• Blitz Picks 2015: Week Eleven


    After taking last week off myself for a little family vacation (thanks to the great Matt Kocsan for filling in), Rich is taking a much-needed breather of his own this week. While we should be back to normal next week, we have a special treat this week, as in his place steps in the Big Man himself, Patrick Sullivan, who's never one to mince words. Your game capsules, a writer's veto, and fantasy minute appear below, but as always, we start by coming at you in threes.

    IT COMES IN THREES

    1. With the Patriots down Dion Lewis and now Julian Edelman, should they still be considered the best team in the AFC?

    PS: In a word, yes. The Patriots still have Tom Brady. They still have Bill Belichick. Danny Amendola is having a a sneaky good - and with Edelman now out, potentially teetering on the brink of being great - season. Malcolm Butler is the goods. After Odell Becham's 87 yard TD catch in the first quarter, Butler locked up Beckham keeping his catches to a measly three for seventeen yards. Chandler Jones is making a legit case for DPOY. Dont'a Hightower and Jamie Collins are less than quietly having their own stellar seasons. BB's new tactic of rotating many offensive lineman has helped alleviate some injury concerns because his 'backup guys are getting real time reps. That is priceless.

    In short, the Patriots are the best run, best coached, most prepared and - more important than all that - the team most capable of last second adaptation in the league.

    Oh, and that Gronkowski guy? He's pretty good, too.

    With the Bengals letting their stripes get rustled by the Texans Monday night and the seemingly inevitable tumble of the Broncos, I'll throw it to you. Who else is left?

    Aside: Dear Bengals fans - way to boo your 8-1 football team. You stay classy now, y'hear?

    BW: We should probably be fair to the Bengals for a second. For all of the prime time crap they receive, they did have an awfully impressive win on a Monday night in week 16 over the Broncos last year, and just a couple of weeks ago, they looked very good against Cleveland on a Thursday night. However, while my gut tells me that this is all more of a fluke than anything, until the Bengals stop throwing out complete clunkers in prime time, and until they actually show up for a playoff game, it’s really difficult to take them seriously.

    Of course the answer is still the Patriots. The AFC is not very good from top to bottom right now, and the Patriots have proven that they’re much more than just Julian Edelman, Dion Lewis, or any other J.A.G. that they turn into a star. The offense is different without those two, but Gronk is still the most unguardable force in the league. They’ll likely rely a bit more on LeGarrette Blount, they’ll mix in Amendola, and they just got back Brandon LaFell on the outside. I’m sure they’ll also find a way to get something out of Aaron Dobson, James White, or someone else. Plus, as you’ve mentioned, the defense has been quite good as well. So yes, they’ll be fine.

    The Denver defense does match up beautifully with New England, but they’ve shown nothing offensively to suggest they can score enough points to take down NE. With the questions surrounding Cincy, Denver’s moribund offense, and the demise of the Colts, the most dangerous team in the AFC is Pittsburgh. Obviously the Steelers, and specifically Ben Roethlisberger, must stay healthy, which is something they’ve struggled to do this year. But if Pittsburgh hits the playoffs in full gear, they have the offense to stay toe-to-toe with the Patriots, and a defense that has improved significantly since their first meeting on opening night. Green Bay showed last year against Seattle in the NFC Championship that a second meeting can sometimes go much differently than the first. New England is a clear favorite over anyone, anywhere, at any time. But Pittsburgh is probably the team most capable of taking them down.


    2. Same question- NFC. Who is currently the best team in the NFC?

    PS: At the moment, it's down to the Cardinals and Panthers, right? I'll keep this one simple. I really like Bruce Arians. I like his aggressive style. keeping the foot on the gas in Seattle was really the only play. Give that team life in that building and you are going to get your generosity returned in a not-so-friendly way. The Arizona defense is stout. Carson Palmer is having a career renaissance like no other. Sporting a Y/A over 9, Palmer is straight killing it.

    Gimme the Cards. For now.

