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Turkey Day and LOL-Jets

By Pauly

Los Angeles, CA

Turkey Day. Three NFL games including the Jets. I had so much to be thankful for… so watching the Jets get dismembered and humiliated in front of the entire nation was freaking awesome.

This Mark Sanchez ass-fumble sums up the Jets…

Yep. Fucking Sanchez. Running into someone’s ass. It got so ugly on Thursday night that the fans started chanting for Tebow.

"Tebow! Tebow! Tebow! Tebow!! Tebow!!!"

You woulda thunk Skip Bayless paid off 5,000 faithful members of Gang Green to start a mutiny. He didn’t have to dole out $5 bills. Several weeks of vented-up anger was being released vociferously. Even some of my girlfriend’s relatives (who don’t know much about football) were calling for Sanchez’s head, “Why doesn’t the dude in the sweater vest put in Tebow?”

If Tebow didn’t hurt his ribs, I betcha Rex Ryan woulda pulled Sanchez out of sheer frustration.

Anyway, I’m sorry for the tangent. I’m not going to turn Ocelot Sports into a circle jerk for Tebow. That’s what ESPN is for.

But hey… I’m so glad we faded the Jets.

Wisdom of the Ocelot

If you’re gonna be a Jets fan, always go for the emotional hedge and bet against them. Fade the Jets every time. That way you’ll win enough money to cover the bar tab that you’ll run up trying drown away your misery of the Jets’ level of suckage.

Hey, it’s a holiday, right? Turkey Day is reserved for turkey, gobble, gobble, gobble, gamboooooooooool! 3 sides. 3 totals. And a ton of biscuits.

Turkey Day action: Houston -3, Washington +3.5, Pats -6.5, OVER 48.5 Houston/Detroit, UNDER 47 Wash/Dallas, OVER 48.5 Pats/Jets

The first game on the slate was Houston/Detroit. The NFL has played a game in Detroit on Thanksgiving every year since before WWII. Holy shitballs! Too bad Detroit loses year after year after year.

I did not watch the game… I actually volunteered to work and had been up since 6am writing something for a deadline and I was covering a final table of an online poker tournament. I filed all of my work around noon and got everything done by 1pm.  I left my office and checked the score. 31-31. Are you shitting me?

31-31. Another overtime game for Houston?

Houston got lucky when Hansen shanked a FG and gave them a chance to win the game. Houston had already missed a chance to win the game in OT with a FG, and they didn’t blow their second chance. Graham drilled a FG and Houston won 34-31. We were laying -3. Boooooo. Push. The way Houston played all game, we’re lucky to get a push, but man… I was pulling and praying for a TD in OT.

By the way… you’ll see in the above GIF that Schaub gets kicked in the nuts by one of the dirtiest players in the league that incorrigible troublemaker Ndamukong Suh.

That Houston team likes to live on the edge, eh? Now 10-1 and #1 in the AFC. They won 2 overtime games in the last five days. Unreal. Too bad they didn’t cover. Oh, and the OVER 48.5 wasn’t much of a sweat only because I was working and didn’t see any of the game until the start of overtime. The combined for 62 by the start of overtime and we had secured the win. Perfect way to start a 6-bet bender.

We were 1-0-1 and already ahead by the time Washington/Dallas had just kicked off.

I saw something that Dawn Summers tweeted about how the Cowboys playing the Redskins on Thanksgiving was kinda racist. Funny joke, but very disturbing on some levels. America and the NFL is all about… 1) killing thy enemy, and 2) field position.

I caught almost all of Washington/Dallas or the RG3 Bowl. Luckily the inlaws live fairly close to us in the Slums of Beverly Hills with zero traffic to West L.A. I was chowing down on appetizers while watching RG3’s first touchdown drive. It would be one of many, which made the afternoon go by quickly because we were on Washington +3.5

Washington was up 28-3 at the half, but the knock against them is that they can get out to a lead, but they always blow it. Conversely, Dallas often starts out slowly and gets their shit together in the second half. Almost exactly on script, Dallas stormed back in the second half…. but came up short. RG3 and Washington held off Romo and Cowgirls. We lost a bet on the UNDER 47 and it would be the only lost wager of the day. Washington held onto win by 7 and easily covered +3.5. After two games, we were 2-1-1.

