SIMON’S PICKS – WEEK 5

ChloeHey, everybodee! It’s Chloee. My brudder has the hangovers today – too many Dark an’ Stromees for Monday Nite Football – so Chloee will be doin’ the picks this week. Brudder went 9-5 last week, makin’ him 50-27 for the yeer. Let’s see if Lil’ Chloee can do better! hehehehe!! 

 

 

Chicago and New York Giants: So, the reeson brudder is hungover iz because hee was watching the Jets beat his favorite Durty Burds last night. Was tense game, no? Now, normally Chloee would think that a giant could beat up a bear pretty easily. Although bears are pretty bad-ass, giants are… well, GIANT! But Chloee thinks NEW YORK Giants don’t stand chance against Chicago Bears. Take da Bears to win!

Cincinnati at Buffalo: Man, ain’t no way no buffalo could beat a tiger! To tiger, buffalo just giant meal on hooves, enuf to feed entire tiger familee! Take the Bengals to beat the crap outta the Bills dis week!

Detroit at Cleveland: What is “Brown”, anyway? You no see teams called the Blues or Yellows, do you? Normally, Chloee would think that a lion would beat up on whatevur a “Brown” is, but Chloee notice that Cleveland team also has some kind of pixy or elf as logo. She thinks that Browns will use some kinda elfin magik on Lions and spook ’em this week, even with second string qyoo-bee.

Oakland at Kansas City: Pirates versus Indians? Chloee loves pirates, and normally think they’d kick almost anybodee’s ass. But pirates are best in coastal areas. Me thinks that when pirates go way inland, they not play so good against Indians in good defensive posture. So Chloee sez to that the Chiefs will win this one!

Carolina and Minnesota: Panthers against Vikings? Yeah, you’d think that my slinkee black cousins could beat up on some honkee dudes from Norway. But Chloee thinks the only thing more badass than pirates are vikings. Man, you mess with Vikings, you end up in a wurld of hurt! So take the Vikings to win this one!

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SIMON’S PICKS – WEEK 5

SimonHey, y’all! Simon here! Well, the Football Feline went 10-5 last week, which is pretty good, and sets me up at 41-22 on the season so far. The Simon can make ONE rock-solid prediction this weekend: the Steelers WILL NOT lose… it’s their bye week! Hehehehe… sorry, Daddy! 

 


Buffalo at Cleveland:
Well, isn’t this surprising… The CLEVELAND BROWNS are tied for first in the AFC North! And how’s this… even though the Steelers are 0-4, they’re only 2 games out of first place! What a world! What’s Simon been telling you about the Bills, huh? Better than you thought, huh? Too bad they’re going to lose this weekend. Take the Browns to win on Thursday night, honey!

New Orleans at Chicago: The Aints aren’t nearly as good on the road as they are at home, and this one won’t be a runaway win for them… But I think ol’ Drew Brees and that handsome Marques Colston will come away with the win for the Saints!

New England at Cincinnati: HEEEEYYYY TOOOOOMMM! YOO-HOOOOO! SIMON’S LOOKING FOR YOOOOOUU! And Tom Terrific will be looking for a win against my kitty cousins… and he’ll get it, too. This may be one of the least overall talented New England teams in recent history… but all they do is win, baby! Take the Patriots to handle the Bungles easily!

Detroit at Green Bay: [insert joke about Calvin Johnson’s massive johnson here]. The Motor City KItties want to sneak a win at Lambeau. Ain’t gonna happen. Take the Packers to go, Pack, go this weekend!

Kansas City at Tennessee: Barbeque City versus Music City? Girl, you know Simon’s all about some tasty treats! Take the Chiefs to cook the Titans low and slow for 3-4 hours this Sunday afternoon! And then drench ’em in sauce!

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SIMON’S PICKS – WEEK 4

SimonHey, y’all! Simon here! OK, so I had a rought week last week, only going 8-8. I’m still 31-17 for the season, so let’s see if the Football Feline can do better this week!  Enjoy the sweaty mens, girls!

