Jan 3, 2016

NFL Week 17: The Price is Right

Here it comes! Television's most exciting hour of fantastic prizes - the 60-minute Price is Right!

We save the best for last - the defining game show for me in the 1980s (and some of the 70s and 90s!) - The Price is Right. Will there ever be a more perfect game show invented? I say no. It combines game theory, strategy, probability, commercial placement of products (the most important?), luck, and not-simple math. Could anything else be more up my alley?

I won't bore you with the details of how the game works. Let's just dive right in to random thoughts on each part of the game:

One-bid (this is what the call the part where the 4 contestants bid for the right to get on stage)

- if you get called as one of the 4 in the opening sequence, you just have to go into place #4, right?
- or maybe you go into place 3 - since the 2nd pricing game tends to have the car - so if you assume #4 wins the first bid, then you are the last bidder for the second game!
- so many times the last bidder plays it completely wrong. If the highest bid of the 3 is $950, I see the last bidder bid $925 or something. WTF is wrong with you?
- In the 80s, it was perfectly normal for women - and men - to reach into Bob's pants pockets for a $100 bill if they got the bid exactly right. I think the Clarence Thomas hearings in 1992 ended this practice on TPIR.
- The $1 bid! I loved that. I would have been the ass that would have bid $47 or something like that - same idea, but more creative.
- Have we ever seen a $2 bid on top of someone's $1 bid? I'll have to search for that...

(Note: Here it is! -ed)

- The look on contestant's faces when someone bids $901 on top of their $900....priceless!

Pricing Games 
I did a whole year's worth of NFL picks with my favorite pricing games earlier in 2006 so no need to review them here. Some notes, in random order:
- Plinko is overrated. Completely brainless.  There, I said it.
- Love "Any Number". All numbers 0-9, included.
- If the Bonus Game is ever played again, that producer should be fired. Or else there are time constraints and they only have 45 seconds for a pricing game.
- I Love the Blank Check game! I was one of 4 people who liked that in 1984.
 - Clock Game - who could forget the strategy there? Couting up or down so quickly like Joe Isuzu.
- Cliff Hangers! The music!
- Love the Dice Game! Roll it over the line!
- Golden Road - I called Layup into the room whenever Golden Road was on.
- The Grocery Game was good in 1976, not useful now.
- Hole in One - or Two! I think the hole here is 2x the size of a real golf hole.
- Lucky Seven - Should you just guess "5" after the first number? Sometimes they throw a "9" in there so the "5" strategy won't work....
- One Away is in the top 5 games invented. Perfect.
- They need to somehow bring "Pathfinder" to a Vegas casino. Perfect drinking game.
- The Race Game! 45 seconds of people running around the stage! Any liabilities here from an insurance standpoint?
- How did they get the Pink Panther music for Safe Crackers?
- Need more Switcheroo in  my life
- People were complete idiots at Ten Chances. Too much thinking for the hyped up contestants.
- 3 strikes! Love the idea of placing the numbers in addition to pulling them out of the bag....

Showcase Showdown
I think at one point in my life, I memorized the order of the numbers on the big wheel...$1.00, 15, 80, 20.....after a few minutes of a refresher, I could do it again.
One of the most fun moments from our Vegas trip was me setting the line of the winning score at a random Showcase Showdown and getting those suckers Wiz and Layup to fall for the sucker side! Ha ha! It was under 87.5!
So - statistics question. You are the 2nd person to spin. The first guy has gone over. You get a .45. What do you do? Spin again, and risk the over? Or stand with a measly 45? What if it is a 60? Where is the breaking point?

To me, the showcase was anticlimatic. Not too much drama - and the difficulty of winning a double showcase. I mean, NO ONE got within $250 of the actual price in a showcase? I did try to do the math and add up the prizes to come up with a total - but that never worked. When I was in a bad mood, I loved to wish for the double showcase loser - both contestants bidding over. Happened about twice a month!

Loved the Astericks theme on the platforms! Perfect 1970s motifs that lived well into the 90s.

Of course, the hosts were perfect here. Can anyone do a better job at this game than Bob? And, for me, he had the perfect side host with Rod Roddy. Rod, of course, is my role model for color choices with my golf outfits.

That brings us to the end of the 1980s game show review....and that means one thing:

"Help control the pet population...have your pets spayed or neutered!"

You should also have your quarterback spayed and neutered, just in case. Oh Johnny.....

On to the games, quick predictions:

Atl 27, NO 24
NYJ 24, Buf 16. I think the Jets are focused enough to win this.
Chi 26, Det 24
Bal 23, Cin 20. Cincinnati may be playing it safe here after McCarron got banged up.
Pit 47, Cle 3. Am I predicting too close of a game?
Dal 20, Was 13. No motivation at all for the Skins.
Hou 27, Jax 13. Can't see the Jags putting up a fight here.
Ten 20, Ind 17. Josh Freeman as QB?
NE 27, Mia 17. Belicheck will pull it back at halftime.
Phi 26, NYG 17. The Eagles will be motivated without Kelly.
Car 24, TB 13
KC 24, Oak 23
Sea 27, Az 24. I don't think the Seahawks want to be embarrassed again.
Den 23, SD 10
StL 21, SF 17
GB 24, Min 21. No idea here.

Best bets; 11 of them. Last week: 8-6; overall: 117-96-7
NYJ -3
Bal +9.5
Pit -10.5
Dal -4
Hou -6.5
Ten (no line yet)
Phi +5.5
Tb/Car under 45.5
Oak +7
Sea +6.5
SD/Den under 42

Supercontest: need 3-2 to hit .500. What a disappointing finish! Last week: 3-2; overall: 39-40-1
Bal +9
Pit -10.5
Phi +3
Oak +6.5
Sea +6.5

Dec 27, 2015

NFL Week 16: Card Sharks

Aces are high
Deuces are low
Call it right
And win the Dough!
Ooooooooooon.......Card Sharks!

Why hasn't this game made a comeback? It's a game show so good, they made it twice in the 1980s - Card Sharks! What a great game. It's a good mix of Family Feud, mathematics, strategy and gambling all rolled into one. And the bonus round is easy enough to recreate with your 5-year old kid!

The main game is simple - there are five cards for each player laid out end to end. To win the game, you have to get to the end of the row successfully, calling each card "higher" or "lower" than the previous one. But before you can guess "higher" or "lower", you have to get control of the cards - and that is done with a survey question.

The survey questions are asked of 100 people that are of the same "type" - married men, Playboy bunnies, priests, etc.  - and it's a general form of "Have you ever.....". For example, a survey was done of 100 priests  and they were asked  - have you ever placed a bet at a race track?
The first contestant makes a guess at how many of those 100 priests said yes; the second contestant then predicted if the real answer was higher or lower than the guess. The answer is revealed; if the second contestant is right, he gets control; if not, the first contestant gets control.

