Thursday, September 27, 2012

Emily Cheats on JEF With Matt Leinart; America Has a New Sweetheart

By Finesse

The rumblings started last month.  Today, the bomb exploded.

According to US Weekly, Emily Maynard of The Bachelorette has been cheating on JEF, the man she picked to play dress-up and sing karaoke with her daughter Little Ricki.  And not just with some random fellow from her church.  Nope.  She's been cheating on JEF with Matt Leinart, the former USC quarterback and current backup QB for the Oakland Raiders.

Emily, all we can say to you is: HOW DARE YOU.  You endured the greatest of all heartbreaks when Brad, the saloon owner with bad temper and 7th-grade reading level, dumped you and told a local TV station in Texas that he "dodged a bullet" (implying, obviously, that you're a psycho).  And now with your second chance at The Fairy Tale, you select a 5'6" hipster Mormon with an affinity for kids' toys, only to go behind his back and sleep with a quarterback?  You were America's Sweetheart!  But let me tell you something, Emily.  You are no longer America's Sweetheart.  Because American Sweethearts don't sleep with backup quarterbacks.

They sleep with starters.

Be careful, Kristen.  Heavy lies the head that wears the crown.

[For our full coverage of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, make sure to check out our Bachelor Page and, of course, subscribe to the GTOG Podcast].

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Bachelor: Back to Basics

By Artistry

ABC choosing as the next Bachelor a blond man from Texas who wants to be the patriarch of a family centered on faith, laughter, and love is like the Steelers recommitting to the ground game or Mitt Romney saying to hell with the poor.  Sometimes you need to throw a bone to your core constituency.

Eat your heart out, Brad.
Over/under for when we see him in a football uniform: episode 2.5

The Apology We Demand From Roger Goodell Will Never Be Enough

By Finesse

Today, we are all victims of the NFL.  And finally there is someone brave enough to stand up and demand an apology from Roger Goodell.  His name is Dan Wetzel, and he's an expert.

There are those who believe that the ongoing NFL referee debacle is basically a business dispute between two well-funded and well-organized groups who can and will sort this out on their own (hopefully ASAP).  To those people, I say: "How wrong you are.  Now apologize to me for being so wrong."

Why are those people wrong?  Because you are a victim of the NFL referees.  Because I am a victim of the NFL referees.  Because the baby panda was killed by NFL replacement referees.  I lost my fantasy matchup last night by one point because I had Green Bay's defense.  #Neveragain.  I demand that Roger Goodell come to my apartment and apologize to me personally.  I demand the right to reject that apology and then tweet, "It's not enough.  It can never be enough," while ordering a protein smoothie at my gym.

This is about us.  This is about freedom.  This is about us being able to be outraged.  This is about our right to demand apologies from people we don't know for things we don't actually care that much about.

Mitt Romney was right about 47% of the country feeling like victims.  He was just wrong about which 47%.  It's not the people who don't pay federal income tax.  It's people with fantasy teams.

I am the 47%.

Roger can't even look Mei Xiang in the eye and say he's sorry.

Monday, September 24, 2012

GTOG Recap and Podcast: The Evil Genius of Brett Keisel; Steelers Lose 34-31

By Finesse

This was the game we always wanted Ben Roethlisberger to play.  He was poised, he was accurate, he was smart.  He showed real emotion after his touchdown pass to Mike Wallace, running around the field like a Phil Rivers on meth instead of his calculated humility and point-to-God-thank-your-O-linemen routine.  He completed passes to 10 different receivers, threw four touchdowns and, most refreshing of all, he wasn't even that annoying when he limped up the field after twisting his knee.

But, of course, the Steelers still lost.  We discuss on our podcast (subscribe on iTunes), with a full written recap below...

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Football can be broken down into four units: passing offense, passing defense, rushing offense and rushing defense.  [Ed. Note: We don't care about special teams unless they're terrible.  Neither, apparently, do the Steelers.]  The Steelers may have the biggest discrepancy of any team between the one unit that keeps them in games (the passing offense, obviously), and the other three units that are so far from being elite that they could be called "Cleveland."  (Obviously this excludes any unit involving Chris Johnson, whose yards per carry is so low that if it was a batting average he could hit cleanup for the Pirates).

