Monthly Archives: August 2012

This Week In Sports

If you were out doing something important with your life, here’s what you missed this week in sports:

  • The NFL resumed contract negotiations with the locked out referees on Friday.  As the NFL and the Ref’s were walking to the negotiation table, the replacement refs called pass interference, holding, traveling, dropped third strike, and made up a rule of ‘Illegal Biceps” when referee Ed Hochuli made an appearance.
  • The Los Angeles Lakers announced that they are constructing a statue outside of Staples Center for Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.  No word yet on when the statue of Kobe Bryant yelling at Smush Parker and the jersey retirement of Cedric Ceballos will be made, but Mark Madsen, Slava Medvedenko (I spelled that right the first time! I’m a nerd.) and Luke Walton did get permission to re-enter Staples Center after a ban of terrible white players was instituted by Jeannie Buss.
  • The Boston Red Sox agreed to a trade that sent Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Carl Crawford to the Los Angeles Dodgers that saved the Sox a quarter of a billion dollars.  Beckett celebrated by sprinting (yes, this is the first time he’s sprinted since 2007) to the nearest Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles and chugged a 40 oz of Mickey’s.  Carl Crawford celebrated by getting Tommy John Surgery (no punch line there), and Adrian Gonzalez celebrated by being allowed to speak Spanish for the first time since he was a San Diego Padre.
  • At the tender age of 30, Andy Roddick is retiring from competitive tennis after the U.S. Open.  Roddick, now old and decrepit, leaves the game a beaten man with only 20 million dollars in career earnings, and he must go home to this.  Retirement is tough for everyone, and I, for one, feel absolutely terrible for him.
  • LB Andre Parker of Kent State picked up a muffed (hehe) punt and ran 58 yards the wrong way on Friday.  Parker suffers from a rare form of dyslexia where he gets directions mixed up, but what was curious is that the disease became airborne and spread to the rest of his teammates as they blocked for him all the way down the field.  Doctors were called in to Kent State, but realized that Kent isn’t actually a state and nobody knows where Kent State is actually located.
  • Eagles CEO, Jeffrey Lurie, said that if the Eagles have another mediocre year that Andy Reid would be fired, essentially putting him on the hot seat.  After this was announced, Andy Reid’s Chair spoke out, saying, “Have you seen Andy Reid?  That guy is huge, chairs don’t just heat up by themselves!”
  • At the age of 50, Roger Clemens made a start for the Independent baseball team, the Sugarland Skeeters.  Proving that Dave Chappelle was right and that white people don’t know what “skeet” means, Roger Clemens said, “I want to thank all the fans of Skeeters, I just wanted to show that everyone, even women, can be a Skeeter whenever they want!  If I could, I’d be Skeeting until I die!”

– Lance Cartelli

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Top 5 Fantasy Football Players in 2012

Who Are My Top 5 Fantasy Football Players?

Well Fantasy Football is upon us, so I thought who wouldn’t want advice from a guy that got second place in his league last year.**

**The League of Extraordinary Buttholes (Yes, I came up with the name.  No, I’m not a genius, but these things really do come to me naturally, don’t ask how.)

[Editor’s Note: (Yes, I’m the Editor too).  I wrote this for a competition Grantland is doing. If they like it, they may even ask me to write for them, it’s a very long shot but, hey, what the heck?]

1. Arian Foster, RB – Houston Texans.  Despite only coming in third in the Lensless Glasses Power Rankings in 2012 behind LeBron James and Russell Westbrook, Arian Foster comes in number one in my top fantasy football players this year, thankfully ESPN agrees with me. Despite starting off slow with a hamstring injury in his first three games in 2011 and sitting out the final game of the year, Foster still rushed for over 1,200 yards and scored 10 touchdowns while scoring double digits in 10 of his games.  Foster also adds legitimate receiving points with over 600 yards receiving last year.  The Houston Texans will rely on the running game more in 2012 since their passing game will take a small hit without a legit number two receiver next to Andre Johnson, who has had trouble staying healthy the past few years.  If Foster can stay healthy, there’s no reason he can’t put up even bigger numbers and help you win your fantasy league.

2. Cam Newton, QB – Carolina Panthers.  After being drafted first overall in the 2011 NFL Draft, Cam Newton slides a spot in my 2012 top fantasy football players to number two overall, and jumps ahead of Aaron Rodgers as my top quarterback in 2012.  Last year, Newton came out the gates hot, passing for 854 yards in his first two games, but slowed down considerably with just over 228 passing yards per game.  Newton’s real value is his dual-threat ability.  He ran for 14 touchdowns, second most in the NFL and more than Adrian Peterson, Arian Foster, and Ray Rice.  If Newton can maintain his rushing totals, avoids the sophomore slump and puts up huge numbers this year, you may be rockin’ bigger pearly whites than he does. And Alex Smith still thinks he can’t win games, pshhh.

