This might be the easiest Afternoon Delight decision I’ve ever made. They ran this trailer during the Dallas-Green Bay game Sunday afternoon and I knew I was going to post this the minute I resurgenced all over myself. Next summer … we celebrate … our “Independence Day” sequel!

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Blog Author: 
Jerry Thornton

UB ChristmasA long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, the most beloved, celebrated and influential movie franchise in history was launched. And pop culture would never be the same.

After the first trilogy (Episodes IV, V and VI) was done, we waited seemingly forever for the second trilogy (Episodes I, II and III), only to have George Lucas bury a piece of our childhoods under a confusing, steaming pile of CGI, trade federations, midi-chlorians, excruciating teenage love and Jar Jars.

Now, we’ve waited again for someone to right those wrongs. That someone being J.J. Abrams, the professional rebooter who resurrected the “Star Trek” franchise and who was brought in as a hired gun to make “Star Wars” fun again. He’s got the hearts of sci-fi nerds across the universe in his hands.

Well, with “Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens” opening this week, what better way to get yourself so excited that you could pull the ears off a gundark than listening to two scruffy-looking nerf herders like me and my pal Adam “Uncle Buck” Cormack talking about all things “Star Wars”? Nothing.

Although it’s been said, many times, many ways, May the Force be with you. Always.


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Blog Author: 
Jerry Thornton
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred chose to uphold MLB's ban on Pete Rose.

[0:00:20] ... to play. And on the way in Lebanon. A lifetime ban of Major League Baseball career hits leader Pete Rose remains in place the new commissioner. Major League Baseball rob man first. As Joseph like his predecessors to keep rose's banishment in place for gambling on baseball what I. What you ...
[0:02:42] ... see and read about the greatest players to ever play this game. Pete Rose deserves to be in there of those to be some Google deal. But right now you can't vote for I have no ...
[0:03:53] ... that what he's doing he's he's paving the way. To say that Pete Rose can't be around baseball. Can't be as huge as settler can't be any were involved in it because he is he news. ...
[0:09:21] ... that record. And he's not in. To the character issues fell. In Major League Baseball they're a little bit different than the other sports character plays into it if you read it and keep Buckley read it ...

The Celtics took the previously undefeated Warriors to double overtime on Friday in a thriller at The Garden, but couldn't close it out in the end. The guys take a look at the game and what it means for this year's Celtics squad.

[0:02:03] ... don't shoot out what I thought they would but they don't have. Isiah Thomas is. The best player they haven't ST. But I Isiah Thomas is not a superstar and asleep. They don't have that guy to close out games with them they don't have that guy that you just now Paul Pierce's don't close out this game will I don't know there. I want them to turn it that the into the game missed ...
[0:04:43] ... like tonight base is you can. If you put big bodies against Isiah Thomas we saw that last year and players they get swept. They're getting the most out of what they have no interest on ...
[0:06:10] ... you know in a series so let's say you screw up the first night that's okay. We're gonna game planner because we know what they do they're limited what they can tell they don't have a superstar you cut a line that the two rosters up. It let's say clay Thompson was healthy. You can have one that you rosters up. On Friday night before hand and you tell me where the first Celtics shows up if we're if we're printing side out a way to pick three of the Golden State Warriors for Ford picked the first south. Yeah and it's not a surprise maybe if they really should be a surprise anybody. That ...
[0:13:17] ... or you know he's not that star player you're still depending on Isiah Thomas. To win an isolation. Place late in the game next year and maybe even a year raft. Now it's it and then ...

Pete Rose remains on the outs with Major League Baseball, as Commissioner Rob Manfred denied the all-time hit leader’s request for reinstatement, indicating it’s an unacceptable risk.

Pete Rose remains on the outs with Major League Baseball, as Commissioner Rob Manfred denied the all-time hit leader’s request for reinstatement, indicating it’s an unacceptable risk.

In a letter made public Monday, Manfred said Rose has not been completely honest about betting on games during his time as manager of the Reds in the 1980s. Rose denied betting on games for 15 years until admitting his transgression in 2005.

An ESPN report earlier this year offered evidence that suggest Rose bet on games while he was playing as well.

Manfred, in his first year as commissioner, also noted that Rose continues to bet on baseball (legally), despite his questionable past.

“Mr. Rose’s public and private comments, including his initial admission in 2004, provide me with little confidence that he has a mature understanding of his wrongful conduct, that he has accepted full responsibility for it, or that he understands the damage he has caused,” Manfred said in his decision.

Rose is ineligible for be included on Hall of Fame ballots, but that’s a separate matter from his reinstatement.

“In my view, the considerations that should drive a decision on whether an individual should be allowed to work in Baseball are not the same as those that should drive a decision on Hall of Fame eligibility,” Manfred wrote. “… Any debate over Mr. Rose’s eligibility for the Hall of Fame is one that must take place in a different forum.”

Blog Author: 
Jerry Spar
The guys take a look at LeGarrette Blount's injury, and surmise what the best options going forward will be if Blount is out for an extended period of time. Also, with the Bengals and Broncos losing, the Patriots vaulted back up to the top of the AFC, and are in control of maintaining home-field advantage.