    BW: I’ve been on the Cards all year, but I’ll take this opportunity to waver just a bit. The Panthers have been the most consistent and impressive team in the NFC since the start of the year. When he first entered the league, I did not believe that Cam Newton had the throwing ability, the leadership, or the intangibles to be a successful starting QB. Over the past few years, he has made me a believer, and this year, he’s turned into my vote for league MVP through 9 games. Palmer has been great, and is a close 2nd right now, but he also has a ton to work with in Arizona. The Panthers are starting Ted Ginn and Jerricho Cotchery at WR, yet they’ve scored at least 27 points in 7 straight games, including matchups against 3 of the 10 best defenses in the league in Seattle, Philly, and GB. Cam has straight put that offense on his back. And while Luke Kuechly continues to perform as one of the best defensive players in the league, the back 4, which was their biggest weakness last year, has turned into a real strength with the development of Josh Norman into one of the best shutdown CBs in the league. Arizona is legit, and top-to-bottom they probably have better talent than Carolina, but right now, there’s no better team in the NFC than the Panthers.


    3. NFL officiating the last twelve months has been an unmitigated disaster. The botched ending to the Jaguars/Ravens game last Sunday being the most recent - and possibly most relevant since the Fail Mary - example. How should the NFL address poorly performing officials who make - or miss, in this case - calls which DIRECTLY impact the final play of a game?

    PS: Let's not mince words. The NFL will fine a player for wearing the wrong colored socks. Hell, this league will fine a player for NOT HAVING HIS SOCKS PULLED UP HIGH ENOUGH. But an officiating crew who has now directly impacted the final outcome of more than one game? Suspend the side judge. Relegate the back judge to duty covering whoever was playing South Jacksonville High that week..

    The simple answer is to start firing these officials. The multiple offenders need to go. However, this is too simplistic.

    Officials have been given the safety blanket we call Instant Replay. I see guys trying to make every call as reviewable as possible. Make the call which leaves the most options coming out of commercial. It's quite pathetic.

    The NFL needs to make it ALL reviewable - every single snap, no matter what - or they need to nix Instant Replay. The in-between leaves us with Jags/Ravens, illegal bats, etc.

    We have the technology...We can rebuild him...


    Get your s*** together, NFL.

    BW: Yup, seconded. You’ve pretty much gone in the exact direction I was planning on going, so there’s no sense in me repeating your point. Pete Morelli and his crew are receiving nothing more than a slap on the wrist for blowing the end of last week’s Ravens-Jaguars matchup. This crew, the same crew that worked last year’s Cowboys-Lions wild card matchup that ended in controversy, and the same crew that worked this year’s Steelers-Chargers Monday night matchup that saw 18 seconds run off the clock unnoticed following a late touchback, will have their efforts from last week reflected in the league’s weekly evaluation, but will not be subject to suspension. The problem is, this is not simply a mistake, it is continued incompetence. I’m sure there are union issues that the NFL has to worry about, so firing these officials would probably take a lot of paperwork, cost money in severance, etc, but the NFL has to take a stand. If you can’t do your job well, you shouldn’t be allowed to continue doing your job. Period.


    FANTASY MINUTE- The Ethics of Fantasy Football
    We’ve reached the time of year where trade deadlines are either approaching or have passed, and many of you are making your final playoff push. To you, the best answer I can give is that if possible, now is the time to ensure that you have handcuffed your best players. If you have been rolling with Justin Forsett or Marshawn Lynch, having Javorius Allen or Thomas Rawls on your bench makes a whole lot more sense than continuing to hold onto a CJ Spiller. Find your core, keep the options that can legitimately help you in a pinch, then consolidate the rest of your roster and insure your stars.

    However, there are also many of you who find yourselves outside of the playoff chase. In my home league, I have already clinched my worst finish in the 13 year history of the league. Never before have I finished worse than 6-7, but I currently stand at 2-8 (including 3 losses by less than 5 points) and have been officially eliminated from the playoff race. There’s no way around it, my team has stunk, and every move I’ve made (keeping Roethlisberger over Hopkins, trading Eifert for Bradford to replace Big Ben, trading for Eddie Lacy mid-season, etc) has backfired. Unfortunately, we all eventually have a season where nothing goes right, and it’s rather frustrating. Not just for this year, but also for last year, next year, and beyond, you owe it to your league-mates to see it through to the end. Roster dumping is never cool. Things can be a bit different in a dynasty league, where rebuilding becomes an option, but in a redraft league, or even smaller keeper leagues (mine is a 1-player keeper league), it is important to continue to field your best lineup throughout the season, simply for the integrity and respect of your league. There’s nothing worse than having a playoff spot decided because one team that was out of it decided to dump his roster and not field a credible lineup.


    THE PICKS

    Thursday, Nov. 19
    Titans at Jaguars, 8:25 p.m.
    We should be talking about an exciting young Jaguar offense against Marcus Mariota. Instead, we get this.


