Tuna Saturday

Today is Tuna Saturday, dedicated to one of the greatest football coaches in the history of the National Football League. After him I will have a word from a sponsor dedicated to football, in addition to my own picks for the week.

“The Tuna” is Bill Parcells. I love the guy. I think he is the greatest coach since Vince Lombardi, and one of the greatest motivators in the history of the game. He has led 5 teams to the playoffs, 4 times as a coach and once as team President. All 5 of these teams had losing records when he took over, often at the bottom of the league. Some coaches take already talented teams and get them to the next level. Bill Parcells takes garbage and turns it into gold. He is the epitome of a winner.

I just watched the NFL Network special “Bill Parcells: Reflections on a life in football.”

This was a fantastic documentary. I recommend every football fan watch it.

What makes the documentary so poignant is that Bill Parcells, beyond all the glory and championships, is on the same journey we all are. He keeps leaving the game of football, yet keeps returning. What it comes down to is that he was put on this Earth to coach football. That is what he does. It is his calling.

Yet it is one thing to be successful. It is a totally greater achievement to make winners out of everybody around you. In the last 10 years, 5 Super Bowls have been won by coaches who used to be assistants under Parcells. Bill Bellichick won 3, with Tom Coughlin and Sean Payton each winning once. Other underlings such as Todd Haley and Tony Sparano took over losing teams and turned them around.

Parcells is fiercely loyal to “his guys,” bringing them with him when he changes teams. When they can no longer play, he makes them assistant coaches.

He has brought phrases into the lexicon that I will always remember.

“Don’t tell me about the pain, just deliver the d@mn baby.”

“This job is not for the well-adjusted.”

“That’s why I call you in the media Commies. You guys are subversive from within.”

I have learned from the man. I have applied his coaching style to my career in management. What I have learned is that Parcells would beat on his best teams, but he would relax the reins on his worst ones. When guys were losing, he would pick them up and tell them better days were ahead. When they were looking unstoppable, he would remind them not to get too full of themselves.

His mantra is a poem called “the man in the glass.”

“When you get what you want in your struggles for self

And the world makes you king for a day,

Just go to a mirror and look at yourself

And see what that man has to say.

For it isn’t your father or mother or wife

Whose judgment upon you must pass,

The fellow whose verdict counts most in your life

Is the one staring back from the glass.

Some people might think you’re a straight-shooting chum

And call you a wonderful guy.

But the man in the glass says you’re only a bum

If you can’t look him straight in the eye.

He’s the fellow to please, never mind all the rest

For he’s with you clear to the end

And you’ve passed your most dangerous test

If the guy in the glass is your friend.

You may fool the whole world down the pathway of years

And get pats on the back as you pass

But your final reward will be heartache and tears

If you’ve cheated the man in the glass.”

I have never met Bill Parcells. I just know that if I did, I would thank him for allowing me to observe him and learn. I did it watching him on tv, but I learned nonetheless.

He is one of many reasons I love football.

Long live the Tuna.


Now for a word from a sponsor followed by my personal picks for the week.

“Most NFL Predictions Experts Say that Cincy Covers vs. Buffalo on Nov. 21st

Most of the expert NFL betting picks are forecasting that the Cincinnati Bengals will cover against the spread versus the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, Nov. 21st.

Buffalo got off the schneide last Sunday when beating the Detroit Lions 14 to 12 as 1 ½ point favorites.  It seems ridiculous to believe that the Bills could possibly win their second straight game in a row.  After all, it took Buffalo until Week 10 to record the victory and they did it against a team missing their starting QB and with their second-string QB still injured.

But Buffalo is actually 3-0-1 ATS in their last 4 games after their bye week.  They’ve also done something quite impressive in their last 3 games that makes me believe that all of the other football handicapping NFL predictions experts, 65% of them are going for Cincy in this game, might be wrong.

Buffalo isn’t a great team.  Based on their straight up record, they’re not even an okay team much less a good team, but they have been very successful covering spreads in the sportsbook lately and because of that I’m going to make them one of my NFL predictions this Sunday to cover against the spread.

The Bills have a huge advantage over the Cincinnati Bengals in one specific football category:  defense.  Buffalo hasn’t allowed a team to score more than 22 points against them in 3 straight games.  The team that scored the 22 against them needed a 4th quarter TD in order to beat them straight up even though they were 3-point road favorites.  That team, the Chicago Bears, took Brett Favre and Minnesota to school this past Sunday, 27 to 13.