Once they get control of the board, they can choose to change their "base card" - starting card - and then off they go with the guesses. They can stop and "freeze" at any time, and then the turn ends and a new survey question is asked. If they get a guess wrong, control goes to the other opponent. A player wins a game when they get through all 5 cards successfully; 2 out of 3 games are needed to win the match and go to the bonus round.

The strategy here is trying to figure out the percentages and when to change base cards. Aces are high, 2s are low, so the "middle" card is an 8. If your base card is 8 - or 7 or 9 - you definitely want to change. But what about a 6? Jack? 5? Tough choices!

The bonus game is where the great excitement for the game is - it's called the "Money Cards". It's a board with three rows - three spots on the bottom 2 rows and a single spot at the top. You start with $200 and have to risk at least $50 on each spot, guessing higher or lower. You can bet it all at any time, if you want. You continue for the three cards in the first row - and, if you survive, you get a $200 bonus to start the 2nd row and continue on. At the top, for the "big bet", you must bet at least half of your "pot". You can change cards at any time at the beginning of each row.

This is where a young Eric first learned of compounding interest! You start with $200 and can end up with $28,800 by doubling it each time! Easy as pie! I re-created this game with Layup as kids and now are teaching the boys how to play. Of course, Warren is usually the winner.

Cards Sharks appeared twice on TV, once from 1978-82 with our good friend Jim Perry. He was the perfect host for this - asked the survey questions with the right tone, and was able to create the right level of drama with the Money Cards. Card Sharks came back in 1986 with Bob Eubanks - the new show had a few more bells and whistles (cars, etc.) that seemed contrived - and personally, I just wasn't a fan of Eubanks hosting this version. Nothing could replace Jim Perry.

This show has a place in our Vegas history - in our 2006 trip, we found that the MGM casino has a table game based on Card Sharks. The rules are here (from Wizard of Odds)....our friend Don cashed out with a black chip (described here from some primitive Vegas diaries from 2006!).

The matron saint of our Vegas trip - or should I say "Holy Godmother" - is Norma Brown. Click this link for 3 minutes of your time that is well worth it. 

And - if your luck is going bad, cheer up - you could be this poor soul. When I first found this video, I wondered what would have happened if Layup was the contestant here.

What more to say about the Browns? I like what I see from Johnny right now....he is starting to be more comfortable in the pocket and yet scramble when needed...the team is starting, slowly, to respond to him (don't worry about the 4,562 drops in the Seattle game). He's like a "6" in Card Sharks. Do we keep the card and guess "higher"? Or change it? I think, at this point, we keep him and gamble. I've seen enough to give him 2016.....

On to the games:

Car 24, Atl 17. I don't see how a de-motivated Falcons team stands in the way.

Buf 27, Dal 10. Talking about motivation - Dallas is done for the year and I can't see them amping up for this game. Kellen Moore on the road against the Bills, coming home after 2 road games?

SF 23, Det 20. Monday night hangover, and I think SF's defense is playing better.

Ind 20, Mia 13. Again, the key here is to find teams that have packed it in. Have you watched Miami against the Giants and then at the Chargers? They are done.

NYJ 20, NE 17. Maybe this is a hopeful guess, but since the first game went over, I think this one will stay under the total - and an "under" game is good for the Jets.

TB 30, Chi 17. A .500 team will prove their worth against a Chicago team that has lost 3 in a row to fade out of contention.

Ten 22, Hou 20. I can bet against Brandon Weeden - on the road - and get points, too??

Pit 31, Bal 20. Almost an impossible game to handicap. What is the motivation for Baltimore? I know it's a rivalry, but they have nothing! And yet, I hesitate to lay the 10 points.

Jax 27, NO 17. Why did I fall for the Saints last week? Their defense is not getting better this year...I know Brees is starting, but I think the wrong team is favored.

Az 30, GB 20. Still thinking Green Bay is a fraud here. They were gifted 14 points last week.

Sea 27, StL 13. The Rams don't have the weapons to take advantage of the Seahawks weakness. I know the Rams lines are good, but in Seattle? The Hawks will find a way to get ahead early.

Min 27, NYG 16. Just the perfect opponent forthe Vikes - the Vikes are a methodical, disciplined team - and their opponent is a undisciplined, erratic team out of the playoffs with their one weapon suspended.

Cin 19, Den 16. I think the Bengals will find a way to win this close game Monday in a classic.

Best bets: 14 of them. Last week: 8-5-1; overall: 109-90-7
Car/Atl under 47
Buf -6.5
SF +9.5
Ind +2.5
Ind/Mia under 44
NYJ +3
NE/NYJ under 45
TB -3.5
Ten +4
Jax +2.5
Jax/NO under 52
Az -4.5
Min -7
Cin +3

Supercontest: last week: 3-2; overall: 36-38-1
Buf -6.5
SF +9.5
Ind +1.5
Ten +4
Cin +3.5

Dec 20, 2015

NFL Week 15: Name that Tune

From Hollywood, it's the New $100,000 Name that Tune! 

Now here's an oldie that made a revival in the 80s for a few years - the good old classic Name that Tune! I have to say - I am surprised this hasn't made its way back into the airwaves again. It's a simple concept that can be easily updated for today's songs. (we'll talk more about this later). 

Name that Tune has been around since the 1950s, but we will focus on the 1984-85 syndicated version. The game is simple - all the games, and the bonus round, focuses on naming a song based on instrumental notes played by a live orchestra.  It starts very much like Price is Right - there is a contestants "box" where 2 contestants are called out randomly from the box.* They are shocked and surprised to get on stage to play!

(* - were they really random? Did they really not know they would be picked? )

Three "games were played for points, and the contestant with the most points goes to the bonus round - the Golden Medley. This is probably the only game where one of the main games is more popular than the bonus round. 

The first game was "Melody Roulette"; the host would spin the wheel for a dollar value and the contestants would play a best-of-5 naming random tunes. The second game was a category round - "Tune Topics"; the 1980s ENIAC computer would randomly pick 1 of 5 topics for songs in that segment, all connected by a common word or topic. 

The final game - where all the drama took place - is the game that most people associated with Name that Tune. Bid a Note! The host would give a short clue description for a song, and then the contestants would "auction" off a chance to guess at the tune. 

"Wiz, I can name that tune in 6 notes"....

"Layup, I can name it in 5"

Whenever someone was stuck, they would challenge the other to "name that tune". 

A piano would play the required notes - and the "winner" of the auction needed to name the tune; if he could, great! If not, the point went to the other team. 

I guess this was the first time I actually saw bluffing work in action. Some old lady would challenge a big guy to the tune and force him to name it in fewer notes; 80% of the time he couldn't do it. 
The bonus round was the Golden Medley. 30 seconds was put on the clock in the form of a giant roulette wheel and would count down; the contestant would need to name 7 songs in those 30 seconds to win. They could pass if needed and come back to it. Winners of the Golden Medley would come back to play in the monthly tournament for $100,000.

The host of this version was Jim Lange - we've seen him before as the Chance of a Lifetime host and the old Dating Game host. Maybe Wink Martindale would have been a better choice with his Hollywood connections and Wink's overall smarminess. Jim seems forced and formal for a show like this. 

