of the first quarter.  Boy they did boo…they booed players, coaches, referees, performers, the other team’s players…after the game they went to the closest hospital and booed surgeries.

8 ) New York Mets

The Mets are the rich guy who keeps marrying the “gold digger” woman as therefore keeps himself in a consistent state of Pathetic. Just look at the amount of money the Mets have spent on free agents in the past 20 years, and look the amount of success they’ve had in that time. The highlight:  September 2007, when the Mets held a seven-game division lead over the Philadelphia Phillies with just 17 games to play, which led to one of the most epic collapses in baseball history.  How did that happen? Because they are the Mets.

7) Cleveland Browns

How frustrating must it be as a Browns’ fan? Your original team gets spirited off to Baltimore only to become a top-flight NFL organization. Meanwhile, you get a replacement team that has spent the better part of the last decade looking like a fraternity touch football team deep into its third keg of beer.  Browns fans got so frustrated with their franchise they used an appearance on Monday Night Football to try and get the attention of team owner Randy Lerner. It worked and two fans got face time with him to discuss the future of the team. Let’s just hope they took their bags off when they did it.

6) Milwaukee Bucks

What can you say about a team that hasn’t won a playoff series in a decade in a league where even teams that aren’t in the damn league can get into the playoffs?  It can be summed nicely in the picture above, a fan was wearing a paper bag and a jersey of a player who had departed the team a season earlier. Fear the Deer, my ass.

5) Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Here’s a team that looks like it may have a non-suck future, and has won a Super Bowl in the not-all-that-distant past. But since then, it has ejected its superstar players and its marquee head coach since that championship in 2003. Before that win, this team was best known for its “creamsicle” colored uniforms, its 0-26 start as an NFL franchise, and some of the best sports quotes ever.

4) Atlanta Falcons

Much like the Buccaneers, this team has a possible non-suck future, but definitely has a suck past. You likely remember their lone Super Bowl appearance in 1999 more for Eugene Robinson turning it into his own personal Hooker-palooza. More recently, this teams failure bona fides include head coach Bobby Petrino skipping out on the team halfway through the season in 2007, followed by Michael Vick going to jail in 2008.

3) Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs are like a woman that was hot thirty years ago, but still thinks she’s “got it” despite the fact her breasts are now in asynchronous orbit around her knees. Len Dawson and Hank Stram was a long time ago; there’s a reason the Chiefs are now the proud owner of the NFL’s longest playoff losing streak.  If that weren’t enough, note the securing system this fan has rigged, likely figuring that bag may need to be in place for a while.

2) Cincinnati Bengals

The only thing more frustrating than being a Detroit Lions’ fan is being a Cincinnati Bengals fan. Why? Because the Bengals every once in a while look like a real football team, but then give you the “Lucy holding the football for Charlie Brown” treatment. And just like Charlie Brown, those suckers that fill Paul Brown Stadium fall for it every fucking time. But these guys know who the Bungles really are.

1) Washington Nationals

The poor Nationals…they really are the team nobody wanted. Born as the Montreal Expos in1969, they consistently drew about 9 fans per game despite the fact many of those Expos teams sported several top-notch players (Hall of Famers Gary Carter and Andre Dawson for openers). Since moving to D.C. in 2005, the Gnats have finished higher than last place just once.

The Dubsism 2010 Pre-Season NFL Power Rankings

Rankings by Division

AFC East

Any way you slice it, the Jets made a statement during last season’s playoff win in San Diego. The scary part is they have built on that team since then. Granted, they need to get the holdout situation with Darelle Revis resolved, but once they do, it will be very difficult for teams to throw the ball against a defense with two shutdown corners and #1 draft pick waiting in the wings. Meanwhile, Mark Sanchez is on the verge of being the next breakout star in this league, and the Jets have put a solid line in front of him and a myriad of weapons around him.

Tyrannosaurus Rex may be ready to devour the NFL.

