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Regardless of what happens on February 5th, the 2016-17 NFL Playoffs have undeniably been an offensive showcase. Some of this was due to the best defenses in the league (Denver, Baltimore) inexplicably missing the playoffs in favor of a Ryan Tannehill Matt Moore-led Dolphins team[1]. There were also multiple playoff teams with legitimate game changing defensive stars (Earl Thomas, Khalil Mack, and J.J. Watt) who fell prey to injuries. With the road cleared, the NFL’s streaking QBs and star skill position players drove down the field on nearly every possession. Al Michaels surely hopes everyone bet the over.

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Last week my picks went 4-1. Normally I would use this space to talk about how I was hyped about that and even more hyped about how I was over .500 on the season again. But I’m not going to talk about that here today. There’s more important things to tell you.

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Well, that was embarrassing.

After touting my skills as a gambling picker to the collective consciousness of the Internet, Sunday proved me a fool to anyone who was paying attention. By all accounts, last Sunday was the worst gambling day of my life. Beyond my 0-5 performance in the Hypothetical SuperContest, I went 3-12 against the spread in my weekly picks league, worse than any week I’ve had in the past two years. Thankfully, as a fairly reformed actual gambler, my monetary losses were kept to a minimum, save for three fairly small bets I had my sister place for me in Vegas during the preseason, (sorry about the losses Russell, I’ll get you back when I can).

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We made it.

Another season of professional football has arrived and with it, another year of the The Hypothetical SuperContest. Oh man, it feels good to be back. Last night, the Patriots and Steelers rang in the gambling new year, with Pittsburgh completing an unbelievable backdoor push that did not go unnoticed by the great Al Michaels.

If you’re new here, there’s a good chance that you didn’t understand any parts of that previous sentence other than “Patriots,” “Steelers” and “the great Al Michaels.” No worries mate, you will soon. In the mean time… Read More

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(Disclaimer: I am not an economist.)

As your resident Patriots apologist here on Tuesdays with Horry, I’m here to tell you that a lot has been said about consummate gentleman, best quarterback to ever play the game and general American Hero Tom Brady throughout his career, but especially since last season’s AFC Championship Game (You know, the one where the Indianapolis Colts lost by a billion and then whined to the league about it AGAIN, initiating the saga now known across the world as ‘Deflategate’). Lots of people have called him a cheater, a liar and various other mean things despite the total and utter lack of proof provided by the NFL that the footballs used in that game were deflated by anything other than natural causes.

My question to you, fellow Americans, is this: why?

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America is the best place, and if you disagree, you’re wrong. I say that not because I’m American (although I am, and damn proud) but because in America, not only do more people watch the Super Bowl than vote for their president* (*not a real statistic, but I’m 100,000% positive it’s true), but also will create a massive scandal that allows them to talk about “deflated balls” in the media for two weeks straight.

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Forget 50 Shades of Grey. Forget… other popular and mainstream erotic novels (?). A Gronking to Remember is here — well, was here — and it will make you forget every other book you’ve ever read in your life. This modern masterpiece was penned by acclaimed (read: several of her Kindle novels have five stars on Amazon) author Lacey Noonan, the wordsmith behind other great works such as Hot Boxed: How I Found Love on Amazon and I Don’t Care If My Best Friend’s Mom is a Sasquatch, She’s Hot and I’m Taking a Shower With Her. However, her most recent work, centered around Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, was apparently way too steamy for Amazon, as the book (which cost a whopping $3 on e-reader) seems to have been pulled from the website. Luckily for all of you, I managed to sneak in a download before that happened.

In A Gronking…, Noonan introduces us to Connecticut housewife Leigh, who catches one glimpse of the patented Gronk spike (or the “football throw down thing,” as she so eloquently puts it) on a football Sunday and falls in love at first sight, much to the chagrin of her beleagured Jets-fan husband, with whom her marriage is already on the rocks.

Anyway, once she sees the Gronk spike, it’s all over.

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I’ve grown tired of Mock Drafts, so instead I’ve made myself the hypothetical GM of every NFL team and simulated the first round of this year’s draft (If Kevin Costner can be a fictional GM, why can’t I?). Anyway, I wrote about the first 10 picks in Part 1 and covered 11 more in Part 2. Here’s the final part of the trilogy.

We’ve nearly survived the first round of the NFL Draft! Now it starts to get interesting, as we reach the part of the draft in which the best teams of last year try to improve upon their already stellar rosters. It’s the final eleven picks of the first round. Let’s get drafting!

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This weekend, the AFC-NFC Championship games will feature four teams that started the playoffs as favorites to reach the Super Bowl. It will serve as the penultimate episode of a season that was chock full of intriguing subplots which managed to do nothing but fill up think pieces and conspiracy theories. Teams like the Carolina Panthers, Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles were like the Bob Bensons of the NFL – just something to keep our minds away from the thought of an inevitability. It was nice to see some fresh teams added into the mix after years out of the picture – greetings from Kansas City/Charlotte – but alas, the favorites prevailed, and there is not a Super Bowl dark horse in sight. Not that this is a bad thing. It’s actually quite to the contrary. If last year’s conference championships games were battles of Davids against Goliaths, this is an all-Goliath fest.

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I couldn’t believe it. I stared at my television screen trying to digest what just happened as the ESPN generated scoreboard displayed ’20 Patriots 24 Panthers Final’. I watched as Luke Kuechly pumped his fist and Cam Newton flashed his signature smile. My mouth gaped open as Tom Brady yelled at an official and then proceeded to head to the locker room. I could hear all of Bank of America Stadium scream jubilantly in a moment of much needed catharsis.

I have not seen Charlotte like this since 2008 when John Fox was still the head coach. There was electricity in the city again. I could hear it two doors down as my neighbors entered into the night to vocalize their joy with bursts of “WHEWWWWWWWW” and “YESSSSSSSS.” Their gleeful expressions soundtracked the immediate press conference that followed where a frustrated Bill Belichick had to describe what went wrong in New England’s loss to the Carolina Panthers in the year 2013.

For many, it was redemption for the loss to the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXVIII. For me, it was a point of great civic pride in a city that has been plagued by the perception that it is an unexceptional town with unexceptional sports teams.

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