Time, Time, Time, is on Israel’s side…yes it is

February 21st, 2024

Time Is On Israel’s Side

In praise of Warren Buffett

February 15th, 2024

“I Don’t Believe In Imposing My Views on 370,000 Employees And A Million Shareholders. I’m Not Their Nanny.”

— Warren Buffett

Politically, Mr. Buffett happens to be a Democrat. He believes taxes are too low and has pushed for higher taxes. I disagree with him. Yet what matters is that he keeps his personal politics out of his investing.

There is nobody on this earth better at picking a stock than Buffett. He believes in real companies with real products and services that produce real earnings.

He refused to take part in the internet tech boom of the 1990s. He was vindicated when the boom went bust in the brutal bear market of 2000-2002.

Mr. Buffett refuses to put money into Bitcoin. In his words, cryptocurrency “doesn’t do anything.” There’s nothing there.

Yes, Buffett has missed out on some spectacular gains. Yet he is an investor, not a speculator or gambler. He likes value stocks. He invests in solid companies with strong management that are undervalued and have long term growth potential.

Many companies have been letting politics interfere with investing goals. Some companies have even mandated that politics be considered a key investing goal. This has several names, from “Woke investing” to “socially responsible investing.”

Buffett absolutely believes in social responsibility in his personal life. He has vowed to donate the vast majority of his wealth to charity before and after his death. He has even cajoled many other billionaires into signing a pledge to do the same.

Yet Buffett separates his personal life from his job as a CEO. The evidence is overwhelming that his approach has succeeded. Berkshire Hathaway stock just hit an all time high.

What Buffett does with his personal fortune is none of my business. As a shareholder in his company, what he does with company money is absolutely my business. He is a great CEO because he understands this.

The greatest investor in the history of investing believes all politics should be removed from businesses. He is 100% right.

The Oracle of Omaha gets it. Long Live Warren Buffett.

eric

Super Bowl LVIII (58) Recap

February 12th, 2024

Super Bowl LVIII (58) Recap

AFC Kansas City Chiefs vs NFC San Francisco 49ers (-2) at 6:30pm Eastern on CBS. The game was played at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas. 

These teams met 4 years ago in the Super Bowl. The 49ers led 20-10 with 10 minutes left in the game. Then the Chiefs exploded for 21 4th quarter points for a 31-20 win. It was the first Super Bowl win for the Chiefs in 50 years. It was the first Super Bowl win for Andy Reid, who finally got upgraded from Walrus Lite to full Walrus status. The Chiefs won it again last year. Patrick Mahomes was there for both wins. The Chiefs were in the Super Bowl for the 4th time in 5 years. With a 3rd win in 5 years, the Chiefs would officially be a dynasty.

The 49ers last won the Super Bowl nearly 30 years ago. A win would give them 6, tying them with New England and Pittsburgh for most overall Super Bowl wins. The 49ers were a feel good story led by Mr. Irrelevant Brock Purdy. In his rookie season, he took the 49ers to the NFC Title Game but then suffered an injury in a loss. In his sophomore season, he got the 49ers to the big game. Yet one storyline was 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan. 

Shanahan has blown 2 double digit fourth quarter leads in 2 different Super Bowls with 2 different teams.

He was the offensive coordinator for the 2016 Falcons, who led 28-3 and lost he was the head coach of the 2019 49ers, who led the Chiefs 20-10 with 10 minutes left in regulation and lost. The reasons are the same. You don’t close out games with West Coast Offense dinking and dunking.

Kyle Shanahan needed to figure out what Andy Reid finally figured out in 2019. When you have a lead in the fourth quarter, no matter how great your passing game, you RUN THE D@MN BALL. You run it again and again and again and again and again. If they stop it on one play, you run it again.

Peyton Manning was one of the greatest passers of all time. He finally won it all in 2006 because the Colts ran the ball. Shanahan’s father Mike Shanahan has 2 Super Bowl rings because he figured it out. John Elway was a quarterbackgor the shes, but he didn’t get a ring until Terrell Davis ran the ball at opposing defenses. With a fourth quarter lead, you must run the football. Kyle Shanahan should have 2 rings already. Yet Reid does because Reid figured it out. This game would see if Shanahan had.

The Chiefs won the coin toss and surprisingly made the decision to defer. Teams now like to double up at the end of the first half and the beginning of the second half, but with Mahomes, it makes sense to put him on the field first. Nevertheless, the 49ers got the ball first. After an opening touchback, The 49ers easily moved to a 1st and 10 at the Kansas City 29. Christian McCaffrey got the carry and fumbled he ball away. This game was for long stretches dominated by the defenses. The first quarter was scoreless. 

Late in the first quarter the 49ers moved from their own 17 to a 1st and 10 at the Kansas City 33. Then a run was blown up for a 4 yard loss to end the period. The second quarter began with Purdy throwing incomplete. Jake Moody came in for a 55 yard field goal try. At that moment, 54 yards was the longest field goal in Super Bowl history. Moody’s kick was good. He kicked himself into the NFL record books and the 49ers into a 3-0 lead with the first score of the game. After a touchback, a perfect bomb from Mahomes to Mecole Hardman went for 52 yards and set up 1st and goal at the 9. Yet on the next play Isaiah Pacheco fumbled and the 49ers recovered. 