While this is the Jets’ division to lose, both the Patriots and the Dolphins stand ready to snatch it away should they stumble.  Tom Brady is still Tom Brady even after the ACL injury, Randy Moss seems to have a few more reps left in the tank, and Wes Welker will return by some point in September.  They also added some depth at the tight end position and in the secondary. However, Miami also made plenty of acquisitions on both sides of the ball. Brandon Marshall becomes the  true downfield threat Chad Henne needed to complete the passing game. Add that to running back Ronnie Brown and a solid offensive line anchored by Jake Long, and the ‘Phins sport a well-balanced offense that will give headaches to defensive coordinators across the league.

  1. New York Jets
  2. New England Patriots
  3. Miami Dolphins
  4. Buffalo Bills

AFC North

Even though the Baltimore Ravens have started resembling a MASH unit, they have too much talent and depth not to whether a few injuries.  The loss of Domonique Foxworth brings questions, and they really need a healthy Ed Reed, but this team no longer relies solely on that fearsome defense. With offseason additions Anquan Boldin and Donte’ Stallworth, the Ravens will likely supplant the Vikings as the most interesting offense wearing purple.

The Steelers are likely the most balanced team in this league with or without Ben Roethlisberger. While it seems most probable that Big Ben’s suspension will be shortened from six to four games, the period Pittsburgh has to be without him may make or break their season.

This leads us to the team most likely to dissappoint; the Cincinnati Bengals. The Queen City Kitties have been garnering a lot of buzz around Terrell Owens, Ochocinco, but this comes from the same mentality that worships the over-the-hill Brett Favre. It makes sense though, because T-Old and King Brett I have some things in common: they’re way past their prime, they are cancers in the locker room (when they actually show up), and they haven’t won anything in years. Ultimately, the fate of the Bengals falls on the performance of the offense. The defense is one of the best in the league, but if the offense doesn’t perform after the team invested in Antonio Bryant, Jermaine Gresham, plus two wide receivers drafted in the third and sixth rounds, heads will roll in Cincinnati. And at the end of the day, it will all be for not if Cedric Benson doesn’t repeat his solid 2009 season on the ground.

  1. Baltimore Ravens
  2. Pittsburgh Steelers
  3. Cincinnati Bengals
  4. Cleveland Browns

If Colt McCoy starts for the Browns, he may get even more familiar with this position.

AFC South

FACT: The Colts are the defending AFC Champions and are returning most of the roster. FACT: Peyton Manning is the best quarterback in the league; the only one who gives his team a chance to win every time he touches the ball.  FACT: The Colts have developed a culture of winning while becoming one the NFL’s model franchises.

So why am I not buying the Colts?

FACT: The offensive live is old and largely mediocre. FACT: The Colts running game is a joke. FACT: The defense has some star power, but is largely a middle-of-the-pack unit that isn’t capable of dominating a ball game if it needs to. In other words, for the Colts run of 12-win seasons is to continue, a lot of “ifs” have to break the right way, and it may just be the number of “ifs” has finally surpassed Manning’s ability to overcome them.

Even Peyton Manning knows he can only audible out of a fixed amount of problems.

Plus, the Colts are going to face a host of teams in their own division that historically play them tough. The Titans got rid of some age (replacing Kyle Vanden Bosch with first-round pick Derrick Morgan) while performing a bit of  “addition by subtraction” by getting rid of chronic under-performer LenDale White.  Once the Titans combine that with a full season of the game-changing Vince Young we saw in 2009 and the most interesting weapon in the league in Chris Johnson, they can easily give the Colts fits.

Don’t sleep on the Texans, either. This team could easily be a dark horse in the AFC. With Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson form the core of one of the league’s best high-octane offenses, if they can rekindle the running game, they will provide more than one surprise during the coming season. The big question mark will be the progression of the defense. While it boasts young stars like Mario Williams and Brian Cushing, they did lose Dunta Robinson in the off-season, and they get to face offenses like the Cowboys, Giants, Chargers, Ravens, plus the Titans and the Colts twice.

