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29 December, 2011

Mount Kill-A-Mets-R.A.

   by Gus Ramsey

   You may have heard, Mets pitcher R.A. Dickey wants to climb Mount Kilimanjaro for charity next week. The Mets sent Dickey's agent a letter to cover themselves legally. Based on no information or actual knowledge, here is a copy of the letter.

    Dear R.A., 
          It has been brought to our attention that you intend to ride Space Mountain at Disney World next week.... Have fun!     climb Mount Killimanjaro!?!? Are you freakin' crazy?! We would like to remind you that you are a member of the New York Mets.  As such, the chances that something disastrous doesn't happen to you are slimmer than the chances you ever see the top of the N.L. East mountain while pitching for us. Kilimanjaro hasn't had a major eruption in 360,000 years. That's even longer than our last offensive eruption.  You go up there and it's gonna be Ka-Blewie! That sucker is gonna blow like K-Rod after you've pitched 8-shutout innings. It's a lock. 
   By the way, it's cold way up on that mountain. Like our-offense-with-the-bases-loaded cold. Like our-team-playing-meaningful-games-in-September cold. Colder than all-those-ice-packs- we-use-to-treat-our-best-players-all-the-time cold. Like 90%-of-the-$6-dollar-french-fries-we-sell cold.  Like Sandy Alderson's-"I should have bought him a box of chocalates"-retort-to-Reyes cold. OK, probably not that cold, but still verrrry chilly! 
With our luck, you'll get frostbite on your index and middle finger on your pitching hand and never be able to throw the knuckleball again. (although you could always cut them off and develop the Really-Split-Finger Fastball.) 
   Look, if this is something you just have to do, then while you are up there, can you look around for some gold or a long lost treasure or something? We'll let you keep most of it, but we could use some of it too. We'd be indebted to you  very grateful.

     The Mets 

23 December, 2011

The Chicago Blackhawks Christmas Card

  this is spectacular

22 December, 2011

Shaq vs Big Show at Wrestlemania 28?

   rumors surfaced this week it could happen

19 December, 2011

Broncos Patriots Reaction

   by Gus Ramsey

   Disappointing loss for sure. Denver came out just the way I hoped they would, running the ball down the Patriots throats. As I said before, winning would require a hefty positive margin in time of possession. In the first quarter, it was something like 11:00 to 4:00 for Denver. Basically, this was the anti-Tebow game, a great first quarter followed by 3 quarters of so-so football.

   When the Broncos settled for the field goal to go up 16-7, I almost tweeted a first guess but decided against it. My first thought was "Go for it! You've been pounding the ball down their throat so far." Then the Madden player in me said, "Put the points on the board. It's the Pats. You can't walk away from any drive empty handed. Besides, every time they go for it on short yardage, they get stuffed and I get mad they didn't run a QB sneak with Tebow." So I was first guessing my second guess. In the end, I think putting points on the board was the right call. It put them up two scores. If they had just held on to the ball in the first half...

   for the Patriots. The turnovers obviously were back breakers, basically giving the Pats 13 points. The Cosby one especially irked me. He looked like a guy who was thinking "This is a big game, I need to make a big play," so he tried and failed. Another time on a kickoff that was deep in the endzone, he tried to run it out, got tackled on the 11 and then slammed the ball into the turf with both hands. Again, trying to do too much.
   The other sign that Denver was in over their heads was the 3rd and 24, hands to the face penalty on Robert Ayers. It was the first drive of the 2nd half, a chance for Denver to get a 3 and out, good field position and perhaps some momentum. The Patriots ended up punting anyway, but from midfield instead of from their own 20. Denver stated from their own 10 instead of somewhere around their 40 or better. In that situation Ayers should know to not commit a dumb penalty, get the stop and get the ball. Sloppy and stupid doesn't win games.

   3. The number of fumbles the Broncos had? Yup. But also the number of tackles Dumervill and Miller combined for. Miller's tackle came on a fumbled snap. Dumervill's sack came when he was unblocked. A disappointing effort from those two. Their inability to get to Brady forced Denver to blitz more and Brady picked them apart. As noted by ESPN's Stats and Information Department, Brady completed over 80% of his passes against the blitz for a QB rating of 146.5.
   Brian Dawkins isn't the player he used to be, but the Broncos defense has played significantly worse this year when he hasn't been on the field. Once New England went to their no-huddle and picked up the pace, they had their way. Having Dawkins on the field would have helped with that and I think he could have helped against the tight ends. Speaking of the tight ends, can we stop saying guys like Gronkowski are athletic "for a big guy?" It's 2011. There are a lot of big, athletic human beings walking the earth, and they have been for decades.

   That's what all of Patriot Nation did on the hit Dumervill put on Brady. Tom never saw Elvis coming, but we all did and for that split second before contact everyone watching thought, "I'm about to see Tom Brady killed on the football field." Also, typical of the day, Brady held onto that ball. That could have been a big turnover.

   I thought the Patriots secondary was the worst ever? If that's true, then the Broncos receivers are really bad because other than on play-action fakes, no one was getting open. I suspect the Pats secondary rose to the challenge and played better than they have all year, but it is alarming for the Broncos that Denver receivers had trouble getting open throughout the game. Somewhat related, what happened to screen plays and some usage of the tight end? They have both seemed to disappear in recent weeks.

   This was the first game I thought, "Wow, Tebow is getting banged around." He may evolve into a decent QB, but if the average life span of a NFL running back is 4 years, Tebow's can't be much longer. Can you see him running like this 4 or 5 years from now? I know he'll still be young, big and strong, but that's going to be a lot of pounding he'll be taking. By the way, if this game was a Madden game and a Tool Shed player was controlling the Broncos, he would have pulled the plug after the 4th and 17, 25 yard scramble around and sack play.

   The good news for the Broncos is, by Christmas day they will be in the playoffs. They will beat the Bills in Buffalo. The Lions will outscore the Chargers something like 42-35. And Kyle Orton will help lead the Broncos to the playoffs by leading the Chiefs past the Raiders at home. So it'll be on to the playoffs, with a week to rest up McGahee, and face the Ravens. I'll save this for when it happens, but I like Denver's chances against Baltimore.

