Monday, January 06, 2014


Not long after the Niners defeated the Packers, Sunday on the frozen (grayish looking?) tundra I received a post on my Facebook wall from my cousin, who has been a 49ers fan basically since he was old enough to follow football.

The post simply read, "Sorry but the better team prevailed today." Oh yeah and it was over this picture:

Now to fully understand this, I need to give a tad bit of back story. What really warranted this is that Packers, for quite some time, have been one of my favorite teams. My favorite NFC team, for what it's worth. I don't root against the Packers, I cheer for them almost as if I was from Sheboygan or somewhere like that. Anyways, last year I texted him, prior to the 49ers-Packers game, with a selfie in which I was donning my cheesehead. Yes, I own a cheesehead. So, naturally I set myself up for things like this to be hung upon my Facebook wall. Obviously it doesn't please me, but part of me expected the 49ers to win. They have owned the Packers of late and I have matured (somewhat) into a fan who can accept most of the realities of sports.

So, I can't say I was not expecting something like this to be sent my way and I would tend to concur that the better team did prevail, although I would say they did not play like the better team for the whole 60 minutes of game time. But what really irked me was the picture. Colin Kaepernick and is stupid bicep smooch. I absolutely loathe this celebratory gesture of his. Quite frankly, it makes me pine for Tebowing. If I need to go into detail as to why I hate this celebration, then you should probably be reading someone else's blog. But before I elaborate a tad more on my dislike for Kaepernick, let's take a look at another Facebook post of a friend of mine from the Bay Area:

49ers should have won that game by a bigger score than they did, but a win is a win. And... oh yeah... to all you Kaepernick haters? He now has more road playoff wins than Hall of Fame QB's Joe Montana and Steve Young COMBINED

I do tend to agree with the first part. As I mentioned earlier, I do believe the better team did prevail, but I don't believe they necessarily played like the better team for the entirety of the game. But I do take issue with the second part here, as I am a Kaepernick hater. Through and through, even. I don't hate him because I don't think he is a good player. He most certainly is very, very good. I don't think he's great. Kaepernick arguably won Sunday's game with his feet and a little help from Jarrett Bush misplaying his containment. Kaepernick can run. Once he is out in the open he can gain big chunks of yards, quickly and that will help him. Overall, at this time, I think he is a tad bit overrated. Kaepernick was 7th in Total Quarterback Rating was 7th this year, so I may be wrong. Although his completion percentage was in the bottom half of the league, he doesn't throw interceptions. Of all the starting quarterbacks in the NFL, only Alex Smith threw fewer picks. But the fact is, I don't really hate because of that. Well, I do. I hate that when you look like you have him, he runs free for big games. I hate him because he is unlikely to throw a pick. When I am generally rooting against his team, this is annoying. If it weren't for that giving his bicep a hickey after a touchdown (yes I do love Aaron Rodgers and if I didn't cheer for him, I might hate him for his discount double check celebration dance, but not as much as Kaepernicking), I might at least have more respect for him. But let's get to the last part of that post. "He now has more road playoff wins than Hall of Fame QB's Joe Montana and Steve Young COMBINED".

How is this at all relevant? I mean, I know the QB is important, but the whole team plays the game, right? So, let's look into this statistic, shall we?

For Montana, he lost his first road playoff game in 1983 to the Washington Redskins in the NFC Championship. The 'Skins were 14-2 and had won ten straight including a 51-7 dismantling of the Rams in the Divisional Round the week prior. Now the 49ers were hardly slouches that year, going 10-6, but the 'Skins dominated the NFC in '83 and the Niners only lost that game by three.

In 1986 the 49ers lost to the Giants in the Meadowlands 17-3 in the Wild Card Round. The Giants had a good defense and both teams were 10-6, so maybe the Giants just outplayed the Niners.

In the 1993-94 season, Montana as a member of the Chiefs, won the Divisional Round game at Houston before losing at Buffalo. You may remember those Buffalo teams of the early 90s were, well, pretty good.

For Steve Young, his first road playoff game was in Dallas against the defending Super Bowl Champion Cowboys. They would lose to the Cowboys, who would go on to win the Super Bowl that year as well.