The hidden star of this show was the orchestra! Yes, a live orchestra was on stage playing all the songs on the show. Imagine the logistics of this! 25+ songs on the music stand, and they have to rifle through each one during the show in the correct order. And, of course, in the Golden Medley, they'd have to keep the passed songs separately and come back to it in the right order. Madness!

I really wanted to like this show in the 80s - I listened to B104 all the time ("all the hits, all the time"), but of course, the songs played in this show were from the 50s and 60s. Nothing I knew at all - I'm sure "The Girl from Ipanema" came up once every 2 shows. As a 12 year old, I tired of this show quickly. 

This would be a great show to bring back, right? We could have Ryan Seacrest host; we could have Beck lead the orchestra in the back and play songs from 1990 on. 25 years of "new" songs for this show! This has to work, right? Maybe a better host would be Eminem? Mark Mcgrath? MC Hammer? 

I feel like I am in the Golden Medley for the Browns Quarterback audition. 3 weeks left and the clock is ticking to see if we have a quarterback for 2016. Is it Johnny? Can he look solid in the final 3 weeks - against Seattle, Kansas City and Pittsburgh? Can he at least be decent in these losses, or will he "pass" and take a 0 for these games? I like him and want him to do well - just afraid that he is not set up for success here in weeks 15-17. 

On to the games:

Bal 27, KC 20. I have too much respect for Harbaugh as a coach. 

Hou 27, Ind 17. Wow, the Colts have fallen apart. Their defense has looked bad for 2 weeks now, and Hasselbeck has gotten worse. Houston will bounce back from the Pats game. 

Atl 26, Jax 24. This game should be a layup for the Jaguars - which means they will mess it up. 

Min 23, Chi 17. Two teams I can't trust. How do you not win that game at home last week, Chicago? 

NE 30, Ten 17. I think Mariota will be able to score some against the Pats; the question, as usual, is how motivated the Pats will be to run up the score. This will be close to the number. 

Car 34, NYG 27. Not impressed with the Giants defense; should be an up and down game. 

Was 20, Buf 17. Who knows what team will show up here on both sides! Are we sure we can trust Washington - but they are at home! The Cousins mistake will come - but so will the 12 Bills penalties. 

Oak 27, GB 20. I'm not ready to say the packers offense is back after wearing down Dallas last week. They had the ball for 40+ minutes; eventually they were going to get in the end zone. 

Pit 27, Den 24. Let's not crown the Steelers yet, Their defense still is not that tested (oooh, you beat the Colts and the Bengals without Dalton). I expect a shootout. 

SD 30, Mia 17. The final game in San Diego will end with a win. Last games in a city have a way of rallying the team (see Cleveland, 1995)

Cin 27, SF 13. After a week of practice, I have confidence in McCarron. 

Az 20, Phi 17. Not sure of the motivation of the Cardinals or the Eagles' offense. 

NO 31, Det 20.  Just think the Lions are done with the season and are primed to lose big in New Orleans in prime time. 

Best bets: 14 of them. Last week: 8-6; overall: 101-86-6
Bal +6.5
KC/Bal over 41
Hou +2
Atl +3
Car/NYG over 48
Was +2.5
Buf/Was under 44
Oak +3
Den +6
Den/Pit over 45
SD -1.5
Cin -5.5
Az/Phi under 51.5
NO -3

Supercontest: in a big rut. Last week: 2-3. Overall: 33-36-1
Bal +7.5
Atl +3
SD -2
Cin -4.5
NO -3

Dec 13, 2015

NFL Week 14: Let's Make a Deal

It's time for the All New Let's Make a Deal, starring TV's big dealer, Monty Hall!

It's time to review one of the classics - Let's Make a Deal! I have a lot of fondness for this show - especially the 1980s version with Monty Hall - which I think everyone in our age group thinks of when someone refers to the show.

Who doesn't know the basics here? There are a bunch of contestants in the studio audience (36 of them, we learned) that Monty randomly chooses to participate in small games and deals. For instance: here is a small stack of bills - the top and bottom bills are $1 bills. There could be anything else in between. Would you like to keep your stack, or trade it in for door #1?

That's an example of a simple deal. Other deals become more complex; it could be a game between two contestants (such as a grocery pricing game, or trivia, etc.) - and Monty would take turns offering the "deals" between the two contestants - and zero, one, or both of them could take the offer.

What's the risk? Of course, sometimes the "deal" offered was a ZONK. The "prize" behind a curtain could be a big wheel....or a llama...or sheep.....or a stick and some sheets that can be considered luggage. This usually is chosen after the contestant turns down $2000 in cash or something.

At the end of the game, the two highest winners from the day are chosen to play in the "Super Deal" for a large prize package (usually around $8-10,000, in the 1980s!). Sometimes contestants will refuse to play and keep their prize, so Monty goes down the list of the winners to find 2 people that will play. They each take a curtain (one out of 3) to trade in their winnings for a curtain; hopefully one of them will pick the big deal....

Simple, right? Of course. But let me digress on so many notes/tangents on this show:

1. What's the deal with the costumes? All of the contestants are wearing wacko costumes on the "trading floor". How did that start? This show started in the 1960s, and back then, everyone wore formal wear as a contestant (suits and dresses). One show, a lady brought in a sign for Monty, asking him to pick her; he noticed the sign and did pick her! Soon after, another lady wore a fancy hat in order to be noticed; she was and was picked! It snowballed from here.

2. One of the more famous modern statistical problems shared in college classes - and no, I am not joking - is the Monty Hall problem. I remember hearing about this in my undergrad statistics classes in college. The problem is similar to the End game; you have 3 curtains, 1 curtain has a car, 2 others are zonks. You pick a curtain (say, curtain #1). Monty shows you curtain #2 - and it is a zonk.

The question is - should you trade curtains if offered (and change to curtain #3)?

The answer is yes - Marilyn Vos Savant (from the Weekly "Parade" magazine) answered this in 1990 and was immediately (and incorrectly!) berated by professors. I won't go into the solution here, but it is intuitive if you think about it a while. Here's the explanation for more details:

3. While the closing credits roll, Monty goes around the contestants for mini deals - "quickies" - asking random contestants for household items. "Do you have a fork? I'll give you $50 for a fork". Or a passport. Or a Canadian coin. I think half of the people had a huge hand bag full of junk just for this eventuality.

4. One of my high school memories (or maybe it was middle school - it was 1985) was having a sub for a class; we were supposed to watch a movie but we couldn't get the VCR to work. We then convinced her to turn the TV to Channel 11 to watch "Let's Make a Deal". It was educational!
After about 5 minutes, the sub - Mrs. Grauer, I think - was puzzled. Why are they in costumes? What's going on? I don't think Mrs. Grauer was a big fan of game shows.

5. The show introduced door #4 in the 80s - where a big wheel came out to "randomly" select a contestant to spin a wheel for cash and prizes. A random number generator picked a number from 1 to 36 to pick a contestant to play. I think they had to do this since it seemed that the contestants picked for the main game play were never random.

