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Woody's Winners, NFL Week 6

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NFL WEEK SIX:

Week 6 was an absolute mess, leaving prognosticators nationwide scratching their heads. My 6-8 record last week included the Giants’ upset win at Houston, but who’d have predicted Oakland over San Diego or Arizona over New Orleans? Heck, some teams – Minnesota, for instance – can do the Jekyll & Hyde thing in a single game, looking awful in the first half and awesome in the second. Still, Woody promises to do better in Week 6. Here are my picks:

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Cleveland (1-4) @ Pittsburgh (3-1)

Colt McCoy vs. Big Ben Roethlisberger. It sounds a lot like an Old West gunfight, and it may well turn out that way. The former is a rookie QB expected to make his first start for the Browns, while the latter returns for the Steelers after a four-game suspension for rustling. McCoy has a capable six-shooter of an arm, but may spend most of the day digging Steel spurs out from his hinder. Big Ben may have a bit of rust on his cannon, but he’ll knock that off in short order against that logo-less team from across the state line.

Woody’s Winner: Pittsburgh

FACT: RB Peyton Hillis scored another TD last week, giving him one in each of Cleveland’s five games.

Click "more" to see my picks on the remaining games in Week 6.

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New Orleans (3-2) @ Tampa Bay (3-1)

These NFC South foes lie on opposite sides of the Gulf of Mexico, and they were on opposite ends of upsets last week; the Saints fell to Arizona while the Buccaneers surprised Cincinnati. Neither team can run – or stop the run, for that matter – so the outcome of this game will hinge on passing the pigskin. There, New Orleans has the edge. The Freebooters would love nothing more than to send the Canonized Crew limping back to Bourbon Street with an even record, and it could happen. Still, as defending NFL champs and spiritual beings, the Saints don’t have to worry about contracting TB.

Woody’s Winner: New Orleans

FACT: The Buccaneers are 4-2 over their last six games against the Saints.

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Miami (2-2) @ Green Bay (3-2)

Two of the five combined victories these teams have posted in 2010 have come against 0-5 Buffalo (and two others against one-win teams), so neither has impressed much this season. The Pack has major injury issues on both sides of the ball, and Miami will look to take advantage of the situation Sunday at Lambeau Field. Green Bay is used to packing meat, not fish, and the slippery Dolphins may prove tough to tackle. Both teams need a win to keep pace in their respective divisions, and the coin flip goes to:

Woody’s Winner (in an upset): Miami

FACT: Historically, the Dolphins won their first 8 games vs. the Packers, but Green Bay has taken 3 out of the last 4 meetings.

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San Diego (2-3) @ St. Louis (2-3)

How is it that the Chargers are #1 in the AFC in both offensive yards and defensive yards-against, but have a losing record? Turnovers. Last week, they frittered away the game to Oakland with three lost fumbles and two blocked punts. Now, the Bolts face a Rams defense that looked good before Week 5’s shellacking at Detroit. The Golden Horns will sorely miss WR Mark Clayton (out with a season-ending injury) but if San Diego continues its thunder-with-no-lightning play, they could be in for a bad storm.

Woody’s Winner: San Diego

FACT: The Chargers have never beaten the Rams in St. Louis.

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Baltimore (4-1) @ New England (3-1)

In one of Week 6’s most anticipated matchups, the Patriots host Baltimore in a battle of two of the AFC’s best teams. The Ravens have been eating clam chowder all week to prepare to face Foxboro’s league-leading scoring machine. Soup is good food, but that’s a tall order. The departure of WR Randy Moss didn’t affect New England last week, but they’ve yet to face a defense as Raven-ous as this one. Baltimore will truly have something to crow about after putting down the Red, White and Blue.

Woody’s Winner: New England

FACT: This will be the Ravens’ fourth road game (out of 6 total games) this season.

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Kansas City (3-1) @ Houston (3-2)

After a season-opening victory at home against Indy, the Texans have lost two consecutive home games. Those same Colts became the first team to knock off the Chiefs this season, although the Kansas City defense put on a good show in the loss. Houston QB Matt Schaub has passed for under 200 yards in each of the last two games, with 2 TDs and 3 turnovers. He’ll perform better this week against an Arrowhead defense that’s among the worst in the league in passing yards allowed. Sorry about that, Chiefs.

Woody’s Winner: Houston

FACT: A win at home this week will even Houston coach Gary Kubiak’s career record to 35-35.

