#CheddarBay Champ Week.

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Picks + essays are due Sunday at 2pm.

Hi everybody!  No transcription issues this week.  Above are the lines and if I’m reading this correctly it goes:

  1. Pats +5.5 at Broncos
  2. Niners +3.5 at Seahawks.

Brady vs. Manning.  Carroll vs. Harbaugh.

Didn’t see that coming.  Wait.  HOW DID WE NOT SEE THAT COMING??  Only ChuckKoz went with the Pats/Broncos/Niners/Seahawks slate.. well done.

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And here’s the Taiwanese animation previews.

Links to English versions are in upper left of embeds.  I like the Chinese versions better.

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About last week..

I apologize again for the mistake made here with my posting incorrect lines.  I wish very to thank CapGG and Zara for jumping in and adjudicating for us.  Really.  I want to say that within 30 minutes of the flag being raised those two huddled and reached consensus on reasonable solution.  Ok enough on that, let’s put it behind us, I know that what I want to do.

Speaking of moving on, it looks like the Browns have moved into the balding goatee portion of their coaching search.

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I say Banner just says fuck it and hires Hank Schrader.

The shrinking Browns fandom map.

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On Tom Reed’s Battleground Ohio series…

Just in case you missed, Kanick was all over that story a year ago.  Here’s the lede of my post last January.

O meet it is and passing sweet,
To live in peace with others,
But sweeter still and far more meet,
To die in war for brothers.

Wilfred Owen‘s quatrain evaporates into the ether over most of Ohio.

We’re still getting our arms around that Facebook NFL Team Likes by county map and the alarming/saddening encroachment of Steeler yellow throughout Ohio.  What to make of it?

Yeah, pretty much any chance I get to incorporate Wilfred Owen into this blog I’m taking it.

.

Alrighty, just two games.  Home stretch.  Let’s make Frowns earn it.

  • ChuckKoz

    I know we submitted our answers anonymously, but I want to be clear that I supported Kanick’s picks counting. He puts in a ton of work voluntarily, so seems he is worthy of the exception. I guess it’s a good thing for everyone that it’s a moot point
    Additionally, I thought I would give my opinion as to the overall playoff scoring, since there’s been some discussion on that by others. I fully support the set up as it is, but do you think there could be a $500 prize next year for the winner of the regular season. (Reduce the amount given to weekly winners, to just be the equivalent of your entry fee. Meaning a weekly winner would only get $100 as opposed to the hundred $190 awarded this season to weekly winners

    • GRRustlers

      Double likes. Love the idea of a regular season prize and a weekly winner basically getting their entry fee back.

    • actovegin1armstrong

      Guess I messed up the anonymous part. oooops
      CK, I wonder about the winning the regular season thing. It is not very common for the team with the best regular season record to win the Stuporbowl, so perhaps we should take that into consideration. Our regular season champ should get a hardy handshake and a shot of tequila.

    • i surely appreciate the support.

      Having been in the admin’s shoes I appreciate how hard it is to enforce rules on your buds. But the rules are there to protect all and I’m happy to abide by them. (Cripes, I know I porked thatsfine on a winning essay and probably more than that… so of course I should be held to the same standards.)

      Now then if there was an anonymous poll i’d say let’s just keep it anonymous lest anyone should be inadvertently outed.

      A smallish regular season honorarium seems a good idea to me too.

      • ChuckKoz

        maybe just $100 for season winner. or nothing. if it ain’t broke, no need to fix it.

        now i just need to get lucky in the super bowl and have the top 2 finishers pick the opposite of me and i am in the cheddar heaven.

    • Capitalgg

      I too think the regular season winner should get something. It’s hard to be consistently good for 17 weeks. My proposal is that we add an extra “week” in the weekly pool and reserve that for the season payout. So instead of dividing the weekly pool by 9 or whatever, divide it by 10. And maybe one of these years I can get a weekly prize all to myself. Either that or I’ll share it with 7 other 5 or 7 other people next year.

      • ChuckKoz

        i agree. i mentioned a big number like $500, but really a weekly prize total is the way to go.

