Alright, let’s clear up a couple of things right off the bat (Hahah. Bat. Baseball pun! Zing!) First, prepare for terrible puns. Some that I think of myself – like that really bad one that just happened – or others that incidentally happen that I will likely try to take credit for after the fact. Second, I am absolutely biased in my presentation of sports knowledge. So here’s a few things to know if you plan to read this blog each Friday. I love Kobe. Always have, always will. I strongly dislike LeBron James. To everyone who says “you just hate him because he isn’t on your team.” Duh. The day LeBron becomes a Laker is the day I consider hanging a #23 jersey in my closet right next to #24. I am a Lakers, Dodgers, Rams, Duke Blue Devils, and Montana Grizzlies fan. That will be painfully evident in many of my posts. Third, I’m a woman. This is a sports blog. I get that. But if you think you’re going to make it through this without the occasional reference to how cute Rickie Fowler or Danny Amendola are, or how teeny tiny Olympic speedos are, then you’re sorely mistaken.
Lastly, let’s chat about the reason this blog exists. To be totally honest, it started in college because, well, Dylan asked me to do something, and sports just happened to be that thing. But more than that, I love sports. My friends on the other hand, not so much. For those of you around for pre-law school Morgan, this blog will look familiar. For those of you who are new here, or new to me actually having the time to blog again, here’s the idea: Every Friday, if you spend a few minutes reading this blog, I will PROMISE to equip you with enough information that you can walk into any local sports bar, whether in big city Chicago or small town Anaconda, and be able to adequately engage in conversation. Or, at the very least (*ahem, Bradley*) when you’re out on a date and get asked a sports question, you will be able to come up with an answer without secretly texting me under the table.. So with all of this in mind, let’s get down to it.
We’re in the middle of the NFL Preseason, which pretty much means nothing, other than that we’re two short weeks away from actual football! In preparation for the season, and in selfish preparation for the two fantasy football drafts I have this week, let’s focus this week on NFL. You can expect broader coverage in future posts, but this week we’re all about the NFL.
Patriots off-season acquisitions.
As early as March of this year, the Patriots began an interesting series of player acquisitions. Without a first-round pick in the 2016 draft, the Patriots instead chose to round up former first-rounders. Mid-March the Patriots began their acquisitions when they traded for Cardinals offensive lineman Jonathan Cooper, who was the 7th overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft. Hours after the Cooper trade, New England signed former Rams defensive end, and my personal favorite, Chris Long, who was the 2nd overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft.
In true Belicheck style, the haul didn’t stop there. Days after the Cooper and Long deals, the Patriots acquired running back Donald Brown, formerly with the Chargers, who was the 27th overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft. And as a final March acquisition they picked up linebacker Shea McClellin, who was the 19th overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears. While this haul seems like old news, the Patriots proved that this is still their M.O. by trading for Cleveland Browns outside linebacker Barkevious Mingo just this week. Yes. Barkevious. While I won’t pretend to know anything about Mr. Mingo, besides that I’ve said his name aloud about fifty times today, I do know that he was the 6th overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft and that he is the last of a long string of interesting choices made by the Patriots.
Whether or not all of these acquisitions will prove beneficial for the Pats is yet to be seen. Well, I know it won’t be 100% positive outcome as running back Donald Brown has already been released with an injury settlement. But, if anyone can take these players with obvious potential and unique attributes who simply haven’t found their groove in their previous systems, I’d bet my money on Bill Belichick. The man knows shady deals, proper scissors for cutting sweatshirt sleeves, and he sure as hell knows football.
The Ryan bros are back together!
Speaking of guys who know football… actually, no. That’s not a good transition. Speaking of other people who get paid a lot of money to yell at other grown men, the Ryan brothers are officially reunited! Do I think the Ryan brothers know football? Yes, I do. Do I think they’ve done the best job of demonstrating that throughout their careers? Not necessarily. This year, with the brothers reunited for the first time since their early coaching days in 1995, the family name is on the line, and likely both of their jobs as well.
I have to admit I first fell in love with Rob Ryan a number of years ago when he was with the Bengals. The Bengals were featured on Hard Knocks that season and Rob was the obvious show favorite. If there is something the Ryan brothers are good at, it’s standing out in a crowd. Whether that be filming a TV show, avoiding (or not-avoiding) internet foot fetish scandals, or providing hilarious interviews, the Ryan brothers do it best. Take this interaction from a May 2016 interview with the two brothers.
Interview Question – After more than 20 years, why did you decide to work together now?
ROB: For me, and I’ll speak for myself on this, I have an extra hunger. I have always been a guy who is going to work my tail off, and I think I have always advanced the head coach’s plan. But at the end of the day, the last two years in New Orleans were a waste of time for me. I want to give everything I have to a team that I want to be a part of, with a head coach I want to be a part of. Not only is Rex a great head coach, but he is also a great defensive coach. He’s going to be the best coach that I can work for, anytime.
REX: He talks about the hunger that he has. That’s because he had the lap band removed.
ROB: I did. I am excruciatingly hungry right now.
REX: That dude is starving right now.
ROB: I am. I am starving. But you know what’s funny? I heard this one the other day: Well, it’s nepotism. Nepotism? I’ve been in this league 20 years. I have coordinated the last 12 years in a row.
You guys. My gosh. I laughed so hard reading this interview. But the more you follow these two, the more you love them. ESPN did a full documentary on Rob a couple of years ago which I’d highly recommend watching. But at the very least, catch this likable clip of the two right here.
