Tag Archives: NFL

Bill, I heard you got suspended

Dear Bill Simmons:

I just heard the news, that you got suspended from ESPN. Man, I’m really sorry that you’re in trouble, but I just want to let you know that I’m standing with you all the way. That’s right, I’m suspending myself from ESPN also. Because you were just saying what everyone else was already thinking, that, as an organization, the NFL is corrupt, and that the commissioner totally knew about that Ray Rice video.


Whatever, I’m not going to say anything here that hasn’t been said a million times already. I like watching football, but the NFL just sucks. They don’t want to pay anybody for getting thoroughly beat up on a weekly basis and then getting dementia not long after. The cheerleaders make less than minimum wage. Every time you watch a game, you have to sit through those ridiculous Faith Hill country intros.

Yeah, I’m with you Bill, after your suspension is over, I want you to tell ESPN to go take a hike. Maybe they should suspend themselves. But they’ll never do that. They don’t have the guts. They’re too beholden to the NFL, to Monday Night Football.

Bill, I hope you’re not going too hard on yourself. I know this isn’t your first suspension, but it’s still got to sting a little bit. I remember the first time I got suspended. I was waiting tables and this lady said to me, “I’m very allergic to citrus. I can’t stress enough, no citrus.” And I was like, “Yes, OK, I get it, no citrus.” And so she ordered a salad and I thought, that’s fine, nothing citrusy there. Except, as soon as she took a bite, she called me over and told me that she was having an allergic reaction. She’s fine, she survived, but it turned out that there was lemon or grapefruit in the salad dressing.

They suspended me. And I went through a whole range of emotions, anger, fatigue, more anger. I got over it eventually. In fact, after half a day or so of just kind of moping around, I actually felt really good. Because come on, I hate waiting tables. So to not have to go in for three weeks was, for me anyway, sort of like a gift. I’m not going to lie, after my suspension was over, I went back into that restaurant and, weeks later, I saw the same citrus lady. And I was just having such a bad night that I couldn’t help but to at least consider the possibility of giving her some key lime pie on the house, maybe get myself another three-week vacation.

But yeah, you probably love your job. I’d love your job too. I was on this kick where I was asking you for a job every week for a while, but I never heard from you. And so, from my point of view, it’s kind of like I’ve always been in a state of permanent suspension from ESPN and Grantland.

That’s not cool, making this about me. This has nothing to do with me. This is about you. Bill, with all of this free time in front of you, there’s so much to take advantage of, especially this time of year. You can go out to eastern Long Island and pick apples and take a hayride. A lot of places serve warm apple cider. You’ve got to go early in the day though, because all of the people from the city show up in swarms, parking their cars wherever they feel like it, asking the apple pie place dumb questions like, “Is this apple pie gluten free?”

Or you could do whatever. I’m sure it won’t be difficult finding cool stuff to do. Because three weeks Bill, that’s a lot, but it’ll go by fast. And then you’ll be back in the daily grind and there’s going to be some other NFL public relations disaster, and this time your boss is going to be like, “Simmons! Don’t even think about saying anything bad about the NFL!” And what are you going to do? No use worrying about that now. Just, take solace in the fact that you stood up for what you believed in, and now you don’t have to go to work for three weeks. And even if you got fired from ESPN, you’d still be ridiculously popular and you could start your own web site and the NFL would probably go bankrupt in no time. You’ve got them right where you want them, Bill. And I’ve totally got your back.

I still believe in Eli

Eli Manning didn’t have a great season last year. And if you go by preseason football, he’s not looking much better. But I don’t care what people think. I don’t care if my brother-in-law Mike dangled Eli in front of my face in our fantasy league, proposing a joke trade for my starting wide receiver. I’ll take that trade Mike, and we’ll see who’s laughing come February. Because I still believe in the man that got the job done twice. I still believe in Eli.


To everyone out there writing off the Giants based on a poor preseason performance, you’re all crazy. Nobody cares about preseason football. Not the players, not the coaches, hardly even any real football fans. The only people watching preseason football are ESPN announcers and statistics junkies. The on-air personalities, at least they have an incentive to pretend to be excited about the preseason. But the junkies? The guys that spend all of their free time calculating odds and constantly trying to put up the perfect fantasy lineup? They’re not even real fans. They’ve transcended fandom, to the point where football doesn’t even look enjoyable, not from their point of view anyway.