Things to consider while celebrating the Festivus miracle that is Rob Gronkowsk’s return:

— Putting aside the little matters of clinching the division and reclaiming the top spot in the AFC playoff picture, I don’t know how you could squeeze any more statements into one statement win. You go on the road against allegedly one of the hottest teams in the league, have three huge plays reversed on you, give up zero touchdowns despite another fumbled punt, and you roll up on them in all three phases, still without your best receiver and your best defensive player? That’s the kind of statement all the campaign money in New Hampshire can’t buy. “The New England Patriots. Tough. Experienced. Tested. With the leadership we need to defeat Carolina in February.” I’m Jerry Thornton, and I approve this message.

— Even bigger than what this win does in the standings is what it did to opposing defensive coordinators, who probably should start swallowing Cymbaltas by the handful. This was a return to the versatile, changeable, Optimus Prime, matchup nightmare offensive sets we were seeing at the beginning of the season. And I honestly don’t how you defend them.

— Consider two red zone plays. On one, the Patriots came out in “tank” personnel, with three tight ends and two running backs, forcing Houston to go with its goal-line defense. Tom Brady then motioned Scott Chandler out to one side with Rob Gronkowski and fullback Brandon Bolden out to the other. Brady looked over his options, the best was Gronk matched up with Quintin Demps, touchdown. On the other, they were up by 14 and had the luxury of playing for a field goal knowing it would make it a three-score game. So they spread the Texans out, getting Vince Wilfork off the field, then audibled to a draw to James White, touchdown. I’d say defenses have to pick their poison, but it’s more like the McOffense chooses for them.

— I concede that J.J. Watt was limited playing with his Luke Skywalker-hanging-underneath-Bespin hand. But that doesn’t take away from the scheming and effort it took to completely obliterate him from the game. Though for the most part the Pats fed Watt the chef’s combo platter of Michael Williams, Cameron Fleming, Asante Cleveland, Gronk and Sebastian Vollmer, with a side of help from the guards, there were times Marcus Cannon was left on an island and controlled him. Which is a huge upgrrade from how Cannon has been playing. They kept Watt guessing all night to the point he got frustrated, committing a roughing the passer and a neutral zone infraction. In particular there was one play where Cannon had him one-on-one and Watt responded with this weird, looping, circumnavigation-of-the-globe rush while Brady hit Danny Amendola for seven. I think game-planning was way more a factor in his non-factorishness than his bandaged-up droid hand.

— The bear in “The Revenant” doesn’t give Leonardo DiCaprio as much trouble as Logan Ryan gave DeAndre Hopkins. Brandon Browner is on his way to setting the NFL record for penalties in a season and Ryan is on his way to a Pro Bowl. If not this year, soon.

— Remember at the very beginning of the first “Hard Knocks” this year when Bill O’Brien lectured his players about how they think they’re better than they are and the organization is a joke around the league? I was reminded of that when Hopkins finally caught a ball over Ryan, then gave the Pats sideline the phony tough guy stare-down. With his team down 21 points. Someone needs to go through the Texans equipment room and see if they have one of those 2012 Lettermen jackets in his size.

— As good as Ryan has been, the best Patriot on the field was Jabaal Sheard. If we’ve learned anything from watching this team over the years and looking at the free agent deals of Tully Banta-Cain and Mark Anderson, Bill Belichick can turn any slappie into a 10-sack situational edge rusher. But Sheard does more. He’s got the power and technique to push the pocket from the middle. He came off the edge to produce two strip sacks. And on one crucial set of downs when it was still a game came unaccounted for to drop Chris Polk for a loss. Who knows? If he keeps this up, opponents might even start looking to block him.

— The most gratifying aspect of the defense is the recent play of Jerod Mayo. Maybe he just needed to get back into game condition or something because he is playing much closer to his peak of 2010 than the guy who was swinging around ball carriers like they were stripper poles earlier in the year. Taking a lot of reps, he is getting sideline to sideline, playing that spill technique, stringing things out, defeating blocks and letting nothing get by him. He’s still nobody’s idea of a great pass defender, but in the run game he’s got the Most Improved superlative on lock.

— I find few things as fascinating as Bill O’Brien’s chin dimple. That thing is positively hypnotic. Like, I get lost staring into it. The whole triangular shape to that thing reminds me of Tony Stark’s arc reactor in “Iron Man 2.” Of course Brady’s isn’t as deep, but it is round like “Iron Man 1,” which was a thousand times better.

— The key sequence of the game was that defensive stop after Keshawn Martin muffed that punt. With the ball on the 21, Houston gained seven yards on a pass to Hopkins, Jonathan Grimes got stuffed by Rob Ninkovich and Alan Branch, Brian Hoyer threw an incompletion, and then the Texans bizarrely went for it on fourth down and a pass fell incomplete, defended by Leonard Johnson. The punt team gave them the ball in the red area high and the defense gave up zero points. There’s your ball game.

