Wildcard Weekend 2017

The regular season is finally over, and after a horrible schedule of boring games to close it out last weekend, we are on to the playoffs. Playoffs?!?! Yeah, here were for Wildcard Weekend 2017, and it is on to the games:

First up is Tennessee at the KC Chefs. The knee jerk is to say the Titans don’t have enough scoring potential to keep cooking with the Chefs. But KC has lost every home playoff game in the supposed ultimate home advantage of Arrowhead Stadium in the last 24 years (seriously, the last win there, the Chiefs had a QB by the name of Joe Montana). That is not good. KC also has some injury issues, especially as to returners, and will likely have to use star receiver Tyreek Hill in the fraught return game. Titans have their own injury problems with starting RB DeMarco Murray out with an MCL sprain. But they still have Derrick Henry, who is very good, but may be overworked. Injury problems at CB too for the Titans. You will be shocked to hear that the game will come down to which QB protects the ball better and gets yardage downfield, but Smith has Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce for that. Hey, Aaron Rodgers he is not, but I will take the experience and calm of KC’s Alex Smith over young and talented, but sometimes erratic, Marcus Mariota.

Late game for Saturday is Falcons at Rams. There are a lot of smart people, for one Mike Wilbon, thinking the edge here goes to the Dirty Birds because of their, and their quarterback’s, superior experience in the playoffs. I don’t know that that is wrong. By the same token, nothing seems false about the Rams. They already had a great defense, with true studs like Aaron Donald etc. The turnaround this year was the offense, and if Jared Goff gets past the original early game jitters, they are really solid on that side of the ball too. Todd Gurley is the serious beast we all thought he would be coming out of Georgia. Goff has bee steady, and at times spectacular. And, while there is no Julio Jones on their roster, the trio of Robert Woods, Sammy Watkins and Cooper Kupp gives Goff solid targets across his read. I have no real reason why, but will go out on a limb and take the Rams, even if I do not feel good about it.

Early game Sunday is Buffal at Jacksonville. The Marrone Bow, because Jax coach Doug Marrone walked out on the Bills and landed as the current coach of the Jaguars after a stint as OC. The Jags also have Tom Coughlin in the front office, but he seems to be quite involved in the field work too. The combo has worked for the Jags. Blake Bortles has even looked like an upper half NFL QB lately. The Bills are a great story getting back into the playoffs (not since 1999) – finally – after a long drought. But they did it by the thinnest of reeds in tie breakers. Frankly, I think the Chargers would have been a harder out at this point. But here the Bills are. Shady McCoy looks like he will play for the Bills, but his ankle clearly is not in optimum condition. And the Jacksonville defense, led by the awesome Calais Campbell, is quite stout. I’ll take the Jags, Bortles and Leonard Fournette here, plus, of course, they are at home.

Last game is the Sunday late game of Carolina at Saints. Fittingly, it is last in the Saturday queue, because it is probably the best and most intriguing game. Both teams have experience in the playoffs. Cam Newton versus Drew Brees, two vastly different, but awesome QB’s. Nawlins won both head to head match ups this year in the NFC South. And, no, I do not buy that “you can’t win three games in a season against the same team” baloney. It may or may not be true, but it is a trope that came out of ACC basketball, not the NFL. The Saints defense is MUCH improved. Drew Brees is still Drew Breeeees. And he has a young and ridiculously dynamic running back in Alvin Kamara. Kamara may well be on the field in kick return situations too. I think this is too much for the Panthers, especially in the Superdome. Great game though.

Okay, there you have it. You all have good stuff to say, let it rip in comments. Music this weekend is by Willie Nelson. Willie is fucking great, and I went to see him again last Wednesday night. My wife had never seen him before, and her eyes were opened. Yes, it is not just his voice, but his guitar playing too. Really great. Have a great weekend folks.

End Of The Regular Season Road Trash

Welp, with this weekend, we have reached the end of the road for the regular season in the NFL and the NCAA, with only playoffs in the former and the BCS Championship game left in the latter.

