2013 - The Best Professional Wrestling Matches of 2013

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

2012 was here.

Every 4 1/2+ star match I see all year goes into this space; in addition, all of the 4 star WWE/TNA matches will also be ranked.  With NOAH's near collapse, last year was a sizable step down in the number of matches that hit a 4 1/2 star level.

I do not anticipate a better match than Kenta/Sugiura will come at any point in the year; it may have been a couple of years since there's been a better match. 

This is updated through August.  No G1 matches made it; there were a half dozen, maybe eight 4 star, 4 and a quarter matches, but I didn't go all the way to 4 1/2 with any of them.

Now it's done.  This is the final list.

1. Kenta v. Sugiura NOAH (May) 5
2. CIMA v. Shingo DGate (July) 4 3/4
3. Go v. Suwama AJPW (July) 4 1/2
4. Kotaro/Kanemaru v. Nakajima/Ibushi Diamond Ring(Aug) 4 1/2
5. Fujita Jr. Hayato v. Koji Kanemoto Mich Pro (June) 4 1/2
6. Marufuji v. Sugiura NOAH (June) 4 1/2
7. Ricochet/Doi v Tozawa/Hulk DGate (July) 4 1/2
8. Tanahashi v. Okada NJPW (Apr) 4 1/2
9. Kenny Omega d. Harashima DDT (Feb) 4 1/2
10. Kenta v. Marufuji NOAH (July) 4 1/2
11. Sugiura v. Nagata NOAH (Oct) 4 1/2
12. Kenta/Sugiura v. Nagata/Sekimoto NOAH (Nov) 4 1/2
13. Young Bucks v. AR Fox/Samuray Del Sol PWG (June) 4 1/2
14. Davey Richards v. Kyle O'Reilly ROH (Jan) 4 1/2
15. American Wolves v. Forever Hooligans ROH (Mar) 4 1/2

1. Brock Lesnar d. CM Punk (Aug) 4 1/4
2. MITB - Heels (July) 4 1/4
3. Daniel Bryan d. John Cena (Aug) 4 1/4
4. CM Punk v. John Cena (Feb) 4 1/4
5. MITB - All Stars (July) 4
6. Brock Lesnar v. HHH (Apr) 4
7. Daniel Bryan v. Antonio Cesaro (July) 4
8. Daniel Bryan v. Seth Rollins (June) 4
9. Kofi Kingston c. Antonio Cesaro (May) 4
10. CM Punk v. Chris Jericho (June) 4
11. CM Punk v. Undertaker (Apr) 4

1. Bad Influence d. Young Bucks (Jul) 4 1/4
2. Austin Aries v. Bobby Roode v. Jeff Hardy (Jan) 4
3. Austin Aries v. AJ Styles (Aug) 4

We Saw Your Boobs

I’m fat.

I’m fat but this is not about that.

I’m fat and sometimes that’s all I get to be.  At a restaurant.  On an airplane. At a doctor’s office.   

At work.  I’m my own comparative study; for nearly a decade I was a college instructor with a high courseload; hundreds of students were giving written evaluations of me almost all of the time.  Show me a random sampling, I can probably pinpoint the year of the evaluation.

I’m fat, but I wasn’t yesterday.  Yesterday I was not fat but I was the day before.  I can determine the year  of student comments because Yesterday I was "confident, charismatic, passionate."

The day before yesterday I was "overbearing, unsettling, hard to watch." 

I was fortunate at an early age that people treated me as if I were smart.  My particular bundle of skills suits the classroom and I had parents who valued what I had to say, so as long as I can recall no matter what other negative thoughts about me existed in my brain, I always thought I was bright.

And then I got fat.  And then, apparently, dull. 

I was on the job market for about six months not that long ago; I’ll ask you to accept without proof that the most proficient club in my bag is my in class demeanor.  I got very close to a few tenure track classroom positions that included multiple rounds of interviews.  It did not surprise me that the job I got hired for was a virtual one, in which the interviews were Skyped from the neck up.

I’m fat.  And sometimes, that’s all I get to be.

This is not about that.