Young's second road loss is, well an iffy one. It was in 1997 at Lambeau in the Divisional Round and Young left the game due to injury after throwing just five passes. The Packers went on to win the Super Bowl.

Young, at age 37, played his last road playoff game of his career. In fact, it was his last playoff game ever. In this game he did throw three picks as they lost to the 14-2 Falcons, who would go on to the Super Bowl.

So really, Young and Montana were 1-5 and as Niners they were 0-4 in road playoff games. Of those four losses, three of them were against the conference favorites and eventual conference champs. Plus the non-Niners road playoff loss was against the AFC Champion Bills, who were amid winning four straight conference championships. Now let's look at Colin Kaepernick.

 Okay, I will give you last year's win against the Falcons was impressive as the Falcons were the conference favorites, and although he ran well Sunday, his passing game was not superstar quality. It was cold, I get it. But the 49ers were favored to win. On the road! They were 12-4, whereas the Packers were 8-7-1. Albeit without Aaron Rodgers for a good amount of time. Sure, Rodgers was back and played fairly well, but he can't play defense too and the Packers defense did not show up when they needed to.

I guess you have to hand it to Kaepernick a little, but to me that is one of those statements that tries to thrust Kaepernick into the same strata as Montana and Young. If/when the Niners win in Carolina, I will still not be impressed if they win in Carolina next week because once again the Niners are favored to win. So if you want to say Colin Kaerpernick has as many road playoff wins where his team was not expected to win as Joe Montana and Steve Young combined, then go ahead. It's a bit wordy. The quarterback is a team sport and Montana and Young came up against better teams when they went on the road in the playoffs. Kaepernick and the Niners have not done that yet in 2014. So for now, for me, I am going to sit back and keep thinking the Kaepernick is somewhat overrated. Oh yeah, and continue to hate on him and his bicep snogging ways.

Saturday, January 04, 2014


So that title sounded a bit dirtier than expected. Well, as far as you know. Is it my fault he calls his bat (and perhaps other things) his boomstick? Should that be capitalized? Boomstick? Even more emphatic? BOOMstick? Hows about all caps? BOOMSTICK? Well, regardless of how you type it, you know you are all just jealous/disappointed you didn't think of a sweet name like that, first. Wow, really got off on a tangent there, huh? Alright, on to the ongoing free agency of Nelson Cruz. As The Boomstick Turns? Darn, that would have been mostly less dirty title. But, if I had gone there, you, my loyal reader (and I do mean as in "you" the singular reader) would not have been treated to a sweet paragraph about the word/name BOOMSTICK. So, you are welcome for that delicious stream of consciousness. Anyways, on we go with As The Boomstick Turns.

So, once upon a time (around the time Nelson Cruz dubbed his lumber, BOOMSTICK) Nelson Cruz would hit many balls, many, many feet from home plate. Cruz was a household name...if your household was either in the greater Arlington, Texas area or filled with baseball nerds and the likes. Cruz is still a name, but with less cache. Maybe cache is not the word. Clout? Less clout? Let's go with that, shall we? Okay, so, although he has seemed to be hitting about the same every year, he has seem to fall off because, well, he is not a superstar as some expected he might become. I think it was the BOOMSTICK factor or something. Well, anyways, our tale brings us to 2014 and the Nelson Cruz free agency tour.

Okay, so the title of this post, may be a tad misleading, but if you want to see some actual insight into where Cruz might make the best fit (which right now is pretty much nowhere) head over to Fangraphs and let Jeff Sullivan lay it out for you. So, I am not so much going to look into where Nelson's BOOMSTICK will end up, but more at why some places are a bad fit for Cruz and the aforementioned BOOMSTICK. Actually, that is phrased sort of incorrectly. What I mean is, why a certain thing is preventing him from being a good fit in certain somewhere.

Cruz does not add much, except pop, that I get. He did, D-I-D, did, have some decent fielding years for the Rangers, but has been a minus defender the past few seasons. Here, yes here is where I take issue. As Mr. Sullivan and several other pundits have pointed out the problem for most teams signing Mr. Cruz and his BOOMSTICK (yes I love the word BOOMSTICK, deal with it!) is that right field is pretty well manned. Now, in many of these cases, there is mention that left field is also somewhat covered, but it wouldn't matter much anyways, because Cruz has does not play left field. This kind of flummoxed me a tad bit and maybe my ignorance is showing (I do my best to cover it, but it does not always work out) here, but is that really such a big deal?