The season is sure to be full of funny interviews, obnoxious brother shenanigans, and random headlines like this: “Rex Ryan has gained 30 pounds since his brother Rob joined the Bills.” You hear that Andy Reid? Move over Taco Tuesdays, the Ryan brothers are back in town!
Joey Bosa wants ALLLL the money.
We’re halfway through the NFL preseason and Joey Bosa has yet to put his name on paper as a member of the San Diego Chargers. It’s not uncommon to see a holdout last into the season, but this holdout seems to be anything but common. Bosa was drafted third overall in the 2016 NFL Draft. He is the only remaining first-round pick yet to sign a contract. As of Tuesday this week, the Chargers took their disagreement to the media, signaling the nearing of the point of no return.
Without attaching the boring wordy letter here, the gist of the message from the Chargers to Bosa was this: “We offered you EVERYTHING. You are a spoiled brat. Now that you told us no, we’re going to tattle on you in the media aaaand we’re going to retract our latest offer. SUCK IT.” So, not surprisingly, Bosa’s representatives weren’t thrilled. They also responded with a boring wordy message, which essentially said this: “The Chargers are meanies. They weren’t nice to Joey. We’re mad at them! We are the most smartest and nicest and we did nothing wrong and will continue to do so.”
So while not uncommon to see a holdout into the season, this situation might be one of the few cases where the team and player don’t work it out. The Chargers taking their issues public might be the last straw for the Bosa camp and he may just take the year off and take his chances in next year’s draft. The only player that comes to mind when thinking of such a situation is Bo Jackson, who famously went to play baseball instead of signing with the Bucs, and later came back to football after being drafted by the LA Raiders. But if there is one thing I know, it’s that Joey Bosa is no Bo Jackson.
Fantasy football team names – what’s the secret?
It’s just about that time where all of your normal conversations are taken over by trash-talking, trade negotiations and let’s be honest, tons of fantasy football collusion. I’d considered coming up with some sort of weekly fantasy football advice blog, but there isn’t much you can control about your fantasy football team at this point. Every year there is that one guy who is sure he has the best team, it may even look like that on paper, but every year that guy’s top wide receiver gets suspended for PED use, or his running back breaks his leg in the last game of the preseason, or in current NFL trends, his star player gets arrested for domestic violence or accidentally shooting himself in the foot. (Looking at you, Plax.) If anything is clear it’s that there is no correct strategy for having the perfect season, and that no matter how much researching you do, you just can’t predict the real lives of NFL stars.
One thing you can control, however, is your fantasy football team name. Unless you want to be that guy who couldn’t think of anything so he defaults to “Team John” you need to put some serious thought into your name. So what makes a good name? Well, first and foremost it’s all about your audience. Playing in a league with your kids teachers? Or your husband’s mother? Or hell, a bunch of 12-year-olds? Maybe stay away from the X-rated names. Playing in a league with your raunchy buddies? (I’m willing to bet most of us fit here) Then by all means go with the offensive name.
If you’re already in a league, I’d suggest checking out the names other team managers have already come up with for their team. This can really put the pressure on you to come up with a funny or clever name, but it can also help set the tone for league names. Moving forward from league standards, there are a number of methods you can use in picking a team name. Head over to your favorite news source and see what’s topical. Whether sports related or not, see if you can work current events into a clever name. Just the other day I came across a Ryan Lochte themed name, it’s so far my favorite of the season. I give you – Swim Shady (Ryan Lochte avatar needed of course). Or go with movies and TV shows, new or old, and see what you can come up with – Walking Dez [Dez Bryant, WR], Roddy White and the 7 Dwarfs [Roddy White, WR], Mr. Rodgers Neighborhood [Aaron Rodgers, QB, Richard Rodgers, TE, Jordan Rodgers, Bachelorette Winner!!?], Forte Year Old Virgin [Matt Forte, RB], or my actual team name for the past few seasons – Silence of the Rams. Maybe combine your favorite player and your favorite politician? Or least favorite politician? – Bernardie Sanders [Gio Bernard, RB] (LOVE THIS ONE!!), Barack Obamanu [Ben Obamanu, WR], Hillary Tyrod-ham Clinton [Tyrod Taylor, QB]. Or simply find a favorite player who has a fun name and run with that. Now there are a number of easy routes to go with this: AKA, anything with Wood, Johnson, Peterson, or Romo (I mean this is eeeeeasy), but there are a number of names I’ve come across over the years that have no theme at all.
Here are a few that may help lead you to your favorite name – Hyde and Seek [Carlos Hyde, RB], Erect Decker [Eric Decker, WR], Forte Inch Ditka [Matt Forte, RB + Coach Mike Ditka], Witten in the Stars [Jason Witten, TE], Every Kiss Beings with Clay [Clay Matthews, LB], another of my past names – Sax in the City, and my narrowed down selection for this year, all featuring my new favorite running back, Todd Gurley – Fat Bottomed Gurleys, This Gurleys on Fire, or The Powederpuff Gurleys. The options are truly endless, and if you think you’ve hit a wall, never fear because Google will help you! The internet is full of hilarious people and if you can’t be clever all on your own, at least you can get a little help from a funny stranger somewhere else in the world.
Before I leave you for the week, I know I said this was an NFL blog edition, but can we pleeeeease talk about Rickie and Justin’s mustaches?
Actually, no talking. JUST. LOOK.