Tuesday Teabag, August 19, 2014 – Notre Dame

Pop Quiz!  Just kidding, you all get A's

Pop Quiz! Just kidding, you all get A’s.

The Fightin’ Irish?  More like the Flunkin’ Irish.  Yes, this weeks’ Tuesday Teabag travels to South Bend, Indiana, where the historically beyond reproach Fighting Irish find themselves in the middle of controversy.

On Friday, it was announced the Notre Dame dismissed four players (3 starters) from their football team for academic fraud.  Allegedly, the players submitted papers and homework that were prepared by others.  The University is handling matters internally, through their “academic honor code process.”  That process has been working overtime as of late, as this is the second academic scandal in as many years for the Irish.  Last year, starting QB Everett Golson was suspended for the fall semester for cheating on an exam.

Normally, when you see the headline “School Subject to Academic Probe” or “Division I Athlete Receives Improper Benefits” you don’t bat an eyelash.  It happens all the time.  Like here.  And here.  And here.  Colleges are whores for athletic success, as it translates into dollars, lots and lots of dollars.  To put it in perspective:  Last year, teams in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl received $325,000 each.  The National Championship Game:  $18,000,000 each.  EIGHTEEN MILLION DOLLARS…EACH!  Now, while some players may not be able to do the math, the difference is a shitload.

It’s no wonder then that schools have created paper-only classes where no attendance is required, and that players are “encouraged” to take these classes.  Are you really that shocked to learn that a 19-year-old kid that’s being exploited flown around the country playing sports had his “tutor” write a paper for him?  Also, when you realize that colleges make a shit ton of money the better their sports teams perform, are you that surprised to learn of an institutional framework designed to help these kids cheat?

But Notre Dame?  They are supposed to be above the fray.  They’re so greedy idyllic, they won’t join a football conference, preferring to remain independent (and rake in that NBC cash).  A school that professes integrity above winning, doing things the right way, and always having high moral character.  They pride themselves on tradition, honor, and Rudy.  But all of that is just a ruse.  They are no better than all the other dirtball college programs willing to do whatever it takes to win, even if that means going against your fundamental beliefs (if they were ever there to begin with).

For the better part of the last two decades, the Fighting Irish have been (at best) a mediocre football team.  They lost 9 consecutive Bowl Games from 1994-2006, and were never in national championship contention.  But all that changed recently.

and study like a rockstar!

and study like a rockstar!

Apparently, Notre Dame compromised its core values revised its recruiting philosophy and created a less structured academic environment.  The result on the field was instant success.  Notre Dame played in the National Championship game last year.  Sure, they got smoked by Alabama and then had the Manti Te’o’s catfishing saga (we’re still confused about that) but the message was clear:  The Fighting Irish had returned to national prominence on the field.  This year, they were again expected to be competing for the national championship, that is, until this scandal broke out.

Again, it’s not surprising when you read this about UNC, or Florida State, or Miami.  You almost expect it.  But Notre Dame has always had this haughty, holier than thou (pun intended) attitude which made you think that they did things the right way.  Now, sadly, you realize they are no different than the rest of them.  It’s all a fraud.

Stewart Mandel explains it this way:  “Notre Dame’s calling card has long been academics.  Come play football at a high level AND get your degree at a national top 20 university and a football program with a 97 percent graduation rate.  Now, its biggest strength is also a source of embarrassment.”

The Machine will put it this way:  Notre Dame’s a pedophile away from being Penn State.  Their well-crafted image is now gone.  For those who think that there’s no relation between the Fighting Irish’s recent success on the field and the academic scandal, consider this:  with these players dismissed from the team, do you think the Irish have a chance this year?  Pretty sure that’s why the cheating occurred in the first place.

And let’s stop with the nonsense that the coaches, athletic department, and administrators had no idea this kind of conduct existed.  Like these kids came up with this program on their own.  At best, the University is willfully ignorant.  At worst, they are active participants to make sure certain players get the “help” they need.

Is it in poor taste to give Touchdown Jesus a teabag?  Probably, but The Machine’s ticket is already punched.  See you in hell, friends.

Enjoy your teabag.

Best.  Academic Advisor.  Ever.

Best. Academic Advisor. Ever.