It is still early out here in the west, and I have some very important duties duties to do this morning in regards to selecting our new puppy, so this will be a brief stub as a placeholder for this that want to start talking trash. I mean, hey who knows, there might be people interested in the Taxslayer Bowl (Louisville/Mississippi State) and the Liberty Bowl (Iowa State/Memphis), both of which start well before I will be back. As I have mentioned before, Memphis is really fun to watch.

I will fill in some more post content later. And……..

Okay, back now. There are only two huge bowl games left before the BCS playoffs. First up is the Fiesta Bowl here at Cardinals joint early afternoon. Pits Washington versus Penn State, both teams coming in at 10-2. This really should be a great game, both have solid defenses and both can be extremely explosive on offense. I’ll root for the Huskies, but give slight edge to Nittany Lions. Then there is the Orange Bowl tonight with Wisconsin v. Miami. Wisconsin is tough and they grind. But Miami, if they get their groove back is more explosive and this is a home game for them. That is a pick em in my eyes, but oddsmakers have Wisconsin by 6. That is probably right.

On New Year’s Day, there are five games. Michigan/South Carolina in Outback Bowl and Notre Dame/LSU in the Citrus Bowl look like yawners. But UCF versus Auburn in the Chik-fil-A Peach Bowl could be pretty good. Then there are the two BCS semifinals. First up is Georgia v. Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl. As good as Georgia is on offense, Oklahoma is even better, but the reverse holds on defense, where the Bulldogs only allow 13 points a game. Spread is currently 2.5, but I don’t buy it. Straight up pick-em. In the late game, it is yet another rematch of Alabama and Clemson in the Sugar Bowl. Very even on both sides of the ball. Clemson, even when they lost two years ago to Bama, played them neck and neck, which no one does. Last year they won. They are not afraid of the Tide, and I will give them a slight edge.

On to the Pros: Cardinals at Seattle is always a bloodbath. Cards have won three out of the last four up there though. Squawks still have shot at playoffs and are probably far more motivated. Niners at Rams is interesting as SF is on a roll with Jimmy G and the Rams are resting up. I’ll actual;ly take SF there. Jets at Pats and Browns at Steelers only interesting to see if either of the two top seeds screw up and lose. Steelers resting key players, but then again it is only the Brownies. Lastly, there is nothing playoff wise in play, but Packers at Lions is always a good game lately. Green Bay has Hundley, Kittehs have Matt Stafford, I’ll take the Kittehs.

Since it is a road post, I thought some road music from Bob Dylan would be in order. Behold the incomparable “On the Road Again” set to scenes from the classic movie of Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Rock and roll it.

Modern Lovers Christmas Trash

Happy Holidays! Or are we mandated to call it “Merry Christmas” in the Trump Age?

Your local blogger may have a hard time understanding the new dynamics. This bullshit issue is symptomatic of the national condition currently. It is contrived, and it is asinine.

But whatever your process, Happy Holidays.

Now on to the games:

Let us start off with the Vikes at Cheese. This would normally be a laugher, but not this year. I favor the Vikes, because, hey, who would not. But, still, they are the Packers and this is the Frozen Tundra. Were Aaron Rodgers on the field, this goes the other way. Ravens at home versus the Colts? Nope, take the Ravens.

Cleveland at Bears ought to be interesting to see who is more…well, who will win. I will take the Kittehs over the Bungles. And Rams over the Titans. By the way, courtesy of our friend Steph Stradley, did you know the Titans Are Named After Inbred, Defeated Child Eaters?

New Orleans at Falcons seems noteworthy. There is actually something at play there. Cannot take the Dirty Birds in a game like this, if only because they are not home. And the Superdome is home for Drew Brees and the Saints.

Phish at Chefs may be pretty interesting. Miami is far better than they looked, including Cutler, and KC still good, but far more vulnerable than thought. This will be a really good game.

I just do not see how anybody gets excited about the rest. That is a short and succinct trash on a Saturday morning. Do your best and tell me all that I missed!

Nothing Is Easy Stand Up Trash Talk

All the hibernating troll things rearing their ugly heads and popping up lately somehow caused me to go back to very old Tull. So, fault me if you want, but we will start and end there this weekend. Nothing is easy.

