Just a couple of things that hit me this weekend while watching the NFL
1. Vontaze Burfict is the most hated man in the NFL. He has caused fights with the Browns, Steelers, and Ravens. This weekend, Rob Gronkowski starting going nuts because of Burfict. The man had many opponents angry at him playing at Arizona State. He still has the ability to get under people's skin.
2. While the Jaguars won at Chicago, does anybody believe that the Jags will go on a tear and win the AFC South? Or is the smart play starting a pool of when Gus Bradley is fired? I go with option 2.
3. The Philadelphia Eagles have come back down to Earth. After winning their first 3, the offense is starting to sputter. There is lack of protection for Wentz. The defense is stuggling. Now, what does Doug Peterson do to try and keep the Eagles from falling flat on their collective faces?
4. The Tennessee Titans are showing signs of life. They are 3-3 and 2 of the losses are to Minnesota and Oakland. Mike Mularkey is riding the DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry Express to the top of the division.
5. The Cleveland Browns are still 0 fer the season. However, I have been impressed with Cody Kessler and the receiving crew that the Browns have. Can you imagine if Josh Gordon was well enough to be out on the field? The receiving corps would be downright scary.
Bonus: If you are New Orleans Saints fan, aren't you tired of no defense to speak of and people trying to tell you that having Drew Brees is good enough? If it were me, I would be saying that I don't settle for a .500 record and video game thinking for my team. It is time to fire Sean Payton.
Sunday, October 16, 2016
Monday, October 10, 2016
The Houston Astros missed the playoffs by 5 games this year. And instead of being upset by that, I am happy. Why? Because the team was a flawed team and is showed during the last 2 weeks. In the final 10 games, the team went 3-7. Against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim they went 2-5. The Angels finished 21 games back of the West winners, Texas Rangers. When you are fighting for a wildcard spot, that cannot happen. The Astros also played the Mariners who were also fighting for a wildcard spot. The Mariners took 2 of 3. It hurt, but this will help the Astros for the future. There are three things that need to improve. 1) Beating the Texas Rangers. 2) Improve the batting average. 3) Improve the starting rotation. I believe that the Astros are figuring that out.
Saturday, September 10, 2016
There are times when you just have to get things off your chest. Me? All I can do is scream, “Oh, for fuck’s sake!” — R.J.
Did you survive the short work week? I barely did. I was very busy all week, and today I’m feeling run down and a little bitchy. I’m sure my upstairs neighbors waking me up at 3am had something to do with it. Anyway…
I logged onto Twitter while I ate dinner at my gaming rig’s desk tonight, and I saw the hashtag #BoycottNFL trending. At first, I thought it was something that dumbass they call a Commissioner (that’s Roger Goddell, y’all) did during my work day. Did he give another suspected wife beater the weekend off, like he gave New York Giants kicker Josh Brown? Did a bunch of whiny New England Patriots fans (sorry, Zeb!) go off because he added an extra game to Tom Brady’s suspension for a missing NFL logo on his helmet?
Nope. It was none of that. It was a bunch of NFL fans who wanted to boycott the league over Colin Kaepernick sitting, and then taking a knee during the national anthem during the San Francisco 49ers’s last two preaseason games.
I can’t help but laugh over this faux outrage. After all, the very people who are participating in this “boycott” are the same people who call themselves patriots for protecting our freedoms. They are the same people who talk about freedom of speech, yet they get their panties in a wad when a person of color exercises those same rights. They want to boycott the game over Kaepernick, and yet they have no problem with Ben Roethlisberger’s dating habits, Rae Carruth finding a unique way to skip child support payments, or how Greg Hardy showed how much he loved his woman. (WARNING: Last link is graphic stuff, y’all)
I call bullshit. You know these assholes are going to watch ESPN or Fox Sports on Sunday night, and then talk with their friends and co-workers the following morning about how their teams did.
Thursday, September 08, 2016
Well, since the AFC predictions didn't cause the blog to be shut down and a couple of people actually read my picks, I suppose I should finish with predictions of the NFC.
