Friday, January 29, 2016

FOOTBALL NEWS after PLAYOFF CONFERENCE FINALS

FROM THE DESK OF THE “FUGITIVE” COMMISSIONER

Hello Football Fans,

Tomorrow: Senior Bowl
Sunday: Pro Bowl
Feb 7th: Super Bowl 3:25PM Pacific

"Pizza's on me, Coach"
I've provided you with some details on all of these to whet your appetites, plus I've got some other good stuff including a quickie look at a few 2016 topics.

Enjoy,

The Fugitive Commissioner of the FFHL


NFL

PLAYOFFS - CONFERENCE FINALS

The #1 and #2 seeds in both conferences advanced to the conference championship games. One of the #2 seeds was actually favored ATS on the road – New England Patriots over the Denver Broncos.
I know rigor mortis has set in on this news, but I was under the weather this week.

NFC
#2 Arizona +3 at #1 Carolina -3

 
The CAR Panthers jumped out to a 17-0 lead in the first quarter behind soon-to-be 2015 League MVP QB Cam Newton. The AZ Cardinals suffered seven turnovers in the game, six by QB Carson Palmer (2 fumbles, plus 4 INT including 3 in the 4th quarter), and the result was a blowout. Palmer had only thrown 1 interception in the 4th quarter during the whole 2015 regular season; this game was a disaster for the Cardinals.


RESULTS: CAR 49, AZ 15

AFC
#2 New England -3 at #1 Denver +3
The game was hyped as another confrontation (the 17th overall) between NE QB Tom Brady and DEN QB Peyton Manning (old guy not showing his age vs. old guy in Denver… well, you decide).


This game was Tom Brady’s 31st postseason game of his career; it was Peyton Manning’s 26th.
The first half was relatively pedestrian, with Denver seemingly the better team and ahead 17-9 at the intermission, but allowing the NE Patriots to stay in the game. The Patriots stayed in the game all the way, and TV viewers were watching in the 4th quarter, posting a 31.8 rating, the highest in an AFC title game since “The Drive” game in 1987 in which Denver QB John Elway engineered the long winning drive late in the contest.

Cutting to the chase, Denver led 20-12 after kicking a 31-yard FG with 10 minutes remaining in regulation play. On the ensuing drive, New England matriculated down the field in 11 plays to the Broncos’ 16-yard line and opted to “go for it” on 4th-and-1 and were denied by the impressive Denver defense. Still, there were six minutes left – plenty of time.

The Broncos’ defense went 3 plays and out, punted, and gave New England another opportunity with 4:35 on the clock. The Patriots drove again down to the Denver 14-yard line in 8 plays and then again decided to “go for it” on 4th-and-6, and again could not get the first down and turned the ball over on downs – but still 2½ minutes remaining in the 4th quarter. Once again, it was “three and out” and a Broncos’ punt only to midfield. Only 26 seconds had ticked off the clock, leaving New England 1:52 to score and send the game into overtime. But QB Brady threw three straight incompletions and faced 4th-and-10 from the 50-yard line. A perfect pass down the middle to TE Rob Gronkowski for a 40-yard gain miraculously kept the drive alive and gave NE a 1st-and-goal with 1:34 on the clock. But again, the Denver defense stifled Brady and the Pats, leaving them with another 4th down play from the Broncos’ 4-yard line and 17 seconds left. The snap…no receiver immediately located…scramble… “Hail Mary” (a 4-yard Hail Mary?!!?)… TE Gronk runs around in the end zone and under the desperation toss for a TD. The score was now 20-18 and a successful two-point PAT would result in overtime.

From the 2-yard line for the 2-point conversion, QB Brady missed seeing an open receiver on the right side and ended up throwing into the middle of the field, where the ball was tipped and intercepted. Game over.


UPSET RESULTS: DEN 20, NE 18

As the game unfolded, the result eventually came down to whether a two-point conversion would extend the game. But if NE kicker Stephen Gostkowski hadn’t missed an extra point attempt after a Patriots’ TD in the first quarter, and the rest of the game had played out exactly the same, New England would have only needed a 1-point PAT kick for the tie to send the game into overtime. Gostkowski has made 463 consecutive regular season extra-point kicks dating back to 2006 (although the new rule to force a 33-yard kick instead of a 19-yard kick now makes it more difficult to maintain such a streak). For his regular season career (starting in 2006) he is 502 of 503 on extra point tries. His only miss was during his rookie season in 2006; it was blocked.

One critical impact on the game was how the Denver defense continued to make Patriots’ QB Tom Brady uncomfortable with their pass rush. He was hit over 20 times (varying reports stated 21 to 24 times) behind the line, twelve of those came with only a four-man rush.


Did you know?
New England has not won a true road playoff game since 2006 at San Diego (0-3 record since then; Super Bowls were at neutral sites). It ended up being significant that this year the Patriots lost 4 of their last 6 regular season games and handed the #1 seed and home field advantage in this game to Denver.

SUPER BOWL 50 PREVIEW

Sunday, February 7th 3:25PM Pacific (6:25PM Eastern)
Santa Clara, CA in Levi’s Stadium (“Field of Jeans”), home of SF 49’ers
CAROLINA PANTHERS (-5h) vs. DENVER BRONCOS (+5h)

Carolina opened as a 3½ point favorite, and the line has subsequently moved to 5½, since according to bookmaker William Hill, over 80% of bets have been made with the Panthers.
Denver is the designated “home team” for the game, giving the Broncos choice of uniform color. They chose “White” for this year’s game.

In past Super Bowls, Denver has won only 2 of 6 and all four losses were suffered wearing their Orange uniforms (1977, 1987, 1989, 2013 seasons), with one win in Blue (1997) and one win in White (1998).
Carolina’s only previous Super Bowl appearance was after the 2003 regular season, and the Panthers lost wearing White.

This Super Bowl has an historical quarterback matchup; it marks the largest difference in age between the starting QB’s – Peyton Manning at age 39, and Cam Newton at age 26.

Carolina LB Thomas Davis broke his arm in the AFC title game and had surgery on Monday. He expects to still be able to play in the Super Bowl, but most are skeptical.