— And just like that, Leonard Johnson is the leader in the clubhouse for the 2015 Fred Coleman “Who the Hell is That Guy?” surprise hero award.

— I feel like if Larry Lucchino was running the Patriots he’d have figured out a way to monetize the weekly fumbled punt by now. “Text the word MUFF for your chance to be the Special Teams Screw-Up Fan of the Week, brought to you by Butterfingers.”

— That peculiar decision by O’Brien to take three easy points off the board wasn’t even his worst decision. I mean, who thinks the wildcat still works against the Patriots? They’ve had that thing on lockdown since after the first time the Dolphins gave them the whoops upside the head with it under Tony Sparano. Their corners and ends are coached up to crash down on the QB and the option back and hit them both, problem solved. Running it even once is doing them a favor. The way O’Brien kept going to was either really, really dumb or he was being really, really loyal to his old mentor.

— And I’d love to hear some analysis about what compelled the Texans to play right into the Patriots’ hands there. But no, by all means tell us about the “Teapot” nickname again. That story gets funnier after the first 30 mentions.

— I have to admit I waited for 20 minutes after the game just to make sure the officials didn’t overturn the ruling on the field that the Patriots had won. “The ruling on the field is changed” is a registered trademark of Jeff Triplette and the NFL. All rights reserved.

— It was refreshing to say the least to see the Patriots get back to the aggressive play-calling right before the half. When they got the ball with 2:45 left, ran one play and let it run down to the two-minute warning, I think it gave us all flashbacks to Denver and Philly. When they get all conservative like that it feels like they’re the grandpa in a commercial who can’t play with the grandkids because he’s got bladder control problems or something. Maybe Gronk is the Depends that gives them the confidence they need or whatever. But I’d rather see them have the occasional accident than just stop living life the way they always have.

— That said, Josh McDaniels had a huge bounce-back game after the odd decisions of the last couple of weeks. Motions (like the quick screen to Brandon LaFell on the touchdown drive before the half), backside screens (Martin goes in motion and they run a play action to White but Martin gets it going backside of the play to pick up the first) and combo routes (“ghost” to Martin in the flat for a first down with Gronk going deep and Danny Amendola on an in-cut). Not to mention that designed play on the first possession where Brady rolled right and hit Gronk deep left against Whitney Mercilus, which was brilliant. Get Julian Edelman back and the McOffense will be unstoppable. Again.

— That is, provided the Patriots keep extracting the Wrenched Ankle and Butterflies in the Stomach out of the Operation game board that is the 2015 season without setting off the buzzer. I’m not even sweating LeGarrette Blount or Devin McCourty. I’m all injury-worried out at this point.

— Watch that James White touchdown run where Shaq Mason drives Brian Cushing three yards back and tell me I’m wrong when I say Cushing is the most overhyped linebacker in the game. All sizzle, no steak.

Jon Gruden Nickname of the Week: “Jabaal Sheard? I call him ‘Sheer Balls’ because that’s what he brings on every down!”

— This Week’s Applicable Movie Quote: “So this is planet Houston.” — General Zod, “Superman II” (Note: I will die before I get so lazy I go with “Houston, we have a problem.” Even though it would probably get me into the writer’s wing of the Baseball Hall of Fame.

— The fact the Pats get to face Tennessee, at home, right after the Titans got slapped around by the Jets is like finding the health pack in a first-person shooter game. They actually could go into the playoffs the healthiest they’ve been all season. If they do, the rest of the league might want to get a jump on changing the rules to ban what the Patriots will do in this year’s playoffs. Don’t wait until it’s too late, like last season.


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Blog Author: 
Jerry Thornton
The Patriots broke a 2-game losing streak on Sunday night in Houston with a 27-6 win over JJ Watt and the Texans. Watt was shut down for the most part, and the Patriots defense shut down the Texans offense.
Hasselbeck discussed the future of Manning in Denver.

[0:00:38] ... call you you predicted Brock with play I know mellow. You predicted Cam Newton in the MVP didn't. He says he's just see that's what I need to do the right correct I mean a lot Bryce canyon I YouTube guys do you exaggerated corrects. That's right correct current. Has support I'll try to do better the next two hours Tim Hasselbeck and the AT&T hotline where he's brought to you by you're by friendlies. And two Sheba business solutions in my draft. Let's ...
[0:02:32] ... that win you know kind of moment that you situations where if Nate Washington on the play football. You know I think you know jump in and out of the different things that Houston was trying ...
[0:03:27] ... here in single coverage trying to make a planned so all that Nate Washington. Post are we. Well I think there's an element. Not only I think there's no question that is the plan now to other people try to do it absolutely other people try to do now. What to say that not everyone comic charm that you see somebody playing. You know the Carolina Panthers you're like really Greg Olsen know what I know one country and ultimately. You're sick on third down but that would be ...
[0:08:40] ... well this that would have been the last that we saw it. Tim Hasselbeck outlook are also a good job I think that the fabric more dangerous would straighten your recorder. Yeah you said that all ...