I haven't watched the revival of Let's Make a Deal with Wayne Grady - so I can't comment on how well the new show matches up with the classics. However, in my mind, Monty Hall will
always be Mr. Let's Make a Deal. The perfect host for this show.

Anyway - we are getting to the point here where we have to play Lets Make a Deal with Johnny. We've got 4 games to determine whether we stay with door #1 - Johnny - or take Door #2 - Jared Goff? Colin Kaepernick? I feel like we will have llamas behind any door we choose.

On to the games:

Car 23, Atl 13. Yes, the Falcons are falling apart, but I don't know if the Panthers have the motivation to crush them.

Chi 27, Was 17. Completely shocked at how flat the Skins were last week. Fox will dial up the same defense for Washington.

Cin 26, Pit 23. Should be a great game; I have Big Ben going for me in the playoffs so I need a great game here.

Ind 27, Jax 24.  The Jags D is horrendous; Indy can pass and take advantage of it. Hasselbeck will recoup and give the Colts the win.

KC 27, SD 23. San Diego is better on teh road now rather than at home to get away from the distractions.

NYJ 26, Ten 13. Not sure I see how Tennessee will score 14+ points vs. this defense, as they are so one-dimensional.

Buf 24, Phi 20. 21 points by the Eagles last week were on returns. I'm not ready to say they are back.

StL 20, Det 13. One last good effort by the Rams. No logic behind this pick.

TB 30, NO 17. The Saints played their Super Bowl last week, and the Bucs are making a charge to theplayoffs - not a perfect team, but getting better.

Sea 27, Bal 10. Jimmy Clausen again?

Den 24, Oak 20. Not sure if Denver can score enough to cover this spread.

GB 22, Dal 20. Maybe this is too high of a score prediction. How does each team score points here?

NE 24, Hou 21. Facinating game. I think Belicheck's history with Hoyer will make the difference here.

NYG 27, Mia 16. The Dolphins are crap. Time for me to get another Monday night game wrong.

Best bets: 14 of them. Last week: 9-7; overall: 93-80-6
Atl/Car under 46.5
Chi -3.5
Ind +1.5
Ind/Jax over 46
SD +10.5
KC/SD over 44
NYJ -7
Ten/NYJ under 43
Buf +1
StL +3.5
Det/StL under 41
TB -4.5
Dal +6.5
NYG +2

Supercontest: Last week: 2-3; overall: 31-33-1
Chi -3
TB -4
Ind pk
Sea -6.5 (stale line)
NYG -1

Dec 6, 2015

NFL Week 13: High Rollers

And now a game of high stakes, where every decision is a gamble, and every move could be your last. Hiiiiiiiigh Rollers!

We are going way back into the memory bank for this one - High Rollers! Dice, numbers, strategy, prizes, cheesy graphics, K-cars....how could you make a game more perfect for me?

The game was based on the old favorite board game "Shut the Box". In Shut the Box, there were numbers 1-9 set up and you rolled dice; you knocked off the numbers 1-9 based on your roll... If you could knock all the numbers out, you win! We bought a cheap Shut the Box set in Bangkok for like $3....they are all over the markets in Asia , for whatever reason.  This game sounds easy, but in practice, this is a lot harder than it looks!

The main game for High Rollers acts the same way. There are 3 columns of 3 numbers each - randomly distributed from 1-9 - and a toss up trivia question is asked to see who gains control. The winning contestant can either roll or pass.

If they roll, they rolled the dice and chose what numbers to take off the board based on the sum of the dice. For instance, if they rolled a 7, they could take off the 7, or 1-6, or 2-5, or 3-4, or 1-2-4, etc. Then another question was asked.

Later in the game, as the numbers whittled away, it was more advantageous to pass the dice to your oppornent. If the last numbers was "9" - good luck, Mr. Opponent! (Unless the opponent is Mike Dietrich). If you rolled and could not take off any numbers, you lose the game. Two wins out of the 3 and the contestant went to the bonus round.

The table and dice used for the game? Well, it looks simply like a big 1970s dining room table. The set looks like it is in a formal room. Pure late 70s/early 80s gaudiness. And the dice! At least 8" a side - just huge! Like the dice hanging from rear view windows in cars at the time. (boy, was I obsessed with those when I was 6 or 7. One of my friends had a big sister who drove - and she had those fuzzy dice - holy shit! She was my idol. I forgot her name, however. She may still be here in Cincinnati. )

Seems simple - and it is! A couple of wrinkles: each column had a nice prize (a trip, Amana washer/dryer, etc.), and if you cleared a column, you win that prize. This tried to force more people to roll rather than always pass.
Also - doubles! Doubles gave you an insurance marker .... a "free roll". Just like monopoly. This crystal-like plaque is handed to you to keep for the round; this is a much classier "hall pass" than those cheap coasters handed out on Wheel of Fortune.

The bonus game is simply the playing of "Shut the Box" for $10,000! Of course, the numbers were all lit up on the main stage - the 5-foot high numbers went dark as they were taken off one by one.  There is an episode of the bonus game where the only number left was "2" - and he rolled snake eyes to win!

Our host for the game.... Alex Trebek! Yes! Why isn't he given more credit as a staple of American television? This game started with Trebek as a host in 1974...this means he has been around our life on TV for 40 + years. This is Dick Clark territory here! How come he never gets the credit for this?

How could I not love this game? I remember watching this - vaguely - and practicing at home with any dice I could find. I quickly found out that winning the bonus game was impossible. Try it sometime! It's not easy. This made me even more determined to "win" at it. The show went off the air in 1981 (it made a brief return in 1986 with Wink Martindale) - but I never forgot it. - the dice, the graphics, and the table.

Rolling dice is now our quarterback situation. I feel like the only numbers on the board are a "1" and a "2" ... good luck, Cleveland! Find a quarterback! Contestant 1 is the alcoholic liar, Johnny; Contestant 2 is Austin Davis, a 4 years journeyman who we signed to a 2 year contract earlier this season! Is he the answer? Who knows...

On to the games, quickly:

Hou 23, Buf 17. Love how Houston's D is playing, and Buffalo's offense is shaky.

Chi 24, SF 20. I think the bears are overrated; they beat a bad Packers team last week. I like San Fran to keep it close here.

Mia 20, Bal 17. Bal still has pride, and I'm not sure if the Dolphins do.

Min 23, Sea 20. Tricky game, as the weaknesses/strengths here don't match up well on either side.

NYG 27, NYJ 24. Love Coughlin here as I think the Giants are going to be motivated to answer the bell.

Az 27, StL 13. Just can't see how the 3rd stringer of the Rams can put up enough points.

TB 30, Atl 17. Ryan does not play well outdoors, and Atl's defense is porous enough for Wnston to take advantage.

Ten 24, Jax 17. Jax will have a letdown here; they let their season slip away with that loss to the Chargers last week.

KC 24, Oak 20. Seems like a trap; can you always depend on an Andy Reid team to come through?

