Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Tom Brady

Walkthrough: All Buccaneers Are Brothers

Kansas City Chiefs at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Sunday, 4:25 p.m.

(As written in the style of classical Chinese literature)

All Bucs are Brothers

Chapter I

Tom Brady arrived at the "water margin" of the Tampa Marsh soon after his narrow escape from the northern kingdom. He hoped to join the Buccaneers who made their hideout there, so he sent a football whistling with pinpoint accuracy across the reeds toward their hidden fortress.

Within minutes, two young Buccaneers rowed ashore to greet him.

"We recognize you," one of them said. "You are Tom Brady, who is nicknamed the Welcome Rain because you flooded the northern kingdom with great riches and glory, and also the Preening Goat for obvious reasons."

"And you must be Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, who are called the Leaping Wonder Brothers, though you are not blood brothers," Brady replied.

"All men are brothers between the great seas," Evans said. "But what caused so mighty a champion as you to flee the northern region?"

Brady explained to them as they rowed toward the Buccaneers' secret stronghold that his commander, nicknamed The Hooded General, had grown corrupt and egomaniacal with power, and was now seeking personal glory. He asked the Leaping Wonder Brothers if there was a place among them for a worthy champion.

"Alas," said Evans, "we are led by Jameis Winston, who is nicknamed the Random Catapult."

"But our advisor is the wizened Bruce Arians, called the Resourceful Strategist and also the Gray-Bearded Bomber," Godwin added. "Perhaps he can devise a solution."

Arians greeted Brady when they reached the fortress. He knew the Preening Goat was a legendary hero, so he suggested that Brady challenge Winston to one-on-one combat.

The Preening Goat and the Random Catapult both drew their halberds. They fought 20 bouts with neither gaining an advantage: Winston's style was wild and unpredictable, but he was much younger and quicker than Brady. But Winston grew careless and lunged with his halberd directly at Brady's hands. The Preening Goat caught the blow and bonked the Random Catapult on the noggin with his own weapon.

"I retire in shame," Winston said. "I must flee to the bayou to serve beneath the Tiny Sharpshooter and the Absurd Delusion."

"That was some f***ing awesome dueling," Arians said to Brady. "But why do you honor us with your presence? Do you seek revenge on your old master, the Hooded General?"

"All in due time," Brady said. "First, I seek revenge on Patrick Mahomes, nicknamed the Catsup Warrior. He dishonored me and stole a ring which I feel is rightfully mine."

The Gray-Bearded Bomber stroked his beard. "That's gonna be tough," he said. "We're gonna need some more heroes."

Chapter II

A hulking monk in a hooded robe sat drinking beer at a tavern in the countryside. At his side was a quarterstaff which must have weighed 80 pounds. The tavern owner was astounded to see anyone drink so much.

"More beer!" the monk demanded, slamming his flagon to the table. The tavern owner trembled, then explained that all of the beer was reserved for a corrupt local bureaucrat.

Outraged, the monk stormed into the middle of the town. To get everyone's attention, he wrapped his arms around a willow tree and uprooted it, tossing it aside as one might toss away a toothpick. Then he brandished his quarterstaff. "Who DARES stand between Gronk and his beer?"

"What if it were me?" Brady said, emerging from the shadows.

Gronk dropped his quarterstaff and ran to embrace Brady. "Preening Goat, my old master! I heard a rumor that you joined the Buccaneers of the Tampa Bay!"

"It is true. But Gronk, who is nicknamed Gronk, how did you come to wear the vestments of a monk?"

Gronk explained that after he was forced to flee the shameful arrogance of the northern kingdom, he was tricked into joining a circus sideshow. There, he performed feats of strength in exchange for beer money, but he longed to be a true champion again. So he snuck away to a monastery.

"I took a vow," Gronk explained. "I am but a humble blocking tight end now."

