The Washington Capitals Are In The Stanley Cup Finals. I Have Some Thoughts About It.

If you like sports, like me, then you probably know that the Washington Capitals defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning by a score of 4-0 on Wednesday night to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time since 1998. If you are a Caps fan, like me, then it was one of the highlights of your sports-watching life. And if you know how to read, like me, then you should check out my thoughts on this team, the series, and the upcoming battle against Vegas:

caps trophy

  • I would kick this off with something to the tune of, “I can’t believe it,” but I actually can. Everything we’ve come to expect about Capitals playoff hockey went out the window with Evgeny Kuznetsov’s series-winning goal against the Penguins. Now THAT was something I couldn’t believe. But I genuinely didn’t even consider the idea that this team would choke on Wednesday night, especially after Game 6 when the Caps stuffed every Lightning player in their lockers, pulled them out just to steal their lunch money, then threw them each in the dumpster. I was telling everyone willing to listen that for the first time seemingly ever since my Capitals fandom launched years ago, I was more excited than nervous for a crucial playoff game. I felt good about pulling out a win. Now, did I expect the Caps to win 4-0? No…but I wasn’t surprised by it.
  • After the Caps collapsed yet again in the second round as the top seed last year, everyone suggested that maybe they would be better off entering the playoffs as a lower seed. Not only would it lower the pressure, but in all likelihood it would also help them avoid Pittsburgh. Well, the Caps still had to face the Penguins in the second round (albeit a Penguins team with much less depth and motivation), but turns out there is actually something real to the pressure aspect. In years past the Caps would skate tentatively and deliver hits with no regard for defensive assignments or penalties, just because their nervous brains told them that’s how to “set the tone.” But this year the Caps are FLYING and laying the wood in key moments. And just look at the differences in the crowds in the biggest games. Last year’s Game 7 against Pittsburgh notoriously had a funeral vibe, and I didn’t and still don’t blame those fans in attendance for a second. We all knew the team would come out flat, and they somehow managed to not even meet our lowly expectations. They didn’t come remotely close to scoring at any point in the game. But this year the shutout went the other way around in Game 6, in arguably the best postseason performance I’ve ever seen from the Caps. And by all accounts, it was the loudest the arena has ever been. The players and the fans are all feeling the same energy.
  • With all of that being said, this team doesn’t deserve the underdog label for a second. Just because the Caps didn’t win the Presidents Cup for the third straight year doesn’t mean this team isn’t REALLY good. I mean, they finished with 105 points, won the Metropolitan Division, and landed in a close second in scoring across the league. Yes, a good chunk of the roster throughout the season consisted of rookies, castoffs, and AHL’ers. But this team has essentially the same exact core as the teams who put up two of the best regular seasons in NHL history.
  • There are a few reasons that the Caps were slept on coming into these playoffs, but none bigger than the rough regular season of Braden Holtby. A two-time All Star and just two years removed from winning the Vezina Trophy, Holtby is safely still one of the best goalies in the league, but he was so bad down the stretch that he temporarily lost the main job to Philipp Grubauer. Now, Grubauer is good and was insanely hot in the final weeks of the season, but that decision in hindsight was truly laughable (even if it fired up Holtby, which was absolutely not the logic behind it regardless of what people say). Holtby didn’t have to do much in Game 6, but pretty much the entire first period of Game 7 took place inside the Caps’ zone, and Holtby turned the Lightning away with relative ease. After posting back-to-back shutouts in the two biggest games of the season, it’s safe to say The Beast is back.
  • Still, let’s not pretend that Holtby has been the igniter behind this Capitals run. It’s been Alexander Mikhailovich Ovechkin. Ovi has always been a good-to-great postseason player despite the adverse reputation that’s recycled by Twitter Eggs every year, but this year he’s taken it to a level that I didn’t even know existed. He’s second in both goals and points this postseason (and he’s creating more dangerous scoring chances than anyone else…by a mile.) But it’s his intensity and sheer will to win that I’m talking about. You want to talk about setting a tone? He’s either scored or had the primary assist on THREE goals within the first 90 seconds of games in these playoffs. And I can feel the hits he’s been laying from my couch. Allow us to flip the calendar back a year. Ovi had his worst postseason and was noticeably gassed during the Pittsburgh series. Barry Trotz couldn’t even put him on the ice towards the end of third periods, and there was REAL talk on whether the Caps should consider moving on from him. Now? It looks like he’s pulling a Federer with a second prime that no one anticipated. (Yes, he’s buddy-buddy with Vladimir Putin. Why do you ask?) Nobody in that hideous Golden Knights jersey is going to be safe when #8 is on the ice.
  • A lot of people who are way smarter about hockey than me have already written pieces on how incredible Ovechkin has been, so let’s show a little love here to some other members of the squad. First up…Barry Trotz! Ted Leonsis will never admit it, but I think it’s safe to assume Trotz’s future was toast once the Caps fell behind 2-0 to Columbus. The Grubauer decision immediately backfired, the power play went stagnant, and he was getting toyed with on the lines by John freaking Tortorella. Fast-forward one month and he’s four wins away from becoming the greatest coach in franchise history. In addition to effectively firing up the team for the biggest moments, some specifics that I’ve loved: unleashing Jakub Vrana, moving Chandler Stephenson around in the lineup, and benching Andre Burakovksy for a game.
  • Evgeny Kuznetsov leads the league in postseason points and scored the biggest goal of the playoffs, yet I find myself yelling “SHOOT THE DAMN PUCK KUZY” at the TV at least five times a game. It is unbelievable how many good looks he creates for himself.
  • It’s pretty much a lock that the last few years on TJ Oshie’s eight-year deal are gonna be rough on the Caps. But if they actually win it all this year, then the deal is already worth it. Some people might not agree with that assessment, but a deal like that was probably what it took to bring Oshie back. And there is no shot this team makes it this far without him. He’s crushing it on both ends. I think I speak on behalf of all Caps fans when I say we’re comfortable with sucking in 5ish years if we get a ring out of it.
  • Does anyone’s bookie take in-game bets on faceoffs in the defensive zone? If so, please let me know because I have some money to place on Jay Beagle. He is such money. That dude should never pay for a drink in the District in his life.
  • Don’t ever leave us, John Carlson. I know some other team is going to offer you a shit ton more money than the Caps can, but you can’t beat that DC traffic and summer humidity right?!?! (He’s a goner, so let’s just hope we can send him off with a Cup. And throw in that Norris Trophy too.)
  • Two guys who actually played really well in Games 6 and 7…Brooks Orpik and Matt Niskanen! Contracts considered, Orpik is probably the worst player in the league, and Niskanen has regressed badly this season. It’s a dangerous game to expect those two to keep up that level of play, but honestly it’s just a relief to know that they’re both capable of turning back the clock when they need to most.
  • Some quick thoughts on the Lightning. They could not have reminded me more of the 2015-16 Caps. AKA, it must royally suck being a fan of that team. A laughable amount of talent throughout the roster, an incredible young goalie, household names on the fourth line…and they were still completely overmatched. This series only went seven games because of Tampa’s complete dominance on the power play over the middle games, but on even strength they had the look of a team who all hooked up with each other’s sisters. Just no visible chemistry whatsoever. I know that they’re a veteran team who took hit after hit throughout the series, but I can’t get over how bad their body language was. OH, and all the shit that Ovi took for his “struggles” in the postseason? Steven Stamkos deserves that tenfold. That dude was a total ghost during 5v5 play from Game 1 to 7.
  • I made the impromptu decision to go into Capital One Arena for Periods 2 and 3 for the viewing party with the game on the Jumbotron, and BOY am I happy that I did. Was it weird that I went alone? No way! Did I high-five and hug strangers? Yes way! (Seriously, I could not recommend this experience highly enough for Caps fans for the away games.)
  • I love that Ovechkin touched the Prince of Wales Trophy. LOVE IT. I think it’s beyond lame when fans give athletes crap for celebrating before championships. It’s exactly how I feel about baseball teams champagne showering after each round. You survived past a great team! You did something awesome! Fucking celebrate it!
  • More than half of my brain thought Ovechkin and Backstrom were going to kiss in this moment. Nothing crazy…just a little peck of respect.
  • As a sports town for the last decade, DC has pretty much been the kid who decides to go on a break with his longtime high school girlfriend (Redskins) once he gets to college just to give it a shot with the hot chick who lives down the hall in the dorm (Caps). But after a few weeks, you realize that you like this new girl more. She allows you to be yourself. You have fun without even trying with her. It makes you realize how unhealthy things were with your ex. She wanted you to go to college with her in Ohio. And now that you think about it, she would yell at waiters and say some pretty racist shit in the backseat of Ubers. So yeah, DC is becoming a primarily hockey town.
  • I don’t identify as a DC sports fan (especially since I absolutely despise the football team), so I can’t fully bask in this run like faithful Washingtonians can. Still, as a dedicated Caps fan, I expect personalized congratulations messages from each reader. Thank you.
  • I admittedly don’t watch too much of the NHL regular season outside of the Caps and the Sunday games on NBC, so my knowledge of the Golden Knights doesn’t extend too far past these playoffs and a few articles I’ve read on them. So, I won’t try to provide any sort of breakdown here because it would suck. But what I will say is that I am happy as shit that we drew them. Yes, obviously they are legit considering they made it to the Finals. I know Marc-Andre Fleury is playing the best hockey of his career. But this is still an expansion team. I know the draft rules benefitted them. I know they found diamonds in the rough in William Karlsson and Jonathan Marchessault. I know their home ice might be the best in the league. I know destiny is on their side. Vegas is still an expansion team.
  • Not much Conn Smythe drama here. It’s Ovechkin vs. Fleury. Let’s hope it goes better for Ovi than this showdown did.

THE OFFICE Episodes Bracket

bracket last time

The Office is my favorite show of all time. And I know that a ton of other people feel the same way, especially since the show’s popularity has grown proportionally with Netflix over the past few years. While some diehards go back and forth over the best character (Michael is the only real answer) or the best season (2 or 3 are both acceptable), the debate that’s probably most up for interpretation is best episode.

There were 201 episodes of The Office filmed over the show’s nine-season run, and in the spirit of March Madness, I trimmed that number down to 64. No rules or guidelines were followed in the seeding – if the episode was one of the Top 64 in the catalog, then it made the cut. So that explains why “The Incentive” or “Trivia,” two of the better episodes from Season 8, didn’t make the cut, but “Ben Franklin,” one of the lesser episodes from Season 3, did make it. I considered Michael’s highlights and lowlights, impact on the greater story arc, and GIF-ability when putting the list together, but when voting feel free to follow your heart…or Michael’s personal philosophy of “don’t ever, for any reason, do anything, to anyone, for any reason, ever, no matter what, no matter where, or who, or who you are with, or where you are going, or where you’ve been, ever, for any reason whatsoever.”


michael and oscar


Thanks to everyone who voted! Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to rewatch the series for the 497th time.



office finals


A fun piece of trivia about DIVERSITY DAY is that…the episode was webcast on Myspace two weeks prior to airing on NBC as a promotion for the then-upcoming premiere.

A fun piece of trivia about GAY WITCH HUNT is that…the kiss between Michael and Oscar was completely improvised by Steve Carell.





office final 4


Best random Michael quote of CASINO NIGHT is…“Dinkin Flicka” – Michael to Darryl.

Best random Michael quote of DIVERSITY DAY is..“This is an environment of welcoming, and you should just get the hell out of here.” – Michael to Toby.


Best random Michael quote of STRESS RELIEF is…“Five thousand three hundred dollars for a dummy?” – Michael to David Wallace, after David told him that the dummy cost thirty-five hundred dollars.

Best random Michael quote of GAY WITCH HUNT is…”Oh, there’s Gil, Oscar’s roommate. I wonder if he knows.” – Michael to camera, right after Oscar came out of the closet.





scranton 8


Worst part of CASINO NIGHT is…Jim’s “I’m sorry I misinterpreted our friendship” line. This isn’t an actual criticism. Honestly it’s really good writing. It’s just fucking brutal to watch.

Worst part of THE INJURY is…that some people apparently didn’t know the rules of Shotgun in 2006? (1:10). I know that’s a lame pick again, but these two episodes don’t really have flaws.



stamford 8


Worst part of BASKETBALL is…Michael. He’s essentially an unrecognizable character when you go back and watch this episode. The show was still attempting to emulate the British version at this point, so Michael’s character exists under the similar concept of “what if your boss was the biggest asshole in the world?” Don’t get me wrong…the aggressively non-PC version of Michael Scott is still funny. But I significantly prefer the version we grew to know and love, where Michael exists more as an idiot who will go to literally any lengths for approval.

Worst part of STRESS RELIEF is…Jim and Pam watching the bootleg DVD with Andy. This hour-long episode aired directly after the Super Bowl, so they had more time and money to work with. Those extra resources turned into this subplot featuring Jack Black and Jessica Alba, which ended up being way more weird than funny.



nashua 8


Worst part of THREAT LEVEL MIDNIGHT is…the callback to Jan (0:43). There are some amazing ones to old characters in this episode (shoutout Karen), but Jan’s was underwhelming.

Worst part of GAY WITCH HUNT is…how poorly some of the dialogue has aged. Even though this episode is a classic specifically because of how far it crosses the line, some of Michael’s homophobic slurs to Oscar catch you so off guard nowadays that you can’t believe this episode aired on NBC in 2006.



utica 8


Worst part of DIVERSITY DAY is…Jim. This is a bit of a stretch, especially considering “not a bad day” is probably Jim’s best line of the entire series. But his character was not nearly developed yet. It’s strange to rewatch this episode and see Jim care a lot about work and call a girl “hot” (1:03).

Worst part of THE DUNDIES is…Ping. He ranks near the bottom of my list of Michael’s go-to characters. I feel like this might be a reference to something that’s going completely over my head though? If not, then yeah it’s just a lazy and mildly funny Asian impression.





scranton sweet 16


Episode MVP of CASINO NIGHT is…Jim…for finally professing his love to Pam, obviously. But less obviously, for co-discovering Kevin’s band, Scrantonicity.

Episode MVPs of A BENIHANA CHRISTMAS are…Pam and Karen…for having more people show up to their Christmas party.


Episode MVP of THE INJURY is…Dwight…for being nice to Pam and for dropping an A+ “that’s what she said” in front of Michael (3:28).

Episode MVP of BEACH GAMES is…Pam…for doing the coal walk, calling out the office for treating her like shit, and telling the truth to Jim. Huge episode for Pam.



stamford sweet 16


Episode MVP of BASKETBALL is…Jim…for actually being really good at basketball.

Episode MVP of FINALE is…Dwight…for burying the hatchet with Kevin, reuniting with Michael, and marrying Angela.


Episode MVP of THE FIRE is…Michael…for being the first one out of the building.

Episode MVP of STRESS RELIEF is…Dwight…for somehow not getting fired.



nashua sweet 16


Episode MVP of DINNER PARTY is…Jan’s assistant, Hunter…for gracing us with “That One Night.”

Episode MVP of THREAT LEVEL MIDNIGHT is…Michael…for finally finishing his passion project, even if he realizes that it actually sucks.


Episode MVP of GOODBYE, MICHAEL is…Michael…for giving meaningful goodbye gifts to everyone, besides Oscar.

Episode MVP of GAY WITCH HUNT is…Oscar…for getting three months paid vacation and use of a company car to not sue Dunder Mifflin for Michael outing him.



utica sweet 16


Episode MVP of DIVERSITY DAY is…Kelly…for slapping Michael for his terrible Indian accent.

Episode MVP of GOODBYE, TOBY is…Phyllis…for gaining the upper hand on Angela after she catches her hooking up with Dwight.


Episode MVP of DRUG TESTING is…Creed…for acing Dwight’s drug test.

Episode MVP of THE DUNDIES is…Ryan…for winning the “Hottest in the Office” Dundie.





scranton 2


CASINO NIGHT…also known for: “Why are you the way that you are?”

THE NEGOTIATION…also known for: Roy attacking Jim.


OFFICE OLYMPICS…also known for: Michael asking Ryan to come into work early just to bring him breakfast.

A BENIHANA CHRISTMAS…also known for: Dwight’s Christmas miracle.


PHYLLIS’ WEDDING…also known for: Jim conditioning Dwight with Altoids.

THE INJURY…also known for: Dwight’s concussion.


GOSSIP…also known for: Michael telling everyone about Stanley’s affair.

BEACH GAMES…also known for: Team Voldemort.



stamford 2


BOOZE CRUISE…also known for: Michael’s motivational dancing.

BASKETBALL…also known for: Phyllis requesting to cheerlead.


FINALE…also known for: “I wish there was a way to know you’re in the good old days before you’ve actually left them.”

SCOTT’S TOTS…also known for: “Andy sowwy.”


THE FIRE…also known for: Who would you do?

SAFETY TRAINING…also known for: “Hey Darryl, how’s it hanging?”


NIAGARA…also known for: Andy tearing his scrotum.

STRESS RELIEF…also known for: The Roast of Michael Scott.



nashua 2



THE JOB…also known for: Jan’s boob job.


THE MERGER…also known for: Michael trying to push Tony Gardner onto the table.

THREAT LEVEL MIDNIGHT…also known for: Goldenface.


THE CONVICT…also known for: Andy hitting on Pam.

GOODBYE, MICHAEL…also known for: Michael and Jim’s goodbye.


TAKE YOUR DAUGHTER TO WORK DAY…also known for: Little Kid Lover.

GAY WITCH HUNT…also known for: Gaydar.



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DIVERSITY DAY…also known for: Pam falling asleep on Jim’s shoulder.

FUN RUN…also known for: Michael’s carbo-loading.


THE CONVENTION…also known for: Michael’s hotel room party.

GOODBYE, TOBY…also known for: Michael giving Toby a rock as his going-away present.


COCKTAILS…also known for: Pam and Roy breaking up for good.

DRUG TESTING…also known for: “You look like you want to tell me something.”


INITIATION…also known for: Dwight ditching Ryan.

THE DUNDIES…also known for: “BEST. DUNDIES. EVER.”





Scranton Region

  1. CASINO NIGHT (S2/E22) vs. 16. HAPPY HOUR (S6/E21)

 CASINO NIGHT…best known for: Jim finally making his move.

HAPPY HOUR…best known for: Date Mike.

  1. THE NEGOTIATION (S3/E19) vs. 9. THE CLIENT (S2/E7)

 THE NEGOTIATION…best known for: Michael accidentally cross-dressing.

THE CLIENT…best known for: Michael holding the business meeting at Chili’s.

  1. OFFICE OLYMPICS (S2/E3) vs. 12. THE RETURN (S3/E14)

OFFICE OLYMPICS…best known for: Phyllis beating Kevin by a nose in Flonkerton.

THE RETURN…best known for: Andy punching a hole through the wall.