    Next…PICK: (JAC 7-0)


    Sunday, Nov. 22
    Colts at Falcons, 1 p.m.- Remember the old show Car 54, Where Are You? Change that number to 84, and you have the Falcons this season. Atlanta has lost 3 in a row and no team is as reliant on its top 2 offensive weapons as the Falcons. Devonte Freeman and Julio Jones have each combined for over 1000 yards from scrimmage, which represents more than 58% of the team’s total offensive production. That’s a higher percentage than even last year’s Cowboys, who had DeMarco Murray and Dez Bryant combine for 56% of the team’s total offense. You’d think the Falcons will have to find a better weapon than Jacob Tamme to fill that #3 option role, and that’s where #84 comes in. Roddy White is 34, and while relatively old by football standards, it’s certainly not ancient. For the Falcons to be taken seriously in January, they’ll need White to rebound after the bye to be something decidedly more than merely their 5th best receiving option. PICK: (ATL 6-1)

    Rams at Ravens, 1 p.m.- The Ravens were fortunate to escape their game last week against the Jaguars with a loss. PICK: (BAL 6-1)

    Redskins at Panthers, 1 p.m.- As a friend of mine said earlier this week, “It’s awesome when your team is so bad that if they have a successful week, the opponent realizes something must be wrong and starts firing people.” The other Gruden was the straw that finally broke the other Ryan’s back. This week, if they can knock the Panthers from their unbeaten perch, Dan Snyder is likely to celebrate by immediately hiking stadium parking costs by 50%. Don’t worry, that cost will be completely offset by the special 5% discount he’ll offer at all Johnny Rockets locations for any day that doesn’t end in a “y”. PICK: (CAR 7-0)

    Broncos at Bears, 1 p.m.- Yes, we are living in a world where Brock Osweiler is likely to represent an upgrade for the Broncos over Peyton Manning. The Bears have actually looked pretty good—a John Fox trait in that he historically seems to make poor teams look better and good teams look worse. In other words, he’s Jeff Fisher, supposing that Jeff Fisher was also given 3 years with Peyton Manning. The John Fox revenge narrative is cute and all, and while it’s tough not to be impressed with what Jay Cutler (REVENGE!) has done over the past handful of games, I have a feeling Chris Harris and Aqib Talib are licking their chops in anticipation of this matchup. PICK: (CHI 6-1)

    Raiders at Lions, 1 p.m.- Not only did Matthew Stafford just take down Aaron Rodgers for the Lions’ first win in Lambeau Field since 1991, he is on pace to shatter last year’s TD total, improve his sack rate, and finish with the highest completion percentage of his career. He’s matched Andrew Luck in TDs and INTs, and has a higher QBR than Andrew Luck and Peyton Manning. Not impressed? Talk to me two months ago. (With Biggie filling in this week, I figured it was only right to accentuate the positives). PICK: (OAK 5-2)

    Jets at Texans, 1 p.m.- The Ryan Fitzpatrick Revenge Tour heads to Houston this weekend, where… uh… “I probably learned more about football last year than I had the rest of my career in a single season in terms of being able to see the game from a different angle.” OK, so maybe this game isn’t about revenge. Somehow, this has become a rather large game in the AFC. The Jets are currently tied with the Bills (but lose the tie-breaker) for the 2nd Wild Card spot in the AFC, and after Monday night’s upset of the Bengals, the Texans now find themselves in a tie for 1st place in the AFC South with the suddenly Luck-less Colts, and only 1 game back of the Bills (and Jets) in Wild Card positioning. Plus, that Darrell Revis vs. DeAndre Hopkins matchup may be the best of the entire weekend. PICK: (NYJ 5-2)

    Cowboys at Dolphins, 1 p.m. - When Tony Romo first went down, the goal was for the Cowboys to stay within striking distance in the NFC East. Success! PICK: (DAL 5-2)

    Packers at Vikings, 1 p.m. - Adrian Peterson went vintage AD against Oakland last week, closing the game with an 80 yard TD run to cap his first 200 yard performance since week 12 of 2013 against the Bears. The Vikings have won 7 of 8, and have moved past the Packers into 1st place in the NFC North. Depending on your line of reasoning, they’ve drawn the Packers this week at either the perfect time or the worst time. Green Bay has lost 3 in a row, and frankly, have looked out of sync on offense for weeks. Eddie Lacy looking like he’s about to birth a Gremlin isn’t helping, but the Packers have clearly missed the explosiveness they lost when Jordy Nelson went down with an ACL back in August. PICK: (GB 7-0)

