Saturday, January 20, 2018

Will it be a Doormat Super Bowl?


The free world is stunned. Heck, the whole world is stunned. There are doormat teams in both the AFC and NFC Conference Championship games. Is it possible? Could we have a Doormat Super Bowl?

True, the Vikings and the Jaguars are not exactly doormats this year, but they both have a checkered history of either horrific losing streaks or epic meltdowns just when it looks like they are about to climb to the top of the heap.

First, the magnificent MInnesota Vikings. It can be argued that they have fallen off more cliffs on the way to the top than any other team in history. The Vikings are a franchise that often fields and OK team, sometimes a great one, and provides just enough success to get their fans hopeful, even slightly confident, and then flaming out like a Russian test rocket in 1952. Boom! Here is a great article that details some of those epic moments: https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/the-vikings-are-doom-dressed-up-as-hope/?ex_cid=538twitter.

Will they fall to the Eagles and dash the hopes of Minnesota again? Nah. They can't. If they win the NFL crown they will be playing in the Super Bowl AT HOME. Is there any better place to blow a 17 point lead and then end the game on a missed chip shot field goal? No. They will win and move to the big stage where they can sink their ship and be 0-5 in the big one. 

And the Jaguars. Can they beat the Patriots? Actually, considering that defense, yes. I know Vegas is giving the Patriots 8.5 points, but Vegas is nuts. This Oracle is calling the Jags on this one, 28-24. 

Yes, fans, this is going to be a Doormat Super Bowl.

The Oracle has spoken!

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Doormats Drive into Brick Walls in Week 2 of Playoffs

I had this dream when I was in high school. Had it several times. I'm driving an orange 1972 El Camino at night on a long, straight blacktop in the Nevada desert. Moonlight paints the landscape. The Moody Blues flows from the 8-track: loud. I have the gas pedal down so far the ball of my foot is getting tired, and the 454 cubic inch V-8 is just banging away. It can be heard for miles in the silence.

A brick wall juts up from the road, like toast popping from a toaster. No time to react. I slam into the wall and I am catapulted from the seat (no seat belt), smash through the windshield, fly through the air, and obliterate my head against the wall. 

Boy, a good time can turn on you in a hurry.

Well, that's what it's going to be like for our Doormat teams in the playoffs this weekend.

First up, the inspired Tennessee Titans. A team Tony Dungey called, "The worst playoff team in a long time." Thanks, Tony. Tennessee rolls into a brick wall called Foxboro to play against a really angry Tom Brady. There is every reason to believe this game will be the blowout of the week. But us Doormat fans will be glued to our TVs as we pray for a miracle. We love it when one our our lowly teams clocks a giant.

Next the Jaguars and the Steelers. Jags not really a Doormat this year, but they just left the patio, so they are a Doormat of the playoffs. Defense is good. Offense is abysmal. Steelers are Steelers. 21-17 Steelers.

Finally, the Vikings verses the Saints. Both of these teams have some spectacular Doormat history, and some great seasons, but the Vikings have managed to blow more playoff and Super Bowl games than anyone. So this game is of great interest to our Doormat hearts. Will the Vikings do it again or wait for the Super Bowl so they can screw it up on the world's biggest stage: 0-5 and Kings of Super Bowl misery. That would be real Doormat panachce!

That's the report from the Oracle. Enjoy your cheese sauce and cheap beer, everyone!

Perfect Season Parade and the Kairse O' Chucky


Sorry, everybody, but you have to understand. It's been a busy week. It wasn't my fault...Las Vegas.  I was there to scout the Raiders new location. The last thing I remember is getting into the aubergine Lexus with dragging shredded muffler, 17 dents and windows that don't roll up.  I dimly remember the Dottie's 'casino', in a classy strip mall with no strippers and I passed ou- fell asleep in the back seat and I have no idea who those people were in the front seat, officer, and...never ride in a car where the windows don't roll up. It's so much harder to resist arrest. Well, all I can say is Clark County jail is very clean, and now I'm just clean as a whistle and the Commish was kind enough to not post my bail, so I'd learn a lesson. Here's what I learned: staying in jail for a couple days is a LOT different than Clark County online Traffic School. 

When I finally got back to the Basement, I find the Raiders completely trashing the place in a sort of Grüdenfest, which had been going on for 5 straight days. It's not often you have two 10-Club teams (Raiders/Niners) in the Basement partying like they're going to the Super Bowl. I can barely keep any cold beer on hand and the grill has been going like, 24 hours a day, burning anything they can find.  With this kind of action, who has time to write? 

