NFL SUNDAYS WITH SBJ: THE SEARCH FOR MY HOME TEAM – PART XII

To this day, my brother loves to make fun of me for having chosen my favorite team based on a helmet logo, when I started rooting for the Buffalo Bills in 1989. We also had an extremely heated debate during one Christmas where he felt my Eagles fandom credentials should be revoked because when asked who would I root for in a Bills versus Eagles Super Bowl, I said the Bills. That exchange happened during a drunken night out almost ten years ago and was close to coming to blows.

My brother is from the default mentality of simply rooting based on geography and nothing else, as most people subscribe to, and I always felt he resented me for riding with Kelly’s K-Gun Hurry Up Offense.

I started rooting for the Bills during their 1989 season, when they lost to the Browns on Harmon’s endzone drop. I cut out the headline and header photo from that brief Sports Illustrated piece. “Just Out Of Reach”, the headline proclaimed. It couldn’t have been more accurate. I used to stare at it longingly, pinned to my Raiders(Really? It’s a sickness. I don’t even know how to explain it)cork board above my desk, still thinking he would come down with it. His finger tips were on it. It was the closest you could be without making it.

It was that loss against the Browns where Marv Levy decided that the K-Gun Hurry Up was the way of the future. By the fall of 1990, I finally knew two things about the NFL. My favorite team, and my favorite player in the sport.

MY FAVORITE TEAM:

BUFFALO BILLS

They were so much fun to watch, and they were stacked on both sides of the ball. One year I think they actually sent eleven guys to the Pro Bowl. They will never get their rightful due respect because they could never “win the big one”. That lazy analysis is why people will never realize what they were witnessing was a franchise that was merely four wins away from being the most dominant dynasty in NFL history, and arguably in all of sports history, as well.

Four. But because they were “losers”, people will never be able to grasp this fact, that I can say with full confidence, and that I would have absolutely no fear of losing, if I were betting my life on it:

We will never see another franchise go to four straight Super Bowls again.


“That’s a fact.”- Joe House

Their coach was an English scholar, with poetic wisdom, and carried a cool calm demeanor with a splash of charm, that never made you think he was in over his head.

I loved Marv Levy. If you didn’t like Marv Levy there was something seriously wrong with you. If I could choose one coach to have played for as an NFL player, it would be Marv Levy, with Dick Vermeil coming in a close second.


MY FAVORITE PLAYER:

BRUCE SMITH

That was my first NFL Authentic Jersey direct from the NFL catalog. The first jersey that wasn’t a replica. A Bruce Smith in blue. It was sick. The best jersey I would ever own. It would never be topped. Reggie White was always considered the public general consensus “best defensive end in the game”, and living in Philly, it was blasphemy to say otherwise.

But in my opinion, Bruce Smith was his AFC equal, and I’d take Bruce Smith over Reggie White six times out of ten. Bruce Smith doesn’t get enough respect for his dominance in the early 90’s, but I like that. It’s like having a favorite band or solo artist that never gets gobbled up by the lame mainstream fan. I owned the only authentic #78 outside of upstate New York, as far as I could see. Bottom line…Bruce Smith is highly underrated.

If you haven’t seen this 30 for 30, then do yourself a favor and do just that. It’s one of the best…just like them.


PACKERS -3.5(EVEN) @ LIONS +3.5(-120)


OVER/UNDER: 50.5




FANTASY STARTERS:

NONE. Our season ends with its championship final game in Week 16. And I’m proud to announce that we won that ish. First fantasy title since 1999.



FANTASY OPPONENTS:

NONE. See above. It’s been a minute. (Satisfied sigh)


EMOTIONAL RED FLAG ALERT: 0


OPEN CLASSIFICATION:

HOUSE DOG CROSSOVER


PICK: LIONS +170 & OVER 50.5




FANTASY FACTOR:

NONE. Title #2, baby. Did I mention it’s my first title in seventeen seasons? Just checkin’.

JUMP SHIP AUDIBLE

It’s The House Side, or bust, with the OVER 49.5 regardless. Look, I love Rodgers and the Pack, but I’m riding with Detroit, if their side action sits in The House for three reasons:

1) I feel with the phenomenal performance by the public with their side bets, it’s only right that we go head-to-head in the final action of the season. They deserve a chance to tie me at 60%, if they can. I ended last year at 62% with the side bets, and if I hit this last side I’ll be 62% again. If I also hit the moneyline action, as well, I’ll be up to 65%(20-11), from last year’s 58%(19-14), after starting the season 0-3 in Week 1, mind you. At worst, we’re 61%, if we finish at 19-12. So, it’s possible we will have concluded the season at 20-8, with picking the game winner, in the last 28 games. Not too shabby. Bottom line…

“Hey……It’s me.”


2) The Swami is retiring. No, not me from fantasy. The original Swam. The Swam that gave my fantasy squad it’s name. Chris “Boomer” Berman. He’s hanging it up this year, and he’s got the HFS going in this one. The Swam and the Swami Squad both had great seasons. It was fitting that in his final football line predicting year that we happened to win our fantasy title in his retirement honor. Oh, did I mentioned I won my fantasy football title. Yeah? Oh, right. Well, we did. (Satisfied sigh)

3) My two favorite degenerate gamblers, who appear weekly on my favorite podcast guessing the weekly NFL Lines, have a 3-Teamer Parlay going, where they picked three teams to all miss the playoffs this year. These two distinguished gentlemen are THE Cousin Sal Iacono and William John Simmons III.

All I’ll say is that they managed to blow a “Patriots to win the AFC East Division crown” paired with a “Clinton to win the presidential election” 2-Teamer. To be fair, I thought it was a total lock, but somehow they love finding groundbreaking, and awe inspiring ways to lose money. I marvel at their parlay history war stories. It’s hilarious.

And those three teams in their “Teams to miss the playoffs” parlay are….the Niners….The Browns….& you guessed it….The Detroit Lions. As Bill will proudly and rightfully claim, they absolutely crushed two of those three, but one still remains for it to hit. I think you can see where I’m going with this. Gentleman! Good luck, gentlemen.

Goodnight, and good luck.

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