THE PRO BOWL EXHIBITION

This Sunday, the NFL Pro Bowl will be played in Hawaii. 86 players were selected for the game, after which 36 of those players were subsequently replaced with alternates (that’s 42%, folks). 14 of those have a good excuse; they’re playing in the Super Bowl (10 for CAR, 4 for DEN). The other 22 bailed out because of injuries or for personal reasons.

Six QB’s were selected for the game, and five of them were replaced:

Selection                                    Replacement
NE Tom Brady                           TB Jameis Winston
CAR Cam Newton                     BUF Tyrod Taylor
CIN Carson Palmer                    MIN Teddy Bridgewater
GB Aaron Rodgers                     OAK Derek Carr
PIT Ben Roethlisberger              NYG Eli Manning
SEA Russell Wilson                   “Say What?!!?” He’s joining the game.

The game is no longer AFC vs. NFC, but instead it is a “pick-up” game where sides are chosen, as we used to do across the street from my house at the water tower “field”.


Here some of the particulars:

Team Captains                          JERRY RICE                 MICHAEL IRVIN
Coaching staff                           KC Chiefs                      GB Packers (minus HC Mike McCarthy)
Player Captains                        WR Odell Beckham        RB Devonta Freeman
                                                 DT Aaron Donald           DT Geno Atkins
1st QB Selections                     NYG Eli Manning          SEA Russell Wilson
                                                 OAK Derek Carr


COLLEGE

THE SENIOR BOWL

Tomorrow on the NFL Network, the Senior Bowl will be telecast and be played in Mobile, AL. It will feature seniors who are eligible for the 2016 NFL Draft (not declaring underclassmen).

For the North squad, the coaching staff will be the DAL Cowboys.
For the South squad, the coaching staff will be the JAX Jaguars.

Following are the QB’s playing in the game, and a few others of interest:

QB Carson Wentz                      NDSU (FCS)                       6’6” 235#
QB Kevin Hogan                       Stanford                               6’4” 218#
QB Dak Prescott                       Mississippi State                  6’2” 230#
QB Cody Kessler                      USC                                     6’1” 215#
QB Jake Coker                          Alabama                              6’5” 232#
QB Jeff Driskel                        LA Tech                                6’4” 234#
QB Brandon Allen                   Arkansas                               6’2” 210#
QB Jacoby Brissett                  NC State                                6’4” 235#
WR Braxton Miller                  Ohio State                             6’2” 215#
WR Aaron Burbridge               Michigan State                      6’1” 208#
TE Glenn Gronkowski             Kansas State                          6’3” 234# (yes, brother)
TE Henry Krieger-Coble         Iowa                                      6’4” 250#
OC Austin Blythe                     Iowa                                      6’3” 290#

2016 EARLY HEISMAN TROPHY ODDS

Since the deadline for underclassmen to declare for the 2016 NFL Draft has passed (January 19th), the oddsmakers have already posted betting odds on highly touted college players to win the Heisman Trophy next season.

QB Deshaun Watson                                  Clemson                             9/2
RB Leonard Fournette                               LSU                                    5/1
RB Christian McCaffrey                           Stanford                              5/1
QB JT Barrett                                           Ohio State                         10/1
QB Baker Mayfield                                  Oklahoma                          10/1
RB Nick Chubb                                        Georgia                             12/1
RB Dalvin Cook                                      Florida State                      12/1
RB Royce Freeman                                  Oregon                               12/1
QB Chad Kelly                                        Mississippi                        12/1
RB Samaje Perine                                   Oklahoma                           12/1
WR Calvin Ridley                                  Alabama                             16/1
QB Joshua Dobbs                                   Tennessee                           16/1
QB Brad Kaaya                                       Miami of FL                       25/1

It looks like a three-man race to me, with three or four quarterbacks as possible long-shot winners.


FFHL PLAYOFFS

FFHL Week #18 continues and finishes on Super Bowl Sunday.
Following are the updated results with one game to go.

FANTASTIC BOWL
YO MAMA vs. THE FUGITIVE
It’s already over.
Results to date:
Yo Mama     3-3 ATS      The FFHL Champ
Fugitive        1-6 ATS      Sad-sack didn’t “validate, so gets only 3rd place

CONSOLATION BOWL
Results to date:
Kid Rust             3-3 ATS          (Roy has “home field advantage” if tied)
Wild Man           3-3 ATS
The Rounders     3-4 ATS
Moore Money    1-6 ATS

BFD BOWL
Results to date:
Mighty Duck            3-3 ATS
1-800-Opposite       3-3 ATS
Tommy Boy             2-5 ATS

FFHL LOP-SIDED and CONTESTED PICKS AGAINST THE SPREAD (ATS)

Listed below is a breakdown of our 13 picks for Week#18C-Conference Finals Weekend. We miraculously had only one contrary pick.
The NFL favorites were 1-1 ATS and cumulatively for the playoffs are 5-5 ATS.
In the playoffs, the home teams were also 5-5 ATS.


                                              ATS Picks
Team                                     For-Against             Result / Unsolicited comments

NE Patriots -3 at DEN               7-1                      LOSS, Denver won outright at home, 20-18
CAR Panthers -3 vs. AZ            5-0                      WIN, Carolina thumped Arizona, 49-15

FOOTBALL NEWS and MINUTIA

2016 NFL DRAFT

After the January 19th deadline for underclassmen to declare for the 2016 NFL Draft, the
league released the 96 players who gave up their remaining college eligibility to get the opportunity to enter the NFL. Plus, 11 other players notified the league that they had fulfilled their college degree requirements and would become draft-eligible.

Among the notable names and likely early selections on the list are:
QB Paxton Lynch                           Memphis
QB Jared Goff                               California
DE Joey Bosa                                Ohio State
RB Ezekiel Elliott                         Ohio State
LB Myles Jack                              UCLA
DE Shaq Lawson                          Clemson
CB Mackensie Alexander             Clemson
DB Jalen Ramsey                         Florida State
OT Laremy Tunsil                        Mississippi

Counting the 11 who fulfilled their degree requirements, nine Ohio State players have early-entry status. Another graduate, FSU’s Roberto Aguayo, is one of three kickers on the list. In the latest mock draft by Josh Norris on RotoWorld, his projected first nine picks are all underclassmen/early entries (see above).