ARRR!  RAIDERS ATTEMPT TO ERADICATE THE KAIRSE O'CHUCKY

Raiders owner Mark Davis is doing the right thing.  It doesn't matter if the Silver and Blacked Out go 0-16 next year. By bringing back Jon Gruden to coach the Raiders, the Curse Of Chucky* will be lifted, and the Las Vegas Raiders will be able to move on (literally) and just be another bumbling NFL franchise. Never mind that Davis, who started trying to get Gruden back the second the lid was sealed on his father's crypt, forgot to interview any minorities for the position, thereby probably violating the Rooney Rule and maybe the whole deal will get scuttled (how Raiders would THAT be? Only in bumbling. Raiders have solid record hiring minorities for coaching positions).  He finally got a coach -Jack Del Rio- to change the culture and win a few games, so that Gruden can show up and have an actual football team to work with. So, maybe- just maybe- the Raiders will get the hell out of our Basement. I gotta make another beer and pizza run....

[*The Curse of Chucky:  2003. Al Davis- 'then' owner (please, I'm sure he's still running the team as a looming specter over Mark's defiantly non-slicked back hairdo) fired Gruden after Gruden wasn't kissing Al's footballs in the right way.  Gruden was then hired by the Tampa Bay Bucs, who romped through the season, met the Raiders in the Super Bowl, and pulverized them in a game where Gruden's defense was calling all the Raider plays out at the line of scrimmage, including the audibles. It was just a little more than humiliating for old Al. Ever since that moment, the Raiders had the worst overall record in the league of any NFL franchise (until last year). ] 


CLEVELAND FOOD BANK RECEIVES $17,157 AND OVER $2,000 WORTH OF FOOD DONATIONS THANKS TO THE
The Perfect Season Parade.  Sounds like some bad joke on the city of Cleveland that maybe the Basement would cook up, right?  Cleveland did it right. Fans quite respectfully protested their team's ridiculously unmatchable ineptitude that you can't deny, and they raised $17,157 OVER the amount needed to put on the simple parade outside First Energy Field.

Chris McNeil, the Parade organizer, made sure the parade was respectfully frustrated and comic, yet something a real Browns fan could appreciate, and also handed over the huge wad of cash to the Cleveland Food Bank, while also driving over a few vans of donated food.  Cleveland is, clearly, a city that deserves better.  The Perfect Season 2.0 absolutely made more than lemonade out of this lemon of a season. The city has the right culture-  maybe the team can learn something.

Wanna see some highlights?  Click on the links below for highlights or video!

highlights:

HIghlights From the Perfect Season Parade (thescore.com)

the entire parade:

The Perfect Season Parade Video (cleveland.com)



DOORMAT PLAYOFF GAME FOR THE AGES

BILLS 3,  JAGS 10
Don't take my word for it. Take the facts. This was the lowest scoring, lowest yardage, worst bomb of a Wild Card game EVER played. There is NO competition. The Doormat Excellence meter blew up. The Bills even got QB Nathan "Prof. Turnover" Peterman into the game to throw an interception on the final drive, which, honestly, was a flourish of artistic proportions. The bets in Clark County lock-up were he'd do it in 1,2, or 3 throws. 3 was the winner. Where to start? Jags QB Blake Bortles had more yards rushing (88) than passing (87), yet it was the lowest rushing total ever for that dubious stat. The Jags were so bad, they won.  This is because the Bills weren't really fully realized life forms.

It was the lowest scoring Wild Card game ever.  It was the lowest total yardage Wild Card game ever.  17 Punts. In a playoff game. ESPN called the game 'almost unwatchable at times.'  AT TIMES?  You could measure the 'watchable' sections in milliseconds, but only if you were a millisecond. The Bills had ONE exciting play, and it was nullified by a penalty. We just had to sit back and admire the ugly beauty. It was like Waiting for Godot. It was like John Cage's 4'33". It was...a Japanese rock garden,  without the rocks. One's gaze drifts up into the sky, looking for perhaps a bird...a cloud...a single balloon....

The Bills promptly fired their offensive coordinator, who is being held responsible for the fact that the Bills don't have a starting quarterback.  I kinda like Tyrod Taylor, but, ah, his aim is...if this were baseball he'd be batting .198, and would be playing for the Buffalo Bisons over at Coca-Cola field.

Well- at least they made the playoffs!

The Jags continue on to represent the Doormat Division and now face the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday.  When bands have a terrible sound check, they usually take that as a sign the show is gonna be awesome.  Go with that, Jags fans.  Run with it.  The Basement has your back.

aaaAAAaand THAT'S THE VIEW FROM THE BASEMENT!!!!



Saturday, January 6, 2018

Doormat Playoffs: The Misery Continues!

