In Honor of John Wick 2- Top Ten Action Movie Characters

John Wick: Chapter 2 came out yesterday. I haven’t seen it yet but I already know it’s awesome because John Wick was so good. They could literally just CGI different actors into the first one and I’d be coming out of the theater thinking I’ve never seen anything like it. Obviously, to prepare for the release I’ve been re-watching the first one frequently, and it’s got me thinking of where John ranks among the all time action movie characters. So, I put together a top ten. I lost sleep for weeks over this. These flip-flopped so many times it’s not even funny. I wouldn’t be surprised if leaving some people out cost me my life.

This is based on a number of different factors: body count, best lines, best hair, signature moves, and general badass-ness and coolness. There are no limitations on actors having multiple entries. I also value quality over quantity. I won’t punish a character for appearing in a million movies (as you’ll soon see), but if a one-off character has a transcendent performance he gets priority over one who put in five average ones. Villains are eligible. I know I called this Best Action Movie characters, but this is bigger than genre. It’s a mindset. So characters from all genres of movies who show the requisite qualities are eligible, but not many do. Kill counts from AOBG and moviebodycounts.

Before we begin, I need to give out some Honorable Mentions because I want everyone to understand how difficult it was to make this list: Hans Gruber, Diehard (doesn’t get his hands dirty enough), Han Solo, Star Wars (one of my favorite characters ever, but too PG for this list), Indiana Jones (Ditto), Chad and Alex Wagner, Double Impact (I’ll be honest, I’m not the biggest Van Damme guy, but I knew he was far too important to ignore. Not enough to crack the top 10, though), Ip Man (there’s so many great martial arts characters out there that check every box on the badass check sheet. But, most have the personality of a paperclip. Ip Man was an exception), Creasy, Man on Fire/ Robert McCall, The Equalizer (I wish Denzel would do more action movies. They all deliver), Harry Callahan, Dirty Harry series/ Man with No Name, Dollars Trilogy (shout out to one of the original action heroes Clint Eastwood), Leonidas, 300 (good body count and one-liners, but loses points for dying as the protagonist), Maximus, Gladiator (see- Leonidas), Jack Reacher (second best character to come out in the last few years. But he’s going up against some legends), Ethan Hunt, Mission Impossible franchise (the Tim Hudson of action stars- always good, never great), Machete (another tough cut. But those were some weird movies), Mason Storm, Hard to Kill (how do I leave him off the list? This top 10 better be stacked), Beck, The Rundown/ Chris Vaughn, Walking Tall (early Rock movies were so good), Stanley Goodspeed/ John Patrick Mason, The Rock (one of the best TNT movies ever), RoboCop (always felt like there was something missing with those movies), Neo, Matrix Trilogy (would have been better with a little more personality from Keanu (not a problem for another character)), Frank Martin, The Transporter (Jason Statham might be the most underrated action star ever), Dalton, Roadhouse (one of the all time cheesiest movies ever, but it’s high points are unreal), Steven Hiller, Independence Day (there was a time when Will Smith owned Summer more than anyone ever owned any season. Then he got married), Neville Flynn, Snakes on a Plane (easily one of the top ten lines of all time), President Marshall, Air Force One (get out of my top ten!), Riggs and Murtaugh, Lethal Weapon series (all time action duo), Batman (this is a character countdown, not an actor one. So the Batman character loses points for George Clooney), Dom Toretto/ Brian O’Connor/ Hobbs, Fast and Furious franchise (might be my favorite movie franchise ever. So many great lines, so many great moments, so much great action. But as action characters, they lack the singular badass-ness as the top 10), Tango & Cash (greatest one-off action duo and one of the most underrated movies ever), Cameron Poe/ Cyrus the Virus, Con Air (for my money, the second best action villain ever. Manipulative, arrogant, conniving, great lines, and personally killed a lot of people. Poe nearly makes the top 10 on the strength of his hair alone), Tommy Oliver, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Movie (held back by the fact that it was a kid’s movie. Could easily have run up a big time body count), Marion Cobretti, Cobra/ Judge Dredd/ Gabe Walker, Cliffhanger/ John Spartan, Demolition Man (the great Stallone roles that didn’t make the cut), Dutch, Predator/ Jack Slater, Last Action Hero/ Terminator/ Douglas Quaid/Houser, Total Recall/ Ben Richards, Running Man (respect the GOAT), James Bond (before Daniel Craig they were all kind of pussies).

