Mr. Pachucki Says

At the Halfway Mark (10-27-14)

I’m always astounded at the way the NFL season usually starts and how it progresses to end with one of Professional Sports’ most hallowed contests. It doesn’t always finish the way we expect it to finish.

At the beginning of the year, Sports Illustrated was falling all over itself about how great the Philadelphia Eagles are. So was Chris Collinsworth. And, nearly every fantasy football team owner with a top-three pick selected LeSean McCoy as their franchise player for 2014. Many of us were laughing at the Cowboys. And, in Packer nation, we were ready to pen-in the Green and Gold for home-field throughout the playoffs.

In the AFC, excitement continued over teams like Kansas City, three-quarters of the teams in the West in general, and the Patriots. We scoffed at teams like the Texans, who we doubted could be in the hunt. And, even with Sammy Watkins forgetting the location of the end zone, who would have thought that the Bills could be a contender?

Fast forward to week 8. The teams that are floating to the top are names like Arizona, Houston, Dallas, Denver (in part because of a slightly better-than-average division), Detroit, and Pittsburgh with the Ben Zone renaissance. Could we see an all-Texas Superbowl?

Where with this go? Here are your division winners…in all their glory, according to this author…
AFC: Patriots, Steelers, Colts, Broncos. Wildcards: Cincinnati and Houston
NFC: Cowboys, Lions, Saints, Cardinals. Wildcards: San Francisco and Philadelphia

By the way, after going to the NFC Championship in 2012, Atlanta has won a mere 6 games. They won’t make it to the postseason again this year, and Mike Smith might be gone by the time you read this. Following the Falcons’ implosion in London over the weekend, Owner Arthur blank was quoted in the Atlanta Journal –Constitution saying, “There’s no way you lose that game – just no way. There’s nothing else I can say.” Atlanta was up by 21 points and found a way to lose.

Similarly, Wisconsin was up by 17 to LSU at the start of the Badgers Football season and found a way to lose. What did Barry Alvarez say after that? It became a quarterback issue since there were some injury questions of Joel Stave, and I’m not sure the question was asked directly. But, on, Alvarez hinted that Coach Gary Andersen was ”feeling his way along.” Alvarez is probably right here, since his Coach is only in his second year, but as a fan I would have liked to know what coach at any level says, “Now that we’re up by 17, let’s stop running the ball.”

And in an ongoing effort to shame Major League Baseball, according to NBC Sports, Sunday’s ridiculous game between the Green Bay Packers and the New Orleans Saints landed an 18 share, the lowest this season for Sunday Night Football. Meanwhile, game five of the World Series between Who Cares and Those Guys had a 13 share, a difference of almost 40%.

That means, of people with TV’s turned-on, nearly 1 in 5 was watching football, compared with about 1 in 8 watching the World Series. Long live the NFL!!!!

This week:
Northwestern +4.5
Wisconsin -11
Nebraska -23.5
Denver -3



Is This Preseason?

Let’s be honest here.  The Packer game against Detroit stunk.  The loss is one thing, and the injury to Clay Matthews we knew was inevitable, but the whole contest was just boring.  When the vaunted Green Bay offense has fewer total yards than Melvin Gordon had rushing the previous afternoon for the Wisconsin Badgers, there is a serious problem.  (Gordon had 253 yards rushing in the game against Bowling Green.  Meanwhile, Green Bay had 223 TOTAL yards against Detroit.)

Here are some other questions:

Why can’t Eddie Lacy just hit the hole when he gets the ball?  The Packers offensive line isn’t that great: sufficient, but not great.  When a hole opens, the whole stadium knows it’s only going to be a fraction of a second before it closes again.  So, why dance and pick in the backfield?  Take the ball, hit the hole, and do the same damage you did last year.

Was Ben McAdoo that valuable to Aaron Rodgers?  Rodgers is notorious for holding the ball too long, but has gotten modestly better in the past couple seasons.  This year, it appears he’s not waiting for a good opportunity downfield, but certainly the best one.  That’s caused undue punishment to him and the team with hurries, knockdowns, and sacks.  After being Rodgers’ quarterback coach, McAdoo went to the Giants to be the offensive coordinator and now we have Alex Van Pelt, who was a perennial clipboard holder when he was a player.

Why is Rodgers so reluctant to run?  Perhaps it’s age. Perhaps it’s coaching.  Perhaps it’s a better arm.  In the Superbowl year, Rodgers had 64 rushes for 356 yards.  Since then, his rushing attempts and yards have progressively gone down.  Last year, Rodgers had 30 rushes for 120 yards (understandably an injury-riddled year).  Currently, Rodgers has 6 runs for a total of 28 yards, which puts him on pace for the same total he had last year, anyway.

Why does the Packer secondary have to lead the team in tackling?  That’s horrible.  It shows that running backs are either getting into the defensive backfield before they’re brought down or opposing teams’ passing attacks are robust against the Green Bay secondary.  As of Monday morning, Morgan Burnett, Micah Hyde, and Tramon Williams have more solo tackles than Mike Neal, Datone Jones, Julius Peppers, Nick Perry, Brad Jones, and Jamari Lattimore combined.  As a matter of fact, Morgan Burnett is the second-leading tackler on the team, behind AJ Hawk.  Tramon Williams is third on that list.  By the way, Bobby Wagner of the Seattle Seahawks has 35 tackles to lead the NFL, right now.  Hawk has ten fewer.

Where is the quarterback pressure?  After the addition of Julius Peppers, believed to be a free-agent savior for the defense, the Packers have a mere five sacks for the year, so far.  That places them 4th from the bottom in the league for total sacks.  Matthews has one and he’s injured.  Clinton-Dix has one.  Two of these came yesterday.  Again, one can recognize this is early in the season, but the teams leading the NFL have twice the number of sacks the Packers do, at this point.

When is Dom Capers getting fired?  It gets old, I understand.  If the Bears are healthy, and Green Bay can make Matt Stafford look like a pro-bowler, wait and see what Cutler does with a better offensive line, better running backs, and better aggregate corps of receivers.  Ted Thompson has done a remarkable job of continually shoring-up the weak spots on the defensive side of the ball, and Clinton-Dix is an upgrade from Burnett.  As a fan, one would expect more turnovers, more sacks, and giving up fewer yards per play (from a post two weeks ago).

Games this week:

Northwestern +11.5

Virginia Tech -24.5

Michigan -10

Chicago -1

Philly +4.5

Atlanta -3


From the AP Wire (9/17/14)

I have a real hard time wrapping my arms around the Adrian Peterson situation. Even further, most would have a hard time opening all the gifts the NFL has given us this year, even with bows around them. It’s like getting a baseball season year-round as your sole Christmas present.

On its face, the alleged child abuse from Adrian Peterson is awful. Any reasonable human would hate to see a defenseless minor take any kind of harsh, physical punishment from someone who is bigger, stronger, and seemingly smart enough to refrain from committing such acts.

With that said, it’s still rough for one to understand what the hell the NFL is thinking!! On top of that, the Minnesota Vikings, as an organization, is a flat out joke.

According to SB,

August 21st: Peterson testifies in front of a grand jury in Montgomery County, Texas on a May 18th police report about the alleged abuse. Peterson reportedly (and admitted to authorities) that he struck his 4-year-old son several times with a switch.

September 12th: Peterson is officially indicted for the allegations in Montgomery County. The Vikings deactivate Peterson within a half-hour of the indictment.

September 13th: Peterson turns himself in to authorities and gets released on a $15,000 bond.

September 15th: Peterson releases a formal statement on the charges and admits that he has to “reevaluate how” he disciplines his son going forward. Prior to the release, the Vikings had already activated him for the game this Sunday against the Saints. The Vikings justified this by saying Peterson was simply “disciplining a child.”

September 15th: This same day, another allegation of child abuse is reported by Peterson. Also, Radisson suspends its sponsorship of the Vikings

September 16th: Minnesota’s Governor, Mark Dayton calls Peterson’s actions a public embarrassment. Meanwhile, Castrol (a division of BP), Nike, and the Minnesota Special Olympics suspend any ties with Peterson, according to CNN.

September 17th: At 2:00 AM, the Vikings announce that Peterson was placed on the Commissioner’s Exempt List, suspending him from team activities until the matter is over. Michael Vick was the only other player placed on this “list.”

It’s upsetting for a variety of reasons, but no one behind the shield or the Viking horn did anything, until the sponsors started running. I find that as offensive as Peterson’s alleged offenses. What has this league come to? And, why did it take a ruling from the NFL to put AP on the sidelines?

Add in some of the discrepancies in enforcement and penalty, and any decent fan should be outraged! Josh Gordon initially gets suspended for a year for pot smoking, ironically the same amount of time Donte Stallworth was suspended in 2009 for killing a pedestrian in a drunk-driving crash. Michael Vick gets thrown in prison for mistreating animals, was suspended in 2007 and reinstated in 2009. Ray Rice initially gets two weeks from the Commissioner, who may have (may not have) prevented disclosure of the damning evidence.

According to, a recent report claims there have been 56 domestic abuse allegations against NFL players since Roger Goodell became Commissioner in 2006. And Ray McDonald and Greg Hardy are still on the field? I realize they have not been convicted, but neither has AP.

The culture of the NFL has to change. It’s time to get tough on some of these players…I’m getting tired of reading about my Packers below-the-fold because “NFL Player X Committed Criminal Offense Y” above –the-fold.

Games this week:

Wisconsin -27
Virginia +14
Green Bay/Detroit >52
Chicago +2.5

I heard Mike Ditka say this week that he couldn’t believe how bad the tackling was this first week of the NFL season. Far be it for me to endorse Cris Collinsworth, but he did point out during the Green Bay-Seattle game that there was more than ample opportunity for the Packers to make tackles in the backfield that they just did not make.

So, if you agree with that last statement, who gets held accountable in Green Bay for the poor tackling, which has been more rampant than Ebola in West Africa? The difference was MORE than visible in last Thursday’s game. But, if you don’t believe me, here are the numbers:

Total tackles
Green Bay 50.5 (Assuming an assist is a half-tackle, like a half-sack)
Seattle 47.5 (Using the same assumption)

Total yards from rushing and passing
Green Bay 255
Seattle 398

Average Yards/Tackle (A new stat, by dividing Opponent’s Total Offensive Yards/Total Tackles)
Green Bay 7.88 (398/50.5)
Seattle 5.37 (255/47.5)

So, if you can buy into this methodology, that means that Green Bay gave up an average of 7.88 yards before a tackle on each offensive play, while Seattle gave up 5.37 yards before a tackle on each offensive play. That’s a 47% difference in the yards-before-tackle!!

Anyone who has watched the Packers under the McCarthy regime saw one amazing year from Green Bay, and it was because you had veteran leadership in Charles Woodson, and a phenomenal end-of-season run by Tramon Williams. Remove that turnover differential in 2010, you have the same team and the same defense all along.

