Category Archives: NFC West

10 Athletes I’d Love to See Chase After a (Speeding) Justin Beiber

Justin Beiber is under investigation after allegedly speeding through a gated community in LA in his white ferrari. The cops aren’t the only ones interested in Beiber’s activities, former football player Keyshawn Johnson followed Beiber to his house to confront him on his reckless driving, but Beiber danced his way into his house without talking to Johnson.

Keyshawn was a prolific receiver, but he wasn’t fast back in his prime so there’s no way he could chase after the Beibs these days. But I can think of at least 10 athletes today that can stop the Beibs today and make everyone regret being a Belieber.

10. Chris “Birdman” Andersen – The “Birdman” as some affectionately call him is a big man that has journeyed around the league and is now a key contributor to the Miami Heat. The tattoo aficionado terrifies me, but I think if he ended up chasing after Beiber he’d fit right in on his entourage and might even be featured on J. Beib’s new single.

9. LeBron James – LeBron is one scary man. So scary that his hair is running away from his face! Ha! I kid. Bron Bron has been seen by many in their rearview as he comes gliding across the court to swat an attempted lay up, just think what he could do to Beiber and his ferrari.

8. Justin Smith – The San Francisco 49ers’ defensive lineman known as “The Cowboy”. He intimidates 300-pound offensive lineman and shoves them like a rag doll, so what could if Beiber was speeding through his ranch? Probably this.

7. Kevin Garnett – Garnett is a big man that has guarded the paint for over 18 years and Beiber has been alive, like 18 years. Plus Kevin Garnett is 7 feet tall and yells obscenities all the time, that would hurt poor Beiber’s virgin ears.

6. Patrick Willis – Willis is the leader of the 49ers defense and the heir apparent to Ray Lewis as big middle linebacker that will destroy you. His hobbies include long walks on the beach with his dog, Zeus and destroying wide receivers that like to go over the middle. Be careful Justin!

5.  J.J. Watt – Watt is arguably the best defensive player in the NFL and was awarded the Defensive Player of the Year award in just his second season. He loves going after the quarterback, come to to think of it, Beiber has the same facial features as Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo. They should both be careful.

4. Mike Tyson – I know he’s not a current athlete, but Mike Tyson is still one of the scariest men on Planet Earth. If someone told me Metta World Peace’s dad was Mike Tyson you wouldn’t hear an argument out of me. I don’t know whether Tyson would destroy Beiber or hug him like he’s his long lost white child, actually I’m pretty sure it’s the latter. Tyson and Beiber have to be BFFs.

3. Jon “Bones” Jones – Arguably the best fighter in the UFC, Jon “Bones” Jones is one of the most dangerous athletes in all of sports. Bones Jones would hit Beiber with a spinning elbow faster than Beiber could sing “Baby, baby, baby”.

2. Brock Lesnar – Lesnar is a former WWE and UFC Champion that had stints in the NFL. I don’t know where he is now, but I’m sure whatever it is he’s breaking someones bones. Lesnar will make you think that there is alien life, he is not built like a human should be with muscle on top of muscle. I still think he should’ve been the bad guy in “Fast and Furious 6″. Oh well, there’s always a sequel.

1. Metta World Peace – The artist formerly known as Artest, World Peace is a psycho who likes to thank his psychiatrist after winning NBA Championships. That is the last man I would want chasing after me. Justin, World Peace is Coming After You! Oh damn, I just gave Beiber the new title to his CD.

Follow Lance “The Red Mamba” Cartelli on Twitter!

Casually Ginger’s 2013 Pre-Free Agency Mock Draft

NFL Mock Drafts…what can you say about them?  They are like one really excruciatingly long opinion and you know what they say about opinions – they’re like a$$holes, everyone has them and they all stink.  Only problem with Mock Drafts is it’s not just one opinion its 32 different opinions that’s like…32 butts!

That being said, here’s my long-winded (hehe, see what I did there?) Mock Draft that will most assuredly be wrong 99% of the time especially after Free Agency starts tomorrow.

1. Kansas City Chiefs – This one I’m fairly confident about because Adam Schefter has tweeted it.  Formerly known as the “Adam Schefter of San Marcos” I’m going to trust his inside sources. Luke Joekel, OT, Texas A&M. 

2. Jacksonville Jaguars – Jacksonville hired a defensive head coach and cut both starting defensive backs. So i’m going out on a limb and saying Cornerback is a need. Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama.

3. Oakland Raiders – The best player in the draft falls to the Raiders at a need spot.  How’s that for luck that Oakland has been desperately needing. If Al Davis were still alive he’d probably try to draft the “Honeybadger” here. Shariff Floyd, DT, Florida.

4. Philadelphia Eagles – The Eagles are switching to a 3-4 and just hired former Oregon Head Coach, Chip Kelly.  He goes to his deep well at the O and gets his pass rusher. Dion Jordan, DE/OLB, Oregon. 

5. Detroit Lions – Detroit’s defensive line went from a strength to a weakness about as fast as Brandon Knight became the poster for posterization. Ezekiel Ansah, DE/OLB, BYU.

6. Cleveland Browns – If Cleveland figures out their QB situation they have the talent to challenge for a Wild Card spot in the inferior AFC…but it’s the Browns so don’t hold your breath. Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State.

7. Arizona Cardinals – Reports are that Kevin Kolb will take a pay cut and the Cardinals are interested in bringing in Matt Cassell to compete for the job…Are you done laughing yet?  Seriously…stop laughing.  Okay, now I’m laughing.  Tears of joy are pouring out of my eyes.  I haven’t laughed this hard since “The Butt Fumble”Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia.

8. Buffalo Bills – The Bills get the most explosive receiver in the draft to pair next to Stevie Johnson.  Only problem is Ryan Fitzpatrick is throwing them the ball. Cordarelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee.

9. New York Jets – The Jets need a pass rusher.  Oh, they also need a QB, RB, OL, WR’s, TE, DL, LB, S and a probably a new Head Coach.  So….Championship! Jarvis Jones, DE/OLB, Georgia.

