Friday, April 8, 2011

The New Joba Rules

I must say, it is a supreme relief to my blood pressure that Joba Chamberlain has been relegated to the 7th inning position. Although it was made official on Wednesday, Joba’s demotion from 8th inning guy to 7th inning guy had been made pretty apparent from the beginning of spring training. As soon as Rafael Soriano strolled into camp, and Joba showing up resembling Lard Lad, it was obvious that the Yankees bullpen would go Joba-Rafael-Mariano, with Joba being the only question mark. Yes, Joba Chamberlain was a bigger question mark than the 41-year-old closer.

Watching Joba last year was beyond excruciating. The Yankees have always had trouble with the “bridge” to Mariano, but seeing Joba was particularly bad because he had so much promise. In Joba’s first season, 2007, he had a 0.38 ERA and 12.75 K/9. He also could have been a playoff hero, if not for the infestation of Cleveland by midges (the bugs of Satan). I still think Joba would have ended the bug problem if he ate one of the bugs to scare the other bugs off. If I was a bug, and I saw somebody who looks like Joba eat another of my kind, there would be no doubt in my mind that he was preparing for a buffet.

In 2008, Joba was deemed “ready” for the starting rotation after months of Hank Steinbrenner bitching to the press for an end to the asinine “Joba Rules”. In retrospect, Hank’s complaining was probably justified (for once), as the Yankees had coddled Joba for too long and were protecting him as if he was Baby Jesus. 2008 Joba was best known for receiving no run support and garnering 8 no-decisions. He still seemed primed for the future as being the Yankees number one starter.

Then 2009 happened. Joba’s K/9 went way down, his K/BB rate almost reached even, he hit a league-leading 12 batters, and had control similar at times to that of a young Rick Ankiel. The problem, it appears, is in Joba’s pitch selection.

Fastball 63.9% (92.5) Slider 22.2% (84.6) Curveball 9.2% (77.7) Changeup 4.6% (82.3)

Compared to 2008, Joba threw 2% less fastballs, 3% less sliders, and almost 2% more curveballs and changeups. Joba appeared to be shying away from his go-to pitches, and was more inclined to throw hanging breaking balls and crappy changeups. Hitters were able to sit back, work pitch counts (Joba’s biggest issue during his career. His goal is always to strike the guy out, and with slower pitches it was easier for hitters to call Joba’s bluff), and hit line drives (Hitters had a 21.3% for line drives, 7% higher than 2008).

It was obvious that Joba would be nothing more than a mediocre starter. Just his style of pitching would not work as a starter, plain and simple. That being said, 2010 saw Joba as the bridge to Mariano.

It went over like whatever is worse than farting in Church.

Okay, it wasn’t that bad, but once again, he walked too many people, too many people were able to get the ball in play, and he had a WPA of 0.86. Also, in a stat Fangraphs calls “Meltdowns”, Joba had 8. I am not sure how one judges a meltdown, but 8 is a ton. Apparently, it doubled his career total.

The pressure also appeared to get to Joba. I realize the way one copes with pressure cannot really be put into statistics, and is therefore ignored by the statistical community, but just watching Joba go through anxiety attacks while pitching proves that it exists.

Joba needed a change, a change back to pressure-free baseball. 2007 was the best year (or quarter-year) of his career. Joba was regularly put into either games that did not matter or games where he was set up to achieve. He thrived in both, and eventually gained the right to pitch in crucial sports (see the 2007 ALDS). Joba needs to be in a position where he is set up to succeed, and the 7th inning role is perfect for that.

The 7th inning role basically requires the reliever to not allow the game to get out of hand. The inning is deep enough in the game to be important, but far enough from the end that the team still has a chance if the reliever screws up. Joba needs an environment where he knows that if he self-implodes, the team still has a chance. He needs to be laid back on the mound. It sounds like I am talking about a 12-year-old pitcher with control issues, but Joba needs to be treated kind of the same way. Obviously, he is an adult, so you can curse at him and stuff, but Joba needs to be put in Joba-ready situations.

This is obviously not what was envisioned four years ago, but it will have to do for now. If Joba is able to get his act together, who has a better 7-8-9 order than the Yankees? If Joba can reclaim some of the “magic” from 2007, how will the Yankees be scored on in the later innings unless Mariano’s arm either catches on fire or falls off.

It is better for the team as well. Finally, Girardi should be able to make an easy decision about putting Joba in the game, instead of hesitating to pick up the phone to the bullpen as he did last year, like he was fearing that someone may have put anthrax in the earhole. No more are the 4-inning starts by Joba where he throws 111 pitches, and no more are the innings where Joba comes in and promptly loads the bases. That last part might happen again, but not as frequently.

Joba has been put in a situation where he can thrive, as he has before. Now, if Joba screws this up, that’s a different story. The Yankee bullpen still should be decent (Soriano and Rivera should be able to plug the leaking holes), but Joba may see a different team in his future. The Trenton Thunder are always looking for players.

On a personal note, the only other pitcher waking me up in the middle of the night with either sweat/urine surrounding me is A.J. Burnett. But I have given up on him.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Yankees Rotation Could Be The Downfall of Western Civilization

It dumbfounds me how the idiots in the Yankee front office actually expect to win a title this year. It really, really does. How can the Steinbrenner Bros. & Cashman really believe they have assembled a team that can defeat the Red Sox. Or Phillies. Or hell, even the Braves. The Yankees pitching staff is one of the most horrifying things I have even seen.

Maybe I am overreacting. I have a tendency to do so at the beginning of the season. But when a team brings in Freddy Garcia, Bartolo Colon, and Mark Prior to save the staff, well, good God. Oh and Kevin Milwood. You know, the one who went 4-16 last year? I realize the Yankees are super pissed that they lost out on the golden goose of the offseason. The goose is Cliff Lee. But even paying minimum wage to four awful, past their prime, and (in some cases) overweight pitchers does not make up for the lackluster offseason. Let’s look at the Yankees rotation, and see if I should be hitting the PANIC button. Because I am pressing the crap out of it right now.

C.C. Sabathia

I mean, he should be okay. Then again, he danced around the topic of his opt-out clause in his contract, which he can use at the end of the season. Yikes. Really, he is already tired of New York? He hasn’t even really been booed yet. I am sure he hasn’t even heard a racial slur. I am not saying that he should be looking forward to those things, but calm down C.C., it’s not good for the blood pressure.

Perhaps, C.C. will be so inclined to get out of his contract, that he will pitch out of his mind during the season. Stay with me here. You know, the classic “I could get paid crazy dough during the offseason so I better actually try”.

I am really grasping for straws here, whatever that means. Who the hell uses a straw? Old people and little kids who have not yet mastered the art of tricking out of a cup.

C.C. should be fine, and is really the least of my worries. Unless his arteries explode while pitching, the odds are that he will be the Yankees best and most consistent starter during the season.

Phil Hughes

Obviously, a ton of questions with Hughes. He started off great last year, pitching well enough to garner an All-Star game nomination, and not make Dave Eiland suffer a stroke. Then, as the season progressed, it became pretty apparent that Hughes was the benefactor of MAJOR run support. I put major in caps for a reason. I know what I am doing. In his first 12 starts, the Yankees had 6 games where they scored 8 runs or more. As the Yankees scored fewer runs for Hughes as the season progressed, Hughes went from a 10-1 pitcher to a 8-7 pitcher.

Also, read this post from Hardball Talk. It says that scouts are stunned on how much Hughes’ velocity has decreased this spring.


That is a word usually reserved for things like: “Wow, I am stunned at the immensity of that supervolcano underneath the western United States that could end Western civilization as we know it” or “Wow, I am stunned I ate that entire wheel of cheese”. You know, important things. So Hughes loss in velocity must be the sign of the impending apocalypse for the Yankees.

A.J. Burnett

Here is where I start to convulse with worry. A.J. Burnett sucks. I hate to sound so unprofessional, but for God’s sake I am writing to an audience of 26 people, so I can take chances like this. I have written before about how Burnett makes me want to punch a small child, so I will not spew too much anger.

Moving On.

Ivan Nova

I actually like Nova. I feel like he actually has promise, and will maybe even learn from his mistakes. But he is probably even a bigger question mark than Burnett. At least you know A.J. is going to blow. With Nova, you are not sure. He could be dominant, like he has looked this spring. Or he could turn into a headcase, like so many before him. Ivan Nova is our number four starter. Still trying to completely process this.

Freddy Garcia

I could have sworn that Garcia once pitched for the Yankees. Or maybe that was Esteban Loaiza. Whoever it was, they did bad the first time.

I am, obviously, not feeling good about Fast Freddy in the staff. The Yankees have the biggest payroll in baseball (yes, they do), and Freddy Garcia is the fifth starter. Although Freddy may be halfway decent (who knows, he might even be 60% decent), I am not too thrilled. He went 12-6 last year, but had a 4.64 ERA with a 1.37 WHIP. Those are fifth starter numbers, and the Yankees offense should save him most games.

But is really the best we could get?


It really falls down to these three: Joba Chamberlain, Rafael Soriano, and Mariano Rivera. Rivera could be in the AARP, and would still feel extremely confident in him, so I will move on. Soriano was borderline dominant last year, and is most likely the best set-up man in baseball. I do not like Joba. The only thing better than getting Soriano, was that they replaced Joba as the 8th inning guy. If Joba can get it all together, the Yankee bullpen should be untouchable. Even if he doesn’t, that 8-9 combo will probably prove to be too overwhelming.

Well, there you have it. My unofficial Yankee Season Preview. Yes, I know it was only pitching, but pitching is the most crucial part of the Yankees chances this year. Let’s go.

Brendan O’Hare writes the Attic Fan blog for Email him at, and while you are at it, follow him on Twitter @theatticfan.

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Week In The Attic Fan

Hey everyone. Here is a quick recap of the week in the Attic Fan.

My post on a day at MSG and seeing Will Ferrell and seeing the Knicks/Celtics and seeing Kevin Garnett and seeing a human eat a 5-pound burrito:

In case you did not know, I wrote an article for Gawker TV today on how modern technology has affected viewings of Seinfeld. It’s done pretty well over there:!5784974/10-classic-seinfeld-episodes-that-couldnt-have-happened-with-todays-modern-technology

It was also on Gizmodo:!5785780/10-classic-seinfeld-episodes-that-couldnt-have-happened-with-todays-modern-technology

An email from Attic Fan David revealed an article similar to mine was featured in the New York Times Sunday Magazine from March 26, 1911. Here is the original article:

Email me at OR


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A Day at MSG with Will Ferrell and M.L. Carr

I’ve pitched this upcoming story around to a few places, but no one has wanted to bite. I don’t blame them. It is a fairly personal story about an event that happened a year ago. But I find it interesting, and it’s my blog.

