Archive for September 2008

Haters Need Not Apply

September 23, 2008

A coworker recently asked me, “When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?”  My immediate thought was that I am basically still a kid, and odds are I’ll never grow up.  So instead of boring him with all the standard jobs that all kids dream about (i.e. astronaut, rock star, athlete, super hero, etc) we got into a discussion of what our dream jobs are now that we’re old enough to sort of know what we want in life.

Obviously it wouldn’t be too bad being any one of the aforementioned professions, but let’s talk about stuff that is a little more realistic.  I came up with five jobs that I would love to have if given the opportunity.  So, what better way for me to get back on the blogging horse after my recent hiatus than to share them with you, in no particular order.  Be forewarned, if you plan on hating on me for anything I am about to write, keep your negativity away from this blog.  They’re my dream jobs damn it, and I’m not going to sit here and listen to you bring them down.  Onward with the list.

1) Video Game Tester – Hey, I pay for the game and play them for free as it stands, why wouldn’t I want to get paid for doing it?  On top of that, I would be playing games before they even hit shelves and making suggestions to enhance the overall gaming experience.  This would have come in really handy on Tiger Woods ’09, which is a great game, but I have a current running count of 3,167 things I wish were just slightly different, but that’s another post.  Ever since I saw Grandma’s Boy and realized that being a video game tester is an actual profession, it made me wish I had capitalized on this a long time ago.  I guess there’s still time to chase this dream though, since it’s pretty obvious that video games will always be around.

2) Writer/Reporter for ESPN – I love writing, even though my blogging habits don’t always support that statement.  I have repeatedly said that if I had it to do over and I started college as a freshman tomorrow, I would pursue a journalism major.  Since I love writing, and I love sports, what could be a better combo than to write for the biggest sports network in the world?  As I’ve said before, Bill Simmons has the exact job I would love.  However, since he’s not going anywhere anytime soon, I wouldn’t mind being a reporter who writes a weekly blog for ESPN.com or something to that effect.  Picture Ron Jaworski, with less moustache.  A six-figure salary covering my favorite thing in the entire world, sign me up.

3) Sports Memorabilia Store Owner – Every kid collects baseball cards, and the smart ones save them and make money off them 50 years later.  I am already in the process of this, and it’s literally just a matter of time before I bust out the countless boxes and crates of Topps and Upper Deck cards I bought when I was a kid and start an eBay hurricane of sales.  By the way, I have every single Shaq rookie card every produced, so if you’re interested, hit me up.  Funny thing about that is I was like 10 when the guy came out of college and I’ll never ever understand how I knew he would be one of the best centers to ever play the game.  But damn it, I knew.  I figure the same sense could be parlayed into a career in which I sell all kinds of sports memorabilia.  I’d have my own shop, I could sit around all day and talk sports, and I could have some sort of an outlet to sell things like my Mike Schmidt rookie card or my Mickey Mantle autographed baseball. In case you can’t tell already, a career in sports would make me a very happy person.

4) Concert Pianist – Okay, not many people know this about me, but if there is one thing I wish I had picked up as a kid it would be the piano.  Call me a dork if you want, but I love classical music.  I was never in the band, but I’ve always had a real close relationship with music, and I have a real admiration for people who can play the piano really well.  The job itself wouldn’t be bad either.  All I would really have to do is spend a lot of time practicing, and then every few weeks when a show rolls around, I get all dressed up in a tux and wow the audience with my mad skills on the keys. Yes, I know that everything I just said makes me dorky. I’m okay with that.

5) Multi-Million Dollar Lottery Winner – Alright, so it’s not actually a job, but who doesn’t fantasize about this?  People always say, “You would get bored, you would miss work.”  Bull shit.  How could a person get bored with an endless amount of money and no set schedule to hold them to any responsibility?  I would build my dream house, travel the world, and spend my days and nights doing anything I feel like and nothing I don’t.  And if for some reason I do get bored and miss working, there will always be plenty of charities that need help so I could always become a philanthropist.  Although don’t count on me getting too bored when I am taking my private jet to every major American sporting event until the day I die.