Now Cruz has played some games in left field, but only 59 over his career, so I get that that is not his true position, but is this a transition that would be that difficult? Would he forget which side of the outfield he was on and throw the ball in the opposite direction? If anything, left field is the easiest of the three outfield positions, right? It's not Little League, where you stick the kid whose dad is forcing him to play, but couldn't catch a cold, in right field, this is the major leagues. You stick that kid in left. Metaphorically speaking, that is. I mean, Manny Ramirez played left field for crying out loud! And not well, much of the time!

Again, I'm aware that Cruz's fielding is not stellar, put perhaps it would be better if he were in left? Obviously that is conjecture. Even if it were not the case, there's no need to pretend that signing him, even in right, would have much to do with his glove. While Cruz did have the 13th best UZR among right fielders in '13, that is a number that has been in decline each of the past five seasons. Look, I don't know where Cruz will end up or that he is a perfect anywhere, but what I do think, is that there is no need to dismiss him playing left field in 2014.

Thursday, January 02, 2014


Welcome back to "Bitterness"! After bit of hibernation, we hope to have a "Bitterness" filled 2014 just for you, all seven readers. The year kicks off with some footyball. It's playoff time in the NFL, folks! So let's take a look at those Wild Card weekend matchups.

CHIEVES @ COLTS (-2)- How good are the Chieves, exactly? For that matter, how good are the Colts, exactly? To many, KC has yet to prove themselves, mainly because they didn't play well in those "big" games, aka versus Peyton Manning and the Broncos. They were not blown out by the Broncos, sure, but they were 1-5 against this year's playoff teams including going a combined 0-4 against division foes Denver and San Diego. They even lost to the Colts in week 16 at Arrowhead, by 16.

Now aside from the Colts already beating the Chieves fairly convincingly on the road, they also 6-2 at home including a win over the Broncos in primetime. Plus the Colts had three straight solid wins (although competition was not so stiff) to finish the regular season, while KC just kind of sputtered on in, losing their last two regular season games. Granted the Chieves did not play their starters in the finale, but coming off the loss at home to the Colts, you'd think they would have wanted to get a little momentum going into the playoffs, right?

Now the general consensus is that playoff teams that rest their starters for the final regular season game come out flat in the playoffs. Now here is where some background statistics would probably help make some sort of point, but I am just too darned lazy to dig into that too deeply. I am not so sure that will factor into outcome anyways. I think the Colts are just a better team right now and with the home field advantage, I think the Chieves playoff losing streak continues. COLTS 21-13

SAINTS @ EAGLES (-2.5)- Not too long ago the Saints were being mentioned in the same breath as the Seahawks and 49ers as the class of the NFC. But then, all of a sudden after a 5-0 start they kind of fell off, going 6-5 the rest of the way whilst losing every big road game along the way. Now they have to head into Philly and face the Eagles and that ever welcoming Philly fan base.

Now let us factor in the Eagles finishing strong and being darned good at home. Oh and were you aware that the Saints have only won one playoff game away from the Superdome. Ever. That game? Oh, that was when they won the Super Bowl. So really, they have never won a true road game, as in not on a neutral field. How much does that matter? Very little, in my mind, but the fact is this Saints team is not very good on the road anyways, going 3-5 this season. Oh and those three wins were against the Bears, Bucaneers and Falcons, oh my. Now the Bears one is legit, but the Falcons and Buccos were both 4-12 this year. That could matter.

Now to me the Eagles are still an enigma, wrapped up in a riddle, and smothered in red hot mystery sauce. I don't know what that last part means either, but you're catching what I'm throwing here, right? No? I don't know what to make of the Chip Kelly's Eagles, is what I'm saying, here folks. They won a week division and have a head coach and QB who are making their first NFL playoff appearances. They are a very complicated case, folks. You know, a lotta ins, a lotta outs, a lotta what-have-yous. And, uh, a lotta strands to keep in my head, man. Now, after much consternation, I just think the Payton-Brees combo wins out. SAINTS 38-31

CHARGERS @ BENGALS (-7)- Dalton versus Rivers. That is what it comes down to for me. I am just not sold on either as a big game clutch quarterback. Dalton has not fared well in his two career playoff games, with no touchdowns, four interceptions and sub 50 QB rating. Granted this was against a tenacious Texans defense both times and they were on the road and an underdog both times. This year they are favored and the Chargers defense is not the Texans defense of the past two seasons. Plus, there's Philip Rivers.

