The Rams are 8-0 and Continue to Find a Way to Win

2007, the Rams were supposed to be a dynamite football team, I thought. 3-13 is how they finished. You can look back into the archives of TSTOS and check out how I thought the Rams were going to perform prior to the beginning of that season. Almost embarrassing, actually.

In 2008, I thought they could turn it around. Nope. 2-14. In 2009, I was excited that Steve Spagnuolo had been hired as the head coach earlier that year, but alas, they finished 1-15. Sam Bradford came on board in 2010 and the team showed flashes of winning capabilities, missing the playoffs by just one game (albeit in a terrible NFC West division). From 2011-2016, I witnessed the Rams go 2-14 in the final season with Steve Spagnuolo followed by a steady run of mediocrity with Jeff Fisher. I remember when Fisher was hired to coach the Rams; a fellow Rams fan stated that Fisher’s archaic, old school smash mouth football values would hinder the Rams. He wasn’t wrong. Finally, in 2017, the Rams hired Sean McVay to be their head coach, a guy who is barely older than me, and he has been nothing short of spectacular as the leader of this football squad.

Being a Rams fan these days is so exciting. Whether they are in St. Louis, Los Angeles or Anchorage, Alaska… I’m a fan. They just defeated the Green Bay Packers this Sunday to move to 8-0 on the season. I can’t believe this! They only won six combined games in three years from 2007-2009. Now look at ’em! A division win and a playoff appearance last year to… whatever the hell this is going to be. I want to thank Ty Montgomery for going rogue on the Packers and running out of the endzone on the final kickoff of the game, or else I am absolutely positive that Aaron Rodgers would have led the Packers down the field for a game winning Mason Crosby field goal.

I know I’ve probably written about it before, but I keep waiting for the bottom to fall out with this team. I’m not used to this type of winning. The last time I was used to the Rams winning, I was just a kid. The 2001 Rams are my all-time favorite team; they ended up falling to the Patsies in the big’en, but I have so many fond memories from that season that featured all my favorite players from my childhood.

This current team is something special. They apparently are only getting better, as they traded for linebacker Dante Fowler from the Jacksonville Jaguars yesterday. This team, on paper, is stacked. The defense has seemed to underperform when you consider what they should be capable of, but when you think about the potential for this squad to possibly manifest by the end of the season, especially with a returning Aqib Talib by the beginning of the playoffs? I’m stoked.

I’ve been waiting quite some time for the Rams to be a competent football team again.

This team played its worst game of the season against the Packers and still managed to win it. Although I thank Ty Montgomery for being a dipshit, the Rams shouldn’t have even been in the game the other day due to how they were really playing.

They are playing the Saints this weekend, and I wouldn’t be surprised if N’awlins takes the W. Drew Brees is busting his ass for (at least) one more ring, and that team is balling out like nobody’s business. This is a matchup that might be a preview of the NFC title game in January. I’m calling it now: it will be. I know there is a ton of football left to be played, but it is easy to say that the Rams and Saints are the two best teams in the NFL right now, let alone just the NFC.

Still… tick tock, tick tock… I’m pacing myself as a fan, because I’m just waiting for something to blow up. I’m so used to this organization having a losing culture.

Edit/update: this is the 1000th post in the history of TSTOS!

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The Rams Might be the Team to Beat? Whoa!

For the first time since 2001, the Rams are 4-0. For the first time in TSTOS history, the Rams are lookin’… the way I thought they would have in 2007! For most of the existence of this blog, the Rams have been the butt of the joke of the league. Fortunately, if anyone excuses me of being a bandwagoning fan, I have this blog to show them.

I’m a Rams fan. I’m originally from southwest Virginia, where there are no pro football teams around, and I’ve been a fan of the horns since I was 8-years-old, right when the Greatest Show on Turf was recognized as a thing.

I remember back in 2011, when the talks about the Rams coming back home to Los Angeles were pretty hot. I asked a few of my fellow St. Louis Cardinals fans, who resided in the ‘Lou, what they thought about the Rams possibly leaving. The consensus was, “We don’t give a damn. This is a baseball town and the Rams are irrelevant”. Noted. I was amused in early 2016 when it became official that the Rams were going home to LA, because all of these ‘underground’ St. Louis Rams fans popped out of the woodworks and started bitching about it.

