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The Pro Football Hall of Fame has announced the five players who will make up their 2020 class.

Longtime Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu leads the way, the only first-time eligible player to make the Hall this year. He’s joined by fellow safety Steve Atwater, wide receiver Isaac Bruce, offensive lineman Steve Hutchinson and running back Edgerrin James. The quintet will join the specially selected 15-man centennial selection group when they are inducted into the Hall in early August.

Published in Sports

About five months ago, the NFL regular season kicked off. All 32 teams – minus a wink-wink-not-tanking tanking team or three – set forth on a journey that only two could complete: a trip to the Super Bowl.

We’ve arrived at that place. The Kansas City Chiefs will face off against the San Francisco 49ers in Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium on February 2. The Chiefs – led by quarterback Patrick Mahomes and coach Andy Reid – make their way back into the big game for the first time in half-a-century; the last time K.C. was here, the NFL/AFL merger hadn’t happened yet. Meanwhile, the 49ers have a storied Super Bowl history, but other than the Colin Kaepernick-led 2012 run, San Francisco hasn’t made it this far since 1994. That’s 25 years without a championship.

A significant drought is ending, one way or the other. But for who?

Let’s take a stroll through the teams and break down some of the positional matchups to get a sense of which squad stands superior. Of course, the most talented team doesn’t always win. The most prepared team doesn’t always win. The team we think will win doesn’t always win.

You get the picture. Anyone who tells you they KNOW what will happen is a charlatan who is almost certainly trying to sell you something. No one knows how this will all play out, but here’s my best guess – the best guess of a guy who only just snapped the four-season winning streak put up by his prognosticating dog.

Breakdown time.

Published in Cover Story

Well, that was … better? Not by much, but by a little.

There wasn’t really anywhere to go but up after our abysmal Wild Card performance – Stella and I both went 1-3 – so there’s that. And we definitely did go up – just not by much.

Stella and I both went 2-2 in the Divisional Round. We went one-for-two on our mutual picks, which hey – not bad. We had Kansas City beating Houston – we sweated that first quarter or so out before Patrick Mahomes and company stepped on the gas and absolutely curb-stomped the poor Texans. On the flip side, we (along with literally everyone else in the world) had the Ravens beating the Titans. Imagine our surprise when Baltimore struggled and Tennessee’s Derrick Henry basically turned into the second coming of Earl Campbell.

As for our differing games: I picked the Vikings for some idiotic reason, only to watch them get easily handled by the 49ers. Stella picked the Niners because she’s not dumb. Meanwhile, I lucked out with my Packers pick; it seemed solid, but then we got to the end of the game and the Seahawks had a real chance of pulling it out. Happily, Green Bay held out, meaning that I avoided going 1-3 for the second weekend in a row.

And so, we’re tied going into the Conference Championships. Granted, it’s at 3-5, but a tie is a tie – it’s anyone’s game. And we will have a winner, because we are at odds on one of the weekend’s two contests.

Published in Sports
Tuesday, 07 January 2020 12:50

Kibbles and Picks 2020 – Divisional Round

Well then. That didn’t go well for anybody, now did it?

Despite our shared regular season excellence, Stella and I both managed to lay a pretty significant egg during the Wild Card round. Of the four games I picked, I got exactly one right – Seattle over Philly. Of course, Stella also got exactly one right – Houston over Buffalo. The two predictions we shared – New England over Tennessee and New Orleans over Minnesota – were both sadly, heartbreakingly wrong.

Published in Sports

The Pro Football Hall of Fame has announced the 15 finalists for the Class of 2020, with first-time eligibles safety Troy Polamalu and receiver Reggie Wayne leading the way.

They’ll be joined by five other first-time finalists and a collection of other greats. From this list, the selection committee will then choose five honorees from the remaining finalists. The Class of 2020 will be officially announced on Feb. 1 – the day before Super Bowl LIV.

Published in Sports

That’s it. I did it.

Despite Stella’s best efforts – a stellar 12-4 in Week 17 – I have managed to finally win another Kibbles and Picks title.

After winning in 2014 (the feature’s second year), I spent the next four years being shut out by my dog. This is all in good fun, of course, but I’d be lying if I said the streak wasn’t wearing on me a little. It’s ridiculous and I know it’s ridiculous, but on the other hand – my dog was better at picking football games than me.

But now, finally, courtesy of a respectable 10-6 final week, I am the Kibbles and Picks Champion. It was close – Stella cut my four-game lead in half with her performance – but ultimately, I came out on top. Sure, it was far from a dominating win, but it was a win. After too many close calls over the past four years, I’ll take what I can get.

Final regular season records

Allen: 161-93-1

Stella: 159-95-1

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But now, we’re in the playoffs; the slate is wiped clean. Stella will seek her revenge over the course of the next month as we attempt to pick our way through the postseason.

Published in Sports
Saturday, 28 December 2019 01:31

Kibbles and Picks 2019 - Week 17

It’s so close.

The end of this whole embarrassing stretch is within reach. With just the season’s final week to be played, I have a solid four-game lead on Stella, a lead that carried forward from the previous week thanks to the matching 10-6 marks Stella and I put up.

Obviously, it’s all in good fun, but let’s be real – consistently being slightly worse at picking football games than a dog is something wears on you. Particularly when knowing about football is a part of your job. A small part, sure, but still – part of the job.

So to be this far along in this grand experiment, to have gone through six seasons prior to this one, and to have come out on top exactly once (and that was in the second year – I’ve lost the last four) is both hilarious and sad. But with a four-game lead, my victory seems imminent.

But a loss isn’t impossible, with Week 17 yet to be played. And there’s room to move, with Stella and I differing on seven of the week’s contests. It would take a borderline miracle for her to pull enough to move ahead. At worst, she’s have to go 6-1 to seize the win. Basically, as long as I’m right on at least two of those seven games, I win for the season.

So let’s see what we’ve got.

Published in Sports

The coming of the new year tends to inspire feelings of reflection, of looking back on the year that has passed. And so, as someone who spent part of that year telling you what was going to happen in the world of sports, I feel it my duty to share with you how it ultimately went.

As per usual, the results are … let’s just call them mixed.

You’re more than welcome to judge my ability (or lack thereof) however you see fit. I’m perfectly aware of the dart-monkey levels of accuracy I usually manage; you won’t be telling me anything I don’t already know.

Published in Sports
Thursday, 19 December 2019 23:25

Kibbles and Picks 2019 - Week 16

Holy s—t – I might actually win this thing.

It’s not that Stella is underperforming – her 10-6 record in Week 15 was solid – so much as that I am on fire, putting up a 13-3 to add three more games to my lead. This action puts me at four games up with two weeks to play; I don’t believe that I have had this kind of advantage this far into the season since Year Two of this grand experiment (better known as the one year I actually won the damned thing).

I’m not counting my chickens though – there’s still plenty of time for me to blow it. And with us at odds on six of the weekend’s contests, Stella could certainly erase some or all of my lead with some good Week 16 luck.

Published in Sports
Thursday, 12 December 2019 16:08

Kibbles and Picks 2019 - Week 15

And the pendulum swings back.

It’s definitely starting to look like this season’s Kibbles and Picks is going to go right down to the wire. In Week 14, Stella repeated her solid 9-7 from the previous week, but I managed an 11-5 record. This means that what was once a one-game lead for Stella has once again become a one-game lead for me. And with just three weeks left, it couldn’t be any tighter.

Of course, considering we differ on fully half the schedule again this week – eight games – there’s still room for one of us to make a big move. My expectation, however, is that the tightly-contested back-and-forth continues.

Published in Sports
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