    Buccaneers at Eagles, 1 p.m.- This is the most likely to finish 0-0 game of the week, if for nothing else than the notion of a Chip Kelly offense ending a game scoreless is pretty hilarious to me. After losing to the Dolphins last week, Kelly apparently decided to take some pride in the fact that the Eagles ran 88 plays in the game. I’d love to provide more analysis, but I’ll let Philadelphia sports-writing legend, Pro Football HOFer, and Grade A Human Being Ray Didinger take it from here. “You ran 88 plays and you scored 19 stinking points against the Miami Dolphins… I don't care how many damn plays you ran. Don't tell me how many because I don't care. At the end of the game, the scoreboard tells me it wasn’t enough." Trust me, you need to follow the link to hear his entire rant, it is well worth the effort. And I can’t state this strong enough, Ray Didinger is the most sensible, mild-mannered guy I’ve ever listened to. He NEVER goes off like that. PICK: (PHI 6-1)

    Chiefs at Chargers*, 4:05 p.m. - Let’s not sleep on the Chiefs. After starting the season 1-6, they’ve won 3 in a row, and in their last 5, the defense has forced 13 TOs and allowed less than 20 points in each game. With Buffalo being the only team remaining on their schedule with a winning record, the Chiefs are in prime position to make a playoff push. PICK: (KC 5-2)

    49ers at Seahawks, 4:25 p.m. - The sudden rise and fall of this rivalry makes me appreciate even more the relevant longevity of other rivalries, like Colts-Patriots and Steelers-Ravens. With Blaine Gabbert getting another shot on the road against an angry Legion of Boom, it looks like we’re all thinking that the Niners will be more than a little Gabbertflasted by the time all is said and done. PICK: (SEA 7-0)

    Bengals at Cardinals, 8:20 p.m. - For only the 2nd time, Carson Palmer gets to face his former team in the marquee matchup of the weekend. Palmer is currently playing the best football of his career, and following a win over the Seahawks in Seattle last week, the Cardinals may very well be the favorite to represent the NFC in Super Bowl 50. After an impressive 8-0 start to their season, the Bengals lost at home last week to the Texans. We all knew they weren’t going undefeated. It happens. However, it just so happens that it happened in prime time. When it seemingly always happens. If the Bengals want to fix this trend, they may need to consolidate the number of mouths they’ve been trying to feed. They were at their best last year when feeding Jeremy Hill the rock. He’s not looked good this year, but that’s due at least in part to the fact they aren’t letting him get into rhythm. Feed the ball to Hill and Green, give Eifert his 5-6 catches, give Bernard his 10-12 touches, and let the rest be high-quality accessories. PICK: (ARZ 6-1)


    Monday, Nov. 23
    Bills at Patriots, 8:30 p.m. - Ryan. Belichick. Friends Forever. PICK: (NE 5-2)



    THE WRITER’S VETO
    After Matt’s success last week filling in, I’m suddenly inspired to give this another shot. In perusing through the council picks, we do realize that we (and yes, I have to include myself) have picked the Bears almost unanimously (6-1 to be exact) to take down the Broncos, despite the fact that Jay Cutler is facing the league’s top pass defense, right? If he hasn’t been formally introduced to Chris Harris, Aqib Talib, Von Miller and company prior to this game, there’s a good chance he’ll have plenty of opportunities during the game to make their acquaintance. Yes, Cutler has looked very good, and I’m sure he’ll look good again next week. But let’s not go crazy here people. He is still Jay Cutler, and with everyone jumping on board the Bears bandwagon, this matchup screams bad Jay Cutler. Let’s go ahead and change this pick to Broncos.

    LAST WEEK: 5-9
    SEASON: 87-59 (59%)
    WRITER'S VETO: 1-4, 5 abstain
    UNANIMOUS: 25-13 (65%)

    Comments 9 Comments
    1. Patrick Sullivan's Avatar
      After the Dash picks highlighted in red.

