Get your DVR’s ready, because the Raiiiidaaaas, are on Hard Knocks. Jon Gruden, aka Chucky, leads this cornucopia of has beens, misfits, and never beens on the NFL’s biggest preseason stage. In what is probably the most anticipated Hard Knocks edition in the history of the show, at least for us MS aficionados, the Raiders are surely to not disappoint.

What makes them interesting:

What doesn’t make them interesting? It’s the fucking Raiders. Not only for their storied past, but for the long list of characters currently employed. Starting at the top with Gruden. Who most are familiar with from his stint with the MNF broadcast, where he seemingly gushed over just about every player. That is not the real Gruden. Antonio Brown, the flashy diva WR who forced his way out of Pittsburgh and into Oakland is sure to perform for the cameras. And let’s not forget Mr. Incognito. We’ll set the over/under on N-bombs at 8. About 1 per episode. Throw in the team’s final year in Napa for TC, and final year in Oakland before a move to the bright lights of Las Vegas, and you have a recipe for success. At least for the show that is…

Star of the show:

This one is easy. It’s Gruden. He’s loud, foul mouthed, and doesn’t hold back. He never shuts up and will have already put in 5 hours of work before the camera’s start rolling at 8am. He talks a lot of shit, and is always riding his players. Like mentioned above, completely different than his on-air persona on MNF. Here’s a drinking game for you, take a shot for every time he says man, man. Good luck with that.

Best character you’ve never heard of:

Jalen Richard. Ok, you’ve probably heard of him, but you don’t know anything about him other than he’s Carr’s preferred check down target and a decent PPR option for fantasy. Jalen is a funny, outgoing guy, and the exact type of character the camera crew will enjoy following. Not to mention he’s an anti-vaxxer. So yeah, there’s that.

Most annoying character you’ll want to STFU:

I love my boy DC, but it’s him. He’s like if you were to combine Philip Rivers with a frat boy. Good, wholesome dude, family man, everyone loves him, but the amount of bro’s out of his mouth will exceed the acceptable limit 5 minutes into the show. He’s annoying AF. I can see a downgrade in his likability following the show.

First on-air fight:

Incognito vs. Eddie Vanderdoes. Incognito is obvious, and Vanderdoes will be competing for a roster spot. Those are the type of guys who usually put out the type of effort to piss someone off enough to throw down. And Eddie is big and physical. A perfect opponent for Richie.

Football is in the air, dickheads. The show is set to debut on August 6th. And no way better to kick off the season than a behind the scenes look at the Oakland Raiders. Get your popcorn ready.

G For Three

It’s inevitable. Change. You can grab the onrushing train and try to hold on, jump out of the way, or be flattened.

In 1979, the National Basketball Association introduced the 3 point shot some 22-23 feet away from the basket. I will not bore the shit out of you with statistics of how the game has evolved (or devolved) since then, but scoring changes in sports can affect the game fundamentally, the two point conversion in football being the other obvious case.

I will however flash my big man bias and tell you that there is nothing more frustrating than running up and down the court, posting up with great position, hoisting my hand in the air, and watching as the point guard jacks up another three. Oh wait, there is something more frustrating. Setting a high screen and roll, having a clear path to the basket, then watching the point guard jack a three over TWO defenders as I shoot an air layup showing where my path would have been.

The temptation of a possible three points seems to alter the thinking of players, coaches, and fans. Is the big man a thing of the past? Not really. Now you just have big men working on shooting threes. Dirk Nowitzki was the pioneer of this shift, and for a while it was a novelty to the point that he was the only one doing it. Now there’s a handful of guys approaching or exceeding seven feet tall who can shoot a three pointer with enough accuracy that it needs to be addressed by the defense as something more than just a novelty. Brook Lopez, Marc Gasol, Nikola Jokic, and Joel Embiid are just some examples of the paradigm shifting from the lumbering big man setting up shop on the low block to the “stretch” big man setting a pick, then setting up shop behind the three point line.