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Detroit (1-4) @ N.Y. Giants (3-2)

Woody picked Detroit to win last week, and they won, and that’s swell. But this game is on the road, and the Lions have not won an away game in nearly three years. The Giant trio of Eli Manning, Hakeem Nicks and Ahmad Bradshaw has hit its stride the past two weeks, and New York’s defense has returned to form as well. The Lions’ wounded Pride will head into their bye week with their tails back in a more familiar position – tucked firmly between their legs. Can you say “dead cat bounce”?

Woody’s Winner: New York

FACT: Uncharacteristically, the Lions have had success on the road against the Giants, winning their last three games there (in 1994, 2000, and 2004).

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Atlanta (4-1) @ Philadelphia (3-2)

It’s birdwatching time in Philly this week when the Falcons fly in to meet the Eagles. It’s probably for the best that Michael Vick won’t start against his former team, as the Atlanta defense would undoubtedly dog his every move. Kevin Kolb has improved with each game, however, and an impressive victory over Atlanta could muddle the Eagles’ QB situation even more. In a decidedly un-avian fashion, this game will be decided on the ground, and that’s where the Red-and-Black will prove their mettle as game birds.

Woody’s Winner (in an upset): Atlanta

FACT: The Eagles are undefeated on the road (3-0) and winless at home (0-2) so far this season.

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Seattle (2-2) @ Chicago (4-1)

The Seahawks hope to jump-start their rushing game with newly-acquired RB Marshawn Lynch, but it’ll be a challenge to do so against Chicago’s grizzly defense. The Bears are convinced that their loss to the Giants was an aberration, and they’re not about to let any coffee-swilling ocean-birds into their den. Recovered from a concussion, QB Jay Cutler will return to the huddle in just the nick of time. In his absence, backup Todd Collins was 10 of 27 for no TDs and 5 INTs. Utterly unBearable.

Woody’s Winner: Chicago

FACT: Bears RB Matt Forte ran for 2 TDs last week. Prior to that game, Chicago had not scored a rushing TD since Week 13 of last season.

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Oakland (2-3) @ San Francisco (0-5)

Oakland played inspired football last week, scoring on a TD, FG, and safety before their game was even five minutes old. Still, the winless 49ers are favored to win against the team from right across the Bay. That’s not too surprising, considering the team went to the wire against three of the NFC’s best (the Saints, Falcons, and Eagles). Frisco RB Frank Gore has yet to hit his stride, something he should be able to accomplish against a Raider defense that couldn’t stop a run in a cheap pair of pantyhose.

Woody’s Winner: San Francisco

FACT: O.J. Simpson was a 49ers running back in 1979, the last time the team started a season 0-5.

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N.Y. Jets (4-1) @ Denver (2-3)

It’s “Orange Sunday” in Denver, as the team hopes the fans will join them in wearing orange and making Invesco Field look like a giant circus peanut. Being Jets, New York will feel at home a mile up in the air, and they’re eager to do some Bronco bustin’ in Week 6. The Jets’ ground crew will eat up the clock and force Denver to pass, which is all they do anyway. The runway will be lit-up and lined with defenders, however, and limited Horsepower just won’t cut it.

Woody’s Winner: New York

FACT: The Jets have averaged 31.5 points over their last four games, all victories.

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Dallas (1-3) @ Minnesota (1-3)

Which of these touted teams will break out of its funk this week? That’s a good question, and the answer may hinge on the availability of old number four. Minnesota QB Brett Favre is in danger of missing a start for the first time in 289 games. Despite their love for #4, some Purple fans feel that the scrambling ability of backup QB Tavaris Jackson might be just the thing to right the listing Viking ship. One team will wear stars in this game, and the other will be seeing them.

Woody’s Winner (in an upset): Dallas

FACT: The Cowboys and Vikings have battled each other in 20 regular season games, and each team has won 10 times.

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Indianapolis (3-2) @ Washington (3-2)

Something’s not quite right with the Colts. Peyton Manning has galloped to a great start, but the rest of the team has just trotted along without much inspiration. In Week 6, they saddle up for our nation’s capital to face the on-again, off-again Redskins. Washington fans are thrilled that their team has kept up in the tough NFC East with victories against the Eagles and Cowboys. With 6 of their next 9 games on the road, however, the Indians know a win at FedEx Field this week would put a sure-‘nuff fluff on those feathery headdresses.

Woody’s Winner (in an upset): Washington

FACT: In the 1960s, the Colts faced the Redskins 9 times, and won every game.

