So maybe all the NFL talking heads were right? Last weekend might've actually been the most incredible weekend of playoff action the league has ever seen; three underdog road winners on walk-off field goals, a 24 point comeback all for not, and perhaps the craziest final two minutes straight out of a Madden game in playoff history. 2021 (22) Divisional Weekend was AWESOME, but it did shine a floodlight on how asinine playoff OT rules are. Hopefully, both of today's Conference Championship matchups get settled in regulation. We've got plenty of narratives to discuss. Let's get right into it.
AFC Championship Game: (4) Cincinnati Bengals vs. (2) Kansas City Chiefs [-7/54.5)
CBS 3:00 PM
The Kansas City Chiefs are hosting the AFC Championship Game for the fourth straight year. And for the fourth consecutive year, they're facing a team in the AFCCG that they already played in the regular season.
In 2018 they lost to the Patriots 43-40 week 6 and 37-31 in OT in the AFC title game. In 2019 they lost to the Titans 35-32 week 10 in Nashville before getting revenge KC 35-24 en route to their lone Super Bowl title of the Mahomes-Reid era. Last season, KC swept the Bills 26-17 in week 6 and 38-24 in AFCCG.
This season, the Bengals beat the Chiefs 34-31 in Week 17 and meet again today, three weeks later. Cincy held KC to just 3 second half points in a comeback win.
I'm clearly biased, as I hate this iteration of the Chiefs and have been riding the Bengals all playoffs out of respect for my friend and Joe Brrr, but, as a narrative guy, I've seen this story before. These Bengals give me 2019 Titans vibes, and I worry if they'll run out of gas against a superior opponent, even though they bested them in the regular season.
This matchup is all about whether or not the Bengals can protect Joey Burrow. Last week he got sacked 9 times. NINE. Sure, he still threw for 348 yards in the win, but that is not a sustainable recipe for success IMO. Cincy can't afford to be behind the chains today.
The Chiefs secondary can get exploited, as we saw last weekend. Gabe Davis went off 201 yards and 4 touchdowns. Buffalo's WR core might have a better overall #1 receiver in Diggs (and even after one season of Ja'Marr Chase it's debatable, but I'll give the slight edge to the guy who's been doing it for five years), but overall the Bengals depth with Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd should give the Chiefs DBs nightmares...if Joe has time.
If I fell asleep right now and woke up at 5:15 and saw the score was 31-10 Chiefs, it wouldn't shock me; they've seemingly figured it out after early-season struggles. I think this game could easily be where the clock strikes midnight on an ascending young Bengals team, but I'm a mother fucking narrative guy. I said Joe Burrow would make the HOF before he got drafted, and this game could be one of those "holy shit moments" we look back at in a few years; how did a Bengal team that had never won a road playoff game before this season win two in a row?
The 1981 Bengals changed their uniforms and made the Super Bowl, and the 2021 Bengals changed their uniforms and are now one win away from their 3rd Super Bowl appearance. The Bengals don't make a ton of AFC Championship Games, but when they do, damnit, they win (2-0). Do you know who they faced in both of those Super Bowls? They're playing in the other conference title game.
Let's not forget that the Bills would've beaten KC if they had someone with, say, my football IQ calling the shots in the last 13 seconds. How do you not squib it or cover their two most obvious weapons???
The world has been through enough these past two years; we don't need Jackson Mahomes or Brittney Matthews getting a second more airtime. Joe Brrr saves the day.
NFC Championship Game: (6) San Francisco 49ers vs. (4) Los Angeles Rams [-3/45.5]
FOX 6:40 PM
As a narrative guy who's already bet on the 49ers, I'm almost worried about how much San Fran has Sean McVay's number. He went 0-2 against the Niners in 2021 and has lost 6 straight vs SF and Kyle Shanahan. Could this be the monkey off is back game?
The Rams did everything in their power to lose last week, and frankly, I can't believe they're in this game. Credit them for making a play late, but I don't trust them to close things out. They held a 17-0 lead vs. these 49ers in week 18. They had a chance to end their season; instead, the Niners have kept winning, knocking out the Cowboys and Packers on the road. Rumor has it SoFi will be Candlestick north, and I don't see two straight home Super Bowl hosts after 54 years of no true home team.
