The Law of Cause and Effect: Retracing the Roots of the Past Week's Headline Heat
The Law of Cause and Effect.
For every action, there is a reaction.
The reaction is equal to, or stronger than, the original action.
It's hard to remember which came first.
But it’s funny how a few of the things that occurred this week in Headline Heat, were rooted in prior events that took place in earlier weeks, months, years, even decades.
As a student back in the day, Young Bambino was far more likely to say “some drop science, while I’m droppin’ English”, like '89 Dre with NWA.
But rather than rely on Youthful Expression, we call upon the hard-earned wisdom of the esteemed Doctor Bombay, to kick the ballistics on all these physics.
Cause: Dolphins Head Coach/GM Nick Saban passes on free agent QB Drew Brees in 2006, due to team medical staff concerns over his shoulder.
Effect: Brees helps galvanize New Orleans post-Katrina, becomes MVP of the Saints first Super Bowl in 2009, embarks on Hall of Fame career still going strong twelve years later. Saban sneaks out of Miami, returns to college and becomes the new Bear Bryant at BAMA.
Doctor Bombay: This one splayed out in many directions. Miami, who broke the bank for Saban, instead signed Daunte Culpepper coming off ACL/MCL surgery. Once Slick Nick realized he’d bought a lemon the size of a U2 Pop Mart Tour stage prop, he quickly lied on national television while addressing rumors and stated “I will never be the coach of Alabama”, then less than 24 hours later was coach of Alabama. The Dolphins have now gone 17 seasons without a playoff win.
Meanwhile Brees has become a folk hero in the Crescent City, providing the franchise with its only seasons of playoff success. And if you ask me, the Saints are probably the team to beat in this current NFC field.
Saban, on the other hand, told another pretty little lie to a sideline reporter at halftime on Monday night: “it’s got nothing to do with the quarterback”, then boldy replaced his 25-2 starter with a freshman named Tua to start the second half, leading to them overcoming a double-digit deficit and winning the national championship.
Cause: Raiders owner Al Davis gets a pirate’s booty (two first round and two second round draft picks) for sending Jon Gruden to the Buccaneers in 2002.
Effect: Gruden goes on to take the nucleus raised under former coach Tony Dungy, upsets the Eagles in the last game at Veterans Stadium, then beats his old assistant (Bill Callahan) like a drum in the Nipplegate Super Bowl. Gruden later wears out his welcome in Tampa, heads to a broadcast booth, becomes ESPN’s highest-paid on-air employee for Monday Night Football, then returned to the Raiders on Tuesday for a King’s Ransom ($100 million guaranteed).
Doctor Bombay: Looking at this photo a few things are clear: a) Mark Davis was born so rich that friends don't tell him the truth about that haircut. b) Davis was going to use as much of that inherited capital as it took to land Chuckie. c) Despite being eight years older than Gruden, clearly looks up to him, while seemingly on a mission to either absolve the sins of the father, or return the Raiders’ prodigal son.
Cause: Nipplegate, aka Super Bowl XXXVIII
Effect: The infamous “wardrobe malfunction” brought a backlash that nearly got Janet Jackson blacklisted, had the NFL enlist only 60-plus-year-old male rock stars for the next five Super Bowls, and sparked an FCC shakedown that helped lead to Howard Stern fleeing FM radio for Sirius. Meanwhile, Justin Timberlake’s popularity continued to rise for the rest of the decade. His new single entitled “Filthy” dropped this week, in anticipation of his 2018 Super Bowl halftime show.
Doctor Bombay: While it hasn’t been all strawberry-bubblegum and love-sounds for JT since that fateful day on America’s biggest stage, it doesn’t take 20/20 vision to see which parties emerged from the scandal unscathed.
Timberlake largely escaped criticism, though in this current season of male comeuppance, caught some social-media flack last week for his forthcoming Man of the Woods album's Malachi-meets-Don-Jr-Wrangler ad artwork, then again this week for his Globes get-up while refusing to address questions about collaborating with Woody Allen.