Now, finally, to the top ten:

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10. Castor Troy, Face/Off

Perhaps the most electrifying two-man acting performance to ever grace the silver screen. Nic Cage turning it up to 100 is always reason to watch, but then when John Travolta tries to imitate Nic Cage turning it all the way up it becomes something more. It becomes the purest form of performance art that Louis Le Prince dreamed of when his camera recorded the first moving images. Castor himself checks all the boxes you would expect from an all time action villain. The great lines. The dastardly plan (his body count would be in the millions had his plan succeeded). A great crew. You know John Travolta’s hair always comes to play. Easily the most iconic late-90’s film villain, no matter the genre.

Best Line: I’m Castor Troy!

Kills: 26

Signature Move: Overacting

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9. Snake Plissken, Escape from New York/ Escape from L.A.

Any time the first video result that pops up in Google is (character) Badass, you know you’ve got something special. The first example I can think of of the Government turning to the best criminal when their own guys can’t get the job done, Snake serves as the template for every pretty much every criminal-with-a-heart-of-gold anti-hero that came after him. Bonus points for using multiple weapons for kills, making an underhand three-quarter court shot in Escape from L.A., and huge, huge bonus points for having by far the best hair on the list.

Best Line: Call me Snake

Kills: 36

Signature Move: Pointing his gun skyward while turning his head towards the camera with a scowl/smirk on his face while smoking a cigarette.

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8. The Bride, Kill Bill

The only woman on the list gets in mostly on the strength of her elite body count. Depending on where you look, you get anywhere from 62-76. Let’s go with 70. That’s crazy high for a non-Stallone/Arnold character (but not the highest. We’ll get to him later). She has some of the most beautifully choreographed fight scenes and gets bonus points for some sweet katana kills, a very underused weapon these days. Her personality is decent for a pretty standard revenge flick, and she’s about as cool as a married woman can be.

Best Line: As I said before, I’ve allowed you to keep your wicked life for two reasons. And the second reason is so you can tell him in person everything that happened here tonight. I want him to witness the extent of my mercy by witnessing your deformed body. I want you to tell him all the information you just told me. I want him to know what I know. I want him to know I want him to know. And I want them all to know they’ll all soon be as dead as O-Ren.

Kills: 70

Signature Move: Somehow not getting killed when surrounded by about 50 people with swords

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7. Jason Bourne, Bourne Series

Even though I biased towards Matt Damon, Jason Bourne is an easy pick for the list. Even in a series that prides itself on gritty realism, he’s still superhumanly badass. Probably the smartest character on the list, he outwits the blackest of black ops forces four movies in a row. Has a surprisingly low kill count, but if you add in all the random henchmen he knocks out, he’s right up there. He’s top three most creative and innovative action hero ever, and can teach MacGyver a thing or two about using one’s surroundings.

Best Line: I can tell you the license plate numbers of all six cars outside. I can tell you that our waitress is left-handed and the guy sitting up at the counter weighs two hundred fifteen pounds and knows how to handle himself. I know the best place to look for a gun is the cab or the gray truck outside, and at this altitude, I can run flat out for a half mile before my hands start shaking. Now why would I know that? How can I know that and not know who I am?

Kills: 43 (21 in Jason Bourne)

Signature Move: Breaking your humerus

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6. Bryan Mills, Taken Series

This is where my objectivity becomes impressive, because Bryan Mills might be my second  favorite action character ever, but I’m willing to admit he’s only number 6 on the list. Spent three movies killing countless guys that look like Jusuf Nurkic and Nikola Jokic of the Nuggets with his bare hands and the butt of his gun. The ultimate example of what happens when grizzled badass-ness meets dad-strength. Every line he delivers has the perfect mix of steely malice and fatherly concern. Near superhuman spacial awareness and never loses his cool under any circumstances. In a rare twist, his killing sprees end with him saving someone, rather than for pure revenge.

