Jon of All Trades

Trolling the Troll

The two-week layoff between the conference championship games and the Super Bowl is a cosmic wasteland of NFL news, which leaves the drones and shills who cover the NFL precious little to discuss. As a general practice, I avoid most sportswriting during this time because your reading choices are pretty much limited to gauzy “hey, remember this guy who played in that one Super Bowl?” retrospectives, or pointless “Boy, Media Day sure is a circus!” puff pieces.

While vapid, these pieces are all basically harmless. It’s not until you get close to the actual game that the truly awful crayon scribblings of troglodyte hacks emerge. Enter the Westword, Denver’s alternative weekly, whose quality varies from thoughtful dissertations on the preservation of Denver’s history, to, well… whatever the fuck trolling claptrap I’ve listed below.

The piece entitled “10 Reasons the Broncos Will Get Smoked by the Panthers in Super Bowl 50” is by Brian Badzmierowski (he of 20 whole followers on Twitter), who describes himself as having “left Massachusetts for the west with a very heavy backpack. After months of biking, hitch-hiking, and camping, his adventures brought him to Denver and he hasn’t left yet.”

Neat. Another transplanted Masshole who’s gifted us not only the privilege of his superior East Coast insight, but his undying devotion to the New England Patriots, and all the entitlement, sour grapes and chest-puffing that comes with it. There’s no way I’d have found this on my own, but there it was Thursday morning posted on a friend’s Facebook wall just begging to be clicked and hate-read.

So, while I’d never claim the talent of Ken Tremendous or his co-founders of Fire Joe Morgan, this piece begs for a takedown, so let’s tackle it FJM style.

First, that article title: “10 Reasons the Broncos Will Get Smoked by the Panthers in Super Bowl 50.” Jesus, where to start? Perhaps there’s a dialog exchange from a black comedy I can draw from to help… Oh Hosanna, there is! Take it away Throw Momma from the Train!

Larry: “One Hundred Girls I’d Like To Pork” Hmmm. Chapter One: Kathleen Turner. Chapter Two: Cybill Shepherd. Chapter Three: Suzanne Pleshette. Chapter Four: The Girl in the Taco Commercial. Chapter Five: The Woman in 4B. Chapter Six: The Oriental Laker Girl. Chapter Seven… Mr. Pinsky, this is not literature!

Mr. Pinsky, Creative Writing Student: Well, you know, I would put in photographs, a brief character sketch, like a biography, and a nice dust jacket.

Larry: Mr. Pinsky, what is this?

Mr. Pinsky, Creative Writing Student: It’s literature. It’s a fantasy. My fantasy. Like Melville, this is my great white whale.

Mr. Badzmierowski, your article isn’t journalism, it’s the butthurt ramblings of a petulant troll whose favorite team lost. I realize it’s your fantasy for the Broncos to go down hard for the sins they committed against your precious Patriots, but seriously, taking it out on the local fanbase with such a nakedly inflammatory title and everything that follows is infantile hackery.

That said, let’s keep going. Mr. Badzmierowski’s original text will be in block quotes, my reaction follows. This won’t be the entire article. If you’d care to subject yourself to it, go ahead it’s right here, but I’m including only the choicest bits here.

Congratulations, Denver. Tom Brady and the Patriots were vanquished in the AFC championship game, and the hometown donkeys are on their way to Super Bowl 50.

I admit not seeing that coming. Yes, I’m the guy who wrote a prediction piece titled “Tom Brady, Patriots Will Kick Broncos’ Ass, and Here’s Why.”

Things worked out differently than I (and most other NFL experts) thought. Brady was pressured, picked and pummeled all day by a fiendish Von Miller and a motivated Denver defense.

We’re still sort of in reality here, as our fair Brian provides a tacit admission of defeat, albeit couched in his supposed expertise by association lumping himself in with “other NFL experts,” which, ok, LOL.

Brady and the Patriots will be back. Bill Belichick already completed a scouting trip to the Senior Bowl in Alabama, and the Patriots, along with the Seahawks and Steelers, are favored to win next year with 8-1 odds. The Broncos are sitting at 20-1 odds to win next year, likely because Manning is expected to retire.

I’m almost entirely certain this paragraph isn’t intended as pure comedy, but it succeeds in that goal marvelously. It was at this point in reading this the first time that I started laughing out loud. HARD. Belichick has his lapdogs so well programmed with his monotone “On to…” motif at every postgame press conference, Brian feels compelled to look at the odds for next year’s Super Bowl before this year’s is even played. Haha, great! I’ll bet that’s a good feeling! Enjoy that (or not!) 12 months from now. Sorry we in Denver have a Super Bowl to think about first.

And the line about the Senior Bowl slayed me as if Belichick is the only coach who thought to do this. You know which other teams probably scouted the Senior Bowl? I don’t know… all of ‘em? Belichick’s hilariously delusional robots would walk into a volcano if he told them to.