So Eli didn’t do that great last year. That’s all in the past. And considering their abysmal 0 – 6 start, I actually feel like a lot of their late-season accomplishments went unnoticed. But yeah, any way you want to spin it, 2014 wasn’t a great year for the G-Men.

But like I said, so what? Eli had one really bad year. You don’t think it’s possible to bounce back from one bad year? This is a guy that has two championships under his belt. Of course he’s going to bounce back. Let’s at least wait until the first game to start planning his early exit from the Giants.

And that brings me to another point. I read some article saying how rumors were leaking from the higher-ups in the Giants organization, about how many were starting to wonder if Eli isn’t in the beginning of his decline as an athlete. From a pure business standpoint, what kind of an attitude is that? Don’t you guys want to make money this year? Don’t you think that maybe you should be encouraging your starting quarterback, giving him a little bit of positive encouragement instead of gossiping behind his back? Why are you trying to undermine your own potential success?

Eli sure has a lot to prove, but I think that his history of success has entitled him to the benefit of the doubt following last year. Yeah, offense was terrible in general, but a quarterback can only pass the buck on so much of that responsibility. But until this season starts out in a nosedive like last year, there’s no reason to start automatically assuming that it’s not going to work out. If anything, we should be excited. Because at the very least, it would be really hard to match whatever happened last year.

Come on, the Giants have a great quarterback. As a fan base, we need to start acting like it. Eli, if you’re reading this, I just want to let you know that I still believe in you. I know you’re going to have a great year. I had a dream last night where you guys won the Super Bowl. It was awesome. I was sitting front row. You looked at me after a twenty-five yard touchdown pass, and you winked at me. Part of me wishes that I never woke up. And you’re on my fantasy team now. So my success hinges on yours. We’re in this together Eli, and I’m not worried at all. In fact, I’ve never felt more confident about anything else in my life.

Bill, I didn’t really enjoy the Super Bowl this year

Dear Bill Simmons:

Did you watch the Super Bowl? Of course you watched the Super Bowl, you’re the Sports Guy, you kind of have to watch the Super Bowl. But did you like it? I didn’t really like it. I think it’s generally acknowledged that the game was boring, an uneven slugfest. Peyton didn’t have any time. The Seahawks defense was too good. Blah, blah, blah, these are all just generic Super Bowl bites that I’m rehashing almost directly from Grantland anyway.


I stole this image from Grantland too. Sorry Bill. I’ll make it up to you once I’m one of your full-time employees.

But aside from the game, did you like the Super Bowl? Like, you’ve made a career out of following sports, writing about sports, so in many ways, this event is like the peak of everything that professional sports strives to be. Or, American professional sports anyway. Because the NFL is pure America, or it strives to be anyway. It more or less exists within the confines of the United States, and judging from the spectacle that was Sunday’s Super Bowl, it’s not a comfortable fit either.

Look at the NFL, and look at NASCAR, its racecar cousin. They’re both basically the same thing. They’re these giant sports that, for the most part, are totally inaccessible to the average American. Anybody can grab a basketball and head to the park for a little pickup, and it’s the same for baseball and soccer. But tackle football? The Daytona 500? You can’t go out and join a pit crew.

I guess you could join a pit crew. But you’d have to make it your job, like that would have to be your whole life. And so, unless you’re committed to climbing that ladder, unless you somehow find a way to coach or play football at some sort of a professional level, you’re really left with whatever the NFL or NASCAR decides to give you.

And, just like most of the writers at Grantland have been pointing out all season, they’re giving us these shows. The NFL has perfected football as an event, as sports entertainment. It’s big, it’s loud, and it’s got something for everyone.

Maybe it would have been OK if there were an actual football game to watch. But the one-sided assault that was Sunday night’s game brought into stark relief what a bunch of nonsense the Super Bowl is as a national event.

Commercials? Like, you have these increasingly rare moments when a large portion of the country turns its attention to the same thing at the same time, and the best we can do is a bunch of advertisements? I don’t care how entertaining you think you’re being trying to sell me Coca-Cola of Bud Light, it’s still a billboard, something that, if I were watching a regular TV show, something that I recorded on my DVR, I’d gladly skip over, one hundred percent of the time.

