The First Order Historians/Dubsism Super Bowl 50 Preview Extravagantacular

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by Eight Thirty Seven and J-Dub, with assistance from Jason from Indiana

Carolina Panthers (17-1) -6* at Denver Broncos (14-4)  (45)

Super Bowl 50 is finally here, and this upcoming Sunday we will all indulge in the greatest American past-time that can take place from a couch and doesn’t involve FaceTime and naked Asian teenagers. It’s been a long year for the NFL which included a franchise relocation, a full-length movie about concussions starring Will Smith which was so awful you literally wanted to beat your own brains in, and as far as the action on the field was concerned, we were treated to a play-off bloodbath which has left us with the last two teams standing. Continue reading

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2016 Conference Championship Weekend Preview: Death Comes Ripping

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by Eight Thirty Seven with assistance from J-Dub and Jason from Indiana

We’re just a few short weeks away from the Super Bowl, and this past weekend four very good teams bit the dust. Seattle got smoked out of the box, their comeback being too little too late. Pittsburgh threw away the Denver game because they couldn’t do anything in the red zone, but they were missing the best receiver in football due to injuries. This same fate also plagued the Packers when Randall Cobb left the game in the first quarter with a chest injury, and even with a second improbable Hail Mary at the end of regulation they never saw the ball in overtime and lost almost immediately. Andy Reid’s poor clock management at the end of the Kansas City/New England game sent the Chiefs packing, which is a sentence that should only shock you if you happen to be reading this whilst sticking a fucking fork in an electrical outlet. In less than thirty hours death became very real for the 2015-16 NFL seasons of those four teams, proving that sometimes your aspirations are just dreams.

I used to be in this death metal band called From The Wreckage and we played two cover songs. One was Black Flag’s “My War” (because it’s easily the best song in the entire BF catalog) and the other was a Misfits song called “Death Comes Ripping“. The latter was not only a blast to play live, but a very stern and powerful reminder that death is a thing which strikes with a very sudden blow. Every single player on the four remaining playoff rosters legitimately believe they are headed to Santa Clara in a couple of weeks, and half of them are dead wrong. On Sunday afternoon or evening death will ripping through their dream like a bat out of hell, and hopefully for their sake that shitty Meatloaf album of the same name won’t be playing as it happens.

The Super Bowl is almost like an entirely different season itself, so the grim reaper basically comes for almost all of the NFL on this Sunday night. Last year we saw an unbelievably amazing NFC Championship game where the Seattle Seahawks assisted the Green Bay Packers in choking away what looked like the easiest road conference championship win in playoff history, and then something that sort of maybe a little bit resembled a football game shortly thereafter. This year we’ve got two really, really good ones, and won’t be stuck with results that end up with the Colts hanging up a banner that pretty much reads “At least we tried”. But what the fuck do I know? Not a whole hell of a lot, as 36 years into this slow struggle towards death I’m lucky if I can put together a rational thought before noon any day of the week. That’s why I have someone who can cut to the chase and give you the information that you want in fewer words, and that man is the man, the myth, the legend we all have come to know as J-Dub.

J-Dub:  Championship weekend brings us to the brink of a bunch of knuckleheads who know nothing about football planning Super Bowl parties during which they will spend more time talking about fucking commercials than they will about what ever they see on the field.

With that, let’s take a hard look at the team’s involved in this week’s Super Bowl Semi-final.  I’ll start with what Eight Thirty Seven and I orginally said about each team, then I’ll roll that into what you might expect from a piece with the word “Preview” in the title. Then comes where I’m putting the cash.

Arizona Cardinals: What We Originally Said:

Why They Can Win:

Much like Carolina, the Cardinals have a head coach who is light years ahead of the rest of the NFL. Specifically, this means instead of imitating or trying to accuse Bill Belichick, Bruce Arians has taken it upon himself to turn the Cardinals into what could be a perennial killing machine for the next decade. Carson Palmer isn’t going to play until he’s 43 years old, but they are going to milk that goat for every cent of the 45 million dollars they paid to prepare it for slaughter. Nearly a fifth of their starters made the Pro Bowl, and we’re sure none of them could give a rat fuck about making plans for that trip. This team is on a mission to win the Super Bowl, and everything other than that matters to them about as much what those twats on “The View” think matters to Vladimir Putin.

Why They Can’t Win:

After Carson Palmer got hurt last year, the Cardinals didn’t just go into a tailspin; they went full-on “Challenger.’ They got dropped in the first round by a team with a losing record, and mustered an offensive performance as weak as the French Army in 1940. Palmer is 36 years old and has had two knee surgeries, which means the Cardinals are one hit on a guy who’s been on the cover of Sports Illustrated walking on an underwater treadmill away from “Challenger II: This Time, It’s Everywhere.”

What’s Changed:

Carson Palmer has gone from a guy on the periphery of the MVP discussion back to being Carson Palmer.  He threw two interceptions so horror-filled against the Packers I’m surprised they aren’t featured in a Friday the 13th remake. If he continues that, the Cardinals become just another annoying bird J-Dub blasts out of the trees in his back yard when their incessant caterwauling wakes him at 5:45 a.m. from yet another bourbon-induced “woke up in his clothes again” moment.