Best Line: I don’t know who you are. I don’t know what you want. If you are looking for ransom, I can tell you I don’t have money. But what I do have are a very particular set of skills, skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. If you let my daughter go now, that’ll be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you. But if you don’t, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you. (What else?)

Kills: 72

Signature Move: Throat chop

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5. John Rambo, Rambo Series

Culturally, the second most important character on this list. His name now synonymous with gung-ho, reckless, take-no-prisoners violence, what started as a critical look at a soldier’s life after combat turned into the most graphic and gratuitously violent franchise this side of Friday the 13th. And personally, I’m more than okay with that. The most prolific murder ever, when you see his final kill count keep in mind that he killed one (1) person in First Blood. The originator of the One Man Army genre and the ultimate backwoods badass, Rambo’s impact can be felt in pretty much every facet of American culture. So why isn’t he higher? Well, this countdown takes every facet of a character into account. After First Blood, Rambo doesn’t show a whole lot of personality. He’s like a cardboard cutout of a man who can magically operate a mini-gun. It took me about an hour to come up with his best line, and it wasn’t because there were so many to parse through. Nonetheless, both Rambo and Stallone are legends. Points for consistently good hair.

Best Line: When you’re pushed, killing is as easy as breathing

Kills: 442 (!!)

Signature Move: Killing with giant knife/M60/bow

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4. Aragorn, Lord of the Rings trilogy

When determining the best action characters, it’s important not to judge someone by the purity of their genre, but by the content of their character. The Lord of the Rings movies aren’t necessarily what you think of when it comes to action movies, but all three have more traditional action that First Blood did. And Aragorn brings all the qualities you need: ultimate badass warrior, uses swords, skilled tracker and survivalist, decent hair when it’s not wet and greasy. What he lacks in witty one-liners he makes up for in stirring speeches. Might not matter too much in the lone-wolf world of action movies, but he’s the best leader in movie history. Not many kings make the list, so that has to count for something.

Best Line: We will not abandon Merry and Pippin to torment and death. Not while we have strength left. Leave all that can be spared behind. We travel light. Let’s hunt some Orc.

Kills: Depends on where you look. Somewhere between 60-108

Signature Move: Beheading

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3. John Wick, John Wick

It took all the willpower I had not to put the Boogeyman number one. He might have made the list if he never killed anyone based on the way the Russians talk about him in the first half hour of the movie. Twenty years from now, we’ll be talking about John Wick the same way we talk about Rambo and the true number one on the list. He’s an instant legend. A maestro with a pistol, he dishes out headshots with reckless abandon. His abilities border on superhuman, and no injury slows him for more than five minutes. Highest single movie kill count of anyone not played by Stallone or Schwarzenegger. Keanu Reeves’ trademark wooden deadpan was made for action movies. The reason John Wick is rewarded for his excellent stoicism but Rambo is punished is that Rambo in First Blood was a real person, then devolved into a silent killing machine. Good hair and is always well dressed.

Best Line: People keep asking if I’m back and I haven’t really had an answer. But now, yeah, I’m thinkin’ I’m back.

Kills: 80 (Haven’t seen 2 yet)

Signature Move: Headshot

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2. John Matrix, Commando

Absolute peak Schwarzenegger. His best role, bar none. The Picasso of one-liners, he takes sentences that come off as horribly cheesy, insufferable puns when uttered by lesser men and molds them into pure poetry. John Matrix takes that skill to the absolute extreme, delivering verbal gold after every kill. And he kills a lot of people. The platonic ideal of the 80s action hero: gigantic physical specimen spews pithy lines as he mercilessly revenge-kills everyone in his wake while also squashing a South American military coup. Now that John Wick 2 is out, Matrix stands as the best one-movie action character ever, and the best character from the first era of action movies.

