American Sportsball Binge

October! Most American sports fans agree this is the best month in the calendar. 

NFL & NCAAF in full swing. Baseball Playoffs are upon us. The World Series! The unpredictable nature of playoff baseball alone makes October special. Basketball & Ice Hockey are also on their marks and getting set to go.

There is always something going on. The hardest part is not what to talk about. It’s what not to. Just the other day The Redskins, Braves & Indians all got a tonking on Columbus Day. You can’t make this shit up.

‘Football’ has yet to disappoint, as it never does. There have already been amazing matches in both college and the NFL. Even Allan McGregor chipped in on it last week. At first I thought Greegsy had a concussion “That was a great gemme ay American Fitbaw, em 2 team’s were really good, a thought their attacking blockers wur brilliant, so a great game ay American fitbaw for the fans to watch” Locker room bet? A wee dig at Rapid Vienna’s style? More likely. Good stuff from Big Shagger though.

That’s us 5 weeks into the NFL season. 2 teams are 5-0, Kansas City Chiefs & Los Angeles Rams. Up until Week 4 only 1 team hadn’t won, the Arizona Cardinals, were 0-4 but they scraped a win Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers to go 1-4. 

SF who I mentioned last time around I had a soft spot for. That season is over before it begun. Quarterback Jimmy Garrapolo out for the season, he went & tore his ACL in Week 3, interestingly it was on grass in Kansas City, not turf, as we’d love to blame that fake stuff but no can happen on any surface I suppose. Last week The 49ers running back Matt Breida went down too, ankle injury and in stepped back up Alfred Morris, only reason I bring that up is that name makes me think of Alfredo Morelos. The Niners have their own Alfie Mo.

I mentioned KC last time, their young Quarterback looks the real deal. Patrick Mahomes' TD pass count is up to 14. The defense is pish but it’s so far a case of we’re gonna score one more than you and I’ll stand by my prediction of them representing the AFC come February. They just beat Jacksonville Jaguars last weekend. Huge match for them this weekend on primetime Sunday Night Football under the lights in New England. If they come through that unscathed against the arch bastard Patriots, the AFC is theirs … to lose. 

New England Patriots are 3-2. Fairly easy schedule so far but already lost twice to aforementioned Jacksonville & Detroit Lions. Detroit took them down 26-10 in Week 3. Matt Patricia beating mentor Bill Belichick. Sidenote Belichick’s dress sense makes Maurizio Sarri look like David Beckham.

The standout so far in the NFC would be the Los Angeles Rams. Scoring 173 points in their first 5 games. Their head coach Sean McVay is only 32 (what have I done with my life) He’s from a football family, already been in the job 2 years, making him the youngest head coach in NFL history. His brains like a computer. He’s a supernova. Got that va-va-boom, joie de vivre, or at least joie de something coz he’s really turned the Rams around. Highlight for them so far maybe the Battle of Los Angeles: Rams held off the Chargers 35-23 in the crosstown showdown. QB Jared Goff passed for 354 yards and three touchdowns, and Todd Gurley (Haha girly) rushed for 105 yards.

My pick for reppin the NFC in the Super Bowl Green Bay Packers are a mere 2-2-1. Their first game was one for the ages where the Bears blew a 17-0 half time lead and 20-3 lead going into the 4th quarter. Packers QB Aaron Rodgers left the game in the first half, put on a knee brace, popped some happy pills at the break and threw 3 touchdown passes to sneak it 24-23 over Da Bears.

But whoa, hey back up what’s that 3rd digit in the Packers record? 2-2-1? You see there’s this thing, this thing that American don't like. Draws! Or ties as they're known over here. American hate ties. You go for that W. Or you take an L but a T? Fuck That. But aye Green Bay Packers tied a game, against the Minnesota Vikings. 

Actually there’s been 2 ties already this season. The Cleveland Browns. Last season they lost every game. Only the 3rd time in NFL history a team went 0-16. The season before they won one game. THEY tied in Week 1 with the Pittsburgh Steelers. The only team who could break a losing streak without winning. Lost Week 2 but finally in Week 3 they got that W. After 635 days and 19 matches without a victory, the Browns finally triumphed.

On ties. See The NFL shortened overtime (Extra Time) from 15 to 10 minutes for games before the 2017 season. With less time to resolve the deadlock concerns were raised this could result in more ties. Some folk lost their minds, but mostly just some fretting. You play to win. Why spend more than three hours and go home without a winner?