  1. Tennessee Titans
  2. Indianapolis Colts
  3. Houston Texans
  4. Jacksonville Jaguars

AFC West

While the Chargers do face some pre-season holdout issues, and the transition to the post-LaDanian Tomlinson era has begun, but this is still one of the best squads in the NFL. Philip Rivers is a legitimate franchise quarterback even if he gets no respect, Antonio Gates is the league’s best tight end, and Malcolm Floyd is more than ready to become River’s #1 target. Now, the Chargers just need to find a way to keep playoff games off the foot of Nate Kaeding.

Meanwhile in Denver, Josh McDaniels is clearly building a team around guys who are not a pain in the ass. So far, he’s exiled (probably correctly) Jay Cutler to the NFL’s version of Ice Planet Hoth, he shipped Brandon Marshall to Miami, while adding drunk-but-quiet Kyle Orton. Then there’s this year’s draft where McDaniels passed over bad-reputation wide receiver Dez Bryant for Demaryius Thomas. Then there was the drafting of Saint Tebow.

Can Saint Tebow and the Holy Orton play savior for Josh McDaniels?

But don’t forget that Tebow won a national championship at Florida while playing second fiddle at quarterback to the oft-maligned Chris Leak. For some reason, Kyle Orton is a guy who can’t get any love anywhere he goes, despite the fact that he wins football games wherever he goes. Whether or not Tebow sees the field this season matters little. What matters is this season when Orton mentors the young Saint to be an NFL quarterback is also a make or break proposition for Josh McDaniels.

  1. San Diego Chargers
  2. Denver Broncos
  3. Oakland Raiders
  4. Kansas City Chiefs

NFC East

On paper, the Cowboys offer one the most talented teams in the league. Too bad they don’t play the games on paper. Frankly, I’m convinced that the Cowboys as an organization are bi-polar. This is a team that can look dominant against Philadelphia team that was nearly a #2 seed in the NFC last year (more on why those days are over in a bit) and yet get destroyed by the more pretender-than-contender Vikings. Despite that inconsistency, Dallas just has too much talent on the roster not to be recognized as one of the top squads in the NFC. Hopefully, the soap opera that is the Cowboys is on hiatus as indicated by the shockingly silent off-season; this team can either win football games or be drama queens. It can not do both.

This way, if the Cowboys don't win, at least Wade Phillips won't see the sniper hired by Jerry Jones.

If Dez Bryant can provide a third viable option for the passing game and if Tony Romo can play leader and mitigate the aforementioned wackiness from which this team suffers, there are not very many teams in the conference that could keep the Cowboys out of Super Bowl. Of course, one of those teams could be the Cowboys, especially if they don’t address two areas. In general, the offensive line needs to understand that keeping Romo alive is a team function, particularly with the departure of left tackle Flozell Adams. The other soft spot is the secondary; it is time for Mike Jenkins to step up and lead that unit into providing an effective pass-defense.

Meanwhile, the Giants will be depending on their stockpile of defensive linemen to ease the pressure on a rebuilt secondary, one that depends on a healthy Kenny Phillips and the newly acquired Antrelle Rolle to stop the bleeding from last season. The odds that the Eagles will figure in the standings in this division stand directly in between “slim” and “none.” Read that as “none” for the Redskins.

The simple fact is that the Eagles are completely gambling on their young quarterback Kevin Kolb. You may think they are rebuilding, I may think they are rebuilding, the world may think they are rebuilding, but the Eagles seem to be in a complete state of denial. The post McNabb/Westbrook era offers a ton of uncertainties on offense, but anybody wearing green in Philadelphia seems to be sticking to the party line. The coaching staff seem convinced that Kolb was ready for full-time action last season, and some whisper that he might be a better fit in Andy Reid’s offense than Donovan McNabb himself.  I guess September will tell all.

  1. Dallas Cowboys
  2. New York Giants
  3. Philadelphia Eagles
  4. Washington Redskins

See, Jerry Jones just wants to shoot people.

