Friday, October 14, 2011

Escape From New York

It is a 363 mile drive from the Buffalo Bills home turf of Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, NY to Metlife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ; stomping ground of the New York Giants. For many years the Bills faithful have made the standstill argument that the Buffalo Bills are the only "true" New York team because of Metlife Stadium’s location within New Jersey state lines.

Matching up for only the third time in over ten years, the often harmless Upstate New York team now has the opportunity to prove their worthiness for recognition as New York State's sole NFL team.  The only difference is this year, the Bills have found a consistent quarterback.

Enter Ryan Fitzpatrick, a prominent leader of this Cinderella team.  After beginning the season on fire statistically, Fitzpatrick has since come back down to earth, but has continued doing nothing but the right things to lead his team to victory.  Although he may not have the fire that Snake Plissken possessed in the 1980s classic film "Escape From New York", the "Amish Rifle" has consistently provided a spark for his Bills.

Despite the Buffalo Bills (4-1) coming off a big win, they travel to New York as underdogs to face a Giants team (3-2) trying to regain their footing after a crushing loss to the Seattle Seahawks.

Following the week 5 defeat, Giants Head Coach Tom Coughlin stated what he has sought to improve during this week’s practices. "We didn't complement each other at all today. This week the sloppiness of the game, the turnovers, you know you are not going to win when you are handing people the ball (at) point blank range."

Most NFL fans are well aware of the struggles that the New York Giants have had turning the ball over. However, few and far between are conscious of the Bills' league leading +11 turnover differential this season (16 total takeaways).

Through 5 weeks of football, the Giants are still winless over a team with a winning record, a fact that favors the AFC East's first place Bills, especially if the "G-Men" are unable to minimize their giveaways.

After the Bills key win over the Philadelphia Eagles, team-captain George Wilson declared, "When you make mistakes, it’s alright to make mistakes as long as you learn from them. We learned from those mistakes a year ago."

Five weeks into the regular season, the Bills have already met their win total from 2010. However, the Bills are still on the prowl to prove their belonging as an upper echelon NFL team.  Keep an eye out for Ryan "Snake Plissken" Fitzpatrick to ignite his team's fire in this week 6 showdown.

The Buffalo Bills will attempt to "Escape From New York" (New Jersey) with a win over the Giants at 1:00 ET on CBS.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Week 5 Winners & Losers: The City That Never Sleeps

The Biggest Loser: New York City

Could all of the losing be the reason for New York City waking up in their sleep tonight?  New York's NHL Islanders and Rangers failed to combine for a win on Saturday, but the losing didn't stop there.  The Jets entered a game versus the New England Patriots that only few expected them to win.  The overall performance was again unimpressive, causing one to ask, "Did Rex Ryan guarantee the Super Bowl, or the sewer hole?"  The 2-3 New York Jets now have a stonghold on 3rd place in the AFC East, ahead of only the 0-4 Miami Dolphins. 

Onto the New York football Giants... hmph.  The Seattle Seahawks are not a good
football team.  Charlie Whitehurst is not a good quarterback.  Any New York sports fan can say what they want about injuries, Eli Manning, etc.  The truth is, whether Eli Manning makes one of those throws at the end of a game that is as handsome as he, or a receiver knocks a pass right into the opponent's arms, the G-Men just can't finish.  Luckily the Buffalo Bills defeated the Eagles, giving the Giants one less thing to worry about for the time being.  However, next week will bring that same Bills team to the Meadowlands in a test of each team's abilities to finish.

Winner: Oakland Raiders
As strange as it may sound, even though they are among this week's top losers (Al Davis), the Oakland Raiders were also among this week's top winners. After the death of Owner Al Davis, I was certain the Raiders would come out to perform. The impressive part about this win wasn't that the Raiders won by way of Darren McFadden, who was seemingly shut down by the Houston Texans run defense all day. Jason Campbell didn't throw for half as many yards as Matt Schaub, but Al Davis' team hung tough, and he led them to victory. We will see this team in the playoffs.

Loser: Philadelphia Eagles
Before the start of the season the Philadelphia Eagles were pinned as the NFL's "Dream Team". With week 5 complete and a record of 1-4, all they can do is dream of fulfilling that nickname.  The talent is there, now it's just a matter of putting it all together.  All eyes are on Andy Reid, his struggling offensive line, and the questionable hiring of Defensive Coordinator Juan Castillo.  If the beaten & battered Eagles don't right the ship in week 6 against the division rival Washington Redskins, all hope is lost.  The Andy Reid era is on the verge of coming to an end.

Winner: Tim Tebow & the Denver Broncos (possibly)I'm tempted to call the Denver Broncos as a whole losers only because they gave quarterback Tim Tebow his shot at the end of last season, saw that he could be successful, yet still benched him this year.  After Kyle Orton chipped in a mere 34 yards, and one interception passing in the first half, he was pulled, and Tebow, not Brady Quinn, got his second shot.  Broncos fans want it, Jesus fans want it, and Tebow now has a chip on his shoulder bigger than ever.  The best part about Tebow is that throughout college, through his few games playing in the NFL, Tebow didn't win by "throwing the right way", or being a "pocket passer", he plays the game as a pure competitor.  If the Broncos stick with Tebow, together, they are winners.