Having heard “Filthy”, which sounds like any other Timberlake Pop-EDM-R&B record, it seems the country music defection has been greatly exaggerated. If he does the right thing and brings Janet out on February 4th, this whole fifteen-year odyssey could probably wrap up that night, with one big no-harm/no-foul all around.
Cause: Donald Trump’s election.
Effect: Post-Globes Oprah 2020 talk.
Doctor Bombay: Honey-Boo-Boo would be less calamitous than the seemingly endless episode of The Celebrity Appresident aired by this current administration. So obviously I’d pull the level for Oprah if those are the two options.
But it’s probably a good idea that we: a) stop even talking about 2020 before the mid-term 2018 campaigns begin in earnest, and b) consider November 9th 2016 the extreme outlier, rather than a new baseline for electing someone to our country’s highest office.
Hopefully Oprah agrees, chooses to stay out of the fray while enjoying life, then throws her cultural cache behind a more experienced, non-television-star candidate.
Cause: US Olympic Ice skater Tonya Harding’s ex-husband and “associate” take a pipe to teammate Nancy Kerrigan’s knees prior to the 1994 Olympic qualifiers.
Effect: Tonya Harding’s life becomes the basis of a 2018 Best Picture Oscar nominee, and she receives A-List adulation while seated at the Golden Globes.
Doctor Bombay: Nancy Kerrigan, whose last public appearance was being the earliest-eliminated Dancing With the Stars ice-skating contestant ever, mighta been watching the awards on TV and crying, wailing “whyyyyyy?!?!” all over again.
Kristi Yamaguchi may have said something similar after sending one of my all-time favorite unintentionally comedic tweets last Spring, then realizing it was too late to delete.
Time heals all wounds, but sometimes it also displays the scars in a fun-house mirror.
I’ve yet to see the movie, and everybody loves a good redemption story, but the showering of Hollywood love for Tonya, on a night centered around #MeToo and women addressing abuse, felt a little tone-deaf, like James Franco in a Time’s Up pin.
Cause: OJ Simpson leads police on a slow chase along the 10 freeway in 1994, leading to the so-called “trial of the century”, being acquitted of double-murder in ‘95, later convicted of stealing back his own memorabilia in a Vegas hotel room in 2008, then released on parole after 9 years in October 2007.
Effect: Some members of “Bills Mafia”, buzzing with their team in the playoffs for the first time this century, were on The Gram flicking it up with their franchise’s greatest, and most notorious, player in its history.
Doctor Bombay: OJ’s first taste of freedom during an NFL postseason this decade, looked tame by comparison to Bills Mafia celebrations over its first appearance in the tournament this millenium. Bills Fans made the parking lots of JAX, look like a scene outta Mad Max. Right or wrong, it was so insane that it entertained more than anything in the game.
There's been other recent OJ side-effects that permeated pop culture this past year: Ezra Edelmen's Academy Award winning epic-length documentary OJ: Made In America, Jay-Z's classic song "The Story of OJ" from his highly regarded 4:44 album, and this joke from one of two new Dave Chappelle NetFlix stand-up specials this month:
Cause: Carson Wentz, odds-on-favorite for MVP, leading an Eagles team to the best record in the league, goes down on December 10th.
Effect: the Philadelphia Eagles become the first NFL team in modern history to be an underdog in their divisional round home playoff game, while the Falcons become the first sixth-seed to be favored in a playoff game.
Doctor Bombay: This one hits close to home. It’s the reason why I went from looking into Minneapolis flights for the Eagles’ first Super Bowl victory, taking place in the land of Purple People Eaters and Paisley Park, to making sure to hit Saturday’s tailgate in South Philly in case it's the last one until the Fall.
But the effects, plus outcome of the other three games, in what's typically the NFL's best weekend of its season, have yet to be determined.
So, we’ll leave the prediction business to Nostrabombus below.