Best Line:

Kills: 102

Signature Move: Impaling with a steam pipe

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1. John McClane, Die Hard Series

In the world of action movies, there’s two eras: Before Die Hard and After Die Hard. John McClane stands as arguably the most influential film character of all time. Almost every action movie to come out after Die Hard borrowed something from it. Hero singlehandedly takes out bad guys who are holding someone/somewhere hostage. Wisecracking smart-ass takes down foreigner. Badass on vacation is dragged back into the fray. How many times have you seen any of those scenarios if you really think about it? A million? Not that I’m complaining. McClane has everything: badass cop who plays by his own rules, rough exterior with a soft side, creative use of space and weapons, clever lines, and a superhuman ability to never die. In every Die Hard movie, he should die at least three times, but he doesn’t (has anyone looked into whether Unbreakable is the secret prequel to Die Hard?). He even has hair, which still seems weird to me. Bruce Willis is the most natural bald guy ever. Gains points for still standing out every movie despite always having great characters around him.

Best Line:

Kills: 59

Signature Move: Dying hard

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Brian Wilson is trying to make a comeback as a knuckleballer

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source– The 34-year-old Wilson, who last pitched in the major leagues with the Dodgers in 2014, has been working out in Southern California with an eye toward becoming a starting pitcher who throws just knuckeballs.

Remember Brian Wilson? The pitcher with the beard? I ‘member, and now he’s back (probably not, but still). I have two main thoughts about this story. First of all, I don’t get why more people don’t do this. If you see your pitching career going down the drain, why not try and weasel your way into a second life as a knuckleball pitcher? Yeah, it’s hard to master, but you can literally pitch forever with it. R.A. Dickey is like 80 and still in the league. And if you make the majors as a knuckleballer, performance doesn’t matter at all. Have you seen some of the seasons my man Tim Wakefield had? And, it’s so rare nowadays, you’ll instantly get noticed by scouts and easily befuddle hitters. Seems like a no-lose scenario to me. I just hope Daniel Bard doesn’t read this and come back into my life again.

Secondly, and most importantly, I hate Brian Wilson. Not to disparage a fellow Brian, but I absolutely couldn’t stand this guy. Every day there was another story (mostly started by him) about how crazy and zany he was. After about a month of him being in the spotlight I was suffering serious Brian Wilson fatigue. After a year or two I was willing to finance an assassination. Like we get it man, you’re weird. Stop trying to prove it every two seconds. Stop rubbing it in our faces that you’re “different.” Everything he did was so fake and planned and annoying. And I hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, haaaaaaaaaaaaate beard guys. Not every person with a beard, but beard guys. The ones who’s whole lives revolve around the fact that they have huge beards. They can’t go more than three sentences without talking about their beard. They think it gives them superiority and that it’s a sign they have personality. It runs rampant in hipsters and MLB relief pitchers. It just so happens Brian Wilson was both. He was the absolute worst, and I’m guessing he hasn’t changed, considering this “comeback” feels like nothing more than a desperate attempt at regaining some relevance.

KFC is bringing Fried Chicken Pizza to Singapore and my Burden has never felt heavier

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This fried-chicken-as-pizza-crust monstrosity known as the Chizza has been making its way through Asia and is inevitably coming to America. And I will inevitably try it.

I was there for the waffle taco (not bad). I was there for Lay’s Chicken and Waffle chips (only Lay’s I’ll ever eat. So good). I was there for Dunkin’ Donuts’ donut breakfast sandwich (not the best thing I’ve eaten). I was even there for Pizza Hut’s hotdog pizza (still can’t decide if it was good or not). None of the other stoner dream concoctions made me question my wellbeing and self-worth more than this. Look at that thing! Even in the promotional picture it doesn’t look great. I’ll spare your stomach from the picture of the genuine article. But, this is the cross I bear. The burden I carry with me every day of my life: to try every crazy fast food and snack item to hit the market so other people don’t have to. I’m not calling myself a hero. I’m not looking for awards and accolades. I’m not looking for attention. I’m fine with being a silent guardian protecting people’s wallets, palettes, and bowels from the shadows. But sometimes I wonder if anyone is protecting mine. I know for a fact KFC isn’t. Considering their startling rate of innovation, I know Taco Bell isn’t. Lately, I don’t even know if McDonald’s, who had long been the rock in my life, has my best interests in mind since they’ve trotted out two variations on Big Macs and new flavors of Shamrock Shakes in the last week (I can’t complain too much, though. They were all amazing). I realize this is like Batman asking the Joker to take a week off from crime, but what if just one place introduced a new non-salad item that didn’t take 10 years off my life?