By the way, RG3 is the real deal. 4 TDs? Yep. He’s totally overrated, right? Shit, I wished the Jets had RG3 instead of that assclown Sanchez. Here’s a sick fake that RG3 totally sells…

A memorable moment at the in-laws happened during the halftime of the Washington/Dallas game. The room was filled with my girlfriend’s family mostly show biz types… and Kenny Chesney was introduced as the halftime entertainment. He started singing a country song (all country song are essentially life’s bad beat stories). I didn’t let Kenny get ten seconds into his first number before I walked over to the television and shut it off, then walked out of the room. Everyone laughed.

The late game was the Pats visiting the Jets. The Pats and Jets went into overtime earlier in the season… which surprised everyone, especially the Pats. Without fail, the Jets lost that game in OT and really set the tone for the season. It’s one thing to get shutout at home against the Niners, which you can justify was a shitty performance against a defensive juggernaut, so you can throw out your worst game of the season, but losing in OT on the road against a heated division rival sucks the life out of you. The Jets were toast from that moment they had a victory snatched out of their hands in Foxboro. I saw the LOL-Jets live in Seattle a couple weekends ago and they were lifeless, particularly their offense. I’ve seen shit stains with more pizazz. The Jets lunch-meat offense is just atrociously inconsistent, or most of the time it was nonexistent. They can’t run. They can’t pass. They can’t do anything right on special teams. And don’t even get me started about their inefficient red zone offense. Plus, the Jets fucked up the Tebow situation more than you’ll ever know.

Just remember this… Jets’ owner Woody Johnson is the heir to the Johnson & Johnson company. Every time you buy a box of band aids, you pay for Mark Sanchez’s salary.

We bet the Pats -6.5 and the OVER 48.5 because we love fading the Jets. I figured the Pats would win by at least double digits. Plus, even if the Jets posted a big fat donut, the Pats are a team that… 1) could put up 50 on their own, and 2) likes to run up the score…. especially against the LOL-Jets.

We had finished dinner just before kick off and watched the first quarter. We took a short break and adjourned to the dinning room for a round of dessert and coffee/tea. We were gone for no more than ten minutes in real time. I looked in at the game and the Pats had just scored to put the score 28-0 with almost 8 minutes left in the 2Q.

Wait… what? 28-0? What the fuck, mate? 7-0? 14-0? 21-0? 28-0? All of that happened when I wasn’t looking? Did someone dose me and spike my iced tea with acid? Is this real life? I know the Jets suck… but 28-0 points in three minutes? Whaaaaaaat?

Yes, it was true. My brother clued me in on a couple of fumbles from the Jets and a couple of Tom Brady bombs made it 28-0. Super glad we bet the over, eh?

The outcome was dunzo in the 2Q when the score was 35-3. The rest of the game was glorified garbage time. Everyone started whispering about Tebow. The smug announcers. The drunken fans. Everyone on Twitter. Even the dinner guests.

"Is Tebow hurt?" "Could he play if he is?" "Is the crowd really chanting for Tebow?" "Time to bench the damn rapist!" "Why doesn’t Ryan pull Tebow?" "Tebow. Tebow. Tebow. Tebow."

My girlfriend’s sister went to school in Colorado so she’s a huge Broncos fan… which also means she has an affinity for Tebow after witnessing some of his magic last season. She knew what Tebow could accomplish on any given Sunday…. given the chance. That’s the one thing Tebow never got in a Jets uniform… a chance.

Doesn’t matter if Tebow or Sanchez is under center. The Jets suck so let’s just stop skirting around the issue and figure out how we can rebuild ASAP or trade Tebow and a bag of bibles to Jacksonville for Justin Blackmon.

I was having a turkey feast a stone’s throw away from UCLA’s campus and sitting in a room of diverse people who were united for their vehement hated of USC, which meant that they had a special disdain for USC quarterbacks, especially Mark Sanchez.