Those reservations were not shared by the NFL rule-makers who proposed the change, nor by the owners who agreed. The move was made in the name of player safety. 15 minute OT essentially means a five-quarter game Sunday, then come back a week later — or sometimes even less than that — and play again … Wish they’d been running Scottish Football in 2008.

Anyways, they figured, ties ain’t so bad! They actually help when it comes to the tiebreakers for playoff spots. A 10-5-1 team obviously finishes ahead of a 10–6 team and of course winds up behind a 11-5 team, for example, without everyone having to sort through head-to-head results and division records and conference records and so on. But after not a single tie in 2017 

2 Ties in the opening 2 weeks may have been two too many. Weeks 3, 4 & 5 passed without such sacrilege so we’ll see if they just forget about it again ’til the next time it occurs.

One last thing on on overtime, If it seems like you've seen lots of free football this season, It’s because you have. First season ever when at least one game has gone into OT in each of the first five weeks. 

Other games of note & highlights so far:

Tennessee Titans @ Miami. Dolphins won 27-20 overcoming two weather delays for lightning that lasted a total of 3 hours, 59 minutes. The game took 7 hours, 8 minutes to play.

Last years champs Philadelphia Eagles losing at Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Buc’s QB Ryan Fitzpatrick aka Fitzmagic only playing due to Jameis Winston suspension threw for more than 400 yards.

Just when you think you’ve got it sussed, that old gem “Any Given Sunday” surfaces. 

Bills 27, Vikings 6 … In Minnesota after Buffalo only scored 23 points total in it’s first two games. Missing star running back LeSean McCoy and a week after cornerback Vontae Davis said fuck this, retired at half time during the Chargers game and upped and left the building.

Kicker kudos to Adam Vinatieri, who hit his 566th career field goal (and later 567th) to become the NFL’s all-time leader after breaking his tie with Hall of Famer Morten Andersen, reports said this Andersen fellow was ‘The Great Dane’ but they’re clearly misinformed, we all know who that really is. Also in Kicker news Graham Gano, The only Scottish born player in the NFL who i mentioned previously, he went & toe bashed a 63 yarder with 1 second remaining to lift the Carolina Panthers over the New York Giants 33-31 last weekend.

And then there’s New Orleans Saint Drew Brees who is now the NFL’s all-time leading passer, sur’passing’ Peyton Manning’s 71,940 career pass yards on Monday Night Football versus the Washington Redskins just the other day.

So coming on Week 6, bye weeks have started already. We won't have a real gauge on the season until late November as the pretenders fall off and the real contenders emerge. Just like the SPL.

Gotta think both the Chiefs and Rams will be contenders at that time, but who else? Are the Patriots back on track? Will Aaron Rodgers get the Packers going again? Can Blake Bortles rebound and keep the Jaguars in the mix? Are the Bears & Cincinnati Bengals for real? Is anybody any good? There’s a whole lotta ‘Football’ left.

Here’s the Week 6 Power Rankings anyway… 

1 Los Angeles Rams 17 Houston Texans
2 Kansas City Chiefs 18 Detroit Lions
3 Chicago Bears 19 Green Bay Packers
4 New Orleans Saints 20 Cleveland Browns
5 Cincinnati Bengals 21 Dallas Cowboys 
6 Carolina Panthers 22 Seattle Seahawks
7 New England Patriots 23 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
8 Tennessee Titans 24 Indianapolis Colts
9 Jacksonville Jaguars 25 Buffalo Bills     
10 Baltimore Ravens 26 New York Jets
11 Los Angeles Chargers 27 Denver Broncos
12 Pittsburgh Steelers    28 Atlanta Falcons
13 Minnesota Vikings 29 Oakland Raiders
14 Washington Redskins 30 New York Giants
15 Miami Dolphins 31 Arizona Cardinals
16 Philadelphia Eagles 32 San Francisco 49ers

In other Sportsball the NHL just started, The 2018-19 regular season commenced Wednesday, Oct. 3, with a four-game slate, highlighted by the Washington Capitals raising their first Stanley Cup championship banner. Wonder if Alex Ovechkin has sobered up yet? The 1,271-game regular-season schedule - 82 games per team - will conclude Saturday, April 6, 2019 …   If you need a team to follow the New York Rangers would be an obvious choice.