        • I would be OK with a $100 or $200 prize for regular season winner, but I don’t love it. Weekly prizes serve the distinct purpose of keeping folks in the game when they might be otherwise inclined to quit in a bad year. A regular season champ prize serves no such purpose, and diminishes the import of the playoffs. In real football, a top seed that loses in the first round of the playoffs doesn’t get any consolation prize. Same should be with reality football. Finishing the regular season at the top is a prize in itself, because it means that you can win the contest even if someone else finishes with the exact same playoff record as you, which is not an insignificant possibility with only 12-14 playoff games in any given year, and not at all an insignificant advantage to have.

    • Like for comments re: Kanick. Would dislike if DISQUS would let me, for comment re: regular season winner prize, as explained below (or above).

  • actovegin1armstrong

    Wes Welker is a cheap shot punkass!

  • Capitalgg

    Officially, Jim Kanicki’s entry for Championship Sunday will not be accepted door to a violation of the deadline rule. Thank you everyone for your input in allowing us a fairly quick resolution to this issue.

    • I have to say that I highly respect Cap/Zara’s willingness to make a tough call in order to preserve the rules integrity and protect the other players’ interests. While a look at the standings says the whole thing was moot, had the Pats covered it’d be a very different looking standings and I’d definitely be a factor (see pic).

  • (Welp, here’s what I wrote:)

    Seahawks -3.5 v Niners;
    **Pats +5.5 at Broncos.

    My folks live in Denver and cc’d me on an internal distribution email:

    The donkey’s cover 5 1/2 in first half. Homey’s go crazy.
    tip: no knives in the parking area!!
    Mike knows New England better than I do .. . . what do you think Mike ???

    (they love to call the broncos the donkeys out there.)

    Here’s what I wrote back to them:

    Every time the Brady/Belichick pats should win, they lose; when they should lose, they win. They do better as an underdog but it’s been awhile since they have been.

    2001 win outright over steelers -10 and rams -14;
    2003 no cover vs panthers +7;
    2004 no cover vs eagles +7;
    2007 lose outright vs giants +12.5;
    2006 win outright vs chargers -5;
    2009 lose outright vs ravens +4;
    2010 lose outright vs jets +9.5;
    2011 lose outright vs giants +3;
    2012 lose outright vs ravens +7.5.

    The problem with proving this theory is that the Pats are hardly ever dogs. Pats were +3 vs Manning-Colts in 2006/7 and missed cover (by one first down). Broncos were -3 vs Pats in 2005/06 and Jake Plummer covered. Jake Plummer ain’t walking through that door.

    They always play better when you least expect it. I took the colts last week simply because Pats have $28M of cap space out of play. Those injuries might catch up to pats this week but i wouldn’t bet on it.

    Btw, one decent analyst around here thinks Julius Thomas on linebacker x (rookie jamie collins probably) presents a particularly bad matchup for the Pats.

    Looks like Aaron Dobson is active. That’s a relatively large item for the Pats. He’s the 6’3″ WR they need on the outside to open up the middle for little guys like Edelman and Amendola and Collie.

    I’ll ride the Pats and Brady this year, they were my pre-season SB pick. (But then again I had them beating the Bears.. so, yeah.)

  • Capitalgg

    This is all I’ve got. Reach out if you think I’ve screwed something up… It’s happened before allegedly.

    • Where’s Kanick and GRR?

      • i’m fucking 10 mins late. thought i had till 230. idiot.

        • ???

          • oh yah.. i’m upstairs farting around getting ready to go down to pate’s thought i had plenty of time. come downstairs and see capgg with 10 posts and was like, uh-oh.

            the one time i floss in ten years and look what happens.

      • Capitalgg

        GRR is listed right after (before?) TPF. Lost his picks while posting and caught them on review, so they are out of order.

    • actovegin1armstrong

      Please let Kanicki play with the other kids!

  • Capitalgg

    The Prohibited Favorite’s Conference Championship picks:

    Two
    matchups like today’s conference championship games is exactly why this
    contest was designed with such heavily weighted scoring for playoff
    picks. The more meaningful the game, the easier the picking should be,
    especially now with a full season of narratives (worthless and
    worthwhile) to evaluate, with no team holding anything back. If the
    point spreads are supposed to be tight in the playoffs, so is the
    Cheddar Bay picking. Complaining about this misses the whole point
    (Sorry, Squeeky). There’s only three football games left this season*
    and now is when it’s time to really throw down.

