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

Monday, January 3, 2011

Reviewing My NFL Preview Picks Part I: The AFC

I really thought I had something going with my NFL picks in my The Attic Fan’s Colossal NFL Preview columns. I was right in a few aspects (see: Kansas City Chiefs), but horribly wrong in most (see: Miami Dolphins). I scoured through numerous publications at the beginning of the year, and even bought an NFL magazine on my tight budget. I went through every single game that would happen this year, all in order to get every single team’s record exactly right. I soon learned that this was impossible after I went .500 in my NFL picks in Week 1. Ah, the growing pains of a new column. Eventually, I turned my fortunes around, ending the season 142-114 against the spread, and 158-98 non-spread. Yeah, I am pretty good. But in one of biggest columns of my first year writing, my NFL Preview, my picks did not stand well over time. Here is a review of what went horribly wrong.

AFC East

1. New England 14-2 (My Pick: 9-7, 3rd )

Here is what I wrote in my preview:

A lot of guys just past their prime, and Ty Warren's season ending injury kills them. They do not really have any game breakers on offense anymore

Little did I know, that Danny “Freaking” Woodhead would be a superstar. Apparently, game breakers can come in any shape, size, or skin color (You can’t even say that my last sentence is racist. Would anyone really think that a 5' 8’’ white guy would have an impact in a sport primarily dominated by 6’ 4’’ black men?). The loss of Ty Warren had almost no impact on the Pats, as they scored an NFL-leading 518 points. Defense was not really that big of a concern.

In reality, no one thought that this team would win more than 10 games, much less be the best team in football. Now, they are on the fast track to the Super Bowl, as every generic sportswriter would say.

2. New York Jets 11-5 (My Pick: 10-6, 2nd)

Boom! Only one game off! I knew that they were a bit over-hyped, and that Rex Ryan was blowing smoke out of his hindquarters. Here is what I wrote about them:

This is one of the tougher divisions in football, and with this guy (Mark “Jerk” Sanchez) as your quarterback, I cannot see you getting past the first round.

Sanchez was the 28th rated quarterback this year (75.3 QB Rating, or 6 points better than the fantasy team killer himself, Brett Favre), but he did play much more efficiently (17-13 TD/INT ratio) than he did last year. Yet, as I said in the beginning of the season, I still do not see the Jets going past the second round. I just do not. I know that will upset my local readers, but even they have to be worried about this team. The offense can seem unconscious at times, and not in a good way.

But hey. I picked this team almost exactly, and that is really what it is all about, isn’t it?

3. Miami Dolphins 7-9 (My Pick: 10-6, 1st)

Now how was I supposed to know that Chad Henne would be the worst quarterback since Shane Falco? Miami’s offense was catatonic at times. Well, most of the time. Only the Brownies scored more points than the Dolphins in the AFC. Good God, why did I ever think this team was going to be good? I feel like my career in stocks is ruined after picking a seemingly average team so high, then refusing to sell the stocks. I was like George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life, except I never was bailed out by my previously-dirt poor townspeople.

I also did not count on the fact that Miami would be one of the worst home teams in NFL history, going 1-7 at home and 6-2 on the road. How is that even possible? I mean, other than the fact that Miami barely fills half of its seats in its cavernous stadium, how can this happen?

Oh wait, I know. It’s the always-forgotten rule in life that there should be no professional sports teams in Miami. No one gives a (expletive) down there.

4. Buffalo Bills 4-12 (My Pick: 2-14, 4th)

The Bills were not as historically bad as I thought they would be (They stayed close in most games, and even gave the Patriots a decent game in the first half of the season, when the Pats had not fully utilized The Great White Hope himself, Danny Woodhead. That is the only reason why it was so close, but I still give the Bills credit). I was borderline mean to this team and their (pains me to say) loyal fans.

It will be another obscure year for a team people are starting to forget about.

Wow. I am a jerk.

AFC North

1. Pittsburgh Steelers 12-4 (My Pick: 10-6, 2nd)

This year, I learned a few things. One was do not trust Chris Berman’s NFL picks (Sub-.500 record 12 years and counting!). Another was do not bet against the Steelers. After I picked the Steelers to lose in Week 1 against the Falcons (part of my reasoning was no to seem like an off-putting homer in my first two months of internet existence. I thought that the Roethlisberger suspension would “kill” them. It didn’t, and the Steelers now have a first round bye. How could I go against my favorite team like this? Heretic! Heretic!