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Tennessee (3-2) @ Jacksonville (3-2)

All four teams in the AFC South have identical 3-2 records, but this matchup ensures that Week 6 won’t end that way (save for ties). Action Jacksonville will be doing the Titan-It-Up on Monday Night Football when the Music City team invades Florida, and while the Olmecs worshiped Jaguars, the Titans don’t kowtow to anybody. When the Cats look up to see the license plate of the truck that just ran over them, they’ll see that it reads “10SE.”

Woody’s Winner: Tennessee

FACT: The Titans and Jaguars are two of the NFL teams whose geographic and team names begin with the same letters. Can you name the other two? (see below)

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BYE: Arizona, Buffalo, Carolina, Cincinnati.

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ANSWER: the Bills and the Seahawks.

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Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below, but please be cordial to others; this is all in good fun. Thanks!

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9 Things You Might Not Know About 'Macho Man' Randy Savage
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Even by the standards of pro wrestling and its exaggerated personalities, there’s never been anyone quite like Randy “Macho Man” Savage (1952-2011). A staple of WWE and WCW programming in the 1980s and 1990s, Savage’s bulging neck veins, hoarse voice, and inventive gesticulations made him a star. Check out some facts in honor of what would’ve been Savage’s 65th birthday.

1. HE WAS ORIGINALLY A PROFESSIONAL BASEBALL PLAYER.

Born Randall Poffo in Columbus, Ohio, Savage’s father, Angelo Poffo, was a notable pro wrestler in the 1950s, sometimes wrestling under a mask with a dollar sign on it as “The Masked Miser.” If that was considered the family business, Savage initially strayed from it, pursuing his love of baseball into a spot on the St. Louis Cardinals farm team as a catcher directly out of high school. Savage played nearly 300 minor league games over four seasons. After failing to make the majors, he decided to follow his father into wrestling.

2. A HAWAIIAN WRESTLER INSPIRED HIS FAMOUS TAGLINE.

In 1967, a then-15-year-old Savage accompanied his father to a wrestling event in Hawaii. There, he saw island grappler King Curtis Iaukea deliver a “promo,” or appeal for viewers to watch him in a forthcoming match. Iaukea spoke in a whisper before bellowing, punctuating his sentences with, “Ohhh, yeah!” That peculiar speech pattern stuck with Savage, who adopted it when he began his career in the ring.

3. HIS MOM GAVE HIM THE “MACHO MAN” NICKNAME.


By John McKeon from Lawrence, KS, United States - Randy "Macho Man" Savage, CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

According to Savage, his wrestling nickname didn’t come from the Village People song but from an article his mother, Judy, had read in Reader’s Digest announcing that “macho man” was going to be a hot term in the coming years. She mailed it to Savage along with a list of other possible names. Even though neither one seemed to know what a “macho man” was, Savage liked the sound of it. His stage name, Savage, came from Georgia promoter Ole Anderson, who thought Savage’s grappling style was ferocious.

4. HE SCARED OTHER WRESTLERS.

In the early 1980s, Savage’s father had started promoting his own regional shows in the Lexington, Kentucky area. To draw publicity, Savage and the other wrestlers would sometimes show up to rival shows threatening grapplers and offering up wagers that they could beat them up in a real fight. Once, a Memphis wrestler named Bill Dundee pulled a gun on Savage, who allegedly took it away from him and beat him with it. After his father’s promotion closed up, Savage landed in the WWF (now WWE), giving him a national platform.

5. JAKE THE SNAKE’S PYTHON PUT HIM IN THE HOSPITAL.

One of Savage’s recurring feuds in the WWE was with Jake “The Snake” Roberts, a lanky wrestler who carried a python into the ring with him and allowed the reptile to “attack” his opponents. To intensify their rivalry, Savage agreed to allow Roberts’s snake to bite him on the arm during a television taping after being assured it was devenomized. Five days later, Savage was in the hospital with a 104-degree fever. Savage lived, but the snake didn’t; it died just a few days later. “He was devenomized, but maybe I wasn’t,” Savage told IGN in 2004. 

6. HE PLANNED HIS MATCHES DOWN TO THE SECOND.

While outcomes may be planned backstage, the choreography of pro wrestling is left largely up to the participants, who either talk it over prior to going out or call their moves while in the ring. For a 1987 match with Ricky Steamboat at Wrestlemania III, Savage wanted everything to be absolutely perfect.