On November 22, 2009, me and my buddy Alec (along with his father and little brother), took a trip to MSG in NYC to see the Celtics take on the Knicks. Longtime followers (I use the plural form loosely) of this blog know that I am a longtime Celtics fan. Being as that Alec’s dad had Knicks season tickets, I was notified that I had to come to this game.

And, if you can’t already tell where this story is going, I did.

We drove into Newark, ditched the car, then took the train from Penn Station into New York City. Penn Station is actually right below MSG, and only helps to reinforce the belief that MSG is a s—thole. Seriously, that place is dark, damp, and full of toothless guys running around screaming expletives. Then you walk upstairs and are greeted by a guy blowing cigarette smoke in your face? Sign me up!

We stayed in Penn Station for a while, and decided to go to the notorious stomach pain-inducing Mexican chain called Moe’s. Alec, not realizing that Moe’s has killed 17 people in the past year, decided to order some kind of burrito brick. Yes, that is the actual picture of the burrito. It weighed at least 5 pounds, and probably took 5 years off of Alec’s life.244

For those already bored by this story, it gets better. But seriously, why are you bored? That burrito is huge!

After eating a small village worth of Mexican food, we wobbled up the escalator to a dreary New York City day. After looking at our surroundings (which included gray clouds and the smell of defeat), we decided it would be best to stay inside. We had seats right behind the Celtics bench, so we ventured to them to watch some of the shootaround. We figured at worst, we would get there early enough to see Kevin Garnett making Glen Davis cry.

No one cried, but we did see M.L. Carr, a man who made Celtics fans cry during the mid-1990’s. Do you think him and Rick Pitino argue about who was a worse coach? That’s a toss-up.

Anyway, me and Alec attempt to walk up to M.L., and try to get him to sign our tickets. That sounds reasonable, right? We are relatively harmless, and only one of us had a kidnappers beard. (If you are wondering why we were trying to get M.L.’s autograph after all the things I just said, then you’ve obviously never seen anyone marginally famous before. If Josh Beckett was walking down the street, I would at least have him sign my middle finger.)

Of course, we forgot that stadium ushers are the most miserable people on Earth. This guy pushes us away as if we were attempting to assassinate M.L. Luckily, M.L. showed his non-franchise ruining soul, and let us get an autograph.

I’m not sure where this autograph is.

The game starts and we begin to notice something strange is going on across the court. My favorite comedian of all-time, Will Ferrell (not Martin Lawrence) is filming a scene with Mark Wahlberg for his upcoming movie, The Other Guys. That’s Ferrell in the orange hat!


If you saw The Other Guys, you know that this scene is about four seconds long, and only features Will Ferrell yelling at a ref, then Wahlberg and Ferrell leaving. Good stuff.

Ferrell and Wahlberg are sitting next to Rosie Perez and Brooke Shields and Tracy Morgan and his entourage. If you’ve never seen Ferrell in real life (which none of you have. I’m the best), you do not realize how hilarious he is. You could hear him yelling in his Kicking and Screaming voice at the refs, and getting mad at almost anything.

Mark Wahlberg tried to steal the ball from Rajon Rondo at one point, while the game was going on. If Garnett saw this, I am sure that Wahlberg would have been murdered with his own chair.

At one point, we got up to go to the bathroom and saw a sign from Universal Pictures that said “If you are sitting in this section, you may appear in the movie. Blah, blah, blah”. Suddenly, a sense of excitement and fear crept through me. ‘This is awesome! I could be in a movie! Wait. Did I pick my nose at one point. OH MY GOD. A ball went into the stands below me, I wasn’t paying attention, and I jumped. What if they see this, and go on a 15-minute rant about how big a girl I am!

I need to destroy the tapes.’

I didn’t destroy them, and sat in my seat the rest of the game. During the game, I noticed a few things:

  • Nate Robinson is really freaking annoying. Calm down, for Christ’s sake.
  • Al Harrington can flat out ball. He must have had like 40 points. Why is he so bad this year? He is probably the worst free agent signing in the league.
  • Kevin Garnett is the most terrif257ying human being of all-time. Genghis Khan would have soiled himself if he saw K.G.
  • Stadium pizza tastes like barf and ammonia.
  • Joe Girardi was honored at halftime for winning the World Series. Yay, Joe! If I was not in a Series-winning hangover, I would have booed you until one of my lungs collapsed.
  • Anthony Anderson was there.
  • Brian Scalabrine hit a three, putting the day over the top.
  • Spike Lee is just as annoying as he looks on T.V. He might be worse than Nate Robinson. Stop trying to make an ass of yourself, and just sit the hell down like everyone else has managed to do for the past two hours. Your movies suck.

The game eventually came to an end, when K.G. hit a game-winning shot in overtime. It was truly awesome to see the air deflate out of the bandwa gon-hopping Madison Square Garden. I think Spike Lee cried.

We found our way back into Penn Station, where we made a tape kickball out of the tape from the back of the sign from Universal Pictures, as the sign was now in our possession. Hey, the sign was in the garbage, it was up for grabs.

I hit an Asian man in the head with the ball. The game ended.

Brendan O’Hare writes for Email him at, and follow him on twitter @theatticfan.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Attic Fan Update

Hello. I realize I have not been posting as frequently as you seven people may have wanted, but I have been kind of busy this past week. Whether it has been forgetting to enter which team I wanted to win the championship for my pool bracket, or writing something up for Gawker TV, I haven't been just scratching myself. Only half the time I've been doing that.

March Madness has started, and I had planned to write a column on the extravaganza. But I ran out of time. If you have not realized by now, I am horrible with time management.

Luckily, my little brother Danny signed on to write a quick column about his March Madness picks, and why mine suck.

Check out below this column for his ingenious picks/grammar.

For those who have not seen it, this is my bracket. You can use it for future reference:

This is the bracket where I forgot a winner:

This my article for Gawker TV on Charlie Sheen. I’m blowin up!:!5782736/what-charlie-sheen-should-do-next

…Are you kidding me. Princeton is beating Kentucky. Gksjfkghsjkdndkgnjkdgnd.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

March Madness Brought to You By Danny!

Editor's Note: This week, The Attic Fan will be written by Brendan's little brother, Danny O'Hare. He likes sports as well.

Thank you, but I can't believe the only thing you said to describe me was that I like sports.

I hate you.

Anyway, I am going to give you the March Madness preview!! First of all for the East division, Ohio State is a huge contender for the Final Four. Their offense and defense has been stellar! Now for the regional finals, these are the teams I have for my bracket: Ohio St v. North Carolina and Duke v. Connecticut. Great huh? For the other half of the regional finals (southwest and southeast) I have: Kansas v. Purdue (what..thats not right) and Pittsburgh v. Jimmers. Im not going to even think about calling them BYU, they are the Jimmers until he is sent to the NBA. Now the final four...let me warn you that I have 3 out of the 4 number 1 seeds.

At least Im not like Barack Obama. Anywho, my final four is Ohio St vs. Duke and Kansas vs. BYU. Even if you disagree you have to admit these would be some cool matchups. My prediction for the Ohio St. vs. Duke game is a 77-72 score with Ohio St. winning. Although close I don't think Duke is going to get a repeat. For the Kansas vs. BYU game, I love Jimmer like anyone else but I think Kansas is just going to pull of the win by a score of 82-79.

Now the big game, the dance, the championship. Well this one was a really hard have Ohio St. who has only won one national title back in 1960 and you also got Kansas who won 3 titles not to mention back in 2008. At the end I believe Ohio St. will win the tounament by a score of 90-85.

Now it is time to make fun of this sites' creator, Brendan. First of all he has Kentucky going to the Elite Eight. I have no clue when Kentucky got "good" other than their chicken Kentucky is not good. He also has them defeating Ohio St. in the Sweet Sixteen. This was a big shoker.....I know so many people like upsets and all but I strongly know that Kentucky will lose. Well everyone thats the end...and for all of you who were suspecting Brendan I guess the jokes on you.

Danny O'Hare is The Attic Fan creator's little brother.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Stream of Consciousness II

I have not written on this site in about two weeks…A lot has happened since then, so I figured it would be best to sum it up in the return of my stream of consciousness…Well, it’s not really a return for me…I live with these innate thoughts everyday…Let me just first get in my thoughts about the Oscars…Really current, I know…The King’s Speech should not have one…Won*…There is no real debate about this one…We will look back on this year the way we look back on Shakespeare in Love winning…This is a national travesty…Speaking of national travesties, how about that Libya?…I know nothing about Libya…I just know that Fred Armisen does a mean Gadhafi…I can’t figure out why this Charlie Sheen thing interests me…Like most people who have I.Q.’s over 48, I hated Two and a Half Men…He read the lines like someone forced to read their death warrant…Did you know in real life, the half man’s name is Angus?…What a stupid name…Mmm…Angus…I called Charlie the other day…I feel comfortable enough to call him that since he dominates all forms of media like Kim Jong Il…Got the number off of Deadspin…His number has been disconnected…I would say he had nothing to do with the disconnected, but who is in Charlie’s corner?…Korner*…He fired his publicist, and seems to get advice from his goddesses…It does not take a rocket scientist to realize they aren’t brain surgeons…Didn’t his kids get taken away…He really forgot about that one…

I love March Madness…Can I say that?…Can I say March Madness?…Will I be sued by the NCAA?…The NCAA blows a gasket if P.C. Richard & Son calls their sale on appliances “March Radness”…They are swimming in money…That whole system is messed up…I am angry…They pick on the weak…Radio stations can’t say March Madness, and collegiate athletes who come from nothing are not allowed to accept money…Are you telling me you wouldn’t?…If I come out of Detroit, why the hell wouldn’t I accept money?…Are you insane?…Especially if the NCAA is making money off of my gear and merchandise…Fab 5…

This was the Celtics bench against the Clippers bench last night…Jeff Green…Sasha Pavlovic…Carlos Arroyo…Troy Murphy…Avery Bradley…When the (expletive) did this happen?…Sasha’s been on about 7 teams this year…Arroyo must have snuck onto the team, Colts-Mayflower style…I didn’t even see him…That’s not racist…Troy Murphy just fulfills the need that the Celtics must always have a white guy on the team…I still don’t understand why the C’s dumped Luke Harangody…He fit that role better than anyone in history…Other than Brian Scalabrine…Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Danny Ainge don’t count because they were actually half way decent…Avery Bradley…How does this team plan to stay afloat in the playoffs?…They need a bench…They are very, very old…In case you haven’t noticed…

Speaking of useless…Bartolo Colon…Freddy Garcia…Fighting for the number five spot in the rotation, ladies and gentlemen…I just threw up in disgust…No, I won’t provide photographical evidence…I gave up the iPod game Tiny Wings for Lent…

Brendan O’Hare writes the Attic Fan column on Follow him on twitter @theatticfan, email him at

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Attic Fan’s Oscar Preview

You may be wondering. Why, Brendan, are you doing an Oscar Preview? You have admitted that you have only seen six movies in the past year.