Honorable Mention

-High-Powered Hollywood Agent: Ari Gold makes it look glamorous and fun in “Entourage” but I hate reading so I would get annoyed having to read countless scripts every week.

-Photographer for Maxim: Yeah, I would get to meet and photograph plenty of the world’s best looking women, but Maxim is a douche bag magazine, and I couldn’t let my standards slip that low.

– NCAA Football Head Coach:  After seven years of total domination playing NCAA Football on PS2, I could scrap together my own playbook and get paid seven figures a year to be the man in a Division 1 school.

Well, I guess that pretty much sums it up.  If anyone happens to be trolling across careerbuilder.com and sees any of the aforementioned careers, please don’t hesitate to give me a shout.  I guess now what I would like to know is what YOUR dream job would be.  Impress me.

One love,

10

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TGIF: Part 2

September 5, 2008

As promised, here is part two of my NFL preview post.  Today, we’re hittin’ up the AFC, and I’m not even going to bother with any blabbing, I am going to get right into things.

AFC North

To me, the AFC North is like that crazy uncle in the family.  You know, the one who wears jean jackets with jeans all the time and never has any money, but always has some hair-brained scheme to get rich quick.  Everyone looks down upon that uncle … until one of his schemes actually works, or until he wins $4500 at bingo one week, then everyone is his best friend.  The point I am trying to make with all this jibber jabber is that each of the teams in this division is going to be overlooked in the large scheme of things and cast away into the fields of mediocrity, unless of course one of them comes out and exceeds everyone’s expectations, then people will be lining up to say they saw it coming.

Given the recent history of each team, it’s tough for me to pick against the Steelers to come out on top here.  This is not to say they won’t come out and completely piss on themselves for the first five or six games.  I mean, they did lose four of their last five en route to being knocked out of the playoffs last season.  What the Steelers need is a productive comeback season from Troy Polamalu, who was injured most of last year, and a better overall performance from Willie Parker.  Rushing for 1,300 yards is good, but only rushing for two touchdowns is not.  My prediction: 10-6

The Browns won 10 games last year but missed the playoffs … the Giants won 10 games and won the Super Bowl. How in the hell did that happen?  Well for starters, Cleveland ranked 30th in run defense, so they added two good run stoppers in Shaun Rogers and Corey Williams.  I think the Browns are going to take advantage of a fairly weak division and a cupcake schedule and depending on the play of Derek Anderson, they have a shot at the playoffs.  The Steelers will be looking over their shoulders all year, unless of course Anderson is subpar and/or Brady Quinn gets extended playing time.  Then all the Steelers have to worry about is more of those cheesy supplement ads Quinn does for EAS. My prediction: 10-6

“Yo, coach, you think I could submit this as my headshot for my audition on ‘Days of Our Lives?'”

I’m going to do us all a favor and make this one short and sweet.  The Ravens have more personnel problems than Enron.  Kyle Boller is out for the season, Troy Smith (although he was my boy at Ohio State) isn’t ready for a starting role, and that leaves rookie Joe Flacco. Add to that the fact that they have a new head coach. I smell a top five overall pick in next year’s draft.  My prediction: 3-13

That leaves us with Cincinnati.  Let’s be honest, they have talent, but that team is one giant circus.  They have distractions galore since it’s almost like they are in competition with one another to see who can get arrested next, and that pales in comparison with the antics of Chad Johnson.  This could go either way in my eyes.  Since I can’t really figure out what the hell this team of undesirables might do, I’ll stick to the middle of the road.  My prediction: 8-8

AFC East

Yawn.  I don’t care what you say, there is no way the Patriots don’t win this division.  They have arguably the easiest schedule in the league, and they still have as much or more talent than any other team.  95% of the season is going to hinge on a combination of Tom Brady’s health and the play of the defensive secondary.  And if things start to get rocky, I’m sure Bill Belichick will find a way to cheat.  Sorry Pats fans, that was a low blow.