And I think about other sports, the finals in hockey, baseball, basketball, regardless of how we watch them on TV or follow them on the Internet, it’s all mostly centered around actual sports, fighting for the championship in front of actual fans. Maybe it’s just a natural consequence of the stop-and-go nature of professional football, and yeah, there were plenty of fans visiting New York from Seattle and Denver, but the whole event just felt fake, totally inauthentic. I was more interested in reading about the throngs of out-of-towners getting stuck for hours at some train station in Secaucus than I was in the actual game.

I don’t want to be a downer. But it was just really lame. The commercials were really lame. Yeah it was cool seeing Seinfeld and George act like Seinfeld and George, but was it really that funny? Was that cute puppy and horse Budweiser ad worth me tuning into Channel 5 rather than just clicking play on my computer?

I don’t know. Maybe if the Giants were playing I would have been a little more pumped.

Hey Bill, can I still have a job at Grantland? Please?



This is not the Super Bowl I predicted back in November

I made a big deal about predicting the winner of the 2014 Super Bowl way back when the New York Giants were 0 – 6. There was this whole blog post about how they were going to come back, make a run for the playoffs, and somehow win. And for a while anyway, it looked like I was right. Week after week, the G-Men racked up the wins, and sure, it was against mostly bad teams, but whatever, I looked like Nostradamus. I kept posting stuff on Facebook like, “I called it! It’s happening!” But then, toward the end of November, despite a ridiculous two-point conversion late in the fourth quarter, the Giants failed to stop the Cowboys from marching across the whole field to score a season-ending three-point goal.


It was humiliating. First of all, I don’t really know anything about football. And every time I talk about football, if the conversation gets past the three or four very current football talking points that I have memorized from a few carefully followed Twitter feeds, this fact becomes painfully obvious.

I’m trying as hard as I can to keep up. You know, besides actually watching entire football games, I’m really making a solid effort to stay up-to-date with what’s going on in the NFL. I joined a fantasy league. So yeah, I wanted to win that, I mean, there was money on the line. But even with my fantasy team, I found that it was easy just to read fantasy blogs, to copy the strategies of real football fans, people who really watched football games.

And it worked, kind of. I made it to the playoffs. But then I got knocked out of the playoffs. Now there wasn’t anything left to really ground my interest in the rest of the season. If only the Giants had lived up to my prediction, I probably would have been paying more attention.

I’m kind of an accidental Giants fan anyway. Up until two years ago, I never even tried to be a football fan. I think I went to a few Super Bowl parties, but I remember it being like ever year, I wouldn’t know who was actually playing in the Super Bowl until a couple of days before the big game.

Two years ago I decided to really try to get in on the action. All of my brothers watch football, so do my friends. Nothing was worse than hanging out with a bunch of people when all of the sudden the conversation takes a turn toward football. Someone would say something and it would snowball into an all-out, hour-long NFL debate. And I’d stand there and try to look engaged, all while paying attention for any window where I might be able to steer the conversation toward a direction where I could contribute something more than standing there awkwardly and smiling.

I committed to watching the Sunday games, and I found myself with a pretty big dilemma. Which New York team would be my team? The Jets or the Giants? I decided that I’d give both teams the entire season to convince me. And as the 2011 season dragged on, I’d hem and haw, “I don’t know, I haven’t made a decision yet, I think I’ll need another week.” Even after the Jets got eliminated, I’d say stuff like, “Well, I’ve seen how the Jets react to losing. I want to see if the Giants are sore losers.” Bullshit like that.

In fact, I never really planned on picking a team, I wanted to extend the theatrics year after year, forever playing the role of an annoying neutral sort-of spectator, but that year the Giants won the Super Bowl, so it was kind of like, all right, if I didn’t pick the Giants, well, I’d just be a dick. I could picture Eli Manning being like, “Dude, you gave us each a season to prove it to you, and we won the Super Bowl! Come on man!” So yeah, color me blue, I’m an accidental Giants fan. Which is cool, I mean, it actually makes some sense this way, almost like I was destined to be a Giants fan.

Anyway, this year kind of sucked for the G-Men. Although, Eli Manning’s brother Peyton is in the Super Bowl. What if something happened to the Broncos? Like, the entire team? I don’t want to say plane crash, because that’s really morbid, I don’t wish them lasting harm. But maybe like a really bad flu. The whole team gets it, they’re in no condition to play. Could the Broncos sign Eli and the rest of the Giants to temporary Broncos contracts?

