Chung Changing Lives Open Mic Karaoke Fundraiser 2015

Chung Changing Lives Open Mic Night 2015 - 1

Our new favorite holiday tradition is to spend a karaoke-filled December night with the Chung family and friends. Monday, December 7 marked the second annual Open Mic Karaoke Fundraiser, with proceeds from this year’s event benefiting Chung Changing Lives and the United Way. The new venue, Splitsville Luxury Lanes and Howl at the Moon (a dueling piano bar chain), provided a more intimate experience than the prior year, which I thought was great because I got to stand right next to the stage most of the night!

Chung Changing Lives - Open Mic 2015 - 2

What I love about this event is that it’s really a family affair for the Chungs. From bringing up their son on-stage to sing the first song of the night to other family members walking around making sure everyone was having a great time, it’s clear that this event is close to their heart.

In addition to event sponsorships and individual ticket sales, a silent auction and live auction helped to raise funds. Attendees who brought coats for the United Way coat drive (myself included!) got to skip ahead in the line at the door.

Similar to last year, Santa made an appearance and after a belting out a Christmas carol, made everyone’s night with his rendition of Snoop Dogg’s classic “Gin and Juice.” Pats TE Scott Chandler was one of the first players to brave the stage, singing a memorable rendition of Taylor Swift’s “Bad Blood.” Although he was thrown off by the Kendrick Lamar rap (“This is not the version on the album!”), he definitely got an A for effort!

Chung Changing Lives - Open Mic 2015 - 5

The event was hosted by Jermaine “Wiggy” Wiggins, a Boston native who played for the Patriots from 2000-2002 and is now the voice of my morning drive as one of the DJs of Hot 96.9’s Get Up Crew. Wiggy brought a fan up onstage to help him sing “Hello” – the Lionel Richie version, and not the Adele version (although Adele’s hit would make a memorable appearance later in the night).

Chung Changing Lives - Open Mic 2015 - 3

As you can see in the picture above, several players spent their fair share of time on-stage, including former Patriot Marquice Cole (taking the selfie), Brandon LaFell, Devin McCourty, and Brandon Bolden. Things really started picking up when this group did The Notorious B.I.G’s (a.k.a Biggie, Biggie Smalls, y’all know who I’m talking about) “Juicy.”

Devin McCourty was probably the most energetic of the night. After he sang Usher and Alicia Keys’ “My Boo” with his fiance Michelle, as seen below, he succeeded in pulling many of the other players on stage.

Chung Changing Lives - Open Mic 2015 - 4

Comedian Lenny Clarke, seen below, ran the live auction. Attendees bid for playoff tickets, Pat Chung’s signed replica of the Lombardi trophy, and a chance to play FIFA (the video game) with Pat Chung and Julian Edelman.

Also seen below on the right is Brandon “Jojo” LaFell and his wife, Kristin. I have to give props to the LaFells because they have been involved in a lot of charity events since they arrived in New England. (In fact, LaFell made an appearance at the Patriots Children’s Christmas party held the following night.) I would also put the Chandlers (Scott and his wife Alissa) in the category of 2015 charity event superstars, as they attended the Joe Andruzzi Foundation Gratitude Gala, among other events this year.

Chung Changing Lives - Open Mic 2015 - 7

Other players who made an appearance included Julian Edelman, Gronk, Duron Harmon, Stephen Gostkowski, Nate Ebner, Logan Ryan, Cameron Fleming, Tavon Wilson, and Ryan Allen. Towards the end of the night, attendees did have opportunities to take pictures with the players. (Don’t ask me why I didn’t. Apparently, I wasn’t on my game that night. I wish I had gotten at least one. Not gonna lie, my eyebrow game was on fleek.)

One thing that I really liked about this year was that for certain songs the players pulled up people in the audience. As you can see below, a bunch of ladies took them up on the chance to belt out Adele’s “Hello.” Always the entertainer, Devin McCourty hopped behind the piano on the stage and dramatically pretended to accompany the ladies.

Chung Changing Lives - Open Mic 2015 - 8

To learn more about Chung Changing Lives, click here. To see pictures from last year’s event, click here and if you want to see some more pictures from the event, click here.

To the Chung family and all of the event organizers – thanks again for a great night! Sooo…is it too early to start counting down for next year?

-Michelle

Advertisements

What to Wear: Cold Weather Football Game

Scrolling through Pinterest one day, I came across a guide of what to wear to a football game. The guide included boots with 4-inch spike heels. *face palm*

If you are attending a football game, chances are you aren’t getting car service and whisked up to the VIP boxes upon your arrival. (If you are…Hi, my name is Michelle. Can we be friends?) That means that most of us don’t have the luxury of ignoring practicality and comfort when deciding our game day attire.

Today we’re bringing you The Snap’s guide of what to wear to a football game. Since weather is one of the most important factors to consider, this guide will just be for cold weather games. Packers, Bears, and Patriots fans who have tickets to December and January games – we’re talking to you.

What to Wear - Football Game - Cold Weather

(I realize that the Texans are not a cold-weather team, but I really wanted to use a J.J. Watt jersey for this guide and decided to stay with a Texans theme to make the graphic more aesthetically pleasing. I’ll apologize now if this rubs anyone the wrong way.)