Well jerk reader, I happen to represent the portion of the public that does not have the time or income to see movies about stuttering kings. I represent the portion of the public that has no idea what Winter’s Bone is about or why it is nominated for a Best Picture. I represent the portion of the public that is normal. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a hundred times. I am America.

Not that normal, anyway. I have seen four of the ten Best Picture nominees, and I have a pretty good idea of who is going to win each award. This isn’t rocket science (that was my best analogy). Using critics lists and looking back at previous awards (Golden Globes, SAG’s, Grammy’s), it is easy to tell who is going to win each award. What you are here for, I am sure, is who I think is going to win. You know, me being a non-registered Academy member and all, who has no impact on the actual award show itself.

I watched The Social Network last night. That should be enough credentials for you. I could have seen Hall Pass, but instead, I took one for the collective Attic Fan team.

Let’s start with the big awards:

Supporting Actress:

I love how the Academy uses this award to start the show, as if people give a crap. They think that this award will get people to stick around. It’s Best Supporting Actress. If I haven’t been dulled to sleep by James Franco and Anne Hathaway’s inevitable opening music number, why would I want to see this. I would rather see best Animated Film first (really, I would).

Nominees: Amy Adams (The Fighter), Helena Bonham Carter (The King’s Speech), Melissa Leo (The Fighter), Hailee Steinfield (True Grit), Jacki Weaver (Animal Kingdom)

Who Should Win: Amy Adams. Melissa Leo gets all the credit from The Fighter, and she wasn’t bad in it. But I think Adams is more powerful in her role. Leo annoyed me more than anything, which I think was the point of her character. But Adams was just better in it. Also, Leo was in it for about 10 minutes. She wasn’t Marlon Brando in The Godfather.

Who Will Win: Leo. A lot of people think Steinfield will win, but I can’t see the Academy giving the award over to a teenager. No one likes teenagers. Leo seems to have most of the momentum (Winning the Golden Globe, various critics awards), and will ride that into the Kodak Theater like some sort of sick wave.

Supporting Actor:

Nominees: Christian Bale (The Fighter)…

Who Should Win, Will Win: Bale. This is a no brainer. I am not even going to bother naming the rest of the nominees (how the hell was Mark Ruffalo nominated?). Bale owns The Fighter, and makes the movie a Best Picture nominee, plain and simple. He has all the support from the critics as well, and actually deserves this award. He’s a bit of an a-hole human being, but he deserves this award.

Best Actress:

Nominees: Annette Bening (The Kids Are All Right), Nicole Kidman (Rabbit Hole, whatever the hell that is), Jennifer Lawrence (Winter’s Bone), Natalie Portman (Black Swan), Michelle Williams (Blue Valentine)

Who Should Win: I have no idea. I saw none of these movies. What kind of human being would I be if I saw Rabbit Hole? How could I go out in public?

Who Will Win: Portman. Once again, she has the all-important critics momentum. Nice to see Padme rebound from those awful Star Wars movies. The “sleeper” appears to be Bening, and the two have been going about 60-40 in awards up to this point. We might see the ever-present “Lifetime Achivement Award that Isn’t Actually the Lifetime Achivement Award” given to Bening (past examples: Pacino for Scent of a Woman, Bridges for Crazy Heart)

Best Actor:

Nominees: Javier Bardem (Biutiful, not a real word), Jeff Bridges (True Grit), Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network), Colin Firth (The King’s Speech), James Franco (127 Hours)

Who Should Win: Eisenberg, although I feel like if I saw 127 Hours I would say Franco. Eisenberg owns The Social Network, however. His portrayal of Mark Zuckerberg kind of reminded me of Abed’s character from the TV show Community. Sometimes I felt that he made Zuckerberg too confident. He didn’t seem that way on SNL, at least. I liked the way he made Zuckerberg his own, and didn’t try to do a clear imitation of the man himself. Eisenberg’s frantic fast-talking (which is due to Aaron Sorkin’s script) is one of the highlights of the movie, and he is not being correctly recognized for this (other than Rolling Stone critic Peter Travers. What’s up, Pete!). Instead, all the recognition is going to:

Who Will Win: Firth. Allegedly, Firth is “phenomenal” in this movie, as he plays the muttering, stuttering King George VI (was that too mean? I was trying to channel the Spider speech from Goodfellas. Inappropriate, I guess). This is one of those categories where the Academy feels indebted to someone, because the may or may not have been robbed in previous years (Firth could have won last year, but Jeff Bridges was given his Lifetime Achievement Award in Best Actor form).

My biggest beef with this selection is that it is clearly Oscar bait. You all know Oscar bait. It is Rain Man. It is movies about the Holocaust. It is playing crack addicts (no offense, Christian Bale). It is playing women in abusive marriages/relationships. It is playing a King who stutters too much. Eisenberg’s performance showed skill. He made Zuckerberg his own. It was a better all around acting performance.

Best Director:

Nominees: Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan), David O. Russell (The Fighter), Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech), David Fincher (The Social Network), Coen Bros (True Grit)

Who Should, Will Win: Fincher. Although Hooper seems to be gaining some steam, Fincher should be able to hold Hooper off. The Social Network is just well done all around, and being as I have not exactly seen The King’s Speech, I am not so sure about it. If Hooper wins however, it is a clear sign that The King’s Speech will win best picture. Duh.

Best Picture:

Nominees: Black Swan, The Fighter, Inception, The Kids Are All Right I Guess, The King’s Speech, 127 Hours, The Social Network, Toy Story 3, True Grit, Winter’s Bone

Let’s eliminate the obvious. The Fighter is a sports movie. The Kids Are All Right probably should not have been nominated. I don’t know what Winter’s Bone is. Toy Story 3 is animated (it still won’t even be considered, even though it had the best reviews of any movie of 2010! It is also the only movie I cried during). 127 Hours lost some steam towards the end of its run, along with Black Swan.

That leaves True Grit, Inception, The Social Network, and (ugh) The King’s Speech.

True Grit won’t win. It has no momentum, and Westerns are not always Academy favorites.

Inception won’t win. Christopher Nolan was egregiously snubbed for Best Director, and a movie usually needs that to win Best Picture.

Who Should Win: The Social Network. It truly is a movie that defines a generation, to echo every critic in November. Until about Mid-December, The Social Network was a lock. Then for whatever reason, people thought it would be cute if The King’s Speech would win. It ends on a high note, and the protagonist is not an arrogant d-bag who is also a billionare. The King’s Speech is more likeable.

If The King’s Speech wins, 15 years from now people will look at the 2011 Academy Awards the way they do the year Dances With Wolves won over Goodfellas, the year Shakespeare in Love won over Saving Private Year, the year Forrest Gump won over Shawshank and Pulp Fiction, the year Kramer v. Kramer beat Apocalypse Now. It will be a horrible snub, but people will not realize it right away. In 15 years, when everyone forgets about The King’s Speech, they will still remember The Social Network. It is a transcendent movie. It is about one of the ten most important inventions human civilization has ever produced (the computer), the most important thing that produced (the internet), and the most popular website that culminated from the two previous things. If that makes sense.

Who Will Win: In three years, we have had Slumdog Millionaire, The Hurt Locker and The King’s Speech win. Who will remember these movies? These years, cinematically, will be lost in time. The Social Network is a movie with a subject that resonates in any time. It is a movie about power, and how it is gained.

It is also a better movie. I KNOW I HAVEN’T SEEN THE KING’S SPEECH (excuse my Magaryian caps-locked rant). But I know The Social Network is better.

Fine, maybe I need to see The King’s Speech to make a final judgement. But I do not want to. That is a clear enough sign to me that The Social Network is better. I wanted to see The Social Network. Screw The King’s Speech.

Enjoy Oscar night!

Brendan O’Hare writes The Attic Fan column on Email him with your important opinions at Twitter: @theatticfan

Monday, February 21, 2011

Defending Blake Griffin

Really America?

Have we become that spoiled, that we do not believe that a human being jumping over a car is the coolest freaking thing of all time? We’ve become that cynical, that jaded. People say “Eh. He didn’t really jump over the car, he only jumped over the hood". Have you ever seen a car? The hood is still pretty damned high/long/scary.

I shouldn’t have to defend Blake Griffin for his Dunk Contest win from Saturday. I shouldn’t have to defend a contest that has been legally dead since 1989 (but was briefly brought back to life in 2000. Thanks cryogenics!) But I am going to. The internet has turned against him, saying things like “JaVale McGee was robbed!”. The internet was once Griffin’s best friend, the friend that made his decimation of Timofey Mozgov a worldwide sensation. Now, we have headlines like Was NBA All-Star Weekend Fixed? We have homerific articles regarding JaVale McGee. Apparently, his 3-ball dunk was enough for the Washington area. They are easily amused.

I am going to go through each player’s dunks using a test I like to call “The Nerf Test”. I should not be able to do the dunk on a Nerf hoop. If I can do a between-the-legs dunk on a Nerf hoop, so be it. Time to raise the bar.

DeMar DeRozan:

His first dunk involved a teammate passing the ball off something on the side of the backboard, DeMar catching it a putting it between his legs and dunking it. This took approximately 12 tries. That is another thing. If it takes ten tries, it is not going to be as impressive as if you did it in one clean, smooth take. Don’t blame me for having a short attention span, I am just America.

Oh yeah, I could do this on my Nerf hoop.

His second dunk had DeMar doing the classic shoot the ball ten feet, have it bounce, then I dunk move. His dunk itself was very impressive. In fact, Kenny Smith called it, at one point, “The Most Underrated Dunk in Dunk Contest History”. They should really ration Kenny’s speaking time.

I am not so sure I could do this on a Nerf hoop. For starters, the Nerf ball doesn’t bounce high enough for me to pull this off. Could I do this on an even playing ground, bouncy ball and all? I don’t think so.

Serge Ibaka:

The most underrated dunk in Dunk Contest history has to be Ibaka’s first dunk, where he actually dunked from behind the foul line. I am pretty sure no one has every dunked from behind the foul line. Dr. J and MJ all dunked from in front of the foul line on their trademark dunks.

Ibaka actually took off from behind the free throw line, and no one cared. He got a 45. He had the longest dunk in recorded human history, and we shrug it off. What the hell is wrong with us. Obviously, I could not do this on a Nerf hoop. I would have my jump interrupted in the middle. I would get all air.

Ibaka followed this dunk by engaging in the most theatric/least exciting dunk in the history of the Dunk Contest. Some kid with an ugly haircut came up the Cheryl Miller, said his doll was missing (Seriously kid, you’re 8 years old. Grow up), then Ibaka saw the doll on the hoop. He jumped up (with a basketball for some reason. That seems pretty counter-active for rescuing the doll), dunked the ball and grabbed the doll with his teeth.

Of course, Ibaka missed the dunk the first time, and had to put the doll back onto the hoop. That kid must have been pissed.