    Which is to say that today’s picks are two of my favorite of the year, especially the first one:

    ESSAY: Broncos -5.5 over Patriots

    It’s
    a gift from the gambling gods that so many people (including a number
    of so-called experts and 70% of the public) like the Patriots to win this one, or at least
    stay within a field goal. Chalk a lot of this up to Belichick/Brady
    mythology and the Pats’ well earned and underappreciated status as a
    “bad good” team, after having run through an extremely weak AFC to get
    to Denver today (we hear a lot about “good bad” teams, but not so much
    about the converse).

    Not that there isn’t
    plenty of mythology surrounding Peyton Manning as well, and the Broncos
    schedule was soft, too. But the most overplayed narratives surrounding
    Manning involve his status as a so-called choke artist whose number is
    owned by Belichick and Brady. And the Broncos worked through the regular
    season in far more dominating fashion than the Patriots did, with their
    three losses coming only to playoff teams, two on the road (Colts,
    Pats), and one on a strange Thursday-nighter to an underrated division
    rival (Chargers). There’s nothing like the Pats’ losses to the Jets and
    Dolphins on Denver’s resume. And I assume everyone agrees that we can
    throw out the regular season matchup between these two teams.

    Today
    the Patriots are supposed to be able to keep up with this record
    breaking Broncos offense, on the road, with Julian Edelman and a hobbled
    Danny Amendola as their top receiving threats. We’re hearing a lot
    about New England’s revitalized rushing attack, but Denver’s defense has
    been very good against the run this season (including last week against
    an excellent Chargers attack). Everyone seems to want to talk about
    the Broncos’ injuries on defense, but New England’s defense has suffered
    much worse, and will be extremely vulnerable to Denver’s also excellent
    rushing attack. And Wes Welker (who presumably has some useful
    intelligence on the Pats’ attack) and Julius Thomas should be hell on
    the Pats’ soft middle.

    The Broncos beat a much
    tougher (and underappreciated) opponent in the Chargers last week than
    the Patriots did with the Colts. It might seem all too easy to take the
    points today, but I expect the Pats to be exposed, with no help from one
    of the top three and few remaining legitimate home field advantages
    left in the NFL today.

    Belichick and Brady still haven’t won a Super Bowl since Spygate. The Curse of the Mangenius lives on.

    And of course speaking of the Mangenius:

    Niners +3.5 over Seahawks:

    “If most NFL teams have two coordinators, one offensive and one
    defensive, in their press-box perch overlooking the field, the 49ers
    have a distinct advantage. They really have three.”

    http://www.49ers.com/news/article-2/Roman-Mangini-Helping-out-in-Booth/31274341-56b0-43f0-aa5b-8480bc57c06c

    “Smart people do smart things. That’s what head coach Jim Harbaugh and company did by bringing in Eric Mangini.”

    http://espn.go.com/blog/san-francisco-49ers/post/_/id/493/eric-mangini-fitting-in-with-49ers

    The
    only man who’s beaten Tom Brady and Drew Brees in consecutive weeks
    with Colt McCoy and Chansi Stuckey as his primary offensive weapons.

    Of
    course it seems easy to take the points here as well, and I will. Not
    just because of the aforementioned secret weapon, but also largely
    because I’ve never seen a team that hasn’t won a damn thing crowned like
    these Seattle Seahawks have been. I’m still convinced that the Niners
    kept the playbook closed the first time these two teams played this
    season in preparation for precisely this matchup. Seattle’s pass D might
    be great, but across all three sides of the ball, the Niners are more
    balanced, more experienced, and more accomplished. It will be hard for
    both teams to score, but it should be significantly harder for the
    Seahawks, who don’t have the weapons that San Francisco does, nor a
    Secret Mangenius at the controls.

    Also, that Kaepernick/Wilson instagram comparison … http://imgur.com/KAW6hk2
    … For some antidote see here …
    http://www.sportsonearth.com/article/66780002/russell-wilson-and-colin-kaepernick-should-be-focused-on-as-people
    … and shame on Russell Wilson for exploiting sick children on his instagram page.

  • Capitalgg

    Grand Rapids Rustlers

    NFC Championship Game

    I have thought about this game for weeks now and I can’t think of any angle in which I don’t like the 49ers more. I like the QB more. I like the RB and TE more. I really like the WRs more without a healthy Harvin for Seattle. I like the defense more and I like the special teams more. I even like the coach more.

