This is the most recent tweet I've sent, which came out in the early evening hours of December 24th...
My tweet was both a Christmas wish for my followers as well as a subtle announcement that I would not be spending any time using the medium for a couple of days while I was away from work.
It's been a glorious few days.
There are few things more insufferable than some haughty, self-important, dickwad boring all of us with his love/hate relationship with Twitter, and since I'm neither haughty or self-important, I'm not going to do that to you.
But, I believe, for the first time since I became a Twitter user nearly ten years (!) ago, I actively decided to spend at least a few days resisting whatever urges there were to see what was happening, find out if I was missing anything, or cure whatever boredom and loneliness I might have been feeling at a particular moment with some lame Twitter joke that would've been sent mainly to entertain myself. I like Twitter. I use it, for both professional and personal purposes, and much of it I do find useful, but like with anything - job, girlfriend, kids, your best drinking buddies - I needed a break.
It's been glorious. Maybe it's just me (it probably is), but there's been something a little freeing about not checking - or contributing to Twitter - for a couple of days. I've found myself being more productive, and less distracted by whatever Tweet I just looked at. I've been in a great, relaxed mood, liberated for at least a few days from the angry mentions about whatever I've done or said that's made people angry, or the fleeting, pretend outrage cycle that comes and goes on Twitter every few hours. As I type this, there likely have been 7,000 or so things that have "broken the internet" or "caused Twitter to melt down," and I'm blissfully unaware of all of them.
I do enjoy Twitter, and as someone in the communications business, I'm all but required to use it since, you know, Twitter is how a lot of people are communicating. I'm not too wrapped up in myself to make a big deal when, at some point this weekend, I decide to jump back into the Twitter pool.
When I do, I'll be refreshed.
Bengals v. Steelers
We have arrived at a point where we are actively wondering if it'd be for the best if the Bengals were absolutely pasted by their most hated rival, only so it'd increase the odds of Marvin Lewis not being here.
The levels of toxicity between this team and we as fans has never been higher.
Just wait 'til we find out if Marvin is coming back.
No one really knows, of course, what Mike Brown will do with his head coaching position because he is intensely private, and because this organization keeps things close to the vest. I believe wholeheartedly that when you hear reports from Adam Schefter types about Marvin's future, the info being spread is coming directly from the coach, in an effort to control certain narratives.
I've talked to people who speak with confidence that they think he's gone, and I've talked to others who seem to think that the chances of Marvin coming back are pretty decent.
No one knows.
I know two things...
1) Elevating Hue Jackson to take Marvin's place would be THE biggest middle finger this franchise could throw up at its fans. Even more so than bringing back their current head coach. I'm guessing that the Packers interviewing Jim Caldwell and Chuck Pagano will fuel the "who else ya gonna get" crew that spoke so forcefully in Marvin's defense a year ago.
2) We can't keep doing this same thing every December, wondering who the head coach will be the following season, and if Marvin is brought back for 2019, we're going to do this whole thing all over again. The three seasons in which Marvin's future has seemingly been most in doubt - 2010, 2017, and 2018 - have each been disasters, and I don't think that's a coincidence.
As for the game itself, it'd be fun to have the Steelers get eliminated at home, but that good time would be outweighed by the fears of how another win in the season finale would affect the decision-making about Marvin Lewis.
My guess is the Bengals show a spirited effort with the same type of backdoor cover (that made for a very pleasant Christmas for those of us who bought at Cincinnati +9) we saw against Cleveland, and this Pittsburgh team is very, very not great, but no, they're not beating the Steelers.
Steelers 27 Bengals 14 (Cincinnati +14.5)
There are other games.....
Cleveland (+6) over Baltimore. Ravens need to win in week 17 against a patsy opponent playing out the string. Nothing could go wrong here, right? Baker v. Lamar with something at stake seems a hell of a lot more interesting than the other AFC North battle, no?
Indianapolis (-3.5) over Tennessee. Two teams with new head coaches both playing for a playoff berth. Sorta throws cold water on the "who else ya gonna get" madness, huh? I'll take the healthier team with the better QB in this one.
Minnesota (-4.5) over Chicago. Gonna be an interesting offseason if the Vikings miss the playoffs.
Philadelphia (-7) over Washington. Gonna be an interesting offseason if the Eagles make the playoffs and go on a run.
Wouldn't touch any of the following NFL games, but for your entertainment purposes....
San Francisco (+10) over the Rams
Kansas City (-13.5) over Oakland. Rethinking the "wouldn't touch any of the following NFL games" line....
Chargers (-6.5) over Denver. I watched the Broncos/Raiders game on Monday night, only because there were huge fantasy football implications. After doing so, I've concluded that I don't want Vance Joseph around my favorite football team.
Jets (+13.5) over New England. I won the league, by the way.
Houston (-6.5) over Jacksonville. Who will be the first national writer to impress us with his "actually, the Texans are the best team in the AFC" piece that makes the internet mad?
New Orleans (-9) over Carolina.
Giants (-7) over Dallas
Arizona (+13.5) over Seattle
Buffalo (-3.5) over Miami
Detroit (+8) over Green Bay
Tampa Bay (-1) over Atlanta
Last week: 9-6-1
This season: 130-103-7
College football games of note....
Cincinnati v. Virginia Tech
Here are some loosely-connected thoughts on this game....
The high point of the Butch Jones era - and one of my favorite UC road trips ever - occurred when the Bearcats beat the Hokies in Washington in 2012.
There are not enough 11-win seasons in UC's football history to be cavalier about the possibility for an 11-win campaign this year.
There's been a six-year bowl-win drought that feels like it's lasted longer.
This UC team is better than the Virginia Tech squad they're playing in Annapolis. These random bowl games are a little bit of a crapshoot, and they've never meant less, but what's wrong with finishing the season on a high note?
The number is a wee bit high for my taking, so we'll have the Hokies covering, but my Bearcats finishing the job with a win on the final day of what, from purely a UC football standpoint, has been a bang-up year.
Bearcats 28 Hokies 24 (Virginia Tech +5.5)
Kentucky (+5.5) over Penn State. Best, and most interesting game of the bowl season, which isn't saying much.
Washington (+6) over Ohio State. This line, as of this typing, is all over the place, depending on where you like to invest. Buckeyes win, Huskies cover, and Urban Meyer starts teaching his leadership and character class.
Notre Dame (+12).5 over Clemson The same look people give me when I tell them I'm taking the Irish and the moneyline is the same look UC fans give me when I tell them that Brian Kelly remains one of my all-time favorite sports figures.
Alabama (-13.5) over Oklahoma. BUT THE SAME TEAM WINS EVERY YEAR, is what I hear from people who hate the NBA.
College football in 2018: 45-41-2
Enjoy your weekend, and happy new year.