Category Archives: NFL

The Optimistic 2013 NFL Season Preview

Optimism. It’s a crazy thing. It gets people like you and me through the ups-and-downs of every day life. Some of us are more optimistic than the others. We’re optimistic that we’ll fall in love with our soul mate – if you believe that crap. Optimistic that one day that shit office job you’re working turns into the dream job you’ve always wanted. Whether any of that actually happens, it doesn’t matter the optimism gets us through it.

We tend to be really optimistic when it comes to sports. Specifically, our own sports teams. That’s the beauty of the beginning of the season; every team has the same chance as the other. Every team has the hopes and aspirations of winning a Super Bowl, unless you’re the Raiders.

I’m the optimistic type. I’ll meet that special girl in slow motion at a bookstore, even though, I haven’t set foot in a bookstore since N-Sync was still together. Now that they are back, I guess it’s time for me to re-enter Barnes & Noble. But, I digress. I love being the optimist, there’s no point in looking at life through any other lens.

With that being said, I look at all 32 teams through the Optimist filter on Instagram.

Arizona Cardinals:  Finally the Arizona Cardinals sign a quarterback that isn’t colorblind and knows how to throw to his own team. Larry Fitzgerald lights up defenses like Kurt Warner is back in the packet slingin’ the pigskin. Every other quarterback in the NFC West is out for all seventeen weeks and the Cardinals win the division.

Atlanta Falcons: The Falcons replaced Jabba the Hut, I mean Michael Turner with a less-slow and not quite as washed up Steven Jackson to improve their running game.

Baltimore Ravens: Ray Lewis is so inspired by only God knows what as he drunkenly runs onto the field during pre-game warm ups to do his dance. The Ravens team is so overcome with emotions they decide to change their team name to the Baltimore Ray Lewis’. That isn’t enough for Ray Lewis and the Ray Lewis’ so they decide to change the city name of Baltimore to Ray Lewis. The Ray Lewis Ray Lewis’ do a bunch of Deer Antler Spray, yell everyone’s ear off and the rest of the NFL forfeits because they decide to join the Ray Lewis Ray Lewis’. So, no, concussions don’t end football. Ray Lewis ends football.

Buffalo Bills:  EJ Manuel duplicates the success of the other dual-threat QBs like RGIII, Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson. The Bills turn into a read-option only team of Manuel and C.J. Spiller. I become very excited that I drafted Spiller in my fantasy team and find an atlas (they still make those right?) and try to find Buffalo on a map. Alas, I give up when I look outside and realize no one cares where Buffalo is.

Carolina Panthers: Cam Newton is no longer the forgotten man when it comes to dual-threat QBs and continues his hot streak from the end of last year. But, everyone questions why ‘Superman’ would be in North Carolina.

Chicago Bears: Jay Cutler finally hires a body language coach, so he doesn’t look like a depressed stoner every time he throws an interception or gets sacked leading to us ask: why he is so happy that he just got sacked seven times in one game.When+I+see+posts+in+this+channel.+Yeah+Mr.White+Yeah_c88b2f_3953846

Cincinnati Bengals: The Red B.B. Gun turns into the Red Rifle and leads the Bengals to the AFC Championship game, while scientists prove that Gingers do, in fact, have souls.

Cleveland Browns: Norv Turner develops second-year quarterback and AARP member Brandon Weeden into a successful QB only to retire the next year because he’s an old fart.

Dallas Cowboys:  Every year we hear the same thing from Cowboys fans: This is the year. Tony Romo and the Cowboys found their “secret sauce”. Dez Bryant finally wears his pants around his waist and will become the greatest receiver to ever put on the star.  Benjamin Button Jerry Jones’ ’40-year-old’ brain’ works wonders and every shrewd move they made in the offseason works. Like trading away a defensive lineman when their best lineman is out for the first six weeks, or trading back in the first round to take a Center that could’ve been available in the third round. Cowboys fans are always the most optimistic fans except maybe the Chargers fans “WE’RE GOING TO THE SUPERBOWL!”. Which makes reality even sweeter, when the ‘Boys give their ‘fans’ scattered all across the nation hope and then kill their dreams week 17 ever year.

Denver Broncos – The Broncos get an exemption from the league allowing two footballs to be played at once, allowing QB Peyton Manning to evenly distribute the ball to all his talented receivers. Let’s just hope with twice as many balls (hehe) that Peyton doesn’t throw against his body in the playoffs again.

