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29 September, 2011

FORGIVENESS

   By Gus Ramsey

   Tom Glavine, I forgive you.
   I know you don't care, but I need to say it.
   So there. I said it. I forgive you.

   Four years ago tonight I went to bed with the uneasy, yet hopeful excitement of a dramatic final day of the baseball season just hours away. Sure the Mets were in the throws of a nasty tailspin. Yes, they had lost five in a row before John Maine dialed up a season-saving one-hitter on the season's penultimate day, but their was still reason for optimism. Unlike the Red Sox and Braves month-long slumps, the Mets were playing well most of September, 2007. They had won nine of eleven to start the month. And despite dropping the next five, they swept the Marlins in Florida before coming back to Shea Stadium for their final seven games against the Nats, Cardinals and Marlins. Then the losing started. And all the while, the Phillies and Rockies kept winning. Colorado went an absurd 14-1 down the stretch and slammed shut the Mets escape hatch, the wild card, that had appeared a lock just weeks earlier. The Phillies were seven games back of the Mets on September, 12th but they went 12-4 to get to the final day tied with the Mets for first in the NL East.

   One of the things I love most about being a sports fan is the angst. I enjoy being nervous. I love not knowing what's going to happen. Yes, it's a little sadistic, but I believe it comes with the territory, so I embrace it. When I woke up the morning of September 30th, 2007, I was looking forward to four hours of angst. After all, this is what baseball is supposed to be, dramatic, romantic, climactic.
 
      I never really cared for Tom Glavine. He was a Brave. Even as a Met, I thought of him as a Brave. When he first signed with the Mets I would tell my friends, "I bet the Braves are paying him $3 million a year to be a spy and when we need him the most, he's going to turn on us." Despite all that, when Glavine took the mound that day, I was hopeful and ready for some drama and angst.
   Then this happened:

H. Ramirez walked; Uggla forced H. Ramirez (second to shortstop); Hermida singled to right [Uggla to third]; Cabrera singled to left [Uggla scored, Hermida to second]; Ross doubled to right [Hermida scored, Cabrera scored, Ross scored
(error by Glavine) (no RBI)]; Jacobs singled to left; Treanor walked [Jacobs to second]; de Aza singled to left [Jacobs to third, Treanor to second]; Willis was hit by a pitch [Jacobs scored, Treanor to third, de Aza to second]; only the second time in 20 years that Glavine has hit a batter with the bases loaded; SOSA REPLACED GLAVINE (PITCHING); H. Ramirez struck out; Uggla doubled to left [Treanor scored, de Aza scored, Willis to third]; Hermida grounded out (first unassisted); 7 R, 6 H, 1 E, 2 LOB.  Marlins 7, Mets 0.

 
   And just like that it was over. No drama. No romance. No climax. Not even any angst.
   I had gone into my office that day to watch the game in peace and quiet. There was no peace. There was no quiet. There was only anger. This was a team that less than a year before was on the edge of trip to the World Series. Now they were a historic laughing stock. And to top it all off, Tom Glavine ruined my day. He crapped all over my 4 hours of angst and drama. And, oh by the way, the Nats gave no resistance to the Phillies, so there was hardly a moment of "Well, the Phillies are losing so there's still a chance we play tomorrow." The day was a total dud.

   Fast-forward nearly four years to the day. Red Sox fans entered the final day of the season feeling the same way Mets fans had in '07. A cesspool of anger, nerves, hope and trepidation swirling in the pit of your stomach. But unlike my day, Sox fans got an E-Ticket to a 5 and half hour roller coaster ride. Momentum swings in their own game, nothing but good news coming from the Yankees game, a diversion and time-to-catch-my-breath rain delay followed by one bad development after another, climaxed by a pair of death blows in a three minute span.

   This is when it hit me. Tom Glavine did me a favor. He put a gun to my head and pulled the trigger. Conversely, last night Red Sox fans suffered. It probably felt like someone who had been lying on their death bed for six months, hoping the doctor would bring good news. There were moments of hope and reasons to think they would be OK. Then, the doctor returned with the grim look on his face and relayed the worst news possible. I don't think I could have taken it.