Tuesday Teabag, August 12, 2014 – Jon Bon Jovi

Not the recommended way to endear yourself to the Buffalo fanbase.

Not the recommended way to endear yourself to the Buffalo fanbase.

This is, by far, the most difficult Teabag The Machine’s ever written.  You can say that we’re at a Crossroad (note: this is the first of several, mostly unfunny, puns).  Normally, writing Teabags is a healthy, creative outlet for The Machine.  We get to expose cry baby millionaire athletes, petulant billionaire owners, jackass sports journalists, and anyone else that gets in our crosshairs.  Consider it our small comeuppance against the man.  You can say that writing Teabags is our Bed of Roses.

So why is this one so difficult?  Because now it’s personal.  Because now we have to, for the first time ever, confront our love of 80’s music and sports.  Yes, as much as it pains us to write this, our Tuesday Teabag goes to Jon Bon Jovi.  This is the hardest thing we’ve ever done, Besides Watching Childbirth (working title for next Jovi song).

Our whole life, The Machine has idolized…immortalized, Jon Bon Jovi.  He’s the answer to life’s most important questions.  Go to karaoke song?  Livin’ on a Prayer.  Need to play air piano?  Runaway.  A little boom-boom music for you and the Mrs.?  Never Say Goodbye.  Want to walk through your neighborhood like a badass?  Crank some Wanted Dead or Alive and giddy-up motherfucker.  But all that ends today.

You see, Bon Jovi is one of the people interested in purchasing the Buffalo Bills.  At first glance, this sounds awesome…Tommy and Gina were destined to settle down in Upstate New York.  And Jovi has some sports ownership cred; he owned the Philadelphia Soul and won the Arena Bowl in 2008.  Let’s face it, Buffalo (the City, the football team, the animal) could use a little star power, and who better than an A-lister like JBJ to bring some attention back to Western New York?

Trade in that stars and stripes denim for a maple leaf...

Trade in that stars and stripes denim for a maple leaf…

But therein lies the problem.  You see, Bon Jovi wants to buy the Bills…and then rip them out of Orchard Park Buffalo and move them to glitzy Toronto.  Need proof?  Bon Jovi is the face of one of the groups bidding the buy the Bills.  His partners are Toronto millionaires Larry Tannenbaum and the Rogers family.  Larry is the Chairman of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, which owns the Maple Leafs and Raptors, and the Rogers family is the Rogers of Rogers Communications, which owns the Blue Jays.  Basically, you couldn’t send a stronger signal that you want to move the team to Toronto, unless the Labatts Blue Bear became part owner.

JBJ let's do this!

JBJ let’s do this!

Need more proof?  Team Jovi is already investigating sites in Canada that would be suitable for an NFL stadium.  Miraculously, they are one of the final groups in the running to buy the Bills, along with the likes of Donald Trump, Tom Golisano, and (our personal fav) Terry Pegula.

We say miraculous because these hosers shouldn’t even be in the running.  Thanks to the late Ralph Wilson, the Bills and Ralph’s estate are prohibited from negotiating with any group that, to their knowledge, has an intention of relocating the team prior to the end of the lease term (2022).  Given that this group is actively looking at sites in Canada to build a stadium, isn’t that knowledge?  If not, we know the front office reads The Machine, so consider the knowledge dropped.

Anyway, back to Bon Jovi.  He recently wrote a letter that was a calculated PR move published in the Buffalo News explaining why he wants to own the Bills.  Noticeably absent from his letter is an express statement that he will not move the team.  Instead, it’s filled with ambiguous doublespeak…like he knows “how much the Bills mean to the people of this region.”  Seriously, who uses the phrase “the people of this region?”  I know who:  Canadians.  Also absent from his letter was explaining who his other partners are, instead just blandly referring them as “the ownership group of which I am a part.”  Does that sound like Rock star language to you?  Does that sound like the guy who wrote “shout though the heart, and you’re to blame, darlin’ you give love a bad name” [cue air guitar]

No, Bon Jovi is nothing more than a puppet for these Canadian war mongers.  Thankfully, the good people of Buffalo aren’t falling for it.  All over Buffalo, Bon Jovi-free zones have popped up, radio stations and bars prohibit Jovi from being played, and grassroots groups like the Bills Fan Thunder have formed.  And this local effort is gaining some momentum…and star power of its own.  Andre Reed said it best:  “Man, fuck Bon Jovi!”