3. LeSean McCoy, RB – Philadelphia Eagles. Shady McCoy returns to the field in 2012 with a new contract and as the reigning rushing touchdown champion last year with 17 (20 overall).  After a huge year and with Mike Vick getting injured every other week, the offense now runs through McCoy, who is now one of the few elite running backs in the league.  McCoy’s rushing totals might drop a little bit this year, but Andy Reid will run a ton of screens, short passes, and use him as a safety valve so Vick gets the ball out quicker to avoid injuries to his 100 million dollar quarterback.  Do yourself a favor and don’t be like me and draft him for your friend in your fantasy league.

4. Aaron Rodgers, QB – Green Bay Packers.  Arguably the best quarterback in the NFL and he doesn’t even rank as my top fantasy quarterback in 2012, ain’t that some sh*t.  After going 15-1, throwing for over 4,600 yards, 45 touchdowns and just six interceptions, he can’t get better can he?  Oh, he can.  All the usual suspects return for a now angry Rodgers, who will be lighting up defenses all year to avenge last years upset loss to the eventual champions, the New York Giants. Another reason that should help Rogers regain the belt, the Packers defense should be improved.  With an improved defense, that means they get off the field more, which equates to more possessions for Rodgers and the Packers.  If you miss out on Cam, Mr. Rodgers isn’t a bad second option.

5. Calvin Johnson, WR – Detroit Lions. Megatron may have been the only Detroit Lion that didn’t get arrested this offseason and he’s definitely the only receiver I would take in the first round in my fantasy draft and that shows just how beastly he really is. He’s just 26 years old, and his quarterback, Matthew Stafford is a year older and wiser, Johnson’s yards and touchdowns should go up, if that’s even possible.

Sleeper – Vernon Davis, TE – San Francisco 49ers.  Vernon Davis is my sleeper of 2012, with the resurgence of the tight end position, thanks to Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham, the position isn’t a “I hope I can squeeze out two or three points from Brandon Manumaleuna”.  After the top two tight ends there certainly is a drop off, but following Vernon’s amazing playoff run — 292 yards and four touchdowns — I believe he is firmly the number three tight end.  VD admitted he had trouble learning the offense last year and when it all finally clicked he put up huge numbers against the Saints and the Giants.  With the additions of Randy Moss and Mario Manningham, Davis will see more single coverage over the middle, which will clearly help his stats.  Vernon Davis might be so good this year he might make you cry.

– Lance Cartelli

2012 San Diego Chargers Season Preview

Will the 2012 San Diego Chargers Be Super?

“It’s like a lightning bolt, hit the tip of my penis”

Hopefully you enjoyed that nice little Step Brothers quote. Because usually that’s how every season ends for you San Diegoans.. San Diegoities. Our beautiful city of Saint Diago has been in a drought for the post-season just like our rain seasons here, and we can use a little thunder and lightning, heck anything!

2012 has been an interesting off-season for the Bolts, adding and subtracting. It’s been one of the most active off-seasons in the AJ Smith dictatorial regime. Now it’s time to put up or shut up with probably the most competitive AFC West in awhile. The Chargers got lucky pre-2010 I feel with teams on the rebuild/horrible front office moves and drafts. But now Denver has Peyton Manning, The Chiefs arguably are the most talented team in the AFC West on paper and the Raiders swept the AFC West in 2010 and have taken the last three of four from the Bolts. No matter how this season turns out for the Chargers (I’ll say it now before you guys kill me) but I just do not see A.J. or Norv Turner fired at the end of the year if the season goes in the toilet.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. The Chargers do have some talent left, young and old and will compete in every game this year you can guarantee that. But in order to stay successful the Bolts have to be healthy. Of course the cliché is everyone plays hurt but really, the Chargers HAVE to stay healthy and it’s already taken a toll this preseason with Mathews (Shoulder) Brown (Ankle) and the newest injury as of Monday, Nick Hardwick (Concussion).

Now, let’s look at players this year that I really like and you should watch for and the issues that worry me and could very well hurt this team unless they step up.

Like:

3. Shareece Wright, CB #29: Dude has been on fire this preseason making plays and seems to be a camp favorite after two great games against GB and Dallas. The former Colton High School and USC Trojan could make a run for either an aging Quentin Jammer or overrated Antoine Cason spot.

2. Kendall Reyes, DT #91: I really like Reyes to take over another aging players spot Jacques Cesaire and the previous two games he has taken first-team reps. He’s a big, physical player who can block some holes. (Oh, stop)

1. (Duh) Melvin Ingram, LB/what can he not do #54: Mr. T-Rex arms himself has shown his critics that he can dominate one on one and can get to the QB. Let’s face it, Larry English is done and he (Ingram) is the Chargers only hope besides Barnes and Phillips to get pressure.

Dislike: The S*t that scares me:

3. Wide Receivers: If you look back at 2010 when Mr. Cry-More V-J held out almost all of 2010, the Wide Receiver corps had to step up and they are going to need that again this year. Meachem can be #1 receiver (my spoiler was Vincent Brown but that went to sh*t) I’m hoping guys like Eddie Royal can step up in the short game, Malcom Floyd needs to be more physical as well stay healthy for once. This brings me to my next dislike.

