tom smith | make green bay weird | oct. 2016
Last month, I presented to you, the readers, with my annual column on the National Football League, including fantasy football advice. Normally, I don't write again on football for a year in the pages of Frankly Green Bay. In the passing of a year you will forget any predictions I made the previous year. So far, no one has ever busted me out on picking the Cleveland Browns to win the AFC North, unless there are some of you who have astutely noted this and are polite enough not to say anything me.
This, I doubt.
Well, I'm not going to wait a year to write on the NFL again because I want to self-critique my predictions for 2016 at the beginning of the third week of the season. I also actually enjoy writing about football. First things first: I, Tom Smith, son of Tom Smith, grandson of Tom Smith (Now, before you jump to the conclusion that I'm Tom Smith III, my grandfather had a different middle name than my father and I.) Trust me, this has been a bone of contention between me and my family for at least 40 years. Yes, I will admit, I'm disappointed I'm not a “the third” solely because of my love of “Gilligan's Island.”
The only downside if I were to have been a third is that I would have had to develop an unrelenting ambition to attend Harvard (please say this word in your mind with Thurston Howell III's nasally accent). I definitely wouldn't have been able to proceed through life if I had to settle on going to Yale. I also, academically, could have never gotten into either of those schools. At best, I may have been able to get into Stanford, picked the Cleveland Browns to win the AFC North because when I wrote that I was under the influence of mind control by either a foreign hostile government, the CIA, (extraterrestrial) aliens, Big Elevator or a possible alliance of the entities just mentioned.
I have watched both Cleveland Browns games this season in their entirety and let me tell you, they will finish fourth in the AFC North. Not even the looming return of Josh Gordon will be able to save them from the basement. It's week three and they are starting their third different quarterback of the season already. I predict by season's end they will have started 16 different quarterbacks. The most likely candidates will be Michael Vick, Tim Tebow, Matt Flynn, Peyton Manning (you can tell how much this dude wants to play from his sappy commercials for the DirecTV Sunday Ticket), Brett Favre, Gilbert Renfro, Billy Joe Toliver, Doug Flutie, Roman Gabriel (and speaking of Gilligan's Island, Roman Gabriel appeared on that show as a “savage”) and Flash Gordon.
You have to admit, the Gordon to Gordon connection will reek of awesomeness. I also regret picking the Green Bay Packers to win the NFC. I'm now switching my pick to the Carolina Panthers. Contrary to the opinion of Jon Gruden, the Packers are not a good team currently. I'm not saying the season is lost, but I just personally don't believe the team overall has what it takes to dominate the NFC. Yes, the natives are getting restless and now people are even starting to question if Aaron Rodgers has lost his mojo. I find that hard to believe and still insist he is one of the top three quarterbacks in the league. My opinion is that the Packers are starting to look like the mediocre Packer teams near the end of the Mike Sherman era, when the Packers squandered the last seasons of the Favre era. The great Al Davis always said that the shelf life of an NFL coach is 10 years. Coach Mike McCarthy has now just begun his eleventh season as Packers head coach. Perhaps it's time for the train to leave the station in regards to the head coach of the Green Bay Packers. I've got nothing against coach McCarthy — in fact, I will help him with his next job. I'm going to get the NFL rumor mill going right now: I predict Mike McCarthy will be the next head coach of the Buffalo Bills. Rex Ryan may not even finish out this season in Buffalo. Two weeks in and he fires his offensive coordinator? The ship is sinking. What an act of desperation. That firing didn't make sense whatsoever, the offense put up 31 points in week two, which is pretty good for the Buffalo Bills these days. In the same game, the defense gave up 37 points.
I guess Thanksgiving dinner would be awkward if you have to fire your brother, the defensive coordinator. As a Bears fan, I so was hoping the death of Buddy Ryan, father to Rob and Rex Ryan, would inspire a defensive tornado that would bring back memories of the '85 Bears. I don't think that's going to happen and he may have lost this team already. I predict Rob Ryan will be the interim head coach of the Buffalo Bills by season's end. The Packers next head coach will be Josh McDaniels, current offensive coordinator of the Patriots. Hey, the last time the Packers hired an offensive coordinator from a powerhouse team from the East Coast that worked out to the tune of five championships. I regret last month referring to Jay Cutler as an albatross to the Chicago Bears. That was way too nice and positive a way to describe Jay Cutler. He truly is an abomination and trust me, I'm very happy and excited that he's injured. I'm hoping the play of Brian Hoyer in the next two to three weeks will be able to keep Cutler on the bench permanently. I should have never picked the Houston Texans to finish fourth in the AFC South. They obviously will win it.
On the subject of fantasy football I doled out, I must first apologize to anyone who might have drafted Adrian Peterson ridiculously high on my guidance. I feel your pain. I, myself, just cut him from one of my fantasy football teams, the Alfred E. Newman Army. I also must apologize to those who may have drafted RGIII based on my advice. All I can say is, well, that didn't work out. I must admit that fantasy football has been very good to me this year, especially for the Dictators. This team starts out slow every year. I'm 2-0 and thanks to LeGarrette Blount's two touchdowns against the Texas, I'm on the road to being 3-0 against all division opponents. I remember snickers in the room when I drafted LeGarrette Blount — well, this league is a TD only league and Blount has already banged in four touchdowns in three games.
All I can say is a big Ric Flair Wooooooo! I also remember mutterings about Derrick Henry when I drafted DeMarco Murray. I would also be remiss in not pointing out that Larry Fitzgerald has already had three touchdowns in two games. I also remember the silence in the room when I announced Isaiah Crowell as one of my keepers. How did you like his 84-yard touchdown run in week two?
Since I'm bringing up items from last month's column, you're probably curious about how my battle with my NFL addiction is going. Tom, have you been taking those bike rides after the noon games have ended? No, I haven't, at least not yet, but I'm happy to report week one and week two I got up at 5 o'clock each morning and was on the Fox River Trail for a three-hour ride. So I did get my bike riding in, just before the football. I'm also happy to report that last week I took a nap during the three o'clock games. I also skipped the Sunday night game between the Packers and the Vikings because I went to bed at six o'clock. I guess it makes sense that if I got up five hours earlier, I might want to go to bed five hours earlier. I also only watched a few minutes of Monday Night Football week one. Week two I did have to watch half the game after I got home from work because it was the Bears. I also was rooting for Jeremy Langford to score a touchdown to win a fantasy game for me, which he did.
This game also reminded me of just why I want Cutler out as a Chicago Bears player. Cutler really stank on ice that night. But I tell you, folks, I do still love the NFL, especially a great game and that opener Thursday night game between the Panthers and the Broncos really got the juices flowing. Damn, I hate that I love the NFL so much. I must mention that during the Patriots/Texans game at the beginning of week three, I got misty-eyed hearing the story of a young Bill Belichick meeting George Halas. What can you say about Bill Belichick? Down to his third string quarterback, the Patriots shut out the Texans 27-0. I still have the utmost confidence in my prediction that the Patriots will win the Super Bowl this year. This victory against the Texans also moved Belichick into a tie with Curly Lambeau for fourth most regular season wins in NFL history at 226. Very rarefied air for, in my opinion, the second greatest coach in the history of the NFL.
I guess I was ready for some football.
Live long and punt on first down.
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.