Buffalo Bills Keep Tradition Of Watching Playoffs Together As A Team Alive

For the 12th straight year, members of the Buffalo Bills gathered at Ralph Wilson’s Williamsville home to watch the excitement of this weekend’s NFL Playoff games.

“It’s important to us to keep these kinds of traditions alive,” Bills RB Fred Jackson said during a particularly thrilling moment of Sunday’s Broncos/Steelers game. “Some of the newer players don’t get to experience the energy of watching other teams compete in the playoffs in Ralph’s basement very often. It’s a nice thing for them that we do this.”

The tradition began in January of 2000, the week after Buffalo lost to the Tennessee Titans in the fabled “Music City Miracle.”  The dejected team gathered at Wilson’s home to watch the rest of the playoffs unfold that year and ended up having a great time bonding, reveling and generally “hanging-out.”

Former Bills WR, Eric Moulds remembers that get-together fondly. “It was so much fun…just being with the guys on that team.  You know, eating nachos and shooting pool,” he recounted. “And there were some great football games, too.  It was just a special time.”

The team enjoyed the bonding and merriment so much that they made it a point to meet back at Wilson’s fully-finished basement a year later to watch the 2001 Playoffs when they failed to make the postseason.  The second gathering was just as effective and memorable as the first.  The players decided, then and there, that this would become an annual tradition.

“It’s really something I was looking forward to when I got here,” current OLB and recent addition to the roster, Shawne Merriman, gushed over a completely unironic plate of Buffalo-style chicken wings.  “I’d heard the stories of the camaraderie that comes from these parties. It didn’t disappoint. I look forward to more of these events in future years.”

The team hopes to meet next week at Wilson’s to watch the second round games and continue the poker tournament – a relatively new tradition that began in 2004.

“The poker is always a hit, sure. We also usually do a mass Spades tourney with some of the Houston Texans players, but they weren’t able to make it this year,” Jackson sighed. “There’s always next year.”

Bandwagoning Baseball’s Finality

Has your favorite baseball team been eliminated from post-season play? Do you remain reluctant to dive headfirst into football 24/7? Are you willing to set aside your normal allegiance for the next month and a half and bandwagon a contender for the sake of shit-talking and a possible faux championship?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, or preferably to all three, then it’s time for you to hop on the shoulders of a more successful fanbase a la Carlos Mencia’s “comedy” routine (yes, I just Mencia’d a Mencia joke). EJSIC is here to rank the possible teams on a scale of 1 to 10; 10 being fully bandwagon-worthy, 1 meaning we’d rather root for Hitler.

Let’s start with the American League and work our way through the pennant chasers there before exploring the National League.

Note: the author of this post is anti-DH, but in the interest of fairness will attempt to reasonably grade the AL teams instead of giving all of them the 1 they so deserve.

American League

1. New York Yankees: THE EVIL EMPIRE! That should be enough for you to realize that only intolerable douches and fans of the Dallas Cowboys, Los Angeles Lakers, and Duke Blue Devils (sorry, repetitive) “root” for these guys. Seriously, they’ve won more Fall Classics in baseball history than any other team. They also possess the deepest wallet, the NY superiority belief, and include Cleveland native LeBron James as a fan. Do NOT bandwagon under any circumstance. Score – 1

2. Boston Red Sox: The Sox are 2.5 games behind the Yankees for the East crown, but with a comfy 6.5 games up in the Wild Card they’re virtually in. This is the same franchise that defeated an eight-decade curse with two World Series titles since 2004. And when the core of that team aged too much, they went out and splashed Yankee-esque money this off-season. While I find them more root-worthy than their arch-rivals, there’s no need to really bandwagon them for their fans have been treated to championships in all four major sports this decade. Score – 2

Smoke 'Em If You Got 'Em

3. Detroit Tigers: Detroit has slowly put the AL Central away over the second half of the season. Aside from playing in a collapsing shit-hole of a city, what’s not to like? They have a chain-smoking manager who puffs during games, an ace pitcher who could seemingly throw a no-hitter each time out, and an alcoholic first baseman. Sounds like a recipe for bandwagon awesomeness to me. The only downside? They’re in the same league as the Yankees and Red Sox so a championship is unlikely to come this season. Regardless, you’ll have a good time. Score – 8

4. Texas Rangers: The defending AL Champs refueled after losing ace Cliff Lee to free agency, and yet they’re right here again. If you like offensive baseball, the Rangers are your team. They’ve crossed home 737 times this season, third best in baseball behind the Yankees and Sox. They also maintain a relatively unknown squad. Some guys (like Michael Young and Josh Hamilton) are known nationally, but many of their better players have yet to receive a lot of national pub (Ian Kinsler and Nelson Cruz). So if your choice is the Rangers, it would help to do some research and not unveil yourself as a bandwagoner within the first five minutes. Score – 7

5. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: Really, these guys should get a one for having the worst name in baseball. Pick a damn city. I could also give them a one for the owner complaining after whiffing on free agent Carl Crawford this season despite the fact that the Angels have plenty of money themselves. You lost out to a better organization, STFU and get over it. However, the Angels assumed an underdog role this season winning ball games with great pitching. Their offensively challenged team has scored 586 runs to date, the worst of any AL challengers. They’re also 2.5 games back of the Rangers so they have some work to do. Score – 4 Continue reading

NFL considering Vikings-Saints replay

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is said to be contemplating forcing the Vikings and Saints to replay the overtime period of Sunday evening’s NFC Championship game according to a source with inside knowledge. The commissioner was upset with the officiating and also worried that the ratings for the Super Bowl would tank without Brett Favre.

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The source quoted Goodell as saying: “I don’t want an asterisk next to a potential champions name and if the Saints beat the Colts, we would have just that.”

A second source with knowledge of the situation told EJSIC that the commissioner was persuaded by none other than the legend John Madden who called Goodell shortly after the game ended. Madden told the commissioner the following: “Brett Favre, boom! Brett Favre. Boom!” After Madden offered to demonstrate the ratings plunge via teleprompter, the commish was hooked.

The informants told EJSIC the replay is likely to happen Thursday and an announcement could come from the NFL offices as early as Monday afternoon. Stay tuned to EJSIC for further developments.

NFL Playoffs with ESPN’s Chris Berman

Good day, America. I usually don’t venture away from the studio with TJ and the gang, but I was invited to be a guest contributor to the EJSIC blog on the NFL playoffs. And I thought, why not? It’s always nice to improve one’s readership and help a few friends along the way.
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It’s one of the best weekends of the NFL season. The final eight teams are left, the games get tighter, and the magical moments begin now. Without further delay, it’s time for the fastest three minutes in all of football.

Saturday’s first game features the New Orleans Saints hosting the electrifying Arizona Cardinals. Drew “Steady” Brees hasn’t tasted victory in over a month while Kurt “Pop” Warner keeps slinging the ole pigskin around like it’s ’99 all over again. The two head coaches are some of the best young minds in the game, but in the end, the Valley of the Sun goes to its second straight NFC Championship game. Arizona, 26-23.

The primetime Saturday night game shows the other number one seed, the Indianapolis Colts. The Ravens are in town after dismantling Brady and his bunch last Sunday. Alas, the Colts have won seven straight against the franchise of their former residence and look for it to go to eight. The Ravens can’t do it in Peyton’s place. Colts 21-13.

At noon Sunday, the Philadelphia Eagles, err Dallas Cowboys travel to the Twin Cities to face the man who has defied age. The defense has returned to Big D during their four game win streak, but the Vikes were one of the most consistent teams all season. Plus, expect them to hand the ball off to All Day AP who’s rumbling, bumbling, and stumbling for a 100 yards this game. Minnesota wins a close one, 28-24.

Finally, the J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets travel to sunny So Cal and face a team that goes back, back, back, back to October since its last loss. The San Diego Super Chargers look to solve the tough Jets D and evacuate Revis Island like it was Haiti (too soon?). In the end, I don’t believe the Sanchize can make enough big plays against a pretty good Charger defense. Swami says Bolts 31, Jets 22.

Boom! There you have, folks. The fastest three minutes in all of football, Internet style. Sit back and enjoy the games.

Condolences to Philadelphia

We here at EJSIC do not like to see anyone take their own life for whatever reason. But this morning, the city of Brotherly Love has to be on edge for losing to their hated rival the Dallas Cowboys for the second straight week and third time this season.

Philly fans, we want you to know that there is someone out there for you. Someone is willing to talk to you, to get you off the edge of that building. Don’t jump, Philly. What other city would replace you? No one else quite has the lack of class necessary to cheer a player with an injured neck or boo Santa Claus.

So Philly, when you’re staring down the barrel of a 9mm and you think there’s nothing left to live for, call the fine folks at 1-800-SUICIDE. It’s toll free and open 24/7.

P.S. Maybe run the ball once in a while.

NFL Playoffs: Wild Card Weekend

The NFL begins its 12 team, 5 week, single-elimination tournament to crown a champion (hint, hint, NCAA) on Saturday. Four games will be played this weekend with three of them being repeats of Week 17. In fact, in all three of those repeat match-ups, the team that won in week 17 won rather easily. The playoff rematches should make for more competitive games (hopefully).