**NOTE – Many of these items are from Kohl’s because it is hands-down our favorite place to shop. Kohl’s has some great 2015 Black Friday sales starting on Monday 11/23, so we are featuring these prices in case you see something you like and want to take advantage of sales this week.**

1. Knit beanie hat ($28) – Hats are a must to keep you warm. Thankfully, there are so many great NFL styles out there. Another great reason to choose a hat? If it’s damp and you know your hair will lose the battle against the elements, hats can mitigate bad hair days. (Kohl’s Black Friday – $19.60, Reg $28)

2. Jacket (varies) – There is nothing worse than getting to your seat in the stadium and having it be soaking wet and cold. This is why we love long jackets/parkas that keep your buns warm and dry. Removable hoods are also a really nice feature. Should you decide to forgo a bag, big pockets with zippers are a must to store all of your game day essentials. This jacket doesn’t feature them, but cuffs with thumb-holes are also awesome.  (Kohl’s Black Friday – $59.99, Reg $200)

3. Clear bag ($11.99) – If you choose to bring a bag and need to bring more stuff than a clutch can hold, we recommend investing in one of the clear NFL-approved bags. Yes, it sucks to spend more money, but it will save you the trouble of getting turned away at the gate if your bag violates the stadium bag policy.

4. Sunglasses (varies) – Just because it’s cold out, it doesn’t mean that you can avoid sun-glare if you are attending a day game. I (Michelle) rarely leave the house without a pair. Football games are no exception.

5. Jersey ($55 for boys) – If you’re wearing a jacket, no one can see the adorable shirt or sweatshirt that you’re wearing to rep your team. We like having at least one over-sized jersey that fits over our jackets. Depending on what size you wear, you may be able to get a large or x-large boys jersey and save a few bucks. The women’s jerseys are great, but they are so fitted, it can be difficult to put them over sweatshirts or jackets. (Kohl’s Black Friday – $34.99, Reg $55)

6. Cuddl Duds shirts ($32) – Layering is key and our absolute favorite layering shirts in the winter are Cuddl Duds. We cannot say enough about this brand. High-quality, warm, smooth, and comfortable, they come in a variety of styles and colors/prints. Many come with thumb holes (Can you tell we love thumb holes?) This may be TMI, but they make your boobs look great as well. (Kohl’s Black Friday – $15.99, Reg $32 – This is an EXCELLENT deal, as they usually don’t go any cheaper.)

7. Skinny jeans ($54.50) – Unless you’re in Green Bay and snow pants make the most sense, you can usually get away with jeans. We love a dark-wash skinny cut because they look flattering and you can tuck them into boots. If you need extra layers, Cuddl Duds also has some thin leggings you can pair up with your favorite skinnies.

8. L.L. Bean boots ($109) – The only thing worse than cold feet is cold wet feet. Depending on the stadium and weather, you may be walking through a slushy mess on your way from your tailgate into the stadium. Invest in waterproof boots and you will thank us later.

9. Gloves ($32) – If you’re going to be taking selfies and more importantly, checking your fantasy team stats, you’re going to need touchscreen gloves. (Kohl’s Black Friday – $24, Reg $32)

Did we miss anything? What’s your go-to game day look? Let us know in the comments below.

– Michelle

Our Thoughts – 2015 NFL Week 10 Recap

Our Thoughts NFL Weekly Summary 10 2015

Chances are that you don’t care about week 10 in the NFL since week 11 has already started, but we could never forgive ourselves if we didn’t share a video of a monkey riding a dog during halftime.

Seeing as though that monkey video is at the bottom of the post, you may as well skim some of our other game recaps. After all, this was a really weird week in the NFL and we would hate for you to still be questioning why you had so many incorrect picks in Weekly Pick ‘Em.

Here’s what we thought about week 10 in the NFL…

Buffalo (22), New York Jets (17) – Bills coach Rex Ryan was victorious in his return to MetLife Stadium to play his former team. It was an ugly game in the rain with turnovers, missed snaps, dropped passes, and questionable play calls. Jets QB Ryan Fitzpatrick had an off-game, but part of that could be due to the fact he had torn ligaments in his thumb (he had surgery last Friday for that injury). Bills QB Tyrod Taylor had a rough night but was able to rely on his run game to pull through. However, Taylor’s fashion game was on…

Interesting tidbit – The NFL is conducting color blindness tests after this game. Both teams sported Nike’s new “Color Rush” uninforms (all green for the Jets, all red for the Bills). Colorblind fans couldn’t tell the difference between the two uniforms, especially with the Jets green against the playing field. For those of us that could, it looked like a bunch of Christmas elves running around on the field.

Detroit (18), Green Bay (16) – The Lions tried their best to let the Packers win (2 missed PATs, 1 failed on-side kick), but instead won their first game in Green Bay since 1991 (a quarter of a century!) after the Packers missed a 52 yard field goal on the last play of the game. Green Bay’s offense is struggling, having scored less than 20 points in three games, and got booed by the home crowd. Ouch. Their WRs dropped a lot of passes and their starting RB was demoted this past week. This popular pre-season Super Bowl pick team is on pace for their worst statistical year of QB Aaron Rodgers’ career.

Jacksonville (22), Baltimore (20) – The Jaguars broke their 13 road game losing streak, which dated back to 2013, on a field goal as time expired. Initially, the Ravens sacked QB Blake Bortles as time ran out, but they were called for a facemask penalty. Since a game cannot end with a defensive penalty, the Jags got one more shot at field goal. To add insult to injury for the Ravens, the NFL released a statement on Monday saying the Jags should have been penalized for a false start penalty that would have negated the field goal and resulted in a Baltimore win. Ravens QB Joe Flacco is doing the best he can with his depleted group of offensive players.

