Tuesday Teabag, November 28, 2017 – New York Giants

A sad day for Big Blue.

We know, we know.  It’s been awhile since we’ve posted.  You could chalk it up to the general football apathy that is barely sweeping the country, or The Machine’s first two picks in our fantasy draft (Odell Beckham and Zeke Elliott) casting a dark cloud over this season (still gonna make the playoffs in that league though, thanks to some savage waiver wire pickups that we arguably should’ve been passing on to you…thanks again, Alvin Kamara).

Whatever the reason, at approximately 3:32 pm today, The Machine got woke, when we saw the following headlines (followed by an onslaught of texts and tears):  New York Giants Bench Eli Manning; Geno Smith to Start on Sunday.  Oh, we’re woke AF now.

Are you fucking kidding me?  Bench Eli?  Make no mistake:  The Giant’s season has been an absolute shit show.  At 2-9, they are going nowhere.  But Eli Manning is the last player on that team to blame.  This is nothing more than a desperate move by a head coach and GM to save their jobs, and improve their chances at a higher draft pick (we’ll get to the draft in a second).  Think about it:  You’re telling me that Geno Smith gives you the best chance to win on Sunday, over Eli Manning, two-time Super Bowl winner and two-time Super Bowl MVP?  Geno Smith, the same guy that got his jaw broken by his own teammate?  And I thought the Bills decision to bench Tyrod was dumb (and it was).  This is far worse, and will go down as one of the worst decisions after made on a football field.

Hey Ben, thanks for taking the heat off me, brah! #billsmafia

Don’t be fooled.  The Giants (and ownership is in on this too) are making Eli the scapegoat.  They’re throwing him under the bus because they know they can.  Because Eli is too humble and good-natured to play dirty and tell them to fuck off.  They want you to believe it’s an aging Eli that caused this season to collapse.  But that’s total bullshit.  The reason this season (and next season) will collapse, and the reason the Giants have missed the playoffs 5 out of the last 6 years, is because of an organizational failure to draft players and build a team.

There’s blood on all your hands.

The Giants have wasted the last 5 years of Eli’s career, while he’s done nothing but go out there every day, without complaint, and do his job.  The Giants should build this team around him.  Literally.  He is, at best, a severely immobile quarterback.  You’d think then, that the smart/right/glaringly fucking obvious thing to do would be to build an offensive line that would protect him.  Give him that pocket, and time, he needs to throw, and be able to run block to keep defenses honest.  You build your team (and offense line) in the draft, and, when done right, it gives your offense the foundation to succeed (see Dallas Cowboys).  And this is where the Giants front office has failed miserably.

The core of any team should be guys in years 4 through 7.  Players that have played through their rookie contract and are rounding into their primes.  That’s how championship teams are built.  Draft first, then supplement as needed through free agency.  Anyway, let’s look and see how the “core” of the Giants are doing.  Between 2010 and 2013, the Giants drafted a total of 29 players.  Care to guess how many of those players are still on the team?  2.  Yes, two, and one of them has a lobster claw for a hand.  Seriously, here they are:

2010 – 1 (JPP)

2011 – 0

2012 – 0

2013 – 1 (Pugh)

That’s it.  What should be the core of this team is non-existent.  Jerry Reese and co. failed time after time.  Several of those players aren’t even in the league anymore.  The only constant during this time, and the prior 210 games, has been Eli Manning.  Dependable, tough, professional.  He gave the Giants constant stability at the most important position.  He has started every single game since his career began in 2004, second only to Brett Farve in most consecutive starts.  And he delivered (twice) on the largest stage, beating the unbeatable Patriots (twice).

How soon we forget.

Many people try to discredit Eli’s contributions to those Super Bowl winning teams, pointing to how great the defenses were, or how “lucky” Eli got.  That’s all revisionist history.  Don’t forget:  the Giants were double digit underdogs in both those Super Bowls.  Their defense was good, but not great, and sorry, luck may get you one Super Bowl, but it ain’t getting you two.  Eli stepped up his game when it mattered most.

Captain Clutch.

Perhaps the best quality about him is his unassuming nature, and unflappable resolve.  Could you imagine if the Giants didn’t make the trade to get Eli in 2004, and instead stayed with Phillip Rivers?  Do you think for a second Rivers would survive in New York?  Under the constant pressure in the biggest market?  Puh-lease.  Rivers barely withstood the “tough” San Diego journalists, while throwing tantrums on the sidelines and shit-talking the other team.  Eli?  Not a chance.  He always rose above the pettiness.  Never got too high when things were good, and never got too low when things were bad.  That’s what you want from your starting quarterback.

Point is: you don’t do this to someone like Eli Manning.  If you’re going to move on from him, you do it with the same dignity and grace that he gave you his entire career.  Wait until the season’s over, and then mutually part ways.  Apparently, McAdoo offered Eli the chance to start, and then get replaced, in order to keep the streak alive.  Manning declined, saying, “My feeling is that if you are going to play the other guys, play them.  Starting just to keep the streak going and knowing you won’t finish the game and have a chance to win it is pointless to me, and it tarnishes the streak.”  Class act.

This is just a complete slap in the face.  Clearly, Geno Smith is not the future of this franchise, so why do this now?  It makes absolutely no sense.  It has completely enraged the fan base.  It has completely enraged former players.  People are calling for McAdoo (and Reese, who honestly should’ve been let go when Tom Coughlin was unceremoniously shown the door) to get fired, but I’m here to tell you that McAdoo won’t get fired.  Reese, on the other hand, should get the boot.  He can no longer live on the fumes of his one good draft (’07).  And drafting Odell Beckham means squat if no one has time to throw him the ball.

This kid’s definitely getting his ass kicked at school tomorrow.  That’s on you too.

So with the entire fanbase up in arms, former players upset, and Mike Francesa definitely pissed, how is it possible that McAdoo stays?  He just benched the greatest New York Giant of all time (not named LT).  Of course he’s going to get fired…unless [affixes tinfoil hat] he did this to save his job.  Here me out.  Obviously, this decision wasn’t made without input from the Mara family.  Parting with Eli was bound to happen, and it was always going to be somewhat messy.  So what if ownership found a way to make this unpopular decision without taking any blame.  What if they told McAdoo that, we’ll keep you around for next year, but you have to take the heat for getting rid of Eli.  That can’t be on us.  The tradeoff is you get to keep your multi-million dollar job, and if you do well next year, the fickle fans will let bygones be bygones.