Saturday, 4:30 PM (EST) on NBC: New York Jets (9-7) at Cincinnati Bengals (10-6)

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The AFC North champion Bengals look to rebound after a horrid performance in the Meadowlands last week. Much has been made of the J-E-T-S waltzing into the playoffs with Indianapolis and Cincinnati not playing their starters a full 60 minutes. The Bengals will also welcome the return of Cedric Benson in the backfield. New York boasts the league’s best defense, but they also have a rookie QB. The playoffs are about experience which favors the Bengals.

Saturday, 8:00 PM (EST) on NBC: Philadelphia Eagles (11-5) at Dallas Cowboys (11-5)

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The ‘Boys claimed the NFC East title last week while also exacting revenge for the beat down they endured in week 17 a year ago. Dallas comes off of two straight shutouts over the rival Redskins and Eagles. Meanwhile, Philly was perhaps the hottest team in the NFL prior to week 17. Dallas is 2-0 versus Philadelphia this season, but the last time the Cowboys went for a 3 game sweep of a divisional opponent, they lost to the Giants in the 2nd round of the playoffs in 2008. This game will be much closer than a week ago.

Sunday, 1:00 PM (EST) on CBS: Baltimore Ravens (9-7) at New England Patriots (10-6)

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New England begins life without chain-moving WR Wes Welker Sunday in a home playoff game with the hard-to-judge Baltimore Ravens. At times, Baltimore plays like a truly elite team only to look downright horrible at other times. The Patriots weakness all season has been the defense. Can either team overcome their season-long struggles to win when it matters the most?

Sunday, 4:40 PM (EST) on FOX: Green Bay Packers (11-5) at Arizona Cardinals (10-6)

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I just mentioned how difficult it is to gauge the Ravens. It’s even more difficult to predict which Arizona team shows up from a week to week basis. If Kurt Warner is on his game and they balance the offense with a good ground game, the Cardinals are tough to beat. But, they don’t always play like that. Plus, Green Bay thrashed them a week ago in Arizona. Warner didn’t play much last week which will change on Sunday, but the Pack has been on a roll over the last two months of the season.

The NFL Playoffs Part 2

Yesterday, we previewed the NFC playoff picture and the various implications of week 17. Now, we will take a look at the AFC which is far more complicated with seven teams still alive for the two wild card slots.
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1. Indianapolis Colts 14-1 (clinched home field)
2. San Diego Chargers 12-3 (clinched first round bye)
3. New England Patriots 10-5 (clinched AFC East)
4. Cincinnati Bengals 10-5 (clinched AFC North)
5. New York Jets 8-7
6. Baltimore Ravens 8-7
7. Denver Broncos 8-7
8. Houston Texans 8-7
9. Pittsburgh Steelers 8-7
10. Miami Dolphins 7-8
11. Jacksonville Jaguars 7-8

Teams 5 through 11 are all still alive for slots 5 and 6. The Jets and Ravens hold the inside advantage on the two wild card spots. If they win Sunday, they are in no matter what.

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However, we shall start with the Indianapolis Cunts. The organization decided resting starters for the playoffs, which has yet to work for this particular franchise in recent history, was far more important than going for the undefeated season. Sunday they play Buffalo which means fans will be treated to the probable MVP Peyton Manning playing one drive in order to keep his consecutive starts streak in tact. After that, he’ll freeze his nards on the sidelines of Ralph Wilson Stadium.

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The San Diego “Super” Chargers are arguably the hottest team in football. They’ve won about 100 straight games (or so it seems) and Phillip Rivers has transformed into one of the elite QBs in the league. And perhaps most importantly, San Diego is 4-1 in its last 5 games against the Colts including eliminating Indy from the playoffs each of the last two seasons. They play the horrible Washington Redskins on Sunday.

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The New England Patriots have won three straight games and clinched the AFC East this past Sunday. Now, they play the still-alive Houston Texans and I am betting on Belichick’s boys to not let the Texans have a free win like the Cunts would do. The Pats don’t have much to gain in this game except for keeping the integrity of the game which would be ironic given “spygate” a few seasons back.

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No longer the “bungles,” Cincinnati has claimed the AFC North and is set to host a home playoff game. Their fans are hoping to avoid the ills of their last playoff game which saw star QB Carson Palmer taken out of the game on the first snap. This Sunday they play the Jets in New York. Will they pull an Indy and give Rex Ryan’s team two straight free victories?

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Speaking of Rex Ryan and the J-E-T-S, the coach considered his team dead two weeks ago. Now they sit in the driver seat for a wild card spot. As previously stated, they host Cincinnati Sunday who has nothing to play for. The Jets could be a very dangerous team in the playoffs with their staunch defense. What holds them back is the often-times erratic play of rookie QB and So-Cal heart throb, Mark Sanchez.

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Despite losing to division rival Pittsburgh last week, the Ravens still control their own destiny. They travel cross-country to play the Oakland Raiders which looks really good on paper except for Oakland has pulled off a few upsets already this season. With that said, if the Ravens don’t shoot themselves in the foot like they did Sunday, they should be in.