I apologize for this quick, little-to-no detail breakdown; I've been riding with Jimmy G and the 49ers and don't plan on stopping today. In 2018, both road teams won conference championship games (and I had each team's ML). I think history repeats it in like eight different ways. I don't trust Matt Stafford late. We're getting Bengals-49ers III in two weeks!
Song: Who Dey Nation (2022)
Artist: Blessid Union of Souls
S/o Apple Music for putting this in my New Music Friday mix. The Youtube video currently has less than 300 views, but big tech knows how much I blasted "Hey Leonardo" this year (we're respecting the league year). I'm bringing one of my favorite 90s two-hit wonders back to life!!! She likes me for me, and I LOVE the Bengals today. WHO DEY. Let's go, Pops!!
I didn't think this day would ever come during my lifetime. It felt like Tom Brady would keep playing well past the end of time. All that'd remain is him and Mount Rushmore, but since Schefter said it, I guess I believe it---Tom Brady is retiring from the National Football League after 22 seasons.
I'm feeling such an array of emotions. Part of me is happy because the Tampa Bay chapter of Tom Brady's career is officially over, but it's a sad day for football; the GOAT is hanging 'em up. Then there's the slightly agitated Dozo aspect because it's a snow day after another brutal week teaching in the creative capital. All I wanted to do was get h*gh and do nothing all day. But timing hasn't been Tommy's thing lately between this news and ruining a St. Patricks Day that was already destroyed by the start of the Pandemic (that still hasn't ended) to announce he was leaving the Patriots. #FOREVERAPATRIOT.
I mean, what really needs to be said? It's Tom Brady. 7 Super Bowl Rings, 3 (possibly 4?) MVPs; he holds every notable passing record. He's the greatest QB of all time, buuuut between already chain-smoking a few bowls when I watched a Lynyrd Skynrd doc on Netflix and this latest piece of news, maybe it's not time to write this blog???
I mean, I'd say there's like a 98% chance he's retiring, but he wanted to be the one to announce it with some Instagram video that links you to the nearest TB12 store. Out of respect for Tom, I'm gonna end this blog now and wait until I officially hear the news from the goat's mouth to pay my longwinded respects. I just wish he (or anybody) respected me.
Song: Beautiful Day (2000)
Album: All That You Can't Leave Behind
Last match saw Team XYZ break out of their Final 4 hangover with a much-needed win over defending champion Honkers (and me) 13-7. I kept things a little closer with 11 points, but XYZ took their frustration out with a baker's dozen showing to improve to 2-5. I'm sorry I've been slacking with posting matches to Youtube, I don't like uploading without re-watching for qua-something. Qua... Quar... Qua... Qual... Quar... Quabity. Quabity assuance. No, no, no, no, but I'm getting close. They'll be up soon for my 10 youtube subscribers to enjoy!
Tuesday's loss dropped me to 3-5 on the year, but tonight's matchup is just what the Reddit-research doctor ordered. I'm not gonna go full Joe Namath here, but if I don't win this match, I might have to pull the plug on this project.
TBH, I am a tad worried about getting buried by niches again (what a run by XYZ) and the possibility of urMom having an added chip on their shoulder; Rudy is one of the best players in the league but didn't make the All-Star game. Could we see one of those classic scorned performances from a wide variety of sports? And we've got the KFC Radio boys facing against each other. Things could get contentious!
Even though I'm out of the trivia oddsmaking game, I said urMom -2.5 on the official The Dozen IG page, which according to made-up odds, was wayyy off.
There's more pressure on me than either of these bottom-tier teams. They already work for Barstool. I can't afford to drop to 3-6. As much as I loved 36 Mafia and their TV show my freshman year, this is not how I want to pay homage to them. I'll a pop collar, but I gotta fucking win tonight. Okay, I'm done; I need to get a solid hour fake-nap in before the match to get my head right.
#DozVsTheDozen airs LIVE on my Instagram (@dozonlife) at 7:05 PM; that's www.instagram.com/dozonlife. I can't wait to see you in the comment section!
Song: The Impression That I Get (1997)
Artist: The Mighty Mighty BossToneS
Album: Let's Face It
Maybe this is a sign that I should start wearing the Smile Direct Club aligners that've been in a box in my room for over a year? 2K well spent!