The 96 underclassmen granted special eligibility marks the second-highest total ever. Two years ago, 98 early entries entered the draft.

NEW LOS ANGELES TEAM(S)

LA Rams’ owner Stan Kroenke is going to do what’s right for him and his franchise. His best outcome could be to own the Los Angeles market, with the Chargers staying in San Diego and the Raiders staying in Oakland or going to anywhere else other than LA.

For the Chargers, the best outcome could be staying put. With $100MM in new money from the NFL and $550MM in NFL relocation fees that would be avoided by not moving, that’s plenty of extra cash that could go toward building a new venue in San Diego, if owner Dean Spanos would be willing to surrender on the issue of trying to finagle public money (which presumably isn’t available).

More on the Raiders later, after the Chargers make a decision. Da Raida’s could end up in San Diego or San Antonio or Oakland, or longshot Santa Clara with 49’ers; or interestingly but unlikely due to NFL resistance, moving to Las Vegas to share with UNLV a new $1 billion stadium to be built by The Sands.

The SD Chargers are still talking to the Rams about eventually sharing the new stadium to be built in Inglewood. But if the Bolts move, they’re still going to need a temporary place to play for three years until the new stadium is ready for the 2019 season.

The L.A. Memorial Coliseum Commission currently has a lease agreement with the NFL for one NFL team to share the field with the USC Trojans, but will consider a change in the 3-year lease to expand to two NFL teams (and USC), allowing three teams to share the Coliseum through the 2018 season.

FOOTBALL QUIZ QUESTIONS

QUESTION #1: Carolina Panthers’ head coach Ron Rivera has a chance to join elite company if his team wins Super Bowl 50. Who are the only three individuals to win the Super Bowl as both a head coach and a player?
HINT: All 3 are relatively big names, but not icons – well, some of you may consider one of the three an icon.


QUESTION #2: Carolina Panthers’ QB Cam Newton could be the fifth player in Super Bowl history to win all of the following: the Heisman Trophy, an NCAA title, and a Super Bowl title.
Who are the four players to have already accomplished this feat?
HINT: None were quarterbacks; one was a defensive player.


QUESTION #3: Only four different quarterbacks have represented the AFC in the Super Bowl in the previous 13 years. In 12 of the last 13, it has been Ben Roethlisberger, Tom Brady, or Peyton Manning. Who is the fourth QB from the AFC who started in a Super Bowl in the last thirteen years?


ANSWER #1:
Tom Flores, Tony Dungy, and “icon” (or more accurately “iron”) Mike Ditka, HC of the Shuffling 1985 Chicago Bears.
2015 Denver HC Gary Kubiak didn’t win the Super Bowl as a player, but he did advance to three of them as John Elway’s backup and was on the winning side of three Super Bowls as an assistant coach with the SF 49’ers and the DEN Broncos.


ANSWER #2:
RB Marcus Allen, RB Tony Dorsett, DB Charles Woodson, and RB Reggie Bush.


ANSWER #3:
Joe Flacco of the BAL Ravens








Saturday, January 23, 2016

FOOD REVIEW: Guy Fieri’s El Burro Borracho in Harrah's, Laughlin Nevada

Nacho Average Taco Joint

My mother’s family is from the southwest.  As a child, she frequently made dinners for us that represented that influence.  I developed a love for Tex-Mex and Mexican food at a young age.  When I found out Guy Fieri had a Mexican restaurant inside Harrah’s Laughlin, I had to check it out.

Queso Casero Enchiladas
The shiny modern corner of the otherwise dingy casino, el Burro Borracho is fresh and inviting.  Popping with color and artwork on every surface, the atmosphere is as delectable as the food.  Upon sitting, we were informed that the giant piece of extraordinary artwork on the ceiling above us (yes, I said every surface) was a replica of the tattoo on Guy’s arm memorializing his sister.

Like any good Mexican food restaurant, fresh salsa and chips were brought immediately to our table.  Being a vegetarian, I personally did not want the first batch, as it was topped with freshly fried chicharrónes.  After just a quick word with the server, we were brought new chips sans pork.  From the menu, over half of the appetizers and all of the salads are vegetarian, but meat eaters will note that you can add meat to most of them.  It is Guy's restaurant after all.

Friday, January 22, 2016

PLANET X SPOTTED OVER MURRIETA – BREAKING

THE LATEST ON NIBIRU

Temecula, CA – Once again our Jimmy Olsen was able to grab a breath-taking photo that is every bit as amazing as the sky cross photo taken the day of the Oregon Uprising aka the Oregon Occupy. Whether or not you might have heard since the news has been soft-peddled, but the long and lately highly touted on YouTube, Nibiru, Planet X, or to some Planet 7X, aka Wormwood; the planetary system has entered our solar system. The first such local sighting on December 7th, is below.


This picture was taken facing south in the early morning brunch time [8:49AM] after the sun had cleared the eastern foothills. The 'second sun' seen in the above picture taken with a One Touch Pop Alcatel is the reference used in a famous quatrain about the last Pope.

After the jump, the latest on what's coming. Better get out your Bibles folks, there are no atheists in foxholes.
The geek back story



And the latest

Thursday, January 21, 2016

CHRISTIAN SPANGING

HOMELESS, NOT HOPELESS

Temecula, CA – Years ago we ran a picture story here about the teen-trending underground stunts of planking. For those unfamiliar, 'planking' is posing stiff as a plank of wood, on top of something, resting against something, or perched at an angle to something. The pictures were pretty funny, especially the one with my 'plank' friend upside down and his dog pointed to sniff his bluejeans butt.

R.I.P. Mackers [Murrieta Hot Springs Rd. 2-10-2016]
The local planking subject, never identified by name or face, wanted it that way because he comes from a proper Protestant, not Catholic, home. His parents go to church every weekend and participate in church family activities. In fact, my planking friend is churched and home-schooled. Raised in a stable upper middle-class environment, now entering his middle twenties, my friend whose life was once fishing with his dad on a lake and having a bright future, lives in a tent, homeless. 