One game does not a season make, but Capers already has got some serious questions to answer about why the team can’t tackle. One would figure the Fail Mary game would be enough motivation for the team to AT LEAST show up in Seattle. Guess not…

This week’s picks (I know…I totally suck at this)

Georgia Tech -20
Iowa State +11
Texas Tech -2
Penn State -3
Miami Dolphins PK
Arizona Cardinals+2
Houston Texans-3
NY/GB >46

The Wasted Space

As I’ve said to many of you, the useless space between The Final Four and the start of Football season is called Baseball. And, with the way the Brewers are playing now, the NFL and the NCAA games couldn’t arrive at a better time.

A couple quick thoughts…and picks for the weekend…

• The Packers are putting everything into this game. Anecdotally, I can think of nearly a dozen times between the end of last season and into game 1 Thursday where the coaching staff and the players have referenced the tilt against Seattle. The outcome of this game most likely will set the stage for the rest of the season. If the Packers win tonight, I sincerely believe the Packers could go 12-4 and (at least) get to the NFC Championship. On the flipside, if the Packers lose, this could be enormously demoralizing, simply because there has been so much time and attention directed to this game, setting the stage for a possible 9-7 season. This game could go either way…but most likely a Packer loss.
• How high-octane is the Bears offense? Offensively, the Bills are excited about the addition of Sammy Watkins, and a backfield that rushed for over 1,800 yards last year. As usual, no one is going to be able to cover Brandon Marshall, and he’s not even their leading receiver, according to last year’s statistics. Cutler just has to deliver the ball. The Bears win big.
• If Matt Cassel can’t win this game, he’ll be out of a job faster than week 8, anyway. One has to love Jeff Fisher, but losing Bradford means Shaun Hill or newly acquired Case Keenum under center. St. Louis boasts one of the best pass rushers in the game in Robert Quinn, but it shouldn’t be enough. Minnesota wins, too.
• And…for the lowly Detroit Lions, I would never want to play against the Giants when their coach has his back against the wall. The last time there was buzz about firing Coughlin, he just went out and won a Superbowl. If Coughlin still has any fire in the belly, look out! With that said, any football fan has to love Calvin Johnson. Last year, I said Josh Gordon was the player to watch, this year it’s Joique Bell. Detroit should also win.
• Finally, thank you to the caller on the Big 1070 who called second-year Wisconsin Badger coach Gary Anderson “Don Morton.” What else can you call a guy who flops a 17 point lead against a hated SEC opponent, then has the PR nightmares of the hurt-not hurt-hurt Gordon fiasco, and the Stave hurt-not hurt-yips debacle? Who wouldn’t scratch their head? I’m glad he said it, because the yes-men of the Badger Press Corps can only kiss the ring of the AD.

This weekend:
Stanford -2.5
Michigan +4
Northwestern -7
Chicago -7
SF-Dallas Over 51
Vikings +3.5

What’s Wrong With Raji?

It’s hard to know what the relationship is between BJ Raji and the Green Bay Packers. It’s equally difficult to understand his ties with the coaching staff, his agent, and the city overall. But, one has got to question what he was thinking in the off-season, when he had the opportunity to really cash in. Now, he’s gone for 2014, after sustaining a torn bicep. Rallying back from injury when he’s 29 next year might bring some additional questions and reduce his overall market value, anyway.

Here’s the timeline:
• It was reported that Raji was offered a multi-year contract of $8 million per year “several months” before the story broke in November of 2013.
• Agent David Dunn turned down the contract “more than once,” according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. (Dunn also represents Aaron Rodgers and Clay Matthews). Rob Demovsky confirmed the rejection for Sports Illustrated.
• To give an idea of the money Raji reportedly rejected…
CB Tramon Williams’ contract is $8.25 million per year
WR Greg Jennings’ contract is $9 million per year
QB Matt Schaub’s contract is $8 million per year
DE Demarcus Ware’s contract is $10 million per year. He is the NFL’s 18th all-time sack leader.
• March 11th, 2014, enter free agency…Raji reportedly gets modest interest from Kansas City and Oakland, apparently nothing close to the lofty $8 million per year the Packers offered.
• March 14th, 2014, just three days after free agency is open, Raji signs a one-year $4 million dollar deal to return to the Packers. At the same time, it is announced that he will return to the nose tackle position.
• May 30th, Raji tells the media “He chose to come back for one year…” even though he had interest from other teams.
• This past Friday, August 22nd, Raji tears a bicep and ends his season. The official announcement came August 23rd.

According to, Raji had a mere 17 tackles last season, despite playing 57% of the snaps. That compares with 39 tackles he had during the Superbowl run in 2010. If these series of reports are true, Raji just doesn’t understand the business of the NFL. He turns down $8 to accept $4, because he either doesn’t like the Packers, the scheme, or the way he’s used. Or, he believes he’s worth more than the Green and Gold was offering. Raji missed out on huge windfall, one that might not come his way again, certainly not in Green Bay.

As a Packer fan, I should probably appreciate it, because it freed more money for the re-signing of WR Jordy Nelson, and adds additional cap room for the (hopefully) imminent return of WR Randall Cobb. I just hope the defensive line isn’t as porous as it was last year

Here’s Johnny

I can’t say enough about how fascinated I am about Johnny Manziel. To be honest, my opinion has really changed, and it’s hard to say at this point who the Cleveland Browns starter will be in Week 1. When asked a month ago about whether Manziel would be starting, who could say anything but no, since the Browns initiated the negotiations with Brian Hoyer, the anticipated starter who is entering the last year of his contract. He’s only 28-years-old, too (Aaron Rodgers is 30).

Now that this deal with Hoyer isn’t done, maybe the Browns might be more excited about Manziel than originally thought. Following all the hype, in last week’s game, Johnny Football misses a wide open fullback just so he can scramble for a first down on his own…a play so awful it smacked of “me” instead of “us” going out there to win the game.

Mike Pettine seems to be a Hoyer-backer, but it’s hard not to succumb to so much public pressure, and ticket sales. 2300 season tickets sold within the twenty-four hours of the draft pick, and the #2 Browns jersey is #1 in the NFL this year.

So…how did Manziel become such a media phenom? Here are a couple guesses, and feel free to add or subtract from this list:

• He’s a Heismann Trophy winner
• He texts the QB Coach on draft day saying how he wants to “…wreck this league…”
• He hangs out with Drake and Justin Bieber
• He’s perceived as a bad boy (criminal charges, selling autographs)
• He’s perceived as a womanizer (at least two girlfriends before the end of his last semester AND he has all kinds of selfies with hotties on Instagram)
• He’s a party guy (two trips to Vegas during camp, rolling a $20 bill in a bar bathroom)
• A bad team is begging for a high-profile savior.
• Heismann Trophy winners tend to be average, if not outright failures in the NFL. We might be rooting for a potential underdog.
• On the flipside, we might be rooting for such a cock-sure kid to fail.

Whatever the reason or group of reasons, the community of NFL fans can’t get enough of this guy. He’s got a pretty good arm and runs around like the Tasmanian Devil in the pocket. It worked in college, but hasn’t seemed to get very far in the pros for predecessors like Michael Vick, Kordell Stewart, and Fran Tarkenton. How many Superbowl rings does Randall Cunningham have? I’ll be watching, and you probably will, too.

Side note, since the Browns are in focus: When does the Josh Gordon suspension come down? The NFL really painted itself into a corner on this one. They suspended Gordon for two games last year after testing positive for a banned substance in his cough syrup and now he reoffends with marijuana. In the meantime, Ray Rice gets suspended for two games for knocking out his girlfriend in Atlantic City. The league already looks bad with Rice, but it will be interesting to see how the spin doctors perform an operation on a blatant CBA misstep, if Gordon gets anything more than two games. There was talk that he would be out for the season.

The Pre
BY Kevin Pachucki (8-112-14)

We’ve only seen a handful of games with the opening of the exhibition season and the Hall of Fame games out of the way, but admittedly, I’ve already got the bug. It’s been a long off-season. The money-grubbing prostitutes who call themselves football players have all moved to their larger contracts or, in cases like Sam Shields, have taken their money from their current teams.

Here are some questions for you to think about or share while you watch the games with your buddies this season.

At what point do players have the right to take a play or group of plays off in the pre-season? If you happened to catch the Shonn Greene touchdown against Green Bay this last weekend, you saw either a very old and manhandled Julius Peppers, or a Julius Peppers that didn’t care, took himself out of the play, and watched a substandard running back run and run and run until he got paydirt. I think Peppers only got 10 snaps, but wouldn’t you think he’s want to at least try (to tackle, shuck blocks, fill holes, run after ball carriers)?

This is a fun one. How many substandard receivers can you name that were made superstars by great quarterbacks? You’ll be able to enjoy this all season.

Two immediately come to mind: Greg Jennings and James Jones.

There are tons others! Ed McCaffrey, Antonio Freeman, Corey Bradford, Bill Shroeder, Az Hakim, Derrick Mayes (ok…not great, but good enough to get a great contract after Brett Favre chucked passes to him), Donte Stallworth, Deion Branch, Troy Brown, Mark Clayton, Jerome Pathon, Pierre Garcon, Reggie Wayne, Alvin Harper…the list goes on and on.

These guys were mortals who were simply made stars by the Hall of Fame arms that threw them the ball.

By the same token, how many substandard quarterbacks can you think of that were made Pro-Bowlers by the phenomenal receivers who caught their trash?

Lots of these, too: Daunte Culpepper (Randy Moss), Matt Stafford (Calvin Johnson) perhaps, Carson Palmer (Larry Fitzgerald), Don Majkowski (Sterling Sharpe), Jay Cutler (Brandon Marshall), Tony Romo (Dez Bryant), Matt Schaub (Andre Johnson), Doug Flutie, Doug Williams, Jeff George (Tim Brown)…

Once Johnson checked out last year, the Texans were done.

It’s going to be a great season! Barring injury or scandal, the Packers are the team to beat this year. I’d be willing to bet the Seahawks don’t even make it out of the first round, if they make the playoffs at all. Marshawn Lynch might be behind bars as you read this.

A Genuine Draft?
By Kevin Pachucki (5-7-14)

Every year, I get the biggest kick out of the slew of mock drafts, talking heads, and former players who claim that they know everything there is to know about the NFL Draft. It’s fair to say that the Mel Kiper Jr.’s of the world deserve some modicum of respect for the knowledge they have of every player, every position, 40 time, Wonderlic test score, and assistant to the traveling secretary. However, the true skill is finding where these guys fit into the draft order and how they’ll be integrated into the teams with whom they’ll be playing.

Inevitably, the people who try to give “perspective” on where the NCAA’s best will land are wrong. They might get a couple lucky picks in the first round, but generally it’s not right. Add in the gamesmanship of the coaches and general managers who attempt to create landmines and diversions to confuse their opponents going into this annual event, and next thing you know Aaron Rodgers is a Packer, when no one saw it coming. Besides, assume yourself to be a coach or VIP and have a pretty solid strategy going into this Thursday. Would you share it with the world? A couple weeks ago, all the talk was Johnny Football going to Jacksonville, now there’s word of St. Louis, Minnesota, or even Dallas!!

