When Dave Roberts took in his winning ticket for the longshot bet he made at the beginning of the season, that the Cardinals would somehow make it to the Super Bowl, he was told it was not yet a valid win. It seems that Las Vegas has updated their odds for which teams currently have a shot to make it to the Super Bowl, and the Steelers are locked in as going and no longer available to pick. But curiously the Arizona Cardinals are still 9-1 longshots to make it to the big game, despite winning last week's NFC championship game.
Bob Hallmark, head oddsmaker for The Mirage hotel and casino explains.
"Look, this is a lot better than the 60-1 odds they started the season with," he said. "Yes, we know they are officially scheduled to represent the NFC, and all the ads and hype have said they will be there. But we still aren't believing it. Cardinals in the Super Bowl? No one is going to put down money on that, so we have to adjust the odds accordingly. Even though they didn't even make the playoffs, and it would be impossible for them to play the Steelers, bettors are still putting quite a lot of money on the Patriots. It just makes a person feel safe, to make a bet for New England."
Even Roberts isn't too sure about his winning ticket yet.
"At first I was angry they weren't paying me, but then I started thinking about it. These are the Cardinals, after all. It's near impossible to imagine them in the Super Bowl, so I'd probably take back my bet now if I could. I mean there are still a couple days left for the NFL to realize that they are putting Arizona in the championship game and replace them with someone sensible like the Giants. I might put some money on them tomorrow just to hedge my bets."
"Well Colin, everyone in the media seemed to count us out every week leading up to this point too," said Kurt Warner in a radio interview with ESPN's Colin Cowherd earlier today. "You guys didn't give us any respect all season long, and that continued in every matchup we've had so far. You guys will lose to the Panthers, the Falcons, the Eagles. Well, we're fine with being the underdogs, we like it. We're going to come out and show you all what we know we can do once again."
"Uh, I asked you what your favorite food was, Kurt?" replied Cowherd.
Indeed, in underestimating the Cardinals chances each week in these NFL playoffs the media has made them into a monster the likes of which has not been seen since this year's Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Sports fans are preparing themselves to hear this answer during every interview conducted with Arizona players from now until the Super Bowl, as yet another team has been "disrespected all year" by the media.
"The number one seeds can never just win easily, like they are supposed to," said analyst Chris Berman. "Now, once again, we have to hear how nobody expected them to be here, and how they never stopped believing in themselves. We really did this to ourselves, and now we have to listen to this a million more times. Next year, I'm not counting any team out. Even if they're the 0-16 Lions, I'm still going to give them a chance to win the Super Bowl. It's the only way to ensure we don't have to listen to this trite and tired speech every year. I'm sorry we did this to you America, but you only have a week and a half left to endure of it."
Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin fielded questions in a press conference today about his team's plans for Super Bowl XLIII. A reporter asked if he intended to actually cover Larry Fitzgerald, as the three NFC teams had failed to do thus far in the playoffs.
"Well that's a good question," said Tomlin. "The answer right now I'd have to say is no, although that could change if we see something in film that makes us worry about him. I just don't think he's a very big threat out there with the way he's playing."
"But sir, he has 451 yards and five touchdowns over his last three games..." added the reporter.
"Yes, but we know what he's going to do, catch multiple touchdowns and make desperate third and long receptions. We know what he's all about. But what is a player such as third string tight end Ben Patrick up to? 0 receptions for 0 yards? We need to find out what he's up to out there. So far our only defensive gameplan is to double team him as often as possible."
"Ben Patrick? I don't even think he's on the field for more than a couple plays per game..."
"Look, somehow this giant guy has managed to remain completely invisible for three straight games. I don't trust it. Even when he's out of bounds on the sideline I'm going to have 2 guys covering him, just to make sure he doesn't try anything. He could be planning on making a 5 yard catch at some point in the next few years, and I don't want it to be on my watch. We're onto you Patrick, you son of a bitch."
"Mr. Tomlin, are there any other things you are worried about defensively?" asked another reporter.
"Yes, very much so," replied Tomlin. "We are very concerned about the wildcat offense. Ronnie Brown and Chad Pennington did some scary things with that this year. We are making sure we have a few emergency plays in case Brown comes onto the field and tries to get a trick play on us."
"But, he doesn't even play for you, nor do you guys run that offense..."
"Look, you guys do your reporting thing, and I'll do my coaching thing. It was my gameplanning that got us to this point in the first place. It was my plan against Baltimore to always keep a safety watching the eyebrows of Joe Flacco in case he was hiding an illegal weapon in them during the game. It was my plan against San Diego to make sure Ladainian Tomlinson was triple covered at all times and couldn't beat us, even though he was injured and sitting on the bench. And we won both those games. So you let me handle this, and trust me, the big plays aren't going to come from Larry Fitzgerald. From what I've seen, we have nothing to worry about with that guy.
