To Flay or To Souffle: Gronk’s Big Question


Gronk has been doing online interviews again. So, you can expect the sublime and the ridiculous.

For the most part, there is nothing in between for Gronk. Whether it is tackling or receiving the ball, he plays the same way. You then should not be surprised by his everyday life.

Gronk is a magnificent beast when he runs for a TD and spikes the ball in the endzone. That is sublime and ridiculous entwined.

When doing his robotic, kung-fu style dance moves, he is no Cam Newton. Yet, Gronk’s ridiculous appearance rivals the ridiculous as when Fred Astaire dances with a broom.

As to why he is reluctant to have online accounts, like Snapchat, Gronk explains that women will send him off-color photos. This problem would likely cause him trouble. He prefers his off-color in the locker room. We were reminded he likes to eat Polish sausage.

Wisdom in this day and age indeed.

We were most struck with Gronk’s ridiculously sublime eating habits.

Gronk confessed that his mother makes a superior “Chicken Sue flay.”

We immediately went to our mother’s treasured cookbook to find out why we never were served such a delectable. We felt ridiculous, and hardly sublime.

We found recipes by Bobby Flay, some kind of chef and something called SoyVay Chicken, but not Sue Flay.

We once experienced a cheddar and chicken soufflé, but this dish seemed to be too exotic for Gronk. But wait, do you think the continental Gronk, known for his facility with all things fiesta, might have a Francophobic blind spot?

If asked, Gronk will tell us he loves franks, especially with beans. It’s ridiculous to expect more, or even less.

Time & Tide Without Edelman and Lord Tennyson

Julian Edelman has crossed the bar, all metaphors being unequal. We do not refer to your local drinking emporium.

Well, Alfred Lord Tennyson might better understand the NFL injury reports and could explain why we feel bereft. We hope Jules will continue to make waves, but after a broken bone in his foot, he may be hobbling into the media sunset, leaving us sea sick.

Players with season-stopping injuries tend to disappear into the Valhalla where putting out to sea in flames is the norm. In the NFL your worst injury tends to shanghai the victim—at least in the world of Bill Belichick. Gone, baby, gone.

We might take some solace that foretopman Wes Welker could have signed with the Patriots—if he had waited a week longer before jumping ship with the Rams.

We think only of poor Tom Brady—bereft without his lifejacket. We never considered Julian a “Mae West,” but he was keeping Tom afloat on third downs.

Now we face twilight and evening bell—and after that the dark!

Danny Amendola expects to step into the breach. We must trust again in the great Pilot of the ship to find another replacement from his kit and caboodle of replacement parts.

The tide keeps moving, despite the loss of Dion Lewis and now Julian Edelman. Makeshift sails now power the offensive line since Nate Solder crossed that bar weeks ago.

The season is only half over—and the boundless deep still ahead may be filled with icebergs, as well as Scylla and Charybdis, not to mention Rex Ryan.

When the call comes, Patriots go into the foamy brine, leaving the rest of us in sad farewell. Edelman was our life saver, not just some candy-ass cabin boy.

There is but a glimmer of hope that Edelman could return for playoffs and Super Bowl, yet solitary Tom Brady expects the flood will bear him far, far into the playoffs–but without his crew.

NEXT! The Patriots Speed Up the Line

In case you’re wondering what the NFL is doing this week to conspire against the New England Patriots, we can tell you they have given the opponents four extra days of rest.

It’s not enough.

T-Rex has been acting like Godzilla for weeks now, but there are no Potemkin villages for him to plunder outside of Foxboro.

T-Rex Ryan and his band of merry men have been off since a Thursday night game. And, they will have until the next Monday Night game to prepare their A-list game. Now that’s what the NFL calls a level playing field.

Ryan’s days as Friar Tuck, the fat prelate trying to knock Robin Hoodie off the log, ended with gastric surgery. After the Hoodie knocks him into the Charles River, T-Rex will wish he had a few extra pounds for buoyancy.

Bill Belichick is ringing the triangle now to muster his troops. The Bills are likely to find themselves lost in the Gillette Triangle once the game starts. There is nothing more foreboding than a team that is 9-0 and playing in their favorite haunt.

Gillette is the Sargasso Sea for all blowhards, footmen, and Moby coaches.

T-Rex likely has been collecting rabbits’ feet in an effort to rub his frog legs together. In the mean time in between time, ain’t we got fun? The Patriots are building a barrel for the Bills coach to use when he goes over Niagara Falls before his own fall from grace.

