(Note from the editor: Over the past season and a half, SBJ has put money in your pockets. His numbers speak for themselves. He has, however, done it behind a veil of mystery. This series has opened the door to the inner mind of SBJ, who he is football-wise and why he is that way. It is the endearing story of fandom lost, but found yet again. Be sure you catch up with the series if you haven’t here in Part I and here in Part II. Then, go make yourself some money.)
Mandeville, Louisiana was now home number four in just under my tenth year of existence. Of all the sociological transitions we made over those early years this would by far be the hardest to adjust to academically.
I can still remember the knot in my stomach growing tighter like a constrictor, once I could hear the high pitched squeal of the school bus brakes grinding to a depressing halt at the corner of my street.
I initially cried a lot those first few months in Louisiana. The emotional attachment to my environment hadn’t developed in the two prior moves leaving Cape Cod and Chicago. This one had a goodbye party with local friends, and it’s in those moments when you realize what you are leaving behind and you think, “Wow, I have to do this all over again and all alone.” Not “alone”, as if to imply I didn’t have a strong family supporting me through every place we lived, but in the academic sense.
You’re Forrest Gump getting on the bus as a kid, and judged as if you carry a plague. You slowly wander aimlessly through the cafeteria with your lunch tray hoping to find a peaceful seat where being mocked and ridiculed isn’t at it’s peak potential.
Mandeville Middle School was a terrifying experience at the beginning. I never felt so alone and lost. This was my first time having to switch buildings to get to some of my classrooms, and that rattled me on the first day. I didn’t know where I was going. I was the last one entering every single class that day late and stuck with which ever desks were still available.
I tested so poorly on the enrollment exam that I was initially placed in the lowest reading comprehension and mathematics classes. It wasn’t for another two months that my teacher Mrs. Shomaker realized my initial poor test scores were not due to a lack of intellect, but actually the result of a socially shell-shocked ten year old boy just trying to fit in, and feeling like he was failing miserably.
The first great memory I had during those tough first months was the Monday Nighter at The Superdome on November 19th 1984. My father, mother, brother, and myself all went to that game. This was my first NFL regular season game I ever went to…the 6-6 New Orleans Saints hosting the 6-6 Pittsburgh Steelers. Yup, the day after my tenth birthday the Steelers were coming to town to help boast my spirits once again. I broke out the Bradshaw jersey and helmet, obviously.
The game had seven turnovers, nine sacks, and the combined QB Rating for both starters was 133.7. Scott Campbell came in relief and threw a touchdown on nine passes and had a QB Rating only a sixth of a tenth of a point less than both of them combined. So, it wasn’t a barn burner to say the least.
The highlight of the entire night for me was Louis Lipps seventy six- yard punt return in the first half. That, and the fact that I spotted Terry Bradshaw on the sidelines doing a report for a local New Orleans sports show.
The Saints held on to a 27-24 win and the effect it had on that Louisiana fan base was a surreal experience. After the game as the entire elated arena poured out into the New Orleans streets, it was as if we were getting our first taste of Mardi Gras in the middle of November.
You would have felt they just won the Super Bowl. My father thought it was a bit much, but he enjoyed seeing what would seem like such an insignificant triumph for a storied fan base like Pittsburgh could mean the world to a starving fan base as New Orleans was at that point of their franchise’s history.
It was an absolute zoo trying to get out of that parking lot. A Monday night Primetime win, in front of a nationally televised audience, against a franchise as highly praised and respected as we all know Pittsburgh to be. You couldn’t blame them. We all enjoyed the chaotic joy they had held bottled up for so longer finally get released. It was great to be there in person to see them finally get to have their day, even though I was rooting for Bradshaw’s team.
TO BE CONTINUED IN NEXT WEEKS RUNDOWN WITH SBJ
BRONCOS +1.5 @ RAIDERS -1.5
D. BOOKER @ OAK
L. MURRAY vs. DEN
B. McMANUS @ OAK
EMOTIONAL RED FLAG ALERT: 4
HOUSE FAVORITE SPECIAL(HFS)
PICK: RAIDERS -1.5 & UNDER 43.5
JUMP SHIP AUDIBLE:
House Special regardless. Adjust accordingly. If you want the closing House Dog Side and Total Points with a Public Favorite Moneyline on the closing line favorite between both of these teams, have at it.
RAIDERS -125 with the people, with a House Side BRONCOS +1.5 is fine by me. So is a taking a Public Moneyline BRONCOS +105 as long as the People are with the RAIDERS -1.5 side action, which I don’t see happening. Just worry about the RAIDERS -1.5 staying in The House. That’s the probable play.
BILLS +7(-120) @ SEAHAWKS -7(EVEN)
TE: J. GRAHAM vs. BUF
D: SEAHAWKS vs. BUF
EMOTIONAL RED FLAG ALERT: 10
HOUSE FAVORITE PEOPLES SPECIAL (HFPS)
PICK: SEAHAWKS -7(EVEN) & OVER 43.5(-105)
JUMP SHIP AUDIBLE:
If we have a Primetime Combo starting with a SNF Public Total Points win, we know we take the probable House Under. If the public stays on this UNDER 43.5(-115), then we take the House OVER 43.5(-105). Golden Rule in full effect tonight with respect to both Side and Total Points. It’s Seattle Moneyline regardless, though.
Goodnight, and good luck.