Midway through the second quarter, the 49ers took over at their own 33. Purdy went to Deebo Samuel for 12 and McCaffrey for 6. McCaffrey then ran for 5 and Mitchell added 7. On the next play, defensive unnecessary roughness on Sneed gave the 49ers 15 more yards. Kyle Shanahan then went to his bag of tricks. Purdy fired a lateral to Jauan Jennings. Jennings then threw the halfback option pass to McCaffrey for a 21 yard touchdown. The game’s first touchdown had the 49ers up 10-0 with 4 1/2 minutes left in the half. For the 3rd time, Shanahan had a double digit lead in the Super Bowl. The question would be if he would play power football and run the ball late in the game or if he would keep trying to dink and dunk his way to a victory. 

After a touchback, the Chiefs moved a little bit and suffered a false start at the 2 minute warning. They faced 3rd and 9 at their own 40. Mahomes went to Juju Watson for 21. With 30 seconds left in the half, the Chiefs faced 3rd and 5 at the San Francisco 9. Mahomes looked forever but ended up getting taken down for a one yard loss. Harrison Butker hit a 28 yard field goal as the Chiefs only trailed 10-3 at the half. Since pop stars and TikTok stars who date or marry the players have nothing to do with football, their appearance at the game merits no further discussion. The halftime show happened, concluding all necessary discussion of Super Bowl events not directly related to football. Back to football.

After a third quarter touchback, the Chiefs were expected to make adjustments. Instead disaster struck immediately. On the first play from scrimmage, a simple pitchout to Pacheco was fumbled, resulting in a 12 yard loss. On 3rd and 12, Mahomes threw an ill-advised pass into double coverage that was intercepted by Brown. The 49ers had a short field at the Kansas City 44. One first down would mean long field goal range. All Kyle Shanahan had to do was run the ball and get back to a 2 score game. Instead he kept dinking and dunking. Purdy threw a pair of incompletions sandwiched around a false tart as the 49ers wasted the opportunity. A great punt pinned the Chiefs at their own 2 yard line. Both defenses dug in. 

The Chiefs got it back again at their own 14. They moved to a 4th and 6 at the San Francisco 39. Butker came in for a 57 yard field goal try. The second quarter started with Moody entering the record books. With 5 minutes left in the third quarter, Butker knocked Moody out of the top spot. Butker was good from 57. Both kickers had hit from at least 55 yards, another new NFL record. The Chiefs only trailed 10-6. A key play in the game happened when the Chiefs punted on 4th and 2 from their own 35. The 49ers fumbled the punt and the Chiefs recovered with gift field position at the San Francisco 16. One play and 4 seconds later, the Chiefs had their first lead of the game. Mahomes fired to Marques Valdes-Scantling for a 21 yard touchdown. 13 unanswered points had the Chiefs up 13-10 with 2 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter.

After a touchback, the 49ers soon faced 3rd and 5 at their own 30. Purdy went to Jennings for 17 and Deebo Samuel for 9. The fourth quarter began with the 49ers facing 1st and 10 at the Kansas City 42. Purdy went to Brandon Aiyuk for 20. On 3rd and 2 from the Kansas City 14, a run by McCaffrey lost a yard. A simple 32 yard field goal try by Moody would tie the game 13-13. Yet Kyle Shanahan made the insane decision to go for it. With the game on the line and most of the entire fourth quarter to play, kicking the field goal seemed like absolutely the right move. One week earlier, the 49ers won the NFC Title Game because Detroit kept gambling on 4th down tries in field goal range and losing. Yet Shanahan’s gamble paid off as Purdy found George Kittle in the flat for a tough 4 yard gain. Purdy then went to Jennings for a 10 yard touchdown. With 11 1/2 minutes left in regulation, the 12 play, 75 yard, 6 minute drive had the 49ers up 16-13. Yet a big special teams play happened when the Chiefs blocked Moody’s extra point try. 

After a touchback, the Chiefs moved 69 yards in 12 plays and 5 1/2 minutes. Yet on 2nd and goal at the 3, this time it was Walrus Andy Reid’s turn to get too pass happy rater than just run the ball. Mahomes threw incomplete and then was sacked. Butker hit from 24 to tie the game 16-16 with 5:46 to play. After a touchback, Purdy quickly went to Jennings for 23 yards. With 2:45 to play, the 49ers had 2nd and 5 at the Kansas City 35. The running game was working. More runs could take the clock all the way down and deny Mahomes another chance with the ball. Yet Kyle Shanahan will not close out games with runs. It is just not his way. Purdy completed a pass to Kittle for no gain as the clock clicked down to the 2 minute warning. On 3rd and 5, Purdy threw incomplete. Now Moody needed to make a 53 yard field goal try. Moody was good. He was back in the NFL record books by being the first kicker in a Super Bowl to hit two field goals of over 50 yards. More importantly, the 49ers led 19-16 with 1:53 left on the clock. Unfortunately for the 49ers, that was a lifetime for Mahomes.

