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Was that the first Sunday of the new calendar year in the NFL?  Or Halloween?

The playoff picture got clearer. But everything else was out of focus and out of whack.

And speaking of whack…

Sure, we’ll start in Dallas, which I’ve always regarded as the cold concrete, cold heart and diamond-hard silicone capital of the universe. The Cowboys have locked up the NFC East, and can wind up no lower than the fourth seed, but that is probably exactly where their starting blocks will be set. Part of me thinks that’s no big deal. That Dallas defense can travel, and that includes heading North to Lambeau if necessary.

But Sunday’s loss to Arizona was troubling. Yeah, Dak did another dip. Michael Gallup’s knee injury looked bad. It’ll be interesting to see how the Cowboys and Eagles treat their regular-season finale on Saturday, since both have already clinched a postseason berth.

Right now, Dallas appears to be vectored toward a first round matchup with either the Cardinals or the Rams. Either of those teams will be a problem, but both are flawed. Arizona still looks shaky, despite Sunday’s win in Arlington. Currently, the Cardinals’ offense consists of Kyler Murray just taking off with the football. That’s a short road that ends with a sudden stop in the playoffs.

The Rams? Matthew Stafford was supposed to bring stability, maturity and good judgment to the L.A. offense. Instead, he’s a Pick 6 Machine. Is that Matt Stafford, or Matt Schaub?

Yeah, I’m stalling. You think Antonio Brown’s jersey and shoulder pads are still on the sideline at MetLife Stadium? Of course, I have human empathy. I don’t like to see human suffering. But a lot of folks seem to be offering unsupported alibis, in the name of “enlightenment.” AB has CTE? How do you know? The Bucs haven’t given him the support he needs?  Really? The Bucs tried to save his life. Brady tried to save him. Bruce Arians tried to save him. (In fact, an argument could be made that Bruce was the enabler here.) The NFL tried to save him. This is all the result of the “uncaring” nature of professional football? Where’s your evidence? (Remember when assertions required evidence?)

The issue is not the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The issue is Antonio Brown. How many times does he have to tell us who he is before we believe him? That is not to say the Bucs don’t have issues on the field. Despite that hair of their chinny-chin-chin comeback win yesterday, they are just about out of players. A Super Bowl repeat now seems unlikely. Even Number 12 has to have somebody to throw the ball to.

Chaos in the NFC. Except at the top. The Packers are still the best team in the conference. And Kirk Cousins is still an idiot.

Adios, Zim. Later, Nagy. That is no longer a welcome “Matt” in Charlotte, Mr. Rhule.

I’ve had more than enough of NFL head coaches “thinking” with their gonads. This “go for it” insanity is out of control. The Football Gods saved the Bengals from themselves.

I wonder how much Cincy coach Zac Taylor would have enjoyed a post-game press conference in which he had to explain how he lost in overtime after twice turning down a certain opportunity to take the lead late in regulation. And got his star QB hurt.

Not smart. And don’t lay this off on “analytics.” Even the green eyeshades thought that was dumber than dirt. But sometimes you don’t have to be smart if you have Joe Burrow (damn!) and Ja’Marr Chase (double damn!). Yipes, Stripes!

And then there’s Jets coach Robert Saleh. A chance to put the Bucs away, in maybe the upset of the year.  Fourth and a full two deep in Tampa territory. A quarterback sneak? Run by your skinny little rookie QB?

What did you think was gonna happen?

Saleh later tried to blame his OC, aka The Dog That Ate Robert’s Homework. Saleh, in his post-game media briefing. “We really won that game.”

Nah, man. You didn’t. Only ten months until the real Halloween.

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Paul's Bio

I clearly have the attention span of your median fruit fly.Look! Airplane!

Sorry. I’m back.

It’s both a curse and a blessing. I’ve never bought this stuff about, “He who dies with the most toys wins.” But I do think that a wide range of life experiences helps us grow as people, and helps us better relate to other people. I’ve been fortunate. And I am beyond grateful.

I show up on time. I go like hell. I’m a good listener. I hold myself accountable. I own my mistakes. And I have a natural and an insatiable curiosity. I’m never afraid to say, “I don’t know,” when I don’t. But then I try to find out.

The flip side is I’m a lousy ballroom dancer and my clothes sometimes fit me funny.

Stuff matters to me. I care. But while I take that stuff seriously, I try hard to never take myself seriously. As a result, I have sometimes been told, “Paul, it’s hard to tell when you’re serious and when you’re just having some fun. Which is it? Serious or fun?”

My answer is “yes.” But I think that is a legitimate criticism. I promise I’m going to work on that.

This has been the quickest and strangest half-century I’ve ever experienced. During that period, I’ve been afforded amazing opportunities in news and sports journalism across all platforms. I have taught wonderful students at the high school and collegiate level. Always, I learned more from them than they did from me. I’ve been a high school administrator. I spent ten seasons as a high school varsity football coach. I’ve been an advertising executive. I’ve hosted nationally syndicated television entertainment shows. In maybe the biggest honor I ever received, I was selected by NASA to be “Chet The Astronaut” for the “Land The Shuttle” simulator at Space Center Houston. (All I can say there, is “Do as I say, not as I do.” I put that thing in the Everglades more often than not.) Most recently, I just wrapped up a decade as a television news director, during which time our teams distinguished themselves in holding the powerful accountable, achieving both critical and ratings success.

What does all that mean? It means I am profoundly grateful. It also means I’m ready for “next.” So here we are. Radically Rational. It’s an idea I woke up with in 2017. I scribbled “Radically Rational” on a piece of notebook paper and used a magnet to stick it on our refrigerator. I saw it every day, and it just would not leave me alone.

I am second in charge at Radically Rational, LLC. My wife, Jo (also known as BB), is the president. Clearly, I have failed in my attempt to sleep my way to the top of this organization.

I hope you will learn that I’m loyal as a Labrador. But I will admit that this doggie can bite every now and then. My promise to you? I will show up on time. I will go like hell. I will listen to you earnestly and attentively. I will hold myself accountable. I will never be the least bit hesitant to say, “I don’t know,” when I don’t.

But then I’ll try to find out. Let’s do it.