JAGUARS +7.5 V CARDINALS
As I begin my week, I am contemplating what is worse. Is it from a humanitarian view the disaster on the U.S Southern border, the incompetence shown on how the U.S left Afghanistan, or personally the yearly trepidation and nausea I always incur at this point of the NFL season where I plug my nose and swim through the dung ala Andy Dufresne in the Shawshank Redemption with my investments on the current set of 0-2 teams.
On a different front I thoroughly enjoy being a professional sports investor, but for the 1st time I would actually like to give that U.S Presidential gig a try. Why? Well, what other job can you fly in style, be escorted anywhere at any time with your own driver and security detail, stay at 5-star resorts, eat the best prepared cuisine in the world, and reside in a manicured castle all on the taxpayer’s dime? In return I just need to meet with some foreign dignitaries, read prepared speeches via a teleprompter, take no questions about my overall incompetence, lack overall accountability while blaming everybody else for the nation’s problems. Now that my friends might make me quit the best job I’ve ever had (sports investor). But I digress. On to today’s post.
For avid readers and viewers of pregame and my posts I will assume you enjoy wagering on sports. I will also assume that there are neophytes, developing and serious investors. In addition, within those groupings there are additional subgroups that use sports wagering as social entertainment, as a side hustle or for me an equal part of my overall financial life. With this I ask you all as a group, ”what’s the 1st thing that came to mind when you received the opening lines for this week’s match-up, and you came across this (Cardinals v Jaguars) specific game?”
It got me thinking about the different reactions to this game that in most weeks would be on the “B” reel of the network schedule. In this wonderment I also asked myself “what exactly does it mean to be a professional?” Is this term the same for everyone? How does this term relate to the sports investor with the millions of people who will be wagering today.
Bear with me before I attempt to answer these questions and break down my assorted thoughts as we look into what it means to be a professional and the psychological “hell hole” the Arizona Cardinals are entering today as we together once again dive head-first into my dysfunctional world of “Psychobabble.”
We are entering Week 3 and my style of handicapping is one where I personally feel that this week there is a great opportunity to seize on the top psychological and motivational investments of the entire year. Week 3 is where we find numerous 0-2 teams that are in desperate need of a season saving victory. 0-2 and a team will usually come together in an attempt to “save their season.” Win and 1-2 keeps “hope alive” while 0-3 will now splinter the whole organization as players, coaches and management will allow doubt to rear its ugly head as subtle comments, finger pointing, and blame will all be slowing seeping through the cracks with all associated with the “going down the drain” organizations go into self-preservation mode as they look out for their own personal best interests instead of the team 1st mentality.
I must be losing it!? Followers of my posting for the past 5 years know that I detest taking teams that are inept, disorganized, and careening towards a head on collision with a high-speed train. Now times this point-giving disdain by 100 as now I am about to take teams without a win and that is in a unenviable position where the current “temperature of the rooms” is so toxic that it seems just a matter of time before many of the players, coaches and upper level management will be soon looking for other forms of employment. In my main game the HC (Urban Meyer) is looking over his shoulder to overtures from The Cit of Angels (USC) just 2 games into a 5-year contract. Now can you the reader see how I am questioning my own sports investing sanity? Well in lieu of the “straight jacket” that awaits me come Sunday evening upon completion of this week’s games (if I lose) I feel the need to express the seemingly illogical reasons why I would actually invest some of my capital on a group of wounded animals that more resemble “road-kill” than the prowling and lighting fast beauties they were created to be. So why would I take the risk in backing this group of “lost souls?” Here comes the always omnipresent psychobabble to enlightened you on why I have officially “lost it.”
Sports teams just like individuals will often behave out of character because they are desperate. In everyday life desperation can drive even the most honest and law-abiding citizen to commit crime. This disturbing mental state makes one’s situation seem inescapable to the point where they can no longer tolerate life. We not only want to change how we feel; we need to change how we are feeling as to stop not only the physical pain but the psychological turmoil as well.
In addition, desperation can also motivate us to do extraordinary negative things such as becoming highly self-destructive in our actions. For example, It can motivate us to harm ourselves by doing illicit drugs or drinking too much alcohol. We are desperate to avoid the pain of withdrawal thus desperation drives addiction. People say they are “dying for an oxy” or they are “dying for a drink;” where what they are really admitting is their desperate need for relief from the way they are feeling.
Fear and anxiety make us desperate; it is a type of pain that we feel we can’t tolerate and get desperate to change the way we feel. We will use drugs, drink, sex, work; anything to change the way we feel. We will lie and cheat or do whatever it will take to change our current situation. These destructive methods can become a lifestyle, where lying and cheating fuel an addiction to drugs or alcohol. The same applies to gambling, that can be an addiction too as we escape our anxieties with the thrill of a gamble.