After a touchback, Mahomes led the Chiefs to a 3rd and 2 at the San Francisco 43. Mahomes went to Jerock McKinnon for 7. With 16 seconds left, the Chiefs faced 3rd and 7 at the San Francisco 33. Mahomes found Travis Kelce near the sideline, and Kelce ripped off a 22 yard gain. The Chiefs had 1st and 10 at the San Francisco 11. Only 10 seconds remained in regulation. There was time for one, maybe two more plays. Mahomes fired incomplete, leaving 6 seconds. With even one more second, trying another play might be justified. Yet with 6 seconds and the entire game and season on the line, Walrus Andy Reid was not taking any chances. Butker needed only to hit from 29 yards out. A miss would put him in football infamy along with Ray Finkle, who was actually Lois Einhorn. Butker was good. The game was tied 19-19. For only the second time in NFL history, the Super Bowl was headed to overtime. The only other time was 2016, when the losing defensive coordinator was Kyle Shanahan. 

In the 2016 loss, Shanahan’s team never saw the ball. New England scored a touchdown and the game was over. Yet A couple of years ago the NFL overtime rules were changed again. Each team would get the ball at least once no matter what. The 49ers won the overtime coin toss and were not going to defer. After a touchback, The 49ers soon faced 3rd and 13 at their own 22. Purdy threw incomplete, but defensive holding gifted the 49ers a new set of downs. On 3rd and 2 from their own 35, Purdy hit Aiyuk for 11. From midfield, Purdy went to McCaffrey for 24. On 2nd and 2 from the Kansas City 18, a ru gained 4 yards but offensive holding wiped out the gain. The 49ers held the ball for 7 1/2 minutes in overtime, moving 68 yards in 12 plays. Yet on 2nd and 4 from the Kansas City 9, McCaffrey was stopped for no gain. On 3rd and 4, Purdy threw incomplete. Moody hit the 27 yard field goal. The 49ers led 22-19. Yet the Chiefs would get a chance with the ball. 4 years ago, the 49ers defense wilted when it mattered most against Mahomes. Now was their chance for redemption. 

After a touchback, the Chiefs faced 3rd and 1 from their own 34. Pacheco got the carry and got stopped cold for no gain. With 6 minutes left in overtime, the 49ers were one defensive stop from being World champions. The Chiefs needed one yard to keep alive their season. After calling a timeout, the Chiefs surprisingly were in shotgun formation. This seemed nuts. Even pass happy Walrus Andy Reid with a great quarterback in Mahomes was not going to risk a pass in this situation. Would he? Mahomes kept the ball and found a lane for an 8 yard gain. The Chiefs were still alive. On 3rd and 6 from their own 46, Mahomes went to Rice for 13. On 3rd and 1 from the San Francisco 32, Mahomes was again in the shotgun. Again, Mahomes kept the ball himself and gained 19 yards. Pacheco gained 3 and Mahomes hit Kelce for 7, but the clock was winding down. For some reason Reid was not calling a timeout.

Yet this time, Big Red Walrus Andy Reid understood what many fans did not. letting the clock tick down to triple zeroes would not end the game. The overtime was treated like the first half, the first of to quarters. If a team held the ball at the gun, the game would just go to a double overtime until the drive finished. There was no pressure to score immediately. With 10 seconds left in overtime, no matter what, the Chiefs would have 3 opportunities if they held on to the ball. They would not need them. On 1st and goal at the 3, Mahomes hit Hardman for the touchdown. With 3 seconds left in overtime, the Super Bowl was over. 

The 49ers had lost to the Chiefs for the second time in five years in heartbreaking fashion. For the third time, Kyle Shanahan oversaw his team blow a double digit lead int he Super Bowl. All 3 ties, his stubborn refusal to run the ball in running situations harmed his team. Yet it is not his fault that the opposing team has a bionic Buck Rodgers creature at quarterback. 

The Chiefs under Walrus Andy Reid and Mahomes had become the first team in nearly 2 decades to win back to back Super Bowls. Next year they will try to become the very first team in the Super Bowl era to win 3 straight Super Bowls. Mahomes was the Super Bowl MVP for the third time in his career. The Chiefs won their 3rd Super Bowl in 5 years. They were now officially a dynasty, making Andy Reid a most happy Walrus indeed. 25-22 Chiefs, OT

The 2023 NFL season is now in the books. 

3 months until the 2024 NFL Draft. 

eric 

Super Bowl advice for both coaches

February 11th, 2024

Kyle Shanahan has blown 2 double digit fourth quarter leads in 2 different Super Bowls with 2 different teams.

He was the offensive coordinator for the 2016 Falcons, who led 28-3 and lost he was the head coach of the 2019 49ers, who led the Chiefs 20-10 with 10 minutes left in regulation and lost.

The reasons are the same. You don’t close out games with West Coast Offense dinking and dunking.

Kyle Shanahan will figure out what Andy Reid finally figured out in 2019. When you have a lead in the fourth quarter, no matter how great your passing game, you RUN THE D@MN BALL.

You run it again and again and again and again and again. If they stop it on one play, you run it again.

Peyton Manning was one of the greatest passers of all time. He finally won it all in 2006 because the Colts ran the ball.

Shanahan’s father Mike Shanahan has 2 Super Bowl rings because he figured it out. John Elway was a quarterbackgor the shes, but he didn’t get a ring until Terrell Davis ran the ball at opposing defenses.