CHRISTMAS PARTY…best known for: Yankee Swap.

A BENIHANA CHRISTMAS…best known for: Michael’s “Bros Before Hoes” speech.

  1. MURDER (S6/E10) vs. 11. PHYLLIS’ WEDDING (S3/E16)

 MURDER…best known for: The standoff at the end of the episode. (Also Tube City.)

PHYLLIS’ WEDDING…best known for: “This is bullshit.” (Also Kelly’s emergency.)

  1. THE INJURY (S2/E12) vs. 14. LOCAL AD (S4/E9)

THE INJURY…best known for: “I burned my foot.”

LOCAL AD…best known for: Andy forgetting the Kit Kat slogan.

  1. VALENTINE’S DAY (S2/E16) vs. 10. GOSSIP (S6/E1)

 VALENTINE’S DAY…best known for: “The Faces of Scranton.”

GOSSIP…best known for: Parkour PARKOUR!


 BEACH GAMES…best known for: Pam’s confession to Jim.

MICHAEL SCOTT PAPER COMPANY…best known for: Pam making her first sale.



stamford region


 BOOZE CRUISE…best known for: Michael’s advice to Jim.

MICHAEL’S LAST DUNDIES…best known for: “9,986,000 Minutes.”

  1. WEIGHT LOSS (S5/E1-2) vs. 9. BASKETBALL (S1/E5)

WEIGHT LOSS…best known for: Jim’s proposal to Pam.

BASKETBALL…best known for: “Secret Weapon” Stanley.

  1. FINALE (S9/E24-25) vs. 12. BRANCH WARS (S4/E10)

FINALE…best known for: Michael’s return.

BRANCH WARS…best known for: This incredibly awkward conversation between Jim and Karen.

  1. SCOTT’S TOTS (S6/E12) vs. 13. BEN FRANKLIN (S3/E15)

SCOTT’S TOTS…best known for: Being the most polarizing episode of the show.

BEN FRANKLIN…best known for: Dwight’s interrogation of the Ben Franklin impersonator.

  1. THE FIRE (S2/E4) vs. 11. SEXUAL HARRASSMENT (S2/E2)

 THE FIRE…best known for: “RYAN STARTED THE FIRE!”

SEXUAL HARASSMENT…best known for: The debut of Todd Packer.

  1. SAFETY TRAINING (S3/E20) vs. 14. THE DUEL (S5/E12)

SAFETY TRAINING…best known for: The stress of Michael’s modern office causing him to go into depression.

THE DUEL…best known for: Andy using his Prius as a weapon.

  1. NIAGARA (S6/E4-5) vs. 10. DIWALI (S3/E6)

NIAGARA…best known for: Jim and Pam’s wedding.

DIWALI…best known for: Michael proposing to Carol.

  1. STRESS RELIEF (S5/E14-15) vs. 15. PDA (S7/E16)

 STRESS RELIEF…best known for: The fire drill gone wrong. And the CPR demonstration gone wrong.

PDA…best known for: Kevin enjoying Michael and Holly’s PDA.



Nashua Region

  1. DINNER PARTY (S4/E13) vs. 16. CASUAL FRIDAY (S5/E26)

DINNER PARTY…best known for: Jan breaking Michael’s flat screen TV.

CASUAL FRIDAY…best known for: Kevin’s Famous Chili.

  1. THE JOB (S3/E24-25) vs. 9. MICHAEL’S BIRTHDAY (S3/E19)

THE JOB…best known for: Jim asking Pam out.

MICHAEL’S BIRTHDAY…best known for: Michael’s birthday call to Jan.

  1. CAFÉ DISCO (S5/E27) vs. 12. THE MERGER (S3/E8)

CAFÉ DISCO…best known for: Michael’s dancing.

THE MERGER…best known for: “Lazy Scranton.”


THREAT LEVEL MIDNIGHT…best known for: “The Scarn.”

CHAIR MODEL…best known for: Phyllis trying to set up Michael with her friend.

  1. THE CONVICT (S3/E9) vs. 11. FRAME TOBY (S5/E9)

 THE CONVICT…best known for: Prison Mike.

FRAME TOBY…best known for: Michael’s reaction to Toby’s return.

  1. GOODBYE, MICHAEL (S7/E22) vs. 14. MONEY (S4/E7-8)

GOODBYE, MICHAEL…best known for: Being the episode that should have been the series finale.

MONEY…best known for: “I DECLARE BANKRUPTCY!!!”


PRODUCT RECALL…best known for: Jim impersonating Dwight.

TAKE YOUR DAUGHTER TO WORK DAY…best known for: Stanley yelling at Ryan.

  1. GAY WITCH HUNT (S3/E1) vs. 15. HEALTH CARE (S1/E3)

GAY WITCH HUNT…best known for: Michael kissing Oscar.

HEALTH CARE…best known for: Dwight’s health care investigation.



utica region

  1. DIVERSITY DAY (S1/E2) vs. 16. DID I STUTTER? (S4/E16)

 DIVERSITY DAY…best known for: The index card game.

DID I STUTTER?…best known for: Stanley erupting at Michael.

  1. BACK FROM VACATION (S3/E12) vs. 9. FUN RUN (S4/E1-2)

BACK FROM VACATION…best known for: The topless photo of Jan.

FUN RUN…best known for: Michael hitting Meredith with his car.

  1. THE CONVENTION (S3/E2) vs. 12. GARAGE SALE (S7/E19)

THE CONVENTION…best known for: “I hope it’s urine.”

GARAGE SALE…best known for: Michael proposing to Holly.

  1. BUSINESS SCHOOL (S3/E17) vs. 13. GOODBYE, TOBY (S4/E18-19)

BUSINESS SCHOOL…best known for: Michael showing up to Pam’s art show.

GOODBYE, TOBY…best known for: Holly thinking Kevin is mentally challenged.


COCKTAILS…best known for: Dwight inspecting David Wallace’s house.

TRAVELING SALESMEN…best known for: Ryan taking the lead on the sales pitch.

  1. THE DEPOSITION (S4/E12) vs. 14. DRUG TESTING (S2/E20)

THE DEPOSITION…best known for: Michael pushing Toby’s tray.

DRUG TESTING…best known for: Jim convincing Dwight that he smoked the joint.

  1. INITATION (S3/E5) vs. 10. BROKE (S5/E25)

INITIATION…best known for: Pretzel Day.

BROKE…best known for: “Well, well, well…how the turntables…”

  1. THE DUNDIES (S2/E1) vs. 15. COMPANY PICNIC (S5/E28)

THE DUNDIES…best known for: Pam’s acceptance speech.

COMPANY PICNIC…best known for: Jim and Pam realizing she’s pregnant.




Arie Was A Good Bachelor

Arie 2

THE MOST DRAMATIC HEADLINE IN BACHELOR HISTORY RIGHT THERE FOLKS. Ok, so maybe that’s an overexaggeration, but it’s definitely not an opinion shared by most of the fellow citizens of Bachelor Nation. Arie Luyendyk Jr., the 21st Bachelor in the history of this beautiful franchise, has been getting absolutely crucified by fans over the past few days in a way that none of his predecessors had been following the conclusions of their seasons. And it’s not totally unjustified Internet rage. In case you’ve spent the past 72 hours living under a Twitter rock, or a Twock (don’t use that), then allow me to catch you up to speed. By the finale, Arie had professed his love for the final two contestants: Becca Kufrin, the likable and “ready for marriage” option, and Lauren Burnham, the hottest option from Day 1 who just so happens to have zero original thoughts. Determined to follow the rules of the show and propose by the end of the season, Arie surprised most fans by choosing the safe route and popping the question to Becca. She instantaneously said yes, and we soon learned that they were happily engaged for about two months following the proposal….or at least it seemed that way to Becca. Arie was internally agonizing over his decision. After a private conversation with Lauren, Arie decided to give it a shot with her before it was too late. And here’s the kicker…HE ALSO ALLOWED THE CAMERAS TO CAPTURE THE ENTIRE BREAKUP WITH BECCA.

I’m not kidding when I say it was one of the most uncomfortable things I’ve ever watched on television. It lasted about an hour, even though Becca told Arie to leave around the five-minute mark. It nearly broke social media, with people sending threats to Arie and Chris Harrison for allowing it to unfold before our eyes. But not me. I want to personally thank both of them. BECAUSE THIS IS THE BACHELOR WE’RE TALKING ABOUT. THIS IS WHY WE WATCH. Go watch 60 Minutes or some shit if you’re preoccupied about being a good person. It was drama and entertainment in its purest form. (And, for the record, Becca is doing just fine.) Which, at the end of the day, isn’t that the reason we tune in in the first place?

That’s a good question, PJ. Entertainment value is definitely one of the methods we should use to measure Bachelors and their seasons, but it isn’t the only one. Everyone has their own standards for grading these suitors, but here are the core four that I consider:

  1. Was he qualified to be the Bachelor?

This takes into account his job, his history within the franchise, and whether or not he is handsome enough to carry the torch. Basically, does he deserve this honor?

  1. Was he serious about being the Bachelor?

This show is infinitely more interesting when the protagonist is genuinely looking for a wife. It sets up way more drama, because these people are all terrible actors and it’s obvious when they are just pretending to go along with the narrative. Take that bullshit to Bachelor in Paradise.

  1. Was he a good guy?

This is a tough one. Ideally we want our Bachelor to be someone worth rooting for, but you have to balance that against the risk of a boring season. Some of the best Bachelors in the show’s history were dickheads. But with that being said, there’s no way to spin misogyny, verbal abuse, or general disrespect as a good thing.

  1. Finally and most importantly, did he anchor an entertaining season?

Once again…it’s the reason we watch.


So now that we know the ground rules, let’s put Arie to the test. We’ll stack him up against each of the five Bachelors who predated him, going back to Sean Lowe because that’s just about when social media took this show to another level. (It’s also when I started paying attention again.) GET YOUR ROSES READY.


Was Arie qualified to be the Bachelor?

Best Recent Example: It’s probably Arie.

Worst Recent Example: Nick Viall

You have to go pretty far back into the archives to find a hard yes to this question. Among our most recent Bachelors are a 27 year-old software salesman, a farmer from Iowa, and a man who struggled with the English language. And we were also fresh off the season of Nick Viall, a debatably good-looking Salesforce employee who had already been through THREE difference chances at love within the franchise. So yes, Arie was a good choice to have the title bestowed upon him. The initial feedback wasn’t exactly positive, but that wasn’t because people were upset with the decision. We were just completely thrown off. It had been over five years since he finished as the runner-up on Emily Maynard’s season of The Bachelorette, and EVERYBODY was expecting Peter Kraus from Rachel Lindsay’s season. But in hindsight, the producers made the right call. I like Peter, but he was pretty boring and only lost because he was openly critical of the expedited nature of the show. Not sure if that’s the guy you want with the power. As for Arie, he was well liked despite his weird “kissing bandit” reputation, and professional racecar driver is elite when it comes to Bachelor occupations (even if he sucked at it).

Verdict: Absolutely.


Was Arie serious about being the Bachelor?

Best Recent Example: Sean Lowe

Worst Recent Example: Juan Pablo Galavis

We’ve seen both extremes of the spectrum on this one lately. At the “yes” end, you have Sean Lowe, who respected the process and is still happily married to the winner of his season. Right behind him is Ben Higgins, who broke the rules by telling two women that he loves them but also still seems genuinely distraught over his broken engagement with (Real) Lauren B. On the far other end is Juan Pablo, who was clearly there to hook up (shoutout the ocean sex with Clare) and dismissed all of the girls telling him that he doesn’t deserve love with his trademark “ees ok.” And Nick Viall isn’t far behind him, because it didn’t take long to realize that he was way more into the status of being the Bachelor than actually finding a wife. Arie is somewhere in between all of these guys. He too told two women that he loves them, and opting to have the cameras rolling for his post-show breakup proved that he had a pretty major taste for drama. Keeping around a 22 year-old for the majority of the show also raised a red flag. Still, I’m giving Arie the benefit of the doubt here. He sent home women as soon as he didn’t see a future with them (for the most part), and he handed out multiple one-on-one dates to the women he was clearly the most interested in. Oh yeah, and his proposal to (Fake) Lauren B tells us that he didn’t back out of his initial engagement just for entertainment purposes.

Verdict: Not the most serious, but yes he cared.


Was Arie a good guy?

Best Recent Example: Ben Higgins

Worst Example: Juan Pablo Galavis

I’m not gonna try too hard to sugarcoat this: the answer is no. Even though he was on his best behavior for the first 10 episodes of the season, Arie undid all of it and more with his performance in the finale. It was seriously that bad. I know I’ve already covered it, but the way he went about the breakup with Becca was just so, so bad. Pretty much every former Bachelor and Bachelorette validated that he had the option not to do it in front of the cameras too. But that’s not even what concerned me the most about it. How about Arie just turning into an emotionless sociopath out of nowhere in the moment where he needed more empathy than ever? I’m still so confused what happened to him in that moment. He said his feelings towards Becca changed when they were “hanging out”…dude you were ENGAGED for two months. Or how about when Becca was emptying her tear ducts in the bathroom about a half hour post-breakup when Arie had the audacity to ask her “are you ok?” I get that this was an extremely tough moment for him to compassionately execute, but it seems pretty indicative of his true character that he seemed so slightly concerned about the news that he was breaking to Becca.

Even with all of that though, I don’t really think Arie is a bad guy deep down. He’ll deservedly have a dark shadow cast over his season forever, but he came off as a nice guy for most of it. He handled his first 28 breakups well, and all of the women in the mansion seemed to genuinely like him. He was totally respectable to each of the four families that he met with, and he didn’t start any controversy whatsoever before the finale. Yeah I know…it all comes down to the Becca breakup. But for what it’s worth, he wasn’t the first Bachelor to change his mind. And he actually handled it better than the first guy, Jason Mesnick, who broke up with his then-fiance across the couch from Chris Harrison during After The Final Rose. (For the record, Jason absolutely made the right decision. 15 year-old PJ was absolutely in love with Molly, and Jason is still married to her.) Arie probably doesn’t deserve this consolation prize either, but there have been recent Bachelors with objectively worse temperaments too. I already covered Juan Pablo, Nick was a narcissistic asshole, and just take a quick look at Jake Pavelka if you wanna go back a little farther. I mean, I’m not even sure they’d be allowed to air this kind of behavior anymore. So while Arie wasn’t even the worst we’ve seen in the past few years, all of your “Arie is literally all guys in 2018 #fuccboi” tweets were fair game.

Verdict: No, but his douchebaggery is getting overblown.


Did Arie anchor an entertaining season?

Best Recent Example: Juan Pablo Galavis

Worst Recent Example: Chris Soules

I’ve already said it: some of the most entertaining Bachelors in history were some of the worst at it. Looking right at you, Juan Pablo. And some of the nicest guys to ever have the platform, like Ben Higgins and especially Chris Soules, ended up on the boring side of things. As for Arie, his season was pretty entertaining, even before the finale. Yes, part of that is probably due to the fact that we were coming off a series low point with Nick’s season, but Arie deserves props for bringing the show back to its roots. He maintained control throughout while keeping around contestants for almost always the proper amount of time. We’ve seen villains last too short and too long in recent years, but Arie entertained the idea of Kyrstal for just about the perfect length. He was articulate, blunt when he needed to be, had a solid sense of humor, and brought along the finest wink game the show has ever seen. And this is a guy who brought a taxidermist to the fantasy suite…he kept it interesting.

Don’t get me wrong…Arie had his drawbacks. It’s been years since we’ve had a cringier Bachelor. I wanted to die whenever he whispered or opened the door with “hiiiii” or asked a girl in the highest octave voice “what’s wrooooong?” And sure, he loses some points for ending up with a girl that 0.1% of viewers were hoping that he’d end up with. But let’s not act like the finale goes in the cons column for this category. In fact, it’s the biggest pro. It was the most purely entertaining Bachelor moment…maybe ever? And this franchise NEEDED it. I know the show isn’t in danger or anything, but I’m pretty confident that it had slipped over the past few years and that the producers knew it. I personally know a ton of fans that dropped out after Nick and Rachel’s shitty seasons, so when you extrapolate that it’s likely way more fans were lost than gained. I don’t have the numbers to back that up, but I think I’m right considering the show decided to run a spinoff AGAINST ITSELF near the peak of this season. None of that will be the case for the near future. The show is back in a big way, and it has Arie to thank for that.

Verdict: Without a doubt.


So with positive grades in three of the four qualifying categories, Arie checks out as a strong Bachelor. Definitely not perfect, but fans should remember him fondly. I thank him for his contributions.


If you were wondering, here’s how I rank the Bachelors discussed above:

  1. Sean Lowe
  2. Arie Luyendyk Jr.
  3. Ben Higgins
  4. Juan Pablo Galavis
  5. Chris Soules
  6. Nick Viall

Should, Could, Will, and Where: The 2018 Oscars

Oscars season, baby! Before the big show tonight, Connor Stambaugh and I are here to break down everything we want to happen and everything that actually will happen.


Best Adapted Screenplay

Nominees: Call Me By Your Name, The Disaster Artist, Logan, Molly’s Game, Mudbound


Should Win – Call Me By Your Name

Could Win – Logan, if they decided to hold the voting at Comic-Con.

Will Win – Call Me By Your Name

Where Is…Stronger?

Talk about an eclectic crop for this category this year. A movie from the Pineapple Express guys, a comic book movie, a movie that went mostly unseen (including by me), a Netflix movie…and then there’s Call Me By Your Name. Despite being a boldly and proudly gay movie, the screenplay is pretty straightforward and doesn’t feature much drama or tension. Still, it’s beautifully written and features one of best scenes of the year: the monologue delivered from Michael Stuhlbarg. Get your peaches ready, people. As for Stronger, I had pretty low expectations going into it, just because I generally dislike the “let’s make a movie about this tragedy that just happened” movies. But it is excellent. I think most of us expected this movie to mainly focus on the bombing itself or Jeff Bauman’s physical struggle in learning to walk again, but it smartly centers the drama on the psychological toll taken on heroes who unwillingly become heroes.


Should Win – Call Me By Your Name

Could Win: Absolutely nobody else.

Will Win – Call Me By Your Name

Where Is…seriously why was anyone else even nominated?

See it and fucking TRY to tell me otherwise.


Best Original Screenplay

Nominees: The Big Sick, Get Out, Lady Bird, The Shape of Water, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri


Should Win – Lady Bird

Could Win – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Will Win – Get Out

Where Is…Colossal?

This is an absolute beast of a category and a case could be made for each of the contenders. I am going with my gut here and predicting Get Out for the win. If The Shape of Water takes Best Picture, and Three Billboards takes the two acting statues, this *has* to go to Peele, right? Right?!?! If it doesn’t win here, Get Out will go home empty-handed and will singlehandedly break Twitter. I’m throwing Colossal with Anne Hathaway into the mix too because it has a ton on its mind and explores those ideas in fascinating ways. And just keep reading if you want an idea of how phenomenal I think Lady Bird is.