What’s the point of this? I just wanted to give some ideas on positions the Packers will attempt to fill in this year’s draft. I won’t be the guy who says, “Chris Borland will be a Packer at the end of draft weekend.” (There are enough yes-men covering the Wisconsin program already who say he’s the best player in the draft and the Packers would be lucky to get him. Anyway, kudos to Borland when he finally gets his NFL deal, probably in the first 48 hours.) The baloney shooters on ESPN can’t get draft choices right, so don’t be too surprised if I can’t do it, either.

The Packers will probably lose Seneca Wallace, Johnny Jolly, Ryan Pickett, Robert Francois, and Jermichael Finley. Finley, Pickett, and Wallace probably aren’t much, given ages and physical maladies. However, there might be some upside to Jolly and Francois. Depending on how the draft goes, a couple of these guys might get some throwaway one- or two-year deals as stop-gaps with Green Bay. Given Jolly’s year and Francois’ potential, their agents might get them some better cabbage somewhere else.

These positions, in this author’s opinion, need some shoring-up: offensive line, a safety, defensive line, and maybe a wide receiver. Who the Packers believe is the right player at each position is probably best left to the people who were hired to make these decisions. McCarthy and Thompson have done pretty well, so far. Trading up? For whom? Trading down? It could probably happen in the latter rounds when you don’t even know who the hell Ingle Martin is…don’t feel bad about it.

Johnny Goofball

With a little more than a week to go before the NFL draft, many so-called football pundits have Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel, aka Johnny Football, going to the Jacksonville Jaguars with the third pick overall. Good for Johnny. Good for the NFL. In my opinion, if it happens, it’s not so good for Jacksonville.

As any spectator of the sport would know, building a team around a valuable signal-caller is critical to the success of the franchise. Whether it’s Montana, Aikman, Elway, or even Rodgers, a team cannot be truly successful without a great pocket passer who can create when the pocket breaks down. They’ve got to be heady guys, too. That’s why Russell Wilson has a ring and Philip Rivers probably will never get one. That’s why Favre only got one when he should have had about three or four. I would be willing to bet that’s why the future Hall-of-Famer from the University of Michigan who makes his living in the northeast has more titles than the guy in Denver who attended the mecca of academia in the SEC, the University of Tennessee.

Enough about that. Based on the Wonderlic test, which seems to be the catch-all for evaluating NFL rookies’ intellect, Manziel has got the grey matter to make an impact on the next level. For those who are unfamiliar with the Wonderlic test, players are given 12 minutes to answer 50 multiple choice questions. They’re scored based on how many questions they answer in time and how many they get right. Most NFL teams want QB’s to score at least a 21 to be viable for the position. Manziel scored a 32. That score has sent him up the draft boards pretty quickly.

Here are some other QB’s and their scores:
Tony Romo 37
Matt Stafford 38
Blaine Gabbert 42
Ryan Fitzpatrick 48 (A graduate of Harvard, for the record)
Aaron Rodgers 35
Christian Ponder 35

Add in all those quarterbacks together and you get one NFL Championship. I don’t think the scores mean too much, and they don’t necessarily evaluate football prowess. Here are some winners:

Eli Manning 39
Troy Aikman 29
Russell Wilson 28
Joe Flacco 27
Ben Roethlisberger 25
Brett Favre 22
Terry Bradshaw 15

So, the Wonderlic test is a tool for these NFL teams, but not a catch-all. And, regarding Manziel, this doesn’t necessarily mean he’s going to win. It just means that he’s a pretty sharp cookie. Statistically, according to the combine, he’s not that exciting, either. At 5’11” and 207, he’s small. He’s led the team in rushing the last two seasons, and has been labeled a “sandlot-style quarterback” by the reports out of the combine.

In other concerns, Manziel has had at least one misdemeanor run-in with the law, a pretty significant NCAA rules infraction that drew half the attention than Terrell Pryor’s violation (Wow), and several different girlfriends over the last couple months. Pardon the comparison, but it appears Manziel is more Joe Cain than Jonathon Moxon. If I was an NFL team owner, I would steer clear of this pothole…he’s another Michael Vick, with better accuracy, but a smaller arm.

Manziel might sneak up on some teams in his first year, but I really think he won’t be around too long. It’s really hard to tell when it’s this early, but I think Bridgewater and Bortles might be longer-term solutions, especially if they get the opportunity to sit on the bench a couple years before being handed the reins. If Manziel goes to Jacksonville, he won’t get that luxury.

We Need Action, Jackson!
By Kevin Pachucki

I have maintained two points this entire season about the University of Wisconsin Basketball team, a team that will soon drop out of the top 10 in the polls (if not already), following losses this week to Indiana and Michigan.

1) This team will only go as far as Traevon Jackson takes it. He needs to improve his game to take Wisconsin to the next level, perhaps the elite 8 or final four in the tournament.
2) Traevon Jackson is probably not that guy.

In the last four games, Jackson has 14 turnovers, according to ESPN. That compares to 12 turnovers in the previous eight games. One might argue that it’s the entry into the Big Ten Season that’s caused this dramatic upswing in reckless ball control, and there may be something to that. However, Jackson has 39 turnovers for the season, leading the team (Dekker is #2 on that list with 23 turnovers).

Let’s compare that to a couple of the other guards in the Big Ten:

Gary Harris at MSU – 29 turnovers
Aaron Craft at OSU – 42, but with 42 steals and 90 assists
Dre Hollins at Minn – 37
Derrick Walton at Mich – 33, a true freshman
Yogi Ferrell at Indiana – 49, a sophomore with 72 assists and true offensive prowess

To be fair, Jackson has 15 steals and 76 assists to go along with his turnover number. It would also appear that Bo Ryan coaches his guards to be “the man” on the court. Devin Harris was his only real “man” in the point guard position, but Ryan coached Travon Hughes and Jordan Taylor the same way. These guys (Hughes, Taylor, and Jackson) try to take over games, but just don’t have the scoring talent to do it.

My thought? Put him on the bench and groom Bronson Koenig to be “the man.” As a fan, it would be nice to see a solid game manager who can really let the game come to him. Jackson has been forcing nearly every possession, and it seems like he’s regressing in the early phases of this year’s Big Ten Season.

Coaching Odds


Coaches on the Bubble, and Odds…Just For Fun 

NFC West:

No action…Bruce Ariens is a candidate for Coach of the Year 

NFC North:

Frasier -1000

Schwartz -550

Trestman +100, but there are going to be a ton of changes with that staff/office 

NFC South:

Schiano -1000

Smith -200, with a lot to blame on injury.  I still think he’ll go. 

NFC East:

Coughlin -850…it’s just time to go after that season

Garrett -480…unless Orton finds a way to win this weekend and beyond.  The owner is the guy that needs to be fired.

Shanahan -220, especially how he followed up 2012 

AFC West:

No action…Reed IS Coach of the Year

Allen +50.  He won’t get fired, but should be after the QB controversy this week. 

AFC North:

Tomlin +120, although the Rooney’s have always been loyal owners

Harbaugh +100.  If there is a change, blame the front office

Chudzinski +100, no real action until next year, just bad ownership 

AFC South:

Phillips -110.  Great odds, especially since he got the interim moniker

Munchak -1000.  I still blame his players.  Chris Johnson is a bust and a bonehead, second only to Philip Rivers.

 AFC East:

Marrone -200.  Finishing 4th in a division of 4 never looks good on a resume, but it might be too soon.

REX RYAN -50000.  Should have been fired two years ago…a fraud, just like his brother. 

10 coaches to get pink-slipped, according to the “odds,” with a certain 8 out the door.  Frasier might even be gone before this article hits the website.  Happy New Year.

Hoop – la

Call me strange, but I actually take a great liking to the court surface on which many college basketball games are played now. Sometimes it can be a little over the top, a la Oregon. Other times it can be just downright boring, like Crisler Arena. It’s hard for your author to cheer on the Maize and Blue, anyway, especially on that floor.

At any rate, here are some of my favorite courts in Division I basketball…in no particular order. Google them and take a look. What are yours?

1) Cal State – Fullerton
2) Colorado State
3) Florida International – New this year, this IS my favorite
4) Oregon
5) Northwestern – the “Grape Juice Spill” kind of grows on me
6) Hawaii
7) Not enough yellow, but I still like LSU
8) Austin Peay (“Let’s Go Peay!”)

Thank you, Andy North, for buying the Badgers’ floor, but Wisconsin’s court is still pretty weak. Even if they were playing on a hockey rink (which they sometimes do), UW is still the 4th best team in the nation!

Picks for the Bowl Season:

Syracuse +4.5
Rutgers +14
Kansas State -4.5
Oregon -13.5
Georgia -9
LSU -7 (Lock of the DECADE, even without Mettenberger)
Michigan State +5.5
Alabama -15
Auburn +8.5

In the NFL:
Eagles -7 (Wouldn’t it be something, if Kyle Orton got the victory subbing for an injured $100 million fraud? Kyle Orton’s Salary, in case you’re wondering, is $840,000. That’s less than 5% of Romo’s.)
Jaguars +11.5
Patriots -9

More truths about the NFL…

– It isn’t a Monday night game until Jon Gruden complains about a bad call or a bad coaching decision for 12-15 minutes. PLEASE find a better partner for Tirico. I like listening to him.
– It isn’t a Sunday night game until Cris Collinsworth explains how much better he knows the game than anyone on the sidelines. That’s right, Cris…all you did was LOSE a Superbowl.
– It isn’t an exciting NFC North tilt until Brian Billick tells everyone what a great coach like him would do in this situation. I think that’s why I never liked the guy in Minnesota or Baltimore.
– It isn’t time for me to change the channel until Tony Siragusa makes an appearance in HD. It’s hard to believe he ever played the game…I liked him best when he had a mullet.
– It isn’t time to go back to Fox until you hear Phil Simms pronounce the word “him” as “EEM.” Great quarterback…failed linguist. As long as that goober from San Mateo is still in the league, I’m never going to like the AFC.
– It isn’t the NFL Network on Thursday night until Mike Mayock explains how much better he knows the rules than the league office.

I hammered on this earlier in the year: I just wish the executives would make some better decisions on who’s doing the commentating. You have great guys like Al Michaels, Kevin Harlan, and Mike Tirico doing the play-by-play, and we settle for color guys who can’t say anything more than “Rosebud” during a showing of Citizen Kane. Kudos to you, Troy Aikman…you’re a sugar cube in a salt mine.

Questions for you…
– Will Chip Kelly go back to the NCAA with the Texas job opening up?
– Is Bret “Where’s the Buffet?” Bielema a candidate for the Longhorns?
– Will Jay Cutler get shown the door in Chicago?
– Will Bruce Ariens sneak his Cardinals into the playoffs?
– And finally…Denver Wideout Eric Decker. Does he leave a Superbowl winner after this year?