Across the nation and around the globe people are dealing with the terrifying reality that the Arizona Cardinals have actually won the NFC Championship Game and will play in Super Bowl 43. Of course, its not that the Arizona Cardinals themselves strike fear into the heart of. . .well, anyone at all. As the oldest running franchise in NFL history, the Cardinals have set such a high bar for failing miserably year after year that they are officially listed in the dictionary as a synonym of the words ?futile? and ?crappy.? Further, its widely noted that their mascot of choice, the cardinal, is perhaps the wimpiest of all birds, known in the bird world by such nicknames as ?sissy bird? ?gay jay? ?limp wing? and ?egg licker,? just to name a few.
So why the mad rush to grocery stores to stock up on basic food items and other necessities? Why the sudden run on generators, gasoline and firearms? And why are people around the globe calling loved ones to make contact and in some cases say their tearful goodbyes? Clearly, it is due to the notion that a team as annually inept and underwhelming as the Arizona Cardinals actually making it to the pinnacle of professional sports is so far-fetched and unlikely that most fear the real possibility that the occurrence of other unlikely catastrophic events, and quite possibly the end of the world, is sure to follow.
TSC contacted Lance Inglebaum, a UNLV professor, mathematician and odds maker, to shed some light on exactly how rare it is for a team like the Cardinals to earn the chance to play for football?s biggest prize. ?I would say this is an extremely rare event,? noted Inglebaum ?one we can expect to see once every 10,000 years or more.? So great are the odds, that Inglebaum noted that it was much more likely of witnessing other rare events such as the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series, a Washington Generals two-winning streak, Oprah dipping down below 200 pounds, or even the highly unlikely event that Paris Hilton would be photographed wearing undergarments.
Inglebaum went on to note that in his opinion, the opening line for the Super Bowl (Steelers -7) was much too low, and theorized that the likelihood of the Cardinals actually winning Super Bowl 43 was less than ?a Texas-sized asteroid striking the earth killing all of its inhabitants immediately.? He furthered predicted that should the Cardinals actually pull off a victory on Super Sunday, we should be prepared for the worst, including ?mass hysteria, loss of power grids and other infrastructure, and the immediate resumption of witch trials and burnings at the stake.? In fact, so real was the threat in his mind, that Inglebaum noted he would be canceling his annual Super Bowl party and would instead be watching the game with a few of his closest friends at his fallout shelter located approximately 500 feet below the earth?s surface ?just in case.?
Though the staff of TSC is committed to maintain its independence and objectivity when it comes to covering sports, I think in this case we can make an exception. Go Steelers!
Rod Marinelli is a lonely man these days. The former head coach of the Detroit Lions, whose team was the first to ever go 0-16 in a season, is now jobless and away from the game. We took a visit to see the man in his Michigan home. He greeted us at the door wearing a pair of boxer shorts and a tank top. He appeared to be covered in some type of purple dust.
As we entered the home, it became apparent something had come loose in this formerly distinguished man's head. There were dirty dishes everywhere, unwashed clothes strewn about, there was food like pizza and bunless hotdogs on the ground. What had happened to this man? We sat down with him for an interview to find out.
"Well, times are tough." said Marinelli. "Football was my everything. Last year we started off 6-2, and when we got into first place in the division with that 6th win, I remember the excitement of my players and the fans in Detroit. They were so happy to be in first place, and I had led them there. Some of my players came and dumped the cooler full of Gatorade on my head, and damn did it feel good. But then we went 1-23 in my next 24 games, and there was no more happiness, no more Gatorade."
"Each week this season, I longed to get a win, to turn that sinking ship around. I wanted to feel that happiness again, I wanted to get that Gatorade poured on me one more time. But, that day never came. You see, once you get a sports drink poured on you by your players, you don't forget what it's like. When you feel all sticky and smell like Purple Lightning, it makes you feel more alive than anything you have ever done. You can almost feel the electrolytes entering your body and going into your brain."
Marinelli went on to explain that after the firing he came back to his home and began snorting raw Gatorade powder from the grocery store. He got addicted, buying experimental kinds of Gatorade on the street from fruit punch dealers. It was a gateway powdered drink, and soon he was into the heavy stuff; Kool Aid, Ovaltine, meal replacement shakes, he did it all. His wife would come home and find him dazed and high on electrolytes. She eventually left him when, for their anniversary, he cooked her a turkey basted in Gatorade Cool Fusion Lemon-Lime. But he says that was just the wake-up call he needed in his life, and he realized he wasn't looking for the Gatorade high. He was looking for the Gatorade shower.