“We both had those yellow legal tablets, and we started making notes,” Steamboat told Sports Illustrated in 2015. “Randy would have his set of notes and I would have mine. Then we got everything addressed—number 1, number 2, number 3—and we went up to number 157. Randy would say, ‘OK, here is up to spot 90, now you tell me the rest.’ I would have to go through the rest, then I would quiz him. I’d never planned out a match that way, so it was very stressful to remember everything.” The effort was worth it: Their match is considered by many fans to be among the greatest of all time.

7. HIS MARRIAGE TO MISS ELIZABETH CAUSED PROBLEMS IN THE LOCKER ROOM.

Savage’s “valet” in the WWE was Miss Elizabeth, a fixture of his corner during most of his career in the 1980s. Although they had an onscreen wedding in 1991, they had been married in real life back in 1984. According to several wrestlers, Savage was jealously guarded with his wife, whom he kept in their own locker room. Savage would also confront wrestlers he believed to have been hitting on her. The strain of working and traveling together was said to have contributed to their (real) divorce in 1991.

8. HE CUT A RAP ALBUM DISSING HULK HOGAN.

In 2003, with his best years in the ring behind him, Savage decided to pursue a new career in rap music. Be a Man featured 13 rap songs, including one that eulogized his late friend, “Mr. Perfect” Curt Hennig. But the performance that got the most mainstream attention was the title track, which dissed wrestling star Hulk Hogan. The two had apparently gotten into a rivalry after Hogan made some disparaging comments about Savage on a Tampa, Florida radio show. Whether the sentiment was real or staged, it didn’t do much to help sales: Be a Man moved just 3000 copies.

9. HE MIGHT GET A STATUE IN HIS HOMETOWN.

In 2016, fans circulated a petition to get Savage his own statue in Columbus, Ohio. The initiative was inspired by the fact that Arnold Schwarzenegger has a monument in Columbus, and wrestling fans argue that Savage should get equal time. The mayor has yet to issue a response. In the meantime, a 20-inch-tall resin statue of Savage was released by McFarlane Toys in 2014.

See Also: 10 Larger-Than-Life Facts About Andre the Giant

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10 Secrets of Ski Instructors
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If you’ve spent this fall wearing shorts and sandals, you’re not alone: Temperatures have been warmer than average across the United States. But no matter how warm it is where you are, there’s still snow (and skiing) in the forecast somewhere. Before you hit the slopes this winter, check out these on-the-job secrets of ski instructors, from why they love bad weather to what they do during the summer.

1. THEY LOVE BAD WEATHER.

No one can control the weather, but ski instructors cross their fingers for frosty temperatures and heavy snowfall. “Ski instructors love cold, appalling winter weather because it so often results in big snowfalls and the skier's dream—velvety powder snow,” says Chalky White, a ski instructor and the author of The 7 Secrets of Skiing.

But big snowfalls don’t always happen, so ski instructors try to make the best of whatever weather they encounter on a given day. Tony Macri of Snow Trainers, a ski and snowboard training company based in Colorado and New Zealand, tells Mental Floss that the weather’s unpredictability makes ski instructing an adventure. “I never think that weather is disappointing,” he says. “It is what creates more challenge and mystery in every day, versus going back to your cubicle that always has the same florescent light shining down on you.”

2. SOME OF THEM HAVE A BEEF WITH SNOWBOARDERS.

Although some ski instructors also teach (and love) snowboarding, the majority of them try to stay away from snowboarders on the slopes, at least when they’re teaching. “[Snowboarders] tend to push all the fresh snow down the hill with their natural movements. Gets pretty frustrating!” justind99, a ski instructor in Quebec, writes in a Reddit AMA.

But other ski instructors have a more zen attitude when it comes to snowboarders and preach coexistence. “We are all here to have fun,” rbot1, a ski instructor in Salt Lake City, says in a Reddit AMA. “The snowboarder vs skier stigma does nothing but cause problems. Share the mountain!”

3. THEIR CERTIFICATION PROCESS IS INTENSE.

Ski instructor teaching adults

Depending on the country in which they become certified, ski instructors must take classes and pass a series of tests to prove their proficiency. In the U.S., the Professional Ski Instructors of America and American Association of Snowboard Instructors (PSIA-AASI) establishes certification requirements for instructors. Once instructors become certified, they can take additional tests of their technical skills to earn higher levels of certification.