"And I am sure you will keep that vow as truly as you abstain from beer," Brady laughed. "Come, join the heroes of Tampa Marsh. There is much work to be done."

Chapter III

When the Preening Goat arrived at the village where he hoped to meet his next recruit, he found that the gatehouse guards had been slain. The soldiers in the watchtower had also been slain. The merchants in the village square? Slain.

At the edge of the square, breathing heavily, wielding a pair of battle axes dripping with blood, surrounded by moaning victims, stood the man Brady had come to meet.

"You must be Ndamukong Suh," Brady said, "the Deadly Whirlwind. I see that you have massacred all of the quarterbacks who live in this village. And their families. And the bystanders."

The Deadly Whirlwind seethed. "Quarterbacks deserve to be slain, for they are wicked and greedy. They take money for themselves that should be shared among everyone. And I can tell by your bearing that YOU are a quarterback, stranger. Who are you who dares address me?"

"I am Tom Brady, leader of the Buccaneers of the Tampa Marsh."

The Deadly Whirlwind gasped, then dropped his axes and bowed. "You are the Preening Goat? Your excellence is renowned across the kingdom, as is your charity: you refused higher salaries so there was more money to spread among your troops."

Brady bowed in return. "What if I were to tell you that I planned to teach a lesson to the greediest of all quarterbacks: one who not only stole my precious ring but commands a salary of $500 million cash?"

Suh reached for his axes and began to swing them. "The Catsup Warrior? I would relish the chance to disembowel him. And his fiance. And his…"

"Woah, woah, woah," Brady said. "That's getting a little violent, even for a parody based on a Chinese folktale. If you join my team, you must limit your mayhem to, like, PG-13 Marvel-movie levels."

The Deadly Whirlwind reluctantly agreed, and thus joined our heroes.

Chapter IV

The preening goat journeyed far and wide, recruiting many other stars into his constellation, including:

  • Leonard Fournette, nicknamed "Plodding Oxcart" for his ability to tramp slowly and tirelessly across terrain.
  • Jason Pierre-Paul, nicknamed "Rocket Handler" for his experience, if not expertise, with explosives.
  • LeSean McCoy, nicknamed "Shady" for his ability to slip undetected through defenses.
  • Scotty Miller and Justin Watson, nicknamed "Fan Favorite the First" and "Fan Favorite the Second" who became the Preening Goat's personal assistants because they reminded him of his attendants in the northern kingdom.
  • And Lavonte David, nicknamed "The Overlooked Champion," who performed hundreds of mighty, heroic deeds we won't bother mentioning.

Shady secretly spied on the Catsup Warrior while posing as a member of his cohort for many months. "He has many great champions," Shady warned, "including the Cheetah and the Honey Badger. And he fights for a governor nicknamed The Red Clockmaker."

"I have faced the Red Clockmaker many times," Brady replied. "He is brilliant, but his weaknesses are that he is too clever by half, and he sometimes loses track of time."

"We can devise a strategy to use those weaknesses to our advantage," the Resourceful Strategist said. "But it may not be enough."

"Do not despair," the Preening Goat replied. "I have a plan for when all else fails."

Chapter V

The Buccaneers surrounded the Catsup Warrior's stronghold, a place called Arrowhead, on the day that was auspicious for battle. The Preening Goat arrived carrying a mysterious sack. The Resourceful Strategist noticed but said nothing. They positioned their troops, knowing full well that the Catsup Warrior and Red Clockmaker were ready for their siege.

When the time was right, Brady gave the order. "Release the Plodding Oxcart."

Fournette ran slowly, very slowly, and very directly, yet mightily, toward the front gate. The defenders called forth Chris Jones, nicknamed the Run-Stuffer, to battle Fournette. Both fought valiantly, with neither gaining any ground.

"The Plodding Oxcart?" the Red Clockmaker scoffed. "He has no chance against us."

"It's a feint," the clever Mahomes said. "They hope to slow down the battle and limit my ability to attack. Unleash the Cheetah."