The regular season is over, and the historic 0-16 Brownie party continues on the icy shores of Lake Eerie. Over 30,000 gallons of Captain Morgan Spiced Rum have been consumed. But history is still to be made because Doormats are are in the playoffs! Doormat coverage is not over yet.

First, the 9-7 Buffalo Bills. They ended a great run of 18 consecutive seasons without a playoff appearance (the longest in NFL history) despite a mostly Doormat performance throughout the season. With an 0-4 record in the Super Bowl and no playoff victories since 1994, they are truly one of the greatest doormat teams of all time. If they lost this weekend, their victory drought will be over 23 years! And who do they play? Another Doormat perennial, the 10-6 Jacksonville Jaguars. They have just finished a 10-year playoff drought of their own, when they were pasted by the hated Patriots in the Divisional Round. This smash mouth tilt in gator country is the Doormat Game of the Week!

By the way, with Buffalo making the playoffs, the Cleveland Browns step into the top of the the leader board with 15 seasons without a playoff appearance? Can they make it to 19? Depends on the draft this year. We wil be watching closeley.

Second, the Titans (9-7) play the Chiefs (10-6). The Chiefs played some of the best doormat football during mid season, but they ended the schedule with some outstanding play. They might actually make it to the Super Bowl. The Titans, on the other hand, have squeaked into the playoffs and we expect the Chiefs to pop their bubble by the end of the first quarter. However, under the highly uninspired play of Alex Smith, the Chiefs can lose anywhere anytime, as they proved with an 0-5 run this season.

Third, the lowely Rams have reached true heights this year. We beleive they will leave the Doormat patio for many years. Happy trails to you, guys! Hope you get all the way to a Lombardi Trophy.

And finally, the team we are all very amped for, the Purple People Eaters, the Minnesota Vikings, are back and looking strong. An amazing Doormat turnaround with a quarterback also knows for doormat perfromances, the 13-3 Vikings have a legititmate shot at the Super Bowl this year. As we all know, the Vikings are tied with Buffalo for most Super Bowl losses (4), so this could be the year that Minnesota steps up a notch with its 5th loss*.But hell, we hope not! We have the fridge stocked, the Hibatchi fired up, and we are hoping for a decapitation of the Patriots by the Vikings this year.

So enjoy the playoffs this weekend. We have some great Doormat action.

*We like to talk about Super Bowl droughts, etc., and the Vikings are in the rareified air of over 40 years without a Super Bowl appearance (let alone victory), but who is the team that has the longest Championship drought? The Lions, Browns, and the Vikings won a Championship before the Super Bowl era. However, the Cardinals did not. They hold the record with 69 years without a NFL Championship!

For a great article on the history of playoff misery, visit https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_NFL_franchise_post-season_droughts.



Monday, January 1, 2018

WEEK 17 WRAP-UP: BROWNS WIN MOLDY CARPET!!!!!!

0-16

BROWNS FINISH PERFECT SEASON, 

WIN THE MOLDY CARPET!!!

BILLS MAKE PLAYOFFS FOR FIRST TIME 17 YEARS

HALF THE LEAGUE FIRED



BROWNS 24, STEELERS 28
They did it, Doormat Denizens. Driving deep into the Shower Curtain (2nd string Steelers) territory with under two minutes to go, and the whole season on the line, wide receiver Corey Coleman did the Brownie thing to do- he dropped a perfectly thrown 4th down pass inside the Steeler 10-yard line (it would have been first and goal), ending the Browns threat to spoil the Perfect Season. It was a harrowing, nail-biter moment, and CBS switched over for the closing minutes, so the whole country got to watch the final flameout. Steeler defenders came over and encouraged the dejected Coleman to get up. Corey, dude, buck up: you made history.  From the Underdog sector of the Basement, Mr. Coleman, we hope you get your shot at redemption. It is certainly a moment that will be etched into every die-hard Browns fan's memory for loooong time. 

But let's get some perspective- it wasn't a pass into the end zone. The Browns would have had a few more downs to blow it, so don't go hanging it on Mr. Coleman. It's likely somebody else would have stepped up. They're the Browns.

Well, guess what? The 2008 Detroit Lions don't get to brag about it anymore. They've got 0-16 company. Owners of the worst record (4-44) over three years since 1950*, the Blank Helmets have marched into NFL- and Doormat history- with such a stirring cadence that the Perfect Season Parade will be held, in Cleveland, next Saturday, Jan. 6th, at First Energy Stadium. Well, outside it. They better have a lot of security on hand. 