Detroit Lions – Detroit throws the ball about 700 times and the bionic arm of Matthew Stafford somehow doesn’t fall off. The Lions only have three in-season arrests and Reggie Bush is the back that everyone envisioned him to be coming out of the league. Ndomakong Suh only gets 17 personal foul flags and steps on approximately three groins. I’d say that’s pretty optimistic.

Green Bay Packers– 90% of the Packers fans realize that Green Bay isn’t a made up city like Des Moines ClayMatthewsSpin(you can’t fool me Iowa!) and is in Wisconsin. Aaron Rodgers and Ryan Braun fight in a steel cage match and Clay Matthews and the defense figure out who finally has the ball on a read-option play.

Houston Texans: The Texans hold off the Colts in the AFC South only to lose in the first game of the playoffs, like usual. The Texans manage to hold the attention of the fat city of Houston until Dwight Howard and the Rockets start playing in October.

Indianapolis Colts: Andrew Luck succeeds Eli Manning as the quarterback that looks like he breathes through his mouth the most and enjoys quantum physics, yet throws dimes as he leads one of my three fantasy teams to the Championship.

Jacksonville Jaguars: The Jaguars decide to sign Tim Tebow to be the team’s mascot and combs Blaine Gabbert’s hair to create the greatest GIF in the history of mankind. Just kidding. 

Kansas City Chiefs:  Alex Smith realizes what a wide receiver is and that they are actually there to help Alex and then, in a moment of triumph he has an epiphany to let loose and throw them the ball, it’s amazing. Andy Reid suffers amnesia and learns that running the ball is a good thing.

Miami Dolphins: The Miami Dolphins sign LeBron James to play tight end and E! gives LeBron and Ryan Tannehill a reality show where we can see a lot more of Mrs. Tannehill.

Minnesotta Vikings: The Vikings bench Christian Ponder and put in an extra offensive lineman to run a full-time Wildcat offense. Adrian Peterson runs for a plethora of yards while breaking his leg, tearing both his ACL’s and laughing it off while eating Nutella.

New England Patriots: The Patriots get hooked up with Aaron Hernandez’s PCP dealer and Bill Belichick gets super high and tie-dye’s his cut off sweatshirt starting a new fad for old boring hippies.

New Orleans Saints: The Saints put a reverse bounty on actually trying to stop a team on third down. Rob Ryan eats the whole city of New Orleans.

New York Jets: Nothing can be worse than the butt fumble right? UNLESS THERE’S THE TWERK FUMBLE! 1209135_588172444562781_644352947_n

Oakland Raiders: …

…Wow, this is tough. Hm… Maybe Terrelle Pryor can… Nope, sorry. What if Darren McFadden is healthy and he can…Damn, not that either. I guess maybe playing Teddy Bridgewater and JaDeveon Clowney highlight videos instead of their games is the way to go this year.

Philadelphia Eagles: Chip Kelly’s offense works in spades. Michael Vick returns to his old-form and I don’t mean dog-fighting Vick. The Eagles run 127 plays a game and watch as defenders slowly collapse from dehydration. Chip Kelly runs onto the field and yells “ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?!

Pittsburgh Steelers: Head and Shoulders creates a shampoo that reverses the signs of aging allowing Troy Polamalu and the Steelers defense to be good again and Jerome Bettis chugs it and returns to the field so the Steelers can finally have some semblance of a running game again.

San Diego Chargers– Charger fans fill up three quarters of Qualcomm each weekend to see Ryan Mathews leap over the goal line for a touchdown and he doesn’t break his collarbone! Philip Rivers realizes that Vincent Jackson isn’t running deep routes as a Charger anymore and decides not to throw into triple-coverage on 2nd-and-one.. Manti Te’o gets a real life girlfriend and they kiss on the “Kiss Cam”, but everyone questions whether it was CGI from a Michael Bay movie.

San Francisco 49ers: Michael Crabtree flies to Germany to kick it with Kobe Bryant’s doctor, and they create an Achilles Tendon from the rainbows of Unicorn hugs and giggles. He and Kaepernick ride in on the majestic beast while ‘Kaepernicking’ and Jim Harbaugh shakes Pete Carroll’s hand so hard that all the adderall for the Seaderall Seahawks falls out from his pockets. Oh, and they finally win (another) the Super Bowl.

Seattle Seahawks– Tyrion Lannister — damn, I did it again — Russell Wilson continues to improve with all odds against him. Who would’ve thought a talented athlete that was drafted in the MLB and dominant in the NCAA could be so good?! Right ESPN?