T-Rex will huff and puff this week, but we doubt he can blow down Tom Brady’s Brookline mansion. And, three little piggies (Gostkowski, Edelman and Amendola) want to bring home the bacon. Nine is never enough.

Patriots Skunk NFL Referees


DATELINE:  Giants Take Step Backward

 Featured imageZorro, the Black Tulip, or a Patriot?

As usual, the NFL tried to steal a game from the Patriots with its officiating crew of clowns. They know whose name appears on their paychecks. It is not Tom Brady.

The other big name beloved by the NFL is “Eli,” which is the code name for Super Bowl defeat in New England. We heard this week that the Secret Service has given the nickname “Eli” to Dr. Ben Carson, Republican running for president, who contends he tried to stab his best friend and clobber his mother with Maxwell’s silver hammer.

You have to watch those guys named Eli. This week there is no Super Bowl for the Patriots, but the Giants are looking at the closest thing to a bowl game, or even a playoff game for this year. They have the worst defense in football. That’s 32nd if you are counting, but with Goodell’s refs and zebras running amok, the Giants actually had a shot at beating the Patriots.

Now the Giants put the one-handed Zen master with his baking glove and catcher’s mitt, Jason Pierre-Paul, into the mix. He hoped to set off some fireworks during the game with his good hand.

Pierre-Paul sounds like the guy who makes Mounds Candy. It also could be the singing group that brought you “Puff the Magic Dragon,” an ode to performance enhancing experiences by Peter, Paul, and Mary Jane. But, the candy guy: that was Peter Paul, but you will find no Almond Joy at MetLife Stadium this Sunday. Stephen Gostkowski slayed the Giants.

What’s the worst that could happen? Besides listening to the Jimmy Webb tune, it is injury. When you play a team with murder in their hearts, they want to hurt your players. To wit, sayonara, Jules. How many shark’s teeth are coming up next in the assembly line? Even sharks have only so many spares.

When the referees call pass interference where there is none, you know the NFL tried to fix the game. Deflategate, indeed.

We learned that Gostkowsky is Polish for “Screw you, Goodell.”

Belichick Seeks A Cure for What Ails Jamie Collins


DATELINE: Plague on Your Gillette House

 Featured image Pre-Plague Days of Collins

Bill Belichick’s notorious doghouse may be the same as an island known as Elba, not Revis.

Jamie Collins, the hotshot young star on defense that rivals the hotshot young star on offense (Dion Lewis), has been ordered to stay away from the team.

It appears for nearly two weeks the healthy and hardy Jamie Collins has suffered some viral malady. We begin to wonder how a bad cold can outlast the Bubonic Plague.

In Belichick’s mind, with his decimated defensive units, he worries that Collins is the Typhoid Mary of Football. Who can blame him? As much as Belichick is a wizard, he is not an alchemist. He cannot continue to weave gold out of dross. And, right now, his offensive line is gold-plated dross. He doesn’t need the same problem on defense.

Collins might come into the situation and become a worse nightmare than Dr. Michael Crichton imagined in his fascinating novella and movie about a space plague, The Andromeda Strain.

Belichick must be a literary devotee, because he has isolated Jamie Collins like he is a direct emissary of Gort, the robot from The Day the Earth Stood Still. Bill Belichick does not want his mechanical defensive plans to be stopped dead in their tracks on the eve of a Giants game. Collins may be cog in the strain.

At this point Belichick must find a doctor who owns the Magic Bullet. Not, the one that shot Kennedy, but the one that cures disease. Is Madame Curie still doing research?

Is there a Jonas Salk out there with an injection of good health? Does anyone have healthy stem cells? For heaven’s sake, does anyone have two aspirin?



Grayscale Between Jets and Bills: Only the Color Blind Can Tell

DATELINE: no colors

Featured imagein glorious black and white

Color blind fans were blindsided by the Jets and Bills on Thursday night. It didn’t matter if you watched on a big screen, a smartphone screen, or your iPad. If you watched on grandmama’s old black and white TV, you had an idea of the problem.

Someone at the NFL decided it would be great fun to have each team coordinate their look from top to bottom in one color. The Bills took red, and the Jets took green.

The players looked strangely odd at first—and there was no becoming used to the monochromatic look.

The problem was exacerbated by the fact that the teams looked like they were playing in pajamas with footsies. We kept looking for an open trap door. This would have been more colorful than a bunch of men doing the famous “black bottom” dance.

Of course, since somewhere between 5% and 10% of men are color blind when it comes to red/green, they were looking for stripes and and logos to help them determine who was interfering with whom.