Den 20, SD 10. How will the Chargers score here against the dominating defense of Denver?

NO 30, Car 23. Just a feeling - one last hurrah for the Saints at home. Yes, I think I am desperate here.

NE 27, Phi 17. I don;t think the Pats will move the ball well without Gronk; and we know Philly's problems on O.

Pit 26, Ind 23. Ind's defense is playing better. This may be closer than we think.

Was 23, Dal 13. How will Dallas score? Washington is a good home team.

Best bets: 16 of them. Last week: 5-7; overall: 84-73-6
Hou +3
SF +7
Bal/Min under 42.5
Min +2
NYG +2.5
NYG/NYJ over 46.5
Az -4
TB -1
Ten -2
Den -3.5
Den/SD under 43.5
NO +6.5
Phi/NE under 49
Ind +7.5
Was -3.5

Supercontest: Last week: 1-4. Overall: 29-30-4. Below 500 now! Ugh!
SF +7
Hou +3.5
TB -1
NYG +2.5
Was -4.5

Nov 29, 2015

NFL Week 12: Super Password

"It's Password......

It's Super Password!"

Password was a hit game show in the 60s and 70s that it came back in two forms in the 1980s! We are going with the later revival, hosted by Bert Convy from 1984-1989, which captured all the fashions and style of the 1980s.

The original Password was hosted by Allen Ludden and was a big hit on network TV due to its simplicity. A contestant-celebrity pair made up a team; one of them was the "giver" and one was the "receiver". The giver tried to make the receiver say the "password" by giving one word clues. In the original version, points were given in accordance to the number of times a clue was given....

The new versions of the show tried to make it a bit more complex and add a bonus round. In these versions, each password was a clue to a puzzle - and after each clue, the contestant given the opportunity to solve the master puzzle.

Here's an example: the first password was "Youthful" , the second was "practical" - and the answer to the master puzzle was "Dick Clark".

Three or four puzzles were played of varying value ($100-$400) to hit the number needed to win the game - usually, it was about $500. The winner got to play the bonus round - Alphabetics! This was simply - the team needed to get 10 words in 60 seconds; the words were in alphabetical order, starting with a letter and continuing in consecutive order...... for example, 10 words starting with "A" and going to "J". The bonus prize started at $5,000 and went up $5,000 every time someone did not win.

Alphabetics was always fun to watch, especially if the letters chosen were "Q", "Z", "U" or something. How many words were appropriate for Password with these letters? For U - it was always Ukelele or Unicycle. For X - obviously Xylophone. For Q? Quail, Quintuplet and maybe Quarter. Those were the staple words that always appeared.

(and yes, that is Richard Simmons as the celebrity in that photo).

In this version, they tried to add a few surprises - like the Ca$hword. The Cashword was given to the leading contestant in the middle of the game; a difficult word was chosen and the celebrity had three chances to give a clue to have the contestant say it. The words were hard, and not words you can easily guess while high on cocaine.

The cashword was brought out on a device where you push individual buttons down for each clue - it was given the nickname of the "toaster" as it had the same shape. In more than one occasion, the toaster broke - the buttons couldn't be pressed down, and it had a reputation of being clumsy. Betty White finally busted the toaster in a late episode.

Allen Ludden - the original Password host from the 60s - hosted the first re-launch of Password (Password Plus) in 1978; that show had a more serious vibe about it as an actual competition. The mid-80s version was hosted by Bert Convy. He bought a much more lighter attitude to the show, making it more entertaining and less about the competition. Bert was the owner of several bloopers (where he would accidentally give the clue) and the guest starts seemed to be given more leeway to shine. This probably was the right direction for the show, and that was the direction of TV at the time - toward more entertainment and less of the competition. Maybe it foreshadowed the rise of the daytime talk shows in the 90s.

For me, this show acted as filler and ear candy. It's a nice show, nice to have on in the background but certainly it was not appointment TV. Password is a time-tested format, but since it has been on for 30 years or so, how new/innovative can you make it? There's not too many gimmicks you can put in there to spruce it up and make it feel fresh.

Talking about filler and ear candy - that would describe the Monday night game this week. Will anyone out there really pay attention to this game? The exploits of Johnny will be used as material constantly and be overblown. There will likely not be any fantasy games riding on the MNF contest. ESPN will try to sell this as NBC sold Super Password - as a celebrity fun fest with the game being secondary. Oh gee, can't wait to watch. ....

On to the games....

Atl 24, Min 17. I think the Packers exposed the Vikings last week as a offensively limited team. Not sure how they keep up in a dome vs. a team desperate for a win.

Cin 23, Stl 13. On the face of it, this would be a mismatch, but I think there are starting to be concerns with the flow of Cincinnati's offense. They should shut down the Rams outside, however.

NO 27, Hou 23. New Orleans is off a bye with a new defensive coach. I'm not sold yet on Houston being a sudden contender; I think the Saints will pull it together to find a win here.

Ind 26, TB 23. Interesting game - is Tampa ready for prime time? Is Indy's D improved enough to stop an improved Bucs' offense?

Jax 24, SD 17. Really disappointed in the Chargers last week. Have they mailed it in? Playing an east coast 1 pm game against a Jags team that suddenly has something to play for. What is the mind state of San Diego right now, with the move looming?

KC 23, Buf 16. How does Buffalo move the ball against the Chiefs? How do the Chiefs fare against a team that actually tries to win and doesn't lay down? Fascinating game.

NYJ 27, Mia 13. The Jets are desperate for a win and they have the Dolphins' number. They have more talent on both sides of the ball, and I'm still not sold on Miami's offense.

Oak 24, Ten 20. Tennessee off of 10 days rest, but still have lots of injuries in the secondary. Oakland has laid an egg in 2 straight games...not sure what's going to happen here.

Was 27, NYG 24. I think Washington is a solid middle of the pack team, and will always be competitive; they can take advantage of the Giants secondary.

Az 31, SF 14. Yes, this could be a possible let down for the Cardinals, but the Niners just have no weapons against a solid defense like the Cardinals.

Pit 30, Sea 20. Seattle is still a fraud, and the Steelers need this game ...and Pittsburgh have the weapons to take advantage of the secondary issues in Seattle. A win over the Niners does not mean the Seahawks are back, people.....

NE 27, Den 20. Trying to see how Osweiller outsmarts Belicheck here....I'm sure Bill will have something for the young QB. Denver's defense is good, but I don't think Brady will have too much trouble moving the ball.

Best bets: 12 of them. Last week: 3-7-2; overall: 79-66-6

Atl -2.5
StL/Cin under 42 1/2
NO +3
Jax -5
NYJ -4
Oak -1
Was +2
NYG/Was over 47
Az -9.5
Pit +3.5
Pit/Sea over 45 1/2
NE -2.5

Supercontest picks: 1-4 last week; overall: 28-26-1. Ugh.
Atl pk
NO +3
Jax -4
NYJ -3.5
Pit +3.5

Nov 22, 2015

NFL Week 11: $1,000,000 Chance of a Lifetime

This is $1,000,000. In a moment, Couple A will compete with Couple B as they battle for the biggest prize in the history of television. Just one single word can turn one of our couples into millionaires, all on the $1,000,000 Chance of a Lifetime!

