Friday, February 02, 2018

Patriots vs Eagles Drinking Game: Super Bowl Edition

Patriots in the Super Bowl again. Feels like a sequel to Groundhog Day where the protagonist over and over lives the same football season every year. Patriots start out as favorites, meet adversity, get dismissed by pundits, win a few games, Pats haters whine about something, ESPN makes outlandish claims, Pats win two playoff games, two weeks of media garbage, concluded with a thrilling football game.

History will be made on Sunday. No player has ever won 6 Super Bowls. No player wearing an Eagles jersey has ever won a Super Bowl. One of those things will happen Sunday. With this drinking game, you too can make history. You too can be the GOAT of Sunday evening drinking and Monday morning hangovers. There are no days off when it comes to abusing your liver.

So get lubed up, do your job, and we're not done (drinking).

Anytime a commentator says:
"Super" = take 1 drink of beer
"Bowl" = 1 drink, bonus points for hitting a bowl
"Fifty" = 1 drink
"Two," "too," or "to" = 1 drink
"Minneapolis" = 1 drink
"St. Paul" = 1 drink, say a prayer
"Twin cities" = two drinks
"Minnesota" = 1 drink

"Concussion" = finish your beer, slam can/bottle against skull
"Protocol" = 1 drink, then go inside a tent for 5 minutes
"Rob" = 1 drink
"Gronk" = 1 drink
Name that ends in "-ski" = 1 drink, eat some Polish kielbasa

"History" = 1 drink
"GOAT, greatest, best, etc." = 1 drink
"Tom" = 1 drink
"5-time" = drink for 5 seconds
"6-time" = drink for 6 seconds
"Champion" = 1 drink

"Bill" = 1 drink
"Malcolm" = 1 drink
"Brandon" = 1 drink
"Nate" = 1 drink
"Steven" = 1 drink

"Cris, Chris, etc." = 1 drink
"Al" = 1 drink
"NBC" = drink for as many seconds as your local NBC station (e.g. 7 seconds for channel 7)
"Here's a guy" = finish your beer

Anytime this is on screen:
Roman numeral = 1 drink per numeral/letter (so LII is 3 drinks, VIII would be 4)
Lombardi trophy (real or image of) = 1 drink per trophy
Super Bowl logo (any year) = 1 drink per logo
Vikings logo = 1 drink per horn (bonus points for drinking mead)
Ice or snow = 1 drink (bonus points if drinking cocktail with ice cubes)

Bill Belichick not talking = 1 drink
Bob Kraft talking = 1 drink
Josh McDaniels holding tablet or sheet = 1 drink
Matt Patricia = 1 drink, put pencil behind ear, first person whose pencils fall out drinks entire beer
Ernie Adams = 1 shot of gin
Green Man = 1 drink per man
Dog mask = 1 drink per dog
Roger Goodell = finish beer, throw it at TV

Highlights from previous Super Bowls = drink during entire highlight
Replays of Gronk concussion = 1 drink, 1 shot
Carson Wentz on sideline = 1 drink
Wentz highlight = 1 shot
Any kind of injury report or list = 1 drink per injured player

Anytime this happens:
Penalty = 1 drink per penalty yard
Touchback = 1 shot of liquor
Kickoff/punt return = drink during entire return
First down = 1 drink of beer
Turnover = finish your beer
Field goal = 3 drinks
PAT = 1 drink
Missed kick = 1 shot

Brady points out the "mike" linebacker = 1 drink, bonus points if drinking Mike's Hard Lemonade (but only if you're a girl and/or weigh less than 160 pounds, if not it's negative points)
Brady says "alpha milk" = 1 drink, bonus points if it's a White Russian
Brady throws pass to a non-WR = 1 drink
Patriot besides Brady throws a pass = 1 shot
Brady gets pissed at himself and/or others = 1 drink

Gronkowski catches pass = 1 drink
You're worried Gronk is hurt = 1 drink, 1 shot
Gronk actually is hurt = 1 drink, 1 shot, enter alcohol abuse protocol
Gronk scores = finish your beer and Gronk spike it (bonus points for glass)