His parents have sought counseling through their church so the family perils aren't secrets or private anymore, a trait shared also in with past Muslim circles here. I took my friend a full tank of propane to where he was spanging, or spare changing, aka, asking for spare change. An economy which once would have been able to support my friend until he gained mature footing or maybe even an alternative success path, has evaporated thanks to decades of trade erosion brought on by both parties. Ignorance or greed? Does it matter now?


What was once a domain just for the lowest dregs, the completely disowned, or the totally outcast then became a haven for many vets who washed-up  PTSD homeless, is now in increasing areas like here, filled with young people. We are not talking about runaways, aka teenagers, but twenty-somethings now traveling through life with a knapsack, donated pants, a vacant look, matted hair, and a corner seat closet to the door at McDonald's, a warm place to take a shit. With the country falling apart, there is a sign even in this.

With the exception of occasionally seeing someone begging by a building or off a freeway/expressway ramp, the light of today's distressed never crossed my path until I went up to cover Occupy Los Angeles a few years ago. Though you become acclimated to 'roughing it' sleeping in a tent at the foot of the building Superman flies out of in both TV and movies, nothing quite prepares you for the feeling you get when you come across your first homeless person up close living in a space that would cramp a VW.

In front of you, in a heap of plastic bags, rags, and tatters is someone that used to exist as you still do, as a person. A person who had a job, or a family, or a kid; a person who was once a teenager, or pretty, or clean, a person who had an existence. It hits you in the face – what happened?

The 'what happened' question doesn't stop with the homeless heap you see though. The 'what happened' question goes to the tagline of 'living in the richest country in the world' that is used to sell everyone the American Dream. That was the question for me as I wandered about LA. That is the question I wonder about my friend, my Christian plank when the version of the Bible I have says Charity begins at home. As does forgiveness. Granted, in this case I happen to know when and how this train wreck started, but his comment, “Homeless, not hopeless,” uttered in thanks brought a memory back from my OLA days in Big Town.

I was staying mostly out of camp at future book editor Jeff's apartment which was a mile due west from Occupy at city hall. Not sure of anything when I got to LA at first, I got to know how to get around in the two months I was at Occupy. Still, for stuff in the neighborhood where Jeff lived lived, I walked.

Under most freeways passing over viaducts are or were the encampments of various homeless. Most of these camp sites were as you would expect them, a collection of various stuff, bundles, gathered tight, clustered, and dirty. One day walking under the 101 over to Sunset I noticed that the belongings there were gathered neatly in order. They weren't just tossed in a pile. I thought to myself, 'hipster homeless' only in LA.

The proper etiquette toward the homeless is not to gawk at them. You can't begin to empathize, unless it through a donation for they are aware of their situation. They are not looking for sympathy, again unless they are asking for a donation. You glance but you don't make direct eye contact.

One late fall afternoon as I walked again under the 101 on the west side of the street where the neat homeless camp was, I was a little surprised to see someone there at one end of the pile of belongings. He was an older person 50-60s, and he was sweeping his sidewalk spot clean.

A lessor person might have laughed at this effort given the situation but as I walked by, I glanced at him and smiled a look of pride in seeing someone not beaten down by the system. I probably thought about Uncle Floyd [Memoirs] but the man looked up, then with a glean in his eye looked back at me with an acknowledgement smile. It was one of those big-city moments that only happen in New York or LA. Probably. When I returned back through the area a while later, he had disappeared again.

Over the course of my remaining weeks in LA, I was torn about what to do. I was barely a leg up, practically couch-surfing after having boll weevil-led in to Jeff's life, but there was something about what happened that made it a moment for me. I had to either do something or say something. Saying anything stressed me out because what would I say? Sorry for your discomfort? Dollar for your thoughts? I even thought about getting him a new broom, maybe just leaving it there.

At last I decided just to hand the man a five dollar bill and not say anything. Even having a course of action did nothing to affect his availability and he was never there when I walked pass. Since that route was destination specific, I only went that way now and then.

Finally the day came for me to leave Jeff's place and I went through the underpass viaduct one last time. I opened my bag from the neighborhood bakery and took out a fresh croissant, wrapped it in a napkin and left it on top of the main container in the group, and then I walked away to meet my return ride at camp.

About two weeks later I returned to Los Angeles to qualify for a medical recommendation to legally smoke Mary Jane [I was yet to rewrite chapter 20] and visit the friend I had made in LA, Jeff. By the time we parted company, we had a fond appreciation of each other and interestingly similar taste in many things.

My Occupy friend and book editor, Jeff Bradford, right
The first order of business was a walk by the place of the 'hipster homeless' guy. To my surprise or dismay, the person who had been camped under the 101 at least the entire two months I was at Occupy LA was now gone, lock, stock, and barrel. The area of his sidewalk camp was as clean as a whistle also. To this day, the last time I was by that same 101 overpass area there were no homeless sheltered like trolls on either side of the street.

Homeless, not hopeless. And I pray not hapless either. First of two parts about today's disenfranchised.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

FOOTBALL NEWS after CONFERENCE SEMIFINAL PLAYOFFS

FROM THE DESK OF THE “FUGITIVE” COMMISSIONER

Hello Football Fans,


The NFL playoffs continue with only four teams still alive for the title, after four games last weekend were all decided by a touchdown or less.

Enjoy,

The Fugitive Commissioner of the FFHL


NFL

PLAYOFF RESULTS – CONFERENCE SEMIFINALS

For last weekend’s games, all of the home teams were favored ATS. That is not considered unusual, since the home teams this year were the #1 and #2 seeds in each conference.
All of the home teams won their games straight up, by either six or seven points.
However, the favorites ended up only 2-2 ATS again this week, the same results as last week.