      Thursday, Nov. 19
      Titans at Jaguars, 8:25 p.m. (NFLN)

      Sunday, Nov. 22
      Colts at Falcons, 1 p.m. (CBS)
      Rams at Ravens, 1 p.m. (Fox)
      Redskins at Panthers, 1 p.m. (Fox)
      Broncos at Bears, 1 p.m. (CBS)
      Raiders at Lions, 1 p.m. (CBS)
      Jets at Texans, 1 p.m. (CBS)
      Cowboys at Dolphins, 1 p.m. (Fox)
      Packers at Vikings, 1 p.m. (Fox)
      Buccaneers at Eagles, 1 p.m. (Fox)
      Bengals at Cardinals, 4:05 p.m. (CBS)
      49ers at Seahawks, 4:25 p.m. (Fox)
      Chiefs at Chargers*, 8:30 p.m. (NBC)

      Monday, Nov. 23
      Bills at Patriots, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN)
    1. Patrick Sullivan's Avatar
      So Brian, let's continue the conversation. The rest of you - as always - are welcome to join in.

      - Pittsburgh is the team other teams wish was not on their remaining schedule. Period. So long as Ben is upright, the Steelers will be better than fine.

      - Good read throwing some sunshine at Matthew Stafford. Everything you wrote is true. Next we need to get to the intangibles. Earlier this season, Golden Tate was quoted saying he "wished he could see more fourth quarter Matt Stafford". well, We saw that guy for the first time this year. Jim Bob Cooter took l'il Matty out of his car seat, removed the cap from the sippy cup and let hs quarterback go play some bi boy football. I saw a look in Staff's eyes that had been largely missing since 2013.

      This takes us to a week eleven matchup against the tackling-averse Raiders. i am one of the lone souls brave enough to take the Lions this week. I see Golden Tate and Ameer Abdullah having nice games. Oh, and the DET defense finally woke up last week. Why was James Jones a non-factor? Darius Saly covered him like white on rice, that's why. Crabtree & Cooper will be a huge challenge. I hope my guys are up to it.
    1. Brian Williams's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Patrick Sullivan View Post
      So Brian, let's continue the conversation. The rest of you - as always - are welcome to join in.

      - Pittsburgh is the team other teams wish was not on their remaining schedule. Period. So long as Ben is upright, the Steelers will be better than fine.

      - Good read throwing some sunshine at Matthew Stafford. Everything you wrote is true. Next we need to get to the intangibles. Earlier this season, Golden Tate was quoted saying he "wished he could see more fourth quarter Matt Stafford". well, We saw that guy for the first time this year. Jim Bob Cooter took l'il Matty out of his car seat, removed the cap from the sippy cup and let hs quarterback go play some bi boy football. I saw a look in Staff's eyes that had been largely missing since 2013.

      This takes us to a week eleven matchup against the tackling-averse Raiders. i am one of the lone souls brave enough to take the Lions this week. I see Golden Tate and Ameer Abdullah having nice games. Oh, and the DET defense finally woke up last week. Why was James Jones a non-factor? Darius Saly covered him like white on rice, that's why. Crabtree & Cooper will be a huge challenge. I hope my guys are up to it.
      If not Pittsburgh, the AFCs best other hope, save for Cincy entering NE with 2 playoff wins under their belt, is Brock Osweiler immediately playing at a pro bowl level for Denver. Not likely, but I don't see too many dangerous teams out there, especially since I'm starting to think KC gets that 2nd WC spot.
    1. Patrick Sullivan's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Brian Williams View Post
      If not Pittsburgh, the AFCs best other hope, save for Cincy entering NE with 2 playoff wins under their belt, is Brock Osweiler immediately playing at a pro bowl level for Denver. Not likely, but I don't see too many dangerous teams out there, especially since I'm starting to think KC gets that 2nd WC spot.
      I'm not ready to sell off the Bengals just yet. I also see some "we really don't want to see those guys in the first round" potential with the Raiders. I'd take the Vikings to beat just about every other AFC team right now. That is, until the Colts figure stuff out (I say that starts this weekend, BTW).
    1. Bengals1181's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Patrick Sullivan View Post
      I'm not ready to sell off the Bengals just yet. I also see some "we really don't want to see those guys in the first round" potential with the Raiders. I'd take the Vikings to beat just about every other AFC team right now. That is, until the Colts figure stuff out (I say that starts this weekend, BTW).

      for some reason Marvin Lewis teams don't play well after breaks. He's 4-7-1 after byes, and the Texans game Monday was after a 10 day layoff. They were also playing their 3rd game in 15 days.

