• The Rock Refutes Rumor He Owns Stan the T-Rex

    The Manning Cast is a wonderful alternative medium that features Peyton and Eli Manning throwing up middle fingers, cursing, lobbing softball questions at A-list friends and apparently, setting off a social media firestorm regarding prehistoric relics.

    Earlier this week, the brothers welcomed on beloved-actor, iconic ex-wrestler and and seemingly impenetrable teddy bear Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Eli noticed a dinosaur skull in the back of The Rock’s office and questioned him about it, only for The Rock to go into detail about it being a T-Rex named Stan. It didn’t take long for the internet to start digging and subsequently spreading the fact that Stan was sold at auction in 2020 for a staggering it took everything in me not to make a stegosaurus pun $31.8 million.

    Now, that may seem like lofty territory for office decor with a price tag that more aligns with Jeff Bezos’s foyer territory, but The Rock is good for it. Per a likely inaccurate internet search, Johnson is worth an estimated $400 million. Sure, I can’t imagine spending around 1/12 of my wealth on a dinosaur skull, but I’m sure he could afford lunch afterwards. Anyway, it turned out not to be true as he explained on Instagram.

    I guess we’ll just have to leave it to Nicholas Cage to steal at some point as the plot of National Treasure 14. While The Rock not owning the real Stan seems to be the story here, I would like to focus on something else. What an absolutely incredible rumor to have spread about you, no?

    Typically, celebrity gossip is deciding whether or not someone was on bath salts at the Golden Globes or who is willing to admit they dated Flavor Flav, but here you have my man The Rock having to make a statement saying, “oh yeah, while I am mega-wealthy, I’m not the mega-wealthy dude who bought the actual dinosaur, but I do have friends in the dinosaur field.”

    Hell, that’s another part of this. The Rock has paleontologist friends? No one in the world actually knows paleontologists other than Indiana Jones and Ross Geller, but not my man The Rock. Other celebrities are playing checkers with, “oh have you met my friend Michael Cera” and Johnson is over here playing chess with, “oh, sorry I can’t today because I’m going to get Pinkberry with my paleontologist pals.”

    That’s remarkably badass. Who else is at The Rock’s dinner parties? Cartographers? Explorers? Marine biologists? I don’t know how, but I need an invite to these. Maybe I’ll become an antique unicycle dealer or something. Just have to catch the big man’s eye.

    Needless to say, if the rumors you are forced to address are, “sorry, that T-Rex skull actually isn’t mine,” you have really, really made it. Congrats, Dwayne.

  • The Gambling Corner Presented by Kutt

    Kutt is a peer-to-peer (P2P) social betting platform that allows friends and strangers to bet real money on sports, politics, entertainment, and other events electronically. Think of it as a much better version of Venmo, but for betting – a formal platform that allows anyone to bet with a known counterparty, ensures the winner of each bet will be paid, and has a ton of ancillary features that give it the feel of a social network. Check them out on Twitter and Instagram at @kuttbet or on the web at www.kutt.com.

    Last week was not a banner week for yours truly. I turned in a 1-3-1 effort with the win coming on my multiunit whammy pick of the Chiefs and my tie came on the over/under in the Eagles-Bucs contest. What I didn’t account for was the Bills having the most-efficient offensive performance in NFL playoff history, Kyler Murray having Cabo plans or the Cowboys not understanding how time works. On the bright side, if you went with Doc’s slate in the bonus picks section at the bottom, you went 5-0. So if you want to heed my advice, fade me or double-down on Doc, be my guest.

    Rams +3 vs. Bucs

    Sunday at 3 p.m. on NBC

    The Rams are 2-0 against the Buccaneers in the Tom Brady era, including a 34-24 win back in September. One critical storyline from this game is how Tampa suffered injuries to offensive linemen Tristan Wirfs and Ryan Jensen against Philadelphia. That would be problematic on its own, but made even more dire by the fact Aaron Donald and Von Miller are coming to town.

    On the other side of the ball, Tampa has a pair of talented, young safeties and they’re going to have their hands full keeping Cooper Kupp and a resurgent Odell Beckham, Jr. from taking the top off. The Bucs are really good against the spread at home, but the Rams are a bad matchup for Brady and Co.

    Bengals +3.5 vs. Titans

    Saturday at 4:30 p.m. on CBS

    The Bengals may be the next up-and-coming title contender from the AFC and it could come as early as this year. Including last week’s 26-19 win over Las Vegas, the Bengals are 5-2 this year straight-up against teams who made the playoffs, with both losses coming in overtime. They’re also 6-2 ATS on the road this season as they travel just down the road to Nashville for a clash with the Titans.