Loser: Matty Ice & the Atlanta Falcons
Just a year after reaching the NFC Championship game, the Falcons have now dropped to 2-3.  Once a prospective candidate for this year's MVP, the Falcon offense has yet to get on track.  Atlanta showed some signs of life Sunday Night.... for one quarter, then seemingly fell into a numb state.  To make matters worse, Julio Jones was taken into the locker room in the second half with one of those dangerously lingering hamstring injuries.  Next week Atlanta faces a sexy offense led by Cam Newton, can the Falcons keep up?

Winner: Kansas City Chiefs
In the first two weeks of the season, the Chiefs allowed 89 points against.  Since those troubles, this team has overcome injuries to Jamaal Charles and Tony Moeaki, key components to an offense that is showing new signs of life.  Granted it was a winless team that the Chiefs defeated this week, Matt Cassel earned some swag points throwing for 4 touchdowns (Dwayne Bowe & Steve Breaston each grabbing 2), and RB Jackie Battle ran the ball 19 times for 119 yards.  Don't get used to it, but at least Kansas City had something to cheer about today.

Follow me on Twitter @RealDaveBarnick

Monday, September 26, 2011

I Bill-ieve In Miracles

Calling all fans of the mucial group Hot Chocolate, I do "Bill-ieve" in miracles, but this is not something of the kind.  For the second straight week, the resilient Buffalo Bills have managed a comeback after facing an improbable deficit of 18 or more points in the first half.  But this week, versus the New England Patriots, it was more than just a game. In what could prove to be a defining moment, the beginning of a new era if you will, the "No-Name-Bills" have passed their first true test that vouches for belonging among the list of 2011's elite NFL teams.

It is these same unlikely "No-Name-Bills" that now hold the only 3-0 record in the AFC of the National Football League.  Who would have thunk?

The national disrespect of the Bills' talent because the lack of name recognition adds fuel to the fire for the team.  Starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, a 7th round pick, and the first Harvard quarterback to throw a pass for a Pro-Football game in more than 40 years, has "Bill-ieved" from the very beginning.

Confirming his awareness of the underappreciation, Fitzpatrick notes, “Everyone’s been making a big deal about us not having any big names and we are the no-names. In the outside world we’re nothing. Nobody believes in us. We feed off of that.”

Division III Coe College's Fred Jackson, another oft-overlooked player, has endured a roller-coaster ride to the spotlight.  Deservingly, without the likes of Marshawn Lynch around, the starting running back position is now securely held in Jackson's grasp. 

Some say, "With money comes power", but for the 4th leading rusher in the NFL after week 3, he righteously has been hinting "With power comes money".  His age is 30, which is widely considered the age that NFL running backs begin breaking down.  However, more than anything, Jackson shows signs of youth. Through week 3 "F-Jax" has compiled 303 yards (6.4 ypa) on the ground, and 115 yards receiving (14.4 ypc), looking stronger and more focused than ever.

Although one could argue that he is the most important part of this Bills team, Jackson will earn a salary of $1.75 million in 2011, tenth most on the team.  It is hard to recall if there were ever a more appropriate time for Bills owner Ralph Wilson Jr. to break the bank.

“We’re just a bunch of undrafted guys and seventh-round picks. We want to show we can play against anybody – the Patriots, whatever.” 

Ironically, it looks like the misfits might be just the right fit.  If Buffalo's General Manager Buddy Nix is smart (which will be another test of the new era Bills) they will continue to exercise contract negotiations to lock-down offensive standouts Ryan Fitzpatrick, Fred Jackson, and Stevie Johnson (2008 7th Round Pick - Kentucky).

It's been 11 years since the Bills have circled the wagons like this.  Perhaps the undefeated, number 1 scoring offense in the NFL can finally break that playoff draught this season. 

Defensive leader (and Super Bowl Champion) Nick Barnett explains, "It’s too early to talk about we're going to the Super Bowl or this and that. We still got some growth to do. But I think we're playing [well]. If the offense keeps putting up 30 points, there’s no way we should lose, ever." 

I think I can speak for all of the Buffalo faithful when saying, we "Bill-ieve" in miracles, you sexy thing.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Best Burger I've Ever Eaten

          A few days ago I enjoyed an excellent burger at my workplace (Kidder's Landing), loaded with grilled shrimp, guacamole, crispy bacon, carmelized onions, and pepperjack cheese.  Let's just say the cooks take care of me. This concoction had me thinking, "What is the best burger I've ever eaten?"  It's tough to remember every piece of meat and cheese between two buns that I have consumed, so I'm going to shoot from the hip here with my best burger, and special mention that come to mind right away.