Quick Note: When I was going through every team’s schedule and picking the games that way, I actually had the Steelers at 14-2. I just did not want to seem so over-the-top. I swear on Troy Polamalu’s ankle that this is true. You can just ask my dad if you do not believe me:

Me: Dad, I have the Steelers at 14-2, but that doesn’t seem right, does it?

Dad: What?

2. Baltimore Ravens 12-4 (My Pick: 12-4, 1st)

Whammy! Sure they did not come in first like I predicted, but I was dead on with the 12-4. Here is what I said about the Ravens:

These team probably scares me the most out of any, and that kills me to say as a diehard Steeler fan. Boldin gives them a legitimate threat now in the passing game. Flacco should have a breakout season in year three. Ray Rice (My #4 Overall Fantasy Pick) is a smaller version of 2000 Marshall Faulk. The defense is disgusting and will be even more vile once Ed Reed aka Young Redd Foxx comes back from his hip surgery. Gah! I hate myself now.

Other than my poor grammar within the first two words, a few things stand out in that paragraph. I honestly do not know what scared me about this team in the beginning. They were basically the same team as last year, all they did was add a receiver who gets injured feeding his dog. Flacco was okay, but was Flacco-esque (Very average, could be better, bailed out by defense. Other Flacco-esque QB’s are Mark Sanchez and Jay Cutler) most of the season. Ray Rice was 2003 Faulk at best, and I can only assume that I was referring to Foxx’s beard when I compared him to Ed Reed. Again, if the Steelers have the fortune of playing the Ravens in the playoffs, I am no longer scared.

Hard to believe I was scared of a professional football team. Weird.

3. Cleveland Browns 5-11 (My Pick: 2-14, 4th)

I was really tough on this team:

Every year, there is one team where you look at their roster and you say: "Hey! This team has a chance to go 0-16!" This year it is the awful Cleveland Browns. Jake Delhomme is a shell of himself. Honestly, I think they would be better if Josh Cribbs spent the entire game as the quarterback in the Wildcat offense. They have no offense and no defense. It will be another long year for Cleveland fans, doing nothing to distract them from LeBron.

Once again, I am a jerk. The Browns, (like the Bills) ended up being competitive in the majority of the games they played, and even somehow managing to beat the Patriots (once again, the Pats had not fully utilized the superpowers of Danny Woodhead). My 2-years-late statement about Delhomme was proved wrong when the Browns wheeled out Colt McCoy, who actually did not look too bad (A big complement from a guy who says “I am going to go take the Browns to the Super Bowl” at least twice a day). Browns fans sought comfort from a large white man throughout the majority of the season. No, not Santa, but Peyton Hillis, yet another white running back who his marginally-famous because he is white (for those who feel uncomfortable about race-relations in America, this is the column for you!). Seriously, Hillis actually played well in the middle of the season, bruising tacklers with a few 100+ yard games, and reminding America of former Tampa Bay fullback Mike Alstott (if only because they both were big. And nothing else).

4. Cincinnati Bengals 4-12 (My Pick: 7-9, 3rd)

Maybe I bought into the hype from the T. Ocho show. Who knows. But I really oversold this team. I did guess that Carson Palmer would be really bad. That has to count for something.

Really, for a team that has two of the most alienating sports personalities of the past 25 years, this is all I could write about them? Wow. That speaks volumes for how little impact T. Ocho had.

AFC South

1. Indianapolis Colts 10-6 (My Pick: 13-3, 1st)

Here is what I wrote about the Colts:

The number one seed in the AFC, and easily too. Even though they play in one of the tougher divisions in football, they will still get it done with little effort/emotion. They have their deepest receiving core in years, with Anthony Gonzalez finally at full health. If Bob Sanders can actually stay healthy for the entire season, the Colts will be scary good. That is asking a lot, because Bob Sanders has played eight games the past two seasons, and played in only two more games than I did last season. Even without Sanders, they are still the team to beat in the AFC.

I really should have remembered one of the Laws of Modern Football.

Law #267: Bob Sanders is to get hurt every 2 weeks, no matter what he does.

I really should have looked over the list before I picked the Colts so high. Why did I think that they would be the number 1 seed in the AFC? Why did I think Anthony Gonzalez, of all people, would have any impact? Since when was the great equalizer? It is not like the Colts had a bad season. Before Manning’s mid-season disaster, it appeared that they were headed for the 11-13 win range, and Manning would win an MVP. They just did not have the classic “Start off 8-0, go 14-2” season we are so accustomed to from the Colts. As far as the playoffs are concerned, everyone is touting them as the team to beat the Patriots because “they can score with the Patriots”. So? Wouldn’t it be important to actually stop the Patriots every once in a while? Like a Ravens or Steelers could do. Sure the Steelers got wrecked by the Pats at home, but I would still take them over Indy as the team to top the Pats. Damn it, I am being a homer again.

