screen-shot-2016-11-23-at-12-38-34-pmSteelers vs. Colts

2016 NFL Week #12

Luck Be a Maybe Tonight


Oh, Thanksgiving! What American holiday conjures up more warm feelings and indigestion than this one? Arbor Day? Not even close. Take Your Daughter to Work Day? Nah… unless Mom or Dad are really Russian spies and they’ve hidden that from their daughter and… and I’ve been watching “The Americans” way too much lately.

I often think, “What’s the best part of Thanksgiving, the ‘thanks’ or the ‘giving?’ If you’re giving me my girlfriend’s stuffing, then the ‘giving’ rules. And for many people, they should rename it “Givinggiving.” Now pass the gravy.

The ‘thanks’ part is complicated and it’s nuanced. If we say ‘thanks’ to the Native Americans who shared a late November meal with those fun-loving Pilgrims, we really mean “Hey, thanks for not killing us. Now we can destroy your culture and replace it with casinos.”

I brought up this matter with the only Native American I know: Chief Doubledown of the Blackjack tribe, a very wise man who once gave me sage advice: “Never hit on 15.”

I sat down with him in his plush teepee inside his plush office inside the plush casino he runs in Reno, Nevada. The walls are decorated with photographs of celebrities and politicians, from Liberace to Wayne Newton to Bill Clinton to Donald Trump. “I give to all the politicians,” he said as he shook his head. Gotta grease the palms if you want to get in the game. And the biggest game right now is the NFL.”

It was then I noticed a huge Washington Redskins banner behind the polished oak bar. “Redskins fan?” I asked.

“Love those Skins,” he replied. “And here’s a little secret: most American Indians do.”

I was taken aback, dumbfounded.

“Sounds crazy huh?” Doubledown let out a boisterous laugh. “If not for the whole Redskins brouhaha, you wouldn’t hear anything about our people. We need the press. And here’s another little secret: we love the Atlanta Braves almost as much.”

“What about… what about the Chiefs? I stammered. “You’re a Chief, so…”

“Not a big fan. Alex Smith is way overrated. And so is Andy Reid. Denver will cover the spread this week.”

I wasn’t ready to get into a football discussion. I was here to get the Native American perspective on Thanksgiving. “So, Chief Doubledown, will you be celebrating Thanksgiving this week?”

The Chief grimaced. “No. That would be like Jewish people celebrating Hitler’s birthday or Rudy Giuliani celebrating Ramadan. We don’t recognize what we call ‘Dead Turkey, Dead Indian Day.’ No, Thursday for us will be a quiet day of meditation and reflection after we burn General Custer and Frank de Kova in effigy.”


“Frank played Chief Wild Eagle on “F Troop.” Italian guy from New York. He set back Indian rights for a generation.”

“Well, thanks for the chat, Chief,” I said as I got up from the floor. “You got a pick for the Steelers game?”

The old Chief smiled like a Buddha. “No. But Phil, please remember this: Always hit on 16 against the dealer’s 7.”

I left the casino, my head pounding as I walked to my car. In fact, it was pounding more than…


The Colts’ star QB Andrew Luck is concussed is now in “Concussion Protocol,” which sounds like the name of a Robert Ludlum novel. So, will he play?

Don’t think so. (let the rejoicing begin…quietly.)


Ben Roethlisberger.


Scott Tolzien.


Magic 8-Ball is on a one-game winning streak so he’s feeling pretty confident. Factor in a Luck concussion and a relatively healthy Steelers team in desperate need of a win and this prediction could be made by an unformed mass of plastic or even Nate Silver. But we contractually must go through the motions, so here goes.

“Oh Magic 8-Ball, roundest of the round, will the Steelers be giving thanks to the gods of victory this Sunday night?”

 (shaking Magic 8-ball like a Pilgrim mofo after drinking six Red Bulls)

 Magic 8-Ball says, “Yes. And remember: Always hit on 14. And have a great Thanksgiving!


Phil Lebovits, SCB Steeler Blogger, In a casino… doubling dahn, n’at