Danny Amendola gets the ball in a non-receiving way (run, throw, return) = 1 drink
Amendola makes a clutch catch = finish your beer
Dion Lewis or James White gets the ball in a non-running way (catch, return) = 1 drink
Matthew Slater makes a special teams tackle = 1 drink
Slater downs the ball inside the 20 = 1 drink for each yard inside the 20 (5 yard line = 15 drinks)
Slater lines up at WR = 1 shot
Bernard Reedy is on the field = entire beer
Kenny Britt catches a pass = finish beer
Dwayne Allen thrown to = finish beer

Patriots go no huddle = 1 drink at first snap, 2 at second snap, 3 at third, etc.
Patriots try a trick play = 1 drink
Patriots successful with trick play = 1 drink, 1 shot
Patriots score TD on trick play = whole beer, 1 shot, 1 glass of wine

Eagles player acts like they're flying = 1 drink
Eagles fumble the ball = 1 drink
LeGarrette Blount runs someone over = 1 drink, bonus points for hitting a blunt
Jay Ajayi runs 10+ yards = 1 drink, bonus points for smoking a jay
Chris Long makes a tackle = 1 drink

Justin Timberlake exposes a body part = 1 drink per part
You hold in a piss during the game AND commercials = 1 drink per play, 1 drink per commercial
A commercial tries to be funny but fails = 1 drink
You flip over to Puppy Bowl = 1 drink per puppy on screen

So enjoy the game. Then enjoy the ambulance ride, then the hospital visit, then the morgue. Your funeral procession can be like your own personal championship parade for winning this drinking game. The hearse is like a duckboat.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Patriots the most exciting team ever?

Are the Patriots from 2001-present the best team in sports history? Probably not. Definitely not. The Yankees dominated baseball for decades at a time. The Celtics in the 1950s and 60s were essentially unbeatable. Best team ever? No way.

But has there ever been a sports team as captivating as the Patriots? Has any team drawn so much interest or generated such passionate sentiment (good and bad)? Haters and fans alike gravitate to what's happening in Foxborough, Mass., as if there's some sort of natural magnetic force luring their attention.

And the on-field product is excellent, especially compared to the rest of the crap you see around the NFL. Despite being favorites in almost every game, the Pats find ways to play close, exciting football on the big stage. They've been a part of more of the best games you've ever seen than you realize.

They've won 5 Super Bowls, by an average margin of 3.8 points. Only 19 points separate them from 5-time champs to 0-time champs. And if you add the two losses to the Giants, the Pats have only outscored their SB opponents by a total of 12 points. That's an average of being +1.71 ahead per game.

Recently, there's Sunday evening's 4th quarter comeback against Jacksonville. The heavily favored Pats were underdogs with 15 minutes remaining, with no Gronkowski, and a QB with a cut thumb. Instant classic.

This coming off of last year's ridiculous Super Bowl comeback. And then two years earlier there was Malcolm Butler's goal-line INT.

Even when the Pats lose, they give America unforgettable games. David Tyree's catch does not get remembered as vividly by football fans if it had not been against the 18-0 Patriots.

The Pats are a gripping story between games as well. Has a thumb been obsessed over as much as this past week? What about ESPN's story about "trouble in paradise" among the Pats' triumvirate of Brady, Belichick, and Kraft? DeflateGate became a national network news story. So did SpyGate.

The Patriots are must-see-TV on Sunday, and water cooler talk all week.

So Pats fans, enjoy it. These times don't last forever so revel in how fun it is to see an exciting team play exciting games, and win them in exciting fashion.

And Pats haters, enjoy it too. When this is all over you'll find football less entertaining without villains like Brady and Belichick. Imagine Star Wars without Darth Vader, Batman without Heath Ledger's Joker, No Country for Old Men without Anton Chigurh. Pats haters are all Captain Ahabs, giving futile chase to White Whales. Little do they know that without a whale to chase, things will get a lot less interesting.

Photo credit: Greg M. Cooper, USA TODAY Sports

Friday, January 05, 2018

Seth Wickersham "beginning of the end" piece proves sports world revolves around Patriots

ESPN's Seth Wickersham's "Beginning of the end" piece on the Patriots claims there is a power struggle at the highest level of Pats' leadership: among the owner, the GOAT coach, and the GOAT quarterback. True or not, what the report conclusively proves is that the sports world is obsessed with everything the Patriots do.