I won some money on a game show about a decade ago; I was on multiple episodes and appeared prominently in the credits of the program.  Included in the winnings was a trip to ESPN to see how the sausage got made.  I wanted to be a sports analyst since the first time I walked into Candlestick Park with my grandfather and was never able to make that happen; so to have succeeded in a game show on that network and to be invited to sit in on a production of Sportscenter was validating.

I was in the ESPN hallways and passed by a B level anchor.  He “joked” –

“The cafeteria is that way.”

About an hour I ran into him again.  He made the same joke. 'Cause, you know, double the funny.

I’m fat.  And sometimes, that’s all I get to be.

This is not about that.  This is about the Oscars.

Celebrities are unsympathetic plaintiffs.  Sally Field isn’t a powerful figure in her industry, not really, but she’s not Norma Rae either.  You don’t see them as marginalized, as voiceless.

But they sat there, invited to a ceremony that presumably matters to them, to acknowledge that they are, at least for a moment, at the top of their craft, and from the stage they were told that really, all they are is tits.

Highly compensated tits. 

I don’t think the Oscars are a cathedral; it’s a TV show to celebrate movies.  I don’t look for reverence.

But there’s probably some distance between that and saying “hey, ‘member when Jodie Foster did that rape scene based on a true story in the Accused?  Tits.”

It’s hard to be funny.  If you can find funny, I’m disinclined to tell you to press the delete key.  My taste in funny is “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” as opposed to “Modern Family”.  I don’t think offensive and funny are inherently incompatible.  “Sunny in Philly” did a fat joke for a full season.  Sometimes I fast forwarded through those scenes.  They made me uncomfortable. I think that’s okay.  I wasn’t required to watch and they didn’t invite me to the set.

I’m hawkish on the separation of church and state, particularly when it comes to public schools, and the main reason is the audience is captive.  If I’m sitting in 9th grade Biology, hearing that there are “two sides” to the origin of our species, evolution or the Biblical account of creation in Genesis, the problem isn’t the message (I mean, the message is that either (1) the manifest weight of the evidence or (2) the one specific type of magical thinking favored by the teacher is the full range of discussion about how we got here, so the message is a problem, and, full disclosure, this isn’t a hypothetical, this was from a Bio class I took, but not in high school – in college, I absolutely had a college Biology professor present evolution as if it were a debate, and that was 1990, before we got dumb) it’s my inability to leave the room.  If “I Saw Your Boobs” is on a Family Guy episode, Charlize Theron can just turn the channel, but at the Oscars she had better just play along, ‘cause otherwise she’d be called uptight and probably given an even more unflattering anatomical label.   

I don’t know what it means to be a “good man” outside of what it means to be a good person, but probably acknowledging that you have a degree of privilege just by the nature of not being a woman is a good place to start.  I’ve spent a good portion of my adult life discounted because of my weight; had I not lived a life where my fluctuating size perfectly correlated to the way I was treated, I don’t know that I’d appreciate that distinction – I don’t know that I’d understand that it doesn’t matter how many graduate degrees you earn or how well you performed on a television show, sometimes all you are is fat. 

I don’t know what it feels like to not be a man.  Good or otherwise.  

But I do not know what it feels like to have what you’ve accomplished and how you perform not matter because of what you are. To be just a thing like all the other things.  And that’s what happened at the Oscars Sunday.

Athlete of the Month, February 2013

Saturday, February 23, 2013

January is here.

Joe Flacco.  Runners up: LeBron James,  Chris Paul,  Lionel Messi

Two down, ten left in the race for 2013 Athlete of the Year.

2013 Oscar Predictions

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

If you've followed my investment advice over the past several years, more likely than not I've made you some money.

You're welcome.

If you've followed my investment advice on the last two major opportunities, the BCS game and the Super Bowl, more likely than not I've lost you some money.

My apologies.

I teach entirely online now; one of my duties is giving fairly long webinar presentations - something that I'll do to reward students who stay with me for the duration is give away some quiz answers, but you have to stick it out.

At the end of my mistaken Super Bowl prediction was a little bonus.

I gave you Argo, then even money, to win Best Picture.  I was really confident in that advice.

Argo is now -800.

You're welcome.

Here is the balance of my selections.