Kyle Shanahan should have 2 rings already. Yet Reid does because Reid figured it out. Let’s see if Shanahan has.

With a fourth quarter lead, you must run the football.

eric TYGRRRR EXPRESS

What Jews (and all of us) can learn from the Super Bowl

February 11th, 2024

This offering by Rabbi Sholom Rodal of Chabad Mount Olympus was so brilliant that I felt it deserved sharing.

eric

Weekly Inspiration

 

Rabbi’s Spin on the Super Bowl
Super Bowl Sunday is just around the corner.

Whether you’re a casual fan, a football aficionado, an armchair quarterback, or a diehard devotee, you’ve probably already chosen which team you’ll be rooting for.

Many of us who watch from the sidelines think that football players are mainly brawn, but more goes into a player than brute strength. Speed, hand-and-eye coordination, agility, brain power, teamwork, and a willingness to get bashed up if you’re on the front line, are a few of the qualities of this all-American sport.

In keeping with the teaching of the Baal Shem Tov that everything we see and hear is a lesson for us in our Divine service, let’s peruse just a few aspects of football and a couple of the rules, to see what we can learn from the game.

Close to 120 million people tune in every year to watch at least part of football’s championship game. But why?!

Compare that with the approximately 15 million who tune in to your average World Series game-the difference is pretty stark, and certainly not reflective of the fan base of the respective sports.

The reason? A single winner-take-all game is much more exciting and important than a seven-game series. No one game of the series that determines the basketball, baseball, or hockey champion is as consequential as the Super Bowl. So your team lost one? No reason to panic, there will be another game…

The Super Bowl is also more interesting because anything can happen in a single game. This gives the weaker team a better chance of winning; the outcome is less predictable.

So where am I going with all this?

Every day we have different struggles; we’re always facing one sort of contest or another. How important is it to be victorious? So you want to skip that one obligation..you want to post that unkind comment on social media..you want to bypass that important Jewish ritual that your Bubby used to do…or you want to take a pass on doing that favor for another… Is it a big deal? Tomorrow you’ll get it right!

I guess it depends whether you view each struggle as part of a series, or a Super Bowl. If every moment is a Super Bowl then every victory is HUGE!

And if you’re in Super Bowl mode, you get another advantage: in any one game, anything can happen. You can win even if you think you might be outmatched in this particular area!

And one more thing to think about:

You have to keep your eye on the ball at all times. Keeping your eye on the ball means being aware of one’s lifetime goal as an individual and the Jewish people’s goal as a nation. As individuals, we each have our specific G-d-given mission in life and it is our responsibility to accomplish this mission.

In football, and all sports, there are players and spectators. If you’re a spectator and the game is tough, you can get up and leave before the end. The players always has to stay on the field until the very last play. If we all see ourselves as players in our role as Jews, then before we know it, we’ll merit to be a part of the great historic event–and we don’t mean Superbowl Sunday!

So whether you are rooting for the 49ers or the Chiefs, we wish you a winning Shabbat

Shabbat Shalom & Chodesh Tov!

— Rabbi Sholom Rodal, Chabad of Mount Olympus in Los Angeles

Pro Football Hall of Fame 2024 Enshrinement Class Recap

February 9th, 2024

2024 Pro Football Hall of Fame Recap

Normally I would offer Pro Football Hall of Fame predictions. The enshrines used to be announced the Saturday before the Super Bowl. Yet nowadays, the NFL honors program the Thursday before the Super Bowl reveals the winners. 

So let’s just look at who was chosen and who got left out that should have been enshrined. 

Andre Johnson, Houston Texans wide receiver — He should have been a first ballot Hall of Famer. He was delayed one year but deservedly got in.

Devon Hester, Chicago Bears return man — This should never have been  question last year, but Hester was also denied in his first year of eligibility. He is the greatest return man in the history of the game. He changed the game. Opposing teams feared him. He absolutely had to get in and did. 

Dwight Freeney, Indianapolis Colts defensive end — He is yet another guy denied eligibility last year on the first ballot. He was a key cog in helping the Colts finally get over the hump in 2006. He deserved to get in and he did.  

Julius Peppers, Carolina Panthers defensive end. He retired as the fourth highest sack leader of all time. He made nine Pro Bowls and was an all decade winner in the 2000s and the 2010s. He of course got in on the first ballot.

Patrick Willis, San Francisco 49ers linebacker — He only played seven seasons. As great as he was, the entire 49ers defense when he played was great. He should have waited longer. Other more deserving nominees did not get in before him that should have.

Randy Gradishar, Denver Broncos linebacker — The Denver Broncos linebacker made seven Pro Bowls, but the Broncos defense only got them to one Super Bowl in 1977, which they lost. Senior nominees usually get in, but this one should have been a closer call than others. 

Steve McMichael, Chicago Bears defensive lineman — Again, most Senior nominees are rubber stamped. Again, this one is debatable. He was on the 1985 Bears, but was he really on the same level as Richard Dent, Mike Singletary or Dan Hampton? He is waging a brutal battle against ALS, but that should play zero role in whether or not he gets enshrined. This should not have been a guarantee. 