Hey, you folks didn’t want the Rams in your city when I asked years prior to them leaving, but now that they were/are leaving, you are sad? Hell with yee.

The Rams are 4-0. Their defense largely looked awful last night, after they defeated the Minnesota Vikings after Jared Goff tossed five touchdown passes, but it was also four days after playing the San Diego — I mean LA… — Chargers on Sunday. Now the Rams get a lengthy break that hopefully culminates in whipping the piss out of the Seattle Shesquawks next weekend.

Over the history of Troy’s Thoughts on Sports, I watched some of the worst football performances you can imagine with the Rams. I witnessed the Arizona Cardinals go to multiple NFC title games and a Super Bowl. I saw the San Francisco 49ers return to competence for a short window before their simple minded, egotistic owner forced John Harbaugh out. I watched as the Seattle Seahawks visited the Super Bowl twice and won one of ’em.

It’s the Rams time now, I’d like to think. I hope.

Watching that offense perform last night gave me glimpses back to 2001, when Kurt Warner was slingin’ the ball all over the field. Goff made some gorgeous throws last night. For anybody to think of this man as a system quarterback, you have to be ignorant to believe that now.

I still have doubts about this season, but maybe that is years of Rams-induced letdowns weighing heavily on my mind. Until disappointment occurs, I’m just going to sit back and enjoy whatever happens this season.

Life Update, LeBron to the Lakers and UFC 226: Cormier vs. Miocic

I’ve neglected the hell out of TSTOS, but these two pictures depict in my life (whenever I have free time) in a nutshell:

The ol’ bend test with the brisket I smoked on Monday, July 2, 2018. It was a damn good cut considering it was select (marked down). You can never go wrong with Caribeque Big & Bold beef rub or any of Uncle Kurt’s Caribeque products.
As the caption says, the pump from C4 Ultimate On the Go is pretty legit. Also, rocking the Beer, Bourbon and BBQ tank top from, well, the Beer, Bourbon and BBQ Festival in Knoxville, TN back in May.

Grilling, barbecuing and staying active. This post was prompted because I was just talking to somebody about the year 2007 the other day and how it doesn’t really feel all that long ago, even though it has been eleven years. I’ll never forget when the original idea of TSTOS came about in 2016 and I brought it over to WordPress from Blogger in 2017. What a ride it has been since then.

I’ve been asked by people who will go, “Why is your Instagram username what it is?” or “What’s the motivation behind Grizzly BBQ?” Well, there ya go. When the little lady calls you her bear, and you know an additional definition of ‘grizzly’ is “gray-haired” (I’m salt and pepper right now, but the pepper is fighting a losing battle — wisdom whiskers, yo! Why do you think I’m so wise? 😉 ), I gotta roll with it; besides, I’m a big, hairy fucker.

It’s amazing looking back over the last eleven years and seeing all the times I’ve defended LeBron James, from the time he went to Miami in 2010 to all the ‘villainous’ bullshit from that season to the greatest of all-time arguments over the years.

He announced last Sunday that he’s going to the Los Angeles Lakers.

I’ll defend him again.

I actually hated it when he went back to Cleveland in 2014. I never felt the city deserved him. I’m pretty sure I ranted about this at some point during the last four years. Anyway, I rolled my eyes when Cleveland fans burned his jersey back in 2010 after he ditched the Cavs for South Beach. Sure, the entire situation could have been handled better, but he is the greatest athlete to ever put on a Cleveland sports jersey (yes, even over Jim Brown who played in an ancient era of football) and that fact was cemented in 2016 when he propelled the Cavs to a title.

I’m sure he’ll end up retiring in Cleveland one day, but this move to LA makes perfect sense from the standpoint of Magic Johnson, being one of the top three greatest players in the history of basketball, being able to speak the same language as LeBron, and that language is winning and understanding the mindset of a generational talent such as LBJ. They won’t even sniff a title this year, but with another pickup next offseason, I have no doubt they’ll be in title contention, especially with the Golden State Warriors inevitably experiencing dynasty fatigue soon enough.

I’d like to see yet another edition of a Celtics/Lakers NBA Finals, this time with LeBron James facing off with a healthy Kyrie Irving. THAT, my friends, would be quality television.

If LeBron wins a title in Los Angeles, he will be the only player in NBA history to lead three different squads to a championship. That would be more than impressive. I’m excited to see what unfolds over the next few years.

