Okay, Off to the Glue Factory with Bill Murray Right?

There was a window of time during which it was funny that Bill Murray’s old but whoa! He acts young. And I think after singing Take Me Out to the Ball Game like Daffy Duck, fake lisp, spitting all over the mic and all just now, it’s safe to say that window is slammed shut.

Just an uproar of nervous collar tugging sympathy laughs.

That was so uncomfortable Bill, please give it up. It’s so sad to see someone who was so funny try so hard. So, so, so hard. The funny old guy thing is over, we gotta move on. I’m not saying die, but go out somehow before you hit rock bottom.

 

 

 

Nick Buccola

Watch This Canadian Guy in the World Series of Poker Throw a Massive Bitchfit

This just made poker go from moderately watchable to must-watch.

When Benger (in the Blue Jays hat) lost his shit, Kassouf became my favorite poker player in the world (not that I had a favorite before). If you get a guy to almost cry, yell “check your privilege” and “you’re verbally abusing me,” you’re my kind of poker player. I almost cried myself when he ended up losing with pocket cowboys. Either way, watching these nerds rattle each other is sensational.

 

 

 

Nick Buccola

How (I Think) You Build a Good Football Team

It seems like there is a recipe for a winning team that a lot of franchises are ignoring.

Let me preface this by saying I’m just another asshole who watches sports and thinks I somehow could manage a team. The good not useless part of my brain certainly knows I can’t, but even so, the idiot on my shoulder keeps whispering “you know better than the experienced millionaires who run franchises, if you were in charge you’d have a winning team” and I want to share those ridiculous whispers with you.

I’m watching the NFL this year, and it feels kind of apparent that there is a hierarchy of tools that create good teams, and a lack of prioritization of said tools creates bad teams. Here is what I believe based on what I’ve seen empirically to be the building blocks in order of importance.

1. Offensive Line
It gives every player on your offense a chance to reach their full potential. Need I say look at the Cowboys? QBs have more time to make decisions, backs have more holes to run through, and receivers have consistent opportunities to finish their routes. Hell, you even give your coach and OC the freedom to draw up a wider variety of more complex plays. Which brings me to…

2. Head Coach
A really tough call, had it at no. 1 originally, and here’s why it comes in so high. Football along with every other sport today are so much more nuanced and cerebral than they have been in the past. The trend of increased complexity has been both exponential and steady. Without a great playbook, it’s nearly impossible to be a great football team. That is pretty obvious.

3. Defensive Line
The inverse of #1. Give the other team less time and fewer holes. Any great QB or RB can turn average at best with lots of pressure. You can turn Tom Brady into Sam Bradford with a good enough pass rush.

4. Quarterback
Pretty obvious and most people would put this first. A QB that reads defenses well, makes good decisions and throws accurately is the single most terrifying thing in the eyes of a defensive coordinator. Sets the pace for your offense and ideally leads it emotionally as well.

5. Defensive Backs
If you have a Josh Norman or a Richard Sherman, you can frustrate quarterbacks and make receivers cry. Well, just the one but you get my point. A great secondary completely neutralizes WR-dependent teams.

If your team focuses on those five things in order before the glamorous running backs and receivers you’ve got the blueprint of a contender at worst and champion at best. Unfortunately, fans only want to see their teams pick up the glamor positions (notice, only one such position is in my top 5 top 5 top 5) and management must do so to appease them. Patience is hard to come by, but it’s necessary to go from good to great.

So, if you love your team, get excited about star right guards, crafty coaches and threatening D ends. If you can manage to wait on that running back, and he’ll play to his full potential.

 

 

 

Nick Buccola

Betting on TNF

I’ll have my regular NFL vs My Bank Account post up tomorrow, but since I’ve got money down on tonight’s game, I wanted to post the pick before kickoff.

Jacksonville +3 @ Tennessee $22.00 to win $20.00
Simply put, I don’t think Bortles can get it done against the Titans’ solid defense, especially in Tennessee. Plus, I love integer lines because if it does come down to a Tennessee field goal win, all I have to do is kiss my sister. And need I say it’s gotta be tough to win in the liver disease color rush jerseys.

 

 

 

 

Nick Buccola

PS Never betting on the Titans again because of how many tries it took me each time to spell Tennessee. I know there are 2 Ns 2 Ss and a capital T, but apparently my fingers don’t.

How Are We Still Telling Cam Not to Run?

This argument has been alive since week 1, and I thought it died out when management and players said they wouldn’t limit his rushing attempts to avoid injury, lengthen his career, etc. And I’m not saying I don’t understand it at all, they’re probably right about these means achieving those ends. Staying in the pocket is safer. But let’s be logical, let’s look at the actual player and team we’re talking about.

The Panthers don’t have Tom Brady, they don’t have Andrew Luck, they have Cam Newton. Running is his thing. But some Panthers’ people want to keep him safer to do what? Be an average pocket passer longer and more often? He’s a threat cus you never know when he’s gonna run for a 36 yard TD. Cam Newton is Cam Newton because of his ability to do that.

If you’re worried about concussions, teach him to dribble a basketball or swing a bat. If you’re worried about winning games, LET. THE BOY. RUN.

Riverboat Ron and Cam both clearly agree he should be running the football, can we now just drop this? Reducing his rushing game isn’t gonna happen because it shouldn’t. Let’s move on. Cam has.

 

 

 

Nick Buccola

Can We All Settle Down About That Cardinals Seahawks 6-6 Game?

The uproar over this game has really brought to light how spoiled and unsophisticated NFL-only fans are. If you are a true sports fan, hell even a true football fan, you loved this game, or at least didn’t mind it.

I get not liking the result, our constitution basically starts “We the People Hate Ties.” But flipping out over it is too much. I personally loved this game because it was a reminder that sports are supposed to be hard. Winning games is supposed to be hard, a feat too difficult for either team to accomplish last SNF.

Ever watched a baseball game? US World Cup Soccer? It’s fucking impossible to score in those two sports, and when someone does, it’s awesome. You don’t go nuts for every layup in the NBA, you go nuts when once every 5-10 possessions, something truly extraordinary happens — an out of nowhere dunk, a three in a player’s eye, a sprinting down the court come from behind swat. Suspense is what makes sports great, not just the scoring.

Macro, we’re fine with how hard it is to win a Super Bowl. When you have the Patriots standing in your way and still manage to get a ring, well, that’s why those things are all iced out. I think the same thing applies on a micro scale. When the confetti blasts everywhere and the team runs onto the field after a week 4 out of conference game, it’s because it’s deserved. Celebration is special because it’s not easy to come by. It takes a game like this to remind us of that.

Also, can this game serve as proof that kickers matter? And that they’re pretty fun to watch? I had lots of gambling and fantasy stake in this game, and some people (Cards/Hawks fans) cared about the outcome. Those of us who cared went nuts when those field goals were missed. Kickers decide games all the time, just because they don’t score TDs or bash into each other all the time they suck? I don’t buy that one bit. Kickers’ WAR matter. Period.

I think if you found this game boring, you should have found the Saints-Panthers score at will game boring as well. I genuinely like football. I like defense and high pressure kicks. Hell, I like seeing a deep well placed punt. Because it’s what makes the rest of the game so beautiful.

So breathe NFL-only fans. Both teams play this week and they’re both coming out FIERY about last week. And that’s gonna be nothing compared to the next AZ-Seattle showdown.

And if you still just can’t imagine a game with “no action” ie no TDs, put your own action on it for god sakes. Ensure the juice by buying some. There’s nothing like potential eviction to make you care about field goals. Go out and gamble, like a true American. If I can do it, so can you.

 

 

 

 

Nick Buccola