Picks this week:

Eagles -4 (Call me a homer. Cutler is still under center.)
Bengals -7
Jaguars +5.5
Seahawks -9.5 (Russell Wilson has never lost at home)
Giants +9.5

Odds, Ends, and Basketball!

It’s early, and the markets for MVP and Coach of the Year could change dramatically over the next several weeks, depending on last-minute playoff runs or individual performances. Again, these selections are for bar banter and ridicule only…your opinion may differ greatly. Good luck to you, your team, and your ultimate selections for the NFL’s best…

Offensive MVP:
1. Peyton Manning. The team is garbage without him…kind of like the Packers, but a lot better, and in the toughest division in football in 2013. Unless the Broncos fall out of contention, his name is already engraved on the trophy.
2. Philip Rivers. This is his 15 minutes…the most intellectually challenged player in professional sports.
3. Josh Gordon. I said before the season started that he’s every bit as talented as Dez Bryant or Calvin Johnson. And he’s got a third-string nobody throwing passes to him.

Defensive MVP:
1. Vontaze Burfict. He’s one of the reasons Cincinnati is as good as it is this year. Being one of the league’s leading tacklers on a team with a prolific offense speaks well, too. Burfict doesn’t get as much time on defense as say…Clay Matthews?
2. DeAndre Levy. I vote for him because he’s a former Badger. Leading the league in interceptions doesn’t hurt, either.
3. Mario Williams. Crap team. Crap defense. Yet, this is a man among boys who continues to make plays.

Coach of the Year:
1. John Fox. Another guy already etched in on the name plate, coming back from heart surgery and engineering a Superbowl team will get him his hardware. However, having Elway in the front office and Manning on the field is what got him to where he’s at. He was a loser in Carolina.
2. Pete Carroll. This might hinge on a Superbowl win. He’s every bit as deserving as Fox, having an NFL renaissance with the Seahawks. Remember, this guy was a loser in New England a few years back and jumped ship at USC before the NCAA sanctions came down.
3. Chip Kelly. One hates to write it…another hates to read it. Any coach who catapults Nick Foles to stardom deserves his footprints on the walk of fame in Hollywood. (Side note: wait until Foles gets his free agent deal and fades into oblivion. You read it here first.)

One more prediction, though not as bold:
Barring injury or ineligibility, the Wisconsin Badger basketball team will go 17-0 and might even climb as high as #2, before losing a game in Bloomington on January 14, 2014. Does that mean you need to pencil them in on your Final Four bracket? Don’t even think it…

Saints -5
Jaguars +2
Patriots -2.5
Jets +11
Eagles -4.5

A Look Into TheAt this point in the season, here are the latest predictions for the playoffs/superbowl for the 2013 NFL Season. This gaze into the crystal ball is only to elicit bar room chatter and the manly disagreements that ensue over meaningless predictions like who will break Brett Favre’s all-time interception record. (Correct answer here: no one…ever.)

Who represents the NFC?
San Fran (wildcard)
New Orleans (wildcard)

Who represents the AFC?
Kansas City (wildcard)
New England
Baltimore (wildcard)

Is there something in the water in the west this year?
Denver beats New England in the AFC Championship
Seattle knocks off Carolina in the NFC
Denver is your Superbowl champion

Picks this week:
Cincinnati (Bearcats) +3
South Florida +5.5
Florida State -28.5
Michigan State +5

Kansas City -3
New England -10
Seattle +2.5
Miami +4


A Change of Heart

Well…as optimistic as your author was a mere week ago is as pessimistic as he is this week. It has nothing with the way the Packers offense played, the way the Packers defense played, or the end result of the last game. In all honesty, a true fan of the Green and Gold probably could have predicted the win-loss record over the last three outings. (Add Slocum to the list of guys to get axed at the end of the season, by the way. Special teams at Lambeau are only special this season because they should be riding the short bus.)

The reason to panic is because Green Bay got flexed out of the Sunday night game against Atlanta on December 8th. It really is a “who cares” game, especially now. However, if NBC is thinking ahead to move the game from prime time to Sunday at noon, that’s suggesting (to me) that Aaron Rodgers might not even be back for that weekend. Put yourself in a network executive’s shoes. It’s easy to see that the Falcons stink this year, but would a mass-audience tune in to see the return of the best quarterback in the NFL, regardless of the opponent?

The Wurst is right…it’s time to start rethinking this season and looking ahead to 2014, without Capers, Slocum, and half the defensive backfield.

One last note…stop with all the malarkey about Northern Illinois. The most presidential Bob McCarthy hails from there, but do you actually think this team can hold a candle to an Alabama, Florida State, or even Texas A&M (for example)? Nothing personal against the team, the conference, or McCarthy…the same thing is going to happen to Wisconsin when they take on their SEC opponent du jour.

Picks this week:

Nebraska -2 (Bo will finally lose his job…how he’s stayed this long is anyone’s guess)
Akron +7
Ohio -16.5
Ohio State -14.5 (Devin Gardner is a backup at most other D1 schools)

Jaguars +7
Bears +1 (Funny spread…I might as well count this as a loss now)
Bengals PK
Buccaneers +7.5

The Injury Bug

If the Packers don’t win this weekend’s game, please don’t bail on the green and gold.  It was Arizona that went 9-7 before their appearance in the Superbowl in 2009.  The Packers will rally hard, when they bring back Aaron Rodgers for the Thanksgiving Day game, finish the season 10-6, and go to the playoffs as the division winner.

Here are the x-factors:

  • Aaron Rodgers remains hurt/out longer than expected.  He is listed as “Out Indefinitely” on the injury report.
  • Aaron Rodgers comes back rusty and trips over himself in the Detroit game on Thanksgiving.
  • There are 19 players on the Green Bay roster that are injured, right now, going into this weekend.  Only three of those will be playing against Minnesota.
  • Eddie Lacy gets hurt
  • Chicago goes on a winning streak.  I’m willing to bet this team lays an egg in St. Louis this weekend…Chicago is not that good and St. Louis could be coming on, following the Rams’ romp over the Colts (IN Indy) and a bye.
  • Dom Capers stays healthy

Picks this weekend:

Wisconsin -14

Nebraska +1.5

Michigan State -7

LSU -4.5

Green Bay -5

Carolina -4

Pittsburgh +2.5

St. Louis -1

Rally Time



What Exactly is He Coordinating?

There was so much to write about during the course of the last weekend, that it was really hard to determine what this week’s NFL points-to-ponder should be.  Then, the Wurst Brewer Fan sent me this, courtesy of Dom Capers via

“We just have to keep working. I think we’re getting decent pressure on the quarterback. We had three sacks yesterday. I think you saw Datone Jones come up with his first two. I thought Datone took a step in the right direction yesterday. We had a lot of moving parts. Obviously, Casey (Hayward) went down during the course of the game yesterday. As you’re moving people around, hopefully you can get a little rhythm and those plays will start going your way. That’s what my hopes are.”

Here’s Chris Banjo, who the staff is thinking of inserting this week in place of M.D. Jennings,

“Everybody’s scratching their head,” Banjo said. “You just have to continue to keep chugging away and keep putting yourself in position. You have to put yourself in the right position to make those plays.”

Is this a good reflection on the coaching staff, if one of the players is “scratching his head?”

Capers will lose his job at the end of the season, unless someone in Green Bay has a proprietary means of cloning Clay Matthews.  Without question, there would be no reason to panic about the defense, if Aaron Rodgers was healthy.  The Pack would be 2-0 over the last two games, instead of an embarrassing 0-2…to two teams that likely won’t make the playoffs.  Or, in the case of the Eagles, a team that will make the postseason with a 7-9 mark and then find an early exit to a GB, San Fran, or Carolina wildcard.

Let’s just take a look at the numbers.

According to, as a team, the Green and Gold has  given up an average of

246 passing yards/game (21st in the league) and

107 rushing yards/game (12th in the league) and

24 points/game (17th in the league)

Here are the stats from the top teams:

167 passing yards/game (Houston) and

74 rushing yards/game (NY Jets) and

12 points/game (Kansas City)

The point is this: we know injuries have been difficult on the offensive side of the ball with the loss of Rodgers, Finley (arguable), Eddie Lacy for a portion of the season, James Jones, and Randall Cobb.  That means the defense has to step up, even though it’s had to withstand some injuries of its own, namely the thumb-break that sidelined Matthews for the better part of a month.

A football fan would give a pass to Capers on the DeSean Jackson touchdown, but the rest was garbage. Philadelphia is an NFC East team that is, without question, in the lower echelon of the Conference.  Then, to step to the podium and try and tell Packer Nation that things will start going your way while your players (at the same time) admit they aren’t sure what they’re doing smacks of abject failure.  Turn it around or go get a new job making excuses for the Arkansas Razorbacks.  Let’s bring Lovie Smith to Green Bay in 2014.  How can Lovie be ushered out of the NFL and guys like Jason Garrett and Leslie Frazier still have jobs?


Picks this week:

Wisconsin -20.5

Northwestern  -2.5

Florida State -38

Texas -2.5

New Orleans -3


Chicago -3

Redskins +3.5

KC/Denver > 48…it’s a funny number and that’s why I love it.  That’s gambling, Locksmith

Don’t Recall Our Last Backup?

By Kevin Pachucki

Let’s not get too excited about the poor performance we saw from Seneca Wallace last weekend.  I really don’t really think there’s much reason to be alarmed.  Take a look at Matt Flynn, when he was brought in to replace Aaron Rodgers the last time he went down in 2010.  Flynn went under center early against the Detroit Lions, en route to a 7-3 loss that day.  Here was his line, and compare it to Wallace on Monday night:

Passing                 Yards     TD           Int

Flynn                     15-26                     177         0              1

Wallace                 11-19                     114         0              1

Here is Flynn the following week against the New England Patriots, on his way to a 31-27 defeat…a pivotal high-level performance that set him up for his big free-agent contract the following year:

Passing                 Yards     TD           Int

Flynn                     24-37                     251         3              1

Wallace                ??-??                     ?              ?              ?

I’m not saying nor promising that Wallace is the high-performer the Packers need to fill-in the gaps while Rodgers is away.  What I am saying is that having a week’s worth of game planning, strategy, and practice with the ones will mean a world of difference in his outing this week.  Remember, he’s a previous starter with the Seahawks and the Browns.  He never won the big one, but Packer fans heading to the exits is a bit much.  Would you rather bring back Vince Young?