  I started the season with my Tebowmeter at a 5.5
WRs weren't getting open). He was sacked four times and harried many more. It felt like his first two games when he was sacked 13 times. Much of his passing success this season has come when defenses change to cover 2 or soft zones with the lead. Belichick did no such thing and Tebow was unable to complete a lot of passes on the non-playaction plays. Did anyone else notice at the end of the game the Patriots blitzed a LB at the left side of the line on almost every play, making it impossible for Tebow to roll left. It was like they side, "Go ahead, find an open receiver in 3 seconds, bet you can't do it."
  Tebow also continues to ignore his check-down receivers. There were more than a few times when a back was open in the flat for a nice 5-6 yard gain, but he tried for the bigger play down field.
  I no longer hold my breath every time Tebow puts a pass in the air, and he could use a few more weapons around him, but there is still much work to be done for Tim Tebow to be an upper tier NFL quarterback.

17 December, 2011

The Sim Game

So mostly out of curiosity, somewhat out of bordom and certainly out of dorkdom, I had turned on my Madden '12 game last night and had the computer play a Patriots at Broncos game ahead of tomorrow's showdown. The rosters were updated, as were the depth charts, so it was legit. I started tweeting a little play-by-play just for fun. Everything that happened is 100% true. I swear on John Elway. Here is my Twitter timeline showing what transpired.

Yes I did just start a Patriots vs Broncos CPU vs CPU game on Madden that I am watching. what's your point?

Woodhead 2 yard TD run. 7-0 Pats. 2:14 left in the first.
game just showed a cut-away of Tebow getting loose on the sidelines, throwing right handed.... hmmmmm
after Prater 36-yard FG makes it 7-3, Pats respond with 1st play, 80-yard TD to Welker after he breaks a Goodman tackle on a slant. 14-3 NE

Broncos driving inside the 2:00 mark, inside the red zone. Tebow just ran from the 18 to the 1 yard line.

Broncos stuffed twice, 1 incomplete. kick the FG. 14-6 NE with :37 left in the half.

I can go much lower RT @bmb21 Consider what you're doing right now: tweeting a play by play of an imagined NFL game. New low indeed.

Tebow runs and fumbles. Nate Jones scoops and scores. 21-6 Pats. 5:41 left in the 3rd.

Mcgahee 1-yard TD run. 21-13. :38 left in 3rd quarter. Tebow is 9-19, 94 yds and 79 yards rushing

Pats go 3 and out. Gus Johnson is starting to get a little fired up.

Tebow hits 2 passes in a row. Broncos on the Pats 46.

3rd and 9, Tebow hits Royal who lunges for the 1st down.

big 3rd and 2 coming up from the 27

McGahee gets it!

3rd and 4, toss to McGahee.. he breaks 3 tackles and gets the first down at the 14

3rd and 2 from the 6, pass to Green in the back of the end zone but he doesn't get the second foot down! incomplete

Broncos go for it. 4th and 2. Ball runs it in! TD.

Broncos go for 2.... Tebow hits McGahee and we are tied at 21. 4:30 to go. Virtual Gus Johnson is losing his mind.

3 plays (including a long pass to Ochocinco. See I could never make that up) and Brady has the Pats on the Broncos 6.

2:00 warning. 3rd and goal. Drama!

Woodhead runs in it from 8 yards out. 28-21 Pats. 1:58 to go. Broncos have all their timeouts.

Tebow runs on back-to-back plays, Denver at the 45....

Tebow to Decker down at the Pats 13!!!!

Tebow runs down to the 2!

Tebow runs again... sacked and injured!! He's down. Brady Quinn is coming in.

3rd and 2 from the 4, :46 left..

Quinn throws incomplete....

McGahee gets the first but stopped on the 1!

Complete pass to McGahee at the goal line. Touchdown! But the play is under review!

it's overturned! 2nd and goal from the 1

Tebow is back in and runs it in! I couldnt make this up if I wanted to.

28-28. :35 left. Pats have all their timeouts. Best CPU v CPU game I have ever seen.

we've gone to OT. Broncos won the toss

Tebow 15-28, 192 and 19-115 on the ground

After a screen to Mcgahee, Tebow runs 18 yards to the Pats 33,

Complete to Cosby down to the 9!

Mcgahee dives in from the two and the Broncos win!

The winning score

And guess who loved it


16 December, 2011

Patriots Broncos Preview

   by Gus Ramsey

   Let's begin by looking back. Here is what I wrote about this game before the season started.
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

  OK, now that the game is here, I'll try some actual analysis or insight.

   I emailed Simmons this week and reminded him how much Terrell Davis used to terrify him. So using T.D. as a 10 on the Terrified Scale, I asked him what Tebow was. He said a 4. I thought that was kind of low given all that we have seen recently, but so be it. So I asked myself the same question in regards to the Pats. Brady is obvious, so let's move past him. Gronkowski is my #1 concern. He's a 9.5. No team has had an answer for him and I don't see one in Denver either. Yes, the Broncos linebackers are fast, rush the passer well and wrap up tackles well, but coverage doesn't seem like a strength. Some of the better tight ends they've played, like Gates and Keller, have been pretty productive. I'll be curious to see what Fox dials up to try and handle him.

   It's become fairly common in the league for team's that win the toss to defer to the second half and kick off to start the game. Not a good idea for Denver if they win the toss. I understand the offense has been putrid in the first half, but you have to give yourself the chance to take the opening drive down and score points. Being behind the Pats from the jump would not be a good thing. I understand Denver has had only one opening drive touchdown under Tebow this year, but I think that's the right play. 

   The Broncos lead the league in 3 and Outs. The Patriots defense is last in opponent 3rd down efficiency. The only way Denver wins this game is if they win this part of the battle. 

   ESPN Stats and Information put out the stat this week that, in the first three quarters of games, Tebow is blitzed 40% of the time. In the 4th quarter it drops to around 28%. That's the biggest drop-off for any QB in the league. I'm very interested to see how often the Pats bring five or more and how often they don't. Their defense is especially bad when the opponent is in three wide receiver sets, and blitzing would put their suspect secondary into one-on-one battles. This will be fascinating. One thing is for sure, if something is working for Belichick, he won't change it in the fourth quarter like other teams have.