You want the definition of cheesy 80s game shows! This one sets the standard! The $1M Chance of a Lifetime show was a syndicated program in the mid 80s - I think it was from 1985-87. It wasn't on a network schedule, so stations picked it up and used it for filler in the afternoon. This - of course - were the days before 86 million talk shows were invented, so this show was perfect for independent stations to show around 3 or 4 in the afternoon. For me, this was the perfect show to come home to after a rough day in middle or high school.

Where do I start with the gimmicks here? First, the grand prize was - yes! - $1 million dollars. I'll explain how you win it in a moment. The $1 million dollars was placed on stage during play for all to see - I guess to heighten the suspense. A security guard was positioned by the money during the opening until the host came out . There must have been problems with the studio audience coming up and stealing part of the money, so a Brinks employee was needed.

This was  a couples' game - that adds the fun! Can you imagine playing a game show for $1 million dollars with your spouse? Janice and I can't even play Pictionary without getting into fights. (Who doesn't know where Oregon is? -ed). The main play just needed one of the spouse playing against one of the others....and no help can be given by the non-playing spouse. What was the divorce rates of the losing contestants?

The game play was a bit complex - it was a combination of Password and Wheel of Fortune. Three puzzles were played - a puzzle consisted of a multi-word phrase or thing. Then clues were given one at a time .....and the contestants had to guess the clue when the letters of the clue were filled in one by one. Very much like the speed round of Wheel of Fortune.

Once you got a "clue" - then you tried to solve the main puzzle. The contestant went up to the main computer and picked letters for the main puzzle. The did this literally - letters were lit on the computer that were in the puzzle - plus one "stinger"! that was not included - and the contestant pressed a giant key on the keyboard to choose a letter.

If they could get the puzzle, great! If not, they went back and another clue was given. I love this keyboard. It's like a giant size Vic 20...remember kids, this was the breakthrough technology of the day!

Three puzzles were played - the winner went to the bonus round, where the couples were placed in the "isolation" chamber....they had to get 6 words in 60 seconds; the words were all part of a category that were chosen (like First Aid Items or Summit Conference Colleges). Letters were placed one by one for each word - the couple could blurt out any guess they wanted as the letters appeared. They needed to get all 6 words in 60 seconds to win.

The million was won if a couple can win the main game and the bonus game 3 days in a row. This was a great soap opera aspect of the game - I could watch on Monday, see somebody lose the bonus round, and then I realize I can skip Tuesday's and Wednesday's episode if necessary since no one can win the million.

Our host for the show is Jim Lange. He hosted the Dating Game in the 70s and another show in the 80s that will be coming up. I'd certainly consider Jim to be on the B-list of hosts - friendly, does the job, but there's just something missing. Seems forced at times.

I think I must be the only one to remember this show - it was short lived, and being on independent stations did not help its popularity. But it was a quick moving game show with the suspense of a million always hanging over the show. If a couple was there for the third time, it was required viewing and I had to fight to watch the show over Layup's insistence of watching "Inspector Gadget".

Most of you know my two guilty pleasures are game shows and politics; in doing research for this blog, I came across this episode of the show. You have to watch at around the 4:45 mark - a commercial was not edited out. Wow! How's that for a flashback......

What's the opposite of the suspense of having a coupe go for the $1,000,000 on the third episode? How about any meaningless Browns game from here on out? Thank God they are on the bye this week. This team is unwatchable. The penalties, mental mistakes are frequent and devastating. It's like we are starting over - again. We do nothing well......and this is even taking into account that Johnny may have a future here! He's not the problem! I really want to like Mike Pettine- especially after the 7-4 start last year - but since then, he is 2-13, and the team is degrading each week.

Oh - by the way- do you know the Monday Night Football game next week? you are welcome, America!

On to the games:

Atl 27, Ind 24. Can't figure out this game; both teams off a bye; I don't think there's that much of a dropoff to Hasselbeck.

Bal 27, StL 20. I just don't think the Ravens have it in them to give up. So disappointed in the Rams last week - they are certainly one-dimensional.

Car 26, Was 16. The Redskins are limited against a good D; Car won't outscore them, however, and will control the clock and the game without running away with it.

Chi 24, Den 19. Brock Osweiler's first start in the NFL, and who does he see? His old defensive coordinator on the other side of the field. I think Fox will have a lot of surprises for Brock.

Oak 31, Det 20. Detroit just played their Super Bowl - and it's clear they are not a good team. Oakland can beat bad teams on the road - see week 3!

NYJ 20, Hou 17. Too many injuries to count here. I think Houston's D is finally coming info form and this won't be a Jets rout.

Dal 20, Mia 16. Philly gave the game to Miami last week; I still don't think the Dolphins are very good. Dallas will be able to hold Miami and Romo should bring home the win.

Phi 26, TB 16. Just a feeling here. The matchup is horrible for Tampa; Philly's D will limit them and I think Tampa is not good enough defensively to stop Sanchez. Did I just say that?

SD 27, KC 20. San Diego is off the bye and will put up one last good effort. I think Kansas City is overrated and won't be able to score when needed.

Min 23, GB 20. Can't figure this game out. The Packers will be desperate, and they have to change their offensive strategy - a hurry up offense? If so, can Minnesota respond?

Sea 20, SF 16. The Seahawks should not be favored by double digits over anyone right now. Do people watch the games?

Az 30, Cin 20. I don't think the Bengals are firing on all cylinders offensively, and will have trouble to keep up with Arizona at home.

NE 31, Buf 24. I think this game will be close; NE is not as dominating as they were in teh beginning of the season.

Best bets: 12 of them. Last week: 9-6; overall: 76-59-4
Bal -3
Car -7
Chi +2
Oak +1
Dal -1
Dal/Mia under 46
Phi -6
SD +3
KC/SD over 45
SF +13.5
Az -4.5
Buf/NE over 47.5

Supercontest: Last week: 3-2; overall: 27-22-1
Oak -2
Dal pk
Phi -5.5
SD +3
SF +12.5

Nov 15, 2015

NFL Week 10: $ale of the Century

Today on America's biggest bargain sale, we are offering a 1985 Chevrolet Cavalier worth $8,500 for only $150! A trip to Hawaii worth $3,000 for only $21! Two of the incredible bargains
 on…..$ale of the Century!

I really loved this game show – it was a trivia show with a twist. The general basis was simple – 3 contestants playing a trivia game; they start with $20. Every correct answer is worth $5, and every miss took away $5. The contestant with the most points at the end wins! How simple can you get?