AFC
SATURDAY, JANUARY 16TH

#6 Pittsburgh +7h at #1 Denver -7h
RESULTS: DEN 23, PIT 16
The PIT Steelers supposedly had almost everything going against them in this game. QB Roethlisberger was injected with pain medication before the game and their best WR and RB were out. But Pittsburgh led 10-9 at halftime and was still ahead 13-12 after an exchange of field goals in the 3rd quarter.
And the Steelers were on the march in the 4th quarter, trying to extend the lead, but fumbled at the Denver 35-yard line with 10 minutes remaining in the game, after which the DEN Broncos went on a 13-play, 65-yard TD drive that ate up seven minutes of clock. The two-point conversion was good, and Denver led 20-13 with 3 minutes to go.

Handicappers: all of a sudden, the game is getting interesting ATS, but Pittsburgh is still covering ATS by ½ point.

Pittsburgh’s next drive stalled at their own 45-yard line and they faced 4th-and-5, decided to go for it with only 2 minutes left, but failed to convert and possession went back over to the Broncos on downs. Denver then played it conservatively and settled for a 45-yard FG to extend the lead to 23-13 to make it a “two-score” game with 0:53 showing on the clock (and now Denver was actually covering ATS).

On the ensuing possession, the Steelers marched quickly down the field with completions of 22, 7, and 22, but there were only a precious 19 seconds left, so they decided to kick a 47-yard FG and then try for an onside kick. The field goal was good – Pittsburgh now trailed by seven (and was back to covering ATS by the hook). The onside kick failed, and Denver hung on for the victory, but failed to cover ATS.

#5 Kansas City +4h at #2 New England -4h
RESULTS: NE 27, KC 20
The smack talk after this game was how Kansas City could waste so much of the clock at the end of the game. Trailing 27-13 with 6½ minutes to go and all of their timeouts remaining, the KC Chiefs burned 5:16 of clock in their 16-play, 80-yard TD drive to get within seven points (it took at least 25 seconds between plays on eight of the plays in this drive). Kansas City was trailing only 27-20, but there was only a minute remaining in the game. The ensuing onside kick failed and New England was easily able to run out the clock to secure the victory.

Chiefs’ HC Andy Reid has a history of poor clock management, and this game showed a weakness. Going back to 1998 and looking at 2,111 games with a similar situation as in this NE-KC game (that is, under 7 minutes remaining in a game, trailing by 9 to 17 points), only one time did it take longer than Andy Reid’s Chiefs to score a TD.

NFC
SUNDAY, JANUARY 17TH


#6 Seattle +2 at #1 Carolina -2
RESULTS: CAR 31, SEA 24
The CAR Panthers led 14-0 within the first four minutes of the game after a “Pick 6”, and were ahead 31-0 at the intermission. But the SEA Seahawks made an interesting game of it, scoring two TD’s in the first half of the 3rd quarter, then going for broke with a successful fake punt from their own 22-yard line in the 3rd quarter (sending a message to the Panthers that they were serious about winning the game), and then actually scoring another TD in the fourth quarter with six minutes left to trail only 31-21, and then kicking a 36-yard FG with 1:12 on the clock to trail only 31-24, still having a chance to tie the game in regulation. But the onside kick was unsuccessful, ending the Seahawks’ impressive comeback attempt.

Seattle had two turnovers as compared to none for Carolina.

#5 Green Bay +7 at #2 Arizona -7
RESULTS: AZ 26, GB 20 (OT)
Unbelievable (ATS, anyway)!


A lot of things happened in this game, but in the fourth quarter a strange play gave Arizona the lead, 17-13, with 3:44 remaining in regulation. Packers’ CB Damarious Randall, who moments earlier had made a key interception in the end zone, deflected a pass intended for AZ Cardinals’ WR Larry Fitzgerald inside the 5-yard line and the ball sailed into the end zone and into the hands of another receiver, Arizona’s Michael Floyd, for a 9-yard touchdown.
The GB Packers took the ensuing kickoff but went nowhere and turned the ball over on downs, which subsequently set up a FG for Arizona to increase the Cardinals’ lead to 20-13 with only 1:55 to play (and now the game was TIED against the spread).

The Packers were not done.


With 55 seconds to go, Green Bay was pushed back into a 4th-and-20 at its own 4-yard line. In desperation, QB Aaron Rodgers scrambled and threw a mini-“Hail Mary” sixty
yards to WR Jeff Janis at the Arizona 36-yard line. A penalty pushed it back to the 41, and then Rodgers threw an incomplete, leaving only 5 seconds on the clock – time for one last play. 


And it was another “Hail Mary” completion – to Jeff Janis, this time in the end zone for a TD to tie the score and send the game into overtime.

THE COIN “FLIP”


The coin flip for overtime was a coin TOSS, as the coin didn’t flip (probably because the ceremonial coin was nearly the size of a manhole cover). Green Bay lost the flip, but the referee ruled that it needed to be re-tossed, because the coin didn’t turn over even once. The Packers were not allowed to change their call for the second flip, and they lost the second flip as well. Arizona elected to get the ball first, scored a TD in three plays and the game was over without the Packers’ offense being able to touch the ball. The Cardinals won by only six points and lost ATS.

[Editorial Comment: This overtime rule needs to be changed so that both teams’ offenses get a chance, at least for playoff games. More on this in the summer.]

Green Bay WR Jeff Janis had only logged two receptions in the whole regular season, but due to injuries to wide receivers Davante Adams (out for the game) and Randall Cobb (chest injury in 1st quarter), Janis was called into duty. On the day, he grabbed 7 receptions for 145 yards and two TD’s.

PLAYOFFS - CONFERENCE FINALS

The #1 and #2 seeds in both conferences advanced to the conference championship games. One of the #2 seeds is actually favored ATS on the road – New England Patriots over the Denver Broncos.

NFC
#2 Arizona +3 at #1 Carolina -3


PREVIEW:
Last year, the AZ Cardinals had to travel to Charlotte, NC without their starting QB Carson Palmer. This year, Palmer is looking forward to the matchup that he missed in 2014 playoffs.

AFC
#2 New England -3 at #1 Denver +3
PREVIEW:
Brady vs. Manning (old guy not showing his age vs. old guy Peyton… well, you decide).
See Quiz Question at end of newsletter.

