Taking Shots at the NFL

I’m feeling agitated. So, it’s time to take a few shots. Maybe you know the routine. I pour some stiff ones and take shots at the NFL and it’s all under the title of Taking Shots. Clever, right? Since it’s the off-season, perhaps I’ll fire some vitriol at non-football folk.

Let’s see how it goes.

Adrian Peterson is back. He’s been reinstated to play by the not-so-comically klutzy Commissioner Roger Goodell. Peterson, through his agent, continues to send signals that he wants out of Minnesota either via release or trade. There are still a lot of people in purple who continue to support Peterson and to them I implore you to seek counseling. You are a battered fan and need to speak with a professional. Do not be offended by my diagnosis. Just seek help.

The four stages of Battered Fan Syndrome are:

  1. Denial – The fan refuses to admit–even to himself–that he has been disrespected by his idol or that there is a “problem.”
  2. Guilt – He now acknowledges there is a problem, but considers himself or the team responsible for it. Perhaps, we should have beat our own kids to show AP we support him.
  3. Enlightenment – The fan recognizing that no one “deserves” Peterson’s conduct. But, he is still faithful to AP, hoping things can be worked out. This is the stage I find many Vikings fan still in.
  4. Responsibility – This final stage is when the fan can turn to their Adrian Peterson Fathead and say, “Fuck Off!”

Send me an e-mail if you need assistance. I’m here to help.

These fans are clearly no where near enlightment

These fans are clearly no where near enlightenment

Message to the Commissioner: Get your shit together. We still await word on “deflate-gate”; suspensions for a number of players, including former Carolina Panthers defensive end, woman-beater, and newly signed Dallas Cowboy Greg Hardy; better administration of the Rules and Competition Committee and much more. Dude, you look like Bill Lumbergh, the clueless boss from the movie, Office Space.

Last tip, Commish: the draft is coming up and giving new players a big. bear-like hug is not advisable. Keep it professional. A smile. A handshake. And, a DNA swab for future purposes is all that’s necessary.

The NFL should investigate Roger Goodell's personal conduct.

The NFL should investigate Roger Goodell’s personal conduct.

Speaking of personal conduct, I’m not at all happy the Bears signed Ray McDonald before the police finished investigating the December allegations of sexual misconduct directed at the former 49er. The NFL appointed Anna Isaacson to the role of vice president of social responsibility. (She keeps her position as vice president of community affairs and philanthropy, which makes me wonder how much time she has for social responsibility.)

Anyway, I bet the Bears never contacted Ms. Isaacson to get her advice on the McDonald issue. I say that because none of it – the interview with McDonald, the announcement of the signing – had a woman’s touch.

The league’s image of men in power, dragging their knuckles to their next meeting at the Four Seasons, remains intact.

If George McCaskey screws this up is there a daughter or granddaughter in the clan that can take a shot at running the Bears?

If George McCaskey screws this up is there a daughter or granddaughter in the clan that can take a shot at running the Bears?

Yes, Ndamukong Suh doesn’t owe Detroit Lions fans a Thank You card, but it would have been nice for football’s near-felon to have sent his gratitude for all of that enabling by the Ford Field faithful.  Football’s dirtiest player could have sprung for a $10,000 ad in the Detroit Free Press that could have looked like this:

thank you

So, the Bleacher Report’s Jason Cole had this huge “scoop” that the Chicago Bears are interested in trading Jay Cutler to the Tennessee Titans for their first round pick (the second in the draft) so they can select Marcus Mariota.


My gut says Cole made up the story to get hits on his page or that he was duped by someone in the Titans and/or Bears organization to report the misinformation as subterfuge. No way, the Bears with all of their needs, and vow to build through the draft, will trade draft picks for Mariota. And, if you think the Titans are going to trade their pick straight-up for Cutler then I must ask…

Jay Cutler continues as the proverbial punching bag for NFL fans and media folk. Last year’s turn the ball over performance and late season benching, after signing an undeserved $125 million contract, is partly why. The other part is Jay’s moody, brooding, unmoving disposition.