Last year, the money raised for the scheduled parade (which was cancelled, of course, due to a victory) was donated to the Cleveland Food Bank. To be completely honest, sitting here on our duct tape orange plaid couch in our poorly heated Basement,nursing burnt coffee, with a possum nest holding position by the broken washing machine, and a mound of pizza boxes blocking the view of the TV, and a hangover that you wouldn- actually, I bet, this morning, you'd believe it-  the Doormat thing to do would be to take that money, stage a parade, and march straight to the Cleveland Food Bank, and have Mr. Coleman himself deliver the check. Underdogs gotta pull together, and that would be the Perfect Season thing to do.

*The Chicago Cardinals, from 1943-45 went 1-29, easily the worst winning percentage ever, and if you include the the last six games of '42 and the first game of '46, it's 1-36, pretty darn stinky.  But, the disqualifying item is the '44 Cardinals were, in fact, the Chicago Pittsburgh Cardinals-Steelers. There just were just not enough guys around at the time, because of something called World War Two, to make a proper bad team. Combined teams do not count for all-time stats for a franchise.  

DOORMAT DIVISION STANDINGS, FINAL STANDINGS

NFC
                                  W-L          PF        PA      DIF

NY GIANTS               3-13         246      388     -142
TAMPA BAY              5-11         335      382      -47
CHICAGO                  5-11         264     320      -56
SANTA CLARA         6-10         331      383      -52
WASHINGTON *        7-9          342     388       -46
GREEN BAY*             7-9          320     384       -64

AFC
                                  W-L          PF        PA      DIF


CLEVELAND             0-16        234      410     -176
HOUSTON                 4-12        338      436      -98
INDIANAPOLIS         4-12        263      404      -141
NY JETS                    5-11        298      382      -84
DENVER                    5-11        289      382      -72
MIAMI                        6-10        281      393      -112
OAKLAND                 6-10        301      373      -72

*Parity Patio Patrons: 7-9 is not full membership in the Doormat Division.  Must lose 10 for entry into Basement.  7-9, you spend the winter out on the patio, making the coffee and cooking the weenies.  Don't let the weenies freeze.


BUFFALO BILLS IN PLAYOFFS?  PLAYOFFS???


BENGALS 31, RAVEN-POES 27/  BILLS 22, DOLPHINS 16
In a finish you just had to love, the Biffalo Buffs half back into the playoffs for the first time in 17 years (it was the current longest streak in playoff droughts) because the miserable Cincinnati Bengals un-bungled themselves, and pulled off an insane final drive and beat the Baltimore Ravens with a 44-yard pass play that had at least part of Ohio going nuts.  Shedding the Orange-bad in the final minute, after blowing a 14 point lead, the Bungles waltz into the off-season with a 7-9 record, escaping the Basement by the narrowest of margins, and simultaneously vaulting the unlikely Bills into the playoff arena.  Woo-hoo!

The Bills did win their game against the Fins, who were starting a QB name Fales (seriously?), so they didn't completely back into the 'big dance.'  Funny thing- they get to play the Jaguars next week in what has to be our DOORMAT PLAYOFF game. The Jags just got out of the Basement, and the Bills are forever toying with ineptitude. Don't think the Bills don't have a chance. They could- holy cow- win this game.   

With the loss, the Fins make the Ten Club (at least 10 losses), and receive full membership in the Basement for the winter.

RAIDERS 10, CHARGERS 30
Good God they really did it- they made it to 10 losses. Ka-BLAM. The Raydurz did their worst to help the Chargers get into the playoffs. It was the least they could do, and doing things the least has been the M.O. around Raider headquarters this season. Easily the league's biggest flameout of the season, owner Mark 'What's that on top of your head" Davis wasted no time firing Jack Del Rio after the conclusion of the game. I'll bet even that was sloppily done. Unfortunately Mark won't be firing himself, which is what the Raiders really need. 
But, instead, in 24 months he'll be taking his square-wheeled cart of un-disciplined Silver and Blacked Out mythology with him to Las Vegas, where indifferent tourists who just lost $4000 at the Keno table will be ushered in with free tickets, complimentary concessions and a lap dance as enticement to sit in his cave and watch real losing. Hmm, at least that barn will have the Biggest A.C. Bill in Vegas. Think you lost a lot last night? Just watch some Raider Commitment to Excrescence, and you'll be more than ready to get back into the Casino!! Anything will look like better odds after you watch our- hey where ya going?

ADDENDUM:  Davis will also attempt to bring back John Gruden for the umpteenth rumor spin, in a vain grasp at the last glory days, and to eradicate the Curse of Chucky- when Gruden got his revenge on Al Davis, and clobbered the Raiders with his Tampa Bay Bucs in Super Bowl XXXVII (2003).  