Carolina Panthers: What We Originally Said:

Why They Can Win:

Not enough can be said about the job Ron Rivera has done with a team that made last year’s postseason with a losing record. He’s got the league MVP whom most writers thought would never succeed as a pocket passer, and not only is he getting the job done (albeit not in the flashiest manner), but his ability to run the ball is a key part of the Panthers’ success. In other words, he’s a bigger, stronger Randall Cunningham, which means he can actually climb the mountain rather than having his career end with a whimper in Baltimore.

Josh Norman went ape-shit on Odell Beckham because Norman is a bad-ass and is having a career year. Luke Keuchly got beat one play in the Atlanta game where he somehow ended up having to cover Julio Jones, but the rest of the year he’s been flawless. Collectively, the Panthers have had the perfect balance of offense and defense to succeed, and now that they don’t have the “undefeated” thing hanging over their head, they can focus on the goal of becoming Super Bowl champions.

Why They Can’t Win:

If they don’t win the Super Bowl, it will be because they got beat on the way there. Nobody in the AFC (more on that in a bit) can hang with this team. I know, any thing can happen in a one-game scenario, but if you had to lay your next house payment on Carolina versus anybody from the “Almost Football Conference,” tell me who you’ve got?

Toward the end of the season, teams started to figure out the Panthers on both ends. They almost lost to the Saints and the Giants, which should probably disqualify them from the Super Bowl altogether. But this is a league based on actual results, which is why anybody still thinks any team in the AFC is still relevant. The fact the Panthers did lose to a Falcons team they shut out 38-0 just two weeks prior gives everybody hope, but like we said, hope is not a strategy.

What’s Changed

Time to go old school here.  If you are under 50, you likely don’t remember the old show “To Tell The Truth.” To make a long story short, this was all about three people pretending to be the same person who had some interesting story, and it was the task of a panel of “celebrities” to guess who was the “real deal.”  The hook came at the end when it was announced “Would the real (insert name here) please stand up?”

Would the real Carolina Panthers please stand up?  Is the real Carolina team the one who gorilla-stomped the league on its way to a 15-1 record, or is it the one who got man-handled by the imploding Atlanta Falcons, or it is the one who checked out for the second half against the Seahawks?  Don’t tell me we need to dig up Kitty Carlisle to tell us.

Denver Broncos: What We Originally Said:

Why They Can Win:

The AFC might as well stand for “Absolute Fucking Crap,” because there isn’t a single great team in this entire conference. It doesn’t require greatness to be at the top of the AFC heap; it merely means somebody has to be a better grade of crap. There really isn’t a better way to describe the Broncos.

Having said that, Denver’s defense isn’t crap. Denver’s defense has been making Denver omelets (Mmmmmm…omelets) out of opposing offenses all season. They rush the quarterback as well as anybody else in the league.

Why They Can’t Win:

The answer is contained in the following, sung to the tune of the “Nationwide” jingle: “Denver Broncos just fucked up.”

Gary Kubiak is trying in Denver to rebuild the offense with which he won a Super Bowl in Baltimore. A dominant, “ball-control” running game married to a six-foot-six rocket-armed quarterback who is just mobile enough to make the play-action game effective. In preparation for the play-offs, Kubiak just benched that quarterback for the quarterback of Christmas past.

We could very easily cite the first year Peyton Manning came to Denver, where he blew the divisional playoff game at the hands of the eventual Super Bowl champion Ravens in two overtimes. Or we could really get nasty and talk about how Ol’ Horseface got smoked by the Seahawks 43-8 in what has to have been one of the most embarrassing Super Bowl performances since Tony Eason forgot what the color red looked like in January 1985. And if we wanted to go even further than that, we could talk about how they lost yet another divisional playoff game at home to the team who hired the guy who Manning’s old franchise had hired to take his job.

What’s Changed

Peyton Manning is back under center for the Broncos. The key here is ” back under center.”  Manning is clearly running Gary Kubiak’s offense, which doesn’t require the quarterback to make plays to win the game. The “stat guys” will tell me Manning didn’t throw for 300 yards and didn’t throw a touchdown pass, which is why “stat guys” are idiots.

New England Patriots:What We Originally Said:
Why They Can Win:

Two words: Tom Fucking Brady. Yeah, we know that’s three words, but the average Patriots’ fan can’t count that high anyway. Face it, Brady is the definition of that smarmy fuckwad of a guy everybody outside of greater Boston hates with the intensity of Chipotle-fueled intestinal distress, but the fact is he single-handedly changes the standard conventions of NFL football.  As we all know, the New England Patriots are no stranger to the Super Bowl. They’ve been to the big game six out of the last fifteen years, and they’ve won four of them. Tom Brady is still playing killer football, and his age isn’t slowing him down (although injuries are) as the gap widens in what’s left of the Brady/Manning discussion with every passing day.

Why They Can’t Win:

Jesus may have walked across the water once…but it was once. There’s a limited number of miracles that can be pulled off, and even St. Thomas A-Brady-ius is running out of his. The fact the Pats a 2-4 in their last six games tells you that. The fact the Patriots offensive line is made of lunch meat is another tell. If the Patriots season were a craps game, they’ve got a low point and they’ve tossed about 11 straight passes. But “snake eyes” is coming…sooner rather than later.