NFC North

The Packer offense may be the best in the conference. When you watch the development this squad showed between game 4 and game 10 of last season coupled with the additions made during the off-season, it is hard not to picture Green Bay along side the Cowboys and the Saints as the class of the NFC. The offensive line that was Swiss cheese in September became a stone wall in December, a wall that only got mightier with the addition of first-round tackle Bryan Bulaga.

There is a concern that the loss of Aaron Kampman, the suspension of Johnny Jolly, and the starting-to-get-up-there age of the secondary leaves too many questions for a contender. First of all, those issues aren’t likely to spell a fatal drop-off for a defense that was ranked second in the entire league last year. More importantly, they are just question, not the facts that doom the Vikings.

FACT: The Vikings find themselves stuck in yet another soap opera, no thanks to the drama queen quarterback for whom they’ve mortgaged their future. FACT: Brett Favre joined a division-winning team and transformed it into a division-winning team. FACT: The Vikings did nothing to address the weaknesses which cost them a trip to the Super Bowl.

We all know the bullshit Brett Favre puts teams through every off-season now. It’s all just that…bullshit. But the big problem the Vikings don’t seem ready to address is that all their current eggs and all their future eggs are in Favre’s basket; a basket being bet on a Super Bowl championship. But the Vikings weren’t a Super Bowl-worthy team last year, and they’ve regressed in the off-season. The Viking running game rates only in the middle of the pack despite the fact it featured two stud-caliber running backs. Of the two, only Adrian Peterson remains, and while Peterson is a physical specimen the likes of which only come along once a generation, it all goes for naught if he can’t stop putting the ball on the ground.

But the real reason this team can’t run the football is because as a unit, the offensive line sucks out loud. Steve Hutchison is the real deal at guard,  John Sullivan and Phil Loadholt may someday be legitimate NFL players, but Bryant McKinnie and Anthony Herrera shouldn’t be allowed as grade-school crossing guards let alone NFL linemen. Viking fans love to bitch about all the “dirty” hits Favre took against the Saints; they miss the point that a good line wouldn’t let defenders get that close that often. They rest of the league saw that; it’s no coincidence the Bears and Lions both stocked up on defensive linemen. When you add all that to the fact the Vikings’ secondary is a glaring weakness that was not realistically addressed (Lito Sheppard would have been a nice addition 5 years ago), this team may have enough talent to make the playoffs, but are “one and done” at best.

  1. Green Bay Packers
  2. Minnesota Vikings
  3. Chicago Bears
  4. Detroit Lions

NFC South

One could be accused of taking the easy way out by saying the defending Super Bowl champions are the best team in the league. But let’s look at what has changed: Drew Brees is still running a high-powered offense which is returning every key contributor. On defense, the goal in the off-season was to add to an opportunistic, ball-hawking defense so as to give Brees and the offense a bit more margin for error. That mission was accomplished by signing defensive ends Alex Brown and Jimmy Wilkerson, and by drafting cornerback Patrick Robinson). Also, by keeping Darren Sharper, it is just another finger in the eye of the Vikings; a living, breathing reminder that Minnesota keeps coming up short in part due to its stupid player personnel decisions.

Not be overshadowed, but this division features another reasonably good football team. Led by Matt Ryan and Michael Turner, the Atlanta Falcons have the right combination of a high-flying offense and a defense that can allow the offense to take over games.

  1. New Orleans Saints
  2. Atlanta Falcons
  3. Carolina Panthers
  4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

What is "Fuck you, I have a Super Bowl ring and you don't?"

NFC West

One would expect a team led by Mike Singeltary to feature a bone-bruising defense, and it does. Now it seems the offense is gearing up for some smash-mouth of its own, considering the 49’ers used two first-round picks to draft a couple of man-mountains in Anthony Davis and Mike Iupati for the offensive line. With an improved line and weapons like a healthy Frank Gore, receivers Michael Crabtree and Ted Ginn, Jr., and tight end Vernon Davis, it’s “fish or cut bait” time for former #1 pick quarterback Alex Smith.