Should Win – Get Out

Could Win – Lady Bird

Will Win – Get Out

Where Is…Phantom Thread?

This is annually my favorite category, because it’s where the most original movies get recognized since the Academy is usually too afraid to put them in the Best Picture class. That’s the case once again with The Big Sick, but they actually decided to give major props to two of the other coolest movies of the year: Get Out and Lady Bird. I’m fairly sure Get Out will actually win, for two reasons. First, because it fucking deserves it. Second, because I don’t think it will get the serious looks it deserves elsewhere and there’s ZERO chance the Academy lets it leave the Dolby Theatre empty-handed. I think Lady Bird has a better chance than people are giving it too, for similar but non-racially charged reasons. Greta Gerwig somehow made a screenplay about a theater chick from Sacramento universally relatable. I’d say Phantom Thread has an outside chance as well, but it didn’t even get nominated. I mean, the “are you here to ruin my evening, or possibly my entire life?” line is better than the entire The Shape of Water script.


Best Supporting Actor

Nominees: Willem Dafoe for The Florida Project, Woody Harrelson for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Richard Jenkins for The Shape of Water, Christopher Plummer for All the Money in the World, Sam Rockwell for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri


Should Win – Sam Rockwell

Could Win – Rockwell’s name is already engraved.

Will Win – Sam Rockwell

Where Is…Armie Hammer for Call Me By Your Name? And Jason Mitchell for Mudbound? BUT SERIOUSLY…WHERE IS ARMIE HAMMER???

I could spend this entire blog talking about how good Sam Rockwell is in Three Billboards. The humanity that he brought to piece-of-shit Jason Dixon convinced a ton of people that his character, who was fired, shunned by his small town, burnt nearly to death, and unsuccessful in his final investigation, was somehow redeemed at the end of the movie. Still, I’d rather talk more about how badly the Academy botched this category. At most they got 3 of the 5 right (there’s little defense for Harrelson and literally none for Plummer). I’d maybe let it slide if it was a down year for supporting male performances, BUT THEY MISSED SOME GREAT ONES. Armie Hammer is seriously an all-time bad snub, and Jason Mitchell deserved this spotlight too. Rockwell is winning in every single scenario, but it would’ve been great for those two guys to get their moments.


Should Win – Sam Rockwell

Could Win – Willem Dafoe

Will Win – Sam Rockwell

Where Is…Armie Hammer?

As dominating as Frances McDormand is when she’s onscreen (and she is), Sam Rockwell’s bumbling, racist cop is usually the one you can’t keep your eyes off of. He has the greatest character arc of anyone in the film (not that he changes *that* much) and leaves his mark as a villain who might want to be a hero but has no idea how, or if, anyone will let him. Dafoe grounds the entirety of The Florida Project and I wouldn’t be mad in the slightest if he got his “career” Oscar for this little gem. Everyone knows Armie Hammer has the movie star looks, charisma, and build of a leading man. But this is almost a two-hander with Timothee Chalamet and the two of them exhibit some of the greatest chemistry I’ve ever seen in a film. Or anywhere. It’s a thing of beauty and I hope he rests easy knowing—nomination or not—he’s redefined his career.


Best Supporting Actress

Nominees: Mary J. Blige for Mudbound, Allison Janney for I, Tonya, Lesley Manville for Phantom Thread, Laurie Metcalf for Lady Bird, Octavia Spencer for The Shape of Water


Should Win – Laurie Metcalf

Could Win – Laurie Metcalf

Will Win – Allison Janney

Where Is…Holly Hunter for The Big Sick?

Everyone loves Allison Janney. She knows how to work a room better than anyone in Hollywood and she’s looking very solid here. Can someone tell me exactly what Octavia Spencer did in The Shape of Water to steal this nom from Hunter? I love Spencer but come on. Highway robbery. In what is technically the most wide-open acting category (not really), watch out for Laurie Metcalf in the heartbreaking role of her life. This should be hers. Yes, Janney has the flashy lines and comedic chops, but honestly have you ever seen a more realistic depiction of a working class mother? I haven’t. She grounds the entire film while Lady Bird has her head in the clouds. The reason the phone call is as powerful as it is at the end of the film is more of a testament to Metcalf than it is to Ronan—and that’s saying something.


Should Win – Laurie Metcalf

Could Win – Laurie Metcalf

Will Win – Allison Janney

Where Is…Tiffany Haddish for Girls Trip?

You nailed it. I have no idea why Metcalf isn’t the runaway favorite for this award. Honestly, I probably think it was the best overall performance of the year. (Not “overalls” performance, which clearly goes to Frances McDormand). Usually when I feel this strongly about a candidate, I eschew what the “experts” are predicting to roll with what I think is right. But Janney has won EVERYTHING leading up to the Oscars. And look, I am way more into I, Tonya than most people. Janney is outrageously funny in this role…but that’s really all the role is. Besides those two, this category is super weird. Octavia Spencer did nothing special for me in The Shape of Water, and I guess Mary J Blige is solid in her like 8 minutes of screen time in Mudbound? Connor already covered the deserving Holly Hunter, so how about Tiffany Haddish’s star-making performance? Girls Trip made a ton of money, but I feel like it was still overlooked because this movie is just as, if not more, funny than Bridesmaids. Melissa McCarthy got an Oscar nom for her breakout role in that movie, and Haddish deserved the same treatment here.


Best Actor

Nominees: Timothee Chalamet in Call Me By Your Name, Daniel Day-Lewis in Phantom Thread, Daniel Kaluuya in Get Out, Gary Oldman in Darkest Hour, Denzel Washington in Roman J. Israel, Esq.


Should Win – Daniel Day-Lewis

Could Win – Timothee Chalamet

Will Win – Gary Oldman

Where Is…Jeremy Renner for Wind River?

I feel like this is a pretty underwhelming group for what is often the can’t-miss category of the night. Maybe that’s unfair, because I love three of the nominated performances, but Gary Oldman’s inevitable win is probably why I can’t shake that feeling. And that’s coming from a HUGE Gary Oldman fan. That’s Sirius motherfucking Black. I just feel like Darkest Hour shouldn’t be bringing home any important hardware, even if Oldman fully committed and nailed Churchill’s quirky mannerisms. It’s a boring take on my part, but Day-Lewis should absolutely win. We’ve reached the Michael Jordan effect here. Just like Jordan should’ve won MVP for every season he played in the 90s, DDL should win Best Actor whenever he graces the screen with his presence. Even if he wasn’t at his Daniel Plainview heights, he got me to deeply care about an idiosyncratic dressmaker in the 50s. As for snubs, Gyllenhaal was probably the worst, but I’ll give a quick shoutout to Jeremy Renner for playing a silently grieving father to a T.


Should Win – Timothée Chalamet

Could Win – Timothée Chalamet

Will Win – Gary Oldman

Where is…Jake Gyllenhaal for Stronger?

Commissioner Gordon is going to get his. And it really is a great show he puts on. Also, Jake Gyllenhaal deserved so much more recognition than he got for Stronger. But no other performance this year made me *feel* as much as Chalamet’s. He learned Italian, piano, guitar, and does it all so effortlessly that I kept forgetting how young he is (youngest Best Actor nom in something like 80 years). So deserving. It’s an honor just to be nominated alongside these guys but for my money he should be installing a shelving unit for this hardware. Good luck looking at a fireplace ever again after you see this.


Best Actress

Nominees: Sally Hawkins in The Shape of Water, Frances McDormand in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Margot Robbie in I, Tonya, Saoirse Ronan in Lady Bird, Meryl Streep in The Post


Should Win – Saoirse Ronan

Could Win – Sally Hawkins or Saoirse Ronan

Will Win – Frances McDormand

Where Is…Vicky Krieps for Phantom Thread?

Another absolute lock here. McDormand redefines “powerhouse” in what has to be one of the craziest, angriest scripts of the century. Her Mildred does unspeakable things, and is in no way redeemable, but McDormand brings enough raw pathos to the role that you are on her side all the way. Hawkins has the most challenging role of the bunch (mute janitor who loves fish monster) and this is easily Ronan’s best of her young career, but nothing will get in the way of Mrs. McDormand…except maybe herself—she publicly said the Academy should reward a younger actress…(I’ll let you talk Krieps).


Should Win – Sally Hawkins or Frances McDormand

Could Win – Sally Hawkins

Will Win – Frances McDormand

Where Is…Vicky Krieps for Phantom Thread?

Like Connor said, McDormand is winning this award. And I think that’s both a good thing and a bad thing. It’s good because she is absolutely ferocious, hilarious, and occasionally heartbreaking in this role. Mildred Hayes is probably the character of the year. On the other hand, this is such a loaded category this year so it’s unfortunate that the other four nominees will receive consideration more as a formality than anything. It might be kinda obvious by now that I think The Shape of Water is a pretty overrated contender, but Sally Hawkins is by far my favorite part of that movie. Not just because she brilliantly plays a mute woman, but she actually convinces the audience that her love with a fish man makes any sense despite the fact that all they did together was dance one time and eat a few eggs. I’d be psyched if she won. The same goes for Ronan, who had to do more in her movie than anyone else, and Streep, whose performance I feel like is somehow being underappreciated. I thought Margot Robbie was really good as Tonya Harding (even if she looked absolutely nothing like her), but I’m not too sure what she’s doing here. I would have rather seen Gal Gadot recognized for her breakout role as Wonder Woman, or especially Vicky Krieps for doing the impossible by going the distance in an acting boxing match with Daniel Day-Lewis.


Best Director

Nominees: Christopher Nolan for Dunkirk, Jordan Peele for Get Out, Greta Gerwig for Lady Bird, Paul Thomas Anderson for Phantom Thread, Guillermo del Toro for The Shape of Water


Should Win – Jordan Peele

Could Win – Jordan Peele

Will Win – Guillermo del Toro

Where Is…Luca Guadagnino for Call Me By Your Name?

Major props to the Academy, because they crushed this category. I probably would have handpicked the same five. But there isn’t really much intrigue here, because del Toro is winning. Part of the inevitability is because this category is often used as somewhat of lifetime achievement recognition. More than that though, it’s because GDT turned this insane vision into a good movie, and the 13(!!!) total nominations proves just how well rounded and technically masterful the voters think The Shape of Water is. I’ll still be rooting for Peele, but I can get more into that in a second.


Should Win – Christopher Nolan

Could Win – Nada

Will Win – Guillermo Del Toro

Where Is…Edgar Wright for Baby Driver?

Look, nobody is taking this away from Guillermo. He’s incredibly beloved within the industry (while people have trouble connecting to Nolan’s coldness). He’s won every precursor. It’s his. Fine. But the sheer audacity of what Nolan tried to do — and completely achieved — should not go unnoticed. This is his first directing nomination, but, almost certainly, it will not be his last. Also, Edgar Wright deserves a shoutout for the technical wizardry and pure cinematic rush of Baby Driver.


Best Picture

Nominees: Call Me By Your Name, Darkest Hour, Dunkirk, Get Out, Lady Bird, Phantom Thread, The Post, The Shape of Water, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri


Should Win – Get Out or Lady Bird

Could Win – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Will Win – The Shape of Water

Where is…The Big Sick?

It’s a three-horse race at this point between The Shape of Water, Three Billboards, and Get Out. Shape has clearly captured the hearts of the older voters with its love letter to old Hollywood (man, it feels like that’s *all* you need to go for to score a nom these days) and Three Billboards is the actors’ favorite, so watch out. But of the three Get Out is the only one that changed the game. Its lack of an editing nom spells almost certain doom but there’s a groundswell of support for it and it’s a true underdog worth rooting for. The Big Sick was robbed in several categories, this being the most notable. (Really? Darkest Hour?) And then there’s Lady Bird. I’ve gushed over this film for months and after repeat viewings I’m here to tell you that it’s still an all-timer. Arguably the greatest exploration of the mother/daughter relationship ever put to film, Lady Bird’s success is just one of many signs that the tides are changing in Hollywood. Great Gerwig is here to stay and Saiorse’s third nom before age 25 proves that she is the greatest actress of her generation. It’s as close to perfect as anything 2017 had to offer. In other words — it’s hella tight.


Should Win – Get Out

Could Win – Get Out, Lady Bird, or The Shape of Water

Will Win – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Where Is…I, Tonya?

I have zero clue how on earth Darkest Hour – this year’s second best movie about the Dunkirk evacuation – scored a nomination. I really would have liked to have seen I, Tonya in its place or as a tenth nominee, because I think it’s objectively terrific and arguably the most entertaining movie of the year. Yes, the movie overlooked some important information and essentially chose a side despite aiming not to. But I loved the way that it leaned into the unreliable narrations and absurdity of the whole situation, all while offering a brutally honest look into American classism and condemning our society’s need for a villain to hate. Still, I’m not gonna complain about this group. I think the Academy went 8/9 here, which is WAY better than they usually do.

Biggest award of the night is the biggest tossup. I think there are four legitimate possibilities. I’m buying that Lady Bird actually has a chance, even if it’s an outside one. It would need to win Original Screenplay first, and I already covered how I don’t think that will happen, so we’ll cross it off. I’m scrapping The Shape of Water too, even though it’s probably the most common pick and has the most nominations by a mile. I expect it to land between third and fifth on a lot of ballots, but are there really enough voters who think this was the best movie of the year? I’m guessing not. So that leaves Get Out and Three Billboards, two radically different movies but my two favorites from this group. Get Out is my absolute favorite though, and I think it’s the *best* movie of the year too. It had me laughing out loud at times and on the edge of my seat at others, but it also just so happens to be one of the smartest and sharpest movies on racism ever made. Jordan Peele pulled off a masterpiece, plain and simple. Still, it technically falls within the comedy and horror genres, probably the two least popular within the Academy. I think conventionality wins out and Three Billboards nabs the main prize. While I wouldn’t exactly call it a conventional movie with its zigzagging script and some of the most vulgar dialogue ever put on the big screen, it has already won big at other awards shows and is a lock in at least two major categories. Some people do not like this movie at all, but I’m betting on way more people loving it.


Nominee From Another Category That Needs To Win


Best Original Song

“Remember Me” from Coco

It’s embarrassing how livid I will be if “Remember Me” doesn’t win. For starters, Coco kicks ass. The song kicks ass. Just so much ass kicking. But more importantly for the sake of defending its award credentials, the song is CRUCIAL to the movie. If you weren’t teary-eyed or completely bawling when Miguel sings it with Coco at the end of the movie, there is actually something wrong with you. Seriously, give this award to that stupid song about PT Barnum with a chorus of “OH OH OHHHHH” and see what happens.


Best Cinematography

Roger Deakins for Blade Runner 2049

Went in with sky-high expectations, left completely satisfied. No film looks better this year, except *maybe* the final shot of Tom Hardy’s plane on the beach in Dunkirk.


Best Picture Ballot

Connor PJ
1. Lady Bird 1. Get Out
2. Get Out 2. Call Me By Your Name
3. Call Me By Your Name 3. Lady Bird
4. Three Billboards 4. Three Billboards
5. Dunkirk 5. Dunkirk
6. The Shape of Water 6. Phantom Thread
7. The Post 7. The Shape of Water
8. Darkest Hour 8. The Post
Phantom Thread* (haven’t seen) 9. Darkest Hour


Personal Top 10 of 2017

Connor PJ
1. Baby Driver 1. Get Out
2. The Big Sick 2. The Disaster Artist
3. Lady Bird 3. Three Billboards
4. Call Me By Your Name 4. I, Tonya
5. Three Billboards 5. The Big Sick
6. The Florida Project 6. Lady Bird
7. Get Out 7. Phantom Thread
8. Dunkirk 8. Coco
9. The Disaster Artist 9. Wind River
10. Stronger 10. Call Me By Your Name

The Up-To-Date, Best-On-The-Internet Guide To Binging Black Mirror (AKA My Personal Rankings)

Unless you live under a rock or in a dystopia where you sleep in a boxed room with advertisement-laced screens for walls, then you are at least familiar with Black Mirror by now. It is Charlie Brooker’s masterpiece series that poses questions of what not-so-distant futures would look like if certain technologies advanced beyond our control, and more importantly asks how humans would instinctually react in the face of these technological adversities. “The Twilight Zone for millennials” is how your uncle would probably describe it. The tone ranges from funny to thrilling to just plain dark, but above all else, each chapter is seriously thought-provoking in its own unique way. For fans like me, it has become an absolute obsession, which I’m well aware is setting up perfectly for a meta finale centered on the Black Mirror community who treat the show as a way of life.

Part of the beauty of the show is its anthology format, meaning each episode is completely independent of one another. Now, unless there is an actor or director attached to one of these episodes that prompts you to watch that entry first, you probably would have no idea where to properly begin your journey. Allow me to serve as your cookie and help out (nailed that reference…you’ll get it soon.)

Almost every episode has a major twist and is way more fun if you have no clue what’s about to go down, so I’ll keep reviews simple for all of the newbies. I will include spoiler-filled sections though, because these are essentially my personal rankings and debating Black Mirror with fellow fanatics has become a hobby of mine. So whether you’re watching for the first time or the tenth time, go forth and enjoy!

1. “The Entire History Of You” (Season 1, Episode 3)

For The Rookies: I’d say there are four of five Black Mirror classics, but this is the only one of that group that embodies everything we love about the show. In an alternate reality where everyone has devices implanted in their brains that allows them to rewind and stream memories, how far down the rabbit hole would you go to potentially prove suspicions about a loved one, even if it meant tearing apart everything that matters to you? Would you be able to resist those feelings of jealousy and paranoia? Black Mirror has tackled the subject of memory in a few episodes now, but this spin is still the most original and chilling.

entire history of you

For The Veterans: Fucking Jonas. That name is forever ruined for me. I’ll never forget my feelings of doubt and embarrassment for Liam slowly turning into “oh no…oh no…oh god no he’s actually right.” It’s been nearly two years since watching this episode for the first time, and I still have absolutely no idea what I would have done in his shoes.

2. “San Junipero” (Season 3, Episode 4)

For The Rookies: The episode that officially brought Black Mirror into the mainstream, with some assists from the Emmys and Saturday Night Live. It’s commonly called “the happy one,” although that totally shortchanges the script and isn’t even all that true. The story seesaws between beautiful and heartbreaking and poses the deepest of deep questions. Would you spend your afterlife on loop in a virtual paradise or roll the dice on the natural outcome? What if your loved ones didn’t get the chance to make that same decision? And good luck getting “Heaven Is A Place On Earth” out of your head!

san junipero

For The Veterans: Kelly and Yorkie forever. One of the best love stories ever produced on television, I can’t even begin to describe my rush of emotions once those credits rolled and we found out that Kelly chose her. It’s like the “Red Wedding” episode of Games Of Thrones in the sense that it’s impossible to overstate just how shocking the ending was at the time. Oh, and you bet your ASS that I’m picking San Junipero if I’m in Kelly’s deathbed.