No Patriot fan wants to admit this, but there’s no real excuse for losing to the Eagles and the Dolphins. The Patriots were the only play-off team the Eagles beat, and the Eagles also lost to the fucking Dolphins. The Eagles lost TWICE to a quarterback who forgot to spike the ball before halftime. Three days after they got knocked out of the play-offs, they canned Chip Kelly, who might have been most incompetent person working in the NFL outside of Robert Kraft’s sobriety coach.

There are bucketfuls of kids in the Philippines who are considering child prostitution as a legitimate career option because they can’t live with the guilt that comes with stitching Eagles jerseys. The Patriots’ vulnerability exposed in that loss will linger throughout the play-offs because it’s pretty obvious there is larger issues in New England beyond just injuries or “having a bad game.”

Doubt that? Tell us another play-off team that gave up 300 passing yards to Ryan Tannehill. Case closed.

What’s Changed

Nothing.  Absolutely fucking nothing. 

I simply can’t believe how not impressed I have been by the Patriots this entire season, which is odd considering where they are. Granted, I know part of that is the fact that this entire league has been putting a shit product on the field this whole season.  Like I’ve said before, to be the best in a shit league doesn’t require greatness; it simply means being a better grade of shit.

Obviously, based on previous writings of mine, this “shit” thing doesn’t apply to Tom Brady, who is the sole reason why this team is where it is. He’s still overcoming the exceptionally mediocre nature of this team. That’s why the Patriot offense continues to get the job done.

It’s the Patriot defense which is a mess.  You can tell me all you want about injuries, but even healthy that unit has three guys who don’t suck, and eight guys who can all hit red-line levels of suckitude with little or no notice.  This is why the Patriots are looking like a “scratch and dent” version of the 80’s San Diego Chargers…a team with a Hall-of-Fame quarterback who will throw the ball 70 times a game on a team that couldn’t spell defense if you spotted them the “D” and the “fense.”

I can honestly say that while it’s chalk to have all four teams that got byes in the conference championships, every single one of these teams deserves to be here. While I can’t stand the Broncos as a franchise and would rather watch footage of Wall Street day traders barbecue homeless people in front of their few remaining family members instead of seeing Denver succeed, they have a hell of a pass rush that even a San Diego Chargers fan who got a Raiders tattoo because he lost a bet could appreciate and they earned their spot. I don’t think they deserve home field advantage, but then again not all of my takes on the National Football League are popular. (I can’t believe that the online petition I set up to have Roger Goddell eaten by mountain lions while death row prisoners beat him with hammers was removed. For shame, change.org…) 

Personally, I couldn’t be more excited that conference championship weekend is on its way. If my calculations are correct, this will be the first day I’ve had off of work since the early seventies and I’ll be more than ready to sit on my ass and not set up Gmail accounts for people while guacamole falls onto my lap. This is Conference Championship Weekend in the NFL, and when Sunday ends death will have came ripping for two of these four teams. Continue reading

Week Two NFL Preview

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by Eight Thirty Seven with assistance from J-Dub and Jason from Indiana

Week one in the NFL was a complete shit show which featured teams that simply couldn’t pace themselves to just about every variable degree. The Colts lost a game in which they were shut out for an entire half with one of the best quarterbacks in the league. The Redskins probably could have had a win against the Dolphins, but let it slip away after a very poor defensive showing in the fourth quarter. And the Texans probably could have came back and beat the Chiefs, but after three quarters without a single touchdown scored they couldn’t come back even though KC was essentially worthless in the second half of that one. After all that, I haven’t even bothered to mention how the Rams basically snuck out of their own living room with a game that they almost let slip away but finally won at the last moment. It was messy indeed, but now that it’s over it’s time to move on. Let’s take a look forward to what we think might happen in week two of the NFL season.

The J-Dub “Outhouse or Penthouse?” Gambling Campaign

Last week, we told you that fellow blogger J-Dub would play the lines for a full season, and see what he can do with $2,500 bankroll.  Well, the first week’s results were promising; after tabulated wins and losses, and of course, paying “the juice,” the man behind Dubsism finished ahead by $209.  That brings the season total to $2,709, so let’s see what Week Two brings.

Denver Broncos (1-0) +3 at Kansas City Chiefs (1-0)  (42)

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The line will suggest that after you remove the standard three point adjustment for home field advantage that these two teams are equal. Yeah, here’s the thing about that…Peyton Manning had a passer rating south of 60 in the Baltimore game, and only threw for 175 yards in a contest where they only won the game by six points against a team who didn’t have a single defensive touchdown. I can honestly say that right now the Chiefs should be favored by more in this game, and without question they are a better team. I do think Kansas City not scoring a single point in the second half against the Texans last week is a bit of a red flag, but so far this year they haven’t had a guy show up to the practice facility with a loaded handgun and blow his fucking head off so that’s a huge plus. Look for Jeremy Maclin to be double-teamed a lot, and look for the Chiefs to cover the spread.  Take the over on the point total…it might seem risky but trust me if you look at this one a little closer both of these teams are primed for a big offensive day.