Oh, and the Cardinals after having lost a slew of key players such as Kurt Warner, Antrelle Rolle, Karlos Dansby, and Anquan Boldin, still feature talent like Beanie Wells, Early Doucet, and Larry Fitzgerald. That’s really all it takes to be the other team in this division that doesn’t suck.

  1. San Francisco 49ers
  2. Arizona Cardinals
  3. Seattle Seahawks
  4. St. Louis Rams

Overall Rankings

  1. New Orleans Saints
  2. New York Jets
  3. San Diego Chargers
  4. Dallas Cowboys
  5. Baltimore Ravens
  6. Green Bay Packers
  7. Tennessee Titans
  8. Indianapolis Colts
  9. Minnesota Vikings
  10. San Francisco 49’ers
  11. New England Patriots
  12. New York Giants
  13. Pittsburgh Steelers
  14. Philadelphia Eagles
  15. Denver Broncos
  16. Arizona Cardinals
  17. Atlanta Falcons
  18. Houston Texans
  19. Miami Dolphins
  20. Cincinnati Bengals
  21. Carolina Panthers
  22. Chicago Bears
  23. Washington Redskins
  24. Seattle Seahawks
  25. Buffalo Bills
  26. Jacksonville Jaguars
  27. Oakland Raiders
  28. Detroit Lions
  29. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  30. Kansas City Chiefs
  31. Cleveland Browns
  32. St. Louis Rams

The NFL Playoffs – The Definitive Oddsmaker’s View

1) San Diego Chargers

 

Why They Can Win:

They are playing the best football at the right time. This also may be the most complete and balanced team in the playoffs.

Why They Can’t Win:

The Charger offense likely can’t survive a bad-weather game if they have to face one.

Odds of Winning: 2 to 1


2) Indianapolis Colts

 

Why They Can Win:

The AFC road to the Super Bowl goes through Indy. The Manning show that once was just a high-powered offense now includes a legitimate defense, and defense is what wins championships.

Why They Can’t Win:

The aforementioned Manning show loves to pick a big-game in which to not show up. With the sole exception of the Super Bowl win over the Bears, The Manning-led Colts have been the NFL’s version of Vinko Bogataj; meaning they get right to the end of the ramp before they collapse.

Why Peyton Manning should avoid skiing at all costs.

Odds of Winning: 2.5 to 1


3) New Orleans Saints

 

Why They Can Win:

Knowing the Saints teams I grew up watching, I never thought I would live long enough to see a guy wearing helmet with a fleur-de-lis on it hoisting a Lombardi Trophy, but it could very well happen. Drew Brees is an MVP-caliber quarterback who has clearly given this team the leader is has needed since Archie Manning in the 70’s. The difference is that Brees has a supporting cast Manning never had. Coupled with the facts that New Orleans has home-field advantage and the Saints don’t lose at home, they have to be the favorite in the NFC.

Why They Can’t Win:

Their defense has serious injury problems which have left them unable to stop the run, but the only team in the NFC that can run the ball are the Cowboys. Another injury problem lies in the broken ribs of RB Pierre Thomas. Brees may be having an MVP season, but this team doesn’t win when Thomas doesn’t carry the ball.

Odds of Winning: 3 to 1


4) Dallas Cowboys

 

Why They Can Win:

The Cowboys represent the best example of the “old school” formula for winning– they control the line of scrimmage on offense and their defense is over-achieving at the right time (two shut-outs in their last two games).

Why They Can’t Win:

Two words – Tony Romo. The biggest open secret in the NFL is that Romo can’t deliver a big-game win because he is far too inconsistent if it comes down to Romo’s ability to lead a team.

Jerry Jones picking a quarterback with as much playoff effectiveness as Tony Romo.