"Did you know Sanchize supposedly date-raped a passed out drunk co-ed back when he was a freshman? USC and the boosters covered it up. They paid off the girl. Gave her free tuition and tons of cash."

That was a sample of the few anti-USC stories I heard over Turkey Day dinner. I couldn’t tell if they were serious or totally fucking with me.

"So which QB is your favorite again? The date rapist or the Jesus Freak?"

"Ummm…" I stammered on like a slippery politician struggling to find a "safe" answer a tough question. "My favorite Jets QB is… Eli Manning."

Good recover. Deflection with humor. The crowd ate it up. More laughs.

The USC-haters shelled me all night for being a Jets fan. A ton of guff rained down on me, which is useless because I don’t give a shit. Nothing that bullies can say will ever hurt as much as the pain I endure as a Jets fan. Waking up every day as a Jets fan is extremely depressing, humiliating, and psychologically damaging. Being a Jets fan is a badge of courage because it takes balls, loyalty and heart to stick with a team so badly that you stomach atrocious seasons year after year after year, while the Giants add another championship to their trophy case. The easy part is ignoring the slings and arrows targeted at you by dickhead friends, cantankerous relatives, and mean-spirited strangers. The hard part is sitting down week after week to subject yourself to the insane butchery called the LOL-Jets.

That’s why I love betting against the Jets. I get paid to be miserable.

To keep the Sanchez-haters occupied during dinner, I shared couple of conspiracy theories: a former pope who used to be a salesman for IG Farben and sold cyanide to the Nazis during WWII, Stanley Kubrick’s faked moon landing and Tebow’s contract with the Jets. Supposedly, Tiny Tim wasn’t getting any real playing time because the Jets didn’t want Tebow to play too many snaps or put up any big stats which would facilitate random bonus clauses (like snaps played or TDs) that they didn’t want to pay. Yeah, it looks like the Jets are not benching Sanchez for Tebow because they are just being cheap. They forked over a shit-ton of cash to Sanchez in a contract extension, so the last thing they want to do is let Tebow grind out a bunch of playing time to lock up those bonuses.

Anyway, it was an ugly game but we won both our bets and the fans left in droves starting in the 3Q. Toward the end of the game, I noticed one fan waving with a “BYE BYE REX!” sign.

We finished the day 4-1-1 in the NFL… or 2-1 in totals and 2-1-1 in sides.

Filed under Jets Tebow NFL Turkey Day

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Seachickens, Bowling Alleys, and Pai Gow

By Pauly

Seattle, WA

1am. I found myself deep into a bender and was sitting at a “high roller” Pai Gow table. Johnnie and I were the only ones playing Pai Gow. He told me about the dingy backroom casino in the back of a bowling alley somewhere on the outskirts of Seattle.

"Didn’t the Green River serial killer pick up crack whores down the street? Are we going to get jacked in the parking lot by a bunch of meth heads?"

Both question rattled through my head as I gazed at my King-high Pai Gow. The dealer was an Asian woman who could have been 30 or 60 years old. You never know. Like vampires, Pai Gow dealers do not age. Her name was Minnie and she had a small Minnie Mouse pin on her vest and a tiny scorpion tattoo on her forearm. The only other action in the backroom was a blackjack table in the far corner, where a shitfaced WW2 vet sat in front of a wall of redbirds. The blackjack dealer wore a Matt Hassleback jersey. A poker table in the opposite corner had a bunch of older Asian men, the local Joey Knishes, who were nitting it up playing short-handed Omaha 8.

In the distance you could hear the smacking and crackling of pins. That was the only reminder that a bowling alley was on the other side of the thin wall. The backroom reeked of lane wax and that putrid disinfectant smell that they spray inside bowling shoes to keep them clean and free of foot fungi.

Sometimes you end up in the last place you’d expect, like at a bowling alley on the fringe of the city at 1am. Was I really playing Pai Gow? Is this real life?