837’s Prediction:  Chiefs 27, Broncos 20           

J-Dub:  $25 on Kansas City, $75 over         

Jason from Indiana:  Kansas City

New England Patriots (1-0) EVEN at Buffalo Bills (1-0) (45)

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The even line of this game makes it very interesting, and extremely dangerous. The Bills smacked Indianapolis around at home and may have proved that they’re the real deal, but this is the game that counts. The Patriots gave us more of what we’re used to last Thursday, and if Buffalo wants to show us that they are ready to get to the next level we’re likely to not believe them unless they win this game. I don’t think it will happen, but it will be closer than a lot of people might expect.

837’s Prediction: Patriots 23, Bills 21                                   

J-Dub:  $20 on Buffalo, $50 under

Jason from Indiana:  New England

Tennessee Titans (1-0) EVEN at Cleveland Browns (0-1)  (41.5)

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This season couldn’t have possibly started out any worse for the Browns, as McCown was put out of the game with a concussion and Johnny Football entered the game having little positive effect on what has become a very poor Jets defense.  For the Titans, they started out by scoring 42 points against the Bucs, and having Marcus Mariota get a win in his first NFL game. But it’s pretty clear that the oddsmakers have little faith in MM, as they slapped Tennessee with an even line against a team that might not have a receiving touchdown for months. This game is too depressing to even think about, but if I had to pick something other than my own nose I’d say I like Tennessee by a couple and avoid the point total on this one.

837’s Prediction:  Titans 22, Cleveland 20                          

J-Dub:  $40 on Tennessee

Jason from Indiana:  Tennessee

Houston Texans (0-1) +3 at Carolina Panthers (1-0)  (40.5)

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I have to admit, the Texans coming out and playing as poorly as they did in the first half of last week’s loss against the Chiefs was a little upsetting. But at some point they are going to have to realize that JJ Watt is only one human being, and now they are headed into Carolina a three point underdog against a team that only put up twenty point against Jacksonville last week. The Texans are a lock to cover the spread here, but overall they have a lot of problems and I think I may have just pinpointed their biggest one:  They’re about one great player short of becoming a ten win football team.  With Watt in town, they need that one dude to step up and decide there’s room for another star in the fourth biggest market in the country.  The only problem is, that guy doesn’t play for the Texans.

837’s Prediction:  Texans 26, Panthers 17                          

J-Dub:  $100 on Houston

Jason from Indiana:  Carolina

Arizona Cardinals (1-0) EVEN at Chicago Bears (0-1)  (45)

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Nothing would make me happier than seeing the Bears get completely splattered at home by a defense that means business. Neither of these two teams are going to make the playoffs because of their offensive inconsistencies, but so help me God I’m actually pissed I’m going to miss this football game. Arizona still has a long way to go to prove the first half of last year was no fluke, and if this is an even line you know something’s suspect here. For Chicago, they’re going to start to take a lot of radio heat if they can’t do a better job of turning red zone visits into touchdowns. I’m taking Arizona by a few, but I wouldn’t bet the farm here and the point total is way too close for me to whip out my wallet.

837’s Prediction:  Cardinals 24, Bears 21                           

J-Dub:  $50 on Arizona

Jason from Indiana:  Arizona

San Diego Chargers (1-0) +3 at Cincinnati Bengals (1-0)  (45.5)

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I’m trying really hard to say this without sounding like a dick:  I hate the fucking Cincinnati Bengals. When I looked at the week one games and saw they were playing Oakland, I swear to God the first thing out of my mouth was “Great, here we go with this shit again…”. I see no way the Bengals being successful does the NFL one ounce of good. When Joe Flacco is more interesting than your main guy, you know you’ve got a serious problem. The Chargers beat a decent Lions team, and as we’ve seen in recent years seem to have no real opposition to playing Cincy at home or away. Philip Rivers leads the NFL in passing yards after week one, and I’m really hoping his success continues. I can’t bear to live in a world where the Bengals go 10-6 or 11-5 again. The sheer thought of it makes my head hurt. I’m taking SD to win a solid road game, although it won’t be easy. Don’t play the ponies with the point total.

837’s Prediction:  Chargers 27, Bengals 20                        

J-Dub:  $20 on Cincinnati

Jason from Indiana:  Cincinnati

Detroit Lions (0-1) +2.5 at Minnesota Vikings (0-1)  (43)

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The Vikings were picked by a lot of these meathead analysts to be one of the teams that was supposed to surprise us and have a breakout year, but they certainly took a week off to start the season. If you had the patience to sit through the late Monday night game in which the Vikes were eaten alive by San Francisco, you’ll know that it was probably one of the most boring football games to ever be aired in primetime. Part of that was due to the fact that Minnesota couldn’t do a damn thing on offense, and I have a feeling that if Bridgewater can’t get his shit together we’re going to see plenty of similar results in the near future. Detroit is going to really step this one up, because everybody on that team knows if they start 0-2 there’s no way in hell they are going to win ten in a row and make the postseason.  I like Detroit in this one, and go ahead and take the over.

