Sunday, September 22, 2019

My Dad and Sports

By Joe Parello (@HerewegoJoe)

My dad passed away Thursday night.

We all grieve in different ways, and I think did all the usual things, but honestly, after a few hours, I just wanted to zone out and watch a bad football game.

Luckily, the Jags and Titans obliged me, but the game also reminded of all the sports memories I had with my father.

I remembered walking two miles from our parking spot to Super Bowl XXIX in Miami, and making him buy me an Arepa from a guy in a cart along the way. I remembered walking across a bridge in Pittsburgh with him when I was in 3rd grade, after we watched the Steelers win the AFC Championship, singing with a bunch of drunk dudes that the Steelers were finally going back to the Super Bowl.

I also remembered that I had this site, and that writing, though not my profession anymore, has always been cathartic. So, here we go...

My Dad was the Best/Worst Sports Fan

Maybe it's because he grew up poor in the Homewood neighborhood of Pittsburgh, but my dad never really mentioned his youth sports heroes, and never took pro sports particularly seriously.

He was 19 when Bill Mazeroski homered in the bottom of the 9th to win the Pirates the World Series against the Yankees, but he never even mentioned to me if he watched or listened to the game, though he did have memories of my grandmother screaming when Bruno Sammartino was in trouble against some evil, non-Italian, wrestler.

Still, he would always talk fondly about the 1970s Steelers teams from his 30s, most notably his favorite players, Mel Blount and Donnie Shell, the latter of which he still couldn't believe wasn't in the Hall of Fame.

He also thought the Steelers should have permanently benched Terry Bradshaw for Joe Gilliam, so he definitely had some Hot Sports Takes™ in his day.

My dad is the reason I root for the Steelers. I was born in Pittsburgh, but we moved to South Florida when I was still a baby. I remember the Steel City as a tough, gritty, smoggy place, where we would go to visit my grandparents, and my dad would occasionally take me to see the Steelers or the Pirates play in the old Three Rivers Stadium, or the Penguins skate in the old Civic Center.

The city made me think of my parents as kids, and the toughness they had to have as the son and daughter of immigrants to make it in this country the way they did. I always liked that identity, though it was never really mine, so I pasted it onto Pittsburgh's pro sports teams.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

If MIAA Stars Entered the NFL Draft: 2019 Edition

Everett's Mike Sainristil has all the tools to be the top pick in our mock draft.
By Joe Parello (@HerewegoJoe)

We may have (mostly) shut down operations here at SuiteSports, but dammit, I'm not gonna end this school year without putting out our fun, but mostly pointless blog about where the best players in the MIAA would be selected, were they available in this week's NFL Draft.

If you need to get caught up, you can find our 2017 MIAA/NFL Draft here, and our 2018 edition here.

A reminder of the rules for players being taken in our MIAA/NFL Draft:

1. The player must be a senior. I know college juniors (and redshirt sophomores) can be taken in the real NFL Draft, but that's not how our draft works.

2. The player can be headed to prep school next year. Since we don't include ISL or other Prep School players in our draft, guys who are finishing up their MIAA careers and graduating from an MIAA school get the chance to be drafted.

Friday, February 1, 2019

Super Bowl LIII Preview: A Rematch, Young vs. Old, Two Lucky Teams and Gambling!

By Jeremy Conlin (@jeremy_conlin) and Joe Parello (@HerewegoJoe)

It's Super Bowl week, and we have some thoughts...


This year's Super Bowl will be 17 years to the day since the Patriots at Rams first met in the Super Bowl - the first Brady/Belichick championship, when the Patriots put themselves on the map with what was, and still is, the biggest upset in the history of the Super Bowl.

This game can't quite be considered a rematch, given that the only holdovers from that game are Brady, Belichick, and New England offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia. That's not exactly surprising, considering back in 2002, the No. 1 movie in the US Box Office was a movie starring a man that hasn't been the governor of California for eight years. It's been a while.

Furthermore, one of the teams has moved cities after spending the overwhelming majority of the last decade and a half as one of the cellar dwellers of its conference, while the other team went from the plucky underdog that happened to almost accidentally win a Super Bowl, to a team that everyone south and west of 42N73W openly despises. Like I said, it's been a while.