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Tampa Bay becomes too hot and humid everyone travels to Revis Island and over populates the pristine land. Revis holds out and travels to Cuba where he knows no one will follow him. He befriends Elian Gonzalez.

Tennessee Titans: Chris Johnson decides that instead of racing a cheetah, he wants to actually score touchdowns. He’s back to being CJ2K and people forget that Jake Locker isn’t any good.

Washington Redskins: RGIII stays healthy and invites coach Mike Shanahan over for dinner with his family. Which he names “Operation: Wine and Dine the Old Orange Guy”…not as catchy as his rehab name. Honestly, who names their own rehab? I don’t walk around my house yelling “Operation: Don’t stub your toe after drinking a beer”. Hm…Maybe I should.

Just for the heck of it. My optimistic Super Bowl pick:

Indianapolis Colts vs. San Francisco 49ers

Follow Lance “The Red Mamba” Cartelli on Twitter! 

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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!

Mike Millburn: Green Bay Packers NFL Draft Preview

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There are very few things in my life that I can say I truly love.  Other than the obvious loves of friends, family, and pets (at least when my cat doesn’t wake me up in the morning), my list of lucky recipients of those three magic words is staggeringly short.  And yes, that means I’ve never said “I love you” to a girl – alas, that is another story for a different blog.

However, there are two things in this world that I love unequivocally, that have always been there for me through the good times and bad, and that I know will never abandon me:

The Green Bay Packers and the NFL Draft.

Luckily for me, these two wonderful things are destined to coincide once again in less than 24 hours, when Roger Goodell welcomes the world to Radio City Music Hall and the 2013 NFL Draft.  As is customary for this time of year, pundits and fans alike entertain themselves with numerous mock drafts and projections that are almost certainly never right.  This year is no exception – but instead of focusing on all 32 teams, I will go position by position to see if I can find eight players in this year’s draft that would make a good fit for the Green and Gold this upcoming season.  This is assuming, of course, that GM Ted Thompson will stand pat and not trade any picks, but that probably won’t happen.

Quarterback: Seriously?  Next…

Running back: OK, now we can get serious.  The Packers have not taken a running back in the first round since 1990 (Darrell Thompson), and their best first-round back in the modern draft would be John Brockington (1971).  Green Bay’s position in the back end of round one suggests a potential landing spot for Alabama’s Eddie Lacy, but given Ted Thompson’s aversion to taking running backs early, my guess is he waits.  A guy like Wisconsin’s Montee Ball makes sense in the second round, and if the Packers bring back free agent Cedric Benson that will certainly take the early pressure off of Ball (who had over 300 carries each of the last two years).

Wide receiver/tight end: Despite the loss of Greg Jennings to division rival Minnesota, the receiving corps still stands as one of the strengths of the team.  That being said, having an extra pair of hands in the slot certainly wouldn’t be a bad thing.  Texas A&M’s Ryan Swope could fit that role nicely in the fifth round.  Jermichael Finley, despite his inconsistencies, is still the number one tight end, and there’s enough depth on the roster to absorb the loss of Tom Crabtree to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Offensive line: Green Bay has taken an offensive tackle in the first round two of the last three years, but Bryan Bulaga (2010) may be better suited to play on the right side and Derek Sherrod (2011) still hasn’t recovered from a gruesome broken leg.  Given Marshall Newhouse’s struggles this past season, another first round offensive lineman may be in the cards.  Florida State’s Menelik Watson, despite his relative inexperience, could be the answer with most of the talented tackles off the board at 26.  The two guards are the stalwarts of the line.  With Jeff Saturday’s retirement, and Evan Dietrich-Smith unproven, there may be a need for the center of the future.  Alabama’s Barrett Jones, the reigning Rimington Award winner, would be a steal in the fourth round and could start from day one.

Defensive line: Anybody who watched the playoffs last year saw that the Packers had just a bit of trouble stopping the run against the San Francisco 49ers (something the Editor of this blog likes to remind me of every now and then).  Even with B.J. Raji in line for a contract extension and plenty of young bodies to man the other spots on the line, an extra body would be welcome.  A speedy defensive end like LSU’s Lavar Edwards, who could play end or outside linebacker in the 3-4, might be a nice fit for the Packers’ second choice in the fifth round.