The NBA’s 73rd regular season will tip off on Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018, and conclude on Wednesday, April 10, 2019. The Golden State Warriors will win it again no doubt but to keep it interesting you can always cheer for anyone playing the Boston Celtics. There’s also the Denver Nuggets & Houston Rockets, two names no one would self apply in Glasgow. My favourite basketball news right now though is that Space Jam 2 is finally happening. Michael Jordan or LeBron James? It’s a debate that will span from now until the end of basketball. Now, that discussion has added a new wrinkle — and a rabbit for a teammate. The time has come for King James to suit up for the Tune Squad. After years of rumours, James announced that the Space Jam sequel is a go, and will start filming next summer. Woo-Hoo!

Finally. Just a word on MLB. Baseball is regarded by many as boring. Granted it’s slow moving and very little action actually occurs in the game. You’ll enjoy it more if you think of it as a pastime. Grab a few beers, some peanuts, ice cream for the weans and just chill the fuck out. 

I enjoy the regular season but nothing compares with the Playoffs. Many would argue playoff baseball is the best version of any sport. October baseball, all bets are off and managers are suddenly not playing the long game. They’re playing for today, as each game is as important as the next.

The Major League Baseball season schedule consists of 162 games for each of the 30 teams in the American (AL) and National Leagues (NL), played over six months—a total of 2,430 games, plus the postseason. The regular season runs from late March to late September, followed by the postseason which can run to early November. The season begins with the official Opening Day. A team could wind up playing 20 games in the postseason, if they are a wild card and advance to each of the Division Series, League Championship Series, and World Series with each series going the distance (5 games in the Division Series, 7 games each in the League Championship Series/World Series)

With the Wild Card games and Division Series all in the books. The NLCS is between the Milwaukee Brewers and Los Angeles Dodgers starting Friday in Milwaukee and The ALCS this year will be between the Boston Red Sox and Houston Astros starting Saturday in Boston. Winners meet in The World Series. Give it a bash this weekend. I can guarantee it’ll be even more exciting than the UEFA Nations League.

Finally (honest) Can’t finish without a word on my local team The Colorado Rockies this year. Amidst all the moaning and greetin about Semi Final Sunday. Consider this, the Rockies found themselves in a unique (Ask Stevie G if you don't know what unique means) situation last week. After winning what should have been their final regular season game, they finished with the exact same record as division rival Los Angeles Dodgers, 91 Wins 71 Losses .562 win percentage. They don’t default to the baseball equivalent of goal difference, runs for and against so to decide the National League West Division Championeees they had a tiebreaker. Winner takes all.

The Dodgers held the better head to head record during the season so they played the game in LA the very next day on Monday afternoon. Denver to Los Angeles distance 1000 miles. The Rockies lost 5-2 and LA won the division but all was not lost. One more potential shot at the postseason was still there. There’s 3 divisions in the NL so they need a 4th team for the playoffs. 

A Wildcard. The opportunity for the wild card place in the playoffs goes to a head to head between the two best runners up. The other team with wild card aspirations Chicago Cubs had a better record than the Rockies so they got home field advantage. Game scheduled for the very next evening, Tuesday night in Chicago. Los Angeles to Chicago distance 2000 miles. 

So the Colorado Rockies pitch up in Chicago having travelled 3000 miles in the last 48 hours. The game starts, they go up 1-0 early and hold the lead until the 8th inning when the Cubs tie it up. The 9th inning comes and goes and it’s even, so it’s Extra Innings, Bonus baseball. 10th, 11th, 12th into the 13th inning. Its 11 o’clock at night in Chicago. The Rockies get a couple of guys on base, with 2 outs squad player Tony Wolters gets the hit bringing Trevor Story home and it’s 2-1 Colorado. As home team the Cubs got one more chance to respond but the pitcher got the 3 outs and it was over. 

The Colorado Rockies beat the Chicago Cubs 2-1 in the longest sudden-death game in Major League Baseball history. As well as setting a new record for the longest game by innings, the match at Wrigley Field was also the longest by time, lasting four hours and 55 minute. 

After that the Rockies finally got a day, yes one day off but went on to lose to the Milwaukee Brewers in one of the two National League division series … 

But aye 3 games, 3 different cities in 3 days, 3000 miles, 3 different timezones, 0 diktats. 

Let’s Play Ball.

Ross Adair

Overseas Bear

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