2. Health/Philip Rivers: We are barely three weeks into preseason and three starters are lost for some time (that’s just life in the NFL). Chargers could use a break from the injury bug, but it’s part of the risk in bringing in veteran players. In order to win this year, plain and simple, injuries need to be lowered. Philip has got to make better decisions and hopefully he can stay upright, otherwise the franchise QB will keep will continue to be scrutinized.

1. O-Line: The last two years the O-Line has been average at BEST. Now I can’t question a big man’s work ethic but the Chargers line is as strong as its weakest link and right now Jared Gaither is a big missing piece to the puzzle. If undrafted rookie Mike Harris is the starter come week one in Oakland, keep the kiddies out of the room because there will be some profanity.

Schedule Prediction:

1. @Oak- L

2. Tenn- W

3. Atl- L

4. @KC- W

5. @NO- W

6. Den- L

8. @Cle- W

9. KC-L

10. @TB- W

11. @DEN- L

12. BAL- W

13. CIN- W

14. @PIT- L

15. CAR-L

16. @NYJ-W

17. OAK- W

9-7 3nd AFC West

(Feel Free to criticize these predictions. They won’t be right anyway. In short, don’t [expletive] up again Bolts!)

(Boasting note: In five fantasy football leagues this season so wish for luck or lose I love football!)

-Thanks for staying awake,

Ryan Pedersen

The Top First-Year Starting Quarterbacks in 2012

Where do Andrew Luck and RGIII Rank on My Top 1st Year Quarterbacks?

Aaron Rodgers? Tom Brady? Drew Brees? Who cares about them? We know what we have in them, but if you’re like me, you care about the future.  With potentially 10 (!) starting quarterbacks coming out of the past two draft classes, and now with 6 as new starters this year, who will do the best THIS year.  I know that’s a burning question to all of my dozen loyal readers, but you came to the right place.

1. Jake Locker – Tennessee Titans.  Locker was named the starting quarterback of the Titans earlier in the week, taking over for incumbent 37 year-old Matt Hasselbeck.  Locker has shown flashes of big play ability with his strong arm and his legs, but accuracy has been his main problem.  After mostly sitting for a year, it is Locker’s time to show if he was worth of the #8 pick in the 2011 NFL Draft.  What he does have going for him, other than said arm and legs, is a strong receiver corp highlighted by the troubled Kenny Britt — who will serve a short suspension and is coming back from knee injury — 1st round pick and RGIII’s #1 target at Baylor, Kendall Wright, and an up-and-down tight end in Jared Cook.  If Chris Johnson can rebound off a terrible 2011, Locker will have weapons all around him in a weak division that plays the Jaguars and Colts twice each.

2. Robert Griffin III – Washington Redskins.  Known to many by RGIII, the #2 pick in this years draft, he has a lot of talent around him and a playoff caliber defense to help him through his rookie struggles.  Last year’s Heisman winner, now has Mike Shanahan, former coach of Hall-of-Famer John Elway, to guide him through his career, and upgrades at wide receiver with the signing of the speedy Pierre Garcon, the reliable Joshua Morgan (former 49er) and an improving Fred Davis at tight end.  You can’t forget that in Shanahan’s offense he could put me at running back and I could gain 1,000 yards — a solid run game is huge for any young starting quarterback. The only reason I don’t have RGIII as my top 1st year starter?  The schedule.  The NFC East goes three deep, maybe four depending on how good RGIII really is, and having to play the defending Super Bowl Champion New York Giants, the Dallas Cowboys, and the Philadelphia Eagles six times a year makes this division one of the deepest, if not the deepest, in the NFL.

3. Andrew Luck – Indianapolis Colts.  The #1 pick in this years draft and the ‘most NFL ready quarterback to come out of college ever’ comes in at third for our first year starting quarterback rankings. Luck comes into the NFL with unbelievable hype and ridiculous expectations that he can’t possibly live up to them, can he?  We shall see.  But after two preseason games he has looked pretty darn good. His problem is that he has the worst talent in the NFL surrounding him.  A descending #1 receiver in Reggie Wayne, his #2 receiver, who somehow doesn’t have brain damage after four concussions, Austin Collie — who took another shot to the head on Sunday — is hurt.  The offensive line is pretty terrible and the running game is headlined by Donald Brown, ouch.  The Colts top two picks were safety valves for Luck with tight ends Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener, Luck’s favorite target at Stanford.  I believe Luck will have the best career out of the six QB’s mentioned in this column, but he also has the most to overcome with the lack of talent and high expectations.

