NFL Week 14: It’s Only a Game Edition

NFL Week 14: It's Only a Game Edition

And back down to Earth we crash. Some days you’re the stick, some days the drum. As per the rules I won’t apologize for anything but I will admit that I sort of stopped caring about the outcome of the Monday night game when the Ryan Shazier hit took place. It seems trite to say you never want to see anything like that, because of course you don’t, but it still scared the hell out of everybody. The latest news is that he underwent spinal stabilization surgery on Wednesday after being flown to Pittsburgh in a medical helicopter. Joseph Maroon was one of the surgeons, which would indicate that this is a pretty big deal. Maroon’s name isn’t quite as ubiquitous as that of Dr. James Andrews in terms of sports coverage but he’s a major name, famous for inventing ImPACT testing, overseeing the WWEs drug testing program, and/or being positioned as the NFL-affiliated bad guy in the movie Concussion depending on your cultural tastes.

As others have noted, the more days that pass without any major update, the more concerning this whole thing seems. This isn’t about whether or not he will play again, this is about whether or not he will be able to walk. Its not like you or I can do anything for Ryan Shazier beyond acknowledging the awful nature of the whole thing, though unlike some his family appears to very much appreciate thoughts and prayers, so by all means keep a good thought.

NFL Week 14: It's Only a Game Edition

And here I sit with nothing to pivot to after that somber intro. The tax cut sucks. Al Franken had to quit. The polls are starting to turn toward Roy Moore. Jesus. Oh wait – the A.V. Club did the band names list again! You know how everybody thinks that they have a certain talent, like a friend always claiming that they are going to write a novel but they never do? Well, I am that guy when it comes to idiotic band names, and mine are actually funny, unlike Jello Biafra. I have repeatedly vowed that I was going to start my own version of Fat Lizzy or Coach, I’m Gay only to sober up and realize that quitting my job to cast my lot with hell, I dunno The Oak Ridge Boys But Black And Also Good is probably not the best course to take.

I wouldn’t even know what kind of ironically-distant-from-my-zany-band-name music to make. I guess the youth all listen to what is derivatively referred to as LCD rap or Sound-cloud Rap but I cannot compete with the likes of XXXtentacion or 6ix9ine in terms of either talent or what I am willing to do to be noticed. On the latter point I will say this though; us 70s and 80s babies with our mo-hawks, leather and spikes? Check and mate, fellas.

So if I can’t be a Sound-cloud rapper, the only other viable counter cultural music that a lot of people listen to would be some sub genre of metal, right? But that’s out the window because of all of the genre-qualifiers. X is stoner metal whereas Y is doom metal and so forth. And Jesus the sub-genres. Pirate metal. Goblin metal. These guys who dress up like Flanders and also have a midi keyboard dealie.

Wait! Is there gambling metal? Perhaps we could start our own sub-genre, in which The Oak Ridge Boys But Black And Also Good would be like The Pogues or The Ramones, undisputed originators of the genre. Google seems to think no, though a search for gambling metal did return a bunch of articles on Pachinko machines – very apropos – and this list, which I closed after three seconds because Ace Of Spades isn’t about gambling any more than any Motorhead song is about anything. That’s not the point of Motorhead, pal. You call yourself a metal insider, you should know this. HEY LOOK FOOTBALL!

NFL Week 14: It's Only a Game Edition

Green Bay -3 at Cleveland

So this week, Cleveland fired their GM and hired a new one, apparently all in the same 24-hour span. This led to a lot of questions regarding the Rooney Rule, which states that teams have to interview at least one minority applicant before hiring a coach or general manager. With their backs against the wall, the Browns hurriedly insisted that they formally interviewed Doug Whaley, who used to be the Bills GM. Because of course they did; look at that guys track record!

So we have three options here. They might be lying, but I would imagine Doug Whaley would call them out on that. This is, after all, the Year of Whistle-blowing In Both Good Contexts and Bad. They may also have been interviewing people behind outgoing EVP of Football Operations Sashi Browns back, and given that Brown is himself Black, that almost seems to violate the spirit, if not the letter, of the Rooney Rule. Racial connotations aside its a crummy thing to do to somebody.

