Hump day hot takes: Let’s get serious about the Rio Olympics, NFL Training Camp is dumb and the Eli Defense

Editor’s Note: I pretty much hijacked Tim’s blog and made the bottom third into an Eli Manning defense. Being the fearless  supreme leader has its perks

It’s officially August, which means summer is starting to wind down (where did it go?) and the fall/winter sports seasons are starting their transitions into preparation mode. Oh, and the Rio Olympics are starting soon too. Don’t worry I’ll hit on that very soon. I’m jumping right in on my hot takes this week, so let’s go for it. I didn’t post one last week since our fearless leader/editor was on vacation, so you have my latest column from two weeks ago to enjoy before jumping in.

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1. I’m legitimately concerned that someone is going to get violently sick or killed at the Rio Olympics

I’ve bitched a lot about Rio since Brendan started this blog. I’ve pointed out how dumb it is that the Olympics are being held in this hell hole, we’ve argued about the feasibility of the Olympics are for the future, and I’ve showcased literal shit in the water.

So now that the games are finally here, here’s my biggest take/concern/worry. The WHO released their study that said the water in Rio de Janiero is not safe for activity. Let alone getting that into your body by ingestion or even just in your ears or an open wound. That scares me enough as it is for these world class athletes. What do the Olympic organizers say? Don’t open your mouth in the water and you’ll be fine.

Are you fucking kidding me?

So if that wasn’t bad enough, we’re also already hearing stories from athletes who are down in the city and in the Olympic Village being robbed. Hell, even the organizers are going to showcase a mugging of Gisele Bundchen in the Opening Ceremonies. I’m usually one for humor where if it’s true you can laugh at it, but this has gone too far. A Chinese athlete was vomited on and had her stuff stolen. Then more athletes at the Olympic Village had to evacuate the hotel after a fire (where the fire alarms didn’t go off at first) and then they had their shit stolen.

I’ll repeat. Are you fucking kidding me?

I’m concerned for the lives of these athletes from around the world. What’s to stop one of the criminals from Rio kidnapping an athlete and then killing them? Or better yet how is it going to go over when a swimmer or sailor accidentally ingests fecal matter from the water and gets dysentery or another digestive-tract disease that cripples their ability to compete in the Games.

Nothing will stop it, and that’s just it. I’m hoping for the best, but this Olympics has an all-time level of clusterfuck written all over it.

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2. NFL Training Camp may signify the “start of the season” but it’s just so dumb

I’ll preface this scorching hot take with this: I’ve been to training camp both as a fan and as a journalist. Living in Massachusetts, the only training camp experience I’ve had is with the New England Patriots. As one of the most popular teams in the NFL, there was never a shortage of fans at training camp. It remains the same this year, as the Pats averaged around 20,000 people to their practices in the first week of camp.

I know why I was there as a journalist, but in retrospect, I have no idea what attracted me to training camp as a fan. Yeah it’s free and you get “up close and personal” with the players because the seating and standing areas are so close, but you’re literally just watching practice. I feel the same way about preseason football, except that you pay a shit load more for everything.

You’ll see position battles and the occasional skirmish, but it’s still just practice. ESPN gets all geeked up about the coverage, and fans desperate for the sport clamor that it’s officially back, but fuck that. It’s practice, and lots of times the players aren’t even wearing pads. Seeing people sprint through the gates at Gillette opened my eyes. Like what are you doing? You might get some autographs, but it’s freaking practice. Once Week 1 hits I’ll be back to full blown football mode, but until then, no thanks.

Editor’s note: I’m one of the minority American male sports fans who lists football fourth on his list of major American sports. And Tim is dead on here, because training camp is a big part of it. If you want to hear about starting QB’s with fucking “pitch counts” in the middle of August, make sure you know what channel ESPN is in your cable package. I hate this month.

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3. There weren’t many blockbusters, but the MLB Trade Deadline put the onus on rebuilding for the future

Brendan touched on this in the Monday Morning Update, but holy shit was it a good year to be a seller at the MLB Trade Deadline. The New York Yankees legitimately loaded their farm system with top-100 prospects by trading two relievers and an aging outfielder. The Bronx Bombers finally waived the white flag on a season, and boy did they get reimbursed for it.

There weren’t any huge names traded, like Chris Sale or Sonny Grey, but like I said in my original take, being a seller this year really paid off. I’ll stick with the Yankees because they were the big winners at the deadline, but this team now has the makeup to be really fucking scary pretty quick. When Bryce Harper, Manny Machado and Jose Fernandez all become free agents in the near future, expect New York to throw boatloads of money at them. And now, the Yankees can pair those studs with some young players from this deadline. That’s quite a combination.

As for the other winners, the Cubs and Rangers shelled out a lot for Aroldis Chapman (who’s still a scumbag) and Jonathan Lucroy, respectively, but I’m a firm believer in going for it when the time comes. Chicago desperately needed bullpen help, and they got one of the best closers in the game. Texas needed help behind the plate, and they got one of the best hitting catchers in Lucroy. Both teams might want their prospects back moving forward, but man did they make some splashes headed into the home stretch.