The Jets got more press this offseason than they have gotten in the past five offseasons put together.  Can Brett Favre make it all worthwhile for himself and the team?  Let’s face it, the guy is getting damn old, but he is still better than almost every starting QB right now.  He’s just got that something special that not many people ever have, so as long as he is healthy enough to chew solid food, he’ll be on the field doing what he does.  If Thomas Jones can find it in his heart to top last year’s touchdown count of one, then that rushing potential will give Favre enough balance to keep things from going too far south. Still, Favre is only one man, and the Jets woes will more than likely continue as they miss out on the playoffs again.  My prediction: 9-7

The Bills need Trent Edwards to be healthy almost as much as Kevin Federline needs alimony payments to stay above water.  JP Losman is not the answer for that franchise, so if they have any plans of any kind of a winning season, Edwards needs to get back to healthy ASAP and stay there.  That being said, a deep thigh bruise is something that can and will heal, and shouldn’t nag him too much, but if he is constantly getting pummeled, it could make for a long year.  My prediction: 7-9

What’s the best part about the Dolphins going 1-15 in 2007?  They would have to make history in order to be worse.  Ricky Williams is back, Bill Parcells is a hall of fame coach, and they have a solid quarterba- … Well two out of three ain’t bad.  Chad Pennington, I’m sorry, but you’re just not good.  Repeat after me: “With the first overall pick in the 2008 draft, the Miami Dolphins select …”  My prediction: 3-13

AFC South

Things get tricky here, mostly because this division seems like it could go any one of three ways.  I’ll start with my team, the Titans.  Last year was a pretty good year by my standards for them (they finished 10-6 and lost to the Chargers in the wild card game) despite a mediocre offense and only nine touchdown passes from Vince Young.  He’s still short on dependable offensive weapons, but hopefully this new offensive coordinator can get more out of Vince than has been shown the last couple years.  If nothing else, they’ve still got a very good defense and an easy non-conference schedule.  My prediction: 10-6

Alright, I’ll say it.  Peyton Manning’s best years are behind him.  He’s getting older and worn down slowly but surely.  This is not to say he isn’t still one of the league’s best, but he won’t be throwing 49 touchdowns again anytime soon.  With that in mind, as long as he can stay healthy and get a steady stream of production from Joseph Addai, the Colts will be just fine.  They have an absolute cake walk of a schedule in the first half of the season including games against Chicago, Houston, Baltimore, and Green Bay.  They will probably be 6-2 or even 7-1 at the halfway point of the season, but I can see them easily dropping a couple games later on.  My prediction: 12-4

The Jags have a very legitimate shot at the playoffs, and maybe even a division title.  They won 11 games last year with a new QB and one can only assume things will get easier for David Garrard.  His receivers are less talented than 90% of people who audition for American Idol, but the run game is solid and the defense is more than likely going to be in the top ten in the league, so those look like a lot of the credentials of a playoff team.  My prediction: 11-5

After clawing their way to an 8-8 finish last season, the Texans have their sights set high for this year.  Their defense was awful last year, and in a division filled with a couple of high octane offenses, that is going to kill them more than anything.  QB Matt Schaub was average at best as well, and he needs to improve his TD-to-interception ratio more than Audrina from The Hills needs to improve her tooth-to-gum ratio.  Seriously, she shows way too much tooth when she smiles, and it’s starting to get on my nerves.  I digress.  The Texans are rebuilding and even though they could potentially do well in a lesser division, they aren’t cutting the mustard just yet in the AFC South.  They are surrounded by too much talent.  My prediction: 6-10

Alright, damn it, we get it.  Now put ’em away!

