My friend, comedian Todd Link, has a passion for something in life. Do you? Sure, many might call it a sickness. The stories are out there about Pete Rose, Art Schlichter, and John Daly wrecking their careers betting on sports. What is never discussed is the rush that gambling gives you. Not too many things can give you a adrenaline high, but putting more money than you can lose on people you will never meet is sweet ecstasy. To give you a little more info on Todd Link, he grew up in SoCal, but has performed in top comedy clubs and one-night shitholes from Washington to Florida. Where I’ve been in and out of the sports handicapping game, Todd Link has been consistent. No one can call him a quitter. He has graciously decided to fill us in on the worst bad beats of 2008. If one of your 2009 resolutions was to show more empathy to others, this piece is a good place to begin. Todd needs your love and understanding.
Well like every year, 2008 was an up and down season for a gambling man like myself. It’s amazing how every wagering year comes down to 5 or 6 big games where the bounce of the ball, a horrible coaching decision, a bad call by a referee, or usually a moronic play or decision by a player can be the difference between a sucessful or non-successful gambling year. Supposedly “things even out” over the course of a season, but for some reason it always seems like the bad beats outnumber the “lucky wins” for me and other gamblers. But maybe it’s just that the bad beats always are more memorable. So here are some classics for 2008
No 1 Ross Evans, kicker for TCU.
Kickers to me are like “closers” in baseball. Although every sport is a “team game”, if a closer or kicker doesn’t do their job, it makes the fact that everybody else did theirs during the course of the game a moot point. Kickers are the worst. They really don’t play the game, but they decide a lot of games, and Ross Evans is my “Moron of the Year” for me. I had waited for Utah to play a good team all year. I had seen them play probably 5 times during the season and saw their pedestrian offense struggle to beat mediocre teams like Air Force and Colorado State. TCU had only one loss against Oklahoma and I was waiting for them to play Utah so I could unload against the Utes. I was laying 2, and just as I thought TCU went up and down the field against Utah–they compiled 450 yards of offense during the game–while holding the Utah to 6 points. Of course TCU committed 7 FALSE START PENALTIES during the game, and Andy Dalton stupidly had taken sacks instead of throwing the ball away twice during drives that had taken them out of field goal range, or the game wouldn’t have even been close.
But anyway, TCU is up to 10 to 6 late in the fourth quarter and dumb ass Evans misses a 26-yard field goal that would have put them up a touchdown and made overtime a worst-case scenario. Amazingly, TCU holds Utah to a “3 and out”, gets the ball back, and proceeds to get down inside the 20 again. Dumb ass Evans again then misses a 36-yeard field goal, rips the guts completely out of his team, and Utah scores a touchdown with less than a minute to go to win the game. Thanks, you idiot. If you only make ONE out of those two easy kicks, your team wins the Mountain West Conference and is playing in a BCS game for a big payday. I hope you lose a testicle in a horrible hunting accident, you jack-ass!!
Honorable Mention Joel Monroe, Kicker for Minnesota
Minnesota was playing at home against Northwestern and I had teased them down from -7 to -1, so all the they had to do was win the game. This was the game that featured an interception return for a TD by Northwestern in the last minute of the game to win it, and Minnesota never recovered from that the rest of the season. Of course they showed the “Pick-6” return for the touchdown on all the highlight shows, but what they didn’t show was Dumb-Ass Monroe missing a 19-yard field goal–basically an extra point–during the 2nd half. Without that idiot missing the field goal, Minnesota is up by 3 and taking a knee instead of trying to score at the end of the game, and that interception never happens. Thanks, Monroe. Of course trying to go 70 yards at the end of the game is a horrible coaching decistion, too, but don’t get me started on that
Devin Smith Wisconsin Defensive Back
How can a back-up cornerback and special teams scrub make the list? I’ll tell you how. I had taken a 10 point teaser with Wisconsin playing at home to Minnesota–yes, that same Minnesota team–and was laying 4 points. In the 2nd half, Minnesota fumbles a kick-off and the ball in bouncing in the end zone with nothing but Red Wisconsin Jerseys all around it. All that idiot Smith has to do is fall on the ball for an easy touchdown, but for some reason he decides to try a Micheal Phelps belly-flop on top ot the ball, it goes out from under him and out of the end zone for a safety. They get 2 points instead of 7, and instead of winning by 8 they win by 3……….and I lose. Thanks, Smith. I know that “falling on the ball” is tough stuff, but remember that when you’re changing my tires at Wal-Mart after your playing days are done