With that, there was a blur, and gusts of wind ripped through the ranks of the Buccaneers, who were helpless to defend themselves.

"The Cheetah is nothing without the Catsup Warrior!" shouted Suh, brandishing his battle axes. "On your orders I will disembowel them both!"

"Fine," Brady said, "But no actual disemboweling!"

The Deadly Whirlwind attacked, but the Catsup Warrior's five-soldier honor guard confronted him at the gate. Even the Whirlwind was not mighty enough to fend off the well-coordinated guardsmen.

"The battle goes poorly," Arians said. "If they are able to attack you with the Honey Badger, we will lose this day as badly as we lost on the bayou."

The Preening Goat nodded. Then he reached into his sack and produced a painted helm. "When I still served the Hooded General of the northern kingdom, we discovered this talisman, which releases a mogwai of great power."

"A mogwai? They are very dangerous."

"I know. But it is necessary. Our cause is righteous, is it not?"

The Resourceful Strategist scratched the back of his neck. "I don't know. I mean, we keep saying that it is, but we seem to spend most of our time settling old scores and murdering bystanders."

"In that case," Brady said, rubbing the helm, "Let 'er rip."

The mogwai appeared in a flash of light, and it appeared willing to heed the Preening Goat's instructions. Temporarily, anyway. It picked up a merchant's cart and threw it at the guardsmen's gate, causing chaos. Gronk, the Leaping Wonder Brothers, and others entered the stronghold during the confusion.

"We can still win the day," Mahomes said to the Red Clockmaker. "Let me take the battle to them personally!"

But the Buccaneers had timed their attack deliberately, and just then the bell tolled the approach of sunset.

"Two-minute warning!" shouted the Red Clockmaker, suddenly shaking and sweating. "Pause the battle! No wait -- all-out attack! No wait -- retreat! Retreat!"

Mahomes sighed, patted his leader on the head, reached for his halberd, and joined the battle. His champions flocked to his side: the Cheetah, the Honey Badger, the Goal Post Bender, the Three-Named Lad, and others. They pushed back the attacking Buccaneers. The mogwai, angry about his minor role in the attack or something, floated away.

Before long, the Preening Ghost and Catsup Warrior faced off across from each other in a courtyard.

"I did not steal your ring," Mahomes said, his weapon at the ready. "You were defeated in combat, and I defeated the victor. It was mine to take. I have done nothing dishonorable."

"I realize that now," Brady said. "You are as noble as any of my champions."

"I am proud to be counted the equal of your gang of drunks, psychopaths, and supernatural forces of evil, Preening Goat. But where do we now stand?"

Brady lowered his weapon and bowed deeply. "Look around us. The countryside has been ravaged by disease and corruption for too long. Our petty squabbles get us nowhere. Let us work together to be champions of the people at a time when they need us the most."

The Catsup Warrior agreed, and soon the Buccaneers of the Tampa Marsh joined forces with the heroes of Arrowhead and others around the nation to square off in contests which delighted and inspired millions. Eventually, a new, noble emperor regained control of the land with his steady-handed leadership and an inspiring victory in the City of Brotherly Love, and he summoned all of the champions to unite the kingdom under one banner.

"I couldn't have done it any better myself," said Emperor Foles as he honored his loyal subjects.

Prediction: Chiefs 34, Buccaneers 28

Bears at Packers, Sunday, 8:20 p.m.

