5 Things You Need to Know To #Win Thursday

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo and the National Fantasy Football Convention play to depose NFL commisioner Roger Goodell as part of their $1 million lawsuit against the league for last year’s failed event.

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo and his National Fantasy Football Convention have no plans to back down on their lawsuit against the NFL for tortious interference in the canceling of last year’s event.

Romo and his partners are asking for more than $1 million from the league.

Not only are the two sides heading to court in Dallas on Monday for a hearing on a summary judgment on the NFL’s motion to dismiss the suit, but the lawyers for the NFFC have filed paperwork to depose league commissioner Roger Goodell.

The NFL has filed a motion to block Goodell’s deposition.


MLB-Lineups-Divisions

The NHL had a novel idea this season: It broke up its All-Star Game into semifinals, with the individual stars from each division playing short exhibitions against each other in a tournament format. They played a 20-minute semifinal — giving fans an actual All-Star bracket — and then a championship between the winners. A clever idea, to be sure, and one that not only made the All-Star format itself more exciting, but also allowed more star players to be seen by their fans. (It also ended up leading to the John Scott story.)

I’m not sure baseball should do this — it already has the best All-Star Game and doesn’t need to radically reinvent it, though getting rid of the “Now It Counts” business is long overdue — but it is an enticing thought experiment. Imagine if the All-Stars from each division played, say, a series of three-inning games in a double-elimination format that ended up determining the best division in baseball over a three-day stretch. It’s probably too much, but it’s fun to think about: Now that the divisions are more geographically aligned, there’s as much division loyalty, pride and solidarity as there is with leagues, maybe more.

It’ll never happen — and again, it probably shouldn’t happen — but I’m gonna take part in the thought experiment anyway. Let’s come up with a preseason All-Star team for each of the six divisions and imagine who would win such a tournament. Rather than go through matchup-by-matchup, we’ll just rank them.

Here’s how the teams might look. I’ll be cheating a little bit by just allowing for three outfield spots rather than LF/CF/RF, but hey: This is an All-Star Game.

Read: If each MLB division had an All-Star lineup, what would it look like?


LarryBird

For several days in the summer of 2014, I debated a question whose answer seems obvious. Was Larry Bird a pure shooter? I kept this debate internal — I drafted emails for friends and basketball writers asking for their opinions, but never sent them, for fear of their reaction and eventual abandonment. Instead, I went back and forth with the question. Calling someone a pure shooter can be used as an insult, if pure becomes synonymous with “only” or is the first half of a compound sentence that begins “He’s a pure shooter,” and ends “but he can’t play any defense or put the ball on the floor.”

Bird belongs in the discussion for the greatest shooter of all time, but simply calling him a pure shooter might erase the way he controlled the game with his passing, rebounding, tenacity, team defense and floor game. Is calling Larry Bird a pure shooter the ultimate compliment or an underestimation? Praise or pejorative? But then if Bird isn’t a pure shooter, who the hell is?

Regardless of definitions and labels, Bird’s greatness as a shooter can get lost when discussing his career. His all-around brilliance separated him from everyone else. He could dominate without taking a shot, but it was still that shot that made everything else possible.

Read: How the jumper turned Bird into Larry Legend.


Andy Pettitte had six heavy-use postseasons in his career. (via Chris Ptacek)

At the end of my last article at THT, “The In-Season Aging Curve,” I indulged in some speculation about whether older pitchers’ skills eroded faster during the playing season than in the offseason. The data I used gave me no grounds for a conclusion either way. Were the erosion to happen faster in-season, though, it raised the unfortunate possibility that pitchers who had longer seasons—meaning those who pitched deep into the postseason—would be worn down by the grind and pitch worse the next season, and possibly beyond.

I teased that I might have more to say on the matter in months to come. Teasing isn’t really nice, so I got to work on the matter right away.

I wound up both narrowing and expanding the question I posed. I looked at just the following year after a heavy postseason workload, and I did not limit myself to older pitchers. This was probably a wise shift, since two of the biggest controversies surrounding pitcher workloads and the postseason in recent years have involved younger hurlers.

Read: Pitchers and the Seven-Month Season – The Hardball Times


New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul sued ESPN and NFL reporter Adam Schefter on Wednesday for tweeting his medical records over the summer.

The lawsuit, filed in Miami-Dade County in Florida, alleges that Pierre-Paul’s privacy was violated — as was the state’s medical records statute — by the report. The lawsuit claims Schefter “improperly obtained Plaintiff’s medical records from a hospital” and then tweeted them out, writing that “ESPN obtained medical charts that show that Giants DE Jason Pierre-Paul had right index finger amputated today.”

