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Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Zay Jones (7) celebrates after scoring a game winning touchdown against the Baltimore Ravens during overtime in an NFL football game, Monday, Sept. 13, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/David Becker)

Brothers best

I am so mad at ESPN.

No, this is not about not making it work with Dan Le Batard, the most talented voice in sports today.This is not about the overhaul of the "First Take" show, because to have an opinion on "First Take," I would first have to watch "First Take."

This is not about the lunacy of not giving "Daily Wager" a permanent afternoon slot so those of us who enjoy/need their views.

Heck, this is not about underusing Marty and McGee, overusing David Pollack, or even the absurdity of the whole Rachel Nichols-Maria Taylor fiasco.  

No, I'm hopping mad this morning because I'm dead tired, because Peyton and Eli Manning — and their cast of Hall of Fame friends — made a meaningless, and for the most part sloppy, football game between two NFL teams I have no feelings about must-watch TV.

Gang, if you did not see it, well, you missed out. It was over-the-top likable, a truly underrated Q-factor for talking heads and personalities, and the chemistry and charisma from the Manning brothers was evident. And excellent.

It bounced between a master class in quarterbacking, as you would expect, to a perfect look inside the quips and cutting up between brothers as they watched America's pastime.

Yes, technically it needed a lot of work. They talked over each other too much. They talked going into commercials too often. They over-analyzed the game action too frequently, especially early on.

But the exchanges, the interaction and the intelligence were unlike anything we've ever seen. Pick a good football analyst like Dan Orlovsky, and he's fine in 3-minute bits. Pick a great analyst like Jon Gruden or John Madden back in the day, and they would give you three-plus memorable one-liners.

Peyton and Eli were three hours of entertainment that not only added to the game, they were the main entertainment, especially in a very slow first three quarters.

Want the ultimate testament — as a fan and as a goal of the folks running a broadcast — of the absolute home run A+ I thought the debut effort of Peyton and Eli was?

I watched every minute of a Monday night Ravens-Raiders game that went to overtime and way past my bedtime.

Every minute. I can't recall the last non-Super Bowl football game at any level I watched every minute of on TV.


 

NFL Power Poll

It's Tuesday. You know how we roll.

But after Week 1 of the season, we have made it a tradition to overreact to the first weekend of games and performances. I say we continue that performance. Deal? Deal.

Like Bambi on the Main Stage, let's get to the poll.

1. Manning brothers. They won the NFL weekend. Overreaction: They will have the main NFL broadcast, with a point guard, by Week 1 of 2022. That is, if they want it.

2. Tampa Bay. Yes, it was a comeback win, and yes, Dak threw for something like 4,200 yards, but the Bucs believe. And they stop the run. Overreaction: Tom Brady leads the Bucs to the Super Bowl title. Again. In 2027.

3. Kansas City. Someone asked yesterday if the Chiefs won Sunday or if the Browns lost. I think there can be some of each, if you allow me a moment of clarity. I do believe this: The Chiefs are never out of a game, and considering the top-end talent, no elite team is more susceptible to an injury to a playmaker than K.C. Overreaction: Tyreek Hill smashes the single-season record and tops 2,000 yards in receiving. Silly ''on-pace-to'' stat alert: At this pace, Hill will finish with 3,349 receiving yards. That would be a record.

4. Los Angeles. This will be a familiar refrain this season, because of my general interest and intrigue on team building. And I love the way the Rams have trusted themselves to coach up, find hidden contributors and invert the bell curve of the salary cap. Look at the Rams roster. They have elite, high-dollar players at the game's three most important positions: QB, CB1 and pass rusher. From there they make it work accordingly. Yes, there is a finite window in which to win, but at least there is a window. Overreaction: Matt Stafford wins the MVP. (Seriously, it could be worth a sprinkle, Vader, because we know how the voting members get tired of making the easy — and often right — choice of a Rodgers, Mahomes or even Brady. Stafford in new digs with a 11-plus-win team could make for a story folks gravitate toward.)

5. Both West divisions. Egad, that's an 8-and-bagel start, right. Rams cruised; 49ers rolled; Seahawks won; Cardinals crushed in the NFC. Raiders survived; Chiefs rallied; Chargers prevailed; Broncos rumbled in the AFC. Overreaction: Seven teams who call the West home will make the playoffs, including all three NFC wildcards.

Powerless

28. Chicago. Hey, the NFC North is the opposite of the NFC West. Overreaction: Matt Nagy is the first coach to be fired this season.

29. Green Bay. Wowser, that was a stink bomb, friends. On every level. At every spot. Overreaction: Aaron Rodgers will get traded to the Washington Football Team before Columbus Day.

