Tuesday Teabag, January 28, 2014 – Don Shula

Leave the BluBlockers at home this weekend, Don.

Leave the BluBlockers at home this weekend, Don.

Usually, Shula’s good for a teabag around Week 8, when he and the rest of the (annoying) 1972 Dolphins pop a bottle of champagne and celebrate the last undefeated team to lose.  Note:  the ’72 Dolphins are the most overrated team of all-time.

Anyway, this week is all about the Super Bowl.  The greatest game for the greatest sport.  And this year, it’s in New York.  [note:  we know it’s actually in New Jersey but we respect New Jersey about as much as we respect Canadians and Cowboys fans.  Apparently, we’re not alone in our treatment of Jersey.]  Yes, an outdoor Super Bowl in the northeast in the winter.  Why?  Because RGI’s a boss, and isn’t afraid to mix things up.  But not everyone’s happy with this.

Cue Don Shula, the perpetually tanned, retired Floridian.  According to Shula, the Super Bowl should be played “in conditions where weather won’t be or might not be something that affects the outcome.”  Shockingly, Miami is top on his list on where it should be.  His other reason for a mandatory warm weather Super Bowl?  The fans.  “You’ve got to give the fans an opportunity to come in ahead of time, enjoy what the town has to offer, enjoy the game and then stay for a couple of days afterwards, and enjoy everything. So if it’s a brutal weather condition in New York, you’re not going to do that.”

The Machine can sum up his remarks as follows:  blah, blah, blah, get off my lawn.  Listen, it’s not my fault your bones have been sucked free of calcium and your standing body temperature is just above dying…but that doesn’t mean holding the Super Bowl in New York is a bad idea.  In fact, it’s a great idea.

Yeah, this game was totally ruined by the weather.

Yeah, this game was totally ruined by the weather.

First, who says that the Super Bowl has to be played in pristine weather?  Some of the best playoff games have been played in cold weather.  The Ice Bowl.  The Tuck Rule Game.  The frozen tundra of Lambeau Field.  These have been some of the greatest playoff games ever (Super Bowls included)…so why is it ok to have these games played in cold weather but not the Super Bowl? 

Oh right, the fans, they benefit from a warm Super Bowl right?  Sorry old man, but the fans are actually the biggest benefactors to having the game in New York.  Why?  Because ticket prices have plummeted, meaning regular people can actually go.  So, the Super Bowl is in the greatest city in the world, at bargain basement prices (by Super Bowl standards) and somehow the fans are losing out?  It’s actually giving real fans an opportunity to go to the Super Bowl (I’ve yet to convince Mrs. Machine that it’s a legitimate business expense, but I still got a few days).

It's all about product placement.

It’s all about product placement.

Sure, the VP for Pepsi may not like because he can’t put up his (obnoxious) outdoor display of Pepsi swag (note:  who the fuck drinks Pepsi while tailgating?) and shamelessly self-promote with scantily clad women (ok that is kind of a drawback). (add pepsi pic).  



The Pepsi logo was the 7th thing I noticed here.

The Pepsi logo was the 7th thing I noticed here.

Who cares if some advertisers are put out and have to think creatively on how to sell their product (put a heater next to the scantily clad women).  The Super Bowl is for the fans, and you know the NFL knows how to treat its fans right.

So what does the NFL do?  They take over Times Square. The NFL created Super Bowl Boulevard, encompassing 13 blocks in Midtown.  By all accounts, this is going to be the greatest NFL fan experience ever…certainly better than hanging out in a parking lot in Tempe, Arizona. 

A Super Bowl toboggan in Midtown?  Sign us up!

A Super Bowl toboggan in Midtown? Sign us up!

Sorry Don, we know old people hate change, and we know you lost the coldest Super Bowl, so maybe that’s why you’re jaded.  Either way, you’re wrong.  The Super Bowl this year (a) is in the greatest City, (b) has the cheapest ticket prices, (c) has the best fan experience, and (d) totally treats New Jersey like the door mat it is.  What could be better? 


Enjoy your teabag (ask your grandson what that is).