    Tennessee is dangerous and this game will be an ultimate test of rest vs. rust. They figure to have their full compliment of stars with Derrick Henry back, joining AJ Brown and Julio Jones. Who will take the next step? Are the Titans for real or is Joe Burrow moving into the upper echelon of quarterbacks? I love this one to be close and I love the kicker. Give me Cincy.

    49ers +6 vs. Packers

    Saturday at 8:15 p.m. on FOX

    Green Bay fans could not have watched last weekend’s action hoping for a 49er upset. The Packers have very few weak points but one glaring one has been their run defense, where they rank 21st in the NFL this season. Guess who is No. 1 in the league in rushing offense? You got it, the boys from the Bay Area. San Fran amassed 2,166 yards on the ground on 4.3 yards per carry and 22 touchdowns, while the Packer defense has allowed 1,855 yards on 4.7 ypc and 13 scores.

    Expect Kyle Shanahan to try to play keep away from Aaron Rodgers with a steady dose of exotic run plays. Rodgers is going to have to be on-point to win this one, as well, seeing as how the 49ers are also the best team in the NFL at stopping the run. This could get hairy on the Frozen Tundra, but no matter who comes out on top, I like the 49ers to keep it close.

    Bills/Chiefs O55

    Sunday at 6:30 p.m. on CBS

    As previously mentioned, Buffalo had the most-efficient offensive output in NFL playoff history last week against New England. Whatever they did, be it running with Devin Singletary, going deep to Stefon Diggs, letting Josh Allen improvise or chucking it up to Dawson Knox, it worked. The Kansas City defense, once much-maligned, did improve later in the year, but they have a very tall task coming to town in Buffalo.

    On the flip side, Patrick Mahomes is still that dude. He still has Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill and a host of complimentary targets stepping up in recent weeks. They went down early to Pittsburgh but quickly turned it on and made that game a route. When they choose to, they are still one of the most potent offenses in the NFL. Both teams were in the top five for touchdowns scored this season, and I suspect we’ll see more early and often.

    WHAMMY: Bills +2 vs. Chiefs

    Sunday at 6:30 p.m. on CBS

    I just mentioned everything you need to know about the offenses on both sides. The Bills also happen to have the No. 1 scoring defense in the NFL. I don’t think they’ll be able to stop the Chiefs, but if I had to bet which defense makes a play at the end to separate things, give me Buffalo. It always seems a team has to cut their teeth and earn their stripes before they ascent to Super Bowl territory. Buffalo has done just that, and if Vegas is saying this will be Bills -1 on a neutral field, I’ll take the better team to not only cover, but win outright.

    Doc’s Bonus Picks:

    Bucs -3


    49er +6


    Bengals +3.5


    Bengals/Titans O47


    Whammy: Chiefs -2

  • There’s an Internet Trend Called “Sleepy Chicken”

    There is an extensive list of attributes of which you should not judge a person. Anything that’s on an EEO form is a pretty good place to start. One such thing apart from that list where it’s more than OK to judge someone is their culinary habits. Do they bake chicken and sprinkle just a little salt and garlic on it? Judged. Do they say the phrase, “this is my take on (popular, traditional food?” Judged. Do they dab a pizza with a napkin before serving or eating? Mega judged. Unfortunately, none of those atrocities so much as scratch the surface of an internet trend I came across: marinating chicken in NyQuil.

    https://twitter.com/trjstn/status/855160995609808896?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E855160995609808896%7Ctwgr%5E%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.yahoo.com%2Flifestyle%2Ftik-tok-trend-cooking-chicken-cold-medicine-dangerous-210743929.html
    https://twitter.com/softgirl9000/status/1482007941989507077?s=20
    https://twitter.com/SusieIsBack/status/1482543917098745858?s=20

    *Deep and uncomfortable existential sigh*

    Listen, I know this all but certainly started as a joke, or at the very least has continued as a joke. That said, are we all aware of just how stupid Americans tend to be? There is undoubtedly a number of people out there who whiffed on the context and tone of this and thought, “ya know, that’s not a half-bad idea.”

    I have enough issues with the caucasity of how some people marinate chicken or prepare chicken already. Now, I have to deal with some Ridiculousness-watching, Mountain Dew-drinking mouth-breather from a flyover state trying to rectify his cough and lack of dinner plans in one full swoop?

