A Critical Perspective of the 2018 Offseason

-by Hugo

Why does everyone hate Duke? As someone without a rooting interest in college basketball, I’ve long wondered. The most common answer – “because they’re Duke” – makes little sense at face value. Until you step back, and realize it does.

Among hundreds and hundreds of nationally visible sports teams in America, Duke basketball are one of a handful of agreed-upon villains. And in a remarkable stroke of coincidence, they happen to be extremely successful.

Indeed, a run-down of the teams that can rival their consensus villainy reveals an incredible pattern – every last one of them has a long history of success. Even more remarkable? No matter how many participants, each sport has precisely one or two villains. There are 32 NFL clubs and one consensus villain. There are 350 Division I basketball programs and one consensus villain. Villainy in sports arises organically and spontaneously from its need to exist.

Storytelling is deeply ingrained in human society. Every culture from the Pacific islands to sub-Saharan Africa tells fundamentally similar stories. For a story to exist, there must be something at stake. For there to be something at stake, there must be a hero. And for there to be a hero, there must be a villain.

Accordingly, society’s interest in sport is fundamentally rooted in their ability to frame it. Their favorite teams are heroes, like Achilles or Anansi or Thor. A spectacle that has no intrinsic meaning in the world becomes meaningful. The tossing around of a ball acquires stakes. And those stakes manifest themselves as struggle against evil. The Yankees become the Trojans; LeBron James becomes the Midgard Serpent.

That’s why everyone loves the underdog. Hell, individual character archetypes in sport transcend the exact nature of the sports themselves – Tom Brady contrasted against Peyton Manning, Cristiano Ronaldo against Lionel Messi, Sidney Crosby against Alex Ovechkin, Pete Sampras against Andre Agassi, and many more. Stories “write themselves” because the stories exist as universal templates in human consciousness.

Meanwhile, the Patriot Way is the inverse perspective of the success of the New England Patriots. Just as New England’s success has led fans nationally to ascribe villainous qualities to them, it has led die-hard supporters to see them as imbued with intrinsic heroism.

To many, the success of the Patriots is not an accident, but a confirmation of their virtue. They are a different football team, not a better version of other football teams.The team’s pro shop has monetized this, with a whole line of “Do Your Job” apparel. One does not merely identify with the Patriots, but with what they represent. Bill Belichick and Tom Brady are gods, Julian Edelman and Tedy Bruschi are parables, and football games won are testimony.

Thus, the massive unrest among die-hard Patriots fans this offseason must to be similar to how the ancient Greeks felt during a lightning storm. Le’Veon Bell and the Steelers disagreeing is a contract dispute. Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers disagreeing is locker room drama. Bill Belichick and Tom Brady being at odds is a cosmological event.

To the Patriot Way-er, in their totality they possess intrinsic virtue, so one of them must be right and one of them must be wrong. Depending on their preference in worldview as it relates to things other than football, the “good guy” can be Tom Brady or Bill Belichick. But no longer both.

The revelation that Tom Brady and Bill Belichick supported Trump in 2016 was a glimpse into how many fans are uncomfortable with a reality in which the Hall-of-Fame tandem are good, but not Good.

A lot of ink has been spilled about when the reign of the Patriots at the top of the NFL’s standings will end. The common thread is the presumption of a discrete end. Rather than being the totality of their football work and performance, the Patriots are assumed to be in possession of a person and/or quality that separates them from their peers. And in a watershed moment, that virtue (or witchcraft, depending on perspective) will desert them.

But the Patriot “dynasty” will not end with a bang. Nor will it end with a whimper. It will end with 8 wins instead of 12, 350 points instead of 450. There will be no fire and brimstone, no press conferences or trumpets in the sky. One day, and sooner rather than later, the Patriots will be less successful at carrying a pigskin up and down the field, than they are now. And people will do what they’ve always done – find new constellations in the sky to gaze upon and interpret.

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1188 Comments on "A Critical Perspective of the 2018 Offseason"

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LaFeteMattDog
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KG meeting/mentoring Mo Bamba:
https://www.facebook.com/PlayersOnlyFilms/videos/266168970617311/

I really like this kid. He seems mature, humble, and earnest. Not to mention, he’s a physical specimen. I don’t know anything about his game but if the rumors are true and Danny wants to get a package together to move up and get him, I’d be excited. Of course, whatever Danny does, I am all for it!

hugowasmyhomeboy
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Iran’s form in the tournament has exceeded a lot of “better” teams.