    Then I started thinking about 2 things.

    The first is that no one has ever won 2 straight conference championship games on the road.

    The second is how does this game have ramifications on Cleveland. Easy. Let me sum up what happens here. Seattle wins. San Francisco moves into new stadium with a pissed off coaching staff (Roman stays on as OC). Harbaugh decides to unleash hell on the league and signs Mack away from the Browns. He then pounds teams all year with Gore and that Lattimore kid they just stored for the future this year. They draft Richardson out of Colorado who stretches the field for them and the 49ers steamroll the league go 18-1 and win the Super Bowl next year. Dawson gets his ring and all of Cleveland cheers as Haslam waits to interview Roman after firing (insert name here) after a 3-13 finish.

    Anyways Seattle (-3.5) over San Francisco

    ESSAY and AFC Championship Game

    Sweet mother of god how can Eric Decker focus on football?

    64 degrees and sunny? Are you kidding me? What a brilliant stroke of luck for Denver…and save me the Peyton is actually OK in cold weather nonsense. My eyes work.

    The Patriots are just a different team away from home and don’t have a sterling history in Denver. Has there ever been a team in your lifetime that gets more questionable calls than the Patriots at home? My first thought was the early 90s Bulls who had a way of clubbing certain Cavaliers to near death on trips to the basket only to hear Bob Costas say “the Cavs are settling for too many jump shots” Fuck you Bob.

    I think the Denver defense steps up big here and as great as Brady and Bill are it is just too much for them to overcome.

    I also think we may be seeing the last Peyton sighting in Denver. If Denver wins it all I think he sits down with his family thinks about his neck and pulls an Elway and walks away on top. Peyton catches a lot of crap…some of it his fault and some of it is clearly not. I mean are we all forgetting that ridiculous Big Ben tackle that basically beat the Colts. Seriously Nick Harper..how do you let the QB tackle you there? Well…your wife did stab you in the knee earlier in the week. I mean he had an idiot kicker and some bad breaks against vastly superior Patriots teams. Cut the guy some slack. He has a ring. Can you imagine what this game would be like though if he lost to Grossman?

    I love Manning this Sunday.

    Denver (-5.5) over New England

    • This is some fine work.

      • GRRustlers

        Thank you. I’ll be the guy first in line at the window for the Niners when the Super Bowl odds are posted. They are a building a monster and the way they lost that game (awful injuries on both sides of ball) will only throw gasoline on the fire.

  • Capitalgg

    FlyHighCharlieFrye

    Patriots +5.5

    The first game was wild, and I think it’s the other way around this time — Patriots jump out to a lead, Manning has to come roaring back. I’ll take at last the 5.5 here and try to hang on.

    ESSAY: San Fran +3.5

    Riding these guys and their momentum. Feels like Baltimore last year even though it’s a different style; specifically, this feels like Baltimore going into New England last year and being the bully. The Niners are bullies, and though Seattle is tough and especially tough at home, I just think SF is playing the best football right now and though I don’t necessarily trust Kaepernick, I feel the same of Wilson. Week 2 was a long, long, long time ago. Gimme Harbaugh and Phil Dawson and Anquan Boldin, please.

  • Capitalgg

    acto

    I would like New England + 5.5 over the Sons of Horse face
    And, San Francisco +3.5 over Seattle. ****Essay***
    These teams have played twice already this year and the San Francisco defense is getting Russell Wilson’s number so to say. There is something that he is doing that may be tipping then off as to his play preference. I am also not a big Pete Carroll fan and I still think that the Seattle secondary is playing better than should be expected. They are playing over their heads and in this game that could translate into, “cocky and scrambling behind the ball to recover. There are also a nice group of linebackers ready to limit Lynch and slow Russell Wilson as well. San Francisco goes to their second superbowl in a row. Boom Boom Out Go the Lights!!