AFC West

Let’s start with the easiest one – the Chiefs.  I think I can sum up almost everything I would like to say by simply writing out the QB depth chart, in order.  Brodie Croyle, Tyler Thigpen, Damon Huard.  Croyle has never won a game as a starter (0-6), Thigpen has thrown all of six passes in his career, and Huard is almost 36 years old and on the brink of being cut.  I think I could throw a can of corn into a crowd and hit someone who could probably play better than any one of these yahoos. Okay, that was a little far, but come on, they’re terrible. If the Chiefs want my advice, I think they should all take two weeks off and then quit. My prediction: 4-12

Yes, I know the Raiders have Darren McFadden now, but they still don’t have hardly anyone else that makes me think they can post a respectable record.  They haven’t won more than five games since 2002, and I don’t think this is their year either.  JaMarcus Russell has been named the starter at QB, and he really has to pray that one of his lackluster receivers has a breakout season.  If McFadden catches a case of Reggie Bush syndrome and turns out to be less productive than anticipated, we might see head coach Lane Kiffin’s face on a milk carton because the Raiders won’t win five games without help from the run game.  My prediction: 4-12

The Broncos struggled last year, and now a lot of it is being blamed on Jay Cutler’s undiagnosed diabetes.  Now that he has his condition under control, the team expects him to have the strength and stamina to be able to lead them to a few more W’s.  Still, none of their running backs have more than two years experience so Cutler is going to need that strength to carry most of the load.  They rode a stingy defense to their seven wins last year, and they may just have to rely on it again this season.  My prediction: 8-8

The Chargers might as well start making hotel reservations to be in the AFC title game.  They have a fairly easy road, and a healthy squad to drive on it.  Philip Rivers is feeling as good as he’s ever felt, LaDanian Tomlinson feels like he has a lot to prove after sitting out in last year’s title game, and Antonio Cromartie is proving himself to be one of the league’s elite pass defenders.  They have all the tools to do it, and their division is weaker than Nicole Richie.  One key factor will definitely be Shawne Merriman’s knee and whether it holds up or not.  Still, this might be one of the most well-rounded teams in the league.  My prediction: 13-3

Seriously, someone please give her a cheeseburger and a video game!

Well that about covers it.  I’ll take the Chargers to win the AFC, and oh hell, I’ll take them to win the Super Bowl too.

I’ve got a (hopefully) fun weekend ahead of me, as one of my best friends is moving away and some of us guys are getting together for a couple days of pure drunken stupidity.  I’m sure I’ll have stories a plenty come Monday.  Until then, I hope you enjoy your weekend as well.

One love,

10

TGIF

September 2, 2008

No, I know it’s not Friday.  That stands for “Thank God It’s Football.”  After what always seems like an eternity of an offseason, I am always elated when football is back in swing.  I love both college and the NFL, but today I am going to focus more on the NFL and do a little season preview, 10 style.

Now as much as I wouldn’t mind giving a full on, balls to the walls, team-by-team breakdown, I don’t feel like staying up all night writing it and I’m 98% sure no one would want to read it all.  So, we’ll do this the easy way and take it one division at a time and just dabble in each team.  Let me go on record to say that I reserve the right to change any and all statements about to be made at any time throughout the season without criticism from anyone.  (I have to say things like that because I am really not planning on being very accurate with a lot of this).

Let’s start close to home …

NFC North

Yes, I am from Minnesota, but I am not in any way, shape, or form a fan of the Vikings.  That being said, it stings a little bit to declare them the unanimous favorite to take their division.  But before all the Vikings fans out there get too excited about it, just realize that they are basically being handed this thing by default since there doesn’t really seem to be another team in the league that has proven it can chew gum and walk down the street at the same time. My prediction: 10-6

The Favre-less Packers look good on paper, especially if Ryan Grant can play to his abilities and have a good season.  Add that to the fact that almost every single starter on both sides of the ball from last year’s team (13-3, reached the NFC Championship game) will be back. But the pressure on Aaron Rodgers seems like it’s going to be too much for him to bear in a city that is in love with football.  If they don’t start strong, they’re in trouble. My prediction: 9-7