4. Matt Flynn/Russell Wilson – Seattle Seahawks.  Of the six teams mentioned here, Seattle has the easiest schedule and a lot of talent around them, but not knowing who the starting QB for the Seahawks is moves them to #4.  The Seahawks play in the hardest place to play in the NFL, they potentially have a top-5 defense if the pass rushers come to play, and the emergence of Marshawn Lynch, and the receivers (how are TO and Braylon Edwards going to co-exist in that locker room) give this team a chance to sneak into a wild card spot in the NFC. Matt Flynn is a guy that can play mistake free Football and run a West Coast offense, but Russell Wilson is a big time talent who flashes big play ability, the only reason he wasn’t taken in the first round is because of his height (5’10).

5. Brandon Weeden – Cleveland Browns. Weeden comes in as the oldest of the six QB’s, even though he’s a rookie, at 29 years old.  He takes over an inept offense that was quarterbacked by noodle-arm Colt McCoy.  The Browns did some major upgrading on offense over the offseason getting the best running back prospect since Adrian Peterson, with Trent Richardson, — who, if healthy, is a workhorse back for them — and drafting WR Josh Gordon in the supplemental draft to team up with Greg Little, the Browns have a formidable offense if Weeden can put it together.  They are also in a tough division in the NFC North, and with executive Mike Holmgren and Head Coach Pat Shurmur potentially in their last year with the team, after the Browns got sold, this puts a lot more pressure on Weeden and that offense.

6. Ryan Tannehill – Miami Dolphins.  Poor Ryan, he lost the only receiver that potentially could have done anything for him this season with Chad Johnson.  Now his wide receivers look like this: Legedu Naanee, Roberto Wallace, Davone Bess, Chris Hogan, and Brian Hartline to name a few.  Tannehill inherits a nice running game with Reggie Bush and newcomer Lamar Miller, but he lacks serious talent around him and is destined for a tough, tough year.

Who are your top first year starting quarterbacks for the 2012 year?

-Lance Cartelli

An Open Letter: Dear God, Please Bring Back the (Real) NFL Referees

Do You Miss Ed Hochuli’s Guns? Cuz I Do.

Dear National Football League and Roger Goodell,

I never thought I’d write this. First, I’m writing a letter (does anyone do that anymore?), second, it’s about referees (this is getting weirder), and finally, I want said referees back? (I’m officially crazy).  But we are getting to a point where the replacement referees are ruining the game, albeit preseason, but we could be on the verge of a mutiny.

By the way, have replacements ever worked in anything? Other than Keanu Reeves’ fifth best movie, The Replacements?* 

*1. The Matrix, 2. Speed, 3. Point Break, 4. Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, 5. The Replacements.  Honorable Mention: A Scanner Darkly. Discuss your top 5 Keanu Reeves movies in the comments!

To be fair, these replacement officials have no chance, they are the third to fourth tier officials, the NFL couldn’t get second tier officials — the referees in NCAA that are in BCS Conferences — because when the lockout is over they wouldn’t have jobs in NCAA. They are taking a crash course in a game that is too fast and has completely different rules to them and it’s the most popular, most scrutinized, most under the microscope sport ever.  Think about it, these refs are getting so much shit from coaches, players, the media and it’s just the preseason, God forbid, if this goes into the regular season they are screwed.

Now, I don’t think there’s anyway that the most popular sport in America, a nine billion dollar a year sport, would ever have fourth-tier referees for when the season starts.  Deadlines spur action, and around Labor Day we will see some movement and probably an agreement between the NFL and the locked out referees, but if that doesn’t happen we are going to see a full mutiny, a coup. These referees are making some egregious mistakes, like calling a touchback on a punt after it was down at like the five yard line, or pass interferences that aren’t being called when receivers are being mugged (see: every 49er play against the Houston Texans).  If this did go to the regular season, and one of these replacement referees mistakes a call with say, 30 seconds left in a make-or-break game, Coaches, Players, and the Media will scrutinize the refs and the NFL non-stop.  It could get really ugly, really fast.

We are lucky though, we are in the preseason, games that mean absolutely nothing, win or loss, you shouldn’t care.  All you really should care about in the preseason is that your teams players don’t get hurt.

[Watching the 49er game in the background.  Oh shit, Brandon Jacobs just hurt his knee, breathe, Lance, breathe.  Okay, I’m alright, what?! They are bringing out a cart, this is my nightmare. (Takes a valium).  Ah, that’s better.  Wait, now LaMichael James is down? F*** ME!!! I’m out of valium? I hate preseason!!!!!!!!!!]

What I’m really trying to say is Preseason sucks, but it’s better than the alternative of no Football. In a year or two they’ll move from four preseason games to two and from a 16 game schedule to an 18 game schedule, which will help the fans, and effectively shorten the careers of every NFL player except punters.

In conclusion Mr. Goodell and the NFL, bring back the real referees that no one likes (seriously why would anyone want to be a referee? Nothing good can come out of it.  No one ever agrees with every call and says “Well you know what, we lost, but that was some great refereeing today, well done!”).  I’d gladly have someone ‘Hochuli It‘ every once in awhile, compared to Every. Single. Game.