And let’s be honest, as much as I hate to type it:  Eli’s played his last game for the Giants.  There’s no way to come back from this.  The Giants are now officially in Suck for Sam mode, and whatever qb they select with their (likely) top 3 pick is going to start immediately, or they’ll have some schlep start (ahem, Geno Smith), who will be pulled for the new guy.  Eli should waive his no trade clause and head south to Jacksonville (darkhorse:  Denver) and finish out his career with Tom Coughlin.  Two guys with class, dignity, and two Super Bowl rings.

As for the Giants, they just kicked a Hall of Fame quarterback (don’t even try to debate me on that shit) to the curb.  For Geno Smith.  They get exactly what they deserve.

Enjoy your teabag.

Tuesday Teabag, July 7, 2015 – Jason Pierre-Paul

JPP

Boom goes the dynamite…and long term NFL contract.

That’s right.  The Machine is back with a brand new teabag.  And this one’s going to blow you away (pun intended).  So let’s light this candle and get this party started.

First, happy belated Fourth of July.  The Machine went full ‘Murica over the weekend:  we caught a major league game, drank a wheelbarrow full of beer, and of course, fireworks.  We were a Toby Keith concert away from hitting the ‘Murica cycle.  Yes, we love the Fourth.  To us, it’s the official kickoff of summer.  The days are longer, the beer is colder, baseball is starting to become slightly more relevant, and training camp is right around the corner.  But it’s inevitable that someone will take their love of the Fourth a bit too far, and that leads us to our Tuesday Teabag winner…Jason Pierre-Paul.

Is there anyone that’s having a worse post-Fourth hangover than JPP?  Well, maybe Jared.  Or Donovan.  But JPP’s right up there.  If you haven’t heard, JPP spent his Fourth of July with a U-Haul truck full of fireworks.  What could possibly go wrong?  As it turns out, a lot.  Pierre-Paul allegedly injured himself setting off fireworks, causing severe burns and significant damage to his hand.  The extent of the injury is unknown, some reports say there’s possible nerve damage.  Thanks to social media (and nosy neighbors) we got the play by play.

JPP Tweet

While JPP’s injury may not be career threatening, it’s certainly going to be career limiting.  This couldn’t possibly come at a worse time for JPP.  The Giants designated him as their franchise player, meaning he would play this year at a (fully guaranteed) price of $14.8 million.  JPP has not signed his franchise contract yet…preferring to hold out while trying to agree to a long term deal.  All franchise players have until July 15 to sign a long term contract with their team.  After that, their only option is to sign their one-year franchise contract.

The Giants reportedly had a multi-year, $60 million contract on the table.  Care to guess what happened to that?  Yup, the Giants have withdrawn that offer, obviously wanting to see the extent of the damage that was caused.

Making matters worse is that JPP had some leverage in his negotiations with the Giants.  He was coming off a very good year, re-establishing himself as a top tier defensive end.  The Giants maybe would have moved up their offer a little, in hopes of him signing a long term deal now…but there’s zero chance of that happening.  Even if he plays up to the level he did last year, this injury will just add to the growing list of injuries…which will further drive down his price if he becomes a free agent.  Now, JPP will have to prove himself even more this year.  And if he has to miss any games because of this, his price tag will continue to drop.

Making matters ever worse is he could stand to lose $14.8 million for this season.  Generally speaking, the franchise contract is fully guaranteed.  So, if JPP were to hurt himself in Week 1 and miss the rest of the season, he would still receive all of his $14.8 million.  There is one, minor exception to that rule…for a non-football related injury.  In that situation, the franchise money is not guaranteed.  The Giants could cut him and not owe him a dime.  FYI, this is why players and the league fight over CBA negotiations.

And that’s what’s most troubling at this point.  While reports say JPP should be fine, he’s (a) still in the hospital, and (b) the Giants medical staff has not been allowed to see him.  Those are not exactly promising signs.  Update:  he’s not fine, in fact, he had his right index finger amputated.

Burning Money 2

JPP needs to get over himself and get his ass back to NY for some serious damage control.  Is he going to be ridiculed by his teammates and the entire city of New York?  Yes.  Should he be?  Yes.  JPP can certainly dish it, but these next few weeks will determine if he can take it.  He needs to play the part of the embarrassed, humiliated and humbled athlete.  If instead he takes the spoiled child, I’m beyond reproach route (a/k/a the Tom Brady) then he risks severing more than just his finger.

Let this be a lesson to you kids:  wait until after you sign your long term contract before you buy a truckload worth of fireworks.  Also, find a friend to light that shit up.

Enjoy your teabag.

Tuesday Teabag, March 17, 2015 – Syracuse University

“S” is for Sanctions.

First, happy St. Patrick’s Day!  If there are any typos, it’s not because The Machine’s been drinking since noon.  Second, happy March Madness!  Still studying your bracket to find your upset special (you better pick at least two 12/5 upsets).  While you’re focusing on the teams that are in the tourney, our Tuesday Teabag focuses on one that’s not.

By now you’re well aware of the sanctions the NCAA imposed on Syracuse athletics.  It’s surprising/sad that the football team was involved too.  FYI, if you’re going to cheat, you better at least be good.  And no, winning the Pinstripe Bowl does not count.

Anyway, just recently the NCAA laid the hammer on the Orange.  Jim Boeheim was suspended for 9 games next season (pretty sure he wish that would’ve started sooner so he didn’t have to witness the beatdown against NC State), took away 12 scholarships, and vacated 108 wins, going back to 2004.  Shit, even Otto got banned from the mascot game.  Boom.  Just like that, Boeheim drops from the 2nd winningest Division I Men’s Basketball Coach to the 6th (and Bobby Knight beats him again, this time without Keith Smart).

Otto got hosed!

Otto got hosed!