Oh, who am I kidding? I don’t think I’d ever eat something kind of healthy at a fast food place. It’s not in my DNA. As much as I try to fight it, eating crazy fast food items is more than just my calling in life. It’s an innate skill. My blessing and my curse. I don’t know if it’ll be a week, a month, a year, or a decade before the Chizza comes to America. No matter when, I’m trying it. And I already know I’ll regret it.

Any and all food reviews will take place on my snapchat: briancurran11

Is Julian Edelman the Greatest Jewish Athlete of All Time?

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Julian Edelman is very good. He’s now a 2-time Super Bowl champion and a legit number one receiver. He’s third all-time in career postseason catches, and, barring injury, will rise up to second next season. Over the last four years, if you extrapolate his numbers out for 16 games to make up for the games he missed, he’s averaging 103 catches, 1,114 yards, and five touchdowns. Keep in mind he played quarterback his whole life before the NFL. He’s also Jewish. Can’t think of too many other Jewish wide receivers after the introduction of real helmets. The gridiron isn’t typically the preferred place of business for the 12 Tribes, anyway. Does excelling at football, let alone receiver, in the year 2017 make Edelman the greatest Chosen athlete of all time? Let’s take a look at how he stacks up against some of the true legends.

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Mose Solomon– Nicknamed “the Rabbi of Swat,” Solomon finished his legendary career with a total of three hits in two games. That’s a lot for anyone to live up to. Is Edelman mentally strong enough to carry the burden? Sure he’s faster, stronger, and an all-around much better athlete than this titan of baseball’s dead ball era, but the truly great ones never feel the weight of expectation. Given his people’s history with neurosis, it could be a big ask.

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Dolph Schayes– My man Dolph played in a tough era to be a Jewish guy named Adolph, and he still managed to make the Basketball Hall of Fame. A true artist with the set-shot, read about Dolph and you’ll continually see adjectives like “smart,” “wily,” “low to the ground,” and “plodding.” What’s Edelman’s 40 time? 4.52? Would he even make a 1950s NBA roster? Beginning to think not.

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Kevin Youkilis– Youk was an integral part of the mid-2000s Red Sox. He won two rings and came in third in the MVP voting in 2008. In some weird corners of the world, he was known as the Greek God of Walks instead of Youk. Terry Francona once said “I’ve seen Youkilis in the shower, and I wouldn’t call him the Greek god of anything.” According to the people that normally debate the historical rankings of Jewish athletes, the most important quality to have is to be relatable to some little insecure Jewish kid in Queens. Well, who’s more relatable? A bald, kind of lumpy, angry Youk or chiseled, handsome, Hollywood Julian Edelman? Another strike against Edelman.

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Amar’e Stoudemire– Now I know what you’re thinking. “Amar’e was one of the most athletic big men in NBA history. A true physical specimen and perennial all-star. How can a skinny white boy match this modern-day Samson?” Well, Amar’e didn’t decide he was Jewish until 2010. So, the Jews only get to claim his post-Suns career. In other words, he kept getting injured and kept getting a ton of money. I’ll spare you the easy joke. For Edelman to eclipse Jewish Amar’e, all he needs to do is sign a massive contract and fail to live up to expectations and spend months on the injury report. Well, he’s so concussed that there’s a decent chance he won’t be able to walk within 3 years. Finally looking up for Julian.