Miami (20), Philadelphia (19) – The Dolphins can thank their defense and some pure luck/Eagles mistakes for this win. Their offense struggles to be productive, and they tied a NFL record by giving up a safety for the third week in a row. Their go-ahead touchdown bounced off an Eagles player’s helmet. Eagles QB Sam Bradford left the game with a sprained AC joint and concussion. Backup QB Mark Sanchez came in the game and missed a lot of chances to win this one for the Birds. Bradford’s injured shoulder is not his throwing shoulder, but he is expected to miss next Sunday’s game as well as Thursday’s game.

Cleveland (9), Pittsburgh (30) – Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger was supposed to be the back-up QB as he deals with a mid-foot sprain. However, QB Landry Jones was carted off with an ankle injury so Big Ben stepped in and had his way with the Browns, who have not won in Pittsburgh since 2003. The Browns had trouble with their run game, blocking, and racking up penalties. The Browns have decided to start Johnny Manziel at QB for the remainder of the season – at 2-8 they need to see if he has the skills to be their quarterback of the future.

Chicago (37), St. Louis (13) – St. Louis’ offense is basically plays that feature RB Todd Gurley or gadget plays with WR Tavon Austin. After the Rams fell behind by two scores, they let QB Nick Foles start throwing the ball to play catch-up. It didn’t go so well. On Monday, coach Jeff Fischer announced that Foles was being benched in favor of backup Case Keenum in an attempt to spark the offense. Kudos to the Bears for getting the most out of the talent on their roster, and continuing to mess up game picks for those of us still saying “well, they’re the Bears/Jay Cutler, they’re going to lose” as we pick against them incorrectly week after week.

Dallas (6), Tampa Bay (10) – That’s 7 games lost in a row for the Cowboys since QB Tony Romo was injured (Romo is expected to return next week). WR Dez Bryant missed some key plays that would have helped the team. The Bucs managed to score a touchdown with 54 seconds left after a rough game for rookie QB Jameis Winston, who threw two interceptions and a goal-line fumble.

Carolina (27), Tennessee (10) – The undefeated Panthers became the first team since the 1989-1990 Bears to rush for over 100 yards in 20 consecutive games. While QB Cam Newton got in trouble for #Bannergate last week, this week he’s being criticized by the Titans for too much dancing in celebrating his touchdowns. Cam says if teams don’t like his dancing, they should keep him out of the end zone. Touché. (We’re surprised their isn’t more criticism for his cropped pants, but that’s besides the point.) The Titans defense is underrated, but QB Marcus Mariota needs more weapons on offense.

New Orleans (14), Washington (47) – What a beat down by Washington. After more sideline arguments by players and coaching, cue more stories on a change of coaching regime in New Orleans by next season. Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan didn’t make it past Monday; he was let go as the team starts its bye week. The Saints became the first team in NFL history to allow 4 touchdown passes and no interceptions three weeks in a row (vs WAS, NYG, TEN). The Saints defense let Washington QB Kirk Cousins throw for 324 yards, 4 touchdowns, and a perfect passer rating of 158.3. Kirk was able to give a game ball to his father – this was the first game he was able to attend all season while he fights cancer.

Minnesota (30), Oakland (14) – The Vikings handed the ball off to RB Adrian Peterson as much as they could, and it worked well as he ran for 203 yards as the Vikings won their fifth straight game. With the Packers loss, this puts them in first place in the NFC North division. The Vikings are fortunate to have a strong defense to back second year QB Teddy Bridgewater as he continues to develop. Raiders QB Derek Carr has already matched his rookie year total of 21 touchdowns.

Kansas City (29), Denver (13) – The good news for Broncos QB Peyton Manning is that he passed Brett Favre to become the all-time passing yards leader in NFL history. The bad news is he was unable to break Favre’s all time regular season wins record – he was benched in favor of Brock Osweiler as the Chiefs blew out the Broncos. Manning had a really rough day; his first pass was intercepted, and it would be his first of four interceptions on the day as he finished with a 0.0 passer rating. (Not a typo.) Broncos coach Gary Kubiak said there is no QB controversy and Peyton will start going forward as long as he is healthy. Kubiak took the blame and said he should have made the call to sit Peyton, who is dealing with foot and rib injuries. The Broncos announced Monday that Peyton is dealing with plantar fasciitis, and will not play next week, perhaps longer. Peyton can’t entirely be blamed for the loss – the Bronco’s o-line, run game and route running did not play up to par. The Chiefs defense has picked up steam as the season has continued, and helped their team pick up a victory that will be critical in the contest for a play-off wild card spot.

New England (27), New York Giants (26) – “I feel like I’m going to throw up.” Those were Momma O’s words after this game, where the Giants led in the 3rd quarter, and twice in the 4th. In the last 1:47 of this game, Pats QB Tom Brady drove his team down the field and set kicker Steve Gostkowski up to kick the game winning 54 yard field goal with one second left on the clock. Yes, slightly stressful for Pats fans. It was not Brady’s best day; these two teams always play each other tough (see Super Bowls XLII and XLVI). Giants WR Odell Beckham scored an 87-yard touchdown, which is the longest touchdown allowed by the Patriots since Bill Belichick became coach in 2000. After that play, Super Bowl hero cornerback Malcolm Butler kept Beckham in check to the tune of 3 catches for 17 yards on 11 targets. Pats TE Rob Gronkowski had a 76-yard touchdown of his own. Bad news for the Pats is that WR Julian Edelman broke a bone in his foot and will miss the next 6-8 weeks. The Giants also announced WR Victor Cruz is heading to IR following calf surgery; he has not played in any games this year. Rest assured, Momma O recovered from the game just fine as her post-game rant included “I hope Roger was choking” in reference to Commissioner Roger Goodell being in attendance at this game.  Just venting a little Post-Deflategate frustration.