Rivers is a the definition of a wild card. The talent is there, but so is a fair share streakiness. Rivers is consistently inconsistent. Rivers is on a hot streak and has been flying high for several weeks now, but the Cincy defense in Cincy? Well that combination could be just the ankle weights that bring him down off of cloud nine. The Bengal defense will in just be too much for Philly Rivs. BENGALS 34-24

49ERS @ PACKERS (+3)- It has been a long time since Colin Kaepernick's week one shredding of the Packer's defense through the air. It has been an even longer time since Kaepernick's playoff shredding of the Packer's defense with his scrambling ability. But has it been long enough? I mean, in theory, there is no other way for Kaepernick to shred their defense. Well, unless Kaep just shreds them with a balanced attack of both, I suppose. That is an ever growing possibility with no Clay Matthews for the Pack. All signs point to the 49ers being able to win their third straight shootout against Green Bay. Or does it?

Here's what the Packers have going for them. The game is in Green Bay. Now, the Niners are good. Darned (pardon my French) good, if you ask me. They've won six straight and they have proven they can win at home and on the road, but they will not just be playing on the road, they will be playing on the tundra. The frozen tundra of Lambeau Field. Yes, it is supposed to get up to a high of 17 degrees. That's right, a high of 17 degrees. But even that may be optimistic as it should be more like zero degrees for most of the game and it is supposed to feel like twenty below with the wind chill. That could be just the slight edge the Packers need. After all, warm weather teams do not generally do so hot (see what I did there?) in cold weather games. Is that enough? I'm leaning towards "no" on that one. 49ERS 31-27

Thursday, November 21, 2013


That's right! It's a Thursday night party, because all of my over exuberant chums are stopping by tonight! Are you ready for some football?

Well, too bad! If you're a Falcons fan. Zing!

SAINTS @ FALCONS (+8.5)- There are worse teams in the NFL, record and talent wise, for sure, but the Falcons had higher expectations than most of those other teams. They were a game away from the Super Bowl last year and now they're 2-8. This has comes as a disappointment to not only Falcons fans, but also the NFL Network who probably thought this one would be a battle for NFC South supremacy. Well, it's not. Saints are rolling along, but, well, I think I pretty much covered the plight of the Dirty Birds. If Falcons fans are looking for silver linings though, Atlanta is 2-3 at home, so there is that. Saints 23-20

Thursday, November 14, 2013


Well we're back! Apologies for the brief, unplanned hiatus, but due to some technical difficulties and a busy schedule I was unable to update good ol' "Bitterness". But here I am, so rock me like a hurricane! Well, that doesn'y really fit or makes sense, so hows about we get down to business, hmmm?

First off it is Movember and No Shave November! Both are raising money for worthy causes, let's face it those doing No Shave November are really just promoting their laziness. They are raising money by doing nothing, what a cop out! Again, good cause and I love a good beard, but I am a Movember man tried and true ( )!

Both are good, both are good. Anyways in honor of Movember, here is a Throwback Thursday Colt's "MO":

and a Tennesse Titan beard (not so much a throwback...for Bills fans' sake)

COLTS @ TITANS (+3)- Now, although I have not been making picks, I have been watching games and based on what I would have picked, I 'd have to say, I'd be doing pretty badly. As far as most teams go, I just have no clue. I mean the Colts were embarrassed by the Rams and the Titans lost to the Jaguars.

Okay, okay, I will grant you, the Rams are not that bad and are one of the many teams I have no idea what to expect from, but come on. The Colts are supposedly a contender in the AFC and they were housed at home by a team who probably won't even make the playoffs!

Now Titans fans may say, "well, we lost Jake Locker in the early stages of that game!" Sure, but how do I put this delicately? IT WAS STILL AGAINST ARGUABLY THE WORST TEAM IN THE NFL!