Paul injured his right hand in a fireworks accident July 4. Schefter posted a photo of Pierre-Paul’s medical chart July 8

Read: Jason Pierre-Paul of New York Giants sues ESPN, Adam Schefter for posting medical records

What No One Tells You About #Winning Tuesday


All Aboard the S.S.TD:

The Gronk.  Lovable meathead, really good tight-end for the Patriots just disembarked from his “Party-Cruise”.  The debaucherous, drunken revellry seemed to be on par with another party that comes to mind in the Big Easy, and according to social media, it was.  However, while everyone was re-living the halcyon days of Sodom & Gamora and being tailed by “intrepid” journalists to “document” the event – we need to ask this question – How is Manziel any different?

Is it because Gronk is a Pro-Bowler, a Superbowl Champion and has never been accused of striking a woman?  Why do we treat Gronk as lovable meathead and Manziel a loser for being the same Teddy Bro-sevelt?  At some point we should stop demonizing notorious behavior while applauding another as we maintain our upright moral status with the rest of the swine.  Then again, how much could you have had on this hedonistic cruise?

+ Read: Let’s all have as much fun as Gronk’s Party Ship.

Then there’s the King of Berzerkers, the thorn in the SEC paw, the man in the khakis, hanging out at WWE Raw last night.  The most visible and entertaining coach in college football lately, is a self-avowed rasslin’ fan and was front and center at Joe Louis Arena.  How can you not love this guy’s headline making ways?

Welcome to @UMichFootball head coach @CoachJim4UM, ringside at @WWE#RAW in Detroit!! #Wolverinespic.twitter.com/II49BL7Cml

— WWE (@WWE) February 23, 2016


NBA

ATLANTA, GA - FEBRUARY 22: Andrew Bogut #12 of the Golden State Warriors dunks against Al Horford #15 of the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on February 22, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. NOTE TO USER User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

If you follow along with us, then you know Mondays are prettay prettaaay prettaaaay special when you read our 5pt plays and build your lineups with our LineupAnalyzer.  Or maybe you were too caught up in listening to another hit from the dark-side of the moon and the Apollo 10 astronauts…Either way, you can read The United Stats of #Murica #NBA edition for a review or read these 5 takeaways:

  • Warriors become the fastest team to 50 wins in NBA history by beating Hawks. It got interesting. Atlanta became the latest team to make a big run on Golden State and force a response. Portland did it most of the game, but the 13-turnover third quarter for the Warriors put that game out of reach. The Clippers game seemed to be in garbage time until a 13-0 run late gave Los Angeles a chance to tie (the shot fell short). Then Monday night the Warriors were in complete control up 23 in the third quarter, when the Hawks went on a 33-6 run and took the lead. These lapses are a combination of factors. The Warriors have some mental vacations, they get bored it seems, but also teams are not just rolling over for them. Good teams that have pride. The result is the Warriors having to work hard for games where it felt like they were in control.
  • Channing Frye makes his debut for Cavaliers but Pistons spoil the day. Cavaliers fans got to see the guy they gave up Anderson Varejao for Monday night (not that much was expected of Channing Frye in his debut, he’s had basically no practice time with the team). Frye played nine minutes for the Cavaliers, missed both his threes, and looked like the new kid trying to fit in. He’ll find a more comfortable groove.
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo finishes the off-the-backboard alley-oop. Yes, it still counts if you do it against the Lakers’ defense. The Bucks picked up a win and the Greek Freak had maybe the highlight of the night.
  • Pistons void Donatas Motiejunas trade with Rockets over concerns about his back.Stan Van Gundy has coveted Motiejunas for years — a true 7-footer who can bang inside and is shooting 41.2 percent from three this season. He’s a perfect fit on paper for the inside-out offense Van Guyndy is trying to set up in Detroit.
  • Kyle Lowry puts up triple-double. Does it still count if Jose Calderon is guarding him? Kyle Lowry and the Raptors went into Madison Square Garden on Monday night and looked every bit the second best team in the East, with an unstoppable backcourt led by Kyle Lowry. Going up against the porus defense of Jose Calderon, Lowry did what he wanted on the way to 22 points, 11 assists, and 11 rebounds, and the Raptors picked up a comfortable win 122-95.

Source: Five Takeaways from NBA Monday: Warriors become fastest team ever to 50 wins – ProBasketballTalk

Big man Hassan Whiteside continues to confound the Miami Heat by mixing in dominant performances with head-scratching mistakes that cloud his future with the team.