10. Tennessee Titans – One of the best players in the draft, but a heart condition will have him drop to #10 and be a steal for the Titans who know how to develop linemen. Now if only he could teach Jake Locker to throw to his team. Star Lotuleilei, DT, Utah

11. San Diego Chargers – Steal of the draft? Last year the Chargers were innovators.  They decided to just use two offensive linemen the whole year.  Oops, they actually put a whole offensive line out there?  Yikes. Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan. 

12. Miami Dolphins – The Dolphins are going to spend a bunch of money to put talent around Ryan Tannehill although he’s got a pretty good eye for talent. Knowing the Dolphins they will overpay to resign Jake Long.  If not – Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma.

13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Seriously, why is Buccaneer so hard to spell? 2 c’s and 2 e’s but only 1 n? C’mon, they should just be called the Pirates so I can freaking spell it right the first time.  Thank God for spellcheck. Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State. 

14. Carolina Panthers – The Panthers secondary is not very good so they grab the best safety in the draft. I still think Cam Newton should play Safety. Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas.

15. New Orleans Saints – The Saints were the worst defensive team in the NFL by like 9 football fields last year.  Mr. Banks should help.  Wait, is this Carlton Banks’ son?  The Saints will now break down their huddle doing “The Carlton”. Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi St. 

16. St. Louis Rams – The Rams are probably going to lose Danny Amendola, so they replace him with the best slot receiver in the draft. Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia.  

17. Pittsburgh Steelers – The Steelers are old and over the cap. They need to get younger every where. They start at pass rush after cutting James Harrison. Damontre Moore, DE/OLB, Texas A&M.

18. Dallas Cowboys – The Cowboys wanted to draft a Sports Psychologist here so they can hypnotize Tony Romo into throwing to his own team.  Alas, they didn’t want to reach. Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama.

19. New York Giants – The Giants try to bounce back off a disappointing season and they do wonders bringing in new defensive line help. Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri.

20. Chicago Bears – The Bears can’t block anyone. DJ Fluker, OT, Alabama

21. Cincinnati Bengals – Cinci comes in second place on hard words to spell in the NFL. I could’ve sworn there were two T’s!  The Bengals need a corner opposite Leon Hall. Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington. 

22. St. Louis Rams (via Washington) – The Rams second first round pick is a good one.  Getting arguably the best OG in the draft. The NFC West is gonna be so good for the next 10 years. My heart cannot take this. Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina. 

23. Minnesota Vikings – After trading one of the most dynamic and head scratching talents in the NFL, Percy Harvin.  The Vikes starting WR are currently Jarius Wright, Greg Childs, and D’Vinegar Heffington.  I made up one of those names and it was so fun! Keenan Allen, WR, California. 

24. Indianapolis Colts – The Colts can’t get in a shootout every game although it worked out last year for Andrew Luck and Indy. Barkevious Mingo, DE/OLB, LSU.

25. Minnesota Vikings (via Seattle) – Minnesota this is where I say how much I despise you right now. You made out pretty good in the Percy Harvin trade, but why you gotta trade him to the Seahawks?  The best up-and-coming rivalry in the NFL is getting ridiculous. Time to start drinking.  Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State. 

26. Green Bay Packers – The Packers never recovered from losing Safety Nick Collins to a neck injury. They draft the second best safety in the class. Now Golden Tate has a new Packer he can catch to win a game. Matt Elam, S, Florida.

27. Houston Texans – Versatility in the NFL is one of the most important factors.  The Texans get a corner that can convert into a safety just in case they lose Glover Quinn. David Amerson, CB/S, North Carolina State.

28. Denver Broncos – A potential top 10 pick before a season ending injury.  Could be one of the best pass rushers in the draft. Tank Carradine, DE, Florida State.

29. New England Patriots – It’s no secret the Patriots love tight ends.  They love them so much that on their 53 man roster they’d have 52 TE’s and Tom Brady if they had their druthers. Tom Brady loves TE’s so much he’d give his own UGGs to them.  Lucky bastards! Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame. 

30. Atlanta Falcons – I assume the Falcons will sign RB Stephen Jackson and if Tony Gonzalez doesn’t return then the TE position is their biggest need.  The Patriots find out that the Falcons are interested and offer every pick for him. Zach Ertz, TE, Stanford.

31. San Francisco 49ers – The 49ers will have 15 picks (!) in this draft and have a roster that allows like 6 players to make it.  So….trade up is probably going to happen. Everyone thinks that the secondary is the weakness, but the pass rush is what hurt them in the playoffs. Datone Jones, DE, UCLA.

[UPDATE: The 49ers just traded for Anquan Boldin for a 6th round pick.  I am giddy…in the pants]

32. Baltimore Ravens – The Ravens have a big whole in the middle of their defense after the cheater and alleged murderer, Ray Lewis retired.  Think I’m bitter much? Alec Ogletree, ILB, Georgia. 

Have any questions, gripes, criticism?  Well then write your own damn Mock Draft!

– Lance Cartelli

(148) Days of 49ers: The Day My Heart Got Broken

Everything has a beginning and an end.  Whether it’s good or bad, happy or sad, everything comes to an end.  For the 2012 San Francisco 49ers and yours truly, it lasted 148 days.  From September 9th, an Opening Day victory against the Green Bay Packers, until February 2nd, a devastating loss in the Super Bowl to the Baltimore Ravens, It ended up being the most satisfying and heartbreaking 148 days in 18 years and realistically my life.

It dawned on me that Sundays loss was just a bad version of a Romantic Comedy.

The Premise:  A mid-20’s die-hard San Francisco 49ers fan, who has never loved anything but his parents and the 49ers, goes through the ups-and-downs of a season to see his team advance to the Super Bowl.