For the sports teams immersed in this mode as the Jaguars currently find themselves existing in today, it is a constant negative atmosphere where they are caught in the cycle of losing. This constant strain is exacerbated by each member of this group facing the fact that one more loss will insure both a wasted season and also will virtually guarantee all except franchise QB T. Lawrence and HC U. Meyer will find that when they report to work come Monday morning it is highly probable that their “key card” will flash red instead of the usual green.
When we experience negative things, we like to believe that we can change them, influence their course, and turn them into something positive. But this is not always the case, and when people feel they have no control over what is happening to them, they tend to give up and accept their destiny. It is what is known as “learned helplessness” or “learned desperation” and is one of the worst things that can happen to us and where no one can protect themselves.
Learned helplessness is the belief that whatever we do we will not get a different result and could quite possibly be a place where psychologically the Jaguars as a group already find themselves in. This mental state is a brutal psychological “prison” that completely disconnects us from reality and blocks any possibility of liberation or change. The worst thing is that the first learning will remain imprinted in our brain, leaving a mark that will affect our way of perceiving ourselves and the world.
The first studies on learned helplessness have been made on animals. Researchers saw that when they (animals) were continuously subjected to negative stimuli and had no chance to escape, at some point they simply stopped trying to avoid the stimulus, surrendered and behaved as if they were completely helpless (i.e., losing). The worst thing is that when they were given the opportunity to escape, they did not take advantage of it because they had learned in the past that trying to escape was futile.
When the author of story (“Chained Elephant”) was little, he loved circuses, and what he liked most of them were animals. He was particularly struck by the elephant, as he later learned was also the favorite animal of the other children. During the function, the huge beast boasted a size, a weight and a huge force. But after the performance until shortly before returning to the stage, the elephant always remained tied to a small stake in the ground with a chain that held its legs.
However, the stake was only a tiny piece of wood buried just a few inches in the ground and although the wood was thick and powerful, it seemed obvious that an animal capable of bending a tree with his strength, could be released easily from the stake and be free. The mystery still seems evident. What holds it then? Why not flee? Simply put, the elephant accepted his helplessness and resigned himself to his fate.
Undoubtedly, the learned helplessness is not exclusive to the animal kingdom, often the same happens to people/teams, thus those in this mental state are unable to perceive and take advantage of opportunities for change or relief when they appear. We can live “chained to poles” mentality that deprive us of freedom, especially when we think we cannot do certain things simply because we once tried and failed. At that moment we have clearly recorded in our mind the message “we cannot do it” and this is a distinct “red flag” indicating a depressive state of personal/professional defeat. Is this where the Jaguars find themselves only after 2 weeks under the Meyer Regime?
Research has found that we are incapable of reacting to painful situations because at some point of the journey, and after trying to change the course of things without getting the expected results, we inhibit and fall into a state of passivity. In other words, when we feel helpless and believe that there is no solution, we throw the towel, to the point where we are unable to see the opportunities for change that arise. It’s as if we were putting the bandage of the past on our eyes and let this determine our future.
In a sense, the learned desperation is a kind of psychological adaptation mechanism, as the time comes when the forces abandon us and we are unable to continue to handle so much pain and suffering, so we reduce the activation level to preserve the few resources left. In fact, the inability to react is always the result of a deep psychological deterioration.
In the learned helplessness involved fundamental areas include but are not limited to: Motivational, cognitive, emotional and behavioral thoughts, feelings and character behaviors. Once “infected” it leads to:
- The person/teams who lost the motivation to continue fighting then throws in the towel surrendering to the circumstances. In other words, it assumes the role and mentality of the victim, which manifests itself in behavioral behavior through deep apathy.
- The person/teams that don’t learn from mistakes, feels that they cannot do anything to improve his situation and takes their destiny as immutable. Mistakes cease to be growth tools and become evidence of the existence of fatality.
- The person/teams then fall into a deep depression and in despair and develops a pessimistic vision of the world, convinced that they are incapable of coming out of that situation. It can often feel like a “leaf in the wind” or a “puppet of fate.”
- The person/teams do not make important decisions because they feel they cannot change the course of their losing ways and have no control over it, so they collectively “shut down” emotionally and passively relinquish the fight and succumb to the negative circumstances as the “new norm.” In fact, learned helplessness has been associated with various psychological disorders, such as depression, anxiety, and phobias.
Learned desperation can be seen practically in all areas of our lives (professional, social and personal). In the professional sector, it is very common because many obstacles to change are being put in many work environments. When a person/team member has proposed new ideas and all have been rejected, they end up adapting to their role and thus becomes a passive employee/team member without any motivation.