If you never saw the traveling minstrel circus that was Jethro Tull live in the 70’s, you really missed something. I was already thinking about this before talking to one of our mates here with a wife who is an accomplished flautist. We will get to football in a moment, but the lead today is going to be music.

Back to Tull. I am old. I have seen most everybody. Jethro Tull was ridiculously incredible. And, yet, not an act that even I think about regularly. Go figure. That in spite of how good Ian Anderson was, and even more Martin Barre on guitar. Their talent was insane, and the rest of the band was close if not equal. It is one thing to hear their music, but like Pink Floyd, seeing it play out in front of you live is better than you could possibly hope for or imagine. No way to really describe it. Alright, we will start off with a cut from Stand Up. Then we shall see where we end up.

Okay, college football is dormant still. Unless you live near Tempe Arizona, where the Herm Edwards project is turning out to be an even bigger cock-up joke than people like me thought it was from moment one. Seriously, ASU and their brain trust of Ray Anderson, are making Pee Wee Herman look like Vince Lombardi. I have never been more embarrassed for ASU football in my life. Never.

As to the Pros, Denver blistered Da Bears in a yawner Thursday night. Brock Osweiller is still the best quarterback on the Donkos, and that is a problem for them.

Today – Saturday! – we have two games. Bears at Kittehs is first up. Lions are seriously hurt with injuries. But not enough to lose to the Bears. Chargers at Chiefs is second up to bat. Not THAT is a game. Chefs are a better team, but I like Rivers and the Bolts here.

On Sunday, and it may not ultimately matter, but the Dolphins at Bills might be pretty interesting. Personally, I really care and will be focused on the return of Aaron Rodgers in Carolina against a seemingly resurgent Panthers and Cam Newton. Even if the Pack wins out, I am not sure they get into the playoffs at this point. May suck, but that is how it is.

There are only two games that have real national interest. Scribe will love this, but the most critical one is absolutely Pats at Steelers. If you just read history, you take Bill Bel, Brady and the boys every time. I don’t think so right now. The Stillers just have too much jam at home tomorrow. Now, assuming the Pats return there for the playoffs, that is quite another thing. But tomorrow, I like Steel City.

The other is Rams at Seattle. The Rams have been both consistent and resilient this year. Nobody predicted that. I admire what they have done. They are for real. But, man, it is crunch time and this is in Seattle. That is brutal. I’ll take the Squawks. Cards at Skins might be interesting to watch, even if not of any significance.

And so we close with more Tull. Again, a seriously incredible act over a very long time. If you never got the opportunity to see them back in the day, go google a U-Tube of one of the old concerts and watch it. Was great. And Martin Barre remains one of the greatest under appreciated guitarists in rock history. And, today, a little love for flautists, some of whom are quite important here. Get the lead out, and get the roll on.

A Decade Of Trash

Basketball, whether pro or college, does not really start until the first of the year. College football, sand the Army?Navy game – Go Navy! – is done until bowl season really starts, baseball and F1 are off and, so, we are left with the NFL.

And a retrospective of Trash Talk over the last decade. So, I will, once again, make the ask. There are many modalities, but the overall effort needs you and your support:

For years, we’ve done this content ad free, relying on your donations and all of us doing free work to supply the things you read here. We have a love for what American democracy ought represent, and spill that love out in real time here. Hopefully that is valuable to you. But it takes real dollars, rubles, shekels and bit coin to keep this site alive. You have no idea what the physical costs are, and George Soros has never sent that check.

So, please, we almost never make an ask, but we are now, if you can, help us out: Support Emptywheel

Okay, that being said, let us take a look back at a decade of Trash Talk. May or may not be in any particular order:

ITALIAN GRAND PRIX 1961-2011: MONZA, DEATH OF VON TRIPS & A YANKEE CHAMPION

This one is my favorite in a bittersweet way. Phil Hill was a friend, and frankly, a bit of a mentor in my life. He enjoyed a large life as a world champion in Formula One and at Le Mans, and an even bigger one as a husband, father and restorer of magnificent antique cars.