Here is your Green Bay Packers Random Result Generator! Just roll two dice and consult the chart:

2: Critical fumble after reception by a Packers receiver.
3: Aaron Jones gets more than 15 touches; balanced offense results in 14 points.
4: Three-man Packers rush! Opponent's touchdown!
5: Mason Crosby field goal. At least there's something you can rely on.
6: Preston Smith in man coverage against a tight end! Opponent's touchdown!
7: Aaron Rodgers is in the zone. Nothing else matters.
8: Opponent rushes six straight times for 54 yards to set up a field goal.
9: Someone besides one of the Aarons or Davante Adams steps up on offense. Packers touchdown.
10: Offsides, Za'Darius Smith. Pass interference, Josh Jackson. Opponent's field goal.
11: Special teams mistake. Opponent's touchdown!
12: Rodgers overthrows a tight end on a fourth-and-short play he clearly had no confidence in, then strikes the faraway stare of a man dreaming of tying up his coach and general manager in a closet and trading half the defense for Justin Jefferson. Turnover on downs.

Fortunately for the Packers, the Chicago Bears Offensive Random Result Generator is much easier to use:

2-8: Punt.
9-12: Turnover.

Prediction: Packers 26, Bears 16

Ravens at Steelers, Sunday, 1:05 p.m.

(As written in the style of Salman Rushdie)

As Lamar Jackson fell to the turf, he felt a crack open in the mantle of the earth beneath him, and he knew it was all over. Funtoosh. The sackwalla T.J. Watt pried loose the football, and Jackson could hear angels and demons, prophets and djinn cackling at him from the gaping volcanic maw widening its jaws to swallow him up, and no scrambling/passing/improvising could save him from the fate that was foretold at his cradle by the shadowy amah who nursed him.

But I have gotten ahead of myself in the story. Let us leave Jackson to his inevitable digestion by fate and begin at the Hupmobile dealership in Canton, Ohio, where Midwestern American men of broad-shouldered business met with hopes/dreams/aspirations of a new sporting venture. The seeds of Jackson's rise and fall, ascension and cataclysm, were sewn on that day when men in tweed coats chomped the butts of cigars and leaned against the fenders of horseless carriages. It was so, and it was not so…

(Continues for 600 pages. Kinda peters out in the final chapters).

Prediction: Steelers 27, Ravens 21

Seahawks at Eagles, Monday, 8:15 p.m.

(As written in the style of Carson Wentz trying to pre-order a PS5)

"I just have to sit here, refresh my browser, and wait for an open opportunity. Oh, it appears that Amazon has 4,000 of them in stock right now. Should I order? Do I trust Amazon? Is this really how I should be spending my money?

"Oh no: they're gone! Scramble! Wal-Mart? Sold out! Best Buy? Sold out! Don't panic don't panic don't panic.


(Doug Pederson later defends the purchase of a broken Atari 2600 for $4,400) "Wentz is the quarterback of a first-place team. Who are you to question his decision-making?"

Prediction: Seahawks 28, Eagles 16

Cardinals at Patriots, Sunday, 1 p.m.

The Cardinals are one of the NFL's easiest teams to watch. Kyler Murray and their offense are fun, there are guys such as Budda Baker to get to know better, DeAndre Hopkins adds a level of Bill O'Brien shaming (plus, you know, awesomeness), and there are no real expectations or baggage. It's easy to just tune in and enjoy the show.

The Patriots are downright torturous to watch. Their downfall and Cam Newton's comeback operate at emotional cross-purposes: rooting for the Death Star to explode is no fun when it will inevitably gin up a sociopolitical melodrama. Plus, their offense is a slog and their defense a shell of its former glory. Even listening to Bill Belichick whine and make excuses is no fun, because we have politics for that.

If this game gets out of hand, close your eyes and picture the young Newton running Kliff Kingsbury's offense. Now that would be easy to watch.

Prediction: Cardinals 23, Patriots 17

Titans at Colts, Sunday, 1 p.m.

(As written in the style of the @JAVdottxt Twitter feed, which translates Japanese pornography titles verbatim into English. Thanks to @DARosenthal for the suggestion!)

Philip Rivers' Ample Semen Causes Many Pregnancies (Volume 12)!

Derrick Henry Plows Weaker Men!

Very Special Philadelphia: Frank Reich Inserts Tight End Who Passes and Scores!