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Denver is in the midst of another late season collapse. There’s numerous ways they can make the playoffs, but all the team needs to be concerned with is winning its own game first. They play division rival Kansas City who would like for nothing more than to spoil the Broncos playoff chances.

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Houston looked dead a few weeks back, but thanks to an anti-Denver run, the Texans are in the middle of it going into the last week. Admittedly, they need a lot of help, but it is the NFL and anything can happen. They host New England which gives them some advantage playing at home. Andre Johnson is one of the best receivers in the league and will provide a mismatch against the weak New England secondary. They can pull the upset, but anyone who has followed this team the last few years knows that staying over the .500 hump has been a problem for the Texans.

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It’s slightly amazing that a team which endured a 5 game losing streak in October and November is still alive for a playoff spot, but that is the AFC wild card race. The defending champion Pittsburgh Steelers need quite a bit of help. They’re the last of the 8-7 teams by virtue of the NFL’s tie-breaker rules. They travel to south Florida and play the clinging-to-life-support Miami Dolphins. Can they sneak in?

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Speaking of Miami, Tony Sparano’s team has looked great at times this season and not so good at others. Miami really hurt any realistic chance this past Sunday with a flat first half against the Texans. They need to concentrate on winning and then praying like a death row inmate after their game is over.

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Another team on life support is the 7-8 Jacksonville Jaguars. Basically, they get into the playoffs if they win and every other team ahead of them finishes with an 8-8 record. Then, the Jags own the tie-breaker over all of them by virtue of in-conference record. They also need to do a lot of praying.

Confused? It’s really not all that complicated and I tried to spare some of the excruciating circumstances that could take place. All of this should provide some great football to watch, though. You can guarantee the teams in the hunt will be playing all out for their shot at the playoffs.

The NFL Playoffs Part 1

If anything, we here at EJSIC have slightly ignored America’s favorite sport, but, admittedly, we’re working out the kinks still. Plus, with ESPN’s ad nauseum coverage of the sport, it’s hard for the little guy to get in. However, I refuse to allow the Worldwide Leader to squeeze us out. Today, we’ll start with the NFC.

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1. Saints 13-2 (clinched home field throughout)

2. Eagles 11-4 (clinched playoff spot)

3. Vikings 11-4 (clinched NFC North)

4. Cardinals 10-5 (clinched NFC West)

5. Packers 10-5 (clinched playoff spot)

6. Cowboys 10-5 (clinched playoff spot)

By virtue of the Vikings loss last night, the Saints have secured all home games in the playoffs. The rest of the NFC is wide open however. The Eagles, Vikings, Cardinals, and Cowboys could all achieve the 2nd seed and a first round bye.

The Saints visit the Panthers which amounts to a meaningless game in terms of seeding; however, the once 13-0 pride of New Orleans has lost back-to-back home games to the Cowboys and the lowly Buccaneers. A third straight loss entering the playoffs could spell an early exit for the NFC’s top team.

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The Eagles have vaulted up the standings with good play as of late and the struggles of Minnesota. Still, Philly has work to do. They travel to Dallas on Sunday in what is perhaps the marquee game of the week in which the winner takes the NFC East crown and possibly as high as the 2nd seed.

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The Vikings seemed as every bit as good as the Saints for much of the season starting out at 10-1, but now have faded to 11-4. Two of the three recent losses came at the hands of non-playoff bound teams in the Panthers and Bears. Now, they need a win Sunday and a loss by Philadelphia to retake the number two seed.

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Defending NFC champion Arizona is back in the playoffs easily, partially because of the weak NFC West and partially because they are a good football team; helter-skelter at times, but still a solid football team. Arizona plays Green Bay this weekend and not much is on the line in terms of seeding; however both teams could meet again the next week in first round of the playoffs. It will be interesting to see how much each coaching staff is willing to show this week knowing a rematch is very likely.

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Green Bay has been one of the hottest teams in all of the NFL over the last two months. Aaron Rodgers is proving the Brett Favre decision to be a smart one. The Pack can not advance its slotting in the NFC, but they can lose the 5 seed with a loss and a Dallas win coupled with a Philly loss.

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Dallas currently sits sixth in the NFC and has played remarkably well in the second half of December. Romo has one interception over the last two months. Now, they host division rival Philadelphia. Last season, Dallas traveled to the city of brotherly love (yeah right) in week 17 needing a win to secure a playoff spot only to be thoroughly embarrassed 44 to 6. Now, the ‘Boys are in no matter what, but could still possibly advance their seed as high as number two and get a first round bye.

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Tomorrow, we preview the AFC playoff picture and the craziness of week 17.