Picture - Argo
-Too late now to make this investment, so you should stay away.  I've seen four of the nine nominated films, Argo would be my choice - curiously, given the lack of nomination - I'd suggest the direction is the best thing about the movie.  Moonrise Kingdom, is, I think, my favorite film of the year.

Director - David O Russell   (+2000)
-Affleck's lack of nomination makes this an action category headed into the awards.  Spielberg's favored, but  Lincoln's factual inaccuracies have been the dominant Oscar story since the torture propaganda in Zero Dark Thirty made its way out of the news cycle.  Other than Zeitlin, anyone could win this - why I'm picking Russell is enormous value, he's +2000.  That means he's not likely to win, and he's not - voters who backed away from Spielberg may go to Lee or Haneke - but I don't see a good way to distinguish between them (Lee's highly regarded but has been rewarded, Amour is maybe making a late charge) but there is a Russell path (he's made good movies, he's never won, and Silver Linings is maybe a "one of these things is not like the other" favorite for those with war movie fatigue.  Gun to my head, I don't pick Russell (I probably take Lee)- but at +2000 in a category where there is no prohibitive favorite, where the presumptive winner's movie is taking on water - that is an investment worth making.  Russell wasn't nominated for a DGA - and winning in that circumstance hasn't happened in more than six decades, meaning when Nate Silver's model comes out, Russell won't be the selection.  But for value - you have to do it.

Actor - DDL 
-There's no opportunity here.  Daniel Day Lewis wins his third Best Actor Oscar.

Actress - Emmanuel Riva (+250)
-I wasn't going to write this piece until I saw that Riva was still +250.  Do that.  That's my best advice.  Lawrence has been the presumptive winner, and she's fine - but there's a Taylor Swift element here (why does Taylor Swift, with only marginal talent, open the Grammys - why will her album get a bunch of nominations next year - because she moves units and units don't get moved anymore.  She's Singing John Cena. If John Cena cuts a rhyming promo on the Rock next Monday which vaguely alludes to never getting back together with Kendra Lust (“like, ever”) you heard it here first There would be a desire to crown Lawrence and she's still favored - but Amour is the late mover, and if you can get hundred year old Riva +the points, you do that.

Supp Actor - Robert DeNiro (+1000)
-Robert DeNiro hasn't won an Oscar since Raging Bull.  He was the best thing (to my eyes) about Silver Linings Playbook, a highly regarded film that got acting nominations in all four categories, but, in this forecast, isn't going to win the award it was thought to receive.  There isn't a real favorite in this category.  And DeNiro's been campaigning.

To me, that's a hell of an investment.  Alan Arkin can't win; I don't think there's real enthusiasm to award either The Master or Django - that leaves Tommy Lee, who is the favorite.

But +1000.  +1000?  For DeNiro - who hasn't won an Oscar in more than 30 years?

Yeah, that sounds good to me

Supp Actress - Anne Hathaway 
- no chance she loses, no investment

And the rest...
Original - Michael Haneke
Adapted - Chris Terrio
Animated - Wreck it Ralph
Foreign - Amour
Doc - Searching for Sugar Man
Score - Life of Pi
Song - Adele
Edit - Argo
Cinema - Life of Pi
Design - Anna Karenina
Costume - Anna Karenina
Makeup - Hobbit
Sound Mixing - Les Mis
Sound Edit - Zero Dark Thirty
Visual - Life of Pi
Makeup - Les Mis
Live Action Short - Curfew
Animated Short - Paperman
Doc Short - Open Heart

The Occasional Tendown: February 17 2013

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Dear Internet:

Senator - you were told to carry the plutocrats' water, not drink it.

Tendown 150 is here. This is Tendown 151.

1. But I'm Not Bitter

That's 4th and goal.  No call.

That's the kickoff return for a touchdown.  No call.

Look, you can't fall behind three touchdowns in a game where the biggest comeback in almost half a century is just ten points and expect to win.  Fundamentally, Justin Smith's injury just didn't allow for the level of point of attack dominance that our defense (particularly the secondary) relied on all year.  We couldn't stop the Patriots, the Seahawks or the Falcons - this game fell into that line of play.