   Broncos fans should want to see a lot of cutaway shots of Tom Brady. That means he is standing on the sidelines, not on the field firing TD passes. Simmons told me that what scares him most is the Broncos running game, that McGahee is the type of back that gives the Pats trouble. The Broncos are going to have to give Belichick a dose of his own Super Bowl 25 Time of Possession medicine. Tom Brady on the sidelines, with Jack Frost nipping at his nose, would be a wonderful sight. 

   History has never been my strong suit, but as I noted in my preseason post, the Patriots have not enjoyed their trips to Denver. Hopefully a touch of whatever Mile High magic there is, sprinkles itself around the field.

   I want to, I really do, I just can't. (You should know that the Vikings game was the only one during this streak that I thought they would win going into it.) As well as the Broncos defense has played, I still can't see them keeping the Patriots under 24 and as bad as the Patriots defense is, I can't see the Broncos scoring more than 24. So I will slightly amend my earlier prediction and go with Patriots 27 Broncos 17.

   The plan is for Simmons and I to podcast a recap on Monday. Hopefully it's a happy one.  

If you missed it, here is the Tebow Sound FX from the Bears game

12 December, 2011

Dear Santa....

   by Gus Ramsey

    Dear Santa,
          I don't have too many requests for Christmas, but they are pretty important, so here goes.

    First, can you please get the Broncos receivers some really good gloves so they can stop dropping the ball. Most puppy kennels don't see this many balls drop over eight weeks. I mean, if balls keep dropping at this rate, Times Square is going get a complex.

    I also want continued health for the Broncos offensive line. They've spent more time bending over together than lifers in a Turkish prison, so if you could make sure they stay on the field for the rest of the season, that would be great. They are the unsung MVPs of this season.

   Speaking of health. I know it would be an early gift, but would you mind giving Tom Brady a little touch of the flu this week? I wouldn't want anything really bad to happen to Tom, but if he couldn't play on Sunday, Ala Adrian Peterson, Jay Cutler, Matt Forte and Darren McFadden, well let's just say there might be a few extra cookies out for you at the Ramsey house. Do you like Toll House?

    I would like a pacemaker or a defibrillator for obvious reasons.
    I need a pad for my left knee. I find myself kneeling on it a lot lately.

   Could you give Andy Reid and the Eagles some nice gifts? They were kind enough to let the Broncos get Brian Dawkins, Brodrick Bunkley and Joe Mays.  Maybe a speedy recovery for Ryan Howard... well, no, actually not that. How about some of those Forever Lazy things in Eagle green? I think coach Reid would look great on the sidelines in one of those.

    Oh, I'm going to need a good eraser. In the last few months I wrote the Broncos 2012 starting quarterback was not on the Broncos 2011 roster and that the Broncos needed to draft Patrick Peterson or Nick Fairley. Ooh, that reminds me, I would LOVE a Broncos #58 jersey.

   That's all, Santa. Whatever you can do would be appreciated. I'm not sure why, but I really believe this year, you know what I mean?

*****other Broncos thoughts******
   Can we please stop saying the Broncos are lucky? Were they lucky Demayrius Thomas dropped a sure TD pass? Were they lucky when the perfectly booted onside kick bounced off TWO Broncos players hands and was recovered by the Bears? Were they lucky when Chris Harris dropped a likely pick-6?  If Barber fumbling the ball was luck then so was Peppers blocking the field goal. Marion Barber may have fallen down in bounds if not for a hustling DJ Williams, who shoved him out of bounds. Are the Broncos getting breaks? Absolutely. Are they getting a bunch of lucky breaks? No. Does this mean they'll make a long playoff run? Of course not, but let's not diminish some really impressive wins by saying they were lucky. At a time yesterday when I was preparing to trim my goatee (haven't during the win streak) and fans were thinking "oh well, it had to end sooner or later," the Broncos were doing what they've been doing for 6 straight weeks, playing their hearts out to the final gun.

   I heard someone at work today dismiss the Prater tying field goal by saying, "Well, it was at altitude."
I don't care if it's a 40-yarder, when you are kicking a game tying field goal on the last play of the game, there is a ton of pressure, especially when you are trying to keep the Tebow Train on the tracks. There's nothing easy about a 59-yard field in any conditions. Go stand on the 49-yard line of your local football field and take a long look at how far that is....

   On a much smaller scale, Tebow already has his Drive and his Fumble. The Drive against the Jets and yesterday when Barber was stripped the very first thing I (and probably every Broncos fan) thought of was Ernest Byner.


Funny Link

   "Kyle Orton" says goodbye to Denver

   and DJ Steve Porter's "All He Does is Win"

10 December, 2011

Perception is Reality

   Lots of talk lately about how the Broncos offense is controlling the ball and allowing their defense to rest, thus making them more effective late in games. It's not entirely true. They lead the league in 3-and-Outs and during their current win streak, aka the real Tebow Era, their time of possession is less than their opponents.

Den          Opp.

31:51       28:09
33:38       26:22
27:48       32:12
37:08       37:23
22:09       37:51

152:34    161:57

   Clearly Denver has played better in the second half in every game during this streak, so perhaps the second half stats would tell a different story and may better speak to the defense being on the field, but I still find it interesting that the Broncos aren't quite the ball hogs some are making them out to be.
   Also, I think we saw the value of Von Miller last week, as Denver relied heavily on the blitz to pressure the QB with Miller out of the game. It worked early, but it also lead to some huge plays for the Vikings. I'm curious to see if Denver will back off tomorrow and let Haine throw the ball, just trying to generate pressure with Dumervill and Miller.

05 December, 2011

The End of the Jose Reyes Era

   by Gus Ramsey

    "'Cause I'm already gone. And I'm feeling strong. I will sing this vict'ry song. Woo, hoo, hoo woo, hoo, hoo."  The Eagles

   In MLB the Show you can take music you've downloaded onto your PS3 and use it in the game for ballpark music, walkup music, reliever entry music, etc. For the last two seasons I have used The Eagles, "Already Gone" as the walkup song for Jose Reyes. My premise was once Reyes got on first, he was already gone, on his way to stealing second base. Little did I know the song meant so much more. By 2010, given the financial state of the Mets, Reyes was already gone. I just didn't know it.

