Mulaney Death Watch, 2014. KC at the Bat, Chiefs on the Back Burner
I’ll admit, if there’s ever a lag in me watching the NFL, it’s during October. I usually drop from watching 30 hours of football a week to about 25. I’m an MLB fan, and I love spending hours watching great, hard-nosed baseball from the drunks of summer.
I spent the past week sending annoying Facebook PMs to my friend R.L. Brooks from Kansas City’s Maps for Travelers every time the Royals did something well in one of their games. I met R.L. when Jar’d Loose did a weekend with Maps and Kansas City titans the Casket Lottery a couple years back. I love everyone I meet from Kansas City because they’re usually Coalesce fans. A person can be a serial killer, but if they love Coalesce, I’m cool with them. Anyway, R.L. is a big Royals and Chiefs fan, but let’s not hold it against him. This week, I wanted to pick his brain about the Royals postseason run, and if it’s currently affecting the normally apeshit Chiefs support from K.C. folk.
“For 30 years now, every October brings the switch from baseball to the Chiefs here, and this year it’s a total mash-up. It indeed has taken a lot of attention the Chiefs normally have away. The whole city of K.C. has got baseball fever; it's almost like football hasn’t even started.”
Maybe that’s a good thing. The Chiefs are an underwhelming 2-3 right now, third place in the AFC West with probably no chance of improving. Besides their opening week upset loss to the Titans, I actually think K.C. has been playing decent ball so far this season. They played a super strong, well–rounded game against New England on Monday night a couple weeks back. I also liked their play against San Francisco this past week. But, unfortunately for them, Frisco also played well, and when push comes to shove, they’re more talented. However, I am deathly worried for them this season. I currently would say that both San Diego and Denver are both top three teams in the NFL, and they’re in K.C.’s division. A sub-.500 record for the Chiefs could bring change this offseason. I asked R.L. his opinion about QB Alex Smith and head coach Andy Reid:
“It feels like things are in flux. I think the jury is still out if these two are gonna become a dynasty like everyone hopes here in K.C. I have mixed feelings on Reid. His overall record tells the story. I’m not sure enough big wins are in our future. I like Alex Smith, but is he in his prime? San Fran might have got the best out of him.”
Smith was drafted number one over all in the 2005 draft. Gauging his pseudo-success in San Fran, I’m not really sure he has ever been in his prime. I’m glad the dude has a second chance in Kansas City, but wins are wins. If he can’t repeat last year’s success, he and Reid will be on the hot seat. He has a tough task ahead of him. Like it or not, quarterbacks are always compared to the other quarterbacks in their division. Good luck with Peyton Manning and Phillip Rivers, Mr. Smith.
While I had R.L.’s attention, I wanted to rip on him for no longer being the hardest stadium in the world. When I was learning how to sports bet in the ’90s I was told by several people not to fuck with K.C. at home, ’cause Arrowhead was the hardest stadium to play in. Now it’s that hellhole in Seattle. Has Seattle’s 12th man stadium usurped it?
“K.C. is without a doubt one of the most hardcore stadiums in the league still. [I have] several friends that work for them or go out and beat the shit out of drums to break world records for sound in a stadium. It’s an intense place and fans are merciless almost to a gut-wrenching fault sometimes. Any team that comes to Arrowhead is gonna struggle with crowd noise. I just had a good friend move here from Seattle, and she is the most insane Seahawks fan in the world, and she talks shit on the Chiefs non-stop, but she will admit that Arrowhead is a hellhole for any opposing team to come into.”
Stay hard, K.C. I respect your Royals support. There’s nothing like when your team's in a pennant race in October. Kinda like your suitcase.
Cleve(land’s coming of)age
Any of you associated with the Cleveland Browns--players, coaches, training staff, fans of, employees of, merch-sellers of, and Bill Cosby--pay close attention to this section.
THIS SUNDAY’S GAME IS THE MOST IMPORTANT GAME OF THE DECADE FOR YOU.
Why, you ask?
Well, your team is 2-2. You’ve won two games. Against all odds, you’ve won your bye week. You have outstanding momentum after mounting the biggest road comeback in team history last week against the Tennessee Titans. Also, the two games you lost were both by three points or less, instead of your usual million. You may actually have a decent team this year.
Now, here’s the problem: You have to continue playing games. As much as I know you’d like to end the season at .500, you can’t do that without playing many more NFL games.
The Steelers have OWNED you forever. Like seriously owned you. Roethlisberger owns you. He’s 18-1 in his 19 games against you. They don’t even let you eat in Pittsburgh restaurants when you go there. Time to finally put the bane of your existence in their place this weekend.
Why is this game so important?
You’ve lost two division games already without playing the best team in your division, Cincinnati, yet. You cannot go 0-3 in the division before you hit the Cincinnati games. Also, LOOK AT THE SCHEDULE. If you beat Pittsburgh this weekend, you go to 3-2. You then have Oakland, Jacksonville and Tampa Bay all in a row. Seriously, I’m not making this up. You have three teams with a total combined one win all in a row. If you can handle success, the momentum of beating Pittsburgh should propel you into three straight wins over these cupcakes. You’ll wake up on Monday, November 3 a 6-2 football team. Then guess what? America’s favorite weed-smoking wide receiver, Josh Gordon, rejoins your team. He’ll have a chip on his shoulder from not smoking weed for the last few months, and will be ready to blaze joints.