   All the times I had said in the past that I wanted the angst and the drama, I never meant I wanted it to end in a loss. I meant '86-Mets-vs-the-Astros-in-game-6 kind of drama. Or Broncos-vs-Packers-Super-Bowl kind of angst. But not last night. That was painful.  Long, drawn out pain that capped a historically bad month of pain and misery.

   So, I forgive you, Tom Glavine. Thank you for putting the proverbial bullet in my brain four years ago.
  Glavine (L) 1/3 IP, 5H, 7R, 7 ER, 2 BB, 0K never looked so good

26 September, 2011

MY BREAKING BAD BRAIN


   By Gus Ramsey

   Walter White is dead.
    In the next two episodes of Breaking Bad, the final two of season 4, anyone could say those words and I would believe it.
   The beauty of any truly great TV show is it's ability to lift you past that place where you look upon the character as actors performing really well and to the place where you are emotionally invested with the people.
   In recent years it happened for me with The West Wing, The Sopranos, LOST and now Breaking Bad.
   My friend James is a Netflixer. He watches shows, like the ones I mentioned, on Netflix, cranking out dozens of episodes at a clip, hardly ever watching them in real time. Recently he was watching LOST and remarked to me, "When is this going to end? How many episodes are there?" He was enjoying the show, but he was kind of lost (pardon the pun) in the storyline.
   Using the Netflix approach, it made me wonder about Breaking Bad. If you handed a person one episode at a time and they knew nothing of the show, they would swear after last night's episode that the end was near. The end for Walter, the end for Gus, the end for Hank, the end for Mike. When I consider that there are 18 more episodes to go, well, it really scrambles my brain.
   The crescendo that is building on this show has been incredible. It is right on par with the final seasons of LOST and The Sopranos, which is remarkable because, as I just noted, this isn't the final season.
As Alan Sepinwall wrote today http://tinyurl.com/3g82ama, usually when a show tries to one-up itself from episode to episode, it's a bad thing. That is not the case with Breaking Bad.
   When Walter was lying underneath his house last night, laughing like a hyena on meth and staring up through the hole in his crawlspace toward the heavens he will never see (in a scene that reminded me of Jack and Lock looking down into the hatch on LOST), I couldn't help but think "They might actually kill him."
   The sane TV viewer part of my brain immediately said, "Duh. He's the star. They're not killing him. There's 18 more episodes to go."
   The other part of my brain, the part that is blown away by the writing and producing of this show, said, "Yeah... but still.... I mean, they could kill him."
   And that's the brilliance of this show. You lose yourself in the moments, no mater how sinister or sincere. It sucks you in and makes you care about people you shouldn't care about. 
     Walter is cut from the Tony Soprano cloth. A morally flawed man who has our empathy. Obviously Walter's road to perdition was vastly different than Tony's, but in each case, none of their transgressions have changed my feelings toward them. 
   Gus has emerged as one of the most intimidating people on TV. His cut-throat approach (ok, I meant to do that one) to his business is equal parts succinct and shocking. The combination results in at least one OMG moment an episode. The thought that he could actually lose the three-way mental tug of war with Walter and Hank is hard to conceive, yet possible. 
   Jesse has somehow emerged as a sympathetic figure. He is being used by both Walter and Gus. Walter is trying to save his own life. Gus is trying to save his business. Jesse is just trying to save himself. To measure Jesse's transformation, you need look no further than the house he lives in. At the beginning of this season, Jesse's home was a 24-hour meth-a-palooza palace. In last night's episode, it was a home, with his girlfriend and her son cozily hanging out with him. The contradiction of what his life could be, in either direction, is equal parts hopeful and sad. 
   So now we have two episodes left in one of the best seasons of a television show I can remember.  
   I'm emotionally invested in a collection of bad people doing bad things to one another. It's man's inhumanity to man in high-definition, and I am mesmerized by it. 
   As you can tell, my brain has spent a lot of time trying to digest all that has happened.
  What I don't do is spend a lot of time trying to figure out what might happen next. It's not the way my brain works. It's too busy trying to comprehend the fact that Walter White may die. 
   What? It could happen.