 

 

San Francisco at St. Louis: My handsome mens from San Francisco will bounce back this week, easily defeating a subpar Rams team. Take the 49ers to win this one easily, girls!

Baltimore at Buffalo: Those cute lil’ mens on the Bills are having a much better season than Simon thought they would… but they’re gonna have a tough time against Joe “I’m Elite!” Flaccid. Take the Ravens to win this one, but not in a blowout. hehehe… “blowout”: that’s dirty!

Cincinnati at Cleveland: Gross. Take the Bengals to not bungle this one, though.

Chicago at Detroit: My MAIN MAN Calvin Johnson [insert “Johnson” joke here] is putting up crazy numbers here lately… but I’m afraid it won’t be enough to win this one. My OTHER Main Main, Julius Peppers (and how cool of a name is THAT?) will feast this week, ladies! Take Da Bears to win this one easily!

New York Giants at Kansas City: It wasn’t until I watched the Carolina Kitties game last Sunday that I realized how TRULY AWFUL the Giants’ O-line is! I mean, Pittsburgh’s o-line is like, Hall of Fame quality in comparison! And Kansas City is for real, people… so take the Chiefs to win this one, big time!

Pittsburgh at Minnesota: Sigh. Take the Vikings. Better yet, just read a book or go out to brunch when this game is on.

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SIMON’S PICKS – WEEK 3

SimonHey, y’all! The Simon went 11-5 last week, for a total of 23-9 for the year. The Simon needs to get BETTER, not worse! I’ll stop staring at the handsome mens and pay attention to the GAMES this week. Let’s see if I can do better! 

 

 

Kansas City at Philadelphia: The Walrus™ comes home to Philly this week, against Chip Kelly and that AWFUL Michael Vick (solidarity, doggie friends!). This could end up being a really good game, y’all! Kansas City will BRING IT against their coach’s old team, but I think the Eagles will squeak out a win here.

Green Bay at Cincinnati: It’s the Cheeseheads versus the Chiliheads! The Krappy Kitties are looking pretty good this year, but I think their luck will run out on them this week, when that SEXY MAN Aaron Rodgers comes to town. Girl, that man could DISCOUNT DOUBLECHECK me all night long! Take the Packers to win this one!

St. Louis at Dallas: Oh, Tony Romo… you’re the opposite of fabulous! But you and your Cowboy mens are gonna win this week!

San Diego at Tennessee: Tennessee beat (what’s turned out to be a not very good) Pittsburgh team, then took the Texans to the limit. Maybe they’re better than people give them credit for? In any case, I think the TItans will win this one at home. The Chargers look better than I expected them to (“Yoo-Hooo! Antonio Gates! Simon’s lookin’ for yoooooouu!”) but they just don’t play as well on the east coast as they do on the left coast.

Cleveland at Minnesota: The Factory of Sadness takes a road trip this week, but the result is the same: the Vikings win.

Tampa Bay at New England: And, like lambs to the slaughter, the Buccaneers take the field. This probably won’t be the beatdown it could have been in years past, but Tom Terrific will get it going well enough to beat these jokers. Patriots win!

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SIMON’S PICKS – WEEK 2

SimonHey, y’all! Simon here! Wow… was Week 1 WILD or what? My handsome Texan mens came back to win a thriller, and there were FOUR safeties this week (and only 13 all year year!) That’s CRAZY! The Simon went 12-4 last week, as always let’s see if the Football Feline can do even better!

 

 

New York Jets at New England: Well, that HANDSOME Geno Smith was able to pull out a win against the Pretty Pirates last week, but he’s going to be in for a TREAT this week. Tom Terrific is pretty solid at home, and even pulled out a win against a rejuvenated Bills last week. My gut says that Tom will lead the Patriots to another win this week! Because he’s too beautiful not to!

