Madden 18 Review

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It’s good to be the G.O.A.T.

Rating: 🏈🏈🏈🏈🏈🏈🏈🏈

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I Would Like to Wish Everyone a Merry Hawaiian Christmas!

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Mele Kalikimaka, everybody! What a beautiful day to celebrate one of the most important days on the calendar. Hawaiian Christmas. What’s that? You’ve never heard of it? That’s a shame. It’s a truly wonderful holiday. A joyous occasion where we, the faithful public, celebrate the birth of the White Kahuna. The one sent from above to dazzle us with pinpoint accuracy and a mastery of the Run and Shoot offense. Today, we celebrate the birth of the greatest college football player of all time, Colt Brennan.

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Now, a short trip down Google Lane will tell you that his true birthday is August 16th. Well, what holiday worth it’s salt takes place in the middle of the week? That’s why Hawaiian Christmas takes place on the closest Friday to August 16th, so you’ll always have a long weekend spent living on Island Time, to go with the quiet midweek vigil you hold for the true date. And if the 16th falls on a Friday, Saturday, Sunday, or Monday? Well, that’s grounds to take the whole week off, friend. Hawaiian Christmas is a time for leisure, merriment, and goodwill towards men. Your boss will understand.

The most important question facing a Hawaiian Christmas neophyte is, of course, how to celebrate. It’s quite simple really. The first step is to put on your finest Hawaiian linens. The more complex the pattern, the more bold the color scheme, the better. I’m partial to tropical flowers, birds of paradise, sea turtles, and perhaps fruit, myself, but Hawaiian Christmas is not a time for criticism. Wear what you will, as long as it’s in the spirit of things. Grab yourself a mai tai or two (more on that later), and settle in on your most relaxing beach chair for the most important part of any Hawaiian Christmas, watching a ton of Colt Brennan highlights. Don’t forget to apply sunscreen first.

You might need to take a cold shower if you get too deep into the rabbit hole, but hopefully you have access to a beach and can take a quick dip in the water. While his highlight videos are undoubtedly mesmerizing, don’t get so engrossed you lose track of time. Hawaiian Christmas dinner takes a while to cook when done right, and you certainly don’t want to lose track of time. While our savior typically feasted on helpless WAC opponents, cannibalism is unfortunately frowned upon during Hawaiian Christmas. So, instead, prepare a traditional Kalua pig. You’ll need a full pig and a pretty big pit and a bunch of hot stones, and you’ll need to learn a difficult and very specific cooking method that you’ll probably never use in any other scenario, but it’s worth it to impress your friends. Gather your family and any neighbors too lazy to cook their own pig and sit around the fire pit telling tales of gridiron glory. Traditionally, this is also where you engage in the ceremonial Hair Bleaching, so you too can look like the Heisman Finalist himself.tumblr_lmkx4zlahb1qapl86o1_500

Most pigs are probably going to be about 260 pounds, so when you add in all the tropical-themed side dishes, you’ll have plenty of leftovers! The White Kahuna isn’t an advocate for moderation.

Speaking of moderation, the most controversial part of the holiday comes at night. Here at the Brian’s Den, we would never dream of condoning drinking and driving. It’s a reckless, dangerous, and foolhardy decision. But, as with all great heroes, Colt Brennan is a flawed man. His DUI arrest is a dark mark on his otherwise spotless record. To walk in his path is to admit your own weaknesses and faults, which is the first step to personal growth. A true celebrator of Hawaiian Christmas knows how to honor the White Kahuna and keep the non believers safe, so find an abandoned patch of beach, woods, field, anywhere where you won’t have any company. Get a golf cart and your closest friends, and just drive around. If you’ve been observing Hawaiian Christmas customs all day, you should be sufficiently impaired. It’s a great time that I officially condemn, but it’s better than driving your actual car. Feel free to engage in golf-cart centric shenanigans into the wee hours of the morning, just make sure to be wearing your Hawaiian Christmas garb, so any passing law enforcement officers will know you’re merely recognizing the significance of the day.

The last part of any good Hawaiian Christmas comes the next morning. All you need to do is fail to make the NFL. Easy enough on paper, but you’d be surprised how many people mess it up. Now, go out there and have the best Hawaiian Christmas you’ve ever had. Mele Kalikimaka, indeed.