16 September, 2011

The Tebow Conundrum

   by Gus Ramsey


   Steve Ramsey. That's my name (Gus is a nickname).
   That's also the reason I am a Broncos fan.
   When I was nine years old the Broncos quarterback was named Steve Ramsey. My dad got me an autographed picture from Steve, which read "to Steve Ramsey, from Steve Ramsey... Best wishes." 
Old Man Morton

  So when I talk about Broncos history, I go back to the mid-'70s. After the '76 season, Ramsey was traded to the Giants for Craig Morton, who, despite his 34 going on 64 body, lead Denver to their first Super Bowl. He was followed by the nearly as ancient-looking, but only 29 years old, Steve Deberg. 
Old Man DeBerg 


 So when John Elway came on the scene, part of the appeal was the Broncos finally had a QB who was a playmaker. They had a guy who could escape pressure, run around the field and take big shots without fans worrying that he was dead. Elway was all that, a guy who could turn sacks into touchdowns. No play was ever dead with #7 holding the ball. There were a million reasons why Broncos fans fell in love with John Elway, but that was one of the biggest. 
The One and Only

  Fast-forward past the forgettable Griese years and the Broncos had them a John Elway light (OK, really light) signal caller in Jake Plummer. Jake the Snake could run around with the best of them. He had a strong arm, escapability and, from time-to-time, could make a play out of nothing. Along came Jay Cutler and the Broncos had the first QB controversy of my football lifetime. Similar to Plummer, Cutler was a playmaker who never gave up on a play. He wasn't as fast as Plummer but his arm was stronger and he seemed to possess more of that magic that elevates a QB to another level. Broncos fans thought they finally had their Next Elway.
The Next Elway? Nope.




Jake the Snake
   One Josh McDaniels era later and now Broncos fans have a QB controversy of epic Sports Radio Talking, NFL Analyst Dissecting, Fan Chanting, proportions. On one side is the Morton/DeBerg-like Kyle Orton. A stay in the pocket, moves older than he is, QB who doesn't usually cost you games (despite game 1 of this season) but rarely wins games. He is not a playmaker in the Elway/Plummer/Cutler mold. In the other corner stands Tim Tebow, the college football king whose best attribute is his ability to run around and make things happen.
   The love for Tebow is a curious case. While he did show some flashes in his 3 starts last season, the Broncos were just 1-2 in those games. His stats in his 3 starts don't jump off the page, 40-81, 651 yards, 5 TD, 3 interceptions and 3 rushing TD's. ESPN.Com's research department reported that Tebow's QBR (which factors in all aspects of a QB's play) in those games declined from 83 to 58 to 31, respectively, suggesting that once teams got some tape of him, Tebow was less effective. But in the game he won, the playmaker rallied the Broncos to two 4th quarter touchdowns, including a 6-yard scramble for the go-ahead score. And a potentially watershed, Shades of Elway, Youtube moment (see the 2:30 mark). 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jkeFf88en-s
   It's hard to argue that Tebow doesn't possess some kind of "it" factor. The players certainly seem to respond to him when he's on the field. But how long does that last when you aren't winning? 

   
#8 is no #7
   This week it was learned that some fans who had planned to spend 10-grand on a trip to the Super Bowl are going to use that money to put up a Play Tim Tebow billboard in Denver.
 "We gave Orton two years," one of the fans told USA Today,  "He can keep us in games, but he does not give us the best chance to win." 
Tebow or not Tebow?
  
  To me, that's the crux of the argument. Who gives you the best chance to win? Not just this week, but long term. I think that's why most fans wanted Cutler over Plummer and why most fans would rather see Tebow play now. A playmaking QB gives you hope. Hope that a play is never over, that a game is never over. Tebow represents hope that a better Broncos future is just around the corner. 