Parting is Not Sweet Sorrow. It Sucks. 

   I put Reyes right behind Seaver and Strawberry in the category of Best Mets Player at the Time of Their Departure. When Seaver was traded, I was 11 and it signified the end of the world. When Strawberry left, it signified the end of an era. Maybe not the era that we had hoped for, producing one world series, not three or four. But once Straw left, the late 80's Mets were dead. And now Reyes leaving signifies the end of interesting baseball in Queens. Reyes was THE reason to watch the Mets last season. Sure, they have other players I enjoy watching, but Reyes was captivating. He is a supremely unique player. This is not to say the Mets should have matched the offer, they shouldn't and couldn't (I'll repeat that so it's understood. They should not have tried to match the years or dollars given their current state), but it doesn't change the fact that I am pissed Reyes is gone.
   Why So Mad?
   I'm glad that I still get mad over stuff like this. So much of the enjoyment in sports comes from caring. The fact that I am pissed about this means I still care. I'm also mad for my 9-year old son, Jack, who really likes Reyes and is super bummed that he is gone. The guy he was growing up with as a baseball fan is now a Miami Marlin. I'm mad that Fred Wilpon put himself in a position to let down his fan base and doesn't do enough to fix it. If he truly loves the Mets, he needs to sell. I've written about this before He has turned a big market team into a small market team. Not that huge payroll equals success, they've proven that, but a home grown star should not leave the Mets for the Marlins. Ever. 
 And I'm pissed that Reyes went to the Marlins. The team that taunted him and used his celebrating as their motivation as they were beating us in key games during the dreaded collapse in '07. It would have been bad if he had gone to the Angels or the Tigers, but it's awful that he ended up in the NL East. I'm also mad because I like Reyes. I won't be rooting for him to get hurt or anything, but I won't be wishing him well. That makes me mad. I'm mad I don't get to watch him leg out triples or make throws from deep in the hole anymore. And I don't buy the "he's going to be injured all the time anyway" comments. It's far more likely he'll play 145 games a year, enjoying the warm and controlled environment in Miami and be a really productive player. All of this makes me mad now. I'll be more mad when he holds up his new Marlin jersey this week. I'll be livid on opening day. I'll be extremely bummed when he comes to Citi Field on April 24th in a Marlins uniform. 
   And there is one more reason to be mad. From all accounts, Sandy Alderson was brought to the Mets as a favor to Bud Selig to try and help salvage the Mets financial situation as it related to the ball club. The Mets announced this week they lost 70 million dollars this year. Sandy, you're going to need a bigger boat. That said, this is not a long-term gig for Alderson. So if the Mets are officially rebuilding, that is likely a 3-5 year process. I can't see Alderson still being here in that time. So midway through the rebuilding it's going to be passed off to J.P. Riccardi or someone else? That doesn't seem like a good way to go about it. When Alderson says he has no interest in trading David Wright, does anyone believe him? There are going to be some dark(er) days in Queens in the coming years. 

   Could They Have Handled Him Worse?
   Jose Reyes was one of the most gifted athletes the Mets have ever had, and they pretty much screwed up their handling of his career every step of the way. First off, they tried to make him a second baseman when he came up because they needed Kaz Matsui to be a shortstop. In 30 years if anyone is reading this they will assume I was high and made it up. Seemingly every time Reyes was hurt, they mis-diagnosed or mis-treated the injury, making it worse. Even last year Terry Collins flirted with making him a 3-hitter. And lastly, they decided not to trade him at the deadline last year because they wanted to "build around him," likely knowing full well they would never be able to afford him, and now get nothing in return. Marlins offer aside, you can't blame Jose for wanting to get as far away from this organization as possible. 

   Ruben Tejada will be the new shortstop. He'll be good. He is an above average fielder who showed some nice signs of improvement last year. The club in general is still decent. Wright, Duda, Davis, Bay and Murphy could be a respectable core of a lineup. It's just not going to be dynamic. 
  Jose Reyes is a game-changer. From the very first pitch of the game, the opposing pitcher is on edge, knowing that in a blink of an eye he could be in big trouble. Reyes is dynamic and the dynamic he brings to lineup is gone. Apparently it was already gone. 

Tebow Podcast

  Did some podcasting today. One with me and Bill Simmons talking Tebow. I snuck in on the back end of the Cousin Sal one to talk Reyes.

01 December, 2011

It's Time to Light the Lights on Denver's D

   by Gus Ramsey

I'm an unabashed fan of the Muppets. I've loved them since I can remember. I've seen their new movie twice, I've downloaded the soundtrack on iTunes, I have all five seasons of The Muppet Show on DVD, you get the picture. I'm also a huge Broncos fan. So with Tim Tebow getting all the praise, I thought I'd "light the lights" on the Broncos D by assigning them Muppets to coincide with their play.

Professional Sackers
Waldorf and Statler: Von Miller and Elvis Dumervill. 
Professional Hecklers
Waldorf and Startler are best known for harassing Fozzie Bear. Fozzie walks out on stage, thinking he's going to have a great show, but he knows those two guys are lurking, waiting to pounce at the first opportunity, and eventually they mess up his delivery. As a tandem, Miller-Vill does nothing but harass opposing QBs, get in their heads and mess up their deliveries. So far they've combined for 16 sacks (10.5 for Miller, 5.5 for Dumervill). The last pair of Broncos to combine for 10+ sacks a piece in the same season? Simon Fletcher and Mike Croel in 1991. Twenty years later, Elvis and Von have an excellent chance to match that feat. Especially if they start leaping from the balcony.

Gonzo: DJ Williams. 
Gonzo spent most of his life trying to figure out what he was. In Muppets from Space, Gonzo finally learns he is an alien and he gains inner peace. His trademark act is firing himself from a cannon, showing no regard for his well being. DJ Williams went to the University of Miami as a fullback. They converted him to a linebacker. The Broncos have played Williams at strongside, weakside, inside and middle linebacker. Finding his football identity has been a journey, too. Williams is also prone to fire himself out of the proverbial cannon at ball carrier, showing no regard for his body. 
Shot from a cannon
If DJ starts bringing dancing chickens to work, then I'll know I'm on to something.
Bombs away!