    This also opens a door to more baby boomer narratives about millennials, because I can guarantee you this wasn’t 56-year-old woman named Terry from Oconomowoc cooking up this chicken. No, it was some 24-year-old named Tyler who wrote-in Travis Scott on his election ballot. Boomers haven’t forgotten about the Tide Pod incidents or kids making themselves pass out. Now, the people who used to smoke on planes, think a desk protected them from a nuclear bomb and assumed they could make $50,000 but afford an $800,000 house have even more ammo to mock millennials.

    Trends like these are why I don’t ever worry about the planet facing an overpopulation crisis. We are just going to keep on having parents who cannot distinguish the usage differences in homophones homeschool their kids with X’s in their names because they “don’t like what public schools are teaching MY children.” Those kids grow up, chase clout and will succumb to a TikTok trend sooner or later.

    Soon, we will no longer have graphics detailing the leading causes of death in America as “cancer, car accidents, suicide, etc.” and instead it will just be a list of which social media trend has taken the most lives. Future history books will not only teach students about famines and pandemics of the past, but also the great “how many thumbtacks can you swallow challenge” of 2024 that wiped out 10 percent of a generation.

    Now, if you’ll excuse me I’m a little groggy, so I’m going to go to the fridge and the medicine cabinet and fix up some “wakeywakey bacon.”

  • Devin Booker is Fine with 20k Screaming Fans, Just Not Mascots

    Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker is one of the most exciting budding superstars in the NBA. Fresh off an NBA Finals appearance, he seems destined for the next step into the pantheon of the league’s elite. The kind of stars who can overcome injuries, deal with locker room distractions, or you know, ignore the quiet but jolting jeering from arena mascots. If Tuesday night was any indication, Booker might not be ready for that next step just yet.

    Due to pandemic restrictions, Toronto is home to an empty arena which still feels spooky even after we saw a plethora of such venues just over a year ago. So with 6.5 seconds to play and Phoenix up one point, that left just one soul to try to distract Booker from extending the lead: the Raptors’ mascot.

    https://twitter.com/worldwidewob/status/1481097210519441409?s=10

    This rubs me the wrong way in all sorts of fashions. First of all, the look on Booker’s face was one of disgust. Was that disgust at the referee? Was he supposed to be keeping tabs on the mascot? Can you imagine if a ref missed a traveling call, and coach stormed to him to argue only to hear the ref say, “I apologize, I was locked in on Benny the Bull.”

    Maybe he was just disgusted with the mascot? Which, if that’s the case, has Booker ever seen mascots before? “It was awful! He was dancing and jumping around and waving his arms, sometimes even shaking his head at me.” That’s kind of their thing, man.

    Another thing that bothers me is why should a mascot distract him anyway? I can’t imagine an episode of The Shop where Russell Westbrook, Marcus Smart and Dwyane Wade are discussing the famously awful things they’ve heard from fans in the stands only for Booker to retort, “if you think that’s bad, one time I had a speechless, cotton dinosaur waving at me.”

    The final thing I cannot get over is when I did a little background research for this blog, I discovered the mascot’s name. The Toronto Raptors’ mascot’s name is “The Raptor.” What in the Clemson hell is this? The league is littered with fantastic mascot names. You have Lucky the Leprechaun in Boston, Bango the Buck in Milwaukee, Burnie in Miami and on and on.

    You have a full marketing team at your disposal. You’re a relatively new team who had ample time to figure out a full approach for your mascot launch. Was there just chaos in a meeting with people fighting over different mascot names only for someone to bang their hands on the table and yell, “ENOUGH! WE’RE JUST GOING TO NAME IT THE RAPTOR AND MOVE ON!”

    Well, whatever the reason and whatever the name, this is a tough look for Booker. God help him if he ever ventures over to France on vacation and encounters a mime. I worry if he gets caught in an invisible box that mime may be on the business end of a haymaker.

  • The Gambling Corner Presented by Kutt

    Kutt is a peer-to-peer (P2P) social betting platform that allows friends and strangers to bet real money on sports, politics, entertainment, and other events electronically. Think of it as a much better version of Venmo, but for betting – a formal platform that allows anyone to bet with a known counterparty, ensures the winner of each bet will be paid, and has a ton of ancillary features that give it the feel of a social network. Check them out on Twitter and Instagram at @kuttbet or on the web at www.kutt.com.

    Last week, I described the final week of the NFL season as “most unpredictable time of the year” because of “players sitting or heading to the bench early with their team out of contention or their team already clinched.” Well, that sure as hell came to fruition as my Bengals -2.5 at the time of publishing later became Bengals +5.5 because anyone who played football in college decided to sit out as they fielded a squad of Skyline cooks. Alas, it was a 2-3 week as I missed that one and missed BADLY on the Colts -15.5 and Patriots/Dolphins under. It was the first losing week in Lord knows how long, but if Tom Brady isn’t perfect, none of us are.