Eric Allen, Philadelphia Eagles cornerback — Allen was sensational with the eagles, and still played at a high level with the New Orleans Saints and Oakland Raiders. He was a true ball hawk who should not have been denied.

Antonio Gates, San Diego Chargers tight ends — He has been unfairly denied for playing on a team that never reached the Super Bowl. For much of his career, he was the best tight end in the game. This was his first year of eligibility, and should get in next year.

Rodney Harrison, New England Patriots safety — It is ridiculous that one of the hardest hitting safeties in the game is not enshrined already. He did more than win three Super Bowls in the first leg of the Patriots dynasty. He anchored the defense. Remember, Tom Brady carried some of the teams in the later years. In the early years, especially the 2001 season, Brady was a game manager. Defense led the team and shocked the Greatest Show on Turf St. Louis Rams. Harrison needs to get in soon. 

Jared Allen, Minnesota Vikings defensive end — He has been a finalist in all four years of eligibility and keeps getting denied. He was also great with the Kansas City Chiefs. Not reaching a Super Bowl may have delayed his enshrinement, but he does deserve to get in at some point. This year there were just guys who were slightly more deserving for enshrinement right now.

Fred Taylor, Jacksonville Jaguars running back — Old reliable may get unfairly downgraded for playing in the MFL’s smallest market. Yet he also never got to a Super Bowl. He was a  steady workhorse who was more substance than excitement and style. Can the story of the NFL be told without him? Probably. He should get in at some point, but more crucial nominees essential to the story of football are ahead of him.

eric 

Super Bowl LVIII (58) Prequel

February 6th, 2024

Super Bowl LVIII (58) Prequel

AFC Kansas City Chiefs vs NFC San Francisco 49ers (-2) at 6:30pm Eastern on CBS.

These teams met 4 years ago in Super Bowl LIV (54). In that game the 49ers led 20-10 in the fourth quarter before the Chiefs exploded and won 31-20. 

Many of the same players on both teams are still around. The main difference is that the 49ers now have Mr. Irrelevant Brock Purdy. Last year Purdy led the 49ers to the NFC Title Game. Purdy was injured in the game and the 49ers lost badly. The Chiefs are the defending Super Bowl champions. They are looking to be the first team in 20 years to win back to back Super Bowls. The Chiefs are playing in their fourth Super Bowl in the last five years. They are looking to win their third Super Bowl in five years and officially establish a dynasty.

Coaches Walrus Andy Reid and Kyle Shanahan are both West Coast Offense disciples from the Bill Walsh coaching tree. Shanahan is the son of Mike Shanahan, who won consecutive Super Bowls 25 years ago in Denver. Although Reid and the younger Shanahan are both pass-happy, Reid finally won a pair of Super Bowls after being willing to run the ball to close out games. Shanahan has blown two fourth quarter double digit Super Bowl leads by stubbornly refusing to run the ball. 

In addition to Purdy, the 49ers have Deebo Samuel, Christian McCaffrey, George Kittle and Kyle Juszczyk. The Chiefs have a 25th Century Buck Rodgers bionic man at quarterback in Patrick Mahomes. Mahomes also has plenty of weapons including Travis Kelce. 

These teams took different paths to get to the big game. The 49ers for most of the year appeared to be the most complete team in the NFL. They have a nasty defense along with their offensive weapons. They suffered a three game losing streak midseason and an embarrassing home loss late in the year against Baltimore. Yet they won everything else. The 49ers barely survived their playoff run despite being at home in both games. They were outplayed for most of the game against a Green Bay team that barely qualified for the playoffs. When Green Bay’s kicker missed a short field at the end of regulation, it allowed the 49ers to escape with a 27-24 win. In the NFC Title Game, Detroit stormed to a 24-7 halftime lead before suffering a meltdown. Detroit passed up a pair of field goals in favor of failed fourth down conversion tries. The 49ers received a gift touchdown when a badly overthrown ball that should have been intercepted instead bonked off a defender’s helmet into the arms of the receiver. The 49ers survived again 34-31 to house the George Halas Trophy.

The Chiefs had a more difficult path to the big game. After five straight years of hosting the AFC Title Game, this year they had to play road playoff games. In the divisional round, Buffalo’s kicker missed a makable field goal at the end of regulation as the Chiefs survived 27-24. In pouring rain, the Chiefs sixth straight AFC Title Game would not be at home. At top seeded Baltimore, the Chiefs won 17-10 when Baltimore self-destructed in the red zone. The Ravens gave away the tying touchdown with a goal line fumble. The Chiefs won the Lamar Hunt Trophy named after their late founder and owner the hard way. This year the Chiefs offense was less smooth than in years past. The Chiefs lacked the deep ball threat, settling for more dinking and dunking. 

The game is being played in Las Vegas, and Sin City has lived up to its reputation. Many Super Bowls feature a needless distraction that may or may not end up weighing on the game. Mahomes already has a wife who talks trash and a brother who cannot stay out of trouble. Now Mahomes’s father has been arrested again for driving while intoxicated. Mahomes has blocked out outside noise all year, and will have to do so again if he is to win another ring. 