SUPER BOWL ODDS

According to www.fivethirtyeight.com, using an ELO-based simulation (*), following were the percentage chances projected for each team to win the Super Bowl before Wild Card weekend (far right), then after the Wild Card games last weekend (middle column), and then after last weekend’s conference semifinal games (left column):

                                                1/18/16             1/12/16 after                        Before
                                             After Semis          Wild Card games                Playoffs
CAR Panthers                                    33%               18%                                 20%
DEN Broncos                                    26%               14%                                 15%
AZ Cardinals                                     22%               16%                                 17%
NE Patriots                                        19%               11%                                 13%

KC Chiefs                           eliminated                     14%                                  8%
SEA Seahawks                   eliminated                     13%                                  9%
PIT Steelers                        eliminated                      8%                                   4%
GB Packers                         eliminated                      7%                                   3%

CIN Bengals                                                   eliminated                                   5%
MIN Vikings                                                   eliminated                                   3%
WSH ‘Skins                                                    eliminated                                   1%
HOU Texans                                                   eliminated                                    1%

 (*) This ELO-based model uses estimates for each team’s skills based only on final scores and location of games. Then 20,000 simulations are run and updated after each game.

FFHL PLAYOFFS

Week #18 continues and finishes on Super Bowl Sunday.


Following are the updated results with three games to go.

As you can see, we are struggling mightily with these NFL playoff games, especially after last week’s picks.

FANTASTIC BOWL
YO MAMA vs. THE FUGITIVE
It’s already over.
Results to date:
Yo Mama                  2-2 ATS                 The FFHL Champ already
Fugitive                    1-6 ATS                  From Penthouse to Poor (“Bastard”) House
                                                                                  in two weeks; I could write a book on how
                                                                                  to lose convincingly ATS

CONSOLATION BOWL
Results to date:
Wild Man                 2-2 ATS
Kid Rust                   2-2 ATS
The Rounders           3-4 ATS
Moore Money          0-5 ATS

BFD BOWL
Results to date:
Mighty Duck            2-2 ATS
1-800-Opposite       2-3 ATS
Tommy Boy             2-5 ATS

FFHL LOP-SIDED and CONTESTED PICKS AGAINST THE SPREAD (ATS)

Listed below is a breakdown of ALL of our 32 picks for Week#18B-Conference Semifinals Weekend.
It was really quite amazing that in these critical games we had almost complete agreement on our picks – only three contrary picks (9%). And we stunk it up, too, going 1-3 ATS with our lopsided picks, combining for a 9-23-0 record ATS (28.1% - ugly).

                                           ATS Picks
Team                                  For-Against                     Result / Unsolicited comments

AZ Cardinals -7 vs. GB         10-0                       LOSS, Hail Mary avoids Arizona tie ATS
CAR Panthers -2 vs. SEA        6-0                       WIN, Carolina holds on to barely cover ATS
KC Chiefs +4h at NE               8-2                       LOSS, New England wins 27-20 to cover by 2½
DEN Broncos -7h vs. PIT        5-1                       LOSS, Denver wins only 23-16 to not cover by ½

FOOTBALL NEWS and MINUTIA

NFL COACHING CHANGES – UPDATES since last week’s newsletter

Tampa Bay
The Buccaneers hired Dirk Koetter as their new head coach; he was most recently the OC for the TB team (2015), and previously the OC for the ATL Falcons (2012-2014).
Former ATL Falcons’ HC Mike Smith will be the new DC for the Bucs.

Detroit
HC Jim Caldwell is staying; he has been the Lions’ HC for two years, and has posted an 18-14 record, making the playoffs in 2014.

Philadelphia:
CORRECTION (my mistake): Tom Coughlin withdrew from consideration for the HC job; instead, the real new head coach of the Eagles is Doug Pederson (current OC for KC Chiefs, until they lost at New England on Saturday). Well, we think Pederson is the new head coach.

The PHI Eagles presumably offered and finalized the deal with Pederson before they were allowed to do so, since his KC Chiefs’ team was still participating in the playoffs. But it appears right now that the NFL is not going to pursue improprieties and rescind the deal.

San Diego
The new offensive coordinator for the Chargers is Ken Whisenhunt, fired as HC by the Tennessee Titans during the 2015 season. He’s back; Ken was the OC for the Chargers in 2013.

Indianapolis
The new offensive line coach for the Colts is former Miami HC Joe Philbin, who decided not to join the NY Giants’ coaching staff.

Tennessee
The new HC is in fact Mike Mularkey, hired from within the organization (former assistant HC/tight end’s coach). He was previously the HC of the JAX Jaguars in 2012.
The new GM for the Titans is Jon Robinson, who is a native of West Tennessee and has been a Titans’ fan since 1997 when the Houston Oilers moved to Nashville, TN.

NFL MINUTIA

Los Angeles Rams – UPDATE
The LA Rams and “San Diego” Chargers are negotiating to determine if the Bolts and former St. Louis team will share the new facility in Inglewood, CA. Both teams have committed to not discussing any of the negotiations, so the media and we fans don’t have the slightest clue what is going on.
Rams’ owner Stan Kroenke is probably playing the Chargers against the Oakland Raiders, who will step in if a deal with the Chargers and owner Dean Spanos cannot be finalized because the Raiders offer a much better financial deal than the Chargers are willing to make.

2016 CFP SELECTION COMMITTEE

The 2015 College Football Playoff Committee ended up having only 12 members. For 2016, it is anticipated that the committee will get back to its original 13 members.

Four former members are out:
Mike Tranghese, Pat Haden, Tom Osborne, and Mike Gould.
Potential replacements (none have been officially named yet):
Lloyd Carr (former Michigan HC for 13 years and College FB Hall of Famer); he will probably replace “Big 10 representative” Osborne.

There are maybe five to seven other candidates, but I don’t have any names yet.

COLLEGE PLAYER AND COACHES CHANGES

The final college head coaching vacancy has been filled. After Larry Coker’s resignation, the UTSA Roadrunners have hired new HC Frank Wilson, who is a reputed great recruiter and has been the LSU RB coach for the last six years.

In the final analysis, there will be a significant turnover in FBS head coaches from 2015 to 2016: 27 HC changes (21%-wow!), including 13 at Power 5 schools; 8 new HC’s were DC’s last year and 8 were OC’s last year.