Animal: Brian Dawkins. Animal is known for his yelling and banging on his drums. Dawkins is known for his pre-game yelling and banging on opposing players. Animal is said to have three styles of music, loud, louder and deafening. Dawkins has three styles of play, hard, harder and punishing. In A Muppet Family Christmas, Animal sees Cookie Monster devour a batch of cookies and says, "That's my kind of fella." I imagine all the other Broncos watch Dawkins devour offensive players and say "That's my kind of player."  


The Electric Mayhem Band: Marcus Thomas, Robert Ayers, Broderick Bunkley, Chris Harris and Wesley Woodyard. Animal can bang on the drums all day long, but you need the band to really make music. This cast of other Bronco defenders have done their part to create mayhem for the opponents. During their 4-game win streak, Denver is giving up just 15 points a game. They've only allowed 221 pass yards a game, and just six TDs, in their five Tebow-lead wins. Put it all together and the Broncos D has been playing beautiful music together. 
Electric Mayhem

Causing mayhem

Sam the Eagle: Joe Mays. Sam is all business. Joe is all business. Sam is an eagle. Joe was an Eagle. Sam is the moral center of The Muppet Show who lashes out against "weirdos" and "namby-pamby conservationists."
Joe is the center of the Broncos emerging linebacker core who lashes out at running backs.  
The Vocal Eagle

The former Eagle

Pepe the King Prawn: Quinton Carter. Pretty much just because of the hair. That said, Carter has been awesome this year. The Broncos have a nice lineage of hard hitting safeties, and Carter looks like a guy who can carry on that tradition. Carter was sharing time with Rahim Moore, now he starts. Pepe used to share an elevator with Seymour the Elephant. Now he works alone. I'm not much for grandstanding from players, but if after he makes a big hit Carter wants to declare, "I am a King Prawn!!" I'm fine with that. 
I am a King Prawn!

I'm no shrimp, either

Fozzie Bear: Andre Goodman. No one on the Muppet Show gets picked on more than Fozzie. No one on the Broncos gets picked on by the opposition more than Goodman. With Champ Bailey on the other side, opponents tend to throw darts at Andre, just like Waldorf and Statler fire bombs at Fozzie. To my novice eye,  Goodman has played much better this season. Maybe Frank Oz is controlling him this year. Who will forget when Goodman picked off Mark Sanchez and Wocka, Wocka, Wocka'd into the end zone?
Wocka, wocka, wocka!

Wocking in for 6!

Dr. Bunson Honeydew: Dennis Allen, Defensive Coordinator.  Dr. Honeydew spends all of his time trying out new inventions. Among his creations, edible paper clips, a banana sharpener and gold that turns into cottage cheese.  In the end, almost all of his inventions end up exploding. Thankfully for Broncos fans, everything Allen has drawn up lately in his laboratory is blowing up opponents schemes, and not Beaker.
Blows stuff up
Blows up offensive schemes

Miss Piggy: ?? As the Diva of the Muppet Theater, Miss Piggy is all about Moi. She craves attention. She tries to upstage everyone else. She has to have top billing. Thankfully, as far as I can tell, the Broncos don't have a Miss Piggy on their defensive roster. 
There's no one like her
The unassuming star
Kermit: Champ Bailey. Kermit is the unassuming star of the show. He is the host, he is the traffic cop and he is the one everyone else turns to in times of crisis. That sums up Champ to a tee. He gets left alone on his island, like Kermit sits alone on his log when he sings Rainbow Connection. But don't forget, in The Muppet Movie, when a fly dares come Kermit's way, he snaps it up. When opposing QB's dare come Champ's way, that's a mistake too. His career 50 career interceptions, 3rd among active players, is testament to that. That's why a "fly" pattern is never a good call against Champ.  And let's be honest, who enjoys getting their hands on the pigskin more than Kermit and Champ? 
He likes the pigskin

29 November, 2011

Darth Vader as The Grinch

   fun rendition of How the Grinch Stole Christmas using Darth Vader as the Grinch

Behind the Scenes in Iraq

   a Twitter friend of mine, CPT Parker Hahn, shared these links with me shot and edited by his sister who, in his words,  is a public affairs officer (PAO) for the Kentucky National Guard and is the photographer for the unit and the videographer. She is doing all their shooting, producing, and editing of their film. Their unit is tasked with "shutting down iraq" and she gets to film it.
possibly will be on the last convoy in the last vehicle out of Iraq.

   He shared these clips with me and ok'd me to share them with you. It's an interesting look behind the scenes from Iraq.

Thanks so much to Parker and his sister for sharing these. She is expected home in time for Christmas. We obviously wish her, and her unit, safe travels home.

28 November, 2011

25 November, 2011

Black Friday Alert

   If you like jerseys and other sports apparel, check out
today. All jerseys $100. Lots of great deals.

18 November, 2011

The Tebow Clause

   by Gus Ramsey

   In the movie The Santa Clause, Scott Calvin spends a large chunk of the movie trying to convince his ex-wife and her husband, Neil, that he is, in fact, Santa Claus.  Scott's son, Charlie, believes all along but despite Scott putting on 100 pounds, growing the big, white beard and taking on the complete physical appearance of Santa Claus, his ex and Neil aren't buying it. Then, late in the movie, Neil looks deep into Scott's eyes and it hits him. "Santa?" he says in total bewilderment. After a few moments of confusion, Scott talks himself back into his rational state of disbelief. But a little later, when Neil sees Scott fly off in a sleigh, he finally believes. He turns to his stepson and says, "Charlie, I'm sorry," to which Charlie responds, "that's OK, you were just denying your inner child."
   And that's where we are with Tim Tebow and John Fox. Tim Tebow has been telling everyone he is a quarterback, but no one believed him. He lined up under center, yelled "Blue 90!! Blue 90!!" and even completed some passes. But no one believed. He made reindeer fly and pulled off a Christmas miracle of a comeback against the Dolphins. Then he spearheaded wins over the Raiders and Cheifs, but Fox was still skeptical. His rational coaching voice talked him back to reality. But last night, after that 95-yard, game-winning drive,  Fox finally looked Tebow in the eyes and said "Santa?" Fox is no longer denying his inner child. He's ready to let everything he thought to be true about succeeding in the NFL go and is willing to hop aboard the Tebow sleigh ride.
   According to Mike Klis of the Denver Post, who was in the locker room talking to Tebow's teammates after the game, they all made the leap last night too. They went from thinking the "Tebow thing" could work, with a healthy dose of "yeah, but..." to true believers. They're not alone. When Eddie Royal fair caught the punt on the 5-yard line, 95% of me said "We have no chance," but 5% of me said, "We have Tim Tebow." And for now, that seems to be a good thing. A really good thing.

