I've gotta be honest here, and say that Bill Simmons' suspension earning comments about Roger Goodell and the NFL were pretty darn cool. They earned him a lot of points with a lot of people who aren't huge fans of his (like me!). How long can he keep us from actively despising him? Let's find out.
My "hiatus" was productive for a variety of reasons. First, I found out that I have two kids and a wife — apparently we were living in the same house and everything. Who knew?
Second, my long-dormant golf game improved dramatically. I hadn't played more than five rounds total in the past 20 years; two weeks ago, I shot a 94 from the blues. At this rate, I will be playing the Masters by next April.
Third, you know what's really fun about not working? Not working! Being a lazy-ass is just incredible. I loved it so much. Wait, you want to play golf with me for the third time in three days? SURE! What time?
I'm not even mad about this early passage, which is typical Simmons-on-Simmons word count padding, because he was one of the few visible sports humans to call Roger Goodell and the NFL out on its garbage attitude towards women. Pimp that vacation like it's a home run and you're Yasiel Puig, Simmons.
And fourth, I rededicated myself to understanding football gambling better.
Wait, do I actually like Bill Simmons now? I'm getting verklempt.
One morning, I was killing time power-walking on a treadmill before a doubleheader of The Equalizer and A Walk Among The Tombstones when I came up with a gambling brainstorm: What if there were a better way to figure out NFL records than just wins and losses?
Wait, nevermind, I wish ESPN would have fired him for this passage alone. I think there have been measures to determine how good NFL teams are other than wins and losses for a while, Bill. Here are a few:
- Per-play yardage stats
- Wins/losses against the spread
For instance, Arizona battled back in Week 1 to beat San Diego 18-17 on Monday night — the Cardinals got the "win" and San Diego got the "loss," but really, that was an "either/or" game, right? For gambling purposes, there had to be a better way to capture that.
For fuck's sake, the Chargers won against the spread and the Cardinals lost against the spread. How does that not accurately describe things without needing an epiphany during a Liam Neeson movie? And why did any of us defend this guy instead of writing ESPN to fire him while we had the chance?
I went through the first few weeks of games and redid everyone's records, tagging each game as either a legitimate win or loss, an ass-kicking win or loss, or an either/or game. And if anything else happened in that game with gambling repercussions — a comeback win, a blown lead, major dysfunction, whatever — I tagged that, too. And again, I did this because I had an incredible amount of time on my hands.
You aren't going to believe this, but his re-done records for each team are relatively close to their record against the spread. Bill Simmons is the guy at your office who, when putting together a report, would rather build a spreadsheet from scratch than just update the perfectly good one that already exists.
Simmons went on to discuss his revised NFL team records for one thousand words. I'd say I missed him, but I'm too busy renting a wood chipper to walk into first thing in the morning.
One more thing: Before we get to the Week 8 picks, I wanted to clear up my 2014 record against the spread. After three weeks, I was sitting at 25-23 … and then I didn't make picks in this space for four weeks. So what's my real record?
Well, if Roger Goodell can claim that Ray Rice deceived him on June 16, or that Goodell didn't know what was on that second elevator tape, then I'm claiming that I went 58-0 against the spread from Week 4 through Week 7.
Strong words from Grantland editor-in-chief Floyd Mayweather. I hope this asshole gets fired and his wife leaves him and his kids call their stepfather dad.
Bears (+6) over PATS
By the way, you should be VERY happy that you didn't get to read me and listen to me after Week 4, when I was getting emails like this one …
Q: I just dropped Brady from my fantasy team. Didn't even bother trying to trade him. Yep. That's where we are.
—Brian K, Eugene, OR
We were also happy that we didn't get to read and listen to you after weeks five, six, and seven, but whatevs.
Lions (-4.5) over FALCONS
London, 9:30 a.m. ET, 6:30 a.m. PT … that's right, it's the dumbest sporting event of the year!
The Boston Red Sox play a baseball game at 11 a.m. on a holiday that only Boston celebrates because Boston is a lazy, racist tire fire of a city. But, yeah, more NFL viewing windows are bad.
Rams (+7.5) over CHIEFS
Game 5 of the World Series is that night. In other words, this will either be …
A. One of the greatest days in Kansas City sports history
B. One of the worst days in Kansas City sports history
… with no in-between.
What happens if the Chiefs win and the Royals lose? Or if the Royals win but the Chiefs lose to the Rams? Is it the worst good day in Kansas City sports history? The best bad day in the history of Kansas City sporting endeavors?
TITANS (+3.5) over Texans
Question: Would you rather wager against J.J. Watt when he's gleefully chasing around a rookie QB on a team missing its left tackle, or would you rather wager on Ryan Pickspatrick playing on the road? Is this what Russian roulette feels like?
I guess that's what Russian roulette feels like to some people. To others it feels like reading Bill Simmons columns, or daring their bosses to suspend them only for them to do it.
BUCS (-3) over Vikings
Is it too late to send this game to London? More emails …
Q: I keep hearing writers, analysts, and commentators call Teddy Bridgewater "Teddy Football." No. No. NO. Just stop. He already has the best nickname in the NFL — Teddy Throwsavelt!
—Benjamin, Madison, WI
BS: Outstanding. By the way, Teddy Throwsavelt is having his fantasy breakout game this weekend. You watch.
Wait, so Bridgewater is having a breakout game, but his team is going to fail to cover against the Bucs? Those two things are such polar opposites of one another, though. I guess when you're on a 58 game winning streak in four weeks, you can afford to make a few mistakes.
Seahawks (-6) over PANTHERS
Just a ridiculous line.
I wholeheartedly agree. There's no way the Seahawks should be laying a touchdown against anybody given their current form, especially on the road.
I can't give up on the 2014 Hawks yet.
OH COME ON.
Colts (-3.5) over STEELERS
Dolphins (-4.5) over JAGUARS
Raiders (+7) over BROWNS
I'm allowing you to throw the Colts and Dolphins into a two-team money line parlay. I am NOT allowing you to tease the Browns. Just don't. Stay away.
I feel like this advice should be featured more prominently in the column. It can't be stressed enough that this guy went 58-0 against the spread in four weeks.
Packers (+1.5) over SAINTS
You're giving me a red-hot Aaron Rodgers, playing indoors, against the single-worst defense in football according to DVOA? And I'm GETTING points???
The Saints have covered in 18 of their last 20 home games, and have only lost once against the spread during that period. So, yeah, good luck with that.
Simmons then ran a couple of reader emails about the NFL's garbage attitude towards domestic violence, which was kind of cool. This actually wasn't a bad column other than the usual Simmons goofiness. Read it or some shit.
This Week: 1-0
Last Week: 15-0