Needless to say, if you came up to me and asked me to answer right away which of these teams is better, I would say the Colts. Now that could be true, but I think we all know by now, that anything can happen on Thursday Night Football! I'm still going Colts, though. Colts 24-18

Saturday, October 26, 2013


Okay, "Blowout Bonanza" may be a bit hyperbolic, but looking at what happened in the Thursday Night debacle and at some of the spreads this week, we're not looking at a lot of barn burners.  
Courtesy of
Five of the twelve remaining games this week have spreads of nine or higher and only and only three have spreads under six. Now, a seven point win is hardly a blowout and, of course, spreads don't necessarily indicate what will happen, but they are based on whatever information is available. All in all, it looks like your own team playing or fantasy football will be driving viewership this week.

NINERS VS. JAGUARS (+15) @ LONDON- The Niners are starting to get a little swagger back and the Jags are, well, bad. Jacksonville is 0-7, but it is hard to say they have even looked close to winning a game this season. They did have their shining moment, being right with Peyton Manning and the Broncos going into the half, but as Peyton Manning and the Broncos are want to do, they pulled away in the second half. The Jaguars have lost every game this season by ten or more points.In five of the seven games they have lost by 15 or more points and another game they lost by 14. So while a spread this large in the NFL is tough to bet on, there is really nothing pointing to the Jaguars covering. But hey, the Jaguars may be just darned awful, at least they get a free trip to London, right? Niners 37-9

COWBOYS @ LIONS (-3)- Is it just me or do the Cowboys always seem to underachieve? A dash of talent a teaspoon of hype and you get one Cowboy fizzle. I have never been much of a fan of Tony Romo, possibly because he is on the Cowboys? I mean, a mid-major football program QB in the NFL? Should be my bread and butter, right? Well, this dislike certainly wasn't helped by the fact I was saddled with Romo at QB last year in fantasy football. Romo has been the borderline definition of inconsistency. Am I sure I know what the Lions are this season? No. So oddly, I am going with the Cowboys. Cowboys 31-28

GIANTS @ EAGLES (-5.5)- Hey, whaddya know, the Giants won a game! The weird thing here is, if the Giants win this game and the Cowboys manage to lose, the G-men are two games out of first in their division and will be a game back of the Eagles with half a season to go. What?! Yes, that is how bad the NFC East has been this season.It's hard to say that a win over that semblance of football team from Minnesota on Monday night is any indication of the G-men righting the ship, but maybe, just maybe that's what they need to get going? Giants 24-21

BROWNS @ CHIEVES (-7.5)- The Chieves are 7-0. That's right folks, the Kansas City Chieves are the last undefeated team in the NFL this season. However you slice it, that is an accomplishment. Now years ago my buddy Billyball and I had a spirited conversation at one of our local watering holes regarding the subject of an early season record for a certain team at the time and what it actually meant. We have since, had a running inside joke that has been spawned from this conversation where our response to any team peppered with early season hype due to a fast start is simply, "But who have they played?". This is absolutely only funny to us, but the Chieves have recently reminded me of this. The very talented Joe Posnanski lays it out pretty well, here, but the basic premise is many are still doubting the goodness of KC. If the Broncos were still undefeated, we'd be hearing about them making a run at 16-0, but not with these Chieves. Through no fault of their own, the Chieves have not really played any tough opponents and in the NFL, there are no polls to determine the playoff teams, only wins and losses. Add to the fact that the remaining schedule, outside of two games against Denver, does not look overly taxing and we may not know how good the Chieves really are, until playoff time. Chieves 20-10

BILLS @ SAINTS (-11)- I am not going to downplay the Saints, but there is just something feisty and gritty about these Bills.Now Spiller may not play, but really he hasn't been playing much, all season, so I am not sure this will affect the Bills too much. Circle the wagons, folks! Saints 23-20

DOLPHINS @ PATRIOTS (-6.5)- There's something unsettling about the Patriots this year.I would say they are, arguably, the toughest pick against the spread. Until last week, they were rocking that Pats persona of back in '01 where they just find ways to win.They have not looked good this season, on offense anyways. The defense was looking strong, but losing your three best defensive starters can turn that around quickly. Phins are, I dunno, mediocre. This could be a close one, but for some reason, my guts says the Pats squeak one out at home. Patriots 24-20  