I could easily do this on a Nerf hoop. In fact, lower the hoop down to 8.5-9 feet, and I could do this on a real hoop.

JaVale McGee:

For JaVale’s first dunk, he brought out two hoops. This of course, caused the TNT crew to go into a collective shock, as they have never seen two basketball hoops placed side by side. Unlike most, I did not really think this dunk was that impressive. This dunk fails the Nerf hoop test miserably. It is a creative idea, no doubt about it. But I am not sure it is a difficult one. With JaVale’s wingspan, he should have been able to do it on the first try.

His second dunk involved dunking three balls at the same time. Not to rain on JaVale’s parade, but he hung on the rim in order to dunk the last ball, and he laid the first two in. Just watch the tape. If there weren’t so many things happening at once, America would have realized that he only actually dunked 1 out of the 3 balls. As for the Nerf test, this fails. I could hold three Nerf brand balls in one hand, and throw it down with as little authority as JaVale did.

JaVale’s third dunk was his first impressive dunk (His first two both got 50’s. 50! Maybe it was the combined age of 476 of the judges, but how were they so easily amazed. Ibaka dunked from behind the foul line! He was better than you, Julius Erving! JaVale takes out a red-white-and blue ball, and you get ABA flashbacks and are forced to throw up a 10). Given the difficulty of him being 7’1'”, and somehow not breaking his neck on the backboard, I have to give him props. This passes the Nerf test.

I don’t think he had a fourth dunk. At least I didn’t see it. I am sure it didn’t pass the Nerf test.

Blake Griffin:

If I attempt Blake’s first dunk, the ball behind the head 360, I shatter my spinal cord. There is no doubt about it. If I attempt Blake’s second dunk, I hit myself in the back of the head with the ball. If I attempt Blake’s third dunk, I break my Nerf hoop. They have notoriously wimpy rims. If I attempt Blake’s final dunk, I destroy a new car. All four of his dunks pass the Nerf hoop test. That is why he deserves to win the Dunk Contest.

Because I can’t do his dunks. Isn’t that what the Dunk Contest is all about. Giant men with 40 inch vertical leaps doing things we could never dream of doing. Doing things we cannot even do on a Nerf hoop. Blake won that contest, there is no JaVale-doubt in my mind.

The Attic Fan’s Notes From All-Star Weekend

  1. There is no more annoying personality than Kenny Smith. Whether it was picking himself for the TNT NBA Superdraft (which meant he technically was calling himself the 60th best player in NBA history), being Blake Griffin’s Dunk “Coach”, making the half-court shot in the Haier Shooting Stars Challenge, no one annoyed me more this weekend than Kenny Smith. He beat out my little brothers, and that takes dedication.

  2. When I learned that John Legend’s spilled drink was responsible for the delay in the 1st Quarter of the All-Star Game, I had to think this. Why is John Legend sitting courtside? Shouldn’t he be a little more fiscally responsible? He isn’t exactly pumping out platinum records.

  3. Why don’t we just make the quarters 8 minutes long with a running clock, like in the Celebrity Game? No one gives a s--- about this game anyway.

  4. I miss Lenny Kravitz’s Macy Gray hair. The return of that will bring him back to prominence, I am telling you.

  5. Stevie Wonder sat courtside. I am sure he enjoyed the game.

  6. Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant took a combined 49 shots.

  7. How did Joe Johnson manage to take 11 shots?

  8. LeBron had a triple-double. Very impressive. In a game with no meaning and no defense, it is nice to see that someone cared

  9. The first half did not really have the trend of jump shot/lob. It was all jump shot, no lob. Usually in the first half of these games, every possession ends in either an open jump shot, or an attempted ally-oop. It was all jump shots, and all excitement!

Brendan O’Hare writes The Attic Fan column for Email him at, to talk about the game or anything. Follow him on twitter @theatticfan.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Scenes From a Cold Super Bowl Night

10:15 PM EST, February 8th-

I am currently sitting outside. It’s fifteen degrees in the middle of winter. Nothing is on me except for jeans, a Troy Polamalu jersey, and a Steelers sweatshirt underneath it. But I’m not cold. Okay, I'm a little cold, but the anger-renaline is too overpowering to care. I’ve slammed my Terrible Towel a few times on the patio furniture, but other than that, I am keeping my composure. I figured this would be the best place to go, due to the lack of breakable of objects. So why am I out here? We have to go back to the beginning, reader. WE HAVE TO GO BACK!


I am pretty sure I did not need a dramatic introduction to tell you what this article is about. I just like adding LOST bits. At least let me have that.

To say I was angry after the Steelers loss is really an understatement. I needed a few days to write this column, as I am still fuming. Literally fuming. I am still trying to keep the smoke from coming out of my mouth. People are telling me that is just the cold air, but I know better.

There are a ton of reasons why the Steelers lost the game. But let’s just review the main ones:

1) Ben’s Spotty Play- It just wasn’t one play, it was the whole game. Ben has never been a guy to raise his game in Super Bowls (30-51, 379 yards, 1-3 TD/INT ratio in 2 previous Super Bowls. He was dreadful in the first one, and until the last drive of the second, he really didn’t play well. Without James Harrison’s last-second touchdown at halftime, the Steelers win is really in doubt). I am not sure why Ben doesn’t play well for a full four quarters in the Super Bowl, but he just doesn’t. And I have learned to accept it.

But he really got outplayed by Aaron Rodgers, and that was the biggest difference in this game. I am not putting the full blame on Ben (the rest I will get to momentarily), but when the opposing quarterback is playing to his full potential, you have to raise your game too. Ben had two bad picks, and missed guys open all over the field. I am not sure what the deal was, but Ben seemed to possess the peripheral vision of an 89-year-old bus driver at some points.

Think about all the drops Rodgers had. Without the six drops, Rodgers easily reaches 400 yards and possibly five touchdowns. Roethlisberger did not have any excuses for his performance. The offensive line did not play horribly (Props to Dan “Bronko” Legursky. Dude played surprisingly well given the fact that he hasn’t played center since college and he looks like a larger Matt Millen). He had time. He over/underthrew Mike Wallace on a few plays that could have gone for big yardage.

I am not here to bash on Big Ben. The guy has made too many plays over the years for me to really be frustrated. But I still kind of am. I feel like a spoiled child.

2) The Secondary- By far the most destructive aspect of the Steelers game. Even Troy Polamalu, my hero, made errors.

Let’s start with Bryant McFadden, who played the game as if he was John McFadden, my sixth grade football coach who had three fingers and was 250 pounds. He was an ass. McFadden got burned all night long, and proved that the Steelers need a cornerback as a draft pick in the early rounds.

We saw William Gay play one of the worst games of his illustrious career, and would have played worse had Jordy Nelson not contracted dropitis during the game. Jordy Nelson should have had 15 catches for 250 yards and 3 touchdowns. He’ll settle for 9,140 and 1, but he could have had one of the greatest single games for a wide receiver in Super Bowl history.

Even the two safeties, Ryan Clark and Troy Polamalu, played poorly. Clark was burned a few times, and Polamalu allowed the touchdown to Greg Jennings which really clinched the game. On that same drive, Jennings was able to get completely open in the middle of the field on 3rd and 5 on a decently deep slant, and caught it for a massive game. I had Vietnam-esque flashbacks to the Larry Fitzgerald touchdown in Super Bowl 43 with 4 minutes left that put the Cardinals ahead. I may or may not have cried in anger on that play.

Obviously, the Steelers need a guy to replace the aging McFadden. The real question is where to draft a corner in the draft. The seemingly obvious choice would be second round, because the Steelers need a 1st round quality lineman. That’s great, especially if we can draft Mike Pouncey and shift him to a guard position. What would be more fun than seeing the Pouncey brothers together. As long as they don’t kiss, the Steelers could have the first fun offensive line in NFL history.

But we need a cornerback, and the Super Bowl really put this on display. The line was able to hold up, but the secondary got torn apart. You have to believe that there are a few good lineman in the second and third rounds, but there is a lack of shutdown corners. I have no idea what to do here. You cannot fulfill both needs. If I was forced to make a decision, I would say lineman. Ben can’t take a beating like he did this year. But it is pretty easy to make a case for getting a cornerback.

3) First Half Penalties- It just seemed as if every big play the Steelers had in the first half, it was being brought back on a hold/clip. Maybe the score is not as insurmountable if the Steelers attempt to be somewhat disciplined. Instead, they lacked any experience and were as well behaved as myself

4) Pick Six- Anytime a team scores on defense, they are probably going to win the game. That is just science talking. Or every NFL pundit. But its true. A play like the Packers had deflates the momentum and swings it to the team that had the pick. Get it?

5) Black Eyed Peas Halftime Show- This couldn’t have helped. This may have been the worst live performance I have ever seen, as I tweeted. What happened to the Black Eyed Peas? Didn’t they used to be good? I remember songs like “Let’s Get It Started” getting me psyched for the NBA Playoffs. Then there was Usher. He moaned a few times, did a “split”, then went back up into the Jumbotron. Paycheck well deserved.

Quick Note/Conspiracy Theory: Did anyone else think that was not Slash playing guitar. I think it easily could have been a random guy who put on a top hat and hideous Slash hair and glasses. Would not really be that difficult. Of course, Slash will take any paycheck he can get, so maybe it was him.

6) Mike Tomlin/Bruce Arians- I love Tomlin, don’t get me wrong. He is a G, as the white kids in my neighborhood (me) say. But that 52-yard field goal he had Shaun Suisham attempt was flat out dumb. What if the Packers had gone onto score that drive? Suisham missed that field goal by 25 yards to the left, and he missed the netting that protects the crowd from errant projectile footballs.

My disdain for Arians is well-documented, and I believe he should get the proverbial ax sometime this offseason. Either an ax or Thor’s hammer. The Steelers could make a whole marketing/product placement deal out of it! Anyway, it probably was not the smartest thing to ignore Antonio Brown, the fastest guy on the field other than Mike Wallace, during the game. Even after Emmanuel Sanders injured his foot (which I think wasn’t that bad to begin with, but Mike Tomlin shot Sanders in the foot out of anger. This theory actually came up in my house. By me.), Brown was ignored.


Brown had big kickoff returns throughout the game, and looked like he actually wanted to be there. Unfortunately, Bruce had other ideas.

My biggest grievance with Arians was the play on fourth down, which ended the game for the Steelers. You made Ben go into a three-step drop (which he is not always comfortable with), and attempting a timing route with Mike Wallace (who was having trouble hearing the plays, and did not really know which route to run). A screen wouldn’t have worked there? Maybe letting Ben move around, attempting to make a play like he has done so many times in his career?

No, we are just going to force Ben to become a pocket passer, even though he is better on the run. Kudos, Bruce Arians. I am not even going to get into how you abandoned the run after Rashard Mendenhall was busting off runs in the first quarter.