Linebackers: The Packers just signed this guy to a long-term deal, which will keep him as the face of the defense for the foreseeable future.  Last year’s first round pick Nick Perry got hurt early last year and should be ready to take back his spot opposite Matthews.  The inside linebackers, however, are a different story.  Desmond Bishop didn’t make it out of the first game of the preseason after tearing his hamstring and his replacement (D.J. Smith) tore his ACL against the Houston Texans and was recently released.  Brad Jones and A.J. Hawk were average at best; Iowa State’s A.J. Klein could bring some relief in the sixth round.

Secondary: Fan favorite Charles Woodson was released after this past season, but the cornerback situation is in good hands.  Second-rounder Casey Hayward allowed quarterbacks an NFL-low 31.1 quarterback rating against him, and even though Tramon Williams had a tough 2012 he is firmly entrenched in the other corner spot.  However, the safeties have struggled since the career-ending injury to Nick Collins and it remains to be seen if any of Green Bay’s recent picks (save Morgan Burnett) will be the answer.  Phillip Thomas from Fresno State could be that guy in a fairly deep safety class; the third round would be an ideal place to pick him up.

Special teams: Mason Crosby was essentially the worst kicker in the league last year not named David Akers.  Yet through all of his struggles, head coach Mike McCarthy displayed unwavering support for Crosby all season.  Bringing in some healthy competition in the seventh round might not be a bad idea.  Florida’s Caleb Sturgis was one of the nation’s premier college kickers this past season and could be just the guy to push the incumbent Crosby.  The punter Tim Masthay (affectionately known as “Ginge”) isn’t going anywhere.

To recap, here is the ideal Packers draft (provided Ted Thompson keeps all eight picks):

First round: Tackle Menelik Watson (Florida State)

Second round: Running back Montee Ball (Wisconsin)

Third round: Safety Phillip Thomas (Fresno State)

Fourth round: Center Barrett Jones (Alabama)

Fifth round: Receiver Ryan Swope (Texas A&M)

Fifth round: Defensive end Lavar Edwards (LSU)

Sixth round: Linebacker A.J. Klein (Iowa State)

Seventh round: Kicker Caleb Sturgis (Florida)

Of course, given the unpredictable nature of the NFL Draft, there is a great chance that none of these picks will come to fruition and this article will be rendered moot.  But that’s the best part of this time of year – the unpredictability.  I know I won’t be the only one glued to my TV for the next three days.

Happy drafting to all, and to all a good draft!

Mike Millburn

NFL Draft Cootie List

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Today begins one of the best sports weeks of the year, NFL Draft Week! It should be a national holiday, we should all have the week off of work to put our finishing touches on our draft boards, pick out the right finger foods for our draft day parties, and select our draft day crushes – those young men that older men salivate to have on their team. Trust me we all do it. Now, it’s always fun to pick your draft crushes and to get really pissed off when you, as the Couch General Manager, don’t get the player you’ve been wanting since you saw him dominate in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl or was it the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl? Either way, you’re mad. But did your team select the exact opposite of your Draft Day Man Crush? The one player you did not want your team to select, the player that was dominated in all the YouTube video research you did all offseason, your Draft Cootie!

The Draft Cootie List is something no fan should have to deal with, they have all the tell tale signs of being a bust. They have red flags whether it be injuries or off the field concerns. They’re like that person on a reality show that is just there to get really drunk. There main purpose is to get famous and eventually the inebriated loser gets the boot in that first episode. They bring all the requisite drama for a reality show, but are really ruining it for that one special person trying to find true love! Pretty much they are JaMarcus Russell (the ultimate Cootie).

If you are too old to know what Cooties are or you had a really bad experience in elementary school with said cooties, let me refresh that memory of yours and bring back some hurtful ones. Cooties are a highly contagious viral disease that is transmitted through the act of touching, or an airborne disease or through rumors from the dickhead bullies in elementary school. There is no cure and once you are afflicted by this disease will completely cockblock you and ruin your game. (Can you tell I’m bitter?). Cooties were pretty much the first STD that elementary kids had to deal with. In some cases, you are given Cooties because that significant other may be interested in you and are trying to deal with such new feelings. Which is directly related to our Draft Cootie List.

San Francisco 49ers Draft Day Cootie List:

For the sake of the 49ers Cootie list, I won’t add any players that are way out of position for the Niners to draft (Top 10) or positions that are not of need (OT, ILB, RB).

Keenan Allen: A talented wide receiver that played his college ball at the University of California. He would fill a position of need for the Niners at WR and he’d be close to home, but he’s got a lotta Cooties. First, he’s got a nagging knee injury that has been the talk of front offices around the league. He also failed a drug test. That’s a lotta cooties, I wouldn’t touch him in the first or second round.