Shifting gears to Daniel Cormier vs. Stipe Miocic for UFC 226 tomorrow night… I’m biased. I love Stipe, but I want Cormier to win the title and become a 2-division champion. I think there’s a possibility he could retire if that happens, but it would be pretty great to see. Cormier should be in GOAT conversation given how he has only ever lost to coked up, steroid-riddled Jon Jones. Outside of a roided up fighter, he has never lost at this point in time. We are talking about a decorated fighter that has destroyed heavyweights despite being an undersized heavyweight himself, only to go down to light heavyweight and command that division other than the Jones’ blemishes. Either way, I’m looking forward to hanging out with close friends and enjoying the fights tomorrow evening at Buffalo Wild Wings.

Barrel House Cooker 18C Review!

The Barrel House Cooker 18C and the view I get to see every day.

Maybe I have a smoker fetish. It started when the little lady’s family gave me their old stick burner — a vertical offset Brinkmann Trailmaster. Her dad switched over to a horizontal offset and the one they gave me had been sitting out and not being used. I loved using it, but the effects of weathering produced rust and eventually holes and cracks that rendered it unusable for long smokes.

In June 2017 I bought a Weber Smokey Mountain cooker. It is the holy grail in terms of set it’n’forget it smoking that involves charcoal and wood (I specifically mention that last part because pellet grills might be the ultimate cooker for those in the game for set it’n’forget it cooking). My appetite for collecting different types is insatiable, however.

The rise of barrel cookers seem to be on the up and up, but the UDS (“Ugly Drum Smoker”) design has been around for seemingly eons, with people creating a smoker from the ground up. However, there are two UDS style smokers on the market right now that are more popular than the others. There is the Pit Barrel Cooker, which is the most popular if you count the amount of people touting it on social media (namely Instagram, which is my favorite), and then there is the Barrel House Cooker. There is some kind of legal bullshit going on between the two companies. I won’t get into it because I’m not a lawyer and feel no obligation to talk about the nitty gritty, but apparently whoever was working on the Pit Barrel Cooker, originally, decided to go and assist in the creation of the Barrel House Cooker — that caused shit to hit the fan, and that’s all I know.

The main attraction to the barrel style of cooking, for me, was the prospect of hanging meats, faster cooker time and less charcoal (compared to the 22.5″ Weber Smokey Mountain cooker that I have; I love my WSM, but it is a charcoal hog and a half). Basically, you hang meats above the charcoal and, in the closed cooking environment, the drippings (read: grease!) from the meats fall onto the charcoal and the smoke from the vapors give the meat a flavor to die for.

For me, it came down to either the PBC (Pit Barrel Cooker) and the BHC (Barrel House Cooker). As you can see by the title of this post, you already know which one I purchased. It basically came down to the ease of adding charcoal during a cook or getting it started more efficiently (the removable middle section from the charcoal base makes it extremely easy) as opposed to the PBC. Furthermore, you can take the grate that the cooker comes with and use it as a hibachi insert by removing the middle section and sitting the grate directly over the coals. For my very first cook, I hung a 3.8-lb. beef Tri-Tip that I purchased from Appalachian Meats in Lebanon, Virginia (hi, Brandon and Victoria! Great people! If you are in the area, check out their shop), cooked it until about 120-125 degrees and then seared it over the grate, hibachi style.

Before purchasing, I watched a good bit of videos of the BHC on YouTube. Something I found to be a common theme was that a few of the folks mentioned that Barrel House Cooker Company sent them their cookers for free because they wanted feedback on the cooker. Objective feedback. Well, opposite of the users on YouTube, I purchased mine at the regular price point ($249 plus tax) and feel even more obligated than those users to deliver a full-fledged objective review given that I pumped cash into it. There is no sunken cost fallacy going on here. Just a dude giving his thoughts on the cooker he bought. By the way, there are two models currently available: the 14D (“14”) and the 18C. I like cooking a good bit of food most of the time, so I went with the 18, but the 14 sure is tempting in the future.