837’s Prediction:  Lions 34, Vikings 13                                 

J-Dub:  $25 on Detroit

Jason from Indiana:  Minnesota

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-1) +11.5 at New Orleans Saints (0-1)  (47)

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I told you the Saints were in for a rough year, and as evidenced by their week one loss against Arizona I wasn’t fucking kidding in the least bit. They were useless in the red zone, and what do you know it – Drew Brees threw for well over 300 yards in yet another game that they lost. So you would have to assume any team facing them that is eleven and a half point underdogs must suck monkey balls, and ladies and gentlemen I give you the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Tampa is so bad they lost a home game against a rookie quarterback by touchdowns. Let that sink in for a second. If you’ve stopped laughing, you’ll also be delighted to know that his passer rating was 64, and that the two interceptions looked totally ridiculous on TV. So even though this will be a terrible football game, I like the Saints to cover, and I’d take the point total on the over because both of these teams’ defenses are awful to an almost mind-blowing degree. Dubsism probably thinks I’m nuts here, but he also got on social media last week and said he listens to that Seven Mary Three song so you have to factor that into his questionable decision making skills.

837’s Prediction:  Saints 36, Bucs 13                                  

J-Dub:  TRAP GAME OF THE WEEK, PART I:  To bet this game, I have to believe that Jamies Winston can lead the Bucs to three scores of any sort, and that the Saints can score more than 30 points. I wouldn’t bet this with your money. 

Jason from Indiana:  Tampa Bay

Atlanta Falcons (1-0) +1 at New York Giants (0-1)  (51)

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Watching the Giants throw away that game Sunday night in Dallas was devastating, but by now I’m used to such disappointment. The second they kicked that field goal, I knew it was alll over. That’s because when it comes to giving up those fifteen to twenty-five yard passing plays over the middle, New York’s secondary and linebackers are every bit as bad as the teams who picked in the top ten of this past year’s draft. This spells serious trouble as Matt Ryan heads into town to beat the snot out of that defense in what I’m assuming is going to be a very long and painful game to watch if you’re a Giants fan.

837’s Prediction:  Falcons 31, Giants 20                              

J-Dub:  DOG OF THE WEEK: There’s just no reason to bet this game, and Vegas isn’t giving me a reason to lay down my hard-earned Franklins. I wouldn’t bet this game with Donald Trump’s money. 

Jason from Indiana:  New York Giants

San Francisco 49ers (1-0) +5.5 at Pittsburgh Steelers (0-1)  (45)

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For me, there was no more telling moment about the Pittsburgh Steelers in week one than about halfway through the third quarter of the New England game. They were granted 1st and goal from the one after a horseshit pass interference call when they were down 21 to 11 in that game. Had they been able to score, they would have flipped the momentum in their direction instantaneously and shrunken the lead down to a field goal. Instead, they ate a dick and couldn’t get in the end zone. San Francisco looked good on Monday night, despite simultaneously looking stupid in those awful black and red uniforms. They won’t be able to get over on Big Ben as easily though, and although Pittsburgh won’t cover the spread they will get the W. Point total will be the over, but it doesn’t look as delicious as I’m probably making it sound.

837’s Prediction:  Steelers 26, 49ers 23                               

J-Dub:  $50 on Pittsburgh

Jason from Indiana:  San Francisco

St. Louis Rams (1-0) -3.5 at Washington Redskins (0-1)  (41)

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All honesty at the dinner table, the Rams almost blew it last week. They let the Seahawks creep back into the game, and were very lucky to come away with an overtime win. That better not happen this week on the road against a Washington team that doesn’t know its ass from a hole in the ground, as the Redskins controlled the better part of that Dolphins game only to shit the bed in the fourth quarter. All truth told, this should be a very easy game for St. Louis. The Redskins are pathetic on offense and the Rams’ D is going to all up in Kirk Cousins’ face all afternoon. I hope that Foles can fix some of the mistakes he made in week one, and goes into that dump and just fuck’s Washington’s world up worse than every single president we’ve had since Jimmy Carter. So for that reason, I’m taking St. Louis to cover, and to cover big. Blowout alert, but avoid the point total because I’m still not entirely convinced the Redskins will even score a touchdown.

837’s Prediction:  Rams 32, Redskins 6                               

J-Dub:  $300 on St. Louis

Jason from Indiana:  St. Louis

Baltimore Ravens (0-1) -7 at Oakland Raiders (0-1)  (43)

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Baltimore suffered a huge blow to their season last week in Denver where they lost Terrell Suggs for the year with an injury that is likely to change the remainder of his career. So this is a perfect time for them to blow one of their eight road games on Oakland by steamrolling the Raiders, which shouldn’t be much of a challenge. Oakland as a fan base is a very interesting social experiment:  They act all hard core, paint their faces, and wear spiked shoulder pads in the stadium before eventually stabbing some poor Chargers fan in the parking lot. Of course, the joke is on them in the end because on the field they’re fucking butters. Total butters bitches. Can’t figure a damn thing out and home field advantage doesn’t even matter to their players. So I like the Ravens to cover this spread easily, but I wouldn’t mess with the total. But seriously, these butters bitches…

837’s Prediction:  Ravens 29, Raiders 15                             

J-Dub:  DISASTER OF THE YEAR AWARD: Vegas knows they can’t make a line big enough to stop a flood of Baltimore money coming in, so they puss out and do something I haven’t seen since the week after Bernard Pollard re-structured Tom Brady’s knee. 