Over at cover32.com, someone put together a list of the 32 most marketable quarterbacks in the NFL. Manning, Rodgers and Brady were un-surprisingly the top three. Down at the bottom three, just above soon to be second-string quarterbacks Zach Mettenberger and Mike Glennon is Cutler with this explanation from an anonymous “prominent American businessman,” (probably the writer’s alter-ego):

“I’m not sure there is a professional athlete in America today who is less liked than Cutler. He would be an absolute disaster to attach to any brand, given that the thoughts surrounding him are almost universally negative.”

So, the writer and “prominent American businessman” would rather see, say… Johnny Manziel (#26 on the list) endorse a product than Jay Cutler. The “prominent American businessman” says Manziel is over exposed but would probably be good for “counter-culture products.”

Like what? Dope?

I think the only thing Johnny Fuck-up is suited for is a medication that amplifies apathy.


There was  an intergalactic orgasm by nerds recently when JJ Abrams and Disney released the second trailer to the new, and seventh, Star Wars movie. Count me among America’s super-cool, virile men whose lightsaber never fully charged at the sight of Wookies, Han Solo and Princess Leia. All of the movies were awkwardly-written and poorly acted. The lone  exception is the series’ darkest film, The Empire Strikes Back. It has great surprises, superior acting (director Irvin Kershner knew what he was doing) and the best pacing (again, credit Kershner).

I’m hoping Abrams is more like me and studied the Empire Strikes Back. If he’s like the merchandising maven George Lucas then we’ll be stuck with another boring film with annoyingly Disney-esque characters like Jar Jar Binks and those damn ewoks.

Back to football.

Here’s a picture of Ted Thompson going to work every morning to prepare for the draft.


I mean really. This old coot gets off on the draft more than any other GM. And, he’s right to, because it is, of course, the best way to build a winning team. And, Thompson is pretty good at the draft. After all, his very first draft pick was Aaron Rodgers.

23 other teams passed on Rodgers and hundreds of thousands of Packers fans, did too. Some fans wondered what was wrong with Craig Nall as the Heir to the Favre Throne. (Really. See here!) Idiots!

If Thompson continues piling up talent like he did in the 2005, 08, 09, 13 and 14 drafts then I’m sure the cheeseheads will give a hand to every hard-on the old man musters up.

Looks like Thompson is ready to pop another load

Looks like Thompson is ready to pop another load

The NFL Rules and Competition Committee decided not to make any changes to the legal reception issue, even after the freakout over the Dez Bryant catch in the NFL Division championship playoff game. I think that’s a(nother) huge mistake by the league.

Under the letter of the rule, the call was correctly reversed. It’s the rule, I’m complaining about.

Bryant had control of the ball, took two or three steps to the goal line, his right elbow hit the ground and the play should have been dead there. That’s not enough for the NFL. AFTER the tackle, they want to see the receiver emerge from the tackle with the ball in his hands.

So, the rule calls for the officials to make a ruling on possession after the play is, basically, dead.

This photo is taken after Dez Bryant took two, or three steps to the goal line. In the photo you can see: Elbow is clearly down and Bryant has possession. Play should be dead

This photo is taken after Dez Bryant took two, or three steps to the goal line. In the photo you can see: Elbow is clearly down and Bryant has possession. Play should be dead. It isn’t until the ball hits the turf that it is dislodged. 

Add to the confusion is that for decades we have heard TV announcers (more on these idiots in a second) say that the “ground can not cause a fumble.” That expression has been said in barrooms, dens, and stadiums millions of times. It’s become sacrosanct.

Except now. The ball came out of Bryant’s left hand after it made contact with the turf. So, the NFL is saying the ground can cause a fumble!