The worst part for me about this game, was that I realized the Steelers were not going to win around halftime. Then, they came back to cut it to four, and then Mendenhall fumbled. After that, I definitely knew they were not going to win. As Michael Corelone said, “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in”. Just add a crappy make-up job and subtract the murders, and I felt just like Michael Corleone. The loss did not hurt as much as I thought it would.

Maybe, as I said before, I am spoiled by the Steelers success. They have the most Super Bowls in NFL history, they’ve won 2 in 6 years, so I really do not have that much to complain about. But it would have been nice to have just one more. The loss still matters to me, don’t get me wrong. Why else would I spend 20 minutes outside trying not to explode? But I didn’t break all the windows in my house, like I thought I would. If this had been a down to the wire game, maybe I would have. Maybe I would have been 700 dollars in debt, and not writing this right now.

After my trip outside, I came inside and turned on ESPN Classic (figuring that they would be showing nothing about the game, and showing something like billiards or bowling or Congress). There was a documentary about an MMA fighter who had no arms or legs. I realized that the Super Bowl might not have been as important as I thought it was, and I went to bed.

Sure, I stayed up for another 2 hours after it, but it put everything in perspective.

Which is good, I guess.

Brendan O’Hare writes The Attic Fan column for Email him at, to talk about the game or anything. Follow him on twitter @theatticfan.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Attic Fan Super Bowl Preview Part I: Ode to Ben Roethlisberger

To say I have been blessed as a Steelers fans is really an understatement. I have been to three Super Bowls in five years. I have won (hopefully) all of them. The Steelers did lose a Super Bowl 15 years ago, but I was only 2. So that really doesn’t count, because I remember nothing from years 0-2.5 except for one dream where there was blinking wallpaper.

Anyway, I really became a Steelers fan in 2000, when I was 7. I am sure I watched Steelers games before that, but I am unaware of it due to the extremely small mind of a child. I suffered through 5 years of Kordell Stewart and Tommy Maddox, and then Ben Roethlisberger was introduced to me.

Ben completely revolutionized the way I see the quarterback position. He combined what made the two quarterbacks before him marginally good (Kordell’s incessant moving out of the pocket once a defender came within 15 feet of him, Tommy’s traditional passing skills), and turned into a great quarterback.

If you do not think that Ben is one of the five best quarterbacks in the NFL today, you are sadly mistaken. It is easy to root against him, I can see it. He was previously surly to the media, and has been twice accused of doing sexually-related bad things. But you cannot deny that the man wins football games. Not in a Trent Dilfer, let-my-defense-do-all-the-work-while-I-play-average level. He does things to make his team win. I’m sorry I can’t elaborate more than that. It is just too difficult to put into words the difference Ben makes.

Look at the 3rd down conversions he had two weeks ago to ice the AFC Championship game. What other quarterback has the cajones to throw on 3rd and long, with little time remaining and any mistake you make could cost you the game (If Ben throws an incomplete pass, it is pretty conceivable that the Jets drive down the field. The Jets had all the momentum)

The reason I bring Ben up, is because he is the reason I believe the Steelers should be the favorites in this game. Ignore the fact that I am an unabashed homer and I would have thought the Steelers should be favored with Timothy Cook playing quarterback. I just feel confident with Ben at the helm. I can’t say that about Aaron Rodgers. He’s been playing out of his mind, but Ben does so much more for his team. I am not sure that Aaron Rodgers completes a pass to Antonio Brown on 3rd and 14 with time running down, in order to seal the game. I know Aaron Rodgers doesn’t have anyone named Antonio Brown playing wide receiver, but that is besides the point.

Let me give you the five biggest reasons why the Steelers will win this game:

1) Ben Roethlisberger- Seriously? I just wrote 500 words about this.

2) The Cast of Characters- Big Ben’s epiphany this offseason made him realize he needs to be a better team leader. He has become one, and the Steelers have stepped out of their shell and become a group of mentally-unstable oddballs. Look at Ike Taylor. A cornerback, he is probably the most eccentric guy on the Steelers. He looks like a combination of D.L. Hughley, Chamillionare and the alien from American Dad. Ike’s classic moment is during the annual team Christmas Carols e-card, where Ike kneeled in the front and smiled the entire time, not even attempting to sing along to basic songs like “Jingle Bells”. My God, why did they not give Ike his own podium at Media Day. Step up Goodell. If you are going to give us crappy, injury-addled football seasons from now on, at least give us the joy of seeing Ike have his own podium.

James Harrison threatened retirement this season and regularly rejuvenates himself in a hyperbaric tent.

The MVP’s of Media Day, Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders. Brown more so than Sanders, but Sanders was called “My biological son” by Deion Sanders, which is never a good thing. Brown spent the day wearing Lil Wayne sized sunglasses (the one Wayne wears to hide his ever-present glossy eyes) and saying things like “Dallas Up” and “We in the lights”.

3) Brett Keisel’s Beard- Teams are 16-3 in Super Bowls when they have players who have beards over 5 inches long. That is a scientific fact.

4) Troy Polamalu- AP Defensive Player of the Year. Although it might be a “Lifetime Achievement Award” style deal (but nowhere near as appalling as Pacino winning Best Actor for Scent of a Woman), Polamalu still deserves the award. You can still see the Packers defense functioning without Clay Matthews. The Steelers defense goes into a catatonic coma without Troy.

Troy has done little the past two playoff games, and to the untrained eye, it could seem as if he has had little impact.

But he has been playing over-the-top, in order to stop the big plays down the field, the one that Mark Sanchez and Joe Flacco like to thrown. You have to look for Troy to be doing the same thing Sunday. But do not think that he is doing nothing. You’re better than that.

5) The Coaching Advantage- You have to assume that Mike McCarthy will to something awful in terms of clock management at least three times during the game. He is, after all, a top student from the Andy Reid school of coaching. Tomlin has the big-game experience (which should really mean nothing, but McCarthy is such a spaz with the clock it comes into play).


Some of you might have been wondering why my picking games between me and my brothers have stopped. The truth is, I forgot.

To make up for it, me and my brother, Danny, have decided to do some prop bets. Here we go:

Will Christina Aguilera Wear a Cowboy Hat While Singing the National Anthem?

Me: No

Danny: Yes

What Color Will the Dumped Gatorade Be?

Me: Red (15-2)

Danny: Orange (3-1)

Who Will Win the Coin Toss:

Me: Heads

Danny: Tails

I’ll put up the rest of them in Part 2 of my Super Bowl Preview column, coming out Friday.

Until then.

Brendan O’Hare writes the Attic Fan column on Email him with literally anything at Follow him on twitter @theatticfan.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Linked Out 1/29/11

Hey everyone. I noticed throughout my illustrious sports writing career that there are many topics I want to dive into. Unfortunately, I might not have the time or willpower to go in-depth on certain topics. Or, the topic just doesn’t require me to write a lot about it, thus compromising my artistic integrity and style.

Phew. That was a lot of big words in one paragraph. Anyway, I’ve decided that, for three times a week, I’ll load up the site with links I find awesome and give my opinion. Aren’t you excited?

Also, people say updating your site frequently is a good way to increase traffic. And since I am always up for selling out…

The proud tradition of Awful Super Bowl bets is long lasting, and this game is no exception. You would have thought that these two teams would trade something awesome, like meat or steel or people. Nope. Try fine artwork. Two of America’s most blue-collar cities are representing themselves by artwork. And the painting Green Bay is willing to trade sucks. It’s three guys in boats on a river. That’s impossible, because all the rivers are frozen in Green Bay.

I am sure rehab will work this time. If anyone can force you to complete alter your lifestyle, it’s Jon Cryer.

This video of Brett Keisel describing how awesome his beard is, is probably one of the three greatest things I’ve seen in my life. As I tweeted the other day, I am working on my great beards list. It won’t be a column, but I’ll probably try to squeeze it in to my Super Bowl Preview. You really thought I was going to devote a whole column to beards? Please. I need to be more awesome to do that.

Today’s Lie of the Day

Today’s Nate Robinson Twitter Status of the Day

Entitling your post “Snooki Is Not Smart” is like titling something “The Sky is Blue” or “My Life is Sad”.

Not Carlos Boozer! My last hope for NBA sanity is gone.

There you have it folks. If you want to send me links for a future “link” themed column, email me at, or send them to me on twitter @theatticfan.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Attic Fan Week-in-Advance Super Bowl Preview

Comment on the Super Bowl/Jersey Shore/NBA...Whatever's good.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Where’s the Hate?

There is something missing about the upcoming Jets versus Steelers AFC Championship game. Oh, I know. Where is the animosity? The hate? These two teams were born to hate each other, but it has instead turned into a lovey-dovey fest, with Rex Ryan leading the way.

Ryan said “Well, give me somebody you want me to call out and I'll do it. Hines Ward? Casey Hampton? I guess those would be the two early targets. Last week, I just felt Bill Belichick had dominated me the last time we played, and I knew that wasn't going to happen again. But Mike Tomlin, he's one of my favorite coaches."

What? Is Ryan serious here? This is a guy who would call out his own grandmother if he was coaching against her. He thrives off of stirring anger in his opponents.

But maybe, his plan this time is to not say anything. He beat the Steelers in Week 14, why does he need to say anything? With the Patriots, he was fuming off of a 45-3 drubbing from the regular season. He has no reason to be mad at the Steelers.

We should be the ones mad at the Jets! Of course, that is not what my Dad thinks. I asked him to contribute to the upcoming list, and he could not think of a single reason. Well Dad, let me remind you why we should hate the Jets.

Without further ado, here are the 16 reasons why we should want to annihilate the Jets in everyway possible come 6:30 on Sunday.

1) Rex Ryan- I think this one pretty much speaks for itself. As a Steeler fan, we should hate everything Ryan embodies. That is, of course, the loudmouth, overweight section of America that thinks they can do whatever they want, and be rewarded for it. Luckily, this will be stopped on Sunday.

Did anyone see him run to congratulate Shonn Greene after his game-clinching touchdown last Sunday? How many mini-heart attacks do you think he had?

2) Mark Sanchez- If Ben Roethlisberger represents the city of Pittsburgh (hard working, never goes down without a fight, loves food), then Sanchez represents the opposite of Pittsburgh (appears to coast by on “talent” alone, goes down without a fight, probably does not like meat).

3) Braylon Edwards- Other than his absurd first name (really, Braylon?), there are many reasons not to like Mr. Braylon. For starters, every time I see his dopey backflip at the end of Sunday’s game, I hope he kicks someone in the head. He must have known that there was at least a 45% chance somebody’s head was going to come flying off if he didn’t flip at the right angle.

He drops way too many passes, and if Ryan Clark or Troy Polamalu come within 200 feet or him, he will either A) Drop the ball B) Run out of bounds, and then not come back onto the field of play for 5 minutes C) Actually catch the ball, attempt to run up field, and then do one of those quarterback slides in order to avoid being clobbered D) Actually hand the ball over to Polamalu/Clark or E) Get tackled, cry, then leave the game.