It is still my assertion that the best big men can do both. And that is what I try to do now when I play in rec leagues and pickup. Am I an effective three point shooter? I’ll call myself streaky; I’ve had games where I’ve hit two or three threes in a row and then others where I haven’t even come close. But by no means have I abandoned my post game. Some dinosaurs will never be extinct, but they definitely will have to be agile enough to grab that three point train.

Album of the Month: Coldplay “A Rush of Blood to the Head”

I acknowledge that Chris Martin, lead singer of the band Coldplay, is a douche. So much so that he can be rightfully called the archetype of the new millennium male douche. Sensitive, angst-ridden, cause-supporting, earnest, sappy, hipster, whatever adjective you use, he planted the flag firmly and claimed a new planet of adult alternative contemporary pop-rock with the 2000 anthem “Yellow” (from their major label debut “Parachutes”) soon to be crowed at karaoke by college bros deeply in touch with feelings they never knew they had. Millions of album sales, and the inevitable backlash, came swiftly.

The next album would, rightly or wrongly, determine Coldplay’s fate and direction. In 2002, they released “A Rush of Blood to the Head” and it became clear from the outset: Coldplay came to play. Martin’s angst remains ever present throughout his lyrics and yes, he overreaches at the heartstrings plenty of times.

But the real power of this album is the band.

Whereas “Parachutes” can be so ethereal and atmospheric to the point of disappearing, Rush of Blood maintains a constant rock presence and feel. Piano, guitar, drums, bass all come together in plenty of soaring choruses and memorable hooks. The opening song “Politik” is a globalist call from Martin to “open up your eyes” and “don’t forget the rest of us” over a two chord power punch. He does keep bringing it back to love and doubt and fractured relationships throughout the record, and as his depression increases, the record becomes deeper and more compelling. Even when the lyrical sappiness is turned up to 10 on “The Scientist”, the gorgeous melody carries the song. By the end of the record, the next to the last song is the title track, and Martin is ready to watch the house of broken promises burn to the ground. Easily the highlight of the album. The final song “Amsterdam” finds Martin completely adrift and ready to end it all, but before hope is lost, salvation is found: “Stood on the edge/Tied to a noose/But you came along and cut me loose”.

(editor’s opinion)

FINAL CUT: This album is full of soft piano leading to soaring chords and melodies. Coldplay probably peaked with this album but it remains their finest work top to bottom. Martin never quite gets to where he wants to be, but his confusion, depression and anger make for some great moments. If you’re a fan, this is in your top 2 Coldplay albums. If you’re not, start with this one.


AFCW Draft – Worst Case Scenarios

Raiders #4 Overall: QB. The Raiders are in position with 3 picks in the first round to add much needed impact players on both sides of the ball. A QB at 4 would most likely not start right away. They’d keep Carr and he’ll be playing while also looking over his shoulder. Not ideal. With the #4 pick, the Raiders need someone to make an immediate impact. This means guys like Quinnen Williams, Josh Allen, Ed Oliver. I could even live with Devin White. But not a fucking QB. Don’t do it, Jon, you fuck.

Broncos #10 Overall:  Interior OL. Sure, your offensive line sucks ass, but reaching for one at 10 wouldn’t be in Elway’s best interest. TGF isn’t in this draft and there will be an elite defensive talent on the board that old man Fangio will be banging the table for. Not to mention the possible QB (Lock), who they can sit for a year and learn how to suck behind Flacco’s sorry ass. Pick an interior OLman and the rest of us AFCW’ers will be cheering.

Chargers #28 Overall: I’m trying to think of a worst-case scenario for the Chargers, but with All Pros at every single position, I can’t see a realistic pick that would suck. TT can pretty much pick whoever falls in his lap again this year.

Chiefs #29 Overall: WR. Sure, it’s a need because Sammy Watkins can’t stay healthy, and Tyreek Hill is a child abuser, but Fat Andy can navigate an offense better than he can a pulled pork sandwich. And that says a lot because he’s fat. And likes BBQ. Anyway, your defense is fucking terrible and lost 2 of its best players. Other than Chris Jones, not an impact player anywhere. BPA on defense should be the pick, not a WR.