So, what's going wrong?  Let's see what the defensive captain has to say.

Not that he likes attention or anything.
At some point in the last decade (2004 draft) it has become tradition after every loss for individual players to seek to come across as accepting the entirety of the blame for the loss.  No one does this better than Big Ben, so let's name this practice after him: Roethlisblame (example from Week 1: "It's my fault, and it's on me").  On Sunday, everyone wanted the Roethlisblame.

Antonio Brown: "It's totally my fault."

Brett Keisel: "Blame this loss on me."

Even Ben, who deserved no blame, tried to get a piece of Roethlisblame:  "I put it on the whole team.  There's no offense, no defense, no special teams, we're one. Whoever it is can take the blame but no one needs to shoulder this right now."

We know that Ben Roethlisblaming himself is just what Ben does, and we know that Antonio Brown is just a really good player who made a couple mistakes.  That leaves "Key," so let's break down exactly what's going on here.

Keisel is the unashamed, self-appointed leader of the Steelers' defense, and this has become something that everyone seems to accept, if not celebrate.  But as Artistry pointed out this morning:  "I was reading Ron Cook this morning as a way to punish myself for something - I don't know what - and I saw Brett Keisel say, 'As the leader of this defense, put this on me.' And I thought, maybe the problem is Brett Keisel is the leader of the defense."


We're sure Keisel is a nice guy, that much of his humility is genuine, and that he's undoubtedly been a key part of the Steelers' defense over the past several years.  But as his physical skills have eroded with age, he's played Yinzer-nation like a drum.  By growing a monstrous beard and wearing hunting shirts to training camp, Keisel has made an indelible mark on the Yinzer-psyche (especially women, says me, based on nothing) and this is not by accident.  He's become such a world-class panderer to the people of Pittsburgh that he's going to come out of the tunnel in week 5 actually wearing a hard hat and carrying a lunch pail.

"What a great Steeler." - Everyone in Pittsburgh
More thoughts after the jump, including the most surprising statistic of the year...

Friday, September 21, 2012

Why I Love the NFL Replacement Referees

By Finesse

As has become recent American tradition, the national media has embraced another opportunity to unite in outrage and indignation.  This month's target is the NFL replacement referees, and the punditry is up in arms. The integrity of the league is at stake.  The integrity of gambling is at stake.  The integrity of Facebook is at stake.  The integrity of fantasy football is at stake.  And, according to Sally Jenkins of the Washington Post, players' lives are at stake.

I love the replacement refs.  That's partly because anything that unanimously upsets the sports media and leads to endless one-upping over who is more outraged and who can be more dramatic is something I support.  But more importantly, I love the replacement referees because they're real people.

The simplest way to put it is that these are a bunch of little old men playing pretend.  It's cute!  They're like Civil War reenactors who suddenly found themselves in the Battle of Antietam.

"Automatic ... first down!!!"
And, unlike those stuffy regular referees who have highfalutin regular jobs, the replacement refs are just like us!  They have fantasy teams, they pledge their fan-loyalties on Facebook, and so much other stuff!

The truth is that the replacement-ref-bashing is not merely an overblown story to fire up talk radio listeners; it's pummeling an easy scapegoat to hide bigger problems.

Find out the truth after the jump...

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

NHL Lockout Thought of the Day: Ted's Take

By Artistry

We saw Alex Ovechkin's comments today about how if the league rolls back player salaries in any significant way, he may take his 65 points a year to Moscow for good.  It's hardly shocking that he would say such a thing in the middle of a CBA negotiation where Gary Bettman's opening salvo was to ask the players to sacrifice their first born child.  But what if he really did it?  What if he never came back?  This would be sad, yet hilarious.  Imagine, if you will, the swift and emotional reaction from Ted Leonsis via his blog:


Searing pain.

The realization of a terrible truth.

Someone you treated as a son turns his back on you. He is not who you thought he was.

Et tu, Alex?