Wanted Dead or Alive?  Nope, just dead.

Wanted Dead or Alive? Nope, just dead.

Moving the Bills would be crushing …it would seriously give the people of Buffalo no more reason to live.  Talk about down on your luck, it would be like losing 4 straight Super Bowls and having your most famous player in prison and widely believed to have committed double homicide.  Wait, never mind.

And, to top it all off, we’d get played by a bunch of Canadians.  Do you know the last time Canada beat the US in something?  Answer:  never.  When they win in hockey or curling, it’s because we don’t care.

Sorry Jovi, but we’re not falling for your rugged good looks, thick hair, and tight denim.  Not this time, anyway.  Your letter was a pathetic attempt to win some local support, and was filled with bullshit legalese and reeked of Molson XXX.  It was as fake and insincere as you could get.  Christ, Donald Trump looks more honest than you right now.

Don't let that gorgeous smile fool you.

Don’t let that gorgeous smile fool you.

Let’s call it like it is:  you’re trying to buy the Bills and move the last remaining vestige of relevancy out of Upstate New York.  That’s some Bad Medicine we’re just not gonna take.  Besides, if the Bills leave, what are these guys going to do on Sundays:

JBJ, we’re guessing you’ve never been to a Bills tailgating, or really known a Bills fan.  They are a rabid a relentless group of alcoholics passionate fans.  The smart thing to do is to walk away and let Terry Pegula buy the team.  Need more proof this is a bad idea?  Jovi’s got a blessing from Jerry Jones.  Come on Jovi, become our hero again.  Let’s walk these streets with a loaded six string on our backs, and play for keeps.

Finally, here’s a verse from our remix of I’ll Be There For You (renamed:  Stay the Hell Outta Buffalo):

Stay the hell outta Buffalo
These five words I swear to you
If you ever, move the Bills to Toronto
Buffalo will cut you…woah oh oh…we’ll cut you…

Enjoy your Teabag.

2014 Defense & Kicker Rankings

And with the last two picks of your draft….(if Ray Guy had it his way we’d have to draft punter’s too)

2014 Rankings: Defense & Special Teams
Composite Team Rage Ginger
D1 Seattle Seahawks 1 1
D2 St. Louis Rams 2 3
D3 San Francisco 49ers 4 2
D4 Denver Broncos 5 4
D5 Cincinnati Bengals 7 5
D6 Kansas City Chiefs 6 6
D7 Arizona Cardinals 3 10
D8 New England Patriots 8 8
D9 Houston Texans 13 7
D10 Carolina Panthers 11 9
D11 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 10 12
D12 New Orleans Saints 9 15
D13 Buffalo Bills 15 11
D14 Baltimore Ravens 12 17
D15 Pittsburgh Steelers 18 14
D16 Chicago Bears 20 13
D17 Cleveland Browns 14 19
D18 Green Bay Packers 17 16
D19 New York Jets 16 22
D20 Philadelphia Eagles 19 20
D21 Indianapolis Colts 23 18
D22 Miami Dolphins 21 23
D23 New York Giants 24 21
D24 Detroit Lions 22 25
D25 Washington Redskins 27 24
D26 Jacksonville Jaguars 25 27
D27 Tennessee Titans 26 26


2014 Rankings: Kickers
Composite Player Rage Ginger
K1 Matt Prater 1 1
K2 Stephen Gostkowski 2 3
K3 Steven Hauschka 5 2
K4 Dan Bailey 4 5
K5 Robbie Gould 9 4
K6 Phil Dawson 7 6
K7 Justin Tucker 3 11
K8 Matt Bryant 10 8
K9 Blair Walsh 6 12
K10 Shayne Graham 11 10
K11 Mason Crosby 15 7
K12 Sebastian Janikowski 16 9
K13 Nick Novak 8 18
K14 Adam Vinatieri 12 14
K15 Alex Henery 14 13
K16 Greg Zuerlein 13 17
K17 Ryan Succop 17 15
K18 Graham Gano 19 16
K19 Kai Forbath 20 20
K20 Caleb Sturgis 18 23
K21 Mike Nugent 23 19
K22 Dan Carpenter 22 21
K23 Shaun Suisham 21 24
K24 David Akers 24 22
K25 Nate Freese 25 25

2014 TE Rankings

Just Win Baby!