+ Read: Whiteside remains an enigma for Miami – Yahoo News

+ Read: NBA’s ‘haunted hotel’ strikes again — this time with bed bugs | New York Post


NFL

The NFL withheld a big chunk of money from the NFLPA. (USATSI)

The NFL Player’s Association (NFLPA) was on the winning side of an arbitration that’s expected to cost the NFL more than $100 million.

Arbitrator Stephen Burbank sided with the NFLPA over an issue that had to do with the pool of revenue (or shared revenue pool) that the NFL splits with its players. According to the Wall Street Journal, the league is going to have to return about $120 million in revenues that it wrongly collected over the past three years.

+ Read: Report: NFL withheld more than $120 million from players over 3 years – CBSSports.com

Let’s face it: All 32 NFL teams have plenty to do before the start of the new fiscal year, as well as the beginning of free agency on March 9.There are just some that have more to do than others.

+ Read: NFL Teams That Have the Most Work to Do Before Free Agency | Bleacher Report


MLB

Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Zack Greinke talks to the media during a press conference, Friday, Dec. 11, 2015, in Phoenix. Greinke could have stayed with the Los Angeles Dodgers or gone up the coast to the San Francisco Giants. Instead, he signed a massive contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks, dramatically shifting the landscape in the NL West.   (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

The phrase “play the game the right way” is vague, so it’s usually tough to know exactly what someone means when they use the phrase. Hitting batters as revenge, for example, could be “right” if you’re an old-school baseball type, or it may be wrong to someone else. NL West managers say the Diamondbacks “play the game the right way,” Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post reports.

+ Read: NL West managers say the Diamondbacks “play the game the right way” – HardballTalk


Overtime

+ Read: Nation’s fastest football player? LSU’s Donte’ Jackson can make that claim – CollegeFootballTalk

On Sunday, a relieved Bubba Watson interrupted his post-tournament press conference at the Northern Trust Open in Pacific Palisades, Calif., as the gleaming prize was placed beside him on the table. Though he had to pass a kidney stone earlier in the week, he still managed to rally back on the final day of action to win the tournament for the second time in three years.

In a thrilling final round packed with twists and turns, Watson closed out a one-shot victory over leader Jason Kokrak and 2013 Masters winner Adam Scott at Riviera Country Club. Bubba finished with a 15-under 269 total.

+ Read: Bubba Watson won the Northern Trust Open.

What 5 Things You Need To Know On Wednesday

1. Influence:

About a decade ago, Eric Musselman recalls, NBA players doing elaborate two-ball dribbling drills before a game would elicit laughter.

“I can vividly remember being in Orlando with Coach (Chuck) Daly and trying to do two-dribbles with guys and they wouldn’t do it,” said Musselman, a longtime NBA coach who’s now coaching the University of Nevada men’s team. “Then you try to explain to them, ‘Hey look, this is going to help with your hand speed. This is going to help with ball speed, and this is going to make you ball-friendly.’ I used those three terms, and guys wouldn’t do it or another assistant coach would kind of snicker……

Read: How the Golden State Warriors are influencing college basketball

2. Who’s Next?

With the NBA trade deadline right around the corner and rumors heating up, which five players are most likely to be dealt?

Despite the 2015-16 NBA season being quiet in terms of trades so far, we could see that change in an instant with the February 18 deadline right around the corner. The rumors are heating up, the speculation is getting more ridiculous, and the trade machine experimentation is crazier than ever. If we step away from that craziness for a minute, though, which five players are most likely to be traded?

Read: NBA Trade Deadline: The 5 players most likely to be dealt

3. Steve Smith HOF?

Steve Smith has been one of the most explosive young wideouts in NFL history, one of the most productive old receivers in NFL history and perhaps the greatest small wide receiver in NFL history.

As the 2016 Pro Bowl captains, Jerry Rice and Michael Irvin recently vouched for Smith as a legend who will some day join them in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

No doubt I see him there,” Irvin said at the Pro Bowl, via theRavens‘ official website. “He’s an incredible player, he’s been an incredible player for a long time. There’s no doubt in my mind that, one day, he shall definitely wear a gold jacket.”

Read: Jerry Rice, Michael Irvin: Steve Smith is a Hall of Famer – NFL.com

4. Phil Is Back:

Month No. 1 on the PGA Tour has invited questions about bounce–backs (Rory McIlroy) and burnout (Jordan Spieth). But one question looms largest as we pause amid the Phil Swing — last week’s Farmers Insurance Open, outside San Diego, and this week’s Waste Management Phoenix Open — during which the Tour visits Mickelson hometowns 1 and 1A, respectively.

How much does Lefty have left?