Boeheim’s no stranger to The Machine.  Last year, we gave him a Teabag when his temper tantrum cost SU the game against Duke.  This time, his actions (or non-actions) have cost him even more.  Suspension, an unprecedented amount of wins vacated, and loss of scholarships affecting kids who weren’t even at the school.  Sounds pretty harsh, right?  Well, The Machine says bullshit.  Syracuse fans should be lucky the NCAA allowed them to keep its 2003 National Title.

Sorry, but we’re not buying your lame excuses.  When your best defense is “everyone else is doing it” you’re shit out of luck.  That didn’t work when your parents busted you for smoking, that didn’t work with your high school girlfriend, and it sure as hell doesn’t work here.  [cue Mom or prude high school girlfriend voice]:  “I don’t care if everyone does it, that doesn’t mean it’s right.”  Now shudder that those two voices are similar.

Look, if you told me that 95% of Division I schools violate the rules, I’d say you’re missing a few.  There’s a reason why no current coaches are slamming Boeheim…because they know if the light’s shined on their school they’re screwed.  But that doesn’t mean there are no consequences for getting caught.  In all facets of life where competition is a driving force, people are going to bend break the rules to gain a competitive edge.  Am I right, New England Patriots?

An equally dumb argument is that Boeheim didn’t know what was going on.  Are you kidding me?  Does Boeheim look like the kind of guy that has a loose, laissez faire approach to life?  Sorry, not buying it.  Coaches, by nature, are control freaks.  College coaches even more so, as they’re trying to mold teenagers into professional student athletes.  These guys know every detail of these kids’ lives before they arrive on campus.  They send scouts out all over the country to watch high school games, and spend countless hours recruiting players and convincing their families they should play at their school.  You think that switch turns off once they get to college?

Perhaps the dumbest argument is the one put forth by Dick Vitale.  Dickie V gave an impassioned ridiculous defense of Boeheim, saying he was guilty of one thing:  trust.  Yeah, Boeheim unknowingly hired a bunch of evil doers.  [cue Dickie V voice:]  Come on!  Are you serious?

You have the Director of Basketball Operations (and others) accessing player’s email accounts, pretending to be the players and corresponding directly with professors and turning in assignments on behalf of players.  Then you have Fab Melo.  You know, your star player who can barely speak English.  Don’t you think Boeheim ever thought, “gee, I wonder if Fab’s inability to speak English is hampering his academic success.”  You need to read this Deadspin article to truly appreciate the clusterfuck that went on with Fab.

There’s no way he doesn’t know something’s up.  Giving him the biggest benefit of the doubt, Boeheim is at best willfully ignorant.  But again, that’s no excuse.  You’re the head coach.  The buck stops with you.  Plausible deniability is no defense.

Wait, my players don't go to class, receive improper benefits, and have their papers written for them?  Noooo...

Wait, my players don’t go to class, receive improper benefits, and have their papers written for them? Noooo…

Also, did anyone else find it a little disingenuous that Syracuse issued its self-imposed ban on postseason play during a year when their team sucked?  They didn’t need any ban on postseason play this year because they were never getting into the NCAA tourney.  Can you be more transparent and self-serving?  Syracuse waited for the most opportune time to self-impose its penalty, so it would do the least amount of damage.  And, for the most part, it worked.

Were the penalties a little harsh?  Maybe, but guess what?  They should be.  It’s called deterrence, and sending a message.  Taking away wins from coaches, tarnishing their legacy, hits them right where they feel it most, their ego.  And you need to have penalties that extend into the future (e.g. loss of scholarships).  The penalties must be severe enough so that’s it’s not worth the risk of cheating.  Even then, teams will still do it.  But if all teams were faced with are backward looking fines and penalties, that’s not enough.  And that’s why The Machine thinks maybe the penalties for Syracuse weren’t so bad after all.

The only things affecting next year are Boeheim missing the first 9 fluff games of the season (pretty sure the Cuse can handle Colgate without Jim at the helm) and the loss of scholarships.  [Edit:  the suspension is for the first 9 conference games, so Jim will be on the bench against the Raiders]. That stings, for sure, but the 12 scholarship losses are phased out over 4 years.  It’s certainly not the “death penalty” that Syracuse fans are now calling on other schools to receive.  Importantly, SU is not banned from next year’s postseason, which is key.  Syracuse has one of the best recruiting classes in the country next year, so keeping their postseason eligibility was an absolute must in order to avoid any defections.

And that’s why no one should cry foul about the NCAA sanctions.  Be thankful they stopped where they did.  Did they take away too many games from Boeheim?  Probably.  But that won’t matter when SU’s in the Final Four next year.

Enjoy your teabag.

Tuesday Teabag, November 4, 2014 – Jose Canseco

It’s an Election Day Teabag!  We hope you exercised your meaningless constitutional right to vote for your corrupt, gerrymandered, whoremongering, self-important, piggish, trusted elected officials.  Voting is about as relevant as June baseball.  But somehow, every November, we get all ‘Merica and run to the polls, thinking that this year, it’ll be different.  This year, they will listen to us.  It’s only later we realize we were used, and all they wanted was our money without delivering on any of their promises.  Kind of like being a Cleveland Browns fan.  Anyway, time to get off our political soapbox and on to our Teabag.

We know it’s been a while since our last Teabag.  We know our valid excuses of kids, real job, and Mrs. Machine’s constant need for attention (just kidding baby, you know you’re the best) falls on deaf ears.  But there’s nothing like kids being asleep by 8:00 a washed up professional athlete shooting his finger off to get us back in the mood.  Comeuppance for meatheads always gets our attention.  And with that, we present to you Jose Canseco.

Meathead 101:  Bicep tat (check), tank top (check), hair product (check)

Meathead 101: Bicep tat (check), tank top (check), hair product (check)

One could argue that Jose’s post-baseball career hasn’t exactly turned out as he expected.  You could also argue it’s turned out exactly as we expected.  Canseco, the posterchild for baseball’s steroid era, didn’t exactly garner favor amongst his peers when he published his book, Juiced:  Wild Times, Rampant ‘Roids, Smash Hits & How Baseball Got Big, or 2008’s follow up:  Vindicated.  Besides writing books (we’re being very liberal with the use of the word writing) Jose has engaged in a series of sad public appearances, including Celebrity Apprentice (he got fired), Celebrity Boxing (he got knocked out), and MMA (he got knocked the fuck out).  Take a look:

Yes, it’s been a series of cash grab, look at me I’m still pretty moves for Jose.  And they all have been complete and utter failures.  Now, he can add shooting off his finger to the list of unwise retirement decisions.