The first thing I noticed when I was putting my BHC together was there was a weird lookin’ spot on the charcoal base that looked like a spot of rust. Not a huge deal, but it isn’t something you want to see out of your brand new cooker that you spent good money on either. I contacted them over this and Jeremy Cunha (who I believe is the head honcho of the BHC Co.) responded by basically saying to use it for a while and, if I run into any problems, contact ’em. I wasn’t so much complaining when I emailed them as much as I was making them aware of a quality control issue. The YouTube user Meathead, who also received a free cooker from the company, told me in a comment that Barrel House is coming out with some stainless steel charcoal baskets and that they would send me one for free if I asked them. I asked Jeremy about this, but he did not address it in the replied email. Hmm… hopefully the stainless steel charcoal baskets isn’t only sent free to the YouTubers who were already sent free cookers… again, I emphasize, hopefully that isn’t the case as that would be pretty disappointing for BHC loyalists who splurged and spent a great deal of moolah, but I digress… the customer service is solid. You can expect responses in a timely manner. I’ve dealt with them via email and phone.

Assembly was extremely easy and hassle-free. The only thing I hate about putting things together is keeping up with screws, washers, nuts and bolts. I have a phobia about losing small parts when putting things together. Maybe it is just my cooker, but the first thing I noticed is that the middle section does not snugly sit on the charcoal base. Maybe that was the intended design, but I can kinda rock it back and forth on the charcoal base by barely moving it. If it is intended to be that way, fair game, but I thought that would be a point worth noting.

I had to wait four days before I could actually use my BHC, but by cracky, I finally had my chance. First cook: that beef Tri-Tip from Appalachian Meats that I was talking about.

Tri-Tip on the Barrel House Cooker Hibachi.
The finished product…
Juicy, tender as hell and medium rare.

Everything went better than expected. I rubbed the tri-tip with Hardcore Carnivore Black and hung it in the Barrel House Cooker with some hickory wood and Kingsford charcoal (good ol’ KBB — Kingsford blue bag). At 125-130 degrees or so (as monitored by my Thermoworks Smoke thermometer), I removed the tri-tip from the H-frame and removed the hook from the tri-tip, added the grate to the charcoal base and used it as a hibachi to sear my tri-tip on both sides, about a minute and a half per each side. I let it rest, and well, as you can see by the above pictures, it was cooked to a perfect medium rare and it was delicious!

The next day, I hung a whole chicken and a semi-boneless leg of lamb. Again, I used KBB as my fuel source. I can’t, for the life of me, remember what the hell I rubbed the chicken with, but I was in luck with the semi-boneless leg of lamb. I had never consumed lamb before prior to this experience. I was seeking opinions on what rub I should use, when luck would have it that I received my recently ordered package from The Killer Cook and they, by chance, sent me a sample of their Mediterranean Spice blend. I consulted with TKC on Instagram about this choice of rub for lamb, and whattya know, it pairs perfectly with it (Mediterranean and lamb goes hand in hand anyhow, but I wanted to confirm). The chicken was awesome, but the lamb was fantastic. It was super tender; I cooked it until about 140 degrees, if I recall correctly.

Before wrapping the four racks of spare ribs.

The third day, I hung four racks of spare ribs. On two, I rubbed ’em with Caribeque Honey Heat and on the other two I used Meat Church Holy Gospel. No much to say about these ribs except that they were phenomenal. The smokey flavor was tremendous. I’m used to ribs on my Weber Smokey Moutain. They come out virtually perfect on the WSM, but the smokey flavor that comes from the Barrel House Cooker, with the juices hitting the hot coals and creating a distinct flavor profile, you just can’t beat that.

Since then, I’ve even tried a trial of grilling on the BHC… sat the charcoal ring on the H-frame and grilled some all-natural beef dogs a few days after my first few cooks. It passed the test, but for grilling, I love my Weber kettle.

I used both my Weber Smokey Mountain as well as my Barrel House Cooker for Mother’s Day. Ribs in the BHC and pork belly burnt ends, a pork butt and mac and cheese in the WSM. My family, and some of my family’s friends loved all the food, which is the most important thing to me.

The unfortunate chipping/flaking issue. Hopefully it is simply cosmetic/superficial and nothing that will produce anything that will shorten the life of the cooker such as rust.

A few cooks in, I noticed some chipping/flaking around the handles on the sides of my BHC… a little disconcerting, but as long as no rust produces from it, I don’t care. Seems to be a bit of a quality control issue, but again, if it is only a superficial mark, I couldn’t care less. This is an outdoor cooker/grill/smoker… it’s going to get filthy even with a cover. I just want the cooker to last several years without any hiccups, because I know I’m going to use the hell out of it.