In the old days of black and white television, this would never have happened because all gray uniforms required one to have light pants and one to have dark pants. It was the same philosophy that went into the Friday Night Fights.

The witless ninnies at the NFL no longer think of such matters. They stick to surface appearances, whether it’s a deflated football, or little green men from head to toe.

Anyone having trouble telling the teams apart should have simply watched T-Rex Ryan on the sidelines. You’d know instantly what team was unhappy with the referees.

Mr. Holmes: Treatment of Elderly Holmes Astounds

DATELINE: New Movies, Old Heroes

With all the new Featured imageand revised Sherlock Holmes films and television series overwhelming those devoted to the Doyle canon, what a breath of fresh air to find ourselves facing a brilliant new movie last night: Mr. Holmes with Ian McKellan playing Sherlock at 70 in flashbacks, and 93 in 1947.

In no mean feat, McKellan manages to play the active Holmes, unable to solve his final case, driving him into retirement, having eschewed Watson. His new housekeeper’s young son seems to urge him to come out of retirement at 93—but Holmes is dubious.

Interesting and subtle difference between a spry Holmes failing in his last case at 70 and quitting–and doddering and with senility and memory loss at 93–emerge in McKellan’s sharp performance. Even Holmes with Alzheimer’s is better than most detectives with all their faculties.

With all his favorites dead and gone, he lives as a beekeeper in Sussex (true to stories) and now regrets he did not solve his last case–and decides to do so before he dies.

Holmes must come face to face with the horrors of 20th century progress—from Hiroshima to bad movie depictions of him. He attends a showing, unnoticed, and disdains the movie.

Fascinating and ultimately moving portrait of Holmes, the film directed by Bill Condon is absolutely true to original stories (unlike one highly touted American series).

Amusing trivia abounds, but this film is more than clever. It is deeply moving and transfixing as we watch the ravages of old age upon an icon.

The teenage star of YOUNG SHERLOCK, Nicholas Rowe, returns to the screen to play the movie version of adult Holmes! Clever movie with many Hitchcock references and Holmes touches.

Whether this turns into a franchise of old Sherlock stories depends entirely on the decision of Ian McKellan.

Belichick Says Diddly-Squat in Esperanto

DATELINE: Paper Chase and Media Beater

 Featured imageProfessor Belichick at Trump University

Bill Belichick disdained his midterm report card.

You’d think the head coach of the New England Patriots would gladly accept accolades and A’s for his efforts this season.

This is not your twin brother’s Rex Ryan. Belichick sneered with more alacrity than usual when some dopey media person asked what grade he deserved as a coach at mid-season.

Bill does not suffer fools gladly—and press conferences seem to test his pedal to the mettle. These cub reporters never learn their lessons enough to receive more than a failing grade. Professor Belichick never gives multiple guess tests.

Responding with all the ever-acerbic zeal of Bill Parcells, Mr. Belichick thought the idea of a mid-season grade went out with summa cum laude.  He eschewed any grading system as worse than pass/fail.

Under the circumstances, he noted that he deserved an F.

Football is not the first semester of college—despite what FanDuel or DraftKings may tell you. And Bill Belichick is the Professor Kingsfield of the media chase and Super Bowl graduate school. If he has a seating plan for reporters and media geeks at his weekly presser, he knows what maroon to call on for the worst question.

One of these days he will hand a reporter a dime and tell him to call his mother and say he failed out of Football 101.

Unlike bombastic Rex Ryan who only circles the games with the Patriots on his schedule, Bill Belichick never circles anything. He is more of a rhomboid guy. And, there is no neutral corner.




Beware the Ides of November!

DATELINE: Patriots on Road Not Taken

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Danger, Danger, Will Robinson—and you too Bill Belichick! All too often when the Patriots visit MetLife Stadium, they find themselves lost in space, knocked off by some Bloop.  Giants killer Jason Pierre-Paul is making the sound of one hand clapping for all you Zen masters.

With winning teams gathering losses like rosebuds while they may, the Patriots have come to the fork in the road. Will they take it?

If they do, you can stick a fork in the Patriots.

Heretofore this season, only Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning have taken the road not taken. When you have a perfect record, you have to be suspicious of your GPS. You may be driving toward a bridge too far.

Robert Frost surely could tell you that playing the Giants has made all the difference on the journey of life. The road not taken is never the primrose path.

Many undefeated teams are guilty of driving off that far bridge before their chickens have hatched.

The Ides of the month often screw up the best laid plans of mice and caesars. You expect to pick up your victory laurels—and find yourself at the wrong end of a hilt or two.