Read: Phil Mickelson Is Flashing His Old Form — Good and Bad | Golf.com

5. Harbaugh Pokin’ The Bear?

hi-res-22f76e9cb28f61e43eaa8b561dbea204_crop_north

Aside from the typical drama that often accompanies national signing day, it’s been a relatively quiet month for college football since the 2015 season officially came to an end.

Unlike a year ago, there haven’t been any surprise returnees likeCardale Jones, any juicy graduate transfer speculation as there was with Everett Golson and Braxton Miller or even any new head coaches making a significant splash by generating publicity at their new schools. Even national signing day was relatively quiet, with the usual suspects of schools—Alabama, Florida State, LSU and Ohio State—winding up withthe nation’s top-ranked classes.

Read: The Growing Feud Between Jim Harbaugh and the SEC Is Great for College Football

pablo-2

What You Need To Know…#SB50 Weekend Update

name of site - hunter thompson stylemanning-miller

1.

Orange Crushed:

Everyone was betting on Carolina. All the experts were picking Cam and company. Good thing the powers that be decided to go ahead and play the game on the field anyway. After all the intensity of the regular season, Super Bowl 50 was pretty anti-climatic and one of the more boring ones. The highlight video alone is less than 4 minutes long letting you know there weren’t that many. You can check it out here.

Denver must not have known they were supposed to lay down as the underdog. The Broncos opened up the scoring as Manning drove the offense easily down the field before settling for a field goal. 3-0 Denver with the oldest quarterback in Super Bowl history looking healthy and sharp.

Read: Super Bowl 50 High Anticipation Low Return for Cam Newton’s Panthers Plus those ads


On Thursday, three days before the winningest quarterback in NFL history would play The Last Game (or at least the game we’re sure is the last one), he lined up his offense around the defensive 20-yard line and barked out signals. This would be the last full series of plays in the Super Bowl 50 practice week for Denver at Stanford Stadium, their home for the week … and maybe the last full series of practice plays in Peyton Manning’s life.

The sun was nearly touching the top of the west stands of the stadium on this beautiful California winter afternoon, creating an image of a sunset and lengthening shadows on the field as Manning directed traffic.

“Be alert! Be alert!” he called out, motioning Emmanuel Sanders across the formation. And Manning shouted out the play, which began with “Z Motion!” And then the snap, and then … nothing. No one open.

“One more time!” Manning yelled, annoyed. “Do it again!”

And the offense did, Sanders trolling the back of the end zone and Manning hitting him for a touchdown.

Read: Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos beat Panthers in Super Bowl 50 | The MMQB with Peter King


The dirty secret about all Super Bowls is that ultimately they’re just football games. Take away the halftime shows, the $25 glasses of wine, the tired commercials with tired celebrities doing tired lines, all of it, and these Super Bowls have to rise and fall on the games themselves. Last year, the Super Bowl seemed like the pinnacle of American popular culture because Left Shark and the dead Nationwide kid and all the other memes nestled themselves comfortably alongside a taut, terrific game between two all-time teams at the peak of their powers. Cap it off with one of the most infamous boneheaded play calls in the history of the sport at the end, against the most hated (and successful) team, and damn, that’s entertainment.

That is not what happened this year.

Read: Broncos’ Super Bowl win wasn’t pretty, but it was dominant.

+ Denver wins Super Bowl despite low yardage total

The Broncos defeated the Panthers, 24-10, to win Super Bowl 50 despite gaining only 194 yards. That was the lowest yardage total by any of the 50 teams to win a Super Bowl. In fact, only seven teams that lost a Super Bowl gained fewer than 200 yards; Denver’s was the lowest total by any team in the big game, win or lose, since the Giants were held to 152 yards when the Ravens won Super Bowl XXXV 15 years ago.

+ High-scoring Panthers neutralized by Broncos defense

Carolina led the NFL with an average of 31.3 points per game during the 2015 regular season. Denver was the sixth team to win a Super Bowl by holding the league’s highest-scoring team to 10 or fewer points. The others were Green Bay vs. Kansas City, 35-10 (following the 1966 season); Kansas City vs. Minnesota, 23-7 (1969); L.A. Raiders vs. Washington, 38-9 (1983); Pittsburgh vs. Seattle, 21-10 (2005); and, ironically, Seattle vs. Denver, 43-8, just two years ago.

