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Last Team Standing

Nov 29, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos mascot

What a relief! (Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports)

At long last, the unthinkable has happened: the previously undefeated New England Patriots have finally lost a game!

The dethroning of the AFC’s last unbeaten team came at the hands of the Denver Broncos—and Peyton Manning wasn’t even at the helm. Instead, backup quarterback Brock Osweiler made clutch plays to lead his team to victory, including an overtime audible that ended with running back C.J. Anderson rumbling 48 yards for the game-winning touchdown.

“That’s what becoming a team is all about,” Broncos’ head coach Gary Kubiak said after the game. “You never know who’s going to make that play. Everybody stayed the course tonight and that is what is exciting about this team.”

The win elevated Denver to 9-2 and placed them three games ahead of Kansas City in the AFC West. At 10-1, New England still has full command of the AFC East, with the 6-5 New York Jets their closest competition.

Of course, this win also means only one undefeated team remains in the NFL: the 11-0 Carolina Panthers. And here’s hoping Cam Newton and company can keep this train rolling to 16-0!

Perfect Balls

No one touches Tom Brady's balls but him... and a few staff members (Sports Central/YouTube)

No one touches Tom Brady’s balls but him… and a few staff members (Sports Central/YouTube)

Last week, attorney Ted Wells released the findings of his investigation into Deflategate, the name given to allegations that the New England Patriots deflated footballs to gain a competitive advantage over the Indianapolis Colts during January’s AFC championship game.

Implicated in Wells’ report was the NFL’s golden boy—quarterback Tom Brady—who initially denied having any knowledge of footballs being underinflated and then failed to cooperate in the investigation. As a result, he has been suspended for the first four games of the 2015 season and his beloved Patriots will lose not only a $1 million fine, but also two draft picks—a first-round pick in 2016 and a fourth-round pick in 2017.

Some (mostly Patriots players and fans) are calling the punishment too harsh, but many others feel it’s time that a sketchy Patriots organization pays for stretching—and even breaking—NFL rules so consistently.

Personally, I’m fine with the punishment since it means Brady won’t be on the field in week one against my Pittsburgh Steelers. I respect his skills, but I much prefer to see him sitting on the sidelines.

Of course, he might have a future as a pop star given this VIDEO just released of him. It’s a spoof of him singing his latest hit “These Balls Are Perfect.” And if you’re interested in a good laugh, I suggest you take a look.

After all, no one knows balls like Tom Brady!


The new Vince Lombardi Trophy? (Steve Sack/Star Tribune)

I don’t know which is more deflated: the semi-flat footballs discovered during the recent AFC Championship Game or the ongoing investigation into Deflategate.

According to the lawyer hired by the NFL to investigate cheating accusations against the New England Patriots, things won’t officially wrap up for “at least several more weeks.” This means that no one will be punished or fined until after Super Bowl XLIX—even if they are guilty of tampering with footballs to gain a competitive advantage over the Indianapolis Colts.

To make matters worse, the investigation now seems to be focused on a Patriots locker room attendant now considered to be a “strong person of interest.” Apparently, surveillance camera footage showed him entering a bathroom with two bags of footballs—one for New England and one for Indianapolis—and then emerging 90 seconds later to deliver the footballs to the proper place.

I’m sorry, but 90 seconds is roughly the amount of time needed to take a quick piss and return to your duties. If anything, I might accuse this attendant of not washing his hands properly after urination. But accusing him of entering the bathroom—which may or may not have been empty—and then hurriedly deflating 11 of 12 Patriots’ footballs before exiting? That seems a little far-fetched, if you ask me.

god super bowl press conference

Who’s God taking in the Big Game this year? Tune in Sunday to find out! (Kurttoons/YouTube)

Of course, this opens up a host of new questions: Why would a locker room attendant do such a thing on his own? Is he such a die-hard Pats fan that he tried to fix the game all by his lonesome? Or is it possible someone asked or even paid him to do it? And could it be the same culprit now responsible for throwing this attendant under the bus?

I’m afraid we may never know what really happened, even after the Deflategate investigation concludes next month or later this spring. The sad fact—at least from the perspective of non-Patriots-fan observers like me—is that the Patriots can do no wrong. Of all the teams in the NFL, New England is the only one constantly accused of cheating.

Sure, New Orleans suffered through Bountygate, which resulted in some pretty harsh penalties for its coaches and players, but nothing this harsh will ever be imposed on the illustrious Patriots. And honestly, that’s a real shame since they make the NFL look worse than anyone—except maybe Ray Rice. Oh well.