Compare that to prior years:
2014 to 2015: 15 HC changes; only 1 new HC was a DC and 5 were OC’s the prior year.
2013 to 2014: 19 HC changes

UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA-BIRMINGHAM (UAB)

A decision was made at the end of the 2014 season to discontinue the UAB football program for lack of funds. Boosters stood up and resurrected the program with financial support. The school has retained its football coach, Bill Clark, who decided to stay around during the dormancy period to bring the program back; he was signed to a five-year contract extension. The team will start playing again in the 2017 season with a totally “non-conference” schedule that includes eight games against Conference USA teams.

FOOTBALL QUIZ QUESTIONS

QUESTION #1: New England QB Tom Brady will be playing at Denver this weekend in the AFC Championship game. He has accumulated only a 2-6 lifetime record in the Mile High City. Against which two quarterbacks did he win in Denver?
HINT: Both are currently football commentator/analysts/talk show hosts on TV.

QUESTION #2: What two sports generate the most gambling in this world?
HINT: The biggest sports gambling comes from the most popular sport worldwide.


ANSWER #1:
Danny Kanell and Tim Tebow.

ANSWER #2:
Number One is soccer, which you may have known.

But #2 is TENNIS, mainly because there are many events throughout the world. This has become a topic of conversation recently with a possible uncovering of “fixed” matches and a potential major scandal in the sport. Stay tuned.

Monday, January 18, 2016

NOT THE FOX BUNDYS

WHY RUBY HATES WHITE PEOPLE

Temecula, CA – This second of two special Martin Luther King Holiday special reports again has a cousin reference. When I returned to Louisville at my mother's passing [pp.192, Memoirs] it was a return to the nation's 4thmost segregated city [2015 MSN story, chart]. I rolled into town with more than the aura of the esoteric women I had known, I had left the 'hood' as they say and been out in the real world. So I came into a place I was familiar with but was a complete stranger being a new brown face around town.


Though the most poignant times there are in Memoirs, by no means are they even half of my complicated two plus years there. Southern racism was revisited but I was fresh from being a Mississippi River town pot dealer who had business cards, I figured I could handle it. However the hardest thing to deal with was the racial outlook of my cousin Ruby. All my cousins are highly intelligent so conversations on deep subjects turn into debates. I got a letter for debate in high school so this was pig wrestling to an engineer [an in-joke for all you retired shop workers from when this country built things besides the 1%].

One summer day I decided we were going to the rock bottom of this racial issue thing so I rolled a couple of fatties and walked over to my cousin Ruby's West End house. I knocked on the screen door and got a 'C'mon in, Pete.'

After blazing, I threw a saddle on the conversation and rode it into Raceland, coming to a halt with the question, “Why do you really hate white people, Ruby?”

“Because they act so free. Toofree. I hate them for it, and I always will.”

Air Force officials in Georgia apologized for using an image of assassinated civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. to advertise a gun shoot.

The 78th Support Squadron put out posters bearing the Nobel Peace Prize winner’s image for a “fun shoot” on the holiday that celebrates his birth.

Robins Air Force base’s Leroy Minus told the Atlanta Journal Constitution that the flyer was created by a marketing team, and apologized for associating the slain leader killed with target practice.

“We realized the inappropriateness of the advertisement several days ago and immediately began removing the flyer,” a statement said, adding that the Air Force did not want to cast the nonviolent resistance leader in a negative light.

The statement said that it was an “honest mistake” but that those involved will receive remedial training.

King was fatally shot by James Earl Ray at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tenn., on April 4, 1968,

The flyer was “like a piece of hate mail,” Rutha Jackson, president of the Houston County, Ga., NAACP, told The Macon Telegraph.



-30-


After our talk that day which ended in a stalemate per my political rebuttal, something happened that fixed cousin Ruby's conviction. She was walking with the light downtown with her child in the crosswalk and was struck by a car. It was a white man, and she saw him smiling. Our roads parted a while after that and I thought, 'Satan won, but I wasn't going to live in the South anyway.'

I returned back to Iowa, re-tooled and re-lit, page 208.

WHAT I WISH FOR BILL COSBY

15 MINUTES, SERENA, AND A TENNIS RACQUET

Temecula, CA – Bill Cosby is 78 years old and regardless of what happens, personally I will not feel satisfied. Some people want to compare Bill Cosby to Bill Clinton. Clinton never drugged or took advantage, as in made a fool of the women he was with. Clinton's women knew what they were getting, whether a cigar or a slick willy or a well-paid government job.
A similar Bill comparison has be drawn when mentioning Allen, Polanski, Fogle, Collins, and even Duggar. To want sex with a comatose woman means you are one sick puppy, as Wanda Sykes would say in her best 'Back To The Barnyard' voice. You also have the length of time for the alleged assaults, ranging from a year after his marriage to Camille in the latter 60s, to the deposition assault in 2004. and these assaults were just the ones he drugged. Was this the only sex that he was getting outside of marriage?

Doctor Huxable's special bedtime Rx, “Take two pills, and a cab in the morning.”

So for me, whatever sentence, or fine, even if it gets that far, is not going to tip the scales of 'just desserts' for all the pain and suffering caused women who trusted someone in a moment of mis-placed judgment, and were drugged, in much the same fashion as a child molester takes unfair advance to get the desired selfish results. BTW, did you happen to notice the stunning picture of Serena Williams above? More after the jump...


I first came upon Bill Cosby back in the 60's through his initial comedy albums, like Why Is There Air? The humor was clean as opposed to Moms Mabley and, of course, Redd Foxx, pre-Sanford and Son. After the first few albums though, to me, he lost his spark. I heard some of his later stuff and it wasn't funny as far as I was concerned, plus albums were $3.98 and I still smoked cigarettes in those days so I wasn't going to buy his stuff just because he was black.

I Spy was a hot show with a cool opening and theme song that I would hum to myself sometimes when I was setting out to be a bad boy during my first marriage [sorry Sports Fans, but I wasn't a choirboy early in life]. After the first couple of years the same plot was rehashed over and over, plus the total entertainment shunning of Robert Culp through awarding Cosby an Emmy like he was the only star totally turned me off. But it was the picture below that said the great and wonderful Cos was a clown sellout for the 'white man' to make a fool of. That was it for me and Bill.