Deadsmack #NotDone
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They were so lucky against Morocco

Panic Time
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It doesn’t seem to be a big gap in world soccer anymore. Teams like Egypt, Senegal etc…, just need another playmaker to take the pressure off their star

redemption50
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The U.S. will need to find one to help open things up for Pulisic. Too easy just to key on him right now

hugowasmyhomeboy
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I don’t know much about soccer, but it seemed like all Egypt’s midfielders are defensive worker bee types.
For this cup, our best chance all along has been to park the bus and hope Salah scores. But going forward they ought to find some attacking players. A playmaking midfielder to put behind Salah, a nice fast fullback who isn’t just a defensive specialist.

hugowasmyhomeboy
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I love Al Ahly (that’s my family’s team) but if Egypt is going to do better in world cups they ought to feature players who are in a top league. The farthest away from a man marking him that Abdallah Said (the team’s ostensible playmaker behind Salah) ever got was diving unconvincingly against Uruguay.

Panic Time
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So Spain is through

Panic Time
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probably

LaFeteMattDog
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Morocco has played well. Unluckiest team in the tournament so far. I don’t think it’s out of the realm of possibility that they could upset Spain. Stranger things have happened.

Panic Time
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…and Iran would have to beat Portugal for Spain to be eliminated. I can’t see both Spain and Portugal loosing

Deadsmack #NotDone
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Not yet

Portugal and Spain, 4 points
Iran 3 points
Morocco 0 Points

Deadsmack #NotDone
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LOLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL

hugowasmyhomeboy
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RCR, what do you think of this Dwight Howard trade??

Panic Time
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Is Howard still the man or is he just a good role player?

hugowasmyhomeboy
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He’s caught in between – doesn’t do role player stuff well, but isn’t nearly good enough to be the man for you. The Hornets dumped his salary basically. Traded him to BKN for Mozgov (another bad contract) and two 2nd rd picks.

hugowasmyhomeboy
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What’s strange about it is that Mozgov is under contract longer than Howard.

redemption50
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He’s still a starter in the right system. But he’s a limited player in today’s new pace and space NBA

redemption50
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From what I read, it’s just a way for the Hornets to trim some salary for this year. They were very close to the luxury tax. Now they have some breathing space for other moves. The cost of it is an additional year of Mozgov. Nets open up cap space for next year. I like it it for both sides but more for the Nets. Sean Marks is doing a good job so far with the Nets. Small steps but they are trending upwards

redemption50
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I could see the Nets make a run at Kyrie next year. They will have enough space to two max guys. Weirder thinngs have happened

redemption50
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Story of the Cup so far seems to be the larger teams struggling with the smaller teams and the smaller teams giving up late goals or missing chances themselves.

Deadsmack #NotDone
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Hola Piqué 🙂

Deadsmack #NotDone
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what a miss by Iran

LaFeteMattDog
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New kind of drinking game idea: Every time the announcer says “Coke”, do a line. 🙂
Just kidding. Drugs are bad, mmmkay?

hugowasmyhomeboy
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A while back there was an MLB transaction, Phil Coke for cash considerations. The headline was Yankees Trade Cash For Coke

LaFeteMattDog
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LOL!!!!

redemption50
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Oh man that’s a gem

hugowasmyhomeboy
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The Iranians all look extremely Iranian, if that makes sense. Very distinctive features, like Mesopotamian sculptures.

Panic Time
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La Palisse?

redemption50
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I’m not sure why De Gea is considered such a great goalie. He’s good but he seems to be ranked among the world’s very best. I don’t agree

LaFeteMattDog
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When Spain holds possession for 94% of the game, I could look good in goal.

Panic Time
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…and you would give up two goals on the opponent’s 6% possession

LaFeteMattDog
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Hey, I’m like a cat, baby….a very drunk cat.

redemption50
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Just be better than Karius 🙂

Deadsmack #NotDone
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Iran almost scored

redemption50
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NBA draft day tomorrow could be very interesting. Might be a lot of movement trade wise. And not just picks. Possibly a couple star level players moved. Not many teams have cap space and that tends to stir more on the trade front

Deadsmack #NotDone
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Lakers have cap space and assets 🙂

redemption50
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and LaVar Ball 🙂

LaFeteMattDog
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Is Danny Ainge trying to get Bamba?

redemption50
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I think he would like to consolidate some assets and move up for a specific player. Just not sure who

hugowasmyhomeboy
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The popular sentiment early on among people who write about this stuff was that Ainge would get the Villanova combo guard Divincenzo with our own pick. But apparently he “moved up” and isn’t likely at 27 anymore.

redemption50
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I don’t know much about him other than what I saw in the tournament. Might be defensively challenged on the NBA level. I could see Ainge moving up to one of the Clippers picks. Can’t see him going into Top 10. Too expensive. Unless he REALLY loves a certain player.