On a slightly related note, a recent survey by the Public Religion Research Institute and Religion News Service indicated that 1 in 4 Americans believe that God will decide who wins Super Bowl XLIX. If this is true, then it stands to reason that the Patriots can’t win if they’re cheaters. If they do, though, does that mean there is no God?

I’m sorry, but if there is a God, I’m pretty sure He has better things to do than rig football games. Sheesh…

Pants on Fire

Brady addresses cheating allegations… and digs an even deeper hole for himself (New York Daily News)

Yesterday, New England Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady held a press conference to address Deflategate, the franchise’s most recent scandal. And almost everyone who heard him still thinks he’s lying.

Deflategate centers around 11 footballs found to be underinflated during the Patriots’ recent 45-7 trouncing of the Indianapolis Colts in Sunday’s AFC Championship Game. Coach Bill Belichick denied any knowledge of ball tampering and instead threw his future Hall of Fame QB under the bus. When asked if he was a cheater, Brady had this to say:

“I don’t believe so… I didn’t alter the ball in any way… I would never do anything outside the rules of play.”

ALWAYS protect your balls! (BN Blitz)

Of course, Brady never said, “No, I am not a cheater.” And this created even more doubt with regard to his honesty and integrity. He may not have altered the balls himself, but he could have paid someone else to do it. After all, former Tampa Bay quarterback Brad Johnson admitted to paying his equipment guys $7500 to wear in the balls before Super Bowl XXXVII, which the Buccaneers won 48-21 over the Oakland Raiders.

Here’s what Brady had to say about his own balls:

“I don’t want anyone touching the balls… I don’t want anyone rubbing them. To me, those balls are perfect.”

Personally, I hope Brady’s balls are sitting on the bench come Super Bowl Sunday. Go Seahawks!

Jets-Pats Rumble After Game

The Patriots and Jets rumbled late on Thursday.

Not what you want to see at the end of a game (USATSI)

If you were unfortunate enough to watch last night’s NFL game between the New York Jets and New England Patriots, then sloppy, low-scoring football wasn’t the only downside of your evening.

Trailing 13-10 in the fourth quarter, rookie Jets’ quarterback Geno Smith was driving his team down the field—hoping to at least get into field goal range for a chance to tie things up—when one of his passes was intercepted by Aqib Talib.

This was actually Smith’s third interception of the quarter, but that’s to be expected when you start a rookie. I’m not sure Mark Sanchez would not have performed any better.

At any rate, Talib picked off Smith’s pass and essentially sealed an ugly win for the Patriots. As he was making his way down the sidelines, though—and just as he started out-of-bounds—Jets’ center Nick Mangold hit him late and low, impacting him around the knees.

And that’s when all hell broke loose.

The late hit set off a rumble between the Jets and Patriots that ended with the ejection of two players: D’Brickashaw Ferguson and Willie Colon. Punishment in the form of fines is likely to follow, as well.

The late hit by Mangold that set everything off (Larry Brown Sports)

Watching a crappy game full of dropped passes, punts and sloppy play is bad enough. But ending your viewing experience with a vicious hit and a rumble fueled by poor sportsmanship makes a bad situation even worse.

Granted, I’m glad that two teams in the AFC seem to be struggling as much as my Steelers, especially since one of them is the Patriots, who frustrate me nearly every year. I just hate to see such bad behavior since, ultimately, these guys are getting paid to play a game.

In other words, stop acting like a bunch of jackasses and do what you’re paid to do… preferably without all the bullshit. I know that I don’t care to see it, so I can only imagine there are other fans who feel the same way.

And the last thing NFL players need is for their fans to flock to some other sport where athletes understand just how lucky they are to be doing something they love.

Soccer anyone?

Reality Round-Up: Strange Days

Guilty or not guilty? Hernandez claims the latter (NESN)

Guilty or not guilty? Hernandez claims the latter (NESN)

Strange days are upon us, ladies and gentlemen. And once again, the barometer of the news has illuminated craziness all over our great nation. Rather than bore you with lots of exposition, let’s launch right into this edition of the Reality Round-Up. Things are strange all over and, I’m sad to say, getting stranger by the minute. Read on and I have no doubt you will agree.


Have you ever told a lie so many times that eventually, you started to believe it yourself?

