tom smith | make green bay weird | sept. 2019
September is here and it brings us yet another football season in Titletown. The older I get the more I wish I wasn't addicted to the NFL, but I'm a hopeless junkie for America's pastime and as a good friend of mine Richard Holcomb would say, “DEAL With IT!" I also must admit that my favorite football team, the Chicago Bears, being a Super Bowl contender eases my pain.
Bears fans have been suffering since our brief flirtation with being a winning football team under Lovie Smith in the mid- to late-'00s. Count me among those who had no clue that Bears head coach Matt Nagy, in his first year as HC, would lead the Bears to the playoffs. First-year coaches usually don't have those results and I hate to be Debbie Downer but I don't see the Packers making the playoffs this year. Last year I picked the Pack to go the Super Bowl but I no longer have the confidence that Aaron Rodgers is able to carry the team on his shoulders. I think less of Rodgers career would have been squandered if the Pack would have pulled the trigger on getting rid of Mike “The Train has left the station" McCarthy (who I find out isn't even related to Sir Clone Paul McCartney) a few seasons earlier. I'm not here to say Matt LaFleur can't get the Pack to the playoffs in his first year, but I see Chicago or Detroit as the NFC North division winner and the other being a wildcard. I don't see three wildcards entering the playoffs from the NFC North.
Fun fact: This football season is the first since 1992 that the Packers and the Bears head coach have the same first name. Worked well last time, both those Mikes won a Super Bowl for their respective teams. I'm sure we can all agree both Holmgren and Ditka should have hoisted more than one Lombardi for the Packers and the Bears. I will be elaborating more on the demise of the '80s Bears in my forthcoming book “Why Tom Smith hates Michael McCaskey and the Washington NFL franchise."
Teams that I think besides Chicago and Detroit I see having the potential to make some post-season noise I have broken down by conference. The teams of the AFC I see making the playoffs are the New England Patriots, Houston Texans, Kansas Chiefs, Cleveland Browns, Los Angeles Chargers and the Indianapolis Colts. The teams of the NFC I see with a chance for post-season glory are the Seattle Seahawks, Los Angeles Rams, Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Dallas Cowboys and the New Orleans Saints. I'm picking the Super Bowl matchup to be the New England Patriots versus the Seahawks. The fan in me wants to pick the Super Bowl matchup to be the Chicago Bears versus the Cleveland Browns but I think I'm a year early on that prediction.
A new season of the NFL also brings us another season of Fantasy Football. My editor here at Frankly Green Bay somehow has tricked me to join a third league this year. This league is a Dynasty league and this will be the first time in the 29 years that I have been playing Fantasy Football that I have been in a Dynasty league. My warning for fellow owners in this league: Please prepare yourself for many fantasy football jokes that are a riff on the Kiss album “Dynasty." Examples: When I draft Saquon Barkley, I'll proclaim he will be a 2,000 (combined yards) Man. When I draft Baker Mayfield, I will mention he has the Magic Touch. When Tarik Cohen joins the Revolutionary War Stealth Bombers (the name of my team) I will proclaim, I was made for Lovin' him. David Njoku will be on my team because I Sure Know Something (about how he will be lightening it up this year). I might draft Julio Jones from the “Dirty" south for some Dirty Bird Livin'. I want Tyler Lockett because he has Charisma. Josh “Flash" Gordon will be on my team because he has gone through some Hard Times and is ready to shine. I need the Chicago Bears defense because their secondary has X-Ray Eyes. Will I draft Ezekiel Elliot again even with his hold out? Yes, I will “Save" some love for him.
I'm also in another league with my editor here at Frankly Green Bay and the name of that team is the Alfred E. Neuman Army. With the sad news about Mad magazine not producing new content any longer, this team vows to win the league and not worry about anything. Not that I have bought an issue of Mad magazine in the last few years and haven't been a rabid reader since the early-80s, this is still a blow to my youth. Spoiler alert: Much of my “humor" is influenced/stolen from Mad magazine. Not sure if I'm prepared to live in a world without Mad magazine. If they produce a documentary on the loss of Mad magazine they should title it “It's no longer a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World."
I must say farewell to someone who meant a lot to me as an NFL player and someone who I had on a number of Fantasy Football teams. That man is Cedric Benson who sadly passed away on August 17th. I loved Cedric at the University of Texas and I was more than tickled pink when the Bears drafted him with the fourth pick of the 2005 NFL draft. Cedric's production never matched his potential in Chicago and the Bears cut him after an off-field incident that Cedric latter would be totally vindicated of. I felt at the time the Bears gave up too quickly on Cedric and boy would the Bears pay on October 25thof the 2009 season when they travelled to Cincinnati and Cedric Benson single-handedly destroyed the Bears with a career-high 189 yards rushing and one touchdown. This is only one of two times I have ever rooted against the Bears. The other time was when the New Orleans Saints led by Mike Ditka defeated the Bears 20-17 in Chicago on 10-05-97. Live long and “What … me worry?"
Since 1984 when he first began selling records at Galaxy of Sound inside the Port Plaza Mall, Tom Smith has been part of the Green Bay music scene. Promoting his first show in 1986 and hitting his stride with the Concert Café (1995-2001), Smith continues to promote shows in Green Bay. He first honed his journalistic chops while serving as a student DJ at WGBW, interviewing such icons as Motörhead and the Ramones. Today you can find him championing live music and managing The Exclusive Company in Green Bay.