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George Worth– I don’t know a lot of things for certain in this life. The sun will rise in the East. The Patriots will at least make the AFC Championship Game every year. And if you stepped into the fencing ring with George Worth, you weren’t leaving a winner. Dude won a bronze medal in the 1948 Olympics in the team sabre event. Ask any true Olympic fan if team sabre or the 100 meter dash is a more prestigious event and you’re in for a good debate. It’s unfair to put Edelman in the same sentence as Worth, but I just wanted to show what kind of competition he’ll be facing. Becoming the greatest Jewish athlete of all time is no lazy sabbath day.

After going through the annals of Jewish sporting history, I’ve determined Julian Edelman has a pretty good shot at being one of the best of all time. In terms of modern receivers, his best competition is Greg Camarillo, so I think he’s got that wrapped up. In the end, though, it doesn’t really matter. He’ll never be better than Koufax.

My life is Perfect right now

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The Patriots won the Super Bowl last night. I don’t know if you heard, but they put together the greatest comeback in history. It was amazing. It changed my life forever. Maybe it’s just the high I have going right now, but my life couldn’t be better. Everything I ever knew about football and Tom Brady and Bill Belichick was confirmed. All the #h8ers were silenced after dancing on the Patriots’ grave for two and a half hours. I improved my red-hot postseason record to 8-4. Now that I think about it, football isn’t the only area of my life where things are looking good. Absolutely everything is coming up roses in the Brian’s Den.

Red Sox got Chris Sale

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For large portions of last night, I was pretty low. Devastated doesn’t even begin to describe it. After all, the team I had built my life around was getting annihilated in the Super Bowl. In my doldrums I was reaching for anything positive. Anything to lift my spirits even slightly. And I remembered that the Red Sox acquired Chris Sale, giving them the best starting pitching in the American League to go along with last season’s best offense. The prospect of a nearly guaranteed Red Sox title cut through my haze and gave me a weird mix of hope and shame. Then the Patriots won, and now I get to root for the Super Bowl champs and the World Series champs in the same year! Again! What did I do to get this lucky? I don’t know but I sure hope it doesn’t end anytime soon. Who am I kidding? This run will never end!

McDonald’s announces multiple Shamrock Shake Flavors

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Let me say this: if executed correctly, the chocolate Shamrock Shake could be the greatest innovation in fast food history. Better than the rodeo cheeseburger. Better than the breakfast crunchwrap. Better than the Double Down sandwich. Better, dare I say, than the Big Mac itself? Usually when things like this come out I’m both nervous and excited to try them because I don’t know if they’ll be good. I already know this will be amazing. There’s no two ways around it: it’s impossible to make this bad. The only question will be if it’s transcendent. My money’s on yes. I can’t wait to get my hands on one. I want this to replace the blood that runs through my veins. It’s like McDonald’s made this just for me. They knew I needed help last night, and now it’s only getting better. This will finally turn McDonald’s around. So now I get to root for the Super Bowl champions, World Series champions, and fast food champions. How did I get so lucky?

Mr. Clean says fat guys are back

So, if this commercial is to be believed, all I have to do is clean and I become a sex machine? Sounds good to me! Sure, I’m not what people call “cleanly,” but as Rocky says, anyone can change. If anyone notices a cleaning supply shortage, just know that I’m probably responsible. Cleaning and watching Harry in the afternoon. That’s what guys do, right? Anyway, after the short-lived dad bod craze of a few years ago, this just feels like the next step of a movement. Who cares about abs and muscles and being in shape anymore? Apparently not women! Looking good for overweight guys everywhere! How did I get so lucky?

John Wick 2 is almost out

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I don’t think I need to explain why this a huge deal. John Wick was a top ten action movie of all time, and now he’s back for more. I need more John Wick. When John Wick 6 comes out, I’ll be first in line. Why can’t they just let him retire? It really is like the universe just decided to give me everything at once. I mean, Pats title and John Wick 2 in a week? How did I ever get so lucky?