   ***other Tebow thoughts***
   Speaking of Christmas, I'm guessing Tebow jerseys will be the most popular gift under the trees in Denver this year.

    I'm not buying the "John Elway is mad that Tebow is winning" stuff. John Elway is all about winning. I don't see any circumstance where he goes home happy if the Broncos lose. Is he conflicted? Maybe. Would he rather have Andrew Luck as his QB next season? Probably. Is he happy if the Broncos lose? No chance. That's not how winners think.

  Speaking of "winners," Tebow is redefining what it means to be a winner right before our very eyes. Sounds weird, I know. Winners win. What's so complicated about that? But when I think of the biggest winners of the last 25 years (Charlie Sheen doesn't count), three names come to mind: Michael Jordan, Derek Jeter and Tiger Woods. MJ didn't stink for 3 1/2 quarters, going 2-17 from the floor, and then suddenly get hot and hit game winning shots. Derek Jeter wasn't a .225 hitter who always seemed to get the game winning hit. Tiger Woods wasn't barely making the cut and then miraculously winning tournaments. Those guys were great, consistent performers who also won. When people say about Tebow, "All he does is win," I think they mean literally.

   I love how Broncos victories have become like UFO crop circles, people see them, but can't really explain them. Analysts on all the networks are "dumbfounded," "amazed," and "bewildered." No one can explain how a guy can look so bad and then throw the switch and win. I suggested on Twitter he's like Teen Wolf, totally generic until he becomes "The Wolf" and then he can't be stopped. A Twitter follower said he's like Buzz Lightyear, he can't really fly but he does spectacular stunts that make you believe he can.

   I'm excited to see what Denver will do with 10 days to practice. Most of the players are still learning to run this offense. It will be fun to see what they add to it and how it looks after they've honed their skills over the next week and a half.

   I wonder if we'll hear some "good free agent wide receivers won't want to sign in Denver" talk if this keeps up.

   So far Tebow has done a great job of avoiding big shots. Bart Scott got him on the second play of the game (which made me wonder if that was partly the reason Tebow didn't run the ball once in the first quarter), but he is not getting drilled. The concern with this offense is that Tebow can't handle the sustained beating this offense is sure to provide. If he gets hurt, Denver would be stuck with Brady Quinn trying to run read-option. So far, so good.

   Before the game yesterday I was at the gym and saw a 60ish year old man wearing a Broncs t-shirt. That's not common in central Connecticut,  so I asked him if he was a Broncos fan and he said, "Actually, I'm a Tim Tebow fan."
   I didn't ask him if he still believed in Santa.

15 November, 2011

John Fox adapting to Tebow

   good read here from Jeff Darlington on how Fox and the Broncos are installing a Tebow offense.
One interesting thing is the assumption that defenses will figure out how to stop it, but no one is really talking about the fact that the Broncos players are still learning it. They will get better at running it. Does it guarantee success? Of course not, but it should be fun to see how it plays out.

09 November, 2011

A Tradition Unlike Any Other

   By Gus Ramsey

   Dot your I, go right ahead. Want to chuck that octopus on the ice? Let 'er rip! Throw that home run ball back on the field.  Indy winners, drink your milk. Packers players, leap away at Lambeau. If you have a tradition, I'm in. I love 'em. I love them so much, I have one of my own and I want to share it with you.
(***insert flashback effects and music here***)

   Thanksgiving, 1978. I am eleven years old. I have already taken in part in some Turkey Day staples, watching March of the Wooden Soldiers on WPIX and the Macy's parade on NBC. The Broncos played the Lions that day, losing 17-14. As a newly, emotionally invested Broncos fan, this national TV loss by my AFC championship team to the generic Lions was tough to take, so I decided to go for a walk before dinner was served. For no reason other than the fact I always feel better about life with some kind of sports ball in my hands, I took a football with me.
   It was a classic "New England Grey" day, with a cloud filled sky blanketing the chill in the air. A good day for a walk, just not a long one.
   We lived on a school campus, so it wasn't too long before I found myself on the school football field. At this moment, my love of Charlie Brown kicked in (I have a lot of loves.) and I decided to start kicking some field goals. Thankfully none of my four sisters were near by to play Lucy and yank the ball out from under me. It was just me, the football, the goalposts and the solitary moment.
   A friend of mine said recently that the best traditions are the ones born organically. He was speaking of the Lee Corso headgear prediction segment at the end of College Gameday. No one involved that day said, "Hey Lee, put on the Ohio State mascot's head to make your pick and we'll do this every week for as long as you are on the show." It just happened.
   So here I am, alone on the football field and a tradition is about to just happen.
   Using my heel, I kick backwards into the ground to dig a little divot. Angled slightly back towards me, I place the football in the divot to hold it in place as I prepare to kick it. Once the ball is placed, I look up at the goalposts to focus on my target. I am on the 20-yard line, so it is a 30-yard attempt. I decide I will kick it with a Jim Turner-like, straight on approach. Having not played soccer, it didn't seem like soccer-style was a good way to go. So I take three big steps back and do one practice run, just to make sure it's a good distance for the approach. Kind of like when Evil Knievel would do a fly-by on the jump ramp. This seems simple enough. I reset my position, look up at the goalposts and start my approach...
   As my right foot strikes the ball, the bulk of the impact is on the outer three toes. Not good. I look up to see the ball swirling off to the right, looking like a top that had been spun too hard, spinning, tumbling and  dying well short and well right of the goalposts.
   It takes a few more tries, but eventually, the moment comes. The ball strike is clean, the end over end is perfect and the ball sails majestically over the cross bar and between the uprights. It would have been good from 35, I just know it! A moment of pure joy. I try a few more, making a few too, before scurrying back home in time for one of the best traditions ever, the Thanksgiving dinner.
   Every year since that day 33 years ago, I have kicked a field goal on Thanksgiving. I did it with my college buddies, Koes, Coach and Bobby on a local high school field in Winter Park, Florida. One year my sister, Heather, and I were staying at friend of hers house in Jacksonville. I didn't know anything about where we were, so finding a local field was out of the question. In the backyard of this house were the remnants of a tree house, a piece of wood connected to two trees. I found a Nerf football in the garage and managed to keep the tradition alive. I made a field goal one year kicking in the near dark, in my dress shoes, at a local school in Monterey, Ca. I've kicked in the rain. I've kicked off of two feet of frozen snow with my friend, Pete. And in recent years I've begun dragging my two older boys down to the football field near my house to pass (or kick, as it were) the tradition down to them.
   Each year I start with a 30-yard attempt and kick until I make. The goal of the tradition is to put one through. Distance is a bonus. My career long is 45 yards. Up until last year I had been able to make at least one attempt from 40 yards every year since I was probably 18 years old. (The Elias Sports Bureau didn't start tracking my Distance Made From stats until 1998.) Last year I tried five attempts from 40 and missed them all. It was a chilly day and my 9-year old was running out of patience and sensation in his extremities, so we came home. I would have stayed for another hour, but so be it. I'm not gonna lie, it was a little sad.
Thanksgiving is fast approaching. I'm giving everyone some notice so you have time to get a football, a kicking tee if you'd like, and get your legs in kicking shape.  If you take part, report back to me on how you did. I'll post people's comments and I'll even put up pictures too, if you send them to me.
   The Thanksgiving Day Field Goal, it's a tradition unlike any other.

