War of 1812 Football Prognostication
Week Four
By Mr.Brutal 

Whenever there is a big uproar on the political-sports-propaganda front we like to take a step back and consider the facts. With all of the protests surrounding the National Anthem and the President of the United States always unique twist on events, the NFL players’ and owners’ actions/reactions, ….. we are compelled to shine a light through the fog of propaganda and look at the real history.

For those who think NFL players standing for the anthem is a long and noble tradition that is being sullied, …. well, that isn’t quite true by almost any definition.

Prior to 2009, NFL players stayed in the locker room for the playing of the “Star Spangled Banner” during regular season games.

Something that doesn’t even date back to the autumn of President Obama’s election can hardly be called a long followed, iconic and hallowed custom since almost nobody in the stands, sitting at home, the owner’s box or amongst the press corps, let alone the “I like to have all the facts before I offer an opinion!” Commander in Chief seemed aware of this fact last week.

In 2009, the United States Military started paying the NFL and certain teams to allow them to advertise in stadiums and put on more patriotic displays of flyovers, honor guard presentations, halftime rallies, and selected servicemen singing the National Anthem. A result of these displays was the NFL wanting the teams to come out of the locker room for the anthems because the optics of them not being there for jingoistic ceremony might seem disrespectful.

The Military had undertaken this massive spending on advertising because of declining enrollment. Recruiting was getting tougher in the volunteer army due to the length and dubious perception of various ongoing operations & conflicts in the Middle East.

When this came to light, there was some controversy. The role of paid propaganda, conflicts of interest and political favoritism raised its head and as usual, like the CTE/concussion issue initially, …… the NFL clouded its lack of policy and solid ethics surrounding this issue with endless fog.

Civil protest is a fundamental principle of any liberal or constitutional democracy and debate is almost always healthy. So the kneeling during the anthem hardly constitutes sedition or a violation of any law or deeply ingrained custom.

Ironically though, this controversy was almost forgotten until last weekend. The few players who were taking a knee either in sympathy with Colin Kaepernick’s original stand on racial inequality or other civil rights issues were getting little press coverage. People, fans, writers were sort of used to it, and it received cursory mention or coverage during the games. Normally, the anthems aren’t even broadcast during the games over television and are only really seen and experienced by the people in the stadium. this is mostly due to the hypocritical NFL wanting to sell as much commercial time as possible.

The civil rights gestures of the players had blended into the obscurity of comfortable familiarity and lessening exposure.

Not any more.

Possibly to distract from other issues? …. Mr. Trump chose this past weekend to engage in a new childish, ill conceived, divisive exercise of internet texting that took on all the characteristics of a tenth grade frenemy feud between rival factions of teenage girls coping with social hierarchical issues amidst their first natural infusion of elevated hormones.

First the President went after NBA star Steph Curry and dis-invited him and the rest of the Golden State Warriors to his pajama party at the White House via Twitter. That however did not quench his wrath, so he expanded his moral indignation towards the NFL and the relatively ignored and fading anthem controversy. He called for players to be fired and labelled them sons of bitches.

After everybody’s varied responses on Sunday, he didn’t seem to understand the concept of the crowd booing visiting teams, which people were or weren’t on his side or what some of their actions even meant.

Now we have the aftermath of several more days of Trump fueled actions and reactions with no foresight, subtlety or forethought. A confused, multi-sided, always evolving issue that means different things to different people is part of the present political turmoil that he seems to relish. In a normal time, a disagreement over patriotism like this might be a healthy and enlightened development. Talented leaders would chair the discourse and guide the discussion towards an enlightened outlook and a greater magnanimous goal of understanding and harmony.

Unfortunately these are not normal times with an abundance of talented leaders.

Good news though, Twitter has announced that it might permanently expand its character limit from 140 to 280 characters. The leader of the free world is one customer who had obviously been held back by this. This possible policy switch should help make things clearer and eliminate some of the confusion and controversy Mr. Trump continually courts through misunderstanding borne from these text limitations. This communication advancement could really help the President further delineate his nuanced deliberations on sociological theory and his layered, complex takes on social issues.

Unfortunately, Twitter has announced that his account will not be one of the ones chosen for the test market. So, we’ll have to wait for the policy to become universal, then American foreign policy can be completely expressed, understood and related via communication borne of extended late night bathroom breaks.

There is no word at press time as to whether any of the company’s hundreds of Russian Operative accounts will be considered as guinea pigs for the shakedown cruise either.

Mike Leach as usual, had an interesting and slightly irreverent take on the NFL anthem controversy. The Washington State head coach stated that as a proud American, he would always stand for the anthem. However, he saw no problem with players or individuals kneeling or sitting down. He thought the major issue currently shadowing the issue was the confusion surrounding it.