Many of the pieces to Wickersham's puzzle seem to fit. I can imagine Bill Belichick grumbling about being coerced to trade Jimmy Garoppolo. I can imagine Tom Brady being worried about the security of his position as starter. I can imagine Robert Kraft interfering in an effort to alleviate tensions and to make his star QB happy. So there's a possibility it's all true.

But there's more than a possibility that the Patriots are the center of the sports world. That's an absolute certainty.

Even when they don't play, they're the top story. Just a whisper of dissension in Foxborough, and it's breaking news. The narrative of Garoppolo's success in San Fran is told as a Patriots' story. DeflateGate was national network news, not just sport news, and it endured for months. Compare that to the brief amount of time spent discussing the Seahawks violating concussion protocol (the media spent less time on that than Russell Wilson spent in the medical tent). People are obsessed with everything the Patriots do.

So while other New England fans might fret about tension behind the scenes, while other New England fans start blaming Bill or Tom or Bob for a breakup which hasn't happened yet, I'm just going to enjoy the fact that the sports world orbits around Foxborough, that Gillette Stadium is the center of the football universe. I'll enjoy it, because 20 years ago the Patriots were barely relevant, and 2 years from now the same might be true again.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Steelers lost when they took timeout before that controversial call

After JuJu Smith-Shuster's 69 yard catch and run and with 34 seconds on the clock, Ben Roethlisberger immediately signaled a timeout. My brother pointed out Pittsburgh's mistake as it happened. It ultimately cost the Steelers the game and nobody will ever talk about it.

After the big gain, the Steelers should have sprinted up to the line and spiked it, saving the timeout so they could choose whatever plays they wanted to call on 2nd and 3rd downs. With the timeout in your pocket you can run on 2nd down, or maybe play-action pass into the end zone or out of bounds, and then run on 3rd. You have much more flexibility in what you can decide to do. Which also makes it harder for the defense, forcing them to respect the run (especially against Le'Veon Bell), defend the pass, and be aware of the 240 pound Roethlisberger possibly running a draw.

You can also use the timeout to ensure the Patriots don't get the ball back.

It would have taken some time to get to the 10 and get set. Maybe 15 seconds. So the options are:

2nd & Goal/10, 19 seconds on the clock, 1 timeout


1st & Goal/10, 34 seconds on the clock, 0 timeouts

Do you want 15 extra seconds on the clock that you might not need, or do you want to be able to use every play and player in your offensive arsenal, and make it harder on the defense to know what you're doing?

The Steelers set themselves down the path of bad decision-making, managed themselves into a corner, and paid the consequences.

Monday, December 04, 2017

Gronk should have been tossed from Bills game, would have avoided suspension

NFL refs suck. Just look how poorly and inconsistently they don't call pass interference when opposing defenders drape themselves on Rob Gronkowski.

Gronk should have been ejected from the Bills game for his late, and dangerous hit on Tre'Davious White. Sorry, Pats fans, it's true. If any Bill or Dolphin or Jet did what Gronk did to a Pats' player, we'd all be up in arms about it. We all yell and scream quite vociferously when Gronk or Brady is a victim of a cheap shot. You can't then ignore your own players crossing the line so blatantly.

Even Belichick thought it was a "bullshit" hit.

It was moronic. No matter what you think about fines or suspensions, it was flat out stupid. As if nobody was watching. As if nobody would see a 6' 7" silverback gorilla acting like Razor Ramon on the sidelines.

But if the refs had kicked him out, it would be hard for the NFL to suspend Gronk on top of the ejection. It was a 20 point game with under 5 minutes, the result long since decided, so Gronk being tossed would have little impact on the game.

And honestly, it's Week 14 now, the Pats are on the verge of wrapping up the division, I don't mind the most injury prone TE in history missing a game. Suspend away.

Sunday, December 03, 2017

College Football Playoff needs to add a 5th team, and a play-in game

Alabama vs. Ohio State is more exciting as a football game than an argument. I'd much rather watch these two teams determine the 4th playoff spot on the field, than watch sports pundits argue about it.

It's clear that the College Football Playoffs are a vast improvement over the BCS, but a modest increase in the playoff's size could yield a big increase in entertainment and drama, while still preserving the importance of the regular season.