I prefer option three, in which Cleveland ownership made what my miscreant friends and I used to refer to as a Lotto Call when we had to go on unemployment. You see, in order to collect, at least in Ohio in the nineties, you had to apply for two jobs a week. But calling a place and asking if they were hiring counted as an application. So for as long as you wanted to stay Fun-employed () you would just call the Ford plant or the Post Office, or some other place with good high-paying jobs that more or less had to be willed to you in order to get hired. You would ask them if they were hiring, they would of course say no, then you would you write it in a booklet (!) and just like that you fulfilled your obligations in less time than it took for the Sega Genesis to boot up and you could go back to afternoon drinking.

So I’m assuming the Lotto Call went something like this:

Former Bills GM Doug Whaley: Hello?

Browns owner Jimmy Haslam: HeywannabetheGMoftheBrowns?

Former Bills GM Doug Whaley: Excuse me?

Browns owner Jimmy Haslam: WannabeGMoftheBrowns?

Former Bills GM Doug Whaley: Who is this?

Browns owner Jimmy Haslam: Uhh Dr. Chim Richalds. I’m a professional doctor.

Former Bills GM Doug Whaley: I don’t know a…

*CLICK*

Browns owner Jimmy Haslam: He said no. Get me John Dorsey!

Oh yeah, the game. Cleveland is a mess. I’ve said it before: Paul DePodesta is a genius and I think he’s making moves that will resonate and turn the Browns into a contender some day. Sunday will not be that day. Green Bay to cover. Twice over if you play teasers.

NFL Week 14: It's Only a Game Edition

San Francisco at Houston -2.5

Garoppolomania is taking San Francisco by storm, and sure enough the handsome bastard did just enough to screw us out of a payoff last weekend, leading a fourth-quarter comeback to win the game outright, 15-14. It was every bit as riveting as that score makes it out to be as well.

I’m not happy about putting money on Tom Savage, but I just don’t see this 49ers thing going that much further. The two games they have won have all taken place in the past three weeks, and their defense is still extremely suspect, though they rocketed up to 25th in the league after last weeks performance against a sleepwalking Chicago.

This isn’t going to be a lot of fun to watch, but Houston is statistically the much better team, and if Savage can cool it with the turnovers, DeAndre Hopkins, Will Fuller and Braxton Miller, who are all reportedly healthy again, should put enough points up to cover two and a half. Lay Houston and watch something else.

Tennessee -3 at Arizona

We should use caution in watching this one as well. Granted, the football won’t be as bad, but did you know that Tom Pratt, who coaches the Cardinals defensive line, is 82 years old? Ryan Shazier is in peak athletic shape and he is seriously injured – what in the hell could happen to Pratt if he got mowed down on the sideline, Paterno style, by Phillip If He Goes Crazy Then Will You Still Call Him Supernaw or another Titans receiver? (TRIGGER WARNING: that leg fracture is gross).

By the way, did you know that DeAndre Levy, the guy who careened into Paterno, reversed course and said he was glad he mowed him down after all hell broke loose in the Sandusky investigation? Of course, everybody is a forthright virtuous type, absolutely positively certain that they would sell out their friend of 30 years within seconds of hearing that they were accused of the sexual crime deemed most despicable by pretty much everybody. Heard any good Jerry Sandusky prison rape jokes lately? I sure hope that 99 year old man is savagely beaten every day for the rest of his life due to a mental defect he in all likelihood despised but was unable to control! LOL!

Tennessee has reason to be motivated; they are tied for the AFC South divisional lead with the Jags. The Titans are very solid against the spread in non-conference games and Arizona looked like hell in Los Angeles last week. Three is not enough. Remember (to lay) the Titans.

Apologies for the late press time, things are hectic. If you live on the west coast please pay attention to evacuation plans and the like, those fires literally look like Hell. Of course, a lot looks of Hell these days.

Good luck!

About J.J. Duquesne

J.J. is an attorney in New York City. He loves NFL Football...a LOT.