We don’t want to hear Bill Belichick crying, “Great Caesar’s Ghost!” when the Giants do it again. However, Tom Coughlin looks like he is ready to haunt the house of the Patriots. The last thing we need is a bunch of Gronk-busters.

Will someone please put a stake in the heart of Tom Coughlin before he rises again?

Betting Your Tails on a Heady Chance: FanKings and DraftDuel

DATELINE: Games for Profit

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BoyKings and FanDooDoo websites have been shut down in New York state.

And bettors are claiming they have real skills.

We have been trying to predict winners and losers on a weekly basis for years, but we have never been stupid enough to put money on it. However, many fans of many sports apparently are desperate for a quick fix or a get-rich opportunity.  They bet weekly, if not daily.

This once was considered an addiction. Now it is a skill.

If you look at the losers both fantasy betting companies use in their commercials, you’d be indignant that if those idiots can win millions, so can you. What a brilliant dodge: make young male bettors angry by showing nerds winning sports bets. BoyKings indeed.

Our experience is that each week the NFL has at least two or three upsets. By the nature of upset, you have an unexpected victor coming out of bad referee calls, or with overtime luck. Picking which team will upset the others is hardly a skill. It is sheer happenstance. You never know what team the officials will screw that week.

Are we betting on a fixed notion? You bet your life.

The unknown fate of injury during a game can change the complexion of a drive for points.  Your skill may be character based: like knowing which idiot football player will be suspended for illegal performance enhancing drugs, drag racing in his car, or beating the mothers of his many offspring. Good luck with that one.

FanDooDoo will do you in.

Burgers to Burritos: Olynyk Matches Edelman


Featured imageBurritoKing?

Celtics games continue to take a backseat to the backstory.

The latest team-spirit building centered on a wager that Kelly Olynyk could eat a burrito in four bites—while on a charter jet heading to Milwaukee. Unfasten your seat belts. It may repeat on you.

Not since the Fourth of July and hot dogs have we thought of such shenanigans. Whether he could win or lose, Kelly may have won the Tofu Turkey Award with this antic.

Teammates seem divided on the rules, but the four bites clearly had to stay within the bounds of a time constraint. There were more rules than DraftKings have to face in New York.

This is the kind of bettor investment (FanDuel calls it a “deposit” not a bet) that causes money to fly faster than at a cock fight. A few more of these macho contests and DuelKings will be banned in more states than Nevada and New York.

Patriot pal Julian Edelman will have to create a new burrito video to go with his notorious Burger Tyme show. Olynyk can clearly match dollars to donuts or burgers to burritos.

While wearing JE 11’s baseball cap, Olynyk depressed his lower jaw and shoved a dripping burrito into his mouth. With chipmunk cheeks, he seemed stuffed more than the proverbial turkey at Thanksgiving.  All was caught on iPhone video for posterity.

He tried stalling for time with a fastidious napkin break—but the overwhelming Mexican dinner made the hirsute Olynyk look like a flat tortilla.

If he has difficulty playing in the night’s game, we will understand why he is belching on the bench.

Welker Returns–but not to New England

The Short Unhappy Life of Wes Welker

Featured imageIn Happier Times

Wes Welker has come out of retirement to play for the Rams.

This is not a case of a distinguished elder statesman coming in for a last hurrah. This is a case of a man with a history of concussions playing with the remainder of his brains left on the field.

We knew he could not return to Brady and the Patriots. Time has moved on—and like a previous wife, Wes cannot rekindle the romance with his paramour remarried to Jules Edelman.

On top of that, the father of the groom would hardly hear of Wes Welkah coming back to the fold. Some insults are better forgotten, and some better remembered. Wes managed to burn the bridges as he fled to the silver dollar saloon in Denver and Peyton’s Place.

We like to think the Patriots would not re-up him because they don’t want him to experience another concussion.  However, the NFL is not a place for bleeding hearts or even compassionate conservatives. If Welkah ends up brain damaged, he will have only himself to blame. But he will make enough money to hire nurses round the clock.

Wes has been raking in a good amount lately by combing his often hair. We may be splitting hairs, but money may be second to the parting of fame. Far more corrosive than a concussion, fame has killed more people than the NFL can count.

Welkah’s career now will have a coda—a short, punctuating moment of suspense, followed by sudden darkness. Don’t ask for the stars, as they said in Now, Voyager, when you already hit the Moon.