      Defense has been playing great, but I don't think its a coincidence that the Bengals offenses' two worst performances this year came after "byes". They are a rhythm offense.


      Not sure how I feel about the Raiders. 2 weeks ago I would have agreed, but they didn't look that great vs the Vikings (the vikings had something to do with that) and I think the Aldon Smith suspension will put a decent dent in their chances.

      If Hoyer comes back, I think the Texans will make a run in the south. he's not a great QB, but he's a good one, and their defense seems like they've figured some stuff out lately. Cedrtainly one of the most talented front 7's in the league. They are #1 in 3rd down D, and 10th in sacks. Haven't given up a TD in 10 quarters, and should extend that against the Jets this week.
    1. Amy's Avatar
      Don't look now but...

      If the Falcons beat the Colts on Sunday and

      if the Texans beat the Jets on Sunday, then

      The 5-5 Texans will lead the AFC South by one game over the 4-6 Colts and 4-6 Jags.
    1. Amy's Avatar
      Re: KC and the Wildcard.

      I don't see it. This is why: Conference record.

      That would be the first tie breaker with the Steelers/Jets/Bills.

      KC is 3-2 in the AFC, while the Bills are 5-4 and the Jets 4-3. Both better. The Steelers are only 3-4, but I think they will get the 5 easily and the fight will be for the 6 seed. I don't think that even if KC can make up the ground overall record wise, they'll get a better AFC record than both the Jets and Bills.

      I see it playing out like this in the AFC:

      1 Seed: Pats
      2. Cincy
      3. Denver
      4. Someone from the AFC South.
      5. Pitt
      6. Bills or Jets.

      Now, what might be interesting is if Denver collapses, KC takes the west, and Houston takes the South as the 3.

      That would give us: Steelers/KC in KC and Bills or Jets vs Houston in Houston as the WC games, and that, in turn, could set up Houston (as the 3) vs Cincy (as the 2), in the divisional round. Cincy would get a chance to get back at Houston for all the past playoff losses or Houston would continue to be the Cincy Kryptonite and either way, it would make for an interesting media lead up to the game.
    1. Brian Williams's Avatar
      I'm saying that KC has an exceedingly manageable schedule from here on out. Getting to 9 or 10 wins means no more than 1 or 2 losses. The Jets have a much tougher schedule, And even getting to 9 or 10 would constitute 2-3 more losses. Considering they already have one more conference loss than KC anyway, I think that puts the Chiefs into a pretty good hypothetical situation. Plus, the Chiefs still get a home game with the Bills, which is their only remaining game against a team over .500. The tough part of their schedule, including GB, Min, Den (twice), Pit, and Cin has passed.
    1. Patrick Sullivan's Avatar
      So the Lions have a new flagship station. The prominent drive-time host of the team's former station, 97.1 the Ticket, claims he is the reason the team chose to move back to WJR AM 760 (btw, an absolute blowtorch of a radio station which can be heard hundreds of miles away from Detroit).

      Valenti opened his show this afternoon with a 15-minute rant in which he stood by the allegation and took a few more shots at the Lions.

      "It's absolutely true," Valenti said. "100% of it. And anything you hear to the contrary, I challenge."

      Valenti said the Lions' complaints about him have been going on for years, and they're responsible for him not appearing on a game-day morning show and on local television.

      "Here's the problem," he said. "This is the problem I've always had with your football team here. They care more about what idiots like Terry (Foster) and I say than they do about the product on the field."

      Valenti claimed that Lions senior vice president of communications Bill Keenist — whom he singled out as his longtime nemesis — tried to call him "on a segment-by-segment basis during my show" to register complaints about things he had said.

      "This is an organization that has systematically made our lives miserable here at the station," said Valenti, adding that some of the team's retribution has included not responding to the show's requests for guests.

      "This is a petty, juvenile, nasty organization," he said. "They don't like me because I don't fear them. ...

      "Play the games, win games, I say nice things. Play the games, lose games, I say mean things. That's it. That's very simple.

      "I don't think there's anybody here crying that this football team's not around anymore. Good. ...

      "For me, selfishly, today's a wonderful day. It's a beautiful day. Because now the gloves can fully come off. Now I don't have to go 80% of the way or 90% of the way."
      A spokeswoman for CBS Local (home of 97.1) claims the split with the Lions was rooted in the station's refusal to censor their on-air talent's commentary about the team.

      So this is the team I cheer on every week, huh? Embarrassing.