Either way, Edwards may actually be a good thing for Steeler fans.

4) Bart Scott- Spat all over poor Sal Palantonio (never thought I would use those three words in a row) during his post-game interview/tirade on Sunday. If there was ever a reason to remind someone that football is just a game, it would be that interview.

5) Santonio Holmes- Just kidding, I love Santonio for all he did over the years. How could I ever hate on a guy who won a Super Bowl MVP and had the greatest catch in NFL history (For all the Tyree lovers out there, this catch actually won the game, and may have been more impressive a catch. Tyree’s catch required primarily luck, while Holmes needed the footwork of an Olympic gymnast to make his catch.)?

But, he is the enemy now. He needs to be destroyed.

6) Bandwagon Jets Fans- This is probably my biggest pet peeve. As you know, I live right in the heart of Bandwagon Central (That’s the NJ/NY area). Let me just tell you, these “longtime” Jet fans make me want to punch a hole in a wall.

The incessant “Go Jetz”, “Yay Jets won!!!!!!”, and “Yea tahts right! Patroits suk!!!!!!” Facebook statuses are the most excruciating parts of every Sunday. There is that, and everyone entering my school wearing brand-new Mark Sanchez jerseys. Don’t they know he sucks?

As Steeler fans, it is almost looks bad on our part to make fun of these people. They are almost too easy.

Luckily, I do not have a moral filter.

These people should walk into oncoming traffic, quite frankly. Even though I dislike the Jets, whatever they do on Sunday’s is wasted on these people. Moving on.

7) Fireman Ed- The overexposure of him this year was enough to actually make me hate firemen. When my kitchen caught on fire, I actually turned the firemen away.

Okay, that never happened, but did we really need an ESPN commercial with Fireman Ed? He now apparently travels to every Jets game (I saw him in the stands in Foxboro, so that constitutes every game). How is this possible? How does a fireman have such a high salary? Shouldn’t he be out stopping fires? He must be the least reliable fireman of all-time.

8) The New York Post- God forbid I actually want to read something informative. Instead, everyday is welcomed with an over-the-top cartoon or a giant foot. Don’t these people want to be seen as legitimate journalists? Their sports sections are best known for boorish caricatures of today’s modern athlete. It just saddens me, really.

9) Sal Alosi- He was the Jets coach who set up the most volatile weapon in football. That is, of course, a player wall designed to trip punt gunners. If this evil genius is not reason number one why we should want the Steelers to step on the throats of the Jets, then I am not sure what is.

10) Joe Namath- Brendan, how can you be mad at Joe Namath? He is just a sweet old man? At least that is what he wants you to think. Only could a New York Jet player be my personal choice for “Most Overrated NFL Player of All-time” and “Worst Hall of Famer (NFL Edition)”

Namath’s career stats: 62-63-4 career record, 50.1% completion percentage, 173-220 TD-INT ratio.

Seriously? compares his career to Jake Plummer. Only in New York could a guy with his career stats be talked up into a Hall of Fame spot.

11) The Meadowlands- Don’t get me wrong. I love New Jersey. But could there be a worse place to hold sporting events? Have you ever been to the Meadowlands? There is literally nothing surrounding it but marshes and sewage. Pittsburgh has scenery, and its stadium resembles the gritty nature of the town it’s in. The Meadowlands just further adds to the untrue stereotype that New Jersey is gray and smells like garbage.

12) Antonio Cromartie- Oh, Antonio. The Shawn Kemp for a whole new generation!

For some reason, the average football fan gets confused into thinking that Cromartie is a great cornerback (you see this all the time with the bandwagon hoppers). The only reason he had mind-boggling interceptions in San Diego was because: A) He played across from Quentin Jammer, at the time one of the best corners in the NFL. He always had balls thrown at him. B) He is athletically a freak.

Now, he plays across from Darrell Revis. Are you kidding me? What luck some people have. Cromartie averages approximately 5 pass interferences per game. People throw at him non-stop, and usually gets burned. But every once in a while, Cromartie will make an incredible interception, and it’s back to people drinking the Antonio-Aid.

13) The “Snow Game”- Some of you may not remember this game. It was December 14, 2003. Me, my dad, my buddy Matt and his dad, all had tickets to see the Steelers/Jets game at the Meadowlands. Oh, and it was snowing. 10 year old me was going out of his mind with excitement. That day, I even saw a balloon that had the “F-bomb” on it. What a day.

At least until the Steelers lost the game, otherwise ruining a perfect childhood memory. Thanks, Jets. You ruined my childhood.

14) That Stupid Jets Touchdown Dance- You know, the one where they pretend to be airplanes and glide around the end zones? God, does that make me want to punch someone.

15) Did I mention the bandwagon fans? Oh I did.

16) They beat us at home last time!- Shouldn’t that be enough reason right there, that we should want to destroy them in every way possible? Come on, Dad. You know what we need to do. We need to destroy them, mentally and physical. The green menace must be defeated! Get it, deFEATed?

Brendan O’Hare writes The Attic Fan column for Follow him on twitter @theatticfan. Email him with anything, and it may be seen in a future mailbag (

Sunday, January 16, 2011

I Am an Emotional Wreck

Yeah, Uh-Huh

You know what it is

Black and yellow, black and yellow, black and yellow, black and yellow.

Pure adrenaline is letting me write this column right now. I am overflowing with exuberance and excitement and other words that begin with “e”. Wow.

To give you an idea of the emotional roller coaster that I (and the rest of Steeler nation) had to go through, let’s review my feelings after each quarter (and the major plays that happening during each):

1st Quarter:

Shocker. Steelers allow kickoff return to the 50 (since brought back 15 yards). Totally predictable. Me and my Dad both called this immediately. The Steelers have a knack for allowing monster returns in key situations. To call us cynical is a severe understatement. Lewis Black, is cynical. We are about 5 levels above that when it comes to the Steelers.

Did Hines Ward just get into a fight with Ed Reed 3 minutes into the game?

What?! Penalty? Ward did nothing! Nothing I tell you!


Black and Yellow, Black and Yellow, Black and Yellow!

Troy Polamalu has missed about three tackles in my lifetime. How did he just let five foot seven Ray Rice bowl him over?

Son of a…Ben almost got sacked again. Good thing he threw the ball away.




Is this a dream, or did the Steelers watch a ball fall to the ground, hear no whistle, and refuse to touch the ball (or the person who was running with it) as if the ball was covered in acid?

106 penalty yards in the first quarter.

2nd Quarter:

Just noticed that T.J. Houshmanzadeh looks like some kind of strange horse/man/woman combination. Was his father a centaur?

Hines Ward is engaged in a deep staring coRavens Steelers Footballntest right now on the sidelines. Probably with Ed Reed.

Mendenhall! You son of a –. (At that point I left the room and was not seen for five minutes)

Muffled cursing about Mendenhall’s fumble.

Flacco just threw a touchdown to Todd Heap. I tried to rip my Terrible Towel in half but it wouldn’t work.

Okay. Shaun Suisham, my favorite kicker in Steelers history, will make this field goal to take us into the half.



Yum, cheesesteaks. The only thing that can calm a rabid Steeler fan.

3rd Quarter:

All right, Steelers get the ball to start the half. Big things a’comin!

Three and out. Nice.

Ray Rice just fumbled? Ray Rice just fumbled! (I almost blacked out because I leaped off of my couch like I was on fire. That was my best simile. It’s been a long night)



21-21? 14 straight third quarter points?

Yeah, Uh-Huh

You know what it is

Black and yellow, black and yellow, black and yellow, black and yellow

No way did Joe Flacco just fumble that snap and not recover it. How is that even possible? The ball fell right in front of him.

4th Quarter:

Good thing Suisham redeemed himself with that field goal. He would have entered Jeff Reed territory if he missed another one. It was either that, or get a Pauly D blowout haircut to enter Reed territory.

Cundiff just nailed a 24 yard field goal to tie the game up with four minutes left. I am literally shaking with excitement/worry/spasms.

3rd and 19. Classic situation where Ben makes a big play.

Drops back.

Classic Big Ben throw where his right arm almost touches the ground. Whenever he loads up like that, you know something big is about to happen.

ANTONIO Antonio_Brown.jpgBROWN!!!! Thank God you didn’t drop that, because otherwise I would probably have to harm you in some way!

A Mendenhall rushing touchdown PLUS a Chris Kemoeatu “Screw it, I am playing dirty and I don’t care who sees me” penalty cause me (and my family) to go a celebration of tackling and breaking things.

Nice catch Housh.

Anyway, as you can see through my numerous caps-locked sentences and exclamation point endings, this was a crazy game. After the end of the first half, I was planning on what things I was going to destroy in my house after we lost. At the end of the second half, I was thinking about how I can be a better person and spread the joy the Steelers brought me.

Although my plan to make my Dad experience the Steelers new anthem “Black and Yellow” never worked out (he somehow managed to leave the room whenever it was played), I still left the seat of my living room out of breath. That is what this Steeler team does. They may not dominate throughout the entire game. They may make you want to commit homicide through two and a half quarters. But no team is better in the second half. No matter what kind of person you think Big Ben is, there is no denying that he has to be mentioned in the upper echelon of clutch quarterbacks in NFL history. You can’t ignore that now.

Here is to hoping the Jets win (I don’t care who we play in the AFC Championship, I just saw $50 tickets for the game if it is played at Heinz Field, compared to the $250 tickets at Foxboro. Let’s just say that this blog isn’t exactly $250 ticket territory yet. But hey, if the Steelers can come back from 14 down at halftime, seemingly dead, why can’t I get to $250 territory?)

Brendan O’Hare write The Attic Fan column at Follow him on twitter @theatticfan.

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Steelers/Ravens Conundrum & Divisional Playoff Picks



AFC Divisional Playoffs.

Why did this have to happen?

If you are a die-hard Steeler or Raven fan, this is not the matchup you wanted. Personally, I would rather have the Steelers play the Patriots in this round. Why else would I so adamantly root for the Kansas City Chiefs last Saturday, yelling at my TV as they continuously ignored running the football, when JaMaal Charles was averaging over nine yards a carry (The one time they do run it, they try a half-assed sweep to the right on fourth down that is stopped about five yards in the backfield. This leads to the conclusion that Todd Haley has no idea what he’s doing, or that Charlie Weis threw the game out of disgust with Haley. I am going to guess the latter.)

Why would I want the Steelers playing a team that destroyed them at home last time, instead of the Ravens? What kind of sadistic person would wish for that? Me, and all the other Steeler fans out there. Steelers versus Ravens games are all-out wars. I know, shocker. But there is a 100 percent chance that someone will seriously get injured in this game on either team. Last time, Heath Miller got smashed with a concussion, Ben Roethlisberger had his nose broken, and a variety of other small injuries took place. It is pretty much inevitable that we will see some kind of debilitating injury.