Margus Hunt: Physically, he’s everything you would want in a 3-4 DE on a team desperate for more depth on the defensive line and looking for an eventual replacement of Justin Smith. He’s 6-8, 275-pounds and was a Discus and Shot Put thrower in Estonia. But he’s already 25 and he never really dominated at SMU. If he falls to the Niners second pick in the second round is the only time I’d consider drafting him.

Eric Reid: Former safety for LSU, Reid dominated two years ago in the SEC, but this past year was a disappointment. He’s only 5-10, which is short for a safety, especially in a league where the receivers are getting bigger and bigger, height is a big deal to talent evaluators. I’d rather have Jonathan Cyprien.

Who’s on your Draft Day Cootie List? Be safe my loyal readers!

Follow Lance 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

Judge Judy’s #1 Fan is Jim Harbaugh?

When one thinks of NFL Head Coaches that lead 53 men into battle every week through blood, sweat and tears one would assume that if they did have time for television, those head coaches would like tough, gritty dramas with high stakes.  But Jim Harbaugh is another breed, is his favorite television show The Walking Dead? No.  What about Friday Night Lights? Nope.  Oh, it’s gotta be Game of Thrones?  Negative.  Two Broke Girls? Good guess, but unfortunately that is wrong as well.  It’s Judge Judy.

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Yes, that Judge Judy.  The Judge Judy from daytime television.  Between morning workouts, practice, watching film, and game-planning you just know, that Jim has the Season Pass for Judge Judy set on his TiVO from 1998.

While addressing the media at the NFL Combine, somehow talk of integrity, honesty and truthfulness was turned into an unabashed love of Judge Judith Sheindlin.

“Somebody that’s not truthful, that’s big, to me, I’m a big fan of the Judge Judy show. And when you lie in Judge Judy’s courtroom, it’s over. Your credibility is completely lost. You have no chance of winning that case. So I learned that from her. It’s very powerful, and true. Because if somebody does lie to you, how can you ever trust anything they ever say after that? Ronald Reagan, another person of great wisdom and advice, ‘Trust but we will verify.’ ” – Jim Harbaugh

The world has been around for hundreds of millions of years, we’ve been a country for 237 of them and finally someone was able to eloquently use Judge Judy and Ronald Reagan in the same sentence.  Shame on you Planet Earth and America for this never happening.

As ashamed as I am to admit it, I’ve only seen Jim Harbaugh’s favorite show of all-time in passing when my parents would have it on while I was younger.  I had to learn more of this Judith Sheindlin and her magical powers to inspire Harbaugh and be mentioned in the same breathe as former President Ronald Reagan. Naturally, I google searched her.

According to The International Business Times (sounds refutable) she makes $123,000…a day (!) and roughly $45 million a year.  Jim Harbaugh needs to hire Judge Judy’s agent for his next contract extension.  Judy started from the bottom and now she’s here.

The Judge Judy Show was nominated for a Daytime Emmy 14 years in a row without winning.  I’m starting to understand Jim Harbaugh’s love for Judith; the 49ers have lost two big games in a row without winning the big one – they must keep fighting like Judy did, and they will overcome…or be the Bills of the 90’s or the Eagles of the 2000’s.

Apparently, Judge Judy has “Judyisms” – Oh, I see what they did there – I’m sure these can apply to Jim Harbaugh and the 49ers.  No wonder he watches this show religiously, he’s learning and adapting this to his coaching.  Jim Harbaugh is a genius.

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“I am a truth machine!” – Maybe as a fan you decide to actually question Jim going for it on 4th-and-1? I wouldn’t. When they inevitably convert you can actually see Jim Harbaugh mouthing this on the sideline and pointing to the sky.  Not to God, but to Judge Judy who is always looking over him.

“Baloney!” – Every time the 49ers want to challenge a bad call by the referees, Jim Harbaugh yells, “Baloney!” and 9 times out of 10 he will win that challenge.  Also, the type of sandwich I envision Jim Harbaugh and Judge Judy eating when they sit down for lunch in my dreams.

“Dumb ideas come from people who have dumb brains.” – Oh, now you want to go for it on 4th-and-1 against the Justin Smith and the 49ers Defense? Ha! You’re coach has dumb brains!

I eat liars for Breakfast”- She’s talking to you Pete Carroll.  The 49ers eat liars and Seahawks for breakfast.  Then baloney after!

