Music from The Jambrones, LCD Soundsytem, Pearl Jam, and Electric Guest
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Back from the dead, The Scizz joins The Barrister for some delightful conversation wherein the pair take endless potshots at everyone, talk about the pitiful Buffalo hockey club, ponder Donald Trump and the meaning of life, and discuss the Wayans brothers. And other stuff probably.
Music from The Jambrones, LCD Soundsytem, Pearl Jam, and Electric Guest
Download here or here. RSS feed here. iTunes button below. Streaming player below. Protect ya neck.
Hey kids, it’s been a long time (unless you listen to the Podcast, and you probably should listen to the podcast). Everything about Buffalo sports sucks complete monkey dicks and when I think about it, I want to die. So sitting down and putting those thoughts into long form isn’t exactly something I look forward to doing. But let's give it a shot. As a bonus, there’s some mailbag-ish Twitter questions that I chose to answer below about cats and other neat stuff.
First off, before we get to the mailbag, I feel the need to throw some additional dirt on the corpse of Ralph Wilson. I’ll keep it brief because others have made the same point I’m about to more eloquently than I probably will, but it needs to be reiterated. Don’t ever forget while you’re sucking back Genny Cream Ales at the Ralph Wilson Memorial Tailgate Party that Ralph was a cheap old fuck who did absolutely nothing to secure the future of the Bills in Buffalo. When he died, my mind didn’t go straight to “Oh man, this sucks…we should celebrate everything that nice old man did for us!” and jump into the “My Favorite Bills Memory of the Time I saw Ralph at the Stadium and He Shook My Hand And It was Fucking Magical” circlejerk. My first thought was, “How soon do the Bills leave Buffalo?” It’s sad, I wish I could have been able to say goodbye to Ralph without sounding like a petulant little shitbag, but that’s his legacy to me. He left that door open and I ran right through the motherfucker. Not in a rude way, but not with the reverence that would have been deserved had that stubborn old codger actually given a fuck about us. Compared to The Outlander and The Barrister, I was downright polite.
Ok, lets take some Twitter questions, because hey I hate myself and so should you! There’s a definite Ted Nolan theme to all the questions that I was asked. I think I’ve made it pretty clear that I have a mild dislike for Captain Compete Level, but we need to dive deeper. I’m totally going to ignore the Buffalo Blue Collar Compete Level Work Hard bullshit, because I’ve made it abundantly clear in this space that I fucking loathe it. Steve Ott, Blue Collar, Ted Nolan, Work Hard - all of it can go die in John Ramsey’s wine cellar for all I care.
I picked this question because of the way it was asked, I think the two things go hand-in-hand. Part of the issue I have with Nolan is that he’s just flat out the wrong guy for the development of young kids. If you’re paying attention, you’ll notice that aside from noted superstars Matt D’Agostini, Mike Weber, and Jamie McBain, we have a lot of youngish kids and like 50 billion draft picks coming through here the next few years.
Now, I know that realistically not all of them will become NHL players, not to mention GREAT NHL players. But I think the odds of either just decreased with this Nolan extension. He’s never shown that he likes to play rookies in any meaningful way until this year with Zemgus Girgensons. s that a testament to how good Zemgus is? Or was it “hey, this guy is on my Olympic team, so I should probably keep him around me.”? It’s probably more of the former, but who the hell knows…the latter wouldn’t shock me one bit based on Nolan’s past or the fact that he plays D’Agostini 20 minutes a night because the guy coaches at his hockey school. Hopefully he’s on-board with developing these kids, and not giving John Scott their ice time because “THEY DIDN’T EARN IT,” but based on his magical Try Real Hard Fairy Dust crap, that is the only thing he understands or ever talks about.
He's a singularly focused creature that can't be bothered with the nuances of good hockey, keeping his dick out of the vaginas of other dude's wives, or waiting a reasonable amount of time between meals. So, yes, Ted Nolan is a zombie.