All people/teams do not react in the same way to adversity, there are those who develop the learned helplessness and others who become more resilient. The key lies in coping resources that we can activate in those moments. The ability to be resilient is basically based on confidence in our ability to overcome adversity and develops only when we have the ability to fight and become the makers of our lives.
Learned helplessness is not a life sentence. We must remember that nothing is eternal, even if passing through a bad time everything seems gray. Change occurs when we begin to become conscious, rebuild self-esteem, and find a new meaning to life, so that we can gradually recover power. So are the Jaguars at the point of “no return?” Today will tell me everything about Meyer and his vision, respect in the locker room and the organizations focus to the future.
Sleepy Red Birds
The Cardinals today are in a horrible motivational spot. Off a season opening thumping of playoff caliber Tennessee, they backed up this “break of serve” with an exciting back and forth track meet ultimately prevailing against Minnesota, only because the Vikings disdain for winning. Suddenly the Birds are in “foreign territory” where they are not accustomed to find themselves. The Cardinals are now in all the headlines and the talk of the league at 2-0 with a QB (K. Murray) being whispered as an early season MVP candidate. With all the “backslapping” in the desert they suddenly find themselves with a big divisional game at the Rams on deck which ultimately could tip the balance of power in a division (NFC West) where most picked them last. But before they can stake their claim to division supremacy, they 1st have to fly to sleepy Jacksonville and face a highly disjointed 0-2 Jaguar team where we hear cackles of mutiny by the players and with visions of Bobby Petrino (quitting mid-season) or Nick Saban (“I’m not taking the Alabama job”) of their supposed HC savior (Meyer). Meyer himself all but confirmed the regret for leaving his “girlfriend” (college) by his post-game comments to Broncos HC Fangio where he stated that “every week in the NFL is like playing Alabama.”
This game is all set up on a “silver platter” for an easy win by the soaring Birds as the media, fans and even the players themselves barley make mention of the upcoming opponent (Jax) in lieu of player/coaching accolades and talk of the big game in “Tinseltown” next week. This spot for the Red Birds has a sluggish and sleepwalking “nightmare” written all over it.
There are many types of motivation in sport all of which can play a major role in how we handle the pressures and stresses of competition. One theory of motivation that is extremely relevant to competitive sport and is often seen effecting sporting performances, is the theory of “approach and avoidance” motivation.
Approach and avoidance motivation is a biological trait of humans which plays a large role in how we learn. It is based on the pleasure/pain principle whereby we are drawn to act when there is the possibility of a pleasurable reward, and we avoid action when there is an expectation of pain. Research explains this theory with what was termed the behavioral activation system (BAS) and the behavioral inhibition system (BIS). The BAS is roused to action when there is an expectation of receiving a pleasurable reward, in a sporting context this can be anything from the expectation of fun and enjoyment, to winning and receiving praise from others. The BIS on the other hand responds to stimuli that signals the potential for pain, in a sporting context the BIS can be activated from the expectation or potential to experience losing, choking, criticism from others, and the loss of status. This theory can be linked to the fight, flight or freeze theory which is a survival mechanism that humans and animals possess, this theory explains that depending on what our BIS and BAS levels are we will either be motivated to fight back against the threat and see potential for reward if we are high on BAS, or we may be more motivated to run and hide if we are lower on BAS and are higher on BIS, the freeze response is also a product of a high BIS.
The motivation to avoid failure is something that is very common in competitive sport and can often stem from not wanting to let others down, the fear of what others will say if we perform badly, not wanting a bruised ego, or the fear of the media and public that will eviscerate them if they make the wrong call. Often a performer is not even aware that this is happening as it can be a gradual process that has worked its way in to a performer’s way of thinking over time and begins to eat away at confidence.
When these creations” (teams) are put in key or unfamiliar situations it will allow for their minds to be free/constrained and perform at a professionally high/low level. The key in finding a good investment is matching a club that is both highly motivated and in their comfort zone. When these teams are matched up against a team that is conversely not motivated and out of their specifically built zone of high performance, we then have unearthed the perfect elixir for an investment. When this scenario is stumbled upon you won’t hear much in the media about these unique situations due o he rinse-cycle-repeat of today’s mindless sports talk. This “garbage” can alter your thoughts on the game. Don’t listen to the mindless media (especially the charlatans who that tell you what teams to bet to yet don’t bet themselves (Michael Lombardi) and don’t overthink it-just unconditionally back it. Like everything in the world it’s not guaranteed but if one wants to survive, advance, and grind out a living in the crazy and unpredictable 11/10 world this approach it will handsomely pay off in the end.