  • Capitalgg

    ChuckKoz

    49ers +3.5 (at Seahawks)

    Essay: Broncos -5.5 (vs Patriots)

    John Elway may be a dick that ruined my childhood, but he is totally right about this Peyton Manning criticism being way out of line. He has won a Super Bowl with the Colts (with Jim Caldwell as his coach). I am unaware of any Super Bowl winning QB taking heat like this guy, except for non-Packers Favre. And he still catches shit, even with him having basically the best season ever had by a QB. Hence, I entered the playoffs having decided to reject all this talk and try to ride Peyton to Cheddar glory. Problem was last week all the Broncos kept dropping the ball to prevent a true blowout, so I am sort of mad at the Broncos. However, I will keep the faith and just assume the drops were an oddity that will not repeat, so the Broncos will get rolling on offense. Meanwhile, the Patriots went to the running game last week and that worked, but that will not happen again with the Broncos now aware that the Patriots running is now a thing they would actually consider. Also, the Broncos were murdering the Patriots earlier this season, but did factually let off the gas and let the Pats back in: lesson learned, won’t happen again. Oh, and game is in Denver. Denver is quite good at home, Patriots just 4-4 on the road this year. And weather looks totally normal (50 and sunny), so that should not be a factor to slow the Broncos offense. Hence, I see the best team in the AFC rolling by double digits.

  • Capitalgg

    Nick

    Had Peyton not thrown a 3 yard missile into one of his guys in the end zone, and the Broncos just punched it in at the end of the first half last week to go up 24-0 instead carrying 17-0 into half, they would have covered and this would be a whole different contest. Goddamnit, my playoff essays are killing me.

    Pats +5.5 vs Broncos

    I don’t trust Peyton to cover a barn door at this point, esp against his nemesis.

    Seahawks -3.5 over Niners***Essay

    OMG the Seahawks look unstoppable with Percy Harvin on the field. He adds a dynamic dimension to their game outside the hashes that they have been lacking. I thought the Saints came out with some cheap hits last week, Seattle took them and played a man’s game and won handily. I’ve been on the Niners all second half and into the postseason but am jumping off now. Seattle just impressed the hell out of me on both sides of the ball last week. It looks like it’ll be a great matchup, tight game, and understandably, most of the public is on San Fran right now, so I’m happy to take Seattle at home and watch the 49ers to try deal with Seattle’s explosive offense.

  • Capitalgg

    Concierge

    Gimme Denver and San Fran. Essay on Denver.

    This is Peyton’s year. I know this is the perfect spot for him to fail but I don’t see it today. If this game were in Foxboro I might feel a little bit different about it but since it’s in Denver I Love the broncos to win this by more than a TD. The Patriots won’t be able to run the ball the way they did last week against Indy and the weapons on the outside just aren’t there for NE. How about the Wes Welker factor? You bet your ass he’s gonna be ready for this one. Go Broncos.

  • Capitalgg

    oxr

    Patriots +5.5 over Broncos

    In keeping with last week, this is partly a pessimism pick but still mostly a Denver’s-defense-now-minus-yet-another-starter pick, given that nobody else seems to be able to take major injuries in stride like the visiting Pats. I don’t want to be at the bar in my ironic Tebow jersey passionately rooting against my essay pick for the second week in a row, so I’d better make that one…

    Essay 49ers +3.5 over Seahawks

    The half-point is big: in a game between defensive powerhouses I like knowing that I win if it comes down to a field goal. The Seahawks offense has not looked its former self lately, allowing for a sweet backdoor cover against the Saints, although their defense is obviously still excellent. There are some (albeit not many) matchups that favor the 49ers, especially their front seven against the Seahawks offensive line. Kaepernick is presumably going to be running for his life much of the time, but if there’s a quarterback out there you want running it’s probably him. According to Football Outsiders, the 49ers have actually been better on the road than at home this year, which is fortunate. They can’t lose 29-3 again? I’m clutching at straws here, but I think I’ve accumulated enough straws in my head to call for a close game, a couple of lucky bounces, and a San Francisco cover.

  • Capitalgg

    squeeky

    Not sure why I am still submitting these. Shut down for season after last week. Great year, tired now, dont want to give any back.

    Essay: Seattle: General consensus on airwaves is that Niners have been playing the best football in the NFL. This line of reasoning is usually backed up by the subsequent list of their “weapons”. Boldin, Crabtree, Davis, Gore! I agree, Niners have looked good, but they squeaked by the Packers (who would have won if Hyde could catch) and beat the Panthers in the worst officiated game in recent memory. They have looked basically terrible against the Niners, most recently barely barely barely squeaking out a home win in a must win game for them with little on the line for the Seahawks. From beginning of season I have felt that Seattle is best team in league and recent results do not dissuade me from that. I think the get it done and head to the Super Bowl.