TOXINS 13, COLTS 22
Take your big cowboy hats off and put 'em over your hearts, fans, because the Houston Toxins slid all the way from 3-3 to 4-12, and passed the Colts on the final day of the season, to finish in a solid, proud second place in the AFC Doormat. The Toxins swept the Colts on the season, and win the tiebreaker.  The Clots finish 4-12, and beat these teams:  Browns, 49ers (before they lost their way and started winning), Texans, Texans.  So, Indy was plenty bad, but just not bad enough.  Clearly this was not enough, as the Clots fired coach Pagano.  That'll fix it.

GIANTS 18, WASHINGTONS 10
Ooops. Well, you can't lose 'em all. Giants still nail down 2nd pick in the draft. Redskins almost make it to 10 losses, but just didn't have enough mistake-prone players. Maybe next year. 

JETS 6, PATS 26
The Jets committed 9 penalties yesterday, with 6 of them going for Patriot first downs. They didn't need to do that, but gifts are appreciated at this time of year, even for a team that seems to get 'gifts' on a regular basis.

49ERS 34, RAMS 13
Out!  Beat it. Fun fact:  49ers first team to ever lose the first 9, and then win 6 games (5 was enough, in fact).  Shocking turnaround.  Never seen it, and the stats confirm it.  They still made the 10 club, but boy is that tainted. They are going to have to pay for those Pabst talls. 

BUCS 31, SAINTS 24
In some sort of final insult, the Bucs finally win a game in the final moments, after snatching defeat from the jaws of victory in countless others.  Actually, it's 11 losses, to be precise.  Bucs QB Jameis Winston rifles 3 interceptions, but it was just not enough. 

BRONCOS 24, CHIEFS 27
Orange is as orange does.  Excellent futile comeback from 14 down.  
Bongos coach Vance Joseph (did you even know that's who coaches this team?) gets to stew in his own New Year's hangover until his meeting today with VP John Elway.  Have a little hair of the dog, V.  You may have to keep coaching this time bomb next year.

BEARS 10,  VIKINGS 479
I'll bet John Fox took his time leaving the field yesterday. Just don't coach another Orange team, John. You need a break.

ORANGE-YOU-BAD FINAL STANDINGS

BROWNS    0-16
BRONCOS  4-12
BEARS        5-11
BUCS          5-11  (honorary orange bad)
FINS            6-10
BENGALS   7-9

TEN CLUB MEMBERSHIP, 2017

An unprecedented number of teams cleared 10 losses this year, ELEVEN, seriously depleting the Parity Division (only one 8-8 team, the Cards).  the AFC contributed an unprecedented 7 Ten-loss clubs.  Here they are, in all their tarnished glory:

Browns        0-16
Giants          3-13
Texans         4-12
Colts            4-12
Broncos       5-11
Bears           5-11
Jets              5-11
Bucs             5-11
Dolphins       6-10
49ers            6-10
Raiders        6-10

A FINAL WORD

It's been a wild season, fans, capped off with the ultimate in Doormat perfection, an 0-16 team. May you find victories in your future, in your coffee, in your change jar. Remember, America doesn't love a winner (except for really annoying rich snobs who think every human besides them is in the 'service' industry)- they love an Underdog. One who rises up and wins, from out of nowhere. 

In daily life, we spend a lot more time absorbing losses, big and small, than wallowing in victories. In fact, part of loving your team that finally DOES win is that they are doing it for you, and you can continue on your crooked path of small victories and innumerable losses, while relying on the camaraderie of coping with it with all with your fellow humans, family, friends, and like-minded fans. But your TEAM- they pulled it off. Maybe.  Some DAY. And you didn't have to lift weights to get it done. 

That's why we come to just hate 'winners' and can't wait for them to get taken down a peg...or 12. Think about the Patriots (Pats fans leave the room)...keep thinking...what do you want to happen to them? Right now, it's get to the Super Bowl, and just get clobbered, right?  Or is it just get snuffed in their first playoff game by, say...Buffalo? You get the point. 

I'm stepping out from behind the curtain for a moment because nobody's cleaned back there in ages and whew its- wait a minnit.  The SF Giants had never won a World Series since moving to SF in 1958.  I moved here in '77.  In 2009...still no World Series victory. I did the math- 51 years. It was going to outlive me- happens all the time. But, improbably, they pulled it off.  Oh my god the payoff.  I cried.  We all cried.  The Trophy in coach Bochy's hands riding in the convertible down Market St....it was REAL. We got there, and it sure didn't come cheap, baby. 52 years. 