Arizona (39), Seattle (32) – If Panthers QB Cam Newton wants to have a dance-off, we have a candidate: Cardinals back-up QB Drew Stanton. Check out his moves as RB Andre Ellington was scoring the go-ahead touchdown for the Cardinals…

As far as the football game went, it was a great one. The Seahawks came back from a 19 point deficit, and then managed to convert two Arizona fumbles into two touchdowns, which gave them a 4 point lead. That lead didn’t last – in fact, in all five of Seattle’s losses this year, they’ve given up the lead in the 4th quarter.  Aside from those two big fumbles, QB Carson Palmer had his way with Seattle’s secondary with the help of WRs Michael Floyd and Larry Fitzgerald. We’re used to seeing the Seahawks play at such a high level after their last two Super Bowl appearances, but that’s a standard that is hard to maintain in the NFL. This was a division game they needed to win to start closing the gap between themselves and the Cardinals, and it didn’t happen. Realistically, barring injuries or a Cardinals collapse, they’re looking at a race to a wild card spot at best if they can get their act together.

Houston (10), Cincinnati (6)  – The Texans came off their bye ready to play! After QB Brian Hoyer left the game with a concussion, backup TJ Yates came in and threw the only touchdown of the night to WR DeAndre Hopkins, who has excelled this season despite the Texans’ carousel of quarterbacks. The Texans defense has not surrendered a touchdown in 10 quarters, and forced a 4th down fumble on the Bengals last drive to seal the win. Bengals QB Andy Dalton and Co. had a tough night. Texans defender J.J. Watt, who had one sack of Dalton, said “Our goal was to come out here and make the Red Rifle look like the Red Ryder BB Gun. I think we did that tonight.” Not going to disagree, J.J. The Bengals had a tough time swallowing their first loss of the season and apparently this statement upset Dalton, who said it was an insult to the integrity of the game. If you don’t want your opponents to be able to say things like that about you, then beat them. It’s all ok Andy – your team wrangled up some exciting halftime entertainment.

OK, one more monkey video. Sorry, we’re not sorry.

What does Soneil324 know that the rest of us don’t? Apparently, he’s got some insider info regarding NFL games. He widened his lead this week in our pick ’em league and doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon. Other than that, not much movement in the top 5. Here are this week’s standings in our Weekly Pick ‘Em league.

Weekly Pick 'Em 2015 - Week 10

– Val and Michelle

Joe Andruzzi Foundation Gratitude Gala 2015

JAF Gratitude Gala 2015

Monday, November 16, 2015 has been circled on my calendar for quite some time. Ever since we profiled the Joe Andruzzi Foundation for a Charity Spotlight post, their annual gala has been on my Snap bucket list.

I was fortunate enough to attend this year, purchasing my ticket with the expectation of a fun night that would include a three-course meal, a live auction, and the opportunity to meet some NFL players.  Little did I know when I bought my ticket that I would be able to walk away with so much more than that.

The event started at 6pm and was held in the Putnam Club at Gillette Stadium. For those of you wondering, the view from the club looks like this:

JAF Gratitude Gala 2015 - Field View

Maybe I’m a football nerd, but that view never gets old.

The night kicked off with a cocktail hour where guests were able to check out the many items up for auction. Autographed jerseys were among the most popular silent auction items.

JAF Gratitude Gala 2015 - Jerseys

Guests enjoyed cocktails and appetizers while mingling and placing their bids for the silent auction.

JAF Gratitude Gala 2015 - Silent Auction Board

Several Pats players made appearances at the cocktail hour to sign autographs. Pictured below is TE Scott Chandler. I had a chance encounter with his wife after I complimented her shoes. (Before you think I’m creepy, I didn’t realize it was his wife at the time. I can’t help myself from gushing about footwear if someone has fabulous taste in shoes.)

JAF Gratitude Gala 2015 - Scott Chandler

Other players at the event included Rob Ninkovich, Pat Chung, Stephen Gostkowski, and past Patriots Matt Chatham and Troy Brown. (I believe Matt Slater made an appearance later in the night and Nate Solder was there as well in the role of keynote speaker.) I have a feeling there were other players, but it was difficult to tell considering there were about 800 attendees.

Pictured below is my girl Linda with Pat Chung. (Linda gets a shout-out because she let me hang out and drink wine with her crew once she realized that I was flying solo.)

JAF Gratitude Gala - Pat Chung

Around 7:15, we entered the dining area and I was blown away by the way the room was decorated. Volunteers clearly put a lot of time into creating the beautiful space. The table settings were gorgeous.

JAF Gratitude Gala 2015 - Table Setting

I was fortunate enough to sit with some great people at table 77. One thing that struck me throughout the night was how many attendees personally knew Joe and Jen Andruzzi. Everyone talked about how they are some of the nicest, most genuine people. It quickly became evident that the kindness they have shown others is one of the biggest reasons they get so much support in return for events like this.