+ #2 outplays #1 in Super Bowl

Von Miller, who was named the Most Valuable Player of Super Bowl 50, had 2.5 sacks againstCam Newton on Sunday. As even Stephen Colbert noted last night, Miller was the second pick in the 2011 draft, chosen immediately after Newton. Colbert failed to mention that there was no other Super Bowl in which the top two picks from the same draft faced each other. But it did happen in the 1942 NFL Championship Game, when the Redskins defeated the Bears, 14-6. Ki Aldrich, the top pick in the 1939 draft, played for Washington, and future Hall of Famer Sid Luckman, taken second in 1939, played for Chicago.

null+ For this one time, Manning is carried by his mates

Peyton Manning, the first quarterback in 30 years to start a Super Bowl with a sub-70 passer rating during the season, passed for 141 yards and no touchdowns in the Broncos’ win. Inevitably it will be said that Denver and its top-ranked defense reached and won Super Bowl 50 not because of its quarterback but despite him. Only three other QBs started and won a Super Bowl passing for less than 150 yards and no TDs: Bob Griese (following the 1973 season), John Elway (1997), and Ben Roethlisberger (2005).

But let’s give Manning his due: Each of his three previous Super Bowl starts was made for a team that ranked in the bottom half of the NFL in defense (that is, yards allowed): the 2006 Colts (21st), 2009 Colts (18th), and 2013 Broncos (19th). Only two other quarterbacks started even two Super Bowls for “bottom-half” defensive teams: Jim Kelly with the Bills (27th in both 1991 and 1993) and Tom Brady with the Patriots (24th in 2001, 31st in 2011).

null+ Broncos’ kicker is flawless in Super Bowl run

Finally, let’s not overlook the role of Brandon McManus in Denver’s run to the Super Bowl. McManus made all 10 of his field-goal attempts during the postseason. Only one other player in NFL history kicked as many as 10 field goals in one postseason: Adam Vinatieri was 14-for-15 for Indianapolis in the playoffs following the 2006 season. The previous record for FGs without a miss in one postseason was nine, by Chuck Nelson of the Vikings (1987).

After 38 Seasons, Wade Phillips Is A Guy With A Super Bowl Ring

2.

Between Cam Newton’s unraveling and Peyton Manning’s brand smooching, you might be having a hard time finding something to be unabashedly happy about in the wake of Super Bowl 50. Allow me to submit Broncos defensive coordinator Wade Phillips as a target for adulation.

What do you think about when someone says Wade Phillips’s name? The question is easy to answer this morning: he’s the engineer behind the fearsome Denver defense that spent the last month making all-world quarterbacks look like rattled third-stringers.

Read: After 38 Seasons, Wade Phillips Is A Guy With A Super Bowl Ring

3.

Cam Newton had a dreadful performance in Sunday’s Super Bowl. The league’s MVP followed that up with an even uglier showing in his press conference.

Newton, who abruptly walked off the podium, was unenthusiastic, brief and clearly dejected. Understandably so.

Newton, however, drew some criticism from NFL Media’s Deion Sanders after his presser.

Read: Deion Sanders sums up Cam Newton’s ugly press conference perfectly | FOX Sports

4.

On the field, the Super Bowl might not have been the most fast-paced of all time, but at least the ads provided some extra entertainment. Here’s a look at the commercials that rose above the rest.

Read: What were the best ads of Super Bowl 50?

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5.

Marshawn Lynch, Done?

kd

6.

After the Golden State Warriors fended off the Oklahoma City Thunder in a 116-108 win, Ron Adams, Golden State’s assistant coach and defensive guru shrugged, “I don’t know how to stop him. I coached him and I don’t know how to stop him.”

Adams was referring to Kevin Durant, whom he worked with as an assistant in Oklahoma City from 2008 to 2010. That’s quite a concession from Adams, known to be one of if not the top defensive assistant in basketball. The admiration is mutual. Before the game, the two warmly greeted each other. The 27-year-old Durant said of the 68-year-old Adams, “We always had a great relationship. He was hard on me. He expected a lot out of me and that’s the type of coaching I like and he never shied away from how he thought.” Durant continued, “Always spoke his mind to me so I’m always going to respect him, always going to be family to me. Whatever team he goes to man, he imposes his will and just changed the whole thought process of the team. He’s a great assistant.”

Read: NBA: Kevin Durant can’t overcome Warriors

null+ Curry and Warriors on record pace after beating Thunder

The Warriors equaled the best 50-game start in NBA history by defeating the Thunder, 116-108, in Oakland. Golden State improved to 46-4 on the season, which is tied with the 1966-67 76ers for the best start to any season in league history. In fact, only one other team besides Golden State and Philadelphia won 46 of 50 games at any point of a season – the Mavericks had a 46-4 stretch in the 2006-07 campaign.