Buffalo held the Kansas City Chiefs to 13 points in a 10 to 13 overtime loss as 7-point dogs.  They beat Detroit straight up and held the Lions, a team that averages 22 points and 352 yards per game, to 12 points and only 76 yards rushing on the ground.

Now, the Bills face a team with virtually no defense.  Cincinnati allows 24 points and 330 yards per game and that’s where the Bills have the edge.  Buffalo’s D is, contrary to the Detroit game, usually horrible versus the run.  They allow 167 yards per game on the ground.  Against the pass, is where the D excels.  The Bills allow only 207 yards per game through the air.

Cincinnati is a pass first team.  Because they signed T.O., I guess they believe that they have to throw him the football.  Too bad, because their running game has suffered tremendously this season.  The Bengals rush for only 93 yards per game on the ground.  That’s not enough yards to win football games in the NFL on a weekly basis.  If Buffalo can shut down the Bengals’ passing attack, or at least keep it under control, then their offense should be able to put up points versus the Bengals horrible defense.

I like the Bills in this game.  5-points are a lot to give up to a team that hasn’t lost ATS since their bye week.  That’s particularly true when the team giving up the points is 1 and 5 ATS in their last 6 games.

Buffalo is slowly coming together as a team while the Cincinnati Bengals is just a bad squad.  Buffalo ATS is one of my best NFL predictions for this Sunday’s games.

NFL Betting Pick:  Buffalo Bills +5 -110″

Now for my picks for the week.

Chicago Bears @ Miami Dolphins

(Dolphins by 1.5, they cover)

Baltimore Ravens @ Carolina Panthers

(Ravens by 11. they win but fail to cover)

Buffalo Bills @ Cincinnati Bengals

(Bengals by 5.5, they cover)

Detroit Lions @ Dallas Cowboys

(Cowboys by 6, they cover)

Cleveland Browns @ Jacksonville Jaguars

(Jaguars by 1.5, they cover)

Arizona Cardinals @ Kansas City Chiefs

(Chiefs by 8, they win but fail to cover)

Green Bay Packers @ Minnesota Vikings

(Packers by 3, Vikings win outright)

Houston Texans @ New York Jets

(Jets by 7, they win but fail to cover)

Oakland Raiders @ Pittsburgh Steelers

(Steelers by 7.5, they win but fail to cover)

Washington Redskins @ Tennessee Titans

(Titans by 7, they win but fail to cover)

Seattle Seahawks @ New Orleans Saints

(Saints by 11.5, they win but fail to cover)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ San Francisco 49ers

(49ers by 3.5, they win but fail to cover)

Atlanta Falcons @ St. Louis Rams

(Falcons by 3, Rams win outright)

Indianapolis Colts @ New England Patriots

(Patriots by 4, they win but fail to cover)

New York Giants @ Philadelphia Eagles

(Eagles by 3, they cover)

Denver Broncos @ San Diego Chargers

(Chargers by 10, they win but fail to cover)


2 Responses to “Tuna Saturday”

  1. The GTL’s NFL Picks — Week 11, 2010…

    Previous Week (Week 10): 6-8 Year To Date: 81-63 All-Time (2006 Through 2010 Combined Record To Date): 414-259 Crazy STUFF, this “parity” crappola this year. Not only is it plaguing college football but the NFL as well. Yep… it’…

  2. Living most of my life in North Jersey, the Tuna is one of those people you just never forget. The Giants in the 70’s and early 80’s were as aweful as they were boring. The Jets were the team on the rise again, and the Giants were back to their old ways. Heck, the Jets didn’t really become lousy until the late 80’s. The Giants were a solid team until the 70’s and then they just stayed flat for years and years… until Parcells.

    The closest comparison to Parcells would be John Madden, though they’re both very different characters. But to take a bade or unruly team and make it a perennial winner is an amazing feat. There are only a few coaches that have done it. Parcells is not just one of those coaches – he’s the best of them. He took my Jets from 1-15 to 9-7 immediately. The next year they went to the AFC Championship.

    If there’s a knock on Parcells it’s his conservative play style. And no, I don’t mean in any way “conservative” in a political sense. I mean his beat it out on the ground, endlessly, style. It’s hard on the players, makes for short careers and short winning sprees, and it will only get you so far. When Parcells lost, he lost to teams that could air out the ball. His style works very well, but most seasons there are a couple teams out there who can simply avoid being sucked into perpetual scrimmage by throwing right over it.

    Just the same, Parcells’ historic impact on the game of football can not be overstated. He’s one of the best five or so coaches in NFL history.


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