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  • Gary Porpora



WEEK FIFTEEN = 7 – 8 - 1 WEEKLY OVERALL = 113 – 105 - 6

WEEK FIFTEEN 0/U = 4 – 4 O/U CUMULATIVE 54 – 49 – 1







Las Vegas Raiders (+2.5) @ Pittsburgh Steelers 38 GW [U]

My brother from another mother, Lenny Oaks, ask me about my experience 50 years ago at Three Rivers Stadium when the Steelers rose from the hellish blast furnace of failure that had scorched them for the first forty years of their existence.

Here is an amended version of what I texted him:

Somehow, I managed to win the ticket by beating my gym teacher Mr. Potter in ping-pong. I think we had a tournament and I won the ticket after beating him twice in three games…

It was the second hardest hitting game I ever saw.

Ironically, number one on that hit parade was the following week’s AFCCG against Shula’s Dolphins.

Our seats were behind the end zone, where Stabler scrambled for the tying touchdown, 22 rows from the top of the stadium.

When The Snake scored you could hear the sound of 55K+ fans taking a simultaneous kick to the gut—then absolute silence.

If you listened carefully, you might have heard me crying —and I wasn’t the only one…

Extra point…Good…

The TV time-out seemed like a century…It was so sad…hugging perfect strangers as if someone precious had died—and realizing we would be grieving until next year’s training camp

When I looked up the grey freezing drizzle seemingly got colder and darker…I imagined that pig-snouted Madden gloating at the post-game presser.

I started sniffling again. Other fans started with the “it was a great year” bullshit…. or even worse, “we’ll get ‘em next year”…

The elders in the crowd tasted the most bitter disappointment…”SOS. See you in another 40 years!!!”

One who had a gravelly voice like Popeye would start bitching after every mistake the Steelers made—this guy just wouldn’t shut up.

“You chumps stink…Same ol’ Steelers” All damn day. Everyone in our section told him to STFU at least once during the day. As the game went on his son became a target for not shutting his dad’s mouth.

Predictably, as it became clearer Da Raidas—barring a fluke play—were not going to score on our defense, some drunk fans started giving the curmudgeon the business “Here’s your SOS right here, old man…” It was fun watching the old coot chug the last of his lime vodka, humiliated.

Right on cue, Stabler slithers 30 yards for the tying TD.

By the time Oakland kicked off, leading 7 – 6 I was trying to regain a semblance of masculinity and not just break down sobbing.

It was funny…all the negativity from Popeye and a lot of fans like him —nobody left or was leaving !!

I’m trying to pull myself together, exhausted I wasn’t going to give John Madden the satisfaction of watching him win. Fuck that fat bastard. I put my head in my hands—and I hear Popeye again. “Fucking Pittsburgh SOS!!”

Everyone was standing but me. I looked up when I heard that voice and I saw a half pint liquor bottle hurtling through the air Why I have that image in my memory, I don’t know…I do remember thinking, if that thing hits someone—-

THE STADIUM ERUPTED with a roar—I got to my feet in time to see Franco cross the goal line and toss the ball to the ref.

Whatever died had just come back to life. Everyone started hugging…

Nobody knew if it was real. “No way he caught that …”

Mr. Potter knew I missed the play and gave me the Cliffs notes version…I told Potter, “I’ll meet you at the car.” I had to get on the field.

All this time, the refs were in a predicament. To this day I don’t think any of them saw the play.

So now I’m on the field with every other adolescent in the Tri-State area, hugging one another, tears of joy…Strange girls letting me kiss them (I recall making a mental note to myself: these vagina people aren’t so bad after all.)

So it’s chaos…The players didn’t know what was going on. Nobody did. A bunch of us were just screaming, woofing, I was celebrating like a maniac —until my eyes met those of one Joe Green.

My initial reaction was to urinate.

Mean Joe wasn’t happy with me and the couple hundred other young punks on his sideline He was cloaked in one of those rain pancho/parkas.