But these no calls did happen.  And while, I guess the 4th down play, given where we were in the game, is a defensible no call (not for me, I think it's a bad no call - and I think the public would as well had the announcers lined up on my side - plays are framed instantly in the mind of the public by announcers) that kick return no call is just wrong.  These are bad calls that determined the outcome of the game to a degree only matched in Super Bowl history by that Seattle/Pittsburgh game.  Local writers chose not to pursue that angle of discussing the game, largely, I'd guess, for fear of being called homers.  Bad calls are bad calls, even when they go against your club.


I've done all my required football posting since the game.  Here are the ten best teams not to make the Super Bowl (the '87 Niners are 10th); here is my ranking of every starting quarterback performance in Super Bowl history (Flacco's 10th, Kaepernick's 50th) and I revised every NFL team's all time 45 man roster (here is the all time Niners roster; Justin Smith replacing Dana Stubblefield is the only real change; on the list of the 25 greatest Niners ever, Patrick Willis is now 17th, Frank Gore is now 22nd).

2. The Piece You Should Read This Week
Also sports - it's Michael Jordan turning 50.

If you're into some long form sports pieces - you can read this about Nigel McGuinness, one of the best wrestlers in the world from the last ten years.  The current best 100 wrestlers in the world list is here.  I have a ton of 2013 wrestling waiting to be watched, but since last we spoke, the only 4 star match I've seen is Minoru Tanaka/Koji Kanemoto v. Kaz Hayashi/Kondo from January in All Japan.

3. The Sprinter With No Feet Killed His Model Girlfriend

Which is probably something you want to remember the next time the sports media industrial complex decides to tell you which athletes are the good guys and which are the bad guys.

The current state of the case involves a bloody cricket bat.

On a totally unrelated note, I can't imagine why I'd connect these two cases, Ray Lewis says you know he doesn't bear any responsibility about his past criminal incident, because his imaginary friend says so.

4. A Grantland tournament.
Best Chappelle sketch ever.

5. Meanwhile, in Florida...
Dude tried to use a taco as his ID.

6. Why Are You People Doing This to Me?

I ask very little of you.

The funniest show on television is Happy Endings.  Which ABC is going to burn off.

You aren't watching it.

I lost 30 Rock and presumably Parks and Community too.

Watch Happy Endings.  It's funny.

7. Spied on at Work
Nothing really new here, but there aren't too many things that get me more exorcised than unchecked employer power.

Currently about 75 percent of employees at American companies are subjected to regular surveillance at the workplace, while employees who use the Internet at work stand a 33 percent chance of being exposed to constant surveillance. Even employees who engage in hard, unrewarding manual labor, such as hotel housekeeping, are subject to electronic scrutiny and performance monitoring. During a recent hotel stay, one of us was puzzled that the housekeeping person assigned to his room was visibly upset when he told her she didn’t need to clean the room. She knocked on the door once more and asked if she could use the phone. As she picked up the receiver, she explained that she had to enter her code into the room’s phone so management would give her credit for making up that room. The telephone surveillance system was gathering metrics about the number of rooms cleaned, how fast they were cleaned, and which worker was doing the cleaning. If guests complained, blame would be easy to assign. Likewise, it’s not difficult to imagine that these data were being used to discipline—or “motivate”—workers who cleaned too slowly. Some hotels even track their housekeeping staff’s productivity with a cell phone app that measures movement and speed at all times. If workers stand still or sit down for even a few seconds, management knows.
8. The Obama DOJ memo
Important that the left doesn't stay silent about civil liberties violations, even when they come from an Administration that it voted for.