I hurt.  You hurt.  We hurt.  We are in this together.  That gives me comfort.  Our fans are the best in the world, come what may.  Players may betray us, but not the fans.  Never the fans.  Thank you.

Thank you.
As incredibly entertaining as this would be, we don't think Ted has much to worry about.  The recent NFL labor strife is instructive:  when all you need to do is divide up the revenue pie, you divide up the pie.  This is not an intractable dispute.  Ultimately, the players will take what they can get, and move on.  This should happen quickly, but then again, you can never underestimate how stupid people are.  To wit, 15% of Ohio republicans believe Mitt Romney is more responsible for Osama Bin Laden's death than Barack Obama.  47% are undecided.  Yeah, we may have no hockey this year.

Monday, September 17, 2012

GTOPG: Ben Being Ben; Steelers Win 27-10

By Finesse

Make no mistake about it.  Sunday's win over the Jets was a huge win because it proved two things: the defense is still capable of shutting down mediocre quarterbacks and the Todd Haley quick passing game means more Good Ben and less Bad Ben.

First, the defense.  It wasn't a dominating performance and early on it looked like we were on the verge of spending the season watching one of the most unlikeable defenses in Steelers' history (that sentiment is based solely on Ike Taylor's "coverage" on the Santonio Holmes touchdown).  But in a league where a 14 point lead with more than 5 minutes remaning in a game is essentially meaningless, only giving up 10 points is a significant accomplishment.

As for the offense, it was, as usual, all about Ben.  For better or worse, Ben is Ben but anyone who watches Ben knows that the statement "Ben is Ben" doesn't tell you which Ben you're getting because Ben can be Good Ben or Ben can be Bad Ben but either way, Ben is Ben.  Ben is always Ben.  Ben loved B.A. because B.A. didn't care whether he was getting Good Ben or Bad Ben, only that he was letting Ben be Ben.  Haley, on the other hand, appears determined to harness Good Ben and minimize Bad Ben, all while still letting Ben be Ben.  Because the truth is, no matter what anyone does, Ben will be Ben.

Ben being Ben in bare feet.
Ben was a masterful 24-31 for 275 yards, 2 touchdowns, and three good-sacks.  And for the second straight week he was an artist on 3rd down, converting 8 of 15 attempts (after 11 of 19 last week).   That's important because Second-and-9 and Jonathan Dwyer were, again, wildly ineffective for most of the game.   Second-and-9 had 12 carries for 25 yards, but if you throw out his 13 yard run, he was a Chris Johnson-esque 11 carries for 12 yards.  You could average more rushing yards by fumbling the snap on every play.

The running game is a big concern, but the severe decree of our judgment is tempered because it is Rosh Hashana and because the Steelers are being patient about it and aren't giving up on running.  Forget the total yards -- it's the 28 attempts that matter, because 28 rushing attempts means Ben only needs to try to get 7 yards on 3rd-and-6 instead of 15 yards on every 1st-and-10.  That's a leaner, more efficient Big Ben.  And a lean, efficient Big Ben is huge.

So lean. So efficient.
More thoughts after the jump...

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Random NHL Lockout Thought: Part 1 of TBD

By Finesse

With the predictable NHL Lockout underway, the even-more-predictable self-victimization of the fans is in full effect.  As Artistry pointed out yesterday, we are not victims and we need not choose sides.  This experience will be like going to the DMV -- you know it's going to be miserable and you can throw as big of a tantrum as you want, but the chain-smoking woman in charge of getting you a parking permit is not foregoing her 15 minute break.  So you sit, and you wait.

Having said that, let's complain!

One of my personal pet peeves is when players in any sport accuse the owners of not abiding by contracts that they sign.  It happens most often in football where owners cut players at their leisure (or even just for fun), but it's been a recent talking point of the NHL players.  They argue that by asking for a rollback of salaries, the owners are not honoring the very contracts the signed.  Exhibit A: Brooks Laich.

(for the Twitter uninitiated, read the bottom Tweet first).

There is only one problem with Laich's position: He's talking about the wrong contract.

