I'm the guy that used to write your weekly Football column.
You remember: It was called Encrotchment, the weekly Decibel magazine football column.
It came out every week during the Football season, no matter what.
Then one morning I said I was going out for a pack of cigarettes, and never came back. You probably hate me now, right? You have every right to. I'll be honest, and you'll understand this when you're older: I got caught up with a Baseball team. The Chicago Cubs. Now, I know you don't like baseball yet. You probably think baseball is gross right? But when you're older, you'll like baseball. And you'll understand.
But I assure you, I will never leave you again. I'm here to stay. Every week until the end of the season, you got me. Can you find it in your heart to forgive me?
Raid The Jewels
First thing I've been wanting to speak about: Raiders. Don't look now, but they're 6-2 after a huge interdivision statement win against the Denver Broncos on Sunday Night this past week. Also, any coincidence that Sunday Night Football always gets the best game of the week on Sunday Nights, and the worst games on Thursday? We just got a Browns/Ravens game on Thursday, and now we have Patriots/Seahawks game tomorrow night. That's annoying. Almost as annoying as SNL booking A TRIBE CALLED QUEST for the first time ever tonight, about 20 years after the peak of their career, and after one of the founding members died two months ago. Perfect timing, SNL.
Back to the Raiders: I've seen the Raiders play a lot of prime time games over the years. My favorite has to be Monday Night Football game I watched about seven years ago where they gave up a 31 point lead to the Chargers and lost by a point. But this is a different Raiders team, or at least I think they are. This was the first prime time Raider game in the last 15 years that I actually felt they belonged on the field in the context of a prime time game.
This game was the coming out party of sorts for this new school Oakland team. Their high powered-ish offense and a middle-of-the-road defense was showcased. That sounds sarcastic, but it's not. That combo isn't the worst recipe for winning these days. It's basically the Green Bay Packers formula of the Aaron Rodgers era. I call it "First one to 30 points wins" formula. And how ironic it is that the final score of this Sunday's game was 30-20, in favor of the Black Hole?
I'd love to see a Raiders/Steelers playoff game this year, by the way. That's on my wish list.
I'll be honest, I'm very annoyed with the Pittsburgh Steelers right now. They're riding a three-game losing streak in to a huge game against the Dallas Cowboys this weekend. They were my Super Bowl pick this year, and they're embarrassing your boy. I can still see them winning the Super Bowl, if they get a first round BYE. Other than that, not really.
But first and foremost, this team has to make the playoffs. They're too good not too! One has to ask: if no playoffs happen, is a regime change lingering (mainly concerning Coach Mike Tomlin)? The answer: No.
Big Ben is the Steelers QB until he chooses to retire. He could have five more seasons left in him. He goes through rough patches, usually after injuries, but ultimately turns it back on in a big way. Case in point: the fourth quarter of this Steelers' 21-14 loss to the Ravens this week. He looked like the old Ben. Now that said, Ben is an old dog who can't be taught new tricks at this point. Honestly, they hit the jackpot with him being able to work under Mike Tomlin and Todd Hailey after Bill Cower retired. Tomlin's in for the remainder of the Ben run, and I'm cool with it.
This team has to get focused and quick though. They're only five games ahead of the Browns, who showed up wearing the same uniforms this week.
TV Party's Over
The number one thing that has stuck out during this football season has been the NFL's rating collapse. To put said collapse in perspective, ratings in the NFL are essentially down 10%. Now that's not a big deal for a Jaguars noon game, where ten people watch and have a couple a brews. That means only one dude decided to stay home and watch Shameless with his girlfriend (like all you losers who never want to watch football with me). But that IS a big deal for, say, a New England Patriots prime time game, where 10 million people watch.
Here's my top five reasons why the NFL ratings have sucked this year:
1) Election. People actually cared this time.
2) Baseball playoffs. Cubs. Indians. Teams that never win shit were in them.
3) Fantasy sucks: Everyone you drafted is either a bust or injured and now we have to look up names like Jay Ajayi.
4) You're in four fantasy leagues: your friends asked you to be in a league; you're still in the league from your old job; you got a new job, so now you're in their league; and you're in your family's league, comprised of people who know way less about football than you do, but still seem to beat you by three points every week.