Everything was set-up perfectly for a beautiful Romantic Comedy.  The man in his mid-20’s played by none other than Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Ryan Gosling had scheduling conflicts), let’s for shits and giggles call him, Lance.  The Super Bowl Trophy, adorkably played by Zooey Deschanel, it was all too perfect.  They would end up together and be happy for the rest of the 2013 offseason as the Super Bowl Champions. The conflict you ask?  The Baltimore Ravens, the gay best friend that is trying to ruin everything!  And they did.

This is not a happy story, this is not a story about boy meets girl or boy’s team wins the Super Bowl and is euphoric.  This is the story of heartbreak.

The script was written, the movie was greenlit and was set to premiere just a few weeks before Valentine’s Day.  It was a film that men and women could all enjoy, a great date movie that had love, plot twists that would make M. Night Shyamalan jealous, and Football!  Probably the three greatest things in the World.

Unfortunately for the naive, in love 49ers fan, it was not a happy ending.

(1) It started off great, the 49ers went into Lambeau Field and defeated the Green Bay Packers on Opening Day.  A statement was made.  The shy protagonist stepped out of his comfort zone and met the girl/team of his dreams.  What a great start to the movie. I’m really rooting for this Lance guy!

(100) Our first plot twist!  Zooey breaks up with her loving, but ultimately not good enough High-School sweetheart, lets call him Alex Smith.  He gets an awful head injury and we think that they can pull through this, but they don’t.  Finally an opportunity for someone to swoop in.  A secondary character is introduced and ready to take the stage, his name Colin Kaepernick.  He plays well, but you expect him back in his secondary role.

[At this point, the Characters are all screwed up and I’ve lost my way, but stay with me I’m going somewhere with this…I think]

(106) We have yet to see our main character return.  JGL is a little scared, they have a big game on the national stage against currently the best defense in the NFL.  Kaepernick is not so scared, he dominates, he is no longer a secondary character, sorry Alex.  Zooey likes what she sees.

(148) You never know when something good/bad is going to end, unless it’s sports, there’s only 1 team that ends the season happy and two teams end the same day.  Today was the Super Bowl. One team will go down in history, the other team will just go down.

This was Colin’s chance to sweep Zooey off her feet and engrave his name into this trophy, kinda sexist if you ask me, but he’s the Protagonist!

It did not start off so well, the gay best friend is no longer gay and trying to remove the best friend title for something a little more intimate he’s trying to steal your Trophy Wife.  Down 22-6 he’s doing a damn good job.

Midway through the night, you feel like you’re losing her, you are about to throw in the towel.  Time to find the Alcohol – this always ends well.

Blackout.

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The lights in the stadium go dark.  This is perfect, all I want when someone is trying to steal something that I rightfully deserve is to sit in the dark while this it’s happening.  Already angry, surrounded by people yelling drunken nonsense at this party, and your girl is flirting with someone else, a guy named Joe Flacco.  He’s cool, he’s calm, he’s good looking – He better not be going to Disney World with her later.  JGL has been relegated to the sidekick in every Rom-Com – the fat, ugly friend who gives awful advice.  I’ve never felt more bi-polar than at this moment – I feel like I’m Bradley Cooper in The Silver Linings Playbook.  I hope the payoff is Jennifer Lawrence.

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But wait, it’s time for our huge romantic gesture!  Down 22 in the 3rd quarter, JGL busts out the boombox to play outside Zooey’s window.  She’s gonna love that shit, and you know what?  She does.  The 49ers are right back in it. Down 5, they get within 5 yards of kissing this big beautiful trophy that they have worked for more than 148 days for.

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I am full of emotions and you should be too, this is the climax! Our Protagonist is finally going to win the heart of his true love!

But this story is not a love story, it is not a happy ending, the 49ers fall five yards short of their goal, their dream, their love.  It’s like the The Break-Up, it was never gonna end happy.

The only problem with this failed Romantic Comedy that after the credits roll, the story keeps going. Commercials, Television, the “I’M GOING TO DISNEYWORLD!” even though I’d much rather spend my time at Disneyland because California > Florida and there’s generally more to do here, but I’m not the one who won the Super Bowl, so whatever Joe, do what you want! But I digress.

The silver lining to this heartbreak? The Sequel!

Just like JGL met Autumn at the end of 500 Days of Summer (Spoiler Alert!), the 49ers will have a chance to reclaim what they believe is rightfully theirs and that journey begins in seven months.

What I did learn with my first love and true sports heartbreak is that in the end it is better to have loved and lost (the Super Bowl) than to have never of loved a team at all.

– Lance Cartelli

The 49ers are Super Bowl Bound – A Roller Coaster of Emotions

The glass is half full.  You can do anything you set your mind too.  Lindsay Lohan can beat this! David Akers can totally hit a 38 yard field goal.  Optimism – it’s a crazy thing and it was tested on Sunday in the Cartelli household, especially when the one thing that brings you happiness is down 17.  On the road.  In the NFC Championship game.

Spoiler Alert:  There will be screaming.  There will be yelling.  There will be dancing.  And there will be joyous and angry tweets!

Without further ado:

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Coming off a week where your team just dominated last years MVP and your newly crowned QB in his first playoff start breaks records, you have to feel a little bit of confidence going into the NFC Championship game.  It also didn’t help that ESPN and NFL Network were all picking your team to win and it shouldn’t be close.  They were even favored by four on the road according to Vegas.  The Georgia Dome was going to be rocking, the Falcons were going to feel disrespected, and they were going to come out swinging.  And that is exactly what happened.

Before I could blink Quintorris Lopez Jones, better known as Julio Jones was dominating.  He was a man amongst boys towering over everyone that even tried to cover him.  It was like if I was in a room with Danny DeVito.  After the first drive the 49ers were down seven.  Not to worry, we have Colin Freakin’ Kaepernick.

My optimism is still at a very high point.

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Well, Colin Freakin’ Kaepernick and the 49ers have a three-and-out.  Not good.  Can the defense get a stop?  No, No they can’t.  A field goal – they are now down 10.  That’s okay, we’re gonna get points right here right? Wrong.  Three-and-out. This feels like the 49ers vs. Seahawks all over again.