Stephen Curry led the Warriors with 26 points and 10 assists in their victory over Oklahoma City. Including Saturday’s contest, Golden State has earned a win in each of the last 20 games that Curry has compiled at least 20 points and 10 assists, including a 7-0 record in such games this season.

null+ Durant posts big numbers versus defending champs

Kevin Durant had a huge night in a losing effort, scoring a game-high 40 points for the Thunder while securing 14 rebounds, one shy of the team lead. In the last 40 seasons (1976-77 to 2015-16), only two other players totaled at least 40 points and 14 rebounds in a game against the defending NBA champions. Karl Malone (45 points, 17 rebounds) did that in 1995 against the Rockets, and Blake Griffin (43 points, 15 rebounds) did so in 2014 versus the Heat.

Thoughts on #SuperBowl50 in #Murica

name of site - hunter thompson style

usa-nfl-map-collage-6-mb-art-factory

If you consider all the things about football, it’s the simple mistakes that might be the difference between winning or losing, particularly a Big game — read Playoffs, read esp. Super Bowl. We are talking about small failures, here — basic mechanical failures, mental errors and blind spots of memory. Foolish laziness that nobody noticed in the first three games of the year will loom gigantic in the playoffs. A simple dropped pass in the fourth quarter will haunt a football player for the rest of his life and cause him to scream in his sleep. Those things will never be forgotten.

Indeed. There are many cruel Rooms in the mansion, and many deep holes in the Road. Keep alert or get stabbed. Of all the shocks and pains that every football season brings, the worst of all is the ending of it. And that is what we face now — two Sunday’s from now, in fact, before the bell tolls. There will be no appeal, no extension, no replay. That will be the end of the football season, no matter who complains.

A few geeks will, of course. A few swine always do. No barrel is utterly clean. That would be atmospherically impossible, right? And rest assured that nothing on this Earth is 100 percent clean. Nothing…. Maybe you are one of those people who honestly believes that Cats are clean? I hope not, because you are saddling up for a serious fall. Cats are filthy, and they don’t mind passing it around. The smell of a large cat (as in Lion or Panther) at room temperature in a sea-level house is so powerful and so disorienting as to derail the human brain. The odor of a mountain lion in the wild is far more terrifying than the sight of the beast, even on a frozen night in the snow. It will literally “take your breath away” at 10 or even 20 yards. Your whole nervous system will seize up and be paralyzed, even your lungs. So stay away from all animals that are bigger than you are, especially at night when they are nervous. A brown bear will eat your whole body in 24 hours. Beware.

What? Why are we worrying about bears and cats at this time of year, days before the Super Bowl? I’ll tell you why: Because every time I think about Denver in the Superbowl and Football and Patriotism all at once, I think of Nixon and dangerous wild animals and his lust for power. Nixon was a football fan — and so am I, as it happens, and I can tell you from years of keen observation that us football fans have a way of getting together, no matter where we are.

There is nothing supernatural about it, but I have witnessed it happen over and over. Football fans share a universal language that cuts across many cultures and many personality types. A serious football fan is never alone. We are legion, and Football is often the only thing we have in common. We recognize each other instantly, even if we have to speak in sign language, or raised eyebrows. No doubt it has something to do with the gambling instinct, which is also universal.

The next time you find yourself in need of conversation in some backwoods foreign airport, as I have from time to time, take this tip and look around for the nearest public TV set that is tuned to a football game. That will be your oasis, no matter how long your layover may. You will get your questions answered.

Gaming is another universal language, along with simple mathematics, cold beer, and wild sex. Any traveler who is conversant in these tongues and football too will find friends in any town. Take my word for it.

It goes without saying, of course, that extreme behavior in all these lines is not recommended. Heavy drinking and berserk gambling among strangers will usually lead to trouble on the road, and you want to keep in mind that airport bars are no longer as tolerant as they used to be. Last year’s fun is today’s crime. Even tying your shoes in an airport could get you locked up.

It will not be long before all major airlines will require all passengers to disrobe and change into standard Hospital gowns before they board a plane. This is already in the planning stage, according to a lawyer from Albuquerque who also assures me that sleeping gas will be introduced later this year on flights of 40 minutes or longer. “The gas has already been market tested,” he said. “Passengers are heavily in favor of it.”

“What passengers?” I asked him. “Not football fans on their way to Santa Clara, I bet, or people who have to write speeches on airplanes.”

“There will be no exceptions,” he assured me. “Only uniformed soldiers and police officials licensed to carry concealed weapons.”

“That’s good,” I said. “I have a machine gun license.”

“Very funny,” he said. “Don’t push your luck these days. That’s why we have these new secret prisons.”

I hung up and crossed his name off my guest list for the Super Bowl. Nazis are not welcome at this party. They can’t be trusted.