30. Tennessee. When you make Kyler Murray look like a cross between Mike Vick and Drew Brees, well, your defensive front has questions. When you make Chandler Jones look like a cross between Reggie White and LT, then your offensive fronts have problems. When you have problems on both lines, you have major problems. Period. Overreaction: Chandler Jones will be Defensive Player of the Year. Silly ''on-pace-to'' stat alert: At this pace, Jones will finish with 85 sacks this season. That would be a record. (Side questions: First, how dominant was Jones? He played on 20 Titans pass plays and had five sacks and four QB pressures. So 45% of the time he was in the game, he hit Ryan Tannehill legally. Second, how about Chandler Jones' better-than-you-know Hall of Fame credentials with more than 100 career sacks?)  

31. Jacksonville. OK, Jags, there have not been this many dejected Eliminator fans since Dale didn't come out of turn 4 at Daytona. (What, too soon? It's been two decades, people.) Overreaction: Trevor Lawrence demands a trade when Urban Meyer demands he gets a haircut to improve team unity.

32. Atlanta. That was a disaster. Overreaction. Falcons get the No. 1 pick, and in typical Falcons fashion it's a year too late and they are forced to decide between Spencer Rattler (or, as his older friends call him, Jeff George 2.0) and the injury-prone Oregon defensive end that should be playing at LSU.
 

 

Let's Ryder

Yes, I'm stoked for the Ryder Cup. It makes my top 10 list of sporting events in the years it is held.

There's not much I do not love about it, and if you play golf and get a chance to be part of a team event of similar style, it's a ton of fun.

The decision-making of the roster is certainly not unique across sports, but for golf, it's a situation all its own. Normally the decisions about golf range from club selection to reading the wind or the breaks on the greens.

The Ryder Cup offers way more, and in a society that loves the transactions as much as the action, those questions add to the intrigue. Who plays with whom? Who matches up against whom? Those questions will wait another couple of weeks.

One that may not is replacing an injured player on the roster. Because that could very well be the case if Brooks Koepka is unable to go because of his chronic wrist issues.

If he can't, then captain Steve Stricker will have a choice. Is it time for a Billy Horschel? Does he call Captain America, Patrick Reed?

Or, would it be an old-school wrestling scene and coming out of the clubhouse with some blaring walk-up music is Phil Mickelson in those mirrored 1980s sunglasses he's embraced?

(Side question: What would be Phil's walk-up music? Does he go old-school cheesy with Phil Collins' "In the Air Tonight" or try for the clever vibe with "Poncho and Lefty" from Merle and Willie? Thoughts?)

 

This and that

— Bracket alert. The first round of voting on the 5-at-10 Bracket Challenge is up and running. Go vote, and yes, Reggie is going to be tough to beat, but like Lloyd Christmas pondered, "So you're saying there's a chance."

— Here's today's A2 column. And yes, looks like we may have some renewed additions to the hate mail come Friday.

— You know the rules. Here's Paschall on UT looking to build on Saturday's loss. Side note: I get that sentiment. I truly do, and what else can you say after the fact? But as someone who follows UT and generally cheers for UT, I also am not afraid to wonder, "When can the Vols start building on some close wins rather than tough losses?"

— You know the rules, part II. Here's Hargis on the bizarre and disappointing story of Chris Jones quitting on the South Pittsburg High School football team.

— It's hard to remember a time I was this excited about a feature film. I was never big into the Marvel universe. The old-school days of being a kid don't count. But for ''Many Saints of Newark" I'm slap giddy.

— Change is everywhere. "Wheel of Fortune" started Season No. 39 Monday and made some tweaks, including most notably giving the final spin to the contestant in control of the wheel at the time. Of course there are going to be bellyachers. That happens with all change.

— Want some gambling skinny? Of course you do. First, when you sprinkle, sometimes you sing. And be bold. Explore the various online options out there because some offer different deals. Like last night. DraftKings had a money-back same game parlay offer for Week 1, up to $25. And when you take advantage of that, and let's spitball somewhat rhetorically, and put $25 on Darren Waller anytime TD, Raiders plus-3.5, Lamar Jackson under-244.5 passing yards and Ravens first to 20 at +1300, well, that turns a mediocre weekend around rather quickly. But, big picture, heading into Monday's game, according to GeoComply Solutions, more than 58 million online sports betting transactions were placed from Thursday through Sunday. That's up 126% from the same time frame of last season.  

— You don't see this every day. The first base ump was drilled in the cheek with an errant throw by the Cardinals shortstop Monday night against the Mets. Wow. As for unwritten payback, Brian McCann has instructed the home plate ump to bean the Cardinals catcher in the back in the second inning. Stay tuned.

 

Today's questions

True or false, it's Tuesday. True or false, you made an online NFL wager in Week 1.

True or false, "Wheel of Fortune" has a claim to being the greatest game show ever.

True or false, you watched the Manning Bros., and if you did you loved it.

True or false, Brooks Koepka will be in this Ryder Cup. If you answered false, true or false, Steve Stricker should replace him with Phil Mickelson.

Wow, this got wordy.

So let's be quick to finish. On this day in 1756, Aaron Burr died. Burr, you may recall, shot and killed Alexander Hamilton in arguably the most famous duel in American history. Rushmore of ''duel,'' and be creative.

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