The 49ers are slight favorites. They have the best running back in the league in McCaffrey. Their defense is ferocious. Yet the Chiefs have the better coach and a quarterback in Mahomes with the potential to be the very best ever. Betting against the Chiefs is a foolish move. Four years ago the 49ers defense had Mahomes figured out for three quarters. That was simply not good enough. Mahomes is the best player in the NFL. Bet on the very best. When the game is over, expect the Chiefs to be holding the Vince Lombardi Trophy and being declared a dynasty. Upset special, Chiefs win outright

eric

NFL 2023-2024 Pro Bowl Recap

February 4th, 2024

The Pro Bowl used to be a real game played in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Now it is a “skills competition” featuring a 7 on 7 flag football game. 

I’m done. I love football, but this is not football. 

eric 

NFL 2023-2024 Conference Title Games Recap

January 30th, 2024

The Conference Title Games were Sunday, January 28th.

AFC Title Game: (3) Kansas City Chiefs at (1) Baltimore Ravens at 3pm on CBS.

The Chiefs were in the AFC Title Game for the 6th straight season. Yet after hosting the game 5 straight year at Arrowhead, this year the Chiefs were on the road. The Ravens were in their 3rd AFC Title Game in franchise history, but this was the first time they hosted the game. Despite Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson both being great quarterbacks, this game belonged to the defenses. 

The Chiefs took over at their own 14. Mahomes came out throwing, hitting Travis Kelce for 4, Isaiah Pacheco for 10 and Rice for 11. Pacheco ran for 12. Walrus Andy Reid gambled on 4th and 2 from the Baltimore 41 rather than try a 59 yard field goal or punt. Mahomes hit Kelce for 13. Mahomes went to Kelce for a 19 yard touchdown to cap the 10 play, 86 yard, 6 minute drive and make it 7-0 Chiefs. John Harbaugh took an even bigger gamble on 4th and 1 from his own 34. Jackson broke through for a 21 yard gain. Gus Edwards gained 15. Jackson went to Zee Flowers for a 30 yard touchdown for a 7-7 game.

After a touchback, Mahomes went to Rice for 10. Mahomes ran for 11. On 3rd and 4 from the Baltimore 41, Mahomes hit Rice for 9 to end the first quarter. The second quarter began with the Chiefs facing 3rd and 5 at the Baltimore 27. Mahomes hit Kelce for 10. On 3rd and 3 from the Baltimore 10, Mahomes gained 4. Pacheco ran for 4 and then for a 2 yard touchdown to finish the staggering 16 play, 75 yard, 9 minute drive to make it 14-7 Chiefs. The game despite rain coming down started as a track meet. Yet after 19 minutes of offense, the next 41 minutes were all defense. Neither team would reach the end zone again. 

After a touchback, the Ravens were soon at their own 36. Jackson went back to pass and loaded up for a bomb. Before he could unleash the ball, it was chopped out of his hands. The Chiefs recovered the fumble at the Baltimore 33. Yet on 4th and 1 from the Baltimore 13, Walrus Andy Reid went for it and Pacheco got stopped cold for no gain. The defenses dug in and with 1:46 left in the half the Chiefs were pinned at their own 11 yard line. Yet a pair of defensive personal fouls for unnecessary roughness and roughing the passer gifted the Chiefs 30 yards. Mahomes went to Kelce for 21 more. Harrison Butker hit a 52 yard field goal to make it 17-7 Chiefs at the half. The Chiefs would score zero points in the second half.

The Ravens would suffer multiple self-inflicted wounds in the second half. Late in the third quarter the Ravens moved from their own 20 to a 3rd and 9 at the Kansas City 41. Justin Tucker is the best kicker of the game, and 59 is in his range. Yet Jackson was sacked and the Ravens had to punt. The Ravens got it back at their own 36 and Jackson immediately threw a perfect bomb to Flowers for a 54 yard gain. It should have been 1st and goal at the 10. Yet a mindless taunting penalty on Flowers after the play pushed the Ravens back 15 yards. After a scoreless third quarter, the Ravens began the fourth quarter facing 2nd and 8 at the Kansas City 9. Jackson went to Flowers, who could have just gone down at the one yard line. Yet like so many players, Flowers made the mistake of trying to stretch the ball over the goal line. The ball got knocked out of his hands at the one and the Chiefs recovered in the end zone for a touchback. 

The Chiefs offenses did nothing, but a perfect punt pinned the Ravens back at their own one yard line. They moved 74 yards in 12 plays. The Ravens moved the ball the entire second half but turnovers killed them. From the Kansas City 25 midway through the fourth quarter, Jackson got greedy and threw into triple coverage. He was intercepted in the end zone for a touchback. The Ravens got the ball back in much better field position at their own 46, but they needed 2 scores and only 5 minutes remained. The Ravens moved to a 2nd and 5 at the Kansas City 25. Jackson threw incomplete twice. Justin Tucker hit the 43 yard field goal to get the Ravens within 7, but only 2 1/2 minutes remained. 