I've always wanted a 6-team college playoff, with the top 2 receiving byes, and teams seeded 3 through 6 having to play an extra round. But now I'm thinking that 5 teams would be even better, with just one play-in game. Having just one play-in game is somehow more captivating. It's also not a 7 hour time commitment to my TV.

Forcing the a team to win an extra game for a playoff spot makes sense as the 4th and 5th teams typically have some blemishes on their record they need to atone for. They perhaps didn't win their conference, or have 2 losses, or are a non-power conference team like UCF. They could prove their worthiness by winning the play-in game, which is much more convincing than a panel or algorithm deciding they deserve a chance to win it all.

And a 5 team playoff maintains the importance, and subsequent drama of the regular season. It might even add a little more urgency and excitement, as title contending teams strive to ensure a spot in the top 3 to avoid the extra game, and more teams would have a reasonable chance at making the playoffs.

The play-in game could be played a week after the conference championships, and be hosted by the #4 seed to ensure good ticket sales and an intense college football atmosphere. It would also give us the treat of seeing powerful programs from different parts of the country forced to play each other outside of neutral locations. Or it could pit conference rivals against each other in a game with a national title shot on the line.

So this is what we'd get with a play-in game:

  • The fourth playoff team forced to earn their spot 
  • The fourth playoff team legitimately proving their worthiness
  • More importance for top teams to finish in the top 3 
  • More teams with a shot at making the playoffs
  • An extra 60 minutes of exciting football between top teams 

Just ask yourself, would you rather watch talking head sports pundits argue about Bama and Ohio State, or watch the Tide and Buckeyes figure it out for themselves in front of 100,000 fans in Columbus or Tuscaloosa? Which do you think would get better ratings, the game or the selection show?

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Which Patriots team is the real one: Week 1 or Week 2?

The Patriots looked like two different teams between Week 1 and Week 2. What changed, is the change sustainable, and which performance reflects who the Patriots really are?

1. The Chiefs are much better than the Saints
Kansas City won 42 games the past three seasons, the Saints have won 21. The Saints have some talented players, but also have inexperienced and exploitable guys, especially on defense. And Brady exploited the hell out of them. A win is a win is a win, but let's not get too hard about beating a team that hasn't finished above .500 since 2013.

2. Brady was at his Bradyest
Even against a mediocre team, you still need to make the plays to win, and Brady did that to near perfection, especially in the 1st quarter. He was poised in the pocket, read the Saints' defense well, and made all the throws. Frankly, he sucked in the Kansas City game, and at times seemed to feel ghosts around him in the pocket. He was the most improved player from Week 1 to Week 2.

The subpar Brady we saw in Week 1 has made maybe 10 career appearances. The near perfect Brady from Week 2 has made about 40 appearances. The other 220 games have seen Brady be nearly this great or at least very good. So that's what we should expect to see week to week. He won't be as amazing as he was for the first 15 minutes, but he'll be closer to that than to what he did against KC.

3. Extra days and no days off
The Pats try to be the best practice team in the NFL. And that's why they win. Give them a few days extra to work and it typically shows on the field. Unfortunately it's rare to have a long week without also having a short week before it, so this advantage can't be exploited much.

4. Pats play better in adversity than perfect conditions
The Patriots play better in difficult circumstances than any team in the NFL. Whether it's injury, false media leaks about air pressure, a teammate being arrested for murder, Tim Tebow, the Pats thrive when the shit hits the fan and outside distractions threaten to undermine them. They have a sharper edge when working through adversity. So maybe a handful of injuries can actually help the team in some weird way? Maybe not.

5. Gronk looked 100% for 60% of the game
Gronkowski was flaccid in Week 1, he looked fiercer in Week 2, until he got hurt. When healthy the Brady-Gronk combo might be the most dangerous passer-catcher duo in the history of the game. He's also one of the best blocking tight ends in the League. With the injuries at WR, his health is something the Pats' season will swing on, and that's a flimsy backbone to lean on.