LaFeteMattDog
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WTF was that!?

redemption50
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I hate offsides calls that close to the goal. The spirit of the offsides rule is to keep players from just standing down on the other side of the field. I wish FIFA would try to adjust it somehow. Just not sure how

hugowasmyhomeboy
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Gut punch

Deadsmack #NotDone
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Clear offside, good call

Panic Time
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Why didn’t they use VAR for the Pepe fouls?

Deadsmack #NotDone
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It was broken 🙂

LaFeteMattDog
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My question is why not take some chances from the beginning? Why wait until you’re behind? I get you don’t want to get into a scoring match with Spain but at least take some chances here and there. Make it a game!

Panic Time
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They have had a couple chances. They just lack the speed of Mexico to really threaten on counter attacks

LaFeteMattDog
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I didn’t see many chances. I just saw Iranian fans cheering when an errant Spanish pass resulted in a throw-in in the Spanish half and 11 men in the box.

hugowasmyhomeboy
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They are noticeably slow compared to other teams in the cup.

Deadsmack #NotDone
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Ref called offside

Panic Time
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FIFA at it again after screwing Morocco

Deadsmack #NotDone
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After watching the replay, it was a good call

Panic Time
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YES

LaFeteMattDog
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Not to change the subject away from soccer talk but I met Steve DeOssie today! Cool guy.

hugowasmyhomeboy
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Very cool. How’d you recognize him?

LaFeteMattDog
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I was actually working for him. So I knew it was him beforehand.

LaFeteMattDog
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That’s what you get for playing with no courage!!!!!

LaFeteMattDog
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TAKE THAT IRAN!!!!

dp73
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World cup ends July 15.
See you then 🙂

Panic Time
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What are you doing on this soccer blog?

dp73
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I made a mistake. It used to be a Patriots blog. 🙂

hugowasmyhomeboy
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Its the deepest part of the offseason, DP! The Pats talk will resume soon enough.

LaFeteMattDog
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I can’t wait until training camp observations!!!!

Deadsmack #NotDone
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Then it starts NBA free agency 🙂

Saturn III
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And NHL Free Agency, but this year’s class is super lame.

Deadsmack #NotDone
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That’s almost like an own goal 🙂

Deadsmack #NotDone
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Spains scores

hugowasmyhomeboy
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R.I.P. Egypt
Not enough intrepid runs

LaFeteMattDog
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They need to get Puddingshire. I heard he’s a dual national. 🙂

Deadsmack #NotDone
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A Second Chance for Harvey Langi

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fcq4I_SJRTY

LaFeteMattDog
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I like Spain. I like watching them play beautiful soccer. It would be a shame if Portugal and Iran go on because of this travesty of a match and some gift penalties for Ronaldo in the first game. I like rooting for underdogs a lot of the time but this would be bad for the tournament and soccer fans.

LaFeteMattDog
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I don’t know what this is but you’re gonna make Panic Time go crazy again.

Deadsmack #NotDone
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That’s the play of the first spanish goal

LaFeteMattDog
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So?

LaFeteMattDog
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What I see is Pepe getting beaten and faking an injury.

Deadsmack #NotDone
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LOLLLLLL

Pepe got punched in the face. Diego Costa didn’t even play the ball

LaFeteMattDog
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Honestly, Costa makes contact with Pepe in the neck and Pepe grabs his head!! He’s FAKING!!!

Deadsmack #NotDone
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That’s the biggest bad call of that game, no one complained about the PK. Even Nacho said he touched Ronaldo

LaFeteMattDog
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Spanish are classy. They don’t complain. I do it for them.

LaFeteMattDog
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I haven’t seen one Spanish player dive in the box like Ronaldo does although they could do it any time and complain and draw a foul but it’s cynical.

Deadsmack #NotDone
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You should watch the matches between Barcelona and Real Madrid

🙂

Deadsmack #NotDone
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Spain didn’t got robbed against Portugal, no missed call was bigger than this on of Diego Costa on Pepe in their first goal

LaFeteMattDog
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BS, the first and last goals were gifts to Ronaldo. Nobody else in this tournament has gotten those calls.

Deadsmack #NotDone
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Morocco got robbed (2 PK in my opinion), not Spain

LaFeteMattDog
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They both got robbed.

Deadsmack #NotDone
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Iran coach is portuguese, Carlos Queiros

LaFeteMattDog
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Yeah, he’s a douchebag.

LaFeteMattDog
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Morocco played with courage. They should’ve been rewarded. Iran is parking the bus and playing without courage. I hope Spain destroys them in the second half. Horrible game. No soccer being played.