Last week, Jose made headlines for shooting his middle finger off while cleaning his gun.  First, that really happens?  The Machine’s not really a gun guy (we do respect the 2nd Amendment so stand back hippies) so excuse our ignorance…but, if we were to own a gun, and then were to clean said gun, wouldn’t you take the ammo out of the gun?  And why do you need to clean a gun?  Does it need to look pretty?  Is this the equivalent of brushing your doll’s hair?  It seems like an extremely vain thing to do…which is why we’re not surprised to learn that Jose was cleaning his gun.  We’re also not surprised to learn that he cleans a loaded gun.  Gee, what could possibly go wrong?

Doctors were able to attach his finger back, but the prognosis for a full recovery is not great.  Naturally, Jose immediately went to the press and social media, in a desperate attempt to remain relevant order to gain some public sympathy.  He was interviewed for Inside Edition (that’s still a show?) and tweeted the following pic:

 

They are perfect for each other.

They are perfect for each other.

Look, all’s not bad for Jose.  He’s got a smoking hot model for a fiancé (clearly that’s going to last), lives in Vegas, and can still rock a tank top in his fifties.  But life’s never going to be better than what it was.  Sorry Jose, but you’re never going to be as rich, or as relevant, as you were.

And that’s the problem with athletes like Jose.  He probably still thinks he’s a big time athlete/celebrity.  Or maybe he thinks he can have a Mike Tyson-like resurgence.  But the huge difference between Tyson and Canseco is that there’s an element of honesty and humility from Tyson.  All you get from Canseco is arrogance and an overpowering scent of Axe Body Spray.

He’s the kind of guy that would…well, tweet his ex-girlfriend’s phone number and tell people to call her and tell her “what a skank thief she is”.  Note:  said ex-girlfriend is now his fiancé…perhaps it will work out after all.

Seriously how many tank tops does he own?

Seriously how many tank tops does he own?

What’s next for Jose?  We’re guessing he’s about six months away from selling his World Series ring or having a sex tape “leak”.  Good luck on that marriage, brah.

Bottom line:  If you shoot your finger off while cleaning your gun, you probably deserve to have your finger shot off.

Enjoy your teabag.

Tuesday Teabag, September 16, 2014 – Derek Jeter

I'm so pretty.  Worship me.

I’m so pretty. Worship me.

There certainly are a lot of teabags to dole out.  From Ray Rice, to Roger Goodell (does anyone really believe the NFL didn’t have that video?) to Adrian Peterson.  But domestic violence and child abuse are a bit much for us.  Our comfort zone consists primarily of making fun of Tony Romo, cat gifs, and Kate Upton nip slips.

Cat gif 1

Cat gif 2

So instead, we’ll focus on something that’s been bothering us all year.  And now we’ve finally had enough.

Derek Sanderson Jeter.  You may have heard that he’s retiring this year.  And by “may have heard”, I mean it’s a constant parade of immortalization.  Puh-lease.  Look, we get it.  He’s a great player and certainly deserves recognition for his contribution to the game.  We’re ok with the Yankees having Derek Jeter Day, Derek Jeter Week, or Derek Jeter Month.  But for Christ sake, enough already.  It’s absurd that opposing teams are honoring Jeter.  In fact, here are some of the gifts he’s received from other teams (full list is here):

Surf's up, brah.

Surf’s up, brah.

You'll be shot on site if you actually wear these in Texas.

You’ll be shot on site if you actually wear these in Texas.

Awkward.

Awkward.

This looks comfy.

This looks comfy.

We’re hoping some team gives him a storage unit to put all this useless shit in.  Seriously, a fucking bat bench???  He can relax in that after paddle boarding in his cowboy boots.  Why are these teams complicit in the Jeter rub-and-tug fest?  We’re guessing it has something to do with ticket sales.  How else are you going to sell out an Indians game unless you promote it as Jeter’s last game in Cleveland?

More to the point, we’re annoyed that Jeter has somehow turned into the greatest baseball players of all-time.  In order to receive the city-by-city award show, you better be the Michael-fucking-Jordan of your sport.  And sorry Yankee fans, but he’s not.  He’s not even close when considering all players…coming in 33rd on ESPN’s Top 100 players of all time.  Shit, he’s not even the best player on his team…A-Rod’s 19th.  He’s a little better when considering just shortstops, but still not the greatest.  Take a look:

Jeter Stats

Jeter leads all shortstops in hits, runs, and strikeouts, and he’s anywhere from 3rd to 46th in other categories.  Sorry, but that doesn’t get you the ego-stroking, masturbatory nationwide celebration.  His stats (and World Series victories) will get him into the Hall of Fame and Yankee Monument Park no doubt, but he’s not the greatest shortstop of all-time.

But Ginger King, you say, you were totally cool with the over-the-top celebrations for Mariano Rivera last year…why the change of heart, Mr. Grinch?  It’s true:  our heart gets smaller every year (the 12 pack…err…7 pack of Coors Light Mrs. Machine received for Christmas is proof) but that’s not why.  The reason The Machine has no problem with the Mariano Rivera world tour is simple:  who’s the greatest closer of all-time?  Answer:  Mariano Rivera.  Bar none.  You cannot say the same thing about Derek Jeter.

Proof positive of that is that the Captain –statistically speaking—is having one of the worst seasons in his career.  He’s at career lows in several categories, including runs, hits, RBI, and stolen bases.  Not exactly what you want for a guy hitting second in the lineup.  And the kicker is that the Yankees are still in the playoff hunt.  They’re only 5 games out of the wildcard with 2 weeks left to play.  Normally, when your star player is in a career slump, the manager will move them down in the lineup, to put the team in the best position to win and to (hopefully) get him out of the slump.  Seems like a no-brainer…but not Jeter, because, as noted by the Daily News, moving him in the lineup “could embarrass the star.”  Jeter should take it upon himself to tell Girardi to move him down.  That’s what real Captains do.  They put the team ahead of themselves.  But then the Jeter star wouldn’t shine so bright.