JAF Gratitude Gala 2015 - Menu

Dinner was a three-course meal, which included a tasty salad, a main entrée with chicken, beef, and assorted vegetables, and a dessert tray featuring whoopie pies, cookies, and other sweets.

JAF Gratitude Gala 2015 - Dinner

Scott Zolak, a sportscaster and prior Pats quarterback, acted as the Master of Ceremonies. Joe Andruzzi welcomed guests and introduced Nate Solder as the night’s keynote speaker.

JAF Gratitude Gala 2015 - Joe Andruzzi

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Nate’s story, he was drafted in the first round by the Patriots in 2011. Up until his season-ending injury this year, he had been a constant on the o-line, protecting Tom Brady’s blind side. In April of this year, he revealed his battle with testicular cancer prior to the 2014 season.

Along with the rest of the crowd, I fully expected Nate to talk about his own experience with cancer. His speech took an unexpected turn when he started to talk about his 3-month-old son, Hudson. There was a collective intake of breath when Nate revealed that his son was diagnosed with kidney cancer in October.

JAF Gratitude Gala 2015 - Nate Solder

I don’t know how Nate was able to hold it together to share his family’s story. Tears welled up in my eyes as he shared how life changed overnight with the discovery of Hudson’s tumor. To hear Nate describe his son’s treatments (Hudson has four chemotherapy treatments down and 15 more to go) was absolutely heartbreaking.

As someone who kept his own cancer diagnosis private, I can only imagine how difficult it was for Nate to share this news with the world. During his speech, he mentioned that his wife told him that it was more important than ever to talk about Hudson as part of his keynote speech, knowing that there are other people out there that receive this heartbreaking diagnosis on daily basis. It was a somber reminder that cancer does not discriminate.

You can watch a portion of Nate’s speech here. Get your tissues ready.

JAF Gratitude Gala 2015 - Solder Family

While surprising and emotional, I don’t know that a more fitting keynote speech could have been made that night. If I had to guess, it provided even more of an incentive for attendees to bid during the live auction, which followed Nate’s keynote speech and a JAF mission video.

Paul Zekos, the auctioneer, was extremely entertaining and did a great job of getting people to raise their bidding cards. Most of the people in attendance are probably in a different tax bracket than me and that was excellent news for the Foundation.

JAF Gratitude Gala 2015 - Auction Card

The live auction included thirteen items – many of which created entertaining bidding wars. The biggest bid of the night (two people each bid $23k) was for a package that included QB Jimmy Garoppolo and C Bryan Stork acting as bartenders for your personal event. What made it even better was the fact that they would be bartending from a refurbished Airstream trailer, which I got to check out on my way into the event. (Unfortunately, Jimmy and Bryan were not manning the bar at that time. Bummer.)

JAF Gratitude Gala 2015 - Airstream

Other notable auction items that I would have been raising my yellow bid card for if I had more disposable income, were the Punt, Snap, Kick package (included a one hour clinic and two-hour dinner with K Stephen Gostkowsi, LS Joe Cardona and P Ryan Allen, along with autographed merch) and dinner with the O-line at Maggiano’s in Boston. Unfortunately, I did not make fast friends with the lucky winners of these bids, but there is always next year, right?

The night ended with Joe and Jen Andruzzi (seen below) awarding Lisa and Ed Medeiros of presenting sponsor East Commerce Solutions with the 2015 (Up)Beat Cancer Award in honor of the support they have given the Foundation.

JAF Gratitude Gala 2015 - Jen Andruzzi

Last year’s event raised over $900,000 for the foundation. I will update the post with this year’s proceeds as soon as they are released. (Personally, I’m crossing my fingers that they were able to cross the $1 million mark!)

JAF Gratitude Gala 2015 - Michelle

If you would like to donate to the Joe Andruzzi Foundation in honor of Hudson Solder (tell me he isn’t one of the cutest babies ever), click here. Proceeds of the fund will benefit JAF’s mission of providing financial assistance to cancer patients and their families – allowing them to focus on recovery, not mounting rent/mortgage, utility, or other household bills.

For more information on the Joe Andruzzi Foundation, click here.

Thank you to the Joe Andruzzi Foundation and all of its volunteers for putting on such a great event!

– Michelle

Our Thoughts – 2015 NFL Week 9 Recap

NFL Week 9 Summary 2015

Have you guys seen the DirectTV NFL player commercials? You know, when normal Peyton or Andrew or Tony has DirectTV and a weird/creepy version of each dude has cable.

I feel like the weird/creepy versions of these guys would have skipped our Snap reader survey.

Don’t be like Arts and Craftsy Tony Romo. Click here to complete our Snap reader survey.

Here’s what we thought about week 9 in the NFL…

Cleveland (10), Cincinnati (31) – Bengals QB Andy Dalton threw 3 TDs to TE Tyler Eifert as the Bengals remain undefeated. Browns QB Johnny Manziel was playing in place of the injured Josh McCown. He struggled to make his reads but wasn’t helped much by his supporting players on offense. The Browns defense held their own for the first half of the game, but couldn’t stop the Bengals run game from running out the clock. Coach Mike Pettine says McCown will start again when he is healthy.