   Presently, I'm not convinced Tebow gives the Broncos the best chance. By all reports, Tebow was struggling mightily in training camp. In passing drills he was reportedly only completing fifty percent of his throws... to unguarded receivers. Imagine how hard it is run a practice when your quarterback is chucking errant throws all over the field. That's got to bog down the process quite a bit.  Also consider that Tebow hasn't rested the #2 QB status away from Brady Quinn, a guy who, by most accounts, has been a disappointing pro. That does not sound to me like a ringing endorsement of Tebow. 
   When I spoke to a former NFL player about this topic, he said the following, "In the NFL, about 60% of the plays you run, go off as scheduled. The other 40% don't. It's what you do with that other 40% that determines how good of a quarterback you can be."
   Looking at it that way, here's what the Broncos have: Kyle Orton is pretty good in the 60% area and sub par in the 40%. Tim Tebow is sub par in the 60% area and pretty good in the 40%. 
   So if you are the Broncos brass, how do you evaluate that? 
  While John Elway obviously has all the cred he needs in Denver, John Fox is trying to build a program. First and foremost, he needs to earn the respect and trust of the players in his locker room. If Fox puts a guy under center that the rest of his team feels is the third best option, Fox runs the risk of losing them all before the autumn wind whips in over the Rocky Mountains. Not something you do in your first year with an organization.
   Here's the other issue; The Broncos aren't any good. If the Broncos talent pool was an actual pool, there would be writings on their sideline that say "NO DIVING" because they have no depth. Watch what happens at home this week against the Bengals when 6 or 7 of the Broncos best players are on the sidelines. Also, their running game, which lead to about a gazillion 3rd and long situations against the Raiders, stinks. None of which bodes well for having Tim Tebow take your snaps.
   In the end, there is one simple fact about this debate that I keep coming back to, and it's this;
   The starting quarterback of the 2012 Denver Broncos is currently not on the Denver Broncos.
   I'll bet my autographed Steve Ramsey picture on it.
  
   

14 September, 2011

Rocky Training Montages Breakdown

  by Gus Ramsey
(I wrote this in December and somehow the font got all jacked up, so I fixed it. Kind of.)

   My Twitter Question of the Day was, Which is the best Rocky
training montage? Let's begin with the fact that there are
no wrong answers. They are all great.
I think the vote totals (Rocky 4 was a runaway winner) reflect two things:
1) Most of my followers are younger and have seen and remember Rocky 4 more than have seen the first to Rocky films.

2) Many people probably confused the two montages and in
their mind morphed them into one.
   Four people specifically noted the first montage, which is prior to Adrian's arrival in Russia. This is the one that has the synthesizer music supporting the video. Hearts on Fire is the other one, which involves Rocky running up the mountain.
  That said, the two still combined for 72 votes and most people likely would have voted for one or the other, so Rocky 4 is still the basic choice.
Here is my list, from "worst" to best. 


Rocky Balboa:

Duke's speech about building some "hurtin' bombs" and "kissing the express train"  was good, but not great. Give Stallone credit for knowing the importance of having  a Duke speech in there.  I could have done without the double neck crack and "Yeah!" from Duke.  Pros: 1-armed pushups on the training ball, going back to the meat locker, working out in the backyard, slamming the big kegs or whatever they were and the  point at Duke to say "I'm ready."  Cons: jogging with the dog and lifting it up at the top of the stairs.  Antonio Tarver being the least intimidating presence in a Rocky montage ever.

Clubber Lang in Rocky 3: 

I saw this movie in the theater. Packed house.
People were terrified during this montage (despite
Rocky's appearance on The Muppet Show).
Clubber was hitting dudes so hard they were flying out of
ring. He was clubbing boxers who were down on a knee.
To top it off, he was making grunt noises that would scare
the best women tennis players while he was doing hanging
pull-ups. When they showed the shot of him doing those
pull-ups from behind, the audience gasped. The stage was
set that perhaps, perhaps, Rocky was in big trouble.

Rocky 2 (a):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JG2onzLFjpI

This is where Sly started using two "training" scenes in the Rocky 
films, understanding the value of less dialogue and more pump up

the crowd stuff. Let's tackle the running through the streets

scene first. 

Pros: The Gonna Fly Now score was improved for this movie

and really pops off the screen. 
Rocky hurdling over the benches is both impressive and funny.

The kid yelling "goooooooooo" gets me every time. 
Cons: those poor kids must have run about 10 miles with Rocky.
He ran through all the streets of Philadelphia. 
Granted, this was the late '70's when kids played outside all day, 
but still, some of those 10-year olds ran a half-marathon.


Rocky 4 - Synthesizer:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W8xHjC27YvM&feature=related

The song for this one is, believe it or not, "Training Montage"
by Vince DiCola. 
Some people mentioned this one specifically. 
It comes right off the one of the two best speeches 
in Rocky history when Duke gives Rocky the "When Apollo
died, a part of me died," speech. When he was done I wanted 
to jump on Air Moscow, fly to Russia and kick Drago's ass. 