Now, let’s say Rodgers IS out for three weeks and the Green and Gold lose all three games.  That would mean losses to the Eagles, Vikings, and Giants.  What’s the likelihood of that happening?  The stench off those franchises even makes a skunk plug his nose.  Following those weeks, Rodgers would end the season with the Lions, Falcons, Cowboys, Steelers, and Bears.  There’s a good chance Rodgers could sweep every one of those games upon his return.  That leaves the Pack at 10-6 and in a good spot for a wildcard, if not an outright win in the NFC North.  (Who’s going to have a better than a 10-6 mark In the NFC other than the 49ers?  The Panthers?  Pablum!  The Cowboys?  Tortious!  7-9 might just win the NFC East.)

Picks this week…Locksmith has me all confused…

Stanford +10

BYU +7.5

Illinois +10

Minnesota -2.5

Jaguars +12

Packers -1.5

Giants -7

Bears +3


Arm Pit

By Kevin Pachucki 10-29-13

I think the owner of this fine site would even agree when I say, “I just can’t believe how many bad quarterbacks there are in the NFL.”  There are probably a handful of really special passers out there, including Drew Brees, Payton Manning, and Aaron Rodgers.  But, any sports fan flipping the channels on a Sunday can see the manure teams are putting under center in the NFL this season.

Passer rating has four calculations in it.  It measures completion percentage, yards per attempt, TD’s per attempt, and interceptions per attempt.  When you blend these three numbers together in the peculiar formula the NFL has assembled it gives you a number.  That number reflects passer rating.  A perfect passer rating is 158.3.   In order to accomplish a perfect passer rating, a quarterback has to throw with a completion rate of 77.5%, have at least 12.5 yards per attempt, a touchdown on 11.875% of attempts, and zero interceptions.

To date, Aaron Rodgers has the highest passer rating in history.  Peyton Manning has had four perfect games in his career, more than any other QB that’s played the game.  And, Robert Griffin is only one of two rookies in history to have a perfect game.  (The other is Drew Bledsoe).

Now…why does this year’s crop of signal-callers have more fertilizer than yield?

  • There are only five passers with ratings over 100: Manning, Rivers, Brees, Rodgers, and Romo (He didn’t lose the Detroit game Sunday…his defense did.).
  • There are 14 QB’s with ratings at 79 or lower, 15 if you include Josh Freeman.   79 is HALF of a perfect rating.
  • Even the heralded Colin Kaepernick is at an 87.6, right now, and the 15th best passer in the league by rating.  (For reference, that’s where Trent Green, Rich Gannon, Jeff Garcia, and Daunte Culpepper have their career passer ratings).  If you don’t recognize any of the names on that list, don’t feel too badly…

On to the picks for this week…you know you’re bad at this when your Twitter page starts blowing up with guys looking to give you special deals on pigskin picks.

South Florida +17

Georgia -2.5

Iowa +9.5

Nebraska -7.5

Bengals -2.5

Raiders +3

Chargers -1

Packers -10.5


Nothing Personal…

…I truly wish Jermichael Finley the best, but don’t expect him to return as a Packer.  This is probably the end of his career.  That’s unfortunate.  Again, most would hope for a full recovery, and would wish him the best.  It’s even more unfortunate that this is a contract year for the Green Bay tight end…he most likely would have cashed-in at the end of this season, deciding to take a bigger paycheck at one of the dung heaps in another division, a la Arizona, Oakland, Tampa Bay, or the landfill we call the NFC East.  Regardless of dropped passes, should Packer fans lose sleep over the loss of Finley?  You decide…

With QB Aaron Rodgers throwing to him, according to, the 6’4” 240-pound Tight End’s career stats reflect an average:

3.2 receptions per game

39.8 yards per game AND

3.3 touchdowns per season

Let’s look at the Dallas Cowboys’ Jason Witten, according to the same site.  Witten has Tony Romo distributing the ball:

5.1 receptions per game

56.2 yards per game AND

4.3 touchdowns per season

Here’s Owen Daniels, with Matt Schaub and T.J. Yates tossing the pigskin…and one of the best running backs in the game in Arian Foster:

3.9 receptions per game

46.2 yards per game AND

3.6 touchdowns per season

And finally, how about Brandon Pettigrew, who’s had NO supporting cast, no real running backs until this season, and Matthew Stafford under center:

4.2 receptions per game

40.7 yards per game AND

3 touchdowns per season

Here are this week’s picks…of course for entertainment purposes only.  Last week, only 10 of the top 25 teams covered the point spread.  What does that mean?  Vegas might know that bettors will be loading-up on the underdogs this week.

Clemson -14

Texas A&M -17.5

Iowa State +13

Ohio State -14.5

Dallas/Detroit < 50½

Eagles -4.5

Chiefs -7

Jets +6

Most NFL commentators rarely get it right

I don’t know all the rules of NFL football. Maybe I’m in the majority. Maybe I’m in the minority. Aside from the obvious defensive holding, pass interference, or intentional grounding, when things get complicated, it can be a little confusing for me.

A week ago Sunday, when James Jones seemingly caught his second touchdown for the Packers against the Lions, the faithful roared. The replay, however, showed his second foot was out when he crossed the goal line. Moose Johnston was quick to point out that it doesn’t matter that his second foot was out and that Jones crossed the plane with control of the ball. That, in and of itself, made the play a touchdown for the Green and Gold. Enter referee…call is reversed…NOT a touchdown.

Last week Thursday, when Rueben Randle catches a pass from Eli Manning, slips, gives up, and slams the ball on the turf, Mike Mayock assures viewers that this play was a fumble and it was Bears football. Mayock was wrong, and the official called the play dead. To make matters worse, and heaping on to Mayock’s own personal embarrassment, someone from officiating came into the booth to corroborate the correctness of the call and again told Mayock he was wrong. Mayock then urged him to change the rule, because it was a bad call. What??

Also a week ago Sunday, Dan Fouts proudly declared a Chargers touchdown for Keenan Allen in the back of the end zone against the Oakland Raiders. It was a questionable call, even though Fouts was certain Allen’s knee was down before the weight of his body carried him out of bounds. Enter referee again…call is reversed…NOT a touchdown.

Why are these issues? Daryl Johnston, Mike Mayock, and Dan Fouts are all veterans of the NFL. They have had varying success at their respective positions. Do they get any kind of training to be a commentator? Do they get any kind of rule book test, before they head into the broadcast booth? How well SHOULD they know the rules, before they offer all the baloney above to fans like me who want to fully understand the game?

How about Troy Aikman questioning the New Orleans hard count against the Patriots yesterday, after the hard count draws Drew Brees’ own guys offsides? (It was actually a neutral zone infraction, but the league loves to give games to the perennial popgun from San Mateo) THE REFS BLEW THE CALL! And Aikman piling on didn’t help, especially since yours truly had the Aints at +1.5. Tortious!

Commentators are like NFL Meteorologists…they can barely forecast night and still keep their jobs. Take a lesson on the rules before you hit the airwaves. Think before you speak. And make the Sunday football experience better for everyone…jeeeez.

This week:

Louisville -12
Florida State -2.5
UConn +14
Wisconsin -10

Bengals +3
Bears -1.5
Rams +6
Browns +10


Mr. Pachucki points out some intriguing stats about NFL QB's

It’s All About the Arm…and More
By Kevin Pachucki

Here are some pieces of information from that will blow you away about the Quarterback Ratings in the NFL as of this week:

Philip Rivers is higher than Drew Brees
Tony Romo is lower than Jake Locker
Michael Vick has a higher number than Aaron Rodgers
Terrell Pryor has a bigger number than Tom Brady
And…Alex Smith, by quarterback rating, is better than Joe Flacco

I guess those big contracts meant a lot…more than a half-billion dollars for six guys. Peyton Manning, by the way, is better than #2 (Rivers) by almost 15 whole points! That’s pretty special. In case you’re wondering, according to, Mark Sanchez makes more money than Tom Brady, nearly $13.5 million a year versus $11.4 million a year.

Before you step to the pay window this week, let me tell you that the NFC East is an absolute landfill. After five weeks, the entire division has but five wins. Three of those came playing division opponents, and the other two came with a Dallas victory over the mighty St. Louis Rams and a Washington domination of the perennial powerhouse in Oakland. Three of the bottom five defenses in the league are in the East. And, the only reason why the Redskins aren’t there is because of a bye week! If we exclusively looked at yards per game, four of the bottom seven defenses in the league are the NFC East. Pathetic. (Before the season started I did say the Giants would make the Superbowl. Sorry. NY does seem to rally hard when the chips are down, though.)

I actually had a couple minutes to be able to think about my picks this week. You know what that means? Do more research. I think I went 6-2 three weeks ago, didn’t post the following week (but honestly would have gone 0-2 based on the picks I didn’t post), and then was 4-3 last week…lost on the last play of the Northwestern game with the +7. Joke.

Take these to the bank…and no listening to the Locksmith:
NY Giants/Bears over 47.5
Michigan State -9.5 (Indiana can beat bad teams)
Clemson -24 (Tajh Boyd has a chip on his shoulder. At this level, he’s every bit as good as Bridgewater and Murray.)
Arkansas +6.5 (Hopefully Bret doesn’t stumble this week. YouTube that video!)
Michigan -3 (Devin Gardner still sucks)
Saints +1.5 (I don’t care if Gronk comes back. The Patriots are a dung heap. At 4-1, they have wins over the Bills, Jets, Buccaneers, and Falcons…teams with six total wins among them so far this season.)
Colts +1 (Funny spread? The neurons just don’t fire for Rivers.)
Vikings -2.5 (Emancipated by Freeman)

It’s Only the Beginning for the End
by Kevin Pachucki

I only have anecdotal evidence for this at this point in the season, but doesn’t it seem like the Tight Ends in the NFL are getting a whole lot more action in recent years? Back in the day, I remember guys like Mark Bruener with the Steelers, Jay Novacek with the Cowboys, and even Ed West of the packers. Bruener had 118 receptions in 106 games played. Novacek had 442 receptions over his 158 game career. Ed West was the worst of the three with 237 catches over 211 games

Now, let’s take a look at active tight ends today. Jason Witten, whose career isn’t even close to over, has 827 catches over 163 games. Meanwhile, Owen Daniel of the Texans only has 99 games under his belt, but has 379 receptions. And, finally, Vernon Davis has only 107 games under his belt, but has nearly 50% more catches than Ed West with 356.

I think the tight end is getting a lot more action than in the past. Why is that, do you ask? I’ll give you three potential reasons. 1) Having an extra blocker is healthy for the running game. 2) Tight Ends are cheaper, and keep salaries of the Wide Receivers lower. If you think I’m wrong, take a look at Greg Jennings’ contract with the Vikings or Percy Harvin’s contract with the Seahawks. Those guys were bargains by comparison to their predecessors (assuming they start to be productive). If you take away catches from the wide receivers, why should they get so much money? 3) Bigger targets and sneak around zone coverage pretty well.

And…if you’re Jermichael Finley, you get the opportunity to drop another ball that hits you square in the hands or the numbers.

Here are you picks for the week:

Stealing from the Locksmith: Packers/Lions over 55
Browns -4
Saints -1
Bengals +1 Oh yeah…love to pick against Belichick
Northwestern +7.5
Florida -11.5
Illinois +9.5 Loves me some Scheelhaase

Have a great weekend.