St. Louis at Atlanta: What did The Simon tell you about Atlanta not being able to win in New Orleans? That’s OK, honey: my MAIN MAIN Matty Ice will get his mojo back this week, when the DUUUURTY BIRDS play the Rams at home. Take the Falcons to win this one, baby!

Carolina at Buffalo: Poor Cam! So, so handsome… such a bad team! Now the Carolina Kitties looked pretty good on defense last week, but The Simon is pretty sure that those mens from New York will be able to win this one. I’m going with the Bills! But come home soon, Cam… We miss you!

Minnesota at Chicago: Ooooo! The Purple People Eaters versus the Monsters of the Midway! The Simon TREMBLES with excitement! I say go with Da Bears at home this week!

Washington at Green Bay: The Iggles shut the ‘Skins DOWN for the first two and half quarters on Monday night. Let’s hope the Packers’ DC was watching the game… ‘cos I’m going with the Packers in this game!

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Georgia Tech and the SEC

TRUE STORY: Georgia Tech won the college football national championship in 1928, but in the following years the team struggled. Head coach William Alexander decided that he needed a new assistant to “shake things up”. In 1930, Alexander asked his line coach, Mac Tharpe, to drive to Knoxville to watch the game between Tennessee and Tech’s next opponent, North Carolina. Fate then intervened: Tharpe’s car broke down on the way to the game. It was an easy repair, and Tharpe was on the road again in a couple of hours. But by the time he got there the game was over, so there was nothing for him to see. Not wanting to return to Atlanta empty-handed, Tharpe sought out Tennessee coach Bob Neyland for his thoughts about the Tar Heels. Neyland suggested that Tharpe talk to one if his assistants, a guy named Bobby Dodd. Tharpe was so impressed with Dodd’s analysis that he raved about him to Alexander. Alexander had heard other good things about Dodd, and decided to hire him. And so Bobby Dodd became an official member of Tech’s staff on December 28, 1930.

Dodd would, of course, eventually become head coach, racking up a regular season record of 165–64–8 and a bowl record of 9-4, including three wins in the Sugar Bowl, two in the Orange Bowl and one in the Cotton Bowl. Under his leadership, Tech won a national championship and two SEC championships.

Bobby_Dodd_1962
Bobby Dodd in 1962

Which is interesting. Georgia Tech won five SEC football championships over the years, which is more than half the current SEC schools combined. Arkansas, Missouri, South Carolina, Texas A&M and Vanderbilt have never won an SEC championship, while Mississippi State has won one and Kentucky has won two. Tech is only one SEC championship short of Ole Miss, who won their sixth (and, so far, last) SEC title in 1963.

But why did Tech leave the SEC anyway? Why did the school play as a football independent from 1964 to 1978, when it joined the ACC?

Part of it was a personal feud between Dodd and Alabama coach Bear Bryant. In 1961, Tech traveled to Legion Field in Birmingham to play the Crimson Tide. At one point in the game, Tech had to punt the ball to Alabama. After the Alabama receiver had signaled for a fair catch (but possibly before the referee blew his whistle), an Alabama player named Darwin Holt launched himself at Tech player Chick Graning, viciously hitting him underneath his face mask. Graning had five teeth knocked out, and suffered fractures of the alveolar process (facial bones),  the right zygomatic process (bone beneath the right eye), the right maxillary sinus, and had several other facial bones broken. He was knocked unconscious and suffered a serious cerebral concussion and (possibly) a fracture at the base of his skull. Graning was a very popular student at Tech, and Sports Illustrated said that he was “basically too gentle to be a truly great football player”. No need to worry: after Holt’s hit, Graning never played football again.

Dodd (and everyone else on the team, and all the Tech fans in the stadium, and faculty back in Atlanta, and alumni everywhere) thought Holt had committed a cheap shot that he should have, at the very least, been penalized for. After all, everyone involved – even Alabama’s players and local media – agreed that the hit had come after the fair catch had been called for, which effectively ended the play.