In the future, I’m going to use lump charcoal in my BHC, for the most part, because it doesn’t handle the ash fallout from KBB as well as my WSM does. The insane amount of ash produced from the Kingsford seems to smother the fire worse than what it does in my WSM. Strange, but it happens. I’m going to try different things. All in all, you have to learn your cooker and its kinks… they (by ‘they’, I mean different types of grills and smokers) all ‘behave’ differently’.

Whole chicken rubbed with Reload Rub Packin’ Heat.

I hung another whole bird in my BHC today, using the brand new Reload Rub seasoning, “Packin’ Heat”. I have come to the conclusion that you can’t have chicken from anything better than this Barrel House Cooker. It was tender, juicy and full of flavor (and delicious spiciness, thanks to the Packin’ Heat from Reload)!

If I haven’t made it clear, I’m going to unabashedly state it now: I’m in absolute love with my Barrel House Cooker. It is everything I have wanted it to be. I’ve been asked by people, “Well, can’t you do the same type of cooking in your WSM by removing the water pan?” Sure, but I like that the BHC is a little bit smaller, and if I was going to consistently do the same thing with the WSM I would have to create some modifications as well as find something, or create something, that mirrors the H-frame or something like it from the BHC, and quite frankly I’m too damn lazy to do that. Also, going back to the BHC being smaller than the WSM, the WSM is a proverbial charcoal hog, while the BHC definitely is not. I love both of my cookers for their own purposes, but I think hanging meat in the BHC is badass and puts it over the top.

I’m sure the other barrel cooker is pretty awesome, but I love my BHC. If you are in the market for a smoker, I absolutely recommend the Barrel House Cooker. The customer service will take care of you if you have any problems, and you’ll have a full-fledged smoker that is about as fail-safe as a smoker can get. I can’t wait to eventually smoke a pork butt and a beef brisket in mine. It’s just too bad that a beef brisket costs 1/4th of a car payment where I live.

Barrel House Cooker: Buy or pass?

BUY. BUY. BUY. Then BUY some meat and HANG IT!

Why in the Hell Are People Addicted to Outrage?

I’m not one of those people who bashes social media, but over the years since the rise of Facebook and Twitter, it appears to be the truth that people are more addicted to outrage than ever. More than that, impulsive reactions/opinions have to be recorded ASAP! For many folks? No time to cool down, reflect/pontificate and then react.

I only use Facebook nowadays for messenger; it is more efficient than using a phone’s text messaging service in most cases. I keep in touch with my family, and the best part of messenger is having a group chat with six of my closest friends to keep in touch with in spite of being in different parts of the country. Asides from that, Instagram is my jam in the realm of social media (white girl style food pictures, yo).

Every now and again, I’ll scroll through my Facebook feed. I usually only see food pictures from groups such as the Weber Kettle Club, Fans of the Weber Smokey Mountain, the Blackstone Griddle group, etc. Every now and again I’ll see some politically charged meme. Sometimes they are funny, but most of the time it’s just self-serving confirmation bias to whatever political party the person posting is ‘affiliated’ with. However, the most comical things I see are the posts in regards to something going down, and most of the time it is fabricated news stories with clickbait titles or existing only to piss people off. An elderly person (who is one of the smartest people I’ve ever known, so this is unfortunate) on my Facebook posted something about “California banning the sell of bibles” and fully believed it…

Sometimes I wonder if the need to be outraged on social media began when LeBron James joined the Miami Heat in July 2010 with his “Decision” show with Jim Gray on ESPN. People immediately rushed to Twitter, Cleveland fans posted videos of them burning their LeBron jerseys… it was wild. I say that it started around that time, because ever since that time the impulsive need for people to spout opinions on social media before any facts have come out (or experienced the time to cool down) is an everyday gig.

The other day, there was a big uproar about “YETI cutting ties with the NRA”. This leaked onto Instagram, which is how I saw it. I really didn’t give a shit one way or another, but I knew the big gun “muh secuhnd uhmendmuhnt” nuts would flip shit immediately after seeing it. Yep. That is exactly what happened. However, according to Omar “Crispy” Avila (a dude I wholeheartedly respect and is, by all accounts, as level headed as anybody I know of), he is in touch with members of YETI’s company and the truth appears to be that YETI notified the NRA and other companies that they were ‘eliminating a group of outdated discounting programs’. Somehow, that became convoluted and the outrage exploded.