Marinelli checked himself into a rehab facility, where he spent the better part of a weekend arguing with doctors that it waspossible to get addicted to Gatorade. After he got out he came immediately home and began construction on a second showerhead in his shower. But instead of spraying water, this one would dispense Gatorade. Well, he couldn't actually afford all the Gatorade that would require, but it does dispense Sam's Choice Sam-ade, the Wal-Mart generic brand of sports drink. But it is ice cold, just like it would be if his players dumped it on him. Marinelli says he often sits in his new Gatorade shower and weeps, wondering what he could have done differently with the Lions. He says it helps to feel that sticky liquid on him again, and it is slowly helping to heal his many wounds.
In a press release that was sent out to all major media outlets today, it was made known that Marvin Harrison's Wash 'N Shoot franchise would be opening 5 new locations in and around the Philadelphia area in the near future. The popular combination of car wash and shooting range has been a surprising success for the Indianapolis wide receiver, aside of course from the three person shooting that took place there last year, for which Harrison is a suspect.
The press release talks about the success of the franchise: "When Harrison opened the first combination of live fire gun range and car wash, many people thought it wouldn't work. These are probably the same people that thought Randall Cunningham's Colonics & Discount Plumbing Supplies wouldn't work either. But, here we are five years after our grand opening, and business is bigger than ever! The so-called safety inspectors said we would have too many accidental gunshots, but we've only had three...that have been reported to the authorities. Only 3 people put in critical condition in five years? I'd say that makes them the no-fun inspectors."
The concept of Marvin Harrison's Wash N Shoot is both simple and brilliant. You drive your car through the long wash tunnel as in any normal car wash, only with all the windows rolled down. You, your wife, and your kids are all given live semi-automatic handguns to use during the ride. Then, as you proceed down the tunnel, you battle the hot wax and cleaning brushes coming into your window to shoot at various targets. A sign warns that if you do not bring your best skills, you will probably lose a portion of your eyesight, as the wax is toxic.
The targets that pop up during the ride are all villains that Marvin Harrison has battled throughout his career and life. You can shoot the Patriots Defense, the Chargers Defense, the Steelers Defense, or just any of the 100's of defenses that have played the Colts in the playoffs and managed to shut them down. You can also battle Harrison's hamstring, which has plagued several of his recent seasons. He actually had the muscle removed and hung onto a target for some realistic bloody action. Finally, you have the chance to shoot a giant monster made of scrambled eggs and Skittles candy, that used to haunt Marvin's dreams as a young boy. It is truly terrifying.
The press release goes on to say that the new Wash N' Shoot locations are looking for new employees: "We are now hiring for Chloroform And Relocation Specialists. You will need to have experience chloroforming injured people and relocating them off-property so that the police do not catch wind of it. Experience chloroforming people aside from merely female dates preferred. Examples of previous body relocation work desired, can provide shovels to dig if hidden bodies deceased."
The Pittsburgh Steelers are doing their best to help their fans out for the upcoming AFC Championship Game against the Baltimore Ravens. In these hard economic times, the Steelers organization wants to make sure it is taking care of the people who spend hundreds of dollars to come and see them at Heinz Field. To that end they will be offering a special $15 beer for fans in attendance.
The beer served is a delicious 3 ounce serving of Bud Ultra Light Select, a special blend being made especially for the game by Anheuser-Busch. It is a combination of Bud Light, tap water, and a double serving of air. The goal is to allow anyone to be able to enjoy a delicious cold one at the stadium, and now they can with such a great affordable deal.
"When I go to the games with my family, I want to be able to enjoy a beer with my kids," said Steeler fan Todd Turnage. "But up until now, it's always been just way too pricey. I've had to get them a $12 Sprite instead. Now with this great deal, we can all get drunk together, I can finally share a post-game DUI with my son."
"I like this deal because I like to get really drunk," said season ticket holder Jimmy Stone. "I want to be so drunk, I'm unable to say a simple "Go Steelers!" chant. But before beer was so expensive, I would still be able to properly pronounce Steelers late into the 4th quarter. But now, I can be the fun drunk everyone in my section has come to love, and they can shout their usual terms of endearment like "Go Home Jimmy!" and "Oh god, I hope he doesn't sit in this section again next year!" Thank you Steelers, for making going to games affordable again."
First it was the Browns firing of Coach Romeo Crennel, then Rod Marinelli and the Lions parted ways. Shortly thereafter both Eric Mangini and Mike Shanahan were shown the door by their respective teams. And just when you thought the NFL coaching carousel couldn?t spin any faster, along comes the Raiders and Al Davis to spice things up again.
Apparently feeling left out of the hiring and firing news of late, Davis knew he needed to act.