The Falcons smell the blood in the water, are the 49ers the innocent surfers deep in the ocean about to get chomped on?  Cue the Jaws Music as Julio Jones makes a ridiculous catch over Tarell Brown and the Falcons are up 17-0.  We’re gonna need a bigger boat.

Oh, by the way.  This was all in the first quarter.  Optimism fleeting.

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No, no it wasn’t.

At this point in the Cartelli household, my face is in my palm, my Dad is walking around yelling and not being able to watch and my Mom is playing Spider Solitaire upstairs.  I did not watch 19 weeks of 49er football to be disappointed once again in the NFC Championship game.  Time to will my team to victory.

Optimism at an all-time low –  the 49ers respond with a long touchdown drive capped off my rookie LaMichael James touchdown.  17-7.  Screaming and yelling commence.  I remember saying louder and more confidently, “We’re still in this”.  A stop.  Another touchdown drive lead by Kaepernick and Frank Gore.  17-14.  

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After being punched in the gut and knocked down, we bounce back, By “we”, I mean my Dad and I.  We’re back in this.  Every play matters, we’re screaming, high-fiving, wondering why Troy Aikman sounds like a lesbian, but I digress.  Did the 49ers leave too much time on the clock for Matt Ryan?  They sure did.  After having all the momentum, the 49ers allow a touchdown to put the Falcons up 24-14.  I hate you, Matt Ryan.

It’s halftime.  Usually  my chance to shower, relieve myself in the restroom, eat, cry (when losing), and yell at the television some more.  Not Sunday, I had no appetite, bodily functions weren’t working, I didn’t move, paralyzed by an awful half.  Will this be the last half in the 2012-13 season for the 49ers?

The 49ers start with the ball and for the third straight drive they score a touchdown.  Down 24-21, both teams look unstoppable like underrated Denzel Washington & Chris Pine movie of the same name.  Shootouts are fun unless your team is apart of it then you just want to rip your hair out.

The 49ers needed a stop, a turnover, a something! I was being modest when I asked the #1 defense in the league for a stop and then the greatest thing you can do on Twitter happened.

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Yes, I retweeted myself.  Don’t overuse such a power, it comes with great responsibility.

The 49ers are in great position to tie or take the lead from the Falcons after the interception by Chris Culliver they get into field goal range and it’s up to David Akers.  Akers in 2011 set the record for most field goals made in a season and started off the season with a record-tying 63 yard field goal in Green Bay.  Now, that I’ve said all the good about David.

Here’s the bad:

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Hate is a strong word.  It was said in a time of great passion, but Akers may be on my short list of actual things I hate**. Notice I said things – I know he’s a good person, he did great things last year and has had a great career.  But he is awful, just the worst.  The Super Bowl is going to come down to a field goal and knowing that Akers is on the sideline scares the bejesus out of me.

**Other Things on Short Hate List: Girls that wear bright red lipstick, Adults with baby teeth and huge gums, Facebook (Especially people that like stupid pictures that say “Like this or you want your elderly Grandmother to die a painful death”), Bandwagon fans, and the Kardashians.

After the miss, this game entered into the pantheon of games that will shorter my lifespan by 5-10 years.  Can Matt Ryan score again and put this game on ice?  Not just yet.  He takes his eye off the ball, fumbles, and Aldon Smith recovers it.  New life!  Optimism still alive.  Screaming, yelling, and more high-fives.  This euphoria does not last.  Crabtree runs a slant route, catches it, gets to the half yard line and fumbles.

Screen Shot 2013-01-24 at 12.35.37 PMIt’s like I just watched Click again.  I can feel the tears building up.  The 49ers cannot lose because another fumble in the NFC Championship game.  For the love of Kyle Williams it cannot happen!

The 49ers get a stop thanks to a timely tackle by Carlos Rogers and they are back in business.  This time no messin around – Gore runs it in for a Touchdown and the 49ers have their first lead of the game, 28-24.

I’m on the edge of my seat now and have really poor posture, but all the back pain will be worth it if the 49ers can hold on.  There’s plenty of time for Matty Ice to comeback and win this game, it’s what he does.

It comes down to a 4th down and 4.  All-Pro LB Navorro Bowman on Roddy White – a mismatch.  There’s some jostling for position, but Bowman knocks it away!

The 49ers win!  I’m jumping up and down, screaming, yelling, fist-pumping like I’m Tiger Woods and I just won the Masters.  My dad doing the same thing.  Mother dearest, dancing away.  Then a sigh of relief, the biggest comeback in NFC Championship history and a trip to New Orleans for the Super Bowl.  It’s been 18 years.

18 years.  18 years since I was watching the 49ers demolish the San Diego Chargers in the Super Bowl.  18 years since Steve Young to Jerry Rice in that 49-26 victory.  If the 49ers Super Bowl drought was a kid, he could buy cigarettes, fight in a war, and get blacked out drunk in the dorms of his college because you know he would be in a University not a Community College!

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Super Bowl Bound.

– Lance Cartelli

This Week in Sports

In case you were out with your imaginary girlfriend this week, here’s what happened in sports:

– In the most bizzarre sports news in years, Manti Te’o got Catfish-ed by a friend who created a (fake) dead girlfriend that did not actually exist and we all got #Te’o’d. Although she was fake, reports are that during her stint with (fake) leukemia she wore a “LIVESTRONG” bracelet to support Lance Armstrong.  Apparently she never got the news.  In addition, the sequel of Catfish is now in early development, and the working title is “Catfish Part II: Revenge of the Fallen”.  It is being directed by Michael Bay.

– Lance Armstrong finally admitted to using performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) and being a bully while winning seven Tour de France titles in an interview with Oprah.  Worried about his public image, Lance prayed to God to give his last nut for a “bigger story about a fake dead girlfriend that a superstar has never met so that his indiscretions become an afterthought”.  After Manti Te’o’s story came out, he once again prayed to God, “You know I was joking, right?, YOU ALREADY TOOK MY GOOD TESTICLE!”.  In other news, Lance Armstrong is privately funding Catfish Part II:  Revenge of the Fallen.