At least it was commission-free Pai Gow. The waitress charged us $1 for watered down, stale, tepid Bud Light drafts. Soft drinks were free though, but I guess you can’t complain about $1 pints, even if it was warm beer.

Johnnie was on a heater and nailed straight flush with a Joker. 7s-6s-JOKER-4s-3s. The half-asleep pit boss lumbered over and confirmed the bonus hand. Minnie the dealer pulled out a stack of green chips and put them in front of Johnnie.

Me? I got cold-decked by yet another Pai Gow dealer. King-high Pai Gow. Queen-high Pai Gow. Jack-high Pai Gow. Doesn’t matter if I’m on the Las Vegas Strip or if I’m in a shitty “casino” in the back of a bowling alley… the Asian Games Gods always fuck with me.

Sometimes you end up places you never dreamed about going. I could blame the odd assortment of painkillers for leading me down a treacherous path, but in the end, I could have asked Johnnie to head downtown so we could watch a crappy band comprised of burned out hippies jamming out badly arranged Allman Brothers covers… or we could take a walk on the wild side and check out a bowing alley casino where dreams go to die.

When we started our day, nothing on Sunday’s agenda indicated a late-night trip to a hole-in-the-wall casino, yet that’s what happened.

Saturday afternoon betting was ugly, fugly, ugly and the ugly spilled into Saturday night. No one likes to talk about a losing streak while it’s happening, but I knew deep down that the only thing that could end a losing streak was winning a bet. Any bet. Small. Medium. Large. It didn’t matter. We just needed to win something to get us back on track. That was the Denver Nuggets. Oh, the mighty Nugs pulled us out of the doldrums…. so when I woke up on Sunday, I was in a chipper mood despite the hit to the bankroll.

I should say, I woke up super late for a Sunday. Almost 9:30am PT. Usually I’m up at the crack of dawn. 6am or so. On lazy days, I sleep in until 7am before I work the phones, watch the lines move, and gather any last second intelligence before setting fantasy rosters and making any last minute bets or recommendations to friends (and the stray client).

Stuck in the middle of a 2-day bender,  I had passed out in the wee hours, got confused by a power outage as I stumbled around in the dark completely faded, only to wake up super late on Johnnie’s couch. My entire Sunday morning routine was out of whack and we had less than an hour to get ready for a pre-party. I flew up to Seattle to see my hometown New York Jets get whipped by the mighty might Seachickens. Whenever Seattle plays at home… they play like the Seahawks, but whenever they’re on the road, they play like frightened Seachickens.

The pre-party consisted on shrugging off the pharmie hangover and dreaded noon slouch (at 10am). We drove to the International District (a P.C. way of saying old-school Chinatown) for Dim Sum. There’s a stretch of amazing unknown restaurants a few blocks from the sports stadiums in SoDo (South of the Dome for you non-Seattle people… yes the Dome is no longer, but the last time I saw a football game in Seattle was inside the Kingdome when the Jets beat the Seachickens back in 1997). Johnnie’s buddy got us a reservation at one of the most crowded Dim Sum joints in the Pacific Northwest. I gotta say, I wasn’t in good shape while waiting in a small vestibule with a hundred other starving people. I was scrunched up against a tank with crabs and lobsters stacked up against each other in cloudy water.

"Do crabs shit?" I thought out loud. "Is the water was filled with crab shit and lobster feces?"

My questions went unanswered and we were finally seated upon which we inhaled a ton of food, while elderly Chinese ladies pushed carts around the crowded restaurant. It only cost $8 per person for the feast and Johnnie’s old man picked up the tab.

We walked to the stadium in a light drizzle. I did not miss the grey existential bleakness of the Pacific Northwest but since I had become a resident of Southern California, I felt a sharp coldness in my bones. That’s when I knew it was time to pay a visit to Mr. Percosett before we wandered into the stadium.

If you have never been to an NFL game… it’s sort of like going to church, but with drunken slobs decked out in football jerseys. I saw a smattering of Jets jerseys, but I was walking through a sea of Seahawks faithfuls.

"You can go to the game with us," said Johnnie. "But you can’t wear any Jets gear."