Pros: the juxtaposition of Rocky training and Drago training 
was an eye-grabber. 
Drago is pounding machines and running sprints on a track.
Rocky is lifting tipped-over,  horse-pulled wagons out of the snow
and jogging in boots straight from the LL Bean catalogue. 
Rocky's entire workout is impressive. He's working the speedbag,
sawing the wood, chopping down trees, carrying logs through 
three feet of snow, loading rocks and wearing a harness pulling
Paulie in a sleigh like they are in the Iditarod. 

Cons: Didn't like the symbolism of Drafo knocking down sparring
partners and Rocky chopping down trees, with the back and forth
of each falling to the ground. Very similar to the treatment he did
in the No Easy Way Out montage. Too much. 
The other big negative is that when the montage ends and Rocky
is jogging home, the Human Wet Blanket, Adrian, is waiting for him.
It's freezing cold Russia. Who wants a wet blanket? 
Total momentum killer. 

Rocky 2 (b):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Abh63B4Pzo0&feature=related

Many who voted for this mentioned "Win!" and "what are we 
waiting fer?!", which tells you how those lines set the emotional 
and got the viewer fired up for the montage.
Pros: The workout was really good. Sledgehammer, 
sit-ups with the dude smacking his stomach, speed jump rope, 
fly lifts with the trainer counting "forty niiiiiinnnne...fiffffttyyy!"
Cons: Rocky finally catching the chicken and celebrating like he 
just beat Apollo.
   


Rocky:
 I'm stunned at how few votes this got. 

Pros: technically not part of the montage, but the chugging of the eggs
is something everyone seeing it for the first time remembers. The montage
starts a little slow with Rock just jogging, but picks up nicely with the 1-handed
pushups and the hand-clap pushups. Everyone immediately tried to do those
pushups.  

 In a related story, there were more broken noses in 1976 than in any other time in our country's history. 
Rocky also punched the meat in the locker, gave the trainer guy who didn't appear in any of the sequels
the "ok" sign,  sprinted along the dock with the big boat behind him and provided one of the most iconic images in movie history as he ran up the stairs and threw his hands in the air. As one responder said, "even people who never saw Rocky know he ran the steps at the Art Museum."

Cons: We hadn't reached the "oh my God, look how ripped Sly is," portion of the Rocky experience. 


Rocky 3: 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kf8oZGHDTt4


Apparently Rocky is afraid. How do we know this? Because the Wet Blanket dragged it out of him on the beach. "how did everything that was so good get so bad?" Rocky wants to know. The answer is the Wet Blanket sucked the MAN out of him and now he was terrified of the big meanie who killed his trainer and hit on his woman AT A PUBLIC CELEBRATION OF HIM! 
  Pros: First look at the new ripped Rocky. Just like McGwire and Sosa, none of us thought 'roids. It was just Rocky's hard work. Rocky and Apollo teaming up. Two enemies coming together gets you all warm and fuzzy. Rocky learning to move with rhythm in the ring as he and Apollo move side-by-side was very cool. The pulling of Paulie into the pool was funny. And there is the run and hug on the beach. The hug that launched the phrase "awkward man hug." Who knew that two muscle bound men running in tight shorts, jumping into the ocean and celebrating would cause such a stir. Here are some of the positive comments about this montage;
"Rocky 3-sweaty Apollo & Rock on the beach! Wonders 4 race relations & gay rights"
"Rocky III. The hug is the greatest moment in the history of American cinema."
"definitely Rocky III, because of "The Hug""
"definitely Rocky III, the beach with Apollo and in the gym with all the brothers. He gets the eye of the tiger back"
"the best rocky training montage is 3...thats when he learned how to box and not jus get hit in the face!!!"
"also incredible when Apollo Creed trained Rocky in Rocky III and Rocky finally beats him in the 100 yard dash. Cried"
  Cons: the biggest con has to be the tights shots of the forbidden speedbags as the guys are running on the beach. Just unnecessary. I didn't mind the hug, I just didn't need for it to take place in the ocean. Lastly, Rocky isn't ever beating Apollo in a running race and Apollo just looked like he wasn't trying as hard in the slow-mo shots. Rocky's face is all contorted and his hair is flopping and he's straining and Apollo looks like he's reading a paper. Wasn't buying it. 