02 November, 2011

Mets autograph collection

   My dad has put his 3x5 collection up for sale on EBay. It's a collection of 3x5 index cards signed by every player who has ever played for the Mets.

  for more on the collection, this was written on ESPN this summer.

01 November, 2011

Change is Good? Not Always

   by Gus Ramsey

   The Mets unveiled their new dimensions for the outfield walls at Citi Field this week. Gotta say, I'm not a fan. You can see the changes here
   In citing the reasons for the change, the team said they were trying to make it a fairer ballpark for the hitters. They said under the new dimensions, over the last three years, the Mets would have hit an additional 81 homers and allowed 70, for whatever that's worth. No one loves a good home run robbery more than me, so the lower fences will put that back into play. If the park plays fairer and eases the mental punishment suffered by Mets bats, and maybe makes the Mets a more appealing team to future free agents, so be it. These all seem like valid reasons for change.
   As Stephen A. Smith says, Howwww-evvv-uhhhh!

   When Citi Field opened, I remember telling my friends there were two cool things the ballpark was going to produce on a consistent basis for the fans; exciting Jose Reyes triples and jaw-dropping blasts by Carlos Delgado and other sluggers into the Pepsi Porch.
   When it came to the triples, Reyes legged out 20 in 153 home games the last three seasons. This past year he put on a triples clinic, with 12 in 62 games at Citi. In 378 games at Shea Stadium, Reyes hit 31 triples. So, that's one triple every 7.6 games at Citi and one triple every 12.1 games at Shea. Something tells me with the fences lower, the power alleys tightened up and a few of the nooks and crannies gone, Reyes will return to Shea like numbers (assuming he returns to the Mets). I think that's a shame. Growing up, among the best moments for for me as a Mets fans was watching Mookie Wilson leg out a triple. Reyes brought that thrill back to Mets fans. These fence alterations will rob of us of that, at least a little.
   Now for the power hitters. Here is what everyone seems to be overlooking; In the time since Citi Field opened, the Mets best power hitters have missed a significant amount of playing time due to injury. Take a look.

2009- the premiere power hitter coming into the season was Carlos Delgado. He hit 38 HRs in 2008, the last year at Shea. In '09 he only played in 26 games. He hit 4 homers, 3 of them at Citi Field. Carlos Beltran was coming off a 27 HR season. He missed exactly half the season and managed to hit 10 homers, 3 at home. The biggest issue was David Wright, who hit 33 homers in '08 and plummeted to just 10 in 144 games. There's no doubt Citi Field was in his head.
2010- Once again Beltran missed significant time, playing in just 64 games. Jason Bay came to the Mets with some big power numbers and a big contract. He hit just 6 home runs in 95 games and his season ended with concussion symptoms. Wright seemed to find his swing again and belted 29 bombs in a full season. While only 12 of his homers were at home, the overall improvement suggests to me that when Wright finds his swing, it doesn't matter what park he plays in. And then there was Ike Davis, a sweet swinging rookie with legit pop. He smashed 19 homers (8 at home) in 147 games (73 at home), finding the Pepsi Porch and the Shea Bridge along the way.

2011- It began with high hopes for a 40 HR season from Ike Davis, but the sophomore slugger only played in 36 games because of an ankle injury. He hit 7 homers (5 at home) in 36 games (19 at home) and showed no signs of being squeezed by Citi's confines. Jason Bay and David Wright managed just 12 and 14 homers, respectively. They also combined to miss 99 games last year.

   There's clearly an argument to be made on both sides. Obviously the Mets want Wright, the face of the franchise, to feel better about his home field. I get it. I just think had Delgado, Beltran, Davis, and to a lesser degree Wright and Bay, been on the field for 160 games a season, no one would be talking about the fences being too high or too far. It's a beautiful new park. The change of the color of outfield walls from soot to Mets blue is like a nice dash of eyeliner. As for the rest of it, it seems a little soon for a face lift.

29 October, 2011

Snow before Halloween

Me: First you rake, then you shovel. Those are the rules.
God: Just when you think you have the answers, I change the questions.
Me: Roddy Piper said that.
God: Where do you think he got it?

Fallon and Timberlake Parts 1, 2 and 3

   Jimmy and Justin did their History of Rap: Part 3 last night, so here they all are

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

24 October, 2011

The Year of 25 Years Ago- Buckner

   by Tom McConville

It was one of the greatest days of my life. And my sister got married, too.