5) Your Mom plays fantasy football: Doesn't care about the teams, games, the players, what they look like. Just cares about winning and starts whomever Yahoo says is going to have the biggest week. Looks at a computer screen to find results. Rarely watches a snap. Wins more than half her games.
The NFL is NOT fun anymore.
At least for now...
I can't predict the exact numbers, but I think NFL ratings are going to bounce back HARD, and remain high through the playoffs on Thanksgiving. For starters, the Lions play the Vikings, which could be a division-leading game, the Steelers play the evening game, and Dallas, who draws the Redskins at 3:30 that day, will more than likely be benching their sensational starting QB for their veteran superstar Tony Romo. It will be the highest-rated game this season, and the NFL won't look back.
Real Housewives of Racism
Are any of you women out there who read this married? Besides you, Mom. No? Ok. Well ladies, here's some advice: Don't ever defend your husband. Let him fight his own battles. Unless it's some woman fighting his ass. Then it's your responsibility to obviously step in and destroy that bitch.
Kaela Carpenter, the wife of Buffalo Bill's kicker Dan Carpenter, lashed out at Seahawks CB Richard Sherman this week on Twitter after a brutal late hit on her husband.
To paraphrase, she said down home where she's from, animals get castrated. UGH.
Great timing for a tweet with racist undertones on what turned out to be one of the most racially-fueled days in American history. Sherman, one of the most educated players in football, obviously saw the underlying racial context, and laid in to her in an educated fashion.
I honestly don't think Kaela Carpenter meant anything maliciously racist behind this Tweet, but again, in context of the time, it's a no-brainer that it would fall in to that category.
Noteworthy: Denver Broncos LB Brandon Marshall, arguably the number two protestor in the "Not Standing During the National Anthem" thing, isn't doing that anymore. He ended it this past Sunday Night against the Raiders in Oakland, where he stood during the national anthem. Now, they WERE in Oakland. Perhaps he was afraid of getting Slayered. But whatever you want to do Brandon, I'm cool with it.
One thing I'm NOT cool with was the actions of Colin Kaepernick this past week. He admitted that he did not vote in the presidential election this past Tuesday. Is it me, or does this move totally wash away all the positive political strides CK's prior actions have had this season?
First off all, I find it a little nonsensical that CK didn't see the viability in a candidate like Hilary Clinton, given her history of positive racial relations. But if nothing else, couldn't he have voted for an independent candidate? Anything but not voting, which is something that continues to plague more than half the country during every election.
Every vote counts, especially CK's, who has a dual residency in both California and his home town of Wisconsin, a pivotal swing state. Bogus move. Not feeling it. Done with this guy for awhile.
America Loses First Round Bye
I knew something was up when a friend texted me saying Brady and Belichick were Trump supporters two days before the election.
In all seriousness: Tuesday was, in many ways, (at least for me) something out of a science fiction novel. I NEVER saw that coming. Who did?
And no, I didn't vote for Trump, despite being a straight white bro who loves football. I was with her 100%. And I was extremely saddened when I put two and two together at around 12am central time that Donald Trump was our next President.
My first instinct was to jump in a Ford Bronco and drive to the nearest Temple of the Dog reunion show and never come back. But I didn't do that.
I'm not going to waste time talking about the broken record Trump shit. It's been said to death. The facts are the facts, and lets hope he can right his nonsensical wrongs over the last two years up until this point.
As for us, the only thing I can suggest (from my armchair politics standpoint) is moving forward. Not moving on, which suggests a turning our backs on the situation. Moving forward. Like it or not, we have to find a way to put America first, in an open-minded fashion, while condemning all aspects of negativity.
I love this country, just like you. And this first building block, no matter how you lay it on either end, is respect. Our differences are not something worth dividing us. They are actually something that should unite us. They are what allows us to be the most diverse country on the planet. We should celebrate that every day, because it's a huge feat, it was by design, and something we should be extremely proud of.
NIB HIGH FOOTBALL RULES!
Pick of the Week
Panthers -3 vs. Chiefs