By the time The Cosby Show came on my life had gone down the path less traveled but many of my then living family were gushing over it, and pointing to how far the 'black man' had come. I remember one summer dropping by my uncle's, who was a doctor. His kids, my cousins, were all over it. That didn't surprise me since they copped an attitude if they didn't have a pair of $70 Chuck Taylors. I had Keds and one cousin there had a Barbie collection that Mr. Smithers would have blushed at.

Now don't get me wrong. I had a fantastic comic book collection and a very hip record collection [pp 15-19, Memoirs] but somehow my stuff didn't seem as extravagant to me. I was proud of her collection because my cuz had killed it, though. I never saw so many Barbies and she knew them all like puppies.

When they dragged me in to watch the show with them, I accepted cause they are my kin and I love them, then and now, but I said to myself, 'no wonder you like this show. You are the Cosby kids.' And my critique was that the show wasn't a real portrayal of the black upper middle-class, at least not beyond the safe confines of home and a black environment. It wasn't real America and then I didn't know shit, but I knew bullshit, probably because of the old saying. I'm happy to say it would seem that Life has roughened those smooth edges a bit.

Cosby is 78, but his being a hypocritical ass-wipe goes back almost two score. Though his stumbling walk was a feeble attempt at pity, no one is advocating giving The Rock or Seth Rogen 15 minutes alone with The Cos. However, the Cos is no pushover. He played football and no doubt dominated his family in that old school way [Black] men believed they were supposed to.

So my suggestion, since Bill Cosby took advantage of women, an obvious callback to his father leaving his mother to join the Navy, a behavior that Cosby would duplicate, is that since it was women who were wronged, a woman should be his 'punisher.' I nominate Serena Williams [after she has listened to the victims privately. Cosby could be held in a cell until the witness testimony is done].

In a small padded gym, Serena, her favorite brand of tennis racquet, Cosby constrained since his victims were incapacitated, with Serena getting 15 minutes of hitting practice on Dr. Heathcliff; that would be my idea of satisfaction.

Yeah, 15 minutes, Serena, her tennis racquet, and some I Spy justice for Pill Cosby. Camille, patch him up, that's your punishment.

(First of two special columns for the Martin Luther King, Jr [pp. 64, yep] National Holiday)

Sunday, January 17, 2016

RIP ALAN RICKMAN

A HERO WHO PLAYED A VILLAIN

Temecula, CA – 2016 isn't starting out with a bang, but a thud. People, famous and those close to them, are dropping like flies, mostly due to cancer. Jimmy Carter is hanging in there, maybe someone sent him this. Meanwhile out of the [so-called] black market comes this news. From the people who brought you the climate talks you have this report. Having written a magical book explaining why this is occurring, my motivation to expose the truth was having my mother succumb. Everything is going according to Hoyle for the cancer industry. This year's cancer races should be jam packed, no matter the venue or city council.


The movies are different. The villains are heroes sometimes and vice-versa. One actor who showed generosity towards others was a British man who met his sweetie in 1965 and stayed with her until his death this month, from cancer. He played many roles, and quite a few as a villain, the type you remembered. He first burst on the screen in the movie that made Bruce Willis a star beyond TV, Die Hard. Alan Rickman played Hans Gruber, the 'terrorist mastermind' that seemed a move ahead of almost everyone, especially the FBI who are played to devastating comic relief, until his last misstep.

Over the years Alan Rickman played well thought-out and intelligent characters, giving the parts both the look and the voice a classical style. Presented here in addition to Die Hard and the Harry Potter series are some just some of the other roles Rickman stood out in and sometimes stole the show with, like Kevin Costner's Robin Hood. R.I.P. Alan Rickman, you were the villain we all loved to hate in that classical style, and a man who was a classic person.

Lee Daniels' The Butler (2013)

The British actor is almost unrecognizable as the 40th President of the United States, Ronald Reagan, who calls upon the assistance of Forest Whitaker's titular White House employee.

Love Actually (2003)

Rickman is horribly believable as the straying husband who breaks the heart of his wife, played by Emma Thompson. At Christmas!

The Harry Potter Film Series (2001 - 2011)

Leave it to Rickman to make fans fall in love with a seemingly villainous character. The actor first brought Severus Snape to the big screen in 2001, with the release of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. He continued his turn as the complicated Hogwarts professor in the following seven movies, slowly revealing the depth and true intentions of the man who Harry Potter once saw as his greatest enemy.

Galaxy Quest (1999)

"How did I come to this? I played Richard III. There were five curtain calls!" Rickman's thespian heft, combined with his comic abilities, made him perfect for the role of a serious theater actor-turned-sci-fi TV show has-been.

Dogma(1999)

Rickman is a nicely tetchy Metatron (AKA the Voice of God) in Kevin Smith's controversial religious comedy, which was picketed here in Murrieta.

Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991)

"That's it, then. Cancel the kitchen scraps for lepers and orphans, no more merciful beheadings, and call off Christmas!" The actor steals this action-romp from under the nose of Kevin Costner as a deliciously dastardly Sheriff of Nottingham.

Truly, Madly, Deeply (1990)

Rickman's recently deceased cellist returns in ghostly form to help his girlfriend, played by Juliet Stevenson, get over his death in Anthony Minghella's supernatural romance.

Die Hard (1988)

Incredibly, John McTiernan's action classic was the first ever big-screen role for Rickman, who was 41 at the time of the movie's release. But better late than never: the actor is note-perfect as the suavely sinister criminal mastermind Hans Gruber repeatedly thwarted by Bruce Willis' L.A.-visiting New York cop.

Alan Rickman has two films still to debut; the voice of the Blue Caterpillar in Alice Through the Looking Glass (2016) and Lieutenant General Frank Benson in Eye in the Sky (2015).

Tonight after football you can catch the tribute to him and David Bowie both on, where else, The Simpsons.


And the year is just getting started, but so are we activists.