Falcons’ New Stadium Will Have a Chick-fil-a, Which Won’t Be Open on Sundays

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source– Sure, most everyone loves Chick-fil-A, but the popular restaurant chain will be closed during a majority of the Falcons’ home games in 2017 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, according to ESPN sports business reporter Darren Rovell.

In fact, the only day the Chick-fil-A inside the stadium will be open, is on December 7, when the Falcons host the Saints on Thursday night.

I cannot possibly overstate how much I love this move. It’s genius. Pure, unadulterated genius by Chick-fil-a. Outside Taco Bell, no fast food company understands human nature and the marketing game quite like Chick-fil-a. The fastest way to get someone to want something is to tell them they can’t have it. Anytime I drive past a Chick-fil-a on Sunday, my cravings for the sweet, succulent chicken sandwiches go through the roof. It’s all I can think about. My desire to spend money at Chick-fil-a consumes me. And I’m only one guy. When the dozens of Falcons fans who’ll pack Mercedes-Benz Stadium walk by the ghostly visage of a closed Chick-fil-a, well, let’s just say I wouldn’t want to be working at an Atlanta area Chick-fil-a come Monday mornings in the fall. Talk about a mob scene. I guarantee this sends business skyrocketing. Chick-fil-a is going to make a killing off this, once again proving that being closed on Sundays is one of the greatest business decisions of all time. They’re the anti-McDonald’s. If you have a way to keep something exclusive, do it. Don’t make breakfast all day because now no one cares about McDonald’s breakfast. Don’t open Chick-fil-a on Sundays because then no one will experience seeing a closed Chick-fil-a. It’s so simple, but it’s why Chick-fil-a is king.

As for the Falcons, the losses just keep on coming. First, they suffer the worst defeat in the history of professional sports. Then, their new stadium doesn’t even work. And now this. Sure, this is great for Chick-fil-a, but it’s horrible for the Falcons. What were they thinking? How can you let yourselves, an NFL team coming off an albeit doomed Super Bowl appearance, get completely dominated by a fast food joint? I’ve never seen anyone get cucked harder than this. I’d love to have been in the room for when this was pitched. Probably some 45-year-old father of four brought this idea to the board like “Hey, guys, I’ve got a great idea! Let’s get a Chick-fil-a in the stadium! It’s what’s hip with the kids these days, I’ve heard. Sure would be great to have young people talking about the Falcons in a positive light. I sure am tired of getting destroyed on the Twitter, how about you fellas?” Great idea, man! Too bad Chick-fil-a is run by geniuses (they’re probably not geniuses they’re just really religious, but accidental genius is still genius) who would never pass up an opportunity to build business and throw their balls on the table like this. I bet the Falcons paid for everything, too. The probably bought the franchising rights, paid for the construction, hired the staff, took care of all the overhead costs, everything. Too bad they forgot Chick-fil-a bends for no man. Unbelievable. This is why it amazes me every time I see people say the Falcons are going to be good this year. Are you kidding? This franchise is completely and utterly broken. The Patriots killed them. The losses keep piling up with no end in sight. The players all snapped and hate each other. The coaches are going to be second guessing everything they do. They’re going to treat closing the retractable roof as a real accomplishment. Their legion of devoted fans disappeared as quickly as it burst onto the scene. They’re getting mercilessly dunked on by Chick-fil-a. It’s over for the Falcons. They might not win a game this season. Honestly I’d be surprised if they did. It’s going to take something monumental to get this franchise back on the right track, and I see that miracle happening anytime soon.

Premier League 2017-2018 Season Preview

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After a seemingly never-ending offseason (just kidding, the fùtbol offseason is like, three weeks long), the lads are back, ready to take the pitch and knock it into the old onion bag. The pubs are starting to fill with fervent supporters and the children are dancing in the street. This season promises to be a memorable one, and, surprisingly, I've got some opinions on it. Correct opinions, too. I should start by offering some disclosure: I am a Crystal Palace fan supporter. I've been a diehard Palace Head (still workshopping the name) for about three years, now, so you know my loyalty runs deep. I pretty much picked them because I needed a Premier League team and didn't want to just jump on some bandwagon, so I picked the one with the coolest name. I fully expected to never feel true glory and be happy in the lower middle of the Table. After all, I'm allowed to have one team that doesn't win every year, right? Well, Leicester City ruined that two years ago, and now I'm convinced Crystal Palace is taking the league this year. Last season they had horrible luck with injuries and started the season with Allen Pardew as manager. Hard to win with those circumstances. But, we've got a new manager (Frank de Boer), some splashy new signings loans, and some sharp new kits. Things are pointing up! Crystal Palace, 2017-18 Premier League Champions.