Then we move on to the Lions.  I’ll be bold and predict an 8-8 season for them, but we can’t forget that they are still run by the worst front office in football, (I’m talking to YOU Matt Millen) and they are going to rely heavily on an unproven running back in Kevin Smith for most of their offense.  Sounds like a recipe for the Fire Millen website to get more web traffic than a picture of a Lindsay Lohan nipple slip. I reserve the right to change this prediction to 6-10 based on the first two weeks’ performance of the team.

Last, and certainly least, the Bears.  What can I say about the Bears that hasn’t already been said about syphillis?  They don’t have a quarterback worth his weight in chicken nuggets, their rush offense is almost a non issue, and their number one receiver from last year is now wearing purple and gold.  Stick a fork in them, they’re done.  My prediction: 5-11

NFC East

This is being touted as perhaps the best division in football this year.  For the record, I disagree with that statement and I’ll take the AFC South over this group any day.  Nevertheless, it’s a good division which not only holds the defending Super Bowl champs, but it wouldn’t surprise me one bit to see any one of the these four teams in the playoffs.

We’ll start with the defending champs.  The Giants had a good run last year, but remember, they didn’t even win the East. They had somewhat of a Cinderella run as a wild card team.  The odds of that happening again are slightly worse than the odds of John Madden making at least one coherent sentence per week while doing commentary.  Let’s face it, no more Michael Strahan, Osi Umenyiora is out for the year, and I just don’t see Eli keeping it together for the season.  Mark my words, there will be some kind of implosion this year, and it might look something like this …

My prediction: 10-6

Speaking of a possible implosion, I can’t imagine I am the only one waiting for Dallas to go completely up in flames.  Between T.O. and Romo, that team has more distractions than a pedophile school bus driver.  But, despite all that, if they can keep the mental part of their games together, they are probably the best team in the NFC.  When it comes right down to it, I’ll take ’em to win the East, and probably go to the Super Bowl. My prediction: 13-3

There might not be a group of fans I feel worse for year after year than Eagles fans.  They were good for all that time but couldn’t put all the pieces together to get to the big game.  Now, they’ve had a few sub par years in a row, and Donovan McNabb certainly isn’t getting any younger.  Last year, they were pretty good on offense, but had trouble closing the deal in the red zone.  Look boys, this isn’t Sigma Phi here, if you wanna close the deal, you’re gonna have to earn it.  I think someone would notice if you tried to roofie the other team’s Gatorade, so stop waiting for it to be given to you and frickin’ take it already.  If Donovan can stay healthy for the whole season, the Eagles have a shot at finishing above .500.  It’s a very small shot, but stranger things have happened.  My prediction:7-9

As for the Redskins, they finished hot last year, and won their last four games to bring their record up to 9-7.  Jason Campbell seemed to start getting comfortable more and more as the year went on, so perhaps he can parlay that into a mildly successful season. Let’s just hope that new head coach Jim Zorn has more of a clue than Joe Gibbs did.  Then again, a new coach with a team in transition is never a good formula.  My prediction: 9-7

NFC South

Alright, I’ll pick someone to win this division, but only because statistically, someone has to win.  None of these teams look especially appealing to me, but I’ll go with it and see what happens.

