Who Dat 12th Man? Danny California’s 2014 NFL Divisional Round Playoff Predictions and Analysis

Last week’s Wild Card Playoff round was just as crazy and interesting to watch as promised. The first game between Indy and KC was a wild one, with (as I predicted, at least, the comeback part) the Colts coming roaring back from a 28 point deficit to humiliate a Chiefs team that put a hurting on Indianapolis (even without Jamaal Charles) in the first half. Andrew Luck is starting to cement himself as the most elite quarterback of his draft class, and perhaps is destined to be the NFL’s best someday soon. Following that game, New Orleans went into frigid Philadelphia and behind journeyman kicker Shayne Graham’s leg, the Saints found a few rounds of birdshot left and shot down the Eagles and their playoff hopes in the final seconds. On Sunday. we saw Andy Dalton post his best postseason QB rating yet out of three total games (at a 67.0 rating, yikes) and the Bengals get destroyed by San Diego despite the flurries and the fact that Philip Rivers is still under center. And finally, in what seems to be proof that cold weather isn’t as much as a factor as I thought, San Francisco went into the negative wind chill temps of Lambeau Field and pulled out a close win over Green Bay.

This weekend promises more balmy temperatures (even in Foxboro, Massachusetts) compared to last week, and also throws the teams with first round byes into play, making things a little bit more interesting.

Saturday, January 11th Games

New Orleans Saints @ Seattle Seahawks, 4:35 PM EST

According to popular consensus, most people though that the Saints would win last week. With Drew Brees at the helm and a better tested coaching staff and roster, New Orleans held the slight advantage over Philadelphia. Typically, Saints football is thought to be Brees throwing for four scores and the defense doing just enough to ensure that the don’t get outscored. Last Saturday though, perhaps everyone not nicknamed “The Wolfman” was surprised as Brees threw two pretty bad picks, and the defense and running game stepped up and came through to produce a win for the Saints. New Orleans also exorcised the demons of playing on the road in the playoffs, going into frigid Philly and shutting down rushing champion Lesean McCoy. It seemed though, that the Eagles lost the game more than the Saints won it, as some key mistakes and overt conservativity of Nick Foles doomed the Philly offense. If the Saints are going to advance to the NFC Championship game, they will have to keep their turnovers down (3 against the Eagles was almost too many), and have an aerial attack that was missing when these two teams met earlier this season in a Seattle blowout.

The Seahawks have been one of, if not the favorite to win the NFC since the start of the season. With a healthy Percy Harvin alongside weapons Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch leading the way on offense, Seattle plays punishing defense on the other side of the ball which paves the way to victory. By giving up the second fewest PPG on the season built on giving up the fewest offensive yards, Seattle’s defense is the reason this team wins, and is even capable of scoring by themselves by leading the league in INTs with 28, and forcing the fourth most fumbles with 15. Add in an offense that scores the second most points in the NFL per game and has the third most rushing yards on average, the ‘Hawks control the clock, make minimal mistakes on offense, and force mistakes on defense. There really isn’t a better all-around team in the league. Combine that with CenturyLink field and the “12th Man” that the crowd dubs themselves as, and it’s hard not to pick them to go all the way. And yet, in this divisional round, I am doing the unheard of and picking New Orleans. The Saints have already been embarrassed in Seattle, they know what it’s like and will deal better a second time around. They’ve gotten the road victory monkey off their back and their defense is coming together well as a unit. Last week they shut down McCoy to the point where he was completely irrelevant, which I believe they can replicate against Lynch. And, I think Drew Brees is due. To have him go on the road and throw three touchdowns is exactly what is needed for the team from the Big Easy, with Shayne Graham delivering again to send the Saints to the championship game. 27-24 New Orleans

Indianapolis Colts @ New England Patriots, 8:15 PM EST

Anybody who watched last week’s Wild Card game involving the Colts had to be astonished. I haven’t talked to anyone yet who turned it off at halftime thinking it was over, but I’m sure those piteous people exist somewhere. Andrew Luck led a seriously insane comeback against the playoff greenhorn Chiefs, and helped solidify his name as the best up and coming quarterback in the league. Unfortunately for Indy, their defense was exposed and they lost a few players to injuries which never helps in a playoff run. But, they still have the explosive TY Hilton and talented Luck to put up points on the scoreboard in a hurry. The Colts are riding momentum right now having now won four straight, and for a streaky team like theirs this is nothing but good news. The only serious problem shown on Saturday was the running game. Trent Richardson is turning out to be totally useless with Donald Brown completely taking over the ground attack. Although when a team is down by 28 they shouldn’t really be running the ball, it’s still a little concerning that Richardson is such a bust. Indianapolis also signed ex-Patriots receiver Deion Branch to plug the gap filled by Darrius “Todd Pinkston” Hayward-Bey. Whether this helps or not is yet to be seen, but it would be nice to see Branch burn his former team once or twice at the ripe age of 34.