By Kevin Pachucki

There are two things that really irk me in college and professional football now…just two. Perhaps they may be integral reasons why I cling to the sport like barnacles to the Pacific Princess. (Oh yeah…I used to watch the Love Boat!)
1) With all the technology that exists in the world today, how on God’s green Earth are officials seemingly making more mistakes than ever on their calls? Or, if not a sheer number of mistakes, how glaring must these errors be? Call me a homer, but last year’s Fail Mary in Seattle was only trumped by the Debacle in the Desert this year, when the refs just ran off the field after gassing the clock on Joel Stave and the Wisconsin Badgers, handing a victory to ASU! Here are the questions I pose to you. How often are referees primed on the rulebooks? How many more camera angles, zooms, and replays do we need? And, at what point does a senior official in the box call down to the field and say, “Hold it here…”
2) When does the NFL do away with the last-second timeout on the game-winning field goals? I hated the rule to begin with, but it really came to a head this last weekend when I had to watch a bad Texans kicker in Randy Bullock attempt to boot the winning FG four times. Kick, timeout, kick, penalty, kick, timeout, kick, miss, overtime. What a joke. Here’s the simple solution. When an opponent tries using this, the kicker should be allowed to walk over to the offending coach and go through the field goal motion one more time…better be wearing a cup, Belichick.
Winners this week:
Kansas City Chiefs +3.5
Miami of Ohio +23
Michigan State +7
Stanford -9
Minnesota Vikings -6.5
New England Patriots -7
Dallas Cowboys -4.5
Green Bay -3

Is Jerry Jones getting his kicks in a different way?

Ever since Tony Romo signed his 6-year, $119 million contract extension back in March, I’ve been scratching my head, trying to figure out what the Cowboys were thinking. Remember, here’s a kid who is 1-3 in the playoffs and 0-3 when a playoff berth was on the line. To say the least, I’m not a believer. I don’t think you should be, either. Before the rash of QB signings, extensions, and contract renegotiations, this contract made Romo one of the highest paid players in NFL history.

Now he’s got a defense. Good for him.

I will say this, though. If you can see the big picture, I think that Jerry Jones’ approach might be nothing short of brilliant. Longer term, he’s really setting the stage for his team to have big success. Here’s why. The salary cap this year is $123, up from $120.6 million last year, a difference of $2.4 million. Adrian Wilson’s salary last year as a premier, albeit aging, defensive back in this league, was about $1.5 million. According to the NFLPA, the average salary of all players did not exceed $2 million. Of course, the QB position is the highest-paid of all the skill positions. Makes sense, right?

So, what’s the point? By elevating the salary of a sub-standard player to levels not from this planet, the Cowboys are forcing other teams with more talented signal-callers to raise what they otherwise might not have had to pay for the position.

The reality is this: with as much as 20% of a salary cap going to one player (who is worth it, a la Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers), the less there is to pay other talented supporting players, offense or defense. Is Jerry Jones trying to make his team better in the short term, or attempting to weaken his opponents long-term? Romo is manageable, and might be a bargain in the next couple years, depending on the changes in the salary cap. As we saw, if Romo can pull down $20 million a year, where does that leave the next Superbowl winner? Another garbage-arm in Jay Cutler, who’s in a contract year now? (Four Bear starters are in contract years this year…they better do it this year, or they’re rebuilding all over again, one-year removed from Urlacher. Ouch) At any rate, I would think that getting opposing teams to hike their investments in their QB’s to 25% of a salary cap, there’s less money to go around…less money for the supporting cast for the star player. Why do you think Charles Woodson got the axe in Green Bay? That money had to go into Aaron Rodgers’ pocket. No more Wes Welker in New England. And, it’ll probably get worse. Dare I say Cowboys in 2016 with this “approach” to making Dallas better?

Here are this week’s winners:

Michigan -37.5
Pitt -21.5
Wisconsin +5.5
Alabama -8
Miami Dolphins +3
Oakland -5.5
NY Giants +5.5

It’s your call on Seattle-San Fran…knock yourself out.

Mr. Pachucki Offers Some Investment Advice


Here are a couple lines for you to consider…keep in mind the games I liked this week would have resulted in a 2-3 mark. For wins, I had Northwestern -6 and South Carolina -11. I would have lost on Georgia -2.5, Pittsburgh +11 (Out of love for Paul Chryst), and Wisconsin >53. So, take all with a grain of salt…generally, I just like looking at how the games are handicapped. I’m not really a genius when it comes to selecting wins against the spread. Come to think of it, I’m not really a genius…

– Baltimore +7.5, but take the -320 on the money line (I know…garbage, right?)
– Illinois +10…I’m a believer in Nate Scheelhaase
– Georgia -3, assuming Todd Gurley plays
– Michigan -4.5…Everett Golson is hurt
– Tampa Bay -4…I think the Jets could lose to Ohio State by 4.5, right now
– Arizona Cardinals +4.5…still no love for St. Louise (that’s not a typo), even though Sam Bradford is nothing short of spectacular.
– San Francisco -5…anyone who watched the Packer D against Seattle knows that coordinator Dom Capers pulled out all the stops against Russell Wilson for a preseason game (and still lost). Now, put in a bigger and better quarterback, San Francisco’s all-time rushing touchdown leader, comparable receivers, and the read-option. Any idea where this game is going? Now let’s compare defenses…
– Lions/Vikings Under 46.5…I might even consider Vikings +190 on the win, just because it’s a nice number for two bad teams who are vying for the basement in the NFC North. You gotta’ feel sorry for AP.

This is for entertainment purposes only…do something smarter with your money, like putting it on the green zero.

Seven The Hard Way
Here are a number of incontrovertible truths, as of late about the NFL:

1) Cutting Vince Young was the right decision. The only way he stops fumbling is if the League imposes a mandatory handle be installed on a traditional football.
2) Ray Lewis might be right about the power outage, but he’s the last person on the planet to talk conspiracy during the Superbowl.
3) Is New York the official location of Green Bay’s AAA Farm club?
4) Tim Tebow might be a heck of a human being and a good college athlete, but he hasn’t got the tools to be an effective NFL player. I knew he’d be jobless last spring.
5) Adrian Peterson won’t get 2,500 yards this year.
6) Baltimore and Denver is going to be a great matchup this Thursday. Don’t be surprised if Denver runs away with this one.
7) Here are some of the best names in the National Football League:
– Richie Incognito, Miami
– Byron Stingily, Tennessee
– Bacarri Rambo, Washington
– Whitney Mercilus, Houston
– Barkevious Mingo, Cleveland
– Darcel McBath, San Francisco…he’s a clean player…but now I think he’s on IR.

Speaking of San Francisco…it wouldn’t be a stretch to think the Packers go 0-1 this weekend. Hopefully Rodgers doesn’t get hurt, either.

8-23-13 A Chip In The Toilet
By Kevin Pachucki

I’m not a huge fan of gimmick offenses, but let me say this: I can’t wait to see Chip Kelly succeed and ultimately fail in the NFL. I want this for two very important reasons. First, and most importantly, he escaped justice by fleeing the University of Oregon for the “greener” pastures of the Philadelphia Eagles. The NCAA in its infinite wisdom sticks the schools with the mess, instead of tagging the coaches. It’s almost like a CEO escaping culpability when a company goes bankrupt or ends up closing for (insert felony white-collar crime here). Second, and not-as-important, is the fact that hot-ticket coaches and their fly-by-night offenses that work in Division I football miserably flop on the next level. Take your pick: Run-and-shoot, Pistol, Wildcat, Read-option (yes, I said it), Spread, West Coast…they all go away.
That leads me to the prediction that San Francisco will not make the playoffs. I say this with one major assumption: Colin Kaepernick is not a superior pocket passer. What we’ve seen from many of these offenses is a need for an athletic quarterback, and that is Kaepernick…no question. However, when defensive schemes catch up to the offensive strategy, it all falls back on two things that we’ve seen in pro football for more than four decades (as long as I’ve been following the NFL). First, can the offense run the ball? Second, can the quarterback stand in the pocket and deliver the ball? A pro-style offense is all that there is to be successful at this level. The team that does it best and can stop other teams from doing it to them wins the Superbowl. Period.
All this aside, I do want to see what the offense looks like. At some point, the Eagles might put up 50 points per game. That will be fun to see. If the pre-season is any indicator, they’ll still suck and fall prey to the Giants, Cowboys, and Redskins…just like last year. And, Vick ain’t getting any younger.
5-17-13 – 2013 NFL Preview

It appears we are at that point in the baseball season where the Brewers are out of the playoff picture in a division where most of the teams can’t spell “Win,” even if you spot them all the consonants. So, moving on, barring injury, suspension, or other scandal, enjoy all the window dressing leading up to a repeat Championship by the Miami Heat. I would love to appreciate the NHL, but the infancy and excitement of the sport land squarely in the NFL, college football and NCAA basketball seasons, the core of any true sports fan’s mission statement.

So…some pre- pre- predictions for the NFL this year include the following…
(Keep in mind this is the spring, and anything can happen between now and July, let alone now and the beginning of the regular season)

– Brian Urlacher and Tim Tebow will be out of the NFL, barring injury or any other divine demand for a player who either lacks capacity or exists well beyond his prime.
– Charles Woodson will most likely, once again, be a Raider. In my opinion, that’s no better than being on the same casting couch as Tebow and Urlacher.
– Matty Ice in a contract holdout? I think it might be difficult for both sides to reach agreement on this one, given the sum Tony Romo got with the Cowboys (WHaaaaa?) and two other Superbowl winners commanded in the market.
– Marshawn Lynch will likely be CUT by the Seahawks at the end of next season. Seattle drafted two running backs and our California Golden Boy is in line for big money in 2015…a liability in today’s salary cap-conscious NFL.
– Two of three Florida teams make the playoffs…sorry Jacksonville.
– I would love to see Russell Wilson as MVP. Don’t laugh. With the addition of Percy Harvin and a shored-up D, it could happen.
– The NY Giants return to the Superbowl
– NFL Champion: Denver Broncos.

From the no-surprise file:
– Rex Ryan gets fired. A pulse-saving contract gave him CPR this year.
– Dom Capers gets fired.
– Both head coaches in Texas get fired.
– Andy Reid has another sandwich…some of that great KC Barbecue!

It’s only May, and I can’t wait. Go Pack!