Pats Win Super Bowl 51

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Unreal. Greatest night of my life. Easily. I don’t know if anything can ever top this. I don’t know if that even really happened. Down 21-0. 28-3. And they won 34-28. Unreal. I’m still speechless. Am I dreaming? Is any of this real life? Greatest comeback ever. Greatest game ever. Greatest moment in recorded history since the invention of pizza. I don’t know what I did to be this lucky.

A team has never overcome greater odds. Down by a million. Can’t get anything going or stop anything. My completely-obvious-in-hindsight choice of chips backfiring. I knew I was in for a fight when I took my first bite of Flamas. Arguably the worst thing I’ve ever eaten. Toasted Corn was the most unnecessarily salty tortilla chip ever made. I’ve never had a worse omen. It was all downhill from there. But the great ones make adjustments. I ditched the chips at half. I switched couches. Lady Gaga brought me new life. Then I blacked out and the Pats were champs. Not trying to take credit, but not trying to not take credit, either.

Tom Brady, man. So good. So good in the second half. Elevated to a plane of existence usually only reserved for Colt Brennan in the fourth quarter. Willed the team to the most improbable win of all time. I’d follow him into Hell without question knowing I’d come out safe on the other side. James White, huge, huuuuuuge performance. Falcons gave up the most receiving yards to opposing running backs in the league and it showed. Belichick is the greatest football, nay, human mind in history. I don’t even know what the coaching changes were yet. I lost the ability to form coherent thought with about 4 minutes left in the 3rd. But it worked. The defense once again proved it’s worth. Only gave up 21 points to the highest scoring team in the league. Only 7 in the second half. But they’re overrated, right?

Other takeaways: I had legitimate fits of PTSD when Julio Jones made that crazy catch. Working on four Super Bowls in a row where the other team pulls some absurd, otherworldly catch out of the deep recesses of their asses. This would have been easier to live with since it was a Hall of Fame receiver, not some nobody. But then something happened. Finally, finally, we got one. Julian Edelman made the luckiest, least repeatable, most nonsensical catch ever. Everyone in the stadium knew it was over then. Especially the Falcons. What a choke job. Epic choke. Legendary choke. No one has ever choked harder. They let the Warriors and Indians off the hook. Aggressive, disruptive defense became soft. Matty Ice, league MVP, with some of the most boneheaded plays in Super Bowl history. Hate to be mean to the dozens of diehard Atlanta sports fans, but there’s a reason Fox showed a graphic that said Boston had 36 (now 37) major championships and Atlanta had 1. Only a team from Atlanta could have lost this. The Bills couldn’t have blown this lead. This will haunt Samuel L. Jackson’s dreams until he dies. It’s just a loser sports town. Always has been, always will be. Falcons win 9 games, max, next year. If they even play. I wouldn’t be surprised if they just contracted the team.

I’m afraid to go to sleep because I don’t want to wake up tomorrow and find out tonight was a dream. If I ever find a woman foolish enough to want to have kids with me, I’ll tell them about this game at least once a week. Just unreal. Brady is God. Belichick is God. Kraft is God. Greatest night of my life.

Super Bowl Picks

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It’s finally here. The Super Bowl. The Big Game. It’s been a quiet two weeks from my perspective. Surprisingly there wasn’t a new Patriots cheating accusation. No one retiring after the game is played in his hometown. The coaches aren’t brothers. In fact, there’s been almost no storyline of any substance. This is like, the least hyped Super Bowl ever. There’s been nothing interesting. There’s been Atlanta vs. Boston music debates (hard to beat a city that produced Marky Mark). Roger Goodell was widely skewered for lying through his teeth about almost every question that came his way (What year is it?). People were so bored they just kind of talked about the fact that Julio Jones is good (Ya think?). There was no scandal, no incendiary talking points. There was almost too much actual football talk. Every possible scenario was discussed on NFL Live. I’m almost convinced at this point that the Pats are running a trick play for guard Joe Thuney. I’m getting cabin fever waiting for this game.