?I was concerned that the Raiders were starting to lose their status as the team most likely to fire a head coach,? said Davis, speaking at his weekly press conference through a self-made paper megaphone. ?As President of the Raiders, I am charged with keeping our team at the top of the list of worst places for a head to coach to land, and I hadn?t made a move since I fired that smart-mouth little punk Wade Griffin back on September 30, 1998.? (Here the press conference was briefly interrupted as Davis? handlers rushed to the podium and reminded him that the smart-mouth little punk he fired was actually named Lane Kiffin and that the year was actually 2008.)
After firing his handlers for correcting him in public, Davis resumed the press conference by stating that contrary to reports by that ?professional liar, amateur rodeo clown and noted part-time male escort? Chris Mortensen, the Raiders were not leaning towards hiring current interim coach Tom Cable as a permanent solution to their coaching vacancy. Further, Davis denied any interest in hiring New York Giants OC Kevin Gilbride because, according to Davis ?he seemed like a guy who might do well enough to stay here for a while.?
Instead, Davis announced that just before the press conference, the Raiders had reached an agreement to hire former Boston College head coach ?Jeb Jagorinski? as the next coach of the Silver and Black. ?Jeb came highly recommended to me as someone who understands what its like to work for a boss who will fire you on a moments notice. As a young, smart, successful and ambitious coach, he is the perfect choice to be the next former head coach of the Raiders. I can tell you that I have already met with Coach Jargoreeski this morning in his office, and I didn?t like the way he carried himself. He acted like he owned the place and even had the audacity to put pictures of his own family in there.?
Following his statement, Davis introduced Coach Jagodzinski as the Head Coach of the Oakland Raiders, and then proceeded to fire him ?with cause? as he made his way to the podium. Showing signs of emotion, Jagodzinski noted that he was disappointed, but still appreciative of the opportunity to be a head coach in the NFL. He noted his experiences of ?the plane ride out to Oakland? and ?bumping into Raiders quarterback JaMarcus Russell in the hallway? as memories he would take with him of his time with the team. As for the again vacant head coach position in Oakland, the search continues.
The Cincinnati Bengals have been reprimanded today by the NFL for attempting to place their franchise tag on New England Patriots QB Matt Cassel. The Bengals submitted their franchise tag paperwork some time overnight with Cassel's name on it instead of one of their own players. The league sent a primer on how the franchise system works to head coach Marvin Lewis, much like the primer they had sent to all 53 players on their roster after they began the year 0-8 about how football works. The Patriots in turn used their franchise tag on Cassel legally.
"Look, they already have Tom Brady," said Bengals owner Mike Brown. "What are they going to do with a second great quarterback? At least let us have one! Our guy Carson Palmer can't make it through a game of Madden without getting injured! Obviously the rules are unfair if they are going to allow the Patriots to have both these guys out there at once next year. You wait and see, they will both be throwing touchdown passes at the same time and on the same play next year. That is just unfair! 14 points on one play! How are my Bengals ever supposed to get 14 points in 60 minutes to beat that score?!"
Matt Cassel made a brief statement after hearing the news of his almost move to Cincinnati. "Thank you, oh god thank you Patriots," was all he said in a statement released to the press.
The Miami Dolphins came away with a crushing first round loss to the Baltimore Ravens yesterday, with 5 turnovers and a horrid offensive showing to bounce themselves out of their first playoff appearance in 7 seasons. Coach Tony Sparano was asked at the post-game press conference which area he felt most could have used better preparation before the game.
"I don't like to talk about that really, because it just gets me so angry about how badly prepped we were," said Sparano. "Sure, we looked like lost sheep out there on defense, and sure we completed more passes to Ed Reed than our own receivers. But the thing that hurts most was that none of our players could correctly answer the AFLAC Trivia Question at halftime! Not a single one!
"We prepared all week for this thing! We studied Dolphins history, Ravens history, first round playoff trivia, recent hall of fame inductees, questions about the surrounding Miami area! But then they ask something about what the record was of the 1974 Cleveland Browns?! How were we supposed to remember they changed to the Ravens! This question hit us like a Mack truck today, and we were just completely unready for it."
During halftime players and coaches were gathered around the TV waiting for the familiar duck voicing AFLAC, instead of preparing for the following half. The Dolphins players were caught totally off-guard by the Browns trivia. Some attempted to phone a friend, others tried to look up the answer on the iPhones, but in the end there just wasn't enough time for them to get onto Wikipedia and check. They came back to the field for the second half dejected and beaten down, and their play never recovered.
"We're gonna be ready for this situation next year," said Sparano. "We didn't work all year just to let that damn duck beat us when it counts. We're bringing a full football almanac next year, and maybe that Stump The Schwab from ESPN. We'll be back, mark my words, you feathered piece of shit."
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