Odds On Who Will Get Hurt:

Troy Polamalu: Even
Ed Reed 5-2
Brett Keisel 7-1
Haloti Ngata 15-1
Heath Miller 25-1
Ben Roethlisberger 35-1
Joe Flacco 40-1
Shaun Suisham/Billy Cundiff 1000-1

And why would I want that? Why would I want the Steelers to show up, crippled and semi-conscious against the Patriots in the AFC Championship game? This just is not a good set-up for either the Steelers or Ravens this early in the playoffs. These games, as I said before, are flat-out battles.

That being said, it is tough to tell who has the advantage in this game. As an unabashed Steelers homer, I am obviously inclined to pick the Steelers. And will. But for the rationally thinking sports fan, this game is really a toss-up. Let’s look at the past 4 games these two teams have played, dating back to last season:

11/29/09- Baltimore 20 Pittsburgh 17

This was the game where Roethlisberger was hurt, and Dennis Dixon had to start in his place. Dixon did not play horribly, he went 12-26 with 145 yards. Actually, those are awful numbers. But he played well enough to keep the Steelers in the game, and should have won if not for a late-game interception and atrocious play-calling by Bruce Arians. Arians forgot that Dixon could be used outside the pocket, and instead tried to have him throw his way to victory. Dixon is best when he is allowed to move around, which should have been obvious to anyone with at least 50% brain activity. But no! That was situation number 216 where Arians messed up. I am just talking about that season, too. Why else do you think Rashard Mendenhall would have punched him in the face this season? Conspiracy theory link here!

12/27/09- Pittsburgh 23 Baltimore 20

Ray Rice was able to tear up the Steelers for 141 rushing yards in this one, in one of the most uncharacteristic games in Steelers defense history. They were able to neutralize the pass, but had their pants down against the rush. Still, Jeff Reed managed to get his act together long enough to kick the game winning field goal. If Bruce Arians is my least-liked Steeler of the past decade, then Reed was second. Max Starks was third, closely followed by Flozell Adams. Dick LeBeau is in last.

10/3/10- Baltimore 17 Pittsburgh 14

Once again, this was a game without Ben Roethlisberger. In fact, we had our FREAKING FOURTH STRING QUARTERBACK (excuse the caps) playing. Before Ravens fans get too cocky, let me remind you that your win this year against us was a three point win against Charlie Batch & The Gang. If it wasn’t for faulty pass defense in the final two minutes, the Steelers win this game. Unfortunately, Joe Flacco, for the first time in his recorded life, came up clutch. He threw a game winning touchdown to T.J. Houshmandzadeh. Whatever.

12/5/10- Pittsburgh 13 Baltimore 10

A classic Baltimore/Pittsburgh game, where it came down to the wire and numerous players got hurt. This was the famous “Broken Nose” game, where Big Ben bounced back from being brutally punched in the face by Haloti Ngata (Which was not a penalty for some reason. A guy breaks something, which eventually needs surgery, and there is no penalty. Yet, James Harrison is not allowed to be within 15 feet of a quarterback like he is under some sort of restraining order. Sweet Jesus). Ben led the Steelers down the field late in the fourth quarter, eventually throwing a short pass to Isaac Redman who promptly went into beast mode and scored. Think of Redman’s touchdown as a junior version of Marshawn Lynch’s on Saturday. Oh, by the way, Troy Polamalu had a game saving strip of Flacco (who reverted back to his usual fourth quarter self). What else is new?

A few things stand out from these four games:

1. All 3 are decided by 3 points.

2. Hines Ward mysteriously disappears in every game, having only 10 catches for 111 yards over four games. It seems usually as if the slot reciever (‘09 Santonio Holmes, ‘10 Mike Wallace) has the better game (18 catches, 260 yards, 2 touchdowns)

3. The away team has won every game.

4. Roethlisberger has only played in half of the games, and the Steelers have lost both times.

The good thing is, the Steelers have gone 3-1 following games against the Ravens the past two season. Of course, they had a bye week for one of those games, and played the Browns, Bengals, Raiders, and Dolphins following the Ravens.

They do get banged up in these games, and against the Patriots, you need all the help you can get.

Anyway, I have to say that the Steelers have the advantage in this game. Even though they are home and that usually is a bad thing lately in this rivalry, they should win. With a healthy Polamalu and Ben Roethlisberger, the Steelers should win by at least 60 or 70 points. Okay, maybe not that much.

Ravens v. STEELERS (-3)


On to the rest of the picks…

GREEN BAY (+2) v. Atlanta

I know the Falcons are “unbeatable” at home. But as I said last week, I just feel as if something is missing with this team. Green Bay looked decent last week, and was able to go into Philadelphia and literally kick the crap out of Michael Vick. Green Bay is the consensus pick, and was The Attic Fan’s non-homer Super Bowl pick at the start of the season.

I actually think that Green Bay being away is actually an advantage. They are a fast-paced team that thrives off of the deep threats of Greg Jennings and the rest. Matty Ice should lose that nickname on Saturday, and make me the happiest boy in the world. I really hate that name.

Seattle v. CHICAGO (-10)

I don’t think that Seattle can even come close to covering this spread. There is no way that Chicago will give up 41 points, and without the “12th man”, Seattle should be an absolute mess. This should be a laugher.

New York (+10) v. NEW ENGLAND

Although I do think that the Jets will cover the spread, New England should win this game pretty easily. Look for a 31-7 game entering the fourth quarter, with the Jets getting a crappy backdoor cover.

Quick note to Antonio Cromartie: Please be quiet. You are one of the worst cover corners in the NFL ( as evidenced by your getting burned Saturday night by the Colts’ Pierre Garcon). How are you going to mock the Patriots after losing by 42 points the last time you played them? You, sir, are dumb.

The Jets incessant mocking of the Patriots is kind of like if the Japanese continued to talk smack with America after the end of World War II. We know you won the first few battles, but we just dropped a freaking atomic bomb on you. Shut up. Luckily, this never happened with Japan, and we have been close buddies ever since!


Here are my little brothers’ picks, who at 12 years old, know a decent amount of football.

Brendan versus The Boys (Playoff Edition)

Baltimore v. PITTSBURGH

Green Bay v. ATLANTA

Seattle v. CHICAGO (Seattle to cover spread)


My record last week: 3-1 regular, 2-2 spread

My brothers record: 0-0. This is a new gimmick, people!

Brendan O’Hare writes The Attic Fan column for Follow him on twitter @theatticfan. Any questions/comments/emergencies can be directed to

Friday, January 7, 2011

Reviewing My NFL Preview Picks Part II: The NFC

On Monday, I wrote a column reviewing my NFL Preview Picks for the AFC. Naturally, I had to follow this up with a preview review of the NFC. If you thought that I was bad with the AFC, you should see the disaster that was the NFC. I even threw in a Tara Reid joke in my original NFC column, I was that desperate. Luckily, those days are behind me, as evidenced by my Keanu Reeves/Shane Falco joke in the last column. Your little sportswriter is growing up.

NFC East

1. Philadelphia Eagles 10-6 (My Pick: 11-5, 1st)

Did I say my NFC picks were bad? Well, we are not to that section yet, but I was pretty much right on with this pick (not to brag or anything). In my original column, most of my concerns about this team were based on how well I thought Kevin Kolb would do. Obviously, Mike Vick got the majority of the playing time for the Eagles this year, pushing Kolb to the bench and making me look like a jackass for bashing a Mike Vick draft pick in my fantasy draft column. What Vick did this season is pretty incredible, and definitely unprecedented. Can you imagine if the highest paid player in any other sport had killed dogs, then come back as strongly as Vick did? Well, with baseball that is not possible. A-Rod would be as hated if he killed dogs or not, and he still would fold under the pressure. With basketball, that kind of already happened with Kobe’s alleged rape. But apparently, that never happened if you listen to the Colorado Justice System, which is too strong to give into bribes from high-profile athletes or anything like that.

The problem is, Vick is bound to break down in the playoffs. It could be in the first quarter of the Wild Card round, or the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl. He will break down. And it will not be pretty.

2. New York Giants 10-6 (My Pick: 8-8, 3rd)

I am from the New York-metro area, and you can only imagine the mood everyone is in right now. Giants fans are not like Jets fans. Most have been life-long fans, and not bandwagon hoppers like Jets fans. What am I saying? They all are bandwagon hoppers. Don’t believe me, come to the area in a down year. There is a severe lack of football fans. But when the teams are doing good, look out!

Anyway, the way the Giants are not allowed to be in the playoffs is an all-out tragedy. The Giants may have choked away the playoffs, but they deserved it more than the Seahawks (whom we will get to later). Obviously, the NFL will do nothing about this situation, even though most fans would vouch for a playoff system without sub-.500 teams.

Then again, I don’t really care.

3. Dallas Cowboys 6-10 (My Pick: 10-6, 2nd)

Let’s just see what I said in my preview:

The bandwagon for this team left the station in about May, but I did not board with everyone else. This team will score points, there is no doubt about that. But they are one Felix Jones or Marion Barber injury away from relying solely on the pass, and I am not sure the Cowboys receivers other than Miles Austin are ready for that. Their defense is average at best. I do think if this team should stay healthy, they will be good. Tony Romo is far better than people give him credit for. It just falls back on the injury issue.

This team did have one key injury that affected them throughout the season, other than Tony Romo’s collarbone. That was the mental health of their previous head coach, Wade Phillips. It was no coincidence that once he left, the Cowboys started to actually play football. Without a competent leader in charge, it became apparent that the Cowboys had little chance after Week 1.

Then again, it is the Cowboys, and I do not like them.

4. Washington Redskins 6-10 (My Pick: 5-11, 4th)

Speaking of coaches with mental health issues, what in God’s name was Mike Shanahan thinking this season. Besides poorly handling the Fat Albert Haynesworth situation, the worst thing he did was the whole issue with Donovan McNabb, obviously. Why would you even sign him? By the way, no football situation should ever be that bad that you have to resort to Rex Grossman. That just is not possible. Apparently, McNabb had cardiovascular troubles. Just give him a damn inhaler, Mike. It should not be that big of a deal.

Does anyone remember this Redskin subplot in training camp, which I briefly wrote about:

They also will have some kind of ugly, mutant running back combo which will include either Larry Johnson, Willie Parker and Clinton Portis, all three who are past their prime. It would be like filming a movie today with Ralph Macchio and Tara Reid. Guys who had lots of potential previously, but just lost it due to overexposure and just being plain annoying. And the movie would probably go straight-to-DVD.

Other than my forced pop culture reference, something else stands out about that paragraph. The combined stats for the trio: 59 rushes, 229 yards. Willie Parker did not have a single yard, and Johnson had 2. Sure McNabb was bad, but when Ryan Torian and Kelian Williams are your leading rushers (and do not even combine to get 1,000 yards), there will be trouble.