Richard Sherman – Modern Day Larry Bird

Classless and hilarious?  Qualities we love.

Classless and hilarious? Qualities we love.

Ok, it’s about time The Machine chimed in on Sherman-gate.  Unless you’re a foreigner or an MLS fan, you know the story:  Seahawks clinging to a 6 point lead, Niners driving down the field for what felt like an inevitable game winning touchdown (why did they stop running Kap in the second half?).  Kap throws a fade to Crabtree, Sherman tips the ball, Malcolm Smith intercepts it.  Game over. Seattle’s on their way to the Super Bowl.  And then the crazy began.

Sherman, who’s had a long running feud with Michael Crabtree, had one of the most infamous post-game interviews of all-time.  Take a look: 


and this one


Richard Sherman instantly became public enemy number one…and instantly set himself up for a crazy media day at the Super Bowl.  He’s been labled classless, a thug, an arrogant athlete with no respect for the game.  We’ve watched the tape, incessantly over the last week, and we can finally conclude the following:  Greatest.  Post-game Interview.  Ever.

That’s right, we love it.  For many reasons.  Hear us out.

It’s refreshing.  How many bland, dry, cookie-cutter post-game interviews do you see that sound like this:  “First and foremost, I want to thank our lord and savior Jesus Christ, and my teammates and the fans!”  Yeah, because JC’s a huge football fan.  These interviews are boring, predictable, and lame.

When you make this play, you get to talk.

When you make this play, you get to talk.

Sherman was different.  It was raw, honest, brash…and amazing.  And it was set up perfectly.  It’s not a well-kept secret that Sherman and Crabtree have an ongoing feud that started at a charity softball event a year ago (of course).  So to be in the NFC Championship Game, 4th quarter, matched up against your arch enemy…and you make the play that sends your team to the Super Bowl…it doesn’t get sweeter than that.

Oh, but it does get sweeter.  Sherman, a Stanford grad, was coached in college by Jim Harbaugh, now coach of the Niners.  Sherman also has beef with his old coach, who he admittedly has no relationship with and perhaps blames for falling all the way to the 5th Round in the Draft.

So, you beat your old college coach, your team’s biggest rival, and your biggest enemy.  The odds of those things lining up are so slim…so why not take full advantage of it?

And Sherman didn’t take advantage of the situation as much as he just let his emotions out, in the most purest way possible, without all the bullshit clichés and praise to God and mom. 

And let’s get a couple other things out too.  First, it’s hard to really paint the Niners as victims in this situation, they hate (and talked as much trash to) the Seahawks as Sherman did.  Do you think if Crabtree caught that pass he’d walk up to Sherman and say, “good game”?  Hell no.  Let’s not forget it’s the same Niners team that mocked Cam Newton by doing the Superman endzone celebration the week before.  They’re not really a sympathetic bunch.

And, can we stop with the whole “he’s a thug/disrespecting the game/why do these kids have to trash talk/this didn’t happen why I was growing up” bullshit?  We’re all a bit nostalgic about “our” era of sports…it’s why (old) people want to condemn A-Rod and Bonds but condone Willie Mays and the 1970’s Pittsburgh Steelers.  It’s completely revisionist history.  Just because you see something new, doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened before.



Want to know who one of the biggest trash talkers in all of sports is?  Larry Bird, who was recently voted the #2 trash talker of all time.  That’s right, the pride of French Lick, Indiana…where thugs are born.  But with Larry (and all players from earlier generations) the difference is you hear these stories second and third hand (Larry’s trash talking stories are awesome, btw).  Nowadays, with players mic’d up and cameras all over the field, you get to hear it first-hand.

Sherman didn’t do anything new…he just elevated trash talking to a new level by addressing it directly the American public.  Trash talking isn’t a thug thing…it’s a competitive thing.  And the best in the business are the most competitive, so let’s not be surprised that they also talk the most shit.  Note:  if you’re going to tell your dad that Richard Sherman’s a modern-day Larry Bird, you better sit him down first. 

NFL should've fined him more for that suit.

NFL should’ve fined him more for that suit.