Two little wrenches were thrown into the game play to make it more interesting. First, there were three “instant bargains” during the match. At a random time, someone offstage would ring a bell, meaning it was time for the instant bargain. The leader at that point was able to use their point total to buy something. For instance, a refrigerator was shown and modeled. “Isn’t this nice? You told me offstage you were moving! You need a fridge!” And the host (more on him in a second) would try to entice the contestant to “buy” the prize for $11 or so. The $11 comes out of their point total for the game, however…..The host would throw in cash as well to sweeten the pot. And then he would start the countdown for the sale: “Going once! Going twice…….” Most of the time, it was a “no sale” as the contestant wanted to keep their lead – but later in the game they had nice prizes – trips, spas, etc. – that people bought.

The second wrinkle was the “fame game”. This was a biographical type of a question – and the person who buzzed in correctly with the answer got a shot at the “money cards”- 9 cards on a board; one or more of them would have $10, $15 or $25 bonus for the player. The others had gifts from Ron Popeil, and the contestant would have to look interested in a year’s supply of Lee Press-on Nails.

These fame game questions were not easy. The question always start with “I am ……” and then the host would take a meander through the biography of the person/ “I was born in 1547, in a little farm in Germany. My mother couldn’t read, nor could my father….”. It was like Paul Harvey reading the questions. They were not trivial questions – I really appreciated that in a game show.

The main game ended after the last “fame game” with the “speed round”. 60 seconds of rapid fire trivia questions at 5 points a piece. If you buzzed in, you were expected to answer right away. If you didn’t, a voice offstage would yell (and I mean yell) “TIME!”.; 5 points were deducted and we move on.

Our host for $ale of the Century was Jim Perry. I think Guy Smiley from Sesame street was based off of Jim (although Jim probably came on to the scene after Guy made his debut). Jim was a bit corny, but most importantly he played the role of salesman with excellence. He tired to cajole the contestants into the instant bargains. He had a voice that was perfect for the speed round, and could “act” the part out while reading the questions in the fame game. I liked him a lot, and I think we will talk about him more in another blog (for his hosting of another show).

Oh – the hostess – her name was Summer Bartholomew. That names just rolls off the tongue; apparently she is an ex-Miss America with a graduate degree. Brains and beauty together! She was around for most of the show.

The one weakness of the game was the bonus game. What do you do with the winner of the trivia contest and you still have 8 minutes left and have to create a bonus round for the winner? They tried putting the winnings in a bank – and the person could “buy” a grand prize item with the money – and leave – or keep the money save it for bigger items in the future (or they could buy the whole kit and caboodle with enough money). Then they tried a random match board to give away a prize every game. Nothing really worked nor caught on.

The show was on NBC for 6 years – that’s the black hole for game shows; nobody watched NBC. Sometimes they had this on a 10:30 going up against Press Your Luck; I always chose $ale over the Whammy. Sometimes they had it at 11:00, which made $ale or TPiR a tough call.

The Browns almost had their Sale of the century with this year’s trade deadline; Joe Thomas’s name continually came up but no deal was reached. You never know how close any team was to agreeing on a price. I can’t fault the Browns for trying to see what he is worth. Joe is by far the Best Brown of the past 20 years, and is Hall of Fame worthy…..but he dseres to play for a contender instead of the idiots we have here. Joe is pure class and the model for any future Brown.

On to the games; handicapping them from high in the air aboard a Singapore Airlines flight…

Bal 27, Jax 24. Bal is off a bye and should get a little healthier; Jacksonville is playing well but always gives up the turnovers at the wrong time. Should be closer than the line indicates.

GB 23, Det 17. I’m sure there are plenty of “what’s wrong with the Pack” stories in the US right now; maybe the answer is “well, they’re not that good!”. They are one-dimensional and their defense is getting worse.

Phi 23, Mia 20. I don’t understand how the Eagles can be favored by more than a field goal over any one. They let the Cowboys back in the game multiple times last week.

StL 23, Chi 10. This defense isn’t the Charger defense. I think Cutler will be hassled all game will be forced into multiple turnovers.

Dal 24, TB 16. Tampa Bay is good enough to win offensive shootouts, but I remain impressed with the Dallas D. If the Giants shut down Tamps fairly well, I expect the Cowboys to do even better.

Car 27, Ten 20. How many times have I said that I like Mariota? Why didn’t I pick them last week?

Was 31, NO 20. How many times can I say that New Orleans is a fraud? Outdoors with that shaky defense – I think the Skins will control the lines and have a comfortable win.

Oak 27, Min 17.  I’m just not convince that Minnesota can score enough to keep up with the raiders. Maybe I’m basing this too much on the Raiders playing an awful Steelers D …. But I expect the Radiers to be in the high 20s here, and I haven’t seen the Vikes put those kind of numbers up.

Den 24, KC 17. The numbers say this should be extremely close, but Denver is the kind of team that has a mental lock on the Chiefs. The Chiefs can be 14-1 and still find a way to lose to the Broncos, just because of past ghosts.

NE 31, NYG 24. I am just not interested in this game. Offenses will control the game and it will be decided by a late PI call in favor of Brady.

Sea 27, Az 24. Just think the Seahawks are too desperate to show up flat for this one. Both teams aare off the bye – I expect improvement by the Seahawks on both lines. Should be a classic Sunday night game.

Cin 23, Hou 16. I have to point out that the Bengals are a 7-0-1 against the spread. Wow. I think they are due for a letdown….but do I really have faith in Hoyer to keep it close?

Best bets: 15 of them. Ugh, I don’t like these. Last week: 6-5; overall: 67-53-4

Det +10.5
Det/GB under 48 1/2
Mia +6
Mia/Phi under 50
StL -6.5
Chi/Stl under 42 1/2
Dal +1
Car -4
Car/Ten over 44
Was pk
Oak -3
Den -4.5
Az/Sea over 44
Hou +10/5
Hou/Cin under 47.5

By the way, no one got the game show from last week? It's Layup's favorite slot machine game. 

Supercontest picks: Last week: 3-2; overall: 24-20-1
Det +11.5
StL -7
Dal +1.5
Was pk
Hou +10.5

Nov 6, 2015

NFL Week 9: ?????????

It's a special mystery week here at the blog! I am leaving to go back to the homeland later today - not sure if I will be able to access the blog for a week! With that background, here's a mystery game show for you fans out there.....

This should be easy if you have an encyclopedic memory of game shows from the 1980s; we'll see how many of you are true fans out there.

So - who is this person playing for the Chargers and what game show is he associated with?

OK, is that too hard? Let's see his face ....will that help?

Again, should be fairly easy....

Quick picks for the games; if I have time and access, I will add comments to these. I'm a little despondent after last night's debacle of a 21 point loss to the Bengals....