“You lie to me, and I’ll wipe up the floor with you worse than anyone who’s ever tackled you.” – Fact: Patrick Willis says this right before he decides to destroy his enemies on the opposition.

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“You are pretty thick!” – That’s what happens when you eat a lot of baloney, Judy!

“You know what my father used to say? He used to say: Don’t pee on my leg and tell me it’s raining.” – Jim Harbaugh doesn’t just believe what people tell him, Jim Harbaugh is the man that pees on your leg and tells you it’s raining.  Believe that.

“That is the guiltiest face I’ve seen all day.”

“You speak. I rule, and then you shut up. Do you understand?” – Understood.

In the end I think we all learned a little bit about ourselves along with Jim Harbaugh and of course, Judge Judy.  When I have my Star Wars moment and the hologram/jedi’s look over me, just know that it will be Ronald Reagan, Jim Harbaugh and Judge Judith Sheindlin.

– 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

Ryan Pedersen: Charger Fans Should Pray for Eagles Home Opener

According to ESPN’s NFL Live on Feb 5th, the Ravens are the latest team to win the Super Bowl after facing the Philadelphia Eagles at their home opening game. The last three teams (Saints 09’, Packers 10’, Giants 11’) and the Ravens, all faced the Eagles at their home openers and all have won the Super Bowl.

One of the eight teams on this seasons home schedule for the Eagles is in fact the San Diego Chargers along with AFC West scheduled foe, the Kansas City Chiefs. So does that mean its all Chiefs and Chargers going into next season for the AFC West? Hey, four years in a row of this stat you can’t help to feel a little better after a disastrously below average season in 2012.

So when the schedule comes out later this year, pray for that home opener date versus the Eagles. Hopefully they don’t find a way to screw this one up.

Other News you don’t care about:

SDSU Men’s basketball drops out of the AP top 25 again after another loss to Air Force in Colorado Springs. Air Force all time is 3-78 against teams in the top 25 with two of those victories against State this year and last year. Aztecs need an option incase Xavier Thames can’t go because they seem average without him at Guard.

Lots of mock drafts for the San Diego Chargers have them picking OL, with Central Michigan’s OT Eric Fisher. Most of the time these drafts are wrong, but I already like the sign of an O-Lineman and they have to figure out a way to protect Rivers left side, period.

The San Diego Padres avoided arbitration with 3B silver-slugger award winner Chase Headley, signing to a one-year 8 Million deal. I’ve already got my countdown ready on how long he will be here until the summer trade deadline comes since obviously the Padres are never impressed with anything it seems. #WEWANTGIANCARLO

-Ryan Pedersen

Ryan Pedersen: San Diego State Basketball – The New Headliner in San Diego

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Before San Diego State Head Coach Steve Fisher arrived on the Mesa, Aztec basketball was the laughing stock of the Mountain West Conference. The year he arrived, he would have to pass out tickets to students personally just to get maybe a couple thousand at then Cox Arena. A few years later, there are about a handful more Mountain West and NCAA banners hanging in the rafters at Viejas Arena, otherwise known as the “Madhouse on the Mesa”.

You can thank Head Coach Steve Fisher for creating what once was a tradition-less program to a now a sold out 12,000 crowd each home game with a sea of red and black. Aztec Basketball is the new frontier of San Diego sports; you can’t go anywhere nowadays without hearing about the Aztecs in the local newspapers, TV and radio stations. Now does this have to do with the Chargers struggling of recent? Yes and no.  Aztec basketball year-by-year has had more season ticket sales grow, even with the Marty/Norv short periods of success in Chargers football, Aztec basketball always got better instead of worse.

Recently, the Aztecs were coming off a two game losing streak to, under the radar power, Wyoming and rival UNLV Runnin’ Rebels. They beat up on the Nevada Wolf Pack in Reno, NV, 78-57 and stomped conference powerhouse New Mexico 55-34 forcing the Lobos to 17 turnovers and their lowest points in the shot-clock era.

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OTHER LOCAL NEWS:

  • Phil Mickelson has been in some heat with his comments about moving out of California due to high tax rates of the upper class with high incomes. He has since apologized, but for what? Golf is a rich sport after all.
  • New Head Coach of the San Diego Chargers, Mike McCoy has retained Defensive Coordinator John Pagano and has hired a completely new staff for 2013. Former Special Teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia, with the team the last two years, is now considering taking the same position with the Dallas Cowboys after leaving for the University of Auburn for the same position.

– Ryan Pedersen

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

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