I wonder if the addiction to outrage comes from that synthetic/artificial adrenaline high that people hear. “WHAT?! YETI AIN’T GUNNA SUPPORT HUNTERS NO MORE?! HELL WIT’EM!”

The cycle continues (and will continue). A lot of scummy companies love making cash off of people by inciting outrage with BS tactics that involve untruthful marketing. At the end of the day, the onus falls on people to do their due diligence when it comes to independent research. Instead of running to Twitter (or Facebook) to emit your opinions directly after something happens, take a deep breath, think before you hit enter, send or ‘submit’, ask yourself if what you are saying is backed by facts or decent logic. Before you believe what you see on the internet, run a broad Google search and see if you can back up whatever you are initially pissed off over.

Before anybody says, “Sooo… you have never been guilty of this?” Of course I have. Everybody has. Anyone who says they haven’t is living a lie or has never accessed the internet. One of my biggest regrets was, several years ago, wasting time writing a colossal email to someone that I once thought very highly of and sending it. While I thought I had made valid points in the email, it fell on deaf ears with nary any impact whatsoever. I’m an extremely different person than what/who I was back then (night and day), and I’d love to kick that version of myself’s ass for being so foolish. Your outcome in life comes from your daily habits, what you choose to put energy in and your ability to think things (by things, I mean actions, and I don’t mean overthink/paralysis by analysis) through & how you react. Reaction in life is key! Somebody cuts you off in traffic or tailgates you… do you chase them down, get into an altercation, get arrested, pay fines and deal with the consequences? Orrrr do you chalk it up as the other person being a douchebag that won’t matter in five minutes or a person who is simply having a bad day or in a rush for whatever reason? A person who is in control of their emotions and mental capacity in stressful situations is incredibly powerful.

Alright. Enough of that. I can’t wait to review this soon (I’m so excited!):

The Barrel House Cooker from Barrel House Cooker Co. featuring the little lady’s vehicle on a rainy, windy day.

 

A Hell of a Time to be a Los Angeles Rams Fan

I meant to post the above picture back in February. I was swillin’ and starting the grillin’ (chicken wings on Roxanne AKA the limited edition red Weber kettle, vortex style) on an anomaly warm low-70s day in the middle of February. Now it’s late March, windy and cold as usual. I can’t wait for proper spring weather.

The Los Angeles Rams are being hyped up as Super Bowl contenders for next season. Check out the title of this post — a hell of a time to be an LA Rams fan. It is, my friends. It is so odd to me that I watched this franchise wallow around in hell from 2005-2016, and all of a sudden, a year after coming back to Los Angeles after a 22-year reprieve, they win the NFC West for the first time since the 2003 campaign and their running back, Todd Gurley, finished second in the MVP voting.

Next season, they are going to be rolling in hot, fresh off of signing Marcus Peters, the best defensive back in the league, from the Kansas City Chiefs and Aqib Talib, a well seasoned veteran who most recently played for the Denver Broncos. To beat it all, a couple days ago they signed Ndamukong Suh and they are gonna stack that offensive line wreckin’ sumbitch next to Aaron Donald, a generational talent and the undisputed best defensive tackle… nay, defensive player… in the NFL.

The last time we saw a franchise go out and stack one side of the ball, it was the Philadelphia Eagles in 2011, when they formed the, ah, ‘Dream Team’ only to fall to a mediocre record of 8-8. I hope the Rams don’t under-perform this upcoming season. The Seahawks are worse, but the 49ers have greatly improved with their high paid but still unproven quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.

It is reasonable to assume the Rams will take a step back next season, though. I’m not trying to be a Cynical Cindy here, but teams have footage on a team that played above expectations from last season, the Rams lost a few pieces from their coaching staff and, lastly, the Rams will be playing a first place schedule.

Years of watching the franchise play like shit (2007-2009 when they only won six games in three seasons, and then going 2-14 in 2011) has tarnished any trust or faith I have in watching this squad perform up to expectations or better. But hey, this ain’t Troy Sparks Jr.’s old squad. This franchise appears to be in good hands under the capable leadership of Sean McVay now.