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SIMON’S PICKS – Week 1

SimonHey, y’all! Simon here! Can you believe it? It’s time for a new season of handsome, sweaty NFL mens and their skullcrackin’ thighs live on my TV set! PRAISE BE, GIRL! The Simon was 177-89 last year… let’s see if I can do EVER BETTER this year. You ready? Let’s go! 

 

 

Baltimore at Denver: With Ray Ray (and half the defense, and most of the receivers) gone, and Joe Flaccid’s unibrow under control, the Ratbirds just don’t seem to be the threat they were last year. That handsome Peyton Manning’s looking ageless as always. Simon says take the Broncos in this game!

New England at Buffalo: The best part of football coming back is having Tom Terrific on my TV set! He’s SO DREAMY! One wonders who Tom’s going to throw the ball to, however. Still, the Bills are awful as always, and Simon says the Patriots could sleepwalk through this game and win!

Cincinnati at Chicago: Which ugly Midwestern town will win this game? Who cares? Cincy has that weird cinnamon chili, while Chicago has those awful hot dogs! Blech! I’ll hold my nose and pick the Bears to win this one, but that doesn’t have to mean I like it!

Miami at Cleveland: My boys from South Beach are going to the Mistake by the Lake to take on the Brownies. Handsome former Steelers Mike Wallace should have a field day against the Browns who will, one again, suck (and not in the good way!) Put your money on the Dolphins and their hideous new logos!) on this one, girls!

Minnesota at Detroit: Those handsome Viking mens are going to take their rape and pillage show on the road against the puuuuufect Lions. And The Simon is pretty sure that the Lions will take this one!

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The “Battle” of the Sexes?

We’re around a month shy of the 40th anniversary of one of the most controversial tennis matches ever: the “Battle of the Sexes”, which took place between Bobby Riggs and Billie Jean King on September 20, 1973.

I was only two years old when the match happened, so I don’t remember it. But I certainly remember the era in which it took place. “Women’s Lib” was on the rise, and this tennis match, of all things, was very nearly a referendum on gender roles and equality. Millions of “male chauvinist pigs” were sure that no man could lose to a woman, and millions of women cheered for King, either vocally or silently.

Many people have forgotten that there was actually an earlier “Battle of the Sexes”. Riggs, who was 55 and retired, initially challenged King, then ranked #2 in the world, to a match. She refused, and so Australia’s Margaret Court, then 30 years old and the #1 female player in the world, agreed in her stead. On Mother’s Day 1973, Riggs and Court met in Ramona, California. Riggs easily won the match 6–2, 6–1, and got himself on the cover of Sports Illustrated and Time that week.

riggs-time

All the media attention from the first match put enormous pressure on King to accept when Riggs approached her for “Battle of the Sexes II”. Riggs, who in truth was probably interested in money much more than gender issues, put together an effective PR campaign hyping the event. Indeed, it was likely Riggs’ people who really hyped the gender issues, stoking the fire of feminism in hopes of making more money from the event. Not that it was really needed: King was an outspoken feminist, and Riggs’ sexist taunts, freely given to any media outlet that would listen, begged King to reply. T-shirts and buttons were made up promoting the event, and millions of Americans chose sides. ABC, the network airing the event, ran breathless promos for the match around the clock, and Riggs went on 60 Minutes before the event just to make sure that every single American was aware of the match.

Tennis is normally a pretty sedate and well-mannered sport. But all the hype around the event gave it a pro wrestling feel. The 30,472 people who showed up at the Astrodome to watch the spectacle (the highest-ever attendance at a tennis match in the US, by the way) were treated to King being brought to the court in a chair “held by four bare-chested muscle men dressed in the style of ancient slaves”, while Riggs was brought in on a “rickshaw drawn by a bevy of scantily-clad models”. The two met at mid-court, where Riggs gave King a large lollipop, and King gave Riggs a live piglet named Larimore Hustle (“Larimore” being RIgg’s middle name, and “Hustle” coming from his reputation as a gambler). 90 million people around the world – a staggering 50 million in the United States, whose population was only 212 million at the time – were glued to their TVs as the match began.