All that being said, it is the Rams against the Patriots, and you're going to see about 76 hours of coverage about the fact that these two franchises played against each other 17 years ago. At the very least, this game could serve as a bookend to the start of this Patriots' dynasty. Yes, Tom Brady said in an interview that there's zero chance that this will be his last game, but can't you imagine a scenario where the Patriots win this game 40-17 and Tom Brady rides off into the sunset? At the very least, it's possible.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

NFL Conference Championship Primer (With Picks): Top Seeds Advance

Patrick Mahomes has enjoyed a magical first year starting for Kansas City, but come on. He isn't gonna beat Tom Freakin' Brady in the AFC Championship Game, is he?... Is he?
By Jeremy Conlin (@jeremy_conlin) and Joe Parello (@HerewegoJoe)

Well, last weekend went according to script.

All four home teams won. Three of them covered. Two of them covered comfortably.

Joe went 4-0 straight up, 3-1 against the spread (picking the Colts to cover against Kansas City). Jeremy went 3-1 straight up (missing that same KC-Indy game), 2-2 against the spread (also missing on New Orleans), bringing our records for this postseason to 5-3 (5-3) for Jeremy and 5-3 (7-1) for Joe.

[It remains incredibly perplexing that Joe went 1-3 straight up in the Wild Card round but somehow went 4-0 against the spread.]

These four teams advancing to this round seems appropriate. It really seems like these four teams were just better than everyone else this year, kind of like that year where all four No. 1 seeds advanced to the Final Four of the NCAA Tournament (the Derrick Rose on Memphis, Tyler Hansbrough on North Carolina, Kevin Love on UCLA, Mario Chalmers & Co. on Kansas year). I suppose you can make an argument that Chicago and the Chargers were in that conversation as well, but based on how those teams played in the playoffs, probably not.

Both of the games this weekend are rematches. In the AFC, this week's road team won the first matchup, but they won it at home. In the NFC, this week's home team won the first tilt, and they're at home here again (in large part because of that win). Both games represent the old vs. the new(ish).

The Saints and Patriots represent The Old Guard of their respective conferences - coaches that have been with the organization for over a decade; former Super Bowl champions; future Hall of Fame quarterbacks that attended college in a different century. The Chiefs and Rams are the new. Young, vibrant quarterbacks with upside to potentially match or exceed the ability of their older counterparts; teams that haven't reached the Super Bowl in decades; teams itching to make a name for themselves.

Let's not waste any more time.

Los Angeles Rams at New Orleans (3:05 p.m. Sunday, FOX)

Opening Line: Saints by 3.5
Current Line: Saints by 3

By The Numbers:

Los Angeles:
Record: 13-3 Overall, 6-2 Road; 7-7-2 Against the Spread, 4-4 Road
Average Score: 32.9 (2nd) - 24.0 (20th)
Average Scoring Margin: +8.9 (3rd); 10.9 "Expected" Wins
DVOA: +24.6% Offense (1st), +0.8% Defense (18th), -0.2% Special Teams (17th); +23.7% Overall (2nd)

New Orleans: 
Record: 13-3 Overall, 6-2 Home; 10-6 Against the Spread, 4-4 Home
Average Score: 31.5 (3rd) - 22.1 (14th)
Average Scoring Margin: +9.4 (1st); 11.2 "Expected" Wins
DVOA: +15.9% Offense (4th), -3.1% Defense (11th), +1.7% Special Teams (9th); +20.7% Overall (4th)

Friday, January 11, 2019

NFL Divisional Weekend Primer (With Picks): The Favorites Arrive

Is this the year Philip Rivers and the Chargers finally break through to the Super Bowl? And, so, like, are all the people in San Diego rooting for them?
By Jeremy Conlin (@jeremy_conlin) and Joe Parello (@HerewegoJoe)

In the divisional weekend, we saw a surprise three road teams win, and almost saw a road sweep. In fact, all four road teams covered the spread (the Cowboys closed favored by two and a half). Four especially close games benefited those of us who bet on underdogs, which was both of us. Joe went just 1-3 straight up (correctly picking Indianapolis), but somehow ended up 4-0 against the spread. Jeremy was 2-2 straight up (hitting both AFC games, missing both NFC games), and went 3-1 against the spread (only Chicago let him down).

This season really saw the cream rise to the top, however, so we're probably in store for a few more lopsided games this weekend. Last week's biggest line was Chicago favored by six; both NFC games opened with higher lines, and both AFC lines are larger than any of the other lines from last weekend.

As with last weekend, we'll dive into the numbers for each team, focus on a few key players and statistical trends, and picking each game by score, which will also serve as our picks against the spread. Let's get to it.