AFCW – Season Review, Cliffs Notes Version

AFCW – Season Review Cliffs Notes Version


Raiders: Year 1 of 10 for Gruden was a complete dumpster fire.

Broncos: Finishing the season on a 4 game losing streak ultimately led to yet another coaching overhaul. In Elway we trust.

Chargers: Were one of the AFC’s best teams. However, Rivers clock is ticking. Better start grooming a QB.

Chiefs: Mahomes is the real deal. Congrats on 4th place.

3 Things

Big week for the AFCW. Half of the division is prepping for divisional playoff games, and the most important team hired a new Head Coach. The last AFCW team is mocking everyone from the sideline.

Denver Broncos

Vic Fangio is the new man in charge. He’s a long time, respected DC, and a first time HC on any level. He’ll be 60 years next season. Lots of unknowns with Fangio, but one thing is certain: he knows how to use OLBs in a 3-4, and he has a great pair. Also Von Chubb is good.

LA Chargers

The two most unlikable NFL QBs face off in the early Sunday game. NE has been a bit under the radar this season, and I think that works out in their favor. The Chargers give it their all, but Brady pulls it out in the end 27-24.

KC Chiefs

This is a tough game to pick. Andrew Luck’s Colts are physical and will challenge Fat Andy’s offense. Playing on the road is too much for Indy to overcome in the end as the Chiefs pull out a 37-31 victory.

Chargers Playoff Game Preview

Our San Diego LA Chargers face off against the Baltimore Ravens in the early Sunday playoff matchup. Ed Hochuli is coming out of retirement to ref this game, and Commissioner Goodell announced Friday morning that Chargers will not be allowed to use towels, kicking tees, Gatorade/water, and cleats. Another piece of bad news for the Chargers is that a little-known rule will be enforced before kickoff: since the Chargers did not put their required number of players on IR this season, 5 players will be randomly chosen and placed on IR a few minutes before the game begins.

Demon, be gone!

But fear not, Charger faithful. Despite losing to Baltimore just a few weeks ago at “home”, LA has a unique advantage against the Ravens. Bosa’s Boys are the only team to play against LJax twice. Gus Bradley should have a solid game plan to throw at the rookie QB. Expect Derwin James to be weaponized.

But you should also be nervous, Charger faithful. The Clippers are not playing well since beating KC. Rivers has thrown 2 INTs in 3 straight games, and he’s been particularly off the last 2 games (1 TD and 4 INTs). After their biggest win of the season and with the division and possible home field advantage on the line, the Chargers got beat up by these Ravens and looked uneven in a win against a shitty Broncos (boo hoo) team.


Vegas has the Ravens as a 2.5 favorite, but I’m taking the Chargers 23-17. The Ravens are so disillusioned about losing to Rivers that Baltimore and John Harbaugh mutually part ways, and Harbaugh is hired by His Imperial Majesty Elway, and he goes to coach the Broncos to the Third Dynasty. Ok…that got away from me a little. LJax hasn’t been a consistent passer, and I think this is when it comes back to bite the Ravens. Rivers makes enough plays to win and LAC advances to the next round.

AFCW Midseason Report Card

We’re already halfway through the NFL season, and the AFCW is a 2 horse race, and unfortunately, one of those horses isn’t the Broncos.

Broncos: D+

The good: Bradley Chubb and Von Miller are going to be really scary if Denver can play with a lead. The rookies are a good group to build around.

The bad: Only road win was against a truly awful Cardinal squad. Case Keenum is not the short or long term answer. Denver’s OL continues to struggle.

The ugly: Garrett Bolles

He died.

KC Chiefs: A

The good: Their video game offense. Tyreek “It’s OK because I married her” Hill has been nothing short of amazing.

The bad: Their video game defense is gonna get them in trouble at some point.

The ugly: Sammy Watkin’s contract

Las Vegas Raiders: F

The good: Got a 1st for Amari!