Mike Vrabel's Eager Castration Results in Professional Advancement!

Submissive Divisional Champion Inevitably Prostrated Before Chiefs!

Prediction: Colts 26, Titans 24

Washington at Cowboys, Thursday, 4:30 p.m.

(As written in the style of Chris Claremont's unnecessarily hostile X-Men narration boxes, aka The Angry Claremontian Narrator.)

What was it all for, Alex Smith? The pain. The exhaustion. The months you spent battling to defy the odds and claw your way back from near annihilation. Only to find yourself in an endless series of hopeless battles in a forgotten, destitute corner of the NFL. Is this even close to the result you were hoping for? Is it? How many more times can you square off against the likes of Andy Dalton before you realize the futility of your endeavors? Does anyone even fathom the depth of your sacrifice?

But now is not the time for such thoughts, Alex Smith, for battle is yet again upon you. And fight you must, for you know no other way.

Prediction: Cowboys 24, Washington 16

Saints at Broncos, Sunday, 4:05 p.m.

The Broncos' four wins this season came against two rookie quarterbacks (Tua Tagovailoa and Justin Herbert), Cam Newton in full "he has no one to throw to and it's his fedora's fault" mode, and the Jets when Adam Gase tried to permanently injure Sam Darnold in an effort to win a shootout against Brett Rypien.

In other words, the Broncos are very capable of contributing to a quarterback crisis. No one is rooting for that to happen against Taysom Hill, really, honestly, but Hill will probably have to do more than drop back nine steps behind six offensive linemen and wait for Michael Thomas to get open this week.

Prediction: Saints 24, Broncos 12

Chargers at Bills, Sunday, 1 p.m.

(As written in the style of the Hunter X Hunter Chimera Ant Palace Invasion Arc.)

Episode IX: Passer X Receiver

It took all the patience Josh Allen could muster just to stand in the pocket and scan the field. He knew he had to unleash his Laser Throw nen ability at precisely the same time as Stefon Diggs used his Subtle Fake nen ability. "Stefon has been setting his defender up all game for the Subtle Fake. If I mistime my Laser Throw, all our planning will come to naught."

Meanwhile, a droplet of sweat dripped slowly down Joey Bosa's cheek. "Ah. Allen is planning to use the Laser Throw. That is an emission ability. If it interacts with Stefon Diggs' manipulation ability, their attack will be unstoppable." Bosa knew his best counter was the Devastating Sack, yet he also knew that Allen was both an emitter and a manipulator, with a Subtle Fake ability of his own. So Bosa, too, delayed his attack, despite the anguish it caused.

Episode X: Strategy X Counterstrategy

Nearly one second has passed. Stefon Diggs wondered if the time was right for his Subtle Fake. "My defender, Casey Hayward, is using retsu to determine my actions," Diggs thought. "I had no idea he had such mastery. If I fake when he is prepared, Josh will have no one to throw to."

Allen's heart beat a single time. He recognized Hayward's retsu aura. He knew that it would prevent Diggs from using his Subtle Fake. And Bosa would soon be a threat. "Perhaps if I use ren to increase the velocity of my throw, it can still reach Diggs in time."

Episode XXIII: Tedium X Overindulgence

A hummingbird flapped its wings once. Bosa realized that Allen would soon use ren to enhance his nen and counteract Hayward's retsu. His only hope was to somehow summon his latent conjuration and specialization abilities in a way that would allow his zetsu to enhance both his shu and ken. Yet he knew that might transform him into a really creepy clown, and it could also prompt Allen to use his High Voltage stand ability, which is from a completely different anime, but don't pretend for a moment that you can follow any of this gibberish.

Episode XXXIV: Closure X Cetera

Allen and Justin Herbert stood side by side on the boat taking them to their next adventure.

"That certainly was an exciting game-winning play we spent 14 animated hours dissecting," Herbert said. "What now? Will you come with me to take my Hunter's exam?"