I miss you, Ed Hochuli, and your form fitting zebra shirt to show off the Gun Show.

-Lance Cartelli

Ménage à Trois: The NBA’s Love Triangle

Who Gets My Rose for Favorites of the 2012-13 NBA Season?

Don’t worry, my loyal readers, this isn’t some kind of actual weird love triangle with NBA players, where Chic-Fil-A fans will burst into my house and ‘teach me a lesson’.  Instead, this ‘Love Triangle’ in the NBA is the top three teams trying to win my affection and eventual choice as the favorites going into the NBA season a couple months away.

Those three teams are, of course, the defending NBA Champions the Miami LeBrons Heat, the Oklahoma City Thunder, and after stealing Dwight Howard away from the Orlando Magic, the Los Angeles Lakers.

Think of it like the Bachelorette finale (shameless way of getting girls attention to keep reading), I went on three different dates and met the players and the families a.k.a. the Front Office’s of the three teams, but who did I give my final rose to?

Seeing as I’m getting older, I wanted to feel young again so my first encounter was with the Oklahoma City Thunder.  They took me out to the only bar in Oklahoma City and tried liquoring me up to get me to give it up. (It being the rose, get your mind out of the gutter!). I enjoyed my time with them, they have a young nucleus with Kevin Durant, turns 24 next month, Russell Westbrook, turns 24 a month into the season, and James Harden, turns 23 this month.  Durant is the biggest mismatch in the NBA standing at 6’11 as small foward, or the 3, and has in the gym range.  The Thunder were the favorites after defeating the Spurs in the Western Conference Championship, but got caught up by their lack of experience and LeBron realizing he’s the best player since Michael Jordan, and evolving like he’s a Pokemon character.  But with this team getting older, more mature, and simply getting better they made a strong argument for the final rose.

Next up, I took my talents to South Beach..(I had to.)  LeBron, a limping DWade and a still dapper and great-haired Pat Riley picked me up from the airport in LeBron’s Mom’s Hummer, I didn’t appreciate their lack of love for the ecosystem, but I was impressed.  After wining and dining me all night, the master negotiator, Riley, made his pitch on why they deserved my final rose.  The aforementioned greatest player since Jordan, LeBron James, figured out how to play as their point forward, Wade is now his Scottie Pippen, and they signed the greatest three point shooter ever, Ray Allen, while also signing Rashard Lewis, one of the most overpaid athletes of all-time, but he has one job – hit threes.  The Heat will keep playing the Oregon offense in the fast-break, while posting up LeBron and putting 4 shooters around him, not to mention they are the best defensive team in the league.  Nice job Pat.

Finally, I visited Hollywood, and you know what they say wine and women get better with age, but I’ve never heard a sports team getting better with age, the Lakers have an uphill battle for this one.  I loved the hijacking of Steve Nash from division rival, for 4 draft picks that won’t matter, giving the Lakers their first legit, Hall of Fame point guard since Magic Johnson**, but the Lakers backcourt now consists of Kobe Bryant, old, and Steve Nash, really old and Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum didn’t give me any confidence that when the Westbrook’s and CP3’s of the world blew by them on offense that they had an interior defender to protect the rim, but then Los Angeles Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchack got a phone call from the Orlando Magic General Manager Rob Hennigan and this was the their conversation that I overheard:

Mitch: “Go for Mitch.”

Mitch: “Wait…you just want my moody center and I get to keep Pau Gasol?”

Mitch pulls the phone away from his face and starts fist pumping like he’s Tiger Woods and he just won a major.

Mitch: “I guess I can do that, what contracts am I taking on?”

Mitch: “I’m not taking on Quentin Richardson or Hedo Turkoglu’s terrible contract?”

Mitch now starts laughing hysterically and buying shots for the group.

Mitch: “Oh yeah, I’m still here. Rob, you drive a hard bargain, but you got yourself a deal”.

So, while I’m out with the Lakers they pull off the biggest lopsided trade since he traded for Pau Gasol with a package centered around Kwame Brown (LOL). Not only that, but Dwight Howard is the perfect fit for the Lakers.  A guy that, when healthy, is the best defensive player in the NBA, doesn’t need the ball to dominate, and will gladly take alley-oops from Nash on pick-and-rolls all day.  This offseason the Lakers acquired 2 MVP’s, 3 Defensive Players of the Year, 8 All-NBA 1st teams, 16 All-Star appearances, and 1 sixth man trophy with Dwight Howard, Steve Nash, and Antawn Jamison.  Wow.

**I love what Derek Fisher did for the Lakers, but if you say he’s a HOFer you are dumb, good player but not HOF worthy.

The final decision was tough, everyone really knows how to treat a man they are trying to win over, but I had to make a final decision.  Who was my Jef with one F?! But without further ado, my favorite for the 2012-13 NBA Season and the person to get my final rose is…The Miami Heat.  The defending NBA Champions got a lot better, figured out how to play together, and have the best player in the NBA, that equals Championship for me.