There is a contract that governs each Player Contract -- it's called the Collective Bargaining Agreement.  The CBA sets the terms of whether a Player Contract is "guaranteed" -- like contracts in real life -- or something less than that.   And when the CBA expires, the owners and players are free to bargain again over whether the next set of Player Contracts are guaranteed, or even whether current Player Contracts can be reduced.

Laich is right that it's his fault if he signs a bad contract; he's just talking about the wrong contract.  The bad contract that the players signed in the NFL and NHL is the respective CBAs, the ones that say players are stuck with their salaries but owners have some recourse to get out of them, you know, like when the CBA expires.

This isn't to pick on Brooks Laich.  He surely represents the sentiment of a lot of players.  But while it undoubtedly sucks for NFL players when they get cut or for NHL players when they are forced to take a rollback, that's exactly what is allowed under the contract they signed.  One that undoubtedly ended in a handshake.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Lockout: The Grand NHL Tradition Continues!

By Artistry

No negotiations will take place between the league and the NHLPA on Saturday, meaning the 4th NHL work stoppage in 20 years is a virtual certainty.

Um, what's so funny?
We have major issues with both the players and the owners, and we don't feel like talking about them.  It won't make us feel better, and it won't make you feel better either.  Just one note to the Pittsburgh media:  don't tell us we need to like Gary Bettman because of his efforts to keep the Penguins in Pittsburgh.  It was a f***ing no-brainer to keep the Penguins in Pittsburgh.  You think Kansas City was going to lead the whole f***ing league in local TV ratings?  Gary Bettman is about to preside over his third lockout as commissioner.  Gary Bettman put the NHL in unsustainable markets like Atlanta, Phoenix and Miami.  Gary Bettman sucks.

Gary, gay kaken afen yam
It's Yiddish. Look it up.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Podcast: NHL Lockout, NFL Season, Racism, and other issues

In this week's podcast, we reveal our stance on the NHL lockout, talk about Sidney Crosby's chances of playing in Europe, the Steelers-Jets game, Troy Polamalu's tank, and whether the Pirates are racist. It's jam-packed. It's the GTOG Podcast.

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Monday, September 10, 2012

GTOPG: "It's my fault, and it's on me:" Steelers Lose 31-19

By GTOG Staff

If you've ever doubted GTOG's prescience, then perhaps you may be swayed by Artistry's incredibly on-point post-game tweet regarding Ben Roethlisberger's woeful interception to cut short the potential game-winning drive.

Cut to this morning's Post-Gazette where Big Ben accepts 100% of the blame, immediately after taking a dump on the offense.
"I should have called time out," Roethlisberger said. "The play clock was running down, and I hate to burn time outs, but I should have because we were kind of all over the place. There's no one to blame but myself. I already told my teammates and coaches, it's my fault and it's on me. That loss is squarely on my shoulders."  
Or maybe you prefer this one?
“We were kind of in no-huddle,” Roethlisberger continued. “But Coach (offensive coordinator Todd Haley) called a play because he wanted a play. It was really loud out there, and I didn’t get (the play call) at first. Once I got it I relayed it, and we were just kind of late getting set up. “(Sanders) was the last guy (in the progression). I really thought he had a step on (Porter) and I could get it to him. The guy (Porter) made a good play.”
Oh, Ben.  You are so Ben.

Ben feels comfortable in yellow shirts.
Other than that indefensible pick-6, two other negatives stood out.  First, the backfield.  Ike "Second-and-9" Redman and Jonathan Dwyer You Getting So Much Playing Time? combined for 63 yards on 20 carries and neither ever really seemed a threat to break loose and, you know, get a first down.  Some of this is attributable to a poor offensive line and some of it is attributable to calling draws and delays with backs who don't appear to be talented.  But no matter who gets healthy on the O-line or what Todd Haley calls, it's a good bet that Ben will be throwing 40 times per game for the foreseeable future.