Of course, the Patriots are used to these January battles with the Colts, this time without Peyton Manning at the helm of the opposition. That means that Tom Brady and Emperor Belicheat will have an evil game plan that is tried and true, and this time around should result in Brady receiving high fives from his teammates. The thing I don’t like about New England is that they’re rather untested during the regular season. Sure, they beat Denver and New Orleans, but most of the other games they played were really soft. The AFC East is a partial joke, as the Bills are a bad team, the Jets are a bad unpredictable team, and the Dolphins are an above-average mediocre team. Still, the Patriots managed going only 4-2 in their own division, losing their other two games to playoff teams Cincinnati and Carolina. The Patriots are also banged up on offense, missing all of their good pass catchers (Gronk), as Kenbrell Thompkins and Julian Edelman will need to come up big for Tom Brady. Stevan Ridley has also shown some promise on the ground, basically splitting carries with LeGarrette Blount, who between the two of them average 4.75 YPC. New England’s defense is underrated too , as their run defense is the only thing that is a problem, which against the Colts isn’t a real problem at all. If Andy Reid’s Alex Smith can throw for four TD’s against Indy, just imagine what Tom Brady and Bill Belichick can do. I don’t want the Patriots to win, but the combination of a good ground attack, solid pass defense, the home crowd in Foxboro,. and the intangibles that are the Brady and Belichick combo should pull it out against the young Luck(y) upstarts. 38-27 New England

Sunday, January 12th Games

San Francisco 49ers @ Carolina Panthers, 1:05 PM EST

The Niners managed to pull it out last week against Green Bay, I’ll give them that much. The only problem is, they played such a close game against the weakest division champion outside of Philadelphia. Colin Kaepernick overcame his mistakes by using his legs to torch the Packers defense, who you would have thought would have learned by now to keep a man spy on the QB. Michael Crabtree also came up huge for San Fran, grabbing 125 yards worth of passes, completely overshadowing Number One receiver Anquan Boldin in the Green Bay game. They also played good downfield coverage, not allowing receivers to run loose in the secondary and letting Aaron Rodgers beat them. This should be a low-scoring, grind-it-out defensive game, just like the 10-9 Carolina victory that these two teams played back in Week 10.

Of course, I don’t think anybody could have predicted that the Panthers would be here after starting the season 0-2. Looking back on their season though, it is almost amazing how nobody could have seen how good this Panthers team was. Their only bad loss was to a Buffalo Bills team on the road by one point. Their other losses were in New Orleans where everybody loses, and against the Seahawks and the Cardinals. They weren’t really gifted with an easy schedule either, as they had to play the West (Seattle, San Fran, and Arizona all had 11 or more wins), the Saints twice, and the Patriots and Dolphins. Going 4-3 in those games is a testament to the talent of Carolina, especially on the defensive side of the ball. They’ve given up the least points per game of any team, along with only an average of surrendering 80 yards a game on the ground. Although not a high-caliber offense, being able to grind out yards on the ground and having a multi-talented quarterback in Cam Newton give this Panthers squad enough to work with in terms of reaching pay dirt. All the Panthers have to do is shut down Kaepernick’s running game, and they’ll win this game. 17-12 Carolina

San Diego Chargers @ Denver Broncos, 4:40 PM EST

Well, the Chargers sure proved me wrong last week. I don’t know if it was more of the Bengals channeling the Bungles of old, or San Diego actually putting a charge into something, but that was one game that I got sorely wrong. They’re playing good football, Philip Rivers isn’t making mistakes, and the running game dominated last week. Except, again, you were playing the Bengals who turned the ball over in embarrassing fashion. Don’t expect that from Peyton Manning and the best offense in NFL history this week. Although the Chargers have played Denver pretty well this year, I don’t see this game being very close. It’s Manning time, and he’s going to reign. The good news is, since San Diego beat the Broncos once this year already, all those bothersome people who say “it’s so hard to beat the same team three times in the same year” can keep their traps shut. But come on, this is the Denver Broncos, and this is Peyton Manning, who will have Wes Welker back in addition to every single other offensive weapon this team has. Denver cruises. 38-24 Denver