It Ain’t Luck Why Rookie Quarterbacks Suck
By Kevin Pachucki

I feel bad for rookie quarterbacks. I really do. Just think of how many rookie quarterbacks flame-out in the first year of their NFL careers. I see at least four going by the wayside, sadly, in this current spate of pro football’s most important position. Here they are: Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Ryan Tannehill, and Brandon Weeden. Of the entire class, though, I would say RGIII, Russell Wilson, and Kirk Cousins have the best chances to succeed.
Why? It has nothing to do with Heisman Trophies or the Big Ten Conference. There are only three Big Ten Quarterbacks starting in the NFL and only four Heisman Trophy winners under center at the position at kickoff. (You could count Tebow, I suppose, but not necessarily at his position. He already established clipboard territory rights during his run in Denver last year.)
Anyway, the problem with rookie quarterbacks is where they get selected and how they’re implemented in the game. When a rookie quarterback gets picked, quite often they’re drafted in the upper tiers of the rounds. The teams where they end up generally don’t have any other supporting cast to help shoulder the load. And, these teams invariably PLAY FROM BEHIND! So, a team drafts someone like Brandon Weeden to revive the franchise, there is little by way of rush, average to below average defense, a penchant for losing, and demands on a player that can even exceed those of a seasoned veteran. What does that mean? He (She, if we’re talking about Tebow) has to throw A LOT…too much for a decent, balanced attack. Look at how great Sam Bradford is, but he’s failing in St. Louis. A lot of this has fallen on Andrew Luck, already. And, you’re witnessing Blaine Gabbert circle the drain in Jacksonville and Cam Newton in Carolina, just in their second years. Look back further and you see Brady Quinn, who really should have had some semblance of success at the position, but got stuck with teams who had nothing, then was subsequently supplanted by a free-agent acquisition. They, fairly or unfairly, REALLY have to carry their teams.
So, why do RGIII, Russell Wilson, and Kirk Cousins have the best chances to succeed of the bunch? Griffin is dynamic and appears to have a rushing attack to go along with his game smarts. He also has scrambling ability and a decent defense. Wilson has an amazing defense (first in the league as of last week), a terrific rushing attack with Marshawn Lynch (who should be a Packer, right now), and similar game IQ to RGIII. Cousins will succeed, because he’s been afforded some time on the bench. And, like the others mentioned, he’s had tremendous success at the college level with plenty of playing time.
Tannehill and Weeden don’t have a prayer. Weeden’s only hope is if Richardson pans out, and the fans have the patience for the team to grow…not just Weeden. Suck for Luck? Suck WITH Luck!

Reflections from the Opening Weeks (9/12/12)

First and foremost, I want to point out a few facts that are pretty much indisputable, even in the early stages of the 2012-2013 football season.

• According to ESPN, Montee Ball has 47 carries for 181 yards, against the likes of Northern Iowa and Oregon State. The talk of a Heisman Trophy, unless Ball has an epiphany or can manage to improve his game in the next couple outings, is already pretty much over. (Per carry average over that time is 3.9 yards with 1 score. Ouch)
• After two preseason games last year, Russell Wilson was 27-34 for 444 yards with five touchdown passes with no interceptions and a rushing touchdown. His passer rating was off the charts. Admittedly, he had two cupcakes in UNLV and Oregon State as his first two outings. In Dan O’Brien’s first two games, he is 39-61 for 391 yards with three touchdowns and an interception. He has no rushing scores. (O’Brien has rushed for -32 yards). O’Brien, as if it needs to be pointed out, is no Russell Wilson…not even close.
• There will be no Rose Bowl, unless the rest of the conference falls apart. (Which may be a possibility)
• Given the early success of the team, all this malarkey about raising ticket prices, personal seat license prices, or Badger fund contributions will likely be put on hold until the Wisconsin Badger Athletic Department can put some even easier teams on the football schedule.

Regarding the Packers

• Unless this defense gets shored-up, Dom Capers will be digging ditches after this season is over. Hope you enjoy your new career, buddy.
• We miss Joe Philbin already. Best of luck to you in Miami, buddy.
• Jarrett Bush still can’t cover Tupperware. Thanks, buddy.
• It sure is good that the Packers put the franchise tag on Jermichael Finley. He still can’t catch a cold. One of his drops ultimately resulted in a 49er touchdown. Thanks, buddy.
• As the Wurst will attest, the Packer line opened at -5 this Thursday against the Bears at Lambeau. WOW. That’s a funny spread…I would run, and run quickly from this one.

My picks last week:
Oregon State +7
Northwestern -1
Stanford -15
Ole Miss -7
Michigan -21 (Yes, the conference sucks…that’s a loss)
Next week:
Navy +6
Florida State -26.5
Ole Miss +10.5
Utah +4
Notre Dame +5
Saints -3

Seattle -2½ (I still love the Russell Wilson…still a loss

Listing From Vegas

Since I’m all about the lists, I’m going to share one more for you, now that the latest Vegas trip is over. Without further adieu, here’s the top ten of cool events from the crown jewel of Nevada, circa Aug. 24, 2012.

10) Walking into an empty McCarren airport on a Friday night. It seriously looked like the apocalypse. Have you ever seen this?
9) Going from the airport to the liquor store to the Rio to the iBar to the Voodoo Lounge, all within the first two hours of hitting this pinnacle of adult fun.
8) Meeting the notorious Bob McCarthy on the roof, then dancing, drinking, and shooting the bull until the wee hours.
7) Reconnecting the next day at the Rio pool, and picking up where the festivities left off the previous night. Beachballs, insults, shame, and attempted matchmaking.
6) The new “D” downtown (formerly Fitzergerald’s). Flamboyant bartenders, Sigma Derby, the Long Bar, a throwback 80’s band right outside, and a real center of what appears to be a renaissance in downtown Vegas
5) The near-fight at the Rhumbar. Are guys dancing together in Vegas actually a question of our sexuality? Way to post-up, Bob.
4) Some African-American fellows taking great interest in an uncoordinated white guy dancing to the Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back” back at Voodoo.
3) A late night burner on the dice, at the expense of the rest of the table. Sorry, Wurst. Pink is a lucky charm…
2) Todd English P.U.B is one of the best food experiences I’ve had in Vegas. I’m not kidding. They even give you a free 16 oz. beer, if you can throw it back in seven seconds or less. I failed miserably. Congrats, Wurst.
1) Dinner at the Culinary Dropout at the Hard Rock, and the subsequent McCarthy campaign song…paid in part by a successful c-note on the Pirates to beat the Brewers. Thanks, Wurst.

Now…back to the Packers. I still like Michigan and the +12.5 against Alabam

Replace These Refs
By Kevin Pachucki

In one statement: these replacement refs need to go back to the middle-school sidelines from which they came…

Here are just a few examples of the ridiculous mistakes they’ve made:

• Misunderstanding the rule (Celebration penalty, GB v. San Diego, Aug. 9)
• Misapplication of the rule (Holding, Chicago v. Washington, Aug. 18)
• Not facing the TV camera (Pittsburgh v. Indianapolis, Aug. 19)
• Bad spotting (Pittsburgh v. Indianapolis, Aug. 19)
• Botched coin toss (New Orleans v. Dallas, Aug. 5…the HOF game!)
• Replay review confusion (New Orleans v. Dallas, Aug. 5)
• Confusing replay challenge team (Arizona v. Atlanta, Aug. 9)
• Calling a touchback at the 4-yard line (Buffalo v. Washington, Aug. 9)

These are just a few. Cut the crap…settle this thing. The PR spin the head of officiating is putting on this dispute is even more embarrassing.

Besides, nothing better stimulates halftime at a football party than the Ed Hochuli imitation. Seriously, let’s just get the right officials back on the field, before the games count and the calls are even more critical.

Punt This – 8/17/12
By Kevin Pachucki

The Green Bay punting team almost outgained the offense in Thursday’s game against the Cleveland Browns. I’m not kidding. Tim Masthay kicked the ball for 210 yards on four punts, while the Packer offense mustered just 228 total yards. Is Green Bay’s punter really that good, or is the offense really that bad?

In the immortal words of the website owner and Vegas compatriot, Pat Heffling, “We’re going to need a new punter pretty soon.” 52.5 yards per punt…when the Packer special teams got one off.

The green-and-gold offense also committed four turnovers in the debacle.

Now, before we get a little too down on the Packer offense, the Browns finished 5th in scoring defense last year, and 13th in turnover differential with a cumulative +1. So, to say the least, the Brown’s defense is stingy and opportunistic, much like the Packer’s D was in 2010. The fact that Green Bay only put up 10 points in the 35-10 loss wasn’t that bad.

On the other side of the ball, the defense stunk. They spent 36 minutes on the field and #1 draft pick Nick Perry produced only one solo tackle in that span. Leading tackler: Jarrett Bush, with 7 total. As one previous post detailed, I think I’d rather have Reggie Bush, George Bush, or even Dale Jarrett at corner. Notice how many snaps the kid got, too…the current coaching staff knows Bush needs more reps before the regular season!

There was no quarterback pressure, either…the Green Bay D had 0 sacks and 0 interceptions on rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden, who had 20 pass attempts in the loss at Lambeau. Colt McCoy and Seneca Wallace added ten more attempts in their time in the game…marquis names to say the very least.

Here’s the one mulligan I’ll give the Packers: as the former head coach of the lowly Minnesota Vikings, Cleveland offensive coordinator Brad Childress likely has a solid understanding of the Dom Capers 3-4 zone-blitz scheme. Perhaps his acumen (dare I say) was an edge the Browns had in this game.

With that said, dismiss this all you want in the way that you want. “[Defensive Coordinator] Dom Capers is dumb like a fox…not tipping his hand in exhibition…” or, “It’s just the preseason…” or, “They’ll work the bugs out…”

I hope it all works out the way true Packer fans want it to, because the Packers should represent the NFC North in the Playoffs in 2013. But, if they continue to make teams like the Browns look like the Patriots, the finger pointing is going to start and the Packer season is going to end…quickly.

One more thing…totally unrelated…is it just me, or does Aaron Rodgers’ delivery and release look different this year?


First and foremost, I want to share my wife’s rules of coaching. If she were the head coach of any Division I men’s sports team, she would require that all recruits abide by the following requirements:

1) No tattoos
2) Short hair and no facial hair
3) No girlfriend while you’re in college
4) Don’t go to the bars
5) Recognize that the common non-athlete student is gunning for you

Okay…so she’s over-the-top. But, what made me cite her was rule #5. This whole Montee/Montay Ball “Real Athletes of Dane County” episode is making both of us totally nauseous. I say this with full knowledge and conviction that Ann Langel, my wife, has never rooted for a football team because she likes, for example, the Seahawks’ new uniforms (Have you seen these? YUCK!) or because the Banana Slugs is a cool mascot. (I might actually cheer for Banana Slugs…don’t hate.) She knows sports.

Anyway, my wife suggested that a redshirt be attached to him at the end of the season last spring to monitor, report, and even prevent any potential problem activity of a superstar athlete like Montee/Montay Ball. In the event this policy was in place, the whole Mifflin Street trespassing incident could have been avoided and this whole fight/retaliation controversy might not have gone down, however the cops, the athletic department, or the public care to spin it. The policy might be a little much, but given the importance of rule #5, there should be some kind of procedure in place to either protect or watch-over such a high-profile athlete by the athletic department or the steward du-jour (Read: Bielema) of these yet-to-be-adults.