NFC OVERVIEW: The NFC East is full of a bunch of flawed teams. The NFC West and North looks like 2 team races and the South has a possibility of 3 teams with losing records. The outlook looks like basically the same as last year for playoff teams.
Monday, September 05, 2016
The board has been barren lately. Zeb has had plenty of things on his plate, R.J. has experienced computerized racing, and I am moving and taking over a business at the same time. So the board has been put on the back burner. And instead of talking about Hillary, Trump and the two crabby people from the Libertarian and Green Party, let's put out some predictions for the upcoming NFL season.
AFC OVERVIEW: The changing of the guard in this conference is in full swing. Denver after winning the Super Bowl isn't looking like they will repeat, the Indianapolis Colts have dominated the South for years and they are in a dogfight with Jacksonville and Houston, The mighty Pittsburgh Steelers were dethroned last year by the Bengals. But the East still looks like the Kingpin will keep their throne.
Saturday, June 18, 2016
I know some of you are taking the weekend off from NASCAR, but did you know there's major road race across the pond? Yes, it's that time of year again. The 24 Hours of Le Mans is this weekend, and yours truly spent a few hours on Friday racing a Chevrolet Corvette C7.R race car around the track in Project CARS.
This year, the event is getting the television coverage it deserves. For the first time since we had the SPEED channel, 19 of the 24 hours will be on Fox Sports 1 and Fox Sports 2. If you want to see those five "missing" hours, you can stream the race on the Fox Sports Go app. It's free and you'll have access to the race provided your cable provider has FS1 and FS2 in their channel lineup.
If you want to cheer on Corvette Racing, the new Ford GT race cars, or watch Porsche, Audi, and Nissan battle it out in the highly competitive LMP1 prototype division, here's the television broadcast schedule. All times are Eastern (EST):
8:30am - 2pm FS1
2pm - 4:30pm FS2
6pm - 6:30pm FS2
7pm - 7:30pm FS2
10:30pm - 2:30am FS2
2:30am - 9:30am FS1
Will I stay up for the full 24 hours this year? Not this year. Sunday is Father's Day, and I don't want to visit my family on three or four hours of sleep because I stayed up all night. I'll be on Twitter off and on all day and evening, though.
Friday, April 29, 2016
Thursday, April 21, 2016
R.J. and I make fun of the Cleveland Browns on the forums of the BoSox Tavern Blog. We both seem to realize that the team has made some real bad decisions since coming back to the league (Tim Couch, Johnny Manziel, Trent Richardson, Courtney Brown, and Braylon Edwards just to name a few). Those names don't include the revolving door at G.M., Coach, President of Football Operations, Popcorn Vendors, Cheerleaders, and anybody else associated with this franchise. But this new regime that has been assembled since January has made a smart move by trading the #2 Pick in the 2016 draft to Philadelphia. Let's examine why.
1. Let's say that Carson Wentz has a Hall of Fame career. And he would have been the Browns pick at #2. It doesn't matter. Why? The Browns don't have the support staff on the field to make this happen. At best, Cleveland is 3 years away from considering a playoff run because of the lack of talent on the team. Can you see the team putting in a rookie Quarterback with an Offensive Line that is inadequate at best? As we have seen time and time again with this team, the Quarterback will eventually start shucking and ducking. (See David Carr in Houston to see the prime example of this). We know that RG III isn't a long term answer. He doesn't have the escapability that he had in his Rookie year. His ability to get injured does not bode well for playing all 16 games. Josh McCown? Same with injuries. So you bring in Wentz and there is no O-Line to keep him upright, you might as well start identifying your next QB three years from now. You know that he will get hit time and time again. A QB is only as good as his Offensive Line makes him. And there is a lack of an Offensive Line in Cleveland.
2. Hue Jackson. Hue has his man in RG III. I am going to assume that he was the one that convinced Upper Management that he can rehabilitate Griffin. He is known as a coach that can get the most out of his QB's. I trust the Head Coach to know what he wants to do with the team. RG III is a bargain if he regains what made him special in his rookie year. I don't think he can, but who am I to argue with Hue?