Apparently, this is what’s happening with former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez, who is currently being held without bail for the murder of Odin Lloyd this past June. Despite all kinds of damning evidence linking him to the crime—including tire treads at the murder scene that match his car, eyewitness accounts that place Hernandez and Lloyd together the night he was killed, and surveillance video showing Hernandez armed with a gun on the night of the killing—he still pleaded not guilty on Friday of first-degree murder.

Is it safe to assume this former professional athlete is in denial or what?

Propellers killed Pirozek (The Original Greenwich Diva)

Propellers killed Pirozek (The Original Greenwich Diva)


Roman Pirozek of Queens was a remote control enthusiast. His proudest RC possession was a helicopter, which he flew and enjoyed as often as he could.

Unfortunately, things took a turn for the bizarre on Thursday afternoon when the remote-controlled helicopter Pirozek was flying swooped down and hit him in the head. According to several different sources, the helicopter’s blades took off the top of its operator’s head. The 19-year-old was pronounced dead on arrival by paramedics a short time later.

As freakishly tragic as this story is, at least Pirozek died doing something he loved. Granted, this is a small silver lining to an otherwise dark cloud, but it’s certainly better than nothing.


This next story is strange only because it seems like something that could have easily been prevented, but instead resulted in more tragedy.

On Tuesday, the body of 19-year-old Benedict College student Ayaanah Gibson was found in her dorm room. Based on the latest reports, Gibson was 32 months pregnant and delivered a stillborn fetus sometime last weekend. Complications during the birth must have caused her to hemorrhage because she apparently bled to death, according to the Richland County Coroner’s Office.

I work at a small college and it’s very hard for me to understand how someone couldn’t have at least stumbled across Gibson as she lay bleeding in her room. Didn’t she have a roommate staying with her? Weren’t other students present who could have helped, maybe even a Resident Advisor?

Gibson met a tragic end (

Gibson met a tragic end (

Saying goodbye to your kids when they leave for college is hard enough. You have to trust that college officials, staff and other employees will care for the children you love so dearly, while also allowing them to grow and develop into knowledgeable and productive adults. But when that goodbye ends up being the last you ever share with your offspring, I can’t even imagine the sorrow and despair to follow.

Please pray for the Gibson family during this difficult time if you are so inclined. In one weekend, they lost both a child and a grandchild, and no one deserves to feel that kind of pain.


Schools made the news again in L.A. when 13 school employees were arrested for stealing books and selling them to Corey Frederick, a book buyer from Long Beach. In turn, Frederick sold them online—for a huge profit, I’m sure—and even sold some back to the schools from whence they came!

Among those arrested for participating in the two-year scheme—which took at least 7,000 textbooks out of the hands of children in four of Los Angeles’ poorest districts—were a warehouse supervisor, several office workers and even a few librarians. Together, they stole books in subjects ranging from physics, anatomy and physiology to language arts, economics and literature. Bribes from Frederick netted them anywhere from $600 to $45,000 or more—and he allegedly spent more than $200,000 before his little caper came to an end.

Stealing textbooks for profit is just plain wrong (

Stealing textbooks for profit is just plain wrong (

The charges against these clearly deranged and greedy school employees include accepting bribes and embezzlement. Frederick himself is facing 13 and 12 counts of each, respectively. Granted, this may not seem strange enough to warrant inclusion in the Reality Round-Up, at least not until you consider what happened next.

Of the 13 suspects implicated in this case, 12 have pleaded not guilty. Yeah… as if.

This brings to mind something I saw in a movie once. There was a line of people standing there—they may have been students or military cadets, but it didn’t come from Taps. Great movie, by the way. Timothy Hutton, Sean Penn, Tom Cruise in one of his early film roles. It’s a keeper.

At any rate, the leader of the group asked for a volunteer to step forward. But before anyone could do so, all but one of the people in line stepped back instead, leaving one unsuspecting person “holding the bag.”

Twelve of the thirteen book thieves pleaded not guilty? That poor bastard in the 13th slot is looking pretty damned guilty right about now!


Our last story can’t be connected to one particular city, state or area because it is literally happening everywhere. I suppose if you weren’t limited to only the physical world, though, you could say it exists collectively online—most notably on that well-known “Internet classifieds” website known as Craigslist.

And gentlemen, you better watch your backs.

Believe it or not, but some women have been selling their positive pregnancy tests online for no other purpose than deception, Check out how one of the pee-coated, EPT test sellers put it:

“Wanna get your boyfriend to finally pop the question? Play a trick on Mom, Dad or one of your friends? I really don’t care what you use it for.”