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You Really Should Hate the Boston Red Sox as Much as the New York Yankees

Even if you are a casual fan of baseball, you know who the big bad enemy is. The Evil Empire. The Bronx Bombers. The Pinstripers. The New York Yankees. You probably hate most of the teams in your division, simply because they are the rivals of your favorite team. But those Yankees, every fan of the 31 other teams have it inbred in them to hate the NYY. From their entitled fans, to their jerk players, to the capitalistic way they run their team, ask any baseball fan to give you a reason to hate the Yanks and they’ll give you five.

But, I’m here to tell you, that your hate should be directed at another team that likes to market itself as the anti-Yankees. The Boston Red Sox. This anti-NYY sentiment is all a facade, because beneath it all, the Sox and their fans are just as bad as those in the Yankee ballpark. Below, is why.

1. Even their own good players do not return after a successful season

Perhaps you’ve seen the news. Talented BoSox outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury has recently signed with the New York Yankees. Which, is quite frankly, embarrassing. Ellsbury was a huge part of the 2013 Boston World Series run and victory. When healthy, he’s one of the best all around players in baseball. According to his contract, he would become a free agent after the 2013 season. Naturally, what a team does after having a World Series winning year is to retain the key players, and attempt to build their success from the past year in an attempt to repeat that success the next year. Now, nobody has been able to win back-to-back World Series since the 1999 and 2000 Yankees (the team to come closest was my Philadelphia Phillies in 08-09), but it is the idea that since you (should) have had the best team in baseball, that you want to keep that team at the same level of play to earn another title.

At least that is the general sentiment for teams outside of Miami. However, for some reason Jacoby thought his chances at winning would be best served in New York, rather than resigning with Boston. Which means, one of three things. Either A) Ellsbury thought the team was not good enough to keep winning, or B) Ellsbury simply wanted out of Boston, or C) Ellsbury only cared about money. Because he is not an old outfielder (still in his baseball prime at 30), and has two World Series rings, a Gold Glove, Silver Slugger, Comeback Player of the year,  and 3 time stolen base titles to his name, we can safely assume that not only is he a more than an above-average player, but he is going to get a large contract. Which, the Red Sox with their deep pockets, should be willing to pony up for especially with a classy player like Ellsbury who consistently brings home the bacon.

So is it the money that purely motivates Jacoby? I highly doubt it. A player of his caliber is going to demand a high salary no matter what team he is on, and well, he is a Mormon (insert stereotype here). Could it be option A? Maybe, I never thought this year’s BoSox team was actually very good in the first place, they simply got lucky. But to be honest, I am leaning toward option B, because this is very reminiscent of another Sox outfielder who left the team for the hated Evil Empire. Remember Johnny Damon? Back in 2005, following a playoff run that year and the miraculous 2004 WS the year before, Damon was one of the biggest fan favorites with his Christ-like beard and scrappy play. However, Boston refused to negotiate a deal with Damon that extended beyond three years, so he abandoned ship for a team that actually wanted him, in New York. In this case, Boston should have paid Damon what he wanted, to keep their team in contention and their fan base happy. Instead, their arbitrary front office decided to be stubborn and not negotiate, and thus JD ended up in the Big Apple. I can easily see the same thing happening with Ellsbury this time around.

If a player wants to stick with a team, they will stay with them even if it means taking a pay cut. Look at Cliff Lee when he resigned with the Phillies. He could have signed with the Yankees for more money, yet he wished to return to Philadelphia instead. I can tell you first hand that Philly is not exactly the best place to live or raise a family, nor the most friendly atmosphere to play in. But, he saw something there that was what he wanted, and chose to return. Ellsbury or Damon could have done the same thing, but either Boston was not hospitable enough, or the Sox did not try hard enough to retain them.