But please, let’s not feel sorry for Derek.  He’s going from playing baseball, being a multi-millionaire and banging supermodels…to being a multi-millionaire and banging supermodels.  Oh yeah, and living in this house.

Yeah, retirement's going to suck.

Yeah, retirement’s going to suck.

Forgive me if I don’t get all choked up.

Enjoy your teabag.

Tuesday Teabag, August 19, 2014 – Notre Dame

Pop Quiz!  Just kidding, you all get A's

Pop Quiz! Just kidding, you all get A’s.

The Fightin’ Irish?  More like the Flunkin’ Irish.  Yes, this weeks’ Tuesday Teabag travels to South Bend, Indiana, where the historically beyond reproach Fighting Irish find themselves in the middle of controversy.

On Friday, it was announced the Notre Dame dismissed four players (3 starters) from their football team for academic fraud.  Allegedly, the players submitted papers and homework that were prepared by others.  The University is handling matters internally, through their “academic honor code process.”  That process has been working overtime as of late, as this is the second academic scandal in as many years for the Irish.  Last year, starting QB Everett Golson was suspended for the fall semester for cheating on an exam.

Normally, when you see the headline “School Subject to Academic Probe” or “Division I Athlete Receives Improper Benefits” you don’t bat an eyelash.  It happens all the time.  Like here.  And here.  And here.  Colleges are whores for athletic success, as it translates into dollars, lots and lots of dollars.  To put it in perspective:  Last year, teams in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl received $325,000 each.  The National Championship Game:  $18,000,000 each.  EIGHTEEN MILLION DOLLARS…EACH!  Now, while some players may not be able to do the math, the difference is a shitload.

It’s no wonder then that schools have created paper-only classes where no attendance is required, and that players are “encouraged” to take these classes.  Are you really that shocked to learn that a 19-year-old kid that’s being exploited flown around the country playing sports had his “tutor” write a paper for him?  Also, when you realize that colleges make a shit ton of money the better their sports teams perform, are you that surprised to learn of an institutional framework designed to help these kids cheat?

But Notre Dame?  They are supposed to be above the fray.  They’re so greedy idyllic, they won’t join a football conference, preferring to remain independent (and rake in that NBC cash).  A school that professes integrity above winning, doing things the right way, and always having high moral character.  They pride themselves on tradition, honor, and Rudy.  But all of that is just a ruse.  They are no better than all the other dirtball college programs willing to do whatever it takes to win, even if that means going against your fundamental beliefs (if they were ever there to begin with).

For the better part of the last two decades, the Fighting Irish have been (at best) a mediocre football team.  They lost 9 consecutive Bowl Games from 1994-2006, and were never in national championship contention.  But all that changed recently.

and study like a rockstar!

and study like a rockstar!

Apparently, Notre Dame compromised its core values revised its recruiting philosophy and created a less structured academic environment.  The result on the field was instant success.  Notre Dame played in the National Championship game last year.  Sure, they got smoked by Alabama and then had the Manti Te’o’s catfishing saga (we’re still confused about that) but the message was clear:  The Fighting Irish had returned to national prominence on the field.  This year, they were again expected to be competing for the national championship, that is, until this scandal broke out.

Again, it’s not surprising when you read this about UNC, or Florida State, or Miami.  You almost expect it.  But Notre Dame has always had this haughty, holier than thou (pun intended) attitude which made you think that they did things the right way.  Now, sadly, you realize they are no different than the rest of them.  It’s all a fraud.

Stewart Mandel explains it this way:  “Notre Dame’s calling card has long been academics.  Come play football at a high level AND get your degree at a national top 20 university and a football program with a 97 percent graduation rate.  Now, its biggest strength is also a source of embarrassment.”

The Machine will put it this way:  Notre Dame’s a pedophile away from being Penn State.  Their well-crafted image is now gone.  For those who think that there’s no relation between the Fighting Irish’s recent success on the field and the academic scandal, consider this:  with these players dismissed from the team, do you think the Irish have a chance this year?  Pretty sure that’s why the cheating occurred in the first place.

And let’s stop with the nonsense that the coaches, athletic department, and administrators had no idea this kind of conduct existed.  Like these kids came up with this program on their own.  At best, the University is willfully ignorant.  At worst, they are active participants to make sure certain players get the “help” they need.

Is it in poor taste to give Touchdown Jesus a teabag?  Probably, but The Machine’s ticket is already punched.  See you in hell, friends.

Enjoy your teabag.

Best.  Academic Advisor.  Ever.

Best. Academic Advisor. Ever.

Tuesday Teabag, August 12, 2014 – Jon Bon Jovi

Not the recommended way to endear yourself to the Buffalo fanbase.

Not the recommended way to endear yourself to the Buffalo fanbase.

This is, by far, the most difficult Teabag The Machine’s ever written.  You can say that we’re at a Crossroad (note: this is the first of several, mostly unfunny, puns).  Normally, writing Teabags is a healthy, creative outlet for The Machine.  We get to expose cry baby millionaire athletes, petulant billionaire owners, jackass sports journalists, and anyone else that gets in our crosshairs.  Consider it our small comeuppance against the man.  You can say that writing Teabags is our Bed of Roses.

So why is this one so difficult?  Because now it’s personal.  Because now we have to, for the first time ever, confront our love of 80’s music and sports.  Yes, as much as it pains us to write this, our Tuesday Teabag goes to Jon Bon Jovi.  This is the hardest thing we’ve ever done, Besides Watching Childbirth (working title for next Jovi song).

Our whole life, The Machine has idolized…immortalized, Jon Bon Jovi.  He’s the answer to life’s most important questions.  Go to karaoke song?  Livin’ on a Prayer.  Need to play air piano?  Runaway.  A little boom-boom music for you and the Mrs.?  Never Say Goodbye.  Want to walk through your neighborhood like a badass?  Crank some Wanted Dead or Alive and giddy-up motherfucker.  But all that ends today.

You see, Bon Jovi is one of the people interested in purchasing the Buffalo Bills.  At first glance, this sounds awesome…Tommy and Gina were destined to settle down in Upstate New York.  And Jovi has some sports ownership cred; he owned the Philadelphia Soul and won the Arena Bowl in 2008.  Let’s face it, Buffalo (the City, the football team, the animal) could use a little star power, and who better than an A-lister like JBJ to bring some attention back to Western New York?