Who do you think is the favorite?

-Lance Cartelli

Into the Mind of Cockboi69: The Hobbit – My Three Part Boner

Hello everyone, Tom Cocking aka Cockboi69 aka THE Ry Gos lover here for my first installment on this wonderful blog that enriches the minds and lives of many.

As you may have heard The Hobbit, or There and Back Again, which is what it is actually called if you’re a nerd, is being developed in to a movie split in to three parts. In more recent news I have had what I call a “Goose Boner” (my weiner has goose bumps while erect) ever since I heard the news. For those of you who are Tolkien fans, I’m sure you know exactly what I am talking about. For those of you who are not (homos) let me give you a very quick summary. The Hobbit follows the adventures of Bilbo Baggins, a young, intuitive hobbit from the Shire who has a knack for getting himself in to the stickiest of situations. Bilbo is accompanied by thirteen dwarves and Mr. Hnnnngg, himself, Gandalf (goose boner just intensified). This colorful group of characters are on a mission to reclaim the Lonely Mountain and all of its treasures that Smaug, the dragon, took from the dwarves. Throughout the tale they run in to trolls, wolves, that mofo Gollum, and one of my favorite characters Beorn, the shape shifter (goose boner just exploded).

This prequel to the Lord of the Rings trilogy answers many questions about the One Ring and how it got in to the hands of Frodo. I have left out tons of other stuff but that is because I do not want to spoil it for anyone (everyone dies at the end). That was probably one of the most horrible summaries of a book that I have read 12.45 times but I am no Tolkien.

Now that the movie will be split in to three parts it gives me hope that Peter Jackson will include everything in the book and not Hollywood-It by giving Steven Tyler’s daughter a role that was so incredibly minimal in the book, yet she was one of the main characters in the movie. Aragon needed to smack that bitch up, naw meen? Anyways, many think that three movies is a bit too much but I think it will allow Jackson to delve deeper in to Middle Earth and build the characters so that we understand each one. The first movie is titled The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and will begin in the Shire. Some of the main characters in the Lord of the Rings trilogy are expected to make cameos though they are not in the book, except Gandalf. My main concern with the movie(s) is that it may send me in to a slow spiraling depression because this world blows hard compared to Middle Earth. I then fear that this spiraling depression will trigger some sort of schizophrenia where I believe I am an elf, sell my possessions, buy a horse and live in the forest in constant fear that Sauron will soon find me. I am looking forward to seeing what Peter Jackson has in store and fully plan on getting banned from the local theatre for exposing myself and public masturbation. Till next time, keep it real…

– Tom “Cockboi69” Cocking

2012 San Francisco 49ers Season Outlook

Can Alex Smith and the 49ers Improve on an Impressive 2011?

The San Francisco 49ers surprised everyone, including the ‘experts’, with their rise to the top of the NFC West, 13-3 regular season record and #2 spot in the NFC, epic victory over the New Orleans Saints, and ultimately a devastating loss to the eventual Super Bowl Champions the New York Giants.

Can a team that had the second best record in the NFC, had the #1 run defense that allowed a shade over 77 yards per game and gave up only 3 rushing touchdowns (the least amount since the NFL went to 16 games) and had a +28 turnover differential get better?

The answer…Yes.* But how?

*For those that know me, know that I have this weird, obsessive, undying love for the 49ers, but, if you understand that, then you know I’m very grounded with my homersexuality for them, so don’t take this with a grain of salt…or do, I don’t really care, just keep reading.

The one glaring weakness the 49ers had all year –which directly lead to the loss to the Giants — was the 3rd down and red-zone efficiency, or lack thereof.  The 49ers were terrible all year and that was the reason they lost, not Kyle Williams two fumbles, although that didn’t help.  The 49ers starting wide receivers against the Giants were Michael Crabtree (1 catch, 3 yards), Kyle Williams (0 catches), Brett Swain (0 catches).  I know math isn’t everyones strong point so let me add that up for you, the starting wide receivers for the 49ers — the creators of the West Coast Offense — had 1 catch for 3 yards…I’ll repeat that ONE CATCH FOR THREE YARDS! (and they still should’ve won).

How did the Niners rectify this?  They went out in free agency to sign Randy Moss, probably the most physically gifted wide receiver of all-time, to a low-risk high-reward non-guaranteed contract.  Are the 49ers getting the Moss of the New England Patriot days? Hell no.  But if they can get a guy that can still run, and take the top off a defense, even if he’s just a decoy — which means you can’t double team Vernon Davis or put an extra man in the box to stop Frank Gore — then he’ll be a contributor.  Next, the 49ers signed Super Bowl hero Mario Manningham, another speed guy, to be the #3 receiver on a rebuilt wide receiver corp and the 49ers used their 1st round pick on AJ Jenkins…seeing a theme here?