Just Win Baby!

The two most popular taglines regarding the tight-end position this year are: “top-heavy” and “weak”.  The first notion I’ll totally buy.  I won’t be surprised if a good number of championship squads feature either Jimmy Graham (ADP8, TE1) or Rob Gronkowski (ADP27 – and trending up, TE2) or BOTH!  Factoring league settings, roster construction and draft slot, a potentially dominate strategy is to grab both of these guys with your first two picks.  Not only do you give yourself a weekly top tight-end performance, you get elite production from your flex position too.

After the “Big Two”, there are only two other tight-ends with top 50 ADP’s: Julius Thomas (ADP27) and Jordan Cameron (ADP50).  After these guys come of the board the tight-end position gets a bit murky.  This is where average fantasy football players (and even mainstream ‘experts’) buy the lazily constructed “weak depth” storyline.  However, there are a good number of young players, whom admittedly have their flaws, that could pay nice dividends at their going cost.  Jordan Reed (ADP76), Greg Olsen (ADP86), Kyle Rudolph (ADP94) and Charles Clay (ADP117) should all finishes in the top-3 for targets in their respective teams.  In Olsen’s case, he is far-and-away Cam Newton’s most reliable pass-catching option.

There are also some potential difference makers to be had late (after the 10th round):  Travis Kelce (ADP174) – flashed some big time wheels on a long catch and run TD in the team’s first pre-season game; Coby Fleener (ADP183) – has been running with the first-team offense all camp (also just happens to be Andrew Luck’s Stanford homeboy); Joesph Fauria (ADP213) – all he does is catch touchdowns.


2014 Rankings: Tight Ends
Composite Player Rage Ginger
TE1 Jimmy Graham 1 1
TE2 Rob Gronkowski 2 4
TE3 Julius Thomas 4 2
TE4 Jordan Cameron 3 3
TE5 Vernon Davis 5 5
TE6 Jason Witten 7 6
TE7 Greg Olsen 6 8
TE8 Kyle Rudolph 9 7
TE9 Zach Ertz 8 10
TE10 Dennis Pitta 10 11
TE11 Martellus Bennett 13 9
TE12 Jordan Reed 11 12
TE13 Ladarius Green 18 13
TE14 Dwayne Allen 15 16
TE15 Charles Clay 12 20
TE16 Tyler Eifert 20 15
TE17 Coby Fleener 22 14
TE18 Garrett Graham 14 23
TE19 Eric Ebron 16 21
TE20 Heath Miller 19 18
TE21 Antonio Gates 17 22
TE22 Jared Cook 24 17
TE23 Delanie Walker 23 19
TE24 Owen Daniels 26 24
TE25 Ryan Griffin 21 31
TE26 Richard Rodgers 25 28
TE27 Levine Toilolo 27 26
TE28 Tim Wright 30 25
TE29 Brandon Pettigrew 31 27
TE30 Austin Seferian-Jenkins 28 30
TE31 Andrew Quarless 29 29


Tuesday Teabag, August 5, 2014 – Stephen A. Smith

About to say something stupid.

About to say something stupid.

Stephen A. Smith is a walking, talking teabag.  The Machine has always found his shtick – loud, obnoxious, with an emphasis on over-enunciation – annoying.  In fairness, we do appreciate his basketball IQ and knowledge of the Knicks, but for Christsake, do you have to yell all the time?

That’s not a rhetorical question.  Seriously, DO YOU HAVE TO FUCKING YELL ALL THE TIME???  You’re not selling mattresses or speaking at a Mega-Church.

Stephen A. (it’s not confirmed, but we’re told the A stands for either Asshole or Annoying) recently got himself suspended by the suits at ESPN for his comments last week regarding the Ray Rice issue.  The “issue” is a nice way of saying the time Ray beat the shit out of his fiancé (now wife) and dragged her unconscious body out of an elevator in Atlantic City.  I mean, we’ve all been there before, right fellas? [crickets].  Anyway, while the rest of the world was up in arms about the lenient, 2 game suspension the NFL handed out to Ray, Stephen A. had a slightly different take on the matter.