Where we do think he crossed the line was during his post-game press conference, where he continued to pile it on.  Once you got your point across on the field (multiple times), and had time to reflect, take a shower, throw on a ridiculous bow tie, that’s when some humility should set in.  Continuing to bash Crabtree at that point was too much. 

Anyway, The Machine will take Sherman’s heat of the moment, off the cuff remarks, which for being spur of the moment was pretty funny, over some canned speech or choreographed endzone celebration any day of the week.  This is a joke, right?


Date & Time Favorite Spread Underdog
1/19 3:00 ET At Denver -5.5 New England
1/19 6:30 ET At Seattle -3.5 San Francisco
  Roid Rage     Ginger King     Dr. Mike     Vegas Vinny  
  W L T     W L T     W L T     W L T  
  4 1 3     4 1 3     4 1 3     2 3 3  
  NE     NE     DEN     DEN  
  SF     SF     SF     SEA  
Gun show!

Gun show!

Conference Championship Sunday! [Spoiler Alert: Take the points]

This is the best Sunday of football.  Hell, it’s probably the best Sunday of the year!  Four teams vying for a shot to play in the Super Bowl.  You couldn’t have scripted it better this year as there are a thousand fascinating storylines.  But it basically boils down to this:

Brady v. Manning.  Kaepernick v. Wilson

New England at Denver (-5.5)

The line on this game hasn’t sit well with me…..or the public, as 81% of the money has come in on NE….all week.  Belichick and Brady in an outdoor AFC conference championship against an opponet they are all to familiar with and already beat once this year and you’re spotting them a TD?!

The Week 12 matchup between these two teams….which saw NE win on an overtime field goal…seems like an eon ago.  Since then, Von Miller blew out his knee, pot became legal in Colorado and Peyton Manning and Papa John built a DeLorean!  That game was one of the wackiest all year.  The Broncos stormed out to 24-0 halftime lead.  Game-flow combined with a Patriots defensive scheme that dared Denver to run the ball resulted in Knowshon Moreno toting the ball 37 times for 224 yards and 1 rushing TD.  We won’t see that kind of workload again.  I also doubt we’ll see Manning throw for less than 150 yards, Demaryius Thomas and Wes Welker held to 4 catches each or Eric Decker held to 1 catch.

Don't choke on your pizza!

Don’t choke on your pizza!


New England has changed their identity a bit since then too.  They’ve featured a balanced offense, with a power-running attack lead by LeGarrette Blount….with a name like that, nevermind.  Julian Edlemen and Danny Amendola are nightmare matchups for most slot corners.  New England won’t have a problem moving the ball on Denver’s defense.  I’d expect the Patriots to follow San Diego’s Week 14 blueprint (the same blueprint San Diego couldn’t follow last week) of ball control, time-of-possession offense while trying to rattle Manning with pressure on defense.  Easier said than done.

This game will truly be chess match and could really loom large in defining the Brady-Manning Rivalry.

When the dust settles, I really think Denver has much more firepower than New England.  I think Denver wins, but there is no way I’m beating against Brady and Belichick, I’ll gladly take the points.

Prediction: Denver 31, NE 26

San Francisco @ Seattle (-3.5)

The first game is going to look like a hugfest compared to this game.  The coaches hate each other, the fans hate each other and the players really hate each other.  I can’t wait for the glorious Anquan Bolden- Richard Sherman matchup.  Bolden absolutely bullied and abused the Carolina secondary last week which really set the tone for that entire game.  He actually lost mind a few times and should have been flagged for head-butting on at least one occasion.  He’d better keep his cool because it wouldn’t surprise me if the ref’s paid extra attention to him this week.

These teams split their games against each other this year, with the home team winning each game.  If I have to listen to somebody tell me that the fans caused a mini-earthquake on the Beastmode run against the Saint a few years back I’m going to vomit.  Sure, it’s loud.  And it’s a tough place to play but the Niners aren’t going to be rattled.  They are far more dynamic on offense than the Seahawks.  The Niners should be adopting a Greg Williamesque mantra when it comes to beating Seattle: “Kill the Beastmode and the body will follow”.

Can you hear me now?