Brian Hoyer: This is your team now. You grew up cheering for the Browns. You saw them get cancelled like Family Guy, and then brought back after everyone cried, like Family Guy. It is your birthright to lead this team out of mediocrity. Johnny Football is not your competition, but please teach him well. He could be the Aaron Rodgers to your Bret Favre.
Lastly, the more you win, the more likely LeBron will come to a game. And at the end of the day, isn’t that what it’s all about?
American Horror Story: New York
I can see it now: Sarah Paulson as Geno Smith. Kathy Bates as Woody Johnson. Angela Bassett as Michael Vick. With Jessica Lange as Rex Ryan, and the weird pinhead girl as Fireman Ed.
I knew the Jets were in trouble this week when I got a text from my friend, Tom Corino of Boston’s Rozamov, at 2 p.m. CT on Sunday saying, “Welp, I guess I got to root for Michael Vick now.” Tom’s the only Jets fan in Boston, by the way. As soon as word of this spreads to the Boston hardcore scene, I’m sure he’ll promptly be killed. Shit, I’ll probably have to fly out for the funeral now…
As bad as the Jets looked last week, you got to give Rex Ryan props for being as loyal to Geno Smith as he has been through his tenure thus far. He’s really Geno’s number-one fan. What a lot of people don’t know is that this week Geno Smith was late for a mandatory team meeting. Now, hardass coaches have been known to bench mofos for such a transgression. Rex Ryan wouldn’t have been faulted for doing such a thing. Former Jets coach Herm Edwards said he would have benched Smith. I know I would have benched him. I can’t stand when unproven players on struggling teams make bonehead mistakes like this. I once coached my cousin’s fifth grade basketball team, so yes I know what it’s like to be a coach.
If I read into this incident, which I do with anything football-related, I think it reveals a bigger issue plaguing the Jets. THEY'RE F'N UNDISCIPLINED. And one thing I’ve realized in years of watching football, undisciplined teams can only beat teams that are more undisciplined then they are. The undisciplined persona of this Jets team reared its head when Muhammad Wilkerson threw punches on Green Bay players right before a fourth quarter they desperately needed him in. They lost that game, and haven’t won since.
Geno’s tardiness gave Ryan a free pass to both try out Michael Vick and simultaneously kick Smith in the ass this past week. Instead, Ryan started Geno, and the Jets proceeded to have the worst offensive game seemingly ever in the history of football. They had 62 total passing yards. For sure the worst first half of football offensive I’ve ever seen. They punted every possession in the first half except for two, one where they lost a fumble, one where Smith threw an interception. Also, they didn’t pass midfield until, get this, the fourth quarter. Now, the Jets did play one of the best teams in football in the San Diego Chargers. San Diego pounces on team’s weaknesses. This is what separates them from a team like the Seattle Seahawks, who get off on keeping inferior teams in games with them for whatever reason (like this week’s Monday Night game against the Skins, which should have been over in the first half). Seattle pulls that crap in the playoffs, they may get blindsided.
Back to the Jets: Michael Vick would provide a spark to this team. Geno, however, will be starting this week against the Denver Broncos (yikes). Sadly, Rex Ryan may be the only coach in football that believes in the poor kid. Once Ryan and the Jets part ways this offseason, Geno becomes a back up, and the Jets will draft their third quarterback in the last five years in the first two rounds, this time with Rex Ryan not calling the shots. Third time's a charm? Perhaps Jim Harbaugh and Marcus Mariota will join the cast next year, played by Evan Peters and Taissa Farmiga, obviously?
Are You There, Jim? It’s Me, God.
The next time you get carried off by a group of your peers, make sure it’s in a casket and not after a lame regular season win against the Detroit Lions team you spent years ruining, you asshole.
Kyle "Don’t Call Me Randy" Orton
Still on the subject of the Bills upsetting the Lions: is it me, or is Kyle Orton seriously the best backup quarterback of all time? I know Favre and Warner and a bunch of Hall of Famers came in once upon a time as backups. But I don’t think anyone projected Purdue’s Kyle Orton to do anything in this league but ride a bench until a first-string quarterback--and possibly a second-string quarterback--get injured. Dude has 36 career wins in the 70 games he’s started in his career, with the last being this past weekend against the Lions. He’s a career backup QB with an over .500 record. Talk about a guy making the most of a weak skill set. Also, he’s from Iowa. Slipknot, anyone?
Need Mushin Muhammad Jersey
Fellow football fans, I wanted to reach out to you about something important that you should never take for granted: If you are lucky enough to have a person on your team that you can gutturally groan their name after a big play they make (i.e., Luke Kuechly, Heath Miller), cherish them with every fiber of your fandom. I miss Mushin Muhammad on the Bears every day. MOOOOOOOOOOSSSSSSEEEEEE!
Pick of the Week
Miami+3 over Green Bay