I am going to say this, and then we are going to move on.  There will be no further discussion about it.  The Falcons will be lucky to duplicate their number of wins from last year.  That number … Four. My prediction: 3-13

Carolina has potential.  They seem to have a rookie who can make an immediate impact in Jonathan Stewart, but at the same time, Jake Delhomme is struggling to get back to 100% from whatever nagging injury he has now, (seriously, he is like an old woman with osteoperosis, when isn’t he hurt?).  That means Matt Moore is up to bat, and if you don’t know who that is, that’s alright.  I had to check ESPN to see who was the second QB on the depth chart also.  I’m probably being generous here, and the more I think about it, the more I think that everything conceivable will have to go right for the Panthers to eek out a winning record.  Hell, piss on ’em.  My prediction: 8-8

Of all the teams amidst this crap shoot, I’ll give the nod to Tampa Bay to come out on top.  For some reason, everytime I think Jeff Garcia might as well be dead in a ditch somewhere, he comes out and actually does okay.  Their defense seemed to hold up fairly well last year, and Michael Bennett could be a welcome addition to a backfield desperately in need of a healthy Cadillac Williams.  My prediction: 10-6

The Saints are either going to go one of two ways; either they come together under Drew Brees and have another emotional the-entire-nation-is-rooting-for-us-because-of-the-hurricane-devastation season, or they crumble like a stale cookie in a fat guy’s beard.  Since their running game is about as reliable as a 1984 Chevy Celebrity right now, and their defense is even less desirable, they are going to have to get going early in every game to avoid playing from behind.  My prediction: 9-7

NFC West

In my opinion, this is the easiest division to pick in the NFC.  If the Seahawks walk away losers, it will be because they gave it away.  Each of the other three teams seems to be in somewhat of a transitional phase, and sometimes, when a team needs time, there is just nothing you can do but give it time.

We’ll start with the favorites.  Seattle is well aware that coach Mike Holmgren plans to retire at the end of the season, so this could be a perfect excuse for them to win one for the gipper, so to speak.  The running game could turn out to be a question mark, and if Hasselback is constantly the one who needs to provide the offense, things could get hairy for a while.  But, the fact that this team is far better than the rest of its weak division counterparts all but guarantees a handful of wins from those undesirables.  My prediction: 12-4

Let’s be clear about one thing, the 49ers are not going to have a winning season until they bring in a quarterback who knows his asshole from a hole in the ground.  Dear 49ers front office personnel, please do yourselves a favor: admit that Alex Smith was a bust, and trade him … now, while he can still be equated with another human being, and before he ends up on “Big Brother 14.” Yeah, he’s not even good enough to be on “Dancing With the Stars.”  My prediction: 4-12

The Cardinals are iffy at best in my opinion.  Best case scenario is this: Kurt Warner put up good numbers last year, as did Edgerrin James.  If the defense holds, and Ken Whisenhunt ignores his impulses to play musical chairs with his quarterbacks, the Cards could have a mildly successful season.  I’ll tell you one thing, I don’t care how old Warner is, I’ll take him over half the quarterbacks in the league right now.  My prediction: 9-7

I’ll keep this one short and sweet too.  The Rams stink.  No defense, a quarterback who can’t stay consistent, and a butt load of injuries.  Not looking good, St. Louis. If you’re a Rams fan, do yourself a favor and don’t watch the games on Sundays.  Watch reruns of Monk on USA, they will make you happier than watching your team get violated like a new arrival at a maximum security prison.  My prediction: 3-13

This completes the NFC.  I guess now would be the part where I tell you my pick for the team I think will represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.  As I said earlier, pending a major meltdown in Dallas, I gotta take the Cowboys.  They’re too good, plus coach Wade Phillips is under a lot of pressure to put up wins.  However, this statement becomes fully null and void if the meltdown I speak of comes to light.  If we see T.O. in front of a bunch of cameras crying again because people are talking bad about Tony Romo, all bets are off.

Well, it’s late, and I have to be up soon.  I’ll get crackin’ on the AFC tomorrow, but I have a very full day between work and class, so I would think Thursday is a more likely candidate for that post to be finished and ready to go.  Sorry again for the lack of writing on my part.  My schedule is becoming quite ridiculous at times, and as I said before, I really have to focus a lot of my energy toward getting through these last three classes I have and getting that diploma. To those who still stop by from time to time, thank you.  I enjoy your feedback, so keep it coming.

One love,

10