Buf 27, Mia 17
Car 19, GB 16
Min 20, StL 17
NE 31, Was 24
NO 30, Ten 20
NYJ 27, Jax 21
Pit 34, Oak 20
SF 23, Atl 20
TB 31, NYG 27
Den 24, Ind 20
Phi 23, Dal 20
Chi 29, SD 27

Best bets: 11 of them. Last week - thanks Carolina! - 5-9-1; overall: 61-48-4

Buf -3
Car +2.5
GB/Car under 45 1/2
Was +14
Pit -4.5
Oak/Pit over 48
SF +7
TB +2.5
NYG/TB over 49 1/2
Chi +4
Chi/SD over 49

Supercontest: still undecided as of this writing. Last week: 1-4; overall: 21-18-1.  Leans:

Buf -3
Car +2.5
Pit -4
SF +7
TB +2.5

Nov 1, 2015

NFL Week 8: Love Connection

"Welcome to Love Connection, where old-fashioned romance meets modern-day technology. Where you'll hear all the intimate details of a first date. Sometimes our dates have a happy ending, and sometimes there's just an ending. But it's always unpredictable when two strangers meet and try to make that....Love Connection!"

C'mon - who doesn't remember this show? I guess this should could be summarized as the family version of the Dating Game (which, I recall, we were not allowed to watch).

If you forget how this show worked, it's simple.  Love Connection featured a contestant that got to choose between three "choices" for a blind date. We got to know the main contestant - their background, dating preferences, personality - and then the audience got to see about a 15 second of the video snippets from each of the possible choices.

From that comprehensive personality screen, the audience got to pick what they thought would be the best match for the contestant. The contestant had already picked a choice, and they had gone on the first date before the show. We then see the choice on camera set up in the back room, and then everyone talks about the details of the date.

If the date went well, the lovers come out and meet each other and the show would pay for a second date. If not - well, they don't meet on stage and the show would pay for a date if the audience picked another person. That's it! No bonus round, no chance at $1000 jackpot.....

Chuck Woolery was the host for this show - and I have to saw he was the perfect fit for this type of show. For this show to exist in the 80s, you have to have an "innocent" host - and Chuck certainly fits this bill - but can make sly, subtle innuendos when needed. It can't be overt! I can't see someone like Wink Martindale or Dick Clark being able to do that second part.

I think this was the first show where most of the viewers - especially as a teenager watching - wanted to see the car wreck dates on the show. Who cares if a real "connection" was made and the couple hit it off? No! We wanted to see the arguments, yelling, and crying! It wasn't rare that the date went bad - but most of the times the conversations were civil. However, there were a few episodes when they couple went at each other and Chuck had to step in. That's when Layup or I would call each other to come to the TV room to watch.

One word: mullets. It was the majority of the hair style for the men in the profiles....it was the late 80s, you know!

The dating profiles of the candidates were always fun to watch. It showed their occupation -"car salesman" was never a good signal - and their marital status. Remember, this was the 80s, so "divorced" was still a stigma. I think the show never offered divorcees to "never been married" folks and for a divorced contestant, they only offered divorced profiles.

The computer generated statistics for the audience choices! Remember that? The high technology involved in tallying the audience votes? It was statistically significant that 43% picked the insurance salesman from Riverside over the 42% that picked the accountant from Bakersfield.

Sometimes, if the first match didn't work out, the contestant would come back on and talk about the second date - the date with the audience pick. If that didn't work, Chuck seemed to get a little suspicious of the contestant and seem to tell him "hey, it's not us, maybe you need to work on things...."

Finally, who can forget Chuck's signature line as they cut away to commercial - we will be back in "two and two"....two minutes and two seconds for the commerical break. Been using that line at the craps table asking for a hard four for 20 years.....

Oh - for those that care - out of the 22,000 or so couples on Love Connection, there were a recorded 31 marriages.....about 0.15%. Not the best success rate....

I think the Browns fans need to stage an intervention and revive the Love Connection game show for....our friend Johnny. Hey Johnny, we've got three dating choices for you. One of them is a Hollywood actress, the other two are quiet single ladies from Waterloo, Iowa and Troy, Ohio. Mr. Manziel has already been on the date with the wild actress - we learned it ended on the highway - and now we, as Browns fans, will pay for him to date a quiet girl to stay out of the lime light. Please, Johnny, take us up on our advice (and Chuck's advice) and tone it down.

On to the games:

KC 26, Det 13. Can't figure out how the Lions will score here, given their complete inability to run the ball. I think the Chiefs will get enough pressure on the Lions to force mistakes and easy scores.

Atl 30, TB 23. Maybe the Falcons aren't all that good after all. That's 3 games in a row now where they came out fairly flat vs. inferior competition. Tampa can score, but there's no defense there.

Bal 31, SD 20. I think the Chargers are done - like 1995 Browns done. It's clear they are leaving San Diego - so it's time to mail it in. I also believe Harbaugh can make the case for the Ravens to keep playing hard at 1-6; their schedule is so easy now....

Chi 27, Min 23. What exactly has Minnesota done so far this year? They have a fairly good D, but have no passing game to keep up with any kind of a shootout - and that's what I expect here.

Ten 20, Hou 17. LeBeau game planning against a limited Brian Hoyer and no Arian Foster? Zach M is not that much of a letdown from Mariota. I like the Titans here.

NYG 27, NO 20. Time for a letdown for the Saints. They've played 2 good games in a row; the Giants have laid 2 stinkbombs. Time for the Giants to take advnatange of the horrible Saints secondary.

Cin 30, Pit 27. No real idea who will win here. Should be a shootout, since I still think Pittsburgh is vulnerable to a good passing offense.

Stl 20, SF 19. I watched the Rams last week - they are very limited offensively; I think the 49ers can shut down the run and keep it much closer than expected.

NYJ 27, Oak 16. The Jets' pass rush vs. Derek Carr should cause major problems for the Raiders. An let's not forget, the Raiders' D is not all that good. I think the Jets win easy here.

Dal 19, Sea 16. I'm sorry, did the Seahawks' record move to 5-2 when I was not looking? They still have multiple problems on each line, and Dallas' O-line strength will take advantage.

GB 26, Den 24. Can't figure this game out, as there are so many questions on both sides. How good is Denver's D, really? Green Bay could only score 27 vs. the weak Chargers' D? How bad is Peyton? Let's sit back and get answers before diving in.

Car 23, Ind 13. Carolina is good, people. Their secondary is excellent and will take away a lot of the Colts' strength. And that front line getting pressure on Luck will force him into mistakes....

Best bets: 15 of them. Last week: 8-5-1 ; overall: 56-39-3
KC -3
Det/KC under 45
Bal -3.5
Chi +1
Min/Chi over 42
Ten +4
Ten/Hou under 43
NYG +3
Cin/Pit over 48 1/2
SF +8
NYJ -3
Dal +4.5
Sea/Dal under 41 1/2
Car -6.5
Ind/Car under 46 1/2

Supercontest: Last week: 2-3. Thanks a lot, Flacco. Overall: 20-14-1
Bal -3.5
Chi +1.5
SF +8.5
NYJ -2.5
Dal +6

Dean Chance 1941-2015

Thanks to Steve for that memorial for the 1964 Cy Young award winner, Dean Chance. For those that can't put the name to the face, here are two pictures.....

One from the Angels - when he was (at the time ) the youngest Cy Young winner,
and one from 2000 during a boxing event.

I never got to meet Dean personally, but felt I knew him through the adventures he and Steve's family had. He is a character in history that will be missed.....