ZENYATTA! AN LA WOMAN RUNS FOR THE ROSES & HISTORY

I was around, even if young, when Secretariat blowup the Triple Crown. There has never been a horse like that to this date. Never. But there was a filly who was pretty much the equivalent….Zenyatta. There have been great female horses, but none like Zenyatta. Our own Roving Reporter, Rosalind, went to cover Zenyatta’s historic run at the Lady Secret’s Stakes at Hollywood Park. It was magnificent.

WAVELAND AND THE NORTH SIDE, SWEET HOME CHICAGO

The lovable loser Cubbies won the World Series. And Obama joined Mick Jagger, BB King and Buddy Guy for Sweet Home Chicago. It really doesn’t get any better than that.

SUPER BOWL 43 TRASH TALK: THE RED & THE BLACK

Okay, it is likely the only time the Arizona Cardinals will ever sniff the Super Bowl. And even with Kurt Warner and Larry Fitzgerald ripping it up, Pittsburgh won. Barely, but a win is a win, and a loss is a loss. Great BOC music though.

WITH A NECK LIKE A JOCKEY’S BOLLOCKS TRASH TALK

Sorry, I just love the title to this one. And you get to see me wearing a cheesehead!

ESPN IS GUTLESS, CHRIS MORTENSON HAS TINY DEFLATED BALLS AND OTHER DEFLATEGATE TRASH TALK

Like John McCain, I feel bad that Chris Mortenson is now in compromised health. But he has never atoned for the things he has done. In this case, he almost single handedly started “Deflategate” with a completely false report, and has never had the decency to admit his false reportage.

BACON, BOOBS & A BLOWJOB: ALL STAR TRASH TALK

I am sorry. I feel bad. But the title was just too good.

THE DECLINE AND FALL OF THE BO MERLOT EMPIRE

Charles Woodson is not walking through that door again. My favorite football memory ever is ASU trouncing the Wolverweenies in the Rose Bowl. I was there, and was a glorious day what with the pounding of both Jim Harbaugh and Bo Schemberhler. Also, the great Mose Allison supplies some music.

SUPER BOWL SEX TRAFFICKING TRASH TALK

The hype and bullshit around an actual Super Bowl coming to your town is bonkers. I’ve been through three of them. But there is an underside to it all too.

THE SHAME OF FORMULA ONE IN BAHRAIN

This was a short post. I did not say nearly enough about the state of human rights in the Middle East. But I did try to make a point that F1 should not foster abusive nation states that refuse to respect such rights. One day, I will come back to this.

The things we have done is this weekend’s music. If you ever get a chance to see The Killers, go. Do it. I have seen most of the big bands live at one time or another, and The Killers are very far up on the ladder. There is also a bit of link rot in some of the above posts. I fixed some of it, but not all.

As the Killers intone, you gotta hold on. Irrespective of where you are geographically or mentally in life. Thank you for participation, and thank you for support.

Big Game Trash Talk

It is big game championship Saturday in college football. I know everybody is focused on the Auburn and Georgia rematch, but I am kind of excited for the Memphis/UCF pairing. Two fun and well coached teams, should be a lot of scoring. It the early game on ABC. No idea why, but will take UCF. Both coachesScott Frost and Mike Norvell, are white hot and will likely be in bigger jobs next year. TCU and Oklahoma interests me less, and think the Sooners have too much firepower with Baker Mayfield at QB. Going to take the Dawgs to upset Auburn. Clemson is just a more solid team, with the experience, and should take out Miami. That leaves Ohio State and Wisconsin in the late game on Fox. Weird season in the B1G this year, so I guess OSU will muck things up and beat the Badgers, but am rooting hard for Wisconsin. USC already nudged out the Stanford Trees last night.

In the Pros, Dallas had a surprisingly easy roll over the Skins Thursday night. Who knew? A lot of the slate is pretty ho hum. Patriots at Bills has a little interest, though the Pats have owned them in recent years. Vikings at Falcons may be the best of the lot. Rams at Cardinals and Panthers at Saints both look solid. The end of the Eli era for the Giants comes in an otherwise uninteresting tilt with the Raiders in Oakland. The Sunday night game of Philly at Seattle should be a great game. The Squawks are pretty knocked up, but are always tough at home.