Miami (17), Buffalo (33) – Bills QB Tyrod Taylor and his snazzy press conference attire returned after missing two games with a knee injury. Bills WR Sammy Watkins had a career day – 168 yards and a TD, and RBs LeSean McCoy and Karlos Williams both went over 100 yards from scrimmage. The Bills defense still let Miami QB Ryan Tannehill throw for over 300 yards and RB Lamar Miller had 141 yards from scrimmage. Miami interim coach Dan Campbell is still learning about in-game management. The high after their first two blow-out wins is gone after two consecutive losses that have the Dolphins’ record in their division at 0-4.

Green Bay (29), Carolina (37) – The Panthers stopped a comeback by the Packers with a goal-line interception of Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers. Carolina’s defense pressured Rodgers all afternoon and didn’t let the Packers get their run game going. Even though Rodgers put up 376 yards and threw for 4 TDs, the Packers weren’t in sync until the second half. Panthers QB Cam Newton is getting the job done with lesser known offensive skill players. Of course, he’s also getting criticized for “bannergate.” A Packers fan living in NC hung a “North Carolina Cheesehead” sign, which Newton saw during warm-ups and removed to protect his “house.” The fan wanted to keep the banner for his man room, so he reported the theft to stadium police. Cam’s teammates are supporting him, but the Panthers are going to replace the banner for the fan.

St. Louis (18), Minnesota (21) (OT) – The Vikings managed to hold Rams rookie RB Todd Gurley in check and under 100 yards for the first time in more than a month, and now are in a tie with the Packers for first place in the NFC North division. QB Teddy Bridgewater did suffer a concussion after taking a late hit, but is expected to be cleared to play next week. The hit created some entertaining coach-TV analyst beef.

Washington (10), New England (27) – The Pats are still on a roll despite a lack of healthy offensive linemen. The big news coming out of this game is the loss of breakout star RB Dion Lewis for the season due to a torn ACL. Washington QB Kirk Cousins can’t be entirely blamed for this loss – his receivers dropped a lot of passes like they were hot.

Tennessee (34), New Orleans (28) – Titans rookie QB Marcus Mariota returned from a knee injury and led his team to a win in OT in their first game under interim coach Mike Mularkey. Their success was due in large part to a better blocking scheme that did not allow Mariota to get sacked. What a great idea. Saints QB Drew Brees managed to put up plenty of yardage against a Titans defense that was missing two of its starting CBs, but the Saints couldn’t get their run game going. The Saints defense continues to disappoint.

Jacksonville (23), New York Jets (28) – The Jets escaped with a win to break a two-game losing streak. QB Ryan Fitzpatrick played through his injured thumb ligaments. However, their run game wasn’t very effective and their defense hasn’t been the strength it was in the first few weeks of the season. The Jags had several chances to win this game, but penalties and turnovers in the last 6 minutes put the game out of reach. They have to be disappointed with how TE Julius Thomas is playing after giving him a lot of money this off-season.

Oakland (35), Pittsburgh (38) – Steelers RB DeAngelo Williams took over lead back duties from the injured Le’Veon Bell to the tune of 170 rushing yards and 55 receiving yards, plus 2 touchdowns. WR Antonio Brown had 284 receiving yards. That’s not a typo. The bad news for the Steelers is QB Ben Roethlisberger is going to miss some time after spraining his foot. The Raiders can no longer be viewed as an easy match-up by opponents. QB Derek Carr and his crew of WRs, plus RB Latavius Murray, are making plays every week.

Atlanta (16), San Francisco (17) – For a team that started off hot this season, the Falcons didn’t look so great on Sunday. They were upset by the 49ers, who benched their starting QB Colin Kaepernick in favor of Blaine Gabbert. Gabbert was surprisingly solid and won the starting job for week 11 when the team returns from their bye week.

New York Giants (32), Tampa Bay (18) – Despite some bad decision-making by QB Eli Manning, the Giants kept their lead in the NFC East with this win. Giants DE Jason Pierre Paul and his oven mitt made a return to the field and seemed to be in good shape (except for the whole “missing a few fingers” thing). QB-WR bromances were in full display – Eli and Odell Beckham Jr. connected for 105 yards and Tampa Bay QB Jameis Winston (who has been steadily improving) connected with WR Mike Evans for 152 yards.

Denver (24), Indianapolis (27) – The undefeated Broncos fell this week. This was the Colts first game with their new offensive coordinator and they were able to make plays against Denver’s top ranked defense. The Colts stopped the Broncos ground game, overcame their own injuries on defense, and took advantage of two interceptions thrown by Broncos QB Peyton Manning, as well as injuries and penalties against Denver’s defense. DeMarcus Ware missed the second half of the game after re-aggrevating a back injury (and will miss another 2-4 weeks). CB Aqib Talib poked Colts TE Dwayne Allen in the eye and has been suspended for one game. (Seriously, dude? Talib, you’re better than that.) Peyton Manning fell 3 yards and 4 points shy of setting new NFL records for career passing yards and quarterback wins. Andrew Luck is going to miss an undetermined amount of time with a lacerated kidney and partially torn abdominal muscle. Ouch. What’s crazy is that he suffered the injury in the fourth quarter, and continued to play, even throwing a TD pass to Ahmad Bradshaw. QB Matt Hasselbeck will start in Luck’s absence – he won the two starts he made earlier this season when Luck missed time with a shoulder injury.