Fee, Fie, Foe Fumble: Patriots Face Off Giants

 DATELINE: Tom Brady’s Odyssey

Featured imageHe Smells the O-Line

The New England Patriots will play a game this week that resembles a trip to the dentist’s office. Is it that time again already? The old magazines in the waiting room all date back to various lost Super Bowls.

Several times over the past decade Tom Brady has gone to the Giant dentist to have his teeth polished—and discovered his gold fillings stolen.

There aren’t many teams that have put up a barber’s pole outside the stadium and cleaned, pressed, and wiped out the New England Patriots. These Giants are doing it with a pizza delivery boy’s younger brother.

Brady is first to acknowledge that he seems to come down with a bad case of cramps whenever the Giants smell his blood. It is always worse when you are locked in Tom Coughlin’s man-cave. Brady opens his mouth and develops flat feats.

You’d think by now that Tom would have read up on Odysseus and how he handled the one-eyed giant called Cyclops, clearly a distant relative of Peyton Manning. Cyclops’d eat up the O-line of Odysseus every time.

This week Tom may have noticed that his offensive linemen already chewed up and predigested. Fate has taken a bite out of his protection and left him looking like chopped liver.

If we seem nervous while awaiting this week’s trip to the dentist, you can understand fully that this situation and losing Dion Lewis, is like renting an apartment from your dentist. Not only is he counting your teeth, your lease is up at the end of the month and the moving truck has deflated tires.

Cam Doublechecks Aaron and Doesn’t Give a Fig Newton

DATELINE: Yes, We Have No Banners


Featured image

Sharing Sweet Nothings

Cam Newton, pinup boy and would-be Abercrombie & Fitch model, ripped down an opposing team banner at his home stadium this Sunday.

Don’t get Cam wrong. He loves some Green Bay Cheese Packers. (To wit, his long-standing bromance with Aaron Rodgers).

In a tough guy stance, the Newton who doesn’t give a fig for fans, chose to defang a local resident who happened to prefer the Cheeseheads of Wisconsin. Newton tore down and shredded a banner that expressed hubris and preferred another QB to him.

Newton has nothing against his opponents. He was seen yucking it up before the game with fellow commercial boytoy Aaron Rodgers.  For years we watched Rodgers try evasive maneuvers with his cheesy stalker (an androgynous double-checker). So, athletic supporters, beware your athlete’s diva moments.

Whenever QBs meet, their fraternity has more secrets than the freemasons. As for the key Cheesehead, QB Aaron Rodgers has no problems with Cam’s preferences.

Cam and Aaron always share an intimate moment, even if it is before 50,000 prying eyes and world wide internet coverage.

So Cam probably received some kind of imprimatur from his fellow endorser of products. At least that’s what they call club bonding off the field.

The NFL hates deflated footballs, but has no problem with players who attempt murder or those who deface banners belonging to paying fans. There will be no fine or punishment for vandalism, as long as the fan’s balls were not tampered with.

The owner of the banner claimed it cost him $500 to expose himself to ridicule. That explains the disrespect Cam showed. He drops $500 on tips for yogurt deliveries to his home nearly every day.

Next time you root against Cam Newton, he may yank your fig leaf to shreds and put holes in your head of cheese.

Andrew Luck: Read Our Books!

DATELINE: Bookworms Turn

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Andrew Luck has now topped Tom Brady and Peyton Manning on the New York Times Book List.

In a post-literate world, Andrew Luck is bringing back the old fashioned values of a bookworm. He reads books. He recommends them to his teammates. Usually his mother recommends them to him. Does anyone have her email address?

This revolutionary approach to long road trips and plane flights may create an entirely new group of fans—the disenfranchised intelligentsia. For years they have been cut adrift by the NFL and had sand kicked in their faces at the beach by defensive linemen.

Apparently somewhere along the way, Andrew Luck took the slogan, “Read rhymes with Lead” to heart. He will inspire his teammates by tailoring their intellectual needs to the winning requirements of the Indianapolis Colts.

With eclectic taste—from Arthurian historical novels to inspirational tales—Luck may be the latest incarnation of the Joy Pot Luck Club.

We suspect he may end up a guest with Oprah to talk about reading.

Once his football career is over, he may well be the first entrepreneurial publisher to come out of the ranks of quarterbacks.

Tom Brady likes to joke that he majored in general studies (not a stretch for humor), but Luck has a Stanford education with a focus on architectural design. That alone would give him a well-rounded appreciation on styles and philosophies.

Most authors will give up their local fan loyalty to have an endorsement by Luck for their novels, nonfiction, and humor books.

As for us, would we abandon Brady for Luck? Do we feel Lucky today? It’s tempting, but we do not think we would.