I’ll gladly take Kaepernick + Harbaugh + 3.5.

Prediction: 49ers 19, Seattle 17

Tuesday Teabag, January 14, 2014 – Home Field Advantage

Sure, no one shuts you up when they’re all your friends…

Wow, what a weekend of games.  Beastmode and the Seahawks backed up their #1 seed, Peyton proves he’s still the best player in the game, C Kap and the Niners relish the role of evil villain (and look damn impressive doing so), and the Patriots unleash six rushing tds in a beat down of Indy.

[Selfless self-promotion alert]  If you’ve been keeping score (and hopefully betting) with The Machine’s expert picks, you’ll see that this Ginger and Roid Rage nailed it last week, each going a perfect 3-0-1.  Obviously, Vegas Vinny finished last. 

Anyway, this sets up one hell of a Championship weekend.  Niners at Seattle:  the biggest rivalry in the NFL today, and New England at Denver:  Brady v. Manning.  Need we say more?  These games are going to be epic, and we can’t imagine how great it would be to experience them live…and that’s where the teabag comes in.

Immediately after the Niners/Seahawks game was set, the Seahawks announced that they would only be selling tickets to people that live in geographically friendly areas, which, as you can guess, does not include California.  Similarly, the Broncos front office is restricting sales as well. 

Think about that for a second…and then let the rage take over.  Are you kidding me?  This is a classless move by both teams.  It forces Niners and Patriots fans to buy tickets on the secondary market at ridiculously marked up prices.  It’s stupid and low brow, qualities The Machine normally appreciates, but not in this instance.

And where’s the outrage from my Commerce Clause fans? 

It’s especially douchey for Seattle, who boasts the 12th Man…the loudest stadium in the NFL, where fans cause earthquakes.  If you truly have the best home field advantage, why do you have to pull this gimmick? 

Glad they kept the 12th Man an organic, fan-created idea, and didn’t go all corporate.

Sorry, but you’re the #1 seed in the NFC.  You don’t need to pull some second-rate promotional bullshit that’s befitting a Triple-A baseball team.  It’s almost as bad as Zubaz and a Monkey Night.  Same goes for you, Denver.  You have Peyton Manning and government grade weed.  You don’t need this. 

Zubaz and Monkey

This is actually genius.

Need more proof this is crazy?  Niners Coach Jim Harbaugh respects it.  Um, last we checked, Jim Harbaugh is a raving lunatic…and if he endorses it, you know it’s crazy. 

 Jim Harbaugh 2

The Machine hopes this doesn’t become a trend, but it’s a copycat league, so the chances that this is the only time it happens is remote.  If this does become the new wildcat, we hope RGI and the league will step in and prohibit this.  Nothing says fan friendly like some good old geographic discrimination. 

This just reeks of desperation and insecurity, which is strange coming from the NFL’s two best teams.  You guys are the #1 seeds.  You don’t need any more affirmation. 

What little respect we did have for the 12th Man [cue east coast bias] has now completely vanished.  It just means they’ll be more Seahawks fans there to watch them lose. 

Enjoy your teabag.

Divisional Round Staff Picks ATS

Date & Time Favorite Spread Underdog
1/11 4:35 ET At Seattle -8 New Orleans
1/11 8:15 ET At New England -7 Indianapolis
1/12 1:05 ET San Francisco -1 Carolina
1/12 4:40 ET At Denver -9.5 San Diego
  Roid Rage     Ginger King     Dr. Mike     Vegas Vinny  
  W L T     W L T     W L T     W L T  
  1 1 2     1 1 2     2 0 2     1 1 2  
  NO      NO     NO     SEA  
  NE      NE     NE     NE  
  SF      SF     SF     CAR  
  SD      SD     DEN     DEN  

NFL Divisional Playoffs – Super Saturday!

Alright, we’ve suffered five days with no football (sorry, the NBA just doesn’t fill the void) but now we got a weekend full of football.  Let’s get right to Saturday’s action.