So how about the Big Game, sport? Who is going to win?

Who indeed?! But if I were a betting man I would go with…Find out later,  I might even go double on it. Why not? It’s the last game of the year. I won’t lose….


The Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook released over nearly 400 prop bets for wagering. Click on the picture for a PDF with all of them, and enjoy.

Click for all PROP-BETS

Teaching You How to #Win – Championship Sunday Lineups and Weather

Weather

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In both contests, it is expected to be around 40° and clear as such, it is not expected that either game will be affected by any weather. That said, in Denver, it is supposed to snow later in the evening and if you know Colorado, then you know that the weather can turn at any moment. If it does snow, that is a huge advantage for Brady. Aside from that, enjoy the games today and be sure to check back tomorrow as we will be releasing some of our NBA content beginning tomorrow. For more information just come here.

Lineup Considerations

Now for the part that we know you have all been waiting for, give me the lineup that will win. I know, I know, we have done this quite significantly in the past and now we have our lineup analyzer providing automatic lineup recommendations but what do I think. Here are my top 3 lineups on Draftkings:

Experts Picks

 

DK_lineups

On DraftKings, we have several key factors to consider in making your final NFL selections of the season but by far and away it’s all about the matchups. CJ Anderson has owned the Patriots and the Pats are giving up the most rushing yards per game of the teams left while the Broncos want to run the ball.  Edelman and Gronk have gone for at least 20 points against Denver in each of their last 3 games against them. Last you have Stewart, while Arizona is a tough defense and a great run stuffer, face it, J-Stew, went over a hundred yards on the Seahawks last week, who hadn’t given up a 100 yard rusher on the road in over 2 years. Now to take all of these guys you have to have a #Sleeper and for today, we are going to roll with Cory Brown as the extreme sleeper. While he might not pay huge dividends if he gets 10 fantasy points, your other players are going to ensure success for today. It should be noted that we do have one TE stack of Gronk and Olsen, which might be the best play for today!

 FanDuel lineups for the week below:

Logan Cartwright’s Expert Picks

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On FanDuel, we have a bit of a different story in that we are hedging at QB with a slight split for Gronk and Olsen, based on the QB for that lineup. As you can see it’s the Patriots defense across the board and that is really just because the Broncos offense hasn’t been very good with Manning this season and it is projected to be high scoring in Carolina. So we take the value pick here that has the best matchup in terms of which team has given up the most fantasy points to the opposing defense this season.

Don’t forget to come back tomorrow as we release our initial NBA offerings with many more updates coming over the next several weeks! Want me to review your lineup for today, just tweet me @TheDiRTCanon and I will give you my thoughts.

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Teaching You How to #Win – NFL Conference Championship Fantasy Breakdown

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As we look to breakdown the first matchup of the Conference championships, we start with the New England Patriots. As you can see our DiRT Canon projections have the Patriots favored in every team category with the exception being in rushing yards. Given the past of the Patriots, they might not even run the ball 10 times in this game and just let Brady do his thing in the short to intermediate passing game. This means that Edelman and Gronkowski would have huge games. In fact, let’s take a look at the player breakdown for the Patriots next.NE_PlayerStats

While Brady might only be 2 – 6 in Denver over his career, from a fantasy perspective, his numbers have been more than adequate in the previous few seasons. Having a Patriots stack this weekend is a strong play but also an expensive play with each player being towards the top in terms of salary cost relative to their position. The exception as pretty obvious is going to be James White. Don’t look for much production here unless he breaks a couple of long ones but rather expect Gronkowski and Edelman to get at least 25 combined targets in this game. Now let’s transition over to the Denver Broncos. DEN_TeamStatsThe Broncos have the opposite affect and really that shouldn’t be unexpected when only considering statistical information. Simply put, Peyton Manning had an awful statistical season and therefore the team wouldn’t have high projections of output when considering the immediate history. That’s why I wanted to give you a full breakdown and include a bit more for you this weekend. As we look at the team stats, the Broncos are expected to score the least amount of points of the 4 remaining teams according to both Vegas as well as DC*3PO. The main exception is in the run game for Denver with the Broncos projected to out perform the Patriots in that category this weekend. Aside from that, at the team level, statistically speaking the check marks go to the Pats.