As far as Mikhail Grigorenko and Joel Armia?? I’m writing them off now. There’s no fucking way they amount to anything under Nolan. He’s not going to let them. So this move has already cost them 2 quality young players, both first round picks. How long will the final trail of Marek Zagarapan-ish dead be?
The other aspect of Ted Nolan, NHL Coach that’s been surfaced by many people is the fact that he readily admits to having no knowledge of X’s and O’s and that he’s not an X’s & O’s guy. Cool, that’s good news. I mean, it’s not like over the course of the next 3 years there will be – lets say 10 – guys who have never played NHL hockey coming to him for advice and knowledge that he doesn’t have. TRYING SUPER HARD AND STUFF is fantastic don’t get me wrong. I’m probably a shitty person to confirm that for you, because I do just enough to get by and it’s worked for 30+ years, I’m basically the Cody Hodgson of life. So if they don’t bring in assistants who have exceptional knowledge of NHL systems and what it takes to play in the NHL besides “try hard”, there could be some serious trouble ahead.
So when will the Sabres be good?? Before this extension I would have said 3 years to playoffs, 4 years to serious hockey team. Now?? At least 5 years to maybe hitting 8th place, and I’m basing that off of the fact that 2 first overall picks will have enough natural talent to overcome the bullshit they’re going to be subjected to the minute they pull on that sweater.
The other part of the Nolan thing I hate is that it’s not a hockey decision by any means. It’s bullshit pandering to all the fucking horrible assholes who (I hope) are a very vocal minority and drink the Berry Blue Collar Kool Aid that Nolan dispenses, like a modern day Jim Jones – wherein Cheektowaga is like Jonestown. One day I hope to come home and find a bunch of fat, dead Pollacks in PatrickKaleta jerseys laying on Union Road with blue lips. Whereas Ralph Wilson died and did some shitty things, at least he never let the fucking WGR Whiner Line influence his decisions as it relates to his team.
You know, Buffalo is a tremendous hockey town…people will go watch hockey, even if it’s real bad. If the Sabres had a marketing department that was worth a shit, you wouldn’t need to hire bad coaches because people like them to keep people coming to games. You seriously waited until last week to do “Fan Appreciation” events?? Fucking Christ, teams around the league do all sorts of cool shit to get people to go to games. Promotions for students, promotions for LGBT groups, bobblehead giveaways, trading card giveaways, t-shirt giveaways, Star Wars Night, Lord of the Rings night…whatever. The Sabres do so fucking little of this that I understand why that arena has become a silent, miserable place. It has a little to do with THEY BAD and a lot to do with “going to games isn’t fun”. You have a market that will eat the shit you put out for it, and you can’t even put out some ketchup or mustard to dull the taste a little for them. Give some incentive for people to not race to StubHub and get that $7 for a Florida Panthers game. Make losing a little bit more fun than it has to be, there’s always going to be people mad that you suck shit as a hockey team that you won’t be able to placate – but those people aren’t going anywhere – do fun shit to keep fringe people interested in whatever the fuck it is you’re doing over there.
Fuck, lets move onto some fun questions before I start hemorrhaging.
NOT HELPING!!! Yeah, as it turns out I have to leave California this summer and head back East to live on Long Island for a year. I’m not real thrilled about it, because I fucking LOVE California…but the fact that I can meet up with Dubs and the gang for beers and sports will help dull the pain of leaving paradise. After that, we will end up somewhere else…so don’t get too attached. I have no idea what to expect from Long Island, other than it apparently costs more to live there than where I do now and it’s full of Jews. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but fucking seriously, that's what everyone who hears I'm moving there makes sure to tell me. It's weird. Oh, and I heard they have a Bennigans.
As far as other teams go – the Penguins will always be my second team, and I’m partial to the Sharks as well.
Our cats are exceptionally lazy. Most cats are. One of them likes to curl up on my lap and sleep for hours on end. Which also shows how lazy I am, because I’m available to stop being a sentient being and instead just be a chair for hours on end. The only compete level in our cats revolves around food or occasionally staring at shit outside wishing they could go out there and get hit by cars.
Clawed. Which means we don’t have nice furniture and will never have nice furniture. Or children.