Somebody requested Jefferson Airplane yesterday, so here it is.

Leftovers Turkey Trash Talk

Okay, so we all made it through Thanksgiving. I weigh a little more than I used to, and am still eating holiday food. Copiously. We left off on Thursday, and those games went about as expected, though I underestimated how strong the Vikes would be and how feckless the Kittehs would be. Still, no shockers.

Miami and Alabama getting seriously lit up on Friday and Saturday respectively was pretty notable. The race for the final four for the BCS tournament is wildly in the air. On a local note, this morning, ASU fired head coach Todd Graham. I did not like his hiring from the get go,though he did have a decent couple of initial seasons with the recruits he inherited from Dennis Ericson. Downhill ever since then. Cleaned up off the field aspects fairly admirably, but his on the field coaching was, really, not good. There is no idea who is next here, but a very strong appreciation that the Graham era is over and new blood is coming.

Back to the NFL, due to the extended Thanksgiving Day schedule, it is lighter than most. Scribe is going to be all interested in Packers at Steelers. If Aaron Rodgers was on the field, this would be a GREAT game. He is not, and young Brett Hundley is playing behind a compromised line and is flighty in the pocket. Stillers on to next game, and Pack on to next year.

New Orleans at the Rams with all the 25,000 to 30,000 fans that “may” actually walk through the turnstiles, looks pretty interesting. Rams having a hiccup in what started out as a ridiculously good season. But Drew Brees and the rejuvenated Saints defense is on a major roll. My bet is the Saints continue to let the good times roll. Jaguars at Cardinals might be a surprisingly good game. The Cards are not as bad a team as their record reflects, and are tough at home in the Big Toaster. Miami is another team that feels actually better than their record. But they have injury problems and should be no match for Bill Bel, Brady and the lads.

On a parting shot, this morning was the final race in Formula One, and came from the gorgeous circuit at Yas Marina in AbuDhabi. Valteri Bottas won with Hamilton right on his tail in what looked like a team orders give away. Which was fine I guess, both the constructors and drivers’ championships were well locked up. Ferrari behind enough to pick up the next two spots, but not that close. Alonso, again, drove his ass off with inferior equipment. It was a spectacular day on a beautiful day and quality track. Hopefully 2018 will provide more competitiveness, though I say that every year as the circus closes. ON a bittersweet note, Felipe Massa picked up a point with a hard fought 10th place finish in his last race in F1. A consistently superb driver, and one of the truly nicest guys, in fifteen years as a frontline driver in Formula One. I will miss Felipe.

Okay, that is it for the leftover trash. Music today by Rod Stewart and Elton John. And, yes, that is really a very early picture of the two of them together on a pitch.

The Queen Of Soul Thanksgiving Trash Talk

She is NOT dead yet. Aretha is alive and well.

Aretha Franklin has a few choice words for those who think she’s on her deathbed.

“I’m doing well generally, all test have come back good,” the 75-year-old Queen of Soul told Us Weekly. “I’ve lost a lot of weight due to side effects of medicine, it affects your weight… Thanxxxx for your concern.”

On Tuesday, the internet ran wild after a fake Twitter account erroneously announced her death.

I am one of the people briefly snookered by the hoax. So Marcy thought Turkey Trash ought feature the Queen. And so it will!

It is appropriate because Motown Lions always play on Turkey Day. And it is the first game on tap today. The Vikings come on over for the tradition at Ford Field. Has the makings on an uncommonly good Detroit Thanksgiving game. They are not always this, errrr, promising. Not sure the Vikes are all that, but give them their due, Case Keenum and the Norske handed the on a roll LA Rams their ass last weekend. It is a pick em, and I am really looking forward to this game.