Trade in that stars and stripes denim for a maple leaf...

Trade in that stars and stripes denim for a maple leaf…

But therein lies the problem.  You see, Bon Jovi wants to buy the Bills…and then rip them out of Orchard Park Buffalo and move them to glitzy Toronto.  Need proof?  Bon Jovi is the face of one of the groups bidding the buy the Bills.  His partners are Toronto millionaires Larry Tannenbaum and the Rogers family.  Larry is the Chairman of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, which owns the Maple Leafs and Raptors, and the Rogers family is the Rogers of Rogers Communications, which owns the Blue Jays.  Basically, you couldn’t send a stronger signal that you want to move the team to Toronto, unless the Labatts Blue Bear became part owner.

JBJ let's do this!

JBJ let’s do this!

Need more proof?  Team Jovi is already investigating sites in Canada that would be suitable for an NFL stadium.  Miraculously, they are one of the final groups in the running to buy the Bills, along with the likes of Donald Trump, Tom Golisano, and (our personal fav) Terry Pegula.

We say miraculous because these hosers shouldn’t even be in the running.  Thanks to the late Ralph Wilson, the Bills and Ralph’s estate are prohibited from negotiating with any group that, to their knowledge, has an intention of relocating the team prior to the end of the lease term (2022).  Given that this group is actively looking at sites in Canada to build a stadium, isn’t that knowledge?  If not, we know the front office reads The Machine, so consider the knowledge dropped.

Anyway, back to Bon Jovi.  He recently wrote a letter that was a calculated PR move published in the Buffalo News explaining why he wants to own the Bills.  Noticeably absent from his letter is an express statement that he will not move the team.  Instead, it’s filled with ambiguous doublespeak…like he knows “how much the Bills mean to the people of this region.”  Seriously, who uses the phrase “the people of this region?”  I know who:  Canadians.  Also absent from his letter was explaining who his other partners are, instead just blandly referring them as “the ownership group of which I am a part.”  Does that sound like Rock star language to you?  Does that sound like the guy who wrote “shout though the heart, and you’re to blame, darlin’ you give love a bad name” [cue air guitar]

No, Bon Jovi is nothing more than a puppet for these Canadian war mongers.  Thankfully, the good people of Buffalo aren’t falling for it.  All over Buffalo, Bon Jovi-free zones have popped up, radio stations and bars prohibit Jovi from being played, and grassroots groups like the Bills Fan Thunder have formed.  And this local effort is gaining some momentum…and star power of its own.  Andre Reed said it best:  “Man, fuck Bon Jovi!”

Wanted Dead or Alive?  Nope, just dead.

Wanted Dead or Alive? Nope, just dead.

Moving the Bills would be crushing …it would seriously give the people of Buffalo no more reason to live.  Talk about down on your luck, it would be like losing 4 straight Super Bowls and having your most famous player in prison and widely believed to have committed double homicide.  Wait, never mind.

And, to top it all off, we’d get played by a bunch of Canadians.  Do you know the last time Canada beat the US in something?  Answer:  never.  When they win in hockey or curling, it’s because we don’t care.

Sorry Jovi, but we’re not falling for your rugged good looks, thick hair, and tight denim.  Not this time, anyway.  Your letter was a pathetic attempt to win some local support, and was filled with bullshit legalese and reeked of Molson XXX.  It was as fake and insincere as you could get.  Christ, Donald Trump looks more honest than you right now.

Don't let that gorgeous smile fool you.

Don’t let that gorgeous smile fool you.

Let’s call it like it is:  you’re trying to buy the Bills and move the last remaining vestige of relevancy out of Upstate New York.  That’s some Bad Medicine we’re just not gonna take.  Besides, if the Bills leave, what are these guys going to do on Sundays:

JBJ, we’re guessing you’ve never been to a Bills tailgating, or really known a Bills fan.  They are a rabid a relentless group of alcoholics passionate fans.  The smart thing to do is to walk away and let Terry Pegula buy the team.  Need more proof this is a bad idea?  Jovi’s got a blessing from Jerry Jones.  Come on Jovi, become our hero again.  Let’s walk these streets with a loaded six string on our backs, and play for keeps.

Finally, here’s a verse from our remix of I’ll Be There For You (renamed:  Stay the Hell Outta Buffalo):

Stay the hell outta Buffalo
These five words I swear to you
If you ever, move the Bills to Toronto
Buffalo will cut you…woah oh oh…we’ll cut you…

Enjoy your Teabag.

Tuesday Teabag, July 15, 2014 – LeBron James

I'm all in...for one year.

I’m all in…for one year.

Welcome back friends to a brand new Teabag, where we honor none other than the King himself, LeBron James.

Wait, what?  LeBron just announced, in a well-written, well-thought out essay, that he’s returning to Cleveland, to bring a “trophy back to Northeast Ohio.”  The prodigal son is returning home, to lift up the collective spirits of Cleveland (sidenote:  that’s a lot of depressed souls), and deliver a championship to a championship-starved City.  And he’s going back for all the right reasons…family, love for his hometown, role model for the kids.  How big of him to set aside the fact that the entire City said good riddance to him 4 years ago, and Dan Gilbert (Cavs owner) wrote this letter, calling LeBron’s decision “heartless and callous” and an act of “cowardly betrayal”.  Seriously, read the whole letter…it’s crazy.

Dan Gilbert Letter

Yes, his decision to return to Cleveland has more feel good moments than the Hallmark Channel.  So why then, are you giving LeBron a Teabag?  All of Cleveland is smiling for the first time since the premiere of the Drew Carey Show.  LeBron made his decision the right way, without the need of the Boys & Girls Club and nationally televised audience.  Because, our bullshit-dar, much like our ability to shotgun beers, is impeccable, and it’s running at high alert.  The gullible, neive, desperate, clinging for life loyal residents of Cleveland don’t know it, but they’ve just been played.

