Rick’s Pigskin Piñata: Taking a Swing at the Week 17 NFL Power Rankings

With only a few days left in 2016—and this being the last Pigskin Piñata of the NFL season—it’s a good time to talk about Roger Federer.

Yeah, the tennis guy.

This one:


And while it may seem like a record-scratching moment in your daily routine of consuming all-things football—and considering the NFL is not tennis the same way ballet is not the Spelling Bee—there is an important connection between the two elements that is such exquisite cranial-stretching that even Kevin Bacon would applaud the effort.

So, stick with me here for the next 20 sentences or so…

It was a few days ago when the epiphany nearly knocked me of the couch, almost spilling the cereal bowl that teetered on the armrest in perfect trapeze-like artistry. (I still haven’t found the batteries to the damn remote control.) It was that specific day, amidst the chaos of manually changing the channels, with the amazing power of social media at my finger tips, that I discovered an interesting tidbit about Federer’s life: While practicing in Dubai for the upcoming ATP season, Fed’ revealed on a Facebook Live chat (what the are those, really?) that he has never watched any of the Star Wars films.


The reveal was so confusing and shocking that I immediately checked the newspaper to see what year it was. After reassuring myself that it was in fact 2016, I then peaked out the window to see if my neighbor’s dog was walking on its hind legs and wearing a suit while sipping Nespresso by George Clooney…I mean, something wasn’t right here, gang.

It was a level of “What in the What!?!” that made me feel like I was reading A Clockwork Orange without the dialogue notes.

Roger Federer has never watched a Star Wars film…ever?

Take a moment to let that sink in.

Now go look and the mirror and review your current facial expression.

Was it something like this:

It’s amazing, right? And no, you are not being shitted or fooled or Punk’d or anything else that eventually lands you on some form of a candid camera-like YouTube moment. Roger Federer, the man who solves the riddles of tennis in such eloquent ease that he only needs but two changes of underwear the entire calendar year, has never, ever, watched one second of any Star Wars film.

No Yoda life lessons. No Wookiees. Nothing!

To say this phenomena is difficult to fathom is downplaying it to an unbelievability level that rivals people who say they will only workout to Sinead O’Connor’s rendition of ‘Nothing Compares to You.’ It’s crazy. It’s beyond crazy, actually. It’s bonkers!

And it doesn’t take precise wizardry or even pre-algabra to figure out why it’s such an anomaly, because even the simplest of man or woman in society knows, when looking at the Lucas franchise, that the smart move is put all Star Wars films in the same category as Shawshank Redemption (yes, that film again), which means: Whether you like it or not, whether it speaks to you in some unwritten language of neck-messaging pleasure, or if you hate it to the deepest depths of hate—like when the guy in front of you at the express-checkout lane at the grocery store has 37 items and a baby—chances are, it’s on television. All the fucking time. So that means…you’re going to see a few seconds of it, throughout your life…at the very least.

Yet, Roger has managed to enter his mid-30s as the antithesis. He’s the 35 Year Old Stars Wars Virgin (Steve Carelll could play that one, too.), and that is mind-boggling; it’s Rubik’s Cube to a person who’s color blind. Keep in mind, this a man who has spent the past 20-some years crisscrossing earth in a plane—one of the most, if not the utmost, necessary times in life to watch movies. And the more you travel, the more movies you will need to watch. And let’s face it, you can only watch the Swiss classics so may times. Eventually, that When Harry Met Sally DVD goes wonky the same way your Who Framed Roger Rabbit? VHS did, and so on.

Eventually, then, you’d have to imagine someone in the Federer camp is going to have a copy of one of the SEVEN damn Star Wars films!

A little New Hope on the way to Indian Wells, Rog?

Perhaps we find out about that darn Sith and his Mall (it’s Maul, nerds. I know.) or whatever?

Have you ever seen Princess Leia?



And, no.

Possibly the greatest tennis player to ever play a match…a worldwide icon…recently crowned GQ’s most stylish man…that guy, Roger Federer, has never watched Star Wars. Ever.

And what the hell does any of that have to do with NFL power rankings? Well, nothing really. But, as we enter the final week—Week 17, gang!—it does highlight the fact that we really don’t know all that much when it comes to…well, anything.

There are surprises around every corner, every Facebook chat (seriously, what the fuck are those things?), and oftentimes it’s stuff we never even considered to question.

However, that doesn’t mean we stop digging and having fun while searching for the truths and key match-ups that will make or break a game here, possibly a season over there. Sports, man!

Such is life…

For those of you who have stuck it out all year with the Piñata, with the constant arm aches—and headaches—from swinging at that damn paper-mache donkey, from Week 1 until now, I thank you for playing along. It’s been fun; and if I could bequeath something special to each of you, I would. Because, honestly, everyone should have something bequeathed to them at one point or another.