Rocky 4-Hearts on Fire:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1SUzcDUERLo&feature=fvw


This entire movie is a 80's montage, which is why it's great. At this point in the movie we know Rocky can't win. How do we know? The Wet Blanket told him. But now she's flown to Russia, lightened up and given her approval so we can get on with the training. 
  Pros: the song. classic 80's tune that gets you going. The beard. Rocky is rocking a great beard. Something we've never seen before. This tells us two things. 1-he is serious. 2-When Adrian showed up they removed all the razors from the house so Rocky wouldn't kill himself after another depressing lecture from the Wet Blanket. The workout was awesome. Sit-ups hanging from the rafters. Leg-lifts that looked impossible to do while Duke says "No pain." the twisting-lifting of the bag of rocks. Swinging that stockade looking thing on his shoulders. Lifting the wagon with Duke, Paulie and the Wet Blanket in it. Do you know how heavy wet blankets are?
Meanwhile Drago is getting steroid injections, breaking machines and going through sparring partners like Lindsey Lohan goes through nurses. And finally, the run up the mountain. What's better than a man running up a mountain?! In December? In Russia? With snow boots on?! Nothing. Plus I am convinced this is where Sly got the inspiration to make Cliffhanger. By the time Rocky yelled "Draaaaaggggooooooooo!" the movie audience was in a lather. Little did we know this was the beginning of the end of the cold war. 
  Cons: That wool lined leather jacket he wore while running up the mountain had to smell like 10-day dead goat by the time he got back down the mountain. 
Here's what some of you had to say. 
"How can it not be Rocky IV? Rocky training in Siberia, Drago with his fancy equipment, and the dated synth music"
"Rocky IV was pretty incredible. Rocky in the woods training lifting boulders vs Ivan Drago on steroids and machines."
"Hearts on Fire. Rocky IV. Dragooooooooooo!!!"
"RockyIV all the way. Technology and steroids versus old fashioned heart/determination."
"Rocky IV. How many workouts end Communism?"
'Nuff said. 

 



10 September, 2011

My Madden 12 Online Franchise Team

   by Gus Ramsey

Here is the team that I drafted for my online franchise team. As we were doing this it occurred to me that every 10 years the NFL should blow up all rosters and re-draft the entire league. It would be the most watched television event of the year.

QB- Aaron Rodgers (1st pick, 8th overall) - I've learned that playing in these leagues, it's far more important to have a good QB than good RB. Just too hard to consistently run the ball well and win. I took Chris Johnson last year with my 1st pick, 3rd overall. Great for big numbers vs. the CPU, but I was only able to have limited success running against the other guys in the league. Still a weapon in the passing game, though. But having an accurate QB is a big deal now. Brady and Vick were off the board by the time I picked.

RB- Darren McFadden, Jerious Norwood and Demarco Murray as my 3rd down back.
FB- Brandon Manumaleuna, Tony Fiammetta. I win any fullback Scrabble competition.

WR- Desean Jackson, AJ Green, Davone Bess (great in the slot) Demayrius Thomas (88 release makes him very good against 4th CBs)

TE-Jimmy Graham (beast in the making for a franchise league), Travis Beckum

O-line is solid, not great. D-Line is shaky. Suh was taken just before I was going to take him and I never recovered.

LOLB- Thomas Davis (87 speed, 92 acc, 88 tak, 94 hp)
MLB- Jonathon Goff (90 tak, 93 hp) , Bruce Carter (88 speed, 87 agi, 92 acc)
ROLB- Von Miller ('nuf said)

CB- Jonathon Joseph, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Chris Culliver (58 tak, 65 hp. nice for a cb)

FS- Mike Adams, Major Wright
SS- Taylor Mays (95 speed, 95 agi, 93 acc, 91 hp), Kyle McCarthy (impressed me in the real Broncos training camp.)

K- Rod Bironas (I'll be making a 65 yarder in Denver with him)
P- Adam Podlesh (looking forward to cutting him after the 1st season.)