–  Colin Kaepernick ran for a record 181 yards rushing while throwing for over 200 yards and accounting for four touchdowns in a win over the Green Bay Packers to advance the San Francisco 49ers into the NFC Championship game against the Atlanta Falcons. Kaepernick has lead to the new craze “Kaepernicking” where you kiss your tattoos after a touchdown.  Other crazes include “Tebowing“, “Griffining” – where you lay on the ground writhing in pain because your field destroyed your knee. “Romo-ing” – where you throw an interception at the most crucial time in a game. “Manning-ing” – where you look like you breath out of your mouth and wonder how the hell this guy is a successful QB? and everyone’s favorite “Sanchezing”  when a big butt gets in your way and you fumble the ball.

– The New York Jets are reportedly interested in signing potential free agent Michael Vick.  The Jets seem to be interested in Vick because he combines everything the Jets love, a left-handed QB that loves to run but also takes a lot of sacks and turns the ball over.  Vick is also contemplating changing his name to Mark Tebow or Tark Sanbow.  Coincidentally, Tark Sanbow will be the fake love interest in Catfish Part II: Revenge of the Fallen.

– Kobe Bryant was voted to his 15th All-Star game in his career.  Kobe starting is a perfect fit for the Western Conference Team — a game where Kobe can shoot whenever he wants and people play little-to-no defense, sounds like the quintessential Laker team.  Hopefully Kobe can bring Mike Brown and Mike D’Antoni to coach the team.

– Lance Cartelli

 

Kaepernick, The “E” is Silent

He was largely unknown, riding into Candlestick on Saturday night with the world watching to take on the pesky Midwesterners, the Green Bay Packers. A huge task ahead of the 25 year-old. You know, just defeat a team that was a year removed from winning the Super Bowl.  A team with the former MVP, Aaron Rodgers as their signal caller.  A team looking to avenge a surprise loss to eventual Super Bowl Champion, New York Giants. But this gunslinger, this masked savior of a franchise, had more to prove.

“Who is this tall lengthy man?”  “Can he take them further than the man he was a subordinate to?” “What in the blue hell was Jim Harbaugh thinking?”, all questions that were muttered by the media, by the fans, and sometimes even by myself. These questions were amplified after Kaepernick’s second pass of the game, an ill-advised pass thrown across his body and taken for a T.A.I.N.T. (Touchdown After Interception) by Packers defender Sam Shields. Kaepernick answered all these questions and left no follow-ups after his 49ers defeated those Midwesterners 45-24, on the legs and arm of Colin Kaepernick.

Kaepernick only put up 263 yards passing while running for a record 181 yards and scoring 4 touchdowns.  That’s all.  Kaepernick was setting records in his first career playoff start and only his 9th start ever in the NFL.  He has taken over the national media with one of the greatest single game performances in playoff history.  He’s got the laser rocket arm, the gazelle like legs, and he has inspired a touchdown celebration on par with the amazing “Tebowing”, with “Kaepernicking“. He is now the hero of the tale for San Francisco 49er fans that have been deprived of any heroes before last year.

After the benching of Alex “The Phoenix” Smith a lot of people have questioned me about the Quarterback change in SF and I would always respond, “In Jim Harbaugh We Trust”.  Maybe this was my way of trying to convince myself that it was a brilliant idea to bench a guy that had the third highest QB rating in the NFL, the top completion percentage and only threw one incompletion in his last start before getting a concussion and effectively losing his job. Maybe I was crazy, but I know Jim Harbaugh is.  And if I’ve learned anything these past two years from my man crush, my hero, my 2nd father (j/k Lyle), it’s that “In Jim Harbaugh We Trust”.

But for me, at least, each Sunday (or Saturday in this case) a little bit of doubt always creeps into your head.  Have they finally figured the 49ers out?  After Kaepernick’s T.A.I.N.T. it all felt like a bad dream, like Leonardo DiCaprio and Bane were Inceptioning me for a whole season to be ruined this early.  But no! Kaepernick rises! The hero always does.

He pushed me from 99% to 100% and the media to 1,000%, at least for the next week.  And this next week, can the heroes legend grow?  He’s already put up historic numbers in his first start, now he must travel in to Atlanta and battle the Dirty Birds.

Atlanta is coming off a game that they are lucky to say they won.  Up 20 in the second half, but down 2 with half a minute left in the game.  Matt Ryan tries to write his own legend with a dramatic win and his first in his five year career.  The Falcons rediscovered their running game and have two of the best receivers in the league. On defense, they have struggled with mobile QBs like Cam Newton and Russell Wilson and their best pass rusher is nursing a badly sprained ankle.

On paper, it’s a favorable matchup for the San Francisco 49ers, but unless they changed the rules and no one told me they don’t play this game on paper and the Georgia Dome will be rocking for the NFC Championship on Sunday at Noon.

The 49ers hope their protagonist, their masked man, their gunslinger on his gazelle like legs gallops into Georgia to avenge a heartbreaking loss in last years NFC Championship game to take them to their sixth Super Bowl.  Something they haven’t seen since Steve Young was trottin’ around.

K-A-E-P-E-R-N-I-C-K, the “E” is silent.  But his coming out party was anything but.

– Lance Cartelli

Predicting the New NFL Head Coaches in 2013

Black Monday or as black people would call it “Monday” has hit and (as of now) seven head coaches have been fired.  The Cardinals, Chargers, Browns, Bills, Bears, Eagles, and Chiefs have all relieved their head coaches of their duties.  The Jets, Panthers, and Jaguars could all potentially have open head coaching spots in the coming days as well.  I will now predict (incorrectly) who should be the successors for these teams.