The core distortion of the War on Terror under both Bush and Obama is the Orwellian practice of equating government accusations of terrorism with proof of guilt. One constantly hears US government defenders referring to "terrorists" when what they actually mean is: those accused by the government of terrorism. This entire memo is grounded in this deceit.
Time and again, it emphasizes that the authorized assassinations are carried out "against a senior operational leader of al-Qaida or its associated forces who poses an imminent threat of violent attack against the United States." Undoubtedly fearing that this document would one day be public, Obama lawyers made certain to incorporate this deceit into the title itself: "Lawfulness of a Lethal Operation Directed Against a US Citizen Who is a Senior Operational Leader of al-Qaida or An Associated Force."
This ensures that huge numbers of citizens - those who spend little time thinking about such things and/or authoritarians who assume all government claims are true - will instinctively justify what is being done here on the ground that we must kill the Terrorists or joining al-Qaida means you should be killed. That's the "reasoning" process that has driven the War on Terror since it commenced: if the US government simply asserts without evidence or trial that someone is a terrorist, then they are assumed to be, and they can then be punished as such - with indefinite imprisonment or death.
But of course, when this memo refers to "a Senior Operational Leader of al-Qaida", what it actually means is this: someone whom the President - in total secrecy and with no due process - has accused of being that. Indeed, the memo itself makes this clear, as it baldly states that presidential assassinations are justified when "an informed, high-level official of the US government has determined that the targeted individual poses an imminent threat of violent attack against the US".
This is the crucial point: the memo isn't justifying the due-process-free execution of senior al-Qaida leaders who pose an imminent threat to the US. It is justifying the due-process-free execution of people secretly accused by the president and his underlings, with no due process, of being that. The distinction between (a) government accusations and (b) proof of guilt is central to every free society, by definition, yet this memo - and those who defend Obama's assassination power - willfully ignore it.
Those who justify all of this by arguing that Obama can and should kill al-Qaida leaders who are trying to kill Americans are engaged in supreme question-begging. Without any due process, transparency or oversight, there is no way to know who is a "senior al-Qaida leader" and who is posing an "imminent threat" to Americans. All that can be known is who Obama, in total secrecy, accuses of this.

9. RIP
Ronald Dworkin.

10. Pitchers and Catchers Report

It begins.

That's all for this time.  I'll be back next time.  If there is a next time...

Your pal,


10 Best Teams Not to Make the Super Bowl

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Ranked by Simple Rating System, these are the best teams in the Super Bowl era not to play in the Super Bowl. Updated through SB 52.

1.  '10 Pats 15.4 lost to Jets
2.  '76 Steelers 15.3 lost AFC Title to Raiders
3.  '70 Vikes 15.0 lost to Niners
4.  '98 Vikes 14.8 lost NFC Title to Falcons
5.  '68 Raiders 14.3 lost to Jets in AFC Title
6.   '68 Chiefs 14.0 lost to Raiders
7.   '70 Lions 14.0 lost to Cowboys
8.   '68 Cowboys 13.8 lost to Browns
9.   '67 Rams 13.6 lost to Pack 
10. '87 Niners 13.5 lost to Vikes

The 100 Best Wrestlers in the World - 2013 ed.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Every two years I put together a list of the hundred best wrestlers in the world.   This is that.  