And then, the damnedest thing happened: King won, 6–4, 6–3, 6–3.

Women across America cheered while men cried in their beers.

But let’s take a closer look at what actually happened, shall we?

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Rugby Signage

I was flipping through the channels one rainy Sunday a while back and came across a rugby match from Australia. Since I hadn’t watched rugby in like… years (and since there wasn’t anything else on), I decided to watch for a bit.

I don’t remember much about the actual match, but I do remember being blown away by the ads on the field. It looked like they were made using the same technology TV networks use in American football broadcasts to “paint” the first-down line on the field… which is amazingly complex, by the way. Only this was some kind of super high-tech version, able to do all kinds of designs:

jp-morgan
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field-sports1
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Come to find out, it’s not high-tech at all. It’s just paint on a field, applied in such a manner so that from the camera’s point of view it looks like it’s “floating” on the grass. Here are a few pics from other angles so you can see how odd the graphics look away from the TV cameras:

Newlands Rugby
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Rugby
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Rugby 2
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Apparently this type of “grass signage” is a big deal in Australia (see this company or this company). Although it’s not as high-tech as I’d thought, it’s still pretty clever.

Why “Bowls”?

In America, the end of every college football season is celebrated with a variety of “bowl games”: the Rose Bowl, the Cotton Bowl, the Sugar Bowl and the Orange Bowl are just a few. And, of course, the NFL took a cue from the college game by naming its yearly championship the Super Bowl.

But why are they bowls? Did the winner get a bowl of roses or cotton or sugar or oranges? A free set of tableware? Did the first trophies look like bowls?

Haha… no. It actually comes from 1914, when Yale University built the first modern football stadium in the United States. Prior to this, most universities just took a large area of flat ground, marked off the football field, then built wooden or metal stands on one side of the field. As the team grew in popularity, the school would then build stands on the other side of the field, then on either end zone as needed. And by that time, the school would enclose the whole area with a fence of some kind, so that only paying customers could watch the game. Or they’d just use a baseball field, which presented its own set of problems.

But Yale’s new stadium was different. For one thing, the entire thing was recessed into the ground, so that the playing field was several feet (meters) below the surrounding ground. Bathrooms and food stalls were included. Access was controlled by various gates, and the entire building was circular. The whole thing kind of looked like a giant bowl from above, and this led people to call the stadium the “Yale Bowl”, which is the name it has today. It was new and it was breathtaking. And it was such a success that the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum (1921), the Rose Bowl (1922) and Michigan Stadium (1926) copied the basic design.

yale_bowl
The Yale Bowl

But here’s the thing: the very first “bowl game” – the Rose Bowl – was originally created to help fund a preexisting event: Pasadena’s Tournament of Roses. If you’re an American, you’ve no doubt seen at least a bit of the famous “Tournament of Roses Parade” on TV every New Year’s Day. Well, what happened was that the tournament was barely breaking even most years, so someone on the organizing committee suggested holding a football game to generate a bunch of revenue.

Tournament of Roses parade

As envisioned, the game was to feature the best team from the western states playing the best team from the eastern states. However, in the inaugural game – played on January 1, 1902 – the eastern team (Michigan) crushed the western team (Stanford) by a score of 49-0. I don’t know if the Californians’ feelings were hurt or what, but for the next several years other sports were substituted for football. Given the immense popularity of college football today, it’s hard to believe that chariot and ostrich races were more popular than football, but so it was.

15 years later the game was resurrected. The first few games were played in nearby Tournament Park, but the game quickly grew so popular that a proper stadium became necessary. And so, in 1922 the “Tournament East-West Football Game” moved to the “Tournament of Roses Stadium”. Within a year, the stadium was called the “Tournament of Roses Bowl” (thanks to the Yale Bowl), and soon the game itself was just called the “Rose Bowl”.

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