Yes, for the low, low price of only $20 or $30, you can fool your man into leaving his independence behind and settling into a life built on a lie… a lie he’ll undoubtedly discover when you don’t gain weight or give birth to anything a short time later.

Someone might be running a two-for-one special! (Chronicles of Conception)

Someone might be running a two-for-one special! (Chronicles of Conception)

Might I suggest spending your money on something a bit more reasonable instead… like some sexy lingerie that might entice him to impregnate you for real, perhaps? Granted, this won’t work with “Mom and Dad,” but I’m sure you’ll think of something.

Strange days are surely upon us, dear readers. Of course, those that aren’t strange seem far less common, so maybe the next Reality Round-Up will focus on just that: news stories that simply aren’t that out of the ordinary.

Sounds boring to me, but you never know…

Patriots Player in Trouble

Hope Hernandez doesn't add any prison tatts (courtesy of Aaron Frutman)

Hope Hernandez doesn’t add any prison tatts (courtesy of Aaron Frutman)

It is hard to deny the skills possessed by New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez. Since being drafted out of Florida in 2010, he and teammate Rob Gronkowski have formed the most effective and dynamic duo ever to play this position, much less for the same team during the same era.

Gronkowski—or Gronk—also entered the National Football League in 2010.

Last summer, the Patriots signed Hernandez to a five-year, $40 million contract. Unfortunately, Hernandez’s future in the NFL and ability to actually collect on this contract has been clouded by a recent murder investigation near his home in an upscale neighborhood of North Attleborough, Massachusetts. Police are trying to determine what happened to semi-pro, Boston Bandits football player Odin Lloyd, whose bullet-ridden body was found in an industrial park about a mile from Hernandez’s home on Monday.

Lloyd and the Patriots’ star were allegedly friends who went to some nightclubs the night before the murder with some other friends. There is even surveillance footage that shows the men together.

A few hours later—sometime before dawn—Lloyd was dead. And his body lay there until early evening when a jogger happened upon it and called police.

Odin Lloyd, the victim (courtesy of AP)

At this point, Hernandez has not been named as a suspect or even a person of interest, but the evidence appears to be mounting against him. Bear in mind, however, that nothing I mention here has been confirmed or substantiated. Official word will undoubtedly come later.

According to numerous sources, an arrest warrant for Hernandez has been written, but not yet issued. The charge is obstruction of justice for—get this—possible destruction of evidence connected to Lloyd’s murder. It seems that Aaron’s home security system had been intentionally smashed. And when investigators asked for his cell phone, they received it from his lawyer only to find it arrived in pieces, also smashed beyond recognition.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but it doesn’t take a world-class detective to put all these clues together. Hernandez may not be guilty of murder, but it’s fairly obvious that he knows something. 

Either that or he’s the clumsiest player in NFL history. And judging from his performance on the field, I seriously doubt this is the case. But there’s more.

Police are also curious to know why Hernandez hired a cleaning crew to tidy up his mansion on Monday, the same day Lloyd was lying dead in that industrial park. They are also investigating other allegations and legal issues involving the Patriots player, none of which make him look any better.

One such incident—for which Hernandez is currently being sued—involves 30-year-old Alexander Bradley, who claims Aaron shot him in the face last February after a night partying at strip clubs. Bradley ended up losing his right eye and underwent surgery numerous times to reconstruct his face. And his ordeal isn’t over, either, since he will need more procedures in the future.

Then in May, Hernandez was leaving a nightclub in Providence, Rhode Island when he was harassed by some Jets fan and may have been involved in some kind of brawl. Police intervened and Hernandez was allowed to leave, but the cops witnessed a black male in the dispersing crowd tossing something under a car before he vanished.

It was a .22-caliber pistol with several bullets in its magazine.

This tight end tandem is the best in the game (courtesy of NE Patriots Life)

I suppose it’s possible that Hernandez is innocent of everything mentioned here and instead gets targeted by nut jobs simply because of who he is. However, you have to admit that it makes him look even more suspicious. And I have a bad feeling that when it’s all said and done, we’ll learn that this football star with so much potential was like many who came before him: troubled, incapable of escaping his past and, worst of all, guilty.

I just hope that I’m wrong. After all, my Pittsburgh Steelers can’t enjoy a true victory over the Patriots unless they beat them at full-strength. And these days, that means playing against Aaron Hernandez.

Just to be safe, though, I would make sure I stayed out of trouble if I were you, Gronk. It looks like you might get some extra playing time soon.

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