And…I have one final point of inspiration with respect to Montee Ball. He’s got a Facebook campaign underway called Moneyball28. Go ahead. Find it. Like it. Do whatever. If Montee Ball has the season he had last year, he is certainly deserving of College Football’s most prestigious award.

If I may quote Lee Corso, “Not so fast, my friend…” Remember these folks? Zeitler, Konz, and Oglesby? How about Carimi and Moffitt the year before? These “Palookas” (Barry Alvarez, 2012) were all draft choices in the NFL, aside from Oglesby. Again, let me say, if Ball has the same season he had last year (on the field) he is every bit the most outstanding player in college football. I can only wish Ball well at the UW and beyond…if he can stay ON the field and stop reading his own press clippings.

* Alvarez, Barry, 2012, made the comment during a keynote presentation to the Janesville Chamber of Commerce annual dinner.


By Kevin Pachucki

Okay…the following prediction isn’t that hard to make, simply because there’s really only a one in thirty-two chance of a particular NFL team winning the Superbowl. And, betting the field is just a statistical advantage. But, as much as I bleed green and gold, the Packers will not win the Superbowl this year. As a matter of fact, I would be surprised if the team even gets there in the 2012-2013 season. Heresy?

The positives are easy to point out: Aaron Rodgers is in the peak of his career, and he’s nothing short of spectacular. He IS the man, and the guy that every franchise seeks for building a franchise. Fortunately for Green Bay, he’s in Titletown, and will hopefully stay here.

In addition to Rodgers next year, Greg Jennings, T.J. Lang, and half the linebacking corps are all in contract years this year. That’s certain motivation for any player to execute at a level in which they might or might not usually perform.

Bringing in Anthony Hargrove, despite a shortened season because of the New Orleans bounty scandal, will shore up a truly sorry defense from last year. Nick Perry appears to have a decent motor and solid strength…being a first-round draft pick can set the bar pretty high, though, so we will wait and see if he pans out.

I think the negatives for this team won’t surprise anyone, because they haven’t changed much from last year. Now that Charles Woodson is moving from corner to safety, it appears that Jarrett Bush might be the man to work opposite Tramon Williams. Williams is serviceable, despite regressing last year, but Bush can’t cover Tupperware. Any motion before the snap or pick play is going to expose Bush, and that’ll make even Tavaris Jackson get excited.

On the same side of the ball, the pass rush needs to improve. Your Rookie-of-the-Year runner-up slid from 13.5 sacks in 2010 to just six in 2011. Perhaps Dom Capers vaunted 3-4 defense might not be the church that gets us to salvation…or offensive coordinators around the league have now perfected how to coach against it. Capers is no Dick LeBeau…at least not yet.

Offensively, the Packers need a running back that can hold the ball and gain yards, receivers who can consistently catch the ball, and linemen who can gel and provide better protection for their fearless leader.

In order to get there, draft choices need to step up, SOMEone is going to have to prove he can play corner, whether it’s Bush, Sam Shields, or even Devon House. The pass rush is going to have to resume its 2010 ways, and the steam engine that is the Packers offense needs to resume it’s late 2009 momentum.

With all this in mind, here is your Superbowl prediction for 2013: barring injury, the Saints dump the Steelers, 30-10. Teams that could surprise include the Falcons, Lions, Broncos, Redskins, Texans, Titans, and Seahawks. Sorry New York, despite Tebow, your head coach is still Rex Ryan.

“Fighting Off The 0-2 Pitch”
By Kevin Pachucki

Fewer than two months until football season starts. The NBA Finals are underway…it must be June. These are the summer doldrums, not only for the stock market, but also for the sports world. Anyone who calls himself (or herself) a sports fan takes a big yawn at this time of year, because it’s usually the time we forget about the NBA, count out the Milwaukee Brewers from the post-season, and lament the NHL season coming to a close.
Here are a couple quick ideas to get you through this slow season of sports, because as we all know, it doesn’t get any slower than watching John Axford get to a twenty pitch count on the first three batters he faces in the eighth at Miller Park…even if it’s against the lowly Pittsburgh Pirates, when the Brewers blow a 3-1 lead.
First, shut off the TV. This is an important first step. It’s like the alcoholic putting down the bottle or the substance abuser throwing away the needle. If you don’t do this, you’re going to end up watching some lowly episode of the Housewives of New Jersey, another rerun of Lethal Weapon, or even…gasp…a soccer game. I put those in order of best to worst, by the way. Soccer, as the owner of this great website will attest is, “The Sport That Ruined America…”
Second, take a shower. I’m certain most of the bacteria that reside comfortably on your remote control also have a similar climate in some nook or cranny of your body. Yes, that is disgusting. Clean up, get your act together, and refrain from making another trip to the refrigerator.
Third, and the real meat of what people want to know, is the actual activity in which one can engage that would take the place of the couch surfing. Following your bath time, try these: go fishing (you’re welcome, Don…another contributor to this great site), take a bike ride, take a walk or a jog, take a class in cooking, managing money, wine pairs, or carpentry. Try collecting: stamps, rocks, coins, matchbooks, bottle caps, whatever. Start a website; start a business; plan a trip.
Fourth, you can always prepare for the imminent seasons to come. Check out some other websites to get ready for your betting season…the next NFL Championships have already been handicapped, and you can learn those now (The Green Bay Packers have the best odds at 5-1 to win it all!!). You might want to even start thinking about your Fantasy Football team now. Those magazines will be coming out in just a couple days, and you can refill your sports tank with actual fuel, rather than with the garden hoses we call the NBA and MLB.

What the Hell is With the NBA?
By Kevin Pachucki

Living in the state of Wisconsin, it’s usually common to hear (or overhear) someone ask a question about the Packers, the Badgers, or even the Milwaukee Brewers.  But, in all reality, when is the last time someone came up to you and asked you any of the following questions:

  • Want to go to the Bucks game tomorrow?
  • Did you see how many points Carlos Delfino had last night?
  • Who did the Bucks take in the draft?
  • Who comes to the Bradley Center for the playoffs?

The NBA may not be a disaster, but professional basketball in the City of Milwaukee certainly is, in the eyes of this author.  (For the record, I had to Google the Bucks roster just to pull Delfino out…please keep shame to a minimum.)  I would argue that professional basketball needs an overhaul, making the game more about a team effort and more attractive to the common consumer.

Before we get to the overhaul, on a league level, let me say that the current model works.  By glamorizing individuals over the teams, the game is easier to market, and there are very specific traits within the team that make the whole team marketable.  i.e. sports fans don’t buy Miami, they buy LeBron.  They love the Lakers for the flash of Kobe, not because of the uniforms, nor the game of basketball, nor the city of Angels.  As a result, the teams are profitable, the league is profitable, and fans are watching the games, either in person or on TV.  In aggregate, fans love their shoes, uniforms, and other gear, too.

With that said, my proposed fixes are very selfish and might do wonders in drawing me to a Bucks game…something I haven’t done for the better part of a decade.

First, slow the game down.  You read that right.  Increase the time on the shot clock to give teams more chance to assemble an actual offensive attack and an opportunity to move the ball.  The isolation play is getting pretty old and a mere pick and roll is too pedestrian for the players at this level.  I’m sick of seeing no fewer than three players standing around at any given time on offense.

Second, shorten the season.  This will never happen, of course.  Money will prevent the league from doing the right thing here.  Players need to feel like every game counts, and playing their butts off usually doesn’t happen until sometime in April.  I think this hurts baseball, too, in my opinion.

Third, refs need to call the games a little tighter.  I can’t believe how tough players have to be going into the middle, because of hard fouls and questionable play.  And not only have breakaway fouls or flagrant fouls, but drop technical fouls on guys who wrap-up opposing players trying to lay the ball up, or malicious contact that sends players to the floor.  Maybe you raise the number of points granted for a made free throw??

Fourth, freshen up the organ.  The music you hear at the arenas is just as old as the playlist for the 5th Quarter at a Badger Football game.  Nothing fires me up more than hearing the two-note synthesizer step when point guard X is advancing the ball across mid-court.

Finally, throw Metta World Peace out of the NBA.  He’s a peace of sh*t.



Not All Fans are Created Equal

By Kevin Pachucki

Forget everything you’ve ever read about being a good fan at a sporting event.  Trust me when I say, I don’t give full license to any face-painted Neanderthal who feels the need to ruthlessly bludgeon away at his or her adversary of choice (Read: Brett Favre).  However, the people who sit in the stands to jaw with friends, look around for other pals they know, or comment incessantly about work, outfits, or tawdry gossip deserve to get hit in the face with an errant hockey puck.

Here are three pieces of advice for guys who go to sports events, followed by three pieces of advice for the women who either join their male counterparts or simply love live sports events themselves.

For men:

1)      Refine your cheers.  You’ve got to hand it to the student section at the UW Hockey games.  They entertain the older folks in the crowd with “Gopher Reject,” “Stand up, old people!” and the ever-present show of gratitude when there’s just one minute left in the period.  As the owner of this great site would attest, the Kohl Center is a tomb relative to other collegiate sports facilities around the nation.  So, be creative, be unique, and be proud: don’t just yell “defense” on every other possession by the Badger Basketball team.

2)      Be selective in your standing.  My wife got yelled at once by a Dukie during the Wisconsin win over the Blue Devils in December of 2009 because she was standing, before the game started.  I understand my wife, who celebrated her excitement.  But, just like anyone else, I get miffed when some knot-head in front of me decides to get on his feet to complain about a missed interference call…when the Badgers are up by three TD’s in the final minutes at the Camp.

3)      Dress in modesty.  This really applies for both sexes.  When I see a guy who not only paints his face, but also his ample gut, while wearing a silver wig, beads, tights, and a shiny vest as the only thing to cover his upper half, I think one word: “Tool.”

For women:

1)      Refrain from commenting about uniforms.  This is a personal pet peeve.  This usually hits home during the NCAA Basketball tournament, when a female du jour busts my bracket because she loves the blue uniforms of Kentucky over the chartreuse of Baylor.  She will then instantly confuse her acumen for fashion with sports savvy.  If a team has an advantage wearing blue over green, please tell my bookie.  Regardless, I couldn’t care less…I’ll never cast my vote for Calipari.

2)      Stilletos and face tattoos don’t mix with sports.  I’m as male as the next guy, but don’t hate if I smile on the inside when I see a gal in four inch heels harmlessly go down while she’s running down Monroe street to get to the big game. (Usually against Cal-Poly, South Dakota State, or Globe University)

3)      Attempt to learn the game.  I actually heard a woman ask whether Russell Wilson was going to play at a UW basketball game.  I even heard a yell for “offsides” on an alleged over-and-back call at the Kohl Center.  For the record, not every possession has a travel infraction, either.  Read a book, read the paper, or ask your guy.  It might stop him from helping up the gal in the four inch heels.