I never play anything without a cat napping on my lap helping me shoot brown people or robots. I even announce that I’m going to shoot people and usually one of them will hop up and join me.
I’m always down for some man shooting or hockey pucks on the video game systems, but I usually don’t play until you east coast shitbags are sleeping. I have both Xbox One and PS4 (and Xbox 360 too) – you can hit me up at essbeeay on Xbox Live or essbeeay on PSN. I might not always jump on the headset if I'm being sensitive about making a shitload of noise and risking my dick being removed by an angry Vet Student.
You can also follow me there on Twitter, @essbeeay which is how I usually sign off…so bye!!
I don’t know if this is going to be my last Bills post of the season. Last night, full of such familiar rage after such a familiar loss, I couldn't imagine concocting any more takes on a team that has so thoroughly shat on my heart now that the rest of the games matter only in some vague developmental-yet-still-really-meaningless-because-fuck-it-all-they-are-still-objectively terrible way. Having just finished this post, I'm still not sure.
Erik James tosses bullets, the defense makes little Geno look like the football equivalent of Gigli, and our Buffalo Bills do what they want for 60 minutes – a Bills/Jets Week 11 Recap
In the wake of such a joyous victory, it’s probably no surprise that it’s taken a little longer to get a recap up. Words are simply insufficient to express the happiness with which I take every step throughout the Tri-State knowing that my beloved squad has vanquished such an annoying and petulant team from the nether regions of Douchebagistan, New Jersey.
Either that, or the Apologist offered to do the recap and then got burnt out by over-thinking it and now I am diligently picking up his fucking predictable slack.
That really was a great game. The first of its kind this year: a convincing win by the Bills; the result never really in doubt beyond half time. Sure, many fans, including a few in my living room, expected the game to fall apart when the Jets finally put a touchdown on the board, but those efforts by Gangrene, excuse me Gang_Green, were woefully insufficient compared to the kind of day Buffalo was having. Fucking unreal, totally unexpected, and still has me tingling from head to toe a day and half later.
Bullet points await!!
Finding it hard to give a shit today because, well, I don't. It was bad. Really fucking bad. Everyone, get better, be less awful, and win us a goddamned football game next week. Take your fucking mulligan. You don't deserve it for that steaming pile of useless football yesterday, but we're giving it to you because we're both loyal and gigantic suckers.
Fuck you for ruining my Sunday, you underachieving pieces of garbage -- that's right. UNDERachieving. We all know that was far from your best effort. My balls ache with the Buffalo-Bills-ian blue balls you gave me yesterday. A missed fucking opportunity for a team working to establish an identity that doesn't make us weep at night.
Doug... DOUG. You and your staff watched that happen and did nothing to stop it. I don't know what you're up to, but fucking quit it. You are not powerless to stop a game from getting out of hand, but punting it from the Steelers fucking 36 yard line sure suggests that you think you are.
For the first time all season, a distinct turnaround from how I thought of them not even one day ago, I think of this squad - coaches and players alike - as cowardly. A team full of beasts, of hard-workers and guys who've simply given their best, reduced to a sniveling mound of unprepared and lackluster pussies. This could be an overreaction, but we all saw what went down yesterday. And no part of it looked like the team that has shown up every game to do work. The team that we've been willing to fall in love with.
Get it right or get bent.
“That creep can roll, man. / Yeah, but he's a pervert, Dude. / Yeah… / No. He's a sex offender. With a record.” - Bills/Steelers - Week 10
I can’t help thinking this is the most confident Bills fans have been with a losing record since #12 lined up under center. We’re all leery about feeling this way, but the fact of the matter is, against all logic and evidence, this season truly does feel different.
Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that the entire league feels different. Peyton Manning & Wes Welker are teammates… in Denver. Rex Ryan has turned a buttfumble into a contract extension. The Patriots are beatable. The Chiefs are undefeated. The Raiders have a better record than the Giants AND the Steelers. And, hey, wait a second. So do we!