"I'm not traveling with you anymore," Allen said. "Your new haircut freaks me out. Which, in an anime, is really saying something"

Prediction: Bills 28, Chargers 23

Raiders at Falcons, Sunday, 1 p.m.

The Raiders are the team the Falcons aspired to be this season: veteran quarterback, lots of weapons, enough speed and youth on defense for optimism, stable coaching staff, a puncher's chance of a wild-card berth in a competitive division. Take away an onside kick, a too-quick touchdown, and about half of their fourth-quarter leaps into the volcano, and the Falcons would be around 6-4 like the Raiders.

Then again, if you took all of that stuff away, the Falcons just wouldn't be the Falcons anymore.

Prediction: Raiders 37, Falcons 26

Dolphins at Jets, Sunday, 1 p.m.

(As written in the style of a script for a pharmaceutical commercial)

(Image of a late-middle-aged couple gardening)

Life's precious moments are too important to let anything slow you down.

(Image of the gardening wife grabbing her lower back and wincing)

Especially AFC East Syndrome.

(Image of a gray-whiskered man sadly shaking his head at grandkids who want him to read them a story)

For too long, AFC East Syndrome sufferers have had no choice but to live with the symptoms.

(Image of a young man in a Mark Sanchez jersey attempting to leap in front of a subway train)

The exhaustion. The mood swings. The feeling of hopelessness that makes even getting out of bed in the morning a chore. But now there's hope.

(Saturated image of a sunny beach)

There's Tagovailoa.

(The gardening woman grabs a shovel and digs into the soil while giving her hubby a cougarific glance)

Tagovailoa has been clinically proven to alleviate the symptoms of AFC East Syndrome so you can get back to living.

(Grandpa is now snuggling his grandkids and reading them Killing Lincoln).

So ask your doctor about Tagovailoa, and start enjoying those precious moments again!

(Image of young couple in Dolphins No. 1 jerseys frolicking on a beach)

(Low mumbling) Side effects of Tagovailoa include stuttering, mispronunciation, poor spelling, left-handedness, and an aversion to bearded self-promoting hipsters. Tagovailoa may also cause short-term euphoria. Do not place a futures bet on the Dolphins to win the Super Bowl while taking Tagovailoa. Do not take Tagovailoa in conjunction with Josh Allen Kool-Aid. Tagovailoa is not a treatment for Adam Gase Disease. The only known treatment for Adam Gase Disease is having your Gase amputated.

Texans at Lions, Thursday, 12:30 p.m.

(As written in the style of William Carlos Williams.)

this is just to say
i will be eating
the turkey
i roasted
for Thanksgiving

instead of watching
fake Patriots
who are led
by ninnies

forgive me
because life is short
and frankly
these teams suck.

Prediction: Texans 26, Lions 19

Giants at Bengals, Sunday, 1 p.m.

Get well soon, Joe Burrow. The NFL is a league where the Giants could end up in first place without you.

Prediction: Giants 22, Bengals 13

49ers at Rams, Sunday, 4:05 p.m.

The Rams are a talented and balanced yet flawed team that relies too heavily on protecting its quarterback so he is not forced to make plays under duress or out of structure. They win by hoping a young player or two steps up to support their handful of superstars and by trying to force more mistakes than they themselves make.

The same can be said about the Buccaneers, but it's culturally significant when they do it.

Prediction: Rams 27, 49ers 19

Browns at Jaguars, Sunday, 1 p.m.

Michal Lopez, the Director of Football Data and Analytics for the NFL, published some fascinating research about running backs on his blog last week. A brief abstract: using advanced analytical tools that weren't available 10 or 15 years ago, there appears to be a "signal" that indicates that running backs are not as replaceable as some claim they are. Basically, there's evidence that running backs such as Derrick Henry -- and presumably Nick Chubb and/or Kareem Hunt -- generate yardage that lesser running backs would not gain, while high-volume running backs such as LaGarrette Blount and Jordan Howard -- and perhaps Leonard Fournette last year, though he is not cited in Lopez's study -- lose carries and jobs when they prove that they are not picking up that sort of yardage.