3. The picks acquired. While only getting a 3rd and 4th round pick this year, the #1 in 2017 and #2 in 2018 are the real value picks here. The Browns got those picks while going back 6 spots in the 2016 draft that they are not convinced has a Franchise QB available to them. So you get an unsexy pick at #8 like a DE or a LT (And yes I know they have Joe Thomas. That will come into play later in this post). It improves the team and brings in more new blood of players that are highly thought of. If the scouting department does it's job, we can see talent starting to accumulate in Cleveland.
4. Setting realistic expectations of the Cleveland fans. Each and every year, we hear Browns fans telling us that the team will surprise us by making the playoffs and showing why they have faith. Well, now they can face the cold hard reality that the team needs to rebuild everything. There should be nobody safe from being cut or traded. And this leads us into #5 which will anger Browns fans.
5. Trade Joe Thomas. Right now, this is the guy that you can truthfully say is the best player on the team. He is 31 years old. He is a valuable commodity for many teams. Now is the time to trade him. You can get at least another 1st Round pick if not more for him in a trade. Here is what I do if I am in the Cleveland Brass. I let word leak that Joe Thomas is available for the right price. I ask for a 1st Rounder in 2016 or 17. Also included is a 3rd or 4th rounder in 2017. And here is the key, a developmental QB that the team likes. That way, you add more pieces that are highly thought of, you get that mid round pick that makes teams good if they can find starters there and you possibly have your QB for the next 10 years if the developmental QB develops like you want while watching the game from the sidelines for a year or two.
The new and shiny QBs come out each and every year. And you can always grab one if you want. You know the price, but the Browns have the worst roster in the league and the past couple of drafts haven't satisfied anybody. The talent level needs to be improved in all facets of the team. A rookie QB will not do it for this franchise. Getting the picks they did from Philadelphia and the picks and possible parts from a Joe Thomas trade will allow the talent level to rise. And from that point, we will see if the Moneyball Gang for Football can get this franchise up off the floor (no, not laying right beside a passed out Johnny Manziel). Because right now, this team is the laughingstock of the league.
Monday, February 08, 2016
Cam Newton out here making business decisions in the SUPER BOWL pic.twitter.com/0yCyvHNpPu— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) February 8, 2016
I only watched part of the fourth quarter of yesterday's Super Bowl, but at least I put more effort into turning on the TV than Cam Newton did to get that loose football. Or stick around for the post game news conference. I'm pretty sure a typical bathroom break is longer than that.
Remember when I said I liked Cam Newton? Scratch that. In one game, he went from being Superman to... the 2014 version of Cam Newton. He simply does not have the mental toughness to get the job done when it matters, or to be a leader when things get tough. That includes fighting for the ball when it's loose in front of you. Instead of pulling a John Elway and risking himself with the game on the line, Cam inexplicably pulled up as if he was scared to get hurt.
There is no excuse for this behavior, especially the walking out of the press conference part. Cam's not a kid anymore. He's 26 years old, and with the MVP trophy for better or worse he's now the face of the NFL. With that trophy comes certain responsibilities, and that includes taking the good with the bad on game day.
Superman? How about Bizarro?
Monday, January 25, 2016
Right now, Chargers fans are writing "love letters" to the Chargers to tell them they should stay in San Diego. I have one from the bottom of my Silver and Black heart I'd love to share with y'all. -- R.J.
You're probably expecting me to be just another NFL fan that will whisper sweet nothings in your ear about how I love you and want you to stay in San Diego. You're wrong. Dead wrong. But I write this letter out of love, and you deserve to hear me out.
Once upon a time, I bled powder blue and gold. I was proud to support you through thick and thin. In my case, it was mostly thin since you rarely enjoyed success after Alex Spanos bought the majority share of the team from Gene Klein in 1984. My time as a fan since then was filled with precious few good memories. I was thrilled when you won the 1994 AFC Championship. I even stayed up all night to help welcome you home to what was then called Jack Murphy Stadium when the players arrived from Pittsburgh. I also owned a custom made Stan Humphries jersey that I wore for a long time after he retired because he was such a good player whenever you needed a big play.