JETS @ BENGALS (-6)- The Bengals are very similar to the Chieves, I think. The Bengals are not being mentioned in the same vein as KC, but are similarly off to a good start. I just don't see a clutchiness to Andy Dalton but I feel, much like KC, they have a reliable defense and an offense that does not make glaring mistakes. Cincy has also only won one game my more than a score. They keep things close, but know how to win, I guess. Bengals 16-9

STEELERS @ RADIERS (+2.5)- Sometimes I completely forget about the Raiders. It's easy to do, really. Steelers 21-14

REDSKINS @ BRONCOS (-12)- The Redskins surprised me last week against the Bears. The Broncos, are not the Bears, but expect another shootout. Broncos 41-31

FALCONS @ CARDINALS (-2.5)- Battle of the Birds in 'Zona! okay, so maybe that wasn't deserving of exclamation, but what can I say, I needed to pep it up a bit. hey, look, I know the Falcons have had some big injuries on offense, but I still refuse to believe this team is as bad as their record and numbers show, thus far. Plus, Steven Jackson looks to play this week. Falcons 31-20

PACKERS @ VIKINGS (+9)- Even down most of his receivers, Aaron Rodgers should still be able to shred the Vikings, especially if they continue to let Josh Freeman throw at will. Did putting emphasis on the pass for Josh Freeman's sake on Monday not make sense to anyone else? I am all for letting a new QB get acclimated to a new system, but you still need to focus on giving your team the best shot at winning and if you have Adrian Petersen, he is your best shot at winning. If the argument is that Giants were winless and they could get away with that, well, that won't really fly. I mean, don't all coaches preach not underestimating an opponent? The converse argument could be that the Vikes are throwing in the towel on the season already, but if that's the case, why bother getting Freeman in the first place? Well, whatever is happening in Minnesota, doesn't look good right now. Packers 27-10

SEAHAWKS @ RAMS (+11)- There is a small part of me that feels like this is a typical trap game for the 'Hawks, but then again I thought that when the Rams hosted the Niners on a Thursday night and how'd that turn out? Seahawks 31-13

Thursday, October 24, 2013


I don't think the title of this post really conveys what I am going for, unless I make it known that for full effect it should be sung by the Bay City Rollers. Really, if you're still lost, maybe this picture will help:

Wow, that was a brutal start to this post. Sorry about that. I think the weary tiredness that has encompassed me all day, may be effecting my brain. After all, I did just zone out and stare at that sweet picture for like three minutes. Although, that's probably more to do with me being a human being and less to do with me being a tired and weary human being. Sorry, sorry. I digress.

You see what happens when the I am writing on little, to no, sleep and the Thursday Night Football game features the Panthers and the Buccaneers? Now, to be fair, the Panthers are not completely unwatchable and, honestly, it will be hard to have a less titillating primetime game than what was broadcast to the nation on Monday Night. The best thing to come from that game is the new hottest seller in the Giants' gift shop...

...the Steve Weatherford cape!

PANTHERS @ BUCCANEERS (+6)- Well, Doug Martin is out, so the Bucs will have Mike and Mike leading the charge. Mike Glennon and Mike James. Yikes. Okay, okay, the thing is these guys have very little NFL experience, but in the world of the NFL anything can happen. However in the real and more accurate world, expectations are really low. I mean, they're not low enough to, say, save Greg Schiano's job or anything, but certainly low enough to have a "what do we have to lose?" philosophy. Well, for Schiano, a job, I suppose, but are you catching what I am throwing here? The point I am trying to make is, I am really tired.

Look, the Panthers are not great and the Buccaneers are, well, the Buccaneers. But hey, this is probably, arguably, the second greatest rivalry in AFC South history. If that doesn't put butts in the seats, what will?! An actual watchable football game? Yeah, okay, that would actually probably do it, I suppose. Really, can we expect that, here? Hmmm? Yeah, I think not. Game could be close, but that doesn't necessarily make it good. Well, I'll tell you what, I picked up Mike Tolbert on a fantasy team, looking for a TD, so Pmaybe I'll catch a quarter between pitches in the World Series, who knows? Panthers 24-9

Oh, hey, can't get enough of the "Bitterness" wit and sass? Try following me on Twitter, you'll get plenty! @WillieMoe