The best I can do, however, is a mass bequeathing—that allows you to continue to say a funny word that sounds like a fancy queef. To all of you, I leave one final ranking, the knowledge about the unknown…about the week-to-week guesstimations of the NFL.

Yep, for the for the last time in 2016…

Stick, please.

Let’s rank!

32. Cleveland Browns: 1-14 (last week: 32)

That is not a misprint. The Browns won an actual football game! And Snapchat corespondent, LeBron Kosar, was born just in time to share his thoughts:

31. Los Angeles Rams: 4-11 (last week: 29)

While purchasing 18 eggs at the grocery store yesterday, I noticed that one egg had cracked. However, it was turned in such a way that I didn’t notice this crack until the cashier opened them up for a brief inspection. But, at that point, I was so far along in my day, so busy with future plans, that one bad egg wasn’t going to spoil the whole bunch.

In no way does that story work for the current Rams roster.

30. San Francisco 49ers: 2-13 (last week: 31)


  • Printable versions are available.
  • Accounting screwed up, so Margot Robbie Night will now be Margot Kidder Night.
  • We play the Rams.
  • Twice!
  • In hindsight, we are really happy about numbers 3 and 4.

29. San Diego Chargers: 5-10 (last week: 25)

“Yes, Phillip, that means the Ohio State Buckeyes could beat you.”–  The entire state of Ohio, via survey.


28. Chicago Bears: 3-12 (last week: 28)

Yes, this happened:

But! There’s absolutely nothing—zero!—that I can tell you about this Bears team that will lessen the fact that I really hope Malortmas is real.

And, if it is, then this team is practically undefeated. Forever! And all that other shit is meaningless.

27. New York Jets: 4-11 (last week: 27)

Just when I thought this team couldn’t get any more confusing, a Snapchat correspondent via the Witness Protection Program shows up and really sends things into a tailspin of perplexity:

26. Jacksonville Jaguars: 3-12 (last week: 30)

The Yaguars beat the Titans last week, which was cool and unexpected—sort of the the prime example of 2016 NFL. And now? Well, word is one Mr. Tom “don’t piss me off, Art, or anyone else!” Coughlin is interviewing to be the next head coach…a reunion that rivals only Tommy Lee and Pam Anderson getting back together for the 46th time.


The English are gonna loooooove him.

25. Cincinnati Bengals: 5-9-1 (last week: 23)

Done-zers for the Bengals this season, left out in the cold to squint as the brisk winds bring news that Marvin Lewis is, in fact, coming back to coach next season.

With that haziness in mind, here’s this:

24. Philadelphia Eagles: 6-9 (last week: 26)


23. Carolina Panthers: 6-9 (last week: 21)

Whenever I’m buying a hat, I now ask myself “Would Cam Newton wear it, though?” before making the purchase.


(Every time I have said yes to that question, the hat also has come with some sort of trinket or sweepstakes that I can enter via mail-in postcard.)

22. Buffalo Bills: 7-8 (last week: 19)

I’ll miss you most of all, Scarecrow.



21. Arizona Cardinals: 6-8-1 (last week: 24)

Finishing things up in Hollywood is the perfect ending for the 20th anniversary of Jerry Maguire and the team that Rod Tidwell played for…

Although it won’t come with the storybook ending, the fucking zoo is actually open, so whatever. Score one for the Cards, baby!

20. Minnesota Vikings: 7-8 (last week: 20)

Yesterday, I decided to keep watching the Heart of Dallas bowl because there was some crazy vomiting happening in the backfield for North Texas.


Oddly enough, it ended up being a really good game that went into OT. Had I not stayed for the projectile sideshow, however, I would’ve never gotten to see Army pull out the victory.

What I’m trying to say is…this Vikings team probably made a lot of fans sick in the final weeks.

19. New Orleans Saints: 7-8 (last week: 22)

Sort of like the Dalai Lama’s consolation prize to Bill Murray for not tipping him, the Saints faithful should still tune into their disappointing team to see Drew Brees throw for 5,000 yards in a season…again!!

18. Indianapolis Colts: 7-8 (last week: 18)

The internet can be confusing, huh Colts fans?


17. Denver Broncos: 8-7 (last week: 16)

Once and for all, Broncos fans:

Is a Denver Omelet the same thing as a Western Omelet?

16. Tennessee Titans: 8-7 (last week: 14)

This whole time, people have been spelling it wrong: It’s “Tightens.”

As in: This team’s collective ass really tightens under pressure.

15. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 8-7 (last week: 13)

Dallas. Indianapolis. San Francisco. Tennessee.

Keep those four cities in mind this week, swash bucklers, as you’ll need all of their NFL franchises to win in order for your team to even stand a chance at clinching a playoff spot.

That is also the route USPS normally takes to get a package from California to Ohio.