Jason from Indiana:  Baltimore

Miami Dolphins (1-0) -7 at Jacksonville Jaguars (0-1)  (51)

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Miami wouldn’t have gotten away with last week if they were playing any other team than Washington. Thankfully for them, the only other team in the league who can collapse on a dime like that is the Jaguars, whom they’ll be playing on Sunday. Tannehill is still average, and until he gives me a reason to think otherwise that’s where he’ll stay. He’s a .500 career guy, and he likely always will be. But holy fuck Jacksonville is bad. You almost have to put this game on at four PM – nobody would watch it at one. Dolphins cover…I really like the point total on this one to be way under, seems like Vegas is giving away money here at 51.

837’s Prediction:  Dolphins 27, Jaguars 14     

J-Dub:  $200 on Miami     

Jason from Indiana:  Jacksonville                        

Dallas Cowboys (1-0) +5.5 at Philadelphia Eagles (0-1)  (55)

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When Dubs first sent me his bits for this week, I was without hesitation in the realization that he couldn’t be anymore right about not putting any money on either team. And he was right about it being a high scoring game, which it will be for sure. Dallas is suspect because the Giants threw the game away last week, and a lot of people are probably wondering why the Giants were winning by six points with only a minute left. That’s a great question, and with Dez Bryant now hurt, there is always the chance that their offensive production could come to a screeching halt very quickly. As for Philadelphia, Sam Bradford said the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard a quarterback say after a loss. He smiled to the media and said that in the second half that he was “having fun”. That is proof right there that the Eagles fucked up in the Nick Foles trade. Bradford will never have the killer instinct it takes to win ten games in this league. “Having fun” is not part of the gig. This is a business, and I can guarantee that Chip Kelly isn’t having fun looking at how you’re tied with the Redskins in the standings. All that said, the Cowboys are really shaky right now and I have a feeling this will be the weakest showing they crank out this year. I like Philly to cover, and the point total is simply too close to call so I’d avoid it.

837’s Prediction:  Eagles 33, Cowboys 22                           

J-Dub:  TRAP GAME OF THE WEEK, PART II: There’s way too much temptation to make the over-reaction bet on either team here. $50 over.

Jason from Indiana:  Dallas

Seattle Seahawks (0-1) +4 at Green Bay Packers (1-0)  (48.5)

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The Seahawks had a rough start last year, and came one stupid play call away from winning the whole fucking thing. I have this theory that they are going to use that as a basis for the mentality which suggests it’s okay if they biff the first couple games of the season. In this case it might be, but at the moment they are making a litany of play calling blunders and other assorted offensive errors. The fact that Darrell Bevell has been allowed to keep his job is something that I plan to discuss in detail with Neil Roberts of Sports with Neil here in the future if they can’t figure things out. To be fair, Neil called this on a live radio show I did with him in early fall of 2014 and he really hasn’t let up…can you blame him? Last week Green Bay looked every bit like the team who can give you 31 solid points a game like they did against the Bears, but they also gave up 23 points to Jay Cutler so there are still plenty of defensive questions there. Wilson still hasn’t hit his stride yet, so this is the perfect time for the Packers to build some defensive momentum and I believe they’ll take this one at home with no real issue. I like the Packers to cover the spread here easily, and I have the over but I wouldn’t put any money on it if I were you.

837’s Prediction:  Packers 30, Seahawks 19                       

J-Dub:  $20 on Green Bay

Jason from Indiana:  Green Bay

New York Jets (0-1) +7.5 at Indianapolis Colts (0-1)  (47)

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It’s a little puzzling to me how the Jets ended up in a primetime game. If you’re ESPN, of course you want the Colts but why the Jets? Perhaps they knew something we didn’t, as the only one of these two teams with a W doesn’t have a horseshoe on their helmets. The Colts struggled like a motherfucker against Buffalo last week, but I don’t expect that to continue against a team that could only muster 21 points against Cleveland. Listen, the Jets are terrible. This is a road game for them, and they have a myriad of false confidence issues on a team that is light years away from justifiably being able to have any. They’re a mess on every level, which means this is a perfect time for the Colts to run across them to get legitimate confidence back and take advantage of the fact that Houston has already lost a game. But so have they, so they’ve got plenty of work to do and this is a great place to start. I like Indy to cover with little challenge, and the point total is a crapshoot here so stay away from it, because after all it is the Jets.

837’s Prediction:  Colts 34, Jets 17                                   

J-Dub:  $20 on the NY Jets, $50 over

Jason from Indiana:  Indianapolis

Once again thanks for visiting First Order Historians and enjoying more of the internet’s finest in user generated content.

Eight Thirty Seven

Artist Profile:  Jon Hart, Author of Man vs. Ball

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by Ryan Meehan

Several months ago I got an email from New York comedian Brett Eidman, who had been a guest of ours in this very same segment. He wanted to know if I would be willing to read a book that a friend of his had written about his series of encounters with the world of sports entitled “Man Versus Ball:  One Ordinary Guy and His Extraordinary Sports Adventures”. I’ve never been one to turn down a free meal – or in this case a free book – so I agreed.  Shortly thereafter, I received a package that included the book.

The first section of the book was a very quick read for me. Author Jon Hart had documented his experiences with a semi-pro football league that – for lack of kinder words – wasn’t very well funded. Being a huge football fan, I was shocked to learn just how many of these leagues were present on the East Coast during the late eighties and early nineties. Our obsession with American football in this country is mind blowing, so much so that before I picked up this book I had almost forgotten there was a time where head trauma was considered to be a job risk that went with chasing legendary status. He led with the heaviest subject matter possible and it dragged me right to hell along with it.