2. Jacksonville Jaguars 8-8 (My Pick: 5-11, 4th)

I was pretty harsh on the Jags in my preview, doubting that they had any ability whatsoever. I think I was almost tempted to call them the “Jacksonville Kitty-Kats” at one point, except I did not want the words “Kitty-Kat” to be seen in an article of mine. After looking pretty bad the first few weeks, the Jags lucked in to a few wins, and had Mo-Jo Drew basically carry the offense for them. This team was like the Jets as far as luck is concerned, they just did not have the talent to be a playoff team. Oh well.

3. Houston Texans 6-10 (My Pick: 9-7, 3rd)

I correctly said this about the Texans:

Anyway, the Texans always seem to have a lot of optimism going into the season, and always fall short. Just as they will this season.

Whatever that means, it was true. The Texans have been “the team” going into the past few seasons. This means they are always expected to be the team that finally gets over the hump and becomes a legitimate contender (San Francisco is the NFC version). Matt Schuab is always “the quarterback”, the one who is also expected to take the leap to be a legitimate quarterback, but could not do it this year.

The only good thing the Texans gave us this year were two fights: The Andre Johnson v. Cortland Finnegan fight, and the Brian Cushing v. The Houston Texans fight. You can guess which one proved that the Texans had no team chemistry.

4. Tennessee Titans 6-10 (My Pick: 10-6, 2nd)

Vince Young solidified himself as one of the most unstable athletes of the past 25 years. Congratulations! Jeff Fisher (finally) lost his vice grip on the team, but somehow managed to turn Randy Moss into a complete mute. (Was there any acquisition other than anyone the Washington Redskins signed that did less than the Moss/Titans deal? He at least did a few things for Minnesota.) A real hellhole of a team, and boy, was I happy.

AFC West

1. Kansas City Chiefs 10-6 (My Pick: 10-6, 2nd)

What’s up America? I picked this dead on. I wrote this at the time:

I have to expect this pick will draw the most amount of hate mail directed toward me, so bring it on!

I got no mail about this, and have not for a long time. Please email, if you have anything to say to me!

Anyway, the Chiefs were able to stay alive due to their average division, and their 7-1 home record. Join that with arguably the NFL’s best running back, JaMaal Charles, and you have yourself a football team. I am not going to brag about this pick too long, but it is pretty apparent that I know what I am talking about.

2. San Diego Chargers 9-7 (My Pick: 11-5, 1st)

Although the Vincent Jackson holdout did not kill them as I thought it would, something still did kill this team. Who would have predicted that the Chargers would arguably have the worst special teams in NFL history. It honestly looked like they were fielding a middle school team when it came to football’s third phase. They had a world class offense and defense, yet they could not block a guy who was trying to block a punt. How does a team of professionals allow this to happen? Why does Norv Turner still have a job? If a team is that bad and undisciplined on special teams, that has to go back to the head coach. This was not a luck thing.

3. Oakland Raiders 8-8 (My Pick: 7-9. 3rd)

What the hell? I honestly did not know that the Raiders finished 8-8. It had to have been the loss of JaMarcus Russell. Just having that be lifted from a team can do wonders. It is like the Raiders were a boat, and they were beginning to sink. The boat was going down, and appeared that nothing could stop it. All of a sudden, somebody woke up the previously-thought dead captain. This captain realized that there was this mammoth weight at the end of the boat that was doing nothing to help. Once the weight was thrown overboard, the boat began to even out, just like the Raiders did this year. Darren McFadden also helped too. He was like the semi-conscious captain’s assistant who actually did all the work.

(Hint: The captain symbolizes Al Davis)

4. Denver Broncos 4-12 (My Pick: 5-11, 4th)

Tim Tebow did breath some life into this team (even though I bashed him in my preview column. Jeez, what was up my butt when I wrote that?). But other than a small late-season resurgence, the Broncos were pretty awful during the course of the year. Although the future does appear to be fun, due to Tebow and the loss of micro-manager coach Josh McDaniels, this team was still bad. Really bad.


Come back later in the Week for Part II: The NFC/NFL Playoff Wild Card Picks.

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