Sure, some of what he said it probably true.  He probably does love his hometown (note: if you were revered like a God in your hometown, wouldn’t you?) and truly does want to bring a championship to Cleveland.  But the story doesn’t end there.  No sir.  Let’s cut through the bullshit and get to the real reason why he went to Cleveland, and let’s see how much love he really has for his hometown.

Cleveland’s better than Miami

Granted, this is probably the only time in the history of the world where that statement wasn’t made sarcastically, but it’s true.  Cleveland’s roster (thanks to 4 years of post-LeBron tanking) is front-loaded with young talent like Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters…plus this year’s first round pick Andrew Wiggans.  Also, sharpshooter Mike Miller just jumped on the bandwagon, and rumor has it that Kevin Love may soon join.  All this sets up perfectly for LeBron.  He doesn’t have to log 40+ minutes/game.  He can properly rest his body and be ready for the playoffs.  He’s still in the East…the Cavs are guaranteed a spot in the playoffs.

In Miami, the Heat have quickly turned into Florida retirees.  Ray Allen is 60 and D-Wade’s knees are 80.  LeBron would have a much heavier load to carry in Miami than with the Cavs.

Bottom line: he has a better supporting cast in Cleveland, so it makes sense to go back.  Do you honestly think LeBron would be back in Cleveland if Ramon Sessions and Alonzo Gee were still starters?  Hell no.

LeBron’s Contract Details

This is what really got us in LeBron Teabag mode.  He could have signed a 4 year max deal, worth $88 million.  Instead, he signed a 2 year deal for $42 million.  Why leave $46 million on the table?  There are true business reasons, including a higher cap and greater TV revenue starting in 2016.  This give LeBron the ability to sign a max deal in 2016, for a lot more than the current $88 million max deal.  However, for a guy that makes between $50 and $80 million a year in off-court endorsements, is he really that concerned about money?

But his contract isn’t really a two-year contract.  It’s really a one year contract, with a player option for a second year.  That’s right, LeBron can opt-out after next season and become a free agent all over again.  And if you don’t think he’ll leave Cleveland again…you’re fooling yourself.

His contract gives him the maximum flexibility.  Things don’t go well after year one?  He can bail.  No dramatic improvement in year 2?  He can bail (and finally join Melo in NYC).  If he really wanted to go all in, and show Cleveland he’s fully committed, he signs the max deal (and somehow learns to live with $88 million), or at least a true, two-year contract.  But a one year deal?  That’s not much love.

Cleveland = Titletown, USA?

“LeBron and Johnny Football in the same City?!?” exclaimed a Clevelander who, 4 years ago, burned his kid’s LeBron jersey in the driveway.  “Cleveland’s the new Titletown, USA!!!”

Ok, let’s knock this shit out right here.  Cleveland will never, ever…EVER, be confused with a winning City.  It will always smell like stale beer and regret.  This really doesn’t have anything to do with LeBron, just wanted to clear the air before the Northeast Ohio Chamber of Commerce mail bombs us all, touting their clean water and diverse economy.  In fact, don’t be fooled by their propaganda and, as a reminder of what Cleveland’s truly like, please watch our favorite Cleveland tourist videos.

To summarize:  Remember when your best friend went through that nasty breakup, it was the first time you saw him cry…he crashed on your couch for weeks, drank all your beer and vowed never to speak her name again?  And then remember when, awhile later over beers, he tells you, “hey, Becca and I are getting back together!”  You feign happiness for him…he’s happy the way a puppy that eats its own shit is happy…but you know that, sooner or later, that puppy realizes he’s eating shit (again), and your buddy realizes that Becca’s a whore (again).

If it was so obvious that going back to Cleveland was so magnanimous and altruistic, it wouldn’t take an essay to explain it.

Enjoy your teabag.

Tuesday Teabag, June 17, 2014 – World Cup

Do you even know what FIFA stands for?

Do you even know what FIFA stands for?

Of course The Machine’s going to teabag the World Cup.  We’re Americans, which means, besides being awesome all the time, we hate soccer.  We have to.  It’s in our blood.  By age 14, every American is programmed to hate soccer.  The losers people who slip through either (a) got cut from the football team, or (b) are part French.

The real question is why do we hate soccer?  Soccer is the world’s most popular sport…literally, the entire world loves soccer except us.  The players are god-like, and are known in every living room from Argentina to Zimbabwe…yet Lionel Messi could walk anywhere in the U.S. and we’d say, “who’s the weird Mexican-looking dude in Umbros?”  Rounding out their rock star image, are their rock-star quality WAGs.

Hubba, hubba.

Hubba, hubba.

Even more puzzling…every kid in America grows up playing soccer.  It’s the first team sport we play, before baseball and football.  So why, then, if we start out playing and loving soccer, and if soccer players are international superstars, do we look down on it for the rest of our lives?  Well, here’s why:

It’s boring

We loved soccer when we were 6 for the same reason we ate Play-dough and boogers:  we didn’t know any better.  It was fun to run around and kick shit…but when we got older and sat down to watch a game, holy shit is this sport lame.

It’s 90 minutes long (plus stoppage time) and you’re lucky to see two goals.  Two!!!  A 2-1 game is considered a high scoring affair.  Sorry, but our fickle American minds need action.  We need three-pointers, home runs, and deep post routes…not quick bursts of action followed by extremely long periods of inactivity.  Sounds like Roid Rage’s sex life (boom!).

Case in point:  In the US/Ghana game on Monday, the US scored in the first minute of the game.  Ok, there’s some instant action.  Maybe we were wrong.  Maybe it is exciting to watch.  Eighty-one minutes later, the next goal was scored.  Yes, more than one hour elapsed until the next goal was scored.  Sorry, but that’s a lot of time of playing keep away.

You can tie

Huh?  Wait, you mean you can play an entire game and no one wins?  Sorry, but this is ‘Murica…we don’t play for participation trophies.  We play to win.  Ending a game in a 0-0 tie does not compute.

We’re not good

When’s the last time the US Men’s team won the World Cup?  Never.  The closest they got was third place (in 1930).  Shit, we didn’t even qualify for the World Cup for a remarkable 32 consecutive years (from 1954-1986).  What about Olympic medals?  None.  Wait, not even a fucking bronze???