After his obligatory intro about how men have no business putting their hands on women, he then shifted gears a little to focus on “the elements of provocation” and assessing its role in domestic violence matters.  Quoting Stephen, “let’s make sure we don’t do anything to provoke wrong actions.”  He then doubled-down on that crazy, explaining “we got to also make sure that you can do your part to do whatever you can do to make, to try to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”  Umm, not quite sure how else to interpret that, but I think he means we should focus on what the woman did that forced a man the beat her.  Don’t believe us.  Take a listen:

If that sounds bat-shit crazy, congratulations, you’re a normal human being.  Implying, wait, not implying, but expressly saying you need look to at the woman’s role in getting beat is beyond messed up.  Look, The Machine will never be confused with a feminist (our love of wet T-shirt contests and Tuesday Teabags confirm this) but come on.  If you say something that only O.J. Simpson agrees with…you fucked up.

The Juice thinks Stephen A.'s on to something.

The Juice thinks Stephen A.’s on to something.

Naturally, the response to Stephen A.’s remarks ranged from disbelief to outrage.  The best was from Michelle Beadle, host of ESPN’s Sportsnation and now The Machine’s favorite ESPN personality.

These tweets are great for many reasons.  First, they’re humorous, humiliating, and sarcastic, our Top 3 qualities.  Second, who doesn’t love some ESPN on ESPN crime?  The Machine loves it some intra-company drama.  If only John Clayton could somehow get in the mix…

Anyway, Stephen A. was forced issued a scripted, predictable, heartfelt apology, essentially wondering how people could possibly think he would blame women for being beat.  Uh, did he listen to his show?  Note to reader:  be wary of anyone that uses the “that was not my intent” or “my words were misconstrued” apology.

But our friend Stephen A. is notorious for saying stupid shit…and then denying he said it, or blaming the listener for misinterpreting him.  On several occasions, Stephen A. dropped the “N” word on national television.  Here’s just one example, which, thanks to someone who has way to much time in his parent’s basement splicing ESPN clips, also contains his “apology”:

Incredibly, despite pretty clear audio and visual evidence to the contrary, Stephen A. denies saying it, chalks up any confusion because he’s a fast talking New Yorker, and blames us for not understanding him.  If he were to say it, Smith argues, he would apologize.  Holy shit, he is O.J.

Even more incredibly, ESPN brass believed him.  ESPN analyzed the evidence and “concluded no inappropriate language was used after closely reviewing the segment several times, including physical aspects of speech, and speaking to Stephen A., who maintains he jumbled his words.”  Ginger, please, that shit’s clear as day.  Interestingly enough, Stephen A. never tells us what he actually said.

Stephen A. was not punished for his Non-N word, N words, which is shocking, considering ESPN has a hairline trigger for racial issues or anything that paints the NFL in a negative light.  Rush Limbaugh, Rob Parker, and Hugh Douglas were all fired (Limbaugh actually resigned before being fired because he’s an extra-special douche) for making racial-related comments, which were all stupid and pig-headed, but none rose to the level of Stephen A.’s “alleged” remarks.

Apparently, for Stephen A. Smith, ESPN draws the line at unclear (read:  100% clear) racial remarks coupled with victim-blaming domestic violence opinions.  Way to wield that hammer, ESPN.  And let’s give props to Michelle Beadle…but for her instant response and relentless attention, The Machine believes no suspension would’ve occurred, and ESPN would’ve swept this under the rug like it’s done with Stephen A. in the past.

Here, there’s only one line for The Machine:  The Teabag Line.  Cross it, and you can never come back.  For Stephen A., it’s just a matter of time before he gets fired, or, as we’re sure he’ll say, “I’M ENDEAVORING TO PURSUE OTHER SPORTS JOURNALISTIC OPPORTUNITIES.”  Stephen A.’s the type of guy that craves the attention…good or bad…and just can’t help himself from toeing the line of controversy.  But as you all know, you can’t toe the Teabag Line.

Enjoy your teabag.