Those who have followed my career away from Football Outsiders know I've become a critic of what's best described as "analytics Twitter," and I wrote in an earlier Walkthrough about my skepticism about the Paul DePodesta Browns, especially in the Sashi Brown era. Two analytics theories which had calcified into immutable laws over the last decade which make me most skeptical are the "draft is just a crapshoot" and "running backs don't matter" precepts. In addition to both being reductive and a little silly, both theories were built largely on relatively crude research from the days before charting, GPS data, or even a robust environment where lots of people with both math and football backgrounds were really vetting the results. Lopez's data contradicts the most extreme RBDM stance, and Benjamin Ellinger's research published here at Football Outsiders earlier this year indicates that, yes, some front offices are better at drafting than others.

The Browns are winning with game plans that emphasize their two-headed backfield, and they appear to have drafted well this year, in stark contrast to their failures during the DePodesta beta run. I'd like to think that their success this season illustrates the difference between analytics as method and analytics as dogma. But that's only a working hypothesis, and we should keep examining evidence before we reach any conclusions.

Prediction: Browns 24, Jaguars 14

Panthers at Vikings, Sunday, 1 p.m.

(I mean, you knew the Hamilton homage was inevitable, right?)

How does a backup running back with no reputation
Go from a third-round pick in a backfield rotation
On a mediocre team with a bad QB situation
To a household name and a DFS sensation?

The Twin Cities
Running so hard, he's so gritty
It ain't pretty
Getting stuck in a backfield-by-committee
He understands that his master plans are within reach
But don't preach:
he's got too much mettle to settle for "fantasy leech."

Alexander Mattison
His name is Alexander Mattison
And he's a running back that matters, son.
Wait and see. Wait and see.

Way back in San Bernadino he was a three-sport letterman
In track, on the mats, there was nobody better, man
But he kept his weight down and the recruiters all frowned
As just a three-star recruit, he was Boise State-bound

He made his grade, plied his trade, grinding yardage on the Smurf Turf
With the Heisman voters sleeping, he was forgotten like a nerf'd serf.
He rushed for 1,400 yards and almost no one paid attention
Did we mention:
That was concurrent with Saquon Barkley's ascension?

Waited two whole days for a call from Rick Speilman
Who called him late Friday night and said "Let's make a deal, man!
"You know I got a starter but I also got a real plan
"And I'm stuck with Kirk Cousins, who I know is not a meal plan"

So Alex met with Mike Zimmer and there was a glimmer of recognition
He knows that running backs matter but get battered and had a suspicion
He needed more muscle so he could hustle in that old smashmouth tradition…

VIKINGS OFFENSIVE LINE: We blocked for him!
MIKE ZIMMER: I called plays for him!
KIRK COUSINS: Wait … is that my cue? I wasn't ready. Wh...
DALVIN COOK: And I did the same job for 30 times as much money as him!

Alexander Mattison
His name is Alexander Mattison
And he don't play at Broad and Pattison
That would be silly
Cuz that's in Philly

Happy Thanksgiving folks! Stay safe and well.

Prediction: Vikings 24, Panthers 23


30 comments, Last at 28 Nov 2020, 4:18pm

1 Other side effects of…

Other side effects of Tagovailoa may include failing to predict the results of AFC East fixtures.

PS Brilliant article!  A thoroughly enjoyable read.

2 Thanks Mike. Having a…

Thanks Mike. Having a miserable week and you still managed to have me laughing within a few lines, for obvious reasons.

3 Awesome

I have lurked on this site for I believe over a decade and have appreciated it a lot.

This was a brilliant article and I registered just to say that.  Well done.


Ok I also registered so I could ask who the mogwai is?? 

