The labor dispute between the NFL and the NFLRA has officially claimed its first victim. Congratulations, Green Bay Packers! You may be the sacrificial lamb that finally breaks the stalemate between these two sides! After a rough outing in Week 2, the replacement refs were downright awful in Week 3, taking the focus away from some very exciting football and pushing players and coaches to the edges of frustration and they aren’t going to take it anymore. Players have started tweeting their frustration, one player reportedly told a referee to go “kill yourself,” during a game, and coaches have broken down and chased referees down the tunnel to tell them just how much they think of them (spoiler: NOT MUCH!). So with these terrible stand-ins in mind, we present a very special Biggest Meltdowns: Scab Ref Edition!
The NFL is quickly running out of good will on their side in their fight against the referees’ labor union. The “replacement refs” a.k.a. scabs, are the biggest reason why. After a rough Week 2 of officiating, fans endured a BRUTAL Week 3 that saw a blatant helmet to helmet hit send Darrius Heyward Bay to the hospital go unflagged, Redskins OC Kyle Shannahan go after an official after the game, and Bill Belichick lose his cool and grab an official to try and get an explanation of some highly questionable calls.
But perhaps the most egregious boneheadedness of the weekend came in the San Francisco 49ers loss to the Minnesota Vikings when Niners coach Jim Harbugh was granted two extra challenges in the fourth quarter…by asking nice apparently?
We start off the prognostication on a mildly high note, finishing the week 4-3 in our Week 1 picks (hooray for not being sub-.500!). We get back to our normal slate of five picks this week, and hope to match (or even exceed) the luke-warm success of last week. The games this week include some really terrible matchups that I wouldn’t want to wish on my worst enemies. Cleveland-Cincinnati, Buffalo-Kansas City, and Oakland-Miami sound like games that you would show to Guantanamo detainees when you needed them to talk. We don’t pick any of those games and send our deepest condolences to the markets that those games will be shown. Picks are in bold!
It’s Wednesday, so OF COURSE that means NFL football is starting! Because FOOOTBALL THAT’S WHY! The Dallas Cowboys open the season on the road against the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants, and have wasted zero time poking Big Blue with a stick to make sure they are good and riled up. Other notable games highlight Week 1 in the NFL, like the reincarnation of Peyton Manning as a Denver Bronco, and super-rookies Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III make their debuts surrounded by really crummy teams.
Most importantly, though, we get to return to real football. No more Double J talking about glory holes, no more train metaphors regarding the MJD holdout, and hopefully a downturn of Tim Tebow shirtless pictures in the rain. Just football.
So who wins? Picks are in bold after the jump! Let’s gooooooo!
The San Francisco 49ers enjoyed a resurgent 2011 campaign, coming one overtime loss shy of making it to the Super Bowl. Part of the reason was a staunch defense that ranked among the league’s best all season, helped by the addition of seventh overall pick Aldon Smith. Smith burst onto the scene with a breakout rookie year, recording a franchise rookie-record 14 sacks, most amont all NFL rookies, along with a pair of forced fumbles. Smith has been enjoying himself pretty heavily celebrating his NFL success perhaps to a fault as a party Aldon attended got a bit out of hand over the weekend.
With Peyton Manning now officially joining the Broncos after agreeing to a 5-year $96 million contract, we can put to bed the frenzied speculation and non-stop tracking of Peyton’s every move…and replace it with a new obsession: WHERE WILL TIM TEBOW GO NOW? Yes, with the addition of Peyton Manning, the Denver Broncos are reportedly shopping their cult-hero of a quarterback, who led the team to an 8-8 record, which was good enough to win the AFC West and a first round win over Pittsburgh in the playoffs. While unconventional to say the least, Tebow found ways to win games late, rallying the team late in the fourth quarter or overtime in five of his seven wins last season and gained a rabid fanbase that would defend their Chosen Quarterback at the slightest hint of criticism. It seemed like the unexplainable success of Tebow would have bought him a couple of seasons in Denver, but the team saw an opportunity to bring in one of the greats and they jumped at the chance. Now that the Pandora’s Box of Tebow’s popularity as a starter has been opened in Denver, they can’t really hope to put him back onto the bench, even for a quarterback like Manning. So, the trade rumor mill is spinning away and who knows where it will stop? Well, certainly not us, but we can break down the likely landing spots.
The Super Bowl is set and if you left 2008 behind thinking, “Man, I wish I could see that Super Bowl again,” you are in luck! The Giants and Patriots will meet again, just four short years after their last Super Bowl clash, where the Giants spoiled New England’s bid for a perfect 19-0 season. So if you’ve been waiting for the rematch, this is the Super Bowl for you. Also, you’re living in the past and that’s unhealthy, so stop that. However, these two teams didn’t make it this far on their own. They had to overcome trials, tribulations, and some healthy competition from the Ravens and 49ers. Luckily, Baltimore and San Francisco made horrible back breaking mistakes down the stretch to make it easier for them. With that, we present a special edition of Meltdowns with our five biggest blunders that took place on Championship Sunday. While there were only two games played, there was more than enough sadness to go around. Spoiler: We run heavy on Ravens in this countdown.
Wildcard weekend gave way to Tebow Week on ESPN which now leads us into the Divisional round of the playoffs. The college season is over and done with, coaches now focusing on how to best cover up their recruiting violations in luring the top talent to their schools to try and exploit them for million dollar bonuses. That just leaves us with the home stretch of NFL action, culminating with the Super Bowl in just four weeks! The NFL playoffs are giving us three rematches of regular season contests in Denver at New England, Houston at Baltimore, and New York at Green Bay. The wild card weekend was kind to our picks, as we finished 6-2 to bump the overall record this season to 72-59-4. With only seven more games to pick, it’s mathematically impossible to finish under .500, something I was not sure would happen at many points this season. So for those of you who survived the non-stop media coverage of Tim Tebow, including a second Tebow-center on ESPN in which they said the word Tebow, or derived from Tebow, a record 160 times in one hour. It was enough to cause anyone’s brain to explode, so I’m happy to see some of us made it through! If the Broncos pull off the win this week, expect all ESPN programming to devolve into the on-camera personalities staring into the camera saying “Tebow” 24/7. Picks are in bold!
Woof. That’s about as good as I can describe how my picks have been going the last few weeks. Another tough stretch last week, going 3-6 on the week bringing the overall record for the season to 32-30-1, so still above .500, and at this point, I’ll take any small victory I can get. This week, I’m hoping I can turn around this bad streak I’ve been on but I apologize in advance to the teams and fans of the teams that I pick for putting that bad mojo on you. Expect to see me this weekend like Tom Brady, eyes closed thinking of a better place, and a better time to try and escape another poor week of picks. As always, picks are in bold.
Week 6 of the NFL season comes to a close tonight and this weekend had its share of surprises and disappointments. While there weren’t as many obvious meltdowns as in previous weeks, there were still plenty of teams willing to dash the hopes of their loyal fans watching at home. This week, Sad Donovan returns and crams an entire season’s worth of disappointment into three quarters of football, Cam Newton is just good enough to make games close, the Bills get over their rally “fad,” the Cowboys get Romo’d by staying away from Romo, and Jim Schwartz will fight you. People looking sad after the jump!