He said he didn’t know what it represented anymore and neither did lots of the people participating in the NFL pregame protests. He felt it had been hijacked by all sorts of others to customize their own agendas.

The Cougars’ head coach is correct. When owners like Jerry Jones link arms with the players in an orchestrated charade before the anthem claiming solidarity, while avoiding any blow-back from a real protest during its actual playing you know what you’re dealing with. A mercenary businessman who wants it both ways and wishes the whole thing would go away without anything ever changing.

We believe Mr. Jones is a true patriot, at least to his own way of thinking. However, he has never once demonstrated any desire for real change in society that didn’t also serve as a photo-op. He only cares about the press and not principals. We’ve never seen him show any compunction to alter the status quo on a meaningful level in his decades of public exposure.

Years ago, during the commissioning and building of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C., there was also a great deal of controversy regarding nationalism, ceremony, respect for the military, racism and what constitutes proper respect in symbols of patriotism. The issues surrounding the memorial were as divisive, controversial and emotionally loaded as the war itself.

Many, in fact most thought the initial design of the low lying, black memorial cut into a small hill with all 58,000+ names of deceased servicemen was a disgrace. It was hiding from view, …. it showed embarrassment & humiliation by not being big, bold and tall with typical militaristic symbolization and ornamentation, …. it was inherently negative, it was all about death due to the black color.

And there were more than a few hateful racist remarks about the qualifications, knowledge and motives of the young Chinese American woman architect who designed it. We certainly could all probably learn a little from the ‘American Gold Star Mothers’ organization who came to Maya Lin’s defense in 1982 when the commission in charge would not allow ground to be broken till the controversy was addressed. In a statement supporting the talented young woman and her vision, the Gold Star organization simply stated:

“Today, patriotism is a complicated issue.”

Truer words were never spoken and remain just as prescient today. The commission gave the green light and the construction of the memorial began.

The interactive experience of visiting Washington and walking along the Memorial Wall is an experience one can’t quite ever describe in words. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is now considered one of the most beloved monuments in America and one of the most visited in the Nation’s Capital. People of all stripes touch the engravings, rub paper over the black rock & scratch a lasting pencil impression of their loved ones’ names to take home and keep. Many visitors completely drink it all in.

Many more are reduced to tears.

Seeing the reaction of others fuels others own responses. The effect is contagious, communal, humbling and somehow still fills one with optimism and hope for your fellow man.

The initial vision and intention of Maya Lin has been validated and the emotional impact it has fostered far exceeded her modest expectations.

Almost all of the initial critics have retracted their objections too after actually visiting the site and seeing the effect it has on people.

We concur after having experienced it ourselves. We should all consider this when assessing the motives and actions of others involving complicated issues.

 

Sunday, September 24, 2017 ……

9:30 am Eastern Standard Time …….

 

New Orleans (-3) @ MIAMI 49.5

Writer Henry James, musician Jimi Hendrix, actors Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Gillian Anderson and cult thespian Eddie Constantine are among the hundreds of Americans who went to Great Britain to broaden their horizons and enhance their professional careers. This time honored therapeutic technique has already worked wonders for The Jacksonville Jaguars who have become England’s team, especially after their whitewashing of the Raiders last week in Wembley Stadium.

We’re guessing that this 4,600 mile road trip will benefit the Saints more than the Dolphins. Part of this is leadership. Saints’ QB Drew Brees seems to be more open minded, cosmopolitan and embracing of new experiences & challenges than his Dolphin counterpart.

The mercurial Jay Cutler is going to hate everything about this trip. Driving on the other side of the road, eating bangers and mash for breakfast and smoking Player’s Navy Cut cigarettes will all be disruptive hardships for this aloof man accustomed to tedious routine.

Imagining the one year contracted, cash grabbing, mercenary, carpetbagger Cutler turning this road trip into a positive experience, let alone a win on the football field is not on the radar.

Brutal: Saints -3

Bob: Saints -3

1:00 pm Eastern Standard Time ….

 

Buffalo @ ATLANTA (-8) 48.5

Buffalo is committed to the run and Atlanta is committed to getting out to big leads and hanging on like the central theme and title of an old Supremes/Vanilla Fudge song.

The Bills pulled the upset last week over the Broncos and this week they manage to…..

….. cover the spread via The Doors/Howlin’ Wolf/Willie Dixon title and theme utilizing the rear entrance of an established domicile ( We are using the literal translation and not the sexually euphemistically figurative one for Back Door Man).

Brutal: Bills +8

Bob: Bills +8

 

Cincinnati (-3) @ CLEVELAND 40

A California company is working on the world’s first realistic looking & talking sex doll. Next up they are working on replicating an ambulatory quarterback who can occasionally read blitzes and throw the ball after moving just one or two steps laterally in the pocket. Even a flawed prototype mastering those basic mobility issues would present a more productive quarterback option than the one the Bengals find themselves in with the regressing Andy Dalton.