Buffalo Bills:  The Bills are in a tough position seeing as they have to be in the same division as the New England Patriots.  The only way to beat this team is to outscore them.  Chan Gailey was outmatched and signing Ryan Fitzpatrick to a long-term deal ultimately led to his demise.  The Bills are talented on offense with a spread offense and one of the most exciting running backs in the league with CJ Spiller.  Atlanta Falcons Offensive Coordinator, Dirk Koetter, runs a spread offense with the Falcons and would benefit with having a guy like Spiller in the backfield.  The Bills could go with a defensive coach, but they will have to put up points in that division.

Chicago Bears:  Chicago won 10 games and still missed the playoffs after starting 7-1.  Injuries, a terrible offensive line, the least creative offensive play-calling in the NFL and Jay Cutler being Jay Cutler  led to their downfall.  The Bears should hire 49ers Offensive Coordinator, Greg Roman.  Roman runs one of the most creative offenses in the NFL, and will make this offense better in the running game and can create ways to get Brandon Marshall and their dynamic running backs the ball.

Arizona Cardinals:  Arizona is in shambles.  They have an awful offensive line, they started four QBs this year and don’t have a developmental guy or an established starter unless you believe in Kevin Kolb (-__-) and they are in arguably the hardest division in the NFL with the 49ers and Seahawks at the top, and the up-and-coming Rams coming up the rear.  The Cardinals do have a good defense and a likely successor in Defensive Coordinator, Ray Horton.  Horton allows the Cardinals to keep their defense in tact, but also do not have to start over from the ground up.  He will need a complete overhaul and an inspired hire on the offensive side of the ball.  Good luck, Ray.

San Diego Chargers:  The Chargers were a year too late on this one, but they finally gave the axe to Norv Turner and GM AJ Smith.  San Diego must rebuild their offensive line (we’re seeing a trend here) and figure out what is wrong with Philip Rivers.  What better coach to do that then Colts Offensive Coordinator/Interim Head Coach Bruce Arians?  Arians took over for Chuck Pagano after he was diagnosed with Leukemia and proceeded to lead this team to the #5 seed in the AFC after being the worst team in the NFL last year.  Arians also is the favorite to win Coach of the Year.  Any time you can hire the Coach of the Year that can build an offense behind a QB that has a lackluster offensive line, it is an absolute coup.

Cleveland Browns: The Browns are another team that is attractive to a prospective coach.  The Browns have a lot of skilled players, a sound defense, and a new owner that is willing to spend money to win.  They need a coach that can develop Brandon Weeden.  New Browns CEO Jeffrey Lurie goes back to the well and hired former Eagles Head Coach, Andy Reid.  Reid is arguably the second or third best coach on the market and just overstayed his welcome with the Eagles.  The Browns want to make a splash and the NFC North isn’t as good as it has been the best decade.

Philadelphia Eagles: The Eagles have one of the most talented rosters on paper in the NFL, but games aren’t played on paper…sorry Philly!  Some bad QB and O-line play, and the defense giving up halfway through the year didn’t help a struggling coach who just lost his son in Training Camp.  The Eagles needed a culture change and new coach to get back on track in a very competitive division.  The Eagles go out and go after the biggest name in college and hire Oregon Head Coach Chip Kelly.  Kelly has a lot of question marks coming into the NFL, but with the success of the Read-Option this past year, it gives Kelly more power to run his kind of offense.  The Eagles have talent all over on offense and will get back a lot of their injured players next year.  If Kelly’s offense works in the NFL, the Eagles could be dangerous next year.

Kansas City Chiefs:  Despite being the worst team in the NFL, the Kansas City Chiefs job is an attractive job.  The Chiefs have talent at almost every position, an established RB, pass rushers and a secondary to build around along with the #1 pick.  Chiefs GM, Scott Pioli, needs to get this team a starting QB and a Head Coach that can nurture a QB and be creative with the run game.  A recent Head Coach that has been able to do this was Jim Harbaugh, so a logical choice for the Chiefs is to hire Harbaugh’s successor, Stanford Head Coach David Shaw.

If the Panthers decide to can Ron Rivera, I think Chip Kelly fits their offense and Cam Newton to a T and that offense would be scary.

Do you agree or disagree with my predictions?  Let me know in the comments.

– Lance Cartelli

The 49ers Make a Statement + Week 16 Picks

For two and half quarters on Sunday, the San Francisco 49ers looked like the best team in the NFL.  For one quarter they looked like every other defense that Tom Brady has carved up in his illustrious career.  And for the final half of the 4th quarter the 49ers did just enough to hang on to defeat the New England Patriots 41-34 in an epic battle to clinch back-to-back playoff appearances for the once storied franchise.

The New England Patriots were arguably the hottest team in the NFL, winning seven straight games, lost for the first time at home in 21 games, and had also won 21 straight in the second half of the season at home.  Snapping all of these ridiculous streaks with a second year quarterback that has started only five games in his career, the 49ers made a statement that the NFC goes through San Francisco.

What we saw on Sunday — in the most entertaining football game of the year — is that neither of these teams will go quietly into the night.  The 49ers came out swinging – the defense was dominant, the offense was explosive, and the 49ers were up 31-3.  The Patriots could’ve packed it in and said good game, but they came storming back with 28 straight points in about a quarter.  Resiliency like this is a sign of a great team.  After tying it up at 31, the 49ers got a great kick return from rookie LaMichael James and on the next play scored a 38 yard touchdown from Colin Kaepernick to Michael Crabtree, a blooming connection in recent weeks.  Both these teams showed that no matter what kind of adversity they will face in the coming weeks and in the playoffs, they are going to be a force to be reckoned with.  This was a Super Bowl Preview.

But it won’t be easy for either team.  New England is now the #3 seed in the AFC and will probably have to face the Denver Broncos in the second round and potentially the Houston Texans in the AFC Championship.  New England will have to win both games on the road if everything holds form.  The 49ers are currently the second seed in the NFC but the Green Bay Packers are breathing down their neck just 1/2 game behind them thanks to the 49ers tie with the St. Louis Rams.  The 49ers also have to travel to Seattle to play a hot Seahawks team in the toughest place to play in the NFL.  A showdown with the Packers in the second round of the playoffs is looming ahead and depending how the season plays out it could very well be in Lambeau Field.