SPECIAL MENTION. - The Glenwood Pines - The "Pinesburger" - Ithaca, NY

          As a local that grew up just minutes from The Pines which overlooks Cayuga Lake, it's hard for me not to list the classic "Pinesburger" number 1 on my list, but I must remain unbiased.  Unlike my typical favorite sandwiches, this burger's glory is not based on size (which does matter).  The Pines stacks a smokey 6 ounce hand-formed patty, crisp local lettuce, tomato, and onion on a freshly baked Ithaca Bakery roll. To top it all off you have a choice of slathering mayo or thousand island dressing inside the roll, although the thousand island dressing adds the sweet element that completes the package and is essential for any first timer to try.  How can you argue against Ithaca, NY's voted Best Burger year after year, especially for only $5.50?

          Also, try the 4-Pinesburger Challenge (take down 4 Pinesburgers in under an hour) and land your photo on the restaurant's Facebook Wall of Fame. $18.50.

NUMERO UNO - The Counter Burger - Name Your Burger - Reston, VA (31 Locations)

          The small chain hailing from California provides limitless options - almost.  The restaurant boasts more than 312,120 different burger combinations, and also manages to keep returning customers on their toes by making "market selection" items available.  This adds yet another option to each category (burger, cheese, topping, sauce, bun). The first time I was taken to "The Counter" I had my doubts, but they were soon eaten up & away. 

          Counter Burger begins by giving you the option of type (angus beef, chicken, turkey, veggie, or market selection) and then asks the desired total patty weight; 1/3 lb, 2/3 lb, or 1 lb... after it's cooked.  Obviously I was ready to take down the biggest burger I could get my paws on, but was talked into sticking with the 2/3 lb angus beef burger. This is where things get interesting, from cheese, to topping, to sauce, Counter Burger provides nearly any desired high quality topping to really make the burger YOUR burger.  Oh, and if you think you still might be hungry, give the Parmesan French Fries a go, prepare to have your tastebuds blown.

MY BURGER - 2/3 lb Angus Beef, Tillamook Cheddar Cheese, Grilled Onions, Organic Mixed Greens, Roasted Corn & Black Bean Salsa, Roasted Red Peppers, Fried Egg,
Chipotle Aioli, on a Classic Hamburger Bun. - $11.50

This burger, "My Burger", is the best burger I've ever eaten.  What will be on "Your Burger"?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

BroTunes: IanJ

This bro from Louisville, KY has released two mixtapes so far, both co-sponsored by G.M.A.D. & FratMusic.  The name is kind of bland, but the music ain't, and that's what really matters.  In IanJ's past two mixtapes (Summer Lights, and LikeIanJ) successful songs have been taken to the next level of entertainment through smooth flow and sensible lyrics.  I've been caught up in "Hello", and "What Do You Want (Que Veux Tu)" from the Summer Lights mixtape.  Check out the feel good rap-pop hybrid and show your support on Facebook.

Download the mixtape Summer Lights here.

Download the mixtape LikeIanJ here.

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Top 10 Classic Seinfeld Scenes

With so many classic scenes to choose from, it wasn't easy, and I needed some help.  But without further hesitation, here are the top 10 Seinfeld scenes of all time.  It's a Festivus miracle!

1.)           The Contest - Who is master of his (and her) domain?

2.)           Soup Nazi - No soup for you!!!

3.)           The Junior Mint - "They’re very refreshing!"

4.)           The Hamptons - Shrinkage, need I say more?

5.)           The Marine Biologist - George finds himself caught in a lie, on top of a whale. The self-proclaimed Marine Biologist saves the whale from a Titleist.

6.)           Muffin Tops - “Top of the Muffin to You!” Everyone, even the homeless shelter, is offended by the offering of muffin stumps. Alongside a glass of milk, Newman is the hero.

7.)           The Alternate Side - “These Pretzels, are making me thirsty!”

8.)           The Bro - A BroCave classic! “A Bra is for ladies, meet ‘The Bro’.”

9.)           The Face Painter - Puddy paints his face in support for the New Jersey Devils. “El Diablo!”

10.)     The Jimmy - Famous musician Mel Tormé dedicates his standby song When You're Smiling, to a joyous slurring Kramer at a benefit for the Able Mentally Challenged Adults (AMCA).

Monday, June 27, 2011

Are You Kidding Me Bro?

This is "that guy", the living autograph.  He arrives so drunk that he may or may not knock the final pong cup off the table, losing his team the game.  Actually there's no doubt, that is what happens, it did happen.  But you know what, Goldilocks had a solid night, look at that smile next to the sharpie penis on his face, shooting into his mouth.  Classic. 

Meanwhile, his hombre was taking 40 drinks to the face.  Truth, 1.5 liters of no-name rum devoured by a one man army.  That's pretty irrelevant but it deserved a mention, especially since frank the tank freaked out exorcist/Blair witch style at 4:30 am.

Anywho, only a Bro would go this hard, and I couldn't help giving him the honor of The BroCave post.  Props to the one they call "Milldew" for letting go, and landing a solid drunk smack to the face on his best friend, that will teach him to... not draw on you?  Give this guy the keys!