The other thing that promotes so much hysteria with rulings like this one is that the vast majority of TV analysts DO NOT KNOW THE FREAKING RULES! (I contend most officials don’t know all of the rules, but that’s a rant for another day! I mean, the official on the play rules it was a touchdown!!!)

Listen to Joe Buck’s and Troy Aikman’s call of the Bryant play. During the replay neither one of them questions whether the play was incomplete. Because they don’t know the rules!

You can make the argument that they know the rule, but were so amazed by Bryant’s effort, they forgot it until former NFL Head of Officials Mike Pereira came in to clean up their mess. Fine. But, I have other examples of announcers not knowing the rules and inaccurately calling a play – even in replay. The biggest culprits are the so-called Color Commentator, all of whom are former players or coaches. Watch a Monday Night game and count how many times Play-by-Play Announcer Mike Tirico corrects, or informs, Jon Gruden about a ruling.

In fact, Pereira himself has called out Gruden for his lack of knowledge on the rules.

 “I have very little respect for him (Gruden) when it comes to officiating and his knowledge of the rules.”

You can read his entire takedown of Chucky here.

gruden chucky

We here in Chicago all know that former Bears coach Mike Ditka will sell you anything. Ditka has even shilled for the Chicago Male Medical Clinic. Despite the money spent on Ditka’s endorsement the business went limp and closed.

ditka impotence clinic

I have purchased a couple of the Ditka’s products. I have no beef with this one. It’s easy to prepare and tasty.

The label says it's Ditka's Hall of Fame recipe and that's a platitude it can't match, but this is one of Da Coach's better endorsements.

The label says it’s Ditka’s Hall of Fame recipe and that’s a platitude it can’t match, but this is one of Da Coach’s better endorsements.

But, the Ditka Pinot Noir…. not too tasty. I’ve looked for some reviews on-line and couldn’t find much.

All, I can say is that my wife and I opened up the $20 bottle and it was about as bad as his 1999 3-13 Bears team.

Even the garbage disposal complained

Even the garbage disposal complained

Finally, this… recently on our Barroom Facebook page I posted a joke I found on twitter regarding the hiring of the first full-time female NFL official, Sarah Thomas. Here it is:

Twitter joke on female ref

What followed in the comments section was a string of other jokes about a female being an NFL official. One member of our Facebook Barroom group was highly offended and a debate ensued about the sexist nature of the jokes and whether men should demonstrate more civility and less chauvinism.

I defended the jokes posted by the other barflies not because they were funny, they weren’t, but because part of the idea of having the NFC North Barroom is where a bunch of guys and gals could congregate and exchange information about the game and, also, make fun of football, farts and _____ (fill in the blank).

More importantly, I also defended the jokes because over the course of time I’ve known the jokesters be fair-minded and family-loving individuals.

But, as I race through my years I’m learning that it’s necessary to slow down sometimes and think more empathically about whether my attempt at humor will offend someone. Sometimes, it’s okay to challenge someone’s sensibilities if the joke is carefully crafted and it’s virtually guaranteed to kill. But, more often, I think it’s a good idea to delay or delete jokes about certain topics including most first-time accomplishments.

Jokes about scab referees and officials needing glasses won’t offend right-to-work advocates or the seeing-impaired. But, a joke about the first full-time female official will offend many because Sarah Thomas has broken a barrier that should have been broken decades ago. Women still face enormous barriers to opportunities men take for granted. So, I appreciate anyone taking offense to the wisecracks.

I’ll try to do better job when engaging in farce and welcome anyone’s thoughts.


As always, if anyone is offended or bored by any of the above… just remember it’s the booze talking!

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Aldo Gandia

Aldo Gandia

Among my career highlights I have produced two films while in high school that received nationwide attention; leaned out of a helicopter over the Gulf of Suez at the age of 20 to shoot movies of oil rigs; won an Emmy award for a sports special and another for a kid's fitness show; and led a team of very talented creative professionals to produce break-through corporate communications.

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