3. “Be Right Back” (Season 2, Episode 1)

For The Rookies: So I settled on the order of this list through a mixture of objectivity and subjectivity, which is the reason that “Be Right Back” clocks in at only third. While I absolutely adore this episode, I might be underselling it because it could definitely be called the best episode of the series. Would you bring back a deceased loved one if he/she left some of himself/herself behind? It is truly a spectacle to watch and features what is legitimately some of the best acting I have ever seen from Hayley Atwell and Domhnall Gleeson. And it’s just about as emotionally gutting as it sounds.

be right back

For The Veterans: That scene on the cliff. My god. I’m getting teary-eyed just writing about it. Do I buy the idea that Martha would let the daughter visit the clone of her father? I guess so…beats her stumbling upon him during a game of hide-and-seek. Do I buy the idea that Martha isn’t breaking Robot Ash out of the attic every other night to take advantage of his jackhammer abilities? Uhhh no.

4. “Hang The DJ” (Season 4, Episode 4)

For The Rookies: I love this episode so much. If you told me prior to the season that Black Mirror would be taking its magnifying glass to dating apps, I’d be irrationally excited. And “Hang The DJ” still exceeded all expectations for an episode of its kind. Depending on the kind of person you are, you will either immediately sign up for eHarmony or delete your Bumble account following this essential hour of television.

hang the dj

For The Veterans: I knew the twist had to be coming, and they laid out a bunch of clues along the way, but I was still so pleasantly surprised when it finally happened. And you better believe that I was smiling like an idiot during the real-life meeting in that final scene. Considering the perfect chemistry between Frank and Amy, I’m assuming the 0.2% of simulations that didn’t end in rebellion were due to Frank killing himself after a year of a forced relationship with that one nightmare of a girl.

5. “USS Callister” (Season 4, Episode 1)

For The Rookies: Another gem from Season 4, “USS Callister” is nothing short of an accomplishment. Its 76-minute running time allows it to address more than the average episode, but it still effectively explores so many themes without feeling overstuffed. The episode has star power, is extremely topical, looks amazing, and happens to be really funny in a super twisted way. Only Black Mirror can have an episode get this dark while still touchingly paying tribute to Star Trek.

uss callister

For The Veterans: Lesson learned: be nice to the tech guy in your office. This episode does such a good job of having us buy into Daly as a simply misunderstood guy just to suddenly reveal that he’s actually the Harvey Weinstein of cyberspace. I do think the plot has some flaws – how does the smartest coder in the world miss a backdoor in his own simulated reality that leaves him vulnerable to permanent entrapment? Still, the rebellion led by Lt. Cole is so exciting and ultimately rewarding that all faults can easily be overlooked.

6. “White Christmas” (Season 2.5)

For The Rookies: Maybe the most ambitious chapter of the series, even to this day. It has a 74-minute running time and doesn’t waste a single second, considering it’s essentially three mini-episodes squeezed into one holiday special. There’s so much to break down with this plot, but at the same time there’s almost too much to tease. It might sound like I’m of the opinion that this episode tried to do too much, but I actually think it all comes together in a pretty compelling fashion. Oh, and Jon Hamm stars in it…just trust me on this one.

white christmas

For The Veterans: Where to begin? The first vignette, the one where Jon Hamm’s character accidentally coaches a man into a murder-suicide, could have been an episode on its own. The second vignette, with Talisa from Game Of Thrones playing the digital copy of a rich woman stuck inside an Alexa-like product, is horrifying in a good way, but also underdeveloped and improved upon by future episodes. The final vignette, which reveals why the two men are at the outpost in the first place, is the highlight of the episode. The resulting two-part twist is both a hit and a miss. From the perspective of Rafe Spall’s character, it’s absolutely devastating and a nightmare to consider. But for Hamm’s character, it feels kinda weak and anticlimactic.

7. “Nosedive” (Season 3, Episode 1)

For The Rookies: The premise of “Nosedive” is one that you might’ve discussed with friends with some possible marijuana involvement: what if we judged each other in our daily interactions on the Uber five-star scale? The bright color palette fits perfectly with the episode’s materialistic tone, even if they both make you want to throw a brick at your TV by the end of it. If you choose to watch chronologically, then you’re definitely gonna be thrown off by an episode written by The Office and Parks and Recreation alumni. But it’s a great introduction to what Netflix brings to Black Mirror. nosedive

For The Veterans: I know a lot of people don’t love the ending. It’s definitely predictable and barely qualifies as a twist, but I’m cool with it. Bryce Dallas Howard is amazing in that wedding speech scene, and the final shots from the jail cells really stuck with me. Also shoutout Alice Eve, who’s just delightful in everything she’s in.

8. “The National Anthem” (Season 1, Episode 1)

For The Rookies: The episode that got it all started, and Charlie Brooker definitely didn’t choose to lay up with his first shot off the tee. I sincerely apologize for this graphic image, but it’s the question this episode asks (in modern American terms): if a universally beloved figure, say Reese Witherspoon, was kidnapped and her captor’s only demand was for the President to bone a pig on live TV, would you expect him to do it? And on top of that, would you watch? Yup…things get real FAST. It’s captivating stuff and speaks volumes to modern societies, but I rank it closer to the middle of the pack than the top. Black Mirror doesn’t have to go total sci-fi to succeed, but this chapter still just doesn’t feel much like Black Mirror. An undoubtedly great episode of television, but not where I’d recommend you start.

the national anthem

For The Veterans: Still one of the best twists, and I still feel like an idiot for not catching it before it went down. Bravo to Brooker and Co. for making the audience feel like just another person at the bar watching the pig fucking.

9. “Metalhead” (Season 4, Episode 5)

For The Rookies: A ton of fans probably don’t have kind things to say about “Metalhead,” but I really like this episode! I’ll just get out in front of what makes it different: it’s shot in black-and-white and it’s the series’ shortest with a 41-minute running time. That’s probably what so many people hate about the episode, but I thought the minimalistic strategy was risky in a good way. I can also tell you entirely what the episode is about, because that’s revealed right off the bat: humans are running for their lives from murderous robot dogs. That’s it, and it’s awesome! And Boston Dynamics…hey idiots…keep this shut down forever, ok?


For The Veterans: There really isn’t too much else to discuss because of how straightforward this episode is. I was momentarily confused why the woman chose to attack the dog that was blinded by paint, but then a few minutes later it made sense once it was revealed that more dogs were on the way. The teddy bear twist also totally worked for me.

10. “Black Museum” (Season 4, Episode 6)

For The Rookies: Arguably the most polarizing episode of the show. I’ve seen a lot of people whose opinions I trust call it Season 4’s best episode, while I’ve also seen a ton of reviews calling it a series low point. I fall somewhere in the middle, because I really enjoyed the episode but also recognize its glaring weaknesses. I can’t really preview anything from the story without giving something away, so my only advice to first-timers is that “White Christmas” is required watching first, because “Black Museum” rips off its structure to a point where it would be copyright infringement if done by a different show.

black museum

For The Veterans: OK, I’ll start with the bad. I didn’t like either of the first two asides that Rolo narrated. The pain addict story just made zero sense to me. I almost think it was supposed to be parody of some sort, but if not then good lord that sucked. And as for the dude who signed up to have his comatose wife’s consciousness put inside his brain…how the hell did he think that was going to go?! He voluntarily signed up for schizophrenia! And even Rolo’s side comments like the boner joke…beyond cringe-worthy. So if you’re wondering why I really liked the episode, it’s because the twist is that good. It was set up perfectly and registered as a full 10/10 on the satisfaction scale. I think the final scene with the stuffed monkey being put in the front seat and Nish’s mom being implanted in her brain (did she not learn the lesson of that story?) was really cheesy, but oh well.

11. “Men Against Fire” (Season 3, Episode 5)

For The Rookies: This episode is pretty consistently ranked near the bottom of similar lists, but I think it’s a bit underrated. It takes place in a post-genocide dystopia brought on by the American military, so it’s probably not surprising that “Men Against Fire” focuses on possible advancements in military technology, which I think is a fascinating subject. It’s a powerful episode that places the Black Mirror microscope on the ruthlessness of the people in charge of American institutions.

men against fire

For The Veterans: Yes, the overall message of the episode is heavy-handed and essentially exists as a middle finger to American military strategy. And yes, the twist is kinda obvious and is executed way too early. But the reveal that the “roaches” are actually genocide survivors is still devastating and works as a painfully effective metaphor for how certain leaders view certain groups of people. Take your pick which scene is more emotionally crushing: the one where Stripe is forced to watch his murders on loop, or his return home to what’s actually a rundown shack.

12. “Hated In The Nation” (Season 3, Episode 6)

For The Rookies: This episode is probably better than a few in front of it on this list, but I’m sorry…it’s just way too long. Clocking in at an hour and a half, it’s still the longest of the chapters (besides “Bandersnatch”) when it really didn’t need to be. It’s paced perfectly for a murder mystery, but there are just some elements of the story that felt like fluff to me. But like I was saying, “Hated In The Nation” is still great and finally gave us the Black Mirror spin on social media that we had been waiting for. Just get ready for what’s practically a movie when you sit down to watch this episode.

hated in the nation

For The Veterans: You KNOW that you or one of your friends would’ve participated in the #DeathTo hashtag. While the twist is incredible, this is the worst episode to watch with your parents, just because of the inevitable “you know you’re never really protected behind a keyboard” lesson during the ending credits. And I know from memes that bees are dying globally at an alarming rate, but did we really need the Black Mirror take on colony collapse disorder?

13. “Striking Vipers” (Season 5, Episode 1)

For The Rookies: The only solid entry from Season 5, “Striking Vipers” has all the makings for a classic episode. It has a bona fide star in Anthony Mackie, the director of two of the top three episodes on this list, and insanely impressive visuals and effects. The central idea is great too, diving DEEP into masculinity through VR erotica. So why does it only land at #13? Because “Striking Vipers” plays it disappointingly safe, and that’s especially frustrating in an episode where two best friends are syncing into a video game to hook up with one another.

striking vipers

For The Veterans: I do think this episode is good, but man it could have been GREAT. The scene where Danny and Karl kiss in person is so ambiguous that I don’t even know what they were trying to say. And when a hard stance is finally taken on a theme, it happens during the credits and focuses on…monogamy? Super random.

14. “White Bear” (Season 2, Episode 2)

For The Rookies: Ahhh, “White Bear.” The story opens with a woman waking up in a house with no recollection of how she got there, only to go outside to find other people either hunting her or filming her. So basically, a woman lives an actual nightmare. But considering this is Black Mirror, you can correctly guess that there’s more to it than that. I’m not at liberty to divulge what that is, but just know that you’re probably gonna be sitting in silence for a few minutes after this one.

white bear

For The Veterans: It’s been nearly six years since this episode was released, and it’s still widely debated by the “love it” and “hate it” camps. Personally I lean more towards the latter camp, although I totally get the appeal. While you can’t really dispute against this twist being the most disturbing, you can definitely argue that it’s still the best that the show has ever pulled off. My thing is, it just took so long to pull out the rug from underneath us that I was almost bored during the first 30 minutes. And as for the twist itself, it lasted so long that my “HOLY SHIT” reaction had time to devolve into “oh ok” before the episode was over. Some critics probably have ethical issues either empathizing with a child murderer or publicly torturing someone against their will, but this is Black Mirror we’re talking about. I actually think “White Bear” offers one of the more accurate representations of our culture, because I am positive that I know people who would willingly participate in this social experiment on a nightly basis.

15. “Fifteen Million Merits” (Season 1, Episode 2)

For The Rookies: Another reason why I’d recommend binging in this order instead of chronological order is the show’s suggested back-to-back of “The National Anthem” into “Fifteen Million Merits.” It goes directly from the most tech-absent episode into what is by far the most sci-fi entry in the series, and it might catch you off guard. This episode takes place in a dystopia where humans are relied upon to pedal stationary bikes in order to generate electricity, which in turn earns them virtual currency called “merits.” Merits can be spent sparingly on vending machines or to skip advertisements on the television walls within bedrooms, or they can be spent in bulk to participate in a talent competition that offers the only escape from this indentured servitude. I actually think this is one of the most profound episodes of the series, and you get an A+ performance from Daniel Kaluuya in it. But at the same time, I wouldn’t blame you for writing it off as too weird.

fifteen million merits

For The Veterans: I struggle a lot with this episode, because I think it manages to simultaneously be ahead of its time while falling victim to not aging well. The final twist is BRUTAL and yet so good, and left me permanently paranoid that politicians have the leaders of the resistance movements against them on their payroll. Also something I didn’t remember until a recent rewatch…how about Black Mirror low key exposing the Harvey Weinstein types six years early in the scene where Abi has her drink spiked then is peer pressured into doing porn? Still, I really dislike a lot of the technical aspects of this episode. I’m not too sure why the show assumes that Wii avatars and shows styled like The Wiggles will be staples of our future culture. And while American Idol and X Factor were huge when this episode was released, we’ve fortunately started to move past shows where people publicly try their hardest to prove their talents just to face judgment from millions of viewers at home.

16. “Shut Up And Dance” (Season 3, Episode 3)

For The Rookies: I actually kinda like this episode, but I admit that I am overrating it despite its ranking at #15. It’s not particularly good. In a way the events of this episode are strangely relatable, considering we are shown in the first few minutes that our teenage protagonist is a normal kid who rides his bikes to and from his restaurant job. But then he downloads some shit he shouldn’t have downloaded, and all hell breaks loose. Sure, it’s well acted (Bronn!) and definitely exciting, but it doesn’t really offer any insight whatsoever. I just don’t understand its purpose outside of terrifying every single person who watches it.

shut up and dance

For The Veterans: If “Shut Up And Dance” is one of your favorites (which I know is the case for a lot of fans), that’s all good. You and I just happen to like Black Mirror for different reasons then. The climax of this episode is absolutely bananas. The kid LITERALLY MURDERS a man. So yeah, I’d argue it’s way more nonsensical than thoughtful. Like, what was the message here? That some people are just dicks? That we shouldn’t watch kiddie porn? Um…got it?

17. “Arkangel” (Season 4, Episode 2)

For The Rookies: This episode asks the question that makes every 21st century teenager’s heart sink: what if your mom had one of those child tracker apps embedded into your brain as a toddler? I was SO psyched for “Arkangel” upon learning the premise of the episode, which is why I am sorry to report that I found it really underwhelming. Look, I’m not aiming to rain on any parades here. I encourage you to still watch it, and I hope you enjoy it! But aside from the acting (Rosemarie DeWitt gives an all-time Black Mirror performance), I’m not really sure what there is to like about it.


For The Veterans: Ugh, how did this end up as such a “meh” episode??? There was SO much potential here. It just seems like every decision related to the episode’s vision was the wrong one. The mom choosing to reactivate the tablet just as her daughter was losing her virginity then later snorting coke was way too convenient. But those are minor critiques…let’s talk about that ending. It STUNK. Sara literally beating her mother over the head with the tablet was some laughably clumsy writing. And like, I get that Sara had no sense for the exact damage that she was inflicting, but how was she surprised that she was fucking up her mom’s face? And then she freaks out and decides to…hitchhike a ride? Whatever.

18. “Playtest” (Season 3, Episode 2)

For The Rookies: A lot of fans vouch for this episode, and there’s a solid chance that you’ll soon be one of those fans. But I think it’s the single-most overrated episode of the show. I was STUNNED when some people told me that this was their favorite episode of Season 3. It just does nothing for me at all. Maybe it’s because I’m not a gamer. Maybe it’s because I’m completely disinterested in virtual reality technology. Or maybe it’s just because I don’t love the horror genre. But if you feel differently about one of those qualifiers, then this could be an episode for you.


For The Veterans: I know I’ve already told you how I really feel about “Playtest,” but even from an objective standpoint I think it’s a mediocre episode of Black Mirror. I’ll acknowledge what I found great about it. The cheap-looking CGI monsters trick Cooper into thinking the haunted house isn’t so scary, only to be lured deeper into the test to have his Alzheimer’s fears exploited. That was really smart and genuinely terrifying. But the twist that reveals that Cooper actually died within a second of beginning the test is just so convoluted that it leaves the audience with the wrong kinds of questions. I’m not really sure what the social commentary of this episode is either…Cooper seems like literally the only person that would face the consequences of this technology. He goes out of his way to visit an experimental video game company and knowingly breaks the specific rules given to him. What did he expect? And what’s the overall message? To call your parents more? The whole episode is just way too clever for its own good. Oh, besides when it decides to take the simple route when Cooper casually hooks up with the hottest girl I’ve ever seen through a dating app. Honestly more unrealistic than any of the video game tests.

19. “Bandersnatch” (Season 4.5)

For The Rookies: “Bandersnatch” is…a lot of things. It’s the longest chapter of the series, with a minimum runtime of 90 minutes. It’s probably the most innovative of the bunch, being the first of the Choose Your Own Adventure variety. It’s also possibly the…dumbest? The interactive technology is definitely cool and impressively operates without any glitches, but that doesn’t stop it from feeling annoying and confusing and unnecessary all at the same time. Tie that in with a forgettable story and forgettable themes, and you have this whiff of an episode. It’s a whiff I suppose you can appreciate, but a whiff nonetheless.


For The Veterans: I might have just given “Bandersnatch” too much credit in that opening section, because this plot stinks out loud. On top of being impossible to follow and not genuinely Choose Your Own Adventure since the characters basically tell you no if you make the wrong choice, it’s just so goddamn lame. It features an unbearable amount of meta commentary, especially with the Netflix stuff. Hated that. Will Poulter’s character is cool and has the only interesting things to say on the subject of free will, but his moments are few and far between. There was definitely a massive miscalculation here, because instead of going back and watching the alternate endings when my path ran its course, I was just relieved that the episode was finally over.

20. “Smithereens” (Season 5, Episode 2)

For The Rookies: “Smithereens” is one of the few Black Mirror episodes to take place in a world that closely resembles our own, and guess what? It would have been a hell of a lot more interesting if that wasn’t the case! While this chapter is thoroughly not good, it’s more silly and annoying than offensively bad. Questioning our obsession with social media and our impulsive reactions to notifications? It’s minor league stuff. Of all the episodes to clock in at 70 minutes, it’s unfortunate that it’s one that feels more like it was written by a freshman psych student than by Charlie Brooker.


For The Veterans: I’m repeating myself, but “Smithereens” just annoys me. The characters all suck and are thinly written — seriously, why was that mom with the dead daughter not cut out of this episode — and it’s not nearly as dramatic as the premise would imply. And what on earth was the goal with Topher Grace’s character? The not-so-subtle inclusion of a Jack Dorsey type CEO was funny, but to go fairly out of the way to sympathize for him? Weird move.