But those happy memories are also filled with many years of sadness. You hired Steve Ortmayer and Al Saunders to run the team into the ground in the late 1980s. You then hired Bobby Beathard, and I hated that he traded away almost all of our first round picks in the 1990s and couldn't agree to disagree with Bobby Ross. I thought Beathard lost his mind when he took the third overall pick in the 1998 NFL Draft, a future first round pick, a future second round pick, and Pro Bowler Eric Metcalf and shipped them to the Arizona Cardinals to move up one spot to select noted flag football enthusiast/franchise savior Ryan Leaf. I also had to put up with offensive guru Kevin Gilbride's inability to score points for a couple of seasons, followed by an overwhelmed Mike Riley who nearly completed the NFL's first "Imperfect Season" in 1999 before the Detroit Lions turned the trick in 2008.
When you hired John Butler in 2001, that was the first good thing Dean Spanos ever did since his father let him run the team seven years earlier. Butler drafted LaDainian Tomlinson and Drew Brees with his first two draft picks that year, and then hired Marty Schottenheimer to coach them the following season. You were well on your way back to respectability until Butler's life was tragically cut short by cancer two years later. You could have hired a good general manager to succeed Butler, but predictably you settled on A.J. Smith's ego. With that choice, you destroyed your one chance to win a Super Bowl during my lifetime. I won't dissect what could have been if you had hung onto Drew Brees and done something different with the first pick in the 2004 NFL Draft. My story ends earlier than that.
At the end of the last century, my city gave you a sweetheart of a stadium deal. We guaranteed a "sellout" by buying up all of the unsold tickets, and for about $80 million expanded then Jack Murphy Stadium's seating capacity. But that wasn't enough for you. You wanted more. Only a few years after the stadium expansion was completed, Alex Spanos was quoted by a self-employed journalist that he wanted a new stadium. For those of us who lived in San Diego at the time, it struck us as jealousy. The San Diego Padres, who were coming off a World Series appearance in 1998, got a new stadium after residents voted for it in the following election. You on the other hand were busy trying to cobble together that Leaf trade and were in no position to demand a new stadium.
But that didn't stop you from doing it anyway.
Since we were first introduced to Mark Fabiani in 2002, we have been told repeatedly by you and the local fish wrap (that's what I call the San Diego Union-Tribune, y'all) that you would leave us if we didn't build you a new stadium. That's when I realized your threat sounded all too familiar. If there's a common theme San Diego has with professional sports teams, it's not losing. It's horrible owners. We had Donald Sterling for a few years before he moved the Clippers to Los Angeles. We also had a very good San Diego Gulls hockey team in the old IHL that, like the Chargers, threatened to move to LA if they didn't get a new arena. They did exactly that in 1995 when they became the Los Angeles Ice Dogs. With two San Diego teams following through with threats to move to Los Angeles, I knew back then this would be the end game. That's why I "divorced" you and joined Raider Nation.
Even though I made my choice clear a long time ago, I still don't want you to stay in San Diego. I'm tired of my city feeling like they're in a loveless marriage with you. You should move to Los Angeles and cater to the 25% of your fan base that lives there. My city deserves an owner that is not only committed to winning, but wants to become part of the community. For the past dozen years or so you've had one eye on Los Angeles, and then Carson, while making one unappealing stadium proposal after another to show you're negotiating with my city in good faith.
So, what's the love part of this letter? I love that the NFL screwed you the way you screwed us. Whether you choose to stay here or move to Los Angeles, by the time the 2017 season rolls around you will become Southern California's third-favorite NFL team after the Rams and Raiders move to the area. Los Angeles, Orange County and the Inland Empire are Rams and Raiders territory. Those fans will never give you the support my city once did.
Do the right thing and make this divorce final. Either move to Los Angeles so we can attract another NFL team, or sell the Chargers to someone who will work with my city on a long term solution that works for everyone. We deserve better than the Spanos family and Mark Fabiani.