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Let’s stop for a minute to talk about what the Detroit Lions are doing as we roll into mid-December

I’ve been starting Monday mornings with reports on my Bengals for weeks now as they surge towards a possible AFC North title, but my attention this morning is on what is happening in Detroit where the Lions aren’t the same old Lions and we officially have a team that just might make it to the playoffs, yes, I said playoffs, even though they currently have a 19% probability of making it as a No. 7 seed.

After Sunday’s destruction of the Vikings, the Lions sit at 6-7, but the schedule is in their favor down the stretch with remaining games against the Jets, Chicago, Carolina and Green Bay. Imagine a scenario where the Lions are in a win and they’re in against the Packers on Jan. 8 IN GREEN BAY where Detroit has had some success since 2015.

Is it too early to start talking about the Lions running the table and making the playoffs?

We’re talking about a team that has the NFL’s No. 5 offense and it’s putting up so many points that the opponents are forced into playing from behind. Kirk Cousins struggled in that position Sunday as the Lions just kept pouring on touchdowns and it was too much for the Vikings to overcome.

Listen, running the table isn’t out of the question. It won’t be easy with 3 of the next 4 on the road, but three of those teams are already looking toward to 2023.

• Will the stands be full for Titans and Buccaneers home playoff games? That’s going to be a hard sell to fans who see teams crawling to the finish line. Now imagine the outrage if they lose the divisions to the Jags and the Panthers. Ouch.

• Needless to say the Bengals were due to beat Cleveland.

• Perhaps the biggest shock of the weekend was when I turned it back to Fox last night and the network had switched from Tom Brady’s beating to the Panthers-Seahawks game. Unreal twist that nobody saw coming.

• Meanwhile, the Cowboys have done something Jerry hasn’t seen since Troy and Emmitt were bringing him titles.

French pizza kiosk ATM review from Mike T.

Let’s get the week started with the experience most of us have been waiting for — Mike T. vs. the French pizza ATM. Like I said last week, I have no idea how these aren’t a thing in the U.S., especially a drive-thru version where you could pull up, stay in your car, and have a pizza ATM pump out a piping hot pie while you remain in your pajamas.

I get it, delivery is your thing, but let’s stop and think about how hard it is these days to get a pizza in 30 minutes or less. It’s nearly impossible because of how hard it is to find delivery drivers. In July, Domino’s started using pizza call centers to handle orders to free up store workers so they could get out the door to deliver pizzas.

Now think about a pizza ATM at 2 a.m. after closing down the bars instead of telling the Uber driver to go through Taco Bell. I’m tellin you, these pizza ATMs, if utilized correctly, could be the future of late-night eating.

• Mike T. writes:

The kiosk is located in Blanquefort, France in front of the Mama Pizza.

Please notice the sticker on that car.

The pizza place was closed when we visited, but the reviews on Yelp are good!

They ask if you want it hot or cold. From the Mama Pizza website it says the pizzas are refrigerated in the kiosk, awaiting you.

You see the price for the pizza hot or cold.

Select your pizza style:

The bill:

Use your credit card:

Mike T. says the screen then asks if you want to play a game while you wait for the pizza to cook. This looks like a great spot for machines to offer up some slots when gambling is eventually everywhere in the world. Order a pizza, blow through $50 playing Wheel of Fortune.

Eventually, the pizza box pops out:

Pizza box pops out. / via Mike T.

Mike T. adds:

This is the pan the pizza came with, note the holes , I’m sure this helps in the refrigerator waiting and with the baking.

Good bake, nice undercarriage, 6.7. If you’re deep in the weeds, a 10.

Baked pie, unsliced. Looks pretty good we thought!

Reaction to Brandon C.’s Harry Caray story

• Bill C. in Mississippi writes:

It’s over. Go ahead and give Brandon the post/story of the screencaps year. MVP-most valuable post. Btw, that Mort Crim sounds like a helluva guy. I need to research the family tree and see if there is a relation. 

FYI, Gregg Doyel is a tool and has been for a loooong time. He spent time growing up in Oxford, MS so I have heard from people who knew him then. His dad was a law school professor so I’m sure his lib lib mentality is baked into his DNA. 

• Patrick C. from here in NW Ohio writes:

I’m not sure I can beat Brandon C. from Petoskey, but I’ll try. Reading his account of Harry Carey and Ernie Harwell brought back many memories of my own, especially the desire to become a baseball play-by-announcer. He’s correct in the listing the many great announcers we had growing up in Detroit. It’s a joy to recall the classic calls by those legends and marvel growing up in such a rich sports environment.

After graduating from Central Michigan University reality stepped in and derailed my dreams of broadcasting behind a microphone at Tiger Stadium, or any other ballpark for that matter. However, a new phenomenon call Fantasy Play-by-Play Booths began to pop up at many ballparks across the country, including Tiger Stadium and Jacobs Field in Cleveland. I, along with a buddy of mine, would often visit these booths and live out our broadcasting dreams for a few innings. After I compiled a few tapes I got the nerve to send one to Ernie Harwell for his critique.