I never saw a bigger human. He looked like a menacing god The grey drizzle when mixed with his sweat, and beading onto his parka, gave him a gleam of invincibility…

My razor sharp instincts told me this was not the time to ask for an autograph

I wondered if he would ever stop glaring at me. (Of course truth is he looked at me for three seconds — it just felt like a few days.)

Just then, the refs announced the game was over.

The Pittsburgh Steelers had finally won a playoff game.

Joe Green smiled, evidently, he was not going to kill me.

My world began to spin on a wonderful axis…


Hearing about Franco’s passing, I am proud to have been connected to him, even if he didn’t know the connection existed. Was it because he was Italian? Was it the Franco’s Italian Army t-shirt, my dad bought me? Was it every woman in my extended family incessantly telling every man in my family how good looking Franco was?

On the ride home, Mr. Potter and I listened to Myron on the radio—laughing it up…

For the first time in almost ten years I thought of my Uncle Freddy. He died of a heart attack barely 45 years-old. The last time I saw him was after the Steelers only other post-season appearance. When the Eagles beat Pittsburgh in what they called the consolation game…

He came home, pretty sauced up—that day was exactly like the day of the Immaculate Reception, barely cold enough to turn drizzle into flurries—and he was trying so hard not to cry.

We all greeted him at the door; my Aunt Rosie had just taken her lasagna out of the oven.

“They’ll never win anything Rose. I can live to be 90 years-old, they’ll never win a thing.”

He died four months later.

It’s funny how moments shape your life, how connections to people we never really know shape our lives…

Thinking back, that day my Uncle came home was the day I became a Steelers fan.

Ten years later, after it took a miracle for the Steelers to finally win something, I thought of him with a smile



I wouldn’t pick the Raiders to win if John Madden flew down on Turducken wings and assured me God guarantees a Las Vegas victory.

You can bet the house the Steelers will do Franco proud…

Under the Number…

Steelers 20

Raiders 17

LOCK OF THE WEEK 5 – 9 – 1

Detroit Lions (-2.5) @ Carolina Panthers 43.5 LW [U]

We don’t call it a Lock for nothing. Detroit is beginning to believe they can play with anyone.

They can.

Offensively the Lions might be able to call themselves elite; defensively, they are not even competent.

Against the Panthers, a club currently wallowing in quarterback purgatory, no team has to be a defensive juggernaut.

We believe firing coaches mid-season—like former Steeler minority owner, David Tepper’s firing of Matt Ruhle--is classless and disrespects the team, coaches and culture everyone is trying to build. Add some football politics—like a head coach being forced to replace his QB, then blaming him when the move fails and that scenario will never end well.

To me, those kinds of moves infect a building like a stubborn mold; inevitably the organization finds itself trying to find a coach who can rebuild a culture, a GM and/or owner is bent on destroying. When that becomes your culture, the organization will never thrive.

Here are some trends:

· Detroit is 7-3 ATS when playing against a team with a losing record.

· Carolina is 4-1 SU when listed as a home underdog.

· The Lions’ last three games against NFC teams have hit the over.

· Detroit is 8-0 ATS when coming off a win.

· When the Panthers are coming off a loss, the under has cashed in four of five games.

Well go against the ‘Dog Tide of 2022 and bet the Road Favorite Lions to win going away…Barely Under the Number…

Lions 30

Panthers 13


Cincinnati Bengals (-3) @ New England Patriots 41.5 US [U]

Since 2003, Straight Up, the Patriots under the infamous Bill Belichick win 74.4% of their games after a loss.

Same time frame, the Pats win at a 66.7% clip after a loss ATS.

· NE is 3rd best as an ATS Underdog—58.3…

· Ne drops to 7th as an ATS Home Dog

Even factoring in the “Cheating Advantage” into the mix, those are some hellatious numbers folks.

Cincy can counter that analysis boasting they are an NFL best 11-3 ATS this year. Having MVP candidate Joe Burrow as your QB doesn’t hurt either.