NFC North

1. Chicago Bears 11-5 (My Pick: 7-9, 3rd)

In my preview column, I was really down on Jay Cutler. He might have done bodily harm to himself if he saw what I wrote about him, but luckily this column has a small audience. Calling someone “The M. Night Shamalyan” of professional football is not exactly a confidence booster. He proved me wrong (except in a few moments where he had hot flashes of his previous INT past) for the most part, and has played conservatively underneath the resurgent Mike Martz. Like Cutler, Martz has been hit-or-miss throughout his career. If Cutler is the M. Night of quarterbacks, then Martz has to be the M. Night of coaches. Somehow, two negatives have created a positive.

This gives me hope that The Last Airbender 2 will be a success. Actually, I never saw the first one. So never mind. Maybe all M. Night needs, is to get a great producer/writer who will do some of the work for him. It is desperation time, M. Night. If that is your real name.

2. Green Bay Packers 10-6 (My Pick: 12-4, 1st)

My Super Bowl Champs (non-Steeler edition), probably would have topped out at 12-4 if not for an unfortunate Aaron Rodgers concussion. Here was my love letter to the Pack:

I love this team. Really, I do. It was not just their 59 point outburst they had this preseason against the Colts, but a collection of things. They can score probably better than anybody in this league. They provide the most formidable receiving corps since New England's 2007 explosion. Their defense is "eh" at best but the offense will keep them in every single game. If you want to beat the Packers, you are going to have to score at least 30, and that is something Packers fans have not heard in about ten years. I also like their running back Ryan Grant a lot, and he gives the Packers a lot of depth on the offense side of the ball. It will be a huge year for the Packers in a division that seems to be getting worse and worse every single day.

If you couldn’t tell, I thought that there offense was going to be pretty good. Grant ended up getting hurt, which made the team even more pass-oriented, if that is even possible.

I still like the Pack in the playoffs, and I would not be surprised if they somehow got to the Super Bowl. There’s my two cents.

3. Detroit Lions 6-10 (My Pick: 5-11, 4th)

Like I said, this was a team on the upswing. Okay, I said uprise originally, but I like swing better. Without the brittle Matthew Stafford for most of the season, the Lions still managed to get six wins with the likes of Shaun Hill and Drew Stanton leading the way. N. Suh (too much effort to spell his first name) posted Rookie-of-the-Year numbers, and their offense was surprisingly explosive. The future of this team, however, depends on whether or not Stafford can keep it together for at least half a season. Good God, really. I cannot remember a player who was this injury-prone. Sometimes I feel like my sister is playing quarterback for the Lions, except she has a rocket arm in this case. You can tell Stafford really wants to play, and will play through injury. But maybe, he will just be one of those guys (Griffey Junior, Ralph Sampson), who get hurt putting on their shoes. Hey, Griffey Junior missed part of his rookie season because he slipped in the shower, so Stafford has a lot to live up to in that department.

4. Minnesota Vikings 6-10 (My Pick: 9-7, 3rd)

Yikes. Here is what I originally wrote about the Vikings:

Can't you see Brett Favre pulling a GOB Bluth after he heard that Sidney Rice would be out eight weeks? "I've made a huge mistake". Not only that, but Percy Harvin cannot think clearly, and now Javon Walker has been brought in to save the franchise. That last part was not a joke. Their defense is getting old, including the 74 year old Williams brothers anchoring the defensive line. Depending on where you stand, that anchor reference could be good or bad. But still, when you have Adrian Peterson, you will still win football games. Even if Brett Favre plays the season on one good foot and one disgusting foot with his ankle the size of LeBron James' ego, that should still be good for a couple of wins. The injuries kill this team, probably worse than any one in the NFL

Ah, yes, I love the Arrested Development reference too, and also confused about what I meant regarding an anchor. The injuries also killed this team like I said it would, but like the Cowboys, I did not account for a major injury. The mental health of Brad Childress! Was there anything Childress could do? With him and Brett Favre together, it was like the Incompetent Summit. All you needed was Wade Phillips, and there would be a party!

Back to Favre quickly, as hopefully I will never, ever, have to speak of him again. Thanks for ruining my fantasy season, jerk. That is all.

NFC South

1. Atlanta Falcons 13-3 (My Pick: 10-6, 2nd)

If Matt Ryan can take the famous "jump", where a quarterback becomes great, Atlanta should be a great team. If Michael Turner can stay healthy, Atlanta should be a great team. The problem with Atlanta is that it relies heavily on those two "ifs", both of which are currently 50-50 at this point. But you have to believe that if both "ifs" can come true, they will give New Orleans hell.

Matt Ryan: 3705 yards, 62.5%, 28-9 TD-INT, 91.0 QB Rating

Michael Turner: 334 rushes, 1371 yards, 12 TD

Ryan made the “jump”. Turner stayed healthy. They gave New Orleans hell. They are unbeatable at home, almost reaching Qwest Field levels of dominance. They were the best team in the NFC record wise, but personnel wise, something seems to be missing. They do have the best receiver in football (Roddy White), and their offense is pretty well put together. Something just is not there on defense. Remember the old saying “Defense Wins Championships”? I am sure you have heard that so many times you currently want to throw your computer out a window. Maybe some of you even did. Point being, it is a true statement. I am not sure that the Falcons have it all together on defense.

Quick Note: The main reason I hope they get knocked out of the playoffs is so that we do not have to hear the ridiculous “Matty Ice” nickname for the next six months. There is no nickname I hate more in sports. What playoff record does Matt Ryan have to make this up? No media person even calls him Matt Ryan anymore. I hate it. Grr.

2. New Orleans Saints 11-5 (My Pick: 12-4, 1st)

They spent most of the year arguing that a Super Bowl Hangover does not exist. But for the first half of the year, the Saints were still feeling the effects of a wild night. The offense seemed dysfunctional at times, and the defense was consistently letting them down. Fortunately for Saints fans, they appear to be the hottest team in the NFC entering the playoffs. Great. We just finished cleaning up New Orleans. And that is Katrina I am talking about (Ba-DUM-kis! That was a drum).

3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 10-6 (My Pick 3-13, 4th)

Uhh, roll the clip:

It appears that Josh Freeman's fractured thumb should be ready in time for the season opener, but does that really matter? Honestly? Their running attack is weak, their best passing option is Kellen Winslow (Gah!). They have an above-average secondary led by Ronde Barber, but they have one of the worst defensive lines in the game and put no pressure on the quarterback whatsoever. Maybe they'll wear those orange jerseys this year, those are always fan favorites.

At least I was right about the jerseys. Everyone loves those. But seriously, how wrong was I about Josh Freeman. He appeared to be the NFC’s version of Ben Roethlisberger come clutch time. Sure, he would screw things up for 3 quarters, but enter the fourth, he is on. Both are tough to bring down, and both always seem to make the key plays. Am I really talking about Josh Freeman this way?

Even though he really had few receiving threats (although Mike Williams: Tampa Edition was a nice touch), Freeman always seemed to make plays. They are really, really young, and their immaturity would catch up with them at times. But come next year, it is likely a changing of the guard could happen in the NFC South. Or not. I don’t know, I’m just guessing here.

4. Carolina Panthers 2-14 (My Pick: 4-12, 3rd)

Somehow, the Panthers managed to be even worse than I thought they would. Their two-headed running monster of DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart failed miserably, with Williams being put on injured reserve in November after a slow start, and Stewart being unable to gain any traction without Williams. Jimmy Clausen was forced to throw 300 passes this year, and put up some of the worst stats by a rookie in history. But can you really blame him? That team has almost no weapons, and their line folds like me in the playoffs of my 5th grade little league (I gave up a walk-off homer. Very traumatic for emotionally-unstable 11-year-old me). Now, with no Andrew Luck, this team will not be getting better any time soon.

NFC West

1. Seattle Seahawks 7-9 (My Pick: 3-13, 4th)

I would still pick the Seahawks in last if another season started tomorrow. The fact that they made the playoffs is really a travesty on the national level. How can we allow the Seahawks to make the playoffs over two 10 win teams? What is this, communist Russia? Not every team is equal. It is not like the Seahawks were playing in the toughest division, either. In fact, they played in the easiest one. In my preview column, when I said “I can’t name 3 players from this team”, that still rings true to this day.

P.S.: That picture is not an error. There are no pictures of the Seahawks online, they are that anonymous. You can check for yourself!

2. St. Louis Rams 7-9 (My Pick: 5-11, 3rd)

Once again, maybe I am too high on this team. That is weird to say for a team that I project to only win 5 games, but it is true. Their number one receiver is out for the season, and that kills Sam Bradford's first season right there. Not that it was going to be all that great anyway, with the horrific offensive line and what not. I do think Bradford was the clear choice at number one, and the Rams needed a franchise player, due to the inevitable fact that running back Steven Jackson's legs will eventually fall off. Now all they need is a receiver, an offensive line, a defensive line, linebackers, a secondary, a kicker, a coach, some fans, a better stadium, and hope. But we're getting somewhere.

Like most people, I clearly overrated injured wide receiver Johnnie Avery’s value to the Rams. Apparently I thought he was Marvin Harrison circa 2004. Bradford played strong, and seems to be a clear lock for Offensive Rookie of the Year. I would say in three years (or maybe two), the Rams actually become a legitimate playoff contender, and not just because they play in the lowly NFC West. Say they draft an offensive lineman in the first round. That has to be good for one win right there. We could easily see 8-8 or 9-7 next year, if Bradford continues to improve and does not suddenly get Matt Stafford Syndrome.

3. San Francisco 49ers 6-10 (My Pick: 12-4, 1st)

12 wins? What? Believe it. But I hate myself for this pick. They will live off of going 6-0 in the horrible division that is the NFC West. They get the Rams, Rams and Seahawks six times this season. Six!

Ugh. The Niners really made me eat my words this season. This team still probably has the most talent of the NFC West, and they were 4-2 within the division. But 1-7 on the road is not getting it done. Also, can we officially anoint Alex Smith as a “Draft Bust”? How many freaking chances is America going to give this guy? It is ridiculous at this point.

Are Niners fans happy about Mike Singletary leaving? Let’s just put it this way: The celebration hasn’t ended.

4. Arizona Cardinals 5-11 (My Pick: 7-9)

Once again, another “what-the-hell-was-I-thinking” pick. How would I ever think that Matt Leinart would be good enough for even a single win? I even brought up the fact that hey, “at least (Derek) Anderson has experience”. So what? He is one of the worst quarterbacks in the NFL? I can’t take it anymore. This has to stop.


Playoff Picks:

NEW ORLEANS (-10) v. Seattle

NEW YORK (+2.5) v. Indy

BALTIMORE (-3) v. Kansas City

GREEN BAY (+2.5) v. Philadelphia

Yeah, I got all the away teams winning. Yikes.

Brendan O’Hare writes the Attic Fan column at Email him with comments/questions/emergencies at Follow him on twitter @theatticfan