Throughout the book, bizarre stories about the experiences Jon Hart shared were brought to life by assigning nicknames to those who were front and center while he either rode the bench or carried the equipment. It’s very similar to the manner in which players from the Seattle Pilots were described in the book “Ball Four” by Jim Bouton, and I found myself assigning faces that I had encountered in my own life to the individuals in the stories present. Another similarity in the two authors was that the events in Bouton’s life which were represented in that fucking unbelievable piece of American literature took place during a time where he was “past his prime” or in the “twilight” of his career. Hart never had a career in major professional sports, but these experiences he documents are very representative of a guy that refused to let himself be taken out of the sports landscape.

Stubborn? Sure…but here again, isn’t that what every coach you’ve ever had in your entire life has preached to you since day one? Never give up. No matter how far behind we are in the game, don’t quit. And for the love of God Ryan, you can’t have a soda from the cooler until after the game. I know this because I was the guy that rode the bench. I wasn’t even a starter in grade school, so I can definitely relate to the little guy. I was such a pussy as a kid that when my orange and blue car lost at the soapbox derby, I proceeded to burst into tears because I was eliminated in the first round. After I went and sat with my best friend Perry – who probably didn’t want to be next to me after that pre-pubescent display of ovulation – his mother came over and whispered something in his ear. When I asked him what she said after she left, he said “Just don’t do what you just did”. (Thank God just a few years later I would develop a strong love of overtly Satanic death metal, which is an ironic thought in and of itself…)  Long story short, I was never cut out to be a sportsman in any definition of the term.

But what exactly defines a sportsman? More than never giving up? Is it that will to be dominant over your enemies? Is it the girl sitting in the bleachers, who in all reality is…probably not looking at you? Maybe, but under all of that shit is the desire to belong. To be a part of something greater than yourself, as cliché as that might sound. Even if that thing might not be greater than what you are individually capable of, it’s bigger than you to you in your own mind, and sometimes that’s enough. So am I a sportsman?

Well, let’s not go that far. Have I ever had a tennis ball whizz by my head at over a hundred miles an hour? Nope. Have I ever applied to sell soda at a Quad City River Bandits game? Hell no. Do I know anything at all about wrestling to the point where I’ve actually went to a school where the objective is to participate in a match at the local level? I think any of my recent interviews with wrestlers can answer that so I don’t have to explain myself. And would I ever consider being a mascot for the entertainment of others? Have you read the way I bag on furries on this site?

Hart at least had the stones to pick up these balls, and at times risk severe injury for the sliver of glory that might come with doing so. By now, you’re probably thinking “Jesus, are you gonna blow smoke up this guy’s ass all day so we’ll go out and buy this book on Amazon?” Sort of, but to be fair let’s just say I’m glad the golf chapter was very short. (You can’t win them all, but that’s kind of a running theme throughout this book) But overwhelmingly I found myself to be continuously delighted by Jon’s stories that brought to life several corners of the world that I would have never known about. Do you know that skyscraper racing is a thing? You do now.

Everyone who has ever watched sports has envisioned themselves as a hero in their own mind at least once, no matter how trivial it may be. But this book is more about the unsung heroes of sports, the ones that keep the machine moving despite the lack of multi-million dollar signing bonuses that typically accompany their line of work. There’s a certain amount of “facelessness” that gets lost in the individuals who participate in sport simply for the love of the game. But these people are heroes in their own right:  They coach youth sports, they sell hot dogs in the stands of the minor league ball parks you frequent, and they believe in ideas and other things that most of us have let go of a long time ago. I’m going to be thirty-six in a couple of months, and I can’t tell you how many of things in this read that I would never consider doing in a million years. Hart truly did “take one for the team” and by the team, I mean those of us who wouldn’t take the chances he did.

Overall, I am really glad that I read this one. Hell, I can’t think of another instance where I haven’t lost interest reading about tennis. That’s why I was happy to fork over six dollars for a pretzel – even if he didn’t give me a side of cream cheese as dipping sauce – and get the opportunity to discuss this piece of reading fodder with the author of “Man Versus Ball”, Jon Hart, in this very special edition of our artist profile series. Continue reading

What does the beer in your NFL team’s can taste like?

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by Guest Editor

Bud Light is running a new promotion for this upcoming NFL season in which 7/8ths of the teams in the league have agreed to have their team’s logo on the front of the cans available at your local gas station, grocery store, or bar. This will allow for fans of just about every single NFL team to enjoy the swill that is Bud Light from a customized disposable container made of aluminum. The Bears, Cowboys, Packers, and Vikings cans were not manufactured due to the fact that these franchises do not have a partnership with Bud Light. Recently a focus group was held at the Anheuser-Busch headquarters in St. Louis where participants actually had the chance to run taste tests on the beer in these 28 cans, and – what do you fucking know – here at First Order Historians we were able to obtain some of the findings from this focus group. This data was retrieved by our crack team of undercover operatives, and today we’d like to share it with you. Take a deep breath, sink back into your favorite easy chair, and have a gander at what you can expect your taste buds to experience if you drink a Bud Light out of your favorite team’s new specialized NFL beer can.