Today is the 2nd Anniversary (I hate using that term for negative things) of Kobe Bryant's Death; Let's Retire Weird Clout Chasing Posts Exploiting It For Likes
Today is the 2nd "anniversary" of a helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven others in Calabasas, CA. With all the horrors of Covid the last two years, this moment was an appetizer of what was in store for the next historically shitty 24+ months.
Oh shit, I just used the number 24. Did you know that was one of Kobe's jersey numbers? In case you forgot, @LADEig is here to remind you!
I've posted legit millions of things online that I wish I didn't, but like, come on. Let the man rest in peace! I obviously get the 8-24 connection, but some thoughts are best left in the drafts. Do you realize how often those numbers come up in everyday life? It's not like Kobe wore a sixteen-digit number. You're gonna run into some eights and twenty-fours. Oh wow, that stop sign has eight sides; must be a Kobe fan.
Plus, do you remember Kobe Bryant? Do you think the Black fucking Mamba would want you exploiting his death to tell the internet the Los Angeles Lakers are a .500 team sitting in EIGHTH place in the West? FOH! This man said, "there's winning a championship, and there's failure." This tweet falls into the latter.
I'm an adamant supporter of the 1st Amendment, but I'm sorry, you should have to spend a night in jail to think about what you've done after some shit like that. It doesn't even have to go on your permanent record, but you should have to sleep on a cold slab with nothing but your thoughts and a blanket that could be confused with public school paper towels and think, "were the retweets really worth it?"
Of course, it is a sad day. I can't believe it's already been two years. I remember finding out at my Grandma's that Sunday afternoon, and it was no hyperbole one of the biggest shocks of my entire life. Just hours before, the whole sports media landscape was celebrating how Lebron passed Kobe for 3rd most points in NBA history. His final tweet congratulated Lebron on the accomplishment.
Less than 12 hours later, Kobe and eight others were dead. Sadly, in the two years since plenty of people have exploited this tragedy for internet points, I cannot think of many more out-of-touch posts than this. Talk about a #Uriprob!
That makes the Bleacher Report Women's World Cup tweet look like a masterpiece. I've dabbled in photoshop, and let me tell you; it's not easy. Someone had to spend serious time on that picture. That thing didn't just come out of thin air; that took some work. We're talking tons of layers and other terms I forgot. Not once did they think, "wait, why I am I making this?" Like David Cox either asked someone to make it for him or found it online and thought it would be a nice way to pay tribute to a dead father and daughter with zero affiliation to the university.
I know the content game can cloud our judgments, and we want those engagements, but let's not forget that barely-teenage girls died that day. Have some fucking respect and be a little creative instead of exploiting a tragedy for potential likes and retweets.
My sister graduated from FSU. What is it with our fucking schools???
Yesteray, Sean Payton "stepped away" from his position as New Orlean Saints head coach after 16 seasons. His departure wasn't a total shock, I feel like there have been rumors and rumblings that this was possible, but that could very well be my brain fibbing to me for the sake of needing a transitional sentence.
In today's "nothing but championships matter" mentality in sports, it's easy to dwell on the fact that Payton "only" won one Super Bowl with the Saints, but let's not forget what this man inherited and what he means to the city of New Orleans. New Orleans, not just the Saints, was in total rebuild mode when he arrived. I love sports and talking shit, but there's no reason for clickbait like this. Payton's impact on New Orleans is much bigger than what his teams accomplished on the field.
When you coach the same franchise for over a decade and a half, there are plenty of meaningful relationships you'll make along the way. I can't speak for Payton, but I'm sure one of the first he'd mention is Steve Gleason.
If you're not familiar with that name, Steve Gleason was a special-teamer and safety with the Saints from 2000-06 and is responsible for probably the most uplifting play in NFL history.
IMO that block is the biggest play in Saints history. Maybe some fans think the surprise onside kick, but that blocked punt was so much more than a great effort by a bottom of the roster guy, it symbolized that New Orleans was back after facing unspeakable devastation and loss. The man has a statue outside of the Superdome for God's sake.