John Harbaugh decided to kick it deep and trust his defense rather than go onside kick. The Chiefs offense was being stopped cold the entire half. The Ravens defense started by jumping offside and then committing an unnecessary roughness penalty. The Ravens took their timeouts on defense. With 2:19 to play, the Ravens took their last timeout. The Chiefs faced 3rd and 9 at their own 46. One more stop would give the Ravens a chance. Walrus Andy Reid has been criticized in the past for being too conservative. This time Reid went for all the marbles. Mahomes rolled out, avoided the pressure, and threw a bomb to Marques Valdes-Scantling. A diving Valdes-Scantling caught the ball in the rain for a 32 yard gain at the 2 minute warning. The Ravens were now dead as Mahomes took 3 knees. 

For the 2nd time in 5 years, the Ravens had the best regular season record only to blow up at home in the playoffs. Meanwhile, the Chiefs are going to their 4th Super Bowl in 6 years. They won it all in 2019 and last year. A win this year would make them a dynasty. For the second straight year, the Chiefs won the Lamar Hunt Trophy named after their late owner and founder. This makes Andy Reid a most happy Walrus indeed. 17-10 Chiefs

NFC Title Game: (3) Detroit Lions at (1) San Francisco 49ers at 6:30pm on FOX. 

The Lions were the feel good story in sports. They were in the NFC Title Game for the first time in 32 years. The Lions have never reached the Super Bowl, winning their last NFL championship in 1957. The 49ers were in the NFC Title Game for the 3rd time in the last 5 years. The 49ers were seeking their first Super Bowl win in nearly 40 years. The Lions came in with the tough identity of their head coach Dan Campbell.

Despite an explosive passing attack, the Lions came out playing smash mouth. David Montgomery ran for 4 and 15. Jared Goff hit Sam LaPorta for 14. Williams broke tackles for a tough 42 yard touchdown run. After only 4 plays, the Lions went 75 yards and led 7-0 less than 2 minutes into the game. The 49ers after a touchback moved to a 4th and 6 at the Detroit 30. Yet Moody missed a 48 yard field goal try. The Lions took over at their own 38. Goff hit LaPorta for 6. Gibbs ran for 7. Goff went to Montgomery for 14. On 3rd and 9 from the San Francisco 30, Goff went to Amra St. Brown for 13. Gibbs ran for 10. Montgomery ran for 6 and then for the one yard touchdown to make it 14-0 Lions. 

After a touchback, Brock Purdy went to Deebo Samuel for 6 and Kyle Juszczyk for 23. Christian McCaffrey gained 4, 4, and on 3rd and 2 from the Detroit 38, 5 more. On the first play of the second quarter from the Detroit 33, Purdy went to McCaffrey for 28. McCaffrey ran for a 2 yard touchdown to get the 49ers within 14-7. The 49ers got the ball back at their own 12. On 3rd and 10 from their own 24, Purdy was intercepted t give the Lions a short field at the Detroit 46. Goff went to LaPorta for 16 and St Brown for 17. Gibbs got around the end for a 15 yard touchdown to make it 21-7 Lions. The Lions got it back at their own 29 with 5 minutes left in the half. A mind-numbing 17 play drive moved them 68 yards. With 17 seconds left on 3rd and goal at the 6, Goff went to Gibbs for only 3 yards. Mike Badgley hit the 21 yard field goal to put the Lions up 24-7 at the half in front of a disbelieving home San Francisco crowd. The Lions magical season was 30 minutes from the Super Bowl, but now this inexperienced team had to show they could close out their biggest game in decades.

After a third quarter touchback, the 49ers moved to a 2nd and 8 at the Detroit 25. Purdy threw incomplete twice. Moody hit a 43 yard field goal to get the 49ers within 24-10. After a touchback, the Lions moved to a 4th and 2 at the San Francisco 28. Dan Campbell has been gambling all year, more than any other coach. Yet a 46 yard field goal try if good would put the Lions up 27-10. Yet Campbell went for it on 4th down. It’s who he is. He trusts his players. They reward that trust. Yet this time, Goff threw incomplete. Purdy then hit Samuel for 17. Then came the play of the game that will be played on NFL Films bloopers forever. Purdy went for a deep bomb that was overthrown. The receiver Brandon Aiyuk had no chance at the ball. The defender Vildor was in perfect position to intercept the ball or at worst have it fall incomplete. Instead, it bonked off Vildor’s helmet into the air backward. It landed straight into the hands of a diving Aiyuk for a 51 yard gain.

This was not the Immaculate Reception or even Lynn Swann’s acrobatic magic, but it changed the game. On 3rd and goal at the 6, Purdy went to Aiyuk for the touchdown. Instead of being down 27-10, the 49ers only trailed 24-17. The Lions needed to settle down, but instead they collapsed. On the first play from scrimmage after a touchback, Gibbs fumbled. The 49ers took over at the Detroit 24. Purdy ran for 21. McCaffrey ran for a 3 yard touchdown. With 3 minutes left in the third quarter, the 49ers had erased a 17 point halftime deficit to tie the game 24-24. The 49ers got the ball back at their own 20 and moved to a 1st and 10 at the Detroit 13 early in the fourth quarter. A sack of Purdy killed the drive, but Moody hit a 33 yard field goal. With 10 minutes left in regulation, the 49ers had their first lead of the game up 27-24. 