Second up is Bolts at ‘Boys on CBS. Jerry Jones is a cartoon character straight out of the Simpsons villain set. Just look at his jawline and picture The Simpsons. Dallas deserves all the bad news they get. What whiny assholes. Interesting that Tony Romo will be on the call. Romo is a little relentless on his color commentary, but has been generally very good so far. Today ought be interesting. This game has nowhere near the actual playoff interest as Lions/Vikes, and no idea where it will go. The Bolts have been extremely uneven this year, but Phil Rivers is still dangerous. Probably gonna regret this, but rooting for the Bolts in an upset.

Last meat on the table is Giants at Skins. Hard to believe this is the grand finale on such a storied NFL day. Yuck. NBC must be dying that this is the dreck they were left with as America goes into an L-Tryptophan snooze. Someone will win. Theoretically anyway. At this point, Kirk Cousins is a far better QB than the Really Bad Eli. So, I’ll take the Skins.

So, today’s Trash is fueled by Queen Aretha. Could have gone with any number of songs, including Respect or, of course, Chain of Fools. But Ain’t No Way is an under appreciated favorite, so that was the choice. Happy Thanksgiving folks.

The Jerry Jones and Roger Goodell Ramjet Blasts Off Trash Talk

I remember watching the Roger Ramjet cartoon as a kid. It was stupid, but, hey, as a kid it was fun. I had completely forgotten about it since then until I got a call one night that a DWI task force had a high dollar good client of my firm, and friend to boot, in custody and wanting to know if I would like to come retrieve him as opposed to him getting booked. Yes, I said I’d be right down.

So, when I get there, I have a chat with the arresting officer about why client was stopped and how bad he did. The punchline here is, when asked to do a common, but non-standard, field sobriety test of counting backwards from ten, the client performed as follows:

“10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1….Roger Ramjet Blast Off!! (Raising arms in the air on the last phrase)

That was not the, er, first clue to the officers, but cinched the deal. Sorry, I just love this story and had to tell it.

But now we have a couple of other cartoon characters blasting off in the world of sports. Jerry Jones and Roger Goodell. If you have not seen it, there was an absolutely fascinating dive into the Roger Goodell/Jerry Jones spat roiling the NFL currently, done by the excellent Don Van Natta and Seth Wickersham for ESPN The Magazine (and I believe Outside the Lines too):

The line went quiet. Seconds passed. Goodell’s decision was an unconscionable violation of trust, Jones later told associates, because he believed that the commissioner had assured him this past spring that there would be no suspension. Jones saw in Elliott a genuine opportunity, a player so good that he had made Jones believe that this year he just might win a Super Bowl for the first time since 1996. His anger was palpable. Finally, according to sources with direct knowledge of the call, Jones broke the silence. He aimed his words not only at Goodell’s decision but also at his role as judge, jury and executioner in the case.

“I’m gonna come after you with everything I have,” Jones said. Then he mentioned Deflategate. “If you think Bob Kraft came after you hard, Bob Kraft is a p—y compared to what I’m going to do.”
….
For years, America’s most powerful sports owner has heaped praise on America’s most powerful commissioner for being a visionary, a “grow-the-pie thinker.” Jones, now 75, uses a cost-benefit analysis to measure the value of many relationships, and as the NFL grew from a $6 billion-a-year to a $14 billion-a-year enterprise under Goodell, their relationship seemed strong. But then Goodell suspended Elliott, and it’s only gotten nastier since, with that decision clarifying Jones’ long-standing worries about Goodell’s leadership, his current total annual compensation of $42 million, and the approval process for a contract extension expected to pay even more, according to documents and nearly two dozen interviews by Outside the Lines with owners, league and team executives and lawyers, and union leaders. Trust among owners and among senior executives inside the league office has all but evaporated. In early November, when Jones threatened to sue his fellow owners and the league to stop progress on Goodell’s next contract, Falcons owner and compensation committee chairman Arthur Blank told Jones, “This is not how we do things in the NFL.”

Trust me, these partial blurbs are just scratching the surface of Van Natta and Wickersham’s work here. Go read it, all of it, it is seriously worth it.