Last week in Green Bay after getting out to a big lead, the Bengals were up to their old tricks and played the second half on offense like they thought the football was a small time-bomb. Predictably, the heavy underdog tigers ended up capitulating like catnip overdosed kittens to the Packers in overtime. We’re guessing that new Offensive Coordinator and Chip Kelly protege Bill Lazor will make the necessary adjustments and keep the pace of the attack up for more than thirty minutes this week.

These games for Buckeye State supremacy are almost always contentious, even when the competitive disparity between the teams is pronounced. That isn’t the case this year, so the possibility of a ‘Push’ looms its ugly head.

Brutal: Bengals -3

Bob: BROWNS +3

 

LA Rams @ DALLAS (-8) 46.5

Last week, for the first time this year the NFL had an entertaining and competitive Thursday Night game. Those are two adjectives that have not been used in the same sentence in quite some time regarding professional football played on the day of the week named after the Norse God of storms, lightning, mayhem, oak trees and repetitive action-causal effect brain damage.

The Rams outlasted the Forty Niners and damn they looked good in their Human Highlighter/Colour Rush yellow uniforms.

The Cowboys didn’t look so good last week in the first half of their game in Arizona, but rebounded with a win in the second half behind Zeke’s running and Dak Prescott’s excellent ability to throw on the run.

Jerry Jones’ Taj Mahal will be rocking with about 70% Texas resident Boys’ fans and 30% Rams’ followers who picked up their ducats on the secondary market. Dallas will win, but never underestimate a Wade Phillips’ defense to cover any spread over a touchdown.

Brutal: Rams +8

Bob: Rams +8

 

Detroit @ MINNESOTA

No line at press time due to the status of Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford. Till last year, Bradford had been injured so many times since high school we always saw him as the walking embodiment of an Egyptian Pharaoh. This was because he had more tape wrapped around him than the Lost Mummy of Imhotep.

If Bradford doesn’t dress, we like Case Keenum anyway if he starts for Minnesota. He has his limitations, but he proved last week in the trouncing of Tampa Bay that he can throw the ball around effectively if his team has a running game. The Vikings do, so we’ll back the Berzerkers.

Brutal: VIKINGS

Bob: Lions

 

Carolina @ NEW ENGLAND (-8.5) 48.5

There are concerns that Panthers QB Cam Newton is taking too many hits sitting in the pocket in his new role as a stationary target quarterback. The worries are not only for his physical body but his mental health as well. CTE is no joke and either are short term concussions. There must be some reason for those early 1970’s Shaft & Super Fly outfits he keeps wearing at post-game press conferences.

If the Carolina brass decide to sit Newton they’ll see a huge improvement with journeyman Derek Anderson who works the pocket like his limbs are made of Lego.

In New England news, great to see that Tom Brady has turned into the Gwyneth Paltrow of the NFL. New Age Tom has proven an avid marketer of some common sense diet and lifestyle tips as well as some that aren’t quite as sound.

His recent press release regarding drinking large amounts of water to prevent sunburn has been met with skepticism. The revelation has received disparaging reviews by those same pesky scientists who warned us that the oceans would get increasingly angry if we continued to produce carbon emissions at the same rate as the Duggar Family multiplies in size through its production of inbred progeny.

Brutal: NEW ENGLAND -8.5

Bob: NEW ENGLAND -8.5

 

Jacksonville (-3.5) @ NEW YORK J-E-T-S, JETS! JETS! JETS! 39.5

The NFL’s long term morphine-drip attempts to make the Jaguars Great Britain’s Team appear to be bearing fruit. After so many years of traveling across the pond for these Sunday, Breakfast at Wimbledon contests, Jacksonville seems to have found its paces and they come back to the New World rejuvenated

Their 44-7 embarrassment of Jim, Joe Flacco and the Ravens was eye opening, and not just for the huge ovations they received from their future permanent home fans.

Now going into Gotham to play the supposedly tanking Jets will be different, … but not much.

Brutal: Jaguars -3.5

Bob: Jags -3.5

 

Pittsburgh (-3) @ BALTIMORE 44

Steeler fans are upset with running back Le’Veon Bell. He has been unproductive so far this year, thanks to his training camp holdout which he has cited as the main reason for his lack of jump.

The Ravens have no such excuse. Last week they went to England and were completely outclassed by the Jaguars. The 37 point loss was the worst in Raven history. Head coach John Harbaugh seemingly failed to communicate to his players that this was not a USO goodwill tour and exhibition game.

These two teams are famous for low scoring, hard hitting contests that are decided by a field goal or less.