10. This superfan

No argument here, this guy is mesmerizing. In fact, I demand some fat hick from Platteville make his own Broncos rap complete with realistic neigh sounds to end a line to even the score.

8. Carolina is hungrier

Manning would love to put one more ring on his finger, but the Panthers are playing for their first championship in franchise history. Regardless of how badly Manning would like to end his career on top, Cam Newton and the Panthers are driven to bring a title to North Carolina.

Whatever you say, Skip Bayless. I love when journalists don’t just speculate, but assert with authority, knowing anyone’s motivation. And about that first championship motivation… I’d think Mr. NFL expert here would know the old hoary trope about the first one being the hardest. Y’know, nerves, inexperience and all that, but I suppose contradicting yourself is irrelevant when you’ve got fans to troll.

7. No home-field advantage

The Panthers owned one of the best home-field advantages in the league this year at Bank of America Stadium, and many of their fans will make the trip to California for the Super Bowl.

Yes, many of their fans WILL, in fact, make the trip to Santa Clara for the game. Y’know who else’s fans will make the trip to Santa Clara, from a much shorter distance, with a much larger national following thanks to our dopey Dad jeans-wearing quarterback who’s in every fourth commercial? I’ll let you fill in the enthymeme yourself. Whose fans do you think will show up in greater proportion?

6. The Panthers’ offensive line

The Carolina O-line is one of the best in football and has helped Jonathan Stewart become among the top running backs in the league… The Broncos will have to stop the Panthers running attack to have a prayer of winning this game.

These points are fine, if shoddily made. It took me 5 seconds to Google the appropriate stats for the Panthers’ rushing attack, and found they have the #2 rushing offense during the regular season and #1 overall offense of all teams in the playoffs. See that here. Wouldn’t that make for stronger reasoning than the mealy-mouthed description above? But this paragraph takes a turn for the insane.

The Panthers line also boasts Michael Oher, the subject of the 2009 movie The Blind Side, starring Sandra Bullock. When the Panthers win, they’ll have to make a sequel.

I… what the fuck?

4. It’s been predicted

By Las Vegas sports books, which currently favor the Panthers by an average of 5 points. Almost all of the early money is on the Panthers, and it seems fans throughout the country (except in Denver) think the Panthers will prevail. More important, Tecmo Super Bowl ran a telling simulation of the game.

One of the many reasons I had to stop reading Bill Simmons was because of his constant fixation on the Vegas odds of a football game. The betting line is established and moved to encourage equal action on both sides. In practical terms, the betting line means precisely piddly shit to ensure Vegas wins either way.

And just as a counterpoint here: Remember when old man Elway with his creaky knees and giant horseteeth was against hot shit Brett Favre and his offense that couldn’t be stopped in Super Bowl 32? Know what the betting line was for that game?  Green Bay by 11. Wanna relive how that one turned out?

I’m actively ignoring the Tecmo Super Bowl comment because I fear commenting on it directly will liquefy my brain into garbage water. It’s that stupid.

3. Manning’s out of gas…and HGH

2. Manning’s career in Super Bowls

I’d take these paragraphs more seriously if they didn’t come from someone who’s so thoroughly ridden Brady and Belichick’s jock, so instead of indulging his aching little penis as the Brady/Manning rivalry tilts ever so slightly in Manning’s direction, let’s just say there’s some legit things be concerned about regarding Manning’s health, ethics and history, but written with the acid and requisite sour grapes you’d come to expect in this piece. Let’s move to the conclusion.

1. Cam Newton

Cam Newton is the polar opposite of Tom Brady. Instead of taking a sack, Newton will scramble whenever he gets the chance. He ran for ten rushing touchdowns in the regular season to go with his 35 touchdown passes, and he’s likely to win the MVP award. With running back Stewart keeping the defense honest, Newton will be able to take over the game. He has shown that he belongs with the NFL elite, and he’ll rise to the challenge at the Super Bowl. He’ll be dabbing on Denver all game long.

As an unabashed fan of Cam Newton, I’m legitimately nervous about the Broncos facing him. He’s an incredible player and has a great team around him. I grant all this. The paragraph above elucidates this nicely. Yes, I largely skipped over Luke Kuechly and some of the other valid points made here. Y’know why? Because Mr. Badzmierowski wrote it like a 2nd grader who got shoved in the lunch line by another 2nd grader, and has retaliated by listing off all the scary attributes of his big, bad 5th grade brother. It’s just so fucking juvenile, and the headline is pure, uncut clickbait.

You boil this entire thing down, and all that’s left is the grouchy squawking of a sore loser. You wanted clicks, guy? Here’s a spoonful of salt on behalf of every irritated Bronco fan.

Your article sucks. The Patriots suck. And instead of watching the Super Bowl, you can go ahead and eat a bag of hell instead.

The Panthers will be tough. Go Broncos!

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