2. Their Organizational Crux is a Roider

It was revealed four years ago that David Ortiz tested positive for performance enhancing drugs in 2003, in a governmental report on an investigation of the sport of baseball. He cheated, plain and simple. You want to know who never tested positive on a drug test? Barry Bonds. Sure, he was embroiled in a scandal involving his personal trainer, but there’s no solid evidence that Bonds was a steroid user, just speculation. Yet, there’s solid evidence that Ortiz cheated, and he is somehow a hero, whereas Bonds is a villain. The truth is though, we probably would not be talking about this if Torii Hunter were two years younger and would have (should have) caught the grand slam ball that Ortiz hit in the ALCS.

3. The Red Sox are Hypocrites

The biggest critique and ammo that Boston had in their arsenal with their 2004 World Series win was that they beat the big bad Yankees, who spent like a liberal who just hiked taxes. This small Boston team embarrassed the giant Yanks, and it was awesome. And yet, between 2006 and 2011, the Red Sox had the second biggest payroll in the Majors, buying several players at high prices. Those players would be Victor Martinez, Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, John Lackey, Josh Beckett, Bobby Jenks, Erik Bedard, Daisuke Matsuzaka, and Adrian Beltre. Granted, they won the Series again in 2007 (without most of the players I just listed), but it doesn’t change the simple fact that the Sox contradicted themselves and became the team they hated the most.

4. Red Sox fans are also Patriots, Celtics, and Bruins fans

Do I really need to explain this?

5. Nobody outside of Boston wanted them to win the 2013 World Series, which they didn’t deserve anyway

I have family in Colorado that are Rockies fans. As such, you would think that they would harbor an apathetic sentiment toward an American League East Coast team, and a little bit more of a negative sentiment toward the midwest NL team in St Louis. However, for obvious reasons they were all extremely disappointed when Boston won the Series. Why? Because their team was ridiculously obnoxious, and won because the Cardinals lost the series, not because Boston won it. St Louis gave away Game 1 with their ace Adam Wainwright on the mound, with defensive and mental miscues all over. If the Cards could have taken just that one game, it would have forced at the very least a Game 7. Not to mention the fact that the Cardinals got more hits than the Red Sox overall, and despite the Game 1 debacle, made three fewer errors in the entire series than the Sox. And, take away the performance that Senor Steroid had, and Boston is dead in the water to ANY playoff National League team, even the hapless Pittsburgh Pirates. Their annoying team of beards, bellies, and crappy castoffs, was not loveable like they tried to advertise. It was exactly like the first adjective I used to describe their team. Annoying.

6. History aside, Fenway Park sucks

Remember our Ballpark Reviews from the summer? Those are based on ESPN’s ballpark tour in the Summer of ’06. In which, they reviewed Fenway Park where the Red Sox play. They gave it a decent review because of the atmosphere (not because of the merits of the stadium), but let us remember one thing about that atmosphere and how it’s changed. You are going to be surrounded by fans from Bah-stan who think the Red Sax are Gad’s Greatest Gift to Hamanity. And then, if it is September, there is sure to be someone wearing a Brady jersey just saying how the Greatriots are the best football team in the Unated States. When at Fenway, I just find the cheapest beer and pray that whoever is playing against the Sox slaughters them.

Are the Red Sox worse than the Yankees? Depends on the season, honestly. This year, because they were/are in the spotlight, they’re pretty much the worst. The year before, they stank, and it was awesome. The good thing about the Yankees is that they are consistently good and consistently stick to the same routine of creating funds and spending them on large profile players. It’s what they do. They don’t pretend to be anything else, and that’s why you hate them. What makes the Sox so bad is that they do pretend to be something else, when in reality they are not any better. That, and of course the five other reasons that I have listed above.

NFL Week 12 Picks

Bad bad week last week. 1-3-1. Overall: 28-26-1

Green Bay minus 4.5 v Minnesota: Tolzien has played well and Minnesota’s defense is horrendous. Pack win 34-20

Chicago plus 1.5 at St. Louis: Battle of backup QB’s. Bears run D will have to stop Zac Stacy but Clemens won’t be able to win this game for the Rams. Bears 23-17

New York Giants minus 2.5 v Dallas. Who knows with these matchups but the Giants have won a few in a row and the Cowboys don’t win big games especially not on the road. Giants 31-27

New England plus 2.5 v Denver. Brady won’t lose two primetime games in a row. This one is at home and Denver is a little banged up. Patriots 35-34

New York Jets plus 3.5 at Baltimore. The Jets are terrible on the road but hey, they got blown out last week, so I’m sure they’ll bounce back right? That’s how it has been all season. Jets win 23-14.