The beer in the Detroit Lions can will always let you down, but for some bizarre reason you’ll keep drinking it until the day you die even though it never gets you drunk.
When you drink the beer in the Washington Redskins can it turns you into a megalomaniac who doesn’t understand his team’s nickname is unquestionably a racial slur.
There is no beer in the Philadelphia Eagles can because all of their fans have consumed every last drop of alcohol on the face of the earth that is allotted for people who are hammered enough to root for the Eagles.
The beer in the New York Giants can is inexplicably good at times…to the point where it almost defies logic. But when it isn’t, it’s the most putrid tasting liquid known to man.
The beer in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers can tastes like sewer water if you’re drinking it at home, or in a stadium where grown men dress like pirates but for some reason aren’t beaten with billy clubs.
The beer in the New Orleans Saints can tastes like it has great fantasy can stats. In reality, it tastes like a drinking fountain at a park just outside of the ninth ward in late September of 2005. Yeah, I went there.
The beer in the Carolina Panthers can will get you to the next level of wherever you are going, although you certainly don’t get there by being a winner.
The beer in the Atlanta Falcons can is delicious about every other year, even though the guy who is in charge of brewing it is supposedly one of the greatest brewmasters working today.
The beer in the Seattle Seahawks comes out of the can deafeningly loud, but if you’re not careful the bottom can fall out of the can at the very end of the best drink inside of it.
The beer in the St. Louis Rams can is brewed very close to where the franchise is located, but could easily get up and move to another container in the nicest room in your house in the middle of the night like the Baltimore Colts did in March of 1984.
The beer in the Arizona Cardinals can is pretty impressive, but if you stocked up for the whole season I’d try to drink as much of it as possible before December rolls around.
The beer in the San Francisco 49ers can has a rich history of the many quality beers that came before it, but it’s going to taste like diarrhea mixed with swamp ass if you drink it this year.
The beer in the Oakland Raiders can tastes like Pabst Blue Ribbon, but you’ll finish it or pour it out quickly because you’re almost guaranteed to have one of the first picks of the next unmarked can in the fridge.
The beer in the Kansas City Chiefs can will leave you impartial to its taste and unable to come up with a joke as to what it tastes like because, really…How can you make any joke about the Chiefs that’s relatable to 96% of football fans?
The beer in the San Diego Chargers can may be trying to move into the same container in the same room that the beer in the Rams can was trying to move to in the earlier taste test.
Statistically speaking, the beer in the Denver Broncos can is perhaps the greatest tasting regular-season beer in the history of sitting around drinking beer and watching the NFL.
The beer in the Pittsburgh Steelers can isn’t that bad until you start hearing Terry Bradshaw talk about how much better it used to be, and then you quickly begin to dislike it intensely to the point where you want to go to the nearest farm and pump some cattle rancher full of fresh lead.
There’s a lot of dents in the Baltimore Ravens can, but it probably just “fell down some stairs”. The beer itself has a very solid taste, but for some reason it’s the least exciting out of all of these options.
The beer in the Cincinnati Bengals can tastes better than you might expect, but as soon as the playoffs start it tastes like hot dog water.
The beer in the Cleveland Browns can reminds you of a time when all beer tasted great, but for some reason all you can think of after you drink it is Earnest Byner fumbling at the two yard line back in 1988.
The beer in the Indianapolis Colts is very close to being the best tasting beer in the world, but you just get this weird feeling it never will be.
The beer in the Houston Texans can tastes OH MY GO DID YOU SEE THIS STORY ABOUT HOW JJ WATT SAVED A BUNCH OF ELDERLY PEOPLE FROM A BURNING BUILDING?
Nobody has really ever tasted the beer in the Tennessee Titans can. Here at FOH we were unable to locate a representative from the Tennessee Titans, Bud Light, or the NFL who has been able to comment on this situation, so we’re not entirely sure this beer even exists at all.
The beer in the Jacksonville Jaguars can tastes very bad, and for some reason the number to the national suicide hotline is printed on the back.
The beer in the New York Jets can has to come in a can, as if it was available on tap it would have an awful taste because it drafts so poorly.
The beer in the Buffalo Bills can is supposed to be wonderful over the next four months, but just remember we still haven’t seen any proof of that yet.
The beer in the Miami Dolphins can tastes pretty good exactly half of the time, and absolutely awful the other half of the time.
The beer in the New England Patriots can tastes suspiciously amazing, and therefore naturally all of the beer in the other containers have assumed the Bud Light was drained from the Patriots’ cans and replaced with Heineken.
In closing, thankfully I don’t have to really worry about how any of these beers actually taste because I don’t drink Bud Light – it’s garbage. I hate to sound like a beer snob, because I can’t stand all of those people who think they’re too hipster for the world outside of them just because they are sipping an oatmeal stout. That being said, I hate to break it to you folks…but Bud Light is pretty much just water. Every time I see somebody super-hamdogged and they tell me they’ve been drinking the BL all night long, I find myself becoming very suspect of anything they say from that time forward because Bud Light is practically Busch Light N/A. Bud Light makes Coors Cutter taste like it’s fucking craft beer. Have fun watching the games, but if you’re going to drink…don’t be a sissy about it.
Once again thanks for visiting First Order Historians and enjoying more of the internet’s finest in user generated content.