10 Watchmen

If any of you guys missed the Watchmen parody/homage in Walkthrough, it is a good read too (I searched it - 2009!).  Warning, it is the graphic novel parody, not the HBO series.  But still a good read too.

7 So basically you're saying…

So basically you're saying Jameis Winston is Mugen and Brady is Jin?


Also, this is the best goddamn thing I've read all year

8 Thanks Mike...

I now have (spoken in Chris Berman NFL highlight voice): 

Alexander “I’m not throwing away my shot” Mattison!

stuck in my head. 

9 The Water Margin was…

The Water Margin was predictably brilliant*, but @JAVdottxt had me literally crying.

[*Now you know how it feels to be Patrick Mahomes.]

17 Rams

I have never read a better, more succinct spot on depiction of a team. Well said.

18 Tanier, your A-game -- which…

Tanier, your A-game -- which you clearly brought this week -- is still the best sports writing to be found. Your work is something that I, and surely many others, are thankful for.

21 Great, but ...

Not Tanier GOAT stuff, I'd posit. You need some breadth of literary awareness (any stronger word than 'awareness' leaves me out) to fully appreciate it. Whereas with Fort McNabb, e.g., catching 5 minutes of Ken Burns' The Civil War enabled you to laugh all the way through Mike's take on it.

Mike's absolute GOAT stuff, imo, was at Sports on Earth. 'Adult Swim' was the one single piece I most enjoyed, and that Parental Perspective on Youth Sports was probably Mike's all-around best ever work. Both hilarious and actually applicable. Not necessarily in telling you what to steer your 10-year-old wannabe athlete away from, but leastwise letting you know ahead of time what you were in for.

Anybody been able to find Mike's Sports on Earth material anywhere??

22 'I come not to praise Caesar but to bury him. Seriously.'

Now to whining about Mike’s whining over Belichek’s whining. Yes, you can still whine while being truthful. But it does call for taking one huge step back first. After signing Cam to the most hilariously team-friendly contract in cap history, are the Pats not indeed still right up against the cap? Did Covid not indeed cost the Pats 3 excellent starters off of last year’s NFL best defense?

Rather than merely carping about how Belichek is handling the ‘so why do you stink this season’ questions, how would you that Belichek does answer those questions, Mike? Lie? (“we’re much better than our record”) Dissemble? (“typical-Belichek-blah, blah-Belichekian, OK next question”) Fall on his sword as if he can do so without taking others out with him? (“our players are so great but I’ve just been playing them all out of position goshdarnit” “our position coaches are coaching ‘em up great and our 2 coordinators are scheming great, but I’ve been mis-interfering with the game planning is what’s happening” “our scouts and personnel people did great, but, uhh, being overtired I overruled them all the time”) Seriously, Mike, how do you think Belichek OUGHT to be handling these questions?

Some years back Bill James observed that sports media people complained about players not being open with the media, then any time a player WAS open while making any mistake in the process, said media would gleefully rake said player over hot coals. IMO, that’s what you’re doing here, Mike.

23 On the cap, teams are able…

On the cap, teams are able to really manipulate the cap and move money around. If they wanted to pay Brady 20m or Teddy Bridgewater that or someone else, they could have moved contracts around and made it work. 

They chose this year basically to take a shot on Cam and their other guy, and not move any of the other things, and what was going to be an experiment at least on Offense got hurt worse when the team had several key players take COVID time, but unless their plan of Stidham/Newton worked the team was going to struggle on offense, in part because there's an issue with weapons. One area that Belichek has struggled is with drafting WRs - for whatever reason.

( Also the Pats right now aren't up on the Cap because of said COVID people's contracts being off the cap this year)

Belichek is great, but he made some misjudgment I think for this year.

24 Great piece this week Mike -…

Great piece this week Mike - you were on top form this week and some really creative stuff.


I guess its fitting the 49ers write up is missing.... along with like half the starting 49ers.