DEN_PlayerStatsAs we look to breakdown the Denver players for this game, there are two strong considerations in CJ Anderson and Emmanuel Sanders. Some interesting facts about the rest of the key fantasy contributors are that Manning only averaged 7.1 fantasy points per game at home this season. Ronnie Hillman is only slightly below Anderson with a 19.1 average over the last 2 games against the Patriots. Last we have Thomas…..oh Thomas….can he even catch the ball anymore? That doesn’t mean he won’t get his opportunities but a fun fact in researching his stats for the year, the key metric that leads me away from him this weekend is the fact that New England held him to 4.6 fantasy points in their game earlier in the season and that was the only game in which Thomas didn’t reach at least double digits. Instead it has been Sanders in the passing game and for the price and value, he is the stronger play this weekend.

Overall, I have the Patriots winning fairly easily 31 – 20 and with the Broncos projected to score the least amount of points and produce the least amount of yards, the Patriots defense is in play for me this weekend.


 

ARI_TeamStatsIn our NFC Championship game, we have what is expected to be a higher scoring contest. It doesn’t mean closer as Vegas has both of these games at only a 3 point difference and in this case the home team has the edge. The Panthers come in only having lost 1 game all season and while they ended the game last week having given up 24 unanswered points, they still won by 7 because of the absolute demolition in scoring 31 first half points against the vaunted Seattle defense. The reality of that game is that Carolina played to not lose in the 2nd half knowing it would take a small miracle for the Seahawks to come back and so why take unnecessary risks. I agree with that strategy in the long run but we wouldn’t even consider the Cardinals in this matchup if they had continued to destroy Seattle.

ARI_PlayerStatsSo let’s breakdown the visiting team stats again with the Cardinals and how they stack up against the Panthers. All signs lead to a close one with kickers having a role. The projected Vegas outcome of this game is Carolina 25.25 to Arizona 22.25 as the over/under is set at 47.5 according to FiveDimes. DC*3PO isn’t all that much different with the same projected outcome, Panthers win but by an estimated 4.4 points instead of 3 like Vegas. From a fantasy perspective it should be noted that our DiRT Canon projections show that the Cardinals will throw for the most yards this Sunday but won’t rush the ball with much success. As we move into the player analysis for the Cardinals, this means that Palmer is a strong consideration for top QB of the week and really he should be. All season long, he has been in the top 3 in QBR, TD passes and total passing yards. He continued that last week with everyone in the ESPN community stating how terrible and awful he was but from a fantasy perspective, he put more fantasy points than Brady when the game was all said and done. All he did was go over 300 yards passing again and threw 3 TD’s with the last one in OT to bring the Cardinals home with a victory. Beyond Palmer however, there isn’t much else to look at when considering the previous matchup points. Not a single player is averaging more than 7 fantasy points against the Panthers but that is only a one game sample with these teams not playing each other very often. In looking at their away stats, you would lead with Fitzgerald then Brown and finish with Floyd. So if you are taking Brown to score more than Floyd, this is the week to make that selection as the deep ball is very much in play and that is John Brown all day as they say.

CAR_TeamStatsNow let’s get to expected winning team, the Carolina Panthers. From a team projection standpoint it is pretty much a 50/50 split, the Panthers will be able to run the ball and the Cardinals will throw it. What that really means is that if the Panthers can control clock, like they have done all season, run the ball with the effectiveness that they have had all season, they might run out to a big lead again and then have the Cardinals make a late run at them. It is very unlikely that you would get to see them put up 31 points in 22 minutes like last weekend but could it get to 20 – 3 or around there by half time, that is definitely in play here.

CAR_PlayerStatsFrom a fantasy player perspective, there really hasn’t been very many Panthers all season to hang your hat on outside of Cam. While he is the top projected QB at DiRT Canon, he should be considered for all of his play making ability. Just don’t be surprised if he throws for a couple hundred yards, runs for 40 yards and gets a TD. That won’t have him as the top QB this weekend but that might be enough to win the game itself. I have him as the #3 QB behind Palmer and Brady but the numbers are certainly in his favor. Some other key considerations for the Panthers would be Stewart, who looked amazing against a Seattle defense that absolutely stuffed Adrian Peterson the week before, and then Greg Olsen. Olsen has not had very much success against Arizona in the past but he is the most consistent guy in the Panther passing game. Something of note in researching the past is also that Ted Ginn has only 1 game against Arizona and had a -1 point performance in that contest but at home this year has averaged 12.5 fantasy points per game.

All in all, I am actually going to go with the Cardinals in this one to upset the Panthers and we will have both #2 seeds making it to the Super Bowl. There isn’t anything that definitively points in either direction but I like the overall team of Arizona, they have a lot more play makers on offense and if they can keep the rushing attack somewhat under control, I think Palmer hits a late TD and they win 30 – 27. Don’t forget to check back on Sunday as we will reveal our final NFL experts fantasy picks for the season as we look to have our first version of NBA ready for you next week!

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