Before hopping into the NFL and the Bears’ ever-improving Super Bowl odds, I wanted to touch on the Snappers changing their name. First off, I love the Beloit Snappers name. I remember when it came out—it was one of the hottest selling logos in the minors. I worked there for a few seasons and saw some great players wear the Snappers logo. It’s a terrific name, and I’ll be sad to see it go.
However, I completely understand what the new owners are doing. First, this is a fresh start for baseball in Beloit. I don’t know if the people of Beloit know how lucky they are to have a minor league baseball team. The Rocky Mountain Vibe, my local team here in Colorado Springs, is on the chopping block after the MLB owners cut rookie league and short-season teams. Colorado Springs has a metro population of almost 740,000 people. Beloit has a population of around 37,000. Having a team in a market that small is truly incredible and getting a brand new stadium, after literally decades of talk about it, is doubly amazing. Be happy you have baseball in your backyard because it’s certainly not the case across much more populated areas of the country.
Second, a new logo means new merchandise sales. There is a reason pro sports teams alter and tweak their logos from time to time—new sales! While it’s great that people like wearing their Snappers shirts from 2007, teams don’t make money on merchandise if you are only wearing your shirt from 2007. Minor League Baseball teams need profits and selling merchandise is one way to make them.
Lastly, and this is without any inside knowledge, I would not be surprised if the team name was not one of the first listed. When the Colorado Springs Sky Sox changed to the Rocky Mountain Vibe in 2019, they had a poll of five local names that people voted on, including the Rocky Mountain Oysters (look them up if you don’t know what they are). The Facebook hatred was off the charts but when it came to reveal the actual team name, they came out with the Vibe and a giant s’more mascot named Toasty (who is amazing, by the way). Since it wasn’t one of the five hated names, people came around on it pretty quickly. I would not be shocked if that happened with Beloit, though my vote went to the Sky Carp. Lots of potential there.
I know people are upset that the Snappers name is leaving, but you don’t go see a baseball game because of a team name. You go because it’s fun, affordable, close to home, and you love dropping peanut shells on the floor and not having to clean them up. When the new stadium is built and it starts warming up next summer, I hope to see it packed with fans, the smell of hot dogs rolling through the air, Josh’s son bowling over kids to get fly balls, and a giant goose sprinting around the bases being chased by a child in hunter’s orange in between the sixth inning. Also, I’m available for more promotion ideas. Like I said, lots of potential there.
Back to the NFL, the Bears are great. Maybe the greatest. The Packers apparently are doing well, too, but I don’t pay attention to negative things in my life.
I was 13-3 last week but honestly so was everyone else.
• Miami at Jacksonville: This is a pretty rough Thursday night game. It feels like a game where it’s going to be pouring rain and the offenses will be lucky to muster 250 yards and there will be like six fumbles. But I’ll go Jacksonville because I love Gardner’s mustache. JAGUARS 23, DOLPHINS 14.
• Chicago at Atlanta: I see this game going one of two ways. Either the Falcons D is so bad that the Bears are able to explode offensively and Mitch puts four great quarters together and they run for 200 yards to boot. Or, and probably more likely, the Bears are still sputtering on offense and the defense can’t hold the Falcons down and they lose by two touchdowns. Sadly, I’m leaning that direction. FALCONS 31, BEARS 20.
• LA Rams at Buffalo: The Bills are good and Josh Allen has looked great but I’m going heavy Rams this year after these first games. Overreaction? Likely. Do I often overreact? All the time. So it’s in character. RAMS 27, BILLS 25.
• Washington at Cleveland: Washington is still pretty bad but the Browns aren’t great either. However, there is enough offensive talent in Cleveland that they can pull away here even if Washington has a good defense. BROWNS 24, WASHINGTON 13.
• Tennessee at Minnesota: I’m calling it right now. The Vikings won’t have more than six wins this year. They look like an awful football team and just lost their best linebacker for the season. I’m taking the rumbling, stumbling Titans here to win and win big. TITANS 28, VIKINGS 14.
• Las Vegas at New England: The Raiders had a great win opening up their new stadium and the Patriots had a brutal loss against Seattle. I’ll always lean away from a team coming off an unexpected win, so Patriots get this one. PATRIOTS 26, RAIDERS 20.
• San Francisco at NY Giants: Bold? Maybe. Crazy? Possibly. Right? Absolutely. The Giants are going to win this game. The 49ers lost two of their best defensive players last week and their QB has a bum knee. The Giants lost Barkley but they did fine against the Bears without him. I’ll take the G-Men upset here. GIANTS 23, 49ERS 21.
• Cincinnati at Philadelphia: Last week was the last time I pick the Eagles to be anyone good but the Bengals, thankfully, are not good. This will be closer than people think (Bengals cover!) ,but Eagles still win. However, they are in Viking territory for final record. EAGLES 24, BENGALS 22.
• Houston at Pittsburgh: Seriously, what a brutal stretch to open for Houston. KC, Baltimore, then Pittsburgh? Come on, that’s rough. I think they have a chance here but I’ll still lean Steelers. It could go either way but I’m thinking Pittsburgh gets a key turnover and grinds out a win. STEELERS 24, TEXANS 23.
• NY Jets at Indianapolis: Man, it’s tough to be a Jets fan. Really, really tough. They are double-digit dogs here and the Colts are not even that good. Yuck. COLTS 31, JETS 10.
• Carolina at LA Chargers: I am really tempted to take Carolina here (I will with the points) because I don’t think the Chargers surprise anyone with Herbert starting this week and the Panthers, even with the loss of CMC, are still a decent offense. It will be a close game but I’ll take the home team by a razor’s edge. CHARGERS 21, PANTHERS 20.
• Tampa Bay at Denver: My hometown Broncos are looking at signing Blake Bortles? That’s a clear sign something went wrong. The Bucs have too much talent for the Broncos here. BUCS 28, BRONCOS 17.
• Detroit at Arizona: Give me my Cardinals by a million points here. I picked the Cardinals to make the playoffs but that was before the 49ers broke down. I like that pick even more after seeing Arizona for two games. CARDINALS 34, LIONS 21.
• Dallas at Seattle: The Cowboys win last week doesn’t mask that they were down by a bunch and had to get a miracle onside kick to win. I think Seattle is for real and the Cowboys are still coached by Mike McCarthy. SEAHAWKS 28, COWBOYS 20.
• Green Bay at New Orleans: The Saints are favored in this game and I just don’t get it. What am I missing? The Packers have steamrolled two opponents while Drew Brees has been incredibly average in two games. I like the Packers to run away with this one (and you all know much I hate saying that). PACKERS 30, SAINTS 20.
• Kansas City at Baltimore: Early potential preview of AFC title game with the edge going to the Ravens here. I think this should be an exceptional game and surprisingly, I’d bet the under. RAVENS 23, CHIEFS 21.