Outside the title winner, there are some other storylines this season, as well. Fortunately for someone like me (a football (my football, for all my devoted international readers)-obsessed American who spends the majority of his brainpower in the fall pouring over football stats and highlights like it was my job (sadly, it isn't)(yet) and only devotes a portion of his free time to the Joga Bonito) (But I still know everything about the Premier League and will correctly predict the League Table with astonishing accuracy) (Amazing, I know), literally every relevant plot point and potential narrative revolves around the Big Six: Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea, and Tottenham. Forgive me for not going deep on Burnley's transfer window, but, outside the Big Six and Crystal Palace, no other team really has a shot at a Champions League spot. Now, plenty of random teams will be exciting. Probably more exciting than Chelsea, at least. Maybe everyone will be more exciting than Chelsea. Well, everyone except West Brom. But as far as making a real impact? Not so much.

The coveted Transfer Window Championship is, as of now, split between the two Manchester teams clubs. United, again, made sure to have the single biggest singing, finally getting Romelu Lukaku away from Everton. Add in underrated midfielder Nemanja Matic from rival Chelsea and another year for all of last year's huge singings to get acclimated to the Special One's system, and expectations are flying high in Old Trafford. Expectations are always flying high there, though, and that hasn't lead to much of anything (by their standards) recently. City decided to remedy last year's somewhat disappointing third place finish by throwing a ton of money around. They've spent a lot more money than anyone else, and, while they haven't gotten any huge names, everyone they've picked up is relatively young and already really good. Kyle Walker is one of the best right backs in the world, and Bernardo Silva could become a superstar. Chelsea kind of had a head scratching transfer window. They need center backs, but sent two on loan. They need wingers, but sent two on loan. They need another midfielder after puzzlingly letting Matic go, but sent their most promising one on loan (Crystal Palace, bitch!). I don't necessarily think they're done making moves, but just adding Morata, probably losing Costa, and then settling for, what, Danny Drinkwater? I don't know, man. Not really sure what the strategy was Tottenham, the lovable losers who can't seem to win anything despite having the second best team in England the last two years, didn't add anyone. In fact, their only transaction of note was selling Kyle Walker. I guess they have faith in manager Maurico Pochettino and their young, talented core. I'm sure all the Arsenal fans out there are feeling good. They brought in Alexandre Lacazette, the haven't lost anyone yet, they can't choke in the Champions League because they didn't make it, Wenger hasn't lost the locker room yet, everything's going well. Butttttttt, Alexis wants out. Bad. Like, he said he's not going to try this season for Arsenal and leave for free next year. Mesut Özil is always a little flighty. Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsay are always popular transfer rumors. The other shoe is going to drop for the gunners, and it's going to drop hard. I know I'm falling into the classic "talk about the Cowboys no matter what" trap we have over here, but Liverpool is probably the most interesting team to me on a philosophical level. Theoretically, I should like them. The same people that own Liverpool own my beloved Red Sox. But I hate the Red Sox owners and all they represent. They haven't won anything in forever, but carry themselves like they've won ten straight titles. Jurgen Klopp turned down $100 million for Philippe Coutinho because he thinks they're in position to win now. How do you turn down $100 million for anyone, let alone someone like Coutinho, who's good, but not that good. And all they added was Mo Salah, a great player, but certainly not enough to singlehandedly change them into world beaters. Look for Liverpool to be walk into another relatively underwhelming season.

Without further ado, it's time to unveil the Official Brian's Den Premier League Table. No, I'm not a licensed psychic, but you can still take my predictions for scripture. I'd even go so far as to suggest using this to place wagers, but we all know I don't condone that sort of thing.