14. Baltimore Ravens: 8-7 (last week: 12)

There’s also an 89 percent chance that he’s 100 percent doing this for attention. Right?

13. Washington Redskins: 8-6-1 (last week: 17)

Top 3 Famous Cousins:

  • Vinny
  • Jerry Lee Lewis played by Dennis Quaid and Winona Ryder
  • Snoop Dogg and Brandy

If the Redskins beat the Giants this week, then Kirk moves in ahead of Winona and Dennis. Simple enough.

12. Houston Texans: 9-6 (last week: 18)

A few years ago I read an article about a painting that sold for $37 million. This is what the painting looks like:


Nothing special, just some things here and here and some nice blue (what looks like) construction paper. And I thought, “Wow! I had that same paper…did I ever miss the fucking boat.”

But it also seemed like a waste of money. And I was confused. I mean, it’s not like you could use the painting. You can’t put it in the car and go to the drive-in with it…it’ll wrinkle. This wasn’t like Russ’ magazines in Vacation, either. Nope. It just hangs there, for all to gawk at on they’re way to the restroom.

I never thought I would see another $37 million expense like it…

Then, this guy:


(And the clouds lifted to a red haze and the fairy army rode in on floating Teslas badly in need of a charging and they brought forth hell in the form of non-stop telemarketing to each household.)

Life can be weird, sometimes.

11. Detroit Lions: 9-6 (last week: 10)

Oh man! You think the Lions are hungry for a victory this Sunday against the Packers, then just wait until you see this hippopotamus go bananas for a watermelon.

10. Seattle Seahawks: 9-5-1 (last week: 8)

According to science and weather and whatnot, the city of Seattle only averages 71 completely sunny days…so the experts who are calling this team’s playoff outlook “very dark” should probably practice more creativity and not be so goddamn literal.

It’s like, yeah, we know; it’s cloudy, dude. We’re Seattle.

9. Green Bay Packers: 9-6 (last week: 11)

A win this Sunday against the Lions and this team is into the playoffs! To break that down further, here’s an angry outdoor dog in a scarf that always thinks it smells something, via Snapchat.

8. Miami Dolphins: 10-5 (last week: 9)

And you guys never—ever, ever, ever—thought that you’d have a chance to finally wear that gift you won playing two simultaneous lanes of skee ball down at the arcade.


Welcome to the playoffs, ‘Fins!

7. New York Giants: 10-5 (last week: 3)

Every year that the Giants make it into the playoffs as a throwaway, they end up winning the damn thing and Eli shows maximum excitement.


Really…that’s a face only Disney can love, gang.

6. Oakland Raiders: 12-3 (last week: 4)

Wasn’t McGloin the guy Leo DiCaprio fish-hooked in Gangs of New York?

Regardless, you guys might have a tough playoff road without Carr—yeah, I see what happened right there. #Writers

5. Kansas City Chiefs: 11-4 (last week: 3)

If you watch closely, you’ll see the real Andy Reid (who got his start as a stand-in for REM’s Michael Stipe) enter the Robot Andy Reid that is built for cold weather and fun Halloween costumes for children and babies.

4. Atlanta Falcons: 10-5 (last week: 7)

I like this Falcons team…

I love this Falcons dance squad from 2013.

3. Pittsburgh Steelers: 10-5 (last week: 6)

The Steelers’ COLOR-RUSH-SO-DAMN-HOT-SO-YINZER-ALL-THE-RUSH-ALL-THE-HOT-ON-ONE-NIGHT Uniforms reminded me of video games of yesteryear, when company’s didn’t have the rights or the technology to make the team’s gear look exact. Instead they had to give you the general idea, like…there’s some yellow and black in there and you know, who in the hell else could that be, fucking Iowa? That’s college, so…so, I think we’re good. Print it.

2. Dallas Cowboys: 13-2 (last week: 2)

Not since Ralphie went Glenn Close on Scut Farkus have we seen such a surprising ass-kicking this close to Christmas. (Show of hands: How many of you thought that dude’s name was Scott Farkus?)

1. New England Patriots: 13-2 (last week: 1)

We end this year’s Pigskin Pinata with a now-familiar number one: The Patriots.

Yes, they can be an easily hated team, and their head coach does awful things to nice sweat jackets when he gets a pair of scissors in his hands, but here they are.

The consistency of this franchise does leave the question: Does cheating really help? It kinda looks like it does, if you’re asking me. But you’re not, because I asked the question, so why in the hell would I answer it.

Anyhow…I digress. As the ball starts to slowly drop, ticking down to zero on 2016, we should refocus and really study this Patriots squad and ask ourselves…

Is this team one of the greatest of all time?

And Tom Brady, what about him? What about Bob…Kraft?

And what about the movie, What About Bob?

I wonder if Federer missed that one, too?

Until next year, enjoy the games.

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