The 49ers lacked speed at almost every skill position on offense so they signed two speed wide receivers to compete for starting position, drafted a speedy receiver of the future. Oh, and they drafted LaMichael James to be their Darren Sproles of the offense with the second round pick. The 49ers identified their one glaring weakness and tried to make it a strength.

Let’s not forget this was a team that, after a lengthy lockout last year, hired a new Head Coach, installed a new offense and defense, and had about two weeks to do that, with much maligned Alex Smith as their starting quarterback.  I thought going 6-10 would’ve been fanfreakingtastic (I love being wrong sometimes).

But what bout the strength of the team?  The Defense.  The 49ers statistically had a Top-3 Defense, but realistically they were the best defense in the NFL. The 49ers have the best front-7 in the league, and are returning all 11 starters on defense, had the best run defense in the NFL (teams just stopped running on them), and had a league high +28 turnover differential.  Aldon Smith, the phenomenal rookie, will take over at OLB this year for Parys Haralson.  Smith recorded 14.0 sacks last year – one sack shy of breaking the rookie sack record — and he only played 48% (!) of the snaps last year.  Math lesson #2 – if he played double that he would’ve had 28.0 sacks last year (clearly not realistic, but still).  The resigning of the OLB on the opposite side of Smith, Ahmad Brooks, the best corner on the team, Carlos Rodgers, and franchising Dashon Goldson, solidified the best defense in the NFL for at least one more year.

Now the 49ers may not go 13-3 or better this year, the schedule is pretty ridiculous, they face the top six passing teams in the NFL, but this team should be better and are clearly a Super Bowl contender.

*I even went this whole blog post without questioning 49ers QB Alex Smith, just shows what a good coach can do for someone.

Here is my prediction for the San Francisco 49ers record:

1: @ Green Bay Packers – L

2. Detroit Lions – W

3. @ Minnesota Vikings – W

4. @ New York Jets – W

5. Buffalo Bills – W

6. New York Giants – L

7. Seattle Seahawks – W

8. @ Arizona Cardinals – W

9. Bye

10. St. Louis Rams – W

11. Chicago Bears – W

12. @ New Orleans Saints – L

13. @ St. Louis Rams – W

14. Miami Dolphins – W

15. @ New England Patriots – L

16. @ Seattle Seahawks – L

17. Arizona Cardinals – W

11 – 5. NFC West #1.

What do you guys think?

-Lance Cartelli

Running Dialogue: A Football Olympic Draft – “Let’s Get Sweaty”

Who Wins the Gold?

Piggy-backing off my previous post about Football being an Olympic Sport, I decided to enlist two of my friends, lets call them PD and Levi, to have a mini-Olympic draft and let you, the loyal and beloved fans, decide who would win Gold, Silver, and Bronze.

Not only did we have this mini-draft, we also decided to have some wine while writing down what we wrote about each pick and each person drafting.

First, the rules, we had a unbiased civilian pick a number between 1-100, Levi had the first pick and guess what number he chose?  69! Of course he did.  I picked 28, and PD played the “Price is Right” card and picked 70. Seeing as how mature we all are, the number was 69.  Surprise, surprise.  So the draft order went Levi, PD, and then myself.  The roster consisted of 1 QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, 1 TE, 1 D, and 1 KR.

Levi: “With the first pick, and the aim to take gold — I go with Aaron Rodgers. There are three A-Rod’s in the world”

Lance: “If you say Andy Roddick you’re an idiot.  I’ll give you  A Rod.”

See we’re really mature.

With the second pick in the draft PD goes with Ray Rice.

Lance: “For the third pick which some may say is the best pick you could have in all of sports, (i.e., Michael Jordan).  I go with the big black monster, the arch-nemesis to Optimus Prime, I take…Calvin “Megatron” Johnson.

Lance (cont’d): “For the fourth pick, I go with the baller who rocks no lens glasses better then Russell Westbrook and Bron Bron…Arian Foster“.

PD: “Tom Brady. Just like America– almost perfect. Had some struggles but the man is a machine and confident.  Just like in Moneyball you can tell how confident a guy is by his girlfriend or wife.”

At this point, I’m jumping for joy since my two main competitors already have their QB’s, I can take my time and pick any QB I want.

Levi: “Despite playing for the enemy, I go with Lesean McCoy.  The man can slice and dice with the best of them, plus who doesn’t like the nickname “Shady”?

Levi (cont’d): “While some may call this a bold tactic I believe his stats speak for himself give me the man child “Gronk”.  Rob Gronkowski. 

[Editor’s Note:  There was nothing bold about that.]

Lance: “PD, if you go with my pick I will hunt and murder you…like a rabid wolf going after its prey or Levi after his bed”.

PD:  “Sorry but if I’m going for the Gold I gotta have that shutdown D and the 49ers D has got that…best way to keep a great offense off the field is a good defense. P Willy, Bowman, Rogers.. sounds like the Avengers of defense.. and some guy named Aldon Smith playing ALL downs now.. Hulk Smash!”