1.       Daniel Bryan (WWE)
2.       Kota Ibushi (DDT)
3.       Kenta (NOAH)
4.       Katsuhiko Nakajima (KOffice)
5.       El Generico (WWE)
6.       Prince Devitt (NJPW)
7.       Davey Richards (ROH)
8.       Takashi Sugiura (NOAH)
9.       Naomichi Marufuji (NOAH)
10.   Shinsuke Nakamura (NJPW)
11.   Shingo Takagi (DGate)
12.   Kotaro Suzuki (AJPW)
13.   Hiroshi Tanahashi (NJPW)
14.   Go Shiozaki (AJPW)
15.   Suwama (AJPW)
16.   Takeshi Morishima (NOAH)
17.   Tetsuya Naito (NJPW)
18.   Kazuchika Okada (NJPW)
19.   Masato Yoshino (DGate)
20.   Daisuke Sekimoto (BJ)
21.   Low Ki (NJPW)
22.   Austin Aries (TNA)
23.   Kenny Omega (DDT)
24.   PAC (WWE)
25.   Kaz Hayashi (AJPW)
26.   CIMA (DGate)
27.   AJ Styles (TNA)
28.   CM Punk (WWE)
29.   Kassius Ohno (WWE)
30.   Kevin Steen (ROH)
31.   Akira Tozawa (DGate)
32.   Atsushi Aoki (AJPW)
33.   Alex Shelley (NJPW)
34.   Yuji Nagata (NJPW)
35.   Jun Akiyama (AJPW)
36.   Naruki Doi (DGate)
37.   Hiroki Goto (NJPW)
38.   Seth Rollins (WWE) 
39.   Ricochet (Evolve/DGUSA)
40.   Michael Elgin (ROH)
41.   Masaaki Mochizuki (DGate)
42.   Antonio Cesaro (WWE)
43.   Eddie Edwards (ROH)
44.   Roderick Strong (PWG)
45.   Samoa Joe (TNA)
46.   Kurt Angle (TNA)
47.   Dragon Kid (DGate)
48.   Ryusuke Taguchi (NJPW)
49.   Masato Tanaka (NJPW)
50.   Koji Kanemoto (NJPW)
51.   Rey Mysterio (WWE)
52.   Togi Makabe (NJPW)
53.   BxB Hulk (DGate)
54.   Hayato Jr. Fujita (Mich Pro)
55.   Dolph Ziggler (WWE)
56.   Taiji Ishimori (NOAH)
57.   Zack Sabre, Jr. (IPW-UK)
58.   Adam Cole (PWG)
59.   Shuji Kondo (AJPW)
60.   Kento Miyahara (KOffice)
61.   Ryo Saito (DGate)
62.   Yuji Hino (KDojo)
63.   La Sombra (CMLL)
64.   Mascara Dorada (CMLL)
65.   Samuray del Sol (Evolve/DGUSA)
66.   Kudo (DDT)
67.   Matt Jackson (PWG)
68.   Nick Jackson (PWG)
69.   Christian (WWE)
70.   Minoru Tanaka (AJPW)
71.   Kyle O’Reilly (ROH)
72.   Yuji Okabayashi (BJ)
73.   Ultimo Guerrero (CMLL)
74.   Yoshinobu Kanemaru (AJPW)
75.   Yujiro Kushida (NJPW)
76.   Susumu Yokosuka (DGate)
77.   Kagetora (DGate)
78.   Minoru Suzuki (NJPW)
79.   Yoshihito Sasaki (BJ)
80.   Eddie Kingston (Chikara)
81.   Sheamus (WWE)
82.   Hiroshi Yamato (AJPW)
83.   Dean Ambrose (WWE)
84.   Karl Anderson (NJPW)
85.   Jay Briscoe (ROH)
86.   Mark Briscoe (ROH)
87.   Sami Callihan (Evolve/DGUSA)
88.   Johnny Gargano (Evolve/DGUSA)
89.   AR Fox (Evolve/DGUSA)
90.   Dr. Wagner, Jr. (AAA)
91.   Manabu Soya (AJPW)
92.   Hikaru Sato (DDT)
93.   Chuck Taylor (Evolve/DGUSA)
94.   Mike Quackenbush (Chikara)
95.   Jigsaw (Chikara)
96.   Genki Horiguchi (DGate)
97.   Hallowicked (Chikara)
98.   Tyson Kidd (WWE)
99.   Jack Evans (AAA)
100.                        Chris Daniels (TNA)

Holding. Defense. First down.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Pitchers and catchers in 8 days

The Occasional Tendown: February 3, 2013: SuperBowl Down: Tendown 150

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Dear Internet...

Tendown 100, where you can find links to each of the first 100 Tensdown, is here.

It just sort of worked out that I've hit Tendown 150, which, if you've been with me awhile, you know is entirely going to be links to the previous 49 pieces, on the day of Super Bowl 47, San Francisco's return to the Super Bowl after 18 years; I will spend the day nervously eating and watching pregame on five different stations.  I'm listening to Ronnie Lott from KNBR Friday morning right now, "what would you be willing to do to get six?"  "Everybody in that organization, it's about war.  If you don't feel that way, don't bother showing up." 'I wanted to kill Marcus Allen because I loved him so much."

Ronnie Lott brings it.  Some Sundays, so do I.  Here are the links along with some random art.

101.   Steroid talk. This line: Diet Pepsi sure has great fizz
Why'd that coach have to rape them kids? Aaron wins BBUK.

102. Almost entirely about economic inequality.  

103. Do you remember the pepper spraying cop tumblr?  

104. Religious people trust atheists about as much as rapists.

105. I'm off someplace not getting a job.  

106. I've been to Giant Johnson's Food in Gadsden, Alabama.  The worst Christmas song ever.  I want Peyton Manning to be a 49er.  