21. “Crocodile” (Season 4, Episode 3)

For The Rookies: An episode about insurance investigations that is just about as exciting as that sounds. A total dud from Season 4, “Crocodile” starts out with a genuinely interesting scene where a couple accidentally kills a biker then decides to dispose of the body. It all goes downhill from there. It’s another episode built around memory-based technology, but this take is the least cool and innovative of the bunch. Again, I encourage you to watch it and form your own opinions, as is the case with the previous 20 episodes on this list, but I’m pretty positive you won’t love this one.


For The Veterans: Whew, I have so much to get off my chest about “Crocodile.” I’ll start with the acting, which was easily my least favorite of Season 4. And that’s coming from an Andrea Riseborough fan, but her performance was way too one-note for my liking and limited my engagement in her character. Are we positive that Mia doesn’t just get off on killing people? When it became clear that she was also going to murder the investigator’s husband (yes, her fourth kill of the episode), I was out. And THEN she decided to kill the baby. WHAT. THE. FUCK. And then we find out that the baby was blind and didn’t need to die at all, because of course he was. I seriously felt like I was being tested by this episode. Even for Black Mirror standards, it went too far and was barely even worth the watch for entertainment purposes.

22. “Rachel, Jack and Ashley Too” (Season 5, Episode 3)

For The Rookies: I clearly do not hold a high opinion of this episode with where I have it ranked on this list, but I do have some kind things to say about it. It’s an original idea with Miley Cyrus as the perfect casting choice to carry it out. OK, that’s actually all of the kind things I have to say. It flat out sucks. It’s terribly paced, not funny, and falls into the eye-rolling thematic trap of “pop music = bad” that’s plagued movies and TV over the past few years. You are consistently asking yourself “what the hell am I watching” throughout the episode, and not in the good Black Mirror kind of way.

ashley too

For The Veterans: Like…I think I know what Brooker was going for here? It was supposed to be a fucked-up spin on a Disney Channel original movie starring the Queen of the Disney Channel herself? But yeah…no. If Miley wanted an excuse to do Nine Inch Nails covers, she didn’t have to resort to this.

23. “The Waldo Moment” (Season 2, Episode 3)

For The Rookies: So I’ve said it a few times now, but I cannot recommend highly enough that you watch every available episode of Black Mirror. Each chapter brings something new to the table for the most part, and public opinion is so split on so many of them that you might end up really liking an episode that’s among my least favorite. HOWEVER, none of these rules apply to “The Waldo Moment.” It is the only episode of the show that has zero redeeming qualities. I’m paraphrasing here, but it essentially asks, “what if Stewie Griffin ran for President?” You can seriously just skip it.

the waldo moment

For The Veterans: This episode annoys me so much that I don’t even want to spend any more time writing about it. It is aggressively non-funny, and I’m pretty sure at least part of its purpose was to be the first comedic Black Mirror episode. And get the hell outta here with your thinkpieces on how it’s gained relevancy in the age of Trump and Brexit. It was bad in 2013, it was bad in 2016, and it’s still bad in 2020. It’s so fucking bad.



Disagree with my rankings? Or want to just tell me how smart I am? Find me on Twitter @Real_Peej


Excuse Me, Baseball. May I Please Heat Up The Stove?

Wind chills are hovering around -20 degrees. New calendars are up on the walls. Maesters at The Citadel have released the white ravens. In other words, winter is officially here. Now most people probably look forward to spending these dark and cold nights cuddled up by the fireplace. Pshhh. You can find me gyrating next to the MLB Hot Stove. You love the smell of roasting chestnuts and the sound of Christmas carols? That’s nice, but give me technical articles on luxury tax thresholds and quotes of Scott Boras telling teams “YOU WON’T HEAR FROM ME AGAIN UNTIL THAT EIGHTH YEAR IS ON THE TABLE.”

In all seriousness, MLB free agency is usually a glorious shitshow. Every time you refresh Twitter you see that another player just signed for more money than the GDP of some small African nations. GMs are reminded after issuing contracts that they just agreed to pay a player $25mil in his age 42 season. It’s chaos and it’s beautiful…but it’s just not going down that way this offseason. Baseball has been feeling the early effects of the bomb cyclone. The market has frozen over. Usually most of the marquee free agents ink massive deals before the New Year, but right now only 2-3 of the dozen or so best free agents have signed. All fans are bored, and dumb fans are starting to worry that this is some sort of sign for the future of baseball. (It’s not…we are going to see teams spend ungodly amounts of money next offseason.) But what it is a sign of is that teams are getting smarter. There is simply no need to rush into a contract that has the potential to cripple the future operations of a franchise. The players surely understand that, but at the same time the best free agents want the same kind of money that they’ve seen their peers rake in over the past few offseasons. Deals will be signed, but it seems like both sides could use a little bit of a push. Allow me to Henry Clay the shit outta this situation and strike some compromises.

Listed below are the ten biggest-named members of the remaining free agent class, ranked in order of appeal. I pick what I view as the perfect destination for each player given his current/future value and the team’s outlook, and then I come up with a contract that seems agreeable for both sides. But in all likelihood, most of these players will probably get overpaid and will fairly follow that money to whichever team offers it, regardless of fit. So in addition to a section on where each of these free agents should sign, I’ll include one on where I think each of them will sign. Here goes nothing:

  1. Yu Darvish


I’ll keep this simple: Darvish is the best long-term asset in this market. While JD could produce the biggest immediate impact of the group, Yu is the clear-cut guy I’d most want locked up for six or seven years. Yes, I know that he was horrendous in both of his World Series starts. I don’t know if he was tipping pitches, exhausted, or just nervous, but whatever team lands Darvish should be beyond thankful for that primetime meltdown. His price point has dropped drastically, and writing off his chances of becoming a “big game pitcher” because of two bad games is almost as absurd as the “big game pitcher” label itself. Regular season performance provides us with the best idea of a player’s value, and few starters have been as consistently good as Darvish since his debut in 2012. He had a solid 2017 in his first full season back from Tommy John with 209 strikeouts and a 3.86 ERA, with fielding-independent numbers that are even better. And the crazy thing is…it was probably the worst season of Darvish’s career. But considering his velocity is as high as ever, his K/9 rate finished over 10.0 for the fifth straight season, and he finished in the Top 20 in baseball in soft contact induced, there is absolutely no reason to believe there is a dropoff for Yu coming anytime soon. In fact, I’d argue that his 2017 numbers are probably the worst you’ll see out of him for the next few seasons. In the right conditions, Darvish could return to his 2013 form and safely solidify himself as one of the ten best starters in baseball. Aces don’t hit the open market very often, and when they do, teams almost never have the chance to buy low on them.

Best Deal: 6 yrs/$150mil with the Twins

The smaller-market Twins might be hesitant to take on another huge contract right as Joe Mauer’s deal is finally coming off their books, but this opportunity is too good and makes too much sense to pass up. With their current roster, I’d be pretty shocked if Minnesota returns to the playoffs in 2018. Their bullpen is anonymous, and Ervin Santana will have a tough time duplicating his excellent 2017. But a rotation anchored by Darvish, Santana, and Jose Berrios to go along with a deep and underrated lineup is no joke. Combine the dimensions of Target Field with the Twins’ unbelievable outfield play, and Darvish would be poised to put up his best stats yet. Cy Young potential is there with this fit.

Actual Deal: 7 yrs/$175mil with the Angels

As a Darvish fan and someone who recognizes that Anaheim is where flashy free agent signings go to die, I really don’t want this to happen. It just makes too much sense. Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but the Angels have once again decided to go “all in” this offseason. It’s a long-term play to try to keep Mike Trout around by proving their commitment to winning, but it’s likely that it eventually ends with the unintended outcome of not having enough money to pay him when his time comes (just ask Orioles fans about this strategy re: Manny Machado). Anyway, while the Angels lineup is filled with star power, they have nothing resembling a complete rotation. The thought of pairing Darvish with Shohei Ohtani is probably too enticing to pass up, so I expect the Angels to dig even deeper into their pockets. This totally won’t come back to bite them in the ass in a few years!


  1. JD Martinez

National League Wild Card Game - Colorado Rockies v Arizona Diamondbacks

If there’s anything about the 2017 season that I’m truly thankful for, it’s that we finally put the 2014 World Series between the Giants and Royals in the rearview mirror and started to embrace the value of power again. And when it comes to purely mashing the ball, JD is one of the five best in baseball at it. Already established as one of the premier sluggers in baseball coming into 2017, Martinez put up his best season split between the Tigers and Diamondbacks with a preposterous 45 dingers in just 119 games. For those casual fans who might not be too familiar with JD, his 2017 wasn’t just a fluke either. Among players with at least 2000 plate appearances between 2014 (his first full season) and 2017, he finished second in slugging percentage and third in isolated power (behind Trout in both, and Stanton too in ISO). So if you’re wondering why he isn’t at the top of this list, it’s because he strikes out a ton, doesn’t walk a lot, and already can’t really hold his own in the outfield.

Best Deal: 6 yrs/$150mil with the Red Sox

The Red Sox desperately need power in the middle of their lineup, especially since the already great Yankees lineup just added the best power bat in baseball. They’re also the only team that’s certainly going to shoot past the luxury tax threshold this season, so they’re going to be spending money. And guess what? JD Martinez wants A LOT of it, and he deserves it. A late bloomer, JD is already going into his age 31 season, so the last few years of this contract could potentially look really ugly. But Boston is in win-now mode, and the thought of what JD could do right now aiming for the Green Monster 81 times a year is pretty terrifying.

Actual Deal: 6 yrs/$170mil with the Red Sox

It’s going to happen. But considering this is Dave Dombrowski and Scott Boras at the opposite ends of the negotiating table, this staring contest might take weeks to call off. The Red Sox reportedly offered him a five-year deal, but it’s logical to assume that Boras wants seven. We’ll meet halfway at six years, but we’ll also throw in some extra dough because Boras pretty much always gets what he wants.


  1. Lorenzo Cain

lorenzo cain

Cain is one of the few players on this list that I think actually might get underpaid. He’s the best of the available former Royals, and I don’t even think it’s particularly close. Also a late bloomer, Cain is entering his age 32 season with only three pro seasons with 130+ games played under his belt. But in each of those seasons, Cain finished with a WAR above 4.0, including a ridiculous 6.5 WAR season in 2015. He finished THIRD in the AL MVP voting just three years ago! (Seriously, has there been a more undercover Top 3 MVP finish ever? Maybe Michael Brantley in 2014?) While his 2017 wasn’t as spectacular as his 2015, it was still a really good season. He hit .300, popped 15 homers, stole 26 bags, saw his walk rate rise to a career high, and once again finished as a plus centerfielder. Cain doesn’t profile as a player who should quickly drop off either. He has great speed, but he doesn’t rely on it to get on base. And while he has some power, it’s more of a complimentary tool. Cain might have to move to one of the corner outfield spots towards the end of a long-term deal, but there’s massive value here.

Best Deal: 5 yrs/$75mil with the Giants

Cain is the rare Giants’ free agent target that actually makes a ton of sense for them. (I have absolutely no clue why or when the Giants, who won three championships through homegrown development and shrewd acquisitions, decided to become reckless spenders). San Francisco’s current outfield situation is a complete disaster, and their lineup isn’t much to look at either. Cain would be an immediate steadying presence for both. Still, I have little faith that this match comes to fruition. For starters, the Giants are one of the big-market teams making a concerted push to get under the luxury tax threshold for this season, and a contract for Cain in this ballpark would makes things extremely tight. With that being said, the Giants outfield is so bad that they are locks to spend on it in some fashion. I think they’ll concentrate on corner outfield options with more power, especially since they just moved on from Denard Span who they probably view similarly to Cain. That is beyond stupid if true, but these are the present-day Giants we’re talking about.

Actual Deal: 4 yrs/$65mil with the Mets

The Wilpons from the clouds!!! Mets fans have endured years of lies from ownership that they will eventually spend big at the right time, but if there’s anything that we definitively know about them, it’s that they’re always searching for a good bargain. This deal for Cain would fit the bill, and he’d change the outlook for this team overnight. The Mets desperately need a rock at the top of the lineup, and a healthy Cespedes/Cain/Conforto outfield would rank as one of baseball’s best. Would this turn the Mets into contenders? Probably not. But the Triple C outfield would justifiably give Mets fans something to look forward to.


  1. Jake Arrieta


Timing hasn’t proved to be the best friend to Jake Arrieta. He had one of the best pitching seasons ever in 2015, followed that up with great 2016 regular season and postseason, but then produced just an average 2017 in his contract year. There is still a lot to like when it comes to Arrieta. He’s still striking out about a batter per inning, generates a ton of soft contact, and hasn’t logged as many innings on his arm as most starters entering their age 32 season. But on the other hand, he has now regressed by almost every metric in back-to-back seasons, he’s become more erratic, his home run rate has skyrocketed, and his fastball velocity is down big time. I’d argue the ace potential is still there, but there’s probably an equal chance of a total collapse. Arrieta is about as polarizing as a free agent can be.

Best Deal: 4 yrs/$110mil with the Orioles

These are reportedly the exact terms that the Cubs offered Arrieta, and I am stunned that he didn’t cut off Theo Epstein to take that deal. It’s a major overpay for the direction that Jake is trending towards, but I guess Boras has actually convinced him that he’s going to collect 6 yrs/$200mil. Still, this is the hypothetical section, and I think a contract like this should’ve be more than enough to lure Arrieta back to his old stomping grounds. The second half of this deal would probably be rough on Baltimore, but their window is quickly closing. As I referenced before, all of this money, Chris Davis’s money, and Mark Trumbo’s money should’ve been piled together and offered to Manny Machado years ago, but that ship has sailed. Manny Machado will not be a Baltimore Oriole in 2019, but that doesn’t mean that Baltimore can’t make one last push to make a run with him in town. I’m of the opinion that you don’t trade players like Machado under almost any circumstances, because he is one of the elite few that can singlehandedly get a team over the hump. The Orioles offense is still good with enough talent to be great, but their rotation is so bad that the team still managed to finish seven games under .500 last year. Even Arrieta in his 2017 form could place the O’s in the Wild Card discussion. If he managed to return to his 2015-2016 form, then they could contend for a lot more. You might not think that’s possible, but there aren’t many competitors like Jake and I’m sure he’d want redemption for those ugly seasons he had the first time around in Baltimore.

Actual Deal: 5 yrs/ $125mil with the Cubs

Again, I can’t believe Arrieta is getting offers of this magnitude, but clearly the Cubs have serious interest in keeping him around. There was speculation that the Cubs were one of the teams trying to avoid paying the luxury tax, but that initial offer to Arrieta likely indicates that they’re comfortable paying it for this season. They could definitely use another starting pitcher, even with the deal they already handed out to Tyler Chatwood this offseason. With a deal like this, you couldn’t help but think that it’s partially a reward to Jake for his popularity amongst fans and direct role in delivering a championship in 2016. I subscribe to Theo Epstein being a genius, but this one would be a head-scratcher.


  1. Eric Hosmer


Deep breaths, PJ. So I’m an Eric Hosmer hater, as this ranking probably indicates since most similar lists have him first or second. If you’re looking for further proof, a simple Twitter search would suffice! I think he’s arguably the most overrated player in baseball, and I legitimately believe the deal he’s about to get has the potential to be one of the worst of all time. I’m pretty sure most fans have no idea how the Royals made it to back-to-back World Series, so they just assume Hosmer is way better than he actually is. He’s an average overall player who peaked as a simply good player in 2017, yet he’s about to get paid like a superstar. I don’t even think he was the best first baseman in this free agent class. That honor belongs to Carlos Santana, who signed a 3 yr/$60mil deal that I love for the Phillies. Most “experts” think the Phillies splurged on Santana, yet they’ll stay silent once Hosmer inks a deal for 4-5 extra years and more average annual value. It all makes no sense.

So what specifically is it about Hosmer that drives me insane? Take a seat! His four Gold Glove awards are quite literally the least deserving pieces of recognition that I have ever seen in sports. Of the 19 qualified first basemen between 2015-2017, Hosmer ranks 18th in ultimate zone rating, 19th in defensive runs saved, and 19th in total defensive rating. He’s by most definitions the worst defensive everyday first baseman in baseball. (For what it’s worth, Santana checks in at 4th, 10th, and 3rd in those respective metrics.) So he must be an unreal hitter, right? Wrong! He’s played seven full seasons for the Royals, and in three of them he was objectively bad at the plate. Yes, he had a great season with the bat in 2017, hitting .318 with a .333 RISP that led to 94 RBI. But that’s pretty much his peak ability, and he still has some of the lowest walk rates and isolated power stats among first basemen over the past few years. In this “breakout season” of his, he posted a 4.1 WAR…also exactly what Lorenzo Cain just posted in an “average season” of his. As recently as 2016, Hosmer was a NEGATIVE WAR player. There’s a reason Scott Boras keeps hyping up his “intangibles” and “prestige value.” It’s because there’s not a single piece of tangible evidence he can point to that proves Hosmer’s worth.

Best Deal: 7 yrs/$140mil with the Padres

Obviously, I don’t think teams should be offering Hosmer anything remotely close to this type of contract. But it will happen, so we’ll stay realistic here. The Padres apparently made Hosmer an offer close to this, and it’s the only fit that doesn’t make me want to rip my hair out. Petco Park would be the perfect home for Hosmer, since he sprays the ball evenly to all fields and wouldn’t be expected to hit many homers. But more importantly, landing a “marquee” free agent like Hosmer could change the culture and public perception of the Padres. It would be eerily similar to when the Nationals wildly overpaid for Jayson Werth. Werth’s on-field performance didn’t live up to his contract, but his arrival turned the Nationals into a reputable free agent destination and swung their reputation around the league. Hosmer wouldn’t turn the Padres (or any team for that matter) into winners next year, but he could be the veteran clubhouse presence in a few years for a team that has a really promising farm system.

Actual Deal: 8 yrs/$170mil with the Royals

The Royals should stink next season and the few seasons after that, yet it isn’t the “Royal Way” to tear it all down and tank. They’d rather keep a fan favorite at an exorbitant price than commit to a rebuild, even though a contract like this would completely handcuff all future efforts to improve the team. But hey, at least they’ll sell more tickets and still lead in All Star Game fan voting!!!