"What do you mean? I bought a TEBOW #69 jersey just for the occasion."

I went back and forth all week deciding whether or not we’d take a side on the Jets-Seachickens game. I was skeptical that Rex Ryan might use the bye week to get Sanchez and Tebow and company well prepared for the Seahawks stingy defense. But, the clinching factor was that I was going to the game. Seattle plays outdoors and the forecast was rain and rain and rain. If I was going to sit through the rain and watch the Jets get their handed to them, I might as well bet on the Seachickens -6 so I could blend in with all the other fans. Plus, I was going to be sitting with season ticket holders… so I did not want to make my host uneasy about a rowdy Jets fan sitting in his seats.

The Seachickens won 28-7 and the only Jets TD was courtesy of their defense. Yes, the Jets offense got shut out once again. The low point happened when the Jets had the ball deep in the Red Zone. Tim Tebow trotted on the field and it was obvious that he was going to hike the ball and run a QB keeper into the end zone for his first TD of the season. Alas, something went awry and the Jets got flagged by Ed Hochuli for a false start. A frustrated Tebow walked off the field visibly upset. He’s a God-fearing man and doesn’t curse, but it was obvious he was pissed off.

With the Jets backed up 10 yards, Sanchez returned to the field and promptly threw an INT at the one yard line. A touchdown would have put the Jets only down by a score… but an untimely Sanchez turnover in the Red Zone cost the Jets the game. It might have cost Rex Ryan his job.

The best play of the game was a little trickery that Pete Carroll called when wideout Golden Tate threw a TD. The big joke in the stands that went around was that Tate threw more TDs than Tebow and Sanchez combined. We were sitting right by the corner of the end zone where they scored a TD. You can watch the play unfold in the below…

So, what happened on Sunday?

Those last minute bets that suck the soul out of your well being. I’m referring to a wager on Detroit -3. We got it in minutes before kickoff and it was one of those instances I wish we got shutout because Minnesota came to play and sunk our bet. Beware of those divisional home dogs… something we were well aware of, but we also watched Christian Ponder stink up the joint the last couple games. Minnesota is one of those teams that totally fucks us over. When we bet them, they lose. Whenever we fade them, they win.

Atlanta got off to a slow start in New Orleans, which looked like a different team than the last few weeks. What happened to that porous D that gave up a gajillion yards? Atlanta mounted a comeback and got the ball twice late in the game… yet Matty Ice couldn’t pull off any last second magic in the Big Easy. Mucho props to New Orleans goal line D that stuffed Atlanta on four straight downs with the game on the line. Had Atlanta punched the ball in the end zone, they would’ve won… but more importantly… covered. New Orleans spoiled Atlanta’s perfect season and handed them their first loss. New Orleans has had Atlanta’s number the last two seasons… something we overlooked before pulling the trigger on Atlanta. I thought this game reeked like a trap when it opened at only -1. Tons of money went down on Atlanta, which pushed the spread to -3 in some places.

Tampa Bay won their game… and I didn’t get to see any of it, but who cares because they won and covered. The final score is all I needed to know.

We finished 2-2 in the NFL but we turned a profit because we bet Seattle heavily… or I should say, we were fading the Jets big time. Somehow, someway, we figured out how to get unstuck after an ugly Saturday. I guess Sanchez and the Jets finally did something positive for us. His bonehead INT helped seal the victory for Seattle and we emerged dead even after a long, long weekend.

The Jets? Talk about a clown show.

Several hours later after getting unstuck, I took up Johnnie on his offer to show me the bowling alley casino. He really wanted me to experience the local Pai Gow action for myself. I saw… sat down… and lost some money. Such is life. The casino in the bowling alley was the equivalent of a dive bar and the only ones gambling in the gaming area looked like they had just eaten watered-down potato soup at a half-way house for reformed crack addicts. Despite the classy clientele, we’re damn lucky we didn’t get shanked in the dimly lit parking lot or contract a mutated version of SARS or some other flesh eating disease.

Filed under NFL Pai Gow Seachickens Tebow