107.  The "Jesus is helping Tebow" crowd goes weirdly quiet.  The NRA says "happy holidays".  

108.  Cee Lo Green changes the lyrics to "Imagine"  I finally discover Billy Eichner.  I list the top 5 Williams of all time.  

109.  What will become the best year of my life begins.  I take some shots at Rick Santorum and worry that Keith Olbermann is going to lose his Current gig.  

110. The Niners are going to the NFC Chanmpionship.  

111. I pick against us in the title game.  Newt calls Obama the "food stamp president."

112.  We should have won that title game.  Gingrich starts campaigning on the success of the 1990s economy.'

113.  I get the Super Bowl wrong.  I'd like an In Memorium youtube channel.

114.  The Newt or Schrute game.

115. The definition of a sandwich.  Freddie Solomon and Gary Carter both die.

116.  Oscar picks and Rick Santorum

117.  Don't talk about birth control or Rush Limbaugh will call you a slut.  Paul Azinger doesn't believe in evolution.  Income inequality.

118.  Why are girls in western New York twitching.

119. A law firm fires employees for wearing orange.  Transvaginal comics.  Theocracy jewelry.

120.  The Reason Rally. Mad Men returns.

121.  I coin the term Keiblered. 

122.  Easter.  That means I talk about Christians.  

123.  More jobs I didn't get.  A woman gets a giant Gary Peyton tattoo.

124.  A lot of Giants talk.  Judge Reinhold plays for the Bulls.

125.  I hate the Niners AJ Jenkins pick. The right tries to suppress the vote.  Don Draper goes to Howard Johnsons

126.  I lock myself in the garage.

127.  I get an IPhone.  You can get a free book about the Constitution.  I get a new job.  Whew.

128.  Charlize Theron didn't have teeth until she was 11 years old.

129.  I turn 500 months old.  Danielson/Punk have the best WWE match in years.  

130.  Romney's campaign misspells America.  I suggest reverse telemarketing: "Hi, I'm Jim.  Here's my debit card, can you make a recurring charge every month while I eat some of your leftover feta?" Obama's kill list.
That's Meadow Soprano engaged to Lenny Dykstra's kid.  

131.  Lonely Virgil. Ricotta isn't a cheese.  You should watch the film Submarine.

132.  Matt Cain's perfect game on my last day at the old job.

133.  I'm at the Whole Foods in Phoenix.

134.  Health care reform is found Constitutional. The right wing hilariously freaks out.

135.  I'm in Salt Lake City. Don't eat at La Fogata in Wellington, Florida.

 136. The best all star game in Giants history. I compare dream teams.  The Aurora shooting.

137.  Tendown goes every other week. The Octomom and Chik Fil A.  Rules for mixing religion and politics.  British health care makes the opening ceremonies.

138.  Hitler wine.  Why the Pussy Riot went to jail.  Paul Ryan.  I start writing at the other place.

139.  Corporate profits after tax. Dan Gheesling's BB funeral.

140.  Jay-Z on the 4th Amendment.  Joe Niekro is still dead.  Amy and Will are divorcing.
141.  I get married.  Romney's 47% Soliloquy. The 67 Worst Sports Twitter Account. The Giants win the West.

142.  The NLDS. I ask Scalia a question. Steroids.  Evolution.

143.  The Giants win the pennant.  X Factor preliminary rounds:  Please don't make me go back to America.  I sell stamps in one of our decaying cities.  Let me stay forever in your beautiful country of X Factor. I vote for Obama again.  More hilarious right wing tweets.  21st century feudalism.

144.  The Giants win the Series. Obama wins the election. I move.  

145.  Climate.  The right doesn't understand the income tax.  The Perimeter of Ignorance. I'm a Paul Heyman guy.

146.  Costas discussed gun control.  Steroids.  Micro-militarism. Kobashi retires.  Beekmans win the Race.

147.  I win a little money. Moonrise Kingdom.  San Francisco is the sports city of the year.  The least valuable constitutional amendment=the second.  The huskier children should have stopped the elementary school shooting. 

148.  There is no disagreement about climate change.  Does lead cause crime? Who won 2012?

149.  Lance Armstrong and Manti Te'o. Pete Rose lies. I pick the Niners to win the NFC.  

The red states are rooting for the Niners.  