  1. Todd Frazier


Frazier is the last of the few whose expected contract would actually be a great value to whatever team lands him. I like the Toddfather a lot and will be hyping him up here, so I’ll start with the glaring negative: he batted .225 in 2016 and .213 in 2017. There is no nice way to slice that…it is very bad. HOWEVER, Frazier is a good-to-great player when it comes to just about all other facets of his game. Even with that dismal 2017 batting average, he posted a respectable on-base percentage of .344. And while his home run total was the lowest it’s been in four seasons, he still popped 27 of them and hit 40 as recently as 2016. So you know the patience and power are there for Frazier, but he’s also got some decent speed and is excellent at the hot corner. He was an all-around great player for the Reds in 2014 and 2015, and I guess he’s just fallen off the radar a bit after 1.5 pretty anonymous years with the White Sox and a half-season spent near the bottom of the Yankees lineup. Still just 31 years old, I think whoever gets Frazier for 2018 will be stealing him at his anticipated price point.

Best Deal: 2 yrs/$30mil with the Yankees

Frazier and the Yankees are two middle schoolers with a crush on each other who are standing on opposite ends of the dance floor when “Time Of Your Life” comes on. They want it to happen…someone just has to make the first move. I’m not sure if you’ve heard, but Frazier is from New Jersey and grew up a Yankee fan. In all seriousness, he meshed incredibly well with the team and they would love to have him back in New York. On one hand, it’s likely that Frazier will be seeking a shorter-term deal. The market for third basemen is terrible right now, and if he returns to his 2014-2015 form (entirely possible) then he will be in line for a way bigger payday in his near future. But on the other hand…

Actual Deal: 1 yr/$12mil with the Yankees

…the Yankees can’t afford Frazier at that price and would likely only entertain bringing him back for a single season. The Yanks are adamant about getting under the luxury tax threshold, and by most estimates $12mil is near the max they can offer another free agent with the current state of the roster. This deal would surely complicate their salary situation, but that’s how badly I think they’d like Frazier back. As for Todd, he’d be leaving some money on the table with this deal, but I get the feeling he’d do it to return to the Bronx and chase his first ring.


  1. Lance Lynn


It’s hard to find a more boring player in baseball than Lance Lynn, and I actually mostly mean that as a compliment. After five incredibly similar seasons in St. Louis, whatever team signs Lynn should know exactly what they’re getting. And considering that 2017 was Lynn’s first season back from Tommy John, that should be comforting for all of the teams targeting him. Yes, there were some minor disparities in his performance last season. His strikeout rate was down a bit and his homer rate went up more than a bit, rising so much to the point where it’s natural to assume it will come back down to earth moving forward. At the same time, his .219 average against and 1.23 WHIP both marked career bests. His velocity remained about the same and he still pretty much only throws fastballs. Lynn has the ceiling of a #3 starter and the floor of a #4 starter. There are more than a few teams out there that would kill for that kind of stability.

Best Deal: 5 yrs/$80mil with the Mariners

No team in need of starting pitching stability comes to mind before the Mariners, and we all know how much they love to stay active in the offseason. I’m usually not a fan of Seattle’s moves, but pairing Lynn with his former Cardinal teammate Mike Leake would provide them with the rotation reliability they’ve been seeking for years. If a healthy James Paxton and a somewhat effective King Felix joined them, then I’d finally concede that the team is balanced enough to make a strong push to return to the playoffs for the first time since 2001.

Actual Deal: 5 yrs/$90mil with the Brewers

A lot of teams have expressed interest in Lynn’s services, and I think the Brewers will be the one with the most sizable bid. Milwaukee surprised people with an 86-76 record last year, and now they’re looking to spend some money to build something sustainable. They’ve already added a couple of starters this offseason, but they’re more fringe rotation guys in Jhoulys Chacin and Yovani Gallardo. Lynn would sit atop their rotation until Jimmy Nelson’s return from shoulder surgery, and a Nelson/Lynn/Chase Anderson/Zach Davies/Chacin rotation definitely doesn’t suck. While I think the Brew Crew would benefit more from a more dynamic arm, Lynn is still a decent fit here. With a good pro roster and an even better farm system, the Brewers won’t be going away for a while. Lance Lynn would only help out.


  1. Mike Moustakas


I’ll start with this: I don’t think Moustakas is particularly good. His free agency outlook is pretty much a less severe version of Hosmer’s. He’s going to make way too much money when he probably isn’t even the best available player at his position (I’d prefer Frazier and Zack Cozart too, if you count him). But what Moustakas has going for him is that he had his flashiest season in his contract year. He hit 38 homers out of absolutely nowhere, with a career high of 22 prior to the season. He hit 25 of those dingers in the first half too, which earned him a Home Run Derby invite that only further raised his public profile that was probably already too high from the Royals’ World Series runs. Still, it doesn’t take Sherlock Holmes to figure out that this power surge was probably a pretty big fluke. While most hitters with sudden boosts in home run totals can accredit a shift in launch angles, Moustakas elevated the ball with the same regularity that he had in previous seasons…more just happened to leave the park. Combine this with pitiful on-base percentages, rapidly declining defense, and horrific baserunning, and Moustakas is an average-at-best asset.

Best Deal: 3 yrs/$60mil with the Royals

I know I ripped on them for this philosophy when discussing Hosmer earlier, but I’d actually understand if the Royals really wanted to keep around one of the familiar faces from their recent glory days. A little bit of appeasement for the fan base is never a bad thing. If this is indeed their goal, then I’d suggest Moose as their target (well, besides Cain, but it seems like a foregone conclusion that he’s leaving). I think $20mil a year for a player who’s most famous for batting .215 during their championship run is laughable, but it’s a helluva lot better than giving Hosmer seven or eight years.

Actual Deal: 5 yrs/$80 mil with the Braves

I’m aware that this deal offers Moustakas less average annual value, but like I’ve repeatedly said: he’s not a very good player. He should be taking the longest-term offer he can get, and I think something in this range will be it. Atlanta has a ton of money to spend and could be competitive sooner than people might expect, so they’ll be a factor this offseason. Considering they’re currently pulling off the nearly impossible feat of scheduling to start a player I’ve never heard of, I’d recommend that third base is where they should choose to place their attention. (Apologies to Rio Ruiz and his .193 average). As harsh as I’ve been on Moustakas, he’s only 29, so it would be a safe bet for Atlanta to assume that he produces at his mediocre-to-average level for all five years on the deal. And considering the Braves aren’t exactly known as the most progressive team when it comes to sabermetrics, there are probably a few people in that front office salivating over Moose’s 38 longballs. I surely wouldn’t offer this deal if I were running the show in Atlanta, but honestly it kinda makes perfect sense.


  1. Jay Bruce

jay bruce

I pretty much feel the same about Jay Bruce as I do about Moustakas. They’re both middle-of-the-pack players. While Bruce has more consistent power, he also struggles to get on base and strikes out way more often. And while he had a commendable defensive performance in 2017, I sure as shit wouldn’t want to pencil him in to guard right field for my team for 3-4 years. After getting traded at the deadline in back-to-back seasons, Bruce is undoubtedly looking for a multiyear deal. He probably wants to play for a contender too, but I wouldn’t bank on too many of them answering his phone calls. This might develop into a “take whatever you can get” situation.

Best Deal: 3 yrs/$45mil with the Blue Jays

Bruce should absolutely be in the American League. I’d guess that within two years he’d offer his most value as a regular DH that can hold his own in the outfield. Toronto feels like the ideal fit for a few reasons. First, they are slated to start some character named Teoscar in right, so the immediate need is there. Second, there is something in that bagged milk north of the border that helps hitters meet their potentials. For god’s sake, if the Blue Jays can turn Justin Smoak into an All Star, then they can teach Jay Bruce how to finally pop 40 dingers. And while Toronto struggled last year, they had miserable luck with injuries and offensive underperformance. They could potentially contend this year with better fortune, but this is probably their final chance with Josh Donaldson likely to bounce following the season. I’d endorse them pushing the chips in one last time before tearing it all down, and Bruce seems like the best move for them.

Actual Deal: 4 yrs/$55mil with the Giants

There are rumblings of this match in the rumor mill, and I can’t reiterate enough how little sense it makes for both sides. The Giants know they were nearly the worst team in baseball last year, right? I guess that Bruce, like Evan Longoria, provides some immediate assistance, but not nearly enough to reverse the team’s 2018 general outlook or improve their future whatsoever. If Bruce actually does end up in San Francisco, I’d pretty confidently say that he’ll never hit 30 homers in a season and that he’ll fall off a defensive cliff trying to man that cavernous rightfield at AT&T Park. This would be a team that struggles mightily to reach .500 despite a Top 5 payroll. So naturally, I’m expecting the Giants to actually make this deal happen.


  1. Alex Cobb

MLB: San Diego Padres at Tampa Bay Rays

Just about every offseason there’s a pitcher that teams obsess over, not because of the eye test or any stats. It’s because pretty much every team expresses interest and that snowballs to the point where you forget why anyone loved him in the first place. This year, that pitcher is Alex Cobb. I do not at all understand the fascination here. Sure, it’s cool that he went 11-3 with a 2.76 ERA in 2013 before a liner to the dome ended his season. But I’d prefer to focus on how he missed both the 2015 and 2016 seasons then returned with an incredibly average 2017 performance? Only four starters in all of baseball regularly allowed hard contact more often than Cobb’s 36.9% of batters faced. Two of them are strikeout machines in Robbie Ray and Chris Archer, and the others were two of 2017’s worst pitchers in Rick Porcello and Ricky Nolasco. I’m not at all suggesting that Cobb belongs in that latter group, but he certainly doesn’t belong in the same conversation as Ray or Archer either. Cobb’s 2017 strikeout rate of 17.9% is so alarmingly low that it more than offsets his impressive walk rate. It’s good to see that he was comfortably able to throw 179.1 innings…but that also marked the most he’s thrown in a single season in his career. That wouldn’t be concerning for a starter early in his career, but Cobb is already 30 years old. For the amount of money that he is bound to make, I wouldn’t want Cobb in the short-term or the long-term.

Best Deal: 4 yrs/$70mil with the Red Sox

I’ve already expressed how I think the Red Sox will spend borderline offensive amounts of money once the first major domino falls in January, and I think Cobb will be a major part of that. He has Boston ties, and he’s already spent the entirety of his career pitching in the AL East. As for the Red Sox, you know that the thought of Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, and Gary Sanchez batting in order is keeping them up at night, and something tells me that they don’t want Rick Porcello as the only righty in their rotation ready to face them. Ironically, Cobb reminds me a lot of Porcello. They’re both curveball-dependent and don’t really make much of an effort to miss bats. If the Red Sox could bring in Cobb and also turn him into the least deserving Cy Young winner in MLB history, then this deal would obviously be worth it. But something tells me that…um…won’t happen.

Actual Deal: 4 yrs/$70mil with the Red Sox

Yup, I think that’s actually the way it’s gonna go down. Shoutout to all the Yankee fans who are already praying that a JD/Cobb splash goes just about as well as that Hanley/Sandoval splash from a few years back.



Follow PJ on Twitter @Real_Peej


The Most Dramatic Podcast: Season 22 Preview

The Bachelor is back and we couldn’t think of a better way to bring in 2018. We give our thoughts on Arie, all 29 of the contestants, and which of those lucky ladies we think will emerge as contenders. Whether you’re preparing for your Bachelor fantasy draft or are just a fan of the show, then listen up and follow along here.



Follow PJ on Twitter @Real_Peej and Alex at @AlexIanGarcia


My Name Is PJ And I Think “All I Want For Christmas Is You” Stinks!

I know this isn’t the spiciest take that I’m ever gonna write up. There are a lot of people out there who stand by me on this. But there are way, way, way more people who think calling this song overrated is straight up heresy. Us haters cannot be the silent minority any longer. Now I would never suggest that those personally victimized by Mariah Carey should start our own #MeToo movement or anything like that. But say one of these victims has a blog, then it would be his/her moral responsibility to speak up. We need to fight back against the unstoppable tide that is this song every December. You can’t spend over an hour surfing the web around this time a year without stumbling upon an article from some bullshit site like BuzzFeed or Elite Daily that’s headlined “19 Times You Literally Didn’t Even Know That You Need ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’” or “YASSS QUEENS IT’S MARIAH SEASON.” And it’s definitely not just girls who lose their shit over this song. I’ve seen some alpha personalities react to it coming on like a teenage girl seeing Paul McCartney in 1964. Football teams are using it as the music for postgame flash mobs, because that’s apparently something we’re still doing. It’s everywhere, and it’s fucking unbearable.

My biggest gripe with the song is that it’s just not Christmassy. It’s neither holly nor jolly! The best Christmas songs are the ones you can just kick back to at a gathering with family or close friends. I’m talking Bing Crosby BANGERS. If your family listens to “All I Want For Christmas For You” while decorating the tree or while curled up near the fireplace with some eggnog, then please forget to invite me to your next Christmas party. But just because I’m anti-Mariah doesn’t mean I’m anti-fun with my Christmas jukebox. Please do not mistake this as a recommendation to hold hands and sing every verse of “O Come, All Ye Faithful.” Some of my favorite Christmas songs are poppy, but this one is just too damn over-the-top. It sounds like it belongs in a shopping montage in a Hallmark movie. It sounds like it belongs in a JCPenney commercial. Where it doesn’t sound like it belongs is the North Pole. Like, could you imagine Mariah personally caroling this song to you and thinking it’s festive? Heck no! But say five strapping young men named Justin, JC, Lance, Joey, and Chris offered to perform “Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays” right at your doorstep? Heck yes!

And I don’t think I’m crossing any lines here when I say that everyone knows Mariah Carey is kinda a bitch diva bitch right? No one is mistaking her for Mrs. Claus. There’s just a 0% chance her assistants get off on the 25th. Like it’s not a question of whether or not she gets coal for Christmas…it’s a question of whether or not she gets that fossil fuel shit or beautiful clean coal, which is totally a real thing. There’s nothing wrong with a little sass around the holidays either, but it’s gotta be endearing. Just look at Hermey from Rudolph:


He pretty much tells the other elves to talk to the hand when they get on his case about making toys, but that’s only because my dude is daydreaming about becoming a dentist. And it’s not exactly like Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin were choirboys in their heyday. But renegades like Sinatra, Martin, and Hermey are guys we can get behind. Can we really say the same about the former Mrs. Nick Cannon? Her high notes used to be 98 MPH fastballs, but nowadays she’s out there lobbing knuckleballs that barely reach the plate. Just listen to her “singing” the song back in 2014:

Or who could forget her iconic performance from earlier this year on the Seventh Day of Christmas, AKA New Year’s Eve:

I award her zero swans a-swimming for that! Mariah might have been elected Queen of Christmas through some societal Electoral College system based on radio plays and Twitter mentions, but you know what I say to that? She’s #NotMyQueenOfChristmas. There are so many good candidates for the throne out there too! May I suggest the voice behind “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree” and total Mariah Carey lookalike Brenda Lee?

And you know what the worst part is? The song is only getting bigger. It just charted in the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 for the first time. At this rate it’s gonna be the 2037 Song of the Summer. That is, unless we keep fighting the good fight against it. You might still like the song despite this incredibly convincing argument that I’ve beautifully laid out against it. Or you might be thinking, “hey asshole, if you’re such an expert then why don’t you write a better song?” Um, would you ask Barbra Streisand to write a Christmas song? Didn’t think so. Instead, I’ll give you a diverse set of superior jingles. I present…

The #Nice List

“It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year” – Andy Williams

“A Holly Jolly Christmas” – Burl Ives

“Jingle Bell Rock” – Bobby Helms

“Sleigh Ride” – The Ronettes

Personal Mt. Rushmore of the classics. Ton of acceptable alternates out there…unless you’re thinking “Santa Baby.”

“Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town” – Bruce Springsteen

“Wonderful Christmastime” – Paul McCartney

Little Sick Nick” – The Beach Boys

Turns out people who are really good at making everyday music are also really good at making Christmas music.

 “Christmas Wrapping” – The Waitresses

My all-time favorite. It’s funky and spirited at the same time. I’m smiling ear-to-ear for every single second of it. Oh, you think it’s “too weird?” Well the Grinch called, and he says to cheer the fuck up.

“Fairytale of New York” – The Pogues

No better song to have come on at your hometown bar on December 23rd when you’re surrounded by some old friends and some people you’d pay to never have to talk to again. A few lyrics haven’t aged very well, but overall it’s the best Christmas drinking song.

 “Christmas In Hollis” – Run-D.M.C.

Now I’ve never experienced Christmas time in Hollis, Queens where mom is cooking chicken and collard greens, but it sounds like a real hoot!

The One That’s Used In Every Crazy Lights Video – Trans-Siberian Orchestra

I headbang for Jesus.

“Feliz Navidad” – Jose Feliciano


“Linus And Lucy” – Vince Guaraldi Trio

Who needs words? Affectionately called “the Charlie Brown one,” this song pretty much serves as the theme song for Christmas. Also the Foo Fighters cover of it on SNL from last weekend is must-watch.

Anything By The Glee Cast – The Glee Cast

Glee was on the air for like five seasons too long, but those outcasts could put together a Christmas album. Pentatonix is also an excellent go-to source for any Christmas cover. But you know who is not? Michael fucking Buble. I. Cannot. Stand. Buble. (Of course I’m rooting for his kid that has cancer, but that doesn’t mean I’m not allowed to hate on his dad’s lounge singer bullshit.) (Also never forget that he cheated on Emily Blunt.) HEY BUBLE…YOU OVER-ANNUNCIATE EVERY GODDAMN LETTER OF EVERY GODDAMN WORD, BUT YOU STILL CAN’T PUT THE G AT THE END OF ANY VERB THAT ENDS IN –ING?!?!



Any other songs that deserved some recognition? Let me know on Twitter @Real_Peej


Stray Bullets: Giancarlo Stanton

“Stray Bullets” is a recurring series of blogs I’ll be doing, choosing to list off a few bullet points on a breaking topic instead of writing an organized feature. Today’s subject is the reigning NL MVP and now New York Yankee, Giancarlo Stanton.