Brees v. Beastmode

Brees v. Beastmode

New Orleans at Seattle (-8)

As a general rule, you pick the Saints when they’re underdogs.  As an absolute, you pick the Saints when they’re getting more than a touchdown.  Look, I get the 12th man thing, loudest stadium in the league thing, blah, blah, blah.  But I can’t really see the Saints losing by more than a touchdown.  In fact, this Ginger likes the Saints chances to win outright.  New Orleans got over the road playoff hump last week in Philly, and Sean Payton will have his team ready to roll. But it’s certainly not going to be an easy task…and the cards certainly favor the Seahawks.

These teams played each other last month (in Seattle), and the Seahawks smoked the Saints 34-7.  Now, Seattle’s had a week to get healthy, and Percy Harvin’s back.  Plus, the Legion of Boom, led by Richard Sherman, the best corner in the game (sorry Revis) will make things tough for Drew Brees to air it out.  But the Saints have shown that they can run a balanced offense, and, if Seattle’s D has any weakness, it’s defending the run. 

This game is going to be close, even more reason to love the Saints getting 8.  And if you need another reason, Vegas Vinny picked Seattle to cover.  And while we wait for what we think is going to be the game of the weekend, let’s marvel at Beastmode’s epic run the last time these teams met in the playoff:


Indy at New England (-7)

Gisele won't let me grow a beard.

Gisele won’t let me grow a beard.

In the night cap, Andrew Luck and the Colts take on dreamboat Tom Brady and the Patriots.  Indy’s a tough team to gauge.  At times, they play like a team that has no business being in the playoffs, like when then spotted Kansas City 28 points (at home) last week.  At other times, they play with the resilience of champions, like when they came back against Kansas City down 28 (in the third quarter)!  This Jekyll and Hyde approach will come to an end in New England.

It’s tough picking against New England at home, despite our deep hatred of all things Boston.  Plus (conspiracy theory alert!) there’s no way the NFL lets the Pats lose.  The AFC Championship Game will be New England and Denver.  Brady v. Manning for the right to go to the Super Bowl.  The NFL (yes, the entire NFL) has a hard on to make that happen. 

Conspiracy theory aside, the matchups favor New England.  The Pats have the advantage in experience, veteran leadership, and coaching.  No Gronk?  No problem.  Brady will use Julian Edelman in the slot more.  And don’t underestimate New England’s running game.  It’s actually quite good…good enough for 9th in the league at nearly 130 yards a game.

The Colts have made great strides this year, but they’re a year or so off from making a deep run in the post season.  New England, on the other hand, needs to win now before the light on their dynasty turns off.  It’s that sense of urgency that will propel the Pats to victory.

Tuesday Teabag, January 7, 2014 – Moms Gone Wild!

Happy New Year Machine fans.  This year, we promise to bring you more of what you love.  More NFL Draft coverage, more gratuitous pictures of Kate Upton (you’re welcome), and yes, more teabags.  So let’s get right to our first teabag of 2014. Crazy Mom #1 Queary:  Is there a better group of sports fans than drunk moms?  Answer:  No.  They’re fun, totally irrational, DTF, and fiercely protective of their family.  And that was on full display last week at the Sugar Bowl, where Alabama played Oklahoma.  Let’s let the gif do the talking and then we’ll fill in the details: Alabama Mom As the story goes, as reported by our friends at Deadspin, Michelle Pritchett, sweet mother of three and an Alabama fan, was at the game with her family and was engaged in some harmless back and forth with some Oklahoma fans.  Then, things quickly got out of control.  As shown on the gif above (and youtube clip below) Michelle – mom jeans and all – launches herself several rows down and lands on top of the Oklahoma crew.  If you haven’t seen it (or even if you have seen it several dozen times, like us, it’s worth a view again): According to Michelle, she was just protecting her family (who was nowhere near danger, btw).  Said Michelle, “It escalated. When they said something to my son, I told them to shut their mouths.  They were telling my son to come down there and ‘do something about it.’ I said, ‘no, that’s not going to happen. This crap needs to stop.”  Michelle then goes full suburban mom, and both apologizes and takes no responsibility at the same time.  “I apologize to the whole Alabama team, to Nick Saban,” she said. “I apologize to the whole Alabama base.  That’s not the way I would normally handle things.  But when he told my son to come down there, that wasn’t going to happen.”  She then added, “Would I take that back? No.  He was out of control.” And, just so we’re all clear, Michelle was not, repeat, not, drunk.  “And I wasn’t intoxicated either.  I want people to know that. I’d had a couple of drinks, but I was not intoxicated.” Bweep, bweep, bweep…there’s The Machine’s Bullshitdar going off the charts.  Of course she was hammered.  That video has white girl wasted written all over it.  Perhaps it’s a cultural thing (The Machine is admittedly ignorant/scared of the South) but if by “a couple of drinks” she means a peanut butter jar of moonshine, then we’d agree she only had a couple of drinks. And we love her justification for jumping into a crowd of people at a sporting event in front of her family.  They [the big, mean Oklahoma fans] told her son to come on down, presumably to fight.  So mom, selfless, good hearted mom who just wants to protect her so (who, btw is nowhere in the video).  Ah, irrationality, a clear sign of drunk mom. Thankfully, more creative people love this story and have put together music montages for our viewing pleasure.  There are several, but we like this one (set to Sweet Home Alabama, heavy metal, and sound effects from Street Fighter) Sorry, one more, for you Miley Cyrus fans (looking at you, Roid Rage)