Premier League Table

  1. Crystal Palace
  2. Manchester City
  3. Manchester United
  4. Tottenham
  5. Chelsea
  6. Arsenal
  7. Liverpool
  8. Everton
  9. West Ham
  10. Leicester City
  11. Bournemouth
  12. Southampton
  13. West Brom
  14. Watford
  15. Stoke City
  16. Newcastle United
  17. Burnley
  18. Swansea
  19. Brighton
  20. Huddersfield

Who’s Ready for Some Hard Knocks?

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As is tradition, the start of NFL training camp brings us another season of Hard Knocks, the first real sign that the NFL season is nigh. The groundbreaking documentary series has changed the way we think about training camp, and, really, the way we think about sports documentaries in general. If you don’t have ultimate access, I’m not watching. If I don’t know what the third string QB’s meal plan is, why should I even care? Still, at this point I love what Hard Knocks represents more than I love the actual show. Much like with All or Nothing, any kind of football is good enough for me at this point, particularly when it means we’re mere weeks away from college and NFL kicking off for real. But the seemingly never-ending streak of getting super boring teams for Hard Knocks probably isn’t going to change with the Bucs this year. Hard Knocks is only as good as the head coach, and Dirk Koetter is…. well, he’s alive. I think. I honestly don’t think I could pick him out of a lineup. That’s a bad sign. Still, I’m going to watch it. You’re going to watch it. Everyone’s going to watch it and wonder why we’re doing so in the process. It’ll be great. As an experienced Hard Knocks viewer, there are certain things that appear time and time again. Time is a flat circle, and nowhere is that more apparent than on Hard Knocks. Here’s a quick primer for everything you’re going to see this season.

You’ll Find Out What Dirk Koetter Looks Like

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This is pretty unique for this season, but the fact remains that, unless you’re one of the dozens of diehard Bucs fans, this will be your official introduction to Dirk Koetter, and, if this picture is any indication, you won’t be in for much. My guess is he either loves to fish or play golf and stays until all hours of the night watching film. A real breath of fresh air in the coaching world.

There Will be a Heated Battle Amongst the Assistant Coaches for the Title of Coolest Coach

Happens every year. Every coach thinks this is his time to shine. Turn up the personality to 11, say the F word ten times a sentence, make a ton of sex analogies that don’t really work, talk about drinking or smoking, have a scene where they’re playing cards together, really anything to seem cool and relatable. Looking at the Bucs’ coaching staff, I’ve got together some prime suspects:

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Not the most promising batch of coaches. A lot of old guys, a lot of guys who look like they haven’t been out of a team facility in 20 years. I’m not positive these are the guys, but they’re some of the youngest looking, and defensive line coaches are always a little wacky. Same goes for the strength and conditioning coach. He looks like he’ll murder you and wear your skin if your squat form is a little off. He could be electric! Just kidding with Mike Smith. He’s the most boring person of all time.

The One Assistant Coach Who Used to be a Head Coach and They Awkwardly Talk About How He Failed In His Last Job

Hey, speaking of Mike Smith!

The Stupid Player Who They Exploit for Some Easy Quotes

One of the best traditions Hard Knocks has is filming a football player who hasn’t read a book that didn’t start with “play” since the first grade talking about something other than football. These guys’ world views are so skewed, anything could come out of their mouths! Tune in tonight to find out what they say! Anyway, there’s only one possibility for the Bucs. Anytime HBO can combine their Idiot screentime with their Starting QB screentime, you have to do it.

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Seeing Jameis Winston say something dumb is pretty much the only reason I’m excited for this season. Jameis was made for Hard Knocks. Everything that comes out of his mouth is liable to start and internet firestorm, and the beauty is that he doesn’t know any better. He’s so innocent (allegedly) and means well, but he can’t get out of his own way. He’s like a puppy without a leash, and he’s going to light up the screen.

The One Player Who Proves Himself to be the Zaniest on the Team

Similar to the war of attrition between the assistant coaches, all the players want that valuable screentime, too, and the best way to get it is to be super crazy and quirky. Is it forced? Almost always. Is it entertaining? Sometimes. But it’ll happen nonetheless. Luckily for us, the Bucs’ roster isn’t filled with J.J. Watts, so the competition might be that fierce (actually, I have absolutely no idea if that’s valid or not. I can name, like, five Bucs players. For all I know, it might be the biggest collection of hams outside a Smithfield store). Jameis, when he’s not obliviously saying something moronic, will undoubtedly try waaaaaaaaaaay too hard. It’ll be cringeworthy. I think Mike Evans has something going on, but who knows. I think it’ll be Gerald McCoy.