07 September, 2011

some links of interest

if you've never seen, or just want to see it again, the great Put Down the Duckie with Mookie Wilson, Keith Hernandez and other stars.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UiQsaEdJ1aI

Some Twitter followers have started a good blog of their own. Check it out.
http://themendozaline11.blogspot.com/

Madden players, check out the Madden Bible on facebook and look for their live shows with tips and info.
http://www.facebook.com/EASportsMaddenNFL/posts/255520244488846

Great video of The Beatles doing I've Got a Feeling on the rooftop.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9LspfckOIeo&feature=share

The fax machine: still useful after all these years
http://www.theonion.com/articles/report-fax-machines-still-pretty-impressive-if-you,21256/

05 September, 2011

YOUR 2011 DENVER BRONCOS

   by Gus Ramsey

   If you are familiar with the old NY radio team of Mike and the Mad Dog, then you are probably familiar with their annual routine of going through the Jets and Giants schedule and declaring wins or losses. It made for scintillatingly bad yet entertaining radio to listen to Mike and his heavy New York accent rattle off "uhhh, win.... loss.... that's a loss.... win."
   So using that formula, minus the radio and the accent, here's how I see the Denver Broncos 2011 season playing out.

Week 1- home Raiders. Win.
   First game in the John Elway Era: Part 2. There is NO chance Elway is losing his first game as boss AT HOME... TO THE RAIDERS... ON MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL. He'll put on a jersey and play if he has to.
   24-17 Broncos.

Week 2- home Bengals. Win.
   The Bengals are bad. We know this. This feels like a game where the new dynamic duo of Dumervil and Miller make their presence felt and harass rookie QB Andy Dalton into 4 turnovers and get 3 or 4 sacks. It's also at this point the Denver Post puts up the poll question "What should the nickname be for Denver's pass rushing duo? a) Orange Rush b) DumerMiller c)  The Sack Race brought to you by Sports Authority d) Fast and Furious '11
   31-10 Broncos

Week 3 - away Titans. Loss.
   Just when Bronco fans will start to get a little excited, Chris Johnson will tell us all to settle down. The Broncos couldn't stop the run last year. This will be their first big test of 2011 (yes I know McFadden kills the Broncos). CJ will break two long runs, go for about 160 and Denver gets their first loss of the year.
   20-7 Titans.

Week 4 - away Green Bay. Loss.
   I played this game in franchise mode on Madden last night. The Packers forced 3 fumbles and returned them all for TDs. They also had a pick 6. Their defense spent more time jumping into the crowd than Eddie Vedder. This could get ugly fast. The good news is it's being played on October 2nd and there will be some playoff baseball to watch. I'll be reverse jinxing the heck out of the Yankees on Twitter this day.
   38-14 Packers.

Week 5- home San Diego. Loss.
   Phillip Rivers kills the Broncos. 8-3 with a passer rating of 107. 18 TDs, 6 int. Phillip Rivers is Rambo. The Broncos are the Vietnamese and Russian soldiers. If the Crush Rush (see what I did there? I snuck in another nickname for Elvis and Von. Put that in your poll and smoke it.) can hit Rivers a lot they may have a chance.
   26-20 Chargers.

Week 6 - bye.

Week 7 - at Miami. Loss.
   After 3 straight losses and a bye week, the natives will be getting restless. Talk radio in Denver will be blowing up. If Orton is struggling, the Tebowmaniacs will be calling for a change. It could be dicey. And now the Broncos play the team they almost traded Orton to, and, AND, the Dolphins will be honoring Tebow and his Florida Gator teammates for their national title in an effort to sell tickets. This reeks of Chad Henne doing his "You want Kyle Orton over me as your QB?? Huh?! Chant his name during training camp and boo me, will you?! Well watch this, you no-good so and sos," routine. I know, it's quite a routine, and frankly, never seen before, but brace yourselves for it.
  28-24 Dolphins.

Week 8 - home Detroit. Win.
   Potentially awesome showdown of two really good pass rushes. The Crush Rush vs. The Feline D-Line. Chaos will N. Suh for Orton and Stafford (if Orton is still starting and Stafford is still standing). Denver's D and special teams are the keys in this one as the teams QB's combined to go down over ten times.
   19-10 Broncos

Week 9 - away Raiders. Loss.
   Remember how I said McFadden kills the Broncos? 6 games, 487 yards, 6.16 yards/carry and 5 TDs. 81 yards per game is not exactly slaughtering the defense, but that 6+ yards per carry is super scary. Another big day against a defense still finding it's way against the run. After the game Al Davis credits coach Madden with his excellent game plan and gives Lester Hayes a 5-year, 100-million dollar contract.
  27-17 Raiders

Week 10- away Kansas City. Loss.
   The Chiefs are going to take a small step back this year, but they are still better than Denver. And few people scare me more when they have the ball in their hands than Jamaal Charles. The Chiefs are 3-3 against Denver in Charles career. Removing 2008 when he barely played, Charles had 32 carries for 97 yards in the two Denver wins. In the two KC wins, Charles rushed 45 times for 375 yards. 3 yards a carry vs 8 yards a carry. Yikes! I fear this is going to be an 8 yards a carry day.
   31-17 Chiefs.