The bad: Nothing. All going to plan.

The ugly: Mark Davis.


Los Angeles Chargers: B+

The good: Philip Rivers should be in the MVP conversation, and Derwin James looks like a perennial Pro Bowler.

The bad: Bosa getting hurt.

The ugly: The IR is lurking…

The Saga of Jon Gruden in Oakland

Everyone here knows how much I loathe Jon Gruden, although getting us a Lombardi would earn him forgiveness of course. Him coming back for a 2nd go around as our coach was not a happy development for me, and I feel like I owe my fellow Raider Nation residents an explanation. Now I realize that all you non-Raider fans and hell even most Raider fans probably don’t really care, but fuck you I am telling the story anyway.


The scene is the end of the 1996 NFL season, one that saw the Raiders finish up a disappointing 2nd season back in Oakland at 7-9, which would cost coach Mike White his job and spell the end of Jeff Hostetler’s time with the Raiders. The ensuing search for the next coach would include a certain young up and coming OC from Philly, and by all accounts made quite an impression on Al Davis during his interview.. But ultimately the job went to Joe Bugel, who promised “multiple Super Bowls” at his introductory press conference. Well, that did not work out so well for him or the team as he lasted one miserable season, finishing 4-12 despite some gaudy stats from QB Jeff George. The lowlight came in week 2, a MNF game in Oakland against the Chiefs where the Raiders led for pretty much the entire game and were up by 5 in the waning seconds when Terry McDaniel somehow let Andre Rison get behind him for a long TD with 3 seconds left to lose. After the game Bugel did not even come out to face the press, leaving McDaniel to cover for his gutless coach. It was all downhill from there.


So now the next search gets underway with most correctly assuming Gruden would get the job, Al hired him even after his agent opened the interview with the following statement – “This team is not one win from the Super Bowl it is 4 games away from zero wins”, something Al normally would not tolerate under any circumstances. Despite a DUI in Pleasanton during October of that year the worship starts when he somehow got the team to 7-3 with Donald Hollas at QB after George was injured early in the season, but they lost 5 of their final 6 games to finish 8-8. Then Gruden talks Al into signing a journeyman QB in Rich Gannon, and another 8-8 season follows. But the direction of the team was changing, punctuated by a week 17 win at Arrowhead where the Raiders wiped out an early 17-0 deficit and knocked the Chiefs out of the playoffs. 2000 saw a return to glory, the Raiders finish 12-4, win the AFC West to return to the playoffs for the first time in 7 tears. A 27-0 romp over Miami in the divisional round had everyone talking Super Bowl, but a turbulent loss to the Ravens in the AFC title game ended that dream. But optimism remained high, and in May of 2001 Gruden somehow earns a spot in People magazine’s 50 most beautiful people. But even after a very successful start to the 2001 season the tide was once again changing, Gruden’s name becoming linked to every major job opening in the college ranks, most notably Notre Dame where Gruden himself has to address the constant rumors. The team wins the AFC West for the 2nd year in a row but loses their last 3 games to cost them a bye. They beat the Jets in the Wild Card round but then they go to Foxboro and lose a certain infamous snow game there. In the aftermath of that bitter moment that his agent calls a press conference to announce that despite Gruden saying many times he wants to coach the Raiders for years he is going to leave after the 2002 season when his contract expired, the agent making another ballsy statement saying that there was zero percent chance he coaches the Raiders beyond next year, this is not a leverage play here. The fact that all this is aired publicly was bad enough, but to do this only days after the most bitter moment in franchise history was especially galling. So Al does the only thing he can, trading him to TB for 2 1st rounders, 2 2nd rounders and $8M in cash. He proceeds to go 12-4 and then beating the Raiders in the Super Bowl, a moment I am sure he savors to this day. But after that he is very mediocre, only making the playoffs twice in the next 6 years, losing his 1st game both times. We all know his antics in the MNF booth, and nothing he did inspired any confidence that he was ready to lead anyone back to glory. What will happen? Guess we’ll see.