NFL Week 8 Picks

Last week: 3-2 Overall: 17-18

New England minus 6.5 v Miami. New England is at home coming off of a loss. Tannehill is shaky and Miami is in free fall. Pats 34-20

Cincinnati minus 6.5 v New York Jets. The Jets are coming off of an improbable home win vs the Pats but Cincy beat the Pats at home too. The defensive front of the Bengals is too strong for the Jets and Smith will be dared to throw. Cincy wins ugly 23-10.

Denver minus 12 v. Washington. I know Shanahan has ties in Denver but Peyton has ties to destroying bad defenses. Manning will ruin the Mike’s return to Denver because the skins can’t cover a cadaver with that secondary. Denver 45-31.

Minnesota plus 9 v. Green Bay. The Packers are still without Cobb and no Freeman for the Vikings could be a blessing. This seems like a silly pick but AP is embarrassed and the Vikings don’t want to ruin a primetime home game with another clunker performance like last week. Pack win 27-20.

Seattle minus 11 at St. Louis. Sam Bradford is not walking through the tunnel. Seattle will go on a feeding frenzy and win 38-14.

NFL Week 7 Picks

Last Week: 2-3 Overall: 14-16

Kansas City minus 6.5 v Houston: I’ve bet on Kansas City often and it has been very successful this season. Case Keenum will make his first career start and Case Keenum is not an NFL quarterback. Besides, Kansas City’s defense is one of the best in the NFL, especially at home. Chiefs win 24-10.

Dallas plus 3 at Philadelphia: Dallas is not the same on the road and Murray is out but the Eagles defense is terrible and Nick Foles loses more often than not when he doesn’t start against Tampa Bay.  Dallas 28-27

New England minus 3.5 at NY Jets: The Jets did not score a touchdown at home last week and their receiving score is still beleaguered by injuries. Gronk is back and that will serve at the very least as a decoy for Tom Brady and a group of wideouts who are progressing. Patriots 31-17

Pittsburgh minus 2 v Baltimore: This is a tough game to pick but Baltimore is not a good road team. The Steelers have some confidence from finally winning last week and the defense should be able to get to Flacco. Steelers win ugly 23-19.

New York Giants minus 3.5 v Minnesota: Freeman is making  his debut and the Giants have had 10 days to prepare for this home game. The giants finally remove the goose egg in the win column 27-13.

NFL Week 6 Picks

Last Week: 2-3 Overall Record: 12-13

Pittsburgh plus 1 at New York Jets: The Steelers are hungry coming off of a bye, but healthier too. Bell and Miller are back and Dick Lebeau is incredible against rookie quarterbacks. The spread is basically non existent because the Steelers are on the road but I don’t believe in Geno in two consecutive weeks. Steelers win 26-17

Seattle minus 13.5 v Tennessee: Seattle is at HOME. The Titans are starting Fitzpatrick. Seattle will be resting people in this game I think by the second half. Seahawks big 34-13.

New England minus 2 v New Orleans. Brees and company are coming off of an impressive win last week at Chicago while Brady and the bunch are reeling from a road loss at Cincy. If you know anything about the NFL week to week that screams for betting with the home team Patriots. Saints can’t run and the Patriots are proficient in pass defense and they have Tom Brady. Patriots win 31-27.

Washington plus 5.5 at Dallas: I like Washington off of the bye this week. Dallas looked good and lost to Denver but their defense was carved up and RGIII is still very capable. Washington covers but Cowboys win 38-34.

Houston minus 7.5 v St. Louis. I struggled a lot with this one but St. Louis won’t have an answer for the Texans D. Schaub will break his pick 6 streak and the Texans will do just enough to cover. 24-16.

NFL Week 4 Picks

Last Week’s Record: 3-2  Overall Record: 8-7

Over .500…not bad.

Pittsburgh minus 2.5 at Minnesota (London) Matt Cassel is seemingly an upgrade over Christian Ponder but he is turnover prone and, believe it or not, Minnesota’s problem is not offense. They have been scoring points, their defense is the issue. The Steelers problem is their offense and I think this week is a perfect matchup to change their fortunes a little bit. Steelers win 24-13

Houston plus 2.5 v. Seattle – Some regard Seattle as the best team in the league but Houston needs this game coming off of a road blowout in Baltimore and Seattle is a different team on the road. I like Houston 23-17

Washington minus 3.5 at Oakland – Never trust an 0-3 road favorite but I think Washington will finally have a satisfactory matchup for thieir awful defense. Raiders are unsure of Pryor’s concussion health and McFadden has been as entertaining as Run DMC’s current rap skills. Washington 27-19.