Editor’s note: Thanks for that picture Tim. It made me feel all tingly inside again. Have I mentioned how goddam good the Yankees are going to be? Because yeah, they’re going to be really good

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4. Gary Bettman denying concussions is the dumbest thing I’ve heard this summer

It’s 2016, right? Like I didn’t just fucking dream this did I?

Gary Bettman, the leader of my favorite professional sport, went on record as a representative of the NHL and said the link between concussions and CTE hasn’t been shown. Over 100 former players are suing the league for long-term health issues related to head injuries, and Bettman had the gaul, the nerve, the fucking ineptitude to come out and say this.

My blood is boiling.

I’ve killed the NFL for years and their lack of awareness on head injuries. Now the NHL is saying basically the same thing? What the hell is going on out there?

Avalanche forward Gabriel Landeskog had a great piece in the Players Tribune about his concussion incident, and how the players are starting to recognize the importance of waiting until you’re fully healthy to come back. That wasn’t always the case, but players are coming around to it. Hits to the head are an issue in the NHL, and I like the direction they’re going with eliminating it from the game, but to hear the face of the League come out and say such a blasphemous statement is infuriating.

Brendan, I know Bettman was your Camel of the Week earlier this summer, but I’m all for a repeat once again here.

P.S. – Don’t take fighting out of hockey. Regardless of the dumb statement by Bettman, players understand the risks with the sport and fighting in particular. Keep it in there, for the love of God.

Editor’s note—Hockey people, take Tim’s words to heart. There may be some horror stories about hockey fighters a la Derek Boogard, but I’d take a clean fight over a headshot to the boards any day.

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5. NCAA social media policy for coaches – enjoy no enforcement of the rules!

Here’s the readers digest version of the new rules that came into play earlier this year. College coaches have always been able to follow and DM recruits on Twitter, but they couldn’t retweet or like a Tweet.

Dumb right?

Now coaches can, but there remains a caveat. They still can’t tweet directly at recruits (that’s so dumb) but liking and retweeting things is A-OK.

Here’s the kicker: Good fucking luck enforcing these rules, and pouring over all forms of social media for infractions. Lots of coaches don’t even run their social media accounts, as interns or athletic department staffers take care of that while coaches do plenty of other things that are probably illegal in their recruiting efforts.

What happens if Coach Cal steps over the line, or Jim Harbaugh does something that’s now illegal. Good luck handing down that penalty for something on social media. It’s crazy to me that we need rules like this now, but it’s the world we live in.

Remember coaches, think before you tweet.

6. The Eli Defense: Brendan’s Camel of the Week: Martellus Bennett/EA Sports.

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This fucking guy. He’s really going to sit here and shit talk Eli Manning, just because he’s a hot shot New England Patriot now?

Interesting. It’s a much different tune than the one he was singing back in 2012, when he told Mike Garafolo of the Star-Ledger  he thought Eli was “unselfish.”

So what gives, Martellus? Why come at Eli now? Because you have big bad Tom Brady and Bill Belicheck to back you up?

I’ll remind you that Mr. Manning has two superbowl rings. Both coming against that team you currently play for.

You might even have one for yourself, if you didn’t show up all nice and fat at Giant training camp back in 2012 and end up wasting away in Chicago for a few years.

Go kick rocks, Martellus. Have fun backing up Gronk.

That’ll do it for me. I’ll be back next week with some more hot takes for your Wednesday reading enjoyment. Follow Tim on Twitter@culvey13 and Brendan at @MurraySportTalk for more, or to tell me us we’re morons. Either way, have at it.

EDIT @ 7:30 PM

Hold on just a second here. I learn from majestic Barstool blogger and podcast guest/friend of the blog Clem that Eli Manning is rated #22 of all NFL QBs in this year’s edition Madden.

#22?! 22. 22!!!

Someone is fucking with me today. I didn’t realize today was everyone gang up on Eli day.

Listen, I realize none of this is actually a big deal. But if you come at Eli, you come at me. I’ve been told too often (really, a frightening amount of times) that I look like that opened mouth SOB and he’s given me too many goddam moments of joy. You don’t say anything about the only Manning with a perfect Super Bowl record without answering to this guy.

I get that he’s not the best QB around. But 22 is absurd, and as Clem said, Eli is better than a good number of the guys listed above him.

But it’s fine. When I was in Arizona for the first Giants vs Pat Super Bowl, every arrogant Patriot fan in the world was there and most stopped my dad and I the Pats would wipe the floor with Eli and the Giants.

Two preseasons later, I went to the annual Giants-Patriot exhibtion tilt. Every arrogant Pats fan in the world made fun of Eli for having the nerve to call himself “elite.”

You tell me what happened both those years. This year, the Giants have an arrogant Patriots TE talking about Eli and he’s apparently in the bottom third of QBs.

I like our odds.

Hey EA, you get an extra Camel of the Week. Never thought it would come to this.

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