The second glaring negative was the defense.  It's not that it's a bad defense, it's that it is obvious that this defense isn't close to being as good as the defense from the past 8 years (at least not yet).  It's unclear whether Troy has been reading his own press-clippings about having divine instincts, or if his dozens of concussions have rendered him a shell of his former self, but he is now consistently "instincting" himself right out of position.  Timmons and Woodley were non-factors and while both are good players, they are not as consistently dominant as we thought they would be when they were drafted.  No one can remember whether Brett Keisel played last night or if he was still in Latrobe wearing trucker hats and signing autographs.  Cameron Heyward and Ziggy Hood better get a lot better quickly because Casey Hampton is going to die on the field if he ever gets stuck out there during a 2-minute drill.  And the secondary trying to cover big-play receivers?

Of course, it's only one game so it's no time to panic.  Some positives:

- Antonio Brown was targeted 8 times ... if he ever gets less than 10 targets for the rest of the season it's a crime.  Every time he touches the ball something good happens.  Mike Wallace was also surprisingly sharp for not having any training camp, although no one other than Wallace's agent would be disappointed if Haley dropped the end zone fade route to Wallace from the playbook.

- Drew Butler is the early frontrunner for team MVP.  Forget RG3's first TD pass -- Butler's first punt that was downed at the 1 yard line had Ray Guy unable to stand up for 5 minutes.

This is something you're born with.
- The short -- and QUICK -- passing game is a necessity this year.  It kept Ben clean for most of the game and ate up a ton of clock.  The temptation is to settle for field goals because it gives Drew Butler a chance to hold, but if Ben doesn't miss a wide open Heath Miller, it's a different game.

- Speaking of Big Money, over the past 8 years, you never heard him make a peep about the fact that the Steelers seemed to be unaware that the tight end is an eligible receiver.  What a professional.  He deserves every target he's going to get this season.

- It's easy to lose sight of the fact most teams struggle trying to defend against a dangerous quarterback running a no-huddle offense.  The Broncos defense struggled just as much as Pittsburgh's.  The difference may have been as simple as Ben putting two more feet of air on a pass to a wide open Miller in the end zone.

- We should see a progression in this Todd Haley offense from red zone field goals to red zone touchdowns.  Hard to imagine his offense will leave as many points on the field as B.A.'s, no matter how many delayed draws he calls.

- The Steelers can't lose two offensive lineman every game.  Right?  RIGHT?

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Big Ben's Barracks: Big Ben's First Annual Steelers Preview

By Artistry

It's been a remarkable off-season for Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Fresh off completing his final college term paper on Tibet, graduating with a class of students who wondered what the hell he was doing at their graduation ceremony, learning a complex new playbook that was even harder to comprehend than his final college term paper on Tibet, taking a golf trip to Ireland in order to sharpen his mind, pushing himself through countless mental reps on the practice field, and coming up with a name for his unborn child, Big Ben is more focused headed into this NFL season than perhaps ever before.  So invested is Ben in the battles to come that for the first time ever, he has decided to grace us with a Steelers Season Preview.  New man, older body, indeed. Ladies, gentlemen, if you're ready, here's Ben.

Read on for Ben's breakdown of the roster and the Steelers' schedule.

Friday, September 7, 2012

GTOG 2012 AFC Preview, as told by Huffington Post Women

By Finesse

It's that time of year again where we try to think of things to say about football teams we don't pay that much attention to.  That's right, it's NFL Preview time.  This year, our preview is through the lens of one of the most consistently fascinating yet baffling web pages on all the interent: The Huffington Post's Women's page.  These are all real headlines from the last week.

At my side to guide me through this preview is my hard-copy 84-page Yahoo! Sports Fantasy Football Draft Kit, of which 54% of American males have a printed copy, but only 36% admit to having printed at work despite the fact that only 11% of American males have printers in their homes.  Let's get right to it.


Like whoever wrote this headline, the Jets appear to have no idea what they are doing.  They gave Mark Sanchez a three-year contract extension this March, which would be sensible if you could win Super Bowls for dating Kate Upton which, arguably, you should be able to do.  But then they signed Tim Tebow, giving them the dangerous 1-2 punch of the 25th best starter in the league and 17th best backup.  The Jets are the steroids of the NFL -- the media cares about them way more than the rest of us do.



Prediction: 8-8

Much, much more after the jump...