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This guy’s so zany. How do I know? Well, he wears oversized glasses all the time! What a wildcard! He’s so quirky and unique! McCoy’s been a great player since he came into the league, but has been relatively anonymous because of where he plays and the fact that he’s eternally tied to Ndamukong Suh since they were drafted in the same year. Look for HBO to try and pump him up as the unknown star who has a crazy personality.

Someone Will Have an Absurd Collection of Cars/Jewelry/Some Other Expensive Thing

Quickest way to kill some time is to show the viewers that no, these guys aren’t just like us. They have millions of dollars and don’t have to go to work for six months at a time. Someone’s possessions will redefine opulence for the millionth straight year.

The Guy Who Gets Cut

Easily the most recognizable and beloved of the Hard Knocks tropes. Notice someone you’ve never heard of soaking up screentime? Maybe we’ve met his wife and young daughter? Learned about his crippling debt or tough upbringing? Well, he’s getting cut. Sorry.

That’s pretty much all there is to Hard Knocks. It’s not a complex show, and this season may be particularly formulaic. But hey, it’s football.

Happy Birthday, Tom Brady

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Just wanted to give a quick shoutout to my guy, little-known quarterback Tom Brady. 40 years ago today, Thomas Edward Patrick Brady, Jr. was born in San Mateo, California, and the world was never the same. August truly is the month for QBs (more on that at a later date). I’ve moved passed the point in my life where I wanted everyone to love him and couldn’t understand how anyone could dislike the greatest NFL player of all time. I get that some people just don’t like him and never will. It’s their loss, really, but I’m #done trying to convince them otherwise. I like being in the exclusive club of Brady Lovers. It makes me feel special. It makes me feel like a winner. I won’t gush about him too much longer, since I’m sure everyone will be feeling Brady Fatigue by the end of the day. I just wanted to quickly celebrate one of the men responsible for at least three of the five greatest moments of my life. As someone who ties their entire sense of self-worth into the success of their football team, Brady has helped me create a somewhat less toxic self-image than what I would have if I were, say, a Jets fan. Of all the imaginary children I’ve had with various celebrities, at least 70% have been named Tom. What I’m trying to say is that Tom Brady is one of the most important people in my life, and the day he retires is going to be horrible.

6’4″, 286lb “8th Grader” Gets Football Scholarship Offers from Alabama, Ole Miss, Has Yet to Produce Birth Certificate

source– Some college football programs will make offers to middle school prospects to gain attention on a national level.

It appears to be much more than that in the case of 6-foot-4, 286-pound Jaheim Oatis.

According to a tweet posted Friday by Oatis, Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Alabama have made scholarship offers to the soon-to-be eighth-grader from Columbia, Mississippi.

Alright, I think we can drop the charade, here. We’re in a Safe Space for Free Thinking, so we don’t really have to play along with this. This kid isn’t in 8th grade. He just isn’t. He might technically be in 8th grade, but this kid isn’t 14:

No matter what forged birth certificate or altered class photos or anything they trot out, I’m not going to be fooled. You’ve got to get up pretty early in the morning to get an age scandal past me, and sorry folks, but this one didn’t work. Not 14.

Now that we’ve gotten past the obvious, I have to commend Alabama here. This is why they’ll always stay on top. Having 28-year-old grown men as freshmen gives them that extra advantage they need to dominate the SEC. Giving someone who should be in the prime of his NFL career another four years of eligibility is an ingenious move. Don’t know why everyone doesn’t just do this. Instead of filling the locker room with scrawny 19-year-olds, just put together a whole team of Danny Almontes. Seems like a foolproof strategy. Just find all the best prospects in the country, bring them down to backwoods Alabama, feed them steroids some good Southern cooking, and have them train at some “middle school”/football lab and bam, you’ve magically discovered the newest “8th grade” phenom who’s ready to play for you when he turns 25. I don’t see any flaws there. As long as all the food and facilities are paid for by an “independent” third party, it’s surely 100% legal, too. And only Alabama has the stones to pull it off. Makes me sad for the state of college football. Now you’ve got to start asking if Alabama Football is bad for the game.