Byron Eaton Point Guard for Oklahoma State
I had the over in the Gonzaga-Oklahoma State game a few weeks ago, and the total was 154 1/2. The final score was 81-73 so–as you can figure out on your own—I lost by a half point. The story, of course, was that both teams combined to shoot 22 for 43 from the line!!! Are you kidding me? We are talking about college teams here–one of them ranked # 4 until a couple of weeks ago–not my nephew’s 10 year old team, as believe me they would have done better. The main culprit was Eaton the Stiff, of course as he went a remarkable 1 for 7 from the line, with 2 of those misses being the front end of a “1 and 1.” This is their POINT GUARD!!! No wonder they suck. When Shaq is calling you and giving advice on how to shoot free throws, you know you suck. As a career 85 % free-throw shooter myself, it is amazing how many guys can’t shoot them. Keep practicing Eaton, as your future rec-league team will need every point
No. 1 The Great Ed Hochuli
Everybody knows Hochuli, the only ref in any sport that would fail a “performance enhancing drug test.” Genreally he is a quality ref, although considered a “hot dog” by most coaches and players. We have all the seen the botched call that cost the Chargers the game against the Broncos, but here is the point nobody mentions. It was obviously a fumble that he called an imcomplete pass, but with replay everything can be reviewed…………………. EXCEPT THAT PLAY IF IT’S CALLED INCOMPLETE!! So here’s what needs to happen. On a play like that if it’s close, ALWAYS call it a fumble, because you can always go to the replay and reverse it into an “incomplete pass” later, but you can’t change it from an incomplete pass to a fumble. Every ref should know this–especially after the “Tuck-Rule” game the Patriots had against the Raiders that started the Pats on their Super Bowl run–but apparently Hochuli forgot that while mixing his “creatine” shake before the game.
Honorable Mention Scott Green in the Steelers-Chargers game
This is the game where Pittsburgh was laying 4.5 to 5 points against the Chargers and a fumble by the Chargers was returned by Troy Polamalu for a last second TD that would have had Pittsburgh winning the game by 18 to 10, not 11-10, and thus covering the spread. The amazing thing about this call is that Green went to the replay booth, saw that the touchdown should have counted, but then was told by the other referees that he was looking at the wrong part of the play. Since his “allotted time under the hood” was used up, he couldn’t go back and look at it again. What? Are you kidding me? After that mass confusion ensued, the touchdown was disallowed and thousands of Pittsburgh bettors got hosed. Amazingly, THE NFL CHANGED THAT RULE THE VERY NEXT WEEK!!. So don’t try to tell me that NFL isn’t aware of people betting on their games. They won’t mention it on TV of course, but everybody knows it so just admit it and get the “elephant in the room” out of the house
While Tim Brewster is a moron for costing his team the game while trying to score late against Northwestern–when they should have just taken a knee and went to overtime–he is far from the only one. While football coaches are smarter than the rest of us, as they get millions to coach–at least that is what they’ll tell you and want you to think–a majority of them have no clue what they’re doing. While the game is going on a football coach controls very few things–clock management and time outs, when to go for it on 4th down, play selection, and when to challenge a call–and most of these clowns can’t even get that right. Here is an open letter to all coaches. WHEN YOU’RE GOING FOR IT ON FOURTH DOWN, YOU EITHER SPREAD THE FIELD AND RUN IT, OR BUNCH THE FORMATION AND THROW IT!!! When there are 11 guys on the line of scrimmage, you are not going to run the ball up the gut and make it, O.K? You are outnumbered 10 or 11 guys to 8 and they will tackle you!! Also, on 1st and goal from the one or two, fake a run and throw it to the tight end. That play works almost every time, but coaches have to try to “be physical” and run it in. You get stuffed on first down, stuffed on 2nd down, and then on 3rd down everybody is looking for the play-action pass. If you do it on first down when the other team ISN’T looking for it, it works 99.99999 % of the time.
Also, if you’re an NFL coach and you see the Patriots Mike Vrabel checking into the game on a play near the goal line, please cover him as the only reason he is in there is to go out on a pass play!!! After 10 years in the league, you would think NFL coaches and players would be on to this scheme, but apparently not so I’m going to help you out!!
Well that is my “Year in Review”, sports fans. May a 4-team parlay be in your future 🙂