 I don't know about you, but we- the Doormat Division- cannot stand some kid who lives in Snotbank, WI, choosing the Yankees or the Warriors (my team, but I know they are becoming really tiresome to everybody else) or the Pats as their favorite team. Teams nowhere near their Sphere of Losing. Hundreds of miles away! That's just weird. It's painless, I guess. They don't get it. It's not earned. It's remote- not nearby, like the rest of the damn bungles that you live with in your town. But they're young and skeered, so - give them time. If they spend their whole life just bandwagon jumping, then they...they aren't real people. They don't want to get down in the trenches and muddle through to...Honey, should I pick up some beer? 

For the rest of us? Stick with them. Stick with those lousy Browns, Raiders, Broncos, Lions, Giants. You know they'll be back. And if not in your lifetime, then in your kids (or the kids in the neighborhood), or your grandkids, or- OK that's enough of that. Be helpful. Hand it down. It's your civic duty. 

The Basement wraps it up for another lustrous, long winter. We'll be back for some season-ending notes.  May the victories be all the sweeter, some sunny day.

ANNNnND THAT'S THE VIEW FROM THE BASEMENT!!!!




Friday, December 29, 2017

Cleveland's Date with Destiny (and I don't mean Beyonce): NFL Week 17 Predictions

Burt scribbles out the Brownie's date with Destiny

Record snow, record low temperatures, record ice pack on Lake Eerie, and the record-setting 0-15 Cleveland Brownies have a date with destiny as they travel to equally snowed-in Pittsburgh and answer the question every doormat fan is asking: "Can they go 0-16?" It would tie the 2008 Detroit Kittens for the worst season on record. 

Fans in Cleveland are so acclimated to losing, they are planning a "victory" parade. I checked in with a few fans at Clark Bar*, one of the diviest dive bars in Cleveland. Snuggled on 1201 Clark Avenue, reviewers say the bar opens (parentheses mine) "several hours before every Browns game, giving fans a chance to enjoy breakfast (or get passed out drunk) before they watch the game. Even when Cleveland’s football team isn’t on the field (which often appears to be the case even when they are on the field)," fans enjoy not being home and drinking beer instead of doing chores.

"Tampa Bay and Detroit like to brag about their epic failures," says Dierdre, a buxom mid-30s woman in a tight leather vest. "But the Brownie Dogs are going to piss all over that."

"Yeah," a dark-haired bar guy named Burt chips in. "This will be the record of all records because no one has played this bad consistently for three years, and everyone knows threes are, like cosmic." 

Burt grabs a napkin in his greasy fingers and writes on it with a fresh, wet Sharpie.  From 76-78 Tampa Bay was 7-37 (0-14 in 76); Detroit from 08-10 was 8-40 (0-16 in 08), but Cleveland, if they lose this week, from 15-17 will be 4-44 (0-16 in 2017). Burt leans in close, his breath hot with 8:30 a.m. bourbon. "No one has ever lost every game in a season and put together a three year string like that."

Dierdre agrees. "The Kittens can eat their own Kat Box, and the Bootineers won a Super Bowl once somewhere so they don't even count anymore. I hate Florida."

A non-regular in a light blue hoodie at the end of the bar looks up from his gin. "The '08 Kittens were statistically much worse than this year's Brownies. Kittens are still the worst."

Burt starts scribbling on another napkin. "Statistics do not tell the whole story, see here, the '08 Cleveland squad was actually ranked lower in total offense, passing,  rushing, points, first downs, and Red Zone Pct. (34%, Yoik!) than the Kittens, and the Kittens defense was worse, but if you combine the EXP stats, Brownies are worse in '08, yet the Kittens out-lost them.  So screw your stats."

The Detroit hoodie guy starts to argue back, but Dierdre leans on the bar and says she needs some help with her car battery. "It's awful cold out there this morning. Can you give me a hand?" Hoodie guy leaves with her.

"He won't be back," the bartender, Tyerone says. He refills my beer and adds, "Losin' to Pittsburgh won't be no easy piece."

"You're dreamin," Burt says. "The Blank Helmet crew has lost the last 5 games against the Steelers. Not a chance. They are out there in the snow right now doin' fumble drills and shanked punt practice. They are gonna be ready like a plugged sewer pipe with a gas leak waitin' for a match."

Tyerone shakes his head; a wizened Jedi of losing. "This ain't no important game or nothin' for the Steelers. Win or lose, they get the same playoff seed. I bet Big Ben, LeVeon Bell, and half the starters don't even play. Why risk it? Brownies will be up against the third string. It won't be a steel curtain, it will be a shower curtain out there in the snow. Brownies are going to win this one and blow the whole season; which is what they do."