Atlanta Falcons at Philadelphia Eagles
Mercedes-Benz Stadium, 4:35 PM Eastern, Saturday 1/13
Line: Falcons by 3
Outlook: Some places have the line at two-and-a-half, but on our tried-and-true rule-of-measure (scoresandodds.com), the line started at, and remains, exactly where Nostrabombus predicted on Saturday night it would be: Falcons by three.
That indignity and lack of respect should be a rallying cry, one that works in the Eagles favor on Saturday afternoon. It will also help if Doug Pederson makes sure this Birds team runs the ball 40+ times even against eight-men-in-the-box, in order to control clock, set up play-action, and make sure the defense doesn’t spend an inordinate amount of time on the field.
What won’t help is Julio Jones matched up against Eagle corners, if the line doesn’t get to Matt Ryan first. Also unlikely to be of assistance, is Nicky Checkdown, aka Taint Nick. Alright, now I’m even starting to make myself sick. Let's Move On. Go Birds.
Nostrabombus Prediction: The Dirty Birds
Tennessee Titans at New England Patriots
Gillette Stadium. 8:15 Eastern, Saturday 1/13
Line: Patriots by 13
Outlook: It’s tough to even accept that the Titans made the playoffs, let alone are still in them. This team might be the worst thing to come out of Nashville since Garth Brooks released The Life of Chris Gaines.
How did this team overcome a 21-3 lead on the road, with a QB whose best play was accidentally catching his own pass off a carom for a touchdown?!?
When I left South Jersey on Saturday night around 6:30 PM, heading over the bridge to Philly with my parents, for a college basketball game at St Joe Fieldhouse between the Hawks and my mother's alma mater, the Bonnies of Saint Bonaventure, the Chiefs were comfortably in control at Arrowhead by a score of 21-3.
When the three of us walked into Landmark Bar & Grill for a drink plus a bite pre-game, the lead had been reduced to 21-16 and Tennessee had the ball. Before I could even begin to ask another patron how this happened, the next three words to scroll across the closed-caption screen read, ominously, “Andy Reid" and then "Playoffs”. There’s nothing more to say.
No need to bet on, or beat, a dead horse.
As for the Pats, they can thank ESPN for giving them some bulletin board material.
Nostrabombus Prediction: The Cheatriots
Jacksonville Jaguars at Pittsburgh Steelers
Heinz Field, 1:05 Eastern, Sunday 1/14
Line: Steelers by 7
Outlook: The Jags actually beat the Steelers in their place fairly easily in October. That was also possibly the worst game of Ben Rapistburglar’s career. One in which he tossed five interceptions and openly wondered if he “didn’t have it anymore” afterwards. The ship has since been righted a bit. Antonio Brown was still getting open all day in that game, against the vaunted Jags’ secondary.
The Jaguars Bum QB Blake Bortles, who passed for 87 yards on Sunday in a WIN, walked off the field smiling as if he’d played well. Bortles won’t be able to count on a +5 turnover differential here. He’ll need to toss for more than 100 yards, something he didn’t do last week, or in the first match-up between these teams. If a banged-up Leonard Fournette can't regain mid-season form (he went for 181 yards and 2 TD's at Pittsburgh on 10/8) then it's (steel) curtains for the Jags.
Nostrabombus Prediction: Black-and-Yellow.
New Orleans Saints at Minnesota Vikings
U.S. Bank Stadium, 4:40 Eastern, Sunday 1/14
Line: Vikings by 5
Outlook: You’re giving me five points with Drew Brees in a domed playoff game against Case freaking Keenum?!?
Look, Minnesota’s defense is really good, but it ain’t ’91 Eagles/’00 Ravens level of making up that kind of difference. Let's not overthink this.
Nostrabombus Prediction: Who Dat?!?!
Nostrabombus Regular Season Record: 36 Wins, 25 Losses
Nostrabombus “I Got Five On It” Last Week Picks: 2 Wins, 3 Losses
Nostrabombus NFL Playoff Record: 2 Wins, 2 Losses