Panic Time
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They should park a tank

Panic Time
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Is it a way to pause this GIF, it’s very annoying

Deadsmack #NotDone
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I’m gonna delete it

Panic Time
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I mean, it’s interesting but after a minute of looping it makes me go crazy

LaFeteMattDog
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Let’s be honest, you already are crazy….Panic Time!!!

Deadsmack #NotDone
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I hate vuvuzelas

Deadsmack #NotDone
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FIFA World Cup @WorIdCupUpdates
Senegal⁠ fans cleaning their section before leaving the stadium after their historic victory against Poland. Class act.

This is the best thing you will see tonight.

https://twitter.com/WorIdCupUpdates/status/1009175407772479489

Deadsmack #NotDone
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another shitty game

Deadsmack #NotDone
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SiriusXM NFL Radio @SiriusXMNFL
Free Agent WR @EricDecker87: I think the #Patriots would be a good fit and being drafted by Josh McDaniels in Denver. I talked with New England last year during the Free Agency process in June. That is always an option that I would definitely love to entertain.

LaFeteMattDog
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Let’s go SPAIN!!!!

Panic Time
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Let’s go UNDERDOGS. No not those Philly pretenders.

PatriotPrideBoy
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gang shit

redemption50
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Bummer. Game over. Good effort from the Saudis. They just don’t have enough finishing power to finalize an attack. Not overly impressed with Uruguay so far. They have a solid defense and then have Cavani and Suarez but the link between the two hasn’t been there so far.

itsBradyBaby
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Well he won’t be eating anyone ears off today.

redemption50
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Saudi Arabia hasn’t looked that bad today. They have played a solid game so far. Had a couple decent chances. *no jinx* I know Hugo needs at least a point from SA to keep Egypt from elimination

Saturn III
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Vampiro just scored for Uruguay.

Jdog Lemon Head
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Willie McGinest predicts Tom Brady will retire if Patriots win Super Bowl this season –>
I can see that happening, but a part of me thinks Brady would want to “defend” the title if they were to win.

JLStokes
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I can agree with this. I think if Tom were to win the title THIS season, he’d love to try and go out as a back-to-back champ with SEVEN titles to one-up Jordan.

itsBradyBaby
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How can a American ref handle a world cup game, the MLS is like a division 3 league.

Deadsmack #NotDone
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Awful Announcing @awfulannouncing
Reporters for ESPN, Turner, and Yahoo all won’t tip picks on Thursday during the NBA Draft

http://bit.ly/2tb9kqi

Deadsmack #NotDone
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MikeReiss
FB James Develin’s salary-cap charges after signing two-year extension:

2018: $1.675 million
2019: $1.7 million
2020: $1.9 million

HunterCenter
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good deal for both sides.

Deadsmack #NotDone
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MikeReiss
Patriots LS Joe Cardona’s four-year extension includes $1 million guaranteed and $850,000 in bonuses.

Salary-cap charges:

2018 – $860,000
2019 – $955,000
2020 – $990,000
2021 – $965,000
2022 – $1.21 million

HunterCenter
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quickest way to a Pats contract is to be a Specialist from Navy.

Deadsmack #NotDone
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awful game

HunterCenter
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Geiger. enough said.

Deadsmack #NotDone
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He would do well in portuguese league 🙂

HunterCenter
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I wish he would emigrate there. He’s ruined so many MLS games and he’s gotten worse since the advent of VAR. I’d happily let him be your problem.

itsBradyBaby
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If I’m the Moroccans I’m shaking no one hand.

HunterCenter
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I’d shake Portugals hand, not their fault. Geiger is horrible, I agree I would never shake his hand.

Senegal looks to be the best chance for the continent of Africa. They have huge Forwards, seem to have an organized enough midfield, and they certainly have team pace. We’ll find out soon enough if their back line and Keeper are enough for them to make a deep run.

itsBradyBaby
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Trust me they will do everything to hold them back like they did the talented Super Eagles and indomitable Lions teams.

HunterCenter
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in my opinion, even the best African team historically have not had the discipline or defensive composure to go far in the tournament, regardless of refereeing.

itsBradyBaby
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Sorry if you watched those two I mentioned they did , fake Maradona goal knocked that Nigerian team out , Lions couldn’t get no calls with the Roger led team.

rondo723
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Dwight Howard to the Nets for Mozgov and 2 2nds…uhhh

Saturn III
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Howard averaged 16 and 12.5 in 81 games last season. Not bad but I wouldn’t expect that again.

itsBradyBaby
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Africa need to boycott the world cup, this been happening forever, how the f are you to win a game when the refs are making sure you don’t, fifa made sure a good Indomitable Lions team and super Eagles team that had the stars and will didn’t go forward.

LaFeteMattDog
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We’re on to the African Nations Cup!!!

itsBradyBaby
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For sure