Short Play: Stan and the Stan, or Bears at Chargers Week 8 Game Preview

| October 27th, 2023

Stan, an objective fan of the Chicago Bears, can’t sleep. Retired for over a year, and widowed for slightly longer, he spends the late hours of the evenings listening to Chicago sports radio and giving fake interviews to the hosts about his beloved franchise, hoping his endless droning will trick him into slumber. It never works. 

Knowing his local dive is open at 7 AM and knowing a few of the fellas who might frequent the tavern at that hour, Stan wanders around the corner. When he enters, only one seat is occupied, by a younger man, eagerly scrolling on his cell phone, adorned in a #1 Justin Field jersey. 

Sheila, beautiful and pregnant, is behind the bar. She hasn’t turned on the tavern’s only television because she can’t find the remote. 


Sheila: What are you doing here?

Stan: You have coffee on?

Sheila: Yep. Gonna put in a breakfast order from The Greeks, you want anything?

Stan: No, I’m okay.

Sheila (to #1): How about you?

#1: Nah, I’m good.

Stan (sitting beside #1): Good game Sunday, huh?

#1: Yea, they finally got a win.

Stan: The kid quarterback played well too.

#1: (Reluctantly) Sure. (Then) He could actually be a good backup down the road.

Stan: Why do you say that?

#1: Say what?

Stan: Why do you say he could only be a good backup?

#1: Did you see his stats? (#1 holds up his phone to Stan, where he’d be staring at the Tyson Bagent completion chart on Twitter.) He didn’t complete a pass more than 15 yards downfield.

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Three Bullets Per Game: Wildcard Weekend Gambling Guide

| January 13th, 2023

This is less a gambling guide, and more an overview of the weekend’s action with predictions. But my gambling choices are evident in my final score prognostications. (All lines from DraftKings Sportsbook.)

Seahawks at 49ers (-9.5), Over/Under: 42.5

  • Just as we all predicted in August, the 2022 season could be decided by Brock Purdy’s performance in the postseason. Purdy was a player I liked in the draft, precisely because I watched him play football and not run around in his underwear in Indianapolis. He was a gamer at Iowa State, and those types of guys tend to find a role in the NFL.
  • Seattle is playing with house money and teams in that position are always dangerous. This feels like a game that is 13-13 early in the second quarter, and gamblers start getting nervous, only to see it completely unravel for the Seahawks after a costly turnover or two.
  • 49ers 34, Seahawks 16

Chargers (-2) at Jaguars, Over/Under: 47.5

  • This was the predictable Saturday night contest, but if the league had some leadership, they would have put it in the premier Sunday night slot and marketed the hell out of these two young superstar QBs. Instead, the game of the weekend will be played in the least-watched time slot.
  • This game feels incredibly even, and when that’s the case I look at three essential elements: quarterback, coach and building. Quarterback is a push right now, and the home field in Jacksonville isn’t much of one. But this is the most significant coaching mismatch of the week. Doug Pederson is a big game guy and Brandon Staley has absolutely no in-game feel. The latter will make a head-scratching decision (he always does) to decide this contest.
  • Jaguars 27, Chargers 23

Dolphins at Bills (-13.5), Over/Under: 47

  • Was it the Dolphins? Was it the league? Was it his family? It’s not important. Tua Tagovailoa is not playing in this ballgame and that is important for the long-term health of the young man’s brain. Tua will now have the next seven months to establish whether he wants to assume the risk of continuing his football career. One hopes that he’ll visit with serious neurologists during that time, doctors unaffiliated with the league.
  • Without Tua, this is a serious mismatch.
  • Bills 40, Dolphins 17

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“Ted, George…I Fucked Up.”

| October 28th, 2019

Ryan Pace wakes up.

He kisses his wife on the forehead. Tells her he loves her.

He walks downstairs and pours himself a cup of Lavazza. (I assume Pace is like me and has the kind of coffee maker he can set the night before.) Maybe he makes some toast. Dry. No butter. Maybe he fries and egg or two. He sits at the kitchen table in silence.

Coffee works.

He takes his dump.


Dresses for the workday. His favorite suit. He needs it today. This is not his normal workday and he knows it.

He gets into the office an hour earlier than normal to prepare and stares out the window, waiting to see the cars of Ted Phillips and George McCaskey arrive.

They finally do. It’s time.

“Ted, George,” he says, “I fucked up.”

In the modern NFL, missing on the first-round quarterback can set a franchise back years if you let it. The Bears can’t let it. Today, the entire organization has to acknowledge they chose the wrong guy. It’s difficult. It’s painful. For Pace, it’s somewhat humiliating. But it is necessary if the team hopes to contend for a title in in the next few years. Because they will not contend for anything with Mitch Trubisky playing quarterback.

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Chargers at Bears Game Preview Vol. II: Poem & Prediction

| October 25th, 2019

He chose to believe,

in possibility.

He chose to dream,

of feeling what those other folks feel.

Of tears dripping into his cold pint glass.

Of knowing, contented arms around his shoulders.

Of a parade.

But now he’s just another patron in Harry Hope’s Saloon,

where the poet said “the lie of the pipe dream is what gives life to the whole misbegotten

mad lot of us, drunk or sober”.

He chose to believe in the lie.

He chose to dream the dream of the misbegotten lot.

And he would surely choose both again.


Chicago Bears 20, Los Angeles Chargers 19

(Touchdowns: Tarik Cohen punt return, Leonard Floyd pick-six.)


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Money Where My Mouth Is: Three Picks For Week Nine

| November 5th, 2015

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Can’t complain about my picks a week ago. Saints flew by their number. Packers never approached theirs. And the Bears / Vikings game was a coin flip. 2-1. Four games over .500 on the season. This week…


One team I think is very good. The other team is the Minnesota Vikings. And if Teddy Bridgewater struggled against the Bears defense, what is he going to do against one of the best defenses in the sport?


No comment. Well one comment. Where are all the people who argued the Packers wouldn’t miss Jordy Nelson? They seem awfully quiet to me. The Packers are consistently credited for having magnificent drafts and an unending basket of talent. But it’s never been true. They have an all world quarterback. But even he misses his best and most reliable weapon.


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Season Record: 13-9-2

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