It was a cold and rainy Saturday in northern New Jersey. And while my mother worried about what the weather might do to my sister’s hair and wedding gown, the majority of people, including my sister and her new husband, at the church were more concerned about what the rain might do later in the evening – potentially cancel Game 6 at Shea.

Rain be damned, the ceremony went off without a hitch. Around noon, the reception started and I turned into Spalding from Caddyshack. While my parents were busy entertaining, the open bar was calling my name, and I took full advantage of the fact that my underage drinking was #4589 on the list of things my parents (re: my mom) would be thinking about. When the reception ended, my parents invited the entire wedding back to our house for an after party and another 20 or so rounds of drinks to toast the happy couple.

My dad, not wanting to drive (wisely) asked me to drive our large, lime green station wagon home. Me, not wanting to drive (very wisely) suggested my brother be the driver. My brother, who also decided Spalding should have company, inexplicably suggested the 3 of us walk home from the wedding reception. Shockingly, my dad thought that was a splendid idea, even if it was a 3 mile walk in the rain.

But, walk we did. Three guys in tuxedos walking home from a wedding reception. And just to make it more interesting, we were each carrying various bottles of liquor with us. While the catering hall supplied the food, it was my dad who supplied the drinks. And after loading up the big lime green station wagon, affectionately called the “Muchus Mobile”, with cases of beer and bottles of booze (which a tee-totaling neighbor drove), there were still more left over. It was then my dad enacted the “No Bottle Left Behind” law that he fully expected me and my brother to carry out without complaint.

By the time we got home, neighbors, relatives and guests were already there, and the second leg of the celebration began in full swing. While the house was wall to wall with people, the TV room and back porch were especially crammed to the gills. Vin Scully could scarcely be heard, which was a good thing, if for only this one night. You see, there was already a big discussion in our house about whether Scully was actively rooting FOR the Sox that particular Series, or if he was just caught up in the whole alleged curse stuff. It was genuinely agreed upon by everyone at the party that we were all tired of Scully telling us how Wade Boggs was more dangerous with two strikes on him than anyone in the history of baseball.

Then, the game began. The rain had mostly held off, but I remember it felt as if the game was being played in a perpetual light mist. It seemed foggy at Shea, but, as I was still taking full advantage of my Spalding like ways, it could have been me.

The nine innings had everything you could have wanted. The Sox took a 2-0 lead, the Mets clawed back to tie in the fifth, and then the Sox got another run in the seventh. By the seventh, all the rooms in my house that did not have a TV were abandoned, and those that did have a TV resembled a Walmart at 4am on Black Friday.  When Gary Carter tied up the game in the eighth, the house shook. Now, I realize that could have been me, since I had basically turned into Foster Brooks by this time. But to this day, I firmly believe the back porch shook as much as the cameras at Shea when Carter hit that sacrifice fly.

The rest of the game seemed like an eternal blur. When Dave Henderson homered and Marty Barrett singled in Wade Boggs to make it 5-3 in the top of the tenth, I was stunned, and with the help of Budweiser, near tears. So I made what I thought was the best decision possible at that time. I went to bed.

I was seventeen years old, and the last thing I wanted was anyone – relatives, family friends, new in-laws – to see was me start to cry over the Mets. As much as I didn’t want to admit it, I was way too invested, a way-too-over-the top fan that lived and breathed the Mets for the entire season. So I made my way upstairs, and sat on my bed, fought off tears, and lay down. There was no way I was going to see the Sox celebrate on our field.

But as soon as my head hit the pillow, I got up again. Mad. What was I doing was being a coward?
Suck it up, sissy boy. Go down there, take your medicine, and watch the Sox wrap it up. It’ll be good for me, toughen me up. So that’s what I did.

Bottom of the 10th. I miss Wally Backman’s at bat. But the silence that greets me when I get back to the TV room tells me everything. 1 out. I watch Keith Hernandez at bat. Liner. Fall, please fall, please drop. Nope. 2 outs.

At this point, I reconsidering my decision to be brave. I walk out the TV room, and into the adjacent dining room.  I can’t watch. I can only hear Vin Scully and Joe Garagiola wax rhapsodic about the Sox and the broken curse.

Then, Gary Carter singles. Too little, too late, I’m thinking. Kevin Mitchell singles. Now God is playing with me. Knight goes down 0-2. Just put me out of my misery. Single up the middle. Carter scores.  Oh man, oh man, oh man, oh man. I have not moved from the dining room.

There’s tension and anticipation in Scully and Garagiola’s voices. There’s tension and apprehension in every face I see in that overstuffed TV room.

Mookie’s at bat. I can’t stand it anymore. I have to watch. I start inching back toward the TV room. My brother looks at me, and says, loudly, that if I do not stay where I am, he will kill me. My father looks at him, then at me, and says, “Tom, don’t even think about it.” 4th pitch. Alone in the dining room. 5th pitch. Staring at the china cabinet. 6th pitch. Can’t…take…this… anymore.

Screw it. If the Mets lose, then it is all my fault, but there’s no damned way I'm staying in the dining room one second longer.

I walk back into the TV room. The look my brother gives me is almost thoughtful, as if he’s seriously thinking of the way he will maim me first instead of simply delivering a final, fatal blow. Thankfully, my dad is too wrapped up to realize I have turned my back on the baseball gods who reward superstition for my own selfish needs.

Bob Stanley throws the pitch. Mookie leaps out of the way, Gedman fails to block it, Mitchell runs home tying the game.

Our house, which the original builders must have reinforced with 67 tons of reinforced concrete, nearly shakes out of its moldings. Hugging, shrieking, middle aged white people moshing. You name it, it happened. The game was tied and I would not be murdered in my own home. I was overjoyed, relieved, drunk, sober and wired. All at once.

But wait. The count is still 3-2. Mookie is still up. Knight is leading off second. He’s taking a big lead. Spike Owen is creeping up behind him. A collective shout in our house of “Get back!!!” can be heard back at the catering hall where the wedding took place. Stanley doesn’t even look at second.  8th pitch.  Foul. 9th pitch. Foul.

10th pitch. A dribbler to first. Mookie takes off, tearing up the first base line, Buckner bends down to field it, and then……………

It was one of the greatest days of my life. And my sister got married, too.