    Other: Broncos.

  • Capitalgg

    Hit the Horns:

    Seattle Seahawks -3.5

    Denver Broncos -5.5 **ESSAY**

    All I’ve read is how all four favorites covered last week and that it won’t happen again. Too much love for NE and too much negative pub for Peyton. ESPN has been running nonstop highlights of his losses – the guy just won a playoff game. It’s ridiculous.

    Stat from RJ Bell’s column on Grantland:

    Tom Brady & Co. will have to overcome this eye-popping trend: Teams scoring 40-plus points in a playoff game the week before are only 4-22 against the spread the next week.

    @DavidPurdum14h:

    As of this afternoon @LVSuperBook , 4 times more money has been bet on the Patriots than the Broncos.

  • actovegin1armstrong

    Gavin and zara,
    Did you kids get my picks for this week? I have been “busier than a one legged man in a contest of some sort” and I was also using a phone low on battery power and with an antenna two steps below the old rabbit ears and aluminum foil gems from days of yore.

  • Tron

    I posted this on another site but I just read your article about the “facebook map” and that map is full of it. I’m a Columbus native and trust me that this is a Browns town. Our one and only newspaper primarily covers the Browns/Bengals and the main sports station overwhelmingly favors the Browns over the Bengals. They do not even cover the Steelers. This is due to the fact that Browns fans dominate the phone lines and they get much better ratings and response when the Browns are the topic. The Browns also have there own radio station (95.5), neither the Bengals or Steelers have that.
    I say this only so that you can appreciate how incredible this really is. Because yes, there is much more competition from the other AFC North teams. Central Ohio is geographically closer to Cincinnati and there is a significant migrant community from the Pittsburgh area. The Steelers are the best franchise in the NFL and the Bengals have become consistent winners. The Browns? Well every year when you think things can’t get any worse, somehow they do. Jimmy is throwing gasoline on the dumpster fire and Banner is looting the Treasury.
    Honestly, I think we deserve more credit for our loyalty to “The Worst Team in Pro Football”.

  • GRRustlers

    Sometimes I feel like I could write a book about that Facebook map but let me get two things off my chest.

    1. What an unbelievable failure by TWO NFL franchises in the state of Ohio.

    2. Dear people of Northwest Ohio. Go F yourself. You are the worst of the worst. Lions? Colts? Browns? Bengals? Hell even the Bears? No. Steelers. You are the worst. I expect you all to keep waving your stupid little yellow towel when Ben retires and you are plunged into 15 years of darkness.

    • ah. the keith wenning acquisition becomes a strategic business decision key to winning back NW Ohio.

      Ball State Sports Link: Coaching From Above – Keith Wenning from Ball State Student Media on Vimeo.

      (o.m.g. those earrings.)

      • GRRustlers

        I was sold on Wenning when he was spinning it in Akron on a day with borderline hurricane winds. He’s impressive but Banner probably hates the guy.

        • saw the same game.
          ‘spinning it’ is right; no flutter on his outside-the-hashes ball in the wind. most impressive.

    • Roethlisberger is from Northwest Ohio, which is why that part of the map is as yellow as it is.

      • GRRustlers

        Yes…but that’s still weak.

        His birthplace Lima is still a Browns county and his High School Findlay is yellow.

        This is one of those maps I would have loved to have seen in the late 70s so I can find out if this was a Big Ben thing or a bandwagon thing.

        Of course all of my judgement is clouded by all that piss yellow.

  • humboldt

    lol. If you hire Schrader, you’re going to have to take on Steve Gomez in a manner all too reminiscent of Pete Garcia. Potentially, the roster would be stacked with players who attended or were recruited by the University of New Mexico since 2009.

    http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2013/07/18/bb_502_uc_0417_0047_custom-a768d937d481203e330553bfefffb320c34d7b9c-s6-c30.jpg

    • speaking of new mexico types for haslam to hire..

      • humboldt

        He’d sure be a welcome change from Fred Nance

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