No one's good enough for my AJ, not even you Katherine Webb.

No one’s good enough for my AJ, not even you Katherine Webb.

Crazy Mom #2 Because one crazy mom isn’t enough…The Machine has another one for you.  We’re staying in the South and with Alabama, apparently a hot bed of milfs crazy middle-aged white women.  Dee Dee McCarron, mother to AJ McCarron, Alabama’s quarterback, is apparently still scorned that her little angel (pronounced “aiinjel”) lost the Heisman to FSU Quarterback Jameis Winston.  And when mom’s mad, she does what all rational people do…Tweet! Yes, after the historic National Championship Game Monday night between FSU and Auburn, truly a game for the ages, Heisman winning QB (and freshman) Jameis Winston was interviewed on the field.  Here’s what he had to say. What a moment for Jameis and FSU.  His remarks were genuine, heartfelt, and humble…three things that very few college freshman are.  However, Dee Dee (with a name like Dee Dee, do you get the sense a troubling day for her involves running out of fresh mint for her mint julep?) not happy seeing some other college quarterback share take the spotlight from her baby, instantly tweeted:

Bitter, much?

Bitter, much?

Her tweet was quickly deleted, but not before the damage was done.  Now granted, diction may not be Jameis’ strongest suit, but it’s clear what he’s saying, just as it’s clear Dee Dee’s tweet has a not so subtle racial overture.  To clear up any confusion, Dee Dee then tweeted:

As a general rule, if you have to send out a clarifying message that says “we are far from racist” it probably means you’re not as far as you think.  Is anyone surprised that Dee Dee’s twitter profile reads: “Proud Ma of 4 boys.  Feisty and will defend them to the end.”  Even if the end involves quasi-racist comments to the world.

Enjoy your teabag.

Wildcard Staff Picks ATS

  Roid Rage     Ginger King     Dr. Mike     Vegas Vinny  
  W L T     W L T     W L T     W L T  
  131 117 8     135 113 8     132 116 8     121 127 8  
LOTW Record 10 8 0     8 10 0     7 11 0     11 6 1  
Date & Time Favorite Spread Underdog
1/04 4:35 ET At Indianapolis -1 Kansas City
1/04 8:10 ET At Philadelphia -2.5 New Orleans
1/05 1:05 ET At Cincinnati -7 San Diego
1/05 4:40 ET San Francisco -3 At Green Bay
  Roid Rage     Ginger King     Dr. Mike     Vegas Vinny  
  KC      INDY     INDY     KC  
  NO      NO     NO     NO  
  CIN      CIN     SD     CIN  
  SF      GB     GB     GB  
Straight Cash Homie!

Straight Cash Homie!

Wildcard Matchup Podcast

Wildcard Podcast, Big Red Sports Machine Style, enjoy:

2013 WC 

Trent who?

Trent who?