But that didn’t stop the Brian’s Den from getting fired up and ready to offer another pre-cognizant pick. The very few of you brave enough to read my entire Yu-Gi-Oh thesis were rewarded with my correct pick for the Pro Bowl. Since it’s technically a post-season game, we’re going to go ahead and count it as a win, which means I’m now 7-4. Or 6-1 after the Wildcard Round, which we established was merely a diversion. The Brian’s Den might as well be located on the side of a volcano it’s so hot. And don’t expect the roll to slow down any time soon. Especially when I can pad my stats with some prop bet wins.

New England Patriots vs. Atlanta Falcons (-3)

This is a game of opposites. Number one scoring offense vs. number one scoring defense. Haves vs. Have-nots. The Quarterback Demi-God (there is only one God) vs. Matt Ryan. Big, beefy LeGarrette Blount vs. the Lollipop Guild that plays defense for the Falcons. But it’s also a game between two similar teams. As different as they look, the two offenses share a lot in common. Multiple dynamic running backs, star receivers paired with multiple talented secondary options, (no, I don’t think Julian Edelman is as good as Julio Jones. But he’s a legitimate star number one receiver, especially in the playoffs. I guarantee he finishes with more receiving yards than Jones) and MVP caliber pocket passers. By now, you know all the matchups. Every key player’s life story. All the coaching tendencies: Belichick takes away the other team’s best option on offense (and defense- don’t expect a big game out of Vic Beasley) and the Falcons isolate mismatches while on offense better than anyone…except the Pats. Listen, I know I’m a homer, but I just don’t see it for the Falcons. This Patriots team is perfectly built to beat them. Big, strong offensive line with a big, strong running back vs. the smallest defense, like, ever. All the talk about how this Falcons offense should rightly be considered one of the best of this era. Well, the Patriots had the second best offense in the league, and, if you put stock in DVOA, the Pats are the best team in the league. The Patriots defense is good enough to get the few stops necessary to get the win. They’re going to score at will. Gary Blount will have a monster game. They’ll drain the clock and bludgeon them all game. This just feels like a vintage Pats win, anyway. Everyone still says the Pats defense is overrated even after they completely shut down the last greatest offense of all time they played. Everyone’s rooting against them. Matt Ryan will be named MVP. It all adds up to a vintage Pats blowout win. Plus, can you really see the Atlanta Falcons actually winning a Super Bowl, especially against the Patriots? Me neither.

(Full disclosure: I was in the store today stocking up on snacks for Sunday when a 2/$7 Doritos sign naturally caught my eye. Never one to turn down a deal, I knew I had to capitalize. I decided to go with two new (I think) flavors: some spicy flavor whose bag is written in Spanish for some reason and Toasted Corn, which from what I can tell is just plain Doritos with no dust (It’s such a bizarre concept I had to try it). I’m not naïve. I realize how risky it is trying new chip flavors during the Super Bowl, especially Doritos, which have such a pronounced gap between the good flavors and the bad (obviously nacho, cool ranch, and spicy nacho are the good. Everything else is the bad). I’m a creature of habit. I’m going to wear the same clothes I wore for the other two playoff games down to the underwear. I’m watching in the same room on the same couch. But now the snacks are different. If things go south for the Pats, I will take full responsibility for the loss. But that’s how committed I am to furthering my encyclopedic snack knowledge. It’s too important of a topic to throw a half-hearted top five at the end, so, if people want to be educated, I will commit a full post to the snacks you should be eating (hint: it shouldn’t be made by Lay’s.))

Pick: Patriots -3

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BONUS PROP BETS (lines from Bovada and OddsShark):

Luke Bryan anthem time 2:15- under -120

Coin Toss- Heads -105

First Touchdown- Malcolm Mitchell +2200

Lady Gaga’s first song- Born This Way +225

More passing yards- Matt Ryan -130

Number of times Trump is mentioned: 1.5- under -120

MVP- LeGarrette Blount +2000

Who Will MVP Thank First? Team/Teammates +200

What color liquid will be dumped? Blue +750

Over/Under: 59- Under