  • This all hasn’t really set in for me yet. It’s pretty impossible to process. The Yankees’ plan for years was to mostly ignore free agency and avoid big contracts, get under the luxury tax threshold, then go all in on Bryce Harper or Manny Machado after the 2018 season. It was an extremely public blueprint that just about every Yankee fan bought into. But when the best slugger in baseball chooses you as one of his only desired destinations and then his asking price hits rock bottom, sometimes you have to make a move. And that’s exactly what Brian Cashman did.
  • Make no mistake about it: this was highway robbery by the Yankees. A power-hitting rightfielder was probably the last thing the Yankees needed to acquire, but Cashman knows better than to pass up an offer as opportunistic as this one.
  • The prospects that the Yankees are giving up for Giancarlo are…um…far from their best. Jorge Guzman has a big arm and immediately becomes one of Miami’s top prospects. But he was also the second best prospect the Yankees received in their Brian McCann trade, and Guzman is only the fourth best…right-handed pitcher in the Yankees system. As for the other kid, Jose Devers, I’ve never heard of him and I spend more time actively following the Yankees than most people my age spend actually working at their jobs. Even with the Marlins’ barren farm and their total lack of leverage in this situation, I’m stunned that this is all they pulled in prospects.
  • Losing Starlin Castro isn’t ideal, considering he’s somehow only 27 with a pretty solid contract. But he’s also a free swinger who I’m pretty sure doesn’t know that you can reach base after taking four balls. His profile doesn’t fit in at all with a lineup that’s filled with righties and bound to strike out a ton, especially considering mega-prospect Gleyber Torres was bound to take his job at some point during this season anyway. I’m sure most fans would’ve rather seen Gleyber supplant Chase Headley instead of Starlin, but I’m not so sure I subscribe to that. Headley’s potential is severely limited and he’s not exactly a Gold Glover, but Starlin would occasionally blow games with his play at second and he’s a remarkably inconsistent hitter. For someone who’s bound to bat 8th or 9th in this lineup, I’ll take the switch-hitting third baseman.
  • Now let’s discuss the main reason why people tune into baseball…the financials! Real talk, I’m not gonna go all Darren Rovell here, but it’s important to consider the money since the Yankees have such a specific financial plan that Stanton’s league-leading contract surely complicates. As expected, the Yankees are taking on the bulk of Giancarlo’s massive deal: $265mil of the $295mil that he’s owed through 2028. That $30mil that the Marlins are chipping in might seem like chump change compared to what the Yankees are paying, but it’s actually crucial. The Yankees are on the hook for $25mil towards Giancarlo for 2018, but he actually only costs $22mil towards the luxury tax threshold since it accounts for average annual value and that $30mil is spaced out over ten seasons. (The Yankees don’t get that money from the Marlins if Giancarlo opts out after 2020, but that’s unlikely and for the sake of this exercise we’re gonna assume that he won’t.) Even though A-Rod and other big contracts finally came off the Yankees’ books, they still have a big payroll and their pursuit to get under that threshold is gonna be extremely down-to-the-wire. An extra $3mil goes a looooong way. (First-grade explanation of the luxury tax to those confused: while baseball doesn’t have a salary cap, a team is penalized if their payroll exceeds a certain amount. The penalty exponentially increases for repeat offenders, so for a year-after-year big spender like the Dodgers, they end up paying more in the luxury tax than they pay to Clayton Kershaw. But getting under the threshold for just one season completely resets the scale for a team, which is why the Yankees badly want to achieve that before the impending free agency bonanza of next offseason.)
  • What this means for the rest of this offseason: money is gonna be pretty tight in the Bronx. Unless he takes a huge hometown discount, Todd Frazier is as good as gone now. While it’ll suck to see the Toddfather go, starting pitching has always been the biggest need for this offseason, and that’s still the case. I don’t think our rotation is in dire need of an upgrade like a ton of fans are suggesting, since a healthy Severino/Gray/Tanaka/Montgomery is a really solid Top 4. Still, we could definitely use some more depth and a veteran arm to eat up the innings that our young arms won’t be allowed to pitch. CC Sabathia is pretty much exactly what the Yankees need, but following his resurgent season he’ll probably field a few short-term offers from contenders. Although I think it’s foolish to assume that CC will pitch like he did in the playoffs over the course of an entire season, here’s to hoping the fat man comes back for one more chance at his second ring. I also wouldn’t rule out Cashman flashing his creative genius some more, especially since some increased financial flexibility would be huge towards bringing back CC and maybe another piece. Jacoby Ellsbury is the obvious name who needs to get the fuck off the roster, especially since he is now a $21mil pinch runner and the SIXTH outfielder with Stanton in town. No team in their right mind wants any part of Ellsbury and his contract, but if the Yankees promised to eat most of the deal and throw in a top prospect like Clint Frazier, I think a rebuilding team with pitchers to offer could pounce on that. (I hate the notion that Frazier is an expendable player now. Yeah he’s an imperfect prospect and probably wouldn’t crack the Opening Day roster, but he could make things happen way sooner than most people expect. Injuries also happen, and regression from Aaron Hicks or a complete breakdown at the plate for Brett Gardner are both entirely possible.)
  • What this means for next offseason and beyond: the Bryce Harper in pinstripes dream is pretty much dead. With Stanton around, I just don’t see any way that Hal Steinbrenner would approve bringing in another rightfielder for something in the ballpark of $35mil per year. The Yankees’ master plan was to spend big on an absolute superstar to turn a great roster into the best roster in baseball. I’m not saying they’ve already achieved that, but let’s be clear…Stanton is that absolute superstar. Any perception of him as a one-dimensional player who just hits bombs is total crap. Yes, his ability to hit 50+ homers year after year is what’s most impressive about him, but last year he also raised his walk rate while his strikeout rate dropped dramatically. (Compared to the other great power hitters in baseball, he really doesn’t strikeout that) To put it simply, he’s one of the ten best players in baseball, and he immediately becomes the best player on his new team. Does this mean the Yankees will just sit out on next year’s free agency party? Of course not, but I think it means the Yankees are no longer the clear favorite to land Manny Machado. While Harper was always the goal for 2018, I think Machado became the more realistic target for the Yankees this year with Aaron Judge’s emergence. He is a vacuum at third base, and that just so happens to project as the Yankees’ biggest need going into next offseason (unless they shift Gleyber or actually give fellow Top 100 prospect Miguel Andujar his fair chance). And even though Machado should still sign for something absurd like 10yr/$300mil, the crazy thing is that would make him a significantly cheaper option than Harper. But with Stanton and his contract in the fold for the next decade, I wouldn’t be shocked if a big-market team looking to make a splash makes Machado an offer the Yankees choose not to match. Josh Donaldson is in that free agent class too, and he’d make a pretty ok consolation prize.
  • I’m not too concerned about Giancarlo’s health moving forward. His injury history isn’t pretty, with this past season being the first in his career with over 150 games played. He’s had a few short DL stints because of hamstring problems, but it’s not like he has chronic knee or back issues. I mean, his most serious injury came when he got drilled in the face with a fastball.
  • I am mildly concerned that this is how he eats Kit-Kats though.
  • Among players who hit at least 18 homers last season, within the Top 10 in average longball distance are…Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge, and Gary Sanchez. There will be innings this season where pitchers have to face all three of them. I can’t stop laughing at this.
  • I’ve seen some hypothetical lineups for the Yankees next season, and in just about all of them Stanton is slated at DH with Judge at RF. Um…I’m pretty sure that won’t be the case. Look, Judge had a good year in the field. But I’m pretty sure most fans think he’s way better with his glove than he actually is, especially with plays like his ALCS Game 7 home run robbery fresh in mind. He was never projected to be anything more than a competent fielder, and his play was downright sloppy at times during last season. Giancarlo isn’t perfect in the field himself, but he’s been solid out there for a few seasons and has way less ground to cover now that Yankee Stadium is home. I think it will mostly be a rotation, but I also think it’s safe to call Stanton our rightfielder. And no, this is not a “Jeter didn’t move to third for A-Rod” situation. I love Aaron Judge, but he is not Derek Jeter.
  • Let’s talk some more about Mr. Jeter. No doubt it’s super fishy that one of his first moves as Marlins co-owner is selling the franchise player to his former team for a minimal return. But c’mon, this is not Derek Jeter doing the Yankees a solid out of loyalty. The Marlins are in crippling debt thanks to their scumbag ex-owner Jeffrey Loria, and with Giancarlo in line for a huge pay bump this year, they simply couldn’t afford to keep him around. Jeter had to trade him, and the Yankees were the only one of Stanton’s approved destinations that stepped up to take on the majority of his contract. Still, I am not about to blindly defend Jeter’s approach to this whole situation…he fucked it up. How the first step in this process wasn’t finding out where Giancarlo would approve a trade is beyond me. Jeter came up with frameworks for trades with both the Cardinals and Giants, and considering how badly both teams wanted him, it’s safe to assume they would’ve taken on the entire contract while giving the Marlins a few good prospects and/or young pros. The only thing is…Giancarlo didn’t want to play in St. Louis or San Francisco. All leverage went out the window for the Marlins once those trades broke down and everyone figured out that Stanton only wanted to play for one of four teams. The Cubs and Astros didn’t express real interest, and Giancarlo’s hometown Dodgers apparently weren’t psyched to pay him that much without offloading a few of their bad contracts. That left the Yankees as the only real option. Even with all of that factored in, it’s insane that Jeter couldn’t negotiate a better haul from one of the most loaded farm systems in baseball.
  • All day I’ve seen non-Yankee fans dreading the return of the Evil Empire and saying shit like “RIP likable Yankees.” I get that the Yankees are just a naturally hated franchise, but I don’t really get how this move drastically shifts public opinion on them overnight. Yeah, it’s probably annoying to fans of small-market teams to watch Giancarlo go to New York just because they can afford him, but the Yankees have been openly prepping for a gigantic move for years now. They just improvised and made it happen sooner than everyone expected. Giancarlo is also insanely popular, which is especially impressive considering he’s spent his whole career with what’s probably the least popular franchise. His contract makes him stand out compared to his new teammates, but he’s just like a lot of them in the sense that he’s a Yankee because of a shrewd move by Brian Cashman. Pretty much the entire Yankees’ core is a homegrown talent, an affordable free agent signing, or the product of a trade. The Yankees haven’t handed out a contract north of $100mil to a free agent since they gave deals to Ellsbury and Tanaka in 2014. Hell, even the Mets have paid a player like that since then. And don’t even begin to compare this to the trade for A-Rod in 2004. Yes, they both resulted in the Yankees taking on the biggest contract in the league, but in that first deal the Yankees traded a stud and one of the most beloved players in New York in Alfonso Soriano. Even with Stanton on the roster, this isn’t close to a reincarnated version of the mid-2000s Yankees, let alone their 2009 team. They aren’t trying to buy their way into the World Series just because they have the deepest pockets. This is them putting the cherry on top of their plan to rebuild the team from the base up. If you just despise the existence of the Yankees, then you can go right ahead and hate on this team. They’re gonna be really fucking good for a long time. And douchey Yankee fans are going to be especially douchey. But say what you want…you don’t hate this team because they’re the best team that money can buy. You hate us ‘cause you ain’t us.

Follow PJ on Twitter @Real_Peej


Eli Manning Was A Top 5 Quarterback In The League For Multiple Years (With Bonus Segment Of Ideal Landing Spots For Eli)

I’ve had the idea for this blog in the docket since launching Epiblogue. I knew it would take a lot of time and research to put together in the way I wanted it, so I figured I would chop away at it in the offseason while the 24/7 sports media inevitably discussed whether the Giants’ newly drafted top quarterback prospect should start the 2018 season instead of Eli. But then, as everyone knows, things changed this week. Tuesday, November 28th became The Day The New York Giants Publicly Humiliated The Best Quarterback In Franchise History. I had to get to work right away to defend the honor of Elisha Nelson Manning IV.

As for the decision itself, I’m not gonna spend much time at all writing about that. Every single blogger, writer, radio host, podcaster, etc. in the New York market has already covered it, and everyone is echoing the same thing. Just listen to this peak Francesa rant to know how we feel about it. It’s nothing short of a fucking outrage. Ben McAdoo and Jerry Reese know their seats are a trillion degrees right now, so their last-ditch effort to save face was scapegoating Eli as the reason for this nightmare of a season. They know Eli is the only real QB on the roster. They know Geno Smith blows. (Despite being the next Drew Brees, Geno barely even made the team this year.) They know Davis Webb sucks too and isn’t CLOSE to ready. The kid hasn’t even dressed for a game yet, and now we’re supposed to trust McAdoo to get him game-ready in just two weeks? I sincerely hope he does well once he gets his chance, but it’s just not gonna happen. He’ll be throwing to the same anonymous receivers that Eli has been, and he’ll be playing behind the same tissue paper offensive line. They think they’re doing Webb a favor by waiting to start him until a home game, but MetLife is gonna be hostile with all of the booing and Eli chants. In all likelihood this will shatter his confidence and set back any potential that Webb might actually have, but McAdoo and Reese obviously don’t care. They are selfish, spineless cowards who didn’t see any problem with hanging the most beloved player on the team out to dry.

The worst part of this whole fiasco is the proposed master plan where Eli would start games then get pulled at halftime, just to keep his Iron Man streak going. It’s been three days and I’m not even one percent less agitated at this suggestion. It just shows how out of touch with reality Giants leadership is that they thought this was some sort of kind gesture to Eli. It’s a slap in the face then a punch in the gut then a kick in the balls. It’s pretty much the move the Bills pulled with Tyrod Taylor just two weeks ago, a move that was laughed at by just about every football fan. Only difference is the Giants did it to a two-time Super Bowl MVP who was on multiple occasions a Top 5 quarterback in the league.

Now I know what your reaction to that last point might be…“Top 5 in the league for multiple years? The guy who is a walking meme? Um, no?” If you look back on the past ten seasons though, it’s a case that can absolutely be made, and a case that I absolutely will be making. Allow me to explain my methodology:

  1. This is essentially a ranking of “if you had to pick a quarterback to start a game the day after that specific season ended, who would you pick?”
  2. I used a combination of standard stats, advanced stats, regular season records, postseason performances, and eye tests. (For all my fellow Moneyball nerds out there, I consulted metrics like DVOA and DYAR, but I left them out of the write-ups to avoid getting too technical.) And yes, measuring “eliteness” is a totally arbitrary thing, so this is some mildly opinionated analysis.
  3. Past performance matters. So basically, you have to work your way up into the Top 5. This prevents us from having to consider cases like 2013 Nick Foles. He arguably had one of the five best statistical years for that specific season, but I don’t even think his mother would admit he was a Top 5 quarterback in the league.
  4. It takes a truly mind-blowing performance to break into the Top 5 if that quarterback wasn’t a fringe candidate for the prior season. Think 2015 Cam Newton.
  5. A quarterback can lose his spot in the Top 5 to injury, but doesn’t automatically lose his spot to injury. Like Aaron Rodgers is currently one of the best QBs in the league despite his broken collarbone. We all know he’ll come back and be fine. But say he ruptured his spleen? We wouldn’t be so sure.



 Top 5: Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Brett Favre, Carson Palmer

Explained: Brady puts up probably the best QB season of all-time, even to this day. He leads the Patriots to a 16-0 season, throws 50 TDs with only 8 interceptions, and leads the league in just about every important passing category. Besides Brady’s performance, this was one of the worst quarterbacking seasons in modern history. This was the year where Derek Anderson legitimately made the Pro Bowl. (Probably not the best call to start with this season, but we’re running with it.) Peyton has a down year by his standards, but still an excellent year compared to the rest. The other three wouldn’t crack most other year’s Top 5 based off their 2007 performances. But Brees followed up his breakout 2006 by finishing second in yards to Brady, and Favre came out of nowhere with a vintage season where he led the Packers to a 13-3 record and made the Second All-Pro Team. There’s no solid claim for the final spot…cases could be made for Tony Romo or Ben Roethlisberger but neither of those guys had yet become what we know them by now. I’m giving it to Carson Palmer, who was the league’s best young QB at the time and put up his third great statistical season in a row.

Eli’s Year: The coming-of-age season for Young Elisha, where he put together an excellent postseason that culminated with him winning the first of his Super Bowl MVPs. But even with a six-game winning streak during the regular season and playoff run that included four straight road wins, Eli couldn’t justifiably be put in the Top 5. The offensive/defensive lines were the real key to the Giants’ success, Eli tied for the league lead in picks, and he finished middle of the pack in most important QB stats. The first great overall season for Eli, but he was more 2012 Joe Flacco at this point.



Top 5: Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Kurt Warner, Eli Manning, Ben Roethlisberger

Changes From Last Year: OK, 2008 was even worse for quarterbacks. CHAD PENNINGTON finished second in the MVP voting. Kurt Warner arrives on the list after he backs up his strong comeback season in 2007 with an even better 2008. Yes, he had peak Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin, but he also nearly won the Super Bowl for the fucking Cardinals and threw for over 4500 yards. The last spot is dicey. I give it to Roethlisberger, who had an awful regular season but caught fire in the playoffs and balled out in the Super Bowl for his second ring. (People forget that Roethlisberger had one of the worst Super Bowl QB performances of all time in 2005, even though the Steelers won.) It seems wrong to reward a guy who finished the season behind Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tyler Thigpen, and Kyle Orton in QBR, but Big Ben had an awesome statistical season just the year before. Three guys fall off the list: Brady shredded his ACL in the first quarter of the first game, and this was pre-2012 Adrian Peterson when we thought that injury was nearly impossible to come back the same from. Favre unretired for the first time to play for the Jets with half of a shoulder, and Palmer barely played because of injuries. Philip Rivers is the notable omission here, after leading the league in touchdowns and passer rating. But this was the year where he and Jay Cutler tried to out-pout each other for the AFC West title at 8-8, and we all couldn’t figure out who we hated more.

Eli’s Year: Eli makes his first appearance in the Top 5, although he kinda backs his way in. Look, he finished fifth in QBR (a sketchy stat, I know), cut way back on his turnovers, made the Pro Bowl, and led the Giants to the NFL’s best record at 12-4. It was no doubt a great season, but he cracks the Top 5 mostly because of injuries to other stud QBs. The Giants also got stomped by the Eagles at home in the playoffs, and Eli’s newfound confidence took its first hit.



 Top 5: Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, Brett Favre, Tom Brady, Philip Rivers

Changes From Last Year: Thank god, quarterbacks became good again in 2009. Brees becomes the league’s top QB. Both the Saints and Colts started 13-0 this season, and Brees followed up wrongly losing the MVP to Peyton by outplaying him in the Super Bowl. Favre unretires again but this time it goes wayyyy better, having a Cinderella season where at the age of 40 he put up maybe the best numbers of his career and was one cross-body throw away from taking the Vikings to the Super Bowl. Brady proves that he’s still really good, but he did throw 13 picks (insane for him) and got demolished at home in the first round of the playoffs by the Ravens. Rivers finally cracks the list, as he leads the Chargers to a 13-3 record in the first post-prime year for LaDanian Tomlinson. Warner has a good year and wins one of the best playoff games ever against the Packers, but in the next round his time on the list and, ya know, in the NFL is forever ended by Bountygate. Roethlisberger has a really solid year, but doesn’t compare to the Top 5. A certain QB in Green Bay has his first monster season but just misses the list.

Eli’s Year: Eli’s 2009 falls in the same camp as Big Ben…a nice season, just unspectacular. He cracks 4000 yards for the first time and throws almost twice as many TDs as INTs, but the Giants go 8-8.