“Level 1 is pretty easy to get. Anyone that can ski a blue square comfortably can pass a level 1 exam,” rbot1 says. But achieving certification for higher levels is more challenging, requiring ski instructors to demonstrate their mastery of various turns, bump runs, and drills. “A single mistake in any of those runs nets you a fail,” says rbot1, who spent two years preparing for his Level 2 test. “These drills might be easy to complete, but you have to do it perfectly.”

4. THEY’VE SEEN SOME GNARLY ACCIDENTS.

Although some people think of skiing as a risky activity, ski instructors insist that, statistically, skiing is no more hazardous than many other sports. That said, most ski instructors have seen at least one nasty injury on the slopes, including broken legs and noses, concussions, and shoulder dislocations. “The worst injury I ever witnessed was a spinal fracture from a kid landing on his back after attempting to do a jump in the snow park area,” justind99 says.

“I have seen some injuries to knees, but the worst was when a friend concussed himself so bad that he was knocked out and was actually sleeping with his eyes open,” Macri says. White tells Mental Floss that a helicopter once picked him up from the slopes because medics suspected that he’d broken his neck. “Good news—I didn’t."

5. THEIR PAY ISN’T GREAT.

The income ski instructors make can vary widely, based on where they teach and their level of expertise. Some instructors earn $10 or $11 an hour for group lessons but charge more for private lessons or longer coaching sessions. While most beginning ski instructors may make just $20,000 per year, the perks of getting paid to ski outweigh the lack of cash for many instructors. “I do understand that at some point I’ll need to either start working really hard to boost my earning potential as an instructor or find another field,” rbot1 says. “For now, it’s a blast.”

6. THEY GET CREATIVE TO TEACH KIDS.

Ski instructor teaching children

A group of young kids bundled up in ski jackets while they try to balance on narrow skis might look adorable, but teaching children to ski comes with plenty of challenges. “Some kids don't have the muscles to do it at [a young] age and some do,” explains inkybus21, a ski and snowboard instructor who has taught in Canada, Australia, and Japan. To make sure his young students don’t lose interest or give up, he makes up games that require various skiing motions and uses visuals to help kids figure out how to properly use their bodies.

7. THEIR EQUIPMENT IS EXPENSIVE.

Ski equipment can be pricey, and ski instructors know the pain of an empty wallet firsthand. From skis and boots to bindings, poles, helmets, goggles, and other accessories, ski instructors can easily spend over $1000 on their equipment. And because their gear gets more use than a casual skier’s, instructors typically go through a pair of skis, boots, and liners each season. But many instructors are eligible for steep discounts on their gear, thanks to their employer or their PSIA-AASI membership. “I haven't bought anything at retail price in years,” rbot1 says. “I can’t even imagine paying full price for a pair of boots or ski/binder set up.”

8. THEY MISS SKIING DURING THE SUMMER.

In a career dependent on the winter season, what do ski instructors do during the summer? Some of them travel to the opposite hemisphere to work at a ski resort—essentially working two winters in a row. But because it can be costly to travel and live on another continent, most ski instructors work odd jobs or use their savings to rock climb and explore the outdoors in the off season. Rbot1, for example, has spent his summers working at a ski resort’s restaurant, boxing fish at an Alaskan processing plant, and living off of his savings. “Most people have a seasonal job. The most popular is raft guiding, the second most popular is working at a state park,” he says.

9. THEY GREATLY APPRECIATE TIPS.

Ski instructors don’t always receive tips from their students, and they wish more people knew that they welcome—and in some cases, expect—gratuity. Rbot1 recounts the story of how he once earned $1500, his biggest tip to date, after instructing a family of four for five days, taking them to different parts of the mountain and even eating lunch with them. “At the end of the week it was all hugs and smiles, but my hand was left dry,” he says. “Anyways, next day I got an email that said ‘you have a tip in the office’ and BOOM $1500 in an envelope.” Rbot1 made good use of the generous tip, paying two months of rent and car payments, as well as buying new ski goggles and gloves.

10. THEY LOVE HELPING PEOPLE OVERCOME THEIR FEARS.

Although skiing is good exercise and an enjoyable winter activity, learning to ski can also help people feel more confident. “It’s not always about skiing and teaching people to be the best skiers,” Macri says. “A lot of [the job] is just about showing people a good time and helping them achieve their goals or overcoming their fears.”

Macri particularly appreciates the amazing views from the top of a mountain, as well as the feeling he gets when he takes students down a great run and everyone high-fives one another in joy. “I sit back and think this is my office and I am having just as amazing [a] time as everyone else. The only difference is that I am getting paid for it,” he says.

All photos courtesy of iStock.

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