The Bills have remained competitive and even exciting with a depleted secondary, their best offensive weapon slowed by injury, and three different starting quarterbacks in the last five games. You have to tip your hat to Doug Marrone and his coaching staff. Sure, there have been questionable decisions made and somehow, 9 games in, he’s yet to win a challenge. But the attitude on the field feels different. Take the pick-6 on the goalline from last weekend. I’m not going to excuse it, but I will say that I love the guts of telling your untested, undrafted quarterback to make a hard throw in that situation. Sure, it walks the fine line between brave and foolish, but let’s be honest with each other. It was easier to get over a gutsy call on the 3rd & goal, than it would’ve been to watch another “try not to lose” approach we’ve seen over the last decade (3 straight runs for no gain and a field goal = Dick Jauron’s wet dream). And more importantly than all that is that he’s got the players believing in his plan. All you have to do is look at that same play. Tuel & Graham chased Sean Smith the entire length of the field knowing full well neither would catch him and all they were really accomplishing was tiring themselves out for the ensuing drive. But they weren’t going to give up on the play. No excuses. No quit. That’s the attitude Marrone has instilled so far. (His reaction to the play: “Situationally do you question the play call? No … Do you question the execution of it? Yes.”)
It’s far too soon to say whether or not this will translate to future success, but you can’t help feeling like little by little, the culture and expectation of failure that has been the foundation of this franchise for almost two decades is finally being chipped away and a new one is being built.
Goddammit. This may be a ruse, again. It may be the same old Bills sent to Orchard Park to fool us into some unsettled sense of optimism, who am I to predict the future, but, fuck. This team of ours is really enjoyable. Even when losing.
Yesterday went exactly how I sort of dreamed it would, to the extent my dreams are always, when no one's looking, tempered by a solemn acceptance that sports are simply sad. The Bills played out of their minds, kept an undefeated team in check, and ultimately lost because, well, just because. The lingering legacy of a snake bitten franchise appeared on the field yesterday and it meant a loss. Predictably, I suppose.
But this team, as shackled by apparent fate as it is, and as injured and beat up as it is, plays unbelievably fucking hard. They come prepared, they play balls out and it's a joy to watch. CJ Spiller was playing on one good leg and still broke defenders' ankles throughout the game. Fred Jackson remained a work horse and constantly broke tackles against a highly rated defense. Marquise Goodwin amazed us with his speed, again, as he continues to creep up the depth chart. The defense was as sturdy as they've been all season, arguably. And Jeff Tuel, well... he was ok.
And that's where the season remains an overwhelming positive, while at the same time requiring overwhelming patience from a fan base jumping out of its shoes with excitement at the prospect of cheering for a winner once again.
Jeff Tuel, of whom we all expected so little, played well. He was a disaster on the pick 6, and was pretty bad at other times with overthrown balls and missed open targets, but he was ok. More to the point, he was exceedingly better than advertised and feared. Playing within an offensive system built to move the ball by runs and passes, while giving the quarterback the option to make reads at the line and exploit defensive schemes, Jeff Tuel was pretty successful and, even accounting for the two interceptions, outplayed Alex Smith on the other side of the ball. Tuel has been getting a lot of shit from fans over the past 22 hours, and most of it is deserved, but to lose sight of the good things he did is to lose sight of the complete disaster that reasonable thinking fans were expecting from him.
Tuel's game yesterday, mistakes included, was the kind of surprise we've gotten used to with this season's Bills team. Players generally playing above our expectations, sometimes exceeding even the most homer of Bills fans' hopes for their play. Mario Williams. Leodis. Robey. Lawson. Aaron Williams. Bobby Woods. Kiko. Goodwin. Choice. Marcus Easley. FRANK FUCKING SUMMERS. CJ and Freddie. Even TJ Graham sometimes (but not really, let's be honest). This is a team of overachievers - players who've been representing the franchise well on the field, working hard for a full 60 minutes, and putting together a Buffalo Bills product that is remarkable.
And that's why we love them after Week 9 - after the sixth loss of the year - because they're showing us something to remark upon; something we haven't seen in a long fucking while. Sure, they're losing just as "same old Bills" have lost year after year, but we can see and know and love the difference, right?