Denver minus 11 v Philly Denver is 3-0 against the spread so far and the line is high but Philly just can’t stop anyone. I would not be shocked if they cover however because they can score but Denver can so easily win by three scores against any opponent than even money says Denver covers again this week at altitude. Denver 45-28

Atlanta minus 2 v New England: Gronkowski is not expected to play and Wes Welker is still playing for Denver so the Patriots are weapon-challenged. Ridley has been awful and Amendola is also on the shelf. This is a primetime game which usually favors New England but Atlanta is tough at home, especially coming off of a loss, and with the Saints undefeated the Falcons cannot afford to lose this game. Atlanta wins 30-27.

Hernandez: A Lesson in Separating Athletic Ability and Celebrity Worship

The sickening obsession with celebrities in this country is both unfathomable and inconsistent. Unfathomable because these people do nothing to make the world a better a place and inconsistent because we assign different celebrities different attributes they should embody solely based on their occupation. For example, Reese Witherspoon should be a wholesome, pure person in “real life” because young teenage girls look up to her and enjoy her on-stage portrayals. And, Ray Lewis should be an inspiration to young boys aspiring to learn life lessons from their favorite football players  because of his religious overtones and humble beginnings. NO. Why? These people are entertainers at best, pawns in a celebrity crazed culture at worst. Your ability to deliver bone rattling hits to get our attention doesn’t necessitate the country listening to your stories of inspiration and motivational speaking. The recent Aaron Hernandez saga has given a unique perspective on an absurd issue in American sports culture.

The evidence is mounting against the former New England Patriots tight end. But, as we saw in the Zimmerman case, there is no point in surmising about the verdict until the case is resolved. So, for the purposes of this discussion we should analyze what his alleged involvement has done to tarnish his ascribed position as a role model. We knew next to nothing about him, his personal life, his community involvement, and so on which is perfectly fine. However, upon learning of the murder investigation, the same tale was told of how we should protect our kids from learning of actions like these and hold our athletes accountable to be better role models. That approach is so asinine. The entire perspective we should gain is simple. Athletes and celebrities are the worst role models you can imagine because we know their public identity only due to the fact that they play a sport or sing a song or act in a movie. That is meaningless. Why do we want our kids to want to do that later in their lives? They have a lot of money as a result of their jobs, so that forces us to take interest in their personal lives, religious and political views, or scorn them for going out to too many clubs? Come on. What kind of puritanesque double standard have we created?

Aaron Hernandez is a shady character. He has made judgments about who he associates with and how he handles situations in a different way than most of us would. He also catches a ball for living which is also incredibly different than most of us. Ray Lewis probably murdered or caused the death of another man a decade ago, but would that violent behavior truly surprise you from a man who made his fortune by tackling and pummeling opponents in a testosterone driven vortex of alpha males? I mean, this is ridiculous. I don’t care what happens to Hernandez and wouldn’t have a problem if he were still on the Patriots roster because it makes no logical difference. We like to watch him play football. We don’t like to watch him stand for a murder trail. So draw the line where it should be drawn.

The broader obsession with celebrity athletes that this case manifested yet again is our fault. It is easy to make the assertion that the problem is that these young, rich, and arrogant athletes are making poor judgments and creating a bad example for our kids. But, that conveniently puts the onus on them instead of us. The bad example we are setting for our kids is perpetuating the culture that allows and encourages interest in the lives of these people, these “heroes”. Because they can play a game with a ball? Because they can have their voices synthesized on auto-tune? Because they look pretty on stage? Not only should we not try to emulate these people, we should know how to separate the entertainment value they provide from who they are as people because the latter part does not matter and it really can’t be known because their persona is what we like not them. If you followed the Hernandez case and said that you are disappointed in him for setting a bad example for your kids than your kids have already been irreparably damaged by being taught to think that someone like Hernandez means anything at all in his or her life. It’s preposterous but indicative of the growing celebrity worship epidemic sweeping through American culture which has to be squashed by reason and logic which beg for us NOT TO CARE!