Let’s keep it Kosher, folks—on paper, the Striped Cats outclass the Patriots. NE is last in the NFL when it comes to scoring TDs once they enter the Red Zone.

The Bengals can also look forward to returning DL, Trey Hendrickson, and CB, Mike Hilton from injuries.

We’re picking the home team to cover because of this play last week—a testament to athletic and coaching cluelessness never before seen in the NFL. In some corners of social media, it’ been dubbed the dumbest play in history.

The interesting part of the post-game furor was the numerous senseless moves orchestrated by the Maestro of Mendacity disguised as an all time great coach. (Things ain’t so easy when your library of stolen signals is becoming obsolete, huh, Billy Boy?)

You could almost hear Belichick’s asshole tighten up with each question at the post-game presser. His blood pressure had to be topping off at 200—and I’m talking diastolic.

The Pats will be itching to take out their frustration on Cincy. Wouldn’t it be beautiful if they Covered but still lost the game…What a delicious thought…We’re calling the Under.

Bengals 22

Patriots 19


Buffalo Bills (-7.5) @ Chicago Bears 40 O/U

The only way the Bears can stay within ten points of the Bills is to run the ball and slow the game down against one of the most well-rounded and superbly coached teams in the NFL—and oh yeah, the Buffalo Bills are quite accustomed to bitterly cold conditions.

It might not matter, anyway. With high of 12, that’s twelve degrees, a low of two degrees and a wind whipping at 22MPH—creating a wind chill of -16—I can’t see Jesus and ten of his best Apostles scoring more than 13 points.

Josh Allen is good, but he’s no Jesus.

We think the Total here is drastically inflated—and we’re betting big on the Under.

Bills 26

Bears 10

As usual, my picks are below in bold italic with Specials and Totals annotated:

NFL Week 16 point spreads

Jacksonville Jaguars (+1) @ New York Jets 39.5 [U]

Atlanta Falcons (+6) @ Baltimore Ravens 35.5

Detroit Lions (-2.5) @ Carolina Panthers 43.5 LW

Buffalo Bills (-7.5) @ Chicago Bears 40 O/U

New Orleans Saints (+3) @ Cleveland Browns 32.5

Seattle Seahawks (+10) @ Kansas City Chiefs 49

New York Giants (+4) @ Minnesota Vikings 48.5

Cincinnati Bengals (-3) @ New England Patriots 41.5 US [U]

Houston Texans (+3.5) @ Tennessee Titans 35.5

Washington Commanders (+6.5) @ San Francisco 49ers 37.5

Philadelphia Eagles (+5.5) @ Dallas Cowboys 46.5

Las Vegas Raiders (+2.5) @ Pittsburgh Steelers 38 GW

Green Bay Packers (+4) @ Miami Dolphins 50

Denver Broncos (-3) @ Los Angeles Rams 36.5

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-7.5) @ Arizona Cardinals 40

Los Angeles Chargers (-4.5) @ Indianapolis Colts 45

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NFL 2023 – CHAMPIONSHIP PLAYOFF WEEKEND REG. SEASON WEEKLY OVERALL =  134 – 132 - 6   .504 CHAMPIONSHIP  TALLY =  0 - 2    PLAYOFFS = 3 - 9 =  .250 2023 OVERALL  = 137 - 141 - 6  =  .493 0/U  =  0 -2 


REG. SEASON WEEKLY OVERALL =  134 – 132 - 6   .504 DIVISIONAL TALLY =  0 - 4    PLAYOFFS = 3 - 7  OVERALL  = 137 - 139 - 6 0/U  =  1 - 2  - 1          O/U CUMULATIVE 77 - 61 - 1   .558 SPECIALS  0 - 4


NFL 2023 – SUPER WILD CARD WEEKEND REG. SEASON WEEKLY OVERALL =  134 – 132 - 6   .504 PLAYOFF TALLY =  3 - 3  OVERALL  137 - 135 - 6  .504 0/U  =  5 - 1          O/U CUMULATIVE 76 - 59   .563 SPECIALS


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