Odds of Winning: 5 to 1


 

 

5) Baltimore Ravens

 

Why They Can Win:

See #4. The Ravens are the next-best incarnation of the “old school” formula. Plus, Ray Rice is the best running back in the NFL that nobody is talking about.

Why They Can’t Win:

Joe Flacco is an unproven commodity in a big-game situation, but more importantly, that vaunted Raven defense ain’t what it used to be…

Odds of Winning: 6 to 1


6) Green Bay Packers

Why They Can Win:

Forget about the two embarrassing losses to the Minnesota Frauds Vikings. Since then, the offensive line has healed up, allowing Aaron Rodgers to become the best young quarterback in the NFL. The same line allowed Ryan Grant to rush for over 1,200 yards, and the Packer defense is on the verge of becoming one of the best in the league.

Why They Can’t Win: Because this team simply isn’t ready to take that next step yet. But that will change next season when this team supplants the Frauds Vikings at the top of the NFC North.

Odds of Winning: 8 to 1


 

 

7) New England Patriots

 

Why They Can Win:

They don’t have a defense anymore, and the offense is not the juggernaut that it was five years ago, but Tom Brady is clearly protected by the league as its “star power.”  Touching Brady in anyway is a 15-yard penalty and fumbles are not fumbles if committed by the “golden boy.” Besides, Brady is the league’s sole attraction to the gay community.

Contrary to popular belief, this is NOT the Patriots' offensive line in practice.

Why They Can’t Win:

Because it isn’t 2005 anymore.

Odds of Winning: 10 to 1


8 ) Minnesota Vikings

A much more apt logo choice...If you want to kill da wabbit, just give Jared Allen a six-pack and let him run over it.

Why They Can Win:

As much as the NFL protects Tom Brady, they also would clearly love to see a Favre-Brady match-up in Miami. Viking receivers are clearly allowed to push-off on a Michael Irvin scale, which is why the Vikings can hang 30 points on anybody.

Why They Can’t Win:

They are the worst 12-4 team I’ve ever seen – they define over-rated. To Favre’s credit, somehow he has managed to stay alive behind an offensive line comprised of Steve Hutchinson and four turnstiles (Bryant McKinnie being in the Pro Bowl is so lame Jerry Lewis should be doing a telethon for it).  Jared Allen is the star of the defense, despite the fact he is little more than a serial drunk-driver who collected most of his sacks against 2nd string opponents, and the offense has two stud running backs and yet couldn’t run the ball against a high-school team.

Odds of Winning: 12 to 1


9) Cincinnati Bengals

 

Why They Can Win:

Carson Palmer is a big-time quarterback who has languished in the backwaters of the NFL for most of his career, and the Bengals have a dominant running game.

Why They Can’t Win:

They simply don’t have enough horses to hang with the big-timers.

Odds of Winning: 20 to 1


10) Philadelphia Eagles

 

Why They Can Win:

In short, because of big play ability – DeShaun Jackson is the most dangerous big-play threat in the league.

Why They Can’t Win:

It pains me as an Eagles fan to say this, but Philadelphia really are The Green Vikings – they can’t run the ball, they are vastly-overrated, and they have a terminal case of inconsistency.

As true as this is, the Eagles really need to win before they can trash-talk.

Odds of Winning: 20.5 to 1


 

 

11) Arizona Cardinals

 

Why They Can Win:

In a word – defense. The Cardinals can shut down anybody.

Why They Can’t Win:

The offense is inconsistent and the team in general lacks depth.

Odds of Winning: 25 to 1


 

 

12) New York Jets

 

Why They Can Win:

The “gambler” mentality of head coach Rex Ryan, combined with a good, old-fashioned ball-control offense.

Ryan: Nothing like having a few beers at the ballpark before heading to the casino.

Why They Can’t Win:

To put in gambling terms, Ryan is drawing to an inside straight three times over. Plus, the odds of winning with a rookie quarterback are prohibitive at best.

Odds of Winning: 30 to 1

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