    The NFL playoffs are upon us and that provides a ton more clarity in the betting world. Sure, the plethora of opportunities is limited, but that just allows us to better focus. It’s like when you go to a restaurant with 11 things on the menu in lieu of The Cheesecake Factory. Sure, you have less options, but you can zone in on that beef Wellington and absolutely get to business. Let’s do just that.

    Patriots/Bills U44

    Saturday at 8:15 p.m. on CBS

    Saturday in Buffalo will see a high of 10 degrees and a low of 4. I have long claimed if I ever win the Powerball, I will never willingly see a temperature below 60 for the rest of my life. People in Buffalo live for this, however. They’ll be breaking ice-laden tables, chewing on Busch Light slashes, the whole nine yards.

    Speaking of yards, don’t expect a lot in this one. These two are the top two scoring defenses in the entire NFL. The Bills have given up 17.0 points per game this season, just 16.6 at home and 15.3 over their last three. New England is just behind them at 17.8 ppg and 16.0 on the road. The last time these two teams met in Buffalo back on December 6, the Pats beat the Bills 14-10. The over is just 3-6 so far this season during Buffalo home games. Expect another frostbiter nailbiter in this one.

    Eagles/Bucs O46

    Sunday at 1 p.m. on FOX

    The weather figures to be a bit better down in Tampa for the Eagles and Bucs, a rematch of the 2002 NFC Championship Game. Tampa is second in the NFL in scoring offense, putting up 30.1 ppg. Philadelphia is a respectable 12th at 26.1.

    Raymond James Stadium is the seventh-best place to bet the over this season as five of eight games have exceeded the mark there this season. Philadelphia is the second-best team in football in 2021 at hitting overs at 10-7 with the Bucs two spots below them at 9-8. Jalen Hurts can create big plays and headaches with his improvisational skills while Brady is absolutely still that dude. Points here.

    Cowboys -3 vs. 49ers

    Sunday at 4:30 p.m. on CBS

    Good teams win and great teams cover. Well, Dallas is the best team in the NFL at covering this season at 13-4. They’re also the second-best team in the NFL (behind the 1-0 Jets) at covering the spread as a favorite, going 10-3 in such games. This matchup pits statistically the best offense in the NFL in the Cowboys against one of the stingier defenses in San Francisco. Dallas is the better team, they’re our tried and true cover heroes and they have the much-better quarterback. Pair that with one head coach who has won a Super Bowl against another who has famously choked away a pair of Super Bowl appearances, and you have my answer. Johnny Walker Blue all night long for the ‘Boys.

    Cardinals +4 vs. Rams

    Monday at 8:15 p.m. on ABC

    Sticking with our crazy method of continuing to bet on teams that have proven us right all year, give me the Cardinals here. Arizona is 8-1 ATS on the road this season, beating the mark by an average of 10.5 ppg. My God. Add in the fact Kyler Murray has thrown for 651 yards and ran for another 100 against the Rams this year, and I love being gifted four points. In their last meeting in Los Angeles back in October, the Cardinals won 37-20. I don’t know if they win outright again, but I don’t need them to. I just need them to do what they’ve done all year long, and be some road warriors getting us inside the number. They’ll do that again.

    WHAMMY: Chiefs -12.5 vs. Steelers

    Sunday at 8:15 p.m. on NBC

    One of these teams has won nine of their last 10 games. The other made it into the playoffs because the Chargers and Raiders wouldn’t give America the only tie they’ve ever wanted. One has a quarterback that is arguably the most gifted talent we have ever seen at the position. The other has a 39-year-old plus-sized quarterback whose rookie year on Madden predates the Xbox 360. One team has scored 30+ points nine times this season and 40+ twice. The other has scored 20+ just eight times and 30+ just once. Are you sensing a theme here?

    Big Ben has a storied history, but unfortunately the key word there is “history.” The first of his two Super Bowls came two years before the first iPhone came out. He is having trouble throwing the ball down the field and his offensive line is as bad as it has ever been. Kansas City boasts Patrick Mahomes in the prime of his career throwing to the likes of Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce, two guys far superior than anyone Pittsburgh has. This one will probably feel a little sad, but at least you’ll be able to get to bed early as this should be in the books by the end of the third.

    Doc’s Bonus Picks:

    Bucs -8.5

    Bills -4

    Bengals -5.5

    49ers +3

    Whammy: Chiefs -12.5