 Top 5: Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Philip Rivers

Changes From Last Year: Brady proves that he’s still REALLY good. He becomes the first unanimous MVP and puts up an absurd 36:4 touchdown-to-interception ratio. Peyton and Brees have their usual big years, but Brees slides back for throwing 22 picks. (Saints also lost to the 7-9 Seahawks in the playoffs that year, but Brees had a huge game.) The ascension of Aaron Rodgers is complete, as he sneaks the Packers into the playoffs then goes on an all-time run to win the Super Bowl. No one really did too much to earn the fifth spot, so I’ll let Rivers keep it after another strong season where he had no supporting cast. Favre falls off the list after he unretires one last time, but this time he should’ve stayed on that farm in Mississippi. Big Ben went to another Super Bowl, but that team was also anchored by its defense and Roethlisberger’s future was in doubt this year after his sexual assault suspension. Matt Ryan makes his case for the first time, but his second straight bad playoff game keeps him in the waiting room. Mike Vick took the league by storm this year, but he also lost in the first round of the playoffs and we weren’t sure if it was fluky yet.

Eli’s Year: This was the first year Eli’s haters started showing their faces in public. He cracked 4000 yards again and threw for 31 touchdowns, but he also led the league with 25 picks. The team went 10-6, but just missed out on the playoffs after they lost two huge games down the stretch. First real glimpses of Good Eli, Bad Eli.



 Top 5: Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Eli Manning, Ben Roethlisberger

Changes From Last Year: The year where quarterbacks put up Madden numbers. Matt Stafford threw for over 5000 yards and 41 touchdowns, and he wasn’t even really considered for the Top 5. Also the year where Aaron Rodgers became the elite of the elite with one of the best regular seasons ever by a quarterback. It seems crazy to slide Brady back after he threw for over 5200 yards and took the Pats to the Super Bowl, and Brees too after the Saints went 13-3 and he broke the single-season records for yards and completion percentage. But that’s how good Rodgers was in 2011…the dude had a 45:6 touchdown-to-interception ratio and was one random loss away from a 16-0 season. Big Ben breaks through to crack the Top 5, but trust me he doesn’t have a firm grasp on that spot. (I mean, he got outdueled by Tim Tebow in the playoffs.) Peyton falls out of the Top 5 for the first time after missing the entire season with his neck injury. That might seem harsh, but we really had no clue if he’d even play again. The Colts let him walk for god’s sake. Rivers has a decent season, but with his 20 interceptions we see some foreshadowing of his 2012 meltdown.

Eli’s Year: Undoubtedly the peak of Eli’s career. In a year of legendary quarterback play, Eli earned his spot in that top tier with Rodgers, Brady, and Brees. He was flat-out sensational. He had a great regular season where he almost reached 5000 yards, but in the postseason he took his play to another level we didn’t even know he had. As awesome as his 2007 run was, 2011 was significantly better. He embarrassed Matt Ryan in what was supposed to be a first-round shootout, outplayed Rodgers on the road in the second round, took it to one of the best modern defenses in San Francisco in the NFC Championship, then grabbed his second Super Bowl MVP two weeks later. In those playoffs he averaged over 300 yards per game, had a 9:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio, and made arguably the greatest throw of all time.



 Top 5: Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Eli Manning

Changes From Last Year: Not too many changes to report…the best stayed the best. Oh, and Peyton came back from potentially catastrophic neck surgery somehow even better. He carried the Broncos to a 13-3 record, led the league in QBR, and narrowly (but correctly) lost the MVP to Adrian Peterson. Peyton jumps over Brees on the list, who was still great and led the NFL with 43 TD passes, but also led with 19 INTs. Matt Ryan makes by far his best push to get into the Top 5, but I still give the final slot to Eli over him and Big Ben. You might think that’s biased, since Ryan absolutely had the better statistical 2012 season and won his first playoff game too. But he also had a 24-14 halftime lead at home in the NFC Championship that his team lost 28-24, and all season he was throwing to one of the best receiving duos in recent memory in Roddy White and Julio Jones. As for Roethlisberger, he is a pretty easy cross-off. He played well enough in 2012, but this was the season where he started feeling all those hits from years before. He misses three crucial games, keeping the Steelers out of the playoffs. “Is Joe Flacco elite?” also becomes a thing, but his regular season numbers are so middling that he is hardly considered for this list.

Eli’s Year: Eli follows up his best campaign with another solid year, but the Giants go 9-7 and narrowly miss the playoffs. So while revisionist historians will say that Matt Ryan should have that fifth spot, try to remember how we talked about QBs back then. Eli was still fresh off his pièce de résistance, and Matt Ryan was still the guy who couldn’t win the big one. If you asked coaches at the time to pick one of them to win you a big game, I bet 9 out of 10 would roll with Eli.



 Top 5: Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Andrew Luck

Changes From Last Year: The Top 4 stay the same, except Peyton moves back up to the top spot after totally normally having his personal best season at the age of 37. (What was really in that package shipped to his wife…?) All jokes aside, his season was seriously insane before it crash-landed against Seattle in the Super Bowl. He broke Brady’s single-season passing touchdown record by FIVE, and lowkey broke Brees’s single-season passing yards record too. This was right after the “Year of the Rookie Quarterback,” when young running QBs were understandably all the rage. Cam Newton bounced back from his sophomore slump to take Carolina into the playoffs with a 12-4 record, Colin Kaepernick followed up on his near-Super Bowl run with an excellent regular season (he was really so good guys), and Russell Wilson put up clean numbers on his way to winning the Super Bowl. Wilson would be a fine pick for the fifth spot even as the quarterback on a running team that was anchored by it’s Top 10 all-time defense, but any GM at the time would tell you they’d rather have Luck. He took a straight-up mediocre Colts team to its second straight 11-5 record and postseason appearance, where he engineered one of the biggest comebacks ever against Kansas City.

Eli’s Year: In pains me to look back on this season, but Eli comfortably falls out of the Top 5 with a truly terrible year. This team started 0-6 and fell as far from its heyday as a Super Bowl team possibly can in two years. Up until this current season, it was safely the worst offense Eli has ever had to work with. ANDRE BROWN led the Giants with 492 rushing yards, and neither Victor Cruz nor Hakeem Nicks were very good. (Ever consider that both of them reaching their individual heights in 2011 might have had something to do with Eli?) Still, Eli couldn’t pass too much of the blame. He did throw 27 interceptions after all.



 Top 5: Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Andrew Luck, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees

Changes From Last Year: No changes to the Top 5 for the first time, but the order does shake up. Rodgers wins his second MVP and is a botched onside kick away from reaching his second Super Bowl. Yes, Brady won his first Super Bowl in 10 years and took home MVP honors for the game, but he stays just behind Rodgers for now. (Trent Dilfer is and has always been a moron, but this was the “they’re not good anymore” year.) I think people choose to conveniently forget how great Luck was (and I’d argue will be again soon) not that long ago. He led the league in passing touchdowns, finished third in yards, and took another shitty Colts team to the AFC Championship. He beat Peyton’s Broncos on the road in those playoffs, which is the main reason for the passing-of-the-torch on the list. Peyton started off the 2014 season on fire, but towards the end of the year it started to become pretty obvious that he was losing it FAST. This was a phenomenal year for quarterback play, Brees included, but there were more than a few options to replace him. Tony Romo had his best season, leading the league in QBR and going 12-3 under center. Roethlisberger arguably had his best statistical season too, but he just misses the cut yet again. Russell Wilson was also great, but throwing the worst interception in NFL history definitely doesn’t help his case. Oh, and a certain goofy looking QB that plays in New Jersey also happened to light it up…

Eli’s Year: Eli is BACK. Eli returns from his worst season with one of his most productive. The team goes 6-10 and misses the playoffs, but that had nothing to do with the play of #10. Eli throws for over 4400 yards while throwing more than twice as many touchdowns as interceptions. While a Mr. Beckham Jr. certainly propped up the numbers, this was a forgotten yet incredible season for Eli.



 Top 5: Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Cam Newton, Drew Brees, Russell Wilson

Changes From Last Year: No changes at the top, which might be surprising if you just look at Rodgers’s numbers compared to Brady’s on the surface. But this the year where Rodgers played without Jordy Nelson and essentially an offensive line, had RICHARD ROGERS as his second most productive receiver, and still threw for a 31:8 touchdown-to-interception ratio while almost Hail Mary’ing the Packers into the NFC Championship. Cam Newton leaps Brees right into the third spot, which speaks to how transcendent his MVP season was. The Panthers went 15-1, he threw for almost 4000 yards with 35 TDs, and he ran for over 600 yards with another 10 TDs on the ground. Russell Wilson finally breaks into the Top 5 after he carries a decimated Seahawks offense into the playoffs. Leading the league in passer rating while throwing for over 4000 yards and 34 touchdowns ain’t bad either. Ironically Peyton easily falls out of the Top 5 in the year where he won his second Super Bowl, because I’m honestly not 100% sure that I couldn’t win a title under center on that roster. Luck also bows out after two years on this list, as his team’s total ignorance for blocking finally starts to take its toll on him. Carson Palmer is a tough guy to leave out for his 2015, after he was arguably the best pure passer in the league.

Eli’s Year: Another guy who is tough to leave out…Eli Manning! That awesome 2014 he had? Well take pretty much the same numbers and just add 5 touchdowns. I’m an obsessive Giants fan and I forgot just how insanely good Eli was for these two years. Now I’m just upset we couldn’t have the 2016 defense for either of these seasons.



 Top 5: Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Russell Wilson, Matt Ryan

Changes From Last Year: Brady finally reclaims the lead. He was the best QB in football for the 12 games he played, and he led the Patriots to the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history. (But never forget that he threw a brutal pick-six right before halftime.) Fifth place might seem like a rough placement for Matt Ryan after his MVP season, but you have to consider the elements. From 2013-2015 he was…decent I guess? Definitely not great. Ryan’s 2016 numbers are eye-popping and he deserves a ton of credit for them, but he also played with unreal talent and probably the best playcaller in the league last year. And you might credit him for almost winning the Super Bowl, but man he fucking blew that game. (“Matty Ice” is up there for biggest misnomer ever in sports. I still have “Big Game” James Shields in the lead.) Cam’s run on the list is a quick one, as he falls off after failing to stay healthy and watching his production nosedive as a result. The only real challenger for the Top 5 is…you guessed it…Ben Roethlisberger. Big Ben posted superior numbers than Wilson and his team went farther in the playoffs, but he played in ideal surroundings while Russ stayed effective despite running for his life on every play.

Eli’s Year: Um…it wasn’t good. The Giants went 11-5 and made the playoffs, but it was like a parallel universe compared to 2015. The defense put the team on its back and Eli tried dragging them down. The standard stats actually aren’t so bad, and the offensive line definitely didn’t do him any favors. Still, he was deservedly right near the bottom of the league in QBR. He actually played really well during a disastrous playoff game, but it was already a season that couldn’t really be saved for Eli.


Totals (5 for 1st, 4 for 2nd…):

Tom Brady 36 (2007, 2009-2016)
Aaron Rodgers 30 (2010-2016)
Drew Brees 28 (2007-2016)
Peyton Manning 27 (2007-2010, 2012-2014)
Brett Favre 5 (2007, 2009)
Eli Manning 5 (2008, 2011-2012)
Andrew Luck 4 (2013-2014)
Cam Newton 3 (2015)
Kurt Warner 3 (2008)
Russell Wilson 3 (2015-2016)
Philip Rivers 2 (2009-2010)
Ben Roethlisberger 2 (2008, 2011)
Carson Palmer 1 (2007)
Matt Ryan 1 (2016)


I’m not at all suggesting this as some sort of definitive ranking of quarterbacks. It’s for sure an imperfect system. It doesn’t account for performances that would’ve finished in the Top 6-10 range, which is where Roethlisberger might have finished like five times. (To be fair, this would only further boost Eli’s point total too.) Still, I think it provides fascinating insight into which QBs worked their way into that highest level and how they stacked up to their peers during these respective seasons. (The whole purpose of this blog is to celebrate the career of Eli Manning, but you could absolutely read it as the Drew Brees Appreciation Blog. He’s consistently been a Top 5 quarterback for each of the past ten seasons. I know Mardi Gras is a religious celebration, but one year they should just mix it up and hold it in honor of Brees.)

I think this offers a good measurement for Eli’s standing among fellow quarterbacks over the past decade. His highs were incredibly high and his lows were incredible low, but overall I’d estimate that he falls in that Top 5-6 range which is exactly where this chart places him. Does that make him a Hall of Famer? I’m really not sure. Anyone who definitively tells you yes or no is either from Philly or is Cooper Manning. The truth of the matter is that while the Football Hall is pretty lenient for most positions, it’s incredibly stingy when it comes to quarterbacks. Only 14 QBs who played their entire careers in the Super Bowl era are in Canton. If you are in the pro-Eli camp because of the two Super Bowl MVPs, you’re definitely right that it’s the top bullet point on his resume (although the consecutive starts streak should be right up there). Still, Jim Plunkett went 2-0 in Super Bowl starts and grabbed one of the MVPs, but he’s on the outside looking in. Even fellow Giant Phil Simms can’t seem to get in, and he has two rings and was one of the league’s best QBs for a five-year stretch. (I know Simms didn’t start in Super Bowl 21, but that Giants team doesn’t even make the playoffs without him.) And if you’re in the anti-Eli camp because he had some bad mid-career seasons and never even came close to winning any regular season hardware, he’s not alone in that regard either. Troy Aikman never won a MVP or made an AP All-Pro Team, and the middle of Kurt Warner’s career is pretty much non-existent. I would guess that Eli eventually gets in, especially since I didn’t expect Warner to get inducted as quickly as he did. And I get the vibe that voters view Roethlisberger as a shoo-in candidate, which if true should make Eli an absolute lock. Their cases from a performance standpoint are way more similar than people like to admit, and from a character standpoint (which the Hall values) it’s not even debatable. Eli has won the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award and is universally known as one of the best guys in the league, while Ben is an asshole with some seriously awful personal history that doesn’t get nearly the attention that it deserves.

Still, nothing would help Eli’s Hall argument more than one last playoff run. I still think there is some life in that right arm, so here are the Top 5 destinations where I’d like to see him play next year:

  1. Giants

I know, I know. It’s wishful thinking at this point. The reason Giants fans are so devastated is that the announcement effectively and unceremoniously ended Eli’s time with the Giants. Next offseason will probably be like the Tony Romo situation from this offseason all over again. I expect the Giants to field some calls, but I don’t foresee any team offering a package that would be more beneficial to the Giants than just releasing Eli. (It’s way better on the Giants impending cap situation to cut Eli, and they need all the money they can immediately get.) Eli also has a full no-trade clause, so even if the Browns call up the Giants and offer seven of their fifty second-round picks, he’ll just shoot it down. It’s not like we can expect him to approve a less than ideal trade just for the Giants’ benefit.

Still, I’m holding out hope that McAdoo and Reese get canned right away, and that the new regime makes things right with Eli and names him the starter for 2018. Look, I’m not delusional. I know he’s not an above-average quarterback anymore, even if he has been better this year than he was last year. But this is the same Giants roster that was the most commonly picked team to win the NFC East prior to the season, with many experts even picking them to reach the Super Bowl. It’s been a hellish year for injuries, they had some unlucky losses, and the coaching has nowhere to go but up. In the ONE game where the Giants had all of its best players on the field for all four quarters this season, they lost on a 61-yard field goal on the road in Philly. The defense contained Carson Wentz, and Eli threw for 366 yards and 3 touchdowns. What I’m saying is, this team could content next year. My dream scenario is the Giants take a quarterback with their presumably Top 5 pick and sit him behind Eli to start the season. If Eli plays well, then the rookie is learning from one of the best in action. If Eli sucks it up, then the kid eventually comes in and fans aren’t upset that Eli is benched for the actual future. Which turns out is…not Geno Smith.

  1. Steelers

This one might be an uncommon pick, but it’s absolutely what I want to happen when things probably don’t work out between Eli and the Giants. I’d bet on Roethlisberger retiring after this season. He heavily weighed it before signing up to play this year, and his body has only taken more of a beating. I know that the Steelers are 9-2 and that Ben hasn’t missed any games yet, but if you’ve watched him this year then you know he’s already on the steady decline. He’s completely immobile in the pocket, and he doesn’t just absorb contact like he used to. Pittsburgh apparently likes Josh Dobbs a lot, but I’m sure they’d prefer to sit him behind a veteran for another season. And in terms of pure talent, the Steelers probably have a Top 3 roster in the league. Eli would only have to throw the ball 20-25 times a game, he wouldn’t take many hits behind a great offensive line, and having Antonio Brown is always a good thing. He’d go from suddenly one of the worst run franchises in the NFL to maybe the best. If this happens, bet the Le’Veon Bell receptions over.

  1. Jaguars

The most obvious post-Giants destination for Eli, and the logic holds up. First, Tom Coughlin is running the show there and his close relationship with Eli is well documented. Second, Blake Bortles stinks, which you may have known. The Jags can get out of Bortles’s fifth-year option scot-free, and they’d be left with a ton of cap space that could partially be used to handsomely reward Eli for a year or two of his services. This team is already playoff bound in spite of its quarterback, and the defense and running game should be just as dominant next season. I can’t guarantee Eli would want to play in Jacksonville or wear those hideous uniforms, but at least he could talk to the locals about retirement plans during his off days.

  1. Bills 

Another potential option that you might not hear much about, and maybe that’s because this is part of a personal fantasy. One of the only plausible trades involving Eli I can think of is a swap involving him and Tyrod Taylor. All of the other 31 teams know the Bills are low on Tyrod, despite him being good at playing quarterback in the National Football League. I can’t guarantee the Giants would be on board with this plan, but T-Mobile could make shit happen immediately with Odell and Co. As for Eli, he wouldn’t have to go too far and would play for another fan base that embraces him. The Bills could be a trendy playoff pick with Eli behind center, although he’d definitely need some better receiver options.

  1. Jets 

I’m sure you were expecting a different quarterback-needy team here, probably like the Broncos or Cardinals. I think Denver as a possible destination for Eli is a lazy guess…he’s not just gonna bank on getting his second wind there because it worked out for his older brother. The Broncos also kinda suck. The defense is still good but it’s aging, and offensively they have a terrible line and no running game. As for Arizona, their cap situation isn’t great and I don’t think the oldest team in football will be too interested in bringing in a 37 year old QB.

So take everything I wrote from the Giants section about Eli starting 2018 in front of a top draft pick, and just apply it to the Jets. I hope I speak for all reasonable Giants fans when I say that Eli playing a year or two for the Jets wouldn’t really bother me. It’s not like he’d be playing for the Eagles, Cowboys, or Redskins. Even though the Jets were better than expected this year, it’s likely that Eli wouldn’t contend as the quarterback of the current Jets roster. Still, the Jets would pay him a shit ton of money, the team wouldn’t totally suck, and he wouldn’t have to move his family. All chances of a third Super Bowl would probably go out the window, but it sounds like a pretty cushy deal. And at the end of the day, all I want is the happiest possible situation for Eli Manning.


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