I'm still all in, bitches. Go Bills.
That may have been overstated.
It's Saturday night, the Bills still haven't named a starting QB for tomorrow, and in about eleven hours they're playing the sole remaining undefeated team in the National Football League. Some miracle ass shit will have to go down for events to combine into a Buffalo victory, so that's what we're going to hope for. An against all odds win pulled from the depths of asses throughout Ralph Wilson Stadium. Bring lube.
If this is going to happen, it will be equal parts ridiculous, painful and beautiful.
From where I sit, on a throne of bedazzled hyperbole, the Chiefs have to lose. Articles about how stupid lucky they are to be 8-0 have been frequent this week, the consensus being that Kansas City has had an incredibly easy schedule etc etc... the kinds of rationalizations that play ever-so-well into the psyche of a Buffalo Bills fan base eager to count their chickens before natural selection even establishes what a chicken the fuck is. America wants the Bills to win to right some assumed wrong in the football universe. So, whadya say, Bills? Get it.
Mind you, again, none of this is really possible. Miracles, man. They give no shits.
In the midst of Vanek's departure, massive Liverpool and Red Bulls wins, and a righteous hangover, this is a tough one to manage. Alas, I must. - A Bills/Saints Recap with some other stuff tossed in.
If ever there was a mixed fucking bag of a weekend for me and my sport-watching-and-commenting brethren, it was this one. A tremendous Liverpool win, a Sporting KC win forcing the Red Bulls to do the same in order to get their first taste of hardware, a predictable Bills loss at the Superdome, replete with frustrating football and officiating alike, the Red Bulls getting that win and that shield, and Thomas Vanek.
If you're not into the Sabres and came here for Bills-only takes, my not-apologies, fuck you and wait a minute while I opine.
We expected this for Vanek - a guy who all but said he wasn't interested in sticking around this shit bag franchise anymore - though the swiftness with which the trade came late on a Sunday, months before we really expected it, was jarring. You want to be able to steel yourself up for a moment like this; a moment where a player so dear to you and the entire fan base is allowed to go, for now, to a place where things look discernibly brighter and more optimistic; a moment where a player is allowed to walk away, leaving his fans pining for the "could have beens" from a frustrating six years of Sabres hockey. He was a guy you wanted to be wearing the Blue and Gold when this ship eventually (please?) gets righted, but the impossibility of that scenario - Vanek staying and the rebuild occurring with some degree of speed - was unmistakable. He really couldn't stay if all the shit needing fixing is going to get addressed.
A fact that doesn't make it feel any better to see a talent like him depart the club we support.
Vanek has been the sole reason this team was able to fake it for so long, convincing fans and owner alike that the team could figure it out and become a contender; that the deals for Stafford and Myers and Leino and whoever else you want to point to wouldn't be fatal; that perhaps Buffalo could win in spite of those decisions proven to be mistakes by disappointing play and empty nets missed, by out-of-shape camps and defensive gaffes, and by games missed ad infinitum.
Vanek is a talent that seemed to make anything possible, but nevertheless never did. No titles. No Cup runs under his leadership. No true moments where you could really, reasonably think that he was taking the team somewhere other than consecutive sequences of mediocrity with brief pauses for ultimately inconsequential brilliance.
Perhaps I've spent more than enough words on a guy who has won nothing, but received our love anyway, and who is now simply gone. I'd say good luck, but let's be honest, I want all that luck for the squad he's leaving behind.
Fuck it, let's talk about our Bills.
Barrister chats with new-ish Deeg member and previously virginal podcaster, The Commander.
They talk about the Sabres being terrible, the Bills being fun again, media stuff, soccer (?) and try to keep this short but fail ever so miserably. Whatever, The Commander needed to get his feet wet with something long (giggity), and our podcast hoster hasn't been used in over a month.
Lots of music with this one - Ugly Duckiing, Homeboy Sandman, Phil Collins, Gorillaz and 2Pac.
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