I can’t wait to see what happens, but as always I’m seeking to avoid being caught up in the Horns hype.

A Few 2018 NFL Reflections and Questions

In September, I admitted that my Rams actually wielded an NFL offense after they spanked the Indianapolis Colts. Even though the Colts have the worst roster in the NFL asides from the Green Bay Packers (you may want to dog the Cleveland Browns, but they played hard under Hue Jackson this season in spite of their 0-16 record), watching that game told me the Rams have something to build on. It’s called the eye test, and every true Rams fan watching that day saw a glimpse of hope.

Nobody, and I don’t care who, truly thought the Rams would turn around from a 4-12 season into NFC West champions this year. This season was a blast and I can’t wait until this September for some Rams football to return to my television screen. Just a few objective NFL thoughts and reflections going forward:

Can we stop judging football teams by how well they are doing in September and October and pay more attention to what is going on in November and December? I know the media needs headlines and storylines to make money, but it blows my mind how many people were crowning the Kansas City Chiefs the quasi-Super Bowl champions and Alex Smith the second coming of Tom Brady after the drubbing of the New England Patriots to open the season. Don’t get me wrong — I loved the bitch slappin’ the Chiefs gave the Patsies to open the year, but the way they faltered and ultimately limped into the playoffs, blowing an 18-point lead to a mediocre Tennessee Titans squad and losing… yeah, how about we stop the horse shit early season prognostications and give the season a little bit of time to bake?

I can’t believe the Cincinnati Bengals have given Marvin Lewis an extension. He’s been the coach for so damn long, so much so that woman who are poppin’ out offspring left and right from multiple fathers were just little babies themselves when he was first hired. This guy is like the Jeff Fisher of the AFC North. I understand that he stabilized the Bengals’ franchise and turned them into mediocre from the laughing stock they once were, but… this feller has not even won ’em a playoff game despite the Bengals being in favorable postseason positions multiple times. I love the argument, “Well! Replace he’em and see what happens! They’ll go back to being the Bungles!” As opposed to what? Making the playoffs and losing in the first round every year or missing the playoffs every other year nowadays? Lewis gets more chances than a suicidal cat.

~ Why in the world is the AFC so weak nowadays? Back in the early days of TSTOS, the AFC was the best conference in football. Now, there’s the Patriots and the Pittsburgh Steelers, and then everybody else.

In 2017, we found out how truly important it is for an offensive minded head coach (or quality offensive coordinator) to teach a young, rookie quarterback. Look at Jared Goff under Jeff Fisher, and now look at him under Sean McVay. Night and day. A detractor I know — a supporter of Fisher — says that Goff naturally improved from year one to year two, but come on, he went from being a veritable bust to a formidable franchise quarterback, and that is not a natural progression by proxy. I’m excited to see what the new Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy does with Mitch Trubisky & Co.

~ The biggest thievery of the season happened when the San Francisco 49ers traded for Jimmy Garoppolo during the regular season. This is why I have my doubts with my Rams going into next season. Repetitive success in the NFL is never guaranteed (unless you are the impressive Patsies), and I can imagine that division being an absolute battle.

~ The Colts should look to hire Josh McDaniels from the Patsies. Hell, in hindsight, they should have kept Bruce Arians around and ditched Chuck Pagano after the 2012 season, but that would have been a horrible look considering how Pagano was fighting cancer at the time, but after the smoke has cleared and the dust has settled, look at the Colts now. Disarray. And many idiots are writing off Andrew Luck.

~ Finally, and this isn’t an NFL reflection… I used to troll my buddies (just because I loved riling them up) over the SEC in college football. Aaaaaaaaaaand then I ended up with an Alabama gal who reminds me all the time about the SEC and Alabama’s dominance. Holy shit. This is some kind of crushing karma. To add insult to injury, my Hokies lost their bowl game to Oklahoma State. Also, the team I cheer for in the SEC — the Tennessee Volunteers (hey, I was born in Tennessee and have always cared for them as if they were a second team as long as they aren’t playing the Hokies) — had an abysmal year and I doubt they’ll change their ways anytime soon. To be frank, the SEC isn’t that great. Outside of Alabama, they are virtually meh. Georgia had an anomaly of a year, but so what? It’s the most overrated conference in college football, but that means jack squat when you listen to an Alabama gal have the right to talk trash with her team winning yet another national title.