That's all for this time.  I'll see you next time.  If there is a next time. 

The Prediction - Super Bowl 47

Friday, February 1, 2013

Niners -3.5.

I’ll take us to win.  I’ll take us to cover.

So, let’s start here – the Niners were solidly the better regular season team, by the advanced metrics near the top of the league in offense and defense while the Ravens were in the middle of the pack.  The Niners have a 7.3 advantage in the Simple Rating System metric; in 46 years of Super Bowls, how many teams who had that type of advantage over their SB opponent lost?


The ’70 Colts, in that awful game over the Cowboys.
Both Pats/Giants games.  The Pats from the other end doing it to the Rams.
And Super Bowl 3.

That’s not the end of the story, but recognize when you’re looking at a 3.5 point spread that the disparity between the Niners and the Ravens is a little heavier than that. 

To me, the next chapter of the story is this – are there reasons why the season long performances of the two teams should be minimized in favor of some additional piece of evidence.  For Baltimore – sure, they changed offensive coordinators, they got Ray Lewis and Terrell Suggs, if not healthy than healthier (apparently, when it comes to #52, by means that appear outside of the rules; I’ll stipulate that there is no PED disparity between the Niners and Ravens, my thought is that if a baseball player had the kind of dramatic late career resurgence that Lewis had coupled with as much evidence that surrounds his possible PED use, there would be no other story in the World Series – the analysts would be considered to not be doing their jobs if during the actual broadcast itself the potential scandal was not the focus of attention.  Baseball Ray Lewis would not get a broadcast job, not get endorsements, not be going to the Hall of Fame five years after retirement; at best he’s Jeff Bagwell, if they have him on tape he’s considered worse than Bonds or Clemens) and they beat sizeable favorites on the road in the AFC playoffs.

On the other hand, the 49ers completely changed their offense.

Consider this story – the 49ers took their new offense into New England, went up 31 points and then lost Justin Smith to injury. Without Smith to occupy the defensive line, freeing the edge pass rush, freeing the linebackers to make plays, the Niners scuffled all the way to season’s end. 

Given the extra week off before the playoffs – the Niners again dominated, the team we saw in the first half of the Patriots game returned to beat Green Bay.

Without that rest, we again struggled for a half, Atlanta took a 17 point lead, the Niners comeback was the greatest in conference championship history (can we rewind to baseball for a moment?  The Niners had to come back from a 17 point deficit and the Giants had to survive 6 postseason elimination games, 4 of which were on the road, to make the World Series; if this were happening in Boston Bill Simmons would get another special label website just to discuss it and Ken Burns would make a larded up documentary that we’d revere for a generation) and now, again with the extra week off, we’re in the Super Bowl.

The Ravens offensive line can struggle with speed – the Niners have Aldon Smith and Ahmad Brooks.

The Ravens wide receivers can struggle with tight man coverage – which is the Niners base defense.

You’re likely to see a run based, tightly played game from both sides – both teams looking to run the ball, the Niners having the advantage on both lines and with a quarterback who can run the spread and disable the Ravens ability to stack the defense (in the way the Niners will be able to do).  It may be close for 3 quarters, but eventually, the Niners advantages on the lines and Kaepernick’s ability to bust a big play makes San Francisco the side. 

If I can offer 3 thoughts you may not hear from other analysts let them be these.
      Only 3 times in Super Bowl history has a team won despite losing the turnover battle. 
      The best season ever of Top Chef featured a battle between brothers Michael and Bryan Voltaggio.  Michael, the older brother, was technically very good – very controlled, very precise and steady.  Bryan was a mad scientist and when they went head to head – it was Bryan who walked away with the chip.  John Harbaugh is a good coach; he has a solid veteran team that looks a lot like the 49ers that Jim Harbaugh threw away to take new cards when he installed Kaepernick at midseason.  John doesn’t ever, not in a million years, replace Alex Smith with Colin Kaepernick.  The margin of error in that decision means you have to win the whole thing or it’s a failure.  Jim makes that decision – and that’s the difference between the two teams.  Joe Flacco is just fine; Colin Kaepernick is a guy who beats you. 
      Argo is still even money to win Best Picture.  Get in on that.

Niners 24 Ravens 17

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