The Saints are mediocre, but so is most of the NFL. The Patriots showed in Week 2 that they should have regular season success against most NFL teams, so long as they have a minimum number of players they can put on the field. It was a good rebound, and it was great to see everyone step up any way they could: 7 players rushed the ball, 9 caught passes, 11 touched the ball, 20 of Brady's 30 completions were to non-WRs.

But as far as gauging the Pats as a contender, I need to see much more, either consistently against mediocre teams, or once against a good team.

I'm not trying to be a Debbie Downer, just a Rational Rob.

Photo Credit: AP

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Patriots vs. Chiefs Drinking Game: Banner Raising Edition

Football season is back and it begins as it should: with the Patriots raising a championship banner. This one made even sweeter by the failed attempts of the NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell to punish the Pats for not kneeling to him and kissing his ass.

The Patriots begin their title defense against the Chiefs, and hope to become the first back-to-back champions since themselves back in 2003 and 2004. The team is loaded with talent but it's all about execution. Having talent is like stocking your fridge and liquor cabinet with great booze. Assembling it is the first step, but knowing what to do with it is far more important.

We're happy to help guide you to drinking your way through the 2017 season. And we begin with a drinking game to play as the Pats host the Chiefs, hoist a banner, and you destroy your internal organs and your life with toxic levels of alcohol.

Here are the rules...

Every time a commentator says:
Banner = take 1 drink of beer
Raise = 1 drink
Five = drink beer for 5 seconds
Time = 1 drink
Champion (in any form) = 1 drink and raise your ring fingers in the air as an FU to Goodell
Defending = 1 drink
Super Bowl = 1 drink
Fifty-one = drink for 51 seconds
Greatest/best = 1 drink

Do = 1 drink
Your = 1 drink
Job = 1 drink
No days off = 1 drink

Chiefs = 1 drink
(Kansas) City = 1 drink
Eric = 1 drink
Mitchell or Mitch = 1 drink
Ware = 1 drink
Any first name that begins with "De" (e.g. De'Anthony or Dee) = 1 drink
Smith = 1 drink
Game manager = 1 drink
AFC West = 1 drink
Chris (or Cris) = 1 drink
Marcus = 1 drink
Al = 1 drink

Deflate = 1 drink
Gate = 1 drink
Suspended = 1 drink
Roger = 1 drink
Goodell = 1 drink

Any time this is on screen:
The score 28-3: drink for 25 seconds
A banner = 1 drink per banner
A Lombardi Trophy = 1 drink per trophy
A Super Bowl ring = 1 drink per ring
Roger Goodell = finish your beer

Injured Spencer Ware = 1 drink
Injured Julian Edelman = finish your beer, toss it in the air, and whoever makes the most ridiculous catch get 1,000 points
Video of Ware and/or Edelman getting hurt = drink during entire clip

Super Bowl highlights = drink during the entire clip
The number 51 (including on the clock): 1 drink
Roman numerals = 1 drink per letter (bonus points for drinking Dos Equis, or Molson XXX)

Vince Wilfork = 1 drink, 1 shot, eat a turkey leg
Ernie Adams = 1 shot of liquor (bonus points if it's gin, Ernie seems like a gin guy)
Jimmy Garappolo = 1 drink

Bob Kraft = 1 drink
Kraft talking = drink the entire time he talks

Any time this happens:
Andy Reid mismanages the clock = finish your beer

Tom Brady yells in anger = 1 drink
Tom Brady yells in joy = 1 drink
Brady headbutts someone = 1 drink
Brady points out the "mike" = 1 drink (bonus points if drinking Mike's Hard Lemonade, but only if you're a girl or weigh under 100 pounds)
Brady says "alpha milk" = 1 drink

Pats go no huddle = 1 drink per snap
Chiefs run the ball = 1 drink
James White gets the ball = 1 drink
Matthew Slater makes a special teams tackle = 1 drink

Rob Gronkowski makes a catch = 1 drink
Gronk makes a big block = 1 drink
Gronk scores a TD = finish your beer, spike it (bonus points for glass containers spiked on hard surfaces)
You get worried that Gronk is hurt = 1 shot

Stephen Gostkowski barely makes a kick = 1 drink
Gostkowski misses a kick = 1 shot

So enjoy the game between the Patriots and Chiefs. And if you play this game, please also enjoy the trip to the hospital, the morgue, and the cemetery.