One morning prior to the Tigers heading down to spring training, Mr. Harwell called me on the phone to discuss the tape I sent him. Here I was, on the phone, listening to the voice I grew up discussing the style and cadence I copied off of him. He spent the better part of five minutes telling me what I did well and suggestions for improvement. As he was winding down his comments, he gave me his home phone number to call him if I ever needed anything.

Needless to say, I was beyond thrilled! This was a Hall of Fame announcer who took the time to phone me and provide not only a positive review, but lend his assistance should I ever require it. He was a great announcer, but an even better man. For many years after I thought I had this special once in a lifetime experience with the legendary Ernie Harwell. Upon his passing, I learned that he had similar outreach and individual connection to many fans across Detroit, and the state of Michigan. It made me even more convinced of his true kindness and amazing character.

As for Harry Caray…certainly a different style than Ernie’s but beloved by all those fans in St. Louis and Chicago who still miss him. I once went into his restaurant in Chicago and asked the bartender if he was in the place that night. The bartender said he was and having dinner with his wife. I proceeded to offer to buy a drink for his table, but he declined. Instead, he bought me a beer. Two great broadcasters from an era that I wish still existed in the major leagues.

p.s. here’s a link to a “What If” 1984 World Series had the Cubs beat the Padres and played the Tigers. When you listen to it you really begin to appreciate the greatness of both men. That would have been a great World Series had the Cubs made it.

Transfer portal rules

• Connor A. writes:

I’ve spent way to much time over the past few days reviewing the players in the transfer portal. I’m all for chaos and player choice, but this is getting ridiculous. Why on Earth does a QB like JT Daniels need to go to a FOURTH SCHOOL?!?! 

Because I’m a solutions-oriented person, here are nine transfer portal rules plus a NIL rule that could sway transfer players that  I came up with that are reasonable but maintain the sprit of the transfer portal. Some of these rules might already be in place, but I’m not familiar with the transfer portal rules so still throwing these out there for discussion. This applies to all sports, but I’ll be referencing football for this exercise. 

  1. No intraconference transfers (I’m looking at you, Cade McNamara).
  2. Schools can choose up to three other schools that players cannot transfer to. Examples are Iowa State to Iowa, Clemson to South Carolina, and Georgia to Georgia Tech.
  3. Portal window is only open from October 1st to end of bowl season.
  4. Players are allowed in the portal for three weeks, and can leave the portal and return to current school or choose a new school during this time.
  5. If a player cannot find a destination at the end of three weeks, the player will be placed on a “waiver wire” where a school can pick up the player and place him on the team as a walk-on. There would have to be new rules written regarding roster size for this to work, but I digress.
  6. Rule #5 only applies at the FBS level. If a player after three weeks is still available, he can go down to FCS or a lower level and still seek a spot as a scholarship athlete. Players moving from FCS or lower to FBS must follow rule #5.
  7. Players can only transfer a maximum of two times during career.
  8. Certain positions can only transfer once, such as quarterback.
  9. If head coach gets fired or hired by new school, players wishing to leave to enter the portal or follow the head coach to new school may do so with a free pass. In other words, the transfer won’t be counted against his maximum transfers. If the head coach takes job within the same conference, the player is allowed to transfer to that school.
  10. There will be no limit to money earned through NIL, but a player will be offered tax incentives if the player donates to the athletic department, the school’s NIL collective, scholarship fund, and/or charity (ies) of his choice (This might already be a rule but still throwing it out there. This would vary state to state to follow the state’s tax code).

Star Trek correction

• Richard M. in San Francisco writes:

First time, long time.

As someone who spent way too much of his youth watching and reading about Star Trek, I must take issue with the recent emailer. 

The Klingons were actually based on the Soviets – militaristic, under-resourced, concerned about the growing econimic dominance of the Federation (NATO/west) surrounding the.  The Romulans were actually based on the Chinese – not well known to the Federation (see “Balance of Terror”) and dangerous (plasma torpedo) but technologically backward (not developing warp drive until just before the General War).

I hereby apply for position of Screencaps VP of Dorkiness . . . .

Kinsey:

Permission granted, Richard.

Does anyone out there want to challenge Richard on Star Trek trivia? Step up. This guy was waiting in the weeds for one of you to screw up on Star Trek trivia. The holidays are coming up. We might have to run a Screencaps Zoom Star Trek Challenge game show to keep some of you busy while you’re blowing through all that vacation time.

And with that, I’m out this morning. It’s the middle of the month. Let’s finish the year strong before you take that vacation.

Email: joekinsey@gmail.com

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Written by Joe Kinsey

I'm an Ohio guy, born in Dayton, who roots for Ohio State and can handle you guys destroying the Buckeyes, Urban Meyer and everything associated with Columbus.

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