Either way the playoffs that being in a few weeks have some incredible match-ups potentially in the 2nd round and beyond.

Week 16 Picks:

Atlanta Falcons @ Detroit Lions – The Lions were just beatdown by the awful Arizona Cardinals and this week they have to take on the team with the best record in the NFC, after coming off a 34-0 shutout of the defending champs.  It’s pretty simple.

New Orleans Saints @ Dallas Cowboys – We are entering “Tony Romo Destroys His Team in Heartbreaking and Dramatic Fashion” Time, but it is one week too soon.  Cowboys pull out a victory at home against the Saints.

Tennessee Titans @ Green Bay Packers–  The Titans needed Mark Sanchez to be Mark Sanchez just to escape with a victory over the Jets.  I don’t think they will be so lucky against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers.

Indianapolis Colts @ Kansas City Chiefs – Andrew Luck vs. Brady Quinn.  That’s all that needs to be said.

Buffalo Bills @ Miami Dolphins –

San Diego Chargers @ New York Jets – I think the whole world — now that we are still alive — is thankful that this game was flexed out of primetime.  I don’t think Chargers and Jets fans can take another primetime embarrassment.

Washington Redskins @ Philadelphia Eagles – The Redskins are fighting to keep control of the NFC East and are eyeing a showdown next week with the Cowboys.  This is a classic trap game, but the Eagles mailed it in weeks ago.  RGIII and company handle their business.

Cincinnati Bengals @ Pittsburgh Steelers – The Bengals and the “Red Rifle” go into Pittsburgh and defeat the Steelers making all Gingers proud.  It really is the end of the world.

St. Louis Rams @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Tampa Bay got destroyed last week verse the Saints, but their stout run defense makes Sam Bradford beat them and he can’t.  Bucs win and stay alive.

Oakland Raiders @ Carolina Panthers – Cam Newton has been dominating the past few weeks and is single handedly saving people’s fantasy football teams, but he can’t save his own team.  Thankfully — for him — he’s playing the Raiders.

New England Patriots @ Jacksonville Jaguars – I think the Pats are a little angry about last week, Jacksonville I’m sorry.

Minnesotta Vikings @ Houston Texans – The Texans will overload the box to stop the run and dare Christian Ponder to beat them, I like those odds for the Texans.  AP will still go off for a big day.

Cleveland Browns @ Denver Broncos – The Broncos got a gift last week as the 49ers beat the Patriots and ascended the Broncos into the #2 seed with their sites set on a 1st round bye.  The Browns won’t be able to stop Peyton Manning.

Chicago Bears @ Arizona Cardinals – Let’s see…Arizona Cardinals have the worst QB position in the NFL (Sorry Jets) and they are facing a defense that is based on turnovers.  Bears end their losing streak and remain in the playoff picture.

New York Giants @ Baltimore Ravens – The Giants have been playing awful, they can’t rush the passer and Eli Manning isn’t helping either.  This seems about the time the Giants win every single game for the rest of the season. Ugh.

San Francisco 49ers @ Seattle Seahawks – The 49ers must go into the toughest place to play in the NFL, Seattle, and defeat a team that has scored 50+ points in back-to-back weeks after their defense was on the field for 95 (!) plays last week.  Oh yeah, it doesn’t look like Justin Smith will play either. The Seahawks might be without their top two corners and need to win to stay alive in the NFC West.  This will be a blood bath but I have to go with the team that just beat the Patriots on the road.

– Lance Cartelli

Jim Harbaugh on Saved by the Bell! The 11 Reasons Why This is the Greatest Video of the 90s

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We live in the generation of the Internet.  YouTube videos, cat memes, hilarious GIFs, and people complaining about trivial things on Facebook and Twitter #firstworldproblems, while taking selfies of themselves on Instagram.  If you’ve been searching the internet for as long as I have you tend to think you’ve seen it all.  That nothing that ever comes up on Reddit will ever surprise you.  Well, think again, I give you the greatest video ever.  Jim Harbaugh on “Saved by the Bell”…No, not the original “Saved by the Bell” with our favorite characters Zach Morris, AC Slater, Lisa Turtle, Screech, Mr. Belding, and the girl from “Striptease”, but the lesser known but still corny as all hell — “Saved by the Bell: The New Class” that gives us mainstays Screech and Mr. Belding.

The video is embedded below.  Start at 14:59 (unless you want to watch the greatness that is this episode in full) and see the most amazing cameo of cheesy 90s television of ALL-TIME!