I was among a group of people, including several prominent sports lawyers, who followed Deflategate in minute detail (seriously, like hour by hour!), and, more recently, the Zeke Elliot case that stands at the root of Jerry Jones narcissistic and petulant beef currently. But, when you come down to it, the problem is the binding language of the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NFL and the NFL Player’s Association. The CBA, especially Article 46 thereof, gives the Commissioner, or his designate, ridiculously broad powers that are, especially after the Brady decision in the 2nd Circuit, nearly unreviewable even by federal courts. Deadspin has a piece that delves into the Article 46 CBA power quite well. And, again, well worth a read if you are still interested.

Jerry Jones enthusiastically cheered Goodell on when the commissioner and league were after Tom Brady and the Patriots. Now that the shoe is on the other foot, he has turned on a dime to lash out like Trump on a 3 in the morning tweet binge. Will be fascinating to see how this plays out, and what the other owners will do.

Okay, off to this week’s games we go. But will be framed slightly differently this week. Motorsport is going to lead. If you have been here for a while with us at Emptywheel, and especially Trash Talk, you know Formula One coverage is a staple. I do not follow them as much, but there are actually other forms of auto racing than just F1. There are tectonic changes occurring in NASCAR.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. is retiring. Junior never accumulated the overall record his father did, but he is, without question, the glue that kept the sport together and making money hand over fist after his Intimidator father passed away. And, let’s be honest, Junior has a record most drivers would kill for. 26 wins, 260 top ten finishes and 15 poles. Maybe more notably, he won the Daytona 500 twice…ten years apart. But, most important, he was always an amiable and available front man for his sport, and did so over a period when they desperately needed that. There is no way to not love the guy. Be well and enjoy the next phase of your life Junior.

The next is Danica Patrick. She too is retiring from NASCAR, where she has been since 2011. Danica has nowhere near the record of success as Junior, but has had a truly remarkable and ground changing career. No woman has ever reached the sustained run in major motorsports, popular acclaim and visibility. None. Ever. Danica is a truly transformational figure, and ought be remembered as such. I am getting old now, but to my mind, there are only two other women in the history of auto racing that even come close.

The first is the great Denise McCluggage. You have probably never heard of her. You should. Denise was a force of nature and one of the truly nicest people ever. She strapped on a white helmet with pink dots, and raced like hell against “the boys” when, back in the old days, that just was not done. And they respected the hell out of her for it. Some of those names are listed in her NYT obituary, which really paints the picture of an incomparable life, including her time as a journalist, founding editor of Autoweek and….skier par extraordinaire. I had the pleasure of being around Denise a few times, what an incredible woman, what an incredible person.

The second I want to note is Lyn St. James. You probably do not know her either. Even including Danica, Lyn St. James is, for my buck, still the most skilled female auto racer I have ever seen. I am probably getting into the weeds here a bit, but it is important to understand just how far Danica Patrick has taken the concept and normalized it. If Lyn had had the opportunities and sponsorship Danica did, the motorsports world would look quite different now. Yes, she was that good.

Lyn St. James is an American former racecar driver. She competed in the IndyCar series, with eleven CART and five Indy Racing League starts to her name. St. James is one of nine women who have qualified for the Indianapolis 500, and became the first woman to win the Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year award. She also has two victories at the 24 Hours of Daytona, and one win at the 12 Hours of Sebring. Additionally she has competed in endurance racing in Europe, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the 24 Hours of Nürburgring; in the latter, her team placed first and second in class in 1979.

That blurb is from Wiki, and cannot possibly relate what a driver, with breadth of experience Lyn was. She was ridiculously good at her craft. Had she been given truly competitive equipment in IndyCar or F1 at the time, she would have been absolutely capable of winning.

To sum up, Junior and Danica Patrick are seminal drivers in the scheme of things. You cannot equate the two on the track, but off track it is a closer call. There will be generations of girls that will come forth because of Patrick, and she embraced that role. Earnhardt seems retired after Homestead. Danica will race in both Daytona and the Indianapolis 500 before walking off to the next phase. I tuly hopes she gets the best equipment possible for that attempt. These are both lions that need to be appreciated for just how significant they are, not just now, but in the annals of history.

So, these are the stories I care about today. Where are you at? This is, as always, an open discussion forum. Thank you for participating.