Simply put, we’re not good at it (at least the Men), the rest of the world is far superior, and we are seen as the laughing-stock.  So, instead of hunkering down and showing that American Rocky IV-esque resolve to do better and beat the Russians…we’ll just take our ball and go home.  Instead, we’ll call our sport football (and spell it totally different) and we’ll give our trophies World names, like the World Series and World Champions (a/k/a Super Bowl Champions).  See, we are the best in the world (at sports we don’t let the rest of the world play).

US Women are better than the Men [put your chauvinist hat on]

The US Women’s soccer team is not just better than the Men’s, but they’re a lot better.  The US Women have consistently dominated the sport, winning the World Cup in ’99, and winning the Gold Medal in 4 of the past 5 Olympics.  Everybody knows names like Mia Hamm, Brandie Chastain, Hope Solo, and Amy Wambach…try naming 4 people on the men’s team.

Best. Post-goal celebration. Ever.

Best. Post-goal celebration. Ever.

So is that really a reason American don’t embrace soccer?  Maybe…the most popular sports in America are NASCAR, which has one (1) female participant, and football, which—unless you count sideline reporters—has none.  Our male-dominated, Type A, beer chugging society simply won’t accept a sport where the women are better than the men.  It’s why tennis suffers here too.

No commercials [put your corporate conspiracy theory hat on]

Hear us out here for a minute.  The Machine thinks a big reason—perhaps the biggest reason—we as a society are turned off to soccer is because we’ve been programmed by corporate America to dislike it.  Soccer is not a made for TV sport.  It’s two 45 minutes halves of running time.  No timeouts, no mandatory commercial breaks for a word from our sponsors.  Yes, the lack of TV appeal has killed soccer, and will prevent it from ever becoming popular here.

Why do you think, in a college basketball game, which is only two 20 minute halves, each team has 5 timeouts, plus there are mandatory timeouts every four minutes, adding another 4 TOs per half.  That’s a total of 14 timeouts.  What about football.  Touchdown (commercial break), kickoff (commercial break)…there are plenty of opportunities for Budweiser and Ford to hack their (not made in the USA) products.  Baseball’s the same way.  Not so in soccer.

In soccer, sponsors are relegated to populating billboards around the field, and putting stickers on the glass thing on the sidelines.  Sorry, but doesn’t fly in the corporate boardroom.  They want ad time and commercials in primetime…not stickers.  Because of the lack of TV appeal, corporate America hasn’t fully embraced it (think oil companies funding alternative energy development) and therefore they won’t let us like it.

DON'T BLOCK THE BUDWEISER LOGO!!!

DON’T BLOCK THE BUDWEISER LOGO!!!

What does that say about our society that we are controlled and manipulated by corporations and their whorish need to advertise?  Not much, but it’s true.  Don’t believe us?  Think for a minute why your kid wants (no, NEEDS!) to go to Disney, when they would get just as much satisfaction from the county fair.  And think for a minute why you NEED to take them there.

Despite all these reasons, why then, does The Machine have a strange sense of pride, patriotism, and sudden interest in the World Cup?  After watching the men beat Ghana last night, The Machine is now all about Team America.  We’ve hung our (not made in the USA) American flag outside our house, ate an enormous amount of bacon, and taught our children the real American anthem:

How long will this interest last?  As long as Johnson & Johnson and the Ford Motor Company let it.  As soon as (read: when) the US Men’s team is bounced from the World Cup, we’ll go right back to apathy and TV timeouts.  Until then, we’ll feign acceptance and display an uncomfortable amount of patriotism.  USA! USA!

Go Yankees [wait, who are we cheering for?] Oh yeah, go USA!

Go Yankees [wait, what are we cheering for?] Soccer?  Really?  Go USA!

Glad to see that comes in extra-Medium.

Glad to see that comes in extra-medium.

Enjoy your teabag.

Tuesday Teabag, June 10, 2014 – NBA Finals

Welcome to Groundhog's Day!

Welcome to Groundhog’s Day!

Wow, The Machine’s finally over our post-Draft hangover (and have just sobered up from our epic Draft Party) and we’re ready to start writing again.  Until it’s appropriate for us to start writing about football (next week) we’ll switch gears and focus on the NBA for a bit.

The Machine was ready to write an article at the beginning of this years’ playoffs (you know, like three months ago), but then we realized:  we already did, last year, when we broke down the 2013 playoffs and (correctly) called a Heat/Spurs Finals.  Seriously, everything we wrote last year is still true.  The playoffs are ridiculously long, and the outcome is predetermined.  Ok, so maybe we got carried away by comparing the Heat to the ’96 Bulls (our bad) but our predictions were not only spot on, but they hold the test of time.  In this case, two years running.

[sidenote:  The Machine just saw a commercial for Coors Light Summer Brew and our nipples are officially hard].

OMFG!!!

OMFG!!!

Anyway, that’s why the NBA gets a Teabag.  For all the talk about parity in the NBA (Pacers the new #1 seed in the East, the young guns of Golden State, the Clippers revival, blah, blah, blah) the end result is the same:  Heat v. Spurs.  And guess what: the end result of the Finals will be the same.  The Heat will win their third consecutive Championship.  And you were saying what about parity?  [note:  the Spurs winning game three last night does not change a thing, it just adds more “drama”].

The lack of parity is a big problem for the league, much bigger than Donald Sterling (but thanks for the distraction you crazy old codger).  We told you last year the playoffs weren’t worth watching, just tune in to the Finals to watch the Heat win.  Well the same thing holds true this year and, barring MJ returning to the Bulls, will likely hold true next year.  As much as the NBA wants you to believe that anyone can win, it’s just not true.

The gap between the have and the have-nots is the largest in all sports.  Does anyone really think the Milwaukee Bucks will ever be contenders?  To the contrary, the Milwaukee Brewers (who last year finished 23 games out of first place) are now in first place and hold one of the best records in baseball.  Worst to first is possible in baseball and football, it’s unheard of in the NBA (thank you, guaranteed contracts).

No one will give the Heat a run for their money until Phil Jackson brings Kevin Durant to the Knicks (hiring Derek Fisher = Smartest. Decision. Ever.).  Until then, no one will not want to admit it, but basketball is predictable and boring.

Enjoy your Teabag.