Week 11- home Jets. Win. (really)
   Here's the thing. The Jets play the Sunday night game in week 10. They host the Patriots. Kind of a big game. Then they have to travel west and play on Thursday night. Let down plus Jet(s) lag and I smell upset here. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. By the way, the Tebow package gets used significantly here as the Jets won't have much time to prepare for it. He is involved in two Broncos TDs.
   28-14 Broncos.

Week 12 - away San Diego. Loss.
   Wash. Rinse. Repeat.
   16-7 Chargers.

Week 13 - away Minnesota. Win.
   Adrian Peterson will be hurt and unable to play this week. I know this because the Vikings will have already played the Packers twice and will be coming off a road game at Atlanta and their turf. By this point in the season, McNabb will be a liability and the Vikings will have been pounding Peterson to win games. No AP. The Crush Rush is all over McNabb. I feel good about this one. By the way, wacky stuff happens when the Broncs go to Minnesota. In 2003 we had the Randy Moss amazing catch and lateral to Moe Williams right before the half for a Vikings TD. In 1996 we had the Ed McCaffrey catch of the twice-deflected pass for the winning score. This year look for Dumervil and Miller to smash McNabb at the same time, Elvis will pick up the ball and run it in for 6. Meanwhile, Von will scoop up McNabb's head thinking it is the ball, run it into the end zone and spike it in the Viking's mascot's horn.
   21-10 Broncos

Week 14 -  home Cutler. Win.
   Jay Cutler returns to Denver for real (he played there last year in the preseason).
   The Broncos crowd is going to be frothing. At this point the Broncs are just 5-7. This game is going to get a lot of "This is our Super Bowl" talk among Broncos fans. In a lost season, knocking Cutler on his Bear bottom over and over again will be quite pleasing. We all know about the Bears o-line and their issues. I imagine coach Fox will come up with a nice scheme to get after Cutler. Last year against the tandem of Collins and Hanie (Cutler either missed this game with a concussion or was working on his wedding gift registry) Fox's Panthers had 3 sacks and 6 QB hits. For good measure Champ is going to pick one off in the red zone (a Cutler staple) and take it 95 yards to the house.
   31-13 Broncos

Week 15 - home New England. Loss.
   Doesn't it seem like the Patriots come to Denver every year? Denver always seems to kind of have the Patriots number, don't they? Since 1984 the Patriots and Broncos have played 21 times (including the playoffs) with 14 of those games in Denver. The Broncos are 17-4 in those games, including 12-2 in Denver. So why not the same old story? Because the Pats are really good and will be revving it up for the playoffs. I've already given Denver a win over the Jets. You can't really expect me to give them a win over New England too.
   21-15 Patriots

Week 16 - away Buffalo. Loss.
   Christmas Eve in Buffalo. How depressing is that?
Gus: "No offense, Buffalo."
Buffalo: "None taken, Gus."
Gus: "Thanks, Buffalo. By the way, I enjoy your wings."
Buffalo: "Don't push it."
Gus: "Right.... sorry."
   14-10 Bills.

Week 17 - home Chiefs. Loss.
   New Year's Day. That means the day after New Year's Eve. A team with nothing to play for vs. a team that is probably playing for a playoff spot. The day after New Year's Eve. Hmmmmm. Let's just say that the Broncos might not be sharp for this one. And then there's this, in their last 3 regular season finales, the Broncos are 0-3 and have given up 129 points. That's a sobering stat.

  So there you have it. Get ready for 6-10. A small improvement from a year ago. Not a whopping start to the John Fox Era, but thanks to the return of Elvis and emergence of Von Miller, this team will be far more entertaining to watch.