As almost a PS, Michigan at Wisconsin is important. Not for MI, but if the Badgers want a shot at the playoffs, they have to hold serve here. Shockingly, at this late point in the season, not so many other games that immediately stand out before they start being played.

In the NFL, sometimes the common wisdom is right, in that regard, Pats and Raiders in Mexico City is truly interesting. The other really notable game is Rams at Vikings. Never would have thought it at start of season, but the Rams may be the better team. Not that I am going to sleep on the Vikes at home with that giant Norske horn they blow. In a lesser game, but still important, Ravens at Packers is one to keep your eye on. Ravens are, um, inconsistent. Packers have no Rodgers. Given those things, this is a very fair fight. The Cheesers need this one, and it is Lambeau. If they cannot win here, they are truly done.

Alright, sorry. This ran a little long. Enjoy the games this weekend folks. Hope you all have someone to talk to. And that lovely music message comes this week from the Tedeschi Trucks Band. It is really a great version they do here. Have a great weekend.

Alabama Getaway: Roy Moore’s Little Toy Gun Trash

It is 2017 and here we are. Yep, the greatest country ever. The face of humanity. Elected leaders won’t even admit global warming, much less try to fix it. Hell, they don’t even want the gays to have wedding cakes. “Creative” book schemers like Elon Musk are considered brilliant. But, hey, that is where we are.

No reason to ignore the truth. Unless you are Alabama.

Thirty two teeth in a jawbone
Alabama cryin’ for none
Before I have to hit him
I hope Roy’s got the sense to run.

Reason those poor young girls love him
Promise them anything
Reason they believe him
He wears a big diamond ring (and a little toy gun).

It used to be our little weekend Trash Talk was an escape. From politics. From war. From torture. From the idiocy. There is no escape now.

Welp, at least we know that Alabama football is totally clean and good. And that good old Nick Saban purity will have a test today against Mississippi State in Davis Wade Stadium. Starkville can be tough. It is hard to see anybody slowing the Tide’s roll, but this may be the best shot. Michigan State at the the Horseshoe and the Buckeyes should be really interesting. Not the blockbuster it once could have been, but still a huge game. A sleeper may be Oklahoma State at Iowa State. The best game though is Notre Dame at Miami. The Hurricanes have not had a game like this in a long time. Two storied programs, only one can win, both in effective dumpster fire mode for a long time. I’ll take the Canes. The other huge game is TCU’s Horned Frogs at Oklahoma. I wish FreePatriot were here for this. In his honor, I’ll take Baker Mayfield and the Sooners.

Now for the Pros. Roger Goodell versus the hick Simpson’s like looking villain Jerry Jones. Who do you root for there? Is there some way they can off each other in mutually assured destruction? That would be optimal.

The Cards lost their season on their home turf (yes, it is real grass) here Thursday night. Strange game, with injuries everywhere. Ugly. From there, can the Jaguars hold off the Bolts at home? Seems like a throwaway game, but it is really an interesting one. I have no clue, it is a toss up. There is no reason the Pack at Soldier Field should matter, but it kind of does. Same for Saints at Bills in Buffalo. And ditto for Vikes at Washington.

Vikes are fairly quietly 6-2. Sam Bradford may be fragile, but he is a pretty decent QB if he is on the field. But he is not, Case Keenum is piloting the ship, and doing so very well. Teddy Bridgewater may be back, but this is Keenum’s team right now. Probably I am a dope, but I like the Skins for the home upset win.

This weekend is the Brazilian Grand Prix. Like the Italian, there is just too much history to ever take your eye off the Brazilian. Ham has the Drivers, and Mercedes has the Constructors. What started as a real battle has turned into a yawner. That is not good for fans, and it is not good for F1. For now though, it is what it is. But Ham crashed out in qualifying, and teammate Valteri Bottas is on pole at Interlagos. With Vettel right behind. The Circus may have been decided for the year, but a very fun race may be on tap.

Okay. That is Trash for yet another week. Dumpster dive in with gusto. There is great music this week from both Honey Honey Band and the Dead. Killer tracks, give them a try. Or else I will send the guy with the short fingers and his friend with the little toy gun after you.

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