I have absolutely no analytical case to make for the garbage I have in my portfolio today. At the time of my scripting this post I have no idea what will happen with the Texans who have a generational talent at QB (D. Watson) and is inactive with no injury while just rotting away in lieu of a 3rd rd. rookie QB (D. Mills) making his 1st NFL start up against the current top-rated defense in the league (Carolina). In addition, my theory of high motivational 0-2 “saving the season” theory simply doesn’t exist except for the dysfunctional Vikings and ****-retentive Colts who are the only teams within this 0-2 foray that live in “Delusionalville” thinking the post season was within their reach at the beginning of the season. The others (negate the Giants + Falcons who play each other) can’t be in that same mindset since the players/coaches/organization were fully aware that the organization approach this year was for rebuilding than actually competing for the post season, Being competitive is actually more import than the record itself for this group as the Lions, Texans, Jaguars, and Jets all have 1st year/rookie Head Coaches/QB combinations thus everyone’s jobs this year are safe and secure. Conversely the Vikings and Colts players, coaches and management are on full alert since a poor season will seal most if not all of their fates (please say make it happen Minnesota. It is the reason for my teaser as I would prefer that they lose as to expedite the house cleaning in the frozen outpost). Enough about my personal grudges against the Vikings who my late father willed upon me as a unsuspecting toddler many moons ago.
Let me as the readers a question. I am fully aware that after watching the Cardinals at full strength for the past 2 weeks that if they actually came with their “A” game they could easily bury this “stuck in the mud” and directionless Jaguar bunch, but do you actually trust this current Red Bird group to be fully focused and dialed in to the business at hand? Too many times I have seen HC K. Kingsbury make nonsensical play calls while showing a propensity to butcher in-game management at critical times, K. Murray playing too lose thinking he is playing shortstop for the A’s by getting sloppy and needlessly slinging sidearm throws into double coverage while missing the simple/routine throws, WR D. Hopkins looking to protect his damaged ribs (0 targets after being injured last week), and at the same time the ultra-aggressive defense makes the wrong reads leaving them exposed to numerous big plays by teams (like the Jaguars) who have no business competing on the same field with the uber talented Birds.
So, In the end I will “hold my nose” and invest in the history of the 61% success rate that the highly motivated 0-2 teams have handsomely returned in the last decade but back them up with game totals that match how I feel the game will flow. So, with now being straddled with the dregs the likes of Texans, Jaguars, Lions, Jets, Vikings, and Colts what could possibly go wrong? Let me count the ways:
- Texans (writing before the game)-Rookie QB in his 1st start against the leagues #1 ranked Panther defense. Post-game-Loser, but if Kurt Cousins had 1/10th the physical/mental toughness showed by the Texan’s rookie QB Mills the Vikings wouldn’t be classic underachievers they have been under his Zimmer’s “leadership.”
- Lions unable to stop the run and face a bully in Baltimore that beats up bad teams with the best rushing attack in the league and seeing Lamar Jackson for the 1st
- Jaguars- Facing a dynamic passing attack in Arizona with an MVP candidate (Murray) while themselves not running an offensive play in the red zone yet this season and giving up 23+ points in their last 17 games. In addition, the locker-room is ready to “jump ship” as the head coach has visions of “sailing west.”
- Jets-Rookie HC (R. Saleh) + QB (Z. Wilson-who is injured) going on the road to a home opener in Denver that is 2-0 with a top 5 defense.
- Colts-Massive injuries across the roster with a questionable QB (Wentz) and might start a 2nd or 3rd sting QB (J. Eason or B. Hundley) against a division rival Titans who were embarrassed in their last home game.
- Vikings-This rudderless ship “led” by a delusional and dysfunctional HC (Zimmer) that has never stopped a RPO style offense and whose defense is living off reputation, combined with a “mental midget” QB (Cousins), and now without a hobbled RB and offensive force D. Cook (doubtful); up against a HOF QB (Wilson) who is 6-0 v Zimmer and blessed with numerous weapons that is upset about blowing a big lead last week at home. (Parting shot- it’s so bad for Zimmer he is even being ripped by his old TE (K. Rudolph) of the Giants of all teams).
If I wasn’t sick before I began writing this post, I am in a full-blown depression now. Time to get the special vodka out of the freezer as this day will not be easy but at least I will be numb to the pain. If you don’t see a post next week you will now know why. Good fortune to all! PhD!
TEXANS +8 (L)
PANTHERS/TEXANS UNDER 43.5 (W)
COLTS/TITANS UNDER 48.5
CARDINALS/JAGUARS OVER 50.5
RAVENS/LIONS OVER 50
VIKINGS +8/RAMS +7.5
2021/ 5-3-0 60%
GOOD FORTUNE TO ALL! PhD.