Chiefs at Raiders
What's to be said about this game, really? On one hand, we have Oakland, winless on the season, losers of 16 straight games. Some have even speculated that they could go 0-16 this season. On the other hand, we have Kansas City, in the thick of the AFC playoff race, challenging Denver for the West lead, tough defence, effective, ball-control offence. Since I've been saying for weeks how much I like this Chiefs' team, it's not hard to guess my pick. No surprise. No swerve. No "upset special." It's obvious.
Am I saying that the Raiders can't win, won't win, have no chance? Of course not. Only a fool, or someone who knows nothing about sports would say such a thing. Turnovers happen. Injuries happen. Teams and players get hot, play out of their minds, or, conversely, screw up and play horrendously. That's why they play the games. Now, having said this, this game is what I would call a "gimme." Most, if not all people who pick games will pick the Chiefs because they're the obvious choice. The only ones who would pick the Raiders would be die-hard, delusional fans, or those who pick based on point spreads (which, to my mind, has nothing to do with actually picking games; the NFL doesn't give out awards for covering the spread).
There's another type of picker who picks the real long shot. I call him the "big shot genius." The big shot genius picks the long shot, not because he thinks it can win, nor can he necessarily justify his pick. He picks the long shot because he knows that in sports, particularly the NFL, anything can happen, and if the long shot wins, he looks like a genius.
So, what's my point? Well, believe it or not, this is about Adrian Peterson and Bill Simmons. Adrian Peterson, as I'm sure you know, was suspended by the NFL for at least the remainder of the season (he's appealing). Opinions on this have been mixed. Bill Simmons, the well-known "Sports Guy" and head honcho of the ESPN-sponsored "Grantland," is probably the noisiest voice in a faction of the sports media I like to call "The Get Roger Goodell Squad." I believe that Goodell and the NFL's decision regarding the Peterson suspension is perfect. Moreover, I believe that any reasonably intelligent person who takes the time to read the NFL's full decision on the Peterson suspension would agree with me. That is, unless that person has an agenda.
Simmons writes his football column on Friday. Will he, having certainly read the decision, agree with it, or will he use the severity of the suspension as an excuse for another attack against Goodell, as some others already have. I'll be watching and waiting. In my column tomorrow, I will explain in detail why the Peterson suspension is correct, as well as why those who oppose it as a way to attack Goodell are morally bankrupt. Will the unprincipled Simmons make what I think is the obvious pick and bash Goodell, or will he go for the long shot, and assume his good-guy persona and graciously endorse the commissioner he so vehemently opposes. Whichever he chooses, just know that, just like the NFL, sports journalism is a business, and the "Sports Guy" is a cold, hard, businessman.
See me tomorrow.
Mr. Silver Picks: The Raiders
(He's not a big shot genius; he's just a 75-year-old silver coin.)