Philadelphia (33), Dallas (27) (OT) – The Cowboys have lost 6 games in a row since QB Tony Romo broke his clavicle. QB Matt Cassel didn’t have a bad night, finding WR Cole Beasley for two TDs and WR Dez Bryant also coming up with a TD. The Eagles brought an effective run game to Dallas, evenly splitting snaps between RBs DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews. As a side note, the non-football story in this game was the criticism the Cowboys received for letting Greg Hardy play after photos from his domestic violence arrest surfaced.

Chicago (22), San Diego (19) – “It’s pretty sickening…but we are what we are, and right now, that’s 2-7 on a five game skid.” Those words belong to Chargers QB Philip Rivers, and that pretty much sums up his team. They’ve been decimated by injuries at almost every position, with Monday night’s addition to IR being WR Malcolm Floyd (who planned to retire after this season). Rivers somehow manages to put points on the board and basically keep his team in games and currently leads the NFL with 3,034 passing yards. Bears QB Jay Cutler is quietly having a solid season under new offensive coordinator Adam Gase, taking advantage of San Diego’s injuries to lead his team to a comeback win.

Here are this week’s standings in our Weekly Pick ‘Em league.

Weekly Pick 'Em 2015 - Week 9

– Val and Michelle

Our Thoughts – 2015 NFL Week 8 Recap

Our Thoughts - NFL Week 8 2015 Game Summaries

Before we get into the juicy goodness that was week 8 in the NFL, we’re going to start out with a shameless request for help. We recently set up a four-question survey for our readers. If you have two minutes (we swear, that’s all the time it would take), it would mean a lot to us if you could answer the survey questions and tell us how we can improve The Snap. You will have our eternal gratitude and could possibly be rewarded with another picture of Michelle in a mascot costume. Click here to complete our survey.

I guess we can also take this opportunity for apologize for skipping week 7 game summaries. Val was still in Europe (“I don’t know how the NFL can expect people in Europe to consistently watch games with the time difference unless they’re in London”) and she does the heavy lifting on these posts. Michelle was in DC cheering on (and carb loading) with Snap Super Fan Laura, who ran the Marine Corps Marathon with our friend Caroline. Doesn’t Laura look good after running 26.2 miles?

Marine Corps Marathon 2015

OK, that’s enough with the non-football stuff. Let’s get down to business.

Here’s what we thought about week 8 in the NFL…

Miami (7), New England (35) – We’re trying not to get ahead of ourselves here, but it might be easier to just copy and paste the following sentence in every New England game summary the rest of the year: Tom Brady is a beast. The AFC Player of the Week continued his revenge tour with 4 TDs against a tough defense. Pats RB Dion Lewis and his shifty spin moves continue to be a lot of fun to watch. The Dolphins lost defensive end Cameron Wake to Achilles injury that will keep him out the rest of the year.

Detroit (10), Kansas City (45) – After a rough start to the season, the Lions fired their offensive coordinator last week. Things didn’t look too much better as the offensive line struggles to block and QB Matt Stafford continues to struggle with his decision-making. WR Calvin Johnson (a.k.a. Megatron) did become the fastest player in NFL history to reach 11,000 receiving yards. The Chiefs defense is better than their 3-5 record would indicate.

Tampa Bay (23), Atlanta (20) (OT) – The Falcons lost this game in OT despite another great game from WR Julio Jones and QB Matt Ryan. The Bucs were able to score 20 points off Falcons turnovers. Bucs rookie QB Jameis Winston continues to show more improvement as the season progresses. The Bucs defense stepped up – in particular rookie Kwon Alexander was recognized by the team for his performance (11 tackles, interception, fumble recovery), which came only two days after his younger brother was killed.

San Diego (26), Baltimore (29) – Both QBs, the Ravens’ Joe Flacco and the Chargers’ Philip Rivers deserve credit for anything they’re able to accomplish on the field with all the injuries their teams have suffered. The Chargers will be without their main weapon WR Keenan Allen for the remainder of the season after he lacerated a kidney. The Ravens lost WR Steve Smith for the rest of the year with a torn Achilles. Smith planned to retire after this season, but rumors are starting he doesn’t want to end his career being carted off the field. We’d love to see him come back to finish his HOF career on a high note, in part for the entertainment value. A few plays before his injury he passed Cris Carter for 10th place on the all-time receiving yards list.

Minnesota (23), Chicago (20) – Vikings QB Teddy Bridgewater was not very consistent in his play, but led the Vikes to 10 points in the last 5 minutes for the win (it was his 5th career 4th quarter or OT comeback for a win). Besides having the services of RB Adrian Peterson, he’s being helped by the play of rookie WR Stefon Diggs, who is probably getting snapped up in fantasy leagues after having 80+ yards in the last four games. Bears QB Jay Cutler is quietly having a solid season under new offensive coordinator Adam Gase. He’s also been helped by the return of WR Alshon Jeffery. The bad news for the Bears is RB Matt Forte left the game with a knee injury, and could be out for a while.

Arizona (34), Cleveland (20) – This game looked like it was heading for an upset when Cleveland took the lead and the Cardinals fumbled 4 times. Then Arizona and QB Carson Palmer found their groove and put up 27 unanswered points. The Browns are hurt by their lack of a run game. QB Josh McCown took another big hit and will be out this upcoming week.

Tennessee (6), Houston (20) – Football is a tough business. To the surprise of many, Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt was fired on Tuesday, not even making it through two full seasons in Tennessee and leaving with a record of 3-20. Mike Mularkey has been named interim coach. It’s hard enough to adjust to life in the NFL, but rookie QB Marcus Mariota (who sat out Sunday with injury) will now have to adjust to a new coach and system going into his second year. This was the type of dominant defensive performance people have been expecting from the Texans all year – they had a franchise record 7 sacks! J.J. Watt had 2.5 sacks, 8 QB hits, and a forced fumble.

