Wudder Sports IV: The Week That Wut?!?, Flock Of Eagles, Anthemic Week 4 Picks
The Week That Wut?!?
Despite the NFL being in the midst of what Bill Belasterisk calls “the extended preseason”, an underwhelming slate of NCAA Football matchups, MLB’s playoff squads being all but set, and basketball not being in season yet, the past seven days made for one of the crazier sports weeks in recent memory.
To put things in perspective, 10-time-All-Star/4-time-Olympic-medalist/NCAA-MOP-National-Champion/Future-Hall-of-Famer Carmelo Anthony finally got traded, and it barely registered as a blip on the radar last weekend.
The GOAT, LeBron James, called the President of the United States a bum.
And it was well deserved, while his subsequent explanation more articulate, than said POTUS has ever been sans teleprompter, since taking office.
Rick Pitino, a man who survived two incredibly embarrassing sex-and-money-related scandals, at basketball-crazed University of Louisville, finally got moved out of the paint for good on Wednesday, because a member of the unpaid skilled labor force that feeds this multibillion-dollar industry called big-time college basketball, was allegedly given some relative chump change ($100K).
Sports Illustrated somehow decided that Roger Goodell, hands-down the worst commissioner in professional sports of my lifetime, was now, after a ho-hum PR statement defending the shield from Trump’s latest divisive diversion tactics, and some of the league's owners interlocking arms while calling for an innocuous brand of unity this past Sunday and Monday, an agent for social change worthy of inclusion on their new misguided magazine cover.
Colin Kaepernick, the man whose actions sparked this flame-turned-fire last Fall, was left out altogether, much like he was by 32 NFL owners' rosters this off season.
While the root cause of his original protest, against systemic racism, and lack of accountability or justice for the countless killings of unarmed black people in America, by the police force hired to protect its citizens, has gotten totally lost in the sauce.
People have hijacked this debate to make it about, among other things: the flag, the military, the first amendment, acceptable forms of protest (as if successful protest was ever popular or not intended to spark debate) and other totally unrelated issues.
In Donald J.A. Trump’s unrelenting efforts to make everything about him, plus seemingly make everything ten times worse, his anthem rhetoric on Friday night, in front of an arena full of adoring Alabama rubes, proved so topically toxic that people completely missed that:
1) Donnie DarKKKo lampooned the NFL for not being violent enough, while waxing nostalgic for days when head trauma went unchecked.
2) The candidate Agent Orange went to Alabama to support, Luther Strange, lost a primary to a dude even more problematic, Roy Moore.
3) Before the pandering intro when Toupee Fiasco arrived onstage to the tune “Sweet Home Alabama”, the PA played Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Fortunate Son”, seemingly without a shred of irony by audience or orator.
This is what our surreal life is like, inside this ongoing reality-show, that is 2017.
What’s ironic is that despite boycotts on many sides, last week was the best weekend for the NFL, as a product, since the Super Bowl.
There was plenty of action that came down to the wire on Sunday, in both the early and late games.
Some of these moments seem indelible already:
Tom Brady to Brandon Cooks
GODgers goes Geronimo
Marcus Cooper goes "OH NO!"
And the replay officials rule, Golden Tate came up short of the goal
And that's before we even get to our beloved Birds' finish.
Meanwhile, Nostrabombus, got back up off the mat, after the rough week we discussed in our “Happy Birthday, GoodFellas” Week Three Wudder Sports Spectacular, with a nearly perfect six-pack of picks, going 5-1.
The sole L taken? The Seahawks missed covering by three in Tennessee.
I guess it might finally be time to wonder if the Hawks really aren’t very good.
Because I’m still nowhere near ready to consider that the Titans may actually be.
Flock Of Eagles:
Here’s to wishing a speedy recovery to Mighty Mouse, aka Darren Sproles, for the past few years a bad-to-mediocre Birds’ teams heart & soul.
We’re sorry he won’t be on the field with this year’s squad, during this year’s march back to the postseason (yeah, we said it and meant it).
Between that brutal concussion on a cheap shot last year, to breaking his arm and tearing his ACL on the same play this year, it’s been an extremely rough run over the past six games for one of the league’s smallest and toughest guys.
Game ball (and Franchise QB Game Check) to Jake Elliott for this moment, witnessed here thru the eyes of Carson Wentz:
Before then, the only 60+ yard game-ending FG memory I had regarding the Birds was this from 2006:
And now, with Elliott’s record-setting, game-ending boot, the only more dramatic and joyous last-minute Giant victory memory for me, is this:
Doug Pederson has been getting killed all week, mostly for the decision to go for it on 4th-and-8 at midfield while up 7-0, but also for a bunch of other nitpickity stuff.
I’m not gonna defend 4th-and-8, that was obviously a case of the risk not being nearly worth the reward in that situation.
I also didn’t like the challenge on that first punt and subsequent botched attempt at the coverage unit downing it inside the five.
That was an Andy Reid timeout burner challenge if I’ve ever seen one.
But a lot of you Philly Fans need to calm down.
This guy has lost six starters, in three games.
They're 2-1, with one narrow loss in one of the hardest places to play in the league, while standing at 2-0 in their division.
A lot of you were still making excuses for Chip Kelly’s horror show, well into his third season at the helm.
I’m not anointing Doug as a wunderkind head coach, but I’m fine with where things are at the current moment, and side-eyeing some of you never-satisfied types for the hysteria online, on radio and out here in these green streets.
Follow GODgers advice to panicking Packers Fans and RELAX...R-E-L-A-X.
Now that everyone's caught their breath, let’s get to this week’s picks, each featuring an anthem we found to be hitting and fitting.
USC Trojans at Washington State Cougars
Martin Stadium, Friday 7:30 Pacific/10:30 Eastern
Line: USC -3
Outlook: Baby Face and this USC team have been playing with fire all month. Conversely, Donald Trump’s “Secretary of Offense” Mike Leach, and his Cougars, have played nobodies all season so far. Are they ready for this kind of big spot? We think not.
Anthem: “International Players Anthem” by UGK featuring OutKast. Because a classic that endorses safe-sex is only fitting for a team named the Trojans.
Nostrabombus Picks: Southern Cal takes their show on the road again Friday night, and proceeds to burn rubber.
Philadelphia Eagles at Los Angeles Chargers
Home Depot Center, Sunday 1:05 PM Pacific/4:05 PM Eastern
Line: LA -1
Outlook: Wait, what is going on with this line?!? I know the Chargers have had some bad luck to start this season. I’ll concede they’re better than their record, while Phillip Rivers is still a quality quarterback. But a winless Bolts team favored over a 2-1 Birds team, likely due to having “homefield advantage” in a leased soccer stadium, in a city that doesn’t care that they’re there, filled with 75% Eagles Fans?!? Nah man, I ain't buying it.
Anthem: “Uptown Anthem” by New Jersey's Naughty by Nature, from the classic Juice soundtrack whose 25th Anniversary was celebrated in a piece we wrote for Albumism . Because “you can smoke a spliff, on a cliff/but there’s still no mountain hiiiigh enough, or wide enough to touch” an Eagle in flight.
Nostrabombus Picks: The high-flying Birds soar above all those desperate bolts of light.
Nostrabombus Season Record So Far: 9 Wins, 5 Losses
Have a good weekend, everybody, we leave you with the greatest rendition of our national anthem of all-time.
Peace and Love,