If this happened, and then they won the Super Bowl, would my prediction still count? No, that’s crazy. Is it crazy? Yeah, it’s crazy. I’ll just have to be content in the belief that, somewhere  out there in a parallel universe, the Giants are getting ready for the big game. Despite a terrible start to the season, they rallied, they did it.

“And this one guy called it, he wrote about it on his blog when they were 0 – 6.” That’s what all the sports anchors would say. Somewhere in the multiverse, I have to be famous for the prediction. Because, man, that would have been awesome.

NFL prediction: The Giants are going to win the Superbowl

The New York Giants are 0-6. It’s not looking good. But it’s going to start looking good. Yup, you’re hearing it first, right here, I’m calling it. The New York Giants, after a dismal start to the season, are about to go on an unprecedented winning streak, coming back from their lowest point in recent history. They’re going to win every single game, starting this Monday, culminating at the Super Bowl. It’s totally going to happen.


It’s going to start this week against the Vikings. Not the first half though. The first half is going to be a rough game of football for the G-Men. It’s going to be everything that you’ve come to associate with the 2013 Giants, interceptions, incomplete passes, just bad football. The Vikings will be up at the half.

But that’s it. Once the third quarter starts, that’s the last that you’re going to be seeing of a losing football team. They’re going to come back and crush Minnesota, I’m thinking a final score of like 37 – 17. And it’ll feel good, finally, after seven weeks, a win. It’ll take a lot of the pressure off of Eli, maybe he’ll sleep a little better this week, maybe Coughlin will stop calling him up every hour, “Eli. Are you studying those plays Eli? Because you said you’d study them last week and we still lost to Chicago. Eli?”

Giants fans will let out a collective sigh of relief, but it’ll be anything but a celebration. One out of seven is hardly anything to get pumped up about, and they’ll go online after the game and all of their Jets fans friends will still be posting really annoying status updates on Facebook, like, “Hahahah too bad I wanted to see the Giants go 0 – 16, J-E-T- …” you know how it goes.

And even after the next week, when the Giants beat the Eagles, New Yorkers are still going to be a little wary. And can you really blame them? I mean, it would foolish to get your hopes up after only two wins, wins that were preceded by six consecutive losses. I still remember back to week three, and I read something like, OK, the Giants only have like a nineteen percent chance of making the playoffs. And then the next week, when they lost again, I read that the Giants haven’t been 0 – 4 since the early nineties. And then week five, week six, I’m sure it was something equally abysmal, like, statistically speaking, the New York Giants aren’t even predicted to finish the season at all, like somewhere around week twelve, they’re all just going to give up.

But three weeks from now, when the Giants destroy the Raiders, fans might finally start to allow themselves to enjoy maybe just a few fleeting minutes of subdued optimism. Three in a row is pretty nice, those losses start to recede in the rearview mirror of the city’s memory, and plus, remember how I said destroyed? It’s going to be a huge victory. It’s going to be like one of those 37 – 0 games that, by the end of the third quarter, people won’t even really be paying attention to the TV anymore, it’ll be too much of a blowout.

You’ll see the negativity, stuff like, “OK, whatever, the Raiders suck, and so do the Eagles. Let’s see the Giants against a real team.” And then week ten’s going to roll around. Packers: destroyed. Week eleven. Cowboys: obliterated.

You guys starting to get a feel for where this is going? The Giants are going to go on such an unstoppable tear, that nobody’s even going to remember those first six games. It’s going to be all about, who can possibly defeat the Giants? And only once the playoffs start, once they start making those video montages of the entire season, that’s when the early season difficulties are going to make for a nice narrative arc.

“Everybody counted them out,” that’s how it’s going to go, playing highlights of interceptions and sacks before detailing their unprecedented winning streak. And I’ll watch the video and think, everybody counted them out but me. I knew they were going to come back. I called it.

And this is me, calling it. When everything happens just like I’m saying that it’s going to, I’m probably going to be visited by all sorts of government officials and scientists, they’ll be like, “Do you have access to some sort of time machine that we’re not aware of? We’re going to have to bring you in for some studies.” And I’ll go, I don’t care. Because seriously, fuck the Broncos, fuck every other team, it’s going to be the Giants, winning the Super Bowl in New York. Definitely.