"You're right," Burt says. "Cleveland will need to focus on big plays in order to lose. If they get into a grind-it-out game against a bored opponent, they could win." Burt starts scribbling on a napkin again. "They been crazy this year in turnovers resulting in points and total yards allowed on punts and kickoffs. That will be the key to this loss."

The bar door swings open, a cold blast of air, some errant snowflakes, and Dierdre come in. "He couldn't help," she says. "I think he got lost or fell down or somethin'. Hey, Tyerone, how about a Irish coffee, it's morning." She picks up the napkin with the won/loss records on it. "Hey, even if they win against Pittsburgh, they still 5-43, still a record. We can't lose!"

"It only counts if they lose every game in a season," Burt sighs. "C'mon, Brownies, you gotta lose."

So that's the news from Cleveland, and here are the picks of the week as the frozen turkey catapult launches birds across the Cuyahoga river.

Browns- 18
Steelers- 24

Bears- 16
Vikings- 34

Jets- 28
Patriots- 36

Redskins- 17
Giants- 14

Bengals- 10
Ravens- 28

Bills- 14
Dolphins- 17

Saints- 35
Buccaneers- 14

Chiefs- 14
Broncos- 9

Raiders- 17
Chargers- 28

49ers- 21
Rams- 28

The Oracle has finished his beer at Clark Bar and has spoken!

*The characters depicted in this story are entirely fictional and are not taken from any real person either living or dead. And all of us here in the Doormat Division extend our admiration to the real Clark Bar, one of the best, classic blue collar bars in Cleveland. The kind of place we love to visit.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

WEEK 16 WRAP-UP: GAROPPOLOCO!!

WRONG-WAY WHINERS



BROWNS TEETERING ON HISTORY.  BUCS ROCKET INTO 2ND.  TOXIC IN TEXAS.    RAIDERS...OH DEAR.  AFC-NFC LOSING IMBALANCE!!


DOORMAT DIVISION STANDINGS, WEEK 16

NFC
                                  W-L          PF        PA      DIF

NY GIANTS               2-13         228      378      -150
TAMPA BAY              4-11         304      358      -54
CHICAGO                  5-10         254      297      -43
SANTA CLARA         5-10         297      370      -73
WASHINGTON          7-8           332      370      -38 

AFC
                                  W-L          PF        PA      DIF
CLEVELAND             0-15        210      382     -172
INDIANAPOLIS         3-12        241      391     -150
HOUSTON                 4-11        325      414      -89
DENVER                    5-10        265      355      -90
NY JETS                    5-10        292      356      -64


THE GAMES

BROWNS 3,  BEARS 20
As expected, the Cleveland Blank Helmets put the freeze on yesterday at Frozen Solid Soldier Field and dispatched the Bears as if the Bears were not the Bears. Brownout QB DeShone Kizer piled on two more INTs for his league-leading 21, and the Browns, once again,put in a professional job of losing that, really honestly, just can't be beat. Won. Beat. You know what I mean. As the fans filed out to the parking lots and the trains, you could here the classic refrain echoing off the concrete: "Well, we may be bad, but at least we're not the Browns." And really, who can be?  

The Perfect Season and the Perfect Season Parade is on the line next week. The Steelers play host, and they are still fighting for something called 1st seed, whatever that is, but I think it means they'll be playing Road Kill with the Browns, whether they like it or not. But, what if New England is ahead by 40 points by halftime in their game? Will the Steelers pull the plug and give the Browns an opening to blow the whole thing? Here's your question:  How many starters do the Steelers have to rest before the Browns have a shot at winning?  

49ERS 44, JAGS 33
Ok, we can't call them the Whiners anymore. Doormats DO NOT score 21 points in the 4th quarter. Doormats are gassed and hitting the oxygen in the 4th quarter.  Following up last week's resurrection of cheering at Levi's Stadium, the Santa Clara 49ers rack up 44 points on what is supposed to be a great Jags defense, to the delight of a delirious half-filled stadium. Maybe this is a good preview of playoff performance coming up for the Jags. The fighting over by the bench was a nice touch. They may be a turnaround team (worst to first), but on Sunday, 'turned around' had a different meaning.  

The Niners, six games under .500 at the start of the game, beat the Jags, who were 6 games over .500. This almost never ever happens.  It's a humongous upset. Thank you, Whi-  Niners, I mean, for supplying some late season heroics for Underdogs everywhere.  Woo-Hoo!!

BUCS 19,  PANTHERS 22
There is always something special about watching your team leader completely losing his cool as the game winds down to another close loss. Gain over 400 yards of offense and lose! Confuse the fans! Of course, the Bucs do this as a game plan most weeks, so hats off to the whole organization for this inexorable drive to 2nd place in the NFC Doormat. The Bucs leapfrog the 49ers and Bears, but have run out of games to lose to catch the Giants. Just too much ground to make up.