New York Giants (49), New Orleans (52) – There are a few ways to look at this game: Stellar QB play by Drew Brees and Eli Manning or terrible defensive performances that allowed a total of 101 points. Brees’ 505 yard, 7 TD performance tied an NFL record for most TDs in a game. Manning passed Joe Montana to move into 10th place all-time in passing TDs. Neither team is out of the play-off race yet.

Cincinnati (16), Pittsburgh (10) – The Bengals are 7-0 for the first time in franchise history, despite having trouble handling the Steelers’ young defense. They sacked Bengals QB Andy Dalton 3 times and forced 2 interceptions. Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger returned after missing several games and got off to a great start. However, the Steelers lost star RB Le’Veon Bell for the rest of the year with an MCL injury, which will have a huge impact on their offense going forward.

San Francisco (6), St. Louis (27) – The Todd Gurley show continued this week. The Rams rookie RB had his fourth straight game with at least 120 yards. The other big story to come out of this game was the concrete slab that caused an injury to 49ers RB Reggie Bush. 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick did not have a good day. In fact, it was a “we’re benching you for Blaine Gabbert in week 9” kind of a day. (For those of you who aren’t familiar with Gabbert, he has a 5-22 record in the NFL.) Niners coach Jim Tomsula said two weeks ago that there was no quarterback controversy, but watch the video below and you might understand why some people think Kaepernick is regressing.

New York Jets (20), Oakland (34) – The Raiders have been the butt of jokes for years, but there is optimism QB Derek Carr and rookie WR Amari Cooper are turning things around under the leadership of new head coach Jack Del Rio. Shout out to 39-year-old CB Charles Woodson, who currently leads the NFL in interceptions. The Jets encountered some QB issues – Ryan Fitzpatrick tore ligaments in his thumb. He’ll need surgery, and it will be able to wait until after the season. Geno Smith (he who missed the first few weeks of the season after being punched in the jaw by a teammate) came into the game before he was injured and Fitzpatrick had to come back in to replace him for a few plays. As of Wednesday, both players were able to participate in practice and the plan is for Fitzgerald to start this upcoming week. The situation bears watching as the only other QB on their roster is Bryce Petty, who the Jets were hoping could use this year to red shirt.

Seattle (13), Dallas (12) – Even though QB Matt Cassel had WR Dez Bryant back from injury, the Cowboys offense couldn’t capitalize on the strong performance by their defense as well as several miscues by the Seahawks. They managed only four net yards in the 4th quarter and remain winless since QB Tony Romo broke his clavicle. A positive sign for the Seahawks was that their troubled offensive line did not allow a sack of QB Russell Wilson. A scary moment during the game was when WR Ricardo Lockette was knocked out cold and had to be taken out on a stretcher. Don’t know about other people, but it certainly brought up some uncomfortable feelings for us. It was definitely a reminder of how violent the sport is and made us wish we liked baseball more.

On a lighter note, Dez Bryant has a pet monkey now. His name is Dallas…because what else would you name your monkey when you play for the Cowboys?

Green Bay (10), Denver (29) – What a game for Denver’s defense, their run game and QB Peyton Manning as they handed the Packers their first loss of the season. It looked like the offense put their bye week to good use in continuing to adapt to head coach Gary Kubiak’s offense. Manning tied Brett Favre for most wins by a QB in NFL history (186). The Packers couldn’t get much going – their WRs were held to 37 yards, and QB Aaron Rodgers passed for only 77 yards and was sacked 3 times – which speaks to the talent of Denver’s defense.  Green Bay doesn’t have a strong run game, and they are feeling the impact of being without WR Jordy Nelson this year. Denver defensive coordinator Wade Phillips threw some shade at Green Bay over Twitter and probably got away with it more than most coaches could.

Indianapolis (26), Carolina (29) – The drama continues for Indy after they had a bizarre rainy game full of turnovers (on both sides) against the perfect Panthers. Injured QB Andrew Luck is facing some serious adversity for the first time in his career and his performance probably didn’t help Pep Hamilton, the Colts offensive coordinator who was fired after the game. Despite a 3-5 record, the Colts remain in first place in the AFC South. Carolina is one of four teams that remains undefeated – the Patriots, Broncos, and Bengals are also in that club.

Buffalo had a bye week, but they have made headlines by contributing to the great “Is a hot dog a sandwich?” debate.

Aaaaaand here are this week’s standings in our Weekly Pick ‘Em league.

Weekly Pick 'Em 2015 - Week 8

Before we end this post, we’d like to give a well-deserved shout-out to Momma O, who recently won our family’s survivor league. The woman says she has no clue what she’s doing, but her results say otherwise.

– Val and Michelle

We Need Your Help: Snap Reader Survey

SNAP READER SURVEY

Hello Snappers! You all look beautiful today.

If you can’t tell from the title of this post, we’re obviously buttering you up because we need to ask you a favor.

When you have a minute, can you please respond to our survey linked below? It’s only four questions, so you can finish it in a jiffy.

We’re using this survey to get a better idea of what people want to see more of on The Snap. As you may or may not know, we’re all about giving the people what they want.

Click here to complete the survey and help us make The Snap even better!

– Val and Michelle