Unfortunately, Steve Gleason was diagnosed with ALS in 2011 when he was just 32 years old. Despite his prognosis, Steve hasn't stopped living. His charity Team Gleason and their "No White Flags" mantra have provided more than $20 million for in their words "adventure, technology, equipment, and care services." I cannot recommend his documentary Gleason enough. In 2019, Gleason received a Congressional Gold Medal for his contributions to ALS awareness.
There have been plenty of former Saints players paying respect to Payton's tenure in New Orleans on social media, but when I saw this on Instagram, it warmed me up inside after another shitty day trying to make a difference in Pxxxxxxx Schools. I think I needed it; it helped me put my problems in perspective for a second. Everything Steve Gleason makes me emotional, and this post made me smile.
I've fought back (and lost) tears and blown my nose louder than the Superdome was after Steve's block as I tried to write this blog, but I loved this post and had to blog it. There are so many great photos that show another side of Sean Payton other than the coach we've seen on the Saints sideline since 2006 (with a sabbatical in 2012). I've been terrified of ALS since I learned what it is from Curt Schilling's cleats, and the fact that Steve's remained so positive while battling such a brutal disease is inspirational. That bud light picture is awesome. Congrats on a great run, Coach Payton and God bless Steve Gleason. #NoWhiteFlags
If you want to learn a little more about Steve Gleason's story and lose a few pounds of water weight via your eyes, check out this video from 2013.
Song: Old Man (1972) [Live]
Artist: Neil Young
Fun fact: I've had Apple Music since its inception.
David Ortiz is a First Ballot Hall of Famer and the ONLY Elected Hall of Famer in the Class of 2022
The 2022 Baseball Hall of Fame class will consist of one man: David Ortiz.
Well, technically, he'll join Golden Days Era Committee inductees Gil Hodges, Jim Kaat, Minnie Miñoso, and Tony Oliva and Early Baseball Era Committee inductees Bud Fowler and Buck O'Neil. With 77.9% of the vote, Ortiz was the only player who received the necessary 75% threshold and became just the 58th first-ballot Hall of Famer in the process.
It's hard to grasp that he's already eligible, forget elected. Even though the last two years have felt like 20, 2016 was one of the best years of my life and doesn't feel that long ago. It's crazy someone I blogged about my rookie year is going to the Hall.
Following Big Papi's final season (and Mookie's breakout) made that one of my favorite Red Sox teams. I was lucky enough to attend his last regular-season game with my mom (which ended up being a real stinker).
Despite my current rocky relationship with the Sox, nothing can take away the moments and memories. No amount of disdain for John Henry can destroy my love and admiration for David Ortiz.
There will be plenty of time to gush over Papi's accolades in the upcoming months (especially if there's no season!), but I think I did a decent job reflecting upon. them in 2016 (minus some pre-grammarly era typos).
I really do hate to take awake from such fantastic news, but I can't help but dwell on how ridiculous it is that David Ortiz is going into Cooperstone alone. Even Papi agrees it's insane that two of the greatest players in baseball history are getting iced out by a bunch of self-righteous sportswriters.
Much like the Grammys, I've realized how big of joke establishments I used to revere are with age. I love David Ortiz and think his career was worthy of first-ballot recognition. He's the greatest DH in MLB history and the most important player in Red Sox history. Buuuut, let's address the elephant in the room. My dude tested positive for roids in 2003 and didn't play the field in 84.2% of his major league games. I don't think either of those facts should be held against him, but how is Papi gonna make it on the first ballot when Curt Schilling, Roger Clemens, and Barry Lamar Bonds can't get in after a decade?
Despite that Dozie Downer-ness, I am ecstatic for Big Papi. Incredibly, he's still with us; let's not forget what happened in 2019. Those were scary times, but David's recovered and is crushing it as a tv personality. The most clutch hitter of all time is going to Cooperstown, and that's a fantastic thing, but he should be joining a seven-time MVP, seven-time Cy Young winner, and a pitcher he won two rings with (Curt's not a juice guy, just a dick. He should be in). The Baseball Hall of Fame is a museum to honor the great game, and excluding all-timers who did steroids because they were abrasive while including a DH who appeared on that 2003 list is shameful. Congrats Papi! I'm sorry the BBWAA had to upstage your 2nd most outstanding career achievement after 2004.