  1. [14:59] Jim Harbaugh IS Screech’s Cousin! and Screech even says they look “like twins”.  I don’t know much about Jim other than that I have a huge man crush on him and he’s one of the greatest coaches in the league, but knowing that he is at least in “Saved by the Bell” Family with Screech is like finding out your super hot girlfriend loves watching you play video games and thinks that watching SportsCenter is a good way to spend a Tuesday night. 
  2. [15:24] Jim Harbaughs intro.  He walks into the after-school hangout “The Max”, which makes me incredibly jealous.  Every place I’ve gone to school hasn’t had a super cool hangout like “The Max” where everyone goes to have a burger and a soda.  If this was real life these kids would be in the parking lot of their High School smoking weed or trying to get their older sibling to buy them a six pack of Smirnoff Ice.
  3. [15:26]  Huge applause for Jim Harbaugh (Obviously, even I’m giving him a standing ovation).  The one thing that sticks out to me is that in the almost two years that Harbaugh has been Head Coach of the 49ers he’s worn one thing. Seeing Harbaugh in anything other than his sideline apparel is like seing a cartoon character not wear the same outfit they always wear in every single show.
  4. [15:43] Harbaugh drops the killer line, “Screech is that you?  I couldn’t recognize you over all those muscles”.  An absolute classic and as you can tell from previous commercials, Harbaugh’s comedic timing is immaculate.
  5. [15:56] Harbaugh has heard of this High School football player who looks like Soulja Boy!  This has to be the highlight of this kids life especially after he did his football dance at the 2-yard line.
  6. [16:01] Jim Harbaugh the Coach comes out and boy is it a good look for him.  He eloquently says, “You know, people think I’m a hero because I can throw a football”.  No Jim, YOU ARE a hero because you resurrected Alex Smith’s career and brought this team out of a 9-year depression, but I digress.
  7. [16:32]  Screech has the audacity to pull a “Jim Harbaugh” and slap Jim on the back.  Harbaugh may not have liked it, but he did not break the 4th wall (The Golden Rule of Acting – Someone get this man an Oscar or at least a Daytime Emmy!).
  8. [16:52] Boom! Jim Harbaugh is absolutely killing it.  Two classic lines in one appearance?  He may have missed his calling after weird guy does an awful cheer, Harbaugh says, “Cheerleading sure has changed since my day”.
  9. [18:56] Harbaugh triumphantly returns to save the day, this time wearing a brown blazer.  It’s so dapper, I want to be just like him.
  10. [19:15] Jim brings it home, giving us not only comedy from earlier, but a little bit of emotion to really drive home his message.  “Being a hero isn’t about what you do out there on the field,” he says. “It’s about who you are in here [heart]. It’s about helping your friends, your school and your community.”  I have no doubt in my mind that Jim came up with his own lines, I’m sure he could even make the great speech from “Any Given Sunday” even better. 
  11. [19:55]  I wouldn’t say Jim is a guy that holds grudges, but he definitely forgives but does not forget.  He gives Screech the “Handshake” and slaps him on the back ala San Francisco vs. Detroit.  See Schwartz he does it to everyone, stop overreacting!

I’ve learned so much from this timeless video and I hope you have to.  First off, Jim Harbaugh is a phenomenal actor that not only has comedic timing but really brings his message home.  He also is just an aggressive handshaker and back-patter and that if you ever come in contact with him (May God allow this to happen to every single one of you) just be prepared.  Finally, that no matter how long the Internet lasts — probably until the “Matrix” or “Terminator” happens — it just keeps on giving.

– Lance Cartelli

Who Should the 49ers Start at Quarterback?

Who Would You Start?

We have been hearing it all week – “Who will be the starting quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers?”, “Alex Smith or Colin Kaepernick?”, “Is there a quarterback controversy in San Francisco?”, “SERIOUSLY, WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON WITH THE 49ers?” — Okay, Maybe not that far, but still – that is the buzz around the league and the talk of the town on ESPN and NFL Network.  It sure is a nice problem to have for Jim Harbaugh and the 49ers: Two starting quarterbacks that are playing lights out and the one that just got “benched” due to medical issues took that team to the NFC Championship last year and was an overtime away from advancing to the Super Bowl. The solution to the biggest question in San Francisco is actually really easy to answer.

There is no quarterback controversy.  The Colin Kaepernick era has begun in Northern California.

Yes, there is an argument for both quarterbacks.  Really sound arguments for both Alex Smith and Colin Kaepernick.

If you’re an old school guy, like Trent Dilfer who is against the switch at QB, then your argument is: If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. Alex Smith is 20-5-1 in his last 26 games as a starter under Jim Harbaugh.  He completed 70% of his passes this year (leads the league), he’s third in the NFL in passer rating, and led this team to the #2 seed in the NFC.  Smith knows the offense, doesn’t make mistakes, and will rely on his running game and defense to stay in games and make plays when they are needed to be made (New Orleans).

With Alex Smith, the 49ers floor is higher, but the ceiling is also lower.  For Harbaugh to make this move he realized that the Alex Smith 49ers have reached that ceiling.  Could they win the Super Bowl with Alex as the QB?  Possibly.  But a lot would have to go right for that to happen.  Harbaugh also sees the New York Giants — the 49ers Kryptonite – – looming for a potential rematch in the playoffs.

Now for the Kaepernick enthusiasts out there  — Captain Kap of the Starship 49ers — he’s a playmaker that offers unreal athleticism that allows him to avoid sacks and run the ball, a gunslinger mentality to throw deep and take chances that Alex just doesn’t take, and the two things that have surprised me the most: his unreal accuracy and knowledge of the offense.  Just a couple months ago, during the Preseason Kaepernick looked improved, but nowhere near where he is today.  Harbaugh may have resurrected the career of Alex Smith, but he also traded up in the 2nd round last year to take Kaepernick.  Never underestimate a handpicked player by a Head Coach.  This is his guy.  His floor is lower than Alex Smith’s, but his ceiling is through the roof.  Will there be growing pains?  Most likely.  Does he offer the 49ers the best chance to win?  Yes.  Once again, the Giants are lurking out there, and Kaepernick brings a new dynamic to this offense that could lead this team past their biggest enemy.

In the NFC Championship game last year against the Giants most people remember Kyle Williams two fumbles, but they do not remember that the only offense the 49ers had was from Frank Gore and Vernon Davis.  The wide receivers caught one pass for three yards, and Alex did not play well.  In the back of Harbaugh’s mind he knows that he needed more big plays out of this offense, and Kaepernick is a playmaker.

For as much as Alex Smith has resurrected his career as “The Phoenix” of the 49ers, he still has history against him.  Those first six years, with six different offensive coordinators, when San Francisco were the cellar dwellers of the NFC.  In the NFL, perception is reality and the perception is that Alex, for as good as he has become, just cannot overcome certain physical traits that limit him and that Kaepernick happens to possess.

Harbaugh said that he will announce his starter against the St. Louis Rams on Wednesday, he will come up with some kind of saying where they will have two starters because Alex Smith is still the starting QB, but Kaepernick is not a backup.  It takes a lot of, ahem, fortitude for Harbaugh to make such a drastic change, but he has all the confidence in the world with this quarterback, this coaching staff, and this team.  Behind the sayings, the smoke-and-mirrors, there is the future and present of the 49ers.  The Colin Kaepernick era.

– Lance Cartelli.

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