Hopefully the annoying, political waffle and edged weapons specialist Ray Lewis will not show up pregame and pose with the Ravens’ players again during the anthem to hog the spotlight. The man loves seeing himself on the news and has never met a camera that he didn’t like or know when it was turned on. Who does he think he is? Steve Tasker or something.

Brutal: RAVENS +3

Bob: RAVENS +3

 

Tennessee (-1.5) @ HOUSTON 44

Two great young quarterbacks with two dubious head coaches. We’ve liked the Titans all year to get into the playoffs. They’ll do that by winning close games against their divisional rivals. The Texans still haven’t recovered from last weeks’ missed opportunity to waylay the Patriots in New England. We predict a hangover.

Brutal: Titans -1.5

Bob: Titans -1.5

 

4:05 – 4:25 pm Eastern Standard Time ……….

San Francisco @ ARIZONA (-7)

It is great to see progress in the world.

First, the last of the JFK Assassination tapes (shelved since the investigation after Oliver Stone’s 1992 movie), are about to be released by the National Archives.

In Saudi Arabia, women are finally being allowed to drive automobiles, clearly dragging the Bedouin Kingdom into the 20th Century.

…. and the Arizona Cardinals continue to challenge the modern definition of insanity by starting Carson Palmer at quarterback behind a Potemkin Village of an offensive line and hoping for a different result.

Brutal: Forty Niners +7

Bob: Niners +7

 

Philadelphia @ LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (-1) 47

The rumors are even stronger this week that the NFL is considering moving the Bolts back to San Diego. The thinking is that even a new stadium might not draw fans, so why not build that new stadium in a city that appreciated them?

We’ll believe it when we see it, but Jerry Jones & his basket of fellow deplorable owners on the NFL committee in charge of geographic relocation and fan heartbreak reversing their stance is a long-shot.

This is the Eagles third road game in a month, and we’re betting the Chargers will finally come through for us.

Brutal: CHARGERS -1

Bob: Chargers -1

 

New York Football Giants @ TAMPA BAY (-3) 44

The NFL is upset with Odell Beckham for his touchdown celebration last week. Of course his dog against the fire hydrant choreography was in poor taste. He’s apologized, explaining it wasn’t anything personal, but was directed at President Trump and his comments about his fellow NFL players.

Maybe true, but his ‘fellow players’ are upset because it undermines a lot of the more reasoned responses that his ‘fellow players’ would prefer be used to influence the public. A huge segment of the population still thinks they work on guaranteed contracts and have medical coverage beyond five years after they retire.

The Giants still stink and the St. Petersburg Pirates need to make a point at home after the devastation of Hurricane Irma and their loss in Minnesota last week.

Brutal: BUCCANEERS -3

Bob: Giants +3

 

Oakland @ DENVER (-3) 46.5

The good ship Raider sails into Denver after their first loss of the year in the District of Columbia.

Bronco’s vice president of football operations, general manager and expert on the African American experience John Elway explained his stance on the anthem protest and how he doesn’t like to see it, that it doesn’t jive with his political views and he doesn’t understand how it illuminates problems between black culture and the greater society.

In other shocking developments, after an exhaustive in-house investigation and contrary to video evidence and common sense, …… the Las Vegas Police Department has ruled that the officers who roughed up Seattle defensive end Michael Bennett last month did not use ‘excessive force.’

Brutal: Raiders +3

Bob: Denver -3

 

8:30 pm Eastern Standard Time …….

 

Indianapolis @ SEATTLE (-13) 41.5

Colts QB Jacoby Brissett had a good outing last week against Cleveland in Indy. It probably won’t be as easy in the Thunder Dome in Seattle.

That may be true, but we can’t trust the Seahawks with any spread this big, a quarterback as one dimensional as Russell Wilson or an offensive line retrieved this deep out of the bargain bin of waiver wire castoffs.

Brutal: Colts +13

Bob: Colts +13

 

Monday, October 2, 2017 …….
8:30 pm Eastern Standard Time …….

Washington @ KANSAS CITY (-7) 49.5

After their convincing win over the Raiders, The Politically Incorrects swoop into Middle America for some seminal barbecue and to play the undefeated Chiefs. Kansas City is balanced, well coached, and on a mission. They are our “Team of Destiny” for 2017 and we have never been wrong before.

Brutal: CHIEFS -7

Bob: Chiefs -7

Bob Gaughan

Bob Gaughan has worked in Buffalo media for over 25 years. He spent 15 of those years as a staple on WGR radio as a talk show host and sports director. Currently, Bob works for UB Athletics on the radio broadcast of football and women’s basketball. Off the air, he has been an adjunct professor for over 20 years at Buffalo State College where he developed and has taught a class on how to be a talk show host.

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