After a touchback, the Lions quickly moved to a 4th and 3 at the Detroit 30 midway through the fourth quarter. The decision seemed simple. A 46 yard field goal try if good would tie the game. Yet it was time for another Dan Campbell gamble. This made no sense. He has been right so many times, but this seemed to cross the line from bold to reckless. Again, Goff threw incomplete. The Lions potential threw away 6 points. Instead of leading 30-27, they were still down by three points. Their offense moved at will in the first half but failed at key moments in the second half. Even worse, their defense was melting down. 

The 49ers took over at their own 30. McCaffrey ran for 7. Purdy hit Samuel for 8. On 3rd and 4 just past midfield, Purdy ran for 21. McCaffrey ran for 25. Mitchell ran for a 3 yard touchdown. With 3 minutes left, 27 unanswered points had the 49ers up 34-24. After a touchback, the Lions needed a miracle. They quickly moved 75 yards in 11 plays. On 3rd and goal at the one, Montgomery got blasted for a 2 yard loss, causing the Lions to have to burn their first timeout with one minute left. A field goal seemed the sensible move, but Dan Campbell does it his way. He went for the touchdown, and this time Goff hit Williams for the score to get the Lions within 3.

The onside kick failed. The 49ers took over at the Detroit 44 with 55 seconds left. The timeout the Lions wasted was a killer. A couple of short runs had the Lions taking their final timeout with 47 seconds left. On 3rd and 6, another run took the clock down to only one second. Although it was 4th down, the 49ers would not need to punt. Purdy took one knee long enough for the clock to take its final tick. Dan Campbell defended his decisions and took full responsibility for the loss. Kyle Shanahan has the 49ers back in the Super Bowl for the second time in 5 years. It has been nearly 30 years since the 49ers won it all. On this night, they won the George Halas Trophy. That is still more recent than the 67 year drought of the Lions. 34-31 49ers

Super Bowl LVIII (58) is set.  The AFC Chiefs and NFC 49ers have a rematch of their 2019 Super Bowl from 4 years ago. The game starts at 6:30pm Eastern time on CBS.           

 

Prediction: Walrus Andy Reid finally learned how to call a winning Super Bowl. He and Kyle Shanahan are both West Coast Offense disciples who have been too pass happy for their own good. Yet Reid finally learned to run the ball in the fourth quarter with a lead to close out games. Shanahan lost 2 Super Bowls by refusing to do this. He was the defensive coordinator for the 2016 Atlanta team that blew a 28-3 Super Bowl lead and lost 34-28 in overtime. He was the head coach of the 2019 49ers team that blew a 20-10 fourth quarter lead and lost 31-20. That was the year Reid finally got the monkey off his back. Purdy is a feel good story as Mr. Irrelevant, but this Super Bowl is about Patrick Mahomes. He is a Buck Rodgers 25th Century freak of nature who might be more bionic than man. The Chiefs will be the first team in 20 years to win back to back Super Bowls and establish their dynasty. 

eric

NFL 2023-2024 Conference Title Games Prequel

January 23rd, 2024

The Conference Title Games are set for Sunday, January 28th, 2024

AFC Title Game: (3) Kansas City Chiefs @ (1) Baltimore Ravens (-3 1/2) 3pm CBS.

— The Kansas City Chiefs are in the AFC Title Game for the sixth straight season. Yet after 5 straight AFC Title Games at home, this year the Chiefs have to go on the road. The Ravens have won a pair of AFC Title Games in their history, but had to go on the road both times. This is the first time the Ravens have ever hosted the AFC Title Game. The Ravens were the top seed in 2019 but were upset in the divisional round. Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson are the most exciting quarterbacks in the game, with Mahomes being the better passer and Jackson a running sensation. Walrus Andy Reid is a play-calling wizard on offense while John Harbaugh is a special teams guy who has a nasty defense. Reid likes more innovative approaches while Harbaugh prefers smash mouth football. The Chiefs are more vulnerable than in years past, but their win over Buffalo shows how resilient they are. Home field and cold weather should not matter. Despite the Lamar Hunt Trophy being named for their late owner, the Chiefs will have a tough time retaining that trophy from last year. With everything else being equal, the Ravens have the best kicker in the game in Justin Tucker. In a close one, trust Tucker. Ravens win but fail to cover 

NFC Title Game: (3) Detroit Lions at (1) San Francisco 49ers (-7) 6:30pm on FOX. 

— 40 years ago in San Francisco, the Lions lost a heartbreaker 24-23 when kicker Eddie Murray missed a 43 yard field goal. Murray had made 3 kicks including one from 54 but missed 2 kicks under 45 yards. The 49ers went on to a dynasty as the Lions remained sad sacks. 40 years later, the Lions are the feel good story of the year. They are built Dan Campbell tough. Campbell is one of the most aggressive play-callers in the league. The Lions have an explosive offense. The 49ers have a nasty defense in addition to offensive playmakers. The 49ers barely survived Green Bay, while the lions barely survived the Rams in the opening round. Home field matters because the Lions are much better indoors at home than in bad weather on the road. Brock Purdy and Jared Goff both have plenty of weapons. The Lions are in the NFC Title Game for the first time in 32 years. Like last time, their attempt to win their first ever George Halas Trophy will require going on the road against a superior team. Weather is not expected to be a factor, but it’s hard to trust the Lions on the road. All Fairy Tales come to an end at some point. 49ers cover 

eric