Lance: “PD, that was beautiful…I love you?”

Levi: “Can you guys take this somewhere else?”

Lance: “We need a room.”

Lance (cont’d): “For the ninth pick I go with Drew Brees’ right hand man.  The man that makes you question is he white? Is he black? Did Young Michael Jackson and Old Michael Jackson have a love child?  I go with…Jimmy Graham.

Lance (cont’d): With the tenth pick, you guys know I’ve got that sweet tooth…gimme some Goddamn Skittles, I go with Marshawn Lynch#HMD“.

Levi: “Wow…did the wine finally get you?…I hope you aren’t blinded the same way Lance was by the Pinot Noir.”

Lance: “Contrary to popular belief the wine hasn’t taken over my central nervous system”.

At this time my archaic MacBook from half a decade ago that holds a charge for about 27 minutes died on me.

10 minutes later…

Lance (cont’d):  “I’m alive, thank you Thomas Edison”

PD selects Jamaal Charles.

Levi chooses his “his boy from the valley Ry Ry” – Ryan Mathews and Andre Johnson.

Levi: “I dare someone to pick a fight with me, that mofo Andre will beat yo ass”

Lance: “If he can stay healthy, he’d probably break his hand on my iron-like jaw”.

PD: “Just don’t get in a car with him”

At this point a lightbulb goes off in my head.

Lance: “WE SHOULD DRAFT AN ALL-DUI TEAM!…We could field a Super Bowl contender, I just need Cam Newton to blow a .20 after a night out on the town”.

PD goes with Mike Wallace. While I solidify my receiving corp with Greg Jennings and I go with the second best defense in the NFC…[racist comments omitted]…Philadelphia Eagles.

PD goes receiver again with AJ Green.

Levi goes with his usual homer pick, Dez Bryant.  “He’s so good he’ll make you wanna slap yo mama”

At this point Levi quotes the Editor-in-Chief of #CasuallyGinger, yours truly.

Levi selects the first KR of the evening Patrick Peterson.  And PD surprises everyone by not being a homer and selecting Antonio Gates, he picks up Jermichael Finley. PD gets his KR in Darren Sproles. Levi finishes his draft by misspelling “Pittsburg” when he chooses the Pittsburgh Steelers Defense.

With my final two choices I go with the best Kick Returner of all-time that boy from “THE U” Devin Hester, and with my final pick I use my great “Strategery” to select Drew “Seriously What’s that on Your Face” Brees to be my field general.

Now common folk, here’s your chance to pick who has the best team!

Football Olympics <– Click for Rosters.

Football as an Olympic Sport? Not Happening

America has been captivated by the XXX (hehe) Summer Olympics as evidenced by the huge ratings, the increased patriotism over such events as Archery, Badminton, and of course our female gymnastic team taking the Gold after an epic Russian collapse, and we can’t forget being at your local watering hole at 10 a.m. while the real patriots of this country are chanting at the top of their lungs “USA! USA! USA!”.

With all these obscure sports that gain popularity ever four years, what about the most popular sport in “Murica? Football.  Ever since I was a kid I always wanted to see my favorite athletes in my favorite sport come together in something that actually meant something, unlike the Pro Bowl.  But, my friends, that is not going to happen anytime soon, maybe never, and here’s why:
  1. Money –  Isn’t that the reason behind everything?  The Olympic athletes that train for four years to get their moment in the spotlight don’t even get paid for all the training, the blood, sweat, and tears, and God-forbid if they won, they get nothing.  Only way these athletes are making money is through sponsorships and if you play an obscure sport those sponsorships won’t be piling up outside your door.  Why would a Football player, whose shelf-life as an NFL player is already going down after being signed, subject himself to that without the guarantee of any money?  Which leads me to my next point.
  2. Injuries -Say you have a handful of players that love their country so much they are willing to represent their country pro-bono, but get hurt in the competition.  Other than being an American Hero, they may have just ended their career with no guarantee of a contract when they come home.  Say the best player in the NFL, Aaron Rodgers, decides to be the QB for the USA and someone viscously hits him and he tears his shoulder up so badly that he cannot play another down.  Do you think the people of Green Bay and Packer fans all over the world are going to care that he represented his country? It sure would make the San Francisco 49ers path to the Super Bowl a lot easier.  Hey this might not be a bad idea…
  3. No Competition – Football may be the best sport in the world, but most people outside of America haven’t caught on to the phenomenon that is the National Football League.  Meaning that there is absolutely no competition out there and as much as I’d love to just hand the USA another Gold medal, that takes all the fun out of it.  Who is the USA going to play?  I hear Angola has a mean 3-4 defense, and Tunisia’s spread offense rivals that of the New England Patriots.
Until the World catches on and they fix the above reasons, we won’t be seeing Football in the Olympic games for awhile.  I guess we’ll have to stick to September through February every year, for our own Olympiad of some of the greatest, most viscous athletes in the World.
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