BILLS 16, PATS 27
Controlling your own destiny is asking a lot, and the Bills confirmed it was too much to ask. The Pats got their usual preference treatment, and the Bills got a TD swiped from them.  Good lord, doesn't the league ever learn? The Bills now need all kinds of help to make the playoffs, but it could still happen. 17 years of no playoffs.  Tick...tick....tick

GIANTS 0, CARDINALS 23
In a must-lose situation, with the Colts breathing down their Moldy Carpet necks, the Giants pulled off a shut-out for the Cards (first time in 25 years) and have to lose again next Sunday against the Washingtons to be, at least, the second worst team in the league.  3 turnovers, 10 penalties, 1-13 on third down. Solid.

RAIDERS 10, EAGLES 19
Remember last year?  When the Raiders had 7 come-from-behind wins?  Watching this ghastly idea of a Christmas Day entertainment yesterday, it was clear that the Raiders had ironed all that come-from-behind stuff out of their routine and game plans. On the Eagle side, maybe Nick Foles can Trent Dilfer his way to the Super Bowl. The Eagle defensive line eliminated the word 'pocket' yesterday.  And now, the Raiders just have to lose one more, and they'll have 10 losses, and we'll have to let them back in the Basement. The take up a LOT of space. 

BRONCOS 11, WASHINGTONS 27
Punt. Punt. Field Goal. Punt. Fumble. Interception. Time runs out (halftime). Punt. Punt. Punt. Downs. Fumble. Touchdown.  

Yep, always save the best for last, as long as the L is long since decided.

STIFF OF THE WEEK

CHARGERS 14, JETS 7
18 Punts. EIGHTEEN. The Jets gave up 379 yards to the Chargers, but it was barely enough. Wasn't "Three First Downs and a Punt" a movie with Hugh Grant in it? The Jets staged their own funeral yesterday, hitting the 10-loss gold standard for Doormat membership. The Chagrins, ridiculously, could still make the playoffs. I nominate them for Doormat Rep to the Playoffs.  

TOXINS 6, STEELERS 34
The Pittsburgh Steelers and the Houston Toxins played a rousing game of Road Kill yesterday. You can hang as many ornaments as you like on that sucker.  It's just kinda hard to cover that many tire tracks.  

COLTS 16, RAVENS 23
The Indianapolis Colts can still be the second-worst team in the league.  They can also be one of the worst for their own franchise, all-time.  So many milestones to hit.  But, the Houston Toxic Cloud looms on their Sunday horizon, so don't start counting your sacks before they hatch. One more loss to cross.  

The Colts can't tie their 1981 team for worst season in franchise history (2-14), but they REALLY can't touch the 533 points they gave up, which still stands as the most points given up by anybody anywhere on the planet. I think that goes for Mars and Venus, too. Pro-football-reference doesn't have those stats, so I'm going with my interstellar gut on that.

DOLPHINS 13, CHIEFS 29
The Fins went 0-8 on 3rd down. Mix that with 11 penalties for 75 yards, and you can just imagine the fun. The Chiefs are back on their game, and hey, no fair, you guys are faster off the ball than us! If the Floppers can blow it next week against the Bills, no gimme, they'll have the coveted 10th loss, and a spot on the sofa for the winter.  

LIONS 17, BENGALS 26
The Lions just can't leave it alone. Some team comes along, eager to get their 10 loss, and the old Kitten Pride surfaces, and they steal a loss from them. It's getting old. But, what can you expect from someone who once ruled the Doormat Division like Gods?

Well, the AFC can end with as many as 10 teams with 10 losses this season, while the NFC is already done with only 4 teams with 10 losses. Clearly, the league needs to do something about this imbalance, and instill some kind of parity with losing. It's the right thing to do.

By the way here's a fun link to each NFL team's worst season, brought to you by the nice people at ESPN: 

http://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/page/32for32x171226/worst-nfl-teams-seasons-ever-history-all-32-franchises

Please note that that article is somewhat subjective, as there are some seasons by the listed teams that were 'worse' by record.  Still, a good read.

Oh, and if they haven't already left town, make sure you apologize, sincerely, for all the incredibly dumb stuff you said yesterday after your third spiked egg nog and half the family isn't even speaking to you. In the Basement, we learned long ago that pride is just a foolish vanity. And after a while, you learn how to